About Me

My photo
Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

O Holy Night


Picture of Michael Crawford singing O Holy Night in The Lost Christmas Eve with Trans-Siberian Orchestra 1993.

My all-time favorite Christmas Carol is O Holy Night.

I grew up listening to Christmas songs on a console stereo the size of a small piano. It had turntable, record changer so you could stack five or six albums at a time and AM/FM radio. 

Dad would load it up and during the evenings or on Sunday morning we'd listen to Christian Music before leaving for church. During the holidays we'd listen to Christmas Carols. With grandparents who owned a record store, and for a time after he mustered out of the marines, Dad worked there. Mom grew up working in the store. We had lots of records 45's and LP's.

Of all the Christmas songs, not all are Carols, Frosty the Snowman is a winter song, O Holy Night is by far my favorite. What Child is This comes a close second.  

George Beverly Shay and Tennessee Earnie Ford were my favorite singers for a long long time. A lot of women like Karen Carpenter, Anne Murray, Kathy Lee Gifford, Barbra Streisand and others sing it on albums we listen to, but they don't have the deep resonance that the male voice lends to the song, in my not so humble opinion.

That is until we watched on PBS a Christmas presentation of The Lost Christmas Eve. Ozzie Davis narrated the story, and a number of performers sang songs. then Michale Crawford sang O Holy Night.

Bear with me here, my wife is a huge Barbra Streisand fan. We got her duets album where she sang Music of the Night with Michael Crawford. When he hit the highest note in that song I was totally amazed at how pure and effortless it was. Wow! So, I'd heard him sing before and knew just how good he was.

That didn't prepare me for his performance on O Holy Night. I preferred it sung by a base voice, he's a tenor. He left me in slack jaw amazement. 

For twenty years I tried to see that show again, and it never came back on, or I missed it. I tried with I-tunes and Amazon music, nada.

I'm now on Spotify and he has an amazing Christmas album with O Holy Night. I tried the U-tube videos of his performance online and they are unavailable, best I could do was a picture.

I also tried to sing along with him. He starts at a low base and rises to the rafters. I just finished a cantata with fairly high notes for bases so I thought I might stay up with him. I did until he went for the rafters on the last few notes. I had to cheat and go falsetto. Somehow sounding like a chipmunk doesn't do the song credit. He is amazing.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Father of Oceanography


Statue of Matthew Fontaine Maury. Those holding up the globe represent all those who perished on the seas before the Sailing charts were produced under Maury's command of the National Observatory. Maury is seated in civilian dress, his right hand on the Bible, his left hand on sailing charts he produced. The inscription underneath reads: Pathfinder of the Seas.

Article by Patrick Prescott

Anne the Vegan posted an article about why the Confederate statues were taken down in Richmond, Va. She mentioned that they all looked alike glorifying Generals like Lee, Jackson and others. All on horses in full uniform. She has good arguments for why this was necessary, and I don't disagree up to a point. 

 I responded that the Mayor of Richmond removed a statue of former confederate, who was not a General, was not erected in the 1950's by the daughters of the Confederacy, not on a horse and though a Naval Commander his statue was not in uniform. The statue was erected in 1929 funded by his grandchildren.

In her reply, Anne the Vegan agreed with my concerns.

On July 2, 2020, the mayor of Richmond ordered the removal of a statue of Maury erected in 1929 on Richmond's Monument Avenue. The mayor used his emergency powers to bypass a state-mandated review process, calling the statue a "severe, immediate and growing threat to public safety."


Matthew Fontain Maury was a scientist. He never owned a slave. He was given command of the National Observatory in District of Columbia where he started compiling over a hundred years of ships logs from all Naval ships that were molding and gathering dust using them to start compiling all the data, they contained to create sailing charts. In 1848 when the first charts were released not to just U.S. Naval ships, but all sailing ships for free, if those ships merchant and military if they would fill out the forms that came with them and return them to the Observatory to keep the charts current.

These are the accomplishments of Matthew Fontaine Maury. 

 1. Father of Oceanography.

2. Father of Meteorology.

3. Father of Physical Geography.

4. Compiled the first comprehensive study of the ocean currents, wind, weather, temperature, animal and plant life, depths; the Gulf Stream; the effects of currents on weather.

5. Created the first scientifically detailed charts of all the world’s oceans and wind currents used by all military and merchant shipping from their introduction in 1848.

6. His study of the Atlantic Ocean’s depth made the telegraph cable connecting the United States with Europe possible.

7. In the 1830’s his articles in magazines criticizing certain problems in the Navy led to Congress to create the Naval Academy.

8. He published the Physical Geography of the Sea (1855). A textbook translated into numerous languages and used by most navies of the world in the 19th century. It was used at Annapolis until the 1920’s.

