Season after Pentecost, 2023

31 October 2008
A special video message from the proprietor of

boost - turbo ratings, episode 5.5

The New York Times reports that Barack Obama's half-hour infomercial attracted more viewers than the network's usual shows:

On NBC, the disparity was even greater. Its regular show there, “Knight Rider,” has been averaging just under 7 million viewers. Mr. Obama pulled in 9.8 million for his half-hour special.

So, while there was no turbo boost this week, the political interruption does beg raise [see comments] the question: when will we see Obama drive KITT?

Maybe sooner than we think:

During a season where television hits are hard to find, one NBC executive suggested jokingly Wednesday that Mr. Obama might be invited back to fill the 8 p.m. Wednesday time slot on a regular basis.

Possible episode title: "Election Knight"

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25 October 2008
Palin, Sarah - lounge singer

It's not plainsong, it's palinsong:

(Thanks Michael!)

24 October 2008
boost - turbo, Episode 5

EpisodeTime before initial
Turbo Boost
14:56shortest time
27:36longest time
3n/afirst episode without
4n/asecond consecutive episode without
5n/athird consecutive

So far, only 40% of the episodes have included turbo boost.

I have to say, this "transformation" thing, while cool and gimmicky, makes for some terrible plot points. In this episode KITT references a "vulnerability" in his undercarriage during transformation. KITT suffering a blue screen of death while on a mission directly as a result of transformation seems to happen with alarming frequency.

Why just back in Episode 2, the site of our last turbo boost, Michael and KITT have a mid-air (mid-turbo-boost, actually) argument about why transforming before hitting the ground is bad. Things seem to have gotten worse as KITT is the one who suggests transformation on the landmined road to "improve [his] maneuverability".

Well, no, maneuverability is not improved if you can't move at all.

Here's hoping for gentler, more thoughtful transformations.


23 October 2008
Rorem, Ned - happy 85th birthday to

Happy birthday to American composer Ned Rorem who turns 85 today.

Rorem, a student of Leo Sowerby, is a favorite composer of church musicians. His "Sing, my soul, his wondrous love" has earned a place in the repertoire of many choirs. "Love divine, all loves excelling" is another sensitive setting of a hymn text, and one which makes a very effective appearance in Rorem's opera Our Town

A prolific composer for the organ, among other instruments, Rorem has composed three "Organbooks". And in all of his music, there's a very real substance and an inimitable style.

O God, our times are in your hand: Look with favor, we pray, on you servant Ned as he begins another year. Grant that he may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen his trust in your goodness all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


22 October 2008
blower - organ

by Oliver Wendell Holmes

DEVOUTEST of My Sunday friends,
The patient Organ-blower bends;
I see his figure sink and rise,
(Forgive me, Heaven, my wandering eyes!)
A moment lost, the next half seen,
His head above the scanty screen,
Still measuring out his deep salaams
Through quavering hymns and panting psalms.

No priest that prays in gilded stole,
To save a rich man's mortgaged soul;
No sister, fresh from holy vows,
So humbly stoops, so meekly bows;
His large obeisance puts to shame
The proudest genuflecting dame,
Whose Easter bonnet low descends
With all the grace devotion lends.

O brother with the supple spine,
How much we owe those bows of thine
Without thine arm to lend the breeze,
How vain the finger on the keys!
Though all unmatched the player's skill,
Those thousand throats were dumb and still:
Another's art may shape the tone,
The breath that fills it is thine own.

Six days the silent Memnon waits
Behind his temple's folded gates;
But when the seventh day's sunshine falls
Through rainbowed windows on the walls,
He breathes, he sings, he shouts, he fills
The quivering air with rapturous thrills;
The roof resounds, the pillars shake,
And all the slumbering echoes wake!

The Preacher from the Bible-text
With weary words my soul has vexed
(Some stranger, fumbling far astray
To find the lesson for the day);
He tells us truths too plainly true,
And reads the service all askew,--
Why, why the--mischief--can't he look
Beforehand in the service-book?

But thou, with decent mien and face,
Art always ready in thy place;
Thy strenuous blast, whate'er the tune,
As steady as the strong monsoon;
Thy only dread a leathery creak,
Or small residual extra squeak,
To send along the shadowy aisles
A sunlit wave of dimpled smiles.

