22
Apr
14

4.22.14 … On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” – Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Animated in Motion Graphics,  Brain Pickings:  Happy Earth Day!

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

via Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Animated in Motion Graphics | Brain Pickings.

 ‘Artisanal’ Toast, The Salt : NPR: 

The TIY Verdict

If you’re looking for a delicious treat — and a few extra calories — try pan-fried toast. To impress your friends, pull out the blowtorch. And when you’re stuck in a motel room and get a hankering for toast, the coffee maker should do the trick.

Or just wait for a toastery to open up in your neighborhood.

via We Didn’t Believe In ‘Artisanal’ Toast, Until We Made Our Own : The Salt : NPR.

Worth sticking with one airline?, Atlanta Forward, frequent flyer miles: 

Maybe, just maybe, more customers will make a rational decision about their next flight itinerary — not one distorted by a pathological obsession with miles, but based on ticket price and convenience. A veil is slowly being lifted from the traveling public, and at last, they’re seeing loyalty programs for what they really are: habit-forming schemes that impair your ability to make a clear-headed decision about travel and that almost always benefit the travel company more than you.

via Worth sticking with one airline? | Atlanta Forward.

Cloud Photo Storage, Family Pictures, WSJ.com: 

In my hunt for the best cloud photo option, five services stood out: Dropbox, Flickr, Shutterfly, SmugMug and the powerful yet clumsy combination of Google GOOGL +1.14% Drive and Google+. In the end, only Flickr managed to satisfy all my requirements, though SmugMug was a close second

via Cloud Photo Storage: The Best Ways to Bank Family Pictures – WSJ.com.

Survivalist Seder, Passover, go bags: Loved this!

That all changed Monday night, when he decided to use the first night of Passover to talk openly about emergencies and evacuation and disaster “without delving into paranoia and fear.”

Aaron had been thinking for a while now that for Passover, which comes with its own stash of basement boxes—foods and dishes to be used only for eight days a year—we’re all forced to create what he calls “a mini household in a closet.” And the Passover story, at least as he thinks about it, is really all about leaving home quickly in an emergency, with only the stuff you can carry.

So Aaron sent out an email to our Seder guests simply asking “for everyone (kids included) to take some time this week packing a ‘bag’ of your necessities if you had to pack up and leave your home as our ancestors did. The only requirement is that it should be something that you could reasonably carry without having to ask someone else to do it for you.” It was our first ever Emergency Preparedness Seder. We will probably do it again next year (if we make it to next year).

via Survivalist Seder: This Passover, we packed go bags..

 George F. Kennan’s Diaries, Reviewed, New Republic: Worth your time …

He is a relic of the nineteenth century, a misfit in modern times. The achievements of science, medicine, and technology leave him cold; he sees only the defilement of nature wrought by the automobile, and the corruption of the spirit brought on by consumer society, whose blight he laments with numbing frequency. (“With all due effort to avoid exaggerated pessimism and over-dramatization,” he writes, in a typical passage, from 1978, “I can see no salvation for the U.S. either in its external relations nor in the development of its life internally.”) From urban decay to the decline of the schools, from the media’s crass commercialism to sexual libertinism, he sees all about him a decadent society—late Rome—offering grounds only for hopelessness.

via George F. Kennan’s Diaries, Reviewed | New Republic.

Indy churches,  share spirit — and their space: 

Nesting, where a congregation welcomes another flock to share its home, isn’t new, but it’s a growing trend as churches face challenging demographic and financial changes. The sharing is sometimes between an established church with a dwindling membership and a newer church that can’t afford a building, although some established and healthy churches do it as an outreach, a Christian helping hand.

via Indy churches share spirit — and their space.

 Ender’s Game Movie, Roger Ebert: I actually liked it.  Worth a Redbox rental.

The movie version of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” is way too kind, and the drama suffers greatly for it. The movie packs too much plot into 114 minutes and has serious pacing issues, and because its makers don’t have a eye for spectacular set pieces, it never looks as grand as it should. But the film’s biggest problem is a matter of tone and characterization: the characters constantly talk about how mean they can be, but their actions suggest otherwise.

via Ender’s Game Movie Review & Film Summary (2013) | Roger Ebert.

Veriditas, labyrinths, history:

The labyrinth design used by Lauren Artress is a replica of the Eleven-circuit Medieval Labyrinth from Chartres Cathedral in France. This pattern, made of Beauce quarry stone and an unnamed black stone to delineate the path, was inlaid into the stone floor in 1201. For the last 250 years, however, it has been forgotten and covered with chairs until Artress led a small group of people into Chartres cathedral to remove the chairs to experience the meditative walk first hand.

After her experience in Chartres, she returned home to Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, painted the design on canvas and opened it to the public. In 1994 the indoor tapestry labyrinth — open during cathedral hours — was installed and in 1995 the outdoor terrazzo labyrinth — open 24 hours a day — was installed in the Melvin E. Swig Interfaith Meditation Garden. Literally millions of people have walked these labyrinths. In the summer of 2007, Grace Cathedral replaced the tapestry labyrinth with a beautiful new limestone and marble labyrinth in the floor of the cathedral.

After introducing the labyrinth through the International Transpersonal Association in Ireland in 1994 and to Switzerland, Germany in 1995, her work began to focus intensely in both Grace Cathedral and Chartres Cathedral. She has led workshops around the United States, Canada, the UK and Europe. In 1997 she began to train facilitators to present the labyrinth in their communities. Now, over 4000 people have been trained in this transformational work.

Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, recover a balance in life, and encourage meditation, insight, self-reflection, stress reduction, and to discover innovation and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural blueprint for well-being. The practice of labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind and the mind with the spirit. They can be found in medical centers, parks, churches, schools, prisons, memorial parks, spas, cathedrals and retreat centers as well as in people’s backyards.

Go to our world wide labyrinth locator to find a labyrinth near you!

via Veriditas – About the Labyrinth.

South Africa’s Pistorius trial, Justice, The Economist:  So is this a trial of a society.

Campaigners highlight what they see as South Africa’s dangerous proliferation of firearms. The trial has brought to light several incidents when Mr Pistorius carelessly fired a gun in public, once in a crowded restaurant, another time out of his car’s sunroof after an argument with a policeman.

Some thus see him as a product of the country’s malignly macho gun culture. A string of South African men have recently shot family members after apparently mistaking them for intruders. But others point out that the number of guns in South Africa has fallen sharply since the end of apartheid in 1994 to 12.7 per 100 people, not least because stricter laws were enacted in 2000. In comparison, Americans on average own one gun per head of population. Britain has 6.7 per 100.

When Mr Pistorius declared in his testimony, “I shot out of fear,” he became the voice of many white South Africans. They tend to see themselves as living in the shadow of violent crime, retreating behind high walls, electric fences and steel doors. From there they can summon private security guards, who are twice as numerous as policemen, by pressing a panic button.

