Friday, February 29, 2008

Tradition!

I love traditions. I really do. Being an Aggie it almost comes naturally. There's a saying, along the lines of "if something happens once it's coincidence, twice it's a tradition".

Some traditions, however, I can do without.

Like the newly established traditional gift for Liler'E. The gift of disease. For Christmas, the poor kid got RSV and ran a fever up to 104°F. Now, for his birthday, our little trouper has a double ear infection.

I don't know who keeps giving him these presents, but I wish they'd stop! How about a nice savings bond, instead?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gender Blogging

Today I endeavor to point out the differences between men and women in blogland. Now, I know that leading sociologists and "enlightened thinkers" will tell you there are no differences between men and women. Besides the glaringly obvious things like men having a "y" and women having an "x" instead of that "y", I think that men and women blog differently.

Men are from Google and women are from Yahoo.

Or something like that. Maybe men are from Lycos. I'm not that sure.

From the blogs I read regularly or have looked at a couple of times, I have observed the following differences (based on frequent bloggers):

WOMENMEN
1) Women like to have a blog calendar. They post about bake sales on Monday and mothering tips on Wednesday and new tech gadgets on Fridays (I tried to not make them stereotypical topics). This schedule is followed, unerringly.1) Nope. Not here. Stream of consciousness, baby!
2) Women like have give-aways on their blogs, as part of their calendar of events.2) I'm sorry, were we talking about something? I couldn't tell because the point was lost in the details on how to win something.

Men may occasionally give something away, but it will be low-key. And always random.
3) Women are highly organized into groups and collectives. Check out the corners of most blogirls and you will see links to blog rings, mommy blogs, homeschoolers, or Mac users. And they actually participate in these groups to some extent.3) What? They're other people out there like me. Frankly, that's more than a little unsettling.

Men do not have blog rings. If we did, it would be to gun clubs; and that would bring us to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security. While some might think "BONUS! Hits from the dot-gov!", in the end it would be trouble. Not that we would participate in the club, anyway.
4) About 95% of what women bloggers talk about is, in the end, trivial and pointless for most people's lives.4) Okay, to be fair, that number is probably a bit higher for men. It's the lack of proper scheduling, I suspect.

Am I way off base? Mrs. E will say I am, because I have conceived and posted this tongue-in-cheek tripe. But do my points have any merit? I think they do. Not saying its a good thing or a bad thing, but just making some observations. I've been working with Kat and Amy and Kristen on Inspired to Action (they're the other editors), and I've discovered that I am apparently the only active male voice in the site. They like the ideas of scheduled topics for specific days, and setting a calendar, and all the things I jest about above. Me? I resist them with every fiber of my being. No real reason, just my instinctive reaction.

Ya know, there's a good reason my blog is entitled Euphrony Rambles, and that a full 40% of my posts are labeled Miscellanea. A very good reason. I posit that it is my very masculinity that makes me this way.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Free Music: Classical Solo Violin

The sounds of classical music do not fill the ears of people like they once did. There's no doubting that the choices in music today have made the older compositions seem like something from a past era, out of place today. Not everyone likes this trend.

Tasmin Little is a concerto violinist who wants people to remember, enjoy, and appreciate the works of masters. She has recorded and is offering free for download solo violin pieces from J.S. Bach (Partita No.3 in E major for Solo violin), Paul Patterson (Luslawice Variations op.50 for violin), and Eugène Ysaÿe (Sonata No.3 in D minor "Ballade"). The album is entitled, appropriately, The Naked Violin, for its presentation of the violin stripped of all accompaniments. Along with the music, which can be downloaded as M4P, 320 Kbps MP3, or 192 Kbps MP3, she also offers downloadable cover art and audio and pdf files of her introducing the pieces. There's even some questions and answers that teachers could use in a class.

She give a three part challenge with this free download.

  1. Listen to her spoken introduction and download her CD.
  2. Take some time to listen and get to know these pieces. Then write to her and tell her what you like (or don’t like) about each piece.
  3. Go to a concert, buy a CD or write and tell her what barriers still remain to prevent you from wanting to do either!
Go check out the music. It offers some great pieces, played by an accomplished artist, using two violins (a 1757 Guadagnini violin and, on loan from the Royal Academy of Music, the ‘Regent’ Stradivarius constructed in 1708 - both works of art in and of themselves).

