Sandwiched between 3:14 (Pi Day) and 3:17 (St. Patrick's Day) is
3:16 (Greatest Love Day)
John 3:16, that is.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
In honor of which I present this beautiful anthem, John Stainer's God So Loved the World. No, that's not our choir. But Porter and I have sung this many times and it's one of our favorites.
I've never seen the show, The Bachelor, never wanted to see it, still don't want to see it. But even I have to admit they did something right on their recent "live finale," whatever that was. Try to ignore the inanity.
Hear that piano? That's Mirko Tessandori. If you don't blink, you can even catch a few glimpses of him.
South African deep-sea diver Rainier Schimpf was diving with a crew that was documenting a sardine run in the waters east of Cape Town. Suddenly the water around him started churning, and he found himself sucked into the mouth of a Bryde whale. All was dark. He held his breath.
The whale later spat him out, unharmed.
“Nothing can actually prepare you for the event when you end up inside the whale," remarked Schimpf. Jonah would agree.
You can read the story and see photos here.
This list of "100 Hymns Everyone Should Learn" is not my own list of great hymns. For one thing, it doesn't include St. Patrick's Breastplate, nor any of the three versions of Hail Thee, Festival Day! However, it's a fun list and was sent as a challenge by a friend of mine whose experience with it turns out to be similar to my own. You can see the original article by following the above link; it includes more information, as well as—in most cases—a link to an image and/or recording of the hymn. I've listed them below in three catgories of familiarity. (The numbers correspond to the article's numbering, which is in reverse order.)
I find three things particularly notable in this exercise.
- My eclectic denominational experience has stood me in good stead.
- Knowing 85+% of the hymns on this list, I still find myself encountering a surprising number of completely unknown hymns when our grandchildren pick hymn numbers at random when we sing together.
- Knowing 85+% of the hymns on this list of important, time-honored, congregational music of the Church does not help me in the least in a great number of church services, where I often stand mute during the singing (and those who know me, know that standing mute during singing is almost physically painful). I'll happily sing unfamiliar hymns if you give me the music—but these churches only provide the words, and I'm not a good enough musician (or psychic) to guess at the tune. Sometimes I can manage a harmony, as that gives more notes to choose from. :)
Hymns I know well (85)
