Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I love Chicago!

One of the highlights of my son Jonathan's visit was when our family headed into the Windy City for some shopping and dinner at Ditka's.

There's a little frisson of excitement for me when the Chicago skyline comes into view. I don't know what it is about the sight, the ambience, the heartbeat of a big city that does that to me, but it just's just cool.

I actually bought absolutely nothing at the Water Tower Place, but that's OK. I enjoyed browsing the shops. (We walked along the Magnficent Mile, but most of the shops there were closing, it being a Saturday evening. Water Tower shops stay open until 8 PM.)

And Ditka's is always good. We all took a cheat night from our respective diets and enjoyed the huge cheeseburgers named after former Chicago Bear "Refrigerator" Perry.

We truly enjoyed having our oldest son home with us for a few days. What a wonderful young man! And I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom. :)

Loving Larnelle

I've loved Larnelle Harris since I first "discovered" him back in 1978.

My husband and I were students at BBC Springfield, looking for something to do on a date night, when I found out that Larnelle would be singing at an Assemblies of God meeting at the Hammons Center. I had heard Larnelle on the radio station where I worked, KWFC.

Well, we were blown away. I went out the next day and bought a Larnelle 8-track (people, this was 1978), and I've been a fan ever since.

Fast forward to 2006. I've discovered a little discount book store that carries a lot of older Christian music, and I managed to pick up Larnelle's First Love (1998) cassette tape for 4.97. (Our jeep unfortunately has only a cassette player, not a CD player, so I've been trying to find decent cassettes to listen to when I'm driving it.)

Although the lush orchestration can sound a bit dated on a few of the songs, there are some real gems...notably "Were it Not for Grace":

"Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I'd be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace"

Larnelle's voice is at its most beautiful and appealing here--imbuing each syllable with meaning and feeling; varying each nuanced note with quiet contemplation or soaring joy. It helps that the song is pretty much stripped down to little more than a piano accompaniment, allowing Larnelle's voice to be the featured instrument that takes poignant lyrics and renders them powerful.

I'm glad to see Larnelle recording again after what seemed, at least, like a lengthy absence. He may not easily fit in to a CCM playlist, but that talent is too good to be sitting on a shelf.

Go here to scroll down and listen to a snippet of "Were it Not for Grace." The Windows media version, by the way, is much clearer and cleaner than the RealPlayer version.

And snippets of stuff...

I love Joel Griffith's way with words! Read his post about Hillary Clinton being photographed praying in front of Jerusalem's Western Wall. I love this line: "... this photo is striking because of the wall (no pun intended) of photographers busily snapping Hillary's picture as she implored Heaven to do who knows what. All they needed to do was airbrush in a halo and the tableau would have been complete."

This editorial eloquently captures why many people had problems with Brokeback Mountain. And this one by Roger Ebert purports that one is not necessarily homophobic if one thought Crash was the better picture.

I finished Liz Curtis Higgs' Grace in Thine Eyes, Look for a review here soon.

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