What's In This Blog

I created this blog for my journal. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this blog I keep many of the things I come across as a member of the church. I also share my experiences on the ACE Train and getting to work, my experiences in Manteca where we have lived for three years, and other things I think are noticeable.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trunk or Treat Stevens Creek Ward

I didn't take many pictures of this even, and mostly they are of my kids.  This is an annual event where we can get together as a church group and enjoy the kids.  We missed the event last year as we were in Utah burying my nephew.  Tony enjoyed giving out the candy more than trick or treating.  As you can see, we did a fishing game.  I put the candy on the trunk, which is over the water.  Of course he candy dish slipped off, and at least half ended up in the water.  Fortunately with the half I saved we had enough.  There was some more that didn't fit in the bin, which I added.  Even so we didn't go through it all and there was plenty left.  We kept the wet for us.

Charity and Anthony are actually dressed for another party.  Tomorrow, for regular trick or treats tomorrow, I think we are going to be gone.  However we will run some to the neighbors to keep up a tradition.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Review: **The Harp of Zion

This is the first book of poetry published by the Church.  It was published in England, by the European Mission in 1853.  The poems were written by John Lyon.  It was published to support the Perpetual Emigration Fund. The book of poetry can be accessed on Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=ErgUAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=theharp+of+zion&source=bl&ots=FMOu6qyxIq&sig=z_wareIzGLEQVy2H9l2OiEGQwcg&hl=en&ei=uEY9TNTSDIiCsQPinpifCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false
Thomas Edgar Lyon Jr. wrote an interesting article about the book in BYU Studies 27:1987 "Publishing a Book of Mormon Poetry: The Harp of Zion".
The book was to assist the PEF by selling for more than the cost of printing.  Eventually all the volumes were sold, but only after many were sent to Utah.  It took some time for the Church to recoup its investment.

A couple deserve mention here.  One of these is a poem with regards to the Perpetual Emigration Fund, carrying that name.  I encourages people to donate:

The Perpetual Emigrating Fund.

Come on, ye rich, with all your gifted store;
Give to the poor, and God will give you more!
Your feeling hearts, responsive to His call,
Will find His love and blessing best of all:
Yea, tenfold int’rest on the things you have,
And more than all your charities e’er gave!                 
Why should the rich not help the lab’ring poor?
Both are compell’d to know at mercy’s door!
As well the river scorn the stream and brook
From which it all its swelling greatness took;
Or the great sea retain her liquid store,
Nor give one drop to quench the parched shore;
As wealth withheld accumulated toil,
And say to Poverty,--Starve on the while!
Let richer Saints pour in their glitt’ring gold,
‘Twill pave your way to Zion’s mountain fold!
Ten thousand hearts, with prayerful ardour, seek
The means to live, yet mourn from week to week,
Who could be blest through your beneficence,
To go where labour gains a recompense,
Oh, then! Let love your names in sums record
What you will do for Zion, and the Lord!
Ye poor who labour, learn with pure delight,
How much in value was the widow’s mite!
How farthings multiplied to pence make pounds,
And pounds, to hundreds, thousands—have no bounds!
Till ever Saint reliev’d, and sinner stunned,
Will shout,--LOOK HERE! At this Perpetual Fund!

The author does not have a lot of gathering poems as you would expect, but there are some.   These are a couple examples:

Strike the Lyre

Poor outcasts we, still forced to flee,
By mad sectarians driven,
Condemned, despised, robbed, and reviled,
Without an insult given.
For many years we’ve sown in tears,
Yet, dauntless we’ll remain!
With Ephraim blest, we soon shall rest
So strike the Lyre again, again,
So strike the lyre again.

Song of Zion  (chorus)

Far away from vain strife
There’s a land in the West,
Where our friends live the best,
‘Tis the Valley of Life!

I want to quote a couple more poems I found enjoyable.  One dwells upon helping the poor, but also hits the theme that one needs to develop the means in order to accomplish this:

Practical Religion

With diligence we’ll still pursue
Those acts of grace and mercy due
To toil worn, lab’ring man!
We’ll help the helpless, and secure
The means of life to bless the poor,
And help them all we can.

