Andrew Clem blog home

Clockwise, from top left: Blackfriar's Theater in Staunton, VA, home of the American Shakespeare Center; National Cathedral in Guatemala City; church near Volin, SD; engraved stellae at ruins of Copan, Honduras; folk musicians in La Paz, Bolivia.

Culture and Travel montage shadow

Culture-related pages:

Travel photos

Religious blogs & sites

Local drama & music

Other Web links


My favorite movies

  1. Casablanca
  2. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  3. Raising Arizona
  4. Fargo
  5. Shawshank Redemption
  6. Field of Dreams
  7. Bull Durham
  8. Fiddler on the Roof
  9. Patton
  10. Bananas
  11. Fort Apache: The Bronx
  12. Broadcast News

February 17, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Another blast of winter

When I returned from South Dakota to Virginia in early January, I apparently brought back the subzero temperatures with me. Two weeks later came the infamous "Polar Vortex" with more snow and more frigidity. Then last Wednesday night and all day Thursday we had a massive snow storm, totalling 15 inches or more in this area. Getting the car shovelled out took two "shifts," but the temperatures climbed on Friday, melting a lot of the snow.

Ford Escape snow-buried

Our Ford Escape was buried in snow. (Feb. 13)

Winter "vacation" photos

Somehow, I didn't get around to doing a blog post about my Christmas-New Years trip to South Dakota. The first couple days it was mild enough for me to hit a few golf balls, but after that the air turned extremely cold, as low as 15 below zero on one night. Some "vacation"! This photo of the Missouri River bridge south of Vermillion is from the day (December 28) that my Dad, my brother John, and I went to Ponca, Nebraska on a bird-watching excursion.

Missouri River bridge at dusk

Missouri River bridge at dusk. (Dec. 28)

See the Winter 2014 photo gallery, which includes photos of O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Minneapolis, and other points along the way.

World languages

Language (millions)
Chinese - Mandarin * 874
Hindi 366
English * 341
Spanish * 322
Bengali 207
Portuguese 176
Russian * 167
Japanese 125
German 100
Korea 78
French * 77

SOURCE: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004

I speak Spanish, some Portuguese, and have dabbled in German, French, Italian, Russian, Catalan, and Quechua.

World religions

Religion (millions)
Christians 2,038
Muslims 1,226
Hindus 828
Chinese folk 389
Buddhists 364
Sikhs 24
Jews 14
Local, other 32
Non-religious 925

SOURCE: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004

I belong to the Episcopal Church and am annoyed at the recent polarization. According to a Theology quiz, I scored as a "Classical Liberal."

Ten Commandments

  1. Worship ONE God only
  2. No graven images
  3. No taking God's name in vain
  4. Keep Sabbath day holy
  5. Honor parents
  6. No stealing
  7. No murder
  8. No adultery
  9. No bearing false witness
  10. No coveting what others have

Seven deadly sins

  1. Pride
  2. Covetousness
  3. Lust
  4. Anger
  5. Gluttony
  6. Envy
  7. Sloth

Proverbs 6: 16-19

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies,
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Romans 12: 17, 21

Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

Serenity Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr was a leading theologian of the mid-20th Century, and often wrote about foreign policy from a "Christian realist" perspective. From

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Sharon Chekroun art ad


NOTE: This section is under construction, and may eventually be moved to a separate page.

My favorite groups

  1. The Eagles (1980, 2008)
  2. Fleetwood Mac
  3. Beatles
  4. Rolling Stones (2005)
  5. The Police (2007)
  6. Ozark Mountain Daredevils (1974)
  7. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
  8. Led Zeppelin
  9. Kansas (1979) (also see Kerry Livgren)
  10. U2

(Years in parentheses denote concerts I have seen, with blog links for concerts in recent years.) I play several songs from each of the above groups on guitar.

The Eagles:
America's greatest rock group

    Top Ten Eagles songs

  1. Hotel California
  2. Take It Easy
  3. Tequila Sunrise
  4. Already Gone
  5. Peaceful, Easy Feeling
  6. Desperado
  7. Long Road Out of Eden
  8. Lyin' Eyes
  9. Certain Kind of Fool
  10. Life In The Fast Lane

It all started in the early 1970s when Glenn Frey, a native of Detroit "Rock City," Michigan, and Don Henley, from Gilmer, a small town in eastern Texas, met in Los Angeles. Jackson Brown, John David Souther, and others collaborated on several of their early hits, as Henley and Frey formed one of the greastest creative musical matches since Lennon and McCartney. The group achieved commercial success and critical acclaim in creating a fusion of country and rock music, defining the "California sound," along with Fleetwood Mac. Their spectacular success in the late 1970s, culminating in "Hotel California," offered hope for humanity in the face of the soulless onslaught of disco music. Tragically, the group broke up in 1981 .

