Monday, March 20, 2017

Biblia Files (part 7) - Follow Me

The Good Shepherd/everystockphoto.com

As I write, we are half-way through Lent.

And below is a video of what it may have been like if Jesus walked the earth during the days some social media. Especially twitter. And hash tags. Such as #jesustweeters.



(reference: https://youtu.be/S-hW680pCLs )  


Follow Him? Where will He take us?

The Good Shepherd only knows. But we have His promise:


When Jesus spoke again to the people,
  
He said,
 
 “I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me
will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.” 
 John 8:12(NIV)


Blessings to all who follow Him
and spread His Word in every wa
y,
including on social media.


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Biblia Files (part 6) - Crowns and Frowns (2015)

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photo: The Good Shepherd/everystockphoto.com


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Timeless Truths (part 7) - Fighting for that Inch

NFL gameball/wikipedia.com

I have a confession....

I'm not a sports fan. Especially of football.

In high school, yes. I played in pep band. Attended most of the games. Rooted for the home team. I knew all the players, the cheerleaders, the mascot, the pep club, and my fellow pep band members.

After high school, life got in the way. And I didn't pay much attention to sports.

But while on vacation, going south to the warmer climes, we rendezvoused with friend, who was a sports fan.  In the lounge of the motel room we hunkered down to watch the game:

Super Bowl LI

Patriots vs. Falcons

I enjoy the Super Bowl ads. Usually watch them over and over again on YouTube.  I wondered what Lady Gaga would do for half-time. And she did not disappoint her audience.

First half of the game, the Patriots were getting slaughtered. It looked like it was over.

During half-time, I wondered what was being said the locker room.  All the Falcons had to do was to run out the clock.The Patriots? I thought of Al Pacino's inspirational speech in  Any Given Sunday (1999).

Fighting for that inch.

(caution: language)


Maybe the Patriots heard a speech like that. 

In the last half of game, a miracle happened. The biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. The game went into over-time. Never happened before.
 
The instant playbacks showed the players catching the ball within a inch of the ground, staying in-bounds by that inch, making the goal by an inch.

  
It was the inches that won the game. A real-time drama that was stranger than fiction. 

Other words....
  
The Best Game Ever!
  
 An inspiration to never give up. And fight for those inches. Even if it's never been done before.

That game was a great life lesson. Even made a football fan out of me. And that was a miracle.

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Timeless Truths (part 6) - Magna Carta - 800 years and still going strong (2015)


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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

America's Story (part 21) - Is America Great?

Reagan 80/Wikipedia.com
Make America Great Again

That slogan can be read that America is no longer great. But we want to be. Again.

And that was Donald Trump's slogan in the 2016 presidential campaign. And it was used before. In 1980. By Ronald Reagan. As shown on the button above.

Both campaigns were decades apart. But in some ways very similar. Both were successful. Both candidates won the White House.

The zeitgeist (spirit of the times), was pessimistic. Angry. Dispirited. As many Americans perceived their country was in a downward spin into the dustbin of history.

In 1980:  We suffered a malaise from stagflation to the Iran Hostage Crisis.

In 2016:  A majority (up 70% to 80%, at times) believed the country was going in the wrong direction.Direction of Country polling ]

And during this zeitgeist, I remember getting email from a friend in 2012.  It contained video link, described as  The Most Honest Three and Half Minutes of Television

It still has been making the rounds in social media. And it comes to this conclusion...

America is not the greatest country in the world anymore

Oh, no. Not this again.

That case was made on the TV series, The Newsroom (2012-2014).

It begins, first of all, with the reporter, Jeff Daniel's character Will McAvoy establishing himself as a non-partisan journalist. Objective. Unbiased. A man we can trust. At least in this fictional world.

When asked why America is the greatest country in the world (after hearing the cliche answers of his colleagues), he hesitates.  Reluctant to answer. But he has a cheerleader in the crowd encouraging him with flash cards.

And the drama builds. The answer is finally dragged out of him. Like pulling teeth. It's torture. He finally admits it:

America is not the greatest country in the world. 

Then he peppers the audience with a bucket load of statistics to support this claim. Looking sad and even mourning his dismal conclusion. Yet offering a pearl of wisdom that recognizing the problem is the first step to solving it.

