Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Waiting for Yahwhoo!

Time's almost up.

This is taken verbatim from my "My Yahoo" page:

View My Groups -- The Groups module has been discontinued. Please look for it again in 2003 when it can show the Groups to which you belong.


Thursday, December 25, 2003

Alyssa sez:

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Our Little Match Girls

JEFF GERRITT: A little warmth for women working cold streets

This article brought tears to my eyes. Lord, look after your lost daughters this Christmas, and bless those who do your work.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Wax On, Wax Off

So I've been doing the gospel gig for 5-6 weeks now. It keeps getting better, as we all get used to each other. They've used one of my arrangements now, and we've done some pieces that have just been amazing - particularly Hezekiah Walker's "Jesus, My Help", and Leon Roberts' "Mary's Canticle".

The most quizzical thing for me has been the way I just fell into the bass pedal role. It's still a huge challenge on the classical side, and I've got virtually no bacground in kicking gospel bass. But there it is. And, after watching myself for a while, I finally figured it out - it's the pipe organ lessons that are doing it. A lot of my walking bass patterns involve heel-toe technique, which I'd never used before. So here's this thing I'm learning, and it turns out it's helping me do something almost completely unrelated. That may not be obvious to those who don't play pipe organ - but it's a very different approach and technique.

Apparently the skill sets have a bit in common.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

McCabe on the Eucharist

Thans to Dr. Paul Ford for posting this 1994 homily. Lots of challenging thoughts about substantiality and symbols.

I was relieved to read this:

Before the consecration the appearances
were there because the bread was there, they
were just the appearances of the bread. After
the consecration it is the other way round, the
body of Christ is sacramentally there because
what were the appearances of bread (and are
now sacramental signs), are there.

...because it confirms at least the concept of my 2001 Eucharistic hymn, "No Longer Bread". The hymn talks about how the bread and wine become Christ, at the same time, paradoxically, becoming bread for the world.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

All Classical Guide - Hugo Distler

We're doing a couple of his works at this year's Madonna U Chorale concert: A Little Advent Music, and Lo, How a Rose. Both gorgeous, and quite detailed!

I'll post concert details tomorrow.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Happy St. Cecilia Day, everyone!

This time of year, fully 4/5 of the visitors to this site are people in search of info on St. Cecilia. I thank all of you for the "hits", and apologize for the lack of info on my favorite saint.

When I started tracking visits last year, I was mortified as my initial 14-16 visitors a day dropped to 6-8 per day. What the heck was I doing wrong? Well, duh - the drop came after November. The count started to rise again gradually around July or so - but it took me until last month before I finally got it.

Watch this space over the coming year - there will be some new St. Cecilia articles, and a St. Cecilia sidebar with links and pics. Thanks again to all of you who love her as I do. Think of her as you sing at mass tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Quote of the day

You know the world's gone mad when the best rapper is white, the best golfer is black, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's cup, France is accusing the USA of arrogance and the Germans don't want to go to war. - anon.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

An Ethical Spotlight on Unauthorized Copying if Liturgical Music within the Catholic Church. M. Hettinger 2000

Found my pal Maggie's paper on the net while looking for something else. It's a retelling and ethical analysis of the famous FEL vs. Archdiocese of Chicago case, where it was ruled that churches may not photocopy liturgical pieces without authorization.

Great paper, interesting read. Highly recommended.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Here We Go, Here We Go

I have a new church music home - St. Elizabeth's, on Detroit's near east side. More burned out houses than intact ones, and it seems a bit of a seeker parish, if you will - many of the familiar parts of the mass aren't so familiar, and there are a lot of extra spots where we add some gospel music. But it is vibrant, heartfelt worship. And some seriously soulful gospel singing.

I got to sit in this past Sunday. No rehearsals, no charts, only two songs I knew - Burleigh's "Order My Steps", and Malotte's Lord's Prayer. I was on organ, a Hammond A-100 with TWO Leslies. I mostly just followed the pianist. There was a drummer, too, and a bassist/guitarist. When he wasn't playing bass, I kicked bass on the A-100.

Really loose, but some serious worshiping going on. We had satarted out talking about having me come in as the principal accompanist, but the pianist and I jelled real well, so I'm going to ask if I can be her backup - she's better on piano anyhow, and has a voice like an angel. Plus she knows the repertoire. I need some money, due to a big day-job shakeup, but I can get by without the full salary for now. Their biggest (stated) fear was that the current accompanist would up and leave (for stardom - she's THAT good!), and they'd be left with no one. But having me in the wings may actually be better for them than having me take over. Especially cos I got a lot to learn about gospel yet...

Friday, November 07, 2003

Changes in mass are coming for Catholics

Should be interesting! I expect a lot of resistance to the stand-until-everyone-is-served mandate. I expect there will even be priests who never even inform their parishes.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Yahoo! News - Bush Signs Anti-Abortion Bill, to Fight in Court

Here we go, here we go...

The Dems need to come off this fast as their defining issue. Future generations will be horrified at the brand of infanticide that passed as a "choice".

Great bumper sticker, I've just seen lately:

A person's a person, no matter how small. - Dr. Seuss

What liberal could argue with that? I couldn't. Maybe I'm just too liberal???

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Eisenhower High School Class of 1973 Reunion

They finally found me! My EHS (then a Washington, MI mailing address, now Shelby Twp.) class reunion committee, that is. We were the first class to graduate from EHS - school opened in 1970 (sorta - we used the Malow Jr. High building), but only had 9th and 10th graders the first year. Probably a great formula for creating megalomaniacs - we were the upperclassmen for 4 years straight, counting 9th grade at Shelby Jr. High (from whence a good 95% of us came). For me it was even worse, having finished 8th grade at a 5th-8th grade middle school. Five consecutive years as the senior class at your school robs you of some perspective, I would guess...

So my pal Curt Pollack, the only guy from school I'm still in touch with, gave me the flyer this past weekend, at mine & Kim's 25th anniversary bash (I still need to post THAT story). I probably won't go - it's over Thanksgiving weekend, and most of my best friends from those days are still on the MIA list. But I know **I** did a search a while ago and couldn't find anything. So, since I know the search engines can find this site, even though NOBODY leaves me comments anymore (waaah!!!), here's my public service announcement:

EHS Class of '73 Reunion
11/29/03, Cracklewood Golf Club
18215 E 24 Mile Rd.
Macomb, MI 48044
6:00pm - ???
$25 per person, includes buffet.
Cash bar.
Hosted by: Rod Sapien & Steve Kasprzyk (and Jerry Penzien owns Cracklewood)

RSVP by 11/06/03
email Rod at eisenhowerclassof73@hotmail.com
register at www.classmates.com (I did!)

I'm gonna leave Rod's phone and snail mail addy off the web for now. I'll put 'em up if he asks.

classmates.com is interesting - found out tidbits about my old girlfriend, and found a webpage for my favorite teacher, the guy who turned me on to jazz all those years ago:
Thank you, Mr. Teachworth!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Yahoo! News - U.S. Not Ready for Total Abortion Ban, Bush Says

Well, I'm ready, but he may have a better sense of the pulse of America than I do. Meantime, he's signing the bill outlawing partial-birth abortion, that's good enough for me. For now.
Quote of the Day

"Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Thanks to Ange for turning me on to it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Cool. Who's pourin'?