Drummer Don Henley ( was always the more serious conscientious one, a characteristic that became more pronounced after the Eagles split up. He went on to have a prolific solo career, and his song "The Boys Of Summer" was one of the biggest hit singles of the 1980s. He went on to release other studio albums, including The End of the Innocence (1989) and Inside Job (2000).

Guitarist Glenn Frey (see his blog) was the more fun-loving half of the duo. He also had success as a post-Eagles solist, most notably "You Belong to the City." He also appeared in a couple episodes of "Miami Vice."

Bernie Leadon played guitar, banjo, and dobro on the Eagles' early albums, giving the group an authentic country "flavor." Ultimately, the group decided they wanted to go more in the direction of rock, and he was the first band member to leave.

Randy Meisner, from Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, was the original bassist with the group. He too was strongly on the country side of rock, and his unique vocal style stood out on "Certain Kind of Fool" (one of my favorites), "Take It to the Limit" and "Too Many Hands." He left the group in 1977, shortly after Hotel California was released.

Don Felder, a true guitar virtuoso, arrived during the recording of On the Border in 1974, and had a big impact on "Already Gone." He played with the Eagles on their "Hell Freezes Over" reunion tour (1994), but not after that.

The addition of Joe Walsh ( in 1976 made the Eagles a true "super group." He came from the Cleveland-based hard-rock trio The James Gang, replacing Bernie Leadon. His exhuberant attitude added a lot to the group, which played his anthem "Life's Been Good" and other hits.

Timothy B. Schmit ( came from the mellow country-rock group Poco to replace Randy Meisner, whom he had also replaced in Poco. His soft voice added even greater depth to the Eagles' renowned vocal harmonies.

Eagles album covers
Year Album Drums Guitar Bass Guitar Guitar
1972 The Eagles Don Henley Glenn Frey Randy Meisner Bernie Leadon .
1973 Desperado Don Henley Glenn Frey Randy Meisner Bernie Leadon .
1974 On the Border Don Henley Glenn Frey Randy Meisner Bernie Leadon Don Felder
1975 One of These Nights Don Henley Glenn Frey Randy Meisner Bernie Leadon Don Felder
1976 (Their Greatest Hits, 1971-1975) Don Henley Glenn Frey Randy Meisner Bernie Leadon Don Felder
1976 Hotel California Don Henley Glenn Frey Randy Meisner Joe Walsh Don Felder
1979 The Long Run Don Henley Glenn Frey Timothy B. Schmit Joe Walsh Don Felder
1980 Eagles Live Don Henley Glenn Frey Timothy B. Schmit Joe Walsh Don Felder
1982 (Greatest Hits, Volume 2) Don Henley Glenn Frey Timothy B. Schmit Joe Walsh Don Felder
1994 Hell Freezes Over (mostly live) : 1 CD Don Henley Glenn Frey Timothy B. Schmit Joe Walsh Don Felder
2000 (Selected Works, 1972-1999) : 2 CD Don Henley Glenn Frey Timothy B. Schmit Joe Walsh .
2003 (The Very Best Of) : 2 CD Don Henley Glenn Frey Timothy B. Schmit Joe Walsh .
2007 Long Road Out of Eden : 2 CD Don Henley Glenn Frey Timothy B. Schmit Joe Walsh .

NOTES: All band members do vocals, but Henley or Frey usually sing lead. All band members play multiple instruments. Album titles in parentheses are compilations of previously released songs recorded in studios. Albums prior to 1990s were (analog) vinyl LPs.

Latin American folk music

Charango chords This table of charango chords is based on a pamphlet that came with the charango I bought in Cuzco, Peru in March 2004. A charango is a very small ten-stringed instrument with a rounded body, roughly comparable to a ukelele but with a much richer, almost haunting tone. The numbers correspond to, respectively,
the index finger (1),
the middle finger (2),
the ring finger (3), and
the little finger (4).