Sacred Music Friday: Beautiful Savior

Conductor Emeritus Kenneth Jennings (1925-2015) leads over 900 choir alumni during the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the St. Olaf Choir in June of 2011. Courtesy of Unapologetically Episcopalian.

things not to do

quoteYou don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim

—Jim Croce

In addition:

  1. Don’t lie to the feds.
  2. Don’t argue with Food Network judges.

You can sometimes negotiate with the feds if you admit to some level of guilt. What they really hate is being lied to. Martha Stewart learned that the hard way. It’s why she ended up spending time in federal prison.

If you’re on a Food Network competition show, don’t argue with the evaluation that the judges give your cooking. Don’t try to explain or justify yourself. It’s likely to cause you to be the one to be sent home that week. And in any case you’ll just annoy the viewers.

I’m just sayin’.

my ancient iPod

Terry and I went to a traveling Smithsonian exhibit in San Jose a number of years ago. They had one of the Apollo capsules there and a woman told a group of kids, “That’s really old!” iPodThat did not please me in the least given that I was growing up in the days of the space program before the shuttle. When Apollo 11 landed on the moon on 20 July 1969 I was between my sophomore and junior years of high school. Still, the best response that I could muster on the spur of the moment was, “Hey, Lady!”

What is old is a matter of perception. By the standards of today’s technology my iPod is ancient. Apple has a web page that allows you to identity what model iPod you have. Although the model numbers don’t match, I seem to have a fifth generation iPod. It has a Click Wheel and appears to be the first model to support video. It was released in October 2005.

It still works well. It has a lot of music on it, but I use it primarily to listen to lectures from The Great Courses while walking or doing yard work. I’m glad it’s still going strong. Today’s technology is all about streaming and I don’t have WiFi when I’m out walking.

language rant: annoying word usage

I think I’m overdue for a language rant. So here is a language rant.

I love the weekly newsletter from I don’t agree with everything they say, but I like a lot of their material. One recent newsletter brought up the use of the words “optic” and “pivot” being used as jargon words. That got my attention.

grammarbook.comI had a manager who all of a sudden out of nowhere started using the term optic. Something like: “With this new product being released we’ll need to consider the product line through that optic.” Horribly annoying.

I also heard pivot used with some regularity. According to the newsletter, in the high tech world “pivot means ‘to adopt a new strategy when your startup is floundering.’” But I heard it in the Fortune 100 high tech company for which I worked. “They really pivoted in their marketing message.”

Here’s one of my own: over-rotate. One marketing manager in particular loved the term. When the boss said to do this instead of that and the staff responded accordingly, “We really over-rotated on that one.”

I feel better. End of rant. Thanks.

table topics

One component of each Toastmasters meeting is something called Table Topics. The Table Topics Master comes up with topics for three to four people to talk about in an impromptu manner for one to two minutes.

very. very good topic!!Last week was my first time as Table Topics Master. My subject was based on the Doonesbury cartoons below. They are from 1986 when Mike Doonesbury left his wife J.J and had a soundtrack playing in his head. We actually did five, rather than the normal three to four, as we were short a speaker that day.

What was your soundtrack…

  • when you were a senior in college about to graduate?
  • when you started your first career path job?
  • when you had your first romantic breakup as an adult?
  • when your first child was born?
  • on your first date in high school?

The General Evaluator said that was the most thoughtful Table Topics he had ever seen, and he was going to steal it for the other chapter that he is involved with. I got several compliments from members, including the written one you see here.

I like the fact that I’ve kicked my participation up a notch.

Doonesbury cartoon #1 Doonesbury cartoon #2

Sacred Music Friday: Praise to the Lord

Praise to the Lord, St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, 2015, directed by Andrew Carwood, organist: Simon Johnson

end of an era

PrinterC6280I was busy trying to print out the meeting agenda for my first stint as Toastmaster. Suddenly my printer stopped working and said it was out of paper. It wasn’t. I shut it off and turned it back on. It said I had shut it down improperly. I hadn’t. It still said that it was out of paper. It still wasn’t. Oh, and it was making strange noises as well.PrinterC6280CD

I guess that was it for my printer. I’m thankful for Terry’s printer and for our wireless router that allows me to connect to it. No need to buy a new printer, as long as Terry doesn’t mind me traipsing in and out of her office. She says she doesn’t.

I pulled out the original CD that came with the printer. It had a 2007 date. That’s nine years. Even if I actually bought the printer in 2008, which is possible, that would be eight years. The printer lasted a long time had has worked very well. It’s hard for me to complain.

the Toastmaster

As I reported yesterday, our outgoing Toastmasters VP of education and incoming president suggested that I kick up my participation a notch. And as I reported yesterday, I did.

My first time as Toastmaster last Thursday met with a surprise or two. Rather than meeting in the church’s library where we always did, we were moved to the auditorium. Seems there was some work going on in the library. We moved from a small, intimate space to a large open space. And while I was busy getting folks to fill in on roles to replace those who had not shown up, others were moving the podium from one end of the room to the other to accommodate a speaker who had a PowerPoint presentation and needed the screen at that end of the room.

And here I am, my first time as Toastmaster, trying to make it all work.

"You did a superb job 1st time out of the gate!!"Work it did. The meeting went smoothly. Each person filled their role with competence. At the end of the meeting the president complimented me on doing such a good job my first time in the role and there was applause. Wow!

When I got home I found the anonymous note you see here in amongst my paperwork.

I was pleased.

kicking it up a notch

After I received my Competent Communicator designation at Toastmasters the then vice president of education and now president told me that I should kick up my participation a notch, and take on some roles that I hadn’t before. So I signed up for new roles for July.

Two weeks ago I was General Evaluator, which means I introduced the three evaluators who evaluated the three speakers. I also offered a brief evaluation of the meeting as a whole.

ToastmastersLast week I was Toastmaster: the person that runs the meeting. More on that tomorrow.

This week I am scheduled to be Table Topics Master. That’s where members present one-to-two minute talks on topics of my choice.

In addition I am now an officer. Seems officers were selected on the one Sunday in June when I was absent, and legitimately so due to my nasty cold. I was selected Vice President of Publicity. That was a problem for me, as I attend Toastmasters in Menifee up the road, and I’m here in Hemet. I don’t know Menifee well enough to do the job well. So I negotiated a swap, and became VP of Education. That entails ensuring that people get their proper awards as they move through the program.

That I can do.

a taste of the Eastern Sierra

The family here in town usually gets together for breakfast on Saturday morning. The routine is that my brother, Brian, or my sister-in-law, Bobbie, will call and tell us where everyone is meeting and when. If I don’t hear anything by 11:00 a.m. I will call them.

SchatsThe later happened on a recent Saturday. I called at 11:00. They were in Bishop. They had made a trip to Nevada to see Bobbie’s sister and had forgotten to tell us. Now I could have gotten angry, but Brian asked me if we wanted anything from Schat’s Bakery. Now how could I be angry with an offer like that?

If you’re not familiar with it, Schat’s is a very famous, highly regarded, very busy bakery in downtown Bishop. The town of Bishop in the middle of the Owens valley at the base of the Eastern Sierras.

Terry and I love that part of the world. We have only been there together twice. The first time I was sick and we had to cut our trip short. The second time we had a full agenda and covered the entire length of the Owens Valley, from Mammoth Lakes in the north to Lone Pine and Whitney Portal in the south. It was a marvelous trip.

I told Brian to bring us some Danish pastries and a loaf of Schat’s famous Sheepherder’s Bread. Brian and Bobbie delivered them to us Saturday evening.

It was such a delight to have a taste of the Eastern Sierra here at home.