Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Review: The Red Letters Project

The Red Letters Project
Book of Matthew
Tyndale House Publishers

The Red Letters Project Book of Matthew provides a unique, musical approach the Gospel of Matthew. Original music paired with the red letters straight from the New Living Translation Bible combine to form a fresh, new way of hearing the Gospel presented. I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect before I started listening, but after the first few tracks I was able to put aside some pretty traditional ideas I thought I’d left long ago and enjoy the presentation. The younger listeners should find this even more exciting. The sound quality was as good as any I’ve heard. So crank it up, if you like your music that way, that is.

Did a little homework and discovered that the producer of this project, Russ Regan, has an impressive resume. Tyndale has not skimped on this recording and Mr. Regan’s expertise shows in the quality of the product. I hope that it is well received by the public. I also hope it will be made available in mp3 format as well.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or ARC in exchange for this review.

More Spring Time Stuff

Been enjoying spring lately and haven't bothered to stop by here. Not when there's sun to be had. Long winter and I'm making up for lost time in the sun. Rain on the horizon now so I'll come inside for this. Did I mention the crocus outdid themselves this year? Or that the daffodils are up now? Or that the birch (?) have started to bloom?

Need some rain to water in the lime we put on the garden. Played science project and tested the soil several different ways and discovered that it needs nearly everything. Not surprised. More than amazed that we got any produce at all from it in the past after seeing those test results.

Already planning this years garden even thought it's still a couple of months until it can be planted safely. Yes, the plan calls for corn and beans and peas. The broccoli did pretty well last year so maybe try that again. Bought some lettuce seed just to see if that's doable here. Some folks have pretty good luck with it so why not try. The lettuce, peas, and broccoli should yield the early crop and then the tomatoes et al next and finally the butternut squash. Those squash store forever. Had some last season that sat for a couple of months before I got around to them and they were still great. Lots better than the store bought ones I used after they were gone. No, haven't given any thought to the root or tuber type plants at all. Just don't have that much space.

On to the news of the day. Healthcare bill was signed today. Not sure where I come down on that whole scene. There is a need to address the healthcare issues of the uninsured which generally translates the poor or working poor. We as a people can't leave them on the side of the road to suffer and die, but the costs of providing something for them is enormous. So do we all say no to them or get together and help? That's pretty much the long and short of it. Right or privilege is not the issue, I don't think, but what is the decent, proper thing to do. This concern shouldn't just be for our own citizens but expand to a global vision. No I'm not saying we should pay for six billion or so people, but strive to encourage their governments and institutions to care for their people too. All of them. We share this planet and eventually what causes suffering elsewhere will affect us here at home. So just out of selfishness, if nothing else works, we need to think larger than me and mine. All of us.

Back to the home scene though, some of what I hear about the bill sounds good, some not so much so. Being unwilling to wade through a couple of thousand pages of legalese for myself, I choose to trust the talking heads and their interpretations of it. That's dumb, I know, but what else can the ordinary person do? And now the states are contesting it with court proceedings. That should be interesting if the Supreme Court gets involved eventually. Apparently the mandate clause is creating a stink. By the time this gets sorted out I'll be eligible for Medicare or pushing daisies. More talking points for all the politicos and pundits I suppose.

That about does it for now, I guess. Oh, one last item. Script Frenzy is just around the corner so I thought I ought to read a script or two. First one I picked up was Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Don't know where I've been, but I had never seen this or read it before. It is powerful and complex. More than I expected and some of the sites I checked that discussed it missed more than they covered. Have to wonder when an author sits down to write does he consider all the angles or does the depth grow from the subject or theme? Still pondering that one. Let you know if I figure it out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review: Winston Churchill by John Perry

Winston Churchill by John Perry
Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2010

What a delightful surprise this little book turned out to be! I picked it from among several other titles in the Christian Encounter Series. Wonder if the others in the series as well written?

As the title suggests this is a biography of Winston Churchill. When I received this book from Nelson in exchange for this review I mistook it for a grade school publication. Even if it is intended for a fifth or sixth grade reader, the adult reader will enjoy it too. It is brief but covers Churchill’s life thoroughly, and as they say, not exhaustively which means it doesn’t get boring at all. There is a bibliography included if a reader wants to learn more and endnote citations as well.

What I discovered about Winston Churchill’s life was his ability to persevere and prosper in some very trying situations. For instance, his childhood, while apparently the norm at the time, was difficult at best. Boarding schools, headmasters that were less than kind, the whole Charles Dickens scene that created Scrooge. Churchill’s character and personality dealt with life differently, though. He is an example true grit and determination, and some very human foibles that are not glossed over in the text.

The only negative thing I have to say about this book is that the cover and size do make it look too schoolish for most shoppers to slow down long enough to read a bit of it.

Reviewed for BookSneeze.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Almost Here!!

Had to stop by for a quick entry. The sun is out and it's warm enough to sit out. At last! The crocus are blooming and more wonderful flowers I haven't seen in a long time. Yes, spring is almost here. Even hung a few pieces of wash on the line to dry. Live is good. Today, anyway. Take what I can get.

Why am I here and not outside right now? Trying not to over do the sun. Burned myself the last time it came by where I live. Don't want to repeat that too often. But this will be short. Like really short "cuz I'm headed back out there now.

More to follow at some later time.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tough Stuff with the Fluff

Didn't realize it'd been so long since the last post. New month, even a bit of sun now and then. Soaked up a few rays this morning, but finally had to come in when the breeze across the ice pack, formerly known as snow, began to get too cool. Sure felt good for a while. Beginning to feel the winter blahs lifting lately. Sure hope it continues.

Just realized that April 1 is just around the corner. Yeah, and...? I signed up for Script Frenzy and it starts then. Of course, I have no clue what I'm doing. Not only for an idea but how to do it. Looked at a few sites on the web and the basic thrust is the same as a novel. Except, no rambling descriptions. The scene has to happen through dialogue and whatever is on the stage. OK. Relax, we can do this. It's just different. And the formatting is new. That will be the toughest thing to get used to. Yes, there are programs out there that do that and I have downloaded a couple to try them. Not working like the I'd hoped.

So what to do. How about just write it and do the format part later? Seems reasonable to me. Of course, the purists probably would just hang their heads in disbelief. Let them. So that's settled. Just need an idea that can go for more than three lines. Maybe a conversation inside someone's head with different masks to let the folks know who is speaking. Could work, I guess. Minimalist set, black drape, a few spots. So retro. May have to give that more thought.

What else is happening? Will healthcare really get done? Wonder what the bookies say about that? My feeling is that it's still a long shot. A very long shot. Keeps the talking heads busy though. Rachel is doing a number on one of the congressmen from Michigan. Straight up questions but why not before now? Because now he's blocking or trying to block the final healthcare deal related to the abortion issue. Hmm. Is it his position on that or his affiliation with a religious interest group? Or both? Be interested in seeing where this goes.

On to the big deal going on now. How to help someone face the impending death of a loved one. Especially if that someone is generally a very closed person in those kind of issues. Or is there any thing to be done except stand by quietly? From my experiences with this that was the best for me. But someone else isn't me. Ask them? A direct approach might be the best after I see this person later on. Tough stuff, and part of existence in this world. Sort of a gird up thy loins time. Don't know. Play it by ear and listen for the clues.