Daily Archives: February 14, 2010

Padre Steve’s Favorite Love Songs…Happy Valentine’s Day!

Since today is Valentine’s Day I have decided to reminisce about the love songs as well as songs about love lost that I grew up with in the 1970s and 1980s.  There was something about the music of the time that made these songs pretty much timeless.  They were written about love, with feeling and soul. Some were hauntingly powerful in the emotions and images that they could engender.  Since back in the day technology is not what it is now most of us grew up with these songs on Top 40 type AM radio stations, listening to them on our 8 Track players, cassettes, LPs or 45 RPM records.

I’m sure that if you were like me back in those days there were days that you would sit on your couch, bed or front seat of your car with your significant other, snuggle and look dreamily into one another’s eyes as the songs that touched you played.  There were also times after break-ups, arguments or misunderstandings that you thought were going to kill the relationship that some of the sad songs were there to share your misery with.

Back in those days when for the most part you could still understand the words of the songs regardless of the musical style without every third word being the “F-bomb,” something about killing someone or deeming women in some ungodly fashion, the songs still inspired hope, even when as Elton John sang “when every little bit of hope is gone, sad songs say so much.”

Of course these are my favorites and I know that for those of my generation you will have your own while some of the younger folks may never have heard any of these unless their parents of my generation like me won’t stop playing them.

Of the singers of the 1970s and 1980s Barry Manilow probably wrote and performed more top 10 love songs than about anyone.  He was a heartthrob for a lot of the girls that I went to school with who many wore Barry Manilow T-shirts. My favorite of his love songs is Somewhere in the Night and this video is from back in 1978. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj8eqkRGJIo Of course Manilow had tons of others including Ready to take a Chance Again which was featured in the classic comedy with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn Foul Play and Daybreak which are in this concert medley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KjmJnEV8ck

Olivia Newton-John who many of guys had the “hots” for had a hot called I honestly Love You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zGLSnZGZts She would go from “sweet to hot” in the 80s with Physical which dealt with some of the more steamy aspects of love and lust and yes this song was voted the “hottest and sexiest song” this year.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow1gS3m1ckM

The Carpenter’s whose songs were so beautiful and haunting had a lot of love songs and some really sad songs like Goodbye to Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nooeMrCws-A Of course Karen would die tragically from complications due to her struggle with anorexia and seemed always to have a sadness about her during her life.

Lionel Richie was another artist who churned out hit after hit love songs.  The one that I will always remember is Still and Lady. These are songs that Judy and I listen to a lot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZBSruHC-1c

Dionne Warwick made a comeback singing songs written by Lionel Richie including I’ll Never Love this Way Again http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mI89NGdf5M

Another artist who made a mint off of love songs was Anne Murray a country crossover to the pop charts with the hit You Needed Me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-tJBsOsboM

while Kenny Rogers hit the charts with a duet with Sheena Easton called We’ve got Tonight


Neil Diamond had a lot of love songs, the one that strikes me the most is September Morn http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cPSts6KMbs

while John Denver hit the charts with Annie’s Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkGS263lGsQ and Follow Me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6GAa8_5nRA

Abba had many love songs with Chiquitita http://video.libero.it/app/play?id=5689d25ebf91922e45a5d14a69fd4833 The Winner Takes it All http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92cwKCU8Z5c and Knowing Me Knowing You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUrzicaiRLU&feature=channel telling stories of love and loss.

And finally for me there was Blondie whose up tempo Dreaming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIjxGKLTADE is still one of my favorites.

For those who are sad this Valentine’s Day here is Elton John and Sad Songs Say so Much http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH276U5PiGQ and I Guess that’s Why they Call it the Blues http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH276U5PiGQ

I could go on but will stop here. Feel free to link any of your favorites in the comments. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!


Padre Steve+



Filed under Just for fun, music

Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Heck and Helven…Choices for Eternity

I was reading the comics yesterday when I found this great Dilbert.  I have loved the strip for years and some of the funniest strips for me have been those dealing with religion and spirituality.  Be it Saint Dogbert and his “Out out Demons of Stupidity” or Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light who rules over “Heck” with his pitch-spoon where people are “darned to Heck for minor infractions,” I have always gotten a chuckle or even a belly laugh out of them.

Of course many people and religions have different conceptions of the afterlife for both the saved, sometimes known as the elect or the unsaved that are sometimes referred to as the damned.  Without getting into anyone’s knickers I want to just have some fun with what can be a subject of speculation and even controversy.

Of course heaven is the place of the elect and is usually characterized by streets of gold, angels, pearly gates and lots of time around whichever Deity that the religion in question believes in.  Heaven is a good place and probably where you want to be going if you have to spend the rest of eternity, which I am assured sports fans is a very long time.  Now there are variations on heaven. Some religions have different concepts about it and others have looser or tighter rules as to who gets in, everything from the “All dogs go to heaven” of universalists to the 144,000 of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the real strict fundamentalists of various religions (fundamentalists of all religions tend to be peas in a pod) who are even more select that the JWs.

Some even have different levels of heaven.  To go back to the JWs they have “real heaven” where the 144,000 go and then a perfect earth where the rest of the JWs go to pick fruit and pet animals for eternity.  If you ask me that kind of sucks because it is a works system based around how many people you convert to be JWs.  The thing that would suck is like you thought you had gotten the last of the 144,000 available spaces and someone that you converted knocked you out of the competition.  If you are not a JW forget it, you just get annihilated, not even the eternal punishment of hell to look forward to.  The Latter Day Saints have a cool belief that if you are a super cool Mormon man you get to be God of your own planet while everyone else gets regular heaven and only the really bad people go to hell. Of course some Moslems believe that if you are martyred for your faith you get to have 72 virgins in heaven to have eternal sex with, no mention of what happens to female martyrs but I wonder if their virgins would be the ones with pimples and wearing rape control glasses, Moslem nerds so to speak.  The Hindus have a number of different beliefs but the prevailing trend is that heaven and hell are things to help get you perspective in between periods of reincarnation.  Since the soul is immortal and you keep getting reincarnated this sounds like summer school.  Have you ever noticed that a lot of people who believe in reincarnation believe that they were someone famous in a previous life?  I think that Kevin Costner playing “Crash” Davis in Bull Durham asked the same question to Susan Sarandon but regardless why don’t you hear people say that they were a flea on Napoleon’s horse at Waterloo? In Buddhism the endless quest is to attain Nirvana whose lead singer Kurt Cobain off’d himself.  Actually it is to attain Nirvana but that has nothing to do with Curt Cobain.  Nirvana is a state of nothingness which in my mind is kind of boring if you worked really hard to get things right for a multitude of lifetimes.  I guess that I’m too western and wonder what the payback is for working hard only to end up as nothing.  I am also uncomfortable that there will be no more “me” if I am successful, I like me.  The folks who are Jewish have a number of ideas about heaven and hell that are not too much different than those of Christians except the little fact of who gets in. Now this will vary between the three major groups of Jews from the pretty open minded Reformed Jews, to the Conservative and then to the Orthodox Jews who come in various strains of strictness.  The Reformed folks are pretty open-minded and the more extreme versions or Orthodox don’t think that anyone apart from them will get in.

Now as far as Christians we have a wide number of interpretations of both heaven and hell and to whom might be qualified to be admitted to either location. The Calvinists that are really serious believe in something called double predestination which basically means that people were either saved or damned before the creation of the world.  Not much room for choice in that theology.  There is a subgroup of these folks who sometimes are called Antinomians who believe that since they are saved that they can do anything that they want, any sin, no matter how big and still be saved. Personally I think that is really pretty presumptuous and downright scary.  Then those who are more Wesleyan or Armenian weigh in on the side of choice even including that one can “lose their salvation” after they were saved this is often found in Wesleyan and Pentecostal groups.  A similar stream is found in Catholicism and Orthodoxy, where though not technically losing salvation keeps you on edge wondering if you made it or not until you die.  In Roman Catholicism this might mean that you end up in heaven, hell or purgatory.  There are a wide number of interpretations within the Christian faith other than these but these are probably the most common views and interpretations.

So since I have in a nutshell (you are what you eat) in a manner of speaking have presented what different religions think of heaven and hell I shall move on to some of the interpretations of what this means.

As I said heaven, regardless of the religion is “good” unless of course that your religion does not have one in which case it is what it is.  Of course the opposite is true as well, if you don’t have a hell that can’t be too bad, unless of course you guess wrong which would really suck.  It would be almost as bad as when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson missed the Rapture.

Moving on the Roman Catholic Church has a doctrine that is called Purgatory.  Now Purgatory much to the disappointment of some is now “junior hell.”  It is a place for the elect, or the saved to go to clean up their act and learn to love Jesus better before getting admitted into heaven proper.  It is a place like being elected to the baseball Hall of Fame you may get elected to the Hall but there is a period of time that you get to wait before the plaque goes up at Cooperstown. Likewise there must be a “Purgatory” because the state of West Virginia is described as “Almost Heaven” which would mean that it is in reality Purgatory. Since that is where my family originally comes from and from where my current driver’s license is issued that I too am headed there?

Map of Hell

Now Hell, with the exception of Hinduism is pretty much universally a place that you don’t want to go, kind of like Detroit.  There are many images of Hell including the best which come out of Dante’s Inferno which should not be confused with Disco Inferno even if you despised Disco.

I like the image of Hell as the “Lake of Fire.”  This conveys to me the image of a lake in the deep south which is painfully hot, overwhelmingly humid and swarming with flies, mosquitoes and other vermin.  I cannot imagine anywhere worse.  Rowan Atkinson has a great skit called Welcome to Hell where he plays the Devil welcoming a fresh group of the damned to the infernal regions. I’ve linked that here:


Now I have already mentioned “Heck” which is ruled by Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light who “darns you to Heck for minor infractions and Helvin the place that souls are outsourced to due to the unionization of the Angels and Demons.   It seems to me that heck is not a particularly bad place however Helvin may not be too great of place to be.  I really don’t want to know how they would give my harp to me.

So anyway, I guess I shall invoke Saint Dogbert to banish the Demons of Stupidity as I go to sleep dreaming of the real heaven where the baseball diamond is the lushest green field with foul lines that extend to eternity.  In this heaven the game never ends and you never get tired.  Not much longer until the earthly baseball season begins again.


Padre Steve+


Filed under Baseball, faith, Just for fun