A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Category: Music (page 1 of 8)

Thankful Friday…

Ooh! Ooh! Two posts…in the same month! And on the same day!

As I was writing the ol’ Morning Pages this morning, I began to think of how Fridays are the perfect time for reflecting on The Week That Was, The Weekend That Is To Come, and The General State Of Things In This Life As We Know It. (Looks more epic if you capitalize it like a title, no?)

Anyway, there are several items that make me thankful today, even in the midst of—especially in the midst of—these topsy-turvy times in which we are called to live. Here we go. Add your own if you’re playing along.

  • Gooey, cheesy ziti al mondo at our favorite reliable American Eye-talian joint is better when it’s shared across the table from My Favorite Hoosier. Oh, and keep the rolls coming, please.
  • Playlists. Yeah, yeah…I know. More AI-generated “music” than real artists sometimes. But I’m very thankful for the people who have the knowledge and the time to curate and share their playlists. Right now, for instance, Tsh Oxenreider’s “Deep Work” is powering this blog post. Thanks, Tsh!
  • And finally, this story showed up in my Twitter…I mean…X! feed. The original feature was in 2021, so I don’t even know if Caitlin and Street Brew Coffee are still a thing in Toronto, but it sure made me smile out loud this morning. Turns out Caitlin is still pumping out coffee and good vibes!

Remember (he says to himself)…you’re pretty much going to find what you’re looking for. This quote from Katherine May’s Enchantment is a sound observation…

Enchantment is small wonder magnified through meaning, fascination caught in the web of fable and memory. It relies on small doses of awe, almost homeopathic: those quiet traces of fascination that are found only when we look for them.

So today, dear both of you readers, make your Friday a day for looking for and finding The Good Stuff that’s all around, the Stuff That Makes Your World Wonderful.

Little Songs About Raindrops…

Where have you been? All two of you…where have you been?

I don’t remember when or where I discovered Lullatone. All I know is I really dig the sound. It’s perfect for reading, studying, thinking, even snoozing at my desk. It has a very “commercial-ly” vibe (not “commercial” as in sellout, popular, or whatever)…more like the background music for a TV commercial.

It also has a very childlike feel, one of wonder and whimsy. It’s exactly what this old coot needs on a course to try and rediscover some creativity.

October Blur…

Blurry Beijing: Lots of LoadCreative Commons License Alexander Mueller via Compfight

October has been a blur so far. I need to land a moment, to step away from the rush, to breathe, to touch base with reality, so I don’t lose touch. The best way I know to do that is to dump what’s in my mind. Here goes…

  • This is the week I’ve dreaded, ever since taking on one, two, three side gigs. This is the week that all the gigs seem to collide. I don’t know about you, dear readers (all two of you), but I must have skipped class the day they taught How To Be In More Than One Place At One Time. Because I need to do that, and I’m discovering again that I can’t manage to do that.
  • This song made it into the predawn jaunt playlist this morning. Who knows, indeed.
  • Oh, and in case you missed the lyrics
  • Speaking of the power of music, this story about Helen Keller “listening” to the great Beethoven Ninth Symphony grabbed my heart today.
  • I’m preaching about leaving a lasting legacy during our worship times this month. This week, we’ll talking about being a person of hope, and I sure hope I get something out of it. One of my Facebook memories from a couple of years ago reminded me I’m sure glad there’s a future and a hope, because the present is killing me.
  • I hate to be such a Debbie Downer, but the truth is, reality is just so real some times. Just putting it out there.

Back to the blur. I’ll see you when I can step out again. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Peace.

Random Thoughts, April 28…

DAY 21/365: Hmmmm...

David Cosand via Compfight

Sometimes I think on purpose about things, and sometimes the thoughts just find their way into my mind in random order. This has been that kind of morning so far. And since all two of you loyal and attentive readers are waiting with bated breath and hanging on my every word, let me share some of that random goodness with you.

