February 8, 2013 in Culture
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Eight-year0old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial September 21, 1897. the work of Veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s more reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies and other editorial, on posters and stamps.
Below is a clip from the original post in the New York Sun. Francis Pharcellus Church, born in 1839 and died in 1906 at age 67 had no children, but his famous editorial on Santa Claus has survived him already by more than a 100 years. Who ever says that our words do not live after us was wrong. Our words are often our most enduring legacy.
“Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you. Enter eagerly into the treasure ouse that is within you, you will see the things that are in heaven; for there is but one single entry to them both. The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within your soul. . .Dive into yourself, and in your soul and you will discover the stairs by which to ascend. –Saint Isaac of Nineveh
Isaac of Nineveh (died c. 700) also remembered as Isaac the Syrian, Abba Isaac and Isaac Syrus was a 7th century bishop and theologian best remembered for his written work. He is also regarded as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church and in the Catholic Church. His feast day falls on January 28.
He was born in the region of Bahrain. When still quite young, he and his brother entered a monastery, where he gained considerable renown as a teacher and came to the attention of the Catholicos George, who ordained him Bishop of Nineveh far to the north. The administrative duties did not suit his retiring and ascetic bent: he requested to abdicate after only five months, and went south to the wilderness of Mount Matout, a refuge for anchorites.
Isaac is remembered for his spiritual homilies on the inner life, which have a human breadth and theological depth that transcends the Nestorian Christianity of the Church to which he belonged. They survive in Syriac manuscripts and in Greek and Arabic translations. From Greek they were translated into Russian.
Of all the saints, he is my favorite. Here are a few more examples of this work. Unlike many, he embraced a kinder, more generous God–not the angry, jealous, punishing God that we often hear about:
“A handful of sand, thrown into the sea, is what sinning is, when compared to God’s Providence and mercy. Just like an abundant source of water is not impeded by a handful of dust, so is the Creator’s mercy not defeated by the sins of His creations.”
Do not demand love from your neighbor, because you will suffer if you don’t receive it; but better still, you indicate your love toward your neighbor and you will settle down. In this way, you will lead your neighbor toward love.
He who shows kindness toward the poor has God as his guardian, and he who becomes poor for the sake of God will acquire abundant treasures. God is pleased when He sees people showing concern for others for His sake. When someone asks you for something, don’t think: “Just in case I might need it, I shall leave it for myself, and God — through other people — will give that person what he requires.” These types of thoughts are peculiar to people that are iniquitous and do not know God. A just and generous person would not compromise the honor of helping and relinquish it to another person, and he would never pass up an opportunity to help. Every beggar and every needy person receives the necessary essentials, because God doesn’t neglect anyone. But you, having sent away the destitute with nothing, spurned the honor offered to you by God and thereby, distanced yourself from His grace.”
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all the musicians and poets of the world. How uninspired and drab life would be without their contributions!
Cecilia’s musical fame rests on a passing notice in her legend that she was beheaded and at the same time praised God, singing to Him, as she lay dying a martyr’s death. She is frequently depicted playing an organ or other musical instrument. Musical societies and conservatories frequently have been named for St. Cecilia. Her feast day became an occasion for musical concerts and festivals that occasioned well-known poems by John Dryden and Alexander Pope, and music by Henry Purcell (Ode to St. Cecilia), George Frideric Handel (Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, Alexander’s Feast), Charles Gounod (Messe Solennelle de Sainte Cecile} and Benjamin Britten, who was born on her feast day, (Hymn to St. Cecilia), as well as Herbert Howells with text from a poem by W. H. Auden. Gerald Finzi’s “For Saint Cecilia”, Op. 30, was set to verses written by Edmund Blunden, and Frederik Magle’s Cantata to Saint Cecilia is based on the history of Cecilia.
Putting on the Happy Face May Not Be the Best Way to Avoid a Train Wreck
Barbara Ehrenreich author several insightful books on life in America speaks in this video lecture regarding the connection of the underlying grid of positive thinking in the financial world and how it helped to trigger the financial meltdown in 2007. In the years following up to the meltdown, no one was allowed to criticize or to point out the obvious. If they did, they were fired.
Books by Ms. Ehrenreich include: Nickel and Dimed; Bright-Sided; This Land is Their Land; Dancing in the Streets; Bait and Switch; and Blood Rites.
May 12, 2011 in Culture
All Right Then I’ll go to hell
But not before thanking Kathleen Wallace Peine for her great piece that appeared in today’s Dissident Voice by that title.
She is right: More Americans need to be willing to take that giant leap of faith and do the right thing.
As you may recall, the pivotal moment in the story of Huck Finn came when Huck Finn threw away the note he had written to turn in Jim, his runaway slave companion.
“All right, then, I’ll go to hell, ” he said, realizing that he was going against all that he had been taught regarding slaves as property.
As Ms. Peine points out, to be willing to do that, could very well be exactly what is required to save our soul as a nation.
February 2, 2011 in Culture
Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil predicts early spring despite severe weather in US
Amercia’s famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has emerged from his burrow and predicted that spring is right around the corner. The weather-forecasting rodent failed to see his shadow upon emerging from his hibernation, which according to US legend, augurs an early arrival of mild springtime weather.
Bizarro: art from the cover of Superman S #202 (Dec. 1967).
Bizarro is a fictional character that appears in publications published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp as a “mirror image” of Superman and first appeared in Superboy #68 (1958). Since then various iterations of Bizarro have appeared – often, but not always, as an antagonist to Superman.
Mother Jones has a hilarious version of Bizarro as John Boehner.
December 31, 2010 in Culture
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM GUY AND THE QUEEN!
Auld Lang Syne is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set tot the tune of a tradition folk song. It is often sung to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. It is loosely translated as “for old times sake.” Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo is often credited with popularising the use of the song at New Year’s celebrations in America, through his annual broadcasts on radio and television, beginning in 1929. The song became his trademark. In addition to his live broadcasts, Lombardo recorded the song more than once. His first recording was in 1939. A later recording on 29 September 1947 was issued as a single by Decca Records.