February 23, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: October 17, 2015

1954 Metropolitan

1954 Metropolitan

This may be the peak leaf-peeper weekend in central Indiana, so I suggest we jump in our sleek little Metropolitan and ramble. Ready?

Peanuts Comic

Ramblers-Logo36The Democrats held their first presidential debate on Tuesday night, pitting Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders and three unnamed guys they pulled in from the neighborhood.

While most pundits gave Clinton the win, and online polls favored Sanders, this guy thinks the real winner was Elizabeth Warren.

Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren waves from the podium prior to a debate with Republican Sen. Scott Brown in Springfield, Mass., Wednesday Oct. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

I have no opinion. You see, there was this ballgame on Tuesday night . . .

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Ramblers-Logo36Chicago Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber is gaining a reputation for hitting monster home runs. Last week in Pittsburgh he hit one out of the stadium and into the Allegheny River. On Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago, he hit a majestic shot that landed on top of the new video scoreboard in right field.

Actually, when he hit it, no one was quite sure where it went. People assumed it went out of the park and landed on Sheffield Ave. But no one claimed to have retrieved it. Video and Twitter photos began to surface Tuesday night of a ball on top of the video board, underneath the small ‘I’ in the Budweiser sign, and the Cubs sent an employee up to confirm it Wednesday through the ball’s special MLB postseason markings. Yep, there it was.

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It will stay up there, too, until the postseason is complete. The Cubs decided to do something really cool and fun, enshrining the ball on the scoreboard,placing it on a stand under a plexiglass case to preserve it from the elements. A security guard will escort anyone going up to the top of the video board to service it so it won’t be stolen, but there will be no 24-hour security. The Cubs will decide what to do with the ball after the season

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And now, the home run has been immortalized in a flipbook, courtesy of The Flippist. Entitled “A ‘Holy Cow! Home Run,” this has everything you could ask for in a Kyle Schwarber flipbook: The swing, the moonshot, the plexiglass cover and, just for fun, some Harry Caray.


Ramblers-Logo36Speaking of the Cubs, a lot of folks have noticed that back in 1989 the movie “Back to the Future II” made a bunch of predictions about the year 2015, and one of them was that the Cubs would win the World Series. If they do, yet another crazy detail of Cubs lore will be established.

Here’s an interview from earlier this year with the movie’s writer, Bob Gale, talking about the vision he had for 2015 at the time and what has come to pass.

And Toyota will release a video this Wednesday — the date when Marty McFly went to the future — showing stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd discussing its predictions. Here’s a sneak preview:

 

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The Church of England is having to make some hard decisions.

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As the CoE struggles with the financial burden of preserving its properties in the face of declining congregations, an increasing number of churches are likely to operate only at Christmas, Easter and on other holy days. This notion of “festival churches” is gaining currency, especially in rural areas where many congregations are trying to maintain historic buildings while serving congregations of as few as ten people. There is also a shortage of both clergy and lay officials to provide leadership in these churches. For the past twenty years, twenty to twenty-five churches have closed each year.

A recent CoE report states: “The long-term decrease in church attendance and increasing age profile of church congregations poses an urgent challenge to the Church of England if it is to be faithful to its vocation to proclaim the gospel afresh in each generation and maintain a Christian presence in every community.”

The report says more churches will need to restrict their use to big occasions to avert a “sharp upturn” in the number of closures.

Peanuts Comic

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Church Curmudgeon quote of the week:

Curmudg Cubs

Hey, maybe this is really what the four “blood moons” were trying to tell us!

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Thom Rainer, whose article we critiqued the other day, has another piece on his blog about how churches tend to lag behind the times.

He gives eight reasons that churches are still living in the 1980s. I was a pastor back then, and I think his observations are pretty accurate.

  1. They were trying to shelter themselves from culture.
  2. Programs were easy answers.
  3. Churches largely catered to the needs of church members.
  4. Change was more incremental.
  5. Church growth was easier.
  6. Denominations provided solutions.
  7. Others did the evangelism for the members.
  8. It was more comfortable.

