Friday, June 28, 2013

Blackhawks Celebration Day in Chicago

Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people have gathered in downtown Chicago for a rally celebrating the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team's Stanley Cup victory. Every Chicago television station is hosting live coverage, and all of Chicago is proud and happy. It is a joyous day for Chicago, and it's possible that this is the largest crowd gathered in all of Chicago history.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

North Shore Chamber Music Festival a Great Treat

Tonight I was lucky enough to attend the second night of the North Shore Chamber Music Festival which runs through tomorrow, Saturday, June 8, 2013 at the Village Presbyterian Church at 1300 N. Shermer in Northbrook, Illinois. This is a stunning festival, featuring seasoned musicians who have won major performance prizes, have appeared with symphonies around the word, teach at highly regarded music schools, and have amassed a large discography.  Tonight’s program featured Shubert’s “The Trout,” as well as the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings by Carl Maria Von Weber, and a very short Adagio by Arvo Part, all of which were received very  enthusiastically by the audience.

Tomorrow night’s offering, which starts at 7:30 pm, includes Romanian Folk Dances by Bela Bartok, a selection of Jazz Piano solos in a tribute to Oscar Peterson, and Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor. At 6:00 pm, a number of young Chicago performers will present a pre-concert musical program. While the concert will be broadcast on WFMT-FM (98.7), if you are anywhere in the area you really should go in person. I bought tonight’s ticket shortly before the concert, and there were plenty of seats left for tomorrow. While the seats near the front have been sold out, there were plenty of seats left in the balcony. At a price of only $15, it is a bargain, indeed.

Kudos are in order to Vadim Gluzman, the Festival’s Artistic Director, and Angela Yoffe, the Executive Director, for putting together a very ambitious and successful festival.  It is always a treat to be able to hear world class musicians, and when it is possible to hear them in a convenient suburban location, it is a very happy occasion. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Arisen! Happy Easter to You!


I hope you have a blessed Easter! Here is Jesus with his the Resurrection banner looking a lot like he arose somewhere in Italy.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cold Palm Sunday this Year


Easter is early this year, and Holy Week begins with a very cold Palm Sunday.The only signs of Spring to be seen are a few bulbs pushing through the soil to the height of about 3 inches. There is a chance of snow. The picture above, from the European tradition shows that a cold Palm Sunday isn't anything new. Almost everyone is wearing cloaks and hats. We are lucky that the sun has been shining in Wilmette. In Europe, Kiev has received 20" of snow, and the UK is feeling the effects of snow and bad weather.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Third Day of Christmas to You!


On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partride in a pear tree.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Second Day of Christmas


On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves and a partride in a pear tree.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy First Day of Christmas to You!


On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving: Nearly 400 Years of American Orderly Government


Happy Thanksgiving! Pictured above is a copy of the Mayflower Compact (the original is missing), a document forming a type of government entered into by the men who arrived on the Mayflower in Plymouth, Massachusetts in November, 1620, who came to be known as our Pilgrim Fathers. I thought it would be good to post since this Thanksgiving is just after our elections. The Mayflower Compact reminds us that our country has sought to implement orderly government for nearly 400 years. That is something for which to be very thankful.

 There is a lot of bad information out there about America's early New England settlers and their times, one of which is that there was no differentiation between church and state, But have a look for yourself. The Mayflower Compact is a very secular document, and while it acknowledges God, it forms "a civic body politic," not a church.

I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving, free from conflict resulting from the recent election season.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Vote Romney - Ryan!

Time for Hope and Change to change to hope. Vote Romney. God Bless America!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Elections: Thoughts on Who to Choose

Long-time readers of this blog likely know that we believe in freedom of con- science, and that we hold no ill will toward anyone whose world-view does not include religious sentiment. If that describes you, please feel free to move along the information highway; this post isn't for you. I have no interest in changing your mind or arguing. But if you are a person of faith, its worth your time to read the letter written by the  Bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin.  In his letter, Bishop Ricken addresses why Christians should choose political candidates whose views are consistent with Christian principles. While the letter is brief, it is interesting and food for thought.

