Friday, December 31, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Several years ago, I flew back in February with a group to the US from Tel Aviv to Newark, three days after a major snowstorm on the East Coast. The above photo somewhat captures the scene when we arrived. Adults with children and aging parents were sleeping and living on floors, on steps, in waiting areas and every conceivable nook and cranny throughout the terminal for days. It was the closest I've come to Bangladesh. Officials had just re-opened the airport to incoming flights and there were miles-long lines snaking everywhere just to get to a ticket agent.
Right then and there, I made a decision never to knowingly get myself in such travel pandemonium again. That, of course, was before having grandchildren with parents who decided---wisely---they were yet too young to travel gracefully....
Still due to a very last minute change of circumstances due to a very sick relative in D.C. whom I was due to visit, before taking the train from Union to Penn stations, I ended up driving all the way to The Big Apple to try to avoid getting sick myself. So today I hope to circumvent airport and train station chaos and take to the New Jersey, then Pennsylvania Turnpikes slowly and carefully in order to get back to I-81, then home in a day or two.
I hope stranded travelers will get un-stranded soon. It's no fun, especially when your Blackberry loses its charge!
More to say on this, but don't have time to say it at the moment. But bottomline: brevity is the better part of valor online and in most communications. I remember when my newspaper editors taught me to assume my readers had many other influences vying for their attention besides me and therefore I needed to hone and refine my message down to the bare minimum, much of the time.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
---Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in a letter from a Nazi prison
THE WHOLE LIFE OF CHRIST was a continual Passion; others die martyrs but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha, where he was crucified, even in Bethlehem, where he was born; for to his tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after, and the manger as uneasy at first as the cross at last. His birth and his death were but the evening and morning of the same day.
---John Donne, Sermon of Christmas-Day, 1626
Both from today's bulletin, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Manhattan, Hunter College
Friday, December 24, 2010
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end. (Isaiah 9:6-7a)
Strategically, it was a brilliant time for a conqueror to be born with a network of Roman roads and commercial travel routes throughout the known world, a cohesive Greek language and monetary system and a location smack dab at the crossroads of Egypt, Turkey and of course Rome and beyond.
Judea was dominated by the despised Roman Empire with its central bankers, immoral dictators, mammoth armies and brutal, hedonistic culture. Still, there was another ruling elite in the promised land: A haughty cadre of Old Testament Jewish scholars and 'religious zealots' known as Pharisees whose heads abounded and overflowed with Old Testament knowledge, Hebrew history of redemption and high expectations. But their hearts were arrogant and hard as rocks.
They were God's chosen people and they alone knew what they wanted, needed, yes demanded, in the savior that was to come to liberate them and topple the current world political/economic system.
They were expecting a spectacular nuclear military/political might to arrive with guns blazing, to kick butt and establish a new world order with them---the Pharisees--as the head of everything, such as the world had never seen.
Even Judea's wicked, self-serving King Herod knew the Old Testament prophesies and was expecting a mighty world conqueror to come....But no one, NO ONE, ever expected what was about to unfold in the Middle East as the time-space continuum was supernaturally, but quietly, humbly split for all time in Bethlehem. No one expected.....this....
No one, let alone the Pharisees, expected two comings....the first one involving a tiny baby boy born under a lean-to into the most humble of circumstances to an almost poverty stricken mother....A child many would consider a bastard who would become a carpenter for most of his life before being baptized at the age ofo 30 by a honey/grasshopper eating lunatic in the Jordan River, then beginning a 3- year ministry of miracles--- turning water into wine at a wedding feast etc, etc, etc---and speaking in symbolic parables and rhymns that many refused to, others could not understand.
An child born to be killed in the most brutal of ways by the very men who were expecting him! A child born to first change the hearts of men and women rather than their political, economic and social status. A child who claimed to be God Himself in the flesh come to save the world--- anyone regardless of race, color, sex or creed---who humbled himself to repent of the depraved lifestyles they were living.
An obedient child who would conquer the snake in the garden and death itself by dying on a Cross, being resurrected and promising one day to come again-- a second time---as the mighty ruler they were all expecting in the first place. A child who came in truth to destroy organized religion and begin personal relationships with anyone---Jew or Gentile--who humbled himself enough to realize he or she was a sinner in need of a Savior to transform his priorities and life.
