Easter 2024

29 January 2007
Chuckerbutty, Oliphant (1884-1960) - funny name of

Pick truly hot Bach tune.

That's just one of the anagrams you can make from "Oliphant Chuckerbutty". Are there others anagrams, you ask?

And it's maybe the best anagram to offer up some biographical possibilities. Chuckerbutty (usually starting a sentence with a last name lends it some authority) played the organ both in the church, hence the Bach tune, and the cinema, hence the hotness of the aforementioned tune.

But let's face it. You can't have the name Oliphant Chuckerbutty and be anything other than an organist.

After learning your name at a cocktail party, imagine the following scenarios:

Scenario one: wherein Oliphant is a plumber

Q: So, Oliphant, what do you do for a living?

A: I'm a plumber.

Q: Um, I'm dangerously low on cocktail shrimp. See ya.

Scenario two: wherein Oliphant is an organist

Q: So, Oliphant, if that is your real name. What do you do for a living?

A: I'm plumber.

Q: No you're not. Aren't you the one that wrote that Paean by Oliphant Chuckerbutty?

A: Yes, it's just a little fanfare sort of ditty, just under three minutes. It starts out with a stereotypical fanfare kind of idea rising 1, 2, 3 deal accompanied by sixth, fourth and a third respectively. It has a few quirky bits, and carefully registered, could be interesting.

Q; Hm, I seem to be running low on cocktail shrimp. Can I . . .

A: I have to take issue with the rather boring and unsteady performance provided by Kalena Wheeler on this week's Pipedreams program. It just wasn't up to snuff. I mean, if you're going to play my music, you can at least play it well.

Q: Hey, do you know about the Chuckerbutty Ocarina Quartet?

A: Ha. Chuckerbutty. That's a funny name.

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23 January 2007
birds - state of the

Don't run with the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

There are 50 states, but only 31 state birds.

This is because some states are more original than others. Because, as we all know, there are plenty of birds.

But then can't some of the blame be laid at the scaly feet of the birds themselves? Don't they have the integrity to belong to one state and one state only?

  1. American Goldfinch (1)
  2. American Robin (3)
  3. Baltimore Oriole (1, not to be confused with major league baseball players)
  4. Black-capped Chickadee (2)
  5. Blue Hen Chicken (1)
  6. Bluebird (1)
  7. Brown Thrasher (1)
  8. Cactus Wren (1)
  9. California Gull (1, Fact: This really is the state bird of Utah. Probably has something to do with Mormonism.)
  10. California Quail (1, Hint: not the state bird of Utah)
  11. Cardinal (7)
  12. Carolina Wren (1)
  13. Common Loon (1, not to be confused with the current President of the United States)
  14. Eastern Bluebird (1)
  15. Eastern Brown Pelican (1)
  16. Eastern Goldfinch (2)
  17. Hermit Thrush (1)
  18. Lark Bunting (1, not to be confused with the sport of Lark Bunting which is illegal in the state for which the Lark Bunting is the state bird, but confusingly also the state sport)
  19. Mockingbird (5)
  20. Mountain Bluebird (2)
  21. Nēnē (1)
  22. Purple Finch (1)
  23. Ring-necked Pheasant (1, so named because after hearing it's annoying mating cries, South Dakotans often try to ring [sic] the neck of this bird)
  24. Roadrunner (1)
  25. Rhode Island Red Chicken (1, Fact: this bird is the origin of the "why did the chicken cross the road/(Rhode)" jokes)
  26. Ruffed Grouse (1)
  27. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (1)
  28. Western Meadowlark (6)
  29. Willow Ptarmigan (1)
  30. Wood Thrush (1, more of a "district bird" than a state bird, really)
  31. Yellowhammer (1)

Most popular polygamous birds

  1. Cardinal, 7 states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia. Interestingly, the Cardinal occupies what politiornithologists have dubbed the "Cardinal Corridor".

