Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Musical Acts I Have Seen Perform Live

General
Alabama
Janie Fricke
Cheap Trick
Night Ranger
Itzhak Perlman
Kirk Whalum
The Fifth Dimension
Brave Combo
Dixie Chicks
Tanya Tucker
TransSiberian Orchestra
Blue Man Group
Axiom Quartet
Robert Earl Keen
Kingston Trio (new)
Lyle Lovett
Weird Al Yankovic

Kerrville Folk Festival
Chuck Pyle
Tish Hinojosa
Peter Yarrow
Dar Williams
Ellis Paul
Vance Gilbert
Austin Lounge Lizards
Trout Fishing in America
Dana Cooper
Jimmy Dale Gilmore
Butch Hancock
Sara Hickman
Tom Prasado-Rao
Tom Kimmel
Jimmy LaFave
Chris Chandler
Michael McNevin
Bill Staines
Susan Werner
Cheryl Wheeler
Mike Williams
Bill and Bonnie Hearne
David Wilcox
John Gorka
Buddy Mondlock
Bernice Lewis
Mumbo Jumbo
Limpopo
Don Walser
L.J. Booth
Andrew Calhoun
Kat Eggleston
Chenille Sisters
Jack Hardy
Crow Johnson
Ani Difranco
The Crane Wives
The Honey Dewdrops
The Warren Hood Band
Jeff Black
Beat Root Revival
The Jerry Douglas Band

Houston Livestock Show
Michael Martin Murphy
Leann Rimes
Barry Manilow
Kenny Rogers
The Gatlin Brothers
Joe Diffie
Brooks and Dunn
Asleep at the Wheel
Angela Peterson


Broadway Shows
Cats
Into the Woods
Miss Saigon
Phantom of the Opera
Evita
Ragtime
Chicago
Les Miserables
Hello Dolly



Thursday, June 20, 2019

New Testament Order

One thing I have learned from studying the Bible is that there are better ways that it could be put together - especially the New Testament.
We all learned early on that the four gospels are

Matthew,
Mark,
Luke and
John.

But as it turns out, that is not the order in which they were written, according to most biblical scholars. Rather, it seems that Mark was written first and was then used as source material for both Matthew and Luke, both of which quote from Mark extensively. And John was written later.
So a more reasonable order to list them would appear to be...

Mark
Matthew
Luke
John

But then, you find out as well that Acts of the Apostles or Acts is believed to have been written by the same author as Luke, thus making it almost like a Luke Part 2. So then maybe the order should be ...

Mark
Matthew
Luke
Acts
John

And then we come to the Letters of Paul. There are 13 of them, but only seven are undisputed as having been written by Paul while there is debate about the other six with some scholars arguing that they were likely written later by followers of Paul due to sharp differences in grammar, style and content. Scholars have also dated the letters according to when they think they may have been written. But in the Bible, for reasons that are not entirely clear, they are listed in order of length with Romans being first because it is the longest and so forth.
But if we were to list them in chronological order starting with the seven undisputed letters it would look like this...

First Thessalonians
Galatians
First Corinthians
Philippians
Philemon
Second Corinthians
Romans

And we could follow that with the disputed letters ...

Colossians
Ephesians
Second Thessalonians
First Timothy
Second Timothy
Titus

Hebrews could come next. It was once attributed to Paul, but practically no one today claims it was written by Paul.

And then the rest of the letters, all of which are disputed as to their authorship...

James
First Peter
Second Peter
First John
Second John
Third John
Jude

Revelation

The author of Revelation identifies himself as John of Patmos and church tradition has long taught that this is the same John who was a disciple of Jesus and the author of John's gospel. But this is disputed by many scholars who believe John of Patmos to be an entirely different person.




Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Movies

Seen
Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity War
Incredibles 2
Deadpool 2
Ant Man and The Wasp
Solo: A Star Wars Story
A Star is Born
Bohemian Rhapsody
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Smallfoot
BlacKkKlansman
Sherlock Gnomes
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Paul, Apostle of Christ
RBG
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Ralph Breaks the Internet
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Green Book
Eighth Grade
Into the Spiderverse
Aquaman

Want to See

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald
The House With a Clock in the Walls
First Man
Paddington 2
Widows
The Commuter
Isle of Dogs
Teen Titans Go To the Movies
Bad Times at El Royale
Girl in a Spiders Web
Old Man and The Gun
Early Man
Mary Poppins Returns
Mortal Engines
Stan and Ollie
Vice
On the Basis of Sex

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 Movies

Here are the movies I have seen in 2017 so far...

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Beauty and the Beast
Wonder Woman
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Spider Man Homecoming
Despicable Me 3
Dunkirk
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
LEGO Batman Movie
The Boss Baby
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Cars 3
Baby Driver
Daddy's Home 2
Murder on the Orient Express
Blade Runner 2049
The Emoji Movie
The Mummy
Atomic Blonde
American Made
The Dark Tower
Smurfs: The Lost Village
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
American Assassin
The Foreigner
Wind River
Geostorm
The Mountain Between Us
Logan Lucky
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Downsizing
mother!
The Glass Castle
Detroit
Roman J. Israel Esq.
The Beguiled
The Snowman
Just Getting Started

Update:
The Shape of Water
Coco
Get Out
Thor: Ragnorak
Justice League
John Wick 2
The Post
Battle of the Sexes

And a few movies I still need to see....


Logan
War for the Planet of the Apes
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Victoria and Abdul
The Darkest Hour
The Disaster Artist
Marshall
Beatriz at Dinner
Suburbicon
The Florida Project
LBJ


Friday, February 17, 2017

News clipping found and scanned


2016 Movies

I saw a lot of movies this past year, quite a few more than in the recent past. But I still didn't see a single Academy Award Best Picture nominee.

Rouge One: A Star Wars Story
Finding Dory
Captain America: Civil War
Secret Life of Pets
The Jungle Book
Deadpool
Zootopia
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Moana
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Doctor Strange
Jason Bourne
Star Trek Beyond
X-Men Apocalypse
Trolls
Kung Fu Panda 3
The Angry Birds Movie
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Storks
Ice Age: Collision Course
Kubo and The Two Strings
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years

And here are the ones that I still intend to see at some point...

Sing
Suicide Squad
Hidden Figures
LaLa Land
Central Intelligence
Sully
Arrival
Magnificent Seven
Miss Peregrine's School for Unusual Children
Pete's Dragon
Hacksaw Ridge
Jack Reacher 2
The BFG
Hail, Cesar
Silence

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Republican "Anything Goes" Ethos

The other day on his 'victory' tour, President-Elect Trump noted how vicious his fans were during the campaign, screaming "Lock Her Up" and "Build the Wall" at his campaign rallies. But now that they have 'won' they can be mellow again.
The clear implication of Trump's words were two-fold, first that if they had not won  there would have been no mellowing, and second that being vicious was a key to their victory.
At the same time that Trump was saying this, the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature was meeting in a special session to pass a bunch of laws stripping power away from the newly-elected Democratic governor before he assumes office (and signed by the out-going Republican governor).
As outrageous as all of this is, it pales in comparison to the recent revelations that the Russian autocracy was meddling in our elections with the express intent of helping to elect Donald Trump. That news was met with shock and dismay by about half of the electorate. But the other half seems indifferent at best and, at worst, seem absolutely delighted... more apt to give Vladimir Putin a high-five than to support imposing more sanctions.
This is due, I believe, to the new Republican "Anything Goes" ethos. That is, anything is OK as long as it helps your side achieve its ultimate goal of attaining or maintaining power. It does not matter if you lie, cheat or steal. In fact, lying, cheating and stealing while at the same time accusing your opponent of lying, cheating and stealing is a very successful campaign tactic as we have just witnessed.
And don't stop with calling your opponent a liar and a cheat. Accuse them of murder, rape, child molestation, treason and the worst possible things you can think of. Anything goes. The only thing that matters is winning. And once you win, do everything you can to jack the system in your favor so that you keep on winning. Pack the courts, gerrymander the districts, change laws so that it benefits your constituents and shortchanges others. Suppress turnout in areas that vote for your opponent and scream about non-existent election fraud anytime that you lose.
Machiavelli would have been embarrassed and appalled by the political tactics of the modern Republican Party.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Goodnight sweet Prince

In the summer of 1984, I was home from my freshman year at Texas A&M when I got to spend a weekend at South Padre Island with some of my friends. It was a fun trip, nobody did anything terribly stupid and no one got into trouble.
The one thing I remember the most from that weekend was the music. We had a second floor room overlooking the pool and one of my friends had a jam box that he would set out on the balcony blaring music. We had each brought our latest musical discoveries which included Van Halen's "1984," Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" and Billy Squier's "Signs of Life." My contribution was the latest Prince album "Purple Rain."
Oddly enough, the music we ended up listening to the most during the trip was "Signs of Life," which I still think is a greatly underrated album and one of my all-time favorites. However, the other three albums clearly had the more lasting influence with the general public. I felt a special attachment to Prince's music since I was the one who had "discovered" it among my group of friends and I continued to follow Prince for years after. And while I liked much of his later music, nothing ever equaled or surpassed the perfection of Purple Rain. Every song on the album was fantastic from the epic "When Doves Cry" and the infectious "Let's Go Crazy" to the hypnotic title track "Purple Rain." No one else could mix sex and religion the way Prince did and come up with a funky number like "I Would Die 4 U." Incredible.
I'm still in shock right now contemplating Prince's untimely death. Like with so many other musical talents who died too young we are left wondering what he might have produced had he lived longer. But at least with Prince, he left an enormous musical legacy and I am sure there are boatloads of posthumous musical releases yet to come.

