Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Chris Joyce

I lost a friend this weekend. His name was Chris Joyce, he was 31 years old, and he was an extraordinarily gifted and kind-hearted young man. It was a privilege to be his friend and I look forward to seeing him again one day.

Monday, July 30, 2007

On The Road

We are heading to Virginia for a couple of days to visit my brother. Should be great fun, travelling through OH, WV, and a good bit of VA. We are heading out with our niece and nephews in the backseat and good weather ahead.

Friday, July 27, 2007

PSA - Music By People You've Never Head Of.

Public Service Announcement: Regular readers, and I am referring to both of you, know that one of my favorite things is new, fresh MBPYNHO (Music By People You've Never Heard Of).

Here is a deep and wide pool of it, with free live broadband concert video footage. Fabchannel features performances of many different flavors by artists who have appeared on the stage of the Paradiso, a nightclub in Amsterdam.

I really liked Emiliana Torrini a lot. Her music is both melancholy and happy, fragile and strong, innocent and experienced, all at the same time. The Whip was a fun listen, reminding me mostly of the Pyschedelic Furs, a punk-pop band of yesteryear of whom I very fond. I couldn't stand Late of the Pier...those boys can hardly play. Several of the techno/DJ acts were musically interesting. I haven't listened to anywhere near all of it, but there's metal, pop, folk, dance, blues, and much more to be seen and heard. And very nearly all of it is MBPYNHO.

Shawn Colvin does not qualify as an unknown artist by any means and her set is absolutely transcendant. She plays and sings so well. Be sure to check her out.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Truth - A short video presentation

Here is a very creative video created by Granger Community Church. I'd tell you more, but it would spoil it. Watch the whole thing because it does something surprising.

I found this via Butch Whitmire's blog, which I found via Kem Meyer's blog, who I met at The Willow Creek Worship Arts Conference.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Will It Blend? The iPhone Edition

On of my daily stops on the world-wide web is to On Location With Rick Lee, to check out what new artistic offerings this gifted photographer has to share.

This YouTube video is really atypical for Rick, since he usually features his own work. But like him, I find this far too urgently compelling not to blog about it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Odds & Ends

I think I have fixed one of the problems that was plaguing my Mac laptop, making it frustrating to use. I hope so. At any rate, I am enjoying posting this entry from the front porch, at dusk, after a rather strenuous day at work.

I slept about 3 hours last night. It was not for lack of trying, although I did give up around 2:00AM and decided to get some work done. I am not normally an antisomnabulist. My hope is that I will return to routine this evening. Soon, in fact.

Here are a few loose bits of change that I've been carrying around in my pocket for a bit. None of these notions, on their own, merit a blog entry, but combined, they are like the handful of curious and unusual stones that you pick up in the field in the very early spring, pushed up to the surface by the thaw. You look at them, roll them around in your hand, clean them off in the sink and put them on the window sill. Some months later, you add them to the gravel that lines the driveway.

Above is a picture of the Lynn Friends Church, from some 50 years or more ago. My ancestors helped establish this church back in the early 1800's. It is still a thriving worship community. There are things to appreciate about the Quakers. My grandma, at 91, is now the oldest member of this church. This is an honor about which she has mixed feelings. As a follow-up to my post some time ago on some of the area's country churches, go here for some history as well as more excellent old photos of churches here in Randolph County.


One of the most interesting websites that I know of is dirtybeloved - un regard oblique, and I recommend it to you now. It is a distinctly different and eclectic website that, in turn, will take you to some remarkable places. Places filled with stunning archives of photographic imagery, graphic anomalies, cultural peculiarities, and insightful, creative thinking. It is a blog, but not one like any other that I have seen.


This past weekend, I consciously avoided an opportunity to volunteer to teach a class this fall on the Book of Revelation. I wonder if that was a mistake. Sometimes I wish that either the Holy Spirit would speak more loudly and forcefully, or that I would be wise enough and quiet enough to know for sure when I am being whispered to.


