Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Time Travel: Hanging with the Pilgrims

Small Boston Whaler
Happy Thanksgiving! Sometimes I like to think about going back in time.  If I could do that, I would take myself right over  to Plymouth, Mass and take the Pilgrims a couple of Boston Whalers and a few 4 x 4's, maybe Land Rovers or Jeeps. (Also plenty of fuel.) Can you imagine how excited all of Plymouth would be? The Pilgrims could zoom everywhere and undergo a great deal less hardship. It would make a super Thanksgiving!

While I was in Plymouth, I would stay for Thanksgiving dinner.   Since everybody's curious about what the Pilgrims ate, I could blog about exactly what the Pilgrims put on the table for their first Thanksgiving feast. Come to think of it, maybe I would also take the Pilgrims a green bean casserole. How amazing would they find that?

Despite the terrible loss of life at Plymouth in the first year due to sickness, enough Pilgrims survived so that today, over 10 million people are their descendants. Perhaps you are one of them and don't even know it! The General Society of Mayflower descendants has a newly designed website, which  is worth a Thanksgiving stop for more info!

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Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11: Standing, Facing East, in Memory of the Armistice

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
--by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD

Armistice Day, Veteran's Day, both appear to be forgotten amidst news stories that 11-11-11 will be marked by an unusually high number of weddings due to what is viewed as a lucky date or number.  Will no one stand and face East at 11 AM today in memory of the Armistice? In a society little interested in duty and honor, it is not surprising that there is such limited regard for this historic day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Penn State Trustees: Courage to Do the Right Thing

The stunningly quick and decisive action by the Penn State Trustees to remove the wrongdoers from positions of influence at the school in the wake of the terrible child sex abuse scandal  is a courageous moral choice. Standing for what is right rather than what is convenient and expedient is rare in this age that is loathe to make any moral judgment whatsoever.  For more years than I can remember, popular wrongdoers have been given a pass at every level of society. Many social commenters seem to believe that skills, talents, and popularity  might balance or outweigh illegal and / or immoral actions. The courage to do what what is right on a routine basis simply has been missing from our society's social discourse for many years, and in particular when it comes to sports.  The swift action by the Penn State trustees makes no excuses for that wrongdoing.  While their action is commendable, it is a shame that this wrongdoing never came to light until now, and we hope safeguards are put into place that would avoid this happening in the future .