You're Ireland!

Mystical and rain-soaked, you remain mysterious to many people, and this
makes you intriguing.  You also like a good night at the pub, though many are just as
worried that you will blow up the pub as drink your beverage of choice.  You're good
with words, remarkably lucky, and know and enjoy at least fifteen ways of eating a potato.
 You really don't like snakes.

Take the Country Quiz at
the Blue Pyramid

Friday, October 10, 2003

Take a look at Helen's travel pics:

Helen's quite a musician too! Check her and my other home recording pals out on:

Now only $17.99 - 3 CD set.

Warning - there SHOULD be a parental advisory on this one - not Helen's (aka Shaky's) piece, though. But approach the piece by "Brad" very carefully...

Thursday, October 02, 2003

This Is Promising

Yahoo! News - House OKs 'Partial Abortion' Ban

The American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) and the National Abortion Federation (news - web sites) have already announced plans to file a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. Courts have struck down several similar state statutes.

To quote our fearless leader - BRING IT ON! I want to see this debated everywhere - too many people with their heads in the sand on this one! There is SO MUCH new evidence of the humanity and vitality of these children, and so much shift in social mores and policy (the "ruined reputation / ruined life" story doesn't play anymore), that the more public this debate comes, the more the tide will turn in the favor of Life.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

NPM Detroit Calendar Page

October 5th, St. Gerald's Farmington, 7pm. Be there!!!

Sadly, I won't - I'm off to Hamilton, Ontario for a weekend of musical hijinx, with the Mrs. & the granddaughter.

Okay, I'm not THAT sad, but I wish I could do both...

Monday, September 29, 2003

First Church Music exam coming up. I don't have a strong sense of the emphasis yet - we'll review Wednesday, maybe it'll be clearer then.

The text, "The Story of Christian Music," by Andrew Wilson-Dickson, is a pleasant read, but not really designed as a text. The author's biases show - he refers to Ecclesiasticus as "apocryphal", accurate in some faith traditions, but accepted by Rome as part of the canon. And later on, he seems to have gotten Thomas Dorsey, the "father of gospel music", confused with jazz trombonist / bandleader Tommy Dorsey. Though his biographical info about Dorsey seems accurate enough, simply referring to him as "Tommy" (repeatedly) really helps blow his credibility. He's a Brit, so I guess we should give him a break...

Monday, September 15, 2003

Some things are worth cross-posting

Just got a call - I'm a grandpa again!!! My son and his wife were expecting a baby girl at the end of October, but she's here already!!! Lauren is 7lbs., 4 oz., so best guess is the docs were 6-7 weeks off in their calculations. Mom and daughter are resting comfortably.

I'll try to get pics...

Thursday, September 11, 2003

It's September 11th

This song (hi-fi/broadband --- lo-fi/dialup) was written in part as a response to the 9/11 massacre. Recording is not yet in final form - bass is too heavy, guitar sound is weak, drums are, um, weaker - but you get the idea.

Music copyright Jay Ricketts, 2001. All rights reserved.
Performance copyright Jay Ricketts and Caroline Muylaert, 2003. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003


Blogger's user DB got messed up, couldn't log in for nearly a week.

Didja miss me? ;)

Thursday, September 04, 2003

And speaking of back to school:

Grandson Wesley's first day today! Here's a pic from this morning right before he left.

Mom & Dad report that he went enthusiastically, Dad had to actually hold him back so he could take him in. Unlike him, when he had his first day at KinderCare... Boy, do I remember THAT day! Hee hee.
This Semester

Chorale, Organ, Church Music.

For chorale, we're singing a Respighi piece - very challenging. Sounds like the rest will be Christmas Carols, but all the music's not in yet.

Organ pieces this term: I'll finish the Couperin Mass of the Parishes pieces, then on to Bach's P&F in Dm, A Peeters partita on a Lutheran chorale (forget title), and Proulx's Fantasia on O'Carroll & Walker's Celtic Alleluia. This last piece is from Concordia's Jubilate series - very nicely done.

Church Music text was a shocker - $25. I thought it was a rule that all college texts had to be at least $75!!! ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Happy fifth birthday to the Contemporary Catholic Music mail list

Five years old Monday. We WERE up to 277 members, but the count seems to be falling off now that a blanket mailer went out. I get notified of the unsubs (there was one), so chances are these are drops for undeliverable mail. Down to 259 as of this posting.

Still, a lively bunch, though I miss many of our early members. And don't let the title throw you - we have our share of traditionalists and noncatholics. And a true international presence, including Canada, New Zealand, England, and Ireland, among others.

Monday, August 25, 2003

In the words of my pal Quilisma:

Moving is one of the fruits of original sin.

[NOTE - picture removed]

Good luck in the new digs, Q.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Report Card

Ugh. An A- in both theory/sightsinging make-up classes, but a C+ in organ. Dr. W. has taken the gloves off - I better start practicing more if'n I want better grades.

I was actually pleased with my progress this summer - we worked primarily on service music, and I was able to take a four week hymn-learning process down to one week by the end of the semester. Of course, I'll still need to be able to learn 4 in a day - for those times when I get a call Friday night for a Saturday mass. But I can still fake 'em pretty well in a pinch. Grade probably would have been better if he could have waited another week to turn them in - my best progress was at our final lesson, a make-up session after grades had been submitted.

Better news - our department finally gets that Wilhelm tracker this year. NOT to AGO specs - 56-note manuals, 30-note FLAT pedalboard, but promises to be a glorious instrument anyhow. I'll miss the Allen toaster, which had a nice warm principal, decent flutes, and a thrilling posaune in the pedal. And fun features like alternate tuning switches, tremulant, and room acoustics emulators. Still, it's a giant leap forward, and my Hammond is nominally AGO (touch is very light, though).

We'll probably start the year with a toaster, and be involved in the organ setup - a great learning opportunity. Stay tuned...

Friday, August 15, 2003

"Hey, some of our best friends are..."

Macomb County stung by stigma of intolerance

A pretty balanced piece from the Freep. Macomb is integrating, slowly, but the county of my youth (Shelby Township, 1969 - 1979) still has the attitude. This is the place that gave us Kirby Holmes, Gil Di Nello, David Jaye, and voted 51% for George Wallace in 1972.

In its defense, though it's a bit of a lame one: I lived in the Martinsburg WV area from 1989-93. It was MUCH worse.

But Macomb has definitely earned its reputation, too. I hope things continue to improve. A faster pace would be nice.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Thanks to Gerald Sarafin for this:

Prayer for Acceptance of God's Will

O Lord, I do not know what to ask of You.
You alone know what are my true needs.
You love me more than I myself know how to love.
Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me.
I dare not ask either for a cross or consolation.
I can only wait on You.
My heart is open to You.
Visit and help me, for the sake of Your great mercy.
Strike me and heal me, cast me down and raise me up.
I worship in silence Your holy will and Your unsearchable ways.
I offer myself as a sacrifice to You.
I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will.
Teach me to pray.
Pray You Yourself in me.

