Sunday morning music

Sunday morning music Now and again, a musical performance comes along that makes me laugh out loud.  This morning’s offering did just that.  What happens when a baroque percussion ensemble meets AC/DC?  Listen for yourself, and find out! I think that must have been an absolute hoot for the musicians.  Full marks! Peter

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Saturday snippet: the perils of trail driving Texas longhorns

As part of writing the Western novels in my “Ames Archives” series, I spend a fair amount of time and money looking up original sources, written accounts of the Old West from people who were there and lived its reality.  (Recently, in this series, we heard from famed scout Billy Dixon about the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, which sparked the Red River War of 1874-75.) One of the scariest events for a cowhand was a stampede by the herd.  It could be sparked by almost anything:  the scent or a glimpse of a predator such as a wolf, bad weather, a rattlesnake’s warning buzz, or the

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That’s a trick they didn’t teach us at seminary

Being a retired chaplain, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at yesterday’s Pearls Before Swine comic strip.  (Click the image to see a larger version at the comic’s Web page.) The comic amused me on many levels, but it also highlights a sad truth.  I don’t believe in the so-called “rapture” (it’s not biblically valid at all, and was never part of the teaching of the early church), but an awful lot of people seem to spend an awful lot of time arguing about it.  In fact, so many alleged Christians spend so much time arguing about when and

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Sunday morning music

While I was in hospital last week, a reader sent me the link to a new music video by Russian trio (and occasional quartet) Silenzium.  They appear to be a living definition of “Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle” (or, in this case, “Don’t sell the music, sell the sexy!”). I’d never heard of them, so I looked them up.  Last.fm says of them: Silenzium was created in 2004 by young musicians from Novosibirsk Philharmonic Society. Silenzium is a classical string quartet with the addition of a contrabass and a drum set, which breaks all the stereotypes about a traditional sound of a

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Sunday morning music

I had a very long day yesterday, driving down to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex with my wife to meet new friends.  We had a great time, but arrived home quite late, thanks to Saturday evening traffic down south.  (Living up here in north Texas, we sometimes lose sight of how nice it is to live in communities small enough that rush hour lasts twenty minutes or so, and never stops moving!) That didn’t leave me much time to think about this morning’s post.  As a placeholder, and because I found myself listening to it a lot this week (food for

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Truth is hard in a special-snowflake world

Film screenwriter, director and producer Christopher McQuarrie sent a string of tweets a few days ago that encapsulate how he sees the industry, and how to achieve success in it.  He’s blunt (almost brutally so) about how nobody’s going to do the work if you don’t, and how you can’t expect the Success Fairy to alight on your shoulders and sprinkle you with magic dust, or something like that.  Here’s an excerpt. 1.  I‘m receiving a lot of questions from writers asking where to submit scripts or how to sell them. Others ask how to sign an agent, attach directors or producers, etc. You

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Sunday morning music

The advent of so-called “progressive rock” in the late 1960’s and 1970’s added a whole new category to modern music, which spurred innovation and excess in almost equal dimensions.  It was my musical milieu of choice in my younger days, and many of the groups and performers of that era remain standard-bearers in my personal collection.  (In other words, I’m a stick-in-the-mud, musically speaking.  Yes, guilty as charged.  Get over it!) One of the super-groups of that time was Renaissance, from Britain.  They combined elements of the hippie culture, drugs, folk music, rock, and even orchestral, classical influences, making them almost

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Sunday morning music

Alessandro Scarlatti was one of the major Italian baroque composers, with a prodigious output, particularly early operas.  However, his instrumental pieces are nothing to sneeze at.  I’ve picked two of his shorter works this morning;  you’ll find many more on YouTube if you like them. First, here’s his Sonata for Flute, Strings and B.C. No.22 and No.23. Next, here’s a live performance of his Concerto Grosso No. 3, played by the La Spagna baroque orchestra.  You’ll note how much smaller a baroque orchestra is compared to a modern one, and how many instruments didn’t exist in those musical times. I hope

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On the road to Blogorado 2019

Miss D. and I left this morning on our journey to Colorado, where we’ll join a group of fellow bloggers, writers and shooting enthusiasts for our annual Blogorado gathering. We’re not looking forward to the weather!  Yesterday the temperature at our destination dropped by almost 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), and tonight it’s supposed to be in the teens.  In contrast, here in north Texas we’ve had days in the mid- to upper 80’s for the past week or two, and pleasantly (but not excessively) cool nights.  We’re not packing our open-toed sandals for Colorado, but rather warm shoes, heavy jackets, gloves and other anti-shivering

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