Dogs and Teams

“Plays well with friends”. “A good sport”. “A good loser”. “Really cares about people”. “A good heart”. “Fun to be with”.

Surely there are those in the world that could care less if anyone ever truly thought any of those things about them. But how about you?

I don’t have a dog but my youngest daughter’s family does. I visit them often and get to hang out with Winnie. She really, truly seems to love me. I want God to “help me be the person my dog thinks I am”!

Then again, even on a sports team, say, a pro-football (soccer) or other team, there is something about caring, real friendship and being a committed team player that can endear you to the fans, the club and likely your employers.

The other afternoon I got to visit my girl and Winnie. Sweetness and light. Nice chat with my daughter and “Winnie therapy” for Grampy.Winnie

That evening I watched the final pre-season match of my fave football (soccer) club, Chicago Fire.

The last several seasons have been dismal to say the least. Near bottom of the league, losing games in the final minutes, just horrid.

Ok, it’s only pre-season, but they went undefeated the entire stretch of games. They beat the reigning league champion in their own stadium. Two-nil.

I am a serious soccer fan- especially Chicago Fire and USMNT and USWNT (United States Men’s and Women’s National Teams).

http://www.chicago-fire.com/

From a fresh goalkeeper making amazing save after amazing save and keeping “a clean sheet” on the night (no goals against); a defense that truly stonewalled a very good team all match long even though Portland likely put down a record for corner kicks in a game; a solid midfield that hustled and tough, quick, creative forwards who found the net twice in the first half and might have found it once or twice more… this squad- including bench- has promise.

New head coach and staff. New players. There were tense moments, Portland Timbers are a good side. There were slop moments, bad passes, missed chances, mistakes which of course are made by most players in most games regardless the sport.

Same for musicians in a band, people in any workplace, peeps who meet in a church congregation, etc., etc.. No surprise in this.

But what I saw in these latest matches was a team. A team who worked from whistle to whistle in commitment to a system, who supported one another, a new level of cohesion Chicago Fire has lacked the past several seasons.

There are plenty of reasons for the pre-season success. There will be losses this year. When you love a spouse, parents, brothers and/or sisters or yes, even a sports team there will be heartbreaks, not endless victories.

Yet this I know: when you show up, really Show Up and support one another, work together, share a passion based on love and are willing to work day in and day out as a team player, you will never lack a sense of purpose, meaning and will always have good work to do.

You may mature to the extent you are as grateful for team success regardless of being on the field or supporting “from the bench”.

Because that’s what a team player is: it’s about “us”. Together.

Ask yourself what I ask myself from time to time: what sort of player are you?

And -how close are you (and I!) to being “the kind of person my dog thinks I am”?

GO FIRE!!!

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

When Culture Vs. Christ

WHEN CULTURE VS. CHRIST
glenn kaiser

Have you ever considered that any two people can use the same string of words and mean completely different things?

Hitler used Christian commentary as propaganda to convince people of his disgusting, policies -in order to gain political advantage.

Judas’ judgment against Jesus regarding the “waste” of the expensive ointment the repentant, grateful woman used to anoint Christ’s feet prior to His betrayal and execution is another example. “That expensive stuff could have been sold and the money given to the poor.” But Judas didn’t take that position out of love nor respect for those in poverty but due to his own self-interest in snatching money from the bag.

In essence Judas believed “Jesus was getting His”, so why couldn’t -he- dip into the purse and get what he wanted? Sick, but that’s the reality of sin nature in human lives.

Fear, anger and demand for control seem potently part of most evil in any culture.

I suggest to you in terms of politics- be they hard right or hard left, demanding control, anger and fear are surely no synonyms to faith, hope or love.

“Love is patient, love is kind…”. -1 Corinthians 13.4a

Indeed, anyone can say anything (and we do, especially via the Web these days).

