Archive for November, 2016

First, I have to confess my ulterior motive: This Top 5 is meant to be a distraction from the presidential election we have all just [barely] lived through. We all deserve a break, so here goes.

If you have read the music version of my Top Five before, you have usually seen a Bonus entry. Truth is, each one of these women is their own bonus. It’s a very diverse and seemingly unmatched crowd this time. Perhaps the only thing that brings them all into the same sphere is that they are some of my favorites. Maybe you’ll like them too.

Anyway, coming in so soon after the intense political events of this November 2016, I see this as a nice relief. Enjoy.

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Elizabeth Cook
Ok. I am biased. Elizabeth is married to Nashville musician Tim Carroll (he appears on stage with her in this video), who grew up in my neighborhood and we graduated from the same high school. It’s a hometown near-brush with greatness. But what’s really important here is that she is incredibly talented, passionate and like the rest of these artists, knows the world she is in and how to communicate her message in it.

This is a great collection of hillbilly-bluegrass, Elizabeth Cook style.

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Ginny Owens

Ginny sang at my church some years ago, and my wife and I, as with everyone there, were absolutely captivated by her voice, her talent, and her open heart.

I have said this many times before, and will say again . . . what she stirs in those who will listen – the prospect, the implications, the idea of what if it’s true . . . the hope for just what if . . .

“No Borders”

“If You Want Me To”

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Clannad with Anúna

I can’t explain very well why I am so drawn to this type of music – sound – except that I am Scotch-Irish, so surely this mood resides deep in my DNA. It’s a sort of homecoming for something in my soul. Only Clannad could have performed these pieces so well.


“Theme From Harry’s Game”
This piece is absolutely haunting and yet beautiful. I, like many in the States, first heard this piece, and in fact first heard of the group, Clannad, during the movie, “Patriot Games”, based on Tom Clancy’s novel of the same title.

“I Will Find You”
I just recently finished reading James Fenimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans, a Narrative of 1757”, a brutal and raw, yet vital story describing events during the French and Indian War in the earliest days of our country. This piece was the love theme in the 1992 movie rendition starring Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe.

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Patsy Cline
She has been one of my favorites since, when I was a small boy, I knew my mother loved her. This is the song I chose for us to dance to when Kerri and I were married.

“You Belong to Me”

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And finally, my [current] favorite . . .

Ingrid Michaelson
This girl speaks so powerfully and so genuinely to everyone she sings for. Every song, every video shows just how sincerely she’s connected with everyone she comes in contact with. I could say you should just sit and watch every video from her, but I think you won’t need me to encourage you.

“Girls Chase Boys” [a live version]


“The Way I Am”


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Oct 27th 7:13pm

ExPatTex: Hey, I just had to check in and see what conclusions you have drawn about the election? I’m not going to harass you if we disagree (when have we ever agreed?), but I’d like to know what your take is.


Oct 30th 8:59pm

ExPatCO: I have voted and am now living under a rock.

ExPatTex: Yes. I can understand 😦 This hasn’t been a stellar year for decency. I hope we can heal from this. I’m concerned about how polarized our country is, and the level to which our public discourse has fallen. Even I quit talking about politics; it’s just too painful. It used to be fun to disagree, but not so much this time around.

Oct 31st 3:52pm

ExPatCO: Agreed. Ok, here’s my [final] prediction: I believe it could actually turn out to be a Trump landslide, similar to Reagan – I have heard (don’t remember, of course…) that Carter was up high in single and low double-digit points in polling in the last days and even hours before, then all crashed on him. Just as much, I believe it could be a very tight squeaker late into the night, and no way to predict well. The one thing I believe impossible is a Clinton landslide.

More importantly, I think of what my father-in-law wrote in his first family history book (Kansas family farm stuff): In one of the chapters he wrote about the some of the darkest days of the farm in the seventies. He entitled it, “The Sun Will Still Come Up in the Morning”, quoting his father. I think of that constantly, and think that’s why he seems so well able to weather all this.

No matter what turns out, it is true: the sun really will rise again in the morning.

I think also of that Facebook group, “We Survived Bush, You Will Survive Obama”. The new group will be “We Survived Bush-then Obama-then ???-???- and on and on and on. . . .” until my son and then my son’s kids are old people.

… So… let’s both go back and re-read the Book of Ecclesiastes: There is Nothing New Under the Sun. Did that answer your Q?!