The 1980s were the heyday of evangelical Christian culture — the Reagan years, the “Christian retail industrial complex” of publishing and media, the rise of the seeker-sensitive movement (ala Willow Creek) and the establishment of the megachurch as the model for attractional ministry, and the growing voice of the Christian Right in the culture wars. Rainer may be right that some churches and pastors today are looking back to the 1980s in the same way that churches used to look back to the 1950s and long for “the good old days.”

What do you think? Discuss.

Peanuts Comic

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You know it’s been a great week when the phrase “alien megastructures” gets tossed around seriously.

lskfj656

In an article in The Atlantic, Ross Andersen reports:

In the Northern hemisphere’s sky, hovering above the Milky Way, there are two constellations—Cygnus the swan, her wings outstretched in full flight, and Lyra, the harp that accompanied poetry in ancient Greece, from which we take our word “lyric.”

Between these constellations sits an unusual star, invisible to the naked eye, but visible to the Kepler Space Telescope, which stared at it for more than four years, beginning in 2009.

“We’d never seen anything like this star,” says Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale. “It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”

Kepler was looking for tiny dips in the light emitted by this star. Indeed, it was looking for these dips in more than 150,000 stars, simultaneously, because these dips are often shadows cast by transiting planets. Especially when they repeat, periodically, as you’d expect if they were caused by orbiting objects.

. . . The light pattern suggests there is a big mess of matter circling the star, in tight formation. That would be expected if the star were young. When our solar system first formed, four and a half billion years ago, a messy disk of dust and debris surrounded the sun, before gravity organized it into planets, and rings of rock and ice.

But this unusual star isn’t young. If it were young, it would be surrounded by dust that would give off extra infrared light. There doesn’t seem to be an excess of infrared light around this star.

It appears to be mature.

And yet, there is this mess of objects circling it. A mess big enough to block a substantial number of photons that would have otherwise beamed into the tube of the Kepler Space Telescope. If blind nature deposited this mess around the star, it must have done so recently. Otherwise, it would be gone by now. Gravity would have consolidated it, or it would have been sucked into the star and swallowed, after a brief fiery splash.

This unusual light pattern doesn’t show up anywhere else that scientists have seen. Something strange is going on. But what? Jason Wright, an astronomer at Penn State University, is exploring various hypotheses, including “alien megastructures.”  When asked about this, Wright commented, “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

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Finally, this week in music history, Grace Slick replaced expectant mother and frontwoman Signe Anderson in The Jefferson Airplane. Slick left her band Great Society and brought JA two songs that would soon be at the forefront of the San Francisco music scene—“Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”

Here’s Slick and JA on American Bandstand, 1967. Only in the 1960s could you have a band as countercultural and subversive as Jefferson Airplane on a whitebread show like Bandstand.

Comments

  1. Yuuuup!

  2. “…an increasing number of churches are likely to operate only at Christmas, Easter and on other holy days.”

    American churches are bucking this trend by closing on holy days.

    • Yeah, that’s one I’ve never understood. Not have services on Christmas? But, but, but…
      In my own church, for all the whining & moaning of members about not being wished Merry Christmas at Walmart, Christmas morning is one of our lowest attended services. Christmas Eve is packed, but still, that has always struck me as very odd. If we Christians don’t consider a Christmas Day service worth an hour of our time, why are we so surprised that some part-time, underpaid clerk at Walmart, who may not even be Christian, doesn’t feel the need to honor the day.
      Don’t get me started on the “war on Christmas”.

      • I grew up in a household that emphasized the religous part of religious holidays, yet I think the long term thing that bugs my mom the most about me becoming Orthodox is that I go to all these pesky church services on them nowadays.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Because all-hands mobilization for the War on Christmas(TM) isn’t scheduled for another two weeks (Nov 1).

        Right now, mobilization against The Devil’s Holiday(TM) is taking up all the time and energy.

        • Its not the Devil’s Holiday! It’s the Devil’s Birthday! I know it’s true because an Evangelical pastor said so a long while ago. Plus, Jack Skellington is the proof!

      • I don’t get too hung up over the lack of attendance at Christmas Eve and Christmas services anymore. We don’t go that often because those times have become important to our family and the way we celebrate.