So I was thinking about how to encourage those seeking to follow Jesus. In particular, how to clarify to inmates in a jail/prison situation the difference between the nature of God vs. the nature of humans who often cling to a particular cultural way of thinking rather than Christ… and who often confuse culture with the One and Only Savior.

Anybody’s culture can become the true master rather than the real God Who IS Love, Who is and deserves to be our True Master -and- Best Friend, Savior, Provider.

Here’s what I came up with:

Culture 5.22-23 Old Kaiser Version (OKV)

22 But the fruit of the spirit(s) without the Spirit of God is hatred, misery, tormenting agitation, a demanding impatience, unkindness, careless nastiness, faithlessness, 23 harsh bullying attitude, knee-jerk carelessness. Plenty of laws question and sometimes threaten anyone who disagrees with these “virtues” of culture.

Here is what God in His Word came up with:

Galatians 5:22-23 World English Bible Version (WEB)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.

For greater clarity:

Culture often says “I have the right to whatever it is I want”. Christ in essence says “I give you the power to reflect the nature of God in a fallen, self-worshiping, deficient culture”.

Let’s be honest… we see both in as well as outside of Christian circles. God help us… or we play the “help-yourself” card and in the end confuse culture for Christ.

Tozer: “If you will be satisfied with an imaginary savior you must be satisfied with an imaginary salvation”.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

-Glenn

GK on Linux Operating Systems

In fact, I’m writing this on antiX Linux right now…

MY LINUX OBSESSION

A free computer operating system that you can use on most any old (I mean Old) pc or laptop, virus-free which contains all the apps needed for daily work and play is simply all I want. Or need. And I found it long ago. Or shall I say “them”? SystemS.

The short form?

I only use Windows or Mac when I must, which is rare except for Windows 7 which my wife prefers on her home pc.

On my laptop, netbook, old boat-anchor pc and phone I use (in order) antiX Linux, Puppy Linux, Quirky (Puppy) Linux and Android (which is a tweaked Linux).

MY ANTIX LINUX DESKTOP
GKantiXLinuxDesktopScreenshot

Web, social media sites, You Tube, playing music, photos and all the rest work fine on all these various Linux systems and machines.

All but the Android (which came with my Samsung Galaxy II phone) were downloaded by myself, transferred onto a flash (or thumb) drive/stick and either then booted into “live” which is how I use it on my old pc… or fully installed onto my hard drives (as in my laptop and netbook).

Each of these Linux “distros” (distributions) are at core (meaning, the Linux kernel off of which apps are run) nearly the same but the desktops each look and “feel” different. Which I like. I could set them up in fairly identical fashion but I like diversity.

MY PUPPY LINUX DESKTOP (SLACKO VERSION)
Screenshot_2016-02-16_145110

Some apps are the very same, others different but do the same tasks. A small learning curve, but in the end I have the fastest, virus-free system I can find on each of these old and underpowered machines.

I began back learning computers and computing via CP/M systems (pre-MS Dos), then Ms Dos, next early-days Windows (up through Win2000) and finally landing and loving Linux and eventually Android. In the beginning we used huge, then smaller floppy drives. Seems like eons ago now!

For me, the challenge of learning and recognizing there were few risks if one regularly backed one’s information up gave me freedom to play a bit and I still enjoy trying out fresh ‘nix installs. For years this could be done by burning .iso files (on bootable cds or dvds) then re-booting machines that were able to load and access the system from the optical drive. I learned that if one had enough random access memory (ram) that a very small system could be entirely loaded into the ram. Eventually various programmers created systems that booted off of a usb stick, sd, or cd and dvd as well as the hard drive (once installed there).

So when Puppy Linux and a few others were made so EXTREMELY small they could be booted via any of these media, then the entire shebang loaded into the memory… well it them meant a machine didn’t even need a working hard drive in it! All that was required as a boot device was the bootable Linux OS on say, a cd or flash stick popped into a computer that was set to boot from either such drive and yahoo… you now had a really fast machine.

