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Reelin’ in the Years – 1988

Baul (traveling musician) in West Bengal, circa 1988

It’s 1988 and I’m 26 years old. I’ve been studying in India for a year, doing a degree in Comparative Religion. During summer break the heat was intolerable so I returned to Canada where the temperatures are great in the summertime.

Somewhat out of touch with Western ways, I immersed myself in family, friends, and of course, pop culture. I needed to update and take some tapes back to India for my second year of studies.

James Taylor’s Never Die Young is one of the albums I took with me, so I really got to know it back in my little Indian room with a beautiful view.

Indian kids circa 1988

There were several good tunes I could have chosen for ’88. But Taylor’s “Home By Another Way” sits best with me today.

James Taylor has one of those amazing voices that doesn’t require any studio tricks to stand out in a mix.

I was first introduced to Taylor with Sweet Baby James and the classic, “Fire and Rain.” His music came back into my sphere with Gorilla, which is another great album. JT and others followed. Seems James Taylor never really disappeared, still doing concerts on PBS from time to time.

This song is about overcoming evil not by taking it head on but by going around it. Christians are told to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. That means know what’s going on but don’t let life’s monsters realize you know. And skirt them if you can.

A king who would slaughter the innocents
Will not cut a deal for you…

But Herod’s always out there
He’s got our cards on file
It’s a lead pipe cinch, if we give an inch
Old Herod likes to take a mile

It’s best to go home by another way
Home by another way

The Moody Blues expressed a similar idea in their 1969 album On the Threshold of Dream.

Face piles of trials with smiles
It riles them to believe
That you perceive
The web they weave…
And keep on thinking free

I’m saddened that I haven’t listed a classic Moody Blues song in my 70s recollections. They are one of my favorite bands. I was focussing on pop radio for that decade, and The Moody Blues songs that made the radio were good but not my favs.

Image via discogs.com

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Eagles Add New Dates to 2018 Tour Schedule (news.radio.com)

 Why India has better things to do than hang out with Justin Trudeau (nationalpost.com)

 Canadian PM Trudeau roundly mocked for political, fashion blunders during disastrous trip to India (businessinsider.com)

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Close, closer, closest

These were taken with my iPhone yesterday. Very low light. The Mass had ended and I was in the middle of a sublime meditation. Photos never really capture the essence of Church because they don’t convey the Holy Spirit. At least, not in the same way as actually sitting there, in person. But I thought I’d share, anyhow.

Close via Tumblr

Closer via Tumblr

Closest via Tumblr


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At the feet of the Son

Image via Tumblr

After a downtown Mass I spied this prayer card and almost took it. But then I though, no no, that’s just not right. Some sweet soul left it here and it belongs at the foot of the statue where it was placed. So I took this photo, instead. Turned out way nicer than just the card by itself.

The statue is this old, slightly beat up statue of Christ with an open heart. It always seems to look away from me, as if I’m doing something wrong. But it’s probably just the positioning. That, and the fact that it’s on a stand, much higher than floor level.

Today I felt like I did the right thing by not taking this card home with me.


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Our Lady of Lourdes

Over the holidays TCM broadcast an old film about Bernadette, the young village woman who allegedly saw the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes. It was a good film. Made me think about the whole thing. Here’s a pic of a Catholic church named after all that.

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr – Click for fullsize


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A deep inner beauty


When I tell people that I like to go to catholic mass I often sense some kind of inner reservation from the other person. I’m not surprised. I know why. Or I have a pretty good idea. The Inquisitions, the child abuse, the corruption. Or maybe just the regimentation. Not to forget the sexism.

I know all about that stuff but regardless, still feel the Holy Spirit active in the Mass. Some folks give me a blank or hard look when I say that. To me, that just tells me something about where they are. Many people think they are open minded but imo are just as narrow and regimented in their thinking as any hardcore Catholic.

Myself, I just go on what I feel. And that leaves me open to a whole new vista that I didn’t even know existed, prior to recognizing the call.


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Sad about David Bowie’s passing

English: Duncan Jones with his father David Bo...

Duncan Jones with his father David Bowie at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival for the exhibition of Jones’s film Moon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As much as I believe in the afterlife, I have to admit that I’m still pretty sad about David Bowie’s passing. It’s a strange thing. Especially for those of us who claim to be “contemplative” or “mystically inclined.” We have certain experiences that lead us to believe there is an afterlife. But when people pass, we feel just like anyone else.

I always had a hard time understanding why Jesus cried when he heard that John the Baptist had been killed. I mean, if he’s the Christ and God, why would he cry? Didn’t he know that John had just moved on to the next realm?

Well, it’s not that simple. Jesus was also fully human. So he felt like the rest of us. At least, that is the Christian story.

English: David Bowie's guitar. Located in Hard...

David Bowie’s guitar. Located in Hard Rock Café Warsaw. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my case, I don’t claim to be near the level of sainthood, let alone the grand stature of Jesus. And I feel… all that human stuff. Even though I do firmly believe that we pass on to a better place after death. If we’re good at heart, that is. I don’t know about the scoundrels and rogues in this world.

Only God can judge.

Here’s one of my favorite tunes from the “peak” of David Bowie’s career. I used to listen to this after coming home from high school. A few friends would drop by. It seemed so alive and relevant. Loved it and still do.


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Good Friday… moon reflecting in a puddle on the driveway… 2:30 a.m.

I went out to do some late night food shopping. Supermarket was closed. But I noticed this moon in a puddle on the driveway. In some strange way, I felt it was appropriate for Good Friday.