Since I'm not a Catholic, I've posted some earlier advice on voting from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tim Wolfe Endorsed by Chicago Tribune over Incumbent Jan Schakowsky in Illinois 9th Congressional District


Tim Wolfe Endorsed by Chicago Tribune
In a surprise endorsement, the Chicago Tribune is backing Tim Wolfe, Arlington Heights candidate for the Illinois 9th Congressional District. In particular, the Tribune noted that fierce partisans, such as Wolfe's opponent Jan Schakowky, will have to admit that both political parties have something to offer in Washington, D. C. in order to solve problems. The Tribune also noted that Washington could use a dose of the fiscal restraint that Wolfe offers.

In strong contrast to Schakowsky, Wolfe is a strong proponent for reducing the national debt and reducing reliance on the federal government.

Born in Bloomington, Illinois, Tim has been living in Arlington Heights for the past 30 years.  Tim has both a degree in Business Administration from Illinois Wesleyan University and a degree in Accounting from Illinois State University, as well as a CPA and a CFP. Tim's knowledge of business is not merely theoretical, he has had his own tax and accounting practice for the past 20 years.

Tim has been running a strong campaign, and has been appearing on a regular basis throughout the district which he seeks to represent. On  the Tim Wolfe for Congress website, you can find a number of events where you will have the opportunity to meet and chat with this outstanding candidate, as well as learning more about his view on government.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Code Pink Back to Pakistan

From time to time we've blogged about the good effect of peaceful demonstrations rather than violent protests in countries that show interest in instituting a democratic system. Code Pink--a US-based political street theatre group that supports any number of leftist causes, but understands how peaceful protests work--has now dispatched itself to Pakistan to join an anti-drone protest. Generally speaking, Code Pink is annoying, but they are very well situated to teach protest to people who still characterize a rock-throwing rally as "peaceful." Last time Code Pink went to Pakistan, about the time President Musharraf left office, the Pakistani government tossed them out on their ears. But before they left, they taught many just how protesting is done. We should be glad that they are taking another go in a country that is both violent and dangerous.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11, Again

Eleven years since 9/11, and little has been solved. The US military slogs across the vast wasteland of Afghanistan with unknown effect. Security concerns for flying in airplanes means every passenger is now tainted by the the new Original Sin. The families of the victims of 9/11 still are without their loved ones, and I pay tribute to Michael Grady Jacobs and Carl Molinaro.

Monday, September 10, 2012

OMG: Chicago Teacher's Strike Leads to Prayer While Children Present

The picture, above, picturing a number of pastors praying with school childen, is from a fabulous group of pictures of the Chicago Teachers' Strike at the Chicago Tribune website.  I think it a great idea that every student has been assigned to a "safe haven" where they can go (since schools are closed due to the strike) if they can't stay at home during the day.  Of course, when you have to find plenty of spots where children can be cared for (they can't be taught, because that is against the law in Illinois for anyone other than a certified teacher), its not surprising that several churches ended up in the mix, since so many are well equipped with spaces where people can gather.

This church, the Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago, might not be an official Chicago Public School gathering spot. Let's hope not; as we all know from the media, involving children in school-based prayer could be very, very dangerous. Maybe the danger is less if they are not being taught. Whatever the case may be, I imagine these children had a very nice day and hopefully learned something valuable that can't be taught at school.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Great Comment on Health Care Law

Thanks to OW for sending me this via email!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Hot Fourth of July in Wilmette

Happy Fourth of July. Stay cool! With temperatures close to 100 degrees, maybe stay inside. Wilmette's firework's last night  took quite a bit of energy to attend it was so hot out. Today I opted for going to the Winnetka 4th of July Parade. It was too hot to take a camera. It was a very big parade for Winnetka, so that was pretty exciting. I did come home and change to drier clothes. Napping might be the best activity this year. While I am not having a BBQ this year, that's a good thing; putting more heat into the atmosphere would be overdoing it. If you are planning to have guests, maybe make a huge container of iced tea and put some blankets on the lawn. Sitting up seems like a lot of work.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Enjoying Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee Over the Internet

This weekend marks a very special event in Great Britain, a fabulous boat parade in honor of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee travelling down the Thames River in London.  I am suffering a little, wishing I was there enjoying the national celebration.  I suppose that if I had planned a little better,  I could be enjoying myself  in the rain on the riverbank, dressed in a parka and holding my umbrella. And perhaps going to one of the many public parties for a slice of Jubilee Cake.