  • I discovered the Turtle Creek Chorale a couple of Christmases ago, and their album, Psalms, is one of my favorites. It was the soundtrack for this morning’s pre-dawn jaunt, and once again, I was inspired by the powerful ancient words coupled with the harmony of organ, brass, and men’s voices.
  • The Turtle Creek treatment of the Psalms reminded me that I could enjoy that style of music as a regular diet in worship. I know it further confirms my uncool/unhip status, but that music jacks me up more than the light show/rock concert/skinny jeans/unsingable show that passes for worship in most modern churches. I have the same emotional response to this great music as some modern worshippers have to the rock-driven performances.
  • One other thing about Turtle Creek’s Psalms. Apart from the faulty theology of the third-person pronoun in the middle section, their version of Psalm 91, “In the Secret Place,” is one of the most beautiful and powerful songs I’ve heard.
  • I also thought this morning that two of the most powerful words for harmonious human relations should be “None taken.” As in, “No offense.” “None taken.” See, in this culture of easy and frequent “offenses,” it would be refreshing and well, human to understand that not everything is intended to offend. I know the Bible reminds Jesus-apprentices to not give offense. But often, there would be no offense if people weren’t always looking to be offended by things that are out of their comfort zone. The Bible also reminds us it is a good thing to overlook offenses, to give them the attention they deserve, and to expect the best out of others, even those with whom we might disagree.

Jazz on Monday Night…

Jazz on a Monday night when I need to be asleep.

Chet Baker My Buddy. Horace Silver Song for My Father.

Good sounds. Transported to another era.

Mellow. Laid back. Trumpet. Drums with the little brushes. Spare piano, minimal. Live recording. vibrant. cool. sophisticated.

Tinkly piano. Steady drummer. Rimshots.

Sunday Night Unwind, 04.05.09…

So…THIS is the blog, eh? (Blows off the dust)

Most of the time I do the Twitter thing, but every now and then, I get the urge to put something down that’s a bit over 140 characters. Here’s a rare Sunday Night Unwind for your enjoyment or ignoring or whatever.

  • My day started with a post to the aforementioned Twitter which read: Bigger, uglier true confession time: I hate Sundays right now. There. I said it. Lately, it seems my weeks are pretty good, but I find myself dreading Sundays. Which is pretty not-acceptable since I am the pastor and Sunday comes right regularly, every seven days, just like clockwork. If you’ve got a spare prayer or two, I’d appreciate you investing one in that area on my behalf. Thanks!
  • One of my Y folks surprised me by showing up at our church this morning. As soon as she walked in, I thought: I wish I had something a little better, more profound, more fill-in-the-blank because she’s here. Then it hit me: Why do I worry about having something “better” for her, when I seem perfectly content to offer less-than-my-best to Him? Ouch! Big OUCH!
  • Talked about the cross today. Three things the cross does. Galatians 6. I was especially moved by the way The Message renders that passage. Hope our folks were, too.
  • Oh, and I used my CrackBerry to read The Message translation. From YouVersion! Tech savvy, there, boys!
  • Speaking of CrackBerrys in church, I think we’re going to encourage Twittering during our services. That ought to get some comments!
  • That and a couple of other good ideas from this helpful post over at Church Tech Matters.
  • I’ve been reading a lot about burnout lately. Specifically,  I’ve just finished Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro and Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson. Both of these books were very helpful and very challenging. I Twittered once while reading Mad Church Disease: Although I never noticed her hanging around, I’m pretty sure @flowerdust was spying on me as she wrote Mad Church Disease.
  • Tonight, I started Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s Boundaries. Seems to be a great and necessary follow-up for some of the burnout/stallout stuff. I’ve already been slapped around a bit by the first few pages.
  • Meanwhile, all is not dreary and gloomy.
  • For instance, tonight I discovered the Inside Eddie’s Attic program on DaveFM. Good stuff that made me want to go check out some live music.
  • Two guys in particular grabbed me on the Eddie’s Attic program: Mike Kinnebrew and Dana Cooper. Got home and downloaded some great stuff from both of these guys!
  • Also, in the middle of a Sunday I started out hating, I was reminded again how much I enjoy the team I get to do church (and life!) with. Nick, Mark, and Alison, you guys rock and you make my day!

Well, there you have it…

Sunday Night Unwind, 02.08.09…

Welcome back, Sunday Night Unwind! Where have you been? This is the first Sunday Night Unwind of 2009. Not that there hasn’t been any Sunday Night Unwinding going on, but just not a lot of posting. So, anyway, without further ado, here we go!