    • Could be that the day’s aren’t “holy” anymore.

      If church is a weekly routine, then sanctifying the day means treating it as non-mundane and not attending church. Basically, it’s the means to make the day special and meaningful in a way that sets it apart from the ordinary.

      I grew up in a Baptist tradition that sneered at “holy” days and claimed to make every day holy. Christmas and Easter were allegedly pagan in origin, so it was bowing to our pagan roots to celebrate them. As a result, we were inundated with the ordinary and when “everything” is holy, then nothing is.

      Fundies didn’t think things out very well.

  3. Yay, Cubbies!

  4. To heck with serious subjects! GO CUBS!!!

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth if the Cubs make it to the final game and then loose; if the Back-To-The-Future-II prophecy fails.

      The ride out of Chicago is going to be like being on a refuge train… if the majority of the refugees had been drinking. I hope they win as that will make my sister-in-law very happy, but I think I’ll be entertained either way. Sad Cubs fans are really intense, which is odd given how much time they spend sad.

    • maybe this is really what the four “blood moons” were trying to tell us!

      Ain’t no “maybe” about it. *puts on white robe, heads for nearest mountaintop*

  5. The Cubs are looking strong, but I’ll stop short of predicting they’ll win it all and instead simply assert that a team with blue colors will come out on top this year.

    So no blood moons needed after all, just blue ones.

    • Michael Bell says

      Lets go Blue Jay! Woot Woot!

    • Well, I know why no Red clothed teams are in. Red is the color of the devil and Communism!

      • And Republicans.

        • Michael Bell says

          Interestingly enough in Canada it is the Liberals who a Red and the Conservatives that are blue.

          • Well, when we were growing up, Red was, like, RED, or downright commie. I think pinko was only sorta red, left-leaning, soft on commies, walking like a duck though not yet quacking.

            How did the Republicans turn red on us? That’s something new I think, only in the past few elections.

  6. Maybe those aren’t just alien megastructures, maybe they’re alien megaCHURCHES!

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I was going to ponder on a scientist claiming ” ….you would expect an alien civilization to build….” based on our significant observations of alien civilizations [and you know, building objects whose construction would consume the resources of dozens of planets…. when you already have … planets… so efficient. I don’t get it, I rather like our planet compared to the thought of living in a cosmic-sized strip mall].

      But your response is better.

      • Our significant observations of alien civilization; you know, just like we observed the formation of our own solar system:
        “That would be expected if the star were young. When our solar system first formed, four and a half billion years ago, a messy disk of dust and debris surrounded the sun, before gravity organized it into planets, and rings of rock and ice.”

      • Fyi, there are plenty of people to whom the idea of living in a cosmic-sized strip mall is just heavenly.

        • I’m not one of them.

        • Only if that strip mall is filled with gaming stores, book shops, cigar bars and Thai restaurants. 🙂

          • But of course: would you expect anything less than a gentrified strip mall from such obviously intelligent and ambitious extraterrestrials? Think strip mall in Hoboken after all the hipsters with money moved in.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            That sounds like a place I would like to *visit*.

          • Believe me: there are street after street of strip malls that encompass all you desire, Eeyore, and more, in the tony municipalities of northern New Jersey: Hoboken, Edgewater, Jersey City, and many more

          • I do hope there are gaming stores, book shops and Thai restaurants on Heaven! Cigar bars…meh….lol…

  7. Seven Reasons Why I’m Already Tired of Thom Rainer

    1. He spells his first name Thom, not Tom.
    2. His last name should be Rainier, like Mount Rainier, but it isn’t.
    3. In a previous blog post, we determined that FIVE points were ideal. But maybe that was only for Presbyterians.
    4. Does he ever mention Jesus in any of his points in his posts or books?
    5. He oversimplifies the issues.
    6. He has a tendency to drift into “shame” language and guilt.
    7. I’m not sure he ever has fewer than seven points,

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Everybody knows Seven is better than Five, that is Numerology 101.

      • He has 12 points in his Autopsy of a Deceased Church. 12 is also biblical, and bigger than 7.

        Not sure if bigger is better if they’re already biblical.

