Easter 2024

27 July 2008
Matthias, William - "Let the People Praise Thee, O God"

Today in 1981, Lady Diana Spencer and HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales were married in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

Included in the proceedings was a new musical setting of Psalm 67 by Welsh composer William Matthias, "Let the People Praise Thee, O God".

And don't forget to watch part 2 of this series where Diana calls Prince Charles (first name Charles) "Philip Charles Arthur George".

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25 July 2008
St James - hymn for the Feast of

For all thy saints, a noble throng,
who fell by fire and sword,
who soon were called, or waited long,
we praise thy name, O Lord;

For him who left his father's side,
nor lingered by the shore,
when, softer than the weltering tide,
thy summons glided o'er;

who stood beside the maiden dead,
who climbed the mount with thee,
and saw the glory round thy head,
one of thy chosen three;

who knelt beneath the olive shade,
who drank thy cup of pain,
and passed from Herod's flashing blade
to see thy face again.

Lord, give us grace, and give us love,
like him to leave behind
earth's cares and joys, and look above
with true and earnest mind.

So shall we learn to drink thy cup,
so meek and firm be found,
when thou shalt come to take us up
where thine elect are crowned.

Words: Cecil Francis Alexander
Tune: St. James, of course

24 July 2008
closed - the balcony is

Don't miss: The balcony is closed by Roger Ebert.


22 July 2008
St. Mary Magdalene - hymn referencing

In "Jerusalem, My Happy Home":

There Magdalen hath left her moan,
and cheerfully doth sing
with blessèd saints, whose harmony
in every street doth ring.

Is this the only reference to Mary Magdalene in our hymnody?

Textually, we believe so, though Arthur Sullivan has a tune called St. Mary Magdalene.

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18 July 2008
everyone - plunk

The plunkmaster is back, and this time, he's talking about everyone.


14 July 2008
legacy - Bush

While eating lunch downtown yesterday a large bus critical of Bush drove by.

It was the Bush Legacy tour bus.

Seconds later, I spotted a horse-drawn carriage.

"Aha", I thought, "the McCain legacy".

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13 July 2008
hymnal - playing

A funny note in an otherwise sad news story from London:

Gene Robinson, an openly gay U.S. bishop was forced to stop his sermon at a west London church after a member of the congregation began to heckle him . . .

Robinson halted his sermon while a hymnal [sic] began playing. The man was escorted from the south west London church at which time Robinson resumed his sermon and asked for the congregation to pray for the man.

TransWorldNews: Gay U.S. Bishop Heckled During Sermon at London Church 13 July 2008. Emphasis added

I want that hymnal!

In all earnestness, I love Gene Robinson's preaching, and I intend to read his sermon this afternoon, heckles and all.

Powerful video of the heckling at the BBC.

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Star Wars - Henry Purcell meets

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12 July 2008
trouble - double

AA - battery

B. B. King - guitarist and singer

C. C. Sabathia - Cubs pitcher

Dee Dee Meyers - former White House press secretary

E. E. Cummings - poet

ff - fortissimo!

GG Allin - controversial rock artist

H. H. Holmes - serial killer

II - Roman for two

J. J. Abrams - TV/film creative force

KK - webspeak for okay

L.L.Bean - clothes

mm - millimeter

N.N. - anonymous person

OO - ah!

pp -pianissimo

QQ - aw, don't cry

RR - railroad

SS - saints (as in "SS Peter and Paul")

TT - Tritone

UU - University of Utah

v.v. - vice versa

WW - quadruple u

XX - girly chromosomes

YY - indeed, why?

ZZ Top - rock band from Houston


11 July 2008
iPhone - 3G, rough launch of

"iPhone 3G San Antonio: I waited about 15 minutes for activation, and nobody else's was working either so I just took my phone and left. They kept telling me that wasn't allowed, but I had already paid for the phone so there was nothing they could do to stop me."

Apple and AT&T Stores Having Difficulty Activating iPhones (UPDATE: It's the iPocalypse)

He's right, you know. Once you pay for something, it's yours. They can't stop you, or search you, or seize your goods. There's a fourth amendment to the constitution in this country.

I've always thought that that aspect of the plan was a little silly.

And I have to say I was excited about the prospect of getting an iPhone since my cell phone contract is set to expire, but the internet is abuzz with bad news today. Activation of these new phones seems to have hit huge snags on all fronts.

Thank you early adopters for making my possible future purchase easier.

CORRECTION: From the legal team, we've learned that holding the iPhone "[is] like you're cupping a warm baby bird" -- wait, no that's this Gizmodo review. But we have been corrected. The Bill of Rights only has bearing on the government. Common law prevents Apple from detaining you with an unactivated phone (we think, though there's a possible contract violation.)

Are their other insights on this from others who have been through the in-store purchasing process?


funny - asparagus makes my pee smell

I wrote this about four years ago in an email to herself, and it seems as relevant now as ever.

