I stand on guard for thee!

I’m in Winnipeg, serving as the essayist for the national convention of the Lutheran Church-Canada. My topic is vocation. I’ll be blogging as I can.

Concerts I have attended

As I was kicking myself for not going to hear Bo Diddley when he played in my own home town, my thoughts turned to the performers I HAVE seen and heard in person. Looking back, I realize that I’ve attended some notable concerts in my day. Let me attempt a list: Eric Burden and the Animals (my first rock concert); the Monkees (hey, I had to take my little sister, all right?); Janis Joplin (by now I’d gone off to college); the Jefferson Airplane; the Byrds; Jimi Hendrix; the Box Tops; Three Dog Night; Leon Russell; B. B. King; Bob Dylan (half a dozen times); Waylon Jennings (my tastes begin to change); Johnny Cash (sort of; I was at the Washington Mall on the bicentennial; I could hear Johnny singing from the stage but I was so far away that I couldn’t see him; still, I’m going to count it); the Everly Brothers; Alan Jackson; George Strait; the Dixie Chicks (before they went unpatriotic); LeAnn Rimes (when she was a prodigy singing “Blue”); Travis Tritt; Marty Stuart; BR-549 (numerous times); Junior Brown; Wayne Hancock; Alison Krauss (more than once); that “Down from the Mountain” tour from “O, Brother, Where Art Thou”; Merle Haggard; Chuck Berry (at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis).

The best concert? That would probably be the Grand Ole Opry session (I think I’ve been there three times) at which I heard four legends: Hank Snow, Porter Waggoner; Charlie Louvin; and (the high point) Bill Monroe (just shortly before his death).

Do you have any notable concerts as milestones in your life?

Hey, Bo Diddley

When I was growing up in a little Oklahoma town, white people lived on one side of the tracks, literally, and black people lived on the other. The black folks had a dance hall for Saturday nights. Bo Diddley used to play there from time to time. We white kids were scared to go there, but I sure wish I could have heard him in his prime. The rhythm ‘n’ blues man who turned the guitar into a percussion instrument and helped invent rock ‘n’ roll died at age 79.

Here he is from around that time in 1966. Notice that in the crowd whites are one side and blacks are on another, but it is the white teenagers who are really going wild at this sound.

Indy driver Bob Veith

This weekend is the Indianapolis 500. I once attended an auto race and enjoyed it tremendously, though I confess (and this is a blot on my country music credentials) to not following that particular sport in all of its no-doubt interesting varieties. But I remember as a child getting together with the whole Veith clan at the family farm in Tonkawa, huddling around a short wave radio to hear the broadcast of the Indianapolis 500. My father had a distant cousin, Bob Veith, who would be in that race, and we would always root for him. I was pleased to discover that, though, he never won that particular race, Bob nevertheless rates a Wikipedia article for his racing career: Go here.

Graduation Exercises

Friends, I’m just getting ready to leave for Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to attend our daughter’s graduation from the Deaconness program at Concordia Theological Seminary. And I’m not even going to bring my computer.

I’ll be back Saturday for our graduation ceremonies at Patrick Henry College. I’ll be blogging again on Monday. So farewell for now.

I’m alive

I had a speaking gig in Oklahoma City, so I took the opportunity to visit my family. My plane was several hours late on Wednesday, but it was a good thing since if it had come in on time I would have had to drive my rental car through a massive storm that brought flooding to the highway. Then, over the weekend, that tornado hit Picher, which is only a half hour or so from where we were, killing seven people. The tornado missed us in Vinita, as did the bad thunderstorms, but despite our clear skies a huge wind started blowing. It snapped a big maple tree, two feet in diameter, right at the ground, falling right across my sister’s driveway. Although I had forgotten what springtime in Oklahoma could mean, I did have a great visit with my parents, both siblings, and some friends I hadn’t seen since the olden days.

Music lessons

I thought I was pretty up on contemporary culture for someone past the half century, but then I saw on “American Idol” that this guest artist (I can’t even remember her name!) was about to pass Elvis in some major milestone. Elvis! And I didn’t even notice her. When the Idols sang her songs, which the judges talked like were golden oldies, I knew none of them! Not that I missed anything, since they sounded to my ears like the most bombastic dreck. These songs made Elvis seem like Shostakovich.

Anyway, although I am not unlearned about popular music, I am way out of date. Not that an adult should be fixated on angst-ridden music for teenagers, but there can still be music out there that merits attention. I have a student, Nathan Martin, who is my tutor about today’s music. He burns me CD samplers of contemporary music that he thinks might interest me. I admit that some fine musicians are making good music today, though I can’t remember their names either.

Nathan is working with some other Patrick Henry College students on a webzine entitled Patrol. Go there for contemporary music criticism and good writing. I’ve added it to my blogroll. As a sample, I offer this account
of the recent demise of “CCM,” the contemporary Christian Music magazine that just went out of business, giving thoughtful insights about this frustrating genre.

My new book is out

Book Description
Through best-selling books and now blockbuster motion pictures, C. S. Lewis’s masterpiece The Chronicles of Narnia has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of children and adults. When Lewis wrote this acclaimed series more than half a century ago, many considered it a mere children’s allegory and missed the rich spiritual meaning of the Christian faith that Lewis was clearly communicating.

In The Soul of Prince Caspian, Veith reveals how Lewis takes on the modern mindset that has literally forgotten Christ just as Narnia has forgotten Aslan. As Veith unlocks the story of Prince Caspian, you’ll discover how Lewis’s other writings add depth and clarity to his message. And you’ll see that, while Prince Caspian may be about the fantastic land of Narnia, it’s also about your world.

(You can click the ad, above, if you would like to buy it. Sorry for the commercial. I do like the cover art, though.)

The Caspian book cover

First picture of our new grandchild

 Our younger daughter and her husband are having a baby! Here is his or her first picture:           
Pre-born grandchild  

Another dream fulfilled

My wife’s school held its annual chili cook-off and talent show last Friday.  One of the judges got stuck in traffic, so I was enlisted to be one of the judges for the chili contest.  I had always wanted to do that!  There were nine different chilis.  There was general consensus about the top three (showing the principle of classical aesthetics that beauty is objective), though the various judges differed somewhat in their rankings (showing the principle of classical aesthetics that there are legitimate variations in taste–for example, one of the contenders was a Cincinnatti-style chili, which is sweet and flavored with cinnamon.  It was well-done and good in its way, but I prefer Western-style, with lots of cumin).  Points were rewarded and tabulated, and winners were declared.  (My top choice did come in second–the Cincinnatti-style prevailed–but my choice also won the People’s Choice Award, so I felt vindicated.)  The talent show was quite charming, showcasing some very talented grade-school kids, with vocal performances ranging from “A Mighty Fortress” to Hannah Montana, instrumental numbers to comedy skits.  It was a good night of fellowship and classical education. I have been a movie critic, but the really good gig is to be a food critic.  What I’d like to do, now that I’ve helped judge a chili contest, is to judge a BBQ competition!