Here is the clip that had many of us (myself included) wringing our hands. Warning, some profanity:


Yep. Four years ago, I bought into this brutal honesty. Hook. Line. And sinker. I even blogged about it: AI (part 1) - American Ingenuity 

Here are some points I made in that 2012 post:

The anchor seems to mourn for what we Americans used to be. And here are a few nibbles -

We stood up for what was right ... we reached for the stars ... acted like men ... we aspired to intelligence ... we didn't scare so easy ...

He ends his rant ...

First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. ... Enough?

Then I heard a rebuttal to that scripted rant worth considering.

It's described as: A thorough slap down and rebuttal to Jeff Daniels' viral anti-America Newsroom scene, in which he claims that America is not the greatest country in the world.


Hmmm. Some fact checking here.

Other countries with freedom? Saying other countries have freedom, does not make it so. Not when speech, religion, self-defense, moving between the classes, access to education, opportunity is curtailed or defined by the state.

Statistics? Easy to lie with statistics. Mislead. Compare apples to oranges.

But with freedom comes responsibility. In absence of an overbearing "Nanny State" comes the freedom to make wrong choices. And that has consequences, which are not good. And are reflected in some statistics that point that we can do better.

It comes down to: Freedom vs. Tyranny. And I blogged about that in 2014: Too Weak to Live With Freedom?

Freedom wins. Because it's right.

And...

Is America is great?

You bet. As long as we are free.

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Other posts in this series:



America's Story (part 19) - Trinity and "The Long Peace"  (2015)

America's Story (part 20) - Patton's Weather Prayer (2015)

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Nostalgia (part 7) - Calendar Girl

Julie London - Calendar Girl LP

Nostalgia

It used to be considered a malady. Painful homecoming. But also a yearning for the past that can bring joy. It can be a foreshadow of revolution. Or merely be an anchor to the familiarity of the past.
[ reference: Oxford dictionary; encyclopedia.com ]

But most of us may have felt the emotion as we grow older and look back. Especially around the Holidays.

Why do we experience nostalgia? 

The philosophy video below offers some thoughts:


And New Years Eve most often evokes feelings of Nostalgia.

Reviewing the previous year. As well as looking forward to the coming year. Exploring the future with a few familiar faces. Or familiar music. Like the Golden Oldies.

For example, ....

Looking back from 1960 to the coming months of 2017.

Let this Neil Sedaka hit from 1960 be the launching pad for Calendar Girl with classical figures for every month of the year:

January .... February .... March ... April ... May .... June ... Jul y ... August ... September ... October ... November ... December




The calendar flips through each month to the New Year. To start over again.

Nostalgia. 

Time marches on. The old, the Oldies, greets the new ...

The New Year 
- 2017 - 
and every day of the year!

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Photo: from everystockphoto.com - Julie London - Calendar Girl LP

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cats (part 2) - Christmas and Cats

Cat-XmasTree/everystockphoto.com

Cats love trees. 

But when cats discover Christmas trees and all that goes with it? Often, chaos and laughs ensure....


Until you shake the kitty crunchies.

But it's not all about the treats.

Now onto the deeper meaning of Christmas...from a cat's perspective. With all the seriousness of  a Charles Dickens Christmas Carol.

Again, this cool tuxedo cat, Henri, stars in this existential short film,


The Worst Noel.



But not all our furry friends are down on the holiday. And it's not just about the treats.

So from the cats around the internet...



We Wish You A Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year! 

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Previous post in the series:

Cats (part 1) - Halloween and Cats (2016)

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photo: Cat-XmasTree/everystockphoto.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Patriots (part 4) - Pearl Harbor - 75 years ago

USS Arizona/wikipeida.com
75 years ago...

Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

So began President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech to a joint session of congress, asking for a declaration of war, the day of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
[reference: Pearl Harbor Speech: Day of Infamy ]

And below is a scene from the the movie, aptly titled, Pearl Harbor (2001) :




So began the United States involvement in World War Two on the fronts: the Atlantic and the Pacific.
[reference: World War Two ]

FDR's speech expresses America's will to triumph grounded in faith of God's help as well as faith in the military and we, the people.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

The scene below shows the determination of FDR following Pearl Harbor and his push for a plan to strike back at the heart of Japan:



That plan came to fruition in April of 1942 as the Doolittle Raid. It was led by Jimmy Doolittle, which became known as Thirty Seconds over Tokyo.  The attack was a psychological blow for the Japanese.
[reference: Jimmy H. Doolittle ]

And three years later came total victory over Japan, known as V.J. Day. And the moment was captured in this iconic picture:

Kissing the War Good-bye/wikipedia.com

But 75 years ago, FDR and the  men and women who served, home and abroad, were determined to win and prevailed during those dark days.