The trial has revived a long-running debate about other aspects of crime. South Africa’s murder rate is one of the highest in the world: 30.9 for every 100,000 people, compared with 4.7 in the United States. Yet the rate has fallen by half in the past 15 years. Rich whites, the most fearful among South Africans, are actually the least endangered. Most victims are poor and black.

via South Africa’s trial: Justice, after all, is being done | The Economist.

Bubba Watson,  $148 Tip at Waffle House, Bleacher Report: You rock, Bubba!

But that’s just “Bubba being Bubba,” according to USA Today. So it was hardly a surprise when Watson celebrated this year’s Masters victory win with a trip to Waffle House. He tweeted a selfie with his wife and some friends on that evening.

And it was even less surprising when Meg Mirshak of The Augusta Chronicle reported he was more than generous with the tip he left:

A waitress told a customer Tuesday morning that Watson left a $148 tip on the bill. When asked to confirm the amount, Knotts declined to say how big the tip was but said three employees split the money.

‘It was above and beyond what would have normally been shared,’ [manager Ken] Knotts said. ‘Bubba was just so gracious about everything.’

Steak n’ Shake franchise owner Preston Moss said Watson left a $24 tip on his milkshake bill.

Watson has become one of the most likable players in the game, and his dominance at Augusta means he’s one of the better players, too. Big things will be expected of Watson, and the golf world eagerly awaits to see if he can win another major outside of the Masters.

We are still awaiting a dynamic personality in golf in the post-Tiger-Woods-dominance era, and Watson is a colorful figure who is easy to root for. But we also partly cheer for him because, let’s be honest, we’re all a bit curious to see where Bubba might celebrate next.

via Bubba Watson Reportedly Leaves $148 Tip at Waffle House | Bleacher ReportA.

 

 Mt Everest Avalanche:

The avalanche struck around 06:45 local time (01:00GMT) in an area known as the “popcorn field”, just above Everest base camp at an elevation of 5,800m (19,000ft), an official told the BBC.

via Everest avalanche: Ten climbers missing (Video/Photos) – Newsfirst.

 Miniversion of Wrigley, Freeport,  chicagotribune.com: Love this one, too!

ct-little-cubs-field-talk-20140419-001

Little Cubs Field is a miniversion of Wrigley Field, including everything from the green scoreboard to the WGN press box and even a Harry Caray statue.

The park, about one-quarter the size of Wrigley, is used for youth baseball and other Freeport functions. Wrigley’s been around for a century. Little Cubs Field is starting its seventh season.

Little Cubs Field was Garkey’s brainchild. In 2002 he pitched to the local park district his dream as a place where kids could play ball, but it took a village to build it and continue improving on it, he said.

via Miniversion of Wrigley a hit in Freeport – chicagotribune.com.

Shakespeare, Davidson College, Radio Play Live on WDAV, Davidson College:

“Performing Shakespeare,” a seminar regularly taught at Davidson College by Dana Professor of English Cynthia Lewis, has been reimagined for the airwaves.

The title of the course was changed to “Radio Shakespeare,” indicating that the class will be presenting the playwright’s work on the radio rather than on the stage.

Lewis’s students will perform a broadcast of The Merchant of Venice for a live audience at the college’s radio station, 89.9 FM WDAV, at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, April 26. This production of the Elizabethan classic harkens back to the heyday of radio drama, and occurs on the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s baptism.

Bracketing the live broadcast on April 26, Lewis’s radio Shakespeareans also will present performances before studio audiences at WDAV on Friday, April 25 and Monday, April 28. WDAV engineers will record the three performances in the studio and compile the strongest elements from each into a single podcast, which will be available for download.

The “Radio Shakespeare” students also will present another, non-recorded staged reading of The Merchant of Venice at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 27, at “Pian del Pino,” the Italian Renaissance-style villa of Margaret Zimmermann and Price Zimmermann, a former academic dean at Davidson.

The public is invited to all four performances, but space is limited. Contact Radio Shakespeare with reservation or information requests.

via Shakespeare Students Will Perform Radio Play Live on WDAV – Davidson College.

 Chicken Thigh Recipes,  Bon Appétit:  Favorite piece of chicken …

Chicken Thigh Recipes Slideshow

via Chicken Thigh Recipes Slideshow – Bon Appétit.

20
Apr
14

4.20.14 … The awakening of creation … listen … allow the sounds to speak … Crucified, Dead, Buried, Hell … Not the last day. The first day of forever. Unending life. Alleluia! … God “easters” us. Allow the sounds to speak and become Easter for us … awestruck at the grandeur of grace that is the heart of God …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (40/40), Easter Sunrise Service, “Eastertime”, creation, chimes:
IMG_9804
IMG_9801
For the third year, I attended the Easter Sunrise Service at Avondale.  This year it was on the labyrinth.
As I walked into the Sacred Garden, I enjoyed watching the piper warm up.  I noticed for the first time that some of the chime plates have names engraved on them. The one that caught my attention is engraved with “Erica Ely.”
IMG_9798 IMG_9800
IMG_9805
It was cool and damp and I watched a dad give up his blazer to his two teenage daughters who were dressed in spring dresses with sandals.  I sat next to a lovely woman who wore a hat.  I wish I was a hat person.  Hats are perfect for Easter.
IMG_9806
The Service was again wonderful …
“Amazing Grace” on bagpipes
Reading of the Easter Message – Mark 16:1-14
He is Risen
Hymn: “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”
The awakening of creation … listen … allow the sounds to speak …
Our Early Morning Creed: Crucified, Dead, Buried, Hell
Eastertime: The appearance of women – amateur morticians, trinity of despair, sad, desperate; shivering against the cold.  He has risen. Real as real.  Not the last day. The first day of forever. Unending life.  Alleluia!
God “easters” us. Allow the sounds to speak and become Easter for us.
An Offering of Praise:  Thinking of Mitchell … Chimes (I now know the chimes are in memory of children in this faith community who have died, this week two-year old Mitchell has died). anywhere on the grounds when you attune your should to the chimes, you can hear them.  Your presence here breaks through the death.  Why else does creation unfold in the springing of life?
Litany: The Lord is Risen Indeed … The Lord is Risen, Alleluia.
“Highland Cathedral”
Afterwards I walked while several men and one boy removed the chairs … I loved talking to the boy who was helping his dad.  
IMG_9802IMG_9807 IMG_9809 IMG_9810 IMG_9811
The bench that was off kilter finally collapsed.  
IMG_9808
And I learned what the concrete thing was at the side of the labyrinth.  It is the base for the cross that they will fill with flowers at the 9 am service.
IMG_9812 IMG_9813
And then they shared their wonderful Easter breakfast and hot coffee!
IMG_9814 IMG_9815
By 7:45 I was back home.  I returned to quiet; my husband was doing his daily puzzle, my old dogs were fed and back lazing around, my college-age daughter was still slumbering.  Some day my family will want to share this with me.  Some day …
As I type this, I receive James Howell’s email …
“But on Easter, we want to stop, and simply be awestruck at the grandeur of grace that is the heart of God – and like the first witnesses to Easter, we ask the risen Lord what tasks we might fulfill in the wake of it all.”
From my walks, I have discerned my tasks.  I ask your prayers that I might fulfill them.  Thank you for sharing my walks.
I will be watching and listening for Mitchell’s chime when I visit this Sacred Garden in the future.
Happy Easter!
19
Apr
14

