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Orthodox Christianity?

May 13, 2017

Tonight’s topic is the Orthodox form of Christianity..

There’s one form of Christianity I have not yet explored (ok, not technically true, there are probably over a thousand different Protestant denominations out there, but most of them are quite similar to others, and I’ve been to many different types of Protestant churches).

The form I have not yet explored is Orthodox Christianity. From what little I’ve read so far, and have learned from youtube videos. their style of worship is the most ancient still in practice, having not changed in over a thousand years, except to make the change in language of the service (for example.. services in English and other languages) and the most challenging. The services last for 90 minutes, and almost everybody stands the whole time!

Also, the Orthodox churches have the most strict dietary laws of any I have encountered in Christendom: about half the year, Orthodox Christians avoid certain foods on certain days.. fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline that pre-dates Christianity.

Almost the entire liturgy is sung, but there are no instruments. I tend to like services with both instruments and singing. I like hymns and liturgical singing (I do not like praise bands that most Protestant churches have.. not saying praise bands are bad, just not my thing). Also, I like to sit down some of the time.

Catholic services, as well as high church Protestant denominations, such as Episcopal and Lutheran, also have the same style of service, as far as I know.. With some variation.. stand up, sit down, kneel, liturgy, etc. I am drawn to a high church style of worship. Very formal, dignified, ancient, and with some beauty, pageantry, candles, incense, liturgy..

The Orthodox churches are divided amongst ethnic lines, though they all believe the same things, and practice the same kind of service.

In case you are wondering where these churches came from.. for over 1,000 years, there was one Christian church. Then,in 1054, there was The Great Schism, and the Church split in two.. Catholicism in Western Europe (including the nations of conquerors of the New World, such as the French, Portuguese, Spanish, and even the British, until 1534, when Henry VIII split from the Catholic church, because the pope would not grant him a divorce.. so King Henry formed the Church of England.. also called the Anglican church.. or Episcopal Church, in America.. there’s an American-Anglican splinter movement too).

Wonder why there are so many Catholics? The European conquerors, who spread out to the Americas, Asia, Africa, etc., mostly were from Catholic nations. They brought their religion and their priests with them.

The Orthodox went East.. Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. Yes, there are Christians in the Middle East. They are a persecuted minority, and tend to go to Orthodox churches. I know a guy from Iraq who is an Orthodox Christian. He was raised speaking Aramaic.. same language Jesus spoke.. fascinating, I think. I thought Aramaic was a long-dead language. Nope.

Ok then..

Here in the Boise area, there is an Antiochian church (Middle-Eastern ethnicity.. though people not from that area of the world go too. This group has a great and very helpful website. It is located in Meridian, and is called Holy Transfiguration.

The two Orthodox churches in Boise are located less than two miles from each other.. in the Whitewater Park/Westside Drive-Inn neighborhood. Neither of these have very helpful websites.

I think a helpful website with lots of information for newcomers is a good sign, and kinda the opposite if the websites are minimal.. but the people in these two other churches might be very friendly.

The Russian church in Boise is called St. Seraphim of Sarov, and the Greek church is Saints Constantine and Helen.

Here’s a concern I have.. I am not part of any of the ethnic groups .. I’m of Dutch descent. Not that anyone would know that by looking at me, I guess, except for people who are aware that Dutch folks tend to be tall.

But once I get to talking with people, if I go, it will soon become apparent that I’m not a part of the particular ethnic group the church is affiliated with. And that could be.. awkward. I’m sure some of you have seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

Why not attend a high-church Protestant service? I read up on a Lutheran church nearby.. went to their denomination page. It is the view of the particular Lutheran denomination I read about, one based in Wisconsin, that the antichrist is not a person who will show up during the end times, but rather is an institution, the Roman Catholic Church.

I live with Catholics (my mom, dad, and aunt are converts. Mom and Nancy are very much into Catholic teachings and practices. My dad has gone back to having a more Anglican-style appreciation of Christianity) I don’t want to be taught that the RCC is the antichrist.. and besides, I don’t believe this.

The Episcopal church is very progressive. I”m somewhat liberal, but not that liberal.

The American Anglican denomination, which split off from the Episcopal church due to the Episcopal church becoming more and more liberal, is tiny.. the one is Boise.. that church meets in a building downtown.