They all were patriots.

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Previous posts in series:

Patriots (part 1) - Taps (2016)

Patriots (part 2) - D-Day Courage  (2016)

Patriots (part 3) - Signers of the Declaration (2016)


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photos: USS Arizona/wikipeida.com
             Kissing the War Good-bye/wikipedia.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pop Culture (part 3) - It's Gonna Be All Right

John Lennon/everystockphoto.com

Angry men! 

That could sum up the White Working Class during the 2016 election cycle.

And the Harvard Business Review has an excellent article about this constituency that felt disenfranchised for years:

What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class (November 10, 2016)

And in the spirit of the age, some have felt drawn to this popular song from the musical, Les Miserables (2012).

A song of angry men


Based on the Victor Hugo novel, the setting for the musical is during troubling times in France.

1789–1832

The novel spanned the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the rise and fall of Napoleon, the Bourbon Restoration, to the July Monarchy. [ reference: France in the Long Nineteenth Century ]

And during the July Monarchy, the workers revolted against their abysmal conditions.  The scene in the video clip above reflects this protest.

Then in...

2016

This theme was picked up by some Trump supporters. Especially, after half of his supporters were described as a basket of deplorables:  Les Deplorables (September 16, 2016)

America has known turbulent times.  Just look back to the last century ...

The 1960s 

The unpopular Vietnam War sparked many protests and riots. The decade witnessed the assassination of many leaders: President John F Kennedy (1963), civil rights leader the Reverend Martin Luther King (1968), presidential candidate Senator Robert F Kennedy (1968). [ reference: America's Best Timeline (1960 - 1969 ) ]

Angry men...angry peoples... Even a call for....

Revolution?

And the Beatles, one of the icons of the era, had their take on the angry men of the time. It was even called  Revolution (1968) .

They put out this song answering the question about the Vietnam War. All the protests. All the riots. And their response in the lyrics is a surprising call for reason.

Let's take a closer look at them.




The entire lyrics can be found here: Beatles - Revolution Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Here's my comments on some of the meanings of the words.

* Point 1

You say you want a revolution
...
You tell me that it's evolution
...
We all want to change the world

 Revolution and evolution can be a good thing.
(Something we've heard a lot about in the past few election cycles.)
Hope and Change
Good intentions, right? 
Change the world for the better

* Counter Point 1

But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
....

Violent protests, riots, vandalism, looting?
Allegedly sparked by grievances, real or imagined.
Especially when a group doesn't get their way ...
Like an election?

Destruction? 
Count me out!


* Point 2

You say you got a real solution
...
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
...
We're doing what we can

Of course, we want solutions to our vexing problems.
Social, economic, judicial, educational,...you name it.

What's the plan? 
How do we fix it?
Of course it will take effort, time, and money.
We'll do what we can.

* Counter Point 2

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
...

Hate is not the answer.
So often those who protest against hate 
seem to be the most hateful, don't you think?

It's calling out all the poverty pimps, fakers, charlatans
shaking us down for money 
Those who came to do good 
and did very well (for themselves) indeed.

* Point 3

You say you'll change the constitution
...
We all want to change your head

Yes, there's been a call to change the rules.
For example, abolishing the Electoral College, 
requiring an amendment to our Constitution.

And changing minds in the body politic.

* Counter Point 3

You tell me it's the institution
...
You better free you mind instead

Some claim our institutions are broken
Infected with white privilege.
The opposition is labeled as
 racist, homo-phobic, sexist...

yada, yada, yada

Those preaching tolerance
lecture those who disagree

Consider freeing your mind instead.

Like being truly open minded yourself.

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow

Chairman Mao was China's dictator in the 1960s.
He brought about the Cultural Revolution 
as well as the deaths millions of his own people.
[ reference: Mao Tse-Tung ]

Oppression, suppression, death...
No, not this.

* Conclusion

Don't you know it's gonna be
All right...

In spite of all the turmoil, heated rhetoric, protests...
There's an optimism in these lyrics.

Even a faith expressed in a Higher Power.

After this election and the comings years...

It's Gonna Be All Right.

Yes,

It's Gonna Be All Right!


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photo: John Lennon/everystockphoto.com