Friday, February 19, 2010

Miserere mei, Deus - Gregorio Allegri

"Have mercy on me, O God"

Around 1630 Gregorio Allegri set music to Psalm 51. It is considered to be one of the finest and most popular examples of renaissance polyphony (puh-lif-uh-nee]. It is often heard on Ash Wednesday, following Shrove Tuesday, marking Christ's return to Jerusalem.
performed by The Sixteen

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Here We Go A' Curling

Two or three Winter Olympic seasons ago I turned on the TV to see absurdity in action. A guy was attempting to do a split while pushing a tea kettle across the ice. In front of the kettle were two other people scrubbing and sweeping the ice with a broom and a mop. Not knowing a thing about the game including it's name I became a fan. Welcome to curling!

Since then I have learned a little about the sport, yes sport. For more details please see the sites mentioned in the side bar. Basically, very basically, a four person team take turns delivering the kettles, excuse me - stones, to the end of the ice course toward a bull's eye target called the house. The goal is to end up with your stones closer to the button, which is the center of the house, than your opponents.

Some question if curling is a real sport. Why would it not be? It takes much practice and learned strategy to become a skilled curler. I heard that golf would soon be an Olympic sport - a sport in which the spectators are in more danger than the participants.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrive, Shrove, Shriven

Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Lent which is a time of self-denial and fasting as an act of devotion and self-discipline. The word shrove is associated with the process of admitting that we have sinned, repenting, and being assured of God's forgiveness.

To give someone "short shrift" is to pay little attention to their excuses or problems.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Tuesday and Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French). On Shrove Tuesday it is customary to eat pancakes, and many churches have pancake suppers. The tradition came about because the meal would use up the milk and butter that was usually on hand in the kitchen. These items could be given up for lent. In some church communities there are also pancake races and pancake tossing demonstrations and contests.

Hanukkah is the commemoration of the dedication of the Jewish Temple by Judas Maccabeus in 165 BC, after it had been defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes. Though there was only enough pure oil to light the lamps for one day, the lamps burned for eight days when more could be obtained. It is a custom in the Jewish religion to eat potato pancakes (latkes) which are made with oil, to celebrate this miracle. Eating pancakes at a time when the oil is plentiful is common in both Christian and Jewish traditions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lunar New Year

The Year of the Tiger began on February 14, 2010, and will end on February 2, 2011. Those born in the Year of the Tiger are said to be courageous, strong, and mysterious. People of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan, and Mongolian heritage celebrate the Lunar New Year. Parades, parties and other special events are used to celebrate the event. Narcissus flowers are thought to be a good omen and are appropriate to display at this time of renewed hope for the future.

Vancouver Olypmics 2010

The opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Winter Olympics were held last night, February 13, 2010. Throughout the program was an interesting and orchestrated play of lights. My favorite part though was the procession of the Olympians, with each team entering the stadium behind their country's flag.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lenticular Clouds Over Mt. Rainier

This particular cloud formation is sometimes called a "cap", or "lens" cloud for obvious reasons. Sometimes these clouds are formed in layers looking like a stack of pancakes or chinese lanterns.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tick Tock, Ticked Off At The Doctor's Office

Apparently, more people are scheduled for appointments than the doctors can possibly handle. I am aware that most people I know have had lengthy waits numerous times and have come to expect it. Some have even come to accept it graciously. Well, I am not one of them. Oh, I have never acted ugly at the doctors, but inside I am thinking anything but gracious thoughts.

At the pediatricians we often had to wait but their practice was to work in sick children. You knew this, and you appreciated the fact that your acutely ill child would also be seen by the doctor. I just do not get the feeling that this is the case in my doctors office now.

Was there not a policy or an understanding, a few years ago, about patients rights? But what if you are allowed to get up and leave without having to pay for the visit - are you going to go home sick, or make another appointment and hope that they will not be so crowded? Hmmm, will it be hard to get another appointment in a decent length of time?

I wonder if it would make a difference if we could charge the doctor for our time, or make deductions against the bill for our waiting and waiting and waiting.

Computers are suppose to speed things up? Not at my doctor's! To add an insult to the top of my growing resentments, during the "reminder call" about an upcoming appointment, I was told to arrive about 15 minutes early so they could process their computer files. ARRGH!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Little Procrastination May Save A Lot Of Face

Perhaps it is human nature to voice our opinions, especially when we see or hear of an injustice.
Great, I am all for that, but sometimes we take a big leap, armed only with our indignation and little knowledge of the particulars only to find ourselves with a red face and choking on that proverbial foot.

This scenario can happen if we quickly take sides because someone we know, and or admire, is involved, or we proudly march under a banner, social or political, not taking the time to discover the greater agenda. Understood - sometimes agendas are deliberately hidden. Nonetheless, I think it prudent to step back, and sort the facts before launching into causes.