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Ordinary Time 2017

28 February 2007
organists - shortage of

Every month or so we at Sinden.org run across one of these articles about the shortage of organists. We're going to start posting them here with the hope of provoking some discussion. (Our thoughts being something like this: While there may not be a "shortage" of organists per se, there is a multifaceted disconnect between ecclesiastical institutions and the musical academy, if there is such a thing.)

In this find, Karen Ramos refers to organists as "almost nobody." And this church wonders why they couldn't hire anyone?

"We were very lucky" to find an experienced organist, Ramos said. "Almost nobody out there is playing the organ."

The Murrieta church is not alone.

Low pay, fewer organ students and the growing popularity of praise bands accompanied by electronic keyboards, guitars and drums contribute to the shortage, Inland organists and experts said.

Miller, Bettye Wells. "Ranks of church organists dwindling". The Press-Enterprise (Inland Southern California)

Maybe we should devise a scoring system for these articles? I hesitate to give extra credit for the "Ranks" in the headline because I doubt its author understood its meaning.

Recently

Shortage of the whole picture: Take a look at this page from Redeemer Lutheran in Richland, Washington. Now, aside from the fact that musician has dubbed himself "Kappelemeister", do you notice anything odd? Do you know what PDQ Bach looks like? Do you? If word were to get out about this, there would be no shortage of beer in somebody's lap.

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27 February 2007
Knight Rider - pricing of DVDs

I was looking at all four seasons of Knight Rider on DVD, you know, like you do, and I was really surprised by the pricing scheme at a large online retailer.

Season 1     $20.99
Season 2     $26.99
Season 3     $44.99
Season 4     $39.99

It seems sort of unusual that the third season would be the most expensive. But, on the other hand, it seems that the show may have jumped the shark, which is a funny phrase.

On "Jumping the shark": If I had to guess, I would say that a show that's a lot more likely to jump the shark would be seaQuest DSV.

Speaking of seaQuest: isn't this supposed to be a good show? I vaguely remember all the publicity for it when it came out. It was definitely promoted as being a big deal, and Spielberg's involvement was supposed to pique your interest if nothing else did. Of course, I'm not expecting it to be as good as Knight Rider, but I think I'll still give it a try.

Bruce Seth Green: I was surprised to see tha name Bruce Seth Green turn up in information for Knight Rider and seaQuest. It turns out he directed a bunch of episodes of Knight Rider, and one episode of seaQuest.

The real Seth Green, interestingly, also appears in an episode of seaQuest.

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25 February 2007
Oscars - a look at the

Oscar the:

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20 February 2007
Taylor-Byers, Ryan - congratulations to the Rev.

Congratulations to the Rev. Ryan Taylor-Byers who was ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament on Sunday evening.

Rev. Ryan is now accepting a call to work as a pastor at First Congregational Church, Colorado Springs.

He will be missed in the Midwest.

Good luck and Godspeed, Ryan!

Keeping in touch: Ryan and I talked a little bit about keeping in touch before he left. Another way of doing this has surfaced, and now I am really looking forward to listening to Ryan's sermons online.

Affiliates: It occurs to me that I know people at a lot of different and fascinating religious institutions around the country. Look for a list of "affiliates" on the sidebar in the coming weeks.

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14 February 2007
scam - Nigerian Anglican

I received this email last week, and with the approval of some Episcopal higher-ups and my ecclesiastical attorney I have decided to make it public:

Dear Sir,

ASSISTANCE REQUIRED FOR ACQUISITION OF VIRGINIA PARISHES

I write to inform you of my desire to acquire parish properties in Virginia on behalf of the Anglican Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Bishop of Abuja, and Archbishop of Province III.

Considering his very strategic and influential position, he would want the transaction to be as strictly confidential as possible. He further wants his identity to remain undisclosed at least for now, until the completion of the transaction. Hence our desire to have an overseas agent.

