Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessiing"

Here is my Happy Thanksgiving message for you. You (my family) are among my greatest and most cherished blessings.

Another of the things I am deeply thankful for this Thanksgiving time is this hymn. It reminds me that all of our blessings are gifts from a loving, merciful God. It is a prayer that speaks for me -- one who is prone to wander; prone also to be constantly distracted and to forget from whence the blessings flow.

Won't you pause a moment to enjoy . . . .

"Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.

Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount!
I'm fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart,
O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above."

Music: American Folk Hymn
Text: Robert Robinson
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"I Dunno!"

Bill Cosby is so funny. Partly it is due to the funny faces he makes. Partly it is due to the truth he tells. For example: "parents . . . want QUIET!"

" . . . MINE!!! MINE!!! MINE!!! ..."

"Mental Health Break"

How fun is this?

The tune is Mozart's Symphony No. 40

Makes me want to go roller-blading!

Monday, November 17, 2008

"What's the Big Deal Anyway?"

In a comment in the previous Blog, Davola said...
"I'm not for gay marriage and I'm not against gay marriage. If they want it let em have it. Who cares? They are going to have sexual relations either way. There is no financial benefit to getting married. It is just a slip of paper. What is the big deal anyway?"

Davola has expressed exactly what a lot of ordinary, regular people think and feel: “Who cares? What’s the big deal anyway?” I would guess that many people not only don’t care one way or another about gay marriage, they would rather not have to give any thought whatsoever to gay lifestyles. Their stance might be summarized as: hey, it’s no skin off my nose—we should just look the other way—it seems like such a silly thing to get worked up about—live and let live already! What’s the harm?

As it turns out, redefining marriage to include same-sex marriage really IS a “big deal.” And the potential harm could mean more than just the “skin off your nose.” Although the major media outlets have largely ignored this side of the story, lots of other really smart people have explained the issue quite clearly.

If you are interested in learning why anyone should care a fig about gay marriage (redefining marriage) v. protecting traditional marriage, a thoughtful examination of some of the following articles may prove insightful.

Same-Sex Marriage Is About More Than “I Do”

Catholic position on protecting traditional marriage published in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 1, 2008

“Why Our Society Should Preserve Marriage”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Can't Believe My Eyes (or Ears)

Are you bewildered and bemused by the ongoing Prop 8 battle? Are you wishing this problem would just go away? Are you shell-shocked by the ugly scenes on TV and the amazing spin by news reporters telling you that what you just saw didn’t really happen the way you saw it?

News anchor: "Quite honestly, a lot of anger and a lot hate on both sides!"

Are you appalled that threats and intimidation being poured upon Yes on 8 supporters is acceptable in today’s America? Are you frightened to speak up for fear that you will be their next target? Are you hoping that the No on 8 supporters will get tired of protesting and go home? Do you really think that since “the voters have spoken” that eventually the gay marriage proponents will accept it with grace?

I have news for you. They have the collective weight of the California Supreme Court (majority), the Governor of California, the Democrats of the California Assembly, the Mayor of San Francisco, most Hollywood celebrities, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the major news networks, and legal precedents in Massachusetts and Connecticut behind them. And Americans today are easily cowed. The NAACP, in an act of repentance for the 70% of black voters who voted Yes on 8, is joining the No on 8 gang in appealing to the courts to nullify the amendment. I am sure that some who previously voted Yes on 8 would gladly change their votes today just to restore the peace.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

America's Most Smartest Models

Ben Stein is so funny in this clip.Don't be put off by the slow beginning; at about minute 2 he begins a hilarious anecdote about a couple of teenage or young adult "models."

I think he makes a good point at the end about what today's TV shows teach kids: knowing stuff takes a backseat (a WAY, WAY, WAY, back, back, backseat) to singing, dancing, and fighting. I might also add, a backseat to texting, and all kinds of electronic gimmickery.
INCIDENTALLY: Stein's first teaching stint was as an adjunct professor, teaching about the political and social content of mass culture at American University in Washington, D.C., and then at University of California, Santa Cruz. He also held classes on political and civil rights from the United States Constitution at UC Santa Cruz. At Pepperdine University in Southern California, Stein taught libel law and United States securities law and its ethical aspects. He was a professor of law at Pepperdine University Law School, from about 1990 to 1997.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas Ponderings (by a Jew)

Me: Dara has put up her Christmas Tree; Ben brought up the Holidays and is dreaming of Christmas (or at least Thanksgiving). I guess I started it by talking about "Presents or NOT" a few Blogs ago. So, continuing in that same vein, I thought you might enjoy the following video of Ben Stein, who is Jewish, talking about Christmas.

Sorry you have to endure the 30-second advertisement before you can view the video.

[Now turn off (pause) the video's next ad, so you can read on: ]

More of Ben Stein's Ponderings on Christmas:
Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:

I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

Me: It's refreshing to get a Jewish perspective on Christmas as it's celebrated in the US, isn't it?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Speaking of Thinking

On Saturday, The Knight and I watched the DVD "Expelled." It was surprisingly interesting and even slightly humorous in places. Ben Stein is the "star" or narrator of this movie. You may remember him as the really boring teacher in "Ferris Beuller's Day Off": ". . . anyone? . . . anyone?"

The following is the super trailer for "Expelled." [You might want to pause the music box at the bottom of the page before you start.]

I was particularly interested to see that I was already familiar with one of the featured Darwinists, having read a 16-page critique of his latest book. I am now looking forward to reading another book mentioned in the film: written by a brilliant philosopher with whom I was previously unfamiliar.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Well, Jen and Dara and I just had a confab about Thanksgiving—dividing up the menu and various activities. The noun “confab” is a colloquial word that means chat. The dictionary’s first definition of the verb, “confabulate” means talk together in an informal way—which we did. The second definition of confabulate is more interesting and perhaps even insightful: “to fill in GAPS in the memory with detailed accounts of FICTITIOUS events believed to be true by the narrator.”

So, this morning, Jen, Dara, and I had a confabulation about Thanksgiving future (this month) while remembering Thanksgivings past. Enter from stage left, confabulation2—filling in the gaps in my memory with accounts of fictitious events, believed to be true about past Thanksgivings . . . . “No one likes jello. … No one will eat any cooked vegetables. … Nobody wants leftover turkey . . . . Didn’t we have a scavenger hunt last year? . . . We USUALLY need a GALLON of cranberry sauce . . . .” (sigh)

When we were done with the confab, Jen had a confabulatory document which she plans to duplicate and email to everyone with their respective assignments. If your assignment won’t work, you might be able to trade assignments with someone else. We trust that everyone will be a good sport about their respective assignments, because our Confab, which I thought could be completed in 15-20 minutes, took TWO HOURS…. I think…. . . . I DO have gaps in my memory . . . . It MIGHT have been 3 or 4 hours . . . .

But, in any case, it sounds yummy and a lot of fun. We have the Church from noon until 5 pm. We plan on eating around 1 p.m. Games and Crafts for the kids.

Postscript: I really appreciate Dara and Jen hammering out the details and shouldering so much to make sure things go smoothly. See you there!!!