Cholera was a big killer of the time, not only in England but around the globe.  Poor sanitation conditions were part of the cause.  Cholera was also a culprit along the Pioneer Trail:


What wailing’s this I hear, at home abroad?
A strange foreboding of calamity,
Which all men dread, and few can understand:
At which the vulgar stare, and more profane
Would love to jest it out of countenance.
Yet, still it comes with stealthy, murd’rous step;
The grave and gay, alike before it fall;
The learned seem baffled at its dark approach,
And, as an antidote, propose what might
Have been a sure preventative to some,
If timely given!  But common charity
Must see its haggard victim breed disease;
And when its influence spreads, retire afraid
At what their sins have made! And say ‘tis DEATH!

I would recommend a preview of this work, but mush of it a hurried over.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Movie Review: **^Brothers, on Holy Ground

Finally a movie worth watching with regards to 9/11.  This movie was produced in 2003 by Engine House Productions.  It was filmed by Mike Lennon.  He was a fellow New York Fireman, and had filmed before his death in documentary fashion, one of the victims of 9/11.  He also interviewed others of the survivors, some of whom had survivors guilt.  It talked about the outpouring of condolences for the fire houses of New York, almost all of which were affected by this day with a lost comrade.  This movie brings home some of the tragedy of that day.

At one point the firemen below a certain floor were told to evacuate, and it talks of those who left the building worried about those who were above.  It also showed the reactions of wives and friends.  It was a moving expose.  I would recommend this movie.  I got it at the library.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Movie Review:*The 11th of September; Moyers in Conversation

boring, and some of the guests are really stupid
This movie presents the Bill Moyers show, and conversations he has with his guests following the terrorist attack against the World Trade Center.  It presents several different guests, with different views.  The first episode, I think the evening of 9/11 has a conversation with regards to the bravery of the firemen and police officers.  Everyone was going down and the rescue staff were going up.  Everyone was running away, but the police and firemen were running  towards the disaster.

The next week presented an individual talking of taking everything slow, and turning rage into I don't know what. He had written about a Japanese terrorist attack in the subway.   He commented that the U.S. were also terrorists, nuclear terrorists.  I don't know what point he was trying to make; he must have been an American hating citizen.  Bill Moyers seemed to agree with him.

He presented his own minister, a humanist it would appear, as well as people of the Islamic faith.  The point being even though Islam has its groups of extremists, so does Christianity.

And then another week he w=has a guest talking about the Crusades, and being careful with regards t our own religious views.  We have to look of ourselves as "The Devil."  Why do other cal us the devil and are willing to die killing us.

This was boring.  It does let you know why Obama won't use the work terrorist, or Islamic.  They are just people from diverse groups who want to kill us.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Music Review: **Monty Python's Spamelot, original cast recording (to mmboe)

I was very much enjoying this CD until the end.  The music was actually funny.  Looking at the picture of the cast in the enclosed pamphlet was enough to make one laugh.  I especially enjoyed “The song that goes like this.”  It was clever in its parody of the musical genre.  I liked the reaction of the singers after they did the habitual key change. "I should have stayed in D"  Funny. I also liked how the song went from “the song that goes like this” to “the song that goes too long.”  It was very clever.
Lady of the Lake and the “Laker Girls” was very fun.  More for me because I HATE THE LAKERS.  Every year they do in the Jazz, and they get every call, and it’s a travesty for the game, and yes, as the ref that was caught cheating indicated, there is a bias for the Lakers coming down from the front office.  Any way, I wish the parody had been for the team and not the cheerleaders (I have a friend whose daughter was a Laker Girl.)  At least I get some satisfaction.  I would have much rather seen Kobe Bryant stuffed however.
The Lady of the Lake, Sara Ramirez, was very good and very enjoyable.  Her reaction to being off stage for too long, when she is the “Diva’ is humorous. “What ever happened to my Part” continues with the parody of musical theater that makes this CD fun.  That the “grail” is King Arthur proposing to her is amusing.  Off course there is a big wedding scene.
However there were a couple parts of this CD that made it offensive; although the word they use is “controversial.”  One is a story that indicates for a show to make it on Broadway it must include “Jews.”  That went a bit far for me.  The other is that Lancelot is gay and takes a lover, Herbert.  Now that goes way beyond being entertaining.  These too parts could have been left out, and the show had been more enjoyable as a result. 

Poem: A Wife, by John Jaques; dedicated to Sheri

This poem was written by John Jaques in the 1800s.  I have not included the entire poem, but what I am including I am dedicating to Sheri, the love of my life.

