Saturday, February 19, 2011

The house was almost sold out for the first time, five tiers.
"Mostly white people."
And alot of men. Three rows solid behind us were packed with 'em.
"Lions Club," I muttered. "Oh, no, K of C," he came back.
And a fella mentioned he ought to bring his wife sometime. I just didn't like the way they kicked the back of my seat.

As usual, the band was a little slow to get warmed up. Starting with "Octopus's Garden," I really began to think they were doing a great job. The drummer, who had been the foley artist/jack-of-all-trades during The Wall, sang with a heavy, put-on Liverpudlian accent that captured it. He had done "Oh! Darling" before but his voice was too gruff, as if he had actually achieved what McCartney wanted but failed to accomplish: the sound of having sung all night. But it didn't fit the original.

I ought to say that the mic on the first guy who had sung "Come Together" wasn't at the proper mix level and was fairly inaudible for a quarter of the show. He used another singer's mic for "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window," then dashed off stage. When he returned to his mic, it sounded much better. I don't know what the guys at the sound board were doing but I can't believe they didn't fix it sooner.

I was dreading "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" because it's almost 8 minutes of grunging, heavy guitar. But hearing it performed live I got an appreciation for what a tight song it is musically and with each measure or so the lights changed and even intensified until the abrupt ending. It was my favorite up 'til that point in the show.

And what could be brighter after that than "Here Comes the Sun?" It's so plucky. After that Harrisong, the guys behind us remarked with a degree of relief, "Now, that song I liked." During the intermission, Jeff and I compared notes and we had both thought that if they liked only that song so far they were certain to like none of the rest!

There was a time when I thought "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" was a deliciously wicked number but my opinion now is that the album might be better without it! Lennon and Harrison turn in great performances on this album but Paul contributed some real throwaways. He wasn't there. "Oh! Darling," maybe and "Golden Slumbers."

I noted for the first time how many of the verses are just "Ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh" on this album. Compare that to the swooning "Whooo" of "I Am the Walrus" (Magical Mystery Tour), for example.

The conclusion of the first hour before intermission was fabulous. "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End" were really well done, so well done in fact that the audience didn't hold their applause for "Her Majesty." I'm sure there were some people who knew a final song was coming. Wiki has interesting background on that song which makes sense:
The loud chord that occurs at the beginning of the song is the ending, as recorded, of "Mean Mr. Mustard". "Her Majesty" ends abruptly because its own final note was left at the beginning of "Polythene Pam". [...] Consequently, both of the original sides of vinyl close with a song that ends abruptly (the other being I Want You (She's So Heavy)).
I always thought it was written about Princess Margaret who seemed to be a fan.

After the intermission, the second hour was more Beatles songs. "Nowhere Man," "Can't Buy Me Love," "And Your Bird Can Sing," "Two of Us," "Blackbird," "Glass Onion," "Martha, My Dear," "Honey Pie," "Birthday," "I Am the Walrus," and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." As you can tell, more than half from The White Album. Jeff was like, "Hey, we already saw this show!" Yeah, but with a live performance, it's always just a little different. And the guitarist who had channeled David Gilmour during The Wall show managed an equally good Clapton on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." In fact, we detected a little Floyd sound during "Something!"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's very difficult to bring four kids to the library. But we can at least attempt a quick trip. For emergencies.

The oldest wanted books on his bio selection, Da Vinci. The online card catalogue wasn't working fast enough for us, so I took Kenny to the biography section in the (juvenile) stacks and we found several books. Sounds simple, but we were interrupted many times by the other three kids.

Besides the biography books, I figured it was high time that Ella got her own library card. She's four after all. A little overdue, even (ha-ha). She was thrilled with it, especially the color. After she got it, we went back into the children's section and I helped her pick out "girl books." The boys had picked out all war, army, navy, battleship type books.

The boys all have wallets to keep their library card in. Ella wanted a wallet, too. Since the library card is purple, she wanted a purple wallet. I took her to the Jackson Outlets this afternoon to look at wallets. Out of habit, I parked near Wilson Leather, also near Fossil, thinking we could find something there. But at the last second, my eye caught the Coach store. I thought Coach would be my best bet for finding a non-brown wallet, i.e., purple.

I've never been in the Coach store at the Jackson Outlets. In fact, I've only entered a Coach store once, probably three or four years ago, at the Freehold Mall with a friend who was returning something. I was quite unprepared. There was loud music and lots of women. There was a special 30% off event, in anticipation of a Presidents' Day Weekend sale. It was clearly not an outlet store: everything appeared to be full price. I knew that I couldn't get her a $79 wallet.

But we looked around. She wanted to buy the first thing she saw. I let her carry it but I told her that we would keep looking. It's a terribly small store, a feature of the Outlets that I appreciate. There's no getting lost. So, why not look through the entire store?

Well, but we didn't because it was too busy. In clearance, I found a wallet for $39, plus the 30% off. The snap closure billfold was what I was looking for in terms of features, size, price and color (plum). The woman who rang us up made a big deal about the purchase, even saying to Ella,
"You're a very lucky girl to be getting a Coach wallet."
My husband accuses me of strong brand loyalty but I haven't any idea what distinguishes a Coach from any other manufacturer of handbags. It really seems rather silly. Anyway, I didn't appreciate the cashier's attempt to foster enthusiasm for shopping in Ella.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Through the efforts of the pastoral associate, my parish just began a 10-wk Little Rock Scripture Study on Matthew's Gospel using the new Collegeville commentary and a video lecture. During the brief Advent study from the same publisher, I learned that there's a great deal of reading and preparation necessary for the small group discussions. So I wasted no time and completed this week's work in a couple of days. I'll probably tweak my answers over the coming days as there are a couple of issues that I want to research in greater depth.

