27 January 2004

Please, Not Again!

Mixolydian Mode posted about critical cliches a few days ago. After looking through January's issue of "Irish Music Magazine" today, I think I can add some cliches of the music world that annoy me.

"The voice of an angel" We all knew this phrase was done for when it became the title of Charlotte Church's first CD.

The description of a singers voice as "poetry." Now, poetry sounds like meter, rhyme, playing with sounds, and imagery to me. How a singer can sound like poetry is beyond my comprehension.

"Evocative." The word means "tending to evoke; tending to call up, cause, appear, or summon." By saying, "This song is evocative," you are saying, "This song tends to call up." Call up what? Feelings or memories of something? Causing demons to appear? What?

Ok, this is not a cliche, but it annoyed me: "Some say the harp is an aquired taste." I play the harp. I have never heard anyone say that. No where have I seen it written that someone disliked listening to a harp. In fact, I've met people who don't like classical music or don't like Irish music, but who have said that they enjoyed said genres when they heard them played on the harp. The only complaint I've ever had was that harp music could be too relaxing.

Ok, enough complaining for today.

25 January 2004

Fantastic Quotes from Tonight's Lecture

"We should all pray for ourselves, each other, and Mick Jagger, so that someday we can all sing 'I have got my sat-is-fac-tion.'"

"What did God create man and woman for? 'Mawage...Mawage is what bwings us togefer today...'"

"Guys, let's be honest now. When you are experiencing really strong lust, I want you to say a prayer and place yourself on the Cross. Stand with your arms stretched out. And, look at the position I'm in now. It really has a practical side, too..."

"We are all driving around with flat tires. For some reason, we think this is normal. Maybe because we're all doing this. But Jesus came to tell us that, in the beginning, it wasn't like this. He came to restore things to the way they were; to reinflate our tires."

Fifty house points to anyone who can tell me the name of this speaker. Hint, he's an expert on the Theology of the Body. (Matt, you're disqualified because I already told you.)

22 January 2004

Today is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. According to some counts, 43 million babies have been killed in the past 31 years. I have been robbed of a third of my generation. They will never say their first words, take their first steps, go to kindergarten, take piano lessons, graduate from college, become teachers, doctors, lawyers, priests, nuns, artists, architects, musicians, businessmen, or have children of their own. They will never have the chance to change the world. They do not even have names.

I'm going to go say the Rosary now. I hope you will do the same sometime today, because Our Lady is the Protectress of the Unborn.

On a mundane note, I'm fed up with BlogOut comments and have switched to Haloscan. Fortunately, previous remarks don't seem to have disappeared from my archives. Unfortunately, Haloscan doesn't have the nifty eyebrow-raising smilie.

21 January 2004

Here's an article about why Protestants should oppose contraception. Thanks to Zorak of E-Pression.
With the anniversary of Roe v. Wade only two days away, I suppose it is appropriate to post a link to the blog After Abortion. An article they linked to a few days ago from After Abortion.org is especially interesting to me because of personal stories of a few people I have met.

The subject of abortion has always struck a chord with me because of the day on which I was born, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. I can't imagine what it must be like for a friend of mine whose birthday is on Thursday. When something really important like that is related to the day on which you were born, you can't escape from it. You remember it, every year. When I think about my birthday, I pray for all those people whose babies should have been born that day but weren't, and whose babies were born only to have thier lives stolen from them, like the Holy Innocents.

How much of my generation was never born? I've seen the statistics. I know how many people I will not get the chance to meet, not in this life.

16 January 2004

Does anyone know what happened to the comment feature that I and several others around here use? It's been gone for at least three days, and I can't even get to the website from which I got the feature. It was BlogOut, from Klinkfamily.com. Email us if you know anything about it, please.

15 January 2004

Just for the record, my objections to theologically questionable songs and banal melodies are only slightly above my objection to a Billy Joel-style piano accompaniment to said hymns. They're bad enough as it is, do we really need to make it worse by having mind-numbing accompaniment?

14 January 2004

A Cold Weather Song

Logs to Burn

Logs to burn, logs to burn,
Logs to save the cold a turn!
Here's a word to make you wise
When you hear the woodsman cry:

Beechwood fires burn bright and clear, Hornbeam blazes too
If the logs are kept a year to season through and through. (chorus)

Oak logs will warm you well if they're old and dry;
Larch logs like pinewood smell but the sparks will fly.