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Witness #1

Being witness #1 is synonymous with being ten feet short of involved in a bad accident. The picture you see on the right is not what we saw at ~9:05 pm on Sunday evening, while returning from a visit to family in Dallas. But is it awful close.

For once, there was a wreck and our family was not involved. We are all safe, if a little shaken by the whole ordeal. Basically, we were in the right-hand lane of a feeder to I45, and a car exited the freeway behind us, lost control of their SUV and careened across the three lanes of the feeder - missing our front bumper by a couple of feet. As they tried to straighten the SUV flipped and skid. You don't think about it, by when a metal roof runs across pavement at 60 mph, there are a lot of sparks.

We called 911. Mrs. E was helping to calm and comfort the two ladies and two little girls in the car. All were wearing seatbelts, thank goodness, so injuries were minor - although they had to be pulled out through the shattered windshield. We hung around for about 30 minutes, waiting for police and EMT to respond and ask a few questions. The cops let us get going since Liler'E was getting pretty fussy, but I expect to be hearing back from them wanting a more complete statement of what we saw.

I've called 911 a couple of times in my life, but never has if had such a sense of urgency as when I called last night. Expecting the worst when the car flipped, the eventual outcome was something of a relief.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Music Review: The Afters Never Going Back To OK

Never Going Back To OKHere we are, again, with another installment in the Euphrony Music Review Extravaganza! I've been sitting on this one for about a month, because I've not had much time on my hands to do such things. But I finally get the chance to review for you the sophomore release from The Afters. Never Going Back To OK hits stores this Tuesday (February 26th). You can already download a few songs from iTunes, if you don't want to wait until Tuesday.

In short, the album is an improvement from their previous work, I Wish We All Could Win, and is in many ways a catchy and enjoyable 42 minutes of listening. The album leads off with the short song "The Secret Parade". Though only 98 seconds long, it is a great intro to the titular song and has the feel of something that The Beatles might have written. As "The Secret Parade" fades, the driving rhythms of "Never Going Back To OK" kick in, letting you know the basic rock nature of the album. It's anthemic cry is clear: there's no turning back. Once you give yourself to God, you are compelled to abide with Him. Nothing is the same, and the old life pales by comparison.

Read more . . .

Another memorable song from Never Going Back To OK is the guitar-driven "Tonight". Recalling the thoughts of putting the past behind and beginning anew, the simple chorus will stick with you.


Playing on the old theme of love and grace as deep as the ocean, "Ocean Wide" manages to stand on its own. Perhaps a bit too sentimental feeling, the comfort that is found in lyrics like "love is an ocean wide enough to forget / even when we think we can't" reaches into most people and touches on a time when that was true in one's own life.


Perhaps the most interesting song on the album is "MySpace Girl" (the video of which is below). It is either a touching song of the pursuit of the love of of your life or a creepy example of cyberstalking. The jury is still out on that count. In any case, it is the true story of how a friend of the band met a girl at a burger shop and tracked her down via MySpace, eventually marrying her. Chocked full of references to the cultural phenomenon that is MySpace, it is a song that you could come back and listen to in twenty years and have a good laugh at the nostalgia.


The AftersOther songs on the album are equally catchy. From start to finish, it is an easy listen. With melodies and lyrics that you will find popping into your head later, it's distinctiveness from others in the genre becomes clearer on reflection rather than at first hearing. Overall, I think you will find it well worth your time taking a listen to The Afters new release.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Define insanity

O-F-F S-I-T-E M-E-E-T-I-N-G

I'm leaving work today, with all my coworkers, to go somewhere else and work for a day. In a meeting.


It's like a field trip, only it makes less sense and isn't as fun. If I survive, I'll let you know.

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Like a 1960's French film, only different

Whilst my noggin begins to recover from yet another round of paper authoring, I shall fill the empty space on this blog with fluffy stuff.