Every summer we try to take advantage of a very special attraction that we have in nearby Winchester. We have one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the country. I love that when you call in to find out what the features are, the answering machine informs you that "all movies start at dusk." On Tuesdays, it is $5 per carload and $10 every other night to see a double-feature, which is an antiquated bit of entertainment jargon that means you get to see two shows for the price of one. You tune your car radio in to the low-power FM frequency that broadcasts the movie audio. Families come from all over, mostly hardworking blue collar or farming folks, to park next to people they don't know, eat some snacks, and watch the movie from their favorite lawn chair. There is a playground there with all manner of unsafe toys, like jungle gyms and carousels, and sand piles, swing sets, and slides. The kids play until it gets dark. There is a squat, cinder block building in the center, painted yellowish green, that houses the funky concession stand and from which the ancient projectors beam. Just out of sight, less than a quarter of a mile a way, there is a busy convergence of active railway lines that rumble and blow without regard for what features may be showing. The sunsets are routinely spectacular from the drive-in parking lot.

All that to say, that last week we took my niece, Camomille, and her young son, Bryce, to see the animated feature Ratatouille. This movie is much better than one might expect, I am happy to report. There is one scene that is especially interesting to me which I feel I can relate without spoiling the movie for you. At one point, a character tastes a particular dish that dramatically transports him momentarily back to his childhood, so powerfully does it remind him of the flavor, the smell, the essence of his mother's kitchen, the feel of his own childhood.

That resonated with me, in all of its animated surrealism, because it taps into what for me is a curious experiential truth. That is, the way certain sounds, tastes, smells, objects and, for me, especially music all summon remembrances so quickly, so powerfully, without reason or warning. I really like when that happens. I don't understand how that works or what, if anything, it may mean or say about the way we are made. But I like it.

Last Sunday, in conversation at dinner with my parents, I happened to think of and then recalled aloud a certain kind of cookie that I remembered my Mom making when I was a kid. They were called "Secret Recipe" cookies, and they were splendid and perfect in every way. They were, even to my child's mind, the archetypal homemade cookie, long before I knew what an archetype was.

It is not so often that we eat with my parents, and almost never during the week, but last evening we joined them and my grandma for dinner again. As a surprise, my mother had made the "Secret Recipe" cookies. First the sight of them, then the smell, and then finally the taste and guess what? Just like the animated character in the movie, I was 10 years old again. Just for a little while.

That is a powerful and mysterious magic.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Frederick Polley in New Orleans #2

Indiana artist and printmaker Frederick Polley loved the city of New Orleans and found great inspiration in its narrow streets, it's crowded market areas, and it's unique international culture. A master at capturing the art of architecture wherever he travelled, it is for his rendering of houses, buildings, city structures, and urban landscapes that he is perhaps best known.

Click to enlarge

These two drawings, copied here from newsprint, were published in the Indianapolis Star in the 1940's. He had a regular column feature in the newspaper at that time and usually included a few well-tuned paragraphs describing the subject or location of the week. He would often muse about its history, prominence, or its beauty in an unpretentious and appreciative, even a poetic tone.

Click to enlarge

Frederick Polley was well-known and well-liked in the New Orleans art community and upon invitation, exhibited a number of his works at the New Orleans Art League show in 1943. For more information about him, and other examples of his work, click on the appropriate label in the list of categories.

Frederick Polley is one of my ancestors and, when possible, my family collects his artwork.

If you see any, please let me know!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

THE LAMB by William Blake

Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee

Gave thee life and bid thee feed.
By the stream & o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice:

Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee.

Little Lamb I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb I'll tell thee,
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.

Little Lamb God bless thee.
Little Lamb God bless thee.

from Songs of Innocence, 1789.

The Cavaliers - Dublin, OH 07/09/07

This past Monday night we travelled to Dublin, Ohio, a Columbus suburb, to see the Cavaliers perform. Our troupe included Nancy and I, Nancy's sister Mary, and Charles, Camomille, & Bryce Swarts, who are visiting from Portland, OR this week.

Here is a slice of the Cavvie's show. They did a great job (again) and they won the contest handily this time. There were several new elements as they continue to morph and refine things. The next time we will see him will be at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis on July 28th, which is one of the biggest events of the season.

After the encore, we were able to catch up with JP, and here he is with Bryce. He and Bryce have a special friendship and the little guy was absolutely overjoyed and completely impressed to see JP. Bryce looks very spiffy in his brand-new Cavalier's T-shirt, too.

Here is JP signing autographs for his adoring fans, er...family. Jordan spent much of last summer living with and working for Cam and Charles in Portland, so they were all very glad to see each other again.

Jordan confirmed that something he had alluded to previously had in fact come to pass in the past week. He has been promoted from alternate to the active roster. This week will be very intense for him as he has to learn some 230+ pages of marching show this week. He already knows the music, of course, and is very familiar with the overall performance, but now that he is actually in the show, it is significantly more difficult and important.