Attributed to either 17th Century Archbishop Francois Fenelon or Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, depending on your flavor preferences. As Gerald points out, it's nice to have the prayer in cvommon, regardless of the attribution...
Off for a Few

To: The 3rd Annual home Recording Jamfest and Barbecue, Andover, CT, August 8-10.


Wednesday, August 06, 2003

For the benefit of my St. Blog's colleague AAE and the slow but steady stream of Adoremus visitors:

A somewhat more detailed review of the Cincinnati NPM Convention

Joys and sorrows, in no particular order:

1) J. Michael Thompson's Easter Procession (Litpress), a parallel to the stations of the cross, but designed for Easter season, was just excellent, both in concept and implementation. A great idea for giving the Easter season its due, and the ingenious mixing of choral responses with assembly responses really displayed the breadth of options. This is a topic that really deserves its own thread, but the short of it is that it is both innovative and yet strongly rooted in our traditions, and rock solid in its faith foundations. I really hope we take this to the world;

2) Though I'm looking forward to a second reading of the plenum addresses, I found myself largely put off by the one-sidedness of Mitchell and Ciferni's presentations. Coupled with the "GIRM and sacred texts" breakout I attended, which echoed the same point of view, I have to wonder if we limit our efficacy as an organization, in that there's a perception out there that we're squarely in the liberal camp, liturgically. I know at least one music minister who was not allowed to attend by his pastor, for precisely that reason. I believe we might have been served better by hearing a few dissenting voices as well;

3) I really got a kick out of Jennifer Breedlove's "solution" to the bilingual text issue at the WLP reading session. The response was bilingual, but the verses were sung line-by-line, with the choir singing a line in English, holding the last chord, while the cantor sang in Spanish over the held chord. Very nicely done - A very musical and prayerful approach to a thorny problem. I'd used the same approach with Latin and English once (on an Agnus Dei), but never thought to combine Spanish and English that way;

4) Ran into (a) my first choir director, (b) a musician from neighboring parish, (c) a co-keyboardist from an old parish, and (d) a Pittsbugh compadre (whom I'd never seen before or since) from the '99 convention. Seemed like every time I'd turn around, there was another blast from the past;

5) "Clown of God" (WLP) was a truly enjoyable drama, marred only by some serious feedback problems and some heavy mic pops. Funny how you only notice the sound engineering when it falls short. I also have to question whether a typical parish would really be able to pull that off, as claimed in the writeup. Fun nonetheless; and

6) Other magic moments: Val Parker and Rick Reed at the Millennium Hotel piano, Durufle at Pipedreams, discovering Concordia's Laudate and Jubilate series, SAVAE's Ancient Echoes concert, Skyline chili (but I'll stick to Detroit's coneys, thank you), the St. Meinrad Chant workshop, the John Bell concert, and FINALLY getting the NPM Detroit chapter off the ground!!!


Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Canon Law / Labor Law Collide

So much for Catholic teachings on social justice. Kinda reminds me of labor advocate Bruce Springsteen's issues with his road crew a few years back - do as I say, not as I do?

I'd really like to see us (NPM) get something going with the American Federation of Musicians, but this idea seems to get a collective yawn from my colleagues. Maybe they're picturing a Brownsville-type reception...
Thanks to Aristotle Esguerra for the link. I hope he makes the gathering in Milwaukee. I've been gently chided by one of my NPM pals for the lefty comment - he felt it was a pretty balanced presentation. Recordings of the lectures are available from WLP if you're interested. Or the next issue of Pastoral Musician will have the texts.

And --- it seems Adoremus has found me as well. They have a lovely hymnal...

Friday, August 01, 2003

Quote of the Day

Sunday has to be connected to Monday. If it isn't, we aren't who we say we are.

I don't have an attribution, but thanks to fellow musician Ken for sending it...

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Happy Birthday, Sunshine!!!

And Grandpa promises he'll get a new picture up here soon...

Monday, July 28, 2003

YMBK! Dianetics?

Or something very much like it.

But if this means I could finally play GROSSER GOTT straight through without hosing it up a few times first, I'd sign up in a heartbeat...

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

No wonder I understand VB

Man, this is depressing...

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Back from Cinci

What a blast! Great to see all my old internet / church music pals again, plus met a few for the first time. It's always a bit of a shock to find out what someone really looks like.

I gotta take back part of my comment about "not just a bunch of lefty guitar pickers anymore", however. The lefties still run this place. Most strongly evidenced by the plenum addresses, but also in my class on the GIRM and musical texts.

I am probably more lefty than righty, but I REALLY would have liked some balance. what we got instead was a good deal of carping about the illegitimi in Rome, and promises that the wind would shift again. This was particularly troublesome in my GIRM class, where I had hoped to find out details on how the new rules would play out. It may still be too early in the process, but our presenter didn't seem to want to touch on that anyhow - rather to expound on how the crafters of Liturgiam Authenticam had really missed the mark, and how there would have to be yet another instruction soon.

OTOH, there ARE 2000 organists in NPM now, so some more balance there. And we got the Detroit NPM Chapter going, 22 years after we first tried it. I'll be running the mail list, and technically will be their so-called webmaster (because in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king). Should be interesting.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Here's a groaner:

Jesus and the Apostles were together, and there was a crowd with them. Jesus spoke:

"-y = x2 - 3x + 5",

then fell silent again.

There was a stirring of the crowd, who appeared puzzled. One of the crowd leaned over to an apostle and asked "what does this mean?"

The apostle replied, "Sounds like another one of Jesus' parabolas."

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Meet our new bishops

I've crossed paths with all these guys, but know little about any of them. My old pastor, Msgr. Mike Lefevre, is returning to the Cathedral after 10 years at St. Blase. Not sure his new role - parish pastor, maybe? Hope he's not just pushing paper - says a great mass. Some of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking homilies I've ever heard.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Monday Moanin'

Apologies to Bob Talbert, may he RIP.

My granddaughter found my eyeglass lens, in my recliner. So apparently I had lost it the night before, and not noticed til I got to work. So that's all better now.

Niece's 30th birthday on the fourth. Celebrated at her place on the fifth. She lives in the 3rd floor of an old house in Pontiac with a couple of guys. We dragged the whole family there - I got the sense they were waiting for us to leave so the REAL party could start. Lotsa drinking, lotsa 80's tunes, a pretty good spread, but HER friends still hadn't showed up. We left about 10:30.

Fourth was a family get-together. Kinda sad that only half the family comes anymore - everyone's mad at everyone else. Still a good time, the grandkids really enjoyed the pool. And I was introduced to Cisco, apparently the drink of choice in the hood. A 12oz bottle packs the same wallop as a 40 oz. malt liquor. The red tastes revolting, but the peach is pretty good. Good thing I wasn't driving - really easy to get toasted on that stuff.

Another reminder from my prof that I really need to move faster with my organ pieces. He's right of course...

...so I spent all my spare time this weekend working in the studio on a pop setting of some song lyrics someone posted in the HomeRec BBS (got the lyricist's permission first). I'm happy with the result, but, of course, it's not helping my organ class.

