Sunday, September 26, 2021

Worship - 26 September 2021 - Plague Journal Day 563

Micah 6:8
Luke 18:35-43
Yes, your life matters.

Some of you are still sheltering in place, but fear not: I'm here to keep you sane and entertained.
One could hardly ask for much more than that, now could one? 


For our 9:30 worship service we have the return of a version of the Moving Vans at offertory time and three(!) hymns for congregational singing. (Yes - we're back to congregational singing. We're Methodists again!) Remember, we'll be streaming for all those who can't join us in person, and intend to continue that practice indefinitely. Still, know that we miss seeing you in person - please come join in corporate prayer, praise, and worship as soon as you feel ready.

As usual, today's stream should just appear as the latest entry on our YouTube channel, here.
You'll find all our previous worship videos right there at that same place, and today's stream will stay there as a recording as well.

Keep Calm and Don't Stay Away.
I'll be back tomorrow.
The mental health issues related to our lockdown and the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a 24 hour helpline: 800-950-6264

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Hooray for New Math! - 25 September 2021 - Plague Journal Day 562

Micah 6:8
Genesis 15:5-6
Yes, your life matters.

Some of you are still sheltering in place, but fear not: I'm here to keep you sane and entertained.
One could hardly ask for much more than that, now could one?

I posted recently about the raging insanity at our southern border. Looking at the calendar, I wondered if perhaps the president biden mightn't have gotten confused by some of today's celebrations. Today is Fish Amnesty Day as well as National Food Service Employees Day. Since he seems to think that the waves of immigrants are coming here to take jobs in the food service industry, and since fish amnesty is simply catch and release, perhaps a conflation of these led to the president's "decisions" in this matter. Perhaps not.
Of course, today is also National Psychotherapy Day, so maybe he's just crazy. I'm not a doctor, so I'm not going to make a diagnosis.

While I'm not a doctor, I am a mathematician, and today is also Math Storytelling Day. To observe this important holiday, I thought I'd share a brief story of my mathematical journey.

It's important to note that I'm a pure mathematician, not an applied one. After the first couple of semesters, I seldom saw numbers in my textbooks other than to designate pages and chapters. Even my number theory class was curiously devoid of most numerals.
At any rate, I was talking with my Dad (an engineer) about my impending graduation (having changed my major from Physics to Pure Mathematics in my sophomore year) and he asked me "What are you going to do with that degree, open a theorem store?" Ah, would that I had!

Still, to prove there is actual use for mathematics in popular culture, I invite you to view this wonderful video. I would also encourage you to look for a recording of the fabulous Disney video, Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land.




Keep Calm and Don't Stay Away.
I'll be back tomorrow.
The mental health issues related to our lockdown and the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a 24 hour helpline: 800-950-6264.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Gentlemen, question mark - 24 September 2021 - Plague Journal Day 561

Micah 6:8
Leviticus 26:27-33
Yes, your life matters.

Some of you are still sheltering in place, but fear not: I'm here to keep you sane and entertained.
One could hardly ask for much more than that, now could one?


Today is National Punctuation Day!?¿‽ This reminds me of one of my favourite T-shirts to wear when walking my dog, Billie. It reads:

LET'S EAT MOM!
LET'S EAT, MOM!

PUNCTUATION SAVES LIVES.

Truer words are seldom worn.

Keep in mind that punctuation, abbreviations, circumlocutions, and the like are nearly as important as the words separating them, and try to remember that a semi-colon is not a medical condition.
Take a letter to my lawyers.


Keep Calm and Don't Stay Away.
I'll be back tomorrow.
The mental health issues related to our lockdown and the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a 24 hour helpline: 800-950-6264.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Time for Pie! - 23 September 2021 - Plague Journal Day 560

Micah 6:8
1 Kings 17:11-16
Yes, your life matters.

Some of you are still sheltering in place, but fear not: I'm here to keep you sane and entertained.
One could hardly ask for much more than that, now could one?


Today is National Great American Pot Pie Day! How exciting is that? Clearly the way to celebrate this spectacular holiday is by partaking of a pot pie. Homemade pies are great - Heidi has an excellent way around a chicken pot pie - but the cheap frozen ones from Banquet are great too. I've tried some of the "fancy" frozen pies, and I think they just try too hard. The crust isn't right, the gravy is too thick, there aren't enough peas, and many other niggling complaints could be laid here. Suffice it to say that I'm happier with the cheap ones when we don't make our own.
So - go make a pot pie for dinner today, whether from scratch or purchased. (I know, sometimes one runs out of scratch, and that makes it hard to have either kind of pie.)

Today is also the 95th birthday of that musical genius, John Coltrane. The man simply redefined jazz sax playing, and his stuff is still adventurous all these years later. Grab a disc and play some Coltrane while you eat your pot pie. It will be good for you.

