Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Timeless Teacher

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
~ St. Thomas Aquinas

Perhaps the most famous Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, has his feast day today, January 28. He was arguably the most influential Church Doctor as well, being the author of the world famous, deeply studied (for many centuries) Summa Theologica. The well-known "Five Ways," or arguments to prove the existence of God, occupy less than two pages of that 3,000-plus page document. Now, that's getting to the point on an important topic.

Thomas lived nearly 800 years ago, but it seems he was capable of a witty quip or two that can be appreciated today. Genius, good humor, and holiness are quite a combination. No wonder his influence has stood the test of time.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Story Worth Knowing

I went to see Lone Survivor today. Now I'll be reading the book.

That's backwards, I know. But having watched this riveting story, I want to know more of the details. This often happens when I see a truly compelling story on film. I end up backfilling by reading the book, and it's always been worth it.

There's no doubt this time will be no exception. The story of Operation Red Wings is one I've followed for years, including a blog posting in 2007 when a posthumous Medal of Honor was awarded to Lt. Michael Murphy, the team leader.

One critic has called the film "war porn." Really? That's an ungracious description by a very unheroic individual. Despite the blood and brutality--or perhaps because of it--I say we should all know more about the terrible sacrifices made by our courageous military fighters. Lone Survivor, written by Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, helps us to better understand the incalculable human cost of war and the heroes who stand so bravely in harm's way.

Whatever it is that makes such men, I'm so very grateful for them.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Night and Day

John Podhoretz presents some interesting thoughts on why Chris Christie is being savaged by the media over traffic jams while President Obama remains untouched by the IRS scandal. It's nauseating, but it is true.

Although I find him refreshing, I'm not on fire for Gov. Christie. But I did find several dramatic contrasts in the way Christie handled a crisis in his administration vs. how President Obama handles the many in his own. Just for starters, Christie:

  1. Faced (a hostile) press, immediately
  2. Took responsibility
  3. Apologized 
  4. Talked for two hours--without a teleprompter
  5. Fired guilty parties
  6. Asked what fault was within him that enabled the bad behavior

The last point is a key takeaway.  Barack Obama labors under the delusion that he is perfect, so it doesn't occur to him to question his own contribution to any variant behavior in his underlings. While Christie may or may not be "finished" politically, by his actions he has proven himself to be the more decisive, proactive leader. With our current president, presenting such a stark contrast really doesn't take too much effort. The media may refuse to note the difference. But nonetheless, there it is for all to see.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Great Man, Great Life

Jerry Coleman - Old Timers Day, 2010
"The best second baseman I ever saw on the double play."
~ Yankee manager Casey Stengel

"We weren't heroes. The only heroes I know are dead."
~ Jerry Coleman, awarded 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses

The late, great Jerry Coleman - sorry to contradict him, but he was an American hero, and I just can't say enough about him:

* Marine fighter pilot, WWII and Korean War
* New York Yankees Baseball World Series MVP 
* San Diego Padres Baseball Hall of Fame Broadcaster

Read about this remarkable man for yourself, and you'll know why San Diego is so sad tonight. "Hang a star" on that life. You will be so missed, Jerry. And oh, doctor--is Pete ever going to be glad to meet you.