Monday, May 29, 2017

Top 15 Movies for Memorial Day

Destination Tokyo (1943)

The Story of GI Joe (1945)

They Were Expendable (1945)

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Battleground (1949)

Pork Chop Hill (1959)

The Longest Day (1962)

Platoon (1986)

Glory (1989)

Gettysburg (1993)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The Lost Battalion (2001)

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

(Note: This is not a list of Greatest War Movies,
which would be a very different list.
These movies are my top choices for Memorial Day in the USA.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

1 Peter 3:13-22

13 Who can really hurt you if you are dedicated to doing good?

14 If you’re derided for your faithfulness to the covenant,
you’re blessed.
Don’t fear your opponents;
don’t be intimidated.

15 But revere in your hearts the Messiah as the Holy Lord.
Always be prepared to explain your hope
to anyone who asks you about it,
but do it with tenderness and respect,

16 keeping a clear conscience,
so that, when you are mistreated,
those who malign your Messiah-led faithfulness may be ashamed.

17 God’s will is:
It is better to suffer for doing what’s right
than it is to ever do evil.

18 For the Messiah also suffered once for sins –
the one faithful to the covenant
for those unfaithful to the covenant.

In order to bring us to God,
he was executed in the flesh but made alive again in the Spirit,

19 by which he went and proclaimed to the imprisoned spirits

20 who in long ago times
did not obey the God who waited patiently while Noah built the ark,
in which a few people – eight – were saved through water.

21 Baptism is an echo of this,
and now saves us
not by washing dirt from the body
but as a promise of God’s faithfulness
through the resurrection of the Messiah Jesus,

22 who has gone into heaven
and is at the right hand of God,
with angels, authorities, and powers
under his command.

- translated by KHM, 5/17/2017

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2017: My Picks

These are the artists I would choose to induct into the Hall of Fame's next class if I were dictator.

* PEARL JAM   This is a true no-brainer. If Nirvana were the Beatles of grunge, Pearl Jam is the Rolling Stones of grunge. This is the lock for the year.

* CHIC  Enough is enough.

* THE CARS  Critical acclaim AND popular hits? This would be great. An easy call for the Hall.

* THE CURE or THE SMITHS  1980s alternative music continues to be an influence in the contemporary scene, and these two giants of that genre are certainly deserving. Americans probably know more songs by the Cure, but the Smiths were probably more influential. One of these artists ought to make it in this year.

* THE MONKEES  25 years after they became eligible for induction, the Monkees are experiencing a renaissance of sorts with a fine 50th anniversary album & an ongoing tour. Look at their catalog: their hits are among the best of the 1960s. The controversies of the past seem silly today; their influence is trumpeted by many current artists; Micky Dolenz was clearly one of the best pop-rock singers of their (or any) era. Stop messing around & do the right thing. They have become the most glaring oversight in the Hall.

* PATSY CLINE  There are other female-oriented artists deserving of consideration (the Marvelettes, the Shangri-Las, the B-52s, Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper, Eurythmics, Alanis Morissette, to name a few), but none are as impactful as the Queen of Country Music. Listen to her sing & you will immediately be reminded of what great singers sound like. Long overdue.

* THE MOODY BLUES  If I could pick one more, this classic band deserves a nod.

Award for Musical Excellence:

* BILLY PRESTON  He had fine hits of his own but was also a much loved sideman.

* CAROL KAYE  The greatest bassist not in the Hall.

* THE JORDANAIRES  Elvis' back-up singers have long deserved consideration.

Early Influences:






Note: I don't think that Janet Jackson deserves serious consideration. Many women have been more influential & have stronger bodies of work.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Patriotic Playlist 2016