Not all the preaching, O my friend,
Comes from the church's pulpit end!
Not all that bend the knee and bow
Yield service half so true as thou!
One simple task performed aright,
With slender skill, but all thy might,
Where honest labor does its best,
And leaves the player all the rest.

This many-diapasoned maze,
Through which the breath of being strays,
Whose music makes our earth divine,
Has work for mortal hands like mine.
My duty lies before me. Lo,
The lever there! Take hold and blow
And He whose hand is on the keys
Will play the tune as He shall please.


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17 October 2008
Bach for Barack - the image

A visual followup to my "Bach for Barack" idea: "Baroque Obama"

Stabler, David. "Barack Obama: It was only a matter of time" The Oregonian 28 August 2008

Taft Chatham's image is for sale on a shirt.

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16 October 2008
boost - turbo, Episode 4

Another sad day for turbo boost fans.
EpisodeTime before initial
Turbo Boost
14:56shortest time
27:36longest time
3n/afirst episode without
4n/asecond consecutive episode without


15 October 2008
Barack - Bach for

Inspired by "Artists for Obama", I find myself thinking about a project I call: "Organ for Obama", or even better, "Bach for Barack".

O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde groß, BWV 622

B Minor Prelude, BWV 544

An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV 653

Meine Seele erhebt den Herren, BWV 648

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 715

Are these good choices?

Is anyone interested in recording these and getting them on the web?


Messiaen for McCain? Anyone? It is a centennial year. For Messiaen I mean.

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14 October 2008
St John's College, Cambridge - evensong webcasts from

The Choir of St. John's College Cambridge is webcasting one evensong each week from their new, freestanding website. The inaugural webcast debuts today.

Their audio player makes it ridiculously easy to skip the sermon.

One can hope that King's and other English collegiate chapels are not far behind in this endeavor.

Now, a non-musical web tangent:

The arrangements of the webcast do make one wonder a little bit about the politics behind the St. John's enterprise. The choir has recently launched this new website which is separate from the college's domain. It is also a bit heavy in the self-promotion department, but that's another story.

Perhaps one of the primary reasons for the creation of this site is the choir's desire webcast evensong services. This initiative does seem to have the blessing of the college (see this press release) but I think it loses some of its prestige by not being hosted by the college.

Now, maybe there's some technical or theological reason that addresses cannot stream audio, but I'm not privy to that kind of "Bob's your uncle" or "Heath Robinson" or whatever you want to call it.

And this separation of a music program from its umbrella institution is not an isolated incident. I run across this from time to time in parish churches and cathedrals on this side of the Atlantic. It seems to me that in the interest of the web presence of both parties this kind of separation should be discouraged and regarded as insubordination on the part of the musicians. Of course this is only valid if the umbrella institution has a responsive site and adequate technical support.

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13 October 2008
Irvington - a walk around the, part 2

12 October 2008
October - Sarabande for the Twelfth of any

Many astute organists (Stephen Cleobury and his minions at King's College, Cambridge, England; John Scott and his assistants at St. Thomas, New York; and Rob Lehman at St. Michael and St. George, St. Louis . . . surely there are others . . .) have remembered to play Howells's marvelous "Sarabande for the Twelfth of any October" today.

Howells included this movement in his Partita for organ as a tribute to Ralph Vaughan Williams, who was born on this day.

Alas, alack, I do not play this piece as of yet, though it is my life's goal to perform all of the organ music of Howells.

Sunday, October 12, 2014 here I come.

Update 14 Oct 2008: Osbert Parsley does the math and finds that 2183 is the next Vaughan Williams anniversary year where the Twelfth of October falls on a Sunday

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10 October 2008
boost - turbo, Episode 3

A sad day for turbo boost fans.
EpisodeTime before initial
Turbo Boost
14:56shortest time
27:36longest time

06 October 2008
Irvington - a walk around the, part 1

03 October 2008
boost - turbo, Episode 2

I know you enjoyed last week's episode of Knight Rider the 2008 Series just as much as I did, but until this week we didn't really have anything to compare it to.

Thus beginneth the Turbo Boost table.
EpisodeTime before initial
Turbo Boost
14:56shortest time
27:36longest time


02 October 2008
bowels - the sounding of

O Lord, look down from heaven,
and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory:
Where is Thy zeal and Thy strength, the sounding of Thy bowels, Thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?

Isaiah 63:15 (King James Version)

As seen in Jonathan Battishill's anthem.



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