I’ve been to the American Anglican service twice.. pretty good, except it lasts for an hour and a half. Liturgy plus a Protestant-style lengthy sermon.. I don’t like Protestant-style lengthy sermons. I like short, pithy, Catholic-style homilies. Maybe I will try the American Anglican church here in town again.. maybe not.

Why not just go back to attending mass at Catholic churches, like I did off and on for awhile last year? (No, I never converted).

Good question.. I really like Catholic services. I especially like two parishes out here, St. Mark’s and Sacred Heart.

But the more I’d read about the Catholic church, the more I didn’t like.. no offense to Catholics. I did some serious digging into old manuscripts found online, read about all sorts of rules most Catholics don’t likely follow, or even know about.. I’m concerned about so much doctrines and teachings added through time..

And things that seem very weird to me, considering I have a Protestant background (of course, this will also be an issue for me if I attend an Orthodox church).. relics.. do we really need finger bones of saints put into special compartments of church altars?

Pilgrimages some people go on so they can shorten their time in purgatory, the sex abuse scandals, the shockingly brutal history of the Catholic church, the celibate clergy (which for quite awhile was not a rule), the astonishing opulence of the Vatican.. (Jesus was born in a stable and spent his time of ministry homeless and wandering.. I don’t think he had the Vatican and all its finery in mind), yeah I got some serious concerns regarding the Catholic church.

No Vatican-type extremely opulent headquarters of the Orthodox church that I’m aware of, no belief in purgatory (at least according to what I’ve learned so far), nothing mentioned about relics or pilgrimages or all those apparitions of Mary.. but again.. I haven’t learned much about Orthodox churches yet..

So far, I’ve not been able to be like many Catholics.. they don’t sweat things like a lot of the rules or teachings.. they go to mass, some try to stick to at least some of the rules (though some Catholics I’ve met certainly DO NOT). Could I become an average Catholic who likes going to mass, takes communion, but who doesn’t bother much with confession or the mile high pile of rules and doctrines?

So far, no.

Perhaps the Orthodox Church is closest to what the ancient Christians practiced? If so, does that matter?

(Interesting side-note for Protestants.. Hank Hanegraaf, Mr. Bible Answer Man himself.. one of the most popular personalities of Protestant radio, became an Orthodox Christian, and was booted off the air).

I don’t know if I’ll ever go to an Orthodox church, besides the food festivals. (I love food festivals!) The Russian church has one coming up on the 19th, and the Greek church has one early next month.

The biggest things stopping me from attending? Worrying about not feeling welcome.. doesn’t help that these churches are really really tiny, and perhaps quite insular.

Like Catholics, Orthodox Christians are expected to go to confession. As a former Protestant, that really really bothers me.. not the tradition in which I was raised.

Also, I usually can’t get to sleep until at least 5 am (here I am pounding away at my keyboard and it is almost 4 am). If I get up at 9 am or even earlier the next morning to go to church, I might not even be functional enough to drive, due to lack of sleep. So this is perhaps a non-starter.

One great thing about Catholic churches is lots of services, including evening services. I can get to those no problem. Another great thing about Catholic services.. ethnic diversity.. I very much like seeing people from many parts of the world at Catholic services. Highly unlikely I will see such ethnic diversity at any tiny Orthodox church, especially since ethnicity is part of each church’s name!

But, I am curious.. maybe I will attend at least one service at each Orthodox church this year.. maybe.

Your thoughts?

I’m now going to include a video about some differences between Catholic and Orthodox teachings and services:

And lastly, a rather interesting comment I found on youtube.. pretty balanced:

