10 Albums You Should Have That Maybe You Don’t

Here’s a list of albums that you may not have heard, but that will keep you interested on that desert island:

Album Artist
Sea Change Beck
Soup Blind Melon
Miles From Our Home Cowboy Junkies
Smile The Jayhawks
Streetcore Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
Glimmer Kim Richey
Lola Versus Powerman The Kinks
Breathe Midnight Oil
Bryter Layter Nick Drake
Trace Son Volt

 

The Things I Have Not Done

“…the shadows of deeds that were never done…” Theodore Roosevelt, 1916

When the world spins down to its end – a possibility that seems more likely with every day this version of humanity careens along its broken path – each of us, from Adam and Eve to everyone living in that final day, will face judgement. That seems a scary prospect. I certainly don’t want to stand before the throne of our Creator and have Him unfold to the entirety of humankind all I have done wrong. I mean, how many of the Top Ten (that’s the Ten Commandments – you know, Moses, stone tablets, the Book of Exodus – for the uninitiated) have you broken? Murder? Maybe not, but abortion is murder and how many accomplices to that are there in the world today? But what about honoring your father and mother? or lying? or stealing? or choosing a way other than God’s way? You know what your list includes – all the things you tried to keep secret because you know they were wrong. And that means this judgement thing is going to take forever, not that that is a real concern of God’s. I’m not a really bad guy or anything, but even my list would take a good, long time. Imagine the list for the Hitler’s of the world. Any way you look at it, it’s not a pretty picture for any of us.

But, it turns out it’s even worse than we thought. It seems God is not interested in what we did wrong. He knows we’re all screw-ups and that’s what forgiveness is for anyway. No, God is more interested in what we didn’t do right. If we had chosen what God wanted us to do instead of what we wanted to do, what would our lives look like? Would we still have broken our share of the Top Ten? Probably, but what about the lives we would have touched, the hearts we would have changed, the people we would have become? Perhaps he’ll show us what the lives of all those babies we aborted would have been. The Einsteins, the Mozarts, the mothers and fathers.

It makes me weep to wonder upon what I have not done. For fifteen years during the most productive time of my youth I turned from what God wanted. Even now, as I struggle and still fail to follow His path for me, the immense possibilities of those years can not be recovered. That loss is what our judgment will reveal to us. It recalls to mind the quote from Theodore Roosevelt that opens this commentary. Our judgment is not a list of the things we did wrong, it is “the shadows of deeds that were never done.”

The Crooked Path

God sees out,
our future predestined.
But it is a crooked path,
changed by freewill.

For in heaven the view
is more than mere mortals see.
Destiny, interwoven
with the choices of men.

© 2011 Wasted Space Publishing

blossom

soothing escape into happiness,
with brighter skies on brand new time.

no harsh confinement in loneliness,
or brooding storms obscuring ominous lies.

in a flash of the mind,
new awareness.
in windswept horizons of primeval terrain,
new consciousness.

like a blossom of omnipotence.
the infinity of finite time.

© 2010 Wasted Space Publishing

My Desert Island Movies

Here’s a menu of Desert Island Movies:

No.

Title

Director

01 The Godfather Francis Ford Coppola
02 Lawrence of Arabia David Lean
03 Bridge on the River Kwai David Lean
04 Ben Hur William Wyler
05 Man on Fire Tony Scott
06 Shadowlands Richard Attenborough
07 The Royal Tenenbaums Wes Anderson
08 Big Fish Tim Burton
09 Saving Private Ryan Steven Spielberg
10 Stranger Than Fiction Marc Forster

Top heavy with epics and a couple you may not have even seen.

My Desert Island Books

Here are some Desert Island Books:

No.

Title

Author

01 The Bible
02 The Heart of the Matter Graham Greene
03 The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
04 Samson Agonistes John Milton
05 Martin Eden Jack London
06 The Beggar Naguib Mahfouz
07 100 Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
08 Dune Frank Herbert
09 Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis
10 The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien

Black & White World

A snack and a drink of water.

Putting it down on paper.

H.A. Stolz Groceries

Faces of Africa

Numbers on a Country Road

All my baby pictures are in black & white. That’s how what we saw in the viewfinder came out in the lost world of our pasts. My mind sees them in high contrast, blacks and whites and not much grey, maybe a little blurry or at least grainy. Then came Kodachrome (remember the Paul Simon song: “It give us the nice, bright colors. Give us the greens of summer.”), and the world was awash in color. And if we wanted black & white we had to buy special black & white film. Now, with digital photography, any color photograph can become black & white with a couple of simple clicks. But it doesn’t look like those old black & white photos I remember. They are all shades of grey, not the stark icons of my memory. These images are just a few examples of how I remember the black & white world.

 

Trajan

Trajan may be the perfect headline font. It is strong, but subtle and elegant as well. It seems to connote mastery, or even supremacy. Perhaps that is because it is derived from Roman capital letters used during the reign of Trajan – one of the few rulers whose reputation has survived nineteen centuries. Every new emperor after him was honored by the Senate with the prayer felicior Augusto, melior Traiano, meaning “may he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan”.