        • Every Baptist preacher worth his salt has exactly 3 points. God made 3 good points with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But a Sunday morning sermon has a lot of context; not sure anyone would link to a list of 3 things from their Twitter feed.

    • And — although this may be CM’s doing — we are told there are eight points but only given seven. What, can’t we be trusted with the eighth?

      • #8 was part of the Fatima prophecies. Also may have something to do with the Cubs.

      • Ah! I missed one! Am I preoccupied by baseball these days, or what?

        Fixed.

        • Mike, I love the Charlie Brown comics. Thanks.

          I’m very glad you posted those today, instead of something stupid Al Mohler said about not attending same-sex weddings, even of family members.

          I might have had to have said something.

        • CM, anyone who loves Peanuts as much ss you do can be forgiven for not bein a Philliesbfan. (I know, i know…. 😉 )

          Thanks so much for posting all those weekdsy strips! I’ve been a fan since age 7 or thereabouts.

  8. Yay! Email is back!!

  9. Adam Tauno Williams says

    I am with Thom Rainer for the first three points. I feel the later points are mostly filler; I am not even sure what a couple of them mean.

    1. They were trying to shelter themselves from culture. — Agree. In the 1980s it was still possible to believe this was possible.

    2. Programs were easy answers. — Agree. I did not really enter the scene full-time until the early 1990s, when everybody was already talking about the good old days and how the programs were growing stale. So we needed new programs. Like a tea bag every time you rinse-n-repeat you get less return.

    3. Churches largely catered to the needs of church members. — Agree. The white middle class had reached maximal white-flight-induced-isolation. There was a brief period of peace and quiet until economic and cultural gravity began to assert itself. You could criticize this as really being a sub-point of #1.

    4. Change was more incremental. — Everybody always says that about the past. I think a pretty strong case can be made that the 1980s were fiercely dynamic. Computers, Industrial Automation, AIDS, Iran-Contra, Nuclear Paranoia, Deregulation, the S&L crisis, all manner of teen paranoia [Mothers Against D&D, etcc…]… It may have been easier to bury one’s head in the sand.

    5. Denominations provided solutions. — They did? I remember people crabbing about denominationalism all the time. Many churches were already in at least the beginnings of decline, with the mega-churches drawing off parishioners from small and more-rural churches setting them on a trajectory towards non-viability. But from the mega-church side it looked like growth. But aren’t most megas non-denom? I think is is just straight-up wrong on this one.

    6. Others did the evangelism for the members. — I am not sure what this means, is it repeating #2 to get to 7 points.

    7. It was more comfortable. — Really, what about the 1980s was comfortable? I remember it as a period of pretty harsh decline; maybe that was regional, but it was bleak bleak bleak where I grew up. He must not have been in High School in the 1980s. It was Drugs-Sex-n-Rock-n-Roll even though none of those things were really fun anymore. And the hair!

    • Yes, the hair. I’m not sure which was worse: the polyester clothes of the 70s, or the hair of the 80s. Both should have this message attached to them:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY-QBvy3lR8

    • Number six is not true; “witnessing” was the thing.

    • I think the mainline denominations were already aware of the onset of serious membership decline in the 80s; for a while I was receiving the Christian Century (mostly read by clergy, and possibly seminarians) in the late 80’s, and by that time decline was definitely part of the consciousness of that periodical.

      • The church growth movement as it pertained to the mainlines addressed that decline.

        • Then what does “6. Denominations provided solutions” mean?

        • Never mind. I actually read the linked article, and therein was the answer I sought.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            “””Not all churches in the 1980s belonged to a denomination, but many did. And many members expected the denominational organizations to guide them and resource them. Denominations work best today in partnership with churches, but too many church members want to return to the paradigm of the 1980s.”””

            … I don’t get it. He thinks churches want to return to a centralized model? Perhaps I just went to wrong churches, I do not recall much respect or dependence on the Denomination. Or do they just want funding and resources to fall magically from the sky? Where, after all, is the Denomination supposed to get the funding to forward to the Churches – this sounds like points 1 + 3 with the magical economic thinking of suburbanism [we have no dirty industry and a nice thin population footprint… but want services requiring a large tax base to support: ”’so just redistribute taxes from somewhere else to us. I mean, why would they mind that? we are awesome”’].