  • I got an earworm for that song on the TomTom radio ads. For the record, that song is “In a Persian Market” and it comes from some album of circus music. Circus music! Shazam!
  • My ability to count is slipping away. I thought we had more people in our service today than the “official” counters counted. Go figure….
  • We’re in the middle of a series called Constant Contact, and we’re focusing on how to listen to God. I think some people are getting uncomfortable with it. Which is good.
  • I was as tired as I’ve ever been after preaching today. I don’t know why. It’s a good tired, but tired nonetheless.
  • My TomTom earworm isn’t the only one I’ve had today! I woke up with The Spinners“It’s a Shame” in my head. That led me to set up a Spinners channel on Pandora. Still haven’t heard “It’s a Shame” yet, but in the process I discovered Slacker Radio.
  • Slacker is cooler than Pandora for one good reason: It plays on my CrackBerry! Yes!
  • Starting a new workout from Turbulence Training tomorrow.
  • It’s a case of “Physician, heal thyself” for me lately. Starting to put back on a little of the weight I lost. Not much, but enough to make me know I’ve got to get re-focused on health. Especially since I spend  the first part of most of my days tying to help folks develop healthy habits.
  • I’m also becoming more convinced of Charlie’s Undeniable Exercise Truth #1: “You can’t ever out-exercise bad nutrition.” I’m no expert personal trainer or anything, I don’t play one on TV, and I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn last night, but that seems to be so basic that it’s not even funny! And so simple that it seems to be pretty profound! Your mileage may – but probably won’t – vary. Whatever….
  • I’m becoming more and more convinced that this so-called “economic stimulus” is a really crappy idea. The Congressional Budget Office now says it’s not only unnecessary, but probably detrimental in the short- and long- terms.
  • And what is the stinkin’ attraction of socialism, anyway? Quick, name an instance in history where it’s led to a better quality of life, more freedom and liberty, and prosperity. Still waiting….
  • I liked Starbucks a lot better when you never knew what kind of great coffee awaited you until you walked in the door. In the pre-Pike Place days, going to Starbucks was somewhat of an adventure. You got to try different blends, different tastes, and it was good. Now you get Pike Place. Or decaf Pike Place. That tastes like soap. And you might as well be drinking coffee from MickeyD’s, Waffle House, or the Patel Kwik Sack at the corner. Rant off….
  • I still don’t think there’s ever been a better movie than Casablanca. Please, God, don’t let anybody get the bright idea of remaking it!
  • One last thing: Do you hear that sound? The crack of the bat, the pop of a fastball hitting a leather catcher’s mitt, chatter from the dugouts…spring training is almost here! Yea, baseball! here’s hoping the crybabies will just get down to playing this season!

I hope you have a great Sunday evening, whatever’s left of it. Make your week count! It’s the only second full week of February you’re going to get this year! Peace!

Great Christmas Song…

…and for the rest of the day, it’s FREE for download!

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, there existed a group of God-servants from the far-flung corners of the universe, called the Redneck Pastors. That group sometimes included a bona fide Grammy winner, Displayer of the Mullet, and Master of the Red Keytar. Paul Joseph is a worship leader in Dalton, Georgia and his wife, Anna have written a great Christmas song called “Heaven in a Manger.”

It’s good, and — for the rest of today — it’s available for FREE download over at Paul’s blog.

Run, don’t walk over there and get yours today!

September 1! Labor Day! Christmas Music Begins!

You long-time readers of this space – all two of you! – will recognize that today is a red-and-green-letter day at the ol’ Just Charlie hacienda. It’s the day that Christmas music officially makes its debut for the year!

Go ahead…call me crazy if you want. Tell me it’s too early. Tell me I’ll be tired of it before Halloween. Tell me it’s too hot for Christmas music. Tell me all that if you must. I can barely wait for Labor Day each year because I just love the music of Christmas!

I let Pandora’s Jazz Holidays channel do the picking today, and as usual, it did not disappoint!

First up was The Eddie Higgins Trio doing “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Following that was Oscar Peterson’s “White Christmas,” Joe Pass’s great rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and right at this very moment…the great Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas classic “Christmas Time is Here!”

Grill your burgers and dogs. Spend one last day at the beach or the pool. Wear your white shoes and seersucker one last time. As for me, I’m listening to Christmas music!