4.19.14 … I found myself thinking of all the sources of light I have at my disposal: street lights, car headlights, even high beams to my headlights, the lampposts at the labyrinth, decorative lights on each corner of the labyrinth, and even my iPhone flashlight. Wouldn’t Jesus have loved to have had all these lights when he arose in that dark damp tomb …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte (39/40): 

I had been planning my 39th of 40 walks for quite some time. It was meant to be a Holy Saturday walk in the dark on a warm spring evening under the near full moon. I bought candles the other day, I had secured small holders for the candles and matches and a flashlight.
But God  thwarted my plans and brought heavy rain tonight. So l walked in the pouring rain with my red umbrella.
I reread an article on the Huffington Post site by Barbara Brown Taylor. She recently came out with a new book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, and this article highlights that book. In the article she talks about Holy Saturday.

Holy Saturday reminds me that one has to learn how to be Christian. When I first came to Christian faith, the day meant nothing to me. It was the blank day between the high dramas of Good Friday and Easter, the day when nothing happened. Jesus was dead and buried.

via Learning to Wait In the Dark: A Holy Saturday Reflection | Barbara Brown Taylor.

To be honest, I have nothing in my faith tradition on Holy Saturday.  I don’t know that I even knew it had a name until recent years.  It was often the Masters Weekend, so it was a day in Augusta, or at least a day watching Augusta on tv.  And later when my children were little,  it was Spring Break, and we were at the beach with my husband’s family for the first beach weekend of the year, watching golf  or if it was early basketball.
But back to BBT …  she talks about members of her congregation coming to her as a priest on Holy Saturday. She would conclude with these words:

“Now there is rejoicing in heaven; for you were lost, and are found; you were dead, and are now alive in Christ Jesus our Lord. Go in peace. The Lord has put away all your sins.”

via Learning to Wait In the Dark: A Holy Saturday Reflection | Barbara Brown Taylor.

The the  article takes an interesting turn. It concludes with this:

Though Christians speak of “witnesses to the resurrection,” there were no witnesses. Everyone who saw Jesus alive again saw him after. As many years as I have been listening to Easter sermons, I have never heard anyone talk about that part. Resurrection is always announced with Easter lilies, the sound of trumpets, bright streaming light. But it did not happen that way. Whatever happened to Jesus between Saturday and Sunday, it happened in the dark, with the smell of damp stone and dug earth in the air. It happened where no one but him could talk about it later, and he did not talk about it — at least not so anyone could explain it to anyone else.

That is what Holy Saturday has taught me about being Christian. Between the great dramas of life, there is almost always a time of empty waiting — with nothing to do and no church service to help — a time when it is necessary to come up with your own words and see how they sound with no other sounds to cover them up. If you are willing to rest in this Sabbath, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face and none of your self-protective labors can do you one bit of good, then you may come as close to the Christ as you will ever get — there in that quiet cave where you wait to see how the Maker of All Life will choose to come to you in the dark.

via Learning to Wait In the Dark: A Holy Saturday Reflection | Barbara Brown Taylor.

So with these thoughts, I got out and walked.
IMG_9776
IMG_9777
IMG_9778
IMG_9791
IMG_9780 IMG_9782 IMG_9786
IMG_9796
It was  very difficult thing.  I thought my thoughts would be much more about things I had just contemplated in the  Barbara Brown Taylor article. But instead I was just making sure my feet stayed on the barely visible path.  Maybe God was laughing at me for planning my perfect walk in the dark.  I focused on the rain and realized that the raindrops danced in the soft light on the labyrinth.
Back to the darkness idea.  I found myself thinking of all the sources of light I have at my disposal on a dark and stormy night like tonight: street lights, car headlights, even high beams to my headlights,  the lampposts at the labyrinth, the decorative lights on each corner of the labyrinth, and even my iPhone flashlight. Wouldn’t Jesus have loved to have had all these lights when he arose in that dark damp tomb.
As I walked, the storm quickened.  The wind picked up and lifted my umbrella in my hand.  God’s telling me to get out of this storm … silly rabbit …
It is my plan to walk my last 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walk tomorrow morning after the sunrise service at Avondale. We’ll see how that works out.
Go in peace.

 

19
Apr
14

4.19.14 … The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb … and the Pope likes Homeless Jesus …

The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb, Hans Holbein the Younger, Holy Saturday: Saw this image today, Hans Holbein the Younger between 1520–22.  I can only say, it struck me off guard.

 

550px-The_Body_of_the_Dead_Christ_in_the_Tomb,_and_a_detail,_by_Hans_Holbein_the_YoungerThe Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb is an oil and tempera on limewood painting created by the German artist and printmaker Hans Holbein the Younger between 1520–22. The work shows a life-size, grotesque depiction of the stretched and unnaturally thin body of Jesus Christ lying in his tomb. Holbein shows the dead Son of God after he has suffered the fate of an ordinary human.

The painting is especially notable for its dramatic dimensions (30.5 cm x 200 cm),[1] and the fact that Christ’s face, hands and feet, as well as the wounds in his torso, are depicted as realistic dead flesh in the early stages of putrefaction. His body is shown as long and emaciated while eyes and mouth are left open.[2]

via The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

 Philomena, RedBox:  I got lucky! The movie has so many themes consistent with Holy Week, forgiveness, marginalized people, role of the Church, atonement, confession, tragedy … and what if he was obese? 

via ▶ Philomena – Size of Portions – The Weinstein Company – YouTube.

Philomena: “Now we’re getting closer, all these years wondering if Anthony was in trouble or prison or goodness knows where. But as long as I didn’t know I could always turn myself he was happy somewhere and that he was doing all right.”

Martin: “Don’t upset yourself.”

Philomena: “What if he was obese?”

Martin: “Obese?”

Philomena: “I watched this documentary that says a lot of Americans are huge. What if that happened to him?”

Martin: “What on earth makes you think he’d be obese?”

Philomena: “Because of the size of the portions!”

As they learn more about Anthony and draw closer, Philomena wonders about his lifestyle and health. A documentary about obese Americans has her wondering if Anthony is obese, among other things.

via Philomena Movie Quotes.

 

Oh my goodness, it’s the best movie I’ve seen in the last five years.  It’s a rather somber movie, although positively holy. I’d go for something more lighthearted for an exhausted Wildcat.

Loved it!

A must see

One of the best talks about forgiveness

Excellent story. Worth watching.

