Sunday, March 27, 2005


I love the Easter service at our church, and have since the first time I attended it with T, a dozen or so years ago, before we were married. It was the music that sold me then, and it is what makes the service special even now.

After the organ prelude, the service began with a processional of handbell ringers playing joyous peals. Then we sang “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,” as the cross, the lectern bible, and a candle are carried in, followed by the pastors and the rest of the choir. A small brass ensemble punches up the performance. All of the hymns are familiar ones that lend themselves to belting. There was a full house, so one could sing at full voice and not be concerned about making a scene.

The choir had two anthems, one of which was Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” I caught T singing along with it, and had to give him the “inside voice” sign. The bell choir played the offertory. I am not a big fan of bell choirs, but our top choir is darned good, and fun to watch, as well.

The Easter sermon is generally full of hope and joy, and today was no exception. (This was not true at the first service I attended here. The interim pastor was apparently firmly grounded in Calvinism, and the gist of the sermon was, “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” Oy vey!)

We learned a couple of pastors back about the historical greeting of the early Christians: “Christ is risen!”, answered by “Christ is risen indeed!”. What’s more, back then we had to keep saying it until we sounded convincing, and as a result, we now sound like the pep club at the “Christ is Risen” rally. Which, I guess, we are.

The service always ends with our very fine organist playing the Toccata from Widor’s Organ Symphony No. 5. Many in the congregation stay and listen to the entire postlude. I have loved this showstopper since I first heard it in college some 25 years ago. My good friend Larry played it in his senior recital. One of my college roommates is a member of our church, and I saw her after the service. The first thing she said to me was, “The Widor always makes me think of Larry.”

Pomp, big music, and the ultimate message of hope. Not bad for an hour-long service.

Have a happy and blessed Easter.

Friday, March 25, 2005


You Are From Mercury

You are talkative, clever, and knowledgeable - and it shows.
You probably never leave home without your cell phone!
You're witty, expressive, and aware of everything going on around you.
You love learning, playing, and taking in all of what life has to offer.
Be careful not to talk your friends' ears off, and temper your need to know everything.

I think it said Mercury because I am a Gemini, and Gemini is ruled by Mercury. I'm willing to bet there was no consensus in my other answers. I am a compulsive learner, but not glued to the phone by a long shot.

Anyway, Mercury is a hard little comet-smacked rock ball that is 400 degrees F in the daytime, and -185 F at night. Because Mercury is an inner planet, we can see its phases in a telescope, like a tiny little moon. It never strays far from the sun, so one must be attentive to see it in the twilight. I would not describe it as clever.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I've been (almost) everywhere, man

My mother grew up poor, but wanted to see the whole country. My dad loved driving and keeping mom happpy. They managed to visit almost every state, missing only Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Every summer when I was growing up, we would hitch up the camper and go traveling, so I've got a good start on seeing the entire country, too. T knew when he married me that polishing off those last seven states is a priority for me.

So without further ado, in the ongoing onslaught of quizzes and memes - my States list.

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Modern Art

Saturday was cloudy and dreary, cold and spitting sleet. After wandering around aimlessly for awhile, I decided to stop by the Art Center to refuel my sense of artistic wonder. As usual, it left me with mixed feelings about art. The collection leans significantly toward contemporary art. I'm not averse to modern art, and there are some modern pieces I love and look forward to seeing, even if I don't understand them. There is a white marble statue by Jean Arp, for example, that looks like a blob - but a blob full of voluptuous curves. It is so seductive, it makes me wish for a moment that I were a curator so I could touch its smooth coolness.

But for every piece that makes me stop and gaze and wonder, there is another one that makes me stop and gaze and wonder, "How the hell did he manage to convince anyone that this is art?" There is one painting that is an entirely white canvas, with characters written in pencil in three corners. Another has three panels painted in different shades of beige. (That one was once waggishly referred to as "the national flag of Neutralia.") There are three shop vacs in a plexiglass case. There is a special exhibition now of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera pieces that are - may I be blunt? - chalk and oil scribbles.

I'll give Frida and Diego a pass, because the works were commissioned, and she was sick. But the rest of them? They are considered art apparently because the artist kept saying he was an artist, and he kept saying they were art, until people started believing it. The art is not so much in the execution as in the presentation, and the presentation depends largely on the artist's ability to sell his vision of himself.

To be fair, visual art does not have a lock on this attitude. There are plenty of writers and musicians I find incomprehensible. The point is, they define themselves, produce their art, keep telling people about it until people start believing them.

I have some pastels in the garage, and a sketch pad by my desk. I think I'll go now and scribble me up some modern art. I am an artist, you know.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Am I funny?

From the same site that rated my personality yesterday. I think I have a dry sense of humor, and have been told that many times, including by a former boss during a staff meeting. (He said my witticisms sneak around behind and then dope slap you on the back of the head.) But, this analysis seemed pretty close, too. Anyway, replacing Gross with Dry gave me, "You might be Jewish." Since I am from the Midwest, and am not Jewish, SGT it is.

20 Questions to a Better Sense of Humor

Sunny/Dark: 1/10
drY/Gross: 5/10
Traditional/Offbeat: 3/10
Active/Passive: 6/10

You are a SGT--Sunny Gross Traditional. This makes you a John Hughes.

