Sunday, January 25, 2009

Songs to Die For--"If Heaven"

I know nothing about country music, but I just heard this song for the first time at Stony Creek Digest, the blog of my cyber-friend Jeff Culbreath. "If Heaven," by Andy Griggs.

I note the allusion to "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes"--"If heaven was a tear, it'd be my last one."

My "Songs to Die For" series started here, with "Poor, Wayfarin' Stranger," almost a year and a half ago now. They don't have their own label. I probably should give them one, but for now they are scattered among the "hymns" and "songs that are not hymns" label. They are (almost) all songs related to death or heaven.

"If Heaven" has several unexpectedly profound things in it. For example, there is the verse that begins, "If Heaven was a pie it would be cherry," which hardly seems like a promising beginning. But then there is this line: "And just one bite would satisfy your hunger/And there'd always be enough for everyone." Which reminded Eldest Daughter, when she heard it, of the following section of Dante:

"It is because your desires are fixed where the part is lessened by sharing that envy blows the bellows to your sighs; but if the love of the highest sphere bent upward your longing, that fear would not be in your breast. For there, the more they are who say ours, the more of good does each possess and the more of charity burns in that cloister....That infinite and unspeakable good which is there above speeds to love as a sunbeam comes to a bright body; so much it gives of itself as it finds of ardour, so that the more charity extends the more does the eternal goodness increase upon it, and the more souls that are enamoured there above the more there are to be rightly loved and the more love there is and like a mirror the one returns it to the other." (Purgatorio, XV, 49ff, Virgil to Dante when they leave the terrace of the purgation of envy)

Or as Augustine says, "Truth ravishes all her lovers, yet is faithful to each."

I've just finished reading The Last Battle to Youngest Daughter, so heaven has been on my mind a good deal. When "If Heaven" connects heaven with earthly joys--finding the people you love alive, your home town, the best memories of childhood--I am reminded of this passage in The Last Battle. Professor Digory is speaking first:

"You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream."...It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right forehoof on the ground and neighed and then cried: "I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this."
Like, and yet unlike, the joys of this earth. As Lewis says in The Great Divorce, everything good that dies will be resurrected, but it must die first.

Oh, and while we're at it, when I put up my post last year on B. J. Thomas's "Home Where I Belong," it was not available on Youtube (or I didn't know how to find it). But it is now. And so as a bonus, here it is, too.

I wish they could play that one at my funeral.

Hebrews 11:13-16, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off...and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country...But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Here's something really funny

I want to announce that next week, February 1, I will be interviewed on the James Allen Show, a talk radio show out of Phoenix, AZ, on religion in the public square and, to some extent, reason and faith. The show goes from 8-9 p.m. Phoenix time. The "What time is it" web site tells me that this should be 10-11 p.m. Michigan time. I'm supposed to be on starting at about 8:15 Phoenix time. Readers, please tell me if I'm missing something here about the time, as I want to be sure to call in at the right time. I've never done anything like this before and am rather nervous about it, but I think Mr. Allen has some good questions planned.

He sent me, for fun, some mock commercials his show had produced, and he kindly gave me permission to put up a link to this one. It hasn't been aired yet, as far as I know, and it is very funny. It spoofs the campaign of a Republican Presidential primary candidate whose initials are R. P. and whose name rhymes with "Don Ball." If any of you are wondering about my precautions in naming this person, they arise from the fact that during the primary this candidate's rather creepy followers (who are his worst enemies, in my opinion), had Google set to notify them whenever his name appeared anywhere, however obscurely, on the web. They would then descend upon any such post like the proverbial wolf on the fold. And I don't want that to happen here.

I'm also posting this because, as Zippy will know from our economic debates, I'm somewhat sympathetic to criticisms of fiat money, and I wouldn't want it to be thought that I've lost my sense of humor. We've had a good laugh here at my house about the paper money bills with Paulian slogans hand written all over them, referred to in this commercial. Maybe you've seen the notes on the money, too.

So click on the link above and enjoy the commercial. And remember--resistance to the New World Order is futile...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Uneasy nights post on W4

I have few readers here who do not also read What's Wrong with the World, but for those few, I want to highlight my new post there called "For Uneasy Nights." It is my recommendation about how we should pray for Barack Obama.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Am Excited

...about something this week. But it certainly isn't the inauguration of Barack Obama, that's for sure.