NPM convention next week - debated not going, since I'm not working in the field now. But I hadn't seen most of my NPM pals since '99, so I'm going anyhow. For RC musicians who wrote off NPM as a bunch of lefty guitar pickers, things have changed a lot. Much more emphasis on organ repertoire, implementing Vatican directives, and a generally scholarly tone that didn't used to be there. Not that we'd ever be confused with Adoremus or Call to Holiness. But much more centrist than in the past. A good place to be.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Great Day...


(1) Started off the day eating something that didn't agree. (2) Driving to work, noticed my temple screw had fallen out of my glasses. (3) Emergency gas station stop due to (1), finally got to work (4) late, where I finally noticed that (5) the lens had fallen out of my glasses. Checked car, office, and parking lot, apparently lens popped out at the gas station, 53 miles away. Called gas station, they hadn't seen it.

The most circuitous part of this is that if I'd had a bit more coffee in me, I'd have realized the (5) risk to my lenses when I noticed (2) the missing screw - but it may well have been the coffee that caused (1) and (3). And (4), really.

Sigh. I'm getting through the day, though. I'll stop at the gas station on the way home, see what I can find out. Oh yeah, (6) Kim can't find any of my old glasses...

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Still Here

Work, school, fam, and recording projects are taking most of my time.

Playing catchup this summer - had music theory 30 years ago, sans the sightsinging. So I'm "refreshing" over the summer, covering 2 semesters of music theory and sight singing. First final is next week. Seems to be going well. Also taking organ, and took an impromptu (no credit) vocal course. VERY helpful.

In Organ, I worked up a Joncas hymntune (name escapes me), and am now working an a harmonization of SLANE by Erik Routley. Almost done with the Vierne Complainte I began last semester, and have a couple of Couperin's "Mass of the Parishes" pieces on the horizon. Nice to have permission to take as long as I need to get the hymntunes "just right", but I know I need more practice time. Finally got the Hammond fixed - big improvement. Will still practice at the college once a week - touch on the Allen is much closer to pipe than on le grand Hammond.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Until I read "ALL candles, no matter what their shape, must be banned.", I thought maybe they were serious.

I bet Scalia would buy in. He actually referred to "the gay agenda" in his minority opinion on today's ruling striking down Texas' sodomy laws.

There are many times I appreciate Scalia's onservative Catholic point of view. Times like THIS make it pretty clear he's got no sense of perspective, though...

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

A Turning Point, of Sorts

disclaimer - this was a November 2002 entry - some Blogger weirdness resequenced it, apparently...

Kim and I have a running joke about the fabulous movie "Home for the Holidays", a funny and touching study in family dysfunction. We rent it every year just before Thanksgiving, so that when her family gets together, we're reminded that there are families out there, albeit fictional ones, that are even worse than us.

Not THIS year, though. I mean we did watch the movie, but the fictional family finally got out-weirded by the real one. Announcements and fights about homosexuality, childhood sexual abuse, negligent mothering, self-centered money-grubbing, and pulpit-pounding flew, Kim's brother stormed out, Kim's sister stayed pissed at everyone for hours.

Food was great though. I'm thankful for my nice, the great cook, my wife, who tried so hard to love everyone in that room, my granddaughter, the belle of the ball, who at 16 months is the prettiest little girl on the planet...

...and for MY side of the family, who never gets together for anything except weddings and funerals. "I am truly blessed", he said, only half tongue-in-cheek.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Good news for a change...

Nice to see such a balanced response from the US Supreme Court on the U-M admissions case. The goals are okay, let's be careful with the methods.

Works for me, which more than I can say for my "Blog This!" button. Which DIDN'T work for me.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

My Dad died a little over two years ago: 1/11/01, to be exact. Interesting, because he was an electronics engineer , and did a lot of machine language programming (i.e., zeroes and ones) on first and second generation computers.

He was born 77 years ago today, James Brewerton Ricketts Jr. Or the Fifth. He was the fourth in a line (II through V) named after his great-great-great-uncle, a Brigadier General in the Civil War. I was the Sixth (but officially III on my birth certificate), but I changed my name when I turned 18 - too much baggage, I thought. Kinda sorry now, but the deed is done.

Anyhow, Dad married my Mom in 1953. They separated in 1974, and divorced in 1979. Dad married his second wife, Dorothy, in 1981. They met 1/13/81, the funeral was 1/13/01. Twenty years on the nose.

Dad got a BS from MIT, and MS from UWM, had three kids, six grandkids, four stepkids, and nine stepgrandkids. He outlived his daughter, my sister Alison, and his stepdaughter, my stepsister Mary Ellen. He had a great-grandkid, and another on the way, when he died: Our grandson Wesley was 7 months old, and our granddaughter Alyssa was on the way. We hadn't told the family about it... they found out at the funeral. A few of them haven't spoken to us since. We WERE planning to tell them...

Dad had a severe stroke in '95, never really recovered. He was wheelchair bound, obese (hadn't been, before the stroke), incontinent, and had a REALLY hard time speaking. He wanted to know why God would keep him around in such a state. While I don't know the answer, I suspect (1) it gave him the opportunity to let someone care for him, and (2) it gave the people around him the opportunity to care for him. He became increasingly humble and gentle as his days went on, and his wife, my stepmom, never lost heart in caring for him, being his advocate, and just loving him.

I still miss you, Dad.

Friday, May 30, 2003

I Hope this is Photoshopped!

Thursday, May 22, 2003

SLOPS outbreak worldwide

The World Health Organisation today issued a new warning against non-essential travel to the entire Western hemisphere following renewed concerns about the spread of Severe Loss of Perspective Syndrome (SLOPS).

Officials are warning travellers not to visit the UK, the US, almost all of Western Europe, and Canada, following further outbreaks of the disease, which has led to mass panic among the media, thousands of ecstatic children being kept out of school by their credulous and moronic parents, and increased profits for DIY stores as the idiot public rush to bulk-buy face masks and boiler suits.

A WHO spokesman said, “You’d be much better off going to somewhere like Thailand or China, because all you’ve got to worry about there is SARS, and let’s face it, you’re about as likely to die from that as you are to get kicked to death by a gang of zombie nuns.”

The SARS virus has now claimed a staggering 500 lives in only six months, which makes it considerably more deadly than, say, malaria, which only kills around 3000 people every single day. Malaria, however, mainly effects only darkies what speak foreign, whereas SARS has made at least one English person feel a bit iffy for a couple of days, and is therefore considered much more serious.

The spread of SLOPS has now reached pandemic proportions, with many high-level politicians seemingly affected by the disease. The rapid spread of SLOPS has been linked to the end of the war in Iraq and the need for Western leaders to give the public something to worry about. Otherwise, they might start asking uncomfortable questions about domestic issues, and that simply would not do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

A musical weekend

Not just the concert:
Friday, we had a funeral for Sylvester, our old sacristan, the guy who had been on the job when I first started at St. C's. The new DM couldn't do it. It meant postponing the DC trip 'til 2pm, but it was the least I could do. We pulled the choir together. Songlist was chosen by a former cantor, who brought him the Eucharist after he was too ill to come to church anymore. She led the psalm and the commendation. A family member sang the Ave - very nice. She and I had both wanted the Gounod, but the family insisted on the Schubert.

