Of Course it Will Freeze Now

That’s one consistent thing in the Texas Panhandle when it comes to weather. If you want a hard freeze in spring, order new plants. You don’t even have to stick them in the ground.

Yes, we’re doing the houseplant Hokie-Pokie around here again. “You bring the houseplants in/ You take the houseplants out/ You bring the houseplants in/ And you move them all about.” And re-shuffle the garage, and move garage stuff onto the porch, and make a tent for the plants you are hardening off to plant, and . . . Continue reading


The Great Fear of 1789 or Similar Song, Second Verse?

The past few weeks I’ve been trying to find a historical parallel to the mood in the US media. Tulipomania came to mind, especially while watching the stock market. Then I got to thinking about panic and uncertainty, two things the markets hate. What panic had not been associated with financial bubbles? The Great Panic (or Fear) in France from July-September of 1789. Rumors swept over the country with a speed that later historians doubted possible, causing peasant uprisings, people fleeing into the woods, and rural upset across the entire country. Given the lack of transportation and the huge number of dialects and languages spoken in France at the time, it’s amazing how quickly the mood engulfed France.
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The Burned Over District and Beyond: Protestants in America Part Three

Last week we looked at the trials and expansion of Protestantism in the United States during and after the American Revolution, focusing on the US South. This week I’ll focus on the northern states, especially Upstate New York, Ohio, and the Old Northwest. I’ll start with the Revolution and go on to the Civil War and the splits in denominations that came from that conflict. One of the major changes we’ll see is the rapid growth of “ethnic denominations,” groups like the Lutherans, Anabaptists, Reformed, and other national-church denominations.

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Spring Breaking

Sorry. A combination of events at Day Job and at home drained my brain. I’ll have the Protestant History post tomorrow, and the Great Panic history thing on Monday.

Gesundheit, Bob. But I told you not to try so much in one load.

Market Hysteria and the Extraordinary Madness of Crowds

I watched the financial markets on Monday and shook my head. Russia and Saudi are having a spat over oil prices. As a result of that, plus an new-to-the-population upper-respiratory virus, the markets went bonkers in a panic, dumping value. People who ought to know better were running around with their hair on fire, so to speak. Note, this is covered by the same media that got unhappy over the weekend when physicians pointed out that the influenzas A and B this year killed several thousand people, and the press didn’t go ape over that. (With apologies to primates everywhere.) Continue reading

More Celtic than an Irishman?

I’m referring to The Highwaymen, the country—quartet? quadrelateral? collision?—of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Chris Kristofferson. Fund raising season is upon the regional PBS station, and so since this is March, they had the Obligatory Irish Tenor on TV before running The Highwaymen – Live in Concert. Dad didn’t mute the Irish crooner fast enough. The guy had a six note range, and focused on what I’d call Irish lounge music. I could easily imagine Frank Sinatra or Perry Como singing this stuff in a nightclub, and based on the age of the audience, the folks at the concert probably had heard Sinatra live, when Sinatra was young!

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Either My Truck Was Attacked

by a maniacal baker hurling poppy seeds all over the landscape, or the trees are doing the birds and the bees.

We got half an inch of rain last night (yeah!!!! [happy dance]), most of which fell slowly over 5-6 hours. A million-dollar rain, in other words.  Wind followed as the low pressure system passed. So everything was nice and moist. Slightly tacky. And so my vehicle got attacked by . . . the Pollinator. Continue reading

The Highwayman

Thanks to Waylon, Willie, and the boys, this got stuck in my head this weekend.

It’s not exactly country music (more on that Wednesday), and the version I first heard was Irish.

The Makem and Clancy version brings memories of driving through the San Juan Mountains one a chilly, cloudy June day. It’s the version I imprinted on. Jimmy Webb wrote and recorded it in 1977 after a dream, and it was picked up by a lot of other musicians, but only 8-10 years later.

I’m recovering from a grading/computer irritation/editing marathon, so I’ll come back to this and some other Highwaymen (Waylon, Cash, Kristofferson, and Willie) songs on Wednesday. Continue reading