Monthly Archives: May 2011

Voice Of An Angel

So, he described himself as just a bore.
Male angel from Myspace 2His tender smile kept me occupied.
He sang off-key, I smiled all the more –
he may not last, but I’m still on his side.

I’d love to hear him singing just for me –
he’d grow quite bored himself, I’m sad to say.
I’d let him choose whatever melody
he felt it in his heart to send my way.

How could he bore them? I will never know!
I truly hope he is the one who’ll rise.
I’ve seen these stars how fast they come and go –
but none were quite an angel in my eyes.

He may have bored the masses with that song –
Hang in there, love, you picked a boring song.

–Byron D. Howell

Bryon D. Howell is a poet currently residing in New Haven, Connecticut. He has been writing poetry for a great number of years. Recently, work of his has appeared in Unlikely Stories, poeticdiversity, and Censored Poets.


Memorial Day

tumblr_llvcgiip061qfjriho1_1280Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 30 [Today] in 2011). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates men and women who died while in military service to the United States. First enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War, it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the civil war, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not.

History

Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_DayBy 1865 the practice of decorating soldiers’ graves had become widespread in the North. The first known observance was in Boalsburg, Pa on October, 1864, and each year thereafter. The friendship between General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who helped bring attention to the event nationwide, was likely a factor in the holiday’s growth. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic – the organization for Northern Civil War veterans – Logan issued a proclamation that “Decoration Day” should be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.

There were events in 183 cemeteries in 27 states in 1868, and 336 in 1869. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday; Michigan made “Decoration Day” an official state holiday in 1871 and by 1890 every northern state followed suit. The ceremonies were sponsored by the Women’s Relief Corps, which had 100,000 members. By 1870, the remains of nearly 300,000 Union dead had been buried in 73 national cemeteries, located mostly in the South, near the battlefields. The most famous are Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania and Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington.

The Memorial Day speech became an occasion for veterans, politicians and ministers to commemorate the war – and at first to recall the atrocities of the enemy. They mixed religion and celebratory nationalism and provided a means for the people to make sense of their history in terms of sacrifice for a better nation, one closer to their God. People of all religious beliefs joined together, and the point was often made that the German and Irish soldiers had become true Americans in the “baptism of blood” on the battlefield. By the end of the 1870s the rancor was gone and the speeches praised the soldiers of both the Union and Confederacy. By the 1950s, the theme was American exceptionalism and duty to uphold freedom in the world. In 1882, the name of Decoration Day was formally changed to Memorial Day in “memory” and ‘honor” of those who gave their lives fighting for a common cause, America.

In the South

In Charleston, South Carolina in 1865, freedmen (freed enslaved Africans) celebrated at the Washington Race Course, today the location of Hampton Park. The site had been used as a temporary Confederate prison camp for captured Union soldiers in 1865, as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died there. Immediately after the cessation of hostilities, freedmen exhumed the bodies from the mass grave and reinterred them in individual graves. They built a fence around the graveyard with an entry arch and declared it a Union graveyard. On May 1, 1865, a crowd of up to ten thousand, mainly black residents, including 2800 children, proceeded to the location for events that included sermons, singing, and a picnic on the ground, thereby creating the first Decoration Day-type celebration.

142-NWS-Confederate_Memorial_Day__1-05122009.standalone.prod_affiliate.9Beginning in 1866 the Southern states had their own Memorial Days, ranging from April 26 to mid June. The birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, June 3, became a state holiday in 10 states by 1916. Across the South associations were founded after the war to establish and care for permanent cemeteries for Confederate soldiers, organize commemorative ceremonies, and sponsor impressive monuments as a permanent way of remembering the Confederate tradition. Women provided the leadership in these associations, paving the way to establish themselves as capable of public leadership.

The earliest Confederate Memorial Day celebrations were simple, somber occasions for veterans and their families to honor the day and attend to local cemeteries. Around 1890, there was a shift from this consolatory emphasis on honoring specific soldiers to public commemoration of the Confederate “Lost Cause”. Changes in the ceremony’s hymns and speeches reflect an evolution of the ritual into a symbol of cultural renewal and conservatism in the South. By 1913, however, the theme of American nationalism shared equal time with the Lost Cause.

Columbus, Mississippi at its Decoration Day on April 25, 1866, commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery.