Philomena seems to have broad appeal: men women, protestant, jew, young, old (or at least middle aged) …

The most wrenching scene in the film is when she spots her young son being taken away from the convent by the American couple who adopt him, almost as an afterthought, to be a companion to the young girl they had originally come to claim. (Plot spoilers abound in this article.)

Throughout the film, Mr. Hess remains something of an enigma to the audience, which is why his real-life story may seem so tantalizing to viewers. Yes, there are those artfully staged flashbacks, but Mr. Hess is always “a little out of reach” to quote Mr. Coogan, who plays the journalist who helps Philomena track him down and who was a co-writer of the screenplay.

This was apparently intentional. If you are going to make a movie based on a true story, and if that story centers on a woman’s search to find the son she was forced to give up for adoption, it makes a certain amount of sense not to flesh him out too much.

“We didn’t want to become overly involved in the life of Anthony Lee or Michael Hess,” Mr. Coogan said. “What appealed to me was the search for the son and the tragedy of not being able to see him grow up. That’s how Philomena experienced it; it was just out of reach, just beyond her.”

via Behind ‘Philomena,’ the True Story of Michael Hess – NYTimes.com.

60 MINUTES CLASSICS

THE MAGDALEN LAUNDRIES

The movie “Philomena,” which opens this week and stars Judi Dench, tells the true story of an unwed, pregnant Irish girl who is sent off to a convent, where her baby is given up for adoption against her will. Years later, as an elderly woman, Philomena tries to find her son.

The convent where Philomena was sent was a “Magdalen Laundry,” one of many convents across Ireland where thousands of girls – pregnant out of wedlock or otherwise deemed morally wayward – were placed by the church or their families. At the laundries, the girls endured harsh, unpaid labor to make restitution for their sins.

Steve Kroft reported on the Magdalen Laundries in 1999, only two years after the last one had closed and when the full story of the laundries was coming to light. “The women had been virtual prisoners,” Steve reported. “Confined behind convent walls for perceived sins of the flesh, condemned to a life of servitude.”

Earlier this year, the Irish government released a report on the laundries. The report acknowledged, for the first time, that the state was directly involved in the laundries, having sent as many as one quarter of the women to these institutions — most of them in their twenties, but at least one as young as age 9.

“The chronicle of the Magdalen Laundries was for many years characterised primarily by secrecy, silence and shame,” the report says. “The psychological impact on these girls was undoubtedly traumatic and lasting.”

via “Philomena” and Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries – CBS News.

And a friend put me on to this … beautiful!

emmylou harris – magdalene laundries

Electoral College, kith/kin: A long time ago on a family vacation, my brother and sister discussed the pros and cons of the electoral college (yes, really). It was a very heated discussion (yes, really). So I always click on news items discussing it and its alternatives. Somehow my childhood never leaves me.

I think, like most colleges, the cost of the EC has become outrageous!

It was the statewide and/or nationwide debate topic when I was in high school. I’m well versed on both sides. Would welcome the opportunity to referee.

Maybe you are the cause of the lifelong debate in our house!! I had to interest in the matter at the time. I really think the Great Electoral College Debate began on a Jekyll beach trip.

I used to ask my dad to explain the Electoral College to me when we were driving on trips and he seemed sleepy. He would get all fired up and it would wake him back up.

Why does that not surprise me about V. Stuart!

Pros/cons of the Electoral College was one of the national debate topics when I was in high school – I never thought I was very convincing when I had to support it.  We also debated unilateral intervention in Vietnam, abortion rights, and the role of the military- industrial complex. I loved debate!

Deadliest Everest Avalanche, adventure travel, Sherpas: This link is a Sype interview with Diana Williams, the wife of a Davidson friend , who is just down from Everest Base Camp. You never think that you might know someone who is at such a phenomenal place. Prayers for the Sherpas who lost their lives and the families and the adventurers who are up there.

[http://bcove.me/4brrdauw]

VIDEO: Deadly Everest Avalanche.

On April 17, at about 6:30 a.m. local time, an avalanche swept down off the west shoulder of Everest and killed 16 climbers. To anybody who’s familiar with Everest climbing, it should come as no surprise that all of the men were Sherpa porters. Sherpas are Everest’s workforce—the literal backbone of the climbing industry there. The men who were struck were either carrying 80-pound loads to Camps 1 and 2, or they were on their way back to Base Camp. Without the hard work of the Sherpa porters, it would be largely impossible for Americans and Europeans with slightly above-average physiology, and well-above-average disposable income, to scale the world’s tallest mountain.

Increasingly, the pinnacle of adventure tourism—the summit of Everest—comes at too steep a cost. In the August 2013 issue, I wrote a story titled “Disposable Man,” about the routinization of Sherpa deaths on Everest. Today’s avalanche was the worst accident in the history of the mountain. Add to this the April 2 death of Sherpa Mingma Tenzing, who was working for the Peak Freaks expedition, as well as at least a dozen serious injuries from the avalanche, and 2014 stands out as the bloodiest year in Everest history— all before most teams have even set foot on the mountain.

Yes, something needs to be done.

via The Value of a Sherpa Life | Mountaineering | OutsideOnline.com.

Homeless Jesus statue,  Timothy Schmalz, audience with an admiring Pope Francis, Toronto Star: The Pope likes Homeless Jesus; no surprise there.  Maybe St. Albans/Davidson should ask him to drop by and see it installed.

 

For two years, it was the sculpture nobody would take: a life-sized Jesus sleeping on a park bench with his bare feet, wounded from his crucifixion, poking out from under a blanket.

But now Jesus the Homeless and its Canadian sculptor have a new fan in the Vatican: Pope Francis.

Timothy Schmalz brought the original wooden model of his sculpture to St. Peter’s Square last Wednesday to present to the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. After his weekly general audience, the Pope prayed over the statue and blessed it, Schmalz said.

“It is very, very amazing for a sculptor to have that,” he said. “After, the Vatican officials introduced me to Pope Francis and he said he thought Jesus the Homeless was a beautiful sculpture. So needless to say, I’m very excited about that.”

The model is going to stay in one of the Vatican houses, he said, and he is working to find an outdoor location near St. Peter’s for the full-sized bronze version.

via Homeless Jesus statue gets audience with an admiring Pope Francis | Toronto Star.

clear quartz, follow-up:  I’m trying to figure out what to do with my quartz.  Infuse me with optimism … I like that! :)

IMG_9758

Crystal Properties – Clear Quartz

Color: Clear with a glassy look.

Associations:

Associated Crystals: Diamond, white sapphire and white topaz.

Candle Color: Gold.

Chakra: Crown.

Element: Fire.

Flowers & Plants: Golden chrysanthemum, marigold and sunflower.

Herbs – Incenses – Oils: Bay, frankincense, orange and rosemary.

Planet: Sun.

Zodiac: Leo.

Metaphysical Properties & Uses:

Animals: Use clear quartz with old animals to help give them an energy and health boost.