MY QUIRKY (PUPPY) LINUX DESKTOP
QuirkyLinuxScreenshot

Where things were, sometimes on occasion are difficult, is in the arena of wireless network cards. Whereas the lion’s share of manufacturers only ported their network cards to Windows or Apple/Mac systems, Linux users had to wait until ‘nix geeks created drivers to access them.

Quite a few programmers are themselves Linux peeps so typically remedied this with drivers rather quickly, which were then made public and added to each new release (often quarterly if not [yes] nightly). Most active Linux systems (several hundred as I write this post) release updates which sometimes include many fresh fixes, new apps and what in their group’s views are quality and value increasing changes, often every few months. New and shiny. Free to try, modify keep, deploy on however many computers you may have.

Every so often I still boot a distro into a machine where that particular version of Linux cannot recognize the particular network card. It is extremely rare to have the same issue with a wired network card but of course most users go wifi these days. So it took/takes a little learning to understand Linux network programs in a given Linux distribution as to how to get them to find, then load and use the onboard network card. But for the most part, modern distros ship (free) with most drivers for most network cards these days. As one gains experience and uses the massive online tutorials, You Tube clips and forums all but the rare distro has available, one can learn how to do just about anything to tweak a system to one’s liking.

Funny how growing up in the sixties people talked about alternative lifestyles, alternative living and so forth… and ended up in a same-same “pop bottle” world where most all the penguins looked alike.

Funny too that Tux, the longtime Linux mascot is… a penguin! The variety of ‘nix systems from everyday home and/or office desktops, network storage, home audio/video systems, embeded web kiosks, audio and video creation and etc., is really quite amazing.

I just cannot simply talk about alternative, because sometimes, just sometimes, alternative is better and perhaps even the best way to do things -if one is willing to listen, learn and give it a go.

I sometimes default on a few of these machines to other Linux distros such as Austrumi (which is easily toggled to the English language desktop)austrumiLinuxScreenshot

or TinyCoretinycoreLinuxScreenshot

both extremely small and fast, quick to boot and very quick to shut down.

Certainly Linux is not for everyone. As in anything, your mileage may vary. I am admittedly a full-on fanboy… but I think for plenty of very good reasons.

Finally, you can websearch all of these and plenty more, but my daily go-to site for keeping up with Linux and like systems is http://www.distrowatch.com.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Wendi Update :)

Honestly, we feel like my sweet girl has just won the lottery!

Finally had a meeting with her new surgeon today. After examination and discussion he told her she could get a shot in each knee for as long as it works for her, which means she can put off knee replacement/s for the immediate future and likely quite some time.

For her, severe arthritis is much about deterioration in the joints and between basic pain and that, one often finally has to do replacement and rehab, etc..

Wow. Grace. I SO dig it when my Queen tours with me!

Many thanks for prayers and continued prayers for her.

And now I can respond to more of those booking requests in July and August 🙂

Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

May-June GK Tour

Just an fyi for all who might be interested.

I will be on the road with Wendi, sometimes she will join me in a set, sometimes not… depends on how she feels (arthritis, asthma) on the day, but we will be touring-

New York State, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio from appx. May 20 through June 13.

I’ll be bringing cigarbox and found object guitars along with “normal” gits, harps and maaayyybbbeeee a new solo record by then. One set will be electric blues/rock in the Lancaster, PA area and likely electric blues as well as my cbg blues in the Princeton, WV area, the rest largely country blues and chat.gkGrrrBox

Anyhow, plz don’t ask me for details now… they will be posted soon as all is set.

There are a number of shows happening prior and after this tour, but I am excited about this so thought it good to mention it early.

Thanks for stopping by my site! -Glenn

True Confessions of a Blues Fan

So just to let my readers in on my feeble brain as regards my love of blues music…

From as long as I can remember I loved different. Like, if someone had red hair and freckles I liked them almost immediately. As time went on I might not like ’em so much due to character and such, but “exotic” and “unique” was always a drawing card to me.