Absolutely unthinkable!Ttoo preposterous for words! Blasphemy! A joke crucially unfunny and unjoyful to the ensconced ruling religious/ political classes. How dare God even consider doing such a thing to them!
And yet, according to the Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, it did happen just that way and a lot more too. A supernatural member of the Triune Godhead came to the densest of matter in the flesh to continue the redemptive history of fallen man by suffering every conceivable indignity and rejection by us, for us all. If you don't have the good fortune to know this Great Savior, Jesus Christ, it's never too late. Kneel down at that manger and ask Him into your life, to guide and comfort and change you from the inside of your heart out. All we have to lose is everything we don't really need. And everything God wants to take from us so He can give us his eternal blessings without end. The only prerequisite is knowing we need Him. And here's the clincher: no sin, no selfishness, no former lifestyle however bad or good is beyond His saving grace and redemption. Nothing is too bad or too good to exempt us, if we merely ask Him into our lives and hearts and begin a personal relationship with HIM. It's not about religion really, he came to destroy organized religion---even Christian pharisee rule-keeping and strictures--- and begin a living body and church fellowship of believers who base their relationships on love and forgiveness and genuine transformation.
He came to bring Truth to Live By. He did not come to enslave us again with shackles of hard-hearted dos and don'ts.
Jesus Christ IS the most perfect Santa Claus, the eternal Santa, that we never knew we needed and still have in our midst today. And yes, He IS coming again one day in a very, very different way.....but that's another story for another time!
Take home here, as then and for all time is only this: HE SHALL REIGN FOREVER! HALLELUJAH! THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM.
God bless and Merry Christmas!
---Webutante, from Manhattan
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
From Wikipedia: Union Station is the grand ceremonial train station designed to be the entrance to Washington, D.C., when it opened in 1907.
It is one of the busiest and best-known places in Washington, D.C., visited by 32 million people each year. The terminal is served by Amtrak, MARC and VRE commuter railroads, and the Washington Metro transit system of buses and subway trains. The facility serves as the headquarters of Amtrak. More.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
~ J.C. Ryle
Old Paths, “The Heart”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1999], 348.
Pray daily and earnestly to God for increasing and enduring faith and a softened heart for the things and people of God.
ALSO: The Wake Up Call
Saturday, December 18, 2010
THE TITULAR HEAD OF ALL WESTERN CIVILIZED SOCIETY AND PROPRIETY, not to mention sensible shoes, head gear and no-nonsense leather pocketbooks has left for Christmas at Sandringham House in Norfolk, eastern England on the train. (I too will be riding the train from D.C. to Manhattan for Christmas soon).
The weather no doubt will be cold and miserable but Our Sturdy Queen and her ever-jovial, if not sometimes cleverly off-color consort will no doubt be occupying themselves in sensible Christmas pursuits. Pouring over 1,000-piece puzzles for days, playing cribbage and canasta, reading endless newspapers delivered in spite of foul weather and having winter strolls with grandchildren and Corgis on the 20,000 acre premises will no doubt be on their agendas. There will be roaring, crackling fires, aged Scotch whiskey, wild game and Yorkshire puddings for many of the holiday feasts with little, if any, nocturnal rioting. Sounds like jolly-good, subdued Christmas fun with lots of deep nights' sleep
Thursday, December 16, 2010
(The Fool's Prayer, Edward Roland Sill, 1841-1887)
Cleverly Adapted by WilliamBanzai7 For Zero Hedge
THE ROYAL FEAST WAS DONE; the Chairman sought some new monetary trick to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a Keynesian prayer!"
The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the fractional reserved grin he wore.
He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the desperate Chairman's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a Keynesian fool!
"No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with debt to darkened wool;
The markets must heal the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a Keynesian fool!
"'T is not by gilt the downward steep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'T is by our follies that so long
We hold titled men of fraud away from Dante's fate.
"These clumsy feet, still in the economic mire,
Go debasing common wealth without end;
These duplicitous hands we thrust
To pull the heart-strings of our bankrupt friends.
"The ill-timed truth we might have kept--
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say--
Who knows how grandly it had rung!
"Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening jail stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our fiat blunders -- oh, in shame
Before the eyes of market heaven we shall fall.
"Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a Keynesian fool!"
The room was hushed; in silence rose
The Chairman, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
"Be merciful to me, a Keynesian fool!"
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
As Expected: Judge Henry Hudson Rules For Virginia And Mostly Against Constitutionality of Obamacare
THIS SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE since Judge Hudson is a Republican appointee. Who knows how short-lived it will be. However, this should be cause for celebration in many conservative circles with those who believe the federal government has vastly over-reached its constitutional mandate in both the process and product of Obamacare, especially with its mandate to buy health insurance or else.
I'm thrilled and have an idea: Let's name a parkway---maybe in New York---after this fine, conservative judge....wink, wink, nod, nod.
REDSTATE has preliminary summary.
VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KENNETH CUCCINELLI,
RISING CONSERVATIVE STAR
I'll grant you it's miserable out there. And it may indeed end up being a record. But I'm not ready to put your call on it just yet.
Meanwhile, the above pic from the Tennessean webpage, shows one of my favorite outdoor aerobic workouts---the steps at the end of Belle Meade Blvd going into Percy Warner Park. Here Vanderbilt's ROTC are getting their chilly afternoon exercise. Do that a couple of times, and you've got yourself a small mountain climb under your belt.
MEANWHILE 1, Mr. Wikileaks' embarassing online dating profile. Free, as in not behind bars, desperate women need not apply.
MEANWHILE 2, today is Fedex's busiest day of the year.
MEANWHILE 3: Southwest experiencing record-breaking warmth. But is it the warmest since 1942?
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Winter is here with a vengeance. I just returned from buying new silk long underwear---tops and bottoms---in black and cream. The lady in the lingerie department politely told me it was time for me to throw away the bedraggled, ripped and ragged long underwear I'd worn in. I tossed them in her trash can then and there! I'm a new woman in my new silks and snuggly wool socks. Time to curl up with a cup of hot herb tea as the wind howls mercilessly outside.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
THIS IS A WONDERFUL, INSPIRATIONAL INTERVIEW with a truly fine athlete and man. Here, Drew talks about how one of the worst things that ever happened to him, turned out to be one of the best. He talks about coming to faith in Christ and how his pastor said God was looking for a few good men.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
UPDATE WITH MORE PHOTOSSKY NEWS HAS MORE ON VIOLENT STUDENT PROTESTS.
GET USED TO IT; WE'VE NOT SEEN ANYTHING YET. As we enter the age of mega-contracting economies all over the globe, we've only seen the tip of the iceberg of protests from lower-middle class people who see their entitlements slipping away to pay down the debt and bail out---bonus---rich financiers (corporate welfare) who've helped create this mess in the first place.
Were I the royals, I'd take a powder at Balmoral for a while. No matter how much they may laugh this one off, they're sitting ducks, and will continue to be. Camilla should cover that spectacular sapphire-diamond necklace when traveling through Parliament Square. Ostentatious shows of wealth---except in the most guarded of private affairs---will never be fun or safe again. It simply won't do as tempers-atures rise in a new rendition of global warming.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Aren't men in dark suits and ties---rather than loin cloths or motorcycle jackets---refreshing to see in battle, rolling around on the floor, dislodging each others spectacles?
What could be the subject of such heated contention for these civilized-looking chaps, screaming and gnashing their teeth at one another? Why, the national budget of course. To wit:
Members of the ruling Grand National Party scuffled with opposition lawmakers who blocked their entry into parliament in Seoul Wednesday. The ruling party rammed through a $270 billion government-spending bill for 2011. (Han Sang Gyun/Yonhap/Reuters)
I could add more, but I'll just leave it here at this classic, no-holes-barred photo.
SOURCE FOR THIS FREE-FOR-ALL
SWEDEN. THE SPEED CAMERA LOTTERY AND FUN.