Children: All children should be give a piece of clear quartz to be kept throughout life. It will gradually increase in power and act as their own personal talisman.

Environment: Clear quartz will send environmental healing energy to anywhere it is needed on the planet.

Finance & Prosperity: -

Health & Healing: Clear quartz is almost certainly the most versatile healing crystal there is. It can be used for any cleansing, energizing or healing.

Home: Clear quartz will help your family to live together in harmony. It will also help instill a sense of optimism and purpose when times are difficult.

Love: -

Protection: Clear quartz is protective against negative energy and will transmute it to positive energy.

Psychic: Clear quartz will amplify any healing or psychic power. It is also suitable for channeling angels and spirit guides, and can be used for aura work.

It Is The Stone Of: -

Ritual: -

Work: Clear quartz will infuse everyone with a sense of optimism, even those who are by nature pessimistic.

Other: -

See Our Clear Quartz

via Clear Quartz – Properties – Associations – Uses.

biological clock, reset: I have never been a big camper, but I am definitely in need a of a reset!

10153255_665277280204454_3871675732912470919_n

Inflatable Child Seat Concept, Volvo Cars, YouTube:  Pretty cool.

via Inflatable Child Seat Concept – Volvo Cars – YouTube.

selfie, travel photos:

“The selfie is a new type of travel photo,” explains Dr. Lev Manovich, a professor at CUNY’s Graduate Center and the project coordinator of Selfiecity, an academic investigation into the where and why of the phenomenon. Portraits may have always been integral to travel photography, but the emergence of the two-camera mobile phone means people no longer need a friend or trustworthy stranger to take one.

“Since the face occupies a larger part of the images, these self-portraits may function differently from earlier travel photos,” Manovich continues. “They do not document the travel scene—rather they announce, ‘I was here.’”

And this year, with World Cup mania taking over Brazil, Universal Orlando opening a new section of its Harry Potter mini-park, and Coachella celebrating 15 years of wrecking the minds and bodies (and fashion sense) of music fans, there’s plenty to announce. If Kobe Bryant can have a selfie-off in a Turkish Airlines commercial and Ellen can break Twitter records at the Oscars, then you can surely make your friends and family jealous for months. And if you do it in the Philippines, home to the Selfiest City in the World, you’ll be in good company; Manhattan and Miami trail just behind.

So grab your favorite mobile camera—be it a Canon, iPhone, or GoPro—and get snapping. This year, you don’t want to spare a minute of #FOMO. We’ve even included a few hashtags for you to use along the way.

via 25 Selfies You Have to Take This Year – Articles | Travel + Leisure.

Swan House, Atlanta History Center, Flyworx.co productions, YouTube: New perspective!

via ▶ Swan House – Atlanta History Center – Flyworx.co productions – YouTube.

What I Learned Watching 150 Hours of TED Talks, Carmine Gallo, Harvard Business Review:

What makes for a great presentation — the kind that compels people’s attention and calls them to action?  TED talks have certainly set a benchmark in recent years: HBR even asked Chris Anderson, the group’s founder, to offer lessons drawn from the three decades he’s run TED’s signature events in an article published last summer.

But experience and intuition are one thing; data and analysis are another. What could one learn by watching the most successful TED talks in recent years (150 hours’ worth), talking to many of the speakers, then running the findings by neuroscientists who study persuasion?  I did just that, and here’s what I learned:

Use emotion. Bryan Stevenson’s TED talk, “We need to talk about an injustice”, received the longest standing ovation in the event’s history. A civil rights attorney who successfully argued and won the Supreme Court case Miller v. Alabama, which prohibits mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles convicted of murder, this is a man who knows how to persuade people.

I divided the content of his talk into Aristotle’s three areas of persuasion. Only 10 percent fell under “ethos” (establishing credibility for the speaker); 25 percent fell into the “logos” category (data, statistics) and a full 65 percent was categorized as “pathos” (emotion, storytelling). In his 18-minute talk, Stevenson told three stories to support his argument. The first was about his grandmother, and when I asked him why he started with it, his answer was simple: “Because everyone has a grandmother.” The story was his way of making an immediate connection with the audience.

Stories that trigger emotion are the ones that best inform, illuminate, inspire, and move people to action. Most everyday workplace conversations are heavy on data and light on stories, yet you need the latter to reinforce your argument. So start incorporating more anecdotes – from your own experience or those about other people, stories and brands (both successes and failures) – into your pitches and presentations.

Be novel. We all like to see and hear something new. One guideline that TED gives its speakers is to avoid “trotting out the usual shtick.” In other words, deliver information that is unique, surprising, or unexpected—novel.

In his 2009 TED presentation on the impact of malaria in African countries, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates shocked his audience when he opened a jar of mosquitoes in the middle of his talk. “Malaria, of course, is transmitted by mosquitoes,” he said. “I brought some here so you can experience this. I’ll let these roam around the auditorium. There’s no reason why only poor people should have the experience.” He reassured his audience that the mosquitoes were not infected – but not until the stunt had grabbed their attention and drawn them into the conversation.

As neuroscientist Dr. A.K. Pradeep confirms, our brains can’t ignore novelty. “They are trained to look for something brilliant and new, something that stands out.” Pradeep should know. He’s a pioneer in the area of neuromarketing, studying advertisements, packaging, and design for major brands launching new products.

In the workplace your listener (boss, colleague, sales prospect) is asking him or herself one question: “Is this person teaching me something I don’t know?” So introduce material that’s unexpected, surprising or offers a new and novel solution to an old problem.

Emphasize the visual. Robert Ballard’s 2008 TED talk on his discovery of the Titanic, two and a half miles beneath the surface of the Atlantic, contained 57 slides with no words. He showed pictures, images, and animation of life beneath the sea, without one word of text, and the audience loved it. Why did you deliver an entire presentation in pictures? “Because I’m storytelling; not lecturing,” Ballard told me.

Research shows that most of us learn better when information is presented in pictures and text instead of text alone. When ideas are delivered verbally—without pictures—the listener retains about 10% of the content. Add a picture and retention soars to 65%.

For your next PowerPoint presentation, abandon the text blocks and bullet points in favor of more visually intriguing design elements. Show pictures, animations, and images that reinforce your theme. Help people remember your message.

via What I Learned Watching 150 Hours of TED Talks – Carmine Gallo – Harvard Business Review.

Japan, travel:

Japan: What facts about Japan do foreigners not believe until they come to Japan?

In light of all the comments and feedback I’ve been getting, the one thing about Japan that foreigners do not believe, even if they do come to Japan for a visit, is probably this: It’s a mass of contradictions and hard to pigeonhole; your snap judgement may just be wrong. This may be why you are reading this and why Japan interests you. I addressed this in greater depth in the first half of my answer here: Makiko Itoh’s answer to Japan: What are some of Japan’s best kept secrets?

via (1) Home – Quora.

