Same Kids, Different Trees

If ever there were a blog post that didn’t need any explanation, this would be it. Except, perhaps, to say, in order, Jim, Mike and Andrew.















Merry Christmas from Shoulblog!


Previous Shoulblog Christmas messages:

A Christmas Card (2010)

“You Are Welcome Here” (2011)

“You Are Welcome Here”

I guess we all have our Sunday-morning rituals. For me, the last couple of years, it has included a trip to Manor Grove nursing home in Kirkwood to spend time with my mom, who lived there in the late stages of her fight with Alzheimer’s, and with my dad, who came directly from church to have lunch with her, as he did every day. Earlier on in her illness, I would go on weekday evenings to visit her, but as the illness progressed, she would often go to bed right after dinner, so it became, for the most part, just Saturdays and Sundays that I could go visit.

She passed away on the morning of July 15, just as the sun was rising on the exact midpoint-day of the summer. Her death was the culmination of the long, slow decline that is Alzheimer’s, and was certainly not unexpected. In retrospect, though, I’m amazed at how much my in life has changed since that morning.

It was a Friday that she died. Later that morning, we met with the minister of our family’s church, First Congregational Church of Webster Groves. My parents and my brother Phil have maintained the connection with First Congregational over the years, but I pretty much fell away when I was in about ninth grade. In the years since then, I’ve gone to Catholic masses with Jean when required, but as a non-communicant, I was always there as an outsider.


To digress for a moment, part of the events that led up to my giving up on my parents’ church were described much better than I could by the author Jonathan Franzen, who was in my …Keep reading

Music For The Winter Solstice

I do NOT recommend that you watch this video:

Seriously, don’t watch it. It will ruin your day. I only include it to demonstrate what I think is the absolute worst example of an awful genre, the pop Christmas song. Every year, more and more artists get the idea that they can make a quick buck or two by dressing up some old Christmas songs with the newest synthesizers and putting out a “holiday disc.” In this case, McCartney didn’t need to draw from the canon of existing carols; he wrote it himself. More’s the shame. This truly sounds like it’s ideal for a preschool.

I’m given to understand, however, that my opinion is not universal. According to Wikipedia, McCartney makes $400,000 a year from royalties on this song alone. It also says that “McCartney has since gone on to state that he is now embarrassed about this record,” which can give us all a little hope in this season of despair. The guy who wrote Let It Be and Yesterday should be embarrassed about this.

Unfortunately, many, many other artists are apparently reaching for …Keep reading