Source, Carpe Diem
Meanwhile, some of the least fun things I saw around the Web early this morning:
IT'S SORTA OLD NEWS, yet bears repeating. As the public increasingly cools on climate change and the scare tactics of AlGore and company, the Cancun conference outdoes itself in believing its own silliness. Does the Mayan Goddess Ixchen ring a bell? If not it's because she and her culture were destroyed thousands of years ago by----wait for it....a climate catastrophe of some kind--- and so now the climate nazis---who are experiencing their own climate catastrophe of sorts--- are resurrecting and calling on her help in their opening prayers. Makes sense to me. Meanwhile, Brian Sussman has more on The Cancun Climate Crock @ American Thinker.
As my grandmother used to say, Lord help the church! This reminds me of a time a while back when I sold my cabin in the wilderness to a well-bonused/flushed with cash employee of Goldman Sachs who was in the process of leaving Manhattan and wanted to simpler life in Wyoming. When I asked him why he was leaving the heady world of investment banking at Goldman---and I'll never forget his reply--- he said, It's time to leave because I'm starting to believe my own BS!
Something for the climate crowd in Cancun to keep in mind no doubt as they pray to their goddess Ixchel.
MEANWHILE, Ed Driscoll has a word for Ted Turner on his climate extremism @ Pajamas.
Monday, December 6, 2010
THE TENTATIVE agreement would extend all the Bush tax cuts for two years, while extending unemployment benefits for the next 13 months. In addition, the payroll tax would be slashed as a new stimulus, while new equipment purchases and college-tuition tax credits would be kept in place. In an unexpected concession, the so-called “death tax” would be set at 35% with a $5 million exemption.
“In one fell swoop, you have a Democratic president and a Democratic congress ratifying the signature domestic policy accomplishment of the Bush administration,” Taegan Goddard of PoliticalWire.com told the Daily Beast.
While the angry left decries President Obama's lack of tough fiscal love, the rest of us see it as a flight to economic sanity. Extending the cuts and reinstating the inheritance tax at 35% will only---at least for a while--- serve to buoy up the sinking job market, and the president knows it in his heart. And the president got his sought-after unemployment benefits extension. Sure, the battle will have to be fought again in two, and the economy is far, far from being out of the woods. However, for now, this is a small, heartening step. At this point, we should be grateful for whatever we can get with an out-of-control Fed printing and Congress spending astronomical amounts of fiat currency at truly unsustainable levels.
INTRADE WEIGHS IN
UPDATE: TAX DEAL SHOULD HELP ECONOMY
The French first couple during an official to India were visiting Fatehpur Sikri, a shrine to the Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chishti, after they returned from a romantic dusk tour of the Taj Mahal, India's celebrated "monument to love" in Agra.
Their earlier visit had provoked protests and panic when thousands of tourists were forced to leave quickly so the Sarkozys could be alone at the monument.
After they reached Fatehpur Sikri on Sunday, they had a private audience with Muslim cleric Peerzada Rais Mian Chishti, the shrine's guardian, who told the president and his wife that it had been built by the childless Mughal emperor Akbar so that he might be blessed with a son. He was soon rewarded with his first son, Prince Salim, who later became Emperor Jahangir.
I wish the Sarkozys well and suppose we never know what un-spoken, deep longings the si-called rich, powerful and famous have in the depths of their souls, in the darkest hours before dawn. Now we know the Sarkozys are very much longing for a son.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
~ J.C. Ryle
FIRST MARK: Forgiven Souls Hate Sin
They can enter most fully into the words of our Communion Service, “The remembrance of sin is grievous unto them, and the burden of it is intolerable.” It is the serpent which bit them—how should they not shrink from it with horror? It is the poison which brought them to the brink of eternal death—how should they not loathe it with a godly disgust? It is the Egyptian enemy which kept them in hard bondage—how should not the very memory of it be bitter to their hearts? It is the disease of which they carry the marks and scars about them, and from which they have scarcely recovered—well may they dread it, flee from it, and long to be delivered altogether from its power! If you and sin are friends, you and God are not yet reconciled. You are not fit for heaven; for one main part of heaven’s excellence is the absence of all sin.
