Had a great meeting with a new friend, Ivan Godfrey, Ph.D., LCSW-R (what does that stand for?) - who works at the Hudson River Psychiatric Center in Poughkeepsie, which is run by the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH). Rev. Modele Clarke, and Patricia Courtney, fellow members of the Save Them Now Board, and I met with Dr. Godfrey. He is helping to organize a morning conference about Re-Entry challenges. The project is headed by State Senator Eric Adams from Brooklyn (my early home town!) who seeks to have these public hearings all over the state. This is scheduled for Wednesday, July 23rd and will give more details as they develop. Dr. Godfrey is very knowledgeable about the challenges facing parolees as they try to enter society and at the same time stay clean and sober.
Very interesting article by op-ed NY Times columnist David Brooks on the seduction of spending money in today's economy. If I could link, I would link you up - but you can always go to the NYTimes.com and find his column - this one entitled: "The Great Seduction".
Oh, I forgot to mention in my first piece about my plans for this site. Another one of my interests (read obsessions) is thrillers, detective, spy stories and the like. I will try to keep this updated as to what I am reading and when I can do it, shift my list of books either read, and/or bought, or lent - which may reveal some authors you haven't met yet. Right now I am reading "Betrayal" by John Lescroart - he has written many books and is a good writer - this one about a soldier in Iraq who gets mixed up with a private contracting company. I'll also list my fave authors - and you are welcome to chime in with yours. A friend Vince and I keep abreast of the latest reviews in the NYTimes, NY Sun - where Otto Prenzler, the propriety of a mystery bookshop in NYC, writes a weekly column on Wednesdays, and other book reviews in the Wash. Post, L.A. Times, Boston Globe and...well that's it so far. I am listening to another detective story on my car CD player: "Through a Glass Darkley" by Italian writer, Donna Leon...about a glass factory on the Island of Morano near Venice, which may or may not be poisoning its glass workers - I am on Disc 7 of 7 so will know the answer shortly.
My religious reading right now is devoted to finishing Daniel Radosh's book "Rapture Ready" about the parallel Christian-pop universe - a really fascinating true-life tale, recently finished Bruce Chilton's "Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity and Islam" - I highly recommend both books.
My current favorite songs are Dion DiMucci's "The Thunderer" about St. Jerome - from a poem (I think) by Phyllis McGinley - I just got her book "Saint-Watching" but haven't tracked down the poem yet, and "Hal'leluyah" by Leonard Cohen, which is new to me but some younger folks I met last weekend knew all about it. If you go on You Tube you can hear a bunch of great versions including one by Cohen (not a relative, tho I wish!), the country singer who uses small letters instead of capitals on both her names and is proud to be a lesbian - I always blank out on her name - but she does a superb renditon, plus Rufus Wainright, some trio, and another woman singer. Also a beautiful song on one of Allison Krause's ("Lonely Runs Both Ways") CDs - A Living Prayer by Paul Kennerly - the chorus goes:
"In Your Love I find release/A haven from my unbelief/Take my life & let me be/A living prayer, my God, to thee"
Emmy Lou Harris (my utter favorite singer) also has a lovely religious song on her album - 4 discs long - "Songbird" - "When He Calls" (traditional)
"When He calls I'm gonna live with Jesus/In His Kingdom He welcomes everyone/I shall not fear no more earthly perils/For He will carry me home"
The Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah (just to continue wetting your musical appetites) has a verse: "Your faith was strong/but you needed proof/You saw her bathing on the roof/Her beauty & the moonlight overthrew ya/Well she tied you to a kitchen chair/She broker your throne & she cut your hair/And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah" - I take this to be a reference to good old King David.
Hallelujah - means Praise (Hallel) God (Yah-weh) - see you've been speaking Hebrew (including Amen) all of your lives without knowing it!
I'll end with Dion's "The Thunderer" - "God's angry man/His crotchety scholar/was St. Jerome, the great name-caller/Who cared not a dime for laws of libel/& in his spare time translated the Bible/St. Jerome...The Thunderer" - the great chorus goes: "But he swelled men's minds with Godly leaven/It takes all kinds to make it to heaven..."
Prof. Rev. Bruce Chilton tells me that the lyrics taken as a whole are pretty accurate in describing St. Jerome and his life. Thru the Wicked-pedia (bad-foot?) I learned that St. J. (oh oh I hear thunder!) was the only one in his time (4th century) to believe that the inspired writings of the Israelites was not the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) but the actual Hebrew Bible. Go go St. Jerome!
Well, better stop before lightening strikes and all you will have is burnt blog for a late night snack. Shalom, God's Peace be With You, Cantor Bob p.s. thanks for all the nice comments of encouragment!