Lovely Advice

Health:

  1. tumblr_liw3656UYB1qdhlyeo1_400Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
  5. Play more games.
  6. Read more books than you did in 2010.
  7. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  8. Sleep for 7 hours.
  9. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality:

  1. 6_30_2010_YOTDDon’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  2. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  5. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  6. Dream more while you are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  8. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. tumblr_llnutalSKT1qceuzao1_1280Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Society:

  1. Call your family often.
  2. Each day give something good to others.
  3. Forgive everyone for everything.
  4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.tumblr_ljrxypdlvu1qdslmho1_400[4]

Life:

  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  4. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  5. The best is yet to come.
  6. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Moment of Zen: Tighty Whities

tumblr_lkzfax0w8f1qarksao1_400

I don’t always go for tighty whities but some guys make them look so damn sexy, at that moment it is a moment of Zen. I hope all of you are having a great Memorial Day Weekend.


Update

letterhead

On an update to my post Call to Action, believe it or not, I did actually hear back from my Congresswoman (on another matter that I wrote to her about a few months ago), and the letter was somewhat more personalized than I expected, which gives me hope.  

US-Capitol-Building

She’s still a Republican, which takes away a lot of that hope, but you never know.  I just have a hard time trusting these Tea Partiers, which she is loosely associated with and how she got elected.  She spent the whole campaign going on and on and on and on about the evils of Nancy Pelosi.  It was her only platform, and most of the stuff she had quoted was wrong, yet the people of my district still elected her.  Is there no hope for us living in the Conservative Bible-Belt of the South?

I will move on to other stuff. 

Enough about politics.


Call to Action

US-Capitol-Building
Urge your member of Congress to save Teaching American History Grants and many other vital education programs:
Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would eliminate the Teaching American History (TAH) grants program at the U.S. Department of Education.  We urge you to contact your Member of Congress immediately to oppose this bill. The bill (H.R. 1891), the “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act,” would terminate 43 K-12 federal education programs.  Click on the link for a PDF that outlines those cuts.
The President’s fiscal year 2012 budget request for the Department of Education would eliminate Teaching American History grants (TAH) as a separately funded program.  However, the Administration proposed consolidating history education into a new program called Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education. This reflects the President’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization proposal, the Blueprint for Reform that was released in March 2010.
Teaching American History grants is the only federal program that funds K-12 history education.  Its elimination would exacerbate the problem of local school districts deemphasizing history in their curriculum because it is not the focus of high-stakes testing.
The House Education and the Workforce Committee is expected to consider H.R. 1891 at any time. It is important that you contact your Member of the House of Representatives TODAY, to urge them to oppose this bill.
The Alliance has set up a template message for you to customize. We strongly encourage you to personalize this message by telling Congress why TAH programs are important to you, your institution, your field, your state, and/or district. Take Action
There are many other programs listed that do not need to be cut.  With the economy and cuts in education on the state level, why would the federal government do more to damage American education.  We are already behind many other nations in education.  We need to find a program that works to enhance education, not defund it.  I am not the first to admit that “No Child Left Behind”  (NCLB) is a total failure, but something needs to be done.  The government states that the “OMB’s 2004 PART evaluation found no demonstrated results from the program” which I don’t believe.  When I was in graduate school, this grant funded a lot of great programs for teacher education, National History Day, etc.  These were programs that promoted history education.  What results were they looking for?  I can’t answer that, and more than likely, neither can they.
The TAH program is designed to raise student achievement by improving teachers’ knowledge and understanding of and appreciation for U.S. history. The purpose of these grants is to promote the teaching of traditional American history in elementary and secondary schools as a separate academic subject.
us_capitol_dc_daguerreotype_1846_poster-p228586855391669200t5wm_400

A daguerreotype of the US Capitol, Washington DC, taken in 1846

Many important subjects, such as history, civics, geography, and foreign languages have received less classroom time.  As a result, our children are growing up with diminished knowledge and understanding of our nation’s history. To fulfill its obligations and take advantages of its privileges, citizenship requires knowledge of America’s past. As a nation, we cannot afford to ignore our responsibility to provide high-quality history education to all our students. 
By eliminating the Teaching American History grants program, Congress will be repeating the mistakes of NCLB and cutting off the only federal funding for K-12 history education.  The program works: evaluations of TAH programs show a clear increase in participating teachers’ content knowledge and skill in teaching history.
By the way, this is on a side note to this, but have you seen this story: Meet Amy Myers.  I think it is great that students are taking a keen interest in politics, civics, and US history I do have one problem with this young girl, and that is I do not like it when kids think they are smarter than adults.  I have a couple of students who like to challenge me in class, now it is one thing to do so in the pursuit of knowledge, it is another to try an show off your intellect at the expense of others.  I have never actually had a student that I wasn’t able to show that I was right and though much of history is about interpretation, they are not looking at the full picture.  Teenagers often don’t know the vast extent of what they don’t know.  Now saying that, Amy Myers probably can beat Michelle Bachmann in a debate or history quiz, to me it is still a little presumptuous of her and somewhat disrespectful.  I also have a suspicion that this was not her idea and that she was put up to it by an adult with a particular political agenda.  Then again, that is my opinion. 
Now the reason I brought this up is because Miss Myers wrote to Congresswoman Bachmann and did not get a response.  I have written to my Representatives before and though I always get a response from my senior Senator,  I only occasionally get a response from my junior Senator.  However, I have yet to ever get a response from my Representative in the House, no matter who it was or what his/her political affiliation was.  I just wonder if it is common not to hear form your congressional representatives?  Do any of you write to your representatives in Congress?  Do you get a response?  Does it have to do with staff size, or what?  I would love to hear your input on this.


