Wednesday, November 24, 2010

May You Have a Very Happy Thanksgiving

Yes, I know it's wrong to dress up the animals like this but they do look so happy! Well, at least the dog does. Besides, I didn't make them put on these clothes, I found the picture on the Internet. I'm not sure why the cat is the Pilgrim, but I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation. Wrong as these costumes may be, somehow the picture says only one thing: "Have a Wonderful and Joyous Happy Thanksgiving!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First Thanksgiving: Christians of Plymouth Colony

"In the history of most lands the number of true Christians has generally been a mere fraction of the total population; in New England it was not so. Of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower it is probable that ninety-eight belonged to the congregation of John Robinson which had been in exile in Holland since 1608. The reinforcements to the Plymouth plantation came largely from the same source. Then in 1628 there began from England itself one of the largest transplantation of Christians from one land to another which has ever occurred. Over a period of twelve years, in about 198 ships, men and their families arrived in Massachusetts Bay. They included gentlemen, merchants, farmers, craftsmen and ministers of the gospel. The one thing which the vast majority possessed in common was a fervent commitment to the Word of God and to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." - from "Spiritual Characteristics of the First Christian Society in America" by Iain Murray

While getting ready for Thanksgiving, I am reminded that the one book you could find in nearly every Pilgrim home was a Bible--in particular, the Geneva translation. As you can see in the photo of a page from the Geneva Bible (above), the margins held comments. Notes were added to explain difficult passages. If you want to get into the Pilgrim mindset, just take out your Bible and start reading. Of course, you are likely using a more modern edition than they did in Plymouth, home of the Pilgrims.

The Geneva Bible was the first English Bible to be printed in Roman letters; it was the first English Bible to have numbered verses; and it was also the first Bible to use italics for words translators which were not in the original. The Geneva Bible was smaller in size than most books, designed to be read by ordinary individuals.

Due to a settlement agreement in a lawsuit against Google Books, I couldn't find a pdf copy of the entire Geneva Bible online, despite looking around for the better part of an hour, including libraries in Switzerland.. (There is no shortage of other Bible versions online) (You will likely have better luck finding one at Google books if you are not in the USA, due to the settlement.) Luckily, after searching long and hard, I finally found a Pdf of the pages from the New Testament of the Geneva Bible. which might be something interesting to look at if you need a break from preparing for the holiday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA Pat Downs

"The security officer finished the pat-down, tested the gloves for any trace of explosives and then, Sawyer said, “He told me I could go. They never apologized. They never offered to help. They acted like they hadn’t seen what happened. But I know they saw it . . .

“I am a good American and I want safety for all passengers as much as the next person," Sawyer said. "But if this country is going to sacrifice treating people like human beings in the name of safety, then we have already lost the war.”

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let us remember that our Pilgrim forefathers knew repressive government and suffered at its hands. They set off across the mighty Atlantic Ocean to a new land to escape government tyranny. Let us give thanks that today we have it in our power to change the wrongdoing that our fellow citizens are suffering at the hands of government agents. And let us also remember in our prayers this holiday the seemingly average citizens, such as Thomas Sawyer, whose maltreatment at the hands of the TSA, is so very troubling.

UPDATE: In a bid to avoid the "bad touches" of the TSA, San Diego passenger Samuel Wolanyk, stripped down to his underwear for the TSA, which seems like a pretty sensible answer to a bad situation. In a bizarre response, the TSA told him to get dressed so that he could be properly patted down. How sick is that? Is the goal here safety, or groping in the name of security?

FURTHER UPDATE: Krauthammer: "The only reason we continue to do this [pat downs] is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling — when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable, and universally known. We will swallow hard and pretend airline attackers are randomly distributed in the population."

THIRD UPDATE (11-23-10): Ron Paul: “ 'Now the government wants us to show them our genitalia and they want to take pictures of us and put their hands into our pants,' he said. Paul said due to pervasive coverage of TSA abuses by the corporate media, the American people are now beginning to ask serious questions about government conduct. 'I think it’s a healthy wake-up call to a lot of Americans.' He said he believes a boycott of the airlines will be necessary if we are going to force the government to back down and stop acting like a sexual predator.”

FOURTH UPDATE (11-26-10): "I don’t dramatize, and I don’t exaggerate. I’m trying to give you a sense of who I am so you won’t think that this is a plea for attention, or a jumping on the bandwagon about the recent TSA proposed boycott."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Home for the Holidays: TSA Will Have Its Way With You

The new, more-invasive body searches demanded of plane passengers are unpleasant and troubling. Blame Bill Clinton, I suppose; he's the guy who brought sexual perversion into the parlor as a respectable middle class past time. Blame Janet Napolitano, too, chosen as a theoretically capable cabinet member for the American People, likely for her views on Hollywood award shows in a time where smooches between consenting starlets are the biggest story of the evening. I am voting for doing away with searches once reserved for incoming prison inmates, and pushing for simply wearing a bathing suits to the airport. The visual security check would likely be safer and a great deal more dignified. As it is, reading about the new procedures seems to involve prose far more suited to a steamy novel.

Having had a fair number of X-rays of late, and planning to travel at the holidays, I grow concerned. I'm not looking forward to dilemma faced by today's flyer's when asked that newest of travel questions: pictures or sex? It's time that the American People should demand that airport lobbies be made more honest. Wouldn't you be more comfortable if the area just before security was dedicated to contextually appropriate activities? Putting passengers in the mood before sexual assault is imperative where "relax and enjoy it" seems to be the sum total of Congressional wisdom. And that would be the Congress, who, in earlier times, likely would have some interest in protecting their constituents from unreasonable search by government agents. I demand flashing neon signs while preparing to do the barefooted passenger perp walk through airport security! I demand peep shoes, tattoo parlors, customer booths, and X-rated anything to set the stage; these are serious times.