"Let them eat cake" seems to be one of the major themes of the holiday weekend, although no one has exactly put it into those words.Citizens have baking up thousands of Jubilee Cakes, each one more exiciting looking  than the next, one of which is pictured below.

As it is, I am reduced to viewing this exciting event on my my very lousy and stuttering AT&;T Internet connection, but the happiness and excitement of the day cannot be missed.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Anti NATO People in Chicago

Anti NATO Protesters, and then some
On Friday, many of the citizens of Wilmette worked from home instead of going downtown to work, and they will be doing the same again on Monday. There are very few eyewitness reports from family, friends, and neighbors about the anti-NATO protesters because not many people from Wilmette have been downtown. There is plenty of video at the websites of local news outlets, however, and links from Twitter to photos and videos. If  one thing is clear, many protesters are actively seeking confrontation with the police.

Many protesters seem to be screaming at the police at the top of their lungs that "We are peaceful protesters," which must be very tiring for everyone.  There are reports of the tires of one police van being slashed, and police bikes knocked down. There are many videos of a protester in front of a police van, and it isn't clear whether he was in front of the van when it started moving or whether he was seeking confrontation and placed himself in front of it. There seems to be a sense of general outrage among the protesters that anyone has been detained or arrested.

Today there was a big photo op at Grant Park at 9 AM. At 10:30 there will be a rally, followed by a march toward McCormick Place, where the NATO Summit is being held.  At the Rally, the Uzbeki's will be out protesting their government, and lots of people will be protesting the closure of Chicago Health Clinics and Foreclosures. It appears the public gatherings are a sort of shopping mall of grievances; if you have one, there's still time to head to Grant Park with a sign.  Its a great day as far as the weather goes, although it could get a little hot.

On Friday, the police were practically handing out water bottles they were so friendly.  Last night this declined into some confrontations as protesters grew more angry, more vocal, and more physical. What will happen today is completely unknown.

 Twitter, at the #noNATO hashtag, provides some interesting reading, and some is quite poetic. I've put together a few into a brief poem:

Welcome, Nato, to Chicago's police state
"The Police do NOT serve We the People
 - they are paramilitary enforcers of the Elites that have been trained to enslave us all.
Visiting Rahm's house, police violence, your humble hosts almost arrested.

May 20, 2012 will be written about in the history books.
Where will you be today while history is being made?
Welcome to Chicago, delegates, where police pull guns on journalists
And search the places where they sleep.

Enjoy your stay!
Confirm your primary sources before spreading info. Keep the misinform low.
The time will come when our silence will be more powerful
Than the voices you strangle today.

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Christ is Risen Indeed!

Christ is risen Indeed! The celebration of the most joyous day of the Christian calendar begins with these words at worship services throughout the world. Jesus has overcome death, and on the picture to the right painted by Flemish painter Gerard Seghers at about the time the Pilgrims came to America, Jesus holds his resurrection banner aloft, looking quite European.

We have been looking at what Chistians believe and statements of faith for the past few days of Holy Week. The following statement of faith is often used in Congregational and UCC churches:

Statement of Faith

We believe in God the Father, infinite in wisdom, goodness and love, and in Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord and Savior, who for us and our salvation lived, died, and rose again and lives evermore; and in the Holy Spirit who takes the things of Christ and reveals them to us, renewing, comforting, and inspiring the souls of men.

We are united in striving to know the will of God as taught in the Holy Scriptures and in our purpose to walk in the ways of the Lord made known or to be made known to us. We hold it to be the mission of the Church of Christ to proclaim the gospel to all mankind, exalting the worship of the one true God and laboring for the progress of knowledge, the promotion of justice, the reign of peace, and the realization of human brotherhood. Depending as our fathers did, upon the continued guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth, we work and pray for the transformation of the world into the Kingdom of God; and we look with faith for the triumph of righteousness and the life everlasting.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday: A Sad and Solemn Day for Christians

Good Friday. The saddest and most solemn day in Christendom. It is only in the past few years in the United States that commerce has not stopped completely on this day, its official commemoration ruled as  an illegal linkage between church and state. In this painting, the unknown Hungarian painter has made the scene of Jesus' crucifixion look a great deal like 1476 Hungary. Note the castles in the background of the picture and the pointed shoes on the men to the right of the cross.