Prelude: Eye Has Not Seen (Haugen)
............. The King of Love My Shepherd Is (PRESENCE)
............. Ps. 122, The Martyrs' Theme (Lawton)
Procession: Sing With All the Saints in Glory (ODE TO JOY)
Psalm: Ps. 23, Shepherd Me, O God (Haugen)
Gospel Acc: "Come to Me" Alleluia (Joncas)
Presentation: How Great Thou Art (O STORE GUD)
Sanctus / Amen: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Memorial Acc B: Mass of Light (Haas)
Agnus Dei: Sing Praise and Thanksgiving (Joncas)
Communion: Song of the Body of Christ (NO KE ANO AHI AHI, Haas)
.................. Ave Maria (Schubert)
Commendation: May the Angels (Sands)
Recessional: On Eagle's Wings (Joncas)

Sylvester was 98 when he passed. Our oldest parishioner. Sorry to see him go.
Kim drove all the way to DC. we finally rolled in about 2am - lots of construction. She likes to drive in silence, especially when she's only got my CDs to choose from. Given her choice, she finally settled on some Allman Bros., and The Band's Greatest Hits. Her comment on St. Duane and the boys: "Wow, these are some really long songs!"
First concert, at the Shrine, went pretty well. We got lost in NE on the way there when one of the ramps on our route was closed. Drove around lost for a while, finally stopped for directions at a Days Inn - a hooker was checking in at the next window. Her "manager" was waiting outside. There are some things I really don't miss about DC.
The Shrine itself was lovely, but Kim didn't want to stay for mass, so we drove back to the hotel, and called around to local churches for mass times. Decided to go to Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, because of the 6pm mass time.

VERY interesting mass. Pastor was a Holy Ghost Father, an order I'm unfamiliar with. "Lead Me Guide Me" was in the pews, some compelling gospel-style piano and vocal from a contralto in sweats, and some, but not lotsa, participation from the pews. Deacon's homily blasted their bishop for failing to allow girls as altar servers (even as THEY had a girl serving), the sign of peace ran for 10 minutes as everyone shook everyone's hand, prayers of the faithful included a polling of the assembly, and a number of homegrown acclamations (the Lamb of God was particularly nice). They stopped short of an altar call, and they DID observe their bishop's ban on the cup. But definitely a rebel enclave...
Dinner at our favorite restaurant in the universe: Mike's American Grill in Springfield, VA. Excellent as always. Saw "About Schmidt" on PPV. Really hit home. Decidedly different role for Jack, but he handled it perfectly. Kathy Bates and Howard Hesseman were excellent too, though maybe we saw a bit too much of Kathy. Knowwhuddimean?
We had a last minute rehearsal Sunday morning - mostly designed to get our noses out of the scores so we had more communication from our director. VERY productive. Glad we did it.
Met with friends from our former life in DC ('87-'93) for brunch. Great to see them. Young couple with a 7-month-old daughter. Kim and Jess were supposed to go out for the Christening, Jess got sick at the last minute. Glad Kim got SOMETHING out of the weekend.
Concert at the Cathedral went VERY VERY well. Every moment of it was better than any moment at any of the other concerts. Still plenty of room for improvement, but we have never sounded so musical. The Cathedral folks taped it for us - hope I get a copy. A couple of internet pals showed up. That was nice, too. Concert was followed by Evensong with the Cathedral's Men's Choir (gorgeous, but we were behind altar and mics were off, so we didn't hear readings or homily), and then by our prof's organ concert on the Cathedral's monster Skinner, ca. 1939. High points were Mendelssohn and Franck, but all was glorious.
Kim was ticked that we stayed for the concert, but I wouldn't have missed it. Made for an icy first couple of hours going home, though. We picked up some of our regional food favorites: crab chips, birch beer, cranberry nut bread. Yum. Listened to more Band, plus the Dylan/Band Basement Tapes, and a Keith Richards listening list titled "The Devil's Music", a blend of blues, old r&b, reggae, and cajun stuff, from the 30s through the 70s. Sweet.

Somehow, managed to disconnect the radio antenna. My bad. Rolled home about 4am. Spent Monday recovering. All in all, a great weekend!

Thursday, May 08, 2003

It was so much fun, let's do it again...

Off to DC... my college choir, the Madonna U. Chorale, will be performing at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (by Catholic U.) Saturday 5/10 at 2:45 pm, and at the Episcopal National Cathedral Sunday 5/11 at 3:15 pm. Admission for each concert is free. Sunday's concert will be followed by an Evening Prayer service, and then an organ concert by Dr. David Wagner, our director.

Here's the choir's songlist:

Kyrie, Missa Aeterna Mundi - Palestrina
Gloria, Missa Aeterna Mundi - Palestrina
Song for Athene - Tavener
Ave Maria - Biebl
Miserere - Allegri
Alleluia - Thompson
Laudate Dominum - Goemanne

The program's about 35 minutes. If you make it, be sure to say hi - I'm the tall guy with the mustache and ponytail.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Dave Letterman's Cubicleville Top 10

10. Being told to "think outside the box" when you're in a @#$%?* box all day long.
9. Not being able to check e-mail attachments without turning around to see who's behind you.
8. Cubicle walls do not offer much protection from any kind of gun fire.
7. That nagging feeling that if you press the right button, you'll get a piece of cheese.
6. Lack of roof rafters for the noose.
5. The walls are too close together for the hammock to work right.
4. 23 power cords - 1 outlet.
3. Prison cells are not only bigger, they also have beds.
2. The carpet has been there since 1976 and shows more signs of life than your coworkers.

And...the number 1 drawback to working in a cubicle....

1.You can't slam the door and walk out when you quit

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Report Card

Deja vu all over again...

Music History - A
Chorale - A
Organ - B+

Spring / Summer is gonna be a homegrown theory review with emphasis on ear training (2 credits) and organ (2 credits). Prof promises we'll get to service playing this time. And no more Wachet Auf. YAYYY!!!!!

Friday, May 02, 2003

In Atlanta? Don't miss Saturday's Rich Mullins Tribute concert. Bill's archives appear broken, so scroll down to the 4/22 entry...

Tell Bill, Ken, & Elyn I said hi. Wish I could go...

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Choir concerts this weekend

my college choir, the Madonna U. Chorale, is performing at First United Methodist Church in Royal Oak MI Friday at 6:30 pm (7th and Washington), and at St. John's Lutheran Church in Fraser MI on Sunday (sorry - don't remember the time - 3pm maybe? Church phone is 586-293-0333 if you're interested) on 14 mile Rd. West of Utica Rd. Admission for each concert is $5.

Here's the songlist:

Requiem - Rutter
Kyrie, Missa Aeterna Mundi - Palestrina
Gloria, Missa Aeterna Mundi - Palestrina
Song for Athene - Tavener
Ave Maria - Biebl
Miserere - Allegri
Alleluia - Thompson
Laudate Dominum - Goemane

We'll repeat this program in DC in a couple of weeks, less the Requiem (we'll be up the Potomac without the Rutter... ba-dum-pum). I'll post details when I have them.