The first matter for further investigation is the commentary writer's observation that Matthew must have omitted a name from Jesus' genealogy. Either that or ol' Matt couldn't count because there are only thirteen names in the third group, since the Exile. My opinion before I begin any additional reading is that someone is to be counted twice.1 Since he skipped generations at some points, he certainly had enough names to work with. Interesting that Rahab is said to be the mother of Boaz, even though she lived at the time of the conquest and Boaz lived at the time of the judges.

The major insight that I got from the Collegeville commentary was Reid's comment on 2:17-18:
"Whereas Matthew uses this text [Jer. 31:15] to express the bitter lamentation of Israel over its slaughtered children, in Jeremiah it is part of an oracle that promises an end to the suffering and the return of the exiled Israelites (Jer 31:16)."
In following down that cross-reference, I never read past verse 15 in Jeremiah 31. Maybe Matthew intended us to and then we would see the hope of Jesus bringing us back from exile, too.

Doing some homework yesterday, I read chapters 3-5 and was surprised to hear portions of Matthew 5 again at mass this weekend. Reid's commentary on verses 38-42, under a heading "On nonretailiation," is outstanding:
The first example (v. 39b) involves a backhanded slap, meant to insult and humiliate. Turning the other cheek is a creative response that robs the aggressor of the power to humiliate and shames the one who intended to inflict shame. [emphasis mine] It interrupts the cycle of violence [and i]t could begin to move the aggressor toward repentance, leading to reconciliation.


In a smiliar way, a debtor who stands naked in court, after handing over both under and outer garments to a creditor (v. 40), performs a shocking act that places shame on the creditor. See Genesis 9:20-27, which asserts that it is the one who views another's nakedness who is shamed. Isaiah (20:1-6) made use of this strategy. This tactic exposes the injustice of the economic system to which the creditor subscribes and opens the possibility that he may repent, perceiving the common humanity that unites him with those he had exploited. [emphasis mine]
Wow. Definitely wisdom literature.

1 In fact, Hendriksen believes Jechoniah ought to be counted twice because, between the account in 2 Kgs 24:8-12 and 1 Chr. 3:17-18, the king goes through such an amazing conversion that it's as if he's a new man. While I'm ok with counting someone twice, this explanation is not sensitive to the theological differences between Kings and Chronicles, the latter always portraying the monarchy in a relatively better light. Someone in our small group suggested that Jesus and Christ are to be counted as two distinct people but that idea reminds me of an ancient heresy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The conversation started with talk of colonoscopies and coin-operated restrooms. Clear signs that this is an old crowd. Doesn't matter how old I get, I never seem to catch up!

At some point, though, we came to our senses - after all, we were having brunch - and directed the conversation towards the "question:"
What makes you feel loved?
I had a general answer about simply being noticed, but when the green box from ProFlowers arrived this morning, I got more specific.

You see, I was just about to go out to this fellowship session of Community Bible Study but heard a knock at the door and took a few minutes to put the two dozen roses in water and food packet. I mentioned to the group that flowers for Valentine's Day make me feel loved. And I shared about my sister-in-law, whose one-year anniversary is approaching later this month. I was quick to add that my husband has always given me flowers, even having them delivered one time in high school French class, so I know he isn't motivated by guilt or fear of missing an opportunity.

Then the young mother next to me said her husband used to give flowers when they were dating but not anymore. She'd rather he use the $50 or so on important things, like the electric bill. And then all the ladies fell in with opinions that flowers aren't important, they only die, and they'd rather feel loved every day instead of only on one day (did they think I was saying that?) and that Valentine's Day is made up by the card companies to sell things.

Phew! My head was spinning and I sure wasn't feeling loved anymore. And then they turned back to me and asked,
"Does he get you anything on Valentine's Day itself, like chocolate?"
Wait, I thought we just got done saying that the day isn't significant, but a marketing ploy? Instead, I just said, "I'll let you know whether he gets me more the next time we meet."

After grace was said, a sunny woman remarked that she'd once eaten with a couple who said grace after the meal as well. She thought that was unusual and perhaps indicated that the food was good. Everyone chimed in on how superfluous it was.
"You thank God for the food whether it's any good or not!"
and other such moralizing.

For those who'd never heard of such a thing, I said it's an old-fashioned practice that one finds in the mid-west and the woman confirmed that they were in the mid-west at the time. I didn't say it was Catholic1 but I've only ever heard Catholics pray after meals. When I lived in Ohio, a co-worker took me home to her German immigrant small town and her Catholic mother prayed after breakfast. Like face-in-hands prayer. I think she thought I would join in but I had no idea what she was doing.

Rather than a lecture or exhortation, since we've finished 1 John and haven't yet started 1 Peter, we had a "music ministry" which means just singing songs. I'd noticed last week that the NIV pew Bibles had all been replaced with the ESV translation at this Baptist church where we meet. Couldn't wait for the 2011 NIV edition? I only knew one song, "I Love You, Lord" from my "other life" in Campus Crusade. But, sheesh, that's a twenty year old song.

1 this line might give some Christians trouble: "May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace."