Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

The first earth day was in 1970. 1970, and we failed to get anything right. Sometimes it's a good idea to see the effects of non-action to spur action.

Life After People is a 10 part series on the History Channel that examines what the Earth will be without us. It is fascinating. It's always been said that the earth will shake anything, including nuclear war, off like a bad cold. That's for sure. Our beautiful planet would come back greener and more lush than ever, without us.

LIFE AFTER PEOPLE: The Series begins in the moments after people disappear. As each day, month, and year passes, the fate of a particular environment, city or theme is disclosed. Special effects, combined with interviews from top experts in the fields of engineering, botany, biology, geology, and archeology provide an unforgettable visual journey through the ultimately hypothetical.

I believe God put us here to be stewards of the earth. We have done a pretty bad job of it. Unfortunately we didn't listen to those cultures who lived in harmony with nature. Hopefully we've learned we can't strip, ravage and rape this planet and still expect it to sustain us. With our vast knowledge and a tight control on greed, perhaps our green efforts will pay off.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why Gay Marriage?

The Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, or HB 2234, which would grant same-sex couples the right to have civil unions, passed a House subcommittee. It now will go to the Illinois House floor for a vote.

Our new Governor, Pat Quinn believes it will pass. Well, now that we are rid of Blago who was not that gay friendly even though his sister-in-law is a gay activist, is gone, perhaps we can make some progress in Illinois. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and County Clerk David Orr are 100% for gay marriage. Blago was the main big obstacle here. Well he's now seeking to go off to some survivor like reality show. Bon Voyage, Blago.

Civil unions would be a nice first step. So, why do we want full marriage rights? Other than the obvious civil rights reasons, there are the human rights and social reasons. It's not all about contracts and protections and laws. It's more than just that. It's a human thing we all want. And it was never put better than in a quote from the movie "Shall We Dance" not the Fred Astair original, but the new one with Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon.

Sarandon plays Gere's wife. She wonders if he is cheating on her because he is sneaking around doing something. She hires a detective to find out what. (He is taking ballroom dance lessons.)

The detective questions her about "why is it that you think people get married?"

Because we need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet. I mean what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything...the good things, the bad things, the mundane things...all of it, all the time, every day. You're saying... Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness.

This is the definitive answer. I love it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."


Easter was always a major holiday for our family. It meant a big ham dinner, Easter Bunny goodies, The Wizard of Oz on TV and springbreak. I also understood and appreciated the significance of Good Friday, and the Resurrection.

Eastertime also meant a new dress and pastel colored coat, shiny patent leather shoes, white gloves, frilly socks and a lacy petticoat, and a little purse to match the dress, coat or shoes. The purse always held nothing but the obligatory hanky, maybe some tissue and some coins to put in church. I remember the coins rattling around in the new purse. And of course there had to be a new hat to complete the ensemble and my hair in curls instead of braids.

But, growing up in Chicago was often traumatic around Easter. There you are with this new pale yellow spring coat that you couldn't wait to wear (and show off) in Sunday School and on Easter morning it's 30 degrees outside and snowing. We only lived a half block from Coppin A.M.E. Church on Michigan Ave.,but my mother insisted it was still too cold to wear the new coat. Talk about big fights and tears.

All dressed up with tear stained face and mouth stuck out and mad, I'd go clunking down to church in boots and winter coat and hat. It would be freezing and I knew my shiny patent shoes, frilly socks and feet would've been soaked. I knew she was right and that made me madder. I just knew I'd be the only one in this heavy gear on Easter Sunday and of course I was wrong. Some girls did get their way though and they got to church shivering and wet, patent shoes squeeking and dull and ruined.
I never told my mom how glad I was that she didn't let that happen to me.
Thanks mom.

Easter Symbols

Cutting out eggs and bunnies for Monica's kids made me wonder about origins of Easter symbols. Many symbols of this holiday were started in the Old World. They have been passed down from generation to generation and are still carried on today.

Of course, the cross and the crucifix are the two main symbols of the Easter holiday. The cross is a reminder to Christians of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and of his victory over death. His resurrection symbolizes the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him. Thank you Jesus.

However, Easter did not always symbolize Christ's resurrection from the dead and the meaning of Easter was quite different than what Christians celebrate today. The feast day of Easter was originally a pagan celebration of renewal and rebirth. Celebrated in the early spring, it honored the pagan Saxon goddess Eastre. When the early missionaries converted the Saxons to Christianity, the holiday, since it fell around the same time as the traditional memorial of Christ's resurrection from the dead, was merged with the pagan celebration, and became know as Easter. The meaning of Easter was also changed to reflect its new Christian orientation.

The white Bermuda Lily with it's ample blooms is the Eastertime flower. It represents purity and the pure life that comes to believers through the resurrection of Christ.

Rabbits and chicks stand for the rebirth of the earth. Rabbits are also associated with the fertility of spring because they can produce young at an astonishing rate. Undoubtedly the most popular rabbit, although he's fictitious, is "The Easter Bunny." The Easter Bunny supposedly brings Easter eggs and baskets filled with candy to all of the girls and boys. Are peeps supposed to be edible or just cute?

The Easter eggs came into being as a symbol of "new life." Usually, Easter eggs are hard-boiled chicken eggs. They were first colored by the pagans to resemble the return of the sunlight, as well as the Northern Lights in the sky.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Low prices and a nice wig

Monica noticed that in an American Cancer Society commercial, the lady who commends the AMC for "giving me a wig I'm not embarrassed to wear" is the same lady in an Aldi's ad being very happy about low prices. While it is entirely possible that this lady in the nice wig could also be happy in Aldi's, it does take away from the sincerity of the AMC spot. Well, she's an actor playing on our emotions because that's what actors do. But it's just something to keep in mind especially when watching public service announcements where people are presented as real citizens.

For her first video Friday feature today, Alex has a finished PSA presented by an anti-same sex marriage group. The text of the ad is the usual stuff but Alex calls into question the actors intentions and integrity. And, if you doubt these are actors, check out their audition tapes. If you were an actor and didn't believe in this ad, would you do it for the money?

Good Friday

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Mighty Michelle

That's what the Londoners are calling our First Lady. And, her husband is pretty mighty too. What is it about this president and his wife that has touched Europeans so positively? What stirred Queen Elizabeth II to, in an extremely rare gesture in a formal setting, reach out and warmly touch Michelle? I think in part, it's that they exude the American spirit but without the condescending attitude of the last eight years. I believe people around the world are estactic to see America end that era.
I could not capture the Obamas' impact in Europe better than Steve Schalchlin does in his post.
I'm proud that these two Americans are representing us.

Michelle with Sarah Brown, wife of British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

London school girls love Michelle.

The Obama's meet the Queen and Prince Phillip. Our guys are so tall.

The touch that caused such a stir.
No-one - including the ladies-in-waiting standing nearby - could believe their eyes. In 57 years, the Queen has never been seen to make that kind of gesture and it is certainly against all protocol to touch her.
But she didn't seem to mind a bit and was smiling and joking throughout.

Official Word: A Buckingham Palace spokesman said he could not remember the last time the queen had displayed such public affection with a first lady or dignitary.

"It was a mutual and spontaneous display of affection," he said. "We don't issue instructions on not touching the queen."

So chill everybody. Buckingham Palace says Michelle's response was "just fine."