A Wife
by John Jaques

I’ll speak a work commandingly
Of modest, true, and faithful wives,
For everybody knows they are
The pride and comfort of our lives.

How boundless her devotion is
How tender her affection!  She
Think toil, or pain, or sacrifice
For his dear sake will pleasure be.

How beautiful are all her ways!
How charming all her manners seem!
How precious she is in his sight!
With her life is a glorious dream.

How sweet and wholesome is her love—
How pure, how fraught with life and health!
How gracious all her favors are—
Unbought and priceless, truest wealth!

Her husband thinks when she’s away
There’s always something going wrong;
But when she comes into the room,
Brightness and gladness come along.

She is more welcome than the spring.
More welcome than the flowers in May.
More welcome than the morning sun.
More welcome than the light of day.

The magic of her presence spreads
A grateful influence around.
The very rustle of her dress
To him is a delightful sound.
Her voice is sweetest melody. 
Her step is music to his ear.
The air is full of light and love
And blissfulness when she is near.

The ground’s enchanted where she stands.
There captivation in her walk.
There’s fascination in her eye.
And pearls of wisdom in her talk.

“A glory gilds” her every deed
A halo doth her life invest.
Who else could do things half as well?
But everything she does is best.

The best thing I ever did
Was making a good girl my bride.
The best day I ever saw
 Was when she stood thus by my side.

It was fulfilling God’s great law.
To us a grand experiment—
From that blest day to this blest hour
We’ve not seen first cause to repent.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Music Reviews: ***^The Phantom of the Opera, Highlights From and **Classic Andrew Lloyd Webber. (to mmboe)

Charity"s high school choir "Phantom"
Music Reviews: The Phantom of the Opera, Highlights From and Classic Andrew Lloyd Webber.

These two CD’s offer a pronounced contrast in the way they are performed.  Some of the songs are in both works.  The Phantom, in the "Highlights", is Michael Heath and Christine is sung by Kira Bronte.  This was released in 1996.  The Classic CD was released in 2004 and has various artists singing with the Orlando Pops Orchestra.  It is a two CD set and is an anthology of several Webber musicals.

The feeling is completely different between the two productions.  The Classics is an operatic style, darker in nature.  The Highlights has a light air to it, and is much more enjoyable to listen to.  Kira Bronte performs as well as any Christine I have heard, and her light music is pleasing to listen to.  On the other hand, I found it difficult to listen to some of the music on the other CD, "Classic".  The soprano parts, instead of being entertaining, were painful to listen to, and sounded very much like a cat screeching.  The low-lights were the section from The Phantom, Memory from Cats and Another suitcase from Evita.  Some of these are my favorite songs, but not in this rendition.  I think the treble tones, which seem sharp at times, triggered my tinnitus.

One of my favorite songs is “Love Changes Everything.”  Love has changed everything for me.  However even this number was difficult to follow with the operatic style of the male singer.  Even so, the lyrics are very meaningful:

Love Changes Everything

Love, love changes everything
Hands and faces, earth and sky
Love, love changes everything
How you live and how you die
Love, love can make the summer fly
Or a night seem like a lifetime
Yes love, love changes everything
Now I tremble at your name
Nothing in the world will ever be the same

Love, love changes everything
Days are longer, words mean more
Love, love changes everything
Pain is deeper than before
Love will turn your world around
And that world will last forever
Yes love, love changes everything
Brings you glory, brings you shame
Nothing in the world will ever be the same

Off into the world we go
Planning futures, shaping years
Love (comes in) and suddenly all our wisdom disappears
Love makes fools of everyone
All the rules we made are broken
Yes love, love changes everyone
Live or perish in its flame
Love will never never let you be the same
Nothing in the world will ever be the same.

Highlights is very enjoyable.  Kira Bronte sings with a light, youthful air which is very pleasing.  Even the super high notes of “Phantom of the Opera” are enjoyable.  Her other songs are also pleasing, "Thing of Me" and "Angel of Music". I enjoy “Masquerade” as my daughter sang in and helped choreograph this for her senior year college at Cupertino High School.  She also sang the solo for "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again".

In conclusion I would strongly recommend the “Highlights” CD while suggesting a pass on the anthology of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work by the Orlando Pops Orchestra.  I know there are other anthologies out there which are much better than this one.