“Some differences include: 1) Roman Catholics only allowed Latin for a long time, while the Orthodox allowed the scriptures in native languages from the beginning. That’s why Catholics score low on religious knowledge tests (Pew Research). 2) In Orthodoxy, dogmas have to have scriptural backing, while in Catholicism the pope can declare non-scriptural elements dogma, like the immaculate conception, purgatory, etc., without Biblical backing. 3) Orthodoxy allows for mysticism which is natural for what is fundamentally a mystery. The Catholic scholarship, while excellent, gives rise to legalism and all kinds of protestant claptrap. 4) Geographically, the Roman see backed oppression from the Crusades to WW2 to today against the East, and generally has a condescending attitude towards them, while the Orthodox have reacted by making the religion into a nationalist past-time. 5) Before Rome made Christianity the sole legal religion, several Orthodox states had already adopted it as the state religion (Armenia, Ethiopia), so Catholic claims of being “first” are weak. Saying early Christians were Roman Catholics is similar to Muslims claiming all prophets starting from Adam were followers of Islam. Kind of absurd. 6) The Roman Catholic church ignored the agreement not to make statues of the saints and stick to two-dimensional icons. They also ignored the convention of always portraying St. Mary with her son Jesus, as that was her function in the Good News: being the bearer of the Savior. They elevated St. Mary to such a level that it confused the Muslims to the point where they claim we worship the Father, Jesus and Mary. The Orthodox are also guilty of this excess. Many kids believe she’s semi-divine at the very least. 7) The Orthodox are often guilty of aligning themselves with nationalism, while the Catholics usually align themselves with fascists. It’s a good thing God will judge us and not them. The schism only goes to show that neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the Orthodox churches, as they stand now as institutions, are the exclusive claimants to the universal catholic church that Jesus founded. “The kingdom of God will not come with observable signs. Nor will people say, “Look, here it is,” or ‘there is is.” So all of you claiming the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church is the only “true” church are trying to tell God who Christians are. He knows who’s who. If the churches unified, then I would support their claim of exclusivity, but that would require setting aside their sin of pride, of which there is an abundant supply, so I won’t hold my breath.” – from a person with the user name hect190-909.

Alright then, as always, thanks for reading! Goodnight. Or good morning.. or whatever.

Beginning to follow our dreams..

May 7, 2017

Why is beginning to follow our dreams so scary? One reason might be that we have followed other dreams we’ve had, and after so much time and effort, nothing has turned out. So we follow other dreams, but do so more trepidatiously (and yes, that is a real world).

So what’s my dream then? Make money.. (hey.. how ’bout LOTS of money) by publishing books.. maybe short stories in magazines too.. not sure yet. I am thinking and hoping this is a good dream.. the right dream.

Sometimes I think I’m crazy to have this dream, and actually pursue it. But then, lots of authors are a bit, or more than a bit.. nuts. Hemingway, for example, did not exactly die of natural causes. Actually, many many authors have, or have had, shall we say, issues.

(Damn, I’m incredibly superstitious. Just by writing this post, I feel like I’m jinxing myself, but then.. maybe if I write about how I feel that I’m jinxing myself, I’m taking away the jinx. Or should I delete this post.. would that make the magic work? hmm…)

I’ve been writing nonfiction as an amateur for many years. However, I’m not interested in journalism, because I’d actually have to leave the house and talk to people.

Apart from having some social anxiety troubles, maybe I’d be a good interviewer..? Perhaps I could interview people via computer? Eh.. I’m not nosy enough. I like minding my own business. (Except on FB and other social media sites, including this one, of course. On these sites, we mind each others’ business). And I’d probably have to go to sleep before 5 am, so as to be awake during times when most people are not unconscious.

There are other ways of making a living as a nonfiction writer.. maybe I should explore those avenues, but mostly, that is not what I am interested in.

Except.. I might enjoy and be good at writing a human-interest column. That could be a pleasant vocation. And what about being a biographer? How does a biographer get a first gig?

Fiction writers (those who can support themselves solely by writing) can keep any hours they want, be as anti-social as they want, and drink as much as they want, as long as they stay home and don’t drive. Sounds like a good life to me. though I don’t drink much at all. Maybe I should work on that.. drinking is a writer’s tradition. Nah.. alcohol mostly just makes me sleepy.

But why so scared? Most people who find success as writers spend years working at their craft before they see a dime. Many more spend decades writing, and make no money at all.

Though I’ve had the dream of writing fiction for over 15 years, apart from very few fits and starts (and stops), I’ve just begun writing fiction.. might have years ahead of me before I get paid.

Would be nice if I’d started writing fiction while I was in my early teens, or even younger, but I was not interested in writing then.

Getting older.. I worry about spending time on the wrong things.. and the trouble with trying to turn any hobby and/or dream into something at least somewhat lucrative.. we cannot predict the future.