For over 2,000 years, Christians worldwide have been united in their faith. (Well, that may greatly overstate the unity, as Europe was overrun with religious wars for quite a while, and even America was begun through religious backlash.) Generally speaking, most Christians agree on great principles of the religion.   The Nicene Creed, over 1,00 years older than the painting is one summary:

Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The picture above is from the vast collection of important paintings at the Web Gallery of Art, a virtual museum, which also features a mobile application for viewing its contents from your cell phone.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Maundy Thursday: Jesus Washes the Feet of the Disciples

It's Holy Week, and today, Maundy Thursday, commemerates  Jesus washing the feet of his disciples (The Apostles), an act of humility. It is also a day linked to the Apostles Creed. an ancient statement of the Christian faith attributed to the disciples of Jesus.

Apostles Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord:
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,[31]
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The picture of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples is from the website of the Holy Transfiguration Skete, a Catholic Monastery of the Byzantine rite, in Eagle Harbor, Michigan, who strive to work for the upbuilding of God's Kingdom through the arts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obama Then and Now: Supreme Court Hears Health Care Argument

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Most Beautiful March

How beautiful is it out there? This picture was snapped this morning (by one of our younger family members), and if you haven't driven around your neighborhood, make sure you hop into the car and go for a ride. All the white blossomed trees are in bloom and they look fantastic!

After church I decided I should get some pansies (which Treasure Island seems to have) but headed over Menards because I thought they would have more. Actually, they have none, but I did get some very nice hanging baskets with Petunias and other flowers that were only $8.88 each. There weren't too many, though. Nevertheless, the store was stuffed with people on this beautiful day. "For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

Monday, March 12, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Week is Here!

St. Patrick in stained glass
It's the Week of Weeks here in Chicago, that being the week of St. Patrick's Day, where every citizen who chooses can be Irish for a day. Well maybe that is Irish for a week, due the number of corned beef and cabbage celebrations that will be held in addition to the famous Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade, hosted by the Plumber's Union. I personally have 3 St. Patrick's Day dinners on the schedule, and that may be enough.

St. Patrick, while a Chicago favorite is, of course, the Patron Saint of Ireland, the holy man who Christianized the Emerald Isle, theoretically using the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. Today, Chicago Irish (honorary and actual) honor him with parades, religious services, corned beef dinners, and, by many young people, by becoming rip-roaring drunk. While I don't really know how intoxication is religious, perhaps it goes back to the Pagan days. Whatever. Who am I anyway to question such a long-standing tradition?

I hope you're not skipping the St. Patrick's celebration because your roots are far from Old Ireland. St. Pat's is a jolly holiday and fun for all.  So get out your green clothes and necklaces and hats, and get ready for a week of fun!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Food Police: New worshippers of Ba'al


I certainly hope you are prepared to battle the evil food police, whose latest handiwork is seen above in a letter to a parent from the child's school. (double click for easy reading) The food involved was a perfectly healthy lunch from home replaced by inferior cafeteria food. (I don't think replacing lunch meat with chicken nuggets improves anything.)  Did this seriously happen in North Carolina? The answer is yes. Has this country lost its mind? Possibly. Just this week, the TV nightly news featured Michelle Obama surprising tourists at the White House with an appearance, advising them to "eat your vegetables." Sort of makes you nostalgic for "Have a nice day!" or "Hope you are enjoying your tour."

One commenter has decided that Liberalism (which is now making healthy eating one of its political goals) is directly descended from the Biblically prohibited worship of Ba'al, and I am beginning to think there is some truth to that. Before you write me off as a total nutter, do see what they have to say.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Here's Hoping Your Valentine's Day is Great!

I've been celebrating Valentine's Day ever since Sunday, when we enjoyed our family Valentine's Day Party. This year, rather than going out to eat, I decided I would get  a very nice take-out pizza with a salad. Delicious and easy! Then one of our younger family members said that pizza was a dietary problem, so I had to cook. I made chicken and potatoes and stir-fry vegetables, an arugula salad and biscuits, and cheesecake for desert. While I think I would have preferred pizza, dinner was very tasty! One of our younger family members sick with a cold and had to skip dinner, but we had  a  good time anyway. I am sure the champagne helped, but even our teetotaling family members were perfectly happy!

Today I will be taking some candy for work. I wonder if anyone else will bring treats?  I hope so!

Some people think Valentine's Day is just for sweethearts, then fall into a total funk if they don't have one, How silly is that? I remember how fun Valentine's Day was as a child. We gave valentines and had treats both  at school and at home. We didn't get flowers or jewelry and certainly didn't miss it.  So, even if you have dinner plans with your Valentine, don't forget to take something to work to share with your friends (and non-friends) as the case may be. Some may be in a terrible mood due to their love life, and cheering them up will make everybody's day a happier one!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day - Predictions and Pancakes

Don't put away your sweaters yet! The most famous ground- hog of all, Punx- sutawney Phil, has seen his shadow and would have us believe that we can look forward to six more weeks of winter. Phil is so famous he has his own website, which is currently struggling a bit under strong demand for the wealth of groundhog information posted there, including free ecards.

Up in Canada, Ontario's Wiarton Willie and Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam are disagreeing with Phil, as is Staten Island Chuck, who hobnobbed with Mayor Bloomberg earlier this morning. Illinois' own Woodstock Willie would have you know Phil's weather prediction is just plain wrong, and Atlanta's General Beauregard Lee (who announced his prediction via Twitter and live stream at 8:03) is also sure winter is over.

What I think is most interesting about Groundhog Day (which I think used to be known as Groundhog's Day), is that it a secular overlay on the pre-Reformation Christian holiday of Candlemas, which most people only know in the context of obscure Christmas carols. It also marks the halfway point between the winter and spring equinox.

Groundhog Day itself was first brought to the USA in Pennsylvania (where Punxsutawny Phil lives) by German settlers, who, as many Europeans,  had observed the behavior of  the hedgehog in their native country for a prediction about spring. It's said that the French celebrate Candlemas by cooking crepes and pancakes, which seems a good excuse for a dinner tonight that's both tasty and easy!

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snowy Weekend in Chicago.

Sorry I haven't had too much to say lately. Christmas was good, and the new year, too. I really was enjoying the warm weather, so I wasn't much in the mood for snow. I don't have a favorite for the Presidential candidate, either. Did not want to open my mouth and prove myself to be a bore.

I found this great picture of Chicago in the snow at weather.com and wanted to share it with you in case you had not seen it. I think it's really nice. It was taken yesterday with an iPhone on the number 66 bus line in Chicago.

My driveway is all dug out, but I don't feel like going anywhere.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

HO! HO! HO! Hope Santa brought you plenty of nice treats and that you are enjoying a holly jolly Christmas! We are planning to have cornish hens for dinner. They should be yummy!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Laughing at Ice Skating Crime

I am thinking that only a bad person laughs at crime, and that bad person would be me! I admit however that I chuckled out loud when I read that two young men in the Chicago area connected a hose to a nearby fire hydrant and 26,000 gallons of water later they had a skating rink in their own back yard. It made me think of all the harebrained schemes we dreamed up as kids, and I certainly think I could have gotten involved in this one!

One year when I was a small child I got a pair of ice skates for Christmas. My dad (using a hose connected to our house, not a fire hydrant) flooded our side yard to make me a skating rink. It was a little bumpy, but how I loved that rink! I skated around the rose bushes and the grape vines and sometimes my friends joined me.  I had dreams of becoming a famous skater one day, and was thrilled to think that every winter I could have my own private sheet of ice.

Unfortunately my ice skating career was nipped in the bud when the spring thaw moved that melting ice directly into our basement in the form of a flood! Somehow I don't remember ever seeing it, probably because the water went promptly down the drains. Unfortunately my mother--who enjoyed our very dry basement that never filled with water--became quite hysterical, for what reason I never figured out why. A small flood seemed to me a perfectly sensible price to pay for a private skating rink, where the mean local boys never lobbed a snowball at my head. It was my only private rink, ever, and I spent many hours in the next few years dreaming of another side yard rink.

What I don't understand about the story of the youths stealing the water is that it is too warm for the water to freeze. Maybe it is colder in Tinley Park. It certainly seems that using hydrant water would be very efficient, rather than having to use a garden hose like my dad did. Unfortunately, the two young men who helped themselves to the hydrant water will likely be fined and pay about $130 for the water. I do say that, like my ice skating rink, the price and the fine seem very reasonable for ice skating all winter long.

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