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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Background Images for Everyone - 2015 - Week 28

Here it is, this week's free, weekly background image.  It's yours if you want it.  Download it and use it anywhere and everywhere you like.  I only ask that you l) tell people that you found it here and 2) that you share it freely with others.  That's not so difficult, is it?

Would you care to guess what this is a photograph of?

 photo Week 28_zpsbjasizuy.jpg

Imaginary Pirate Radio Broadcast from KDFS (Jesus Music)

In several of these recent days, I have taken to amusing (or annoying) some of my friends on the intenets by pretending to be the DJ of an imaginary pirate radio station.  As host of this make believe broadcast I play obscure and terrible music.  Why?  Because I love it. Like this gem from Mrs. Miller.  I know that it’s dreadful in just about every way (I can’t tell if its bettered or worsened by the fact that she seems to forget the lyrics part way through) – but she seems so joyful about it that I can’t help but love it.  

I thought I might share today’s broadcast with a wider audience.  You’re welcome (or, I’m sorry – whichever is more applicable).

Whether you intended it or not, you’re listening to KDFS (and that’s Okay, Doofus).  My name’s thatjeffcarter, and I’ll be your server today, serving up great big heapings of the weird, and terrible, and the disfigured beauty.

Kicking things off today is Negativland and “Christianity is Stupid.” Here in the studios of KDFS we like the heavily ironic.  We also like that we know what movie is being sampled for most of the soundbites in this song. 

And maybe we should be more modest about it, but we’re going to follow that with this oddity: “John Hagee Describes the Naked, Merciless Power of the Illuminati

Hungry?  How about a servin’ of Methodist pie?

I wanted to play Skeeter Davis’ rendition of this next song, but I couldn’t find it on-line, so you’re stuck with the Cowboy Copas singing, "We Need a Whole Lot More of Jesus and a Lot Less Rock-and-Roll."

Now before I sign off I want to play something that never fails to affect me.  It is still the odd and the strange, but it is also wonderful and beautiful.

In 1971 English composer Gavin Bryars was working with a friend on a film about people living in one of the rougher areas of London. In the course of the filming some of the people broke out into drunken songs, little bits of opera and sentimental ballads. But one singer wasn’t drunk. He sang a simple religious tune. His voice was ragged and frail and you could almost hear the freezing cold of the street. But, ultimately, it wasn’t used in the film.

Later, Bryars realized that the recorded snipped of this man singing could be looped and played in an endlessly repeating loop and that his singing was in tune with the piano. Bryars composed a simple accompaniment for the voice.

“I took the tape loop to Leicester, where I was working in the Fine Art Department, and copied the loop onto a continuous reel of tape, thinking about perhaps adding an orchestrated accompaniment to this. The door of the recording room opened on to one of the large painting studios and I left the tape copying, with the door open, while I went to have a cup of coffee. When I came back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued. People were moving about much more slowly than usual and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping.

“I was puzzled until I realized that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man's singing.”

A further recording of the piece was made in 1993 with Tom Waits singing along with the unnamed tramp. And, I can’t think of anyone better suited to join this unidentified homeless man in his song. Tom’s connection to the poorest and surliest, the straggliest, and sweatiest of humanity brings an earthy dignity to this man’s song, and a quiet trust and security. In spite of everything, in spite of trouble and calamity, in spite of death and loss, in spite of hurt and pain and ruin and loneliness, there is trust and there is hope. There is hope because “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Higgins and Sparkler Graffiti

Earlier this morning, for reasons unknown, I began yelling at my daughter - calling her "Higgins" as if she were my lazy butler.

"Higgins, I would like coffee in my study following dinner this evening."
"Get it yourself, dad."
"I must say, Higgins!  There has been a deplorable decline in the quality of your service this past fortnight."
"You only started calling me that this morning. Cut it out."

But, for all of Higgins' recalcitrance, she did help me take some marvelous photos this evening.

Aqua Vitae

Two Williams and the Cab Horse Charter

In 1890 William Booth (founder and first General of The Salvation Army) along with British newspaper editor and Christian Socialist, Frank Smith, wrote In Darkest England and the Way Out – a controversial blueprint for the welfare system in England. In it he laid out what became known as the Cab Horse Charter:

"I sorrowfully admit that it would be utopian in our present social arrangements to dream of attaining for every honest Englishman a jail standard of all the necessaries of life. Some time perhaps, we may venture to hope that every honest worker on English soil will always be as warmly clad, as healthily housed, and as regularly fed as our criminal convicts -but that is not yet.

"What, then, is the standard toward which we may venture to aim with some prospect of realization in our time? It is a very humble one, but if realized it would solve the worst problems of modern society. It is the standard of the London cab horse.

"When in the streets of London a cab horse, weary or careless or stupid, trips and falls and has stretched out in the midst of the traffic, there is no question of debating how he came to stumble before we try to get him on his legs again. The cab horse is a very real illustration of poor, broken down humanity - he usually falls down because of over work and under feeding. If you put him on his feet without altering his conditions, it would only be to give him another dose of agony; but first of all you'll have to pick him up again. It may have been through overwork or underfeeding, or it may have been all his own fault that he has broken his knees and smashed the shafts, but that does not matter. If not for his own sake, then merely in order to prevent an obstruction of the traffic, all attention is concentrated upon the question of how we are to get him on his legs again. The load is taken off, the harness is unbuckled or, if need be, cut, and everything is done to help him up.Then he is put in the shafts again and once more restored to his regular round of work.That is the first point.  The second is that every cab horse in London has three things: a shelter for the night, food for its stomach, and work allotted to it by which it can earn its corn.

"These are the two points of the Cab Horse Charter. When he is down he is helped up, and while he lives he has food, shelter and work. That, although a humble standard, is at present absolutely unattainable by millions - literally by millions - of our fellow men and women in this country. "

But William Booth was not the first to use this particular metaphor. 267 years earlier, in his play As You Like It, (1623) the bard himself, William Shakespeare used the same idea. At the beginning of the play, Orlando de Boys complains of the way his brother treats him saying:

As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion
bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns,
and, as thou sayest, charged my brother, on his
blessing, to breed me well: and there begins my
sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps at school, and
report speaks goldenly of his profit: for my part,
he keeps me rustically at home, or, to speak more
properly, stays me here at home unkept; for call you
that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that
differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses
are bred better; for, besides that they are fair
with their feeding, they are taught their manage,
and to that end riders dearly hired: but I, his
brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for the
which his animals on his dunghills are as much
bound to him as I. 

The views, comments, statements and opinions expressed on this Web site do not necessarily represent the official position of The Salvation Army.


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