Friday, January 28, 2011

Better Than Chocolate

The steady and I will celebrate our six-month anniversary on Saturday.

To help mark the day, this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend" is the fun little love song "Ice Cream" by Sarah McLachlan.


And, as heard in concert:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Day

Today has been a snow day for many of us here in Gotham. Last night's storm brought a wintry mix of freezing rain and many more inches of fresh snow.

I have yet to leave the apartment. But, some friends captured fine images of the city and posted them on Facebook. I hope they don't mind my re-posting their pictures below as record of this late January day in 2011.

From Christopher Mitchell:

From Dan Sloan in Brooklyn:

From NiƱa Del Rosario in Central Park:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Black and Yellow

I'm not certain about the meaning of all of the lyrics in Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow." So, if there's anything offensive there, this shouldn't be seen as an endorsement.

But, it's a Pittsburgh tune. It's catchy. And, tomorrow, the Steelers are in the AFC Championship game.

Hence, "Black and Yellow" is this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."


Hat-tips: John Burke and Cousin Ben

Go Steelers!

Begin Anew

Fifty years ago this week, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as POTUS.

Looking back, President Kennedy's inaugural address on January 20, 1961, is a good survey of the issues of importance to the nation in the middle of the 20th century.

Some of those issues have changed or developed (colonialism, The Americas, The Cold War). Some are similar to those we face today (nuclear weapons, poverty, maintaining peace).

Check it out:

An aside: At this moment in our national life, it's hard not to ponder over this small sentence in the address:

"Civility is not a sign of weakness."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Devotedly

This week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend" is dedicated to those who were killed and wounded last Saturday, October 8, during the horrible shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

The piece is from John Rutter's setting of the Requiem Mass.

To quote Leonard Bernstein, "This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before."


Friday, January 14, 2011

When President Plays King

Some food for thought from City Father:

"The President regained his voice in Tucson Wednesday night. That's good for him, of course, for his popularity, and in due time for his administration's programs. Even more, it is good for the country. The American President is, by design, a combination king and party politician. Whenever a President plays king well - as Bill Clinton so memorably did in Oklahoma City in 1995 and President Obama did in Tucson this week - the country is invariably the better off for it.

"As others have already pointed out, while the President played his part perfectly, the overall atmospherics of the event left something to be desired. Granted, the amazing announcement (delivered by the President himself with ultimate dramatic effect) that Rep. Giffords had just opened her eyes certainly warranted cheers and genral jubilation. Apart from that spontaneous response, however, the general pre-game rally atmosphere seemed somewhat jarring - at least to someone of my age who can remember when sobriety and dignity still characterized our public ceremonies. ... "

The photo above is from The White House.

Scripture Tells Us

President Obama's remarks Wednesday evening at the memorial service in Tucson, Arizona, were a fine tribute to those killed and wounded in the horrible January 8 shooting.

In case you missed it, here is the video:

At the beginning of his remarks, the president quotes Psalm 46:

Scripture tells us:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spring Will Come

Issues of life and death have been on the brain frequently as of late.

On the same day in mid-December, my dad’s oldest brother and my paternal grandfather’s youngest brother both passed away following long illnesses. I traveled home to Pennsylvania to attend their funeral services.

December also saw the death of Steve Cady. Steve and I worked on many of the same political campaigns in Washington County, PA, between 2003 and 2007. We didn't agree on some of the issues. But, he was passionate about good government. And Steve never said no when we needed help in the party office or on the campaign trail.

On New Year’s Day, Maryanne Dixon died at the young age of 58. Maryanne was the mother of a high school friend and was good friend to some members of my family. She was a kind and gentle woman who died far too early.

In the last week of December and first week of January, I took part in two on-line debates (one on Twitter; one on my friend’s Facebook wall) about abortion. In both debates, I tried to bring to the conversation around to the question of when human life begins. I failed in both instances.

Like many Americans, I spent a good deal of last Saturday watching the news of the horrible shooting in Tucson, Arizona. And, probably like many, I have spent the week trying to get my brain around how a human being could do such a thing – and pondering what steps need to be taken to prevent gun violence, especially by the mentally unstable.

And, finally, we come to today – the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti that took the lives of hundreds of thousands. The cry of “Why?” continues to ring out.

As a person of faith, I do not believe that our existence is over when our bodies no longer breathe and pump blood. I believe in the soul and its future. And yet, the loss of so much earthly life at one time weighs heavily on the brain.

What is all this about? What is the plan, God?

It snowed last night – about nine inches here in New York. It’s cold and dead outside, too. Sometimes the wind blows so hard that it hurts.

But, personal experience and science remind us that spring will come.

In March, I am moving to a new neighborhood. In May, God-willing, I will have another new niece or nephew.

New life will be born. And we will not forget the life that has passed.

The photo above, taken this morning in NYC's Washington Square Park, is from here.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," below is a relaxing piece I heard for the first time a few days ago.

It's from the soundtrack of the Japanese film "Okuribito" (or "Departures").


Hat-tip: The Anchoress, who credits Joseph Susanka

Friday, January 07, 2011


Quote for a wintery day:
" ... I wonder if the snow LOVES the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? ... "
-- Lewis Carroll, from here.

Hat-tip: Bibianna

The photo above is from here.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Auld Acquaintance

Happy New Year 2011!

May it be a year of peace.

For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," the traditional New Year's anthem: