The names of the towns elicit different reactions from me: Sun Prairie makes me think of songs by Sons of the Pioneers, for instance 'Cool Water' and (I think it was called) 'Blue Prairie'.
And Janesville makes me think of Eliot Janeway and his Janeway Report, also of Jane's Fighting Ships, also of my great-aunt Jane and my sister Loretta Jane. 'Jenny' was originally a nickname for Jane, then Jennifer picked it up as well, and then it became a name on its own.
And the church in Janesville is called Rock Church, which makes me think of:
1. The Two Thousand Year Old Man was asked what language people talked way back at the start of civilization, and he says, 'Rock Talk'. The interviewer asks him for a sample, and he says, 'Hey! Don't throw that rock at me! Put that rock down!'
2. Rock and Roll music. Why did they call it rock--because people would rock back and forth and sway to the rhythm? Well, we in church often move with the music, and people overcome by the movement of the Spirit who fall down have sometimes been seen to roll, so we apparently have the authentic thing.
3. song led by Julie Bennett in Eau Claire: 'He will hide me under the rock, under the rock, under the rock....' I could think of Scripture references to being built ON the rock, to hiding IN the cleft of the rock, but none positive about being UNDER the rock. Quite the contrary: the Scripture says he who falls ON that rock will be broken (we must be contrite, broken-hearted in sorrow for sin, then Jesus will forgive, heal and rebuild us), but he on whom the the rock falls (i.e. he who is UNDER the rock) will be crushed (if we reject the offer of rescue and salvation from God, we will be destroyed). And have you ever lifted up a rock and looked under it? Remember doing that as a kid and seeing all those bugs and other slimy things under there? So do you really WANT to be UNDER the rock?
4. I forgot to mention this one: 'Rock-a-soul in the bosom of Abraham' (especially Peter, Paul and Mary's live version).
And in the Sun Prairie church, the pastor's daughter wants to be a chef, so I suggested she could become rich and famous this way:
a. Some people (such as my sister) really like drumsticks.
b. but a chicken has only two
c. Cambodians during the the Pol Pot regime (when a quarter of the nation's population died and many people were starving) learned how to cook and eat tarantulas
d. but those spiders don't have much meat on them
e. American dairy farmers (hello, Wisconsin) are so good at what they do that they're now producing too MUCH milk for consumption, so the government might get into price supports and paying people NOT to produce. Instead of wasting money that way, why not feed the excess milk to spiders
f. which will bulk them up
g. producing EIGHT drumsticks per spider
h. which can then be consumed dipped in various sauces--sweet and sour, hot chili, BBQ, honey mustard, ranch, French, Thousand Island, A-1, Heinz 57, Worcestershire, etc.
i. and think of the fantastic webs such beefed-up spiders could weave! they could make whole new 'spin-off' products. They could catch terrorists! Eventually, given enough milk and some evolution, they would weave geodesic domes for space cities! (probably taking a fee for food, say 10% of the humans they housed)
I had an outstanding time with the Chappell family at Dodgeville, WI:
1. He's from England, was raised on the REAL Winnie-the-Pooh, met Christopher Robin, has a set of the Winnie-the-Pooh books. I was introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh through the Disney album and still know the songs: I sang to his four-year-old son, 'It seems that it may turn out to be feels that it will undoubtedly looks like a rather blustery day' and to his 17-year-old daughter 'the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down in rushing, rising rivulets...' And I looked over the books, recognized many of the poems--remember how the dog who plays the piano on Muppets sang 'Cottleston Pie' from Winnie the Pooh. And how Chancellor William Danforth of Washington University in St Louis would read excerpts of Winnie the Pooh to his students.
2. I told his daughters about my high school singing as Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, in 'HMS Pinafore', sang an excerpt of 'Modern Major General' from 'Pirates of Penzance', and recited the Judge's 'When I, Dear Friends, Was Called to the Bar'--with English accent, no less!--from 'Trial by Jury'
3. I asked him about which part of England he's from, and shared where I'd travelled and want to travel.
4. We've both printed books by print-on-demand technology, but he is--huzzah! huzzah!--a software writer, so he knows a lot more about the tech than I do. I worship at his feet on this subject.
5. They have a kitten. It's been so long since I was in a house with a kitten that I'd forgotten what it's like in person. The kitten's responsiveness to gentle care is touching--it turns its head up to look at me and lick my nose.
6. I bequeathed to his son the 'Army Operation' from Sunrise School (which I first received upon my entry in second grade (it's simply a list of different tickling).
7. And at church, in an illustration I pointed out that John Wesley's assistant for the American Methodist revival, Francis Asbury, stayed in America throughout the Revolution, whereas all the other English ministers skedaddled for England and, in an aside to Simon Chappell, asked, 'Wasn't that nice of him?' The congregation laughed.
8. The Sunday conversation about food: English accents are caused by the stiff upper lip, in turn caused by malnutrition, in turn caused by wisely refusing to eat English food, most of which was manufactured in medieval times (Dave Barry says). Since the food is so appalling, to comfort the people it has interesting names: Yorkshire Pudding (which you read about in Lassie Come Home), is actually JUST shredded beef in a brown sauce under a pastry cover; Toad in a Hole is Sausages in pastry, Bubble and Squeak is (I think) a cabbage concoction; Cock-a-Leekie is chicken and leek soup, Bangers and Mash is simply sausages in mashed potatoes. The English/Scottish/Irish breakfast is good (a whole, substantial breakfast--if you eat one of these, particular late, you probably don't need any more food until high tea), and even the kippers (small fish) at breakfast are good, but avoid: baked beans on toast (yes, that's really a breakfast dish there) and above all, black pudding--it's black because it's dried blood, which, in addition to being gross and disgusting, is also anti-Scriptural--both OT and NT (Acts 15).