Divinity Candy Recipe, Garden and Gun, kith/kin: I saw this today as an Easter treat.  It was more a Christmas confection from my memory, but that memory is a good one.

My mother made wonderful divinity, but I also remember the divinity fails if you tried to make it on a rainy day and it would refuse to set.

I like divinity every now and then, but if I’m going to mess with making meringue I’d rather make a Pavlova or just meringues.

I’m going to have to check on Pavlova … that’s a new one for me.

It’s a large – pie sized – meringue. Usually has fresh fruit w/sauce over it.

 

holidays can be particularly tough for homesick Southerners. Her old-fashioned Divinities make a great addition to the Easter table, wherever you are. Meringue clouds studded with hunks of pecan, they’re bound to trigger a few sweet memories, especially among Southerners of a certain age. Feel free to personalize them with your own add-ins—she recommends peanuts, chocolate, or candied fruit.

via Divinity Candy Recipe | Garden and Gun.

J.P. Craven, Davidson College alum, Boston Marathon after trauma, http://www.wsoctv.com:

A group from Davidson College will fly to Boston this weekend to cheer on graduate and baseball alumnus J.P. Craven. Craven was at the finish line waiting for his father to cross when the first blast went off at last year’s marathon.

Craven will be running in the race for a cause.

As Craven gets ready to take on the Boston marathon, he’s going with the support of his former baseball team, classmates and teachers at Davidson.

It’s just some of the support he’s relied on since the bombings. The first explosion knocked him to the ground.

“I realized I was bleeding and realized I had to get out of there, which is when I started running,” Craven said.

Craven found help at a Boston Medical Center tent nearby. A piece of shrapnel had hit him in the head and ear, and another piece was lodged in his nose. He asked medics to call his parents, and his dad, who hadn’t finished the race yet, ran straight there.

via Davidson College alum returns to Boston Marathon after trauma | www.wsoctv.com.

Boobypack,  A Fanny Pack For Your Rack, kickstarter campaigns:  The things you learn from daughters.  One of her friends is interning for tho startup.  :)

About Boobypack- The one and only fannypack for your rack | Boobypack | A Fanny Pack For Your Rack.

18
Apr
14

4.18.14 … “It is finished.” – John 19:30 …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (38/40):

IMG_9762 IMG_9763

First things first.  I loved Katherine Kerr’s Lenten Devotional today …

“I have seen the Lord.” With these words, Mary Magdalene became the first Apostle, the first person to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus. In John’s account, she was one of the last to see him alive, standing with his mother and other relatives and disciples near the foot of the cross as he was crucified. Mary was the first to walk the difficult three-day journey from crucifixion to resurrection, and became a model for the rest of us.

via http://www.firstpres-charlotte.org/docs/Lenten%20Devotional%20Book_April18.pdf

And after reading it my first thought was, what is the definition of “apostle?”

Full Definition of APOSTLE

1:  one sent on a mission: as

a :  one of an authoritative New Testament group sent out to preach the gospel and made up especially of Christ’s 12 original disciples and Paul

b :  the first prominent Christian missionary to a region or group

2a :  a person who initiates a great moral reform or who first advocates an important belief or system

b :  an ardent supporter :  adherent

3:  the highest ecclesiastical official in some church organizations

4:  one of a Mormon administrative council of 12 men

— apos·tle·ship noun

via Apostle – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

So was Mary Magdalene the first apostle?

So back to my walks …

It is really cold today.

IMG_9773

I’m hoping for  a reverse of the weather scenario we had earlier this week: Tuesday,  heavy rain followed by several more days of winter and then today, heavy rain followed by spring, finally, a rebirth of spring this year.  Appropriate for Easter, don’t you think?

I timed my walk to coincide with the time that I have always been told was the time of the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday,  3 PM. “It is finished.”

John 19:30

… he said, “It is finished!” (NLT)

Jesus knew he was suffering the crucifixion for a purpose. Earlier he had said in John 10:18 of his life, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (NIV) These three words were packed with meaning, for what was finished here was not only Christ’s earthly life, not only his suffering and dying, not only the payment for sin and the redemption of the world—but the very reason and purpose he came to earth was finished. His final act of obedience was complete. The Scriptures had been fulfilled.

via Last Words of Jesus – Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross.

As I walk I try to think of a task, just one,  that I have completed and surrendered my work to my master, my god.

The chimes sounded especially mournful today. And the birds, they were really,  really  loud! It was almost as if the chimes and the birds knew that this was a mournful time.

IMG_9761

I have fallen in love with the red maples the edge of the labyrinth. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed them before this year. It’s funny how things are the same, but different,  depending on where you focus your attention.

IMG_9772

What is a concrete thing?

IMG_9765

The walk … IMG_9767 IMG_9766 IMG_9768

About midway through my walk I noticed  a bride and her entourage getting ready for a wedding. I certainly thought it  a strange time for a wedding, late afternoon on Good Friday. But I wish her well and blessings.  And I have to assume that Presbyterians don’t have a rule against getting married during Lent, or even on Good Friday late afternoon.

IMG_9769 IMG_9771 IMG_9770

After noticing the bride, I found myself talking to the chimes and birds and telling them to sing more joyfully, for her sake.

And I loved the closing to James Howell’s email reflection: 

 Be still, and quiet, as much as you can this day. Ponder the suffering, and love embodied in the Cross.

James

 

Blessings to all and blessings to the beautiful bride on this Good Friday.

Some thoughts on Good Friday …

4) Jesus Cries Out to the Father

Matthew 27:46 (also Mark 15:34)

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (NKJV)

In the darkest hours of his suffering, Jesus cried out the opening words of Psalm 22. And although much has been suggested regarding the meaning of this phrase, it was quite apparent the agony Christ felt as he expressed separation from God. Here we see the Father turning way from the Son as Jesus bore the full weight of our sin.

via Last Words of Jesus – Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross.

In other words, the crucifixion lays bare the reality about the human experience and human suffering: that all societies are founded on violence and that, most of the time anyway, we turn our violence on the innocent.

If the crucifixion story tells us an unbelievable story about God, it tells us a very, very believable story about man: that we are violent and cruel.

The crucifixion shows us the humility of God, and also teaches us some humility. It shows us that, precisely because he became lower than us, God is better than us.

via Why Good Friday is so important to Christians.

17
Apr
14

4.17.14 … the power of silence and darkness suggests the drama of this momentous day …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (37/40):

IMG_9747

My day stated with this  email from James Howell explaining Maundy Thursday:

“Maundy” is derived from the same ancient root as our word “mandate.” Jesus issued a mandate: “Do this in remembrance of me.” Today, we do.

So many of Jesus’ meals were memorable! Pious people complained that he “ate with sinners” (Luke 15:2). As a dinner guest, he let a questionable woman wash his feet (Luke 7:36), and another anoint him with oil (Mark 14:1). He suggested that when you have a dinner party, don’t invite those who can invite you back, but urge the poor, blind, maimed and lame to eat with you (Luke 14:14).