9. By 1858 Maury had anywhere from 137,500 to 186,000 (the numbers varied by source) vessels from most maritime countries gathering data to record weather. This created the largest fleet to act in concert in history. It was the first time the United States led in a branch of science.

10. He revolutionized naval defenses by perfecting floating mines and electric torpedo still in use today.

Why would a statue of a man with these accomplishments be a "severe, immediate and growing threat to public safety?"

This prompted me to write a fictionalized novel, there are plenty of biographies one more is not needed.

Patrick Prescott is a retired public-school teacher and author of: Optimus: Praetorian Guard, I Maury: The Life and Times of a Rebel, Human Sacrifices, The Fan Plan Tribology, Three Medieval Battles and others in e-books and paperbacks on Amazon.com.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

WC:121423 A day late

 Sorry, this is a day late. The question is: Gifts for people who are hard to shop for.

With my grandchildren, they live in another city, and we don't see them very often and don't have a clue. We give gift cards. Same for my son. About all we know of our eldest grandson is that he's in the Marines and stationed in Japan.

My daughter lives with us and it's giving her a spending limit as we go to Hobby Lobby. She is a crafty person that makes jewelry, crochets, knits, and does plastic canvas.

For my wife we set a spending limit and then go to the mall, and she buys what she wants, and I do the same.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Three Good Things....


Three Good Things That Came from The Reign of Bad King John

 Patrick Prescott

 History has a tendency to focus on the positive results of rulers. Usually conquests, peace and prosperity, founding a dynasty and so on. In some instances, history is made by failure.

In English history one of the most ruinous monarchs was King John. No need to affix a numeral, there’s only been one and as far as the English are concerned that was one too many. For centuries they’ve wished that Eleanor of Aquitaine had a headache that night.

There is not much positive that can be said for this king.

1.    He abducted his wife, who was on her way to be married to a powerful noble.

2.    He killed his nephew, Arthur, son of his deceased older brother (the rightful heir). Crowning himself king.

3.    In response most of the nobles of Normandy, Brittany, and other parts of the Angevine Empire turned their allegiance to the King of France and in lightning speed all but the Aquitaine was lost.

4.    The Pope excommunicated John for the murder of Arthur placing all his lands under an interdict so they could not take the Holy Sacrament or give confession.

5.    By becoming king, his moniker was changed from Lackland to Soft sword.

 John naturally wanted to reclaim what he lost and that would take money. With most of his tax base gone John was forced to raise taxes on the island.

1.    After much abuse the nobles revolted.

2.    He died with a French army ravaging his lands aided by his rebellious nobles.

3.    He left an infant son which would cause future civil wars.

4.    His son, Henry III was known as the Weathercock King. Whoever had him in possession ruled in his name.

5.    John was a rather pathetic ruler. He failed at everything he tried.

 Let’s look now at the positives that came from the reign Bad King John.

 1.    He unified the crown with the Island. John is the first Norman king to be buried in England. From William I to Richard I, even his mother Eleanor all are buried in France. From this time on the monarch is truly the king of England.

2.    John created the English Navy. He wanted to retake the land he lost and started building a navy needed to transport troops across the channel.  Rule Britania, Britania rules the waves was started by John Soft Sword.

3.    The Magna Charta. The nobles made John sign a document placing the king under the rule of law. It specified what rights the nobles had under feudal law the most important being trial by a jury of peers.

The Magna Charta didn’t have much impact on English law until Charles I was executed, and the English Bill of Rights was enacted, but both were based on the Magna Charta’s premise that the monarch was under the law not is the law.

It was the Magna Charta and the English Bill of Rights that gave the justification for the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence.

 Patrick Prescott is a retired public-school teacher and author of: Optimus: Praetorian Guard, I Maury: The Life and Times of a Rebel, Human Sacrifices, The Fan Plan Tribology, Three Medieval Battles and others in e-books and paperbacks on Amazon.com.

Friday, December 08, 2023

Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare


Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare

Patrick Prescott


Since brevity is the sole of wit, therefore I will be brief. From the play Hamlet.

I am a huge Shakespeare buff and a huge Isaac Asimov fan. If I went any further, I’d be writing a dissertation.

I asked the librarian at the library I frequent if they had any books by Isaac Asimov. The library branch didn’t have any, but the kind lady said she could order some and have it delivered in a couple of days. She read me a list. What caught my attention was Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare. I could kill two birds with one stone.

It came in and I had three weeks before it had to be turned in. I checked it out on Nov. 17 this year and had to renew the check out twice. I just finished it. Not due back till Dec. 26.