          • Well, he provides an explanation of what he means in the article, but the explanation doesn’t really make sense. It seems to me that the growth of evangelicalism in the 80s was not only a rejection of the mainline denominations, but also a reaction against the denominational system in general.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            the growth of evangelicalism in the 80s was not only a rejection of the mainline denominations

            Maybe, after looking at lots of data I am a bit skeptical. A much more mobile and dispersed population also make opportunities for new and new kinds of institutions; the moorings to the old institutions had grown faint. I suspect “rejection” is too strong a term.

            It is much easier just to go ‘plant’ a church and do whatever you want without a denomination regulating you; and in green-field neighborhoods real-estate is cheap, you build something cheap [essentially big decorated pole-barns floating in a lake of asphalt], credit was easy to come by. It is much more efficient/cost-effective …. in the short term. Little thought is given to life-cycle, deferred costs, or sustainability – that always makes it easier to *start* things… and you inevitably start things more often.

            > against the denominational system in general.

            I think that system had been blown up onto the rocks of irrelevance prior to the 1980s.

          • I think what you’ve said is true. I’m not sure it conflicts with what I said, or meant to say. “Rejection” may be too strong a word, if it is understood to include repudiation, but it doesn’t have to be understood that way. There was certainly a choice on the part of new evangelicals in the 80s to move away from the traditional mainline forms of worship, as well as hierarchy and organization; that this choice was motivated by the factors you mention does not necessarily exclude that rejection was also involved. The fact that the denominational system had already been “blown up on the rocks of irrelevance” provided motivation to move away from it. I think the dynamic involved in that choice can accurately be described as “rejection”.

          • Rainer is Southern Baptist. Perhaps he is writing with that experience in mind?

            On the other side, the rise of such institutions as Willow Creek initiated the development of semi-denominational networks of evangelical churches that we still see functioning today.

    • I agree with your critique of #4. Huge changes in the 80s.

  10. The tactics of American Evangelicalism in the eighties likely are the reason for its downfall now. Ultimately, blame it on Jesus: the evangelical industrial complex (dating back to the Jesus Movement) was built on His impending return; it had no plan B.

    • Remember the Hal Lindsay commercials on tv proclaiming the EU as the 10-nation confederacy predicted in Revelation?

      • The military adventurism of Russia in Syria, and Putin’s ambitions to acquire influence and power, and possibly territory, in Europe and the Middle East, have revived interest in some of those prognostications among evangelicals I’ve talked with in the last weeks. They talk about the current actions of Russia being prophesied in the Old Testament.

      • I remember stories from the Jesus Movement of people running up debts with no plans to pay them, because Jesus would return before they came due. Evangelicalism as a whole has written checks it can’t pay – metaphorically speaking.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Back in the Eighties, I heard one that topped that. Besides the usual running up big debts and bucket list stuff, there was this one:

          In the “Ugo” Rapture Scare in Korea, there were said to be women who had abortions because their due date was AFTER The Predicted Day and they didn’t want the fetus to weigh them down and prevent them from ascending to Heaven.

          I think the MoG that started that Rapture Scare either got lynched or almost got lynched after The Predicted Day came and went.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Remember the Hal Lindsay commercials on tv proclaiming the EU as the 10-nation confederacy predicted in Revelation?

        Yes.
        And the 40-year countdown from the founding of modern Israel (repeated just last night on a Coast to Coast phone-in).
        And the Demon Locust Plague being helicopter gunships armed with chemical weapons and piloted by long-haired beared Hippies.
        And Christians For Nuclear War (It’s Prophesied, It’s Prophesied…)

    • Yep. It was all built on a model of consumerism and branding, with the mindset that since our brand is God, it won’t go stale like the old K-Mart logo or New Coke. But it did and churches are left scrambling trying to sell something in a new way that people aren’t all that interested in buying into at all. Which means all too often, church marketing plans end up making the church just look kinda of pathetic.