When it comes to pre-flight screening, shouldn't passengers at least be allowed the dignity they can find at local bars, and be able to hook up with the best looking screener they can find? Where is justice when you need it? In fact, where is common sense? And would it be a bad idea to print out the above picture that I carefully stole from the Great Iowahawk and wear it as a decoration when flying?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Religion in Style: Hajj via the Mecca Metro

UPDATE: The video is no longer available for embedding: click here to see it at Youtube.

It's Hajj, the special annual pilgrimage for Muslims to go to Mecca. For a few brief days, two and a half million people live in very close proximity. Of course, not every Muslim who wants to go to Hajj can do so due to capacity control, but I thought you would enjoy seeing this short video of a brand new train that brings the ancient custom of pilgrimage smack dab into the 21st century. As you will learn, there are so many people at Hajj, only some are allowed to ride the train. While that might seem to be contrary to the spirit of equality that we are told permeates the Hajj, the limitation is only until the train is finished.

Do enjoy the video, because unless you are a Muslim, and unless things change drastically, Mecca is one place you will never visit in your lifetime. And its likely things will never change, as the Saudi Arabian government bases its ban on the Koran.

While I always enjoy learning about the Hajj, I am grateful to be a Christian, where all people--including those of other faiths--are always welcome, anytime, anywhere.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice Day 2010: Will You Remember?

In Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man--located between Ireland and England--where it's six hours later than here--the citizens are serious about remembering Armistice (Veterans) Day.  This morning, former military service members met and marched to the war memorial where commemoration services were held. At 11:00, two minutes of silence were observed in honor of the Armistice, the official end of World War I-- the war to end all wars. Motorists on the Isle of Man were asked to cooperate fully by stopping their cars and turning off their engines from 11:00 until 11:02 AM. Further commemorations are scheduled for later today.

Armistice Day, now called Veterans Day in the United States,  is still observed by some in remembrance of the eleventh hour, of the 11th day, of the eleventh year, when the great Armistice was signed. While we have failed to end war, the dream of a world without conflict continues to stir hope in the hearts of man.

Will 11:00 this morning find you standing at attention for one minute facing East? Encourage a few friends at work to join you in this traditional American remembrance of the fallen, in memory and in hope.

(Link to Armistice Day Speech by WW II General Omar Bradley)
(Link to color photos of World War I)
(Previous Armistice Posts)

The photo, above, is from the great photography pages of the Los Angeles Times.  A visit to their website is as valuable as a visit to any worthwhile museum.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

So What About Those New Members of Congress Anyway?

So the GOP was kind enough to send a link to their "New Member Facebook," with photos of all those new members of Congress. How clever is that? Do go take a look!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Bob Dold our New Congressman, and Mark Kirk, our New Senator

Whew! We had pretty good results on Tuesday!  Yester- day, I was tired and had a miserable sinus headache all day. On Monday, I started getting really, really greedy about the chances for Republican victory, so  there were barely enough election wins to keep me happy. I was disappointed that Hamilton Chang didn't win, and surprised by Pat Quinn's numbers. I regretted that I never made it to Kirk's party in Wheeling, where the rest of the family had gone.  I was a little jealous to hear about  the flag ceremony followed by the pledge led by Winnetka veteran Carrie Hoza, dancing to the band, and all sorts of patriotic goings on that once motivated a friend to characterize election night as Christmas and the 4th of July all rolled into one. I also was surprised. I mean, the last time I ran into Mark Kirk chatting socially with a friend, they were having a serious discussion about Civil Society in Africa. Wouldn't you have serious doubts about heading  for a party hosted by this kind of guy?

I did go to the Dold party, which was big and happy, completely filling up the old Fell's store in Winnetka. I ran into a lot of people I knew, including many who I hadn't seen in years, but with so many people it got really hot, and the TV people had bright and hot lights. Because I was so excited the night before, I hadn't had much sleep and I was really, really tired.

Since I realized at 3:00 pm on Monday that unless I had calculated something very wrong, Bob Dold had the election in the bag,  I was expecting for him to declare an early win.  Then I figured I would head off to Wheeling to visit with the people there, putting in the maximum amount of face time that might make up for a few years of avoiding political events.

While Bob Dold's party was a good, it also was nervous.  The evening wore on and the networks remained mum about the race. It was past bedtime by the time Bob joined the party to greet his supporters and make his victory speech, and by then I was practically falling asleep.

I am grateful that Bob Dold and Mark Kirk won, and grateful that Republicans did well across the country. I hope you, too, are feeling happy about the election results. The greatly loved Gilbert Bowen, Pastor Emeritus of Kenilworth Union Church, was one of many who added a personal endorsement for Bob, and in his words, "As Bob's pastor and friend for over thirty years, I can enthusiastically endorse his candidacy for the United States Congress. Bob is a man of maturity and experience, character and purpose. He cares about family and community as well as his country. He communicates conservative principles with an awareness of current challenges. He does this with a clarity and enthusiasm which is contagious. In short, Bob is the kind of Republican with hope and future for our party. A friend I am proud to know and work for."

Monday, November 01, 2010

Vote Bob Dold!

Take a friend to the polls tomorrow! Bob Dold, candidate from Illinois' 10th Congressional District, has been running a great campaign with volunteers in all age groups, and an organization that is very organized. He will make a great Congressman, but to do that he needs your vote!!

Hoping for a Brady / Plummer Victory!

Downstate, voters are so delighted to have both Governor and Lieutenant Governor candidates from their neck of the woods, Republicans might just be the lucky winners at the polls tomorrow!