Oct 31st 5:26pm

ExPatTex: I have no doubt that there is nothing new under the sun. When GWB was elected I accepted the choice of the people. I decided he was a compassionate man, as he portrayed himself. I was so disappointed with that man. The financial wreckage left behind, and the results, to this day, of the wars that we needlessly engaged in.

I think I’ve lost the optimism that allowed me to believe that it doesn’t really matter who resides in the White House. The sun will rise in the morning, but what will it reveal?

I’m not as good at analysis as you are. I was convinced that Romney would win, although you may have been, too. I just hope that whatever happens, it will be mostly good for most people.

You already owe me an ice cream from the last election. I think you’re holding out until I owe you one.

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Nov 9th 4:13pm

ExPatTex: I would like to believe that we will now pull together behind a man who earns our respect every day. A man who can figure out how to deliver his vague but huge promises.

This completely unexpected outcome holds some lessons if we choose to learn them.

I think our country embraced equality in a way that left many people deeply uncomfortable. Whether we agree or find that reprehensible, maybe we have to face it. When apparently religious people give their tacit approval to a man who has no respect for their principles or values, or even the basic standards of human decency, maybe they’re doing so out of some conviction we just do not understand. Maybe we should try.

We all knew that the election of a black man as President created a huge backlash of racism and resentment that was shocking to those of us who had moved beyond racism. Since this election is partially a reaction to the threat, real or imagined, that some people feel from outsiders, including women and blacks, I expect to see more discrimination and hatred than ever before. It comes from the top down, and the flames are already being fanned. David Duke of the KKK tweeted this morning that DT is their candidate.

If Trump can truly be a leader to all of us, he’s going to have to drop the hate and racism. We would be wise though, to recognize that there are those who found a voice to their stifled feelings in his hurtful remarks. Their feelings aren’t going to go away even if he learns to rein in his hateful opinions; the opinions of his constituency still exist.

I think desperate people who saw their lives disintegrating believe that their fortunes will be better served by burning the country down than any other prospect they feel they have. I think they have no interest in how the US is perceived in the world; they just want their little part of it to get better. If they’re backing the wrong horse, it will still be harder to ignore their decline, and maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should have been more attentive to it a long time ago.

I think that many of us believed that Americans were progressing in tolerance. There is a huge segment of us, however, who don’t share those feelings. They seem more comfortable with the idea of single family earners than single parent households. Again, whether we agree or find this bizarre and anachronistic, we need to face their feelings. We have been trying to move along without them, but now their voices have been heard.

This outcome will be dissected every possible way. I hope that we will all choose to learn some lessons, and try to understand one another more. I hope that now we can put this horrible election behind us and move forward with some healing. We owe it to ourselves to do so, rather than to maintain partisanship until we are more damaged by it.

A lot of us didn’t get what we wanted. I’m one of those people. But look at how divided we were: we knew that half of us would be unhappy with the result, whatever it was. Everybody has had their say. If Clinton won, I expected rioting. Maybe we can be a little more restrained in our reactions this way.

There are aspects to the future that horrify me, and fill me with sadness. We will have to face those issues as they come. Right now it’s time to move forward.

Nov 9th 9:02pm

ExPatCO: Ultimately, regarding the highest principles you speak of, I agree with you. For me HRC would have been as unacceptable as DT is/was for you. He was last on my list, except that HRC was last behind him. In my view DT’s horrible stuff does not make HRC’s rotten stuff less so. I can only hope now he has a better nature that will come forth.

It is a true mystery to me how we can see, think, and believe so differently. As humans we are fascinating – how we can be made of the same stuff yet be so different. I don’t think it can really be explained. Perhaps it is random and only but amazingly, wonderfully biological; perhaps it is intentional, deliberate. I do not know.

As for the future, I remain a bit frustrated, cautious and cautiously hopeful.

As for all that you have said here, essentially, and in short, I hope you are right about all the good stuff and wrong about all the bad stuff.

Nov 9th 9:17pm

ExPatTex: I didn’t sleep last night; I was so filled with anxiety. I had plenty of time to think this all through. I’m a pragmatist, and I think we’d better make every attempt we can to understand one another. The election was so adversarial that we told ourselves that those who supported the candidate we did not were crazy.

We’d better take this moment to look a little deeper, or we are going to tear our nation apart. I don’t have to agree, but I want to understand.

Nov 9th 10:30pm

ExPatCO: Agreed. And I have completely lost track of who owes whom ice cream.

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Audrey Williams

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