I have therefore been directed to inquire if you would agree to act as our overseas agent in order to actualize this transaction.

The deal, in brief, is that the funds with which we intend to carry out our proposed investments in your country is presently in a coded account at the Nigerian Apex Bank (i.e. the Central Bank of Nigeria) and we need your assistance to transfer the funds to your country in a convenient bank account that will be provided by you before we can put the funds into use in your country. For this, you shall be considered to have executed a contract for the Anglican Province of Nigeria for which payment should be effected to you by the Province, The contract sum of which shall run into US$25 Million, of which your share shall be 30% if you agree to be our overseas agent.

As soon as payment is effected, and the amount mentioned above is successfully transferred into your account, we intend to use our own share in acquiring more American parishes. For this too you shall also serve as our agent. In the light of this, I would like you to forward to me the following information:

  1. Your date and location of your baptism
  2. The ISBN of your Book of Common Prayer
  3. Proof of your heterosexuality
  4. (optional) any misgivings you have about "open communion"

Your quick response will be highly appreciated. Thank you in anticipation of your cooperation.

Yours faithfully,
Samuel Ajayi Crowther

Tangent: Okay, I admit it. I'm a fan of Nora, the piano-playing cat.

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13 February 2007
Bowyer, Kevin - modern repertoire of

An article about Kevin Bowyer in today's New York Times mentions four pieces of organ music that I've never even heard of before.

  1. "Sieben Sterne" by Brian Ferneyhough (b. 1943)
  2. "Manifold Music" by Milton Babbitt (b. 1916)
  3. "Natural Fantasy" by Charles Wuorinen (b. 1938)
  4. "Gmeeoorh" by Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)

The author, Allan Kozinn calls the Xenakis a "real find".

I'd like to be able to find all of these.

Bowyer's interests tangent: From Bowyer's Wikipedia article: "He is a lover of real ale and malt whisky, and lists his favourite recreation as 'sleeping'."

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12 February 2007
storm - winter, 2007

13 Feb 2007 16:16 The public radio station just turned back on. Sleet continues. Water droplets seem to be frozen to the window. The Winter Storm Warning, while still in effect, is not being updated. The short term forecast published four minutes ago offers this:

THE SLEET...MIXED AT TIMES WITH SNOW WILL CHANGE TO ALL SNOW
LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING. ADDITIONAL SNOWFALL AND SLEET
ACCUMULATIONS OF TWO TO FOUR INCHES ARE POSSIBLE THIS EVENING.
BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW WILL BEGIN TO OCCUR...RESULTING
IN WHITEOUT CONDITIONS. WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE TO 20
TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 40 MPH. MOTORISTS SHOULD BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL
AND NOT VENTURE OUT IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.

13 Feb 2007 15:46 I just noticed the public radio station is off the air. Either that, or it's some extended piece of musique concrète that I was unaware of.

13 Feb 2007 15:14 It's wet and slushy here. The preciptation goes in and out of an icy rain and something harder. Temperature is starting to fall below freezing, so things may ice up substantially in the next few hours. The trees have been coated with ice most of the day.

By the sound of things, emergency vehicles have been very busy in my area. The big airport stopped letting flights depart about three hours ago.

13 Feb 2007 06:49 I have been asked by my employer not to attempt to come into work.

12 Feb 2007 23:35 All is quiet under a sheen of new wet snow. The air hovers just above freezing. Right now, I am on the dividing line. The National Weather Service is predicting snow to the north (which is where I am potentially headed tomorrow, as travel is forecast to be "very hazardous to impossible") and nasty stuff to the south. But:

ANY SHIFT IN THE TRACK WILL HAVE A LARGE
IMPACT ON THE AMOUNT AND TYPE OF PRECIPITATION RECEIVED ACROSS
[THE AREA]. WE URGE EVERYONE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS
ON THIS DEVELOPING WINTER STORM.