  11. The only good to come out of the Eighties was The Cure (actually, they started in the Seventies). Ok, then Primus.

  12. I had a crush on Grace Slick in the late 60’s. And, I still listen to JA–much to the consternation of my kids ;o)

    • BTW, seen a recent photo of Grace?

      https://youtu.be/GAiQf-jQhWI

      • That Other Jean says

        As of the youtube interview in 2013, she looks like, and probably is, somebody’s really nice Grandma. That happens to a lot of women, if we’re lucky.

        • Indeed. She looks well, and strong, a hell of a lot better than Keith Richards. Which is surprising, given the drug-taking legend that surround the Airplane. As for youthful beauty, she had it, but it is passing phenomenon, transitory and fragile, not meant to last. It would probably not be a good thing if it were to last.

        • Other Jean, yes, if we continue to live age happens. Ought to see me ;o)

          Grace has earned her age. She’s fully of pithy, such as, “When you’re young you should be seen and not heard, and when you’re old you should be heard and not seen.”

    • The Airplane flew, but the Starship crashed at take-off.

      • Lol. I was actually going to ask, “Airplane or Starship?”

      • The proto-Starship soared, imo. Blows Against the Empire, 1970 had a whole circus of EVERYONE in the San Francisco scene. Jerry Garcia even playing peddle steel. And the theme, taken from the Robert Heinlein story about the Johnson Families (Methuselah’s Children) really struck a few chords in my late high school days. I named my first dog after graduating from the UofArk Brumus.

    • @Tom,

      Grace Slick and Joan Baez divided the world; between them there was no other.

      • That Other Jean says

        Who is this Grace Slick of whom you speak? The Folkie world was divided Joan Baez and Judy Collins.

        • Burro [Mule] says

          1) Buffy Saint-Marie

          2) I met Signe Anderson at a Safeway (?) in Portland Oregon in 1999. She is a very gracious lady, a grandmother and gets about 13K a year in Airplane residuals.

          3) Why don’t they play “White Rabbit” on the radio anymore? I haven’t heard it since the second Reagan administration. I hear “The Joker” all the time, which is just as druggy but far inferior. I could go the rest of my life without ever hearing Heart or Bob Seger on Classic Rock radio again. I could give them some tips.

          • Burro [Mule] says

            Oh yeah –

            Jack Cassidy was one of the true bass gods. Right up there with Entwhistle, Bruce, John Paul Jones, and Geddy Lee.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            3) Why don’t they play “White Rabbit” on the radio anymore?

            Go Ask Alice…

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Just for you, Burro(Mule):
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ3XiyuVBvw

          • Buffy Saint-Marie.

            Yes.

            Dana

          • Mule,
            You’re dissing Bob Seger? Seriously? Putting him in the same second-class category as Heart?

            I understand not liking him, but I don’t understand the disrespect. Songs like “Beautiful Loser”, “Turn the Page”, “Night Moves”, “Mainstreet” and a host of others are true classics that deserve whatever airplay they can get these days.

          • Oh, and I almost forgot “Why Don’t You Stay”, a tender and bittersweet song about a subject that’s usually treated as fodder for macho rock hedonism.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AixMLerqlik

          • Pardon; the title is actually “We’ve Got Tonight”. A rose by any other name….

          • All this talk made me think of this artist, and this song:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCnf46boC3I

            No better, no more bittersweet and haunting, popular song has ever been written. Perfection.

          • Oh, c’mon…regarding Bob Seger, don’t forget his classy “Her Strut.”

            “White Rabbit” definitely the cream of the JA crop to me.

          • Mule,

            As a Cassidy fan you must remember the band Hot Tuna with Jorma Kaukonen… keep on truckin Mama.. Truck my blues away….

          • Airplane had some really solid albums. After Bathing At Baxter’s was probably their best.

            Jack Cassidy was one of the greats on bass–one of my Trinity; Jack Bruce, Phil Lesh, Jack Cassidy.

            Jorma was an imaginative axe man. He now concentrates on roots music. He and Jack grew up together in the D.C. area

            Judy Collins is good. Joan Baez is great. Joni Mitchell is absolutely enchanting. However, the folk scene that changed me was hearing Pentangle–Jacki McShee is amazing, as are/were Burt Jansch and John Renbourn. Then, I discovered Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span….

