Thursday, September 27, 2012

Origin of the Hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

As I am playing this hymn at a brass band contest next week I thought I should look up the words and see if they would influence my performance in any of the verses.

It turns out the hymn is actually the last few verses of a poem called "The Brewing of Soma" by John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) which compares the practice of ancient civilisations using drugs to experience the divine with modern day Christians who use "... music, incense, vigils drear, And trance, to bring the skies more near, Or life men up to heaven."

Whittier was a Quaker which is why the poem ends with the "still, small voice of calm". The hymn is not about hearing God's voice through troubling times, but about hearing God in the small things of life rather than large spiritual displays.

I wonder how many Christians today realise its origins in comparing certain worship activities to drug induced shamnism?

Here is the full poem with the verses used in the hymn in their original context (the quote at the beginning is in the original):

 "These libations mixed with milk have
been prepared for Indra: offer Soma to the
drinker of Some." Vashista, translated
by Max Muller.

The fagots blazed, the caldron's
  Up through the green wood curled;
"Bring honey from the hollow oak,
Brink milky sap," the brewers spoke,
  In the childhood of the world.

And brewed they well or brewed they ill,
  The priests thrust in their rods,
First tasted, and then drank their fill,
And shouted, with one voice and will,
  "Behold, the drink of the gods!"

They drank, and lo! in heart and brain
  A new, glad life began;
They grew of hair grew young again,
The sick man laughed away his pain,
  The cripple leaped and ran.

"Drink, mortals, what the gods have sent,
  Forget you long annoy."
So sang the priests, From tent to tent
The Soma's sacred madness went,
  A storm of drunken joy.

Then knew each rapt inebriate
  A winged and glorious birth,
Soared upward, with strange joy elate,
Beat, with dazed head, Varuna's gate,
  And sobered, sank to earth.

The land with Soma's praises rang;
  On Gihon's banks of shade
Its hymns the dusky maidens sang;
In joy of life or mortal pang
  All men to Soma prayed.

The morning twilight of the race
  Sends down these matin psalms;
And still with wondering eyes we trace
The simple prayers to Soma's grace,
  That verdic verse embalms.

As in the child-world's early year,
  Each after age has striven
By music, incense, vigils drear,
And trance, to bring the skies more near,
  Or life men up to heaven!

Some fever of the blood and brain,
  Some self-exalting spell,
The scourger's keen delight of pain,
the Dervish dance, the Orphic strain,
  The wild-haired Bacchant's yell, -

The desert's hair-grown hermit sunk
  The saner brute below;
The naked Santon, haschish-drunk,
The cloister madness of the monk,
  The fakir's torture show!

And yet the past comes round again,
  And new doth old fulfill;
In sensual transports wild as vain
We brew in many a Christian fane
  The heathen Soma still!

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
  Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
  In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard
  Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
  Rise up and follow Thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
  O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
  Interpreted by love!

With that deep hush subduing all
  Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
And noiseless let Thy blessing fall
  As fell Thy manna down.

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
  Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
  Thy beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the hearts of our desire
  Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be numb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
  O still, small voice of calm!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Facebook stopped working in Internet Explorer

This has been driving me batty for the past week.

Internet Explorer and then Chrome stopped opening Facebook even via an SSL connection. The best I ever got was a view of the first block of posts on my timeline but without the ability to click on anything.

I tried clearing the cache, then deleting and rebuilding my Chrome profile, but this had no effect. However, in Internet Explorer I went to Tools > Manage Add-Ons and disabled all of them for testing. It turns out it did not like Script Proxy by McAfee. I now have Facebook working on IE. Now just to try and get Chrome working.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

If your Gmail on iPad stopped working after the iOS 6 upgrade then you should read this article.

After upgrading  my iPad to iOS 6 the default mail app stopped connecting to the Gmail server to receive or send mail. Its not clear why this happened, but it stopped working completely.  I had been using my mail via the Gmail account option rather than the Exchange server one. I have now updated my previous article on synchronisation and tested Gmail using this method in the standard email app. It is working perfectly and the new mail notifications are being pushed in real time.

To read how to fix it and set it all up go here:

How to set up an iPad to synchronise with Google Calendar and Gmail.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Besson (Boosey and Hawkes) Serial Number List 1974-2002

This chart is primarily intended to help with the identification of Sovereign Cornets but will help with Identifying other Boosey and Hawkes made brass instruments.

Serial numbers are in the format 928-817061.

The first part represents the model number (in this case 928 which is a cornet) and the second part the consecutive serial number which you can look up in this list taken from a document compiled by the Horniman Museum:

Year     Start        End
1974 560000 569517
1975 567737 583312
1976 578306 601352
1977 591769 623413
1978 612344 641318
1979 624239 653623
1980 637772 667268
1981 647826 679500
1982 666619 691319
1983 691320 709999
1984 700510 724054
1985 716470 737749
1986 737750 unknown*
1987 unknown* unknown*
1988 unknown* 765125
1989 762522 773114
1990 771972 784856
1991 782271 791785
1992 789702 800024
1993 799610 808444
1994 807947 817773
1995 817061 829673
1996 829373 841892
1997 841677 854404
1998 851390 866712
1999 862689 876718
2000 873832 885438
2001 884565 889618
2002 887436 890008

* The factory serial number books for 1986-1988 have been lost.

The reason for ranges overlapping the years is that serial numbers were assigned when instruments were ordered by dealers and before manufacturing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Breatharian video blog

I came across this interesting series of video blogs made by a woman aiming to live without eating food by gradually reducing her calorific intake:

You can view her YouTube channel here.
[She has now deleted these videos - see below for the explanation]

Interesting to note that after 28 days she is still only down to 1300 calories, when a diet of 1000 calories per day is quite normal for people trying to lose weight. I suspect the problems will start when she gets down to 800 or 900.

My prediction is either:

1. She will stop posting videos or remove the existing ones and we will never know why.
2. She will fail to become breatharian blaming either herself for lack of spirituality or the bad effects of outside influences.
3. She will prove that breatharianism is possible and world hunger will be solved.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome is.

Update 13th November 2012
Well, I followed her progress via YouTube and she reduced her food intake by 100 calories per day till she got down to 700. This took about six weeks. At this point she had to do a lot of visits to family and found the social side of eating made it difficult to keep up with the regime. She has now said that counting calories is not the way to do it so she has stopped and switched to  a juice only diet without monitoring the calories.

This was prediction #2 that I made at the start of the process.

Update 11th December 2012
I notice from my YouTube subscriptions that she has deleted all the videos made during her attempt to go breatharian and stop eating food. That was my prediction #1 from 9th November. She has started a new YouTube channel and is attempting to become "liquidarian" (only taking a liquid diet). You can see her first video of this process here.