"She did what she liked..."

     I'm afraid the blogging this summer has simply been a no-go. Am I disappointed? Honestly, no. When life gets in the way I usually like it. I even like that the Fire and Hemlock posts fizzled out so quickly when I was suddenly avalanched in gigs and performances and a lot of private study with my teacher. I like money, too.

     Do you remember the children's book Miss Twiggly's Tree? Her character is that "she did what she liked, and she liked what she did..." which reminds me of Augustine's "love God and do whatever you please."

     I'm most pleased to say that I've started seriously looking into purchasing quality icons. They'll all hang in a particular spot in my home. I don't know about you, but I need reminders of the good company I'm a part of. It's far easier to become humble and forget yourself when looking at a host of other people you love.

     One of this summer's indulgences has been theology. Lots of theology. Almost all the time. As a result I've received a lot of messages from folks in the Anglican Ordinariate which is simultaneously amusing and sad. Listen, in case you're reading this, you are no longer Anglican if you are in the Ordinariate. You're Roman Catholic. If you want to be Roman Catholic, please, go forth and be Roman Catholic! Not sure why that's so difficult to see.

     Other news, I'm spending time in the recording studio starting this week. Getting music recorded for doctoral auditions (submission date is December 1). More than a little terrified. More than enormously thrilled. In some ways overly prepared. I really like Elliott Carter. I also really like Hans Urs von Balthasar.

     Will I return to Fire and Hemlock? Yes, I promise, but posting will continue to be sparse around here. Life, and all that.


Bach, Chesterton, Evening Prayer

     I am currently suffering the woe that comes of having no internet. Broken modem. I don't know what that means, but I can analyze a Bach fugue while standing on my head. I'm told it can be fixed Tuesday morning. The modem, not my head. Promise, I shall post post-modem.

     So, my iPhone says hello! and, that's right, I have no way of posting the next Fire and Hemlock installment. And my air conditioning isn't doing too well, so when I got home from piano adjudicating I dragged my sister to an air conditioned theater to watch Chef. Go see that movie if you love spicy food, and samba rhythms, and the entirety of the Latino culture -- I'm sorry New England but you will never possess the level of sass and suave attitude of my people in the Golden State.

     Where was I? Right, iPhone. How can I make a worthwhile post for you all with just my phone? Let's try: For Pentecost Sunday here is something good to read, something good to listen to, and something to pray. Adios, amigos.

The Collect for the Day

Pentecost (Whitsunday)

O GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.


Book Review: "Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary..." by J. R. R. Tolkien

Lo! the glory of the kings of the people of the Spear-Danes in
days of old we have heard tell, how those princes did deeds
of valour... 

J. R. R. Tolkien: Beowulf
I just finished reading this. Translation aside for a moment, his son Christopher's marvelous introduction and notes are simply... marvelous. The short folk-tale style story of Beowulf at the end, Sellic Spell, together with the Beowulf verses that the Tolkien children grew up listening to their father sing and, no doubt, joining in... these addenda are charming and moving.

King Hrothgar mourns upon his throne
for his lieges slain, he mourns alone,
but Grendel gnaws the flesh and bone
of the thirty thanes of Herot.
A ship there sails like a wing├ęd swan,
and the foam is white on the waters wan,
and one there stands with bright helm on
that the winds have brought to Herot.

                     -- second verse from Version I


Some Frivolity

Dear readers,

     You're expecting a chapter review of Fire and Hemlockthis evening, as am I -- what we both were not expecting was a head cold of maximum nasty to wipe me out. Couldn't get to Church this morning, and yet had to spend the day adjudicating piano evaluations for Lexington. I'm not dead yet, but nearly.

    The good news: I do have a written draft and I'll get it polished tomorrow morning and posted. So, watch this space! Chapter 4 -- and I hope you're having even half as much fun I as I am.

    Some frivolity: recently some friends were assigning "what pop song are you?" (hey, it's music, I'll participate!), and I received Bareilles' King of Anything (yikes), Lady Gaga's Poker Face (wow), and Florence + The Machine's Heavy In Your Arms (speechless). On second thought, this says more about my friends.


Fire and Hemlock: Chapter 3

A weekly book guide of meditations on Fire and Hemlock
(click to get your copy!)

Chapter Three

Abide you there a little space
And I will show you marvels three.



"Lo! The glory..." !

Buy now!

     It is with much excitement that I draw your attention to yesterday's (I've been too busy reading it, sorry!) released publication of J. R. R. Tolkien's translation of Beowulf

     I am well pleased. This is the first time that the world gets to see the Anglo-Saxon professor's translation, and I've already had a great many questions and personal speculations answered.

     Here is a side-by-side comparison of the opening lines. First, Tolkien's:


Fire and Hemlock: Chapters 1 - 2

     A weekly book guide of meditations on Fire and Hemlock (click to get your copy!)


allegro vivace