12 Feb 2007 20:55 And so it begins. Some freezing rain is brushing against my window.

An exerpt from the text of the warning:

A MIX OF SNOW AND SLEET WILL FALL OVERNIGHT TONIGHT, WHILE A MIX
OF RAIN...FREEZING RAIN...AND SNOW WILL FALL AT TIMES DURING THE
DAY ON TUESDAY. SNOW WILL DIMINISH TUESDAY NIGHT...BUT GUSTY WINDS
WILL CAUSE BLOWING OF ANY SNOW THAT FALLS.

THE POTENTIAL EXISTS OF OVER A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ICE TO FORM
FROM THE FREEZING RAIN DURING THE DAY ON TUESDAY. THIS COMBINED
WITH THE EXPECTED WINDS COULD CAUSE DAMAGE TO TREES AND POWER LINES.

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figures of speech - "likely probably"

Likely and Probably locked in an epic struggle!

Now, we at Sinden.org understand what it's like in the newsroom right as you're about to break a big story. (Heck, this happens to us all the time, mostly involving Anglican chant.) You think to yourself: it might not be the greatest thing you've written, but time waits for no writer, and you've gotta get it out there for the world to read.

At Indiana University, the breaking news is that Michael McRobbie and Ora Pescovitz are finalists in the search for the next president of the university.

But something else caught my interest in this whole story.

The prediction comes as two names surfaced in an e-mail by IU chemistry professor Theodore Widlanski to some faculty members last week that interim Provost Michael McRobbie and Ora Pescovitz, associate dean of research at the IU School of Medicine, were likely probably two of the search's final candidates.

[Student author's name withheld]. UPDATE: 6:42 p.m.: Chancellor says presidential search may end within a month; names of 2 possible finalists listed in e-mail from IU professor. Indiana Daily Student. 12 February 2007. Accessed online: 12 Feb 2007 19:15.

hyperlink and emphasis added

Internet news tangent While we're at it, let's take some time to nitpick the way this news is formatted for the web. First, the "update" portion is needlessly prominent, internet users will always assume the information is current. Second, never underline anything unless it's a link. Third, why can you not link to these names? Especially if they've been in the news more than once? I mean, if you're not teaching journalism students to present their work effectively on the internet, then what are you doing?

The author of the article is a first-year student at Indiana University majoring in International Studies and Journalism. He previously attended the oddly named Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Indiana (Fishers is 140 miles southwest of Hamilton, Indiana but in southeastern Hamilton County).

Likely probably is not a construction that I had ever seen before, and before I thought too much about it, I wanted to make sure that it's not some new-fangled bit of writing that I was unaware of, so I Googled it. The first example I found of the two words being used in the same sentence (at least I think they are, because the following excerpt saves all its punctuation for last) is authored by someone who goes by the alias "minxy" on the Zeropaid forums:

rite 1 thing is 4 sure i know this was started ages ago but u need 2 take it down coz dont u think it a little disrespectful every 1 knows he is dead and stupid people like u r givin others hope that he is still alive when he is not y would ne lovin father like him decide 2 run away from his little girl n stay away 4 this long it is sooo stupid this guy u saw was probably a look alike and more than likely probably jus told u 2 piss off coz u was buggin im 4 runnin after im all the time if u r goin 2 start a disscusion on Kurt Cobain u should start 1 on his murder instead coz he didnt kill himself or fake his death y would he when his life was goin well the only trouble he had was courtney love soo think on that 1 people coz he is not alive and if ne of u belive his storys then u r jus as stupid as him !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.zeropaid.com/bbs/archive/index.php/t-15972.html

emphasis added

But this still doesn't help me know how to interpret this author's phrase: likely probably. Both of these words imply odds over 50%

If I flip this weighted coin, it will probably land on heads.

If I flip the U.S. Senate, I am likely Jim Jeffords a former Republican senator from Vermont.

