New Pieces of Music

Here is some reading music to carry you away through the next few articles. All songs Copyright Samuel A. Johnson, 2016

Reading Music

 

Everywhere I go:

 

Cricket Song:

 

Theme 5 for Guitar and Piano:

 

Theme 4:

 

Rain:

 

Sunrise:

Getting Down Funky with Religion in America: A Clarification

Things have gotten so crazy around here, with all the religious posturing and fundamental extremist stuff that I think it’s high time we had a “Come to Jesus” moment to clarify what religion is and isn’t. Maybe we can affect an overhaul of the whole design. I mean, with my background in observation and getting old, I can set the whole thing straight. Give me a chance.

Clarifying The Old Testament
Part 1: Before there were Jews

When I was a kid, I watched my grandfather nod off time and again while reading the Old Testament. I thought it was because he was old and tired, but later I realized that it truly is a deeply boring book, like a double dose of Nyquil. No one can read it for more than a few minutes at a time without drifting into stage three. It’s just not good writing, and the plot, oh my god. In modern times it wouldn’t survive the editor’s pen, and it would never find a publisher. It’s proof that a bestseller doesn’t require good writing.

So let me summarize it for you, and let me apologize ahead of time if I use offensive language. To some of you it might sound anti-Semitic, but let me stress that there are many places in this text where God himself appears anti-Semitic. But I’m not, and he’s not. He’s like your angry dad–he’s not against you, he’s just drunk. Later, he’s always sorry.

I’m also not anti-Egyptian. But that Pharaoh story, I mean, what a simpleton. This was their ruler? On the other hand, Donald Trump as President of the United States?

The Old Testament is a historic record, in a sense, but it’s also a story that’s supposed to teach people to be better or something. It is the rambling, disconnected story of the Hebrews, or Jews, a small tribe that rose to prominence by heeding God’s laws, slid into disfavor by committing the most god-awful sins, like marrying outside of their tribe, and made amends by discarding those wives and slaughtering enormous numbers of cattle and rams and sheep as burnt offerings to produce a “sweet savour” for God’s nostrils. God’s nose is obviously different from mine. Have you smelled burning hair? Then they came back into God’s grace and rebuilt Jerusalem as a walled city, then blew out again by buying food on the Sabbath and committing other outrages, and finally found themselves dispersed among the hundreds of “lands” that surrounded them. But they were trying. I know, I’m leaving out some details. This is a broad brush version. The point is, they were trying. Keep going. Continue reading “Getting Down Funky with Religion in America: A Clarification”

Waking Up at the May Museum

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Dedicated to the May family.

When I was eight years old, I suffered a short career in Cub Scouts, less than a year, weathering one bit of idiocy after another. The camping trip, washed out by a downpour, the picnic in the park spoiled by the nutcase who forgot to bring the drinks, the hike up the canyon ruined by falling on sharp rocks that cut my shins and made them bleed–everything conspired to destroy my faith in scouting.

The last straw, my final and most deflating experience with the organization, but also the most wondrous event in my life, was the field trip to the May Museum of Natural History. There, my patience stretched to—and beyond—the breaking point. Continue reading “Waking Up at the May Museum”