In 1891 a scientist named "Nencki" who, like me [immediately after graduating college], had so very little to do that he convinced four guys to eat seven kilograms of asparagus (that's about three and a half pounds each). He collected the pertinent pee, worked some "medieval magic" on it, and concluded that the smell was due to a metabolite called methanethiol.

So, this is just a smelly byproduct of digesting the asparagus that your kidneys dump into your bladder.

What is methanethiol (AKA mercaptan?), exactly? Methanethiol is composed mostly of sulfur with a little of hydrogen, and carbon (think rotten eggs). Merck warns that methanethiol may be a narcotic in high concentrations.

So, that's what makes your pee smell funny, but there is more to it than that.

Babe Ruth may have been the first person to bring this into the popular consciousness when he declined a plate of asparagus saying "asparagus makes my urine smell funny."

If legend is to be believed, only half of the people at the party laughed, and the other half didn't know what he was talking about. The assumption here is that there is a segment of the population that either does not produce methanethiol in large enough quantities OR for some reason, cannot smell it.

This second theory is propagated in a study by Lison et al. (1980) which relegates this phenomenon to the realm of smell hypersensitivity.

BUT other studies point to the varying production of methanethiol in different demographics. A study published in the May 1989 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that 46% of 115 people tested produced the odor in one group of British citizens, while 100% of 103 people produced it in a group of French citizens, but this is no surprise, because we all know the French are smelly pacifists.

Just so you know, asparagus -- a member of the lily family along with garlic, onions, and leeks -- is a powerhouse of nutrients. It's an excellent source of folic acid (a B vitamin that may help protect against birth defects, heart disease, and cancer), a significant source of vitamin C (an antioxidant that may protect tissues against damage), and a good source of vitamin A (an antioxidant).

sources for this article:,,, and{5FE84E90-BC77-4056-A91C-9531713CA348}, all accessed June 2004.

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10 July 2008
Yon, Pietro - American Rhapsody

Attention organists & musicologists: I need your help with this, and you could be entitled to free scones!

"O Christmas Tree" + "Jesus Loves the Little Children" + "Deep River" + "Dixie" + "?" + the national anthem = Yon's American Rhapsody, the perfect piece for your July 4 organ recital.

The Christmas carol is really the state song of Maryland. Even the score tells us that. And I would hypothesize that as a Roman Catholic, Yon held a special place in his heart for the state.

That Sunday school song "Jesus Loves the Little Children" is really a Civil War ditty: "Tramp, tramp tramp, the boys are marching".

"Deep River" and "Dixie" I get.

But what's that other one? It starts at "Allegro Maestoso" on page 98 of this score.

Any ideas? Homemade baked goods are at stake.


09 July 2008
Ord, Boris (1897-1961) - 111th birthday of

Ord -- no, not the airport in Chicago -- was born on this day in 1897.

His one published composition is Adam lay ybounden

In the last decade, it has been performed at 60% of the Festivals of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College, Cambridge.

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08 July 2008
Bach, J. S. - Toccata and Fugue in D minor, video

I'm on vacation today, so I'll give you this little video so that you too might escape from your work-a-day world into the glories of graphically realized pseudo-Bach.

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07 July 2008
Cowper, William - quoted on the Sopranos

In Episode 2.9, Salvatore Bonpensiero responds to Tony Soprano's question about his belief in God

Yeah, I do, Ton', absolutely. Works in very mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.

How often do you see a hymn text of William Cowper referenced in popular culture?

Were Cowper in the episode, he would probably continue: "He plants His footsteps in the sea / And rides upon the storm."


06 July 2008
news - organ: headline editors of various quality

A great headline: "Toccata and feud erupts over historic French church organ" (The Observer)

Interesting conflict surrounding the appointment of an organist in Cintegabelle. I've played the organ there. It's fantastic; "one of the four finest in France", the church claims.

And one of the worst headlines I've ever seen: Manual pipe organ recital (Brisbane Times)

Yes, it is a "magnificent 4 manual pipe organ", but what the heck is a "manual pipe organ recital"?!

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03 July 2008
organ - Ocean Grove, at 100

The mammoth organ in the New Jersey's Ocean Grove Auditorium is turning 100.

"Ocean Grove's pipe organ, a Jersey Shore treasure, marks 100 years of sacred song" (Star Ledger)

The article references organbuilder Robert Hope-Jones's courteous suicide attempt (which I knew nothing about) and that one of his investors was Mark Twain (again, news to me).

See also: "Pulling Out All the Stops" (Asbury Park Press)

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02 July 2008
Oberlin - organs at

The Oberlin Summer Organ Academy is underway this week.

With that in mind, I present

Don't worry, the pesky tremulant goes away

Need more from the organs at Oberlin? Don't miss "The Organ at Oberlin" on Pipedreams

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01 July 2008
Bach, J. S. - "Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns haelt" (North American premiere)

The Calgary Herald reports that the recently discovered "Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns haelt" will have its North American premiere in Montreal today.

Where did I put my passport? And my sick day policy?

Previously: Bach, Johann Sebastian - new organ work by

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