The World is NOT Broken

“We live in a broken world,” said a gentleman in my Bible Study class the other night as all the others nodded in agreement. According to the religious customs of most Christian churches, the World has been a ‘broken’ or ‘fallen’ place ever since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and “sin” entered the world. That “original sin,” as conceived by the Apostle Paul and elaborated by St. Augustine, infected all of humanity and is the source of our “sinful nature.” It is the reason why Jesus had to be sacrificed on the cross as an atonement to satisfy God’s righteous wrath and judgement, according to church doctrine.
But hold on a minute, because I’m not buying all of this. This idea of an angry, wrathful God who must be appeased by blood sacrifices may have made sense to the ancient Hebrews, but it does not fit with my conception of a loving God full of grace and compassion. The ancient Hebrews who wrote the Old Testament believed that God was punishing them every time something bad happened (famines, wars, pestilence) and likewise blessing them whenever something good happened. Their conception of God was of an all-powerful monarch who demanded absolute fealty and servitude. The Bible is kind of vague on what actually constitutes a ‘sin,’ but one thing that was almost certain to raise God’s ire was idolatry. Command No. 1 on Moses’ tablets was “Thou Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me.” The God of Moses was a ‘jealous god,’ quick to anger with a frightening temper. And whenever anything bad happened, the Hebrews were quick to blame it on someone who was worshipping a false idol and not showing the proper reverence and respect to the one, true God.
But God was not always angry in the Old Testament. There are plenty of stories that speak of a loving God that was happy with his creation and watched over all the people like his children. This is the conception of God that Jesus brought to the fore and was at the heart of his ministry. I believe the difference between the Old Testament conception of God as wrathful and jealous versus the New Testament God of grace and forgiveness is one of spiritual maturity. Jesus represented a level of spiritual maturity that has not since been equalled. Unfortunately, I believe the Christian leaders in the years following Jesus fell back in to the old attitudes of seeing God as jealous and vengeful most of the time. Jesus’ message was undercut by these Christian leaders still looking for a champion who would slay their enemies and punish all the people they felt needed punishing. Jesus’ radical message of loving one’s enemies and forgiving those who persecute you was pushed aside in favor of apocalyptic fantasies of an avenging crusader who would mete our justice in a righteous show of force and strength.
So where does that leave us today? If God is truly all about love and forgiveness and mercy and grace and compassion, then what accounts for all the evil in the world? Where does evil come from if not from God? My answer is simple. Evil is the absence of love. Think about evil like darkness. Darkness is simply the absence of light. Or cold, which is just the absence of heat. Or silence, which is just the absence of sound. Love can manifest itself in many ways, but so can evil. One of the most common forms of evil is indifference. It may not seem like you are doing anything bad, but your indifference to someone else’s plight is often what allows evil to come into the world. It is not God making bad things happen. It is people choosing not to love - covering up their light and hiding it under a bushel. God is not going to force anyone to love because then it would lose its real power. It is our ability to choose to love of our own free will that makes us in the image of God. And that is why I do not believe that the World is ‘broken.’ The world is working just fine, thank you. It is up to us to get our act together and be like our creator. Our task while we are here is to make a heaven on earth and we do that by spreading love willfully and joyfully. Don’t worry so much about what comes after. Take every opportunity now to spread love. If you see dark places in the world, then you need to shine your light even more. If the world seems cold, then share your own warmth. If the world is silent, then it’s time that you made a joyful noise.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Movies List

Time for my annual list of movies I have seen during the previous year as well as the ones that I still want to see.

Have Seen

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Avengers: Age of Ultron
*Inside Out
*Minions
*Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation
*Home
*Hotel Transylvania 2
*The Spongebob Movie
*Kingsman: The Secret Service
Spy
The Good Dinosaur
*Pixels
*Paddington
Fantastic Four

Want To See

*Jurassic World
*Furious 7
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
The Martian
*Cinderella
Spectre
Ant-Man
*Mad Max: Fury Road
The Peanuts Movie
Creed
Tomorrowland
Bridge of Spies
Black Mass
The Man From UNCLE
Pan
A Walk in the Woods
Ex Machina
In the Heart of the Sea
Joy
Shaun the Sheep Movie
*Monkey Kingdom

* Means I own a DVD or Digital copy of the movie.