On a less positive note, what the hell is going on in these United States? Somehow, someone has transported thousands of refugees from Haiti to the Mexican border. (I can't believe they all swam from Haiti to Mexico - you tell me how they got there.) Then the biden administration announces it will deport all those Haitians - to no crazed media outcry at the blatant racism of that planned action - only to do their standard capture and release, asking only that they promise to show up at a processing facility at a later date. Are these people insane, or do they just hate these United States and their citizens? I'm truly puzzled, mystified, befuddled, and getting ever angrier.

Keep Calm and Don't Stay Away.
I'll be back tomorrow.
The mental health issues related to our lockdown and the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a 24 hour helpline: 800-950-6264.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down - 22 September 2021 - Plague Journal Day 559

Micah 6:8
Exodus 25:10-16
Yes, your life matters.

Some of you are still sheltering in place, but fear not: I'm here to keep you sane and entertained.
One could hardly ask for much more than that, now could one?

On 22 September 1869 Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold was heard for the first time. It is the first of the four operas of Der Ring des Nibelungen, and the premier took place at the National Theatre in Munich. The other three music dramas are Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. In some ways, Das Rheingold serves as a prelude to the three other operas of Der Ring, much as the Hobbit was a prelude to the three volumes of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

It's an interesting coincidence that the Hobbit was published on 21 September 1937 (see yesterday's post), as both Wagner and Tolkien were using many of the same mythological and legendary sources from Germanic (those in the know prefer the term Teutonic!) lore in the crafting of their master works. It's also interesting how differently these two men reused those source materials based, in large part, on their very different world-views.

As an unrelated historical aside, on this date in 2007 Marcel Marceau shuffled off this mortal coil. His performance in the Mel Brooks classic, "Silent Movie," was very memorable, and I'll never forget his final words, "."

Keep Calm and Don't Stay Away.
I'll be back tomorrow.
The mental health issues related to our lockdown and the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a 24 hour helpline: 800-950-6264.




Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Broke That Hobbit - 21 September 2021 - Plague Journal Day 558

Micah 6:8
Revelation 22:16-21
Yes, your life matters.

Some of you are still sheltering in place, but fear not: I'm here to keep you sane and entertained.
One could hardly ask for much more than that, now could one?

On 21 September 1937 JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit was first published. It was a nice, little book. A story that could be read in a short time. It had all the makings of the classic of (children's) literature which it has become.
It did not have the makings of a trilogy of overlong, overstuffed movies taking nearly eight hours to watch. Good grief, at fewer than 300 pages it could be read aloud in far less time than those bloated films take to screen.

I was and am a fan of Peter Jackson's work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Four of us attended the first film and as it ended we were all of the same mind - we would sit there for another three hours right then to watch the next, were it available. Sadly, Mr Jackson decided to "fix up" the Hobbit to make it more like LotR rather than letting it be itself. What a shame. I've seen a fan-edited version of the three Hobbit films pared down to one that is a reasonable length and actually hews to the original story. It's a much better product than Jackson's overblown trilogy.

What a shame. I'd recommend grabbing the little paperback off your shelf and giving it a read. It really is a good story, and it didn't need any of the extras that were pasted to it.



Keep Calm and Don't Stay Away.
I'll be back tomorrow.
The mental health issues related to our lockdown and the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a 24 hour helpline: 800-950-6264.

Monday, September 20, 2021

A Rotten Month - 20 September 2021 - Plague Journal Day 557

Micah 6:8
John 5
Yes, your life matters.

Some of you are still sheltering in place, but fear not: I'm here to keep you sane and entertained.
One could hardly ask for much more than that, now could one?

Life is good, I'm blessed in so many ways - far beyond anything I deserve (which is part of why they're blessings, right? it's not something I've earned, it's Grace.) Still what a rotten month it's been.


One month ago, Dad had (what we're assuming was) an a-fib incident that put him in hospital via the emergency room. He got what seemed to be very good care, but with a bad heart (physically speaking only) and reduced kidney function, things just weren't bouncing back the way we all would have liked. So, Dad entered in-patient hospice care. That didn't last long - Medicare and hospitals don't like to have folks hang out in hospital for long periods anymore. So, into home hospice care he went. The folks from Henry Ford Hospice Care have been uniformly wonderful. I've almost tired of saying that apart from what it really is, this has been a really good experience, but that's the truth.

At any rate, there he is, stuck (so far) in his bed, frustrated as can be that he's still all there, but his body is letting him down. We're working on getting him some strength back, and we see lots of good progress, but Dad doesn't see it - we have to remind him of every little victory and advance. So from time to time he drops into Eeyore mode and we have to remind him of who he is, Whose he is, and who else loves and counts on him and can't wait to hear him sing at church again.


As I said, the hospital and hospice folks have all been great, and have spared us from the usual glut of medical jargon and gibberish - which is almost sad, as today is National Gibberish Day. Frankly, I don't think there could be a better way to celebrate that than watching Blazing Saddles for this scene.
You're welcome.





Keep Calm and Don't Stay Away.
I'll be back tomorrow.
The mental health issues related to our lockdown and the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a 24 hour helpline: 800-950-6264.