Monthly Archives: December 2018

Andrew Sullivan on Religion

Andrew Sullivan has written a fascinating article for New York magazine, dated December 7, 2018.  The idea of contemporary American politics as a substitute for Christianity is a compelling one, as is his opening thought that everyone has a religion. … Continue reading

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Christmas Letter

On Christmas Day, some old friends came for dinner.  One of them asked whether Isaiah’s prophecy “they shall call his name Emmanuel” contradicts Matthew, where the angel tells Joseph “thou shalt call his name Jesus.” I dearly love these two … Continue reading

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Christmas So Far

It’s not yet 10 AM on Christmas morning…but what a lot to report already. Saturday afternoon, I played the evening Mass for Advent IV in the local parish, and then was a guest at the pastor’s birthday party at the … Continue reading

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Solstice

It’s the shortest day of the year, all the shorter and darker for the incessant heavy rain. It’s been pouring since the wee hours of the morning…it’s now after noon.  The basement pump has been running for hours. It’s warm … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Mrs. Kromer

Yesterday, December 16, was not only the 248th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, it was also the 125th birthday of Mrs. Grace Kromer–née Grace Isabella Ernst in New York City. Her father died when she was a child.  Her stepfather … Continue reading

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The Ice Storm of 1973

The calendar for 1973 was the same as for 2018, so exactly forty-five years ago this morning was Monday morning, December 17, 1973. One week previously, on Long Island, we awoke to the great ice storm of 1973. The weekend … Continue reading

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Purcell, Croft, Bach

Among other things, I’ve been playing a good deal of English keyboard music.  Specifically, I’ve been focusing on Henry Purcell and William Croft. Part of my renewed harpsichord journey has been a re-appreciation of the keyboard suite.  It is just … Continue reading

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Mercury

I was driving to the train station before dawn this morning.  Venus was blazing away as she has been doing for weeks now.  I chanced to look below her and to the east, and what do you know!  There was … Continue reading

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Allspice

Whole allspice (Pimenta dioica) looks like peppercorns, but is an entirely different plant.  When ground, it is a dark reddish-brown.  It is native to the Western Hemisphere and grows at high elevations in tropical climates.  Jamaica produces the best. Yesterday, … Continue reading

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Christmas Carol Singalong

‘Tis the season.  On Sunday, December 23–the Fourth Sunday of Advent as well as “Christmas Eve Eve,” I’ll lead another community carol sing at the First Presbyterian Church in Goshen, NY.  Event starts at 3, is free, and a nice … Continue reading

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