Showing posts with label video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Just six days into his presidency, Donald Trump was informed his national security adviser had misled his vice president about contacts with Russia. Trump kept his No. 2 in the dark and waited nearly three weeks before ousting the aide, Michael Flynn, citing a slow but steady erosion of trust, White House officials said.

Flynn was interviewed by the FBI about his telephone conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., a sign his ties to Russia had caught the attention of law enforcement officials.
Though the WH had known about Flynn's discussions with the Russians since January 26, when they were informed by acting-AG Sally Yates and another official that he was vulnerable to blackmail, no one bothered to inform Pence.  Yet he was sent out to defend Flynn publicly in a TV interview and declare the conversations about sanctions had not happened.
Pence, who had vouched for Flynn in a televised interview, is said to have been angry and deeply frustrated.
How many ways to say out of the loop?  Team Trump humiliated Pence, and now he is angry.  Still, I expect he's not angry enough to resign his potted plant position in the Trump maladministration, because he is the gentleman-in-waiting should something go wrong.

According to the "retelling" from the White House, Flynn had done nothing illegal, but his downfall came because he lied to WH officials. Why was the erosion of trust in Flynn "slow and steady"?  Trump values loyalty above all.  It seems not to matter if his close advisers do not know what the hell they are doing or whether they tell the truth.  Why would truth matter when the boss lies repeatedly? Thus, loyalty trumps everything else, even if the result is chaos and certain staff members are thrown under the bus.

What about Kellyanne Conway?  What did she know, and when did she know it?  Conway is the most visible of Trump's loyal supporters defending him on TV.  Is she out of the loop, too?  A couple of hours before the information about Flynn's "resignation", she said the security adviser had Trump's "full confidence".

If you'd like to walk through the looking glass with Matt Lauer and his interview with Kellyanne Conway this morning, you may or may not find the answer to the question about whether she was out of the loop.

I confess that I was dizzy, rather than enlightened by the walk, but that's just me.

Here's the video of the interview. Conway's ability to remain upright through this long spin is amazing.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Why Lincoln Laughed:
Basically a melancholy man, he was not humor's slave, and could therefore bend it to his own uses and make it a vehicle for thought rather than mere clownishness.

This was misunderstood at the time, and once in the dark days of the war, when Lincoln was reprimanded for his unseemly levity, he turned his gaunt face and tragic eyes toward his critic and replied, "I laugh because I must not cry; That's all - that's all."
Since the election and inauguration (which I did not watch) of Donald Trump, I'm slowly making my way out of despair to determination to resist. I can't do a lot, but I will do what I can. There's nothing wrong with having a little fun along the way, and we can count on Stephen Colbert and many others to make us laugh.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Antiphon sung by the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars in Oxford.

December 17

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High,
that reachest from one end to another,
and orderest all things mightily and sweetly,
come to teach us the way of prudence!

O Sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter
suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.

Isaiah 11:2-3
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
In the Sarum [Anglican] use, all eight antiphons are used, beginning on December 16 and ending on the 23, leading up to the First Mass of Christmas, the Eve of December 24. In the Roman use, the observance begins on December 17, but only the first seven antiphons are used, and the observance ends, as with the Sarum use, on December 23.
Reposted with slight editing from last year, and the year before, and...and....  The reposts are a Wounded Bird tradition. Though the year is not 2006, the O Antiphons are timeless.

Text of the antiphon from Fish Eaters.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


From the findings and conclusions of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence aka as the Torture Report. I've read only 40 or so of 525 pages, but below are a couple of snippets about actions taken by those in the highest levels of the White House.
A year after being briefed on the program, the House and Senate Conference Committee considering the Fiscal Year 2008 Intelligence Authorization bill voted to limit the CIA to using only interrogation techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual. That legislation was approved by the Senate and House of Representatives in February 2008, and was vetoed by President Bush on March 8, 2008. (p. 13)

At the direction of the White House, the secretaries of state and defense - both principals on the National Security Council - were not briefed on program specifics until September 2003. An internal CIA email from Junly 2003 noted that "...the WH (White House) is extremely concerned [Secretary] Powell would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what's been going on." Deputy Secretary Armitage complained that he and Secretary Powell were "cut out" of the National Seccurity Council coordination process. (pp. 13-14)
As for what I've read of actual torture techniques, the details made me sick, and I know there is much more and worse to come. I seriously doubt I will read the entire report, but I'll read as much as I can stand.  The CIA was a rogue agency, but the rogues in the White House gave them permission.