It's the commutation of the sentences of former border agents Ramos and Compean, which they received for shooting a drug dealer in the rear end. This commutation, after two years in federal prison, isn't justice for them, but it's better than their being left in prison for eight more years. News reports say that they will be in prison for a couple more months. I hope they stay safe.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Looking up legal docs

Update: Document found. Thanks to Jonathan Prejean, who directed me to LEXIS/NEXIS. Yeah, I know: Why didn't I check that myself first. Well, see, I've never done it before, and... It took a bit of searching even there, but I now have the entire text. An interesting document. It looks to me like the 2DCA was very reluctant to say that her death was not "imminent," and that this was why they referred it to the Supreme Court as a question. There is even an urgent little bit at the end where they ask the Supreme Court to hurry up and hear the case lest (heaven forbid) the person in question should die with feeding and hydration in place while waiting for the courts to "assert her right of privacy." In fact, that's exactly what did happen in this case. But it does contain the "err on the side of life" direction, for what it is worth.

(Original post)

Not being a lawyer, I refer the following question to my sage readership. How can I get a copy of the actual text of the following appellate court opinion from Florida?

In re Guardianship of Browning, 543 So.2d 258 (Fla. 2d DCA 1989)

I rather fancy myself a rad Googler, but I've googled 'n' googled, and what I've come up with is the Florida Supreme Court opinion by the same name from 1990, here, and a summary of the 2DCA appellate court's opinion, here. It's at least mildly interesting that the summary of the 2DCA opinion says that it held that "a guardian of a patient who is incompetent but not in a permanent vegetative state, and who suffers from an incurable but not necessarily terminal condition, cannot terminate life-sustaining treatment and feeding by tube." The Supreme Court decision by the same name holds just the opposite. In fact, it concludes that a person's death is "imminent" if that person's death will be imminent if food and hydration are removed. Cute, huh? So all of us are "imminently" dying. One would normally conclude that the Florida Supreme Court had simply overturned the 2DCA on this point, yet the Supreme Court's decision is worded rather as an answer to a "question" which the 2DCA has referred to it. In fact, there's no reference in the Supreme Court's opinion at all to the fact (if the summary article is right) that it is coming to the opposite conclusion to that of the appellate court on a fairly important point. Just to make things a little more interesting, the appellate opinion is often quoted as stating that a proxy must "err on the side of life" when trying to decide what a ward's wishes would be regarding treatment (where "treatment" includes, perversely, food and water), but the Supreme Court decision neither affirms nor rejects this instruction. It doesn't mention it at all.

All of this makes me curious to see the full text of the appellate court's decision. Since Google has failed me, I'd like to know what to try next. Esteemed husband has a pretty good interlibrary loan service here at Big State University, but there is (as far as I'm aware) not an actual law library. Does one simply take the reference for the opinion to ILL and say, "Here, find me a copy of this, please"? Or is there some other database one can sign into to see it if one's university subscribes?

This is all for an article I'm working on that will be a restrospective of some of the legal issues surrounding the murder of Terri Schiavo.

Thanks to all you legal eagles in my readership for info.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Little Jazz Bird" by Glad

And a big HT to reader Stuart for suggesting imeem as a source of Glad clips. I'd been looking all over Youtube for a good recording of "Little Jazz Bird," but with no luck. (I didn't like the ones that were there, and of course they didn't have Glad.) Here is Glad's. I hope Gershwin won't be turning in his grave if I say that this song is absolutely adorable. It would be a lot of fun if some professional child singer had recorded it long ago--like Shirley Temple or somebody. The imeem clip is only missing a little bit at the end.

Little Jazz Bird - GLAD

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Break out the world's smallest violin

Okay, I know I'm blogging more often here than usual, but can you believe this garbage???

An AP news story headlined "5 Pirates Drown With Ransom Share," and it tries to drum up sympathy for the pirates. For crying out loud! I say, thank God there is poetic justice in the world after all. But here are some bits from the story:

Piracy is one of the few ways to make money in Somalia. Half the population is dependent on aid and a whole generation has grown up knowing nothing but war. A recent report by London's Chatham House think-tank said pirates raked in more than $30 million in ransoms last year.

Well, cry me a river. See, they can't do anything but take innocent hostages and demand ransom, because that's one of the few ways of making money in their country! Piracy: Main source of income in Somalia. I feel so sad for them.

Or how about this...

Abukar Haji, uncle of one of the dead pirates, blamed the naval surveillance for the accident that killed his pirate nephew Saturday.

"The boat the pirates were traveling in capsized because it was running at high speed because the pirates were afraid of an attack from the warships patrolling around," he said.