"The Stars & Stripes Forever" by US Marines Band
"We're an American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad
"No More Kings" from Schoolhouse Rock
"Our Country" by John Mellencamp
"This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie
"Yankee Doodle Dandy" by James Cagney
"We Shall Overcome" by Mahalia Jackson
"American Girl" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
"The Great American Melting Pot" from Schoolhouse Rock
"Star Spangled Man" by Alan Menken & David Zippen (from Captain America)
"A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke
"Ghost Riders in the Sky" by Johnny Cash
"If I Had a Hammer" by Peter, Paul & Mary
"An American Trilogy" by Elvis Presley
"The Preamble" from Schoolhouse Rock
"Living in America" by James Brown
"US Military Anthem medley" by US Marines Band
"America" by Simon & Garfunkel
"City of New Orleans" by Arlo Guthrie
"R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." by John Mellencamp
"Star Spangled Banner (live)" by Marvin Gaye
"The Shot Heard 'Round the World" from Schoolhouse Rock
"The Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton
"When Johnny Comes Marching Home" by Mitch Miller & the Gang
"Surfin' USA" by the Beach Boys
"Journey to Fort Sedgwick" by John Barry (from Dances with Wolves)
"Going Up the Country" by Canned Heat
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver
"America the Beautiful" by Ray Charles
"The Great Escape Theme" by Leonard Bernstein (from The Great Escape)
"Over There" by Billy Murray
"Superman (It's Not Easy)" by Five for Fighting
"The Star Spangled Banner (live)" by Jimi Hendrix
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by the Andrews Sisters
"People Get Ready" by the Impressions
"Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"
by Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson
"Back in the USA" by Chuck Berry
"I'm Just a Bill" from Schoolhouse Rock
"Hail to the Chief" by US Marines Band
"Follow the Drinkin' Gourd" by the Weavers
"Home on the Range" by Roy Rogers
"My Hometown" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
"Blowin' in the Wind" by Peter, Paul & Mary
"Young Americans" by David Bowie
"Red River Valley" by Woody Guthrie
"Battle Hymn of the Republic" by Stryper
"Tara's Theme" by Max Steiner (from Gone with the Wind)
"American Dream" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
"American Woman" by the Guess Who
"Pink Houses" by John Mellencamp
"Sufferin' 'til Suffrage from Schoolhouse Rock
"Sweet Little Sixteen" by Chuck Berry
"Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
"You're a Grand Old Flag" by James Cagney
"Go Down Moses" by Paul Robeson
"American Pie" by Don McLean
"The Magnificent Seven" by Elmer Bernstein (from The Magnificent Seven)
"The Star Spangled Banner" by Whitney Houston
"God Bless America" by Kate Smith
"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye
"Desperado" by the Eagles
"Small Town" by John Mellencamp
"William Tell Overture" by Gioachino Rossini (from The Lone Ranger)
"Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver
"I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag" by Country Joe & the Fish
"Centerfield" by John Fogerty
"America" by Neil Diamond

I do need to get some stuff from the musical 1776 and, hopefully, from the musical Hamilton.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Best Anti-War Movies

10) Full Metal Jacket (1987)

9) Apocalypse Now (1979)

8) Saving Private Ryan (1998)

7) The Deer Hunter (1978)

6) Platoon (1986)

5) Dr. Strangelove (1964)

4) Empire of the Sun (1987)

3) The Hurt Locker (2008)

2) All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

1) Paths of Glory (1957)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Best Jesus Movies

1 - Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

2 - Ben Hur (1959)

3 - The Passion of the Christ (2004)

4 - The Miracle Maker (2000)

5 - King of Kings (1961)

6 - The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

7 - The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)

8 - Jesus (2000)

9 - Son of God (2014)

10 - Son of Man (1969)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Easter letter 2016

"Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again;
death no longer has dominion over him.
The death he died, he died to sin, once for all;
but the life he lives, he lives to God.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin
and alive to God in Christ Jesus."

- Romans 6:9-11

The Lent-to-Easter journey is the journey from death to life, from alienation to love, from darkness to light, from despair to hope. During Lent, we reflect upon our own sinfulness in the shadow of Jesus’ suffering and death. We do this not to punish ourselves but to prepare ourselves to celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Sunday and, more importantly, to allow the Holy Spirit to form us into more faithful disciples of Jesus in the year ahead.

It is a journey out of sin and into holiness. That’s not easy! Sin, after all, is quite attractive! It is the ultimate self-service!

But Easter calls us to something greater than serving ourselves. Jesus’ Resurrection calls us to put “self” aside and seek God’s ways, which we call holiness. We are called to see others as God sees them, to offer mercy as we have been shown mercy, to forgive as God has forgiven us, to love as we are loved by a God who gave everything to be with us.

This does not mean we simply ignore sin, evil, and injustice; quite the opposite! Easter calls us to recognize sin wherever it exists and to name it as sin. But we are called to offer life in the midst of sin, rather than offering condemnation.

We are called to BE the Lent-to-Easter journey for people in our lives. Through holiness (living as God calls us to live, not according to our own opinions or whatever “feels right”), we are called to lead persons from death to life, from alienation to love, from darkness to light, from despair to hope.

This is what it means to be “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus”. This is the Easter hope for all creation!