Your sense of humor makes you the ultimate every- person, just I'm-a try not to trouble nobody. You're laid back. Like la-a-a-aid back. You might be from the Midwest.

You enjoy the occasional weird or dark humor, and the right joke out of nowhere can really make you laugh out loud. In fact, the funniest stuff for you is the stuff that takes you off guard. If you can see it coming, you don't want to see it arrive.

You probably don't think this site is all that funny. So it's weird that you're here. I appreciate it, though. Maybe I'll cut back on the ranting and say something nice for a change.

Of the 16349 people who have taken this quiz, 30.4 % are this type.

Your Active humor score of 6/10 means you are ju-u-ust right. You're probably pretty popular -- a walking social lubricant. You know how to take someone from on edge to relaxed, and from relaxed to larfing. You're kind of like an episode of Arrested Development. That show is good. Anyway. Rave on, funny one.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Know your personality

This is kinda like the Myers-Briggs test, but not exactly. I get a different result every time I take it, but this one has been confirmed by friends and colleagues as being "Me."
20 Questions to a Better Personality

You are a WRCF--Wacky Rational Constructive Follower. This makes you a Paul Begala.

You are unflappable and largely unconcerned with others' reactions to you. You were not particularly interested in the results of this test, and probably took it only as a result of someone else asking you to.

You have a biting wit and intense powers of observation. No detail is lost on you, and your friends know it--relying on you to have the facts when others express only opinions. You are even-tempered, friendly, and educated. Foolish strangers may mistake your mildness for weakness--they will be surprised.

You entire approach to life is enviable. You will raise good kids.

Of the 103617 people who have taken this quiz since tracking began (8/17/2004), 4.7 % are this type.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Another quiz

Stop me if these get boring. (Oh, yeah, just try to stop me.)

It 's comforting to say that 'practice makes perfect'....
You are 'Gregg shorthand'. Originally designed to
enable people to write faster, it is also very
useful for writing things which one does not
want other people to read, inasmuch as almost
no one knows shorthand any more.

You know how important it is to do things
efficiently and on time. You also value your
privacy, and (unlike some people) you do not
pretend to be friends with just everyone; that
would be ridiculous. When you do make friends,
you take them seriously, and faithfully keep
what they confide in you to yourself.
Unfortunately, the work which you do (which is
very important, of course) sometimes keeps you
away from social activities, and you are often
lonely. Your problem is that Gregg shorthand
has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Quiz du jour

For years, I've been looking at quiz results on other people's blogs. Now I have a place to post my own quiz results!

For starters:

You are Proverbs
You are Proverbs.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Who, me?

I've received my first compliments on the blog-that-didn't-ask-to-be-born. First, the approvals came from my beloved Pikers, and then from co-workers to whom I had sent the entry with my picture. Aw, shucks - thank you kindly, folks. One of my readers (!) even "got" the name of the blog, as I knew she would.

I read an article recently about people losing their jobs over things they had written in their blogs, so let's just get this out up front: My boss is the greatest, my peers are peerless, and I love going to work every day. And while we all joke openly about my prowess as a suck-up, this is actually the truth. So that is all I am likely to say about work, since I really want to keep this job for awhile.

And since I spend a lot of time there on Monday and Tuesday, that leaves me with little to report. Maybe in a day or two I will be more expressive.

Monday, March 07, 2005


Don't ever expect to hear much from me on Mondays. Work is always crazy busy on Monday. Then Monday night is when the Knit Wits get together to solve the problems of the world through fiber therapy. Tonight we focused on local problems - job interviews and career paths. I didn't have any issues, so I just knit on a lovely jewel-toned sock.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Bob Wills Is Still The King

Today is the centenary of the birth of Bob Wills, the fiddler from rural Texas who popularized Western Swing. First with the Light Crust Dough Boys, and later with his own wildly popular band, the Texas Playboys, he fused traditional western music with swing, jazz, and blues and created a style of music that was uniquely American. Seventy years after he started his career, and thirty years after his death, his songs are still recorded by artists such as George Strait, Merle Haggard, and Asleep At The Wheel.

When my parents were growing up in southern Oklahoma, Elvis was still in knee pants, and Bob Wills was King. My dad loved Western Swing and fiddle music, especially the "twin fiddle" sound heard in the Texas Playboys. Any band that played Bob Wills songs was okay by him. My brother and I grew up hearing Bob Wills music. I knew the harmonies of "Faded Love" and San Antonio Rose" before I even knew what harmony was. It never occurred to me that the whole world didn't know "Take Me Back To Tulsa."

A few years ago, when daddy was in the hospital and clearly not going to be coming out, my brother grabbed a boom box and a cd of Bob Wills' Greatest Hits, and took them to the hospital. The songs played for hours. When the minister came to visit, he asked, "Do you like that music?" Dad smiled and said, "Bob Wills." I don't know for certain that those were his last words, but they were the last ones anyone thought important enough to note.

Happy birthday, Bob, and thanks for all the music.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Happy birthday, bubba - I've always looked up to you. Posted by Hello

I don't want a frickin' blog

But it is the only way I can post comments to Aser and Alex and the rest of youse Blogger bloggers. *sigh*