It’s a terrible thing to put a ladder up against a very high wall, climb the ladder, and then notice the ladder is up against the wrong wall. And there’s nothing on the other side of that wall, and I feel like jumping off that wall..

(Tom.. stop it with the ladders and walls.. think a happy thought. See.. I got issues. I’m being sincere, folks).

Still.. best to take a deep breath and think positive. I have time. I have some skill as a writer (and I’ve been writing fairly regularly since 2009). I have some vague ideas that I plan on turning into stories. Or at least one story.. ummm…

Even though I’ve not read huge amounts of science fiction, that is what I want to write. However, I do NOT want to write standard, cliched sci-fi. (How do I get the little accent mark to go above the “e” in “cliched?”) I like fiction that is genre-bending.

Best example of genre-bending fiction that I can think of is one of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of novels. The Night Watch (not to be confused with the very cool Russian action/horror film of the same title) series (did you know the plural of “series” is “series?”) is set in a humorously Tolkienesque world, with lots of fanciful creatures and people (mostly humans, dwarfs and trolls), but the stories are not sword and sorcery (which I tend to find dull), they are police-procedural mysteries set within a fantasy context, which I think is awesome.

I believe it is still possible to be at least somewhat original.

Thing is.. lots of people apparently don’t want originality. There must be many thousands of thriller novels about detectives chasing serial killers, horror novels about evil supernatural beings from the buried past returning to haunt or destroy the living, and romance novels in which, well, people find romance.

(Actually, I do feel like having a drink right now, but it is 2:33 am.. too late to buy some, and I have no liquor in the house.. probably for the best, wouldn’t sleep for long if I had some hootch at this time).

Would originality even sell?

I hope to find out that the answer is yes.

Are you pursuing your dream or dreams? Have you yet to make any money? Let me know what you are working on.

Thanks for reading. I’ve been writing and revising for hours (hope I didn’t miss any typos or other mistakes..). I’ll stop now.

run to the hills.. for 26 seconds.

April 30, 2017

Tonight’s music selection.. very brief and very strange.. some of you may remember it.

wisdom from a sitcom?

April 22, 2017

“None of us have to go to anyone. And the idea we do is a mental illness we contracted from breath mint commercials and Sandra Bullock. We can’t keep going to each other until we learn to go to ourselves. Stop making our hatred of ourselves someone else’s job and just stop hating ourselves.” – Jeff Winger. Wisdom from my favorite TV Show.. “Community.”

If you are wondering what this show is like.. here’s a glimpse:

Ingenious reference humor (it helps if you can remember ’80’s pop culture), meta-humor, parodies (some are quite obscure or surprising.. and that is something I appreciate.. a parody of the documentary “Hearts of Darkness” and a two part parody of Ken Burn’s Civil War series.. both found in season three) great acting, fantastic scripts and a whole lot of political incorrectness.

Six Seasons and a Movie!

(Well.. we didn’t get a movie, but we did get 6 seasons, which is pretty darn awesome).

This show has been tremendously therapeutic for me for many years.

And yes, sometimes there is some serious wisdom to be found in various episodes.

I hope you watch the show.  You might even be able to find the DVD’s at your library.



if you want to see what an American city really looks like (or a traveling carnival), and appreciate excellent cinematography..

April 20, 2017

In this video, we see a rather unglamorous and realistic view of an urban environment in a large American city. Though the video was shot in Los Angeles, the images are not unique to L.A. I lived in Chicago for three years.  The scenery in many neighborhoods is practically identical.. as it would be in any city in this country that has let’s say half a million people or more.. Philadelphia or Boston, or Houston, or.. Actually, in many cities with smaller populations, you will see streets like this.

Seeing what many American city streets look like is one reason to watch this video. I appreciate the realism. But there is another reason to watch this.. the way the video was shot.

No fancy special effects, no quick edits, just one very long, continuous shot. I have never seen one shot last this long. I’ll post the video now, write about it a little more, and then get to a very different video that was shot in a very similar way.

Before tonight.. (3:01 am now) I’d never seen this video, nor heard the song.. the song doesn’t impress me all that much, but the video is amazing. No special effects or quick edits. Instead.. one continuous shot with a steadicam (sometimes spelled “steadycam,” I don’t know which is the accurate spelling.)