President Obama issued an Executive Order directing the CIA to use only the interrogation techniques authorized in the Army Field Manual, but the order could be reversed by the next president. There needs to be a law.

Here's the link to the text of the report.

From the Faux News way back machine - George W Bush:
This government does not torture people. We stick to US law and our international obligations.

Did Bush say one word that was true? If he did, I missed it.

Monday, November 3, 2014


A wonderful performance by Aoife O'Donovan of a song I know and love from Paul Brady's recording.  The geography in the lyrics is not quite right, for it would be a slow train, indeed, that took from morning till evening to cross Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, but that's a mere quibble.

Below is a performance by Paul Brady from 1977.

Monday, May 26, 2014


Each year it's more difficult for me to write something meaningful about the day, now especially, because members of our military are still dying and suffering from wounds today.  Though I have not lost anyone close to me in a war, I've lived through five wars in my lifetime, and that's not counting incursions or excursions, or whatever is the euphemism of the day for our interventions in countries with which we are not at war, including the drone attacks up to the present time.   Five plus is enough. 

We honor the fallen for their courage and dedication to duty. We extend our sympathy to their families and friends, whether the loss is recent or from long times past. We stand with you. We mourn with you.   In return, the highest form of honor to those who gave their lives is to care for their families as best we can and to care for their comrades in arms who survived the wars, but returned home wounded in body, mind, and spirit.  The fallen would have wanted it to be so, and, as was recently reemphasized, our past and present efforts fall far short of the needs of the veterans.  Shame on us.  We must do better. 

I posted the video below on Facebook in honor of Memorial Day, and it seems fitting to post it here, too.  Pete Seeger, the composer, and a good many other musicians have sung fine versions of the song, but Marlène's powerful performance is the most moving I've ever seen or heard.

When will we ever learn?
Lord God, Almighty and Everlasting Father, we pray for all those who have died in wars. We pray they rest in peace in the perpetual light of your love. We pray for your blessing upon the families and friends of all those who have died in service to their country. Console them for their aching loss. Bring them healing of body, mind, and spirit. Give them strength and courage to go forward, and, Lord God, above all else, give them your peace that passes understanding to keep their minds and hearts.  Amen.
Reposted from last year with slight editing.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

(John 20:11-18)

Collect: Easter Day

O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Blessed and Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


O Gracious Light
Phos hilaron

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


The other afternoon, I watched the marvelous Top Hat (1935), a musical comedy starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, filmed in splendid black and white, with Irving Berlin songs, stylish Art Deco settings, and wonderful costumes. What a joy to watch the two dance and listen to them sing. Below is the video clip of "Cheek to Cheek" from the movie. Listen to Astaire hit the high notes, which Berlin worried he might not be able to do. I've long thought Fred Astaire was not given his due for his singing talent. He didn't have a large voice, but his style and grace do full justice to the songs.

The film includes a group dance scene shot from above in Busby Berkeley style, though not nearly as complex as Berkeley's production numbers.

Astaire hated Ginger Rogers' dress with ostrich feathers in the "Cheek to Cheek" scene, because feathers came loose from the dress and flew all over, but Rogers wanted the dress and held her ground. Astaire called her "Feathers" thereafter. Before I send the DVD back, I will watch the film again.

Later: The second time around, I noted the ostrich feathers flying around and lying on the floor.

Years ago, I purchased a set of cassettes produced by the Smithsonian titled "American Popular Song", with a cover by Al Hirschfeld.  The set includes several songs brilliantly performed by Fred Astaire - "Cheek to Cheek", "Puttin'on the Ritz", and even "Night and Day", a difficult song to sing to sing well.