Combined It’s 1,460 pages, with maps and genealogy tables. I’m a voracious reader, but my eyesight lends itself better to an e-reader where I can set the font. A book with a font of around 8 requires I use strong reading glasses and my eyes tire quickly. If I’m reading fiction I tend to skim and scan over descriptions of flora and fauna, internal debates, etc. and cut to the chase. You don’t do that with non-fiction Isaac Asimov. Every word has meaning.

The book covers all 38 plays and two narrative poems. It was published in 1970 as two volumes. Volume one comprised the Greek, Roman and Italian plays. Volume Two the English plays. The book that came in was both volumes in one book.

Asimov limits himself to explaining to the modern reader what the Elizabethan and Jacobin audiences would already know. At least the well-educated aristocracy and royalty would know them. The groundlings or common people might not understand all of it, but he put in comedy and action to keep them satisfied.

Today classical education (humanities) has been vilified. Today’s high school graduates don’t have a clue about who Jimmy Clanton was singing about in his song, Venus in Blue Jeans in the 1950’s.

 In the Greek, Roman and Italian plays both Greek and Roman gods and goddesses were characters like the play Venus and Adonis.

Here I’d like to do a sample of how Asimov enlightens the reader,


“Adonis is the Greek version of a Semitic vegetation god… the type of myth of which Venus and Adonis is representative…reflects the birth of agriculture.

“The Sumerians, about 2000B.C. represented the agricultural cycle with a god, Dumu-zi, who died and was resurrected; a life-and-death…celebrated each year.

“The Semitic Babylonian’s name for the vegetation god was Tammuz…

“As the Greeks and Semites gained more and more in the way of cultural interchange, the Tammuz version entered Greek mythology directly. Tammus became Adonis.

“The name shift is no mystery… The semitic term for ‘Lord” is ‘Adonai’ it was “Adonai” that was adopted by the Greeks. They added a final s… making it ‘Adonis.”


Asimov goes to great length to explain the Classical gods. They were more or less the same gods, but different names and nicknames. Zeus (Greek) Jupiter (Roman) Jove (nickname).

A complete primer in not only Greek and Roman mythology, but eastern and German as well.

Asimov also references the sources Shakespeare used. It might be another play he borrowed the plot from and improved on it or wrote it on demand by a wealthy patron. The historical plays Asimov cited the Bard’s source, such as Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (story of the British Kings), Plutarch’s Lives for Julius Caesar and Anthony and Cleopatra. The Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus for his History of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden in AD1200. For English history he refers to William Camden’s History of the British Isles, 1586 and Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland 1577.

 Macbeth, he wrote to please King James IV of Scotland and James I of England. It celebrated the King’s Scottish ancestry, and his fascination with witches.

In the plays Henry IV part one and Henry IV part two, Shakespeare inserted a fictitious character named Falstaff. He was the comic relief and carousing buddy of young Prince Hal. Before he could write Henry V, legend has it that Queen Elizabeth enjoyed the character and wanted Shakespeare to write another play on him. He wrote the Merry Wives of Windsor before Henry V.

One of Shakespeare’s benefactor and close friend was Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter. The man led a rebellion against Elizabeth and was executed. This had a direct impact on Shakespeare’s opinion on war and palace intrigue. He walked a fine line of keeping both Elizabeth and James happy, but still sneaking in his thoughts. Falstaff’s soliloquy in Henry IV part one is an example:

Falstaff feigns death during the battle. After Prince Hal kills Hot Spur and the fighting leaves. He stabs the dead body so he can claim the prize and then says to the audience. “What is valor? It is air. Tis discretion the better part of valor be.”

Shakespeare covers the Hundred Years War from Richard II to Richard III nine plays. We have the same problem today with historical movies in that that people and time don’t match reality. Asimov fills in the gaps when the play has people on stage who haven’t been born yet or are dead or in another country. He gives a graduate level course on all that’s happening in France and England for the whole 15th century. It was heaven to read it.

I don’t expect anyone to rush to the nearest library and ask to borrow a copy, alas that’s the only place you may or may not find it. Amazon does have a copy for $164.

For me I gained insight and appreciation for Shakespeare that I didn’t have before, no matter how much I love watching the movies and going to a play if one is available. Isaac Asimov in you’re one of those thousands of witnesses that surround us I want to thank you for this endeavor on your part.

I'm finished on Asimov so you can stop reading if you want. 

The one thing that made me able to understand Shakespeare and enjoy his plays in 9th grade is I was raised in church when the King James Version of the Bible was about the only one available for protestants. Later the Revised Standard and American Standard came out, and in the 60's, 70's up to today all kinds of different interpretations are available.