His most memorable meal though was his last. For the Jews, it was Passover, the most sacred of days when they celebrated God’s powerful deliverance of Israel from Egypt; the menu of lamb, unleavened bread, and drinking wine symbolized their dramatic salvation.

Jesus must have struck the disciples as oddly somber on such a festive night. He washed their feet, then spoke gloomily about his imminent suffering. As he broke a piece of bread, he saw in it a palpable symbol of what would happen to his own body soon; staring into the cup of red wine, he caught a glimpse of his own blood being shed. We still use the words Jesus spoke on that Thursday when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper now.

via http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Maundy-Thursday.html?soid=1104220709083&aid=HCL4pHnE19g

Prior to going to the labyrinth, I prepared for a class.  Today, I read from NT Wright’s chapter 14 on the resurrection and ascension of Christ. I will lead a discussion on it on Tuesday. This year in TMBS, we have looked at doubt as well as at stripping away what we think and believe about Christ to see what/who is there at the core. When I put the two studies together, for some reason I have no problem, no doubt, about the resurrection and  ascension. NT Wright, however, makes me think about the purpose of it all. And in that regard, I begin to have questions. It’s funny how just a little bit of knowledge goes along way.

As I approached the labyrinth, I pulled from my pocket the brochure from another labyrinth.  It never hurts to have a reminder when one is using undertaking a spiritual practice.

“There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. A child’s playful run through the channels is in its own way a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Your labyrinth walk is your own personal act of prayer. Pray as you feel led.”

That is a nice way to introduce want someone to a labyrinth. I’ll have to remember to keep it handy.

The flowers are gorgeous in the garden but so are the trees in all their new leaf glory!

IMG_9743 IMG_9755 IMG_9756 IMG_9757 IMG_9741

It was cool today, and the labyrinth was mostly in the shade. I longed for the sunshine and there were only a few circuits that were in the sun.

 

IMG_9748 IMG_9752 IMG_9750
IMG_9754 IMG_9751IMG_9760

I find myself looking for missed Easter eggs from the Easter egg hunt that was here last Saturday. I sat in the grass on the edge before walking and oddly found a piece of quartz. Many people put up quartz at labyrinths to pull in the sacred energy to the place. Obviously not a very Christian thing, but an interesting practice. I have seen it done. I wonder what I will do with my piece of quartz (or my piece of waterlogged candy.)

IMG_9758
IMG_9759

I hear the birds and, of course, the chimes.

IMG_9745

I attended my church’s Maundy Thursday and Service of Tenebrae tonight. That was an unbelievably moving experience.  It was not part of my faith practice growing up and actually that was probably only my third such service but every time I have gone I am deeply moved.

Tenebrae: A Service of Shadows

The service of Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Once a service for the monastic community, Tenebrae later became an important part of the worship of the common folk during Holy Week. We join Christians of many generations throughout the world in using the liturgy of Tenebrae.

Tenebrae is a prolonged meditation on Christ’s suffering. Readings trace the story of Christ’s passion, music portrays his pathos, and the power of silence and darkness suggests the drama of this momentous day. As lights are extinguished, we ponder the depth of Christ’s suffering and death; we remember the cataclysmic nature of his sacrifice as we hear the overwhelming sound of the “strepitus”; and through the return of the small but persistent flame of the Christ candle at the conclusion of the service, we anticipate the joy of ultimate victory.

via Tenebrae: A Service of Shadows.

So after my research, i think it was à propos that my walk was in the shadows.

Blessings from the Darkness!

 

 

 

 

17
Apr
14

4.17.14 … I watched and it was a great show … but I could not help but thinking that Bubba’s out of his mind, but in a good way …

2014 Masters, Bubba Watson:  I watched and it was a great show … but I could not help but thinking that Bubba’s out of his mind, but in a good way.

104.7 The Fish’s photo: Wow …

1897863_10151968239196863_8535403825014962118_n

104.7 The Fish

How did UGA grad Bubba Watson celebrate his second Master’s win? With a double date at Waffle House with Judah Smith and their wives! The two co-authored “Jesus Is:Find A New Way to be Human”.

Kevin & Taylor in the Morning — with Josh Chandler and Mark Allen Gustafson.

via 104.7 The Fish.

Odd Thomas (the movie):  In my opinion, Odd Thomas, the movie, is, well, odd.  John liked it.  I think the reviewers generally agree with me.

After reading Dean Koontz’s “Odd Thomas” on a Vegas vacation, I thought to myself that it would someday make a fun film, perhaps even a franchise (as it has been in book form). Stephen Sommers has proven me wrong.

Odd knows something bad is going to happen. We know Odd is going to stop it. There’s no movie otherwise. And so “Odd Thomas” becomes a film that’s going through the motions with too little character, style, or atmosphere to keep it engaging. Sommers and his team rely on the narrative in Koontz’s book but fail to realize that it’s the character of Odd Thomas—the wisecracking medium who happens to be a fry cook—that made the novel a hit. By surrounding Odd with cheap special effects, wooden supporting performances, and overused camera tricks, they’ve given this once-promising character a fate similar to death—a pretty bad movie.

via Odd Thomas Movie Review & Film Summary (2013) | Roger Ebert.

Passover, Obama White House:  Love this story …

It was also Passover; and three Jewish junior staffers on the campaign realized there was no way they would be able to be with their families. Eric Lesser, Herbie Ziskend, and Arun Chaudhary decided to throw together an impromptu Seder at 9:30 at the end of a long day in what they describe as a ‘dank, windowless, meeting room’ in the Sheraton in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

What they had not anticipated was that Obama would show up.

And so began a tradition of a small group of people celebrating the Passover Seder together, that in 2009 made history as the first Seder to be celebrated in the White House.

The three men have since left the White House, where they worked for a few years following the first Obama campaign, but on Tuesday, April 15th they will again join President Obama at the White House for the annual Seder, just as they have for the last six years.

Lesser, who is a candidate for state senate in hometown of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Ziskend who serves as Chief of Staff to Arianna Huffington at The Huffington Post, and Chaudhary who is a Partner at Revolution Messaging, a communications firm in Washington DC got on the phone with HuffPost Executive Religion Editor Paul Brandeis Raushenbush to share exactly how this historic White House Passover tradition began and how it has changed both their lives and the lives of American Jews.

via How Three Jewish Junior Obama Staffers Brought The First Passover Seder To The White House.

The Stupid Hounding of Condi Rice, Rich Lowry – POLITICO Magazine: I am continuously amazed at how horribly blacks who are conservative are treated in America.

If we indulge the conceit here that students determine the future of their lives based on what they hear (assuming they are listening) at commencement speeches, does the Rutgers faculty think Rice will urge graduating students to start “wars of choice” and do “extraordinary renditions”?

via The Stupid Hounding of Condi Rice – Rich Lowry – POLITICO Magazine.

