Sunday, November 30, 2008

I finished reading:

"Out of My Later Years" a series of Essays written by Albert Einstein during the period 1934 - 1950. This book is suprisingley simple to read and covers a wide range of topics from religion, to society, to War and Peace, to personalities, to being Jewish and of course science including definitions of relativity and the proof leading to his most famous equation - E=mc2.

One of my favourite quote comes from him and was from one of the essays in this book - "Science without religion is lame, religion with-out science is blind" (page 26)


Friday, November 28, 2008

I finished reading:-

"Red Square" written by Martin Cruz Smith.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving. A curious American (and a wee bit earlier in the year, Canadian) event. A day to eat Turkey, watch the Macy's parade on TV and give thanks. I deliberately left the "thanks" to the end of the list (and perhaps I am being cynical), but, the "thanks" part of the day seems to be an after thought in the day. As this is my first Thanksgiving as an "American" I want to spend a few minutes giving thanks, especially after what has been a trying few weeks...

I am thankful for...

  • My wonderful wife and family
  • So many great friends around the world
  • For all the opportunities that I have been given in life
  • For the chance to say thanks.
  • For the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Finished Reading:

"The Old North State Book" a small booklet on facts about North Carolina...

Some Examples -

The State Bird - The Cardinal
The State Flower - The Dogwood
The State Insect - The Honey Bee
The State Tree - The Long Leaf Pine
The State Mammal - The Gray Squirrel
The State Shell - The Scotch Bonnet
The State Salt Water Fish - The Channel Bass
The State Historical Boat - The Shad Boat...

My next new CD is the 2004 BBC Young Musician of the Year, Nicola Benedetti playing works by Ralph Vaughan Williams and John Tavener. In my opinion this is a stunning CD and I have rarely heard the violin sound better.

"The Lark Ascending" composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams and "Song for Atene (version for solo violin and strings)", "Dhyana" and "Lalishri" all composed by John Tavener. All where performed by Nicola Benedetti (violin) with The London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton.

I finished reading:-

"The Teeth of the Tiger" written by Tom Clancy.


Monday, November 17, 2008

The next CD that I listened to was:

"Terezin / Theresienstadt" a compilation of works by Czech Jewish composers who all except one died in prison camps during the Holocaust. The works and performers are:-

"Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt" composed by Ilse Weber (1903-1944)
"Pod destnikem" and "Vsechno jde (Terezin March)!!" composed by Karel Svenk (1917-1945) all performed by Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Bengt Forsberg (piano) and Bebe Risenfors (accordian).

"Ade, Kamered" composed by Ilse Weber performed by Christian Gerhaher (baritone) and Gerold Huber (piano)

" Und der Regen rinmt" composed by Ilse Weber and perfomed by Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Bengt Forsberg (piano) and Bebe Risenfors (accordian).

"Ich weiss bwetimmt, ich werd dich wiedersehn" composed by Adolf Strauss (1902-1944) performed by Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano) and Bengt Forsberg (piano).

"Terezin-lied" by a unknown composer performed by Christian Gerhaher (baritone) and Gerold Huber (piano).

"Wir reiten auz holzerman Pferden" composed by Martin Roman (1910 - 1996) performed by Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano) and Bengt Forsberg (piano).

"Wiegala" composed by Ilse Weber performed by Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano) and Bebe Resenfors (guitar).

"Three Songs" composed by Hans Krasa (1899-1944) performed by Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Ib Hausmann (clarinet), Philip Dukes (viola) and Josephone Knight (cello).

"Ein judusches Kind" composed by Carlo Sigmund Taube (1897 - 1944) performed by Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Bengt Forsberg (piano) and Ib Hausmann (clarinet).

"Beryozkele" and "Six Sonnets, op.34" composed by Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944) and performed by Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano) and Bengt Forsberg (piano).

"Four Songs on Chinese Poetry" composed by Pavel Haas (1899-1944) performed by Christian Gerhaher (baritone) and Gerold Huber (piano).

"Sonata for Solo Violin" composed by Erwin Schulhoff (1894 - 1942) performed by Daniel Hope (violin).

We should never forget!!!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's been a while since I've acquired some new CD's, but, I finally have. Therefore, I will post them as I listen to them. The first -

"Andrew Lloyd Webber - A Classical Tribute" featuring Julian Lloyd Webber.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

I finished reading:-

"Native Carolinians - The Indians of North Carolina", a small book written by Theda Perdue.