Somehow we already have "They are probably the candidates" as a general idea. It's just a question of this likely business.

So in using the words together, does the author intend for likely to intensify probably?

Or does he intend for probably to be moderated by being contingent on likely? Odds are they are probably the candidates. But their probably (>50%) being the candidates is contingent on this likely (>50%), and should this likely go away (<50%) their probably would also shift (<50%). The important thing to note is that, even if this occurs, there is still a chance that they could be the candidates. And if they're not, maybe they should be.

So really, in this second scenario, the modifier is unnecessary. If they are likely probably the candidates, then they are probably the candidates. If the likely changes, so does the probably. In both cases, should we learn that they are not candidates, the sentence are false.

You cannot guard against prediction failure by padding probability statements.

But we can safely say that the next president of Indiana University will likely probably not be Kurt Cobain.

Update 13 Feb 2007 20:26 A big shoutout to the Indiana Daily Student and editor in chief Kacie Foster for linking the names of both supposed candidates to their respective biographies in the latest version of the article.

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Merton, Thomas (1915-1968) - on the old being young

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

The Church indeed likes what is old, not because it is old but rather it is "young." In the Psalms, we drink divine praise at its pure and stainless source, in all its primitive sincerity and perfection.

Merton, Thomas. Praying the Psalms, p. 7. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1956.

I think it would be an apt reversal of Merton's thinking to say that what is young ("Praise music") is "old". Tired, worn-out, inauthentic.

You gotta love the Psalms. The source.

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11 February 2007
Britten, Benjamin (1913-1976) - Double Concerto (1932)

Editor's note: Someone accidentally put this article in the refrigerator, and we forgot about all about it. But that's the beauty of the refrigerator (and lots of preservatives), you can let stuff sit, and it doesn't really go bad. These events happened three months ago, but they're still fit for your "consumption". They're just not so fresh any more: Earlier this evening I heard Britten's Double Concerto as part of the San Francisco Symphony's weekly radio broadcast.

San Francisco: This is the second thing of interest I have received from San Francisco this week. The first was a set of vocal scores that were first mistakenly sent to Grace Cathedral. But, no, they weren't by Britten.

I really enjoyed listening to the work but I was also surprised by it. I didn't remember hearing anything about it during my graduate-level course on Britten, and I couldn't find any mention of the piece in Michael Kennedy's Britten biography.

It seems that Colin Matthews completed the work from Britten's rather complete sketches some time before 1997. This is an early work from the composer, and I think it is certainly worth hearing.

Matthews's program note explains more.

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03 February 2007
Bach, J.S. (1685-1750) - Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542 (opening)

There comes a time in every young organist's life when he must decide how to play the opening of Bach's G minor Fantasia and Fugue.

For me, that time is in a little under 48 hours.

I'm still working it out.

It's tricky.

Help?


Stay tuned for updates . . .

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01 February 2007
henge - wood

This latest discovery at Stonhenge (namely, that it had a wooden counterpart) made me think of the stand-up comedy of Eddie Izzard.

Izzard briefly imagines three "henges", each constructed by a pig:

Sometimes life imitates art, but here, "art" -- if you can call comedy that, and I think you can, sometimes -- was imitating life that it didn't even know about.

Sometimes the ridiculous can become real; the absurd, actualized.

Nothing is more far-fetched than sentient porcines building housing out of materials of various durability, and yet, we find something in that narrative that resonates with us.

An increasing quest for permanence leads the pigs to gather in the stone house. That's really a spiritual message if you think about it. Community, durability.

I am, of course, shying away from scape-goatingwolfing as a community-building exercise.

Like the pigs, Neolithic humans also enacted a journey, though theirs was of a more metaphorical/liturgical variety: a "Good Friday" sunset seen through wood (the cross), and an "Easter" sunrise through stone (the open tomb).

It looks this community on Salisbury plain had developed liturgical impulses similar to our own around 2000 years before Jesus was born.

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