I'll begin with free association:
cat - hat - french - chat chapeau - violin strings

Next, the Rorschach test:
cow skull
dessert
barf

Are you with me so far? Good.

Following is the hand-eye coordination test.
Yep, my 1-year old son's razor-sharp claws can find my eyes with no problem.

Finally, mental acuity:
1 + 1 = banana

Who was the first president of the United States? Guy Fawkes

Where do Amphibians live? Outer Amphibia

What is the shape of Pipkin curve for a visco-elasto-plastic material at high strain and frequency? Round. Duh!

We will continue with intelligent conversation outside the bailiwick of rheology once my brain functions on a normal level.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Welcome to the neighborhood

Hey everybody. There's a new kid on the blog-block. Case is a friend of mine, who happens to have a small predatory animal (aka teething son) a little older than my own Liler'E. He recently started blogging, and so far I've enjoyed his humor. Here are some excerpts.

On failed attempts at reverse psychology:

#7) "Chase, here's the sharpies, there's the dining room wall. Go be Picaso."
#4) "Is that the furthest you can pull the tissue paper off the roll?
Go for it! Pretend you're in Cirque du Soleil."
#1) "Go play hide and seek with Mommy & Daddy's passports."
On being ignored by Queen Elizabeth:
It was a neat experience to see a famous person so close up, and it really made Kani's day. I enjoyed it too...the only true royalty that I'd ever been close to before was Andy Rooney on 43rd & 7th Ave.
On his year-old son's ability to track down food:
You see...he's kind of like those raptors in Jurassic Park. He plans. He remembers.
On the New England Patriots:
Football heroes should never come from a region of the United States whose main contribution to society is baked beans & Marky Mark prancing around in his underoos.

Be a good neighbor. Drop by and say hi. Tell him Euphrony sent you. And he won't turn away some brownies or a plate of cookies, either.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Do something . . .


from Whittaker Woman

from Ethos

from Shaun

from BooMama

from David Kuo

Do something . . . for $32

Do something . . . for $1

Do something . . . for $35

Do something . . . for $7

A pebble can start a rock slide. A straw breaks the camel's back. A dollar - a bottle of coke - provides drinking water to one man in Africa for a year. $1! Don't change the world - change a life.

Please, do something!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Humility (and a quote)

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am teaching a class on Sunday morning at our church. It has been interesting, thus far. If anything, the class has grown slightly over the last six weeks, leaving me amazed that anyone would voluntarily stay in a class I teach that long.

This last Sunday the subject was humility. One of the points I raised was the subtle difference between seeking to learn humility in our lives and being forced to learn humility through our arrogance. I also questioned them on Moses, the most humble man on earth at the time, and how a person of humility could be a good leader.

I shared this quote, from G.K. Chesterton, and I'll leave you with it:

What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.
What do you think of Chesterton's thought's on humility misplaced?

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Musical Guilty Pleasure: The Polyphonic Spree

The Polyphonic Spree. They perform in robes. (Okay, now they perform in a pseudo-militaristic uniform.) Their lead singer, Tim DeLaughter, is a bit spastic and has a grating voice. But I still like listening to their music. Call me strange, but not before you listen to them yourself.

A group of 23 (more or less) eclectic musicians, playing something of a cross between classical, choral, jazz, rock, and random musical styles. Some harp, some violin, some guitar, some percussion, a little brass and a dancing choir. About as odd as it gets - but somehow still fun.

Enjoy!

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Deep Thought for the Weekend

I'll have a couple of music posts up on Monday; until then I thought I would leave you with a deep thought that recently occurred to me while watching The Incredibles:

You know, I bet that Elastigirl had a really easy time during childbirth. I'm just saying.

Women, you should appreciate this the most.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Rhyming Game

(Lil'E) I know! Let's play the rhyming game! Let's rhyme duck.

(Euphrony tenses, fearful of the possible letter combinations and preparing to control his own reactions should they arise.)

(Lil'E) duck . . . luck . . . muck . . . stuck . . .

(And so we go, every day. The anticipation of one particular rhyme is killing me.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Pray for some friends

But the Union University campus was perhaps hardest hit.

