Saturday, July 31, 2010

Opera Diva Modern Rocks!

Several years ago I was so intrigued by the BMG Classical Music Club review of an album of pop-rock music recorded by a famous opera singer that I ordered it. Eagerly opening the CD of fine songs by a fine singer, I was quickly disappointed by nearly an hour of, well, blandness.

Fast forward to July 2nd's ABC special America Celebrates July 4th at Ford’s Theatre when opera singer Renée Fleming started singing the song that turned me on to the alternative rock band Death Cab for Cutie, "Soul Meets Body," and pulled it off. Lionel Richie and Kelly Clarkson couldn't hold a candle to her performance. I put her new album Dark Hope on my list of CDs to buy -- soon.

A copy was on display at Barnes & Noble when I was there earlier this week and I slid it into Sebastian's (my Golf TDI) CD player as soon as I slipped into the driver's seat. Within 15 seconds I was ready to be hooked. Then Fleming started singing. Oh, it's good! Watch the trailer for a taste of the concept and execution of Dark Hope:

I've been listening to Renée Fleming's Dark Hope -- the whole thing, not just a few cuts -- all week in the car. Yeah, this diva modern rocks.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Christian's Death (?)

Today in Vadstena, Sweden, my friends in the Society of St. Birgitta have been celebrating her heavenly birthday with a High Mass, the prayer offices, a "formal lecture" by Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig (the Papal Nuncio to the Nordic lands) entitled The Reason for Christian Hope in a Joyful Future, and have concluded with their grand procession into the Vadstena Klosterkyrka (Abbey Church).

If I could afford to go to Sweden every summer, I'd be there for that and I expect that it, along with the entire week of the SSB's General Chapter, would have lifted my spirit from some of the angst of being in the ELCA these days. (Oh, well -- next year in Vadstena!).

All this as a way of introducing this reflection of death by Martin Luther that appeared as the fourth reading in For All the Saints for the Monday of the week of Pentecost 7 in year 2 (or a week ago Monday):
At birth a child comes forth amid pain and danger, from the narrow dwelling of the mother's womb, into the broad light of day. In a similar way a man goes through the narrow gate of death when he departs this life. And though heaven and earth under which we now live appear so wide, so vast, yet, in comparison with the heaven that shall be, it is far narrower and much smaller than is the womb in comparison with the broad expanse of heaven. That is why the death of saints is called a new birth, and their festivals birthdays.

A woman, when she is in travail, has sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish for joy that a man is born into the world. Likewise in death. We wrestle in anguish, yet know that hereafter we shall come forth into a wide, open space, and into eternal joy.

When I feel the dread of death, I say, "O death, you have nothing to do with me, because I have another death which kills my death. And the death which kills is stronger than that which is killed."

God appointed death to be the destroyer of death. It is evidence for God's surpassing goodness, that after death has entered, [Gen. 3:19] it is not permitted to hurt us ultimately, but is taken captive at the outset, and made to be the punishment and death of sin.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

41 Years Ago Today

"Houston," radioed Apollo 11's Commander Neil Armstrong, "Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

That's what we heard at the Tibbetts household 41 years ago today while, as at homes all across the nation and (indeed) the world, glued to the TV. We were watching on KNXT Channel 2, the CBS O&O station in Los Angeles, and Walter Cronkite was presiding. Here are 10 minutes of highlights of what we saw that week on CBS, courtesy South Florida's CBS4 site.

And here's 10 minutes of video footage of the landing from inside Eagle, with just NASA's audio:

Once upon a time, we could put a man on the Moon. Someday, hopefully soon, we'll be able to do it again. But until then, enjoy.

Monday, July 05, 2010

A Fashion Statement: Edward vs. Buffy

While I'll be headed to the theater soon to catch the latest installment of Twilight -- yes, I've enjoyed the films and the books -- nevertheless, this t-shirt ad at Jinx makes me smile:
Buffy Staked Edward T-Shirt

Don't you think the vampires-are-people-too thing has gone a little too far? I mean, the whole point of a vampire is that they survive by sucking your blood. I don't care if his skin glows and twinkles and he smells like kittens and fabric softener, he's still just a glorified syringe. Remember the last time you had blood drawn? Yeah, me too, and it sucked! It's time we put an end to this nonsense: Edward, may I treat you to a stake dinner?
Well, black is my color...