the war against women

As one whose values were established in my college days during the 1970’s, the views on the Right about women, women’s health, and women’s rights is an anathema to everything I believe. Susan Russell really nails it here.

Oh Lord Not that again
Didn’t we do that in the 70’s
when we were women and you heard us roar
and we got in touch with our bodies and ourselves
and we grew up to be priests and bishops
and doctors and lawyers
and Secretaries of State and Studio Heads
… and here we are again watching our rights be questioned
and our choices be challenged
in the name of religious liberty
and in response to a fictitious
War on Religion.

Sacred Music Friday: Magnificat

John Rutter’s Magnificat, first movement, performed by the Bow Valley Chorus. And a great performance it is!


word usage: cut down vs. prune

Our next door neighbors to the south are, I think, an older Latino couple. We don’t see much of them, but we do see the adult children, who are frequently around helping out. One of the sons knocked on the door one day and said he was going to “cut down the tree.” I was glad to have the warning, because nearly half of the branches of that tree hung over into our yard. But this surprised me a little, because the tree seemed perfectly healthy.

English is clearly not his first language, and his command of English is not the best. As it turned out, he did not cut down the tree at all, but simply pruned it way back. Now the distinction in English between “cut down” and “cut back” or “prune back” is not all that subtle, so you can see where I would say that his English skills are not all that strong.

Whatever his English proficiency, the tree has been pruned and the leaf canopy is gone. That means, for a couple of years at least, no more massive amounts of leaves falling in our yard in January. It also means more light and therefore, with luck, a bigger, brighter tulip crop for Terry in the spring.


finding Jesus?

You can understand why Jesus would want to hide from guys like that. Courtesy of George Takei on Facebook. (Yep, it’s that George Takei.)

(If you’re not getting it, look closely at the curtain on the left.)


fountain of light

We normally have a table-top fountain in our bedroom. We’ve had a few over the years. The most recent one we’ve had for several years, and it was getting clogged and sluggish. A few months back, we moved it out and replaced it with the vaporizer because of the cold, dry nights we were having, and how itchy we were getting.

But we can only go so long without a fountain in the bedroom, so I started looking. I found one on Amazon (for not that much money) that looked marvelous. It had a lighted rotating globe with imitation tiffany-like stained glass and glassy pebbles at the base. I ordered it and set it up as soon as it arrived. If anything it exceeded our expectations.

The sound of the water and the light of the rotating globe: it’s very soothing and relaxing at the end of the day.


same words, opposite meanings

I’ve written about this before. “The event was sanctioned by the national organization.” “He was sanctioned for his actions.”

When the Obama administration first started talking about no-cost birth control, my emails from Planned Parenthood talked about “no copay” prescriptions. Now that could either mean “it’s not covered, you pay the full cost yourself,” or “there is no out-of-pocket cost to you.” You had to notice the positive tone of the emails to infer that they were referring to the latter.

A Facebook friend checked in at Starbucks and wrote, “Just chilling.” In that context you knew what he meant, as you would if he had written “just chillin'” even without checking in at an espresso shop. But what if he had written “Just chilling” without that context? He could have had the same mellow meaning in mind, or he could have meant, “What the Republicans want to do to women’s reproductive health rights is just chilling.”

Is it any wonder why non-native speakers sometimes have so much trouble with our idioms?


Sacred Music Friday: Nunc Dimittis

One of the things I liked about the Lutheran liturgy is that when we didn’t end the service with “Thank the Lord and sing his praise…” we would use “Nunc Dimittis.”

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; Your word has been fulfilled.
My eyes have seen the salvation You have prepared in the sight of every people,
A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people, Israel.

This is a marvelous setting of that piece, courtesy of, of course, Unapologetically Episcopalian.