The other thing that called me outside my own “boxes” shall we say, was the underdog. Minorities not only held my interest because of what to me were often cool differences to my white culture, but also in that they were obviously looked down upon as “lesser”, mostly given less chances, less grace than people in white- and don’t miss this… dominant culture.

In my earliest days I loved the minor chords and basic progressions (music arrangements) in blues. I didn’t CARE if there were scratches and pops or too much mid-range or whatever in those old field recordings by John and later Alan Lomax, etc.. The music on those old records just sounded real, authentic, and that is core to my love of the idiom.

Certainly plenty if not all of the bluesmen and women were simply trying to survive, make a buck off of their talent. Most traveled, wandered all over the nation, many touring Europe years later in the 60s and 70s “blues revival”. As stated, for some it was perhaps mostly about making a living.

But I didn’t think “cash register” when I heard blues as I did in listening to most white music. Blues both sounded and felt Believable.

This is part of what I aim at in building and playing cigarbox and found-object guitars. That raw, no net, bring it from the heart and gut or go home sort of vibe. Having experienced poverty and country as well as inner-city life certainly affects my own music.

As a fan, a listener loving this stuff I was often able to overlook a not-so-well written song due to the sheer power of a blues artist’s performance. As a musician and song writer myself that’s a no-no, a technical problem. Great songwriting and arrangements are a huge part of excellence and not to be taken lightly. But as a listener I was and am often in awe of the heart and soul the mostly African-American artists put into their live and recorded work.

Chicago’s (my hometown since 1973) own Willie Dixon and of course the Delta’s Robert Johnson before him both wrote an incredible amount of well-written, strongly arranged songs. Yet even those songs became standards in part due to recordings pregnant with passionate delivery.

When you sound like you mean it, I can respect that -even if I fully disagree with you on a point here and there.

Hearing Rev. Gary Davis (for me, THE revelation of what flamboyant blues guitar and shout-singing could be!) and Blind Willie Johnson took me much further down the road. Son House, Huddie Ledbetter (aka Leadbelly) and plenty more in the acoustic country blues style just knocked me out with both songs and performance.

Still, to this day my phone is largely populated with Smithsonian and U.S. Library of Congress public domain blues, field hollers, prisoner’s songs and a few spirituals that were recorded long ago on early mono (not stereo) tape recorders “in the field”. Most people never heard these and even many blues fans never will.

The power of heart and soul vs. slick production is the quest and though I admit there is plenty of the latter in some present-day blues there are vast amounts of the former in the earliest records.

When you read the Lomax’s (and others) comments about this strange, beautiful, haunting music that they felt they just had to document with audio and bits of written commentary you get the feeling they had heard what I suppose I did when I first became aware of this music style.

Even the nicknames… say, Peg Leg Howell. Yep.plh

That genuine, gut-honest, real world did more for me than all the make-believe pulp sung by “entertainers”. Yet again, there is no doubt, entertainment was literally the business of the bluesmen and women, solo, duo or band from early times.

But as always, the power is in that sense of integrity I so often hear as the greats and nobody-you-ever-heard-of’s plow this sonic ground. Heart. Earth. Reality. Often coloring outside the lines of mainstream and falseness.

Re. “Signifying The Blues” by Robert Switzer

https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-82322114/signifying-the-blues

Though I believe the above excerpt is 90 percent spot-on, I fully disagree with the punchline of Charles Simic’s quote. Over most of my lifetime experience I find a daily relationship with the risen Jesus Christ not only real, in fact essential- but that He is Himself the elusive CURE of which Mr. Simic speaks. Blues music is to me the sonic blood of experience crying and calling out for the saving blood.

I’m also fond of reminding peeps that the Book of Psalms are largely laments. We live in a fallen world where pain is as natural as rain. Hmmm… sounds like a song in the works.

Well, these are just a few core reasons I love blues music.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn