Dec 24 2013

Where do I find Christmas?

Category: Christmas,Uncategorizedamuzikman @ 10:46 am

As a musician I do a lot of performing during the holiday season. Many churches put on various Christmas cantatas, concerts with choir and orchestra, dramatic presentations, etc. and there are numerous civic holiday programs to be found in schools, auditoriums, and performing arts centers. In fact, in LA you can find several major Christmas music events on any given day or night. Almost all of the programs are excellent, and they draw large audiences.

I have performed in hundreds of such events during the span of my career and I suppose the sheer number of them have somewhat numbed me to their significance. I’m also not there as an audience member, I am there to work, and I do appreciate the bump in my income the Christmas season provides.  But regardless of my role I have long since ceased to find Christmas at such events.

Last night a few friends and I played some Christmas carols at the home of a good friend, also a musician, who is battling cancer.  We played about 20 minutes for he and his wife, along with a few neighbors who heard the music and wandered out.

My friend, also a trombone player, is facing a major cancer-related surgery. It may very well be that after the surgery he will not be able to play again. The tears in his eyes and the crack in his voice as he thanked us were all the evidence I needed that playing a few carols on his cold, dark driveway meant more to him than all the concerts and all the Christmas pageants combined.

Christmas found!

Merry Christmas to all

Sep 17 2012

Remembering Jennifer

Category: Beauty,family,friendship,God,love,UncategorizedMrs. Miner @ 10:54 pm

This was first posted in September of 2009, shortly after the passing of Jennifer Tinker, my student.  On this anniversary of her passing, this seems a good time to remember her beautiful life.  Here’s the original post:


When I walked into Jennifer’s hospital room, I was initially surprised at the number of people present.  The pediatric intensive care unit doesn’t usually allow more than a few visitors at a time. The hospital staff was letting us say goodbye.

Peggy and I hugged.  There are no words for a mother at a time like this.  Then we both turned to Jennifer.  She was unconscious, breathing like my father had breathed during his last twenty four hours.  I noted the display of her vitals, grim confirmation of the obvious.  Family members were present that I had not yet met.  Introductions were made, and I sat down with silent prayers of support for a family in indescribable pain.

Conversations would start and stop.  Grandma softly sang hymns while stroking Jenny’s face.  Big sister Sarah leaned from her chair and partly lay across Jennifer.  (Maybe, if she could just hold tightly enough…)  Jennifer would occasionally open her eyes, look around briefly, then go back to sleep.  I was told that she had roused earlier in the day, alert enough to demand the remote control for the TV.  Hey, Tom and Jerry rocks.

Jennifer was born with a rare genetic disorder which resulted in a host of problems, including legal blindness, skeletal anomalies, learning difficulties and pulmonary hypertension, a fatal disorder of the heart and lungs.   She attended public school for a time, but became too frail to continue.  Our school district contacted me and asked if I would be interested in teaching Jennifer in her home.  After meeting with Jennifer and her mother, I gladly accepted the position.

Jennifer’s house was modest.  She had three sisters still living at home, and they all shared one bedroom.  There was no father.  Peggy, fiercely devoted to her children, seemed undaunted by her many challenges, drawing strength from extended family, church, and her Lord.  Jennifer was surrounded in love by a family that had truly learned to treasure what’s important in this life.

I quickly grew accustomed to her oxygen tank and was even able to avoid stepping on the tubing that accompanied Jennifer everywhere she went.  After a little more time, I nearly stopped seeing them altogether.  Jennifer was just … Jennifer.  Fourteen years old when I met her, she only weighed about sixty pounds, but she had a big attitude.  She was assertive, even stubborn, and her family and I would have it no other way.

Sweet Pea, one of two tiny canine family members, merely tolerated my presence, but she and Jennifer adored one another.  When Jennifer was feeling worse than usual, Sweet Pea would hop into her lap, seeming to comfort both of them.  In turn, Jennifer took excellent care of her dogs, leaping to their defense when I threatened one or both of the creatures with barbecue sauce.

Jennifer and I worked out of a small room Peggy had set up for that purpose.  This room was Jennifer’s domain, and she took great pride in her school work and in keeping her materials organized.  It never ceased to amaze and sometimes shame me that Jennifer accepted her many limitations without complaint. She was determined to find the good in all situations and never missed an opportunity to laugh.  Once, we read through The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  When I asked what the troll had in mind for the goats, Jennifer gleefully replied, “He wants to eat them!”  She licked her lips. Then she giggled.  Oh, that giggle…  It filled the room and made you laugh right along.

Jennifer was generous.  Sometimes I arrived at her home to find a brownie or some other example of her growing culinary skills waiting for me.  When my son had surgery, she sent him a homemade get-well card.  This required Jennifer to hold her face about three inches from the paper while she worked on the greeting.  She certainly wasn’t going to let a small annoyance like legal blindness stop her from encouraging another.

Jennifer’s life was worth living, and she lived it well.  I’ve heard some say she is “resting in peace,” but I see her running for the first time.  Running, running, running… into her Father’s arms.

Jennifer Monique Tinker

January 10, 1994-September 17, 2009


After Jennifer’s passing, Harmonicminer of these parts composed a choral composition in memory of her.  Here’s a link and a description.   With some luck, we’ll be able to post a recording soon.


Sep 10 2012

Unbelievable kid pianist

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 10:02 pm

Sep 03 2012

The video you didn’t see in Primetime coverage

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 3:46 pm

Aug 24 2012

That Chicago Gun Control Is Really Working

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:53 am

13 shot in 30 minutes in rising Chicago violence

Police say 13 people were shot and wounded in a 30-minute spate of violence in Chicago, including eight gunned down on a single street. Authorities have been battling an increase in homicides in the city where some aldermen complain gangs have no fear of the police. Police say a drive-by shooting on Chicago’s South Side late Thursday wounded seven men and one woman ranging in age from 14 to 20 years. Two of the victims were taken to Comer Children’s Hospital. Most are in stable condition. Police say the 19-year-old woman wounded was shot in the arm while walking to work. Five people were wounded in three other shootings around the same time. Police say 19 people were shot in Chicago on Thursday night and early Friday.

Jul 30 2012

An undeniable success in a difficult situation

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 11:04 pm

Jul 30 2012

Irony Alert

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:03 pm

President Obama related to country’s first enslaved man | The Lookout – Yahoo! News

A study from has determined that President Obama is related to John Punch, the first black African enslaved for life in America–which would make Punch the 11th great-grandfather of Obama. The connection is made through Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunhan. The website’s records say she had ancestors who were white landowners in Colonial Virginia who descended from an African man, Punch. According to the site’s press release, Punch tried to escape indentured servitude in colonial Virginia in 1640 and was punished by becoming enslaved for life. The records show that Punch had children with a white woman, and her status as free was passed on to her offspring. Punch’s descendents became successful landowners in the slave-owning state of Virginia.

Got that? Obama may be related to the first slave in the USA by way of his white mother.

May 07 2012

The Left at Christian Universities, Part 20: We’ve been here before

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 3:57 pm

The previous post in this series is here.

Catholic Georgetown University Fully Embracing Pro-Abortion Kathleen Sebelius – Katie Pavlich

You just can’t make this stuff up. Georgetown University, a Catholic institution, has invited pro-abortion and ObamaCare contraception mandate architect Kathleen Sebelius to speak at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute commencement ceremony. Sebelius, head of Health and Human Services, is the same woman who took the advice of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards over Supreme Court precedent when it game to crafting and placing a contraception coverage mandate into ObamaCare. In case you need a reminder, Georgetown is the Catholic university at the center of the contraception mandate controversy which started when 30-year-old feminist activist Sandra Fluke told a Congressional panel birth control was just too expensive and therefore should be paid for and covered by someone else. In other words, Sebelius and Fluke are part of the gang leading the attack on religious freedom and the First Amendment under the guise of “women’s health,” yet Georgetown is fully embracing her.

More at the link above.  But we’ve been here before.

Mar 24 2012

Can anything good come out of Eloy? Apparently so

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 4:54 pm

When I was a senior in high school, I lived in Eloy, Arizona. There was absolutely nothing happening in Eloy. The town’s idea of 4th of July parade was two or three horses and a guy blowing his trumpet out a pickup truck window as he followed the horses.


So, something exciting is finally happening in Eloy!

The biggest paper airplane I’ve ever heard of….


It looks just a little like the SuperSonicTransport, otherwise known as the SST, that doesn’t fly anymore….

Mar 16 2012

I wish this man had run for president

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 5:42 pm

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