9. The British have many accents--the Received 'BBC' accent, the Northern 'Yorkshire', the West Country, and so on and on. There are expressions--the Welsh are famous for 'Look you'. The Scots have different accents for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, and more. The Irish have way different accents for Belfast, Dublin, Kerry, the NW, and so on. It's endlessly fascinating.
10. Just think: since his full name is Simon Peter Chappell, he could start his own church: Simon Peter Chapel, pastored by Simon Peter Chappell, and his wife and two daughters, all keyboard players, could have Chappelltime Change Church Cha-cha-cha Chitty Chitty Chug-a-lug Triumph Trio--a Keyboard Kick Band! Sometimes the piano player would take the lead, like Richard Clayderman or Floyd Cramer. Sometimes the organist could, like Bob Ralston. Sometimes the keyboard player could, particularly for special effects, given all the different sounds the keyboard has.
A pastor comments, 'I love conversations that run from A to Z (Zed) while passing through every other letter of the alphabet.' Another friend said, 'Typical Stanleycism! One who hss known me for forty years said, ''You are weird and crazy.'
I have written about 80 songs, but the melody to only about five of these--the rest are classical themes, folk tunes from North America or Europe, world music, hymns from South Asia, pop standards. I could either sing these a cappella and send you therecordings and then you could record the accompaniment or, if you have a singer, I can send the sheet music or the lyrics and a Youtube clip (for the melody, for those which ARE on Youtube) and you could sing them. So do you have a singer?
Wisconsin in July abounds in mosquitoes, I have experienced on yesterday and today on Door Peninsula and along Lake Michigan coast. I don't remember W Wisconsin having this many. But a fantastic time with Steve Harris and his lovely family, visiting Port Washington Lighthouse, guided very thoroughly throughout. All of which promoted me to video record myself singing 'The Lighthouse' in my best Rusty Goodman voice, to then rap 'Let the Lower Lights Be Burning' rather than doing in George Beverly Shea style (which is my usual for that song), then 'I Saw the Light' in bluegrass, and finally 'Let Your Light Shine' in my best disco style (I heard the song in school. But at my present health, my favorite dance hall is 'The Slipped Disco'.
And then the Italian restaurant, where I wanted to cut loose in my best Luciano Pavarotti impression for 'Down From His Glory/O Sole Mio', but restrained myself to low volume for the benefit of all and sundry.
I've heard that said of other states, too, where humidity and heat abide together.
Russian friends: how does a person spell the Russian word for 'connection' using an English computer script? I can type KOHEKTCH for CONNECT, but that's only spelling the English word with the Russian alphabet using an English script. So please tell me the Russian word. Thanks.
while leaving the post office, with temperature in the 80s Fahrenheit, met a woman carrying a very tame, soft, bright-eyed rabbit. In conversation, she said she carries it everywhere. This bunny is getting to be a rabbit with her.
Hare ye! Hare ye!
wonderful time of conversation with an Illinois pastor Yeakel and his wife, hearing their story of having pastored in different churches in the state and their ongoing ministry.
Also, enjoyable Sunday AM with Pastor Pat Giles and his wife Berneice Myers Giles, including visit to see the food pantry through which they serve their community, and just before I left town, they took me to a local museum which was fascinating--an excellent place to bring particular school kids so they can have a sense of immediacy to history--that these events happened to real people, not just stories in a book
And a great time with the congregation, including all the children, Sunday PM with Pastor and Mrs Jerry Barron in New Lenox. The name of the place reminded me of British boxer Lennox Lewis, who deserves credit as an outstanding heavyweight. And the 'Barron' name reminded me of the British aristocrat title, the financial periodical, and the President's son. The children helped enthusiastically in the service and were also unusually well behaved. And the pastor is a happy, upbeat person a joy to be around.
At the restaurant, since I was having Greek chicken, I asked one waiter if he would accompany that with Greek dancing as in a Greek wedding and he declined; I asked one waitress and she said that would be extra charge.
And at the hotel, while unloading my overnight bag, satchel, etc, I saw a family sitting outside (because one of them was a smoker) and the family included a small child, maybe four years old, so I got the parrot puppet out of its bag, held around the back of the van (view of myself obscured by the van's body) and squawked like a parrot. The kid was transfixed, just staring at the puppet and hearing the squawk, until I looked around the edge of the van. Then the enchantment was gone because there was a real person there doing it, meaning that the puppet wasn't really alive. Sigh
God blessed in a meeting last night at Belleville. I'm trying to get a preferably video, otherwise audio, recording of it to put on my youtube channel.
At Beast BBQ with George Szabolcsi, I asked:
1. about the menu item 'Well-fed Beast', 'If we order this and we get fat and you've therefore left your mark on us, is that the mark of the Beast?' I ordered a different item.
2. when their tables were all occupied and the waiter asked if we would be willing to sit on a stool at the bar, 'If we sit on a stool and we're magnificent specimens of manhood, does that make us stool specimens?' Then a table became available, so we sat on chairs.
Wonderful conversation about many things with a man of outstanding Christian character.