Monday, November 25, 2013

The Magic of Christmas Starts on Thanksgiving

I hope children today have at least half as much fun as we did in our day anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus, Christmas and all the traditions that go with this time of year.  For me it all started on Thanksgiving Day when Santa arrived at the end of the parade to officially start things off.
 (For some reason my memories of the parade are in black and white; must have to do with the fact that we didnt own a color television when I was a kid)

We’d watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television, the floats, marching bands, helium filled balloons gliding between tall buildings held in place by armies of men struggling against the wind and all manner of entertainment; but the best part was always Santa in his sleigh as he stopped in front of Macy’s proclaiming the season officially had begun. 

I don’t know what other families did after enjoying the entire day together, a fabulous meal and watching football until everyone was dizzy.  Each family has its own traditions; ours was no different.

When it was time to retire for the evening our parents would hand us pencil and paper with instructions to make a list of items we’d like Santa to consider if we were on the Good List. 

We used our best penmanship to articulate the dreams and desires of our hearts and minds while mom was in the kitchen whipping up a batch of cookies.  “These are for Santa when he comes by later tonight.  If you’ve been good he’ll read your lists.  You’ll know he read them if his magic mittens turn them into soot”, as she placed our pieces of paper in the center of the dining room table on a plate with the cookies. 
Sometimes we’d put a glass of milk or a cold bottle of Coca Cola for Santa to wash down the cookies; but the important part was that he got a chance to read our lists a month prior to the big day.

The next morning we all raced to the kitchen table where, sure enough, the cookies had been eaten; but more importantly there was a pile of incinerated paper on the plate along with a small scorch mark indicating a successful Santa encounter.

Thanksgiving Day is upon us already; how time flies.  Let gratitude to the Lord for all we’ve been given and all that we have yet to be given top our lists.  May the magic of the season dwell in our hearts and minds regardless of how old we might be or whatever our circumstances. 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Authentic or Modified

In our world of synthesized music, housing, and even printer generated weaponry there comes a point where it becomes difficult to tell the fabricated from the ‘real McCoy’.   There was an article published explaining how somebody figured out a way to print out an entire automobile, something they called 3-D printing. 

What’s next…3-D printed humans?

Digital music hangs in the air and comes to us via the internet; we take it for granted, just another App on our computer, Android phone or Kindle.  Instead of going to the Record Store to purchase the latest album we download all or part of an album and have it charged to our account.  Heck, it’s hard to find music on a CD or phonograph record unless you happen to be at some place like Half Price Books where they specialize in selling used material.

I grew up in the age when tape recorded music was taking the place of vinyl phonograph recordings; reel to reel, 8 tracks and cassettes. Most folks from my generation will recall a marketing ploy to sell recording cassette tape,  Is it live or is it Memorex?”  We all rushed out to get the latest innovation; their marketing strategy worked.

The generation before mine had Player Piano Roll music, a chance to own and play your favorites there in the comfort of your living room; provided you had a Player Piano on which to play them.  These offered a fair representation of the artist’s work while at the same time falling a bit short on Ella Fitzgerald’s challenge, “Is it live or is it Memorex?”

Some enterprising individual came up with a modern day solution, a means whereby piano roll music could be fed through a computer attached to a grand piano and render a performance which closely matched that of the original performance.  There might be other versions of the contraption; but the one I’m familiar with is a 9-foot Yamaha Disklavier grand piano.  It magically transforms piano roll music which has been recorded to a CD and then spits out a “note-for-note” performance as if played by the original performer. 

While listening to Pandora Radio via my laptop this afternoon a favorite Gershwin tune landed on my ear, An American in Paris.  This version was entirely a piano piece; four handed and clear as a bell.  I could hear the genius of Gershwin floating within and throughout; but knew it wasn’t Gershwin playing because I had this recording on CD.

I went to my library and found the copy of this recording, Gershwin Plays Gershwin / The Piano Rolls.  Inside the jacket of the CD was a small booklet explaining how the recordings were made, each a piano roll converted to digital on a CD and played on the Disklavier grand piano.

The last tune, An American in Paris, was an arrangement by Frank Milne and “played”, if that term applies to putting holes in a roll of paper fed into a piano, “played” by Milne and Leith; but if you read further, Leith was a pseudonym for Milne.  Milne figured out a way to “play” all four hands of an original Gershwin piano roll so that when fed into the Disklavier it came out as a seamless performance which captures the mindset and magic as if George Gershwin had given a command performance. 

“We have no evidence that Gershwin supervised Milne’s arrangement of An American in Paris but the arranger had previously worked with Gershwin on his late Duo-Art song rolls.  Milne’s version of An American in Paris ingeniously evokes not only the full sonority of an orchestra but also the vitality of a live performance.”