          • FEED. YOUR. HEAD. !

          • Tom,

            Steeleye Span (Maddy Prior) and Renaissance (Annie Halsom) – Traditional English folk put to electric guitars… good stuff.

        • I’m with The Other Jean—but I’ll add a few to Joan Baez and Judy Collins: Joni Mitchell and Mary Travers.

          And for the Europeans and Canadians, Nana Mouskouri. I don’t know why she never caught on in the States.

          • Judy Collins – not so much. J. Baez and J. Mitchell – bringmit!

            I like Buffy, but her vibrato is very much an acquired taste. Her penchant for unususl musical instruments is very cool.

          • I think Buffy must have a new album out—they’ve been playing her fairly often on our community radio station. I commented to the guy who works with me that “A little Buffy St. Marie goes a long way.” The vibrato should have died in the 60s.

          • That Other Jean says

            Ted, I agree with you that a little Buffy St. Marie goes a long way, but her rendition of “Lyke Wake Dirge” still gives me chills. And I wish I had a community radio station like yours.

          • I think Buffy’s vibrato is an anatomic thing – that is, I don’t think she can sing without it, especially when she gets loud. She can quiet it a bit, but I don’t think she can make it go away. I actually like it, but only on her 🙂

            Dana

          • Dana, yes, anatomical, and probably further and further out of her control with age.

            That Other Jean, I actually don’t care for her version of the “Lyke Wake Dirge,” if only because I think she plays up the scare factor much more than any of the English groups/singers who performed and recorded it at the time did. Apparently the original was chanted in a fairly monotonous fashion, or, at least, so say the 19th c. collectors of folk songs and folklore.

            There are some interesting articles about the song out here on the interwebs, mostly written by English folkies.

          • Another note on vibrato: maybe someone else knows… would she have been able to control it better (hypothetically) if she had taken voice lessons?

            I do think she accepted it as part of her signature sound, though. I mean, her voice is immediately recognizable.

          • Buffy also sings of Native Americans/Canadians (she’s Native Canadian), another reason the radio was playing her music lately—in response to Columbus Day, which may yet be renamed.

            I mentioned Nana Mouskouri earlier—she has said that her vocal chords are abnormal too, enhancing her singing ability, which most of us gringos know nothing about. She’s kind of a European Joan Baez, and worth a few hits on youtube if you haven’t heard her. Stick to her songs in French or other languages—English isn’t what she does best, although she’s pretty good there too.

          • I’m a sucker for French folk music.

            Joan Baez and Nana Mouskouri in an ad hoc performance of Plaisir d’Amour. A little bit of a Pete Seeger tune as intro:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jciDXzYw0-g

  13. Is there an important baseball game going on, or something?

  14. I’ll never forget the episode in Hunter S. Thompson’s book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas involving Thompson’s 300 hundred pound high-out-of-his-mind Samoan lawyer, a bathtub, and a radio playing “White Rabbit”. Disturbing, hilarious and hallucinogenic.

  15. The situation of parishes in the C of E is sad. Will only holding services on special occasions help keep parishes from closing? Yes, for a while; but it’s really like being on life support. If things don’t miraculously get better, if they don’t turn around, this temporary holding measure will not be enough to keep the parishes alive. Complicating matters is that many of the buildings have historic value, and probably can’t just be liquidated; I would imagine many are protected by legal regulation of their sale and use.

    • Not that protected. They will all become Mosques soon enough.

      • That’s a distinct possibility, given current demographic trends and the way they may impact the culture of England, and Europe.

    • Kerp in mind yhat the vast majority of those parish churches were necessary prior to the automobile. Since then, people hsve many more choices per where theymwant to attend and sre not tied to yheir parish churches.

      Frankly, you can go into just about any rural area in this country snd see the same thing – an overabundance of tiny country churches that were vital to themlityle towns and villages thry served before the 1950s. Now, almost all of their stalwarts are gone, and I’m not sure how anymof thrm in my area hsve the $ to keep up repairs, let alone still have services.

      • Come to Northeast Ohio, where every urban area over fifty years old has a church on every block!