Here's the video clip of "Cheek to Cheek", with Astaire singing and Astaire and Rogers dancing and the ostrich feathers flying, which detract not at all from the brilliance of their performance.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


For thus says the Lord:
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,

‘Save, O Lord, your people,
the remnant of Israel.’
See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
those with child and those in labour, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.

(Jeremiah 31:7-9)
Thy Kingdom come...

Time for the shepherds and sheep to move along and make way for the Magi.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


How many of you know the lyrics to "Auld Lang Syne"?

Or if you prefer the pipes...

The Scots - they are a proud people. I've seen their lovely Highlands.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


St Stephen icon by Tobias Haller
We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand: where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

(Book of Common Prayer)
If the humble beginnings of Jesus, the Christ, conceived by an unwed mother and born in a cold stable, a shelter for farm animals, is not real enough for us, the feast of St Stephen the Martyr jerks us violently back into reality.

Read Tobias' "Warning For Storytellers".

Acts 7:59-8:8
While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.  And Saul approved of their killing him.

That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.

Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralysed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.

Monday, December 23, 2013


My mother made the Nativity set in her ceramics class more than twenty years ago, so it's one of my treasures.  I have Magi and camels, too, but I need such a large space to display them all, and by the time Epiphany comes, Christmas is over.  Facebook friends suggested placing the Magi and camels elsewhere in the house and slowly moving them closer to the Nativity figures.  The figures are breakable, so I'd have to think of places to put the future visitors that would be safe.  I broke the fingers off the shepherd with his hand extended, but I mended the break, and I'm grateful the fix has held together for years.  One of the camels is sitting down, but I could move him along in his lazy position.

Since churches are having Lessons and Carols services, here is my pre-Christmas carol, a lovely version of  "The Wexford Carol" with Yo Yo Ma and Alison Krauss.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Psalm 80
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
   you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
   before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
   and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
   let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Lord God of hosts,
   how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
   and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbours;
   our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
   let your face shine, that we may be saved.

But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
   the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you;
   give us life, and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
   let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Matthew 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   and they shall name him Emmanuel’,

which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Collect of the Day
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 146
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
   in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
   on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
   whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
   the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith for ever;
   who executes justice for the oppressed;
   who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
   the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
   the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
   he upholds the orphan and the widow,
   but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign for ever,
   your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Epistle of James 5: 7-10
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.  Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!  As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Listen to and/or read Fr Tobias Haller's sermon for Third Sunday in Advent.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Collect of the Day: Second Sunday of Advent
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming,  "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."  This is the one of whom the prophet Isai'ah spoke when he said,

"The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
"Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'"

Now John wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Phar'isees and Sad'ducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance.  Do not presume to say to yourselves, "We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.  Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:1-12)
I recommend Penny Nash's fine sermon titled "Fire and Light".

Monday, September 23, 2013


From their wonderful album, The River in Reverse.

From a review at Amazon:
Tim Brough "author and music buff"
The most searing of musical indictments during 2006 didn't come from some young buck MC or a snorting enraged punk band. It came from a pair of wizened musical vets. Elvis Costello teamed up with Allen Toussaint and dropped this amazing 13 song collaboration that both celebrates the spirit of New Orleans' music makers at the same time it ravages those that willingly stood off and averted their eyes. "Ascension Day" is this album's centerpiece, mournfully delivering the lyric "40 days passed by, 40 alibis" with the clarity of his best work. "The River In Reverse" takes on this dichotomy and doesn't flinch. The angry young man of old finally gets to harness his vitriol to a new cause, and Toussaint gives Costello a whole new batch of colors to work with.

Oddly enough, it is the catalog numbers from Toussaint that really bring out the soul to "The River In Reverse." Versions of "Tears and More Tears," "Freedom for the Stallion" and "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further" (with the lead sung by Toussaint) make their emotional mark to the time, even despite their age. Toussaint's arrangements (often not varying much from their older recordings) also draw out some of Costello's better vocal skills. He sounds more soulful here than on his "My Flame Burns Blue" CD, released with the same year as "The River In Reverse."