Some might say this was a forgery based on the printed claim on the CD jacket, Gershwin Plays Gershwin; but as far as I know Gershwin never recorded onto CD, it was before his time.  Whether it’s authentic or modified, real or Memorex; sit back and let your spirit enjoy the music of a bygone era.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Legal doesn’t always make it right

While interacting with total strangers via social forums such as Facebook I’ll run across folks who throw down a gauntlet, challenge my better judgment to avoid confrontations which only serve to inflame all parties involved.  This happened earlier this evening and it’s been brewing in the back of my mind ever since, enough to where a short comment, retaliation if you will, wouldn’t be sufficient.

Today is the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes Day if you’ve studied history.  I watched the movie, V for Vendetta, in keeping with the spirit of Guy Fawkes Day.  There’s a plea for sanity, a plea for restoration of lost liberty which strikes a chord within me when V interrupts the national propaganda program with his unauthorized broadcast.

I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak…Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?”

There is something terribly wrong with America, isn’t there?  Those who’ve been sent to represent ‘We The People’ have distanced themselves from the standards which at one time made America great.  They’ve twisted our laws to make what is right appear to be wrong and what is wrong appear to be right; prophetic some might say.

John Adams wrote in a letter to the Militia of Massachusetts:

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Follow that with a line from William Penn:

“Those who will not be Governed by God will be Ruled by Tyrants”  

Sadly, history has proven this to be true; just look around.  Our republic has been under attack for quite some time.  The foundations of morality in America have taken a back seat to an agenda which rolls forward on the wings of mandated tolerance to deviance and forced acceptance of depravity hiding under the cloak of diversity.  There is no sin if everything is legal; at least that’s what is being foisted upon us.

Aye, that’s the ticket, Laddie, if we declare everything legal there is no such thing as sin, no right or wrong.  Isn’t that the rationalization regarding abominations which are now called the law of the land?

“And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.”   2 Nephi 2:13  

Tolerance and diversity, we’ve been instructed, include a wide range of activities; every thing from sexual deviations, now considered life style choices, all the way to murdering innocents while they’re still in the womb; but it’s all legal so don’t concern yourself.

Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote:

“America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Election cycles provide opportunities for us, individually and collectively, to either follow the commandments as set forth by our Creator or to pursue another path, one which runs contrary to God’s laws. 

I remember reading a line written by Martin Luther King Jr. while he was being held in a Birmingham jail.  His purpose was to point out that “a group of white Alabama clergymen that legalizing an act does not ipso facto make it moral or just.”

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal”.   

It’s also the 1st Tuesday of November, Election Day on an off year.  Not much going on in Texas at this time that would interest folks, at least not at the national level; but that hasn’t kept political discussions from getting heated with a variety of topics.  

Wendy Davis, State Senator who wants to be governor of Texas when that comes up before the voters next year made national headlines when she delayed a ‘slam dunk’ vote regarding how abortions would be performed here in Texas.  The news media lapped it up, providing plenty of extra coverage of Davis’ fist pump for down trodden women shackled by mean spirited old white Republicans.

Never mind that the restrictions which she and many progressives opposed were written in such a way as to provide additional protection for women seeking abortions.  The left wants abortions to continue regardless of risk, citing a woman’s right rather than considering any plan which calls for caution. 

The rights of the child are never considered by the left in their rush to slaughter babies; but they don’t consider these life forms as individuals with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; these are lumps of unwanted cells, nothing more.  Never mind that these ‘unwanted cells’ could survive outside the womb upon reaching the third trimester; the image of a small human dependent on being properly nurtured is not permitted in this conversation.

Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator who staged a filibuster against abortion restrictions, has begun telling supporters she will run for governor against a well-financed Republican in what could be one of the top matchups in the 2014 U.S. elections.”  

That brings me to this evenings comment thread wherein someone took exception to my observation.

“I don’t believe Wendy Davis ever thought she could ‘win’ the governor’s race here in Texas; however, and this is my own belief, she is trying to garner enough national recognition to perhaps advance to a national appointment under a Hillary Clinton presidency or even perhaps the lame duck Obama administration since she waves her radical leftist flag where ever she goes.”

I’ll ascribe the response to an ‘anonymous’ person with a penchant for ignoring morality in favor of a democratically derived version of tolerance through law. 

“…a woman’s right to a constitutionally guaranteed medical procedure (constitutional through Roe V. Wade) and your only comment is that she is waving her radical leftist flag.”  

The comment doesn’t try to justify murdering an innocent child in the womb during the third trimester or an attempt to provide proper medical facilities for those seeking this procedure; but rather stands on the presumption that simply because abortion laws were deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court… the law makes it right, morally sound, and let’s not forget, acceptable in the eyes of the Lord.  My guess, this person would be offended by such an expectation of laws here in America in this day and age.

There was no point in continuing the dead end conversation, no common ground, no chance to work out our differences through consideration of each others thoughts.  Sometimes it’s better to walk away; arguing with the godless is a waste of time.

Legal doesn’t always make it right; consider that as we watch America’s future leaders, those who write the laws we will be judged by in the eternal scheme of things.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.