El Camino de Santiago, trivia, St. Francis:  A friend sent me a FB message: Camino trivia…St. Francis walked it barefoot in 1214. I wonder if he solved it.  :)

 

The exhibition commemorates the tradition of pilgrimage to St. Francis in Santiago de Compostela (1214) and does so through the exhibition of precious artifacts proceeding mainly from Santiago and Galicia. In particular, it reconstructed the cultural and religious background of Compostella of the thirteenth century with a choice of objects that highlight the extraordinary character of the place of encounter between cultures and civilizations. Finds from the Hispano-Moorish and Islamic culture are mixed with precious relics from the Holy Land and objects of the Christian liturgy of the period, setting up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Compostella era.

via El Camino… in Italy?!?!?! | Camino de Santiago Forum.

Little Flowers of St. Francis, a biography of the saint from Assisi composed around 1390, recounts that “Francis’ devotion brought him to St. James of Galicia” — the shrine of the apostle at Santiago de Compostela on the Atlantic coast of Spain, to which pilgrims from all over the world have journeyed for a thousand years. The challenging and uplifting trip on foot through the Pyrenees Mountains was made even more famous in the 2010 film “The Way.”

The pilgrimage of St. Francis to Galicia in 1214 unites two of the most revered saints in Christian history, the patron saints of Spain and Italy, both famous for their travels to spread the faith and both important in the struggles and encounters between Christianity and Islam.

via St. Francis on ‘The Way’ in 1214 – The Arlington Catholic Herald.

Some of you may already know that I recently returned from a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Throughout history thousands have made this same pilgrimage, including our own St. Francis of Assisi. Presently, our world is very different from when this pilgrimage first began in the ninth century, as are people’s motivations for making it. However, in the end, the purpose remains the same, to visit the Apostolic Tomb of Saint James the Great, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ our Lord.

via Saint Francis of Assisi – Pilgrimage.

8 Incredibly Useful Japanese Words That Have No English Equivalent,  Business Insider: I thought of you, Dan Johnson!

Otsukaresama desu – You’re probably tired, and I think that’s great

via Japanese Words With No English Equivalent – Business Insider.

marathon runners, quadriceps and calf muscle pain, WSJ.com:  I wonder if I should take some  pickle and bitter cherry juice come in on a long walk/hike?

This is where the pickle and bitter cherry juice come in.

Muscles, in addition to hurting because of micro-tears, also stop functioning well and start hurting when they no longer have the proper fuel, experts say.

Running a marathon burns a lot of fuel, especially fluids and salts, which the body loses when it perspires. A dehydrated muscle doesn’t contract well, which is what it needs to do with every step, and it starts to hurt.

Muscles also don’t function well when they don’t have the necessary amount of electrolytes, which conduct electrical impulses that enable muscle cells to contract. Electrolytes are formed from sodium, calcium, chloride, magnesium and potassium.

via Why Boston Marathon runners expect quadriceps and calf muscle pain – WSJ.com.

 Hank Aaron,  MLB Jackie Robinson Day 4.15:

When asked by USA TODAY Sports last month why he still keeps those hate letters, Aaron calmly revealed his sentiments.

“To remind myself that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record,” he said. “If you think that, you are fooling yourself. A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There’s not a whole lot that has changed.

“We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated. We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go.

“The bigger difference is back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

Never in our 50-minute conversation did Aaron suggest anyone critical of President Obama is racist. Never did he compare the Republican Party to the Ku Klux Klan.

Simply, Aaron stated that we are fooling ourselves if we don’t believe racism exists in our country. It’s simply camouflaged now. And, yes, he feels sorry for his good friend, President Obama, and the frustrations he endures.

All that Aaron, 80, ever asked for from baseball is what Robinson desired, a level playing field in management positions. Now, Aaron extends the request to the field itself, where baseball is trying to bring African Americans back to the game.

“When I first started playing, you had a lot of black players in the major leagues,” Aaron said last month. “Now, you don’t have any (7.8%). So what progress have we made? You try to understand, but we’re going backward.”

via As MLB honors Jackie Robinson, can it reverse a trend?.

George Bush’s Paintings, Molly Crabapple – POLITICO Magazine: mediocre …

Bush paints like a freshman art student attempting alla prima, which means doing a whole painting in one sitting. It looks easy but often comes off terribly when done by newbies. As you apply fresh paint strokes, the ones you just did smear hopelessly. All your colors mash to mud. I don’t say this to criticize Bush. I still can’t paint in oils. Waiting for each layer to dry before you do the next is torture—though not the kind Bush is familiar with.

via George Bush’s Paintings Aren’t Funny – Molly Crabapple – POLITICO Magazine.

500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art, YouTube:

 

Music: Bach’s Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 performed by Yo-Yo Ma

via ▶ 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art – YouTube.

The Greatest Cake America Has Ever Made., Prantl’s burnt almond cake:  Yummy!

 

Prantl’s burnt almond cake isn’t impressive in height. It’s not made out of chocolate (which is usually a must). And it isn’t trying to push the limits of pastry and redefine what cakes are. It is just a damn good cake — and taking a bite out of one is like reaching into the sky and stuffing a cloud into your mouth.

To say that the burnt almond torte is light and airy doesn’t even begin to describe the texture of this cake. It is beyond that. This cake is so airy it tastes like the idea of a cake, one that can only be tasted in the best of dreams.

Only it does exist in real life — in Pittsburgh, PA, to be exact– and it is frosted with the lightest of buttercreams (of course) and then dressed in candied toasted almonds. The contrast of the sugared almond slivers and the cloud-like cake is EVERYTHING. Oh, and did we mention the thin layer of custard in the middle and the large flakes of sugar on top? This is the kind of cake that will have you belly up to the kitchen counter, forgoing the civility of plates and diving in fingers first.

When Bon Appetit named Pittsburgh the best new food city of 2014, they couldn’t have been more right. Only it’s not because of the surge of hot new restaurants opening up. No, it’s because cakes like this are made there — and it’s time people know about them. If a trip to Pittsburgh is not in the near future, you can still get your hands on this cake because, lucky for you, they deliver.

via Thank You, Pittsburgh, For The Greatest Cake America Has Ever Made.

Peak Beard, News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com: Good to know!

Beards are back, but maybe not for long.

New research suggests that we may have reached “peak beard,” a scenario in which the attractiveness of facial hair begins to decrease. As more people grow beards, their potential partners find the look less becoming.

The new study found that once we reach “peak beard,” the pendulum swings back toward clean-shaven men. To get these results, researchers asked men and women to rank different levels of “beardedness.” Both groups indicated that beards and less-bristled chins were more attractive when they were rare.

“This pattern in preferences is consistent with negative frequency-dependent selection,” researchers wrote.

In other words, your choice to grow a beard isn’t free will at all, but part of a larger evolution-driven trend.

via We May Have Reached “Peak Beard” | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

 




Recent Posts:

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 598 other followers

April 2014
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 598 other followers