If you make it, be sure to say hi - I'm the tall guy with the mustache and ponytail. If you can't make it, prayers for our success will be gratefully accepted. With regards to the Allegri and the Rutter, I'm thinking maybe bypass St. Cecilia and go straight for St. Jude...

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Off line 'til Monday

I've been doing this progressive fast thing for Lent - each week, give up something additional:

Week 1: desserts
Week 2: seconds
Week 3: alcohol (this was AFTER St. Patty's )
Week 4: snacks
Week 5: meat
Week 6: coffee
Week 7: the web

Week 7 is now upon us. I'll be back after Easter...

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Dwight (and/or his speechwriter) Chime(s) In

Every gun that is made, every warship launched,
every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense
a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,
those who are cold and not clothed.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower
The War Prayer

It was a time of great and exalting excitement.
The country was up in arms,
the war was on,
in every breast burned the holy fire of
the drums were beating,
the bands playing,
the toy pistols popping,
the bunched firecrackers hissing and
on every hand and far down the receding and
fading spread of roofs and balconies a
wilderness of flags flashed in the sun;
daily the young volunteers
marched down the wide avenue
gay and fine in their new uniforms,
the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and
sweethearts cheering them with voices choked
with happy emotion as they swung by;
nightly the packed mass meetings listened,
to patriot oratory which stirred
the deepest deeps of their hearts,
and which they interrupted at briefest intervals
with cyclones of applause,
the tears running down their cheeks the while;
in the churches the pastors preached devotion
to flag and country,
and invoked the God of Battles beseeching
His aid in our good cause in outpourings
of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

It was indeed a glad and gracious time,
and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured
to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt
upon its righteousness straightway got such a
and angry warning that for their personal
safety's sake
they quickly shrank out of sight
and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came
-- next day the battalions would leave for the
the church was filled;
the volunteers were there,
their young faces alight with martial dreams
-- visions of the stern advance,
the gathering momentum,
the rushing charge,
the flashing sabers,
the flight of the foe,
the tumult,
the enveloping smoke,
the fierce pursuit,
the surrender!

Then home from the war,
bronzed heroes,
submerged in golden seas of glory!
With the volunteers sat their dear ones,
proud, happy, and envied
by the neighbors and friends who had
no sons and brothers to send forth
to the field of honor,
there to win for the flag, or, failing,
die the noblest of noble deaths.

The service proceeded;
a war chapter from the Old Testament was read;
the first prayer was said;
it was followed by an organ burst
that shook the building,
and with one impulse the house rose,
with glowing eyes and beating hearts,
and poured out that tremendous invocation

God the all-terrible!
Thou who ordainest!
Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!

Then came the "long" prayer.
None could remember the like of it
for passionate pleading and
moving and beautiful language.
The burden of its supplication was,
that an ever-merciful and benignant
Father of us all would watch over our
noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort,
and encourage them in their patriotic work;
bless them,
shield them in the day of battle
and the hour of peril,
bear them in His mighty hand,
make them strong and confident,
invincible in the bloody onset;
help them to crush the foe,
grant to them and to their flag and country
imperishable honor and glory --

An aged stranger entered
and moved with slow and noiseless step
up the main aisle,
his eyes fixed upon the minister,
his long body clothed
in a robe that reached to his feet,
his head bare,
his white hair descending
in a frothy cataract to his shoulders,
his seamy face unnaturally pale,
pale even to ghastliness.
With all eyes following him and wondering,
he made his silent way;
without pausing,
he ascended to the preacher's side
and stood there waiting.
With shut lids the preacher,
unconscious of his presence,
continued with his moving prayer,
and at last finished it with the words,
uttered in fervent appeal,

"Bless our arms,
grant us the victory,
O Lord our God,
Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm,
motioned him to step aside
-- which the startled minister did
-- and took his place.
During some moments he surveyed
the spellbound audience with solemn eyes,
in which burned an uncanny light;
then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne
-- bearing a message from Almighty God!"
The words smote the house with a shock;
if the stranger perceived it he gave no
"He has heard the prayer of
His servant your shepherd,
and will grant it if such shall be your desire
after I, His messenger,
shall have explained to you its import
-- that is to say, its full import.
For it is like unto many of
the prayers of men,
in that it asks for more than
he who utters it is aware of
-- except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours
has prayed his prayer.
Has he paused and taken thought?
Is it one prayer?
No, it is two
-- one uttered,
the other not.

Both have reached the ear of
Him Who heareth all supplications,
the spoken and the unspoken.

Ponder this
-- keep it in mind.
If you would beseech
a blessing upon yourself, beware!
lest without intent you invoke a curse
upon a neighbor at the same time.
If you pray for the blessing of rain
upon your crop which needs it,
by that act you are possibly praying
for a curse upon some neighbor's crop
which may not need rain and can be injured by

"You have heard your servant's prayer
-- the uttered part of it.
I am commissioned of God
to put into words
the other part of it
-- that part which the pastor
-- and also you in your hearts
-- fervently prayed silently.

And ignorantly and unthinkingly?

God grant that it was so!
You heard these words:
'Grant us the victory,
O Lord our God!'
That is sufficient.
The whole of the uttered prayer
is compact into those pregnant words.
Elaborations were not necessary.
When you have prayed for victory
you have prayed for many unmentioned results
which follow victory
-- must follow it,
cannot help but follow it.
Upon the listening spirit of God
fell also the unspoken part of the prayer.
He commandeth me to put it into words.


"O Lord our Father,
our young patriots,
idols of our hearts,
go forth to battle
-- be Thou near them!
With them
-- in spirit
-- we also go forth from the sweet peace
of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers
to bloody shreds with our shells;
help us to cover their smiling fields
with the pale forms of their patriot dead;
help us to drown the thunder of the guns
with the shrieks of their wounded,
writhing in pain; help us to lay waste
their humble homes with a hurricane of fire;
help us to wring the hearts of their
unoffending widows with unavailing grief;
help us to turn them out roofless
with little children to wander unfriended
the wastes of their desolated land
in rags and hunger and thirst,
sports of the sun flames of summer
and the icy winds of winter,
broken in spirit,
worn with travail,
imploring Thee for the refuge
of the grave and denied it
-- for our sakes who adore Thee,

Lord, blast their hopes,
blight their lives,
protract their bitter pilgrimage,
make heavy their steps,
water their way with their tears,
stain the white snow with
the blood of their wounded feet!
We ask it, in the spirit of love,
of Him Who is the Source of Love,
and Who is the ever-faithful refuge
and friend of all that are sore beset
and seek His aid with
humble and contrite hearts.


(After a pause.)

"Ye have prayed it;
if ye still desire it, speak!
The messenger of the Most High waits!"

Mark Twain, 1905

Friday, April 11, 2003

I Knew it Wouldn't Take Long

Now not only missing, but missed. Officially.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Quote of the Day

There is nothing so annoyingly permanent as something you intend to be temporary. - Karl P. Henning, quoting his late father-in-law

In related news, I've been "spared" the ax again. I'm passing the 68 month mark on my 12-24 month project. Sigh.
Overheard after church:

Mice have died, mice in prison, mice will come again.