He is very pleased.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Executive Priviledge

"Look, I just didn't like those guys," says President Bush, "so it was pink slips all around."

Okay, he doesn't really say that in this article. But still, this whole thing about the fired federal prosecuters is just stupid.

First, they're lawyers...they can get other jobs. Second, we've got lots more lawyers...and now some different ones have new jobs working for the U.S. government. Third, he's the President of the United States of America, for crying out loud...if he can't fire a few lawyers when he wants too, then what is the point?

Yeesh. Priorities. Haven't they got anything better to do in Congress than vote themselves pay raises, play with their pet pork projects, and piddle with this kind of trivia? They need to shut up and get back to work.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Blessings #5

Business-wise, this has been my most successful week in more than a decade. I've been working on a couple of big deals over the last six weeks or so and both came to fruition this week. I sold more audio gear in the last few days than I do in most yearly quarters. It has been a hectic, busy time lately, but extraordinarily fruitful. And I have another 3 weeks left in the month!

Thank you, Lord!

Willow Creek Arts Conference - Glimpses #2

The first session speaker was photographer and filmmaker DeWitt Jones. I enjoyed all of the speakers, but this session was one of my favorites. It would be a fruitless to attempt to recap all of what he said, but Jones was brimming with enthusiasm, for art, for God, and for life. We were so moved by the stories he told and by the remarkable photos and video footage that he shared, that we purchased the DVD of the session. It is currently in circulation among some of our friends at church, but I hope to see it again soon.

He told the best stories from his own life's experience, it's joys and it's sorrows, and about how God worked through him in astounding ways that he never expected. He talked about how, if we are willing to be surprised by God, to take some risks, life can be a great adventure. Our lives can be a work of art, regardless of who we are, where we are, what we do, where we come from, or what we have or don't have. It was not about merely having a forced positive mental attitude, but rather an authentic attitude that is honestly and openly engaged first vertically, with God, and then laterally, with the people and circumstances that we encounter.

It has been a few weeks now since the conference, but there are two quotes in particular that continue to resonate and encourage me:

"Ask yourself, 'Is my view of the world based on scarcity and fear, or is it based on love and possibility?'"


"Don't worry so much about making a difference. Just take the
responsibility to make a contribution."

Good stuff, that.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cavaliers Update

As noted in an earlier post, JP joined up with The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps on 6/20/07 at the contest held in Decatur, IN. Since that time he has travelled with them nonstop as an alternate. We had not heard from him since that time although we knew where he was from their tour schedule.

We caught up with them this past Monday night at a contest in Centerville, Ohio, south of Dayton. The stadium was packed...okay, not the other side that you see in the picture, but on the home side, there was nary a free seat in the house.

We took my two nephews visiting from Virginia to see the contest, too, and it was really a great show. I had emailed Jordan telling him we would be there, but he had not responded so I had no idea whether or not he received it. Turns out, he had not.

There are 4 alternate performers who do not actually march the show with the corps, but they do perform at the parades, encores, and other post-contest activities. Below, JP is the 4th trumpeter from the end in the closest row.

So he was startled when, as they were exiting the field following the performance to hear me voice a distinctive greeting. We were then able to catch up with him and spend some time with him as the corps packed up. They were driving back through the night to Chicago for a day off and some practice before hitting the road again.

Here he is with his super-proud Mom and his two cousins, Garret and Zachary.

We've really been missing him. I know he'll be 21 years old in November, and yes, he moved out a couple of years ago to go to college. As a family we are all well into the healthy process of emptying the nest. But two weeks without a phone call or an email was making me edgy. It was really great to see him, hug him, and hear about his recent adventures.

We are well blessed and he is doing very well. The next time we see him is likely to be in a couple of weeks in Dublin, OH, just before they head off to Texas and the Southwest for a couple of weeks. Check out their schedule here. JP mentioned that it is likely that by that time he will have moved from alternate to the active roster and will be marching in every show. Get to a show if one comes to your area. This is nothing like your normal high school or college marching band, I guarantee. It is really fun to watch.

4th of July Celebration

This is an unbelievably cool artistic offering for Independence Day. The artist's name is Dan Dunn.

Sharon found this and I was so taken by it that I had to immediately steal it and post it.