I think I have posted on this before, but, I feel I need to again. The reason is that I am totally irritated with all the anger over the proposition 8 being passed in California banning gay marriage.

The reason why I am irritated is simple. The separation of Church and State. If any Christian, or Judeo-Christian symbolism is ever mentioned or displayed etc... the ACLU and many others jump on it as unconstitutional, bigoted etc... So, now here is the problem. Marriage in the definition of the term is a religious Sacrament, based on the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, it is not a Governmental institution. Therefore if a religious group decides not to allow or to allow a marriage based on their doctrine it is their perogative. Likewise a Government body legally should not be able to issue a "Marriage License" of any description. It is as hypocrtical for athiest's to gain a "Marriage" license as it would be for a gay couple etc... The State should definately have some legal safe guards for couples and I do not have a problem with how that is defined. The State should not be able to define marriage of any description. Therefore, proposition 8 is irrelevent and as illegal as any proposition to set any definition of marriage. Leave marriage, or the ceremony, or Sacrament thereof to be where it belongs and let the State worry about the legal securities and rights within a legal "union".

A simple summary - Marriage is for "the Church" not State to define.

I finished reading:-

"Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe" written by Fannie Flagg.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

As I mentioned in my last post this is a very sad time for our family. I was going to post on Friday, the day of the Memorial Service, but, I feel I need to now. I am alone in the house she spent the last years of her life living being so wonderfully taken care of and loved by her daughter, Roxie and her husband Bobby, sitting remembering her. I only hope that I can give as much to them and my family when their time comes as they did as they deserve it.

Jenn's grandmother, De as she is affectionately know as was one of the kindest, funnest, strongest people I have ever had the priviledge of knowing. When I married Jenn I "inherited" a mother-in-law who was already a close friend and grandmother-in-law (who would kill me if I called her that!!) who accepted me 100% straight away.

I don't have the words to really express my love for De. We had so many blessed times together and were fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time together wherever we lived be it Texas, England, California or North Carolina. In fact, from the first time I visited Jenn and Roxie in Texas, in 1992, just as a friend, she welcomed me into her family. A will share a few brief memories over the years

A very precious, and, also sad one is the time I left after visiting them in June 1995. Her husband, Jenn's Pop, was really sick. As they dropped me off at the airport she hugged me and told me how seriously sick he was and asked me to take care of Jenn (this was when we were just falling in love - She and Pop had already figured it out before we did).

She came to visit us in London and we had a great time. She was obsessed with finding Beanie Babies and could never come to grips with the fact that she could not spend US dollars in England. We spent the night watching the Millennium coming in around the world with her, we went to Nebraska with her where she took me to visit their family home there, something that I will always treasure. She spent a few months with us in North Carolina when she was first getting sick. Above all we got to spend the last week of her life with her. All these times and many others are memories that can not be taken away, are so precious and will be with me for ever. However, the abiding memory of her is how much fun she was and how we always seemed to laugh all the time when we were together.

I am grateful that she was a strong, Christian woman who knew Christ and I know that she being welcomed home right now. That means we will see her again one day and be able to laugh with her again.

I am honoured to be part of her family and I hope to always do right by her in my Christian walk, but, also in taking care of Jenn and her family. I promised her I would always do that when I married Jenn and I always will.

We and I will miss her desperately, but, I know despite how hard it is roght now she will want the laughter to continue.

I love you De, thanks for the memories and untill we meet again - goodbye.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's been an interesting few days. On one side very sad and the other very good.

The bad is that Jenn's beloved grandmother died the day after we left Texas after visiting after a long illness. This meant we turned straight around and drove back to Texas (this meant adding another State to me "been there" list - Mississippi). I will write more about "De" on Friday.

The good thing is the historical election of Barack Obama. I hope that this can once and for all break down the barriers in this country and move equality of race, sex and any other prejudices that exist. It's going to be a tough job for him to live up to all the expectations and is going to be intersting what happens.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

I finished reading:

"The Golovlovs" by M. Saltykov-Shchedrin and "Cherokee Legends and the Trail of Tears" a small booklet adapted by Thomas Bryan Underwood.