Out of the mouths of babes...

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Best-Laid Plans

...as General Paul Van Riper complained, the game was "almost entirely scripted to ensure a U.S. win." In early runs of the game, Riper was asked to play the enemy and attempt to elude the U.S. planners. When he succeeded in doing so, the game was changed to diminish the role of human volition on his side. Once the game became purely static, the planners won handily.

Lew Rockwell, a libertarian of note, shares his thoughts with us on why things aren't proceeding as we had expected. His paragraph titles are telling:

Overutilization of resources.
Not accounting for error.
Underestimating the will to resist.
The refusal to admit error.
Assuming that the world is ours for the making.
Persisting in ignorance.

A good read.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

I'll be part of a paid choir for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Kind of a funny concept, given how many bands have paid me NOT to sing over the years...

Anyhow, my organ prof's church - I don't have all the details yet - he'll have us sightreading what's not listed here. But check out what we covered at rehearsal last night:

Kyrie: Missa Aeterna Mundi (Palestrina)
Gloria: Missa Aeterna Mundi (Palestrina)
Sequence: Victimae Paschalae Laudes (Latin plainchant)
Credo: Taize
Prep: Laudate Dominum (Goemane)
Communion: Ave Maria (Biebl)
Communion II: Alleluia (Thomson)

I mentioned after rehearsal that I was surprised we were singing a Kyrie (not sure of the rubrics on this, but thought we were to skip both Confiteor and Kyrie on Easter). At first he said he thought we were supposed to do it, then decided it didn't matter what we were supposed to do - he'd heard plenty of abuses in the name of modernity, and the Kyrie was too beautiful to leave out. Something like that.

The assembly will be included on the entrance and recessional hymns, psalm (probably Gelineau), and mass parts (probably Proulx's Community Mass) - the Taize Credo has an assembly part too, but it's Latin, not sure they'll pick it up. We're singing some kind of alleluia for sprinkling, too - Hughes, maybe? Also not sure about the gospel acc. - he usually just does the plainchant.

These are gorgeous pieces (the Goemane is maybe more about cleverness than beauty), and I think his assembly is pretty well acclimated to his non-particpatory approach to communion - he usually plays an organ solo.

I still feel funny about this, but my choices are either to show up or not, and I've committed already. Should be interesting.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Happy birthday, Johann

I, like, totally forgive you for writing all these orgelpieces that kick my *ss...

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Here's Someone Else ...

...who says it better than I do:


All right, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly. We are going to ignore the United Nations in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein that the United Nations cannot be ignored. We're going to wage war to preserve the UN's ability to avert war. The paramount principle is that the UN's word must be taken seriously, and if we have to subvert its word to guarantee that it is, then by gum, we will. Peace is too important not to take up arms to defend. Am I getting this right?

Further, if the only way to bring democracy to Iraq is to vitiate the democracy of the Security Council, then we are honor-bound to do that too, because democracy, as we define it, is too important to be stopped by a little thing like democracy as they define it. Also, in dealing with a man who brooks no dissension at home, we cannot afford dissension among ourselves. We must speak with one voice against Saddam Hussein's failure to allow opposing voices to be heard. We are sending our gathered might to the Persian Gulf to make the point that might does not make right, as Saddam Hussein seems to think it does. And we are twisting the arms of the opposition until it agrees to let us oust a regime that twists the arms of the opposition. We cannot leave in power a dictator who ignores his own people. And if our people, and people elsewhere in the world, fail to understand that, then we have no choice but to ignore them.

Listen. Don't misunderstand. I think it is a good thing that the members of the Bush administration seem to have been reading Lewis Carroll. I only wish someone had pointed out that "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" are meditations on paradox and puzzle and illogic and on the strangeness of things, not templates for foreign policy. It is amusing for the Mad Hatter to say something like, `We must make war on him because he is a threat to peace,' but not amusing for someone who actually commands an army to say that.

As a collector of laughable arguments, I'd be enjoying all this were it not for the fact that I know--we all know--that lives are going to be lost in what amounts to a freak, circular reasoning accident.

Peter Freundlich is a freelance journalist in New York.

Copyright ©2003 National Public Radio®. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to National Public Radio.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Off to War

I've started this post a couple of dozen times, and stopped because I was too angry. Maybe I'll get through it this time.

Nah. I didn't.

Read Amy instead. A few weeks old, but most of the salient points are there.

I'd been seriously hoping that the US and UN were doing a good cop / bad cop job on Saddam. I guess I was wrong.

Lord, have mercy on your warlike children...

Friday, March 07, 2003

A Lenten Offering

Here's a piece I wrote a couple of years ago, titled "King O'er the Hills". It has DERRY for its melody. We used it, a capella, for veneration of the cross on Good Friday for the past two years.

This version is hardly liturgical, but you may find it interesting...

I shared it in a few online communities over the past week : A bit of a controversy at Home Recording about whether it was any good or not, my classical composers group post got one pretty nice response, and my NPM group stifled a large collective yawn.

Anyhow, not for the timid - I dubbed it a "cinematic" setting. Let me know what you think. The Home Rec guys have given me some good ideas about reworking it - I'll definitely bring the vocals up.

"Happy" Lent, every one.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003


Been a bit busy - Kim had surgery last week, just home from the hospital yesterday. Hope to return to regular updates soon.

Meanwhile, I just found out about archive.org today. They've got web pages "from the past". So check out the remnants of my old Music Ministry Page from St. C's, back before go.com shut down its homepages. Lots of broken links, but still a kick for me - never thought I'd see THOSE pages again.

Monday, February 10, 2003

The Smoking Gun sez: Hey, dude, you're getting a cell!

Of course, W had his "youthful indiscretions", they didn't hurt him much...

Friday, February 07, 2003

I missed this when it came out on the Roe v. Wade anniversary: National Catholic Register's open letter to our pro-choice friends and family. Very nicely written. Though I suspect a large number aren't listening.

Thanks to Maureen for the link.
The Word From Rome reports that the Vatican moves its disapproving glance beyond ICEL to the Germans.

Scroll down the page for the story - it's about the third one. Thanks to John I. for the heads-up.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Hey, Y2K people!

You missed one!

Monday, February 03, 2003

Thank God my reward's in heaven. My company (and a big chunk of my 401k holidings, and all my stock holdngs) made the list:

Forbes.com: Biggest S&P 500 January Losers


Saturday, February 01, 2003

Can I be Babar?

Our 18-month-old granddaughter, Alyssa, is slowling learning to speak, but the names of the people she shares the house with have been a challenge: Grandma, Grandpa, and Great-Grandma, as well as Mom.

She's got the Mom thing down, but Grandma is "Ba", and I'm "Baba". I toyed with the idea of get her to call me "Poppa", but that's what our late brother-in-law used to go by, and Kim hated the nickname then (didn't like HIM much either, may God rest his soul). "Granddad's" been the tradition in my family, but I preferred "Grandpa".

Then I remembered Babar the Elephant. He was pretty cool - big guy, got to be the king, had some adventures...

