Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Celtic New Year

What we call "Halloween" (literally, "Holy Evening"), the ancient Celts called Samhain, or "Summer's End." It was believed that the line between this world and the next was thinnest on this night, and that spirits, both good and bad, could cross over. The custom of dressing in disguises was meant to protect against the evil spirits.

Samhain was also considered the Celtic New Year, as it began a new cycle. The other major holiday was Beltaine in the spring. In modern times, we call it May Day. But Samhain, on November Eve, marked the principal calendar feast of the Celtic year. The Druids would light bonfires to usher in the light of a new year.

In modern-day American, Halloween marks the official start of the holiday season, which extends for the next two months and concludes, appropriately enough, on New Year's Day.

Another year gone by. Boo!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Communication Breakdown

Considering the fact that everyone seems to be connected in one electronic form or the other to someone at any given point in the day, we don't seem to communicate very well anymore.

There's Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for keeping track of people. I know people who spend literally hours each day on these programs. There are blackberries, iPhones, cell phones, e-mail, texting, and voice mail for contacting people. And then there's my favorite boogeyman of the technological age--instant messaging. IM is the night stalker of technology. Whoever invented it should be imprisoned on a desert island, with no electrical or wireless access, until flat screen TVs become obsolete. Which, at the rate techno-innovation has been moving, shouldn't take long.

But, back to communication overload--where is all this electronic hoopla getting us? More isolated, with less real-time interaction and more machine-managed relationships.

Think about how we've been isolated by our equipment. Have you ever sat at a conference table during a meeting and watched the person across from you checking his blackberry messages? Were you ever in a conversation with someone who interrupts you to answer a cell phone call? Do you ever get e-mail from the person sitting in the next cubicle? Do you ever see co-workers walk around plugged into their iPods?

I suspect most of us have experienced all of these scenarios, and plenty more. What's wrong with this picture? Too much communications technology, not enough time to talk to people. When a ringtone takes precedence over the person in front of us, we have innovated ourselves out of our social graces and basic good manners.

That's just MHO. If U disagree, feel free 2 contact me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, e-mail, or cell fone--or leave a blog comment.
C-U L8r.

Picture from

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spell Breaking

At one time or another, Obama and his supporters have, rather scurrilously, insulted doctors, insurers, the police, tea-partiers and town-hallers, opponents of his health-care plan, non-compliant members of the media, and a host of other groups as either greedy, dishonest, treasonous, unpatriotic, moblike, racist, or in general worthy of disrespect.

The great VDH delivers a fine forensic evaluation of the country's crash from its temporary Obama high in "American's Obama Obsession: Anatomy of a passing hysteria." This article explains just about every reason for the Administration's increasing crankiness, not to mention its ineffectiveness. And it is with regret that I must say I agree with Hanson's conclusions (see closing paragraph) regarding the final outcome of Obama's presidency.

How's that "hope and change" working out for you these days?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Closing the Circle

All things work to the good for those who love the Lord...

Romans 8:28

In a surprising move, Pope Benedict XVI today opened the door of the Roman Catholic Church to Anglicans. By doing so, Benedict seeks to mend a rift nearly five centuries old.

Henry VIII, in a fit of executive pique, created the Church of England when Pope Clement VII excommunicated him following his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn. I think of the whole historical drama as two CEOs in a power wrestle. There was a lot of spilled blood and suffering so that these two alpha males could each feel they had the last word.

But the last word has been a long time coming, and we don't quite have it yet. I've attended Anglican services, and they could easily pass for Catholic Mass. It shouldn't be too difficult to incorporate our separated brethren, and it's a shame it's taken so long. The next part of the conversation will come from the world's conservative Anglicans, who have appealed to Pope Benedict as they seek a spiritual home more in keeping with their values. It will be fascinating to see how they respond to Pope Benedict's welcome.

If Anglicans choose to close the centuries-old circle and come home to the Catholic Church, there is only one true last word: Amen.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You Were Saying?

But you can
kill 40-70 million Chinamen, and that's fine and dandy: You'll be cited as an inspiration by the White House to an audience of high school students. You can be anything you want to be! Look at Mao: He wanted to be a mass murderer, and he lived his dream! You can, too!

Only Mark Steyn could make me laugh over this story. I hope it's helpful for you, too.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Safe Haven

From the Mission Statement of Keep America Safe:

…to provide information for concerned Americans about critical national security issues. Keep America Safe seeks to influence public policy by encouraging dialogue between American citizens and their elected representatives in order to produce legislation and executive action that enhances the national security of the United States.

Imagine, an organization that realizes the U.S. is at war with a ruthless enemy and works to keep us safe from future 9/11-style attacks. Keep America Safe is also an organization that recognizes the travesty of prosecuting our intelligence agents, who have worked so diligently to protect us.

In our “through-the-looking-glass” world, one in which
our own president deems the U.S.A. unexceptional, KAS represents a refreshing dose of reality. America remains on “the world’s” speed dial in the event of any emergency. Aside from all the other good our country has accomplished, our military reliability alone renders us exceptional among nations.

Keep America Safe. It’s a concept that should make sense to “the world.” Perhaps even Norway.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

About the Peace Prize...

...Peggy Noonan says it all better than I could possibly hope to do. Her article is linked here.

In fulfillment of the ancient Chinese curse, we continue to live in increasingly interesting times.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Win or Leave

Michael Yon paints a grim picture of the state of the war in Afghanistan. Somber reading, but necessary in light of the wavering resolve evident in Washington D.C. This is Vietnam 2.0, a depressing flashback to unnecessary loss.

If the Commander in Chief is not going to fight to win a war, then get us out of there--fast. Don't play political games with our fighting men and women. The lives of our military heroes are far too precious to waste.

They'll be going back soon enough after the next Al Qaeda attack hits America.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Changing the Subject

Longtime readers know that I usually chip in my two cents' worth on political topics. No doubt you've noticed that I'm avoiding such issues lately.

The reason for the shift is that I'm so thoroughly disgusted by our current lack of national leadership that I prefer to ignore the daily mortifications of the U.S.A. unfolding in the news on a near-daily basis. Far worse than the embarrassment is the real and present danger surrounding and growing around us as a result of the president's pratfalls.

This president's popular approval numbers may be tanking, but his prospects for ensuring that a good percentage of the American population are impoverished--and quite possibly killed--are excellent. Jimmy Carter, eat your heart out.

Three more years of Obama's nonsense? I need to keep it simple. Maybe I'll switch to Twitter.

Friday, October 02, 2009

A Day for the Angels

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

October 2 is the feast day of Guardian Angels. Atlhough it's not an article of faith in the Catholic Church, many believe (myself included) that one of these mysterious heavenly creatures is assigned to each of us at birth, to protect us throughout the perils of our individual lifetimes.

I've survived many life-threatening situations, beginning with febrile seizures in infancy, to near-drowning at age six, to surviving a highway rollover in my teens, to recovering from a mysterious, incurable disease in my 30s. Those are just the circumstances I can remember off the cuff. Consequently, guardian angels make perfect sense to me.

You may or may not agree, and that's fine. But I taught my children to say the Guardian Angel prayer as part of their bedtime routine. I still say it as part of mine.

Hey, it's worked so far.

Prayer to Your Angel Guardian

Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
to whom His love
commits me here,
ever this day
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.