The font is an old style serif typefaces designed in 1989 by Carol Twombly for Adobe. The design is based on the letterforms of capitalis monumentalis or Roman square capitals, as used for the inscription at the base of Trajan’s Column. Since lower case forms were not in use in Roman times, Trajan is an all-capitals typeface. Instead, small caps are commonly used. A number of interpretations predate Trajan, particularly Emil Rudolf Weiss’ “Weiss” of 1926, Frederic Goudy’s 1930 “Goudy Trajan,” and Warren Chappell’s “Trajanus” of 1939. There are also numerous prominent typefaces that are not revivals, but owe a very clear debt to the Trajan letterforms, most notably Hermann Zapf’s 1955 Optima.

Twombly’s cut of Trajan has become very popular, as seen in its nearly constant presence on American movies, television shows and books. For example, the font was used for the film poster of Titanic, for the credits of several films like Interview with the Vampire, the titles and captions for The West Wing and the covers of many John Grisham paperbacks. Trajan is also the official font of Columbia University, Rice University,  University of Kansas and many other institutions and political groups.

Out of the Eternal Sea

“He who was wounded by the sword and yet lived…whose fatal wound had been healed.”
– The Revelation

A stranger knocked on the front door. The little boy of almost eight could see him in the porch light.

“Well, open the door, Stephen,” Mother said as she came to the front door from the kitchen.

The boy pulled open the door, and Mother asked, “Can I help you?”

“I have to stay at your house tonight,” the man answered.

Mother started to laugh and shut the door. She was almost scared. Then she hesitated, and looked at the man again. “Come in,” she heard herself say.

“Your husband will not mind,” the stranger assured her.

“You know my husband?” Mother asked, a little relieved.

But the stranger didn’t answer. Instead, he stepped into the house. The entry light fell on his straight black hair and his chiseled features, deepened in the shadow. The little boy shied away, and then ran. “Will you show me where I can prepare for the night?” was all the stranger said.

“Of course,” Mother said. “You can stay outside in the game room. Follow me.”
She led the stranger through the kitchen to the back door. “My husband is at the church, at a committee meeting,” she said. “He should be home soon, though,” she added quickly.

“This used to be the garage,” Mother explained as she opened the door to the game room and switched on the lights, “but there was a fire and we rebuilt. The sofa over there makes into a bed. I’ll get my husband to bring you some blankets.”

She looked at the man for a response or even for a question, but got no answer. He just crossed the room and sat at the table. “If there is anything you need, come to the back,” Mother said as she closed the door behind her.

“What are you getting so upset about?” Mother asked Father after she told him about the stranger. “I thought you knew him.”

“Well I don’t know him,” Father answered. “I can’t believe you let some strange man come in and stay in the game room. What were you thinking?”

“I don’t know,” Mother confessed. “I just couldn’t tell him no. I felt like we would know what to do. Anyway, I’ve already done it.”

“I know exactly what to do,” Father started.

“Don’t,” Mother chided him. “Here are the blankets for his bed. You’re late, so he might already be asleep. And please don’t make a fuss. I’ll go ahead and put Stephen to bed.” Mother turned rapidly away from her husband and picked their son up from in front of the TV. The boy was already falling asleep as she carried him to his room.

“Don’t make a fuss,” Father mumbled, folding the blankets under his arm. “He might be asleep she says. Too bad.”

When Father was outside, he could see a light in the game room. He’s up, Father thought. I’ll give him money for a hotel or something and get him out of here.

He looked in through the window of the game room.

The stranger was kneeling in the middle of the room. The light was a dark presence around him. It was a malevolent light, one that welled up from his body. A body of blackness, radiating a dark aura. What sounded like thunder roared through the night and grew louder before subsiding altogether. The stranger convulsed violently as he struggled to answer.

“They accepted me,” he spat out in a voice that grew from everywhere like the thunder. “They cannot refuse me,” he finished as his lips writhed in pain with the words that echoed into silence.

Father dropped the blankets and stepped back, staring at the stranger. He moved with purpose then, back into the house. He clutched for a knife inside a kitchen drawer and stumbled back through the house and outside. The light was still shimmering from the game room, casting shadows with the movements of its creator. Suddenly fear grabbed Father by the throat; his resolution was crushed by it. He fell back against the door, gasping for breath.

“Let me do this thing,” he moaned.

His hand tightened on the knife. His steps strengthened as he crossed to the game room. He did not look inside. He put his shoulder against the door and the lock gave. Father could see only the stranger’s demon face. He drove the knife through the darkness of its body, the blood running blacker than the darkness. The dying presence forced Father back out of the room. Father staggered into the house to find his wife charging into the den. The knife was still clutched in his hand.

“Oh my God!” Mother screamed. Father fell to his knees. “What have you done?”

Stephen came from out of the dark hall, rubbing his eyes. “I have killed the Beast,” he heard Father say.

“You did what?” Mother couldn’t believe it. She fled past Father, drawing him and her son in her wake. Outside the blankets blew towards them in the wind.

There was still a light on in the game room. Mother rushed on, Father groaned, and Stephen hurried to catch up. They reached the door together and looked in on the stranger, who returned their stares with the distant rumble of a laugh.

© 2010 Wasted Space Publishing