A steadicam is a camera mounted on a device that isolates the camera operators movements.. in other words.. a cameraman can be walking, but the image stays steady, doesn’t move up and down with the cameraman’s steps. Steadicams tend not to be light.

It takes a LOT of skill (and strength, energy) to be able to shoot a video like this. The band is British, so is the singer, Shara Nelson. They went to L.A. because this is where a steadicam expert, named Dan Kneece lived, and also because of the natural light unique to L.A.

The video wasn’t entirely planned. Some of the people in the background are not official extras, just street people.

I watch a lot of movies and have seen a lot of music videos. I’ve almost never seen such long, continuous shots. The other one that has impressed me so much was at the beginning of an excellent, dark film called “The Place Beyond The Pines.”

In that film, the camera follows a carnival daredevil biker from the inside of his trailer, as he walks through the nighttime crowd, hops on his bike and enters one of those crazy metal cage balls in which motorcyclists drive around and upside-down. That was also an amazing shot.

Hey.. I just found the opening scene on youtube.. unfortunately, you won’t see the bikers doing their stunts, but you can see this long, continuous shot.. which is brilliant and sets the mood like no other opening scene I have ever viewed.

Gosh sometimes I wish I’d taken more than one film production class in college. I majored in English and the Social Sciences instead.. Hmm.. Life could have been different.

I am an amateur photographer and videographer. (and lover of great films, videos, and TV). I guess most folks won’t be stunned seeing this video.. but for me.. wow. Genius.

a great concert by a most underrated band.

April 19, 2017

The Cult..

This video is a rare ’80’s gem! The band never even got close to the fame they deserved. Just happens sometimes. At least they got some serious airplay on MTV for a little while in ’89, when they released their album “Sonic Temple.” That album changed my life.. and I do mean it. I was a huge fan of these guys, and had two large posters of them up in my room when I was younger.

This concert video is from 1986, and features one of the best songs by The Cult, “She Sells Sanctuary. If you want to skip to 17:01, you can hear it..or just play the video all the way through.

Although the video is obviously old.. lines going up and down the screen, etc. it is very well-shot, and the music is original and great.

Billy Duffy, the band’s lead guitarist and co-songwriter along with singer Ian Astbury (who has one of the most unique voices in the history of hard rock, in my opinion), is still one of my favorite guitarists, not only because of “She Sells Sanctuary,” but for his later work on “Sonic Temple,” especially on the songs “Fire Woman,” “Edie” and “Soul Asylum.”

I was looking for live footage of “Soul Asylum” (one of the most passionately and intensely romantic songs ever written.. if you look it up, listen to the studio version) but couldn’t find any live videos of the song that were separate from a whole concert video.

I watched some live performances, and found this one, which I really like, even though “Soul Asylum” is not on it. A most unique band, with some awesome music.

dreams, songs that do and do not exist, riverbank mud, and the city of jaipur.

April 13, 2017

Occasionally I have written rather rambling, lengthy posts that cover a variety of subjects. A stream of consciousness kind of thing.. especially appropriate for this post, considering it is about several dreams, and what I thought about upon waking..

So I had this dream..

My dreams are usually vignettes.. no beginnings, no closure. Several little moments.. one ends, on to the next.

In this little dream, I was in a large store here in America. The store appeared to be in a building that had once been an old K-mart. K-mart stores have not done well since Wal-Mart stores first opened. The K-mart here in town closed some years ago.. so I guess  it’s logical I came up with a large store located in a building that used to be a K-mart.

What was sold in the building was many many goods related to the East, especially India.

Backpacks, t-shirts and other goods with the Ohm symbol.

CD’s with various kinds of music, mostly from or associated with India.

Sculptures, statues, art, cookbooks, dried goods, snacks, decorations, tapestries, books..

I didn’t actually see all these things up close, but knew they were there. It was that kind of store.

I was browsing through some tote bags, and I’m not sure what all.. larger bags, looking around.

This incredible music came on. The sound system in the store was better than I’d heard in any other store.  The volume up higher than in many stores, but not deafening. Just right, especially since the music was wonderful.

The song that came on was actually a cappella, one woman’s voice, I think, layered in harmony, multiple tracks, but with some digital enhancement., mostly a reverb affect and a bit of a chorus effect.