  2. Western Meadowlark, 6 states: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming
  3. Mockingbird, 5 states: Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas.

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19 January 2007
Gurdjieff, Georges Ivanovitch (1872-1949) - elephant dormition ability of (see yak distance killing)

For instance, the development of the power of my thoughts had been brought to such a level that by only a few hours of self-preparation I could from a distance of tens of miles kill a yak; or, in twenty-four hours, could accumulate life forces of such compactness that I could in five minutes put to sleep an elephant.

Gurdjieff, Georges Ivanovitch. Life is real then only when "I am". New York: Dutton, 1975. 20.

I wanted to read some Gurdjieff, so I checked out this book. It's a little different than some of the other books I've read.

Also, it's overdue.

Go figure.


Crotch, William (1775-1847) - music in the public domain

It seems my musings on Crotch have generated some interest in his music.

As of today, "Lo! star-led chiefs" is available on the Choral Public Domain Library thanks to someone named Thomas Strode. Thanks Thomas!

Also available is Crotch's boring, over-repetitive "Comfort, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant"

So, download some Crotch today!

And since it seems all of his music must be in the public domain, we can all look forward to the availability of more free Crotch in the future.

Unrelated: Chord hat

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18 January 2007
Buxtehude, Dieterich (1637-1707) - NY Times article about

There's a great little article in today's tomorrow's New York Times about a series of recitals at St. Thomas Church in New York. John Scott will perform the complete organ works of Dieterich Buxtehude over the next few Saturdays.

The reason? This year, as those of us who check up on anniversaries already know, marks the 300th anniversary of the death of Dieterich Buxtehude.

The instrument at St. Thomas is a great one: a Taylor and Boody. A Taylor and Boody in the back of an Episcopal church? What an interesting idea! I wonder who did this first?

The article quotes organists James David Christie and John Scott (organist), who is best not to be confused with John Scott (cricketer).

Mr. Christie is also playing the Buxtehude cycle on a Taylor and Boody: his instrument at the College of the Holy Cross. But that's not enough for the fanatical JDC. He is simultaneously giving the cycle on an organ at Harvard.

It's great to see Buxtehude's organ music written up in the Times like this. It's great to see it performed, especially by wonderful musicians on wonderful musical instruments.

The conclusion of the article bodes particularly well for inhabitants of the largest city in the country:

New York has long had a good supply of fine organs. Now with the additions of recent decades and with a good supply of enterprising organists, it promises to become an organ capital worth a listener’s journey, if not necessarily on foot.

Oestreich, James R. "Organ Fanfare for Buxtehude. Who?" NY Times 18 January 2006.

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16 January 2007
granola - shake your expensive

At the co-op recently, I noticed a bag of granola that was on the "drastically reduced" shelf. Sometimes you can find some really good deals over there. You know the one I'm talking about.

And so, I bought it, but it wasn't until I got it home that I realized the original price for this one pound bag of granola was over six dollars! That's a lot of money!

Well, then I started to eat the granola, and it was incredible. Lots of good stuff. Plenty of pecans, got some walnuts in there, a banana chip or two, what's that, a dried kiwi?

And those big raisins? Yeah. They're dried cherries.

Now, I would never say that I didn't ever not appreciate this incredible granola, because I did. It's just that I figured out that I ate a lot of the really good stuff all in one go. For you see, the contents -- especially the smaller contents -- settle during shipping. It would have been nice to share the wealth maybe.

I thought I was sticking it to the man by purchasing his granola at an 80% discount, but it turns out he had the last laugh after all.

Let this be a lesson to all of us: shake your expensive granola.


15 January 2007
Jackson, Mahalia - important prompting of
Tell them about your dream, Martin! Tell them about the dream!

Mahalia Jackson, 28 August 1963

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12 January 2007
Crotch, William (1775-1847) - funny name of

William Crotch has a funny name. I know this because choristers laugh when you say it. Also, on a few copies of the choristers' music, his last name is circled.

