Saturday, May 07, 2005

This and that

I took mom, dad, Mary and Helen to Warwick Castle today. Since I'd already been, I went into town and took care of some old work... grading papers from last term that were overdue. I also discovered that I tend to be to gracious when I grade papers over here... but giving a 70 for an A just feels so wrong to me! FWIW, most universities use the following scale: A=70-100, B=60-69, C=59-50, etc. A 94 paper in America would be about a 77 here. No one gets over an 85 (regardless of the work or the school) and rarely are grades of 80+ given. But I was able to grade the 3 papers I had and take in some of the town before I "collected" my family at the castle.

I still plan to blog about the election in the near future.

I have the honor of preaching again here tomorrow morning. After the in-laws came all the way to hear me speak in March, now my parents are here for my sermon in May. Odd that.

I turned 31 today. Or so numerous people have told me. My parents have official documents reflecting that 31 is my actual age, but those things can be forged, you know.

I must include a pic from JT's blog. If he created this gif image himself I'm going to go back and change his grade.
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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Greatest Hits #3

At BK's behest I gave Alabama Sacred Harp Singers a listen and I'm glad he was so insistent. I seem to recall hearing about this kind of Southern music years back, but today was my first experience. Sacred Harp singers are actually a capella singers singing four part harmony with "shaped" notes. Many in Churches of Christ grew up with the same, but probably never sang like this. The most interesting characteristic of Sacred Harp singers is the fact that, before they sing the first verse, they sing the notes -- "do" or "ra" or "mi" or "fa" - to get the tune engrained. It can be an awesome sound. Its the kind of thing that one can envision getting exposure in a movie and sparking world interest in the art (akin to the renewed interest in bluegrass after O Brother, Where Art Thou? in 1991). So I will be including The Last Words of Copernicus by the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers.

I also decided to include Seven Spanish Angels by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson to give Texas a little credit. Dixieland Delight by Alabama will also most likely make the cut. Keep the suggestions coming in! Remember to identify yourself if you choose to make an "anonymous" comment (even if that sounds completely contradictory).

I have also decided to include snippets of Jerry Clower's and Andy Griffifth's old standup routines for some more Southern flare. Maybe some Foxworthy, too!

My mom and dad arrive around 10am tomorrow morning. I'll be blogging about their exploits after they arrive.

Finally, I wasn't able to catch Jim B.'s prayer on C-Span today so Mary videotaped the broadcast for me. Below is a still shot of the Rev. You know he loved that!
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Greatest Hits #2

Thanks to all who have suggested songs thus far. Please keep them coming.

I should be a little more clear about what I am looking for. Both of these guys know American music well. Jon's album collection would make a 58-year-old unreformed hippie living in a commune salivate. He probably knows Dylan better than Dylan does. The Eagles, Baez, Simon & Garfunkel, etc. are out simply because they know them well already. So I have to go for the lesser knowns... ones that are classics but not necessarily known worldwide. That is easier said than done when Lew's dad raised him on American country and bluegrass. With all that said, I've decided to add these songs to the list:

1. The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels - though I suspect that they know it already.

2. Its Midnight in Montgomery by Alan Jackson - mentions Montgomery and Mobile.

3. Paint Me a Birmingham by Tracy Lawrence - not a spectacular song, but they'll get a kick out of the whole Birmingham thing.

4. You Don't Even Call Me By My Name by David Allan Coe - against my better judgment.

5. Walkin' in Memphis by Marc Cohn- though I really don't like the song.

6. The Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton - I'd originally planned to have it on the funny CD (still waiting for suggestions from BK, JSM, etc) but at BK's urging I'll put it on this one. Interestingly, Mary, Helen and I had a great time visiting Jon and Su in Coventry on Monday. We were singing songs to/with Helen and I asked them if they knew the Battle of New Orleans. They didn't, so I sang them a little. Doubt it will become a favorite.

Today is election day here and I consider myself privileged since elections only roll around every 5 years or so, depending on when they powers-that-be call for them. I'll have more to say about this later.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Jim Brinkerhoff leads U.S. Congress in Prayer

Below is the amalgamation of two emails I recently received:

I wanted to let everyone know that Jim Brinkerhoff will have the honor of opening the United States Congress in prayer on Thursday, May 5 - which also happens to be the National Day of Prayer. This is a big honor and I know everyone will want to watch him live on C-Span. Congress opens every day that they are in session with a prayer - usually by the House Chaplain. Jim will be the guest Chaplain for the day and will have his picture made with the Speaker of the House. Congressman Aderholt will introduce Jim after the prayer.
The current plan for Thursday morning is that the House will go into session at 10:00 am Eastern time. The prayer is the first thing. Following the prayer will be the Pledge of Allegiance and then they will begin one minutes. That is when Congressman Aderholt will introduce Jim. Hope everyone will watch!

As many of you know, Jim B. is one of my fathers in the faith and a dear friend to me. If you can't be near a TV, you can watch C-Span live online at Remember its 9am central.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

Greatest Hits

I plan to compile two CDs over the next couple of weeks and I need help from you.

I. I promised my friends Jon and Lew that I'd make them a CD with classic Southern flavor. They both like/love American country/bluegrass/folk music. I'd like you to suggest songs I might want to put on the CD. They already know about Incubus, Blink 182, Herman's Hermits and all those, so stick to country/folk please. I'm concentrating on songs with a geographical flavor. Below I have listed some of the songs I will most likely include:

1. Sweet Southern Comfort by Buddy Jewell - not the best song ever, but certainly reflects the South and, more importantly, Erwin Nichols and Judge Lee of Lawrence County, AL. Everyone with any age on them in LC remembers Judge Lee, and I met Erwin Nichols last fall (autumn). The presence of "Roll Tide Roll" on the song did give me pause.
2. My Home's in Alabama by Alabama - nuff said.
3. Rocky Top by the Osborne Brothers - No, its not the fight song of the University of Tennessee, though they have co-opted it. But my memories are of Coach Andy...
4. Ode to Billy Joe by Bobbie Gentry - What was it they threw off that bridge?!?
5. Sweet Sunny South by various artists - I encountered this song in a book by Pat Conroy and discovered it is quite old.
6. Mountain Dew by the Stanley Brothers
7. Blue Moon of Kentucky by Bill Monroe
8. Lousiana Man by Bobbie Gentry - I wish she'd of continued singing past the 70's. Turns out that she even had a TV show here in the UK for a while in the 70's. Who'd of thunk it?
9. Feelin' Good Again by Robert Earl Keen - I was introduced to this gem by Kevin Duncan, middle school coach and all around savant.
10. I Saw the Light by Hank Williams - They just need a little exposure.

II. The other CD will be a compilation of the greatest hits of the ridiculous CDs I've sent out to my friends over the past few years. I'd like them to suggest their favorites.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

How far is it from Birmingham to Birmingham?

Tonight I'll be speaking at a church in Birmingham (Alabama!). My friend J-Dog, a minister at Palisades Church of Christ, a likeminded technophile, asked me to speak via internet conference. Yahoo Messenger will be providing the free audio and video feed. Their service will begin at 6pm Central Standard Time, which is midnight here. Thus, I'm taking one for the team. If you happen to have Yahoo Messenger, I'll be using Mary's ID -- marystrick -- and you would like to tap into the video feed, feel free. I'm afraid that no audio will be available, however, so you will just see me sitting or standing. FWIW, the text I've chosen to speak on is Luke 24:13-35.

Oh yeah, according to this website, it is 4,232 miles from Birmingham, AL to Birmingham, UK.