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I got it bad (and that ain’t good)


You might think from today’s title I was going to complain about my hives. But instead I’m thinking of the fact that this morning finds me immersing myself in church music reading. I have beeni enjoying reading about hymnody and the history English parish congregational singing, not to mention iJerusalem, n Alan Moore’s does a lot of referring to hymn writers and hymns (who knew?). This morning after Greek I pulled out my 82 Hymnal Companion and read up on the hymns I will play next week. In doing so, I ran across a reference to Temperley’s article in the Hymnal Companion, “The tunes of congregational song in Britain from the Reformation to 1760.”

This is a useful short summary of his work on this subject and ties in nicely with my reading. I enjoyed checking out next week’s hymns. If I found something fascinating I would write a bulletin note. The reading was interesting but not fascinating. I am beginning to see the  history of hymnody especially Anglican and related hymnody in a clearer way.

Last night I was unable to concentrate and do too much reading. Instead I fired up my Roku and re-watched the first show of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s History of Christianity.

Image result for diarmaid macculloch history of christianity bbc

I am not that good at watching images these days. I started out interested. The scenery of places in the world related to the Christian Church is one of the strong points of this series. MacCulloch bravely looking at stuff, with his hair ruffling in the wind and sincere passion in his eyes, is not. I admire his writing, but as I say I am not that patient with moving images at this stage of life.

After watching the silly weekend PBS newshour, I queued up some videos from my YouTube subscription.

What Misko does in his guitar arrangements is amazing. This was released this month.

I then randomly listened to another new video.

I quite like it.

Church went fine yesterday. Many people greeted me and welcomed me back. They sang up a storm which is always fun. The idea of using improvs for preludes and postludes seems like a good one. People aren’t looking for repertoire and frankly most of them aren’t listening that closely which is fine. A little improv works well and is super easy for me to prepare and execute.

I still have my hives. They vary in intensity of itchiness. They weren’t a problem at work even with the choir robe that I routinely wear. However, I am a bit skeptical that this second round of prednisone will do the trick. I had a friend at church say that she took this drug for something similar but longer and presumably in larger doses.

The good news is that despite still having high BP my weight is going down. I expect this to help with the BP. But it’s good news because we are eating so good due to fresh fruit, cheese, and newly made jams (Blackberry AND Pepper Jelly). I told Eileen yesterday that if I can lose weight eating like this then there truly is a god.

David Quammen Turns Tough Science Into Page-Turning Pleasure – The New York Times

This book describes a mind boggling discovery in the late 20th century that I had never heard of:

“Genes, as it happens, do not merely flow vertically from parent to child. They can move horizontally (known as horizontal gene transfer). They can move between species. “Roughly 8 percent of the human genome consists of the remnants of retroviruses that have invaded our lineage — invaded the DNA, not just the bodies, of our ancestors — and stayed,” Quammen writes. The gene that gives us the human placenta came to us from a retroviral infection. ”

Get that? This explodes many notions of how evolutionary changes happen. Way cool.




back to work


Image result for dreaming painting

I slept well last night. I do wake up intermittently but this allows me to remember dreams. I see the dreams as confirmation that I feel back asleep. My last dream this morning was funny. The night before I return to my weekend duties at church, I had a church dream. I remember waking at home (in the dream) and realizing that I had performed a concert which had been taped. I didn’t remember the concert. I was watching the tape of it with some interest. The piece seemed to be a transcription of a Bach cantata movement. There were people in the choir and orchestra from both of my last churches.

The upshot about the performance was that I didn’t bring the choir in on its entrance and subsequently they did not sing. I was buried in the score (judging from the tape) and conducting the instrumental ensemble. One of my sopranos from my present church was oddly playing oboe. On the tape, she was playing her part loudly and adding rhythmical stuff to try to get my attention about my failure to bring in the choir.

I remember the tape had a narration and a sort of story line that began with choir members square dancing. I also realized that a husband and wife team were called from the concert due to the death of their son.

Happy back to work day!


As a result of Eileen’s hard work, the rack is back over our stove with our new pots hanging on it.


We haven’t decided if this is where we want to hang pots permanently. Eileen had an idea that a wall rack to the right of the stove might be more practical and certainly easier to clean.

But I do like the new pots!

I am being drawn toward historical poetry and music lately. I spent a lot of time with John Clare this morning. He was brought to my attention by his appearance in Alan Moore’s weird and beautiful book, Jerusalem. In it, Moore puts the ghost of Clare at the St. Andrews (Mental) Hospital in Northhampton. This is historical. Clare seems to be the subject of some rehabilitation due to the beauty of his poetry and his subjects of the poor and ecological awareness.

Image result for oxford book of english verse used

I looked him up in the my beloved Oxford Book of English Verse and he has one poem there, “Written in Northhampton County Asylum.” This poem later is found with a different title on the Poetry Foundation website (and other places). I Am! by John Clare | Poetry Foundation

I spent the morning poking around learning about Clare:

Northamptonshire may close up to 28 of its 36 libraries | Books | The Guardian 

Not strictly about Clare, but interesting that Moore is trying to help save libraries from Tory budget cuts.

John Clare, Christopher Smart, and the Poetry of the Asylum

Paris review article pairing Clare with another favorite of mine, Smart.

I also am reading the Wikipedia article on Clare.

In addition to reading about Clare this morning, I pulled out my 1983 Hymnal Companion and looked up the hymns from it we will do this morning at church. I am improvising on two of the tunes for the prelude and postlude.