Candra Pennington, a senior, told CNN there were 15 students in her dorm when the warning sirens went off.

"We went to look at the weather and we realized we couldn't get the door open," she said. "We had to get all 15 girls in the bathroom. As we were closing the bathroom door, the debris, the windows were shattering in with us, the ceiling began to fall on us. We were able to get the door shut just in time to keep ourselves safe from all of the debris that fell out into the room.

Classes have been canceled for two weeks to allow for cleanup.
(from CNN's coverage)

This is from the aftermath of a series of savage storms to strike Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Arkansas last night. The women's dorms at Union University were destroyed by the tornado. Some of Mrs. E and my best friends live in Jackson, Tennessee - she teaches at Union. I talked to him briefly this morning: their house took some roof damage, and the attic window was blown out. They have no electricity and the phone lines are down; but they do have gas for heating (very good, since it is in the 40s there this morning). Overall, he tells me that they are the people in good shape right now - others there were much harder hit.

Please, pray for my friends, and for the people affected by last nights storms. Erin (who won Kat's captcha contest) also teaches at Union, so pray for her and her husband, as well.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Things I learned last night

Here are three things I learned last night:

  1. I'm a total loser: After helping tuck the kids in bed last night, I decided that I really needed some me time. I told Mrs. E that I was going to catch a late movie. I went to see The Bucket List - it was a pretty good movie. It stars Morgan Freeman, playing a man facing his impending mortality, and Jack Nicholson, playing Jack Nicholson. I was the only person in the theater. The only person. I feel like such a loser; but I don't really care, because at least it was an undisturbed viewing of the movie.

  2. Never trust my children at bedtime: As I said, I tucked in the kids before leaving. Liler'E I put in bed around 8:00. He is Mrs. E's child: when he is tired you better get him in bed. Lay him in his bed and he'll sit up, watch you go and maybe cry a little, and then he'll jackknife. Literally, he folds over at the waist, head between his feet, and zonks out. He'll find a more comfortable position later. When I got home from the movie, Mrs. E was getting him back in bed after he woke up coughing (he's never really gotten over that bout of RSV he had at Christmas), but that didn't take long. Lil'E, on the other hand, is my child. I tucked her in bed around 8:45 and told her to go to sleep. When I got home, at midnight, Mrs. E was laying Liler'E back in bed and realized she heard sounds coming from Lil'E's room. Peeking in, she found that Lil'E had not, in fact, gone to sleep but had been playing quietly in her room for the last three hours. Did I mention that it was midnight? Did I mention that I did (okay, do) the same thing? Never trust my child to go to sleep at bedtime. Ever.

  3. At bedtime, you can never have too many snugglies: Lil'E taught me this, too. One snugglie is not enough. In fact, two rarely fills the bill. At times, we wonder how Lil'E finds room to sleep on her bed with so many stuffed animals collected in such a small space. But, judging from the peaceful, content look on her (finally!) sleeping face, you really can't have too many.
So, what did you learn yesterday? Anything? Nothing - why not?

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mrs. E!

Mrs. E with the kids

Some years ago (just how many, I won't say) a little girl was born. As she grew, she learned many things: how to have a soft heart toward people, how to act and direct plays, how to teach others (and hold a class in line), how to love children, even how to love a fool like me. Today is her special day, and since I have a soapbox I'm going to use it.

Mrs. E with Liler'EI love you, Mrs. E! Happy Birthday!

You are the better part of my life, and without you many of the things and memories I hold dearest would never have come to be. We've had rough times and we've had good times; our friendship endures through it all. My heart jumps every time I look in your direction. I cannot imagine a better mother for our children. Nor can I imagine a better mate for my life. I wouldn't want anyone else to beat me at Skip-Bo, my Skip-Bo Queen. I love to hear you laugh at my inane jokes, even if you call them cheesy. And I love to see your smile when something makes you happy.

Today is your birthday. We may not have big plans, just a family outing tonight, but know that you are in my heart and you are my love.

Ouch!

Mr. Adams, this hits a little too close to home.

Dilbert on a date

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