"There has been human and monetary loss but what makes us feel sad is that we don't still have the dead bodies of our relatives. Four are still missing and one washed up on the shore."

Pirate Daud Nure said three of the eight passengers had managed to swim to shore after the boat overturned in rough seas. He was not part of the pirate operation but knew those involved.

"Here in Haradhere the news is grim, relatives are looking for their dead," he said.

I just love that quote from "Pirate Daud Nure." As if "pirate" were just some normal appellation. But I suppose we should be glad that the AP is revealing its source. And we're supposed to feel so bad that those nasty, nasty warships caused the death of the poor pirates because they might be (shiff) chasing them. And this is "grim news." God forbid we should have a sense of justice. Maybe they should have interviewed the relatives of some of the hostages and asked them if they think this news is grim.

I'm pretty nearly speechless. This is outrageous. I know that if I read more AP news stories I'd see more outrageous stuff than this, but this is the one that I happened to see today.

A Cappella Gershwin

My old college friend Rich recommended this album to me when I had an earlier post about Glad. I only wish I could find a link that had more samples. Amazon appears to have no audio clips at all.

I got it for Eldest Daughter for a Christmas present, and in her jargon, "it's the bomb." (For all you old fogies like me out there, that's a compliment. I understand that "you are a total beast" is also a compliment.)

Anyway, it's excellent. Glad's top-notch musicianship is on display, as is what I read someone somewhere describing as "Ed Nalle's uncanny high tenor." Some of the pieces have words, some don't. Their vocal renditions of "American in Paris" and "Summertime" in the Gershwin medley are fantastic.

But my favorite was "Little Jazz Bird." I'd never heard it before and can't find a good Youtube or other on-line recording of it. Frankly, I can't stand these female jazz singers I find sort of simpering it out. Ick. But Glad does it straight up. If you should get the CD and hear the song, you'll have it going through your head and cheering you up for weeks. I recommend it.

A word on life in Sderot

I've been restraining myself from writing much here or elsewhere on the situation in Israel. Those who read me here with religious regularity know that my opinions on Israel are somewhere to the right of Likud.

I thought this post was good on what life is like in Sderot. (HT View from the Right)

Few things make me angrier when I read people talking about Israel's response in Gaza than the nonsense about how few people have actually died from the continual and direct rocket attacks from Gaza over the years. They will also mention that those attacks do not by themselves threaten Israel's very existence. (And these are people who claim not to be anti-Israel, yet.) That's absolutely absurd. Think about this: The U.S. could move all of its citizens back fifty kilometers from its borders if rockets started coming over into, say, Laredo, Texas, and showed no sign of stopping. We could just tell the Laredans to live with it or leave, to let Laredo turn back into a ghost town. And the U.S. would survive as a country. We're a lot bigger than Israel, after all. But that would be a shocking abdication of our government's responsibility to protect its citizens, including those in border towns, from unprovoked attack by our neighbors.

No, an attack doesn't have to constitute a threat to a country's existence before there is a just cause of war in responding to it.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Back to the mundane--got any advice on Charter telephone?

From the intellectual to the mundane:

AT & T has gotten increasingly aggressive in their marketing, sending pairs of salesmen (one older woman and one young man each time) to thunder on my door repeatedly. They want to sell me a package in which I have to sign up for cable TV, which I do not want, have my house wired for it, and then cancel it. I really do not want to do this.

However, I am indeed paying too much for Charter internet service. Having internet with one company and phone with a different company does get you a poor price for each. So I'm thinking of switching my phone to Charter. Somehow I feel less nervous about making a change in my phone technology than making a change in my internet technology. This may not be rational, however.

Do any of my esteemed readers have experience with either AT & T internet (I hear it's DSL rather than cable modem) or Charter telephone? On Facebook I have so far one very negative review of AT & T internet service. In December, my Charter internet has had a few connectivity problems, but I will say that they have resolved them. More importantly, when I called tech support and talked to a person, I got a nice American guy with a charming southern accent who knew what he was talking about. This was a big improvement over someone with an Indian accent you could cut with a knife who patronized the customer and was clearly working from a flip chart. So I'm cautiously still satisfied with Charter internet. But they are charging me too much, which they will stop doing (they say) if I switch my phone to them.

Hmmm. One doesn't want one's phone suddenly not to be working right, either.

It would be ironic if A T & T's pushiness lost them a phone customer, though. The devil in me would sort of like to make that happen.

All advice taken in the spirit in which it is intended.