Monthly Archives: November 2011

Quote for the Week

Each of us assumes everyone else knows what HE is doing. They all assume we know what WE are doing. We don’t…Nothing is going on and nobody knows what it is. Nobody is concealing anything except the fact that he does not understand anything anymore and wishes he could go home.

–Philip K. Dick, In Pursuit of Valis:  Selections from the Exegesis, courtesy of Wikiquote

Capriccio Italien

A favorite of mine.  In the 70’s I had an album, A Stereo Space Odyssey, which had pieces from 2001:  A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, and other space-themed movies, as well as various pieces that were space-themed (or, as I later found out, repurposed thus).

The movie  pieces weren’t original soundtrack–these were all done by the Royal Philharmonic–and some had been significantly rearranged.  The Star Wars pieces, in particular, sounded very different from the original versions on the soundtrack albums.  There were also a few pieces, unattributed (unless I missed it in the liner notes), with names such as “Mercury”, “Mars”,  or “Stellar Caprice”.  I later found out that “Mercury” was the section of the same name from Holst’s The Planets.  “Mars” was the beginning part of “Capriccio Italien”.

My favorite piece was the one labeled “Stellar Caprice”.  It always brought vivid images to mind, and I listened to it constantly at one point.  Eventually I drifted away from that album (which is still in a box somewhere in my parents’ home, I imagine) as I got older, listened to rock more, and had less time for music in general.  I did often wonder, after finding out the real names of the other pieces what my favorite piece actually was.

This morning, as I was driving along, I turned on the local classical station, and lo and behold!  My favorite piece, “Stellar Caprice”, was playing!  I was truly surprised and overwhelmed with joy, as it brought back the memories of thirty years ago or more!  I even teared up a little.  My one regret was that I was near my destination and was afraid I would arrive and have to turn off the radio before I finally figured out what my favorite piece was.  This was especially true since the version I was hearing was much longer–as with the other pieces, this  had been curtailed for the old album.

Luck was with me, though–or I might even say fate.  The end of the piece neared as I parked, and I sat in the car no more than a minute as it finished.  Please, please, please, I thought, let them tell what it is!  And sure enough they did–and this is it!  Enjoy.

For a Change of Pace, Music to Begin the Week: Bach

My absolute favorite string piece by Bach.  It always brings back memories of driving through the mountains in the spring on the way from home back to college (or vice versa) when I was in my  20’s.  The video is rather unusual, but in a clever way.  In any case, the music always does my heart good.  Enjoy!

Update:  The original video link seems to have become invalid, so I’ve replaced it with Itzhak Perlman’s version.  It’s still great!

Marcion, Marcion, Marcion

Those who are old enough might get the Brady Bunch reference in the title of this post.  If not, well, you’re on the Internet already–use a search engine and figure it out.

I’ve been talking about the Bible of late:  how I came to read it all the way through, not once but twice (third time in progress), what some of the intrinsic limitations in understanding it are, and some of my reactions as I re-read it for the first time in thirty-odd years.  In last of these posts, I left off noting how appalling the violence in the Old Testament is.  That’s where I want to pick up here.

I’ve already noted that the sheer quantities of sex and violence in the Bible truly amazed me the first times I read it as a teenager and an early twentysomething.  Amazed me, but didn’t make too deep an impression.  Youth is like that, I guess.  I never really thought of it as an issue of theology–or theodicy.  I guess I just stashed that away in the heap of contradictions that most people hold in their mind regarding religion.  God is a God of Love, and all that Old Testament stuff where He kills people or orders them killed, by the droves–well, that was way back then, wasn’t it, and–hey, what’s for lunch? Read the rest of this entry

Quote for the Week

The body is a slave, the soul a sovereign, and therefore it is due to Divine mercy when the body is worn out by illness:  for thereby the passions are weakened, and a man comes to himself:  indeed, bodily illness itself is sometimes caused by the passions.

St. Seraphim of Sarov, quoted in Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. I

Somewhat consoling for those of us with chronic health problems.


Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem, concluded (parts 7-9)



Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem, parts 4-6



Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem, parts 1-3




In honor, this Veterans Day, of all who have died serving their country.

Quote for Veterans Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

Makeup Quote for the Week V

The self is the friend of a man

who masters himself through the self,

but for a man without self-mastery,

the self is like an enemy at war.

–Bhagavad Gita 6:6, translated by Barbara Stoler Miller