Thee, thou, ye and other anachronisms I grew up understanding. Some preachers even preached using them. I prefer the New American Standard Version as it's the closest to a pure translation, for easy reading I enjoy The Message, but it's not for serious study.

I discovered while at Seminary in one class we had a list for the semester of all the scripture verses we would be tested on, and they were to be memorized. There was no way I could memorize out of NASV. KJV was purposely written in pre-printing press language or poetically. By the time of King James the common language became more prose than poetry. People actually used to talk like that so they could remember what was said, especially when the town crier read the latest laws or taxes, which they only read aloud once, and the people were required to obey them. 

Friday, December 01, 2023

Ten Years a Diabetic


I was diagnosed with diabetes ten years ago. I started going through the ritual every day of testing my blood three times a day when waking and two hours after a meal. I'm also taking pills for controlling blood sugar, but it's a disease that is gradual. Five years in, I started on insulin. I gradually got up to 120mg a day, why my weight went up so high. 

Then daily injections of Victosa, which helped some. 

TV started advertising Ozempic. It's only once a week injection and supposed to help lose weight. I had to wait two years before Medicare would cover it.

I weighed 275 lbs. when I started taking Ozempic. In three months, I was down to 235. It was like having a mild case of motion sickness. My stomach was queasy all the time. I could skip breakfast. Anything fatty turned my stomach. Bacon, sausage, pulled pork I grew nauseous at the smell. Chicken, turkey, hamburger in a small amount was okay. Once I went from eating lunch at noon and didn't eat again until the next day at noon. The longest I've ever fasted.

Then my body adjusted. I could get by with a couple of slices of bacon and patty sausage, but still not pulled pork, and I used to love a good barbecue pulled pork sandwich.

My blood sugar skyrocketed the first six months because he had me stop taking Lantus. He had me go back on Lantus for only 30mg a day. Blood sugar leveled off, so I was usually around 130 to 160 in the morning.

My weight went back to between 245 and 255 but most of the time was 250. This is why Ozempic is not a weight loss drug. It helps with your weight until the body adjusts to it. Then it doesn't work for that. It does help keep blood sugar down.

My doctor suggested Rybelsus. It's a daily pill, and he said it was the pill form of Ozempic. Hey not having to remember to take an injection sounded good. The major drawback of Rybelsus is you have to wait 30 minutes after taking it before being able to eat or drink. It worked for three months for my blood sugar but didn't help with my weight. I got up to 260. Then I needed to increase insulin to 50 mg.

For two years Ozempic has made national news. Even though the drug states it's not for obesity, doctors have been prescribing it for overweight patients. I read that they're still working on Ozempic in pill form and that Rybelsus is not as affective. The doctor lied.

I got a new doctor and I asked to go back on Ozempic, this past August. He complied and it took until September before I could get any. A three-month supply. My weight went down again and I'm not eating as much, and my blood sugar has decreased. I was taking 50mg of Lantus a night and finding that in the morning I was around 110 to 120, then it started to drop to under a 100 and one morning it was 69. I had to take glucose tablets to get me to the kitchen for some orange juice.

I cut down to 30mg of Lantus and things have balanced out. If my blood sugar is over 230 at bedtime, I'll take 50mg if it's under that I take 30. I can regulate it this way. 

When I was down to my last pen, I ordered a refill. The local pharmacy didn't know if they could get it. It took three weeks to get the first three-month supply and they might not get any for a month or more. 

I hate having to go to Express Scripts mail order, but I thought they would be able to get it. I ordered it and they e-mailed back they didn't have it in stock and to transfer the prescription elsewhere, then charged me 23 cents to deny my request.

I had to get the doctor to transfer the prescription back to my local pharmacy and just as I was about to run out and forced to go back to Rybelsus (still have some left-over from before) They got one pen. Three pens are $120 on my insurance. Getting one pen was 45. Great getting it one month at a time runs up the cost from 120 to 135, if I can get it. I've got one week on this pen and the pharmacy still doesn't know when they'll get another one.

To add insult to injury the news has reported that not only are primary care doctors prescribing Ozempic for obesity, but so are psychiatrists. Yesterday I read that plastic surgeons are prescribing it.

I'm waiting for insurance companies to cry out for cutting the time for a drug to go from prescription to over the counter like they did for Prilosec and Claritin. Fat chance (pun intended,)

BTW, I did get my doctor to prescribe the Freestyle blood testing sensors. I got 16 weeks of sensors for free, only had to buy the reader for 87 bucks. It was great. I could check my blood sugar any time, like right before I am deciding what to eat and knowing what I can get away with or go for the salad.

When it came time to reorder the sensors cost $495. There's a "donut hole" in Medicare. Back to sticking my fingers again.