98. There's a Wideness in God's Mercy
97. I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
94. At the Name of Jesus
93. O Splendor of God's Glory Bright
92. When in Our Music God Is Glorified
91. What Child Is this?
90. God of Grace and God of Glory
89. Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee
87. Blessed Assurance
85. Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
84. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
83. Take My Life and Let It Be
82. What Wondrous Love Is this
81. Go to Dark Gesthemane
80. To God Be the Glory
78. Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
77. Savior of the Nations, Come (maybe in a different translation)
76. Come We That Love the Lord (but to a different tune)
75. Jesus, Lover of My Soul
74. Lead On, O King Eternal
73. Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending
71. O Jesus I Have Promised
70. Come, Christians, Join to Sing
69. My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less
68. Beneath the Cross of Jesus
67. Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
65. For the Beauty of the Earth
64. It Is Well with My Soul
61. All Glory, Laud, and Honor
60. Ah, Holy Jesus
59. Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed
59. Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
55. Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart
54. O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
53. My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
52. This Is My Father's World
51. Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones
49. O Worship the King
48. Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation
47. And Can It Be That I Should Gain?
46. This Is My Song (I know other words better to this tune, but I've sung these as well)
45. Praise My Soul the King of Heaven
44. Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life
43. How Firm a Foundation
42. O Little Town of Bethlehem
41. Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
40. Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
39. When Morning Gilds the Skies
38. Joy to the World, the Lord Is Come
37. Be Still My Soul
36. Thine Be the Glory (aka Thine Is the Glory)
35. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
34. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
33. O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
32. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
31. Lift High the Cross
30. Rejoice, the Lord Is King
28. Come, Thou Almighty King
27. For All the Saints
26. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
25. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
24. Be Thou My Vision
23. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
22. Of the Father's Love Begotten
21. All People That on Earth Do Dwell
20. Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise
19. In the Cross of Christ I Glory
18. Holy God, We Praise Your Name
17. Tell Out My Soul
16. Abide with Me
15. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
14. Crown Him with Many Crowns
13. Now Thank We All Our God
12. Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer (aka Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah)
11. The Church's One Foundation
10. O God, Our Help in Ages Past
9. O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
8. O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
7. The God of Abraham Praise
6. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
5. All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
4. All Creatures of Our God and King
3. Jesus Shall Reign
2. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
1. Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty
Hymns I've heard of or sort of know (6)
96. There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood
86. Leaning On the Everlasting Arms
72. Come Holy Ghost Our Souls Inspire (I know the tune well)
79. Hymn of Promise (the children's choir sang this when our kids were young)
62. Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands (the words sound familiar, but not the tune)
61. Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know (but I know the tune)
Hymns I don't know at all (9)
100. Built On the Rock, the Church Doth Stand (beautiful tune)
99. Forward Through the Ages (I know the tune well, though)
95. There Is a Higher Throne (the link mistakenly takes you to In Christ Alone, which I do know)
88. By Gracious Powers (it looks to be worth knowing better)
66. When the Church of Jesus (no tune is given so i don't know if that's familiar; the words are not)
63. King of My Life I Crown Thee Now (also apparently called Lead Me to Calvary)
56. The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended
50. I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath
29. God Is Here! As We Your People
Jennifer Fulwiler published this photo on Facebook, stating that this is what her son wanted for the candles on his 14th birthday.
I couldn't figure out how to share it on Facebook without sharing her explanation also, which spoils the fun. Enjoy!
When you are young you write either romantic or depressive poetry or both. When you are older, you write stories of whatever genre. But you know you are really getting old when you start writing essays!
— Anaya Roma, The Mindverse Chronicles, "Going to Hell."
I am officially old, and have been much of my life.
Not because of the grey in my hair;
Not because I'm on Medicare.
Not for the wrinkles on my face,
Or because my grandson can sing bass,
And today my granddaughter is turning ten.
No, I am marked by the strokes of my pen:
Sad poems and novels were never my art;
The essay's the form that speaks from my heart.
My muse was set in the days of my youth:
To seek, and ponder, and write the truth!
The University of Rochester is the alma mater of three quarters of our immediate family. I've never had much of what they call school spirit, but I do occasionally read our alumni magazine and marvel at both the good and the terrible things going on there.
The May-June issue was exciting because of—you'll never guess it—sports. Yes, the UR made the news in the only sport I care at all about: quidditch. .
Back in 2013 we attended Quidditch World Cup VI, held in Kissimmee, Florida, to root on a different UR team, the University of Richmond Spiders, and their seeker, Kevin, and his teammate Layla. We had a great time and I wrote about it here.
The Quidditch World Cup is now up to XI, and has a new name, the US Quidditch Cup, since the former name has been taken over by another contest, held this year in Florence, Italy.
Although Kevin and Layla would no doubt have preferred that the Universtiy of Richmond have won the championship, I'm sure they'll be happy that another UR beat the UT Austin players, who in 2013 had distinguished themselves not only by winning, but by their decidedly unsportsmanlike behavior. As I wrote back thenk
University of Richmond vs. University of Texas (Austin). Texas went on to claim the overall championship, so the object of catching the Snitch here was to end the game before the point spread could get any bigger. I wasn't happy that Texas was so successful, because they have apparently forgotten that the game is supposed to be fun for everyone.They play hard, rough, and mean; early in the Richmond game, one of their players smashed a bludger (dodge ball) point blank into the face of one of Richmond's best Chasers and sent her to the hospital. His teammates said he's known for doing that. It wasn't even a penalizable offense, so I think a rule modification is in order. Some temporary pain is within bounds; deliberate infliction of injury is, well, unsportsmanlike, in the old sense—all too much like "sports men/women" these days. (After the passing of time, and three medical exams—paramedic, urgent care, hospital—she was pronounced fit to play again. Fortunately the games were far enough apart that the Texas bully didn't ruin her entire day.)
Sadly, only one of the University of Rochester team members was on the team that participated in this year's international Quidditch World Cup, and only as an alternate. (The Americans won, by the way.)
This photo is from 2014. I think it's still Joseph's favorite shirt. I bought him another, in a larger size, because he kept wearing this one even though he'd worn it out and outgrown it.
Fun Fact: Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day.
When we visited Switzerland for Christmas, I thought our biggest gift was the Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage, which barely qualified as half of our checked baggage allowance.