The words? The sound? I don’t know, I can’t remember.

Strange thing..

I thought to myself in the store, I should ask a woman who wore an apron, carried a clipboard, and who obviously worked there.. what is this song ?! I imagined her telling me, and me walking over to the large CD section, and finding the CD.

I am a person of great internal conflict.

I, out of shyness, self-destruction (feeling I’d strongly regret not asking the woman and finding the CD, and taking on the regret because it hurts) and also out of a desire to just listen, hear and feel the song, savor the moment and not take home the song on a CD, put it on my hard drive and ipod, but rather just listen.. all these things were going through  my mind, so I didn’t ask.

And yet, a artist/band name came to my mind as I was waking up:

Jaidphur (I know this is not the actual spelling of the city in India..I figure the artist was being creative). The song was called “That’s The Answer I Like Best.”

Or was any of this correct? I don’t think so. That wasn’t the song. The one I just mentioned came to my mind a bit later.  The song I came up with was a different song than the one I’d heard in the store. “That’s The Answer I Like Best” sounded different.. more hip-hoppy, and I only heard a few seconds of it in my mind.

I don’t have the title or name of artist for the first song.. the one in the store.

A song by the title and artist I came up with.. I googled it. “jaidphur that’s the answer i like best.” Doesn’t exist.

Then I just googled the song title.. no song appears on google with this title, which is very surprising.

This song, in my mind, sounded hmm.. hard to say exactly.. voice a bit like Janet Jackson, but not quite.

Before I went to bed, which was after 5 this morning, I was working on putting some playlists together to burn CD’s, since in one vehicle, I don’t yet have a stereo that I can plug an ipod or phone into.

I was also looking for some songs online.

Found myself trying to find a song supposedly by Destiny’s Child.. a song that also doesn’t exist.

In 1997, I took a dance aerobics class at a community college.

I was not aware this was one of those classes it is not considered acceptable for heterosexual men to take. The women take this sort of class to bond with other women. They don’t mind gay men, since gay men are more expected to be dancers, and gay men aren’t after women.. who can feel free to wear skin-tight clothes, not for the purpose of being sexy, but just because that’s what women wear to such classes.

I later took a yoga class, and noticed the women bonding together in groups, looking over at me occasionally, not the most friendly of glances.

I did meet two women in the dance class though without even trying. But they turned out to be not so worth knowing, as I found out later, and I wasn’t friends with either of them for long, although I did have a nice and friendly few moments with one of them.. who a bit later told me she had a boyfriend.. I hate when that happens.. good thing we didn’t get very intimate.

But anyway..  hip hop dance class. I’m not generally into hip hop, except for a few artists and songs, but hip hop dancing looked fun. I was not there to try and meet women, I just thought hey I need some exercise, gym workout isn’t doing it for me, I’ll try this class.

There was an awesome song we learned a routine for. I asked the teacher, and she told me it was a song called “This and That,” by Destiny’s Child.

I have never found a song called “This and That,” by this group.

I looked online years ago, and looked again last night. I will google it again now.

Well.. either my memory of when I took the class is wrong, or my memory of what the teacher told me is wrong.. The first Destiny’s Child album was released in ’98.


And no.. just checked their discography.. no song called “This and That. ”

Only found a few songs last night called “This and That,” but not by Destiny’s Child, and not matching the vague recollection of the joyous song I danced to back then.

Ah well.

The song in my mind as I woke up didn’t sound like Destiny’s Child either. Which is good, because, as I was listening to some song clips by Destiny’s Child, I remembered I didn’t like this group, nor do I like music by Beyonce, (except one song which I think is called “Halo.” I like an instrumental cover of that one better than the original)  who was once the main woman (there were two others) in the group.

You want to hear the instrumental cover of “Halo?” Here it is.. beautiful music.


The song called “That’s the Answer I like best,” the second song from my dreams.. Fairly slow tempo, but upbeat, romantic.

Why romantic? Another, earlier dream vignette, this one very short:

I was laying on the grass with a woman in a beautiful meadow. I can’t tell you what she looks like. I was looking out at the grass, dew on the grass in the sunshine..  astonishingly beautiful.. the clouds went by like in time-lapse photography.. a transcendent moment.

She’d asked me a question. Before this vignette moved on to others, I’d forgotten the question.