So, ha ha. Very funny. But who is this William Crotch exactly? Well, turns out his name may be funny, but Crotch was a serious musician.

The son of a carpenter (like Jesus?), Crotch was a musical child prodigy. At 18 months, he was already picking out tunes on the family house organ (also like Jesus?)

Now, back in the time of Crotch (is that a good name for a band, or what?), the circus was a popular form of entertainment. Unlike today, however, circuses (pronounced: SIR-cuh-sees) consisted not of animal entertainment, but mostly child entertainment. It is for this reason that persons with Dwarfism were often employed by later circuses: they were the new "children" in an era of oppressive child-labor laws.

HIDDEN (a Crotch size clarification): There's nothing small about our Crotch. He eventually reaches full size.

In the circus, William Crotch resided in a tent that contained an organ, whereupon he would bedazzle his listeners with his improvisations. These were probably not great musical feats, but for a two year old to improvise chords to a melody learned by ear is certainly something. Also, he got free cotton candy.

HIDDEN (inappropriate remark): One wonders if this tent had a fly, and whether it was open or closed.

Today's "soccer moms" descend from a league of overbearing "circus moms" who enlisted their young children in these precocious presentations of prodigy. Crotch's mother, Isabella, accompanied Crotch and the circus on a grand world tour.

HIDDEN (another one): It was in this way that her young Crotch gained much exposure.

Anyway, long story short. Crotch the freak-show boy-wonder grew up to be Crotch the mildly adequate composer. Though he did play the organ at Kings College, Cambridge, which is pretty cool.

Incidentally, when I program my own concerts, I want to end up with a poster that looks like this:

selections from Palestine
also, music by Bach, including his

Air on the G String

Crotch also may have provided the basis for Louis Vierne's Carillon de Westminster if he did indeed design the Westminster Chime.

Crotch the painter: Crotch's talent didn't limit itself to music. He was also a painter.

Alma mater tangent: It is with not a small amount of pride and a tinge of nostalgia that I note that an image search for crotch brings up a number of unflattering pictures of Paris Hilton and photo taken in an Oberlin music theory classroom.

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08 January 2007
Merton, Thomas (1915-1968) - on the human mind

Merton Monday, the second Monday of every month on, features an excerpt from the writing of Thomas Merton:

Our minds are like crows. They pick up everything that glitters, no matter how uncomfortable our nests get with all that metal in them.

Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation, p. 104. New Directions Publishing.


02 January 2007
Ford, Gerald - reflections on the funeral of

The Prelude should draw one into the service. In this instance, listening to "America the Beautiful" arranged by Carmen Dragon, I believed I was being drawn into a late 1930s Disney cartoon.

Luckily, Erik Wm. Suter was able to create a much more suitable prelude on the organ using America the Beautiful as a theme for a very refined improvisation.

But little does it matter on an occaision of such "civil religion", because there is a great deal of unscripted maneuvering that has to occur. There are a couple of band numbers after Suter's prelude and before Bishop Chane's reception of the body.

But from what I can tell from the streaming audio, and my memory of Ronald Reagan's funeral (11 June 2004), this manuevering music is performed from outside the cathedral, and so it is the organ that has the last word from the liturgical authorities.

There's only so much of the state that the church should let inside, really. And thank goodness for that. Only those of you who were able to watch on television will know whether George W. Bush was able to follow the verger this time. Judging from the audio, he does seem to get to the microphone very quickly.

The Old Testament Lesson, Isaiah 40:28:31 was also read at Reagan's funeral. This lection, however, is not perscribed by the Book of Common Prayer. Neither is the New Testament Lesson as it was read (through the first part of verse six, not the entire verse). So I have to agree that it was a silly case of scripture splicing, but I think it's unpastoral to hold Gerald Ford and his family to BCP rubrics on this reading, and not the other two.

Tangent: Robert Certain alluded to the 2006 General Convention in his sermon. Turns out he updated a blog during the convention.

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