That gift did indeed make quite an impression on our young grandchildren, but I'm beginning to wonder if we didn't also bring a gift of more widespread impact: Florida weather.
While we were there, Switzerland enjoyed its warmest January on record.
Meanwhile, Florida was experiencing weather that looked more Alpine: snow in Tallahassee, freezes in Central Florida. There were days when it was significantly warmer in Lucerne than in Orlando.
And that's not all. On January 3, a storm, named Burglind, brought Florida-style hurricane-force winds to Switzerland, wreaking havoc across the country and blowing away previous records. Winds of over 120 miles per hour were measured on Lucerne's Mount Pilatus. That's a high Category 3 hurricane if you live in Florida.
Now that we're home, the weather appears to have stablilized in both places.
The conclusion is obvious: It is we, not George Bush or Donald Trump, who are causing climate change.
Is anyone interested in providing us an all-expenses-paid vacation to somewhere up north? Buffalo, New York? Minneapolis, Minnesota? Hillsboro, New Hampshire?
I guess I should end this year with a serious post, some profound commentary, philosophy, or at least a glimpse into my hopes and dreams for 2018.
Instead, you get MarbleLympics.
This is thanks to our Swiss grandchildren, who are huge fans of Jelle's Marble Runs.
The whole family enjoys them, but Joseph (7) and Daniel (4) are obsessed, watching the videos when allowed, running their own marble races with their Hubelino sets, in the sand on the beach, or on the bare living room floor. The family received a beautiful, 3D map of Switzerland for Christmas; in Daniel's eyes, the Alpine valleys were just so many marble runs.
For months, Joseph has been teaching himself Dutch through DuoLingo, hoping for a chance to visit to Jelle Bakker himself in the Netherlands.
Porter and I have also been captivated by the MarbleLympics. Here's the opening ceremony and first event of the 2017 games; from there you can find much more to watch than you'll ever have time for. It's all very cleverly done, and I love the commentator, who not only calls the events like a professional, but reports "an injury on the field" when a collision results in a chipped marble, and issues a serious call for better stadium security when some marbles fall out of the stands and "rush onto the field."
Enjoy! And have a happy New Year, too.
On our cruise to Mexico and Cuba with two of our grandchildren we were given a quick lesson in napkin folding. Naturally, the kids picked up on it better than the adults. This morning, a friend shared on Facebook a video of napkin folding techniques from the Ever & Ivy site. Unfortunately, I can't find the video on YouTube, so I can't embed it here, but hopefully the link will still work when I want to find it again. (There are also plenty of other napkin-folding instructional videos on YouTube.) Warning: I'm sure there are other good things about the Ever & Ivy site, but I can't recommend it in general. Good ideas + Bad language = I'll find the good ideas elsewhere, thank you. Except for the napkin folding—no words.
Math, art, travel, photography. What's not to like?
For some reason, probably all of the above, this photo of "Seventeen parallel flowlines running between Flow Station 2 and Drill Site 3, Drill Site 9, Drill Site 16, Drill Site 17 and Endicott at the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field" really struck me this morning when I read David July's Mount Sutro post, The Linear Perspective Orthogonals. (The photo is from the Mount Sutro Gallery. License agreement here.)
This is for someone who will appreciate it, even if the rest of you are covering your ears.
One of my goals for the coming 12 months is to re-read Charles Williams' The Place of the Lion (the only book of his I own), plus one more of his novels. Dorothy Sayers said,
To read only one work of Charles Williams is to find oneself in the presence of a riddle—a riddle fascinating by its romantic colour, its strangeness, its hints of a rich and intricate unknown world just outside the barriers of consciousness; but to read all is to become a free citizen of that world and to find in it a penetrating and illuminating interpretation of the world we know.
I'm pretty sure I won't manage all, but I can at least get past one, which did indeed leave me totally confused the first and second times I read it.
While on amazon.com, perusing offerings such as War in Heaven, Descent into Hell, and All Hallows' Eve, I came upon this:
I'm pretty sure I'll go with one of his more well-known works, but the title does have a certain topical attraction. In actuality, it refers to tarot cards, but why let accuracy get in the way of a joke?
In this classic tale of spirituality, morality, and the occult, a dark plot to murder an unsuspecting Englishman who possesses the world’s rarest tarot deck unleashes uncontrollable elemental forces.