Friday, April 26, 2013

The Eye of Heaven

If I were an atheist, this photo might give me pause for a moment...

Photo from the Hubble Space Telescope

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trouble Ahead

"Know the enemy, know yourself; your victory will never be endangered."
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In all of his remarks about the Boston bombing, President Obama has not once been able to utter the word "Islamic" or "Muslim"--even though the attack was a radical Islamic terrorist act against our country. Even the perpetrators said so themselves.

But the president refuses to name our enemy. He will not state the obvious; he will not make our target clear. Now the future of the war that was thrust upon us by Islamist terrorists looks to be long and hard. A leader who can't face the truth is a poor resource at any time, but especially so during a time of war.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Next Morning

Boylston Street on Tuesday morning
The sun came up this morning, in an ordinary way
The empty street seemed far removed from chaos yesterday

But wounded lives, forever changed, will bear unending pain 

And there are tears for loved ones who cannot be held again

So say a prayer for Boston; it could be your city, too
Stand with them as they walk on, just as we all must do.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Old-Fashioned TV

"Might I have a word?"
 - any character on Downton Abbey to another

Last year, tired of all the talk I was hearing about it and against advice from avid fans who implored me to begin with the first two seasons, I plunged into Season Three of Downton Abbey, the smash hit series on PBS. That decision cost me.

It cost me the price of Seasons One and Two on I threw in Season Three to watch again after backfilling all the story lines. I haven't stopped watching since that little cardboard box arrived at my doorstep.

Downton is such a rarity in today's crass and witless world of reality TV. It's as different from standard fare as any show can be, a quality production filmed on lavishly decorated sets with dozens of vivid characters who speak intelligent dialogue. And it actually has--wait for it--a plot!

The intertwining stories of the Earl of Grantham, his American wife, their three daughters, and a houseful of servants good and evil begin to unfold with the sinking of the Titanic on into the 1920s, with all forms of drama from ill-fated love affairs to trench warfare. Toss Maggie Smith into the mix as the acerbic Violet Grantham and you've got, to borrow a phrase from the show, "a cracking good" television experience.

To hear TV characters speaking in full, literate sentences is such a treat these days. Like the show itself, hearing "the king's English" is a throwback to another time. It's like television drama used to be in its glory days. Might I have a word? What about "excellent"?

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Great Lady, Great Leader

Statue of Margaret Thatcher
Hillsdale College, Michigan
Regardless of what her critics may say against her, Margaret Thatcher was a great lady and a great leader. In fact, she was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century and will be long remembered.

Thatcher's words, actions, and accomplishments speak for themselves, and this article she wrote for Hillsdale College's Imprimis magazine in 1995 is startling in its relevance to today's political controversies over our rights and freedoms. But then, eternal truths take little note of two passing decades.

Margaret Thatcher had courage, conviction, and the steely determination to face any opposition. Her rock-solid resolve earned her the famous nickname "Iron Lady." And, as her widely publicized quote duly noted, "the Lady's not for turning."

We need a leader of her standards and virtues right now. But sadly, there was only one Margaret Thatcher.

Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II -
Communism didn't stand a chance.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

A Time to Heal
Scientists have identified a link between blocking the protein CD47 and the death of malignant tumors. Stanford University researchers have discovered that the high level of CD47 in cancerous cells tricks the immune system into not destroying the malignancy. The CD47 antibody is ready to move into clinical trials. After decades of scientific struggle, a cure for cancer may just be within reach.

Almost every American has been touched in some way by the ravages of cancer. In 2012 alone, new cases of cancer were diagnosed in over 1.6 million Americans and killed over half a million people. Cancer renders many of us physically disabled, compromises our quality of life, leaves family and friends bereft of a loved one. Cancer is indiscriminate; it hurts everyone.

How sad, some people have commented, for the many millions who have already died from cancer--including my husband, Pete. But I’m not big on that type of hand-wringing. I believe things happen in their appointed time, and any time is a good time to cure cancer. Like the smallpox or polio vaccines that now prevent once-fatal diseases, or even the ordinary flu shot, cures and medical solutions will always be too late for many multitudes of people. The CD47 antibody, if proven successful in human trials, will be the same.

We need to remember that we are mortal; no one gets out of life alive. Each of us must die of some physical cause. But if it soon may be true that fewer of us will suffer and die from the terrible disease of cancer, that's a blessing worth waiting for.