  16. Adam Tauno Williams says

    > the growth of evangelicalism in the 80s was not only a rejection of the mainline denominations

    Maybe, after looking at lots of data I am a bit skeptical. A much more mobile and dispersed population also make opportunities for new and new kinds of institutions; the moorings to the old institutions had grown faint. I suspect “rejection” is too strong a term.

    It is much easier just to go ‘plant’ a church and do whatever you want without a denomination regulating you; and in green-field neighborhoods real-estate is cheap, you build something cheap [essentially big decorated pole-barns floating in a lake of asphalt], credit was easy to come by. It is much more efficient/cost-effective …. in the short term. Little thought is given to life-cycle, deferred costs, or sustainability – that always makes it easier to *start* things… and you inevitably start things more often.

    > against the denominational system in general.

    I think that system had been blown up onto the rocks of irrelevance prior to the 1980s.

  17. Megastructures are a fascinating science fiction concept, but it may have been part of the driving force behind Kepler – i.e. the search for advanced life forms. It begs a lot of questions, such as how any life form would have enough resources to ring an entire sun with solar panels, etc? The physics of such a feat gives me headaches.

    • We’re talking space junk with a mass easily exceeding that of a small planet/planetoid. It would need enough energy to put (and keep) it in orbit around the sun and not be pulled away in the wake of the gravity of neighboring planets. Asteroids? Comets?

    • I’m just imagining Emily Lutela’s commentary: what’s all this talk about Dyson ball vacuum cleaners in space?

  18. Re: JA – the movie Fly Jefferson Airplane (I think you can find the full movie for free on YouTube) is must watching for people who grew up in the ’60s. Amazingly all members of the band are still alive and in decent health considering their age and the era they came from.

    Chaplain Mike: I emailed you yesterday with a recommendation of a book to read & review here.

  19. OldProphet says

    Cubs’ are doomed! CURSE OF THE BILLY GOAT!

  20. Christiane Smith says

    Elizabeth Warren!!! she WILL be POTUS some day in future . . .

    WHEN is all the ‘crazy’ inside the Republican Party going to dissipate? Or will the Party implode? Or split?
    (maybe it has already split)

    I love the way Warren goes after the fat cats and the white collar corruption . . . she brings their convoluted hidden mischief out into the light and explains it in ways that are understandable . . . there is no way that she cannot make a difference because when people ‘get it’ what’s been done behind their backs by a Party that offered social ‘values’ and set them up for economic losses, people will re-claim their votes from the dark side.

    • …”by a Party? Are you implying that the Democratic Party is not in bed with “fat cats and white collar corruption”? You mean the Democratic Party never accepts the support of powerful people in the present in return for favors in the future, Godfather style? You mean that the Donald was lying, or some sort of anomalous singularity when he was supporting both parties for repayment at a future, undesignated time? I’m no Republican, but I don’t buy it.

    • As much as I would like to see Warren as President, I think she can do more good right where she is – witness the Rambling about her today. May God help those in government who want to stay honest and above the dark stuff.

      Dana

  21. OldProphet says

    Saying that Elizabeth Warren is a Native American is equivalent to me saying that I’m a Klingon! She’s a joke. Hey, Liz, look out for that photon torpedo! As for the Cubs, I rebuke all curses and pray the Yogi Bear blessing on them!

  22. Chaplain Mike: I got to fly through Chicago on Tuesday, and caught part of the Cubs game on TV in a bar, with the Chicagoans around us cheering them on. Didn’t see the Schwarber home run, but did catch a couple of other cool plays. It was fun being there during the middle of a historic event!

  23. Did anyone comment on the Metropolitan? I remember riding in one once sometime during my high school years (1963-1965).

    • I don’t think I ever rode in one, that I remember, but, they were too numerous to not notice when I was a kid.

      I had an older friend at church who had a mid-50’s Studebaker Presidential. Beautiful car. Had a manual over-drive. Rode in that one lots.

      • Tom,
        My parents drove mostly Studebakers when I was growing up. The last one they bought was a bright red 1961 Lark. One of my grandmothers also drove a Studebaker. They were a great make of car.