Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Should Never

Quote of the day:

" ... bravery in service of evil should never be commemorated. ... "
-- Ta-Nehisi Coates, in this post

Being 100% There

Some good food for thought by Pamela Gorman in a tribute to a friend:

... Have you ever been so fortunate to cross paths with a person who is completely “there” when you are with them? So many of us are busy with our mind elsewhere. Some of you even have the audacity to stop midsentence to join a different conversation on your electronic gadgetry (you know who you are). But, there ARE those rare individuals who have an uncanny ability to stop their minds from wandering and really just be there with you.

Christopher Smith was one of those rare birds. ... He looked me in the eye and we talked about real stuff in the midst of whatever chaos we found ourselves in. When I would arrive home from one of the various political events and someone would ask who was there, the name “Christopher Smith” would come first to mind. It wasn’t until he died a week ago that I realized he may have often been the only one in the room who was 100% “there.” ...

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Miracle on 22nd Street"

A Christmas story:

Hat-tip: Fran via Deacon Eric

To Honor Him

Another Christmas Eve. Another day to ponder the belief that, some 2,011 or 2,015 years ago, God entered the world in the form of a baby.

Things had gone wrong in the relationship between God and men and women, we believe. And God personally came upon the earth to forever heal the relationship.

From the accounts in two of the four Gospels, it seems that God attempted to break the fourth wall quietly -- being born to a humble woman in a humble structure in a backwater of the Roman Empire.

But the angels sang out to shepherds in the fields. The great star appeared in the night sky, spurring wise men of the East to set out to pay homage. This great occurrence in the history of the universe would not be an altogether silent night.

For this Christmas Eve edition of the "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," here is Jars of Clay with a song about paying homage to the Christ Child.


Song hat-tip: Bill Buran

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Handel in the Food Court

I need to get myself into a flash mob.

For example:

Hat-tip: Deacon Eric

In Tribute: Ken Tuma, who taught the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah" to generations of Fort Cherry students. (I still know that bass part.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

A New Template

I began this blog approximately four-and-a-half years ago in June, 2006. Its content has evolved quite a bit – adapting from a campaign blog for my State House race to a review of my thoughts on faith, politics, music and more.

But, the appearance of this space always stayed the same -- the old Blogger template of light blue on a dark blue background.

Today, I made the change to one of the new Blogger templates with a dominant background image. I also added my Twitter feed in the sidebar. (The Twitter feed refused to load in the old template.)

I struggled with the choice of an image. Perhaps this "view from the airplane window" sky is meant to symbolize the "between" of Between The 'Burgh and The City.

Thanks for being with me on the journey.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Wind Is Blowing

Wednesday, in the late afternoon, I braved the dark winter skies and frigid temperatures to do some business at the U.S. Post Office in Yonkers (across the street from my office).

Playing as background music in the large old lobby was Frank Sinatra's rendition of Irving Berlin's 1937 tune "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm."

It's the perfect offering for this chilly week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."


Bonus: Billie Holiday's take:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Photo of the day, via a post Sunday at Fr. Stephen Wang's excellent blog Bridges and Tangents:

"An Everlasting Itch for Things Remote"

An epigraph:

"With other men, perhaps, such things would not have been inducements; but as for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts."

-- Herman Melville, as quoted in a tribute in today's Wall Street Journal to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who died this week at age 69.

Digital Nativity

This is brilliant:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Good Pastures

Verse of the day:

“They found abundant and good pastures, and the land was spacious, quiet and peaceful.”

- 1 Chronicles 4: 40

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hear Them Ring

I have been writing today from the kitchen table in my mom's house outside of McDonald, PA. I can report that it's a wet, dreary day in Western PA.

Since I'm in the ole hometown, I'm obliged to again present "Silver Bells" for the "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend." Regular readers of this space will remember that this Christmas classic was co-written by another McDonald native, Jay Livingston (1915 - 2001).

Many musical artists have done versions of "Silver Bells." But, to my mind, the best remains its debut presentation by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the mostly forgotten 1951 comedy film "The Lemon Drop Kid."


In Memoriam: Bob Snatchko, 1936 - 2010

On Thursday, the same day my Uncle Dave passed away, one of my great uncles, Bob Snatchko, also died. He was 74 and also had been in poor health for some time.

Uncle Bob was my paternal grandfather's youngest brother. He and his late twin sister Betty were the last of 15 children born to Charles Snatchko and Anna Kargle Snatchko.

Uncle Bob was a good, cheerful man. He brought that joyful attitude to his work as a huckster. At least in the Western Pennsylvania lingo of the last century, a huckster was someone who delivered fresh fruits and vegetables house-to-house. His father had done this kind of work, too.

Uncle Bob had a good number of regular customers who looked forward to his weekly visits. As a kid, I saw him most often when he came each week to my maternal grandmother's home to deliver a brown bag full of tomatoes, cucumbers, bananas and the like.

Please keep Uncle Bob's wife, Rose, his two sons and his four remaining siblings in your prayers. He will be missed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

In Memoriam: Dave Snatchko, 1944 - 2010

My dad's oldest brother, Dave Snatchko, passed away yesterday afternoon. He died at age 66 after several years of declining health.

Uncle Dave was the first born child of George Snatchko and Anna Summerville Snatchko. (They had nine children in total -- seven sons and two daughters.)

It's appropriate that when I travel to Western Pennsylvania tomorrow for the viewing and funeral service, I'll fly on USAirways. Uncle Dave worked many years for the airline at the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Uncle Dave also will be remembered for the decades he spent playing softball, notably for his leadership of the "Snatchko Brothers" team in the sport's golden age of the 1970s and '80s. (The photo above illustrates this part of his life.)

Please pray for my Grandma Snatchko and Uncle Dave's wife, children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters in the days ahead. He will be greatly missed.

Viewing and funeral service details can be found here.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Baby Mine

There's still a little more time left in the weekend (technically, at least).

So, for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," here is "Baby Mine" as performed by MissBroadwayDork.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

World AIDS Day

Today, December 1, is the annual observance of World AIDS Day.

A Concord Pastor has two posts to mark the day.

And, some numbers from Catholic Relief Services:

UNAIDS estimates that 33.2 million people globally are living with HIV. This number includes an estimated 2.5 million children under the age of 15 years.

The number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries has increased tenfold since the end of 2001, almost to 3 million. However, only 31 percent of people in need of treatment are currently receiving it.

Flashbacks: World AIDS Days 2009, 2008 and 2007.