I’d given her three answers.. the two were honest but not especially complementary and more rational than spiritual.

The last one was something like..”because you can see spirits in nature, and I can’t.. and you are.. ” I can’t remember what I said, but it was a very loving answer. I can’t come up with it now.. something about her being an incredible woman and spiritually attuned to nature and that’s why I love her, but a much better answer than what I just wrote.

Then an odd image I can’t even explain. Something strange and somewhat distubring that I can’t comprehend.. images and feelings. lasting a couple seconds. just strange.

A sense of acute unease. Looking down, background is the shiny mud of a riverbank..

Looks like this..  (I took this picture several years ago).

boise river bank mud, tom meninga,


Man’s hand sliding down the arm of a woman, who has placed her hand on the riverbank.. gesture meant to be reassuring, but the gesture feels forced, as both the man and woman are feeling this acute anxiety. Man’s hand and woman’s arm both very pale.

Then a dog’s leg and paw, white, the dog somehow holding a large drop of dew, which then looks like the Earth, still in the dog’s paw, the background still the mud of the riverbank.

This happened in two seconds or less. I don’t know what to make of it.

Then I was in the store, and a song came on, all a cappella.. and this was the last vignette.

I got up, googled “Jaidphur that’s the answer I like best” and of course this song and group does not exist.

Why the song title? The woman I was with in the meadow.. the vignette ending to quickly perhaps for her to say anything.. but I got her message anyway.. the third answer I gave her..

That’s the answer she liked best.

I’m not a song writer. I can create strange experimental music, such as this ..

but I can’t play any instruments well, and don’t know music theory.

I haven’t tried to write lyrics or poetry in many many years, and don’t feel I have the knack for it, except for writing some spoken-word lyrics to go over my weird compositions.. still haven’t done this,.  but you might be able to write lyrics and music..

I just remember a pleasant, slightly sexy female voice at the end of a chorus singing, “That’s the answer I like best. That’s the answer I like best.”

I am very surprised no one has thought of this.

I wonder sometimes why ideas for songs have come to me in dreams, or I’ve heard songs in dreams that have not been recorded or written.

This has only happened three times (or maybe a bit more than three?) that I can remember.

Maybe the muse missed her target (the muses of Greek mythology which bring inspiration are female, as far as I know)  I wish I were a song-writer but I’m not. Some things I am just not.

But perhaps in dreams, we tap into the collective unconscious.. perhaps someone else also received this this idea for a song while dreaming.

And if not in dreams, someone might be reading this post right now.. I don’t mean the right now when I am typing it..

.. but whatever time is right now for you who is reading it.

Maybe you’ll be able to do the song justice.

And if you write it and record it, please give me some of the credit for the idea..

A woman asks her man a question.. he gives two answers she doesn’t like, and one that is absolutely wonderful beyond words.. and that’s the answer she likes best.

And what about Jaipur.. it is spelled without a “d” or “h.”

Jaipur is a city an India. I only know this because I watched a mostly great film, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” and the sequel, “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

The first one starts out in England, but the rest of it is in Jaipur, and the second one is entirely set in Jaipur. Not entirely filmed there though, also filmed in the city of Udaipur.

Both movies are worth watching.

Here are the trailers:



In case you are wondering what I did find when I googled “jaidphur that’s the answer I like best,”..

Tips on travel from many sites.. even though I spelled the name of the city wrong (on purpose).. the word “answers” brought up a lot of sites with the words “questions and answers” relating to Jaipur.

The one I clicked on which I thought was most interesting.. it had the word “romantic” in it.. because the song with the title I typed in was romantic..

An answer posted on a website called I like this website a lot. You can post any question you want, and likely receive an answer. There’s a worldwide community on that site. I’ve never posted a question, but have read many questions and answers that randomly show up in my email inbox.

Here’s the question and answer post I found on google..

Hmm.. just learned there is a city in India, in the same state of Rajasthan, called Jodphur. In my mind, I’d unknowingly combined the two names.

Ok then..

The Jaipur question and answer I liked best..

This answer is from someone named Abhishek Paliwal, (I copied and pasted the name from the quora site. That’s why it shows up in blue).

“Here is the list of things, you can do in Jaipur with your partner.