...so we'll see if "Babar" works. She's almost there!

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Does your little third world dictatorship need sprucing up? Visit Home Despot Dot Com to turn your fixer-upper backwater country into a real showplace!

Thanks to Jerry for sharing...

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Ship of Fools wrote back and asked for a sample report. I'll post it here when it's done - it may never see the light of day anywhere else!

Thursday, January 23, 2003

My Ship of Fools Application

As a "once and future music director", as I describe myself on my blog site, I am fascinated with the myriad of approaches to the Roman Rite that are floating around out there.

Psychology Today had an article once about the efficacy of different schools of pop psychology, measured in terms of "perception of progress" by the patients themselves. They were attempting to determine, for example, whether Transactional Analysis worked better than Est, or Primal Scream worked better than some other equally silly fad.

What they found was that there was no trend at all in terms of the approach, only that there were effective practitioners, and ineffective ones.

This fits with what I've seen at church - contemporary-style worship can uplift the spirit, or be nails on a chalkboard. Traditional worship can be ponderous and suffocating, or vibrant and inviting. Its the implementation, far moreso than the approach, that matters. I've enjoyed the visits, even to parishes where everything was awful, because it's a chance to observe and learn.

I've been finding excuses to visit other parishes in my area - there are probably 100 within 50 miles of the house. But a reason is so much better than an excuse!

Oh, and the point of the "once and future" thing is that I ran a parish music program for five years, and loved it, but felt ill-prepared to change careers without the formal education to back me up. I have returned to college for a church music degree, and plan to return to the ministry when that is completed, pethaps 5 years or so down the road.

Thanks for considering me.

Best wishes,

Jay Ricketts

Think I have a chance?

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

30 Years Worth of Dead Babies

Amy Welborn speaks on her own experiences at in between naps - and it models my own family closely.

Dad was the product of a hasty marriage, as was our daughter (mea culpa). Both our grandkids were born out of wedlock as well.

No such luck for our niece's first two (three by some family stories) kids, conceived when she was 15 and 16. Her dad insisted, they're dead, and a later miscarriage may well have been caused by the damage done by the abortions.

I didn't like Nixon, but he gave us China. I didn't like Reagan, but the Berlin Wall fell. I don't much like Bush...

...But maybe we'll finally get a Supreme Court that recognizes abortion for the evil it is, and that the "rights" demanded by the pro-choice movement are greatly outweighed by the "rights" of the unborn and the obligation we have to them, THE most helpless and horrifically abused of Americans.

After America's senses finally return, history will look on Roe v. Wade as the far crueler cousin of Dred Scott, where the rights of slaveholders were held higher than the rights of the slaves they oppressed.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Who voted for this guy?

Dubya's a real piece of work. I shoulda known, though - it's the whiny white folks who elected him (I knowww we're the richest demographic in the world but we want MORRRE!).

Notice he makes the comment just in time for MLK day. What a crock.

I'm equally perturbed by his half-a**ed "Pro-Life Day" on the 19th. I gar-on-double-dog-tee that the rhetoric will not get past abortion. Unless he's suddenly changed his bloody stripes on the death penalty, feeding the poor, medical access, and WAR.

Yeah right.

At least we agree about abortion...

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

When Lawyers Breed

Truly a leader of tomorrow...
Uncle Yahoo is watching you

Yahoo is using Web Beacons to track user preferences, but it also appears to be gathering some additional info. Anyhow, they've provided a pretty good explanation, and offer you the chance to "opt out" once you've read the bit.

I opted out. You might want to consider it too...

Monday, January 13, 2003

Boy, do I know this feeling.

"It was alarming and concerning and expensive for us, but the man's conduct didn't warrant any criminal charges," Deputy Police Chief Dave Hayes said.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

My Successor - Vindicated (more or less)

Some of my earlier concerns about what Ann was up to at St. C's were laid to rest this weekend.

My earlier gripe that she had dropped the Haas Gloria (well known and loved by the parish) for the Andrews (unknown and difficult) turned out to be a move away from a Kyrie "setting" to a "little" Gloria in OT, cointrasting against a more festive Gloria for feasts and seasons. We sang the Haas Sunday. Her version is a bit slower, but that's partly cos she plays ALL the notes in the (very busy) accompaniment. She played it very well.

She also returned the Mass of Creation Lamb, but uses the alternate acclamations - sort of necessary due to the new rules on preparing the table (only the priest may pour the wine).

I'm having a little trouble judging the success of her repertoire moves, because we usually bring my granddaughter, and sit in the cry room. So I can't tell the level of participation. We also usually get there late, and wind up missing whatever teaching she does - I'm half tempted to start going by myself so I can get there on time. When I WAS there for one, she taught from the back and didn't get much in return. I always went up front - it seemed to help.

She DOES seem to be dropping a lot of new tunes on them, including missalette stuff. Also lots of P&W, now that we have the Troubador books.

Her uptempo accompaniment style still is not working at all (oom pah oom pah oom pah...) - nails on a chalkboard - but it seems like she's laying a foundation for a decent approach to liturgy. It's just HER approach, and involves undoing some of what I established. Time will tell, but I think she'll be okay.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Here's the List for Winter 2003

Couperin: Mass of the Parishes / Mass of the Convents,
Peeters: 30 Choral Preludes (well, not ALL of 'em),
Rowley: Benedictus, and
something by Arthur Foote - prof will provide that.
We'll probably finish Bach's Little P&F in Gm too, and Grosser Gott.

Sounds like a lot when you look at it all together!

Friday, January 03, 2003

Strike Three, Dummy!

I missed mass on Wednesday (Mary, Mother of God). Apparently our parish, with its published holy day mass times of 9am and 7pm (and no vigil ever), skips the 7pm. We showed up at 6:55 to an empty parking lot. So we went to dinner...

...But we also missed Christmas mass. Dragged our butts Christmas morning, snow was too bad to make our church on time (an 18 mile drive), started calling around... no one had their Christrmas mass times on their recordings. So we let it slide. We've already talked about it - family gathering or no, we will be going to midnight mass from now on...

...But I also missed All Saints Day mass. I was running late from the office, couldn't make our parish in time (107 mile commute. Each way. Not a typo. One hundred seven.), so I tried to go in Davison instead - turns out their holy day pm masses are at 6pm.

So maybe the real reason I need to stay in music ministry is just so I got my sorry tail to church on holy days?

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

In Honor of Mary, Mother of God

Here's a recording of our choir singing the final movement from Vivaldi's Magnificat, Mary's great hymn of praise.

We'll be attending 7pm mass today. 9 am came a bit early after last night's festivities:

Wine Punch St. Cecilia
1 bottle Andrè pink champagne
1 bottle Riunite Lambrusco
12 oz. Vernor's ginger ale
4 clementine oranges
peels from 3 clementine oranges

section oranges, then halve each section
rip peels into 1-2 square inch pieces
Online places I call home:
1. NpmUsers
2. Home Recording dot com BBS
3. ContemporaryCatholicMusic
4. TechRepublic
5. eBay - The World's Online Marketplace

Happy New Year, and Happy "Mary, Mother of God" Day!