~ J.C. Ryle
SECOND MARK: Forgiven Souls Love Christ
Forgiven souls LOVE CHRIST. This is that one thing they can say, if they dare say nothing else—they do love Christ. His person, His offices, His work, His name, His cross, His blood, His words, His example, His ordinances—all, all are precious to forgiven souls. The ministry which exalts Him most, is that which they enjoy most. The books which are most full of Him, are most pleasant to their minds. The people on earth they feel most drawn to, are those in whom they see something of Christ. He is their Redeemer, their Shepherd, their Physician, their King, their strong Deliverer, their gracious Guide, their hope, their joy, their All. Were it not for Him they would be of all people most miserable.
~ J.C. Ryle
MARK THREE: Forgiven Souls Are Humble
Forgiven souls are HUMBLE. They cannot forget that they owe all they have and hope for to free grace, and this keeps them lowly. They are brands plucked from the fire—debtors who could not pay for themselves—captives who must have remained in prison forever—but for undeserved mercy—wandering sheep who were ready to perish when the Shepherd found them! What right then have they to be proud? I do not deny that there are proud saints. But this I do say—they are of all God’s creatures the most inconsistent, and of all God’s children the most likely to stumble and pierce themselves with many sorrows. We have nothing we can call our own–but sin and weakness. Surely there is no garment that befits us so well, as humility.
~ J.C. Ryle
MARK FOUR: Forgiven Souls Are Holy
Forgiven souls are HOLY. Their chief desire is to please Him who has saved them, to do His will, to glorify Him in body and in Spirit, which are His. “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits?” (Ps. 116:12), is a leading principle in a pardoned heart. It was the remembrance of Jesus showing mercy that made Paul in labors so abundant, and in doing good so unwearied. If anyone points out to me believers who are in a carnal, slothful state of soul, I reply in the words of Peter, “They have forgotten they were purged from their old sins.” (2 Pet. 1:9.)
But if you show me a man deliberately living an unholy and licentious life, and yet boasting that his sins are forgiven, I answer, “He is under a ruinous delusion, and is not forgiven at all.” I would not believe he is forgiven if an angel from heaven affirmed it, and I charge you not to believe it too. Pardon of sin and love of sin are like oil and water—they will never go together. All who are washed in the blood of Christ, are also sanctified by the Spirit of Christ.
~ J.C. Ryle
FIFTH MARK: Forgiven Souls Are Forgiving
Forgiven souls are FORGIVING. They do as they have been done by. They look over the offenses of their brethren. They endeavor to “walk in love, as Christ loved them, and gave Himself for them.” (Eph. 5:2.) They remember how God for Christ’s sake forgave them, and endeavor to do the same towards their fellow-creatures. Has He forgiven them pounds, and shall they not forgive a few pence? Doubtless in this, as in everything else, they come up short—but this is their desire and their aim. A spiteful, quarrelsome Christian is a scandal to his profession. Forgiveness is the way by which every saved soul enters heaven. Forgiveness is the eternal subject of song with all the redeemed who inhabit heaven. Surely an unforgiving soul in heaven would find his heart completely out of tune. Surely we know nothing of Christ’s love to us but the name of it, if we do not love our brethren.
~ J.C. Ryle
Thursday, December 2, 2010
HITTING THE NAIL ON THE HEAD would be a gross understantement for describing Roger Simon's most recent post on the earth-shattering ramifications of Wikileaks. So well done that I present it here in all its short/sweet simplicity. Wish I could have said it this cleverly. It just doesn't get any better. I give you Roger Simon @ Pajamas:
Because we know sifting through over a quarter of a million documents can be time-consuming for the average citizen and therefore somewhat daunting, Pajamas Media has hired a dozen dolphins from Sea World to go over the voluminous material. Working non-stop for several days, they have boiled it down to its essence.
Berlusconi likes girls.
Sarkozy likes himself.
Angela Merkel is boring.
David Cameron is more boring.
Hillary thinks Cristina needs a shrink.
Benjamin Netanyahu can’t stand Ehud Olmert.
Al Qaeda hates America.
Yemen’s president hates Al Qaeda
Ahmadinejad is Hitler.
North Korea likes Iran.
Saudi Arabia hates Iran.
Julian Assange is Dennis Kucinich.
PFC Manning will never see the sun again.
America needs a new president.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
More from Scotland. England.
Meanwhile, Manhattan isn't having such a great day at the beach either with winds gusting up to 40 mph.