1.Balloon Safari

Make this valentine a special day , The most memorable for you and your partner by taking him/her to the balloon ride where you can view whole jaipur from an astonishing height ,

you and your lover with that cool breeze flowing and that peace and silence what a better place to be on ,such a day … have experience of life time with sun set in background and whole city below your feet express the love to your partner.. This whole experience is quite costly but love does not see money isnt it !!

cost 225$ link is provided for the vendor.

bookin on groupon <- by this link.

2.Evening at Nahargarh

I have such a connect with the place , i just love it , this place call nahargarh fort is 5-6 km from center of city very close to amber fort so after your balloon safari you can go to this place top of the city watch city lights growing fighting with darkness, as darkness cover the city and .. those street lights give you feeling of gold Jewells spread all over the city… too beautiful to describe , ask for a coffee or take dinner regarding food i am not sure but they serve all kind of meals …. put your phone pick some romantic number give charm to your most amazing romantic evening ….

Padao Burj

If you are not short of money book a burj a small chatri kind of place where you can have alone time… Burj are on Padao just few metres from main fort where entry fee is 50rs , against this 50rs they will give you a cofee or cold drink of your choice.

3.Evening In Chokhi Dhani

This is very traditional yet memorable way to celebrate your valentine day. I would suggest more mature couples with there toddlers to go there wear some traditional rajasthani clothes , ride camel re-ignite the fire of love , cuisine is traditional rajasthani more then you can eat. Ask for your love compatibility from the person siting over there with his parrot, Dance to the tunes of traditional rajasthani songs. Have a good laugh with there jokes , have a boat ride sit in a hut eat Jaggery and traditional rajasthani bread , give your kids a feel of true rajasthan.

4.Shopping in Old Jaipur Chaardiwari , Chauda rasta johari market , Purohit ka katla

This might not impress the masculine gender , but if you are guy who made some blunder on all these love days .. there are so many these days . Then this is your chance to sought out before ruining your evening.Take your lady for shopping in the streets of old jaipur. Jaipur offer wide range of jewellery and handicrafts. You can buy anything from handbags to sandals etc. Take some time out with her while shopping have tea , have a glass of lassi instead . All in love is important is to give time , while buying out gifts express your love and make this valentine memorable.

5.Lunch or dinner in Om Tower jaipur

This is one thing i would love to do , if i ever got chance . Lunch or dinner in om tower with my love .Om tower i have visited few time with my parents . This place is a revolving restaurant on Mi road .This restaurant is on wooden plank that rotates with a very slow constant speed . You will never realise that you are rotating until you see outside the windows . There is live music available that guy sing beautiful.Retro kishore songs and ghazals will add charm to your evening and food you cant complaint about it .

Do visit Jaipur things to do where to stay complete guide for more info! :)”

Here’s the link to the answer, and you can explore from there.

The two songs I heard in my dream don’t exist, as far as I know. And I don’t know what song I liked best from my hip hop dance aerobics class, but that’s alright, I suppose (well, not really).  There are so many amazing songs I have heard and do know of, and so many yet to be discovered.

And maybe you are a songwriter, and will write some!

Maybe someday I will figure out how to write songs, and will write some too. Or else write and record some spoken word lyrics that I will include with the music I create/

I hope you enjoyed this rambling journey through my dreams, musical curiosities, and things related to the city of Jaipur.

Watch the movies if you want, check out some music from India..

And why India? I forgot to mention that..

One of the bands I was listening to last night is called Cornershop. The guys in the band are British, but of Indian-descent, and their music has a lot of Indian elements in it.

Here’s a Cornershop track:

Pretty awesome, right?!

And, I was browsing through a comparative religions book a couple days ago, including a section on Hinduism.

And I like those two movies I mentioned.. I own them and have watched them several times..

And there is a fairly large store (but not nearly as large as the one in my dream) here in Boise that sells a lot of Eastern goods..

All these came together in my sleeping mind.. and much more.  And yes, I do believe in the collective unconscious and spiritual inspiration for music.. and that such things are mysteries..

These are the dreams I had, what I thought as I woke up, and as I’ve been writing this post.

Thanks for coming along with me on my journey, which,  just like the vignettes of my dream, ends here, without any sense of closure.. but still, an interesting journey anyway.

I hope you think so.