Pine is good and so is Yew for warmth through wintry days;
Poplar and the Willow too, they take too long to blaze.

Holly logs will burn like wax; you should burn them green;
Elm logs like smouldering flax: no flames with them are seen.

Pear logs and Apple logs, they will scent your room;
Cherry logs, across the dogs, they smell like flow'rs in bloom.

Ash logs, so smooth and grey, burn them green or old;
Buy up all that come your way, they're worth their weight in gold.

I guess that would be a useful song too, if you're the type that goes out into the forest to cut your own firewood. Of course, it doesn't mention my favorite of all the trees, the redwood, because redwood is far too moist and soft and hardly burns at all. (Also, they don't have redwood trees in the British Isles.) I think they're prettier living than dead, anyway, unless you're making a guitar or panelling a room with it, or something beautiful and useful like that. Redwood panelling is lovely. Redwood guitars have a pretty tone, because the soft wood vibrates well especially on the base notes, but also because the wood is soft they are easily scratched and damaged. Maple is better, and if you can get curly maple for your instrument, it's even more beautiful than redwood (Clare, my Thormahlen harp, is made from curly maple). I guess they don't have maple in the British Isles either.

09 January 2004

I've been saying it for years...
Chocolate is good for you

06 January 2004

Movies and Housewives
I went to the movies with my big sister today. We saw "Mona Lisa Smile." It was not great, but it was entertaining enough. I'm not a big Julia Roberts fan, but I like Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles. For those of you who didn't see the previews, Ms. Roberts plays a bohemian art history prof who goes to teach at the prestigious all-women Wellesley College somewhere on the East Coast in 1953. It's pretty much a finishing school where society girls take classes in poise and deportment while they wait for a boy from one of the "right" families (probably a student at Harvard) to propose. This professor thinks she can change the girls, and introduces them to modern ideas about women having jobs and husbands, or not tying themselves to men at all.

At one point, a prize student who has already been accepted to Yale Law School decides not to be a lawyer and elopes with her fiance. Ms. Roberts' character confronts her about it, disappointed that she would give up such an opportunity. The girl tells her professor that she has chosen to be a housewife and raise a family. No one pushed her into it; this really is what she wants. The professor leaves, a bit stunned.

To me, this is one of the more interesting parts of the movie. I think it recognizes a fault in the sort of feminism which Ms. Roberts' character espouses, and is a very real fault which does not only apply to feminists in 1953. My mother, for instance, has a hard time accepting that I have many friends whose mothers are intelligent, amibitous, hard-working college graduates who have chosen not to work outside the home. She has a difficult time believing, not that they are not smart or hard-working, but that they are ambitious. To stay home must mean that this woman is somehow devoid of a drive to make something of herself, right?

Wrong. To be a housewife, and I mean to do this by choice, not because your mother did it, or because it's expected of you, or because your husband wants you to, is very ambitious. It's not easier than being a business woman or a teacher or a doctor. It doesn't require less intelligence or determination. It's hard work, and it requires a different set of talents than being in the conventional work world. If anything, I think it's more of a vocation than a job. I don't want to stay home because God gave me a set of talents, specifically for music, that I think would languish, and waste away if I didn't teach and perform. Other women are really good at being housewives. So, feminists of my mother's generation and of mine, please just let them do what they're good at, what they like doing, what they have chosen to do. I glad that I will have the opportunity to have a career, please let my peers also have the opportunity to stay home with their kids sans criticism. (While you're at it, I would appreciate it if you didn't sneer disapprovingly as they go through the grocery store with their seven children.)

04 January 2004

Feast of the Epiphany

Here's a different song about the men who came to visit the baby Jesus on this day (other than "We Three Kings"):

As With Gladness Men of Old
(to the same tune as "For the Beauty of the Earth")

As with gladness, men of old
Did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light
Leading onward, beaming bright
So, most glorious Lord, may we
Evermore be led to Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly manger bed
There to bend the knee before
Him Whom heaven and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek Thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger rude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.

Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light;
Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
Thou its Sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Alleluias to our King!

01 January 2004

Happy New Year!