Travelling Between Places

TRAVELLING BETWEEN PLACES

baptiste-giabiconi-19Leaving nothing and nothing ahead;
when you stop for the evening
the sky will be in ruins,

when you hear late birds
with tired throats singing
think how good it is that they,

knowing you were coming,
stayed up late to greet you
who travels between places

when the late afternoon
drifts into the woods, when
nothing matters specially.

BRIAN PATTEN

Born near Liverpool’s docks, he attended Sefton Park School in the Smithdown Road area of Liverpool, where he was noted for his essays and greatly encouraged in his work by Harry Sutcliffe his form teacher. He left school at fifteen and began work for The Bootle Times writing a column on popular music. One of his first articles was on Roger McGough and Adrian Henri, two pop-oriented Liverpool Poets who later joined Patten in a best-selling poetry anthology called The Mersey Sound, drawing popular attention to his own contemporary collections Little Johnny’s Confession (1967) and Notes to the Hurrying Man (1969). Patten received early encouragement from Philip Larkin.

Patten’s style is generally lyrical and his subjects are primarily love and relationships. His 1981 collection Love Poems draws together his best work in this area from the previous sixteen years. Tribune has described Patten as “the master poet of his genre, taking on the intricacies of love and beauty with a totally new approach, new for him and for contemporary poetry.” Charles Causley once commented that he “reveals a sensibility profoundly aware of the ever-present possibility of the magical and the miraculous, as well as of the granite-hard realities. These are undiluted poems, beautifully calculated, informed – even in their darkest moments – with courage and hope.”


The "Royal" Silly Giggles

I don’t know what they are laughing at, but obviously it cracked up Princess Anne, Prince Harry, and the Duke.  It looks like Harry started it.  In the last picture, you can see that the Queen got a little tickled, but Charles just looks on with little humor in his expression.  I would love to know the story behind this.  It shows they are obviously human after all.

All in all, I found this a wonderful sequence of pictures.



Moment of Zen: The Rapture

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It’s a complicated business calculating the precise date of the end of the world. There’s the Great Flood to consider, which may have happened around 4990BC, depending on who’s estimating. And the timing of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Then there’s a bit of math that involves equating one day to 1,000 years.
Do all that and it turns out that Armageddon will begin at 6pm on Saturday. That is, if Harold Camping has got his calculations and his reading of the Book of Ezekiel right.

The 89-year-old doomsday prophet, a former engineer, has prompted a tide of expectation, elation and derision after persuading listeners to his Family Radio Worldwide across the US and as far away as the Philippines to sell up everything and prepare for the beginning of the end of the world with the second coming of Jesus.

If all goes according to plan, those who have been “saved” by Jesus will rise into the air in the Rapture and look down as God smites billions of nonbelievers with a great earthquake rolling from city to city across the planet, and a bit of fire to boot.

Judgment day will begin at 6pm wherever you are. The mayhem will move west over the planet, wiping out cities, towns and villages.

In the US, some believers have given up their jobs and donated money they think they will no longer need to pay for more than 2,000 billboards across the country proclaiming “Judgment Day: May 21, 2011 – Cry mightily unto God. THE BIBLE GUARANTEES IT!”

Camping previously predicted that the end of the world would be in 1994. He blames that on an error in the math but says he has it right this time. “There is no possibility that it will not happen because our information comes from the Bible,” he told the Philadelphia Daily News.

Besides his mathematical formula, Camping has conjured up more “evidence” that doomsday looms. He has pointed to the re-establishment of Israel – which some Christians believe is a prerequisite for the second coming of Jesus and the Rapture – as a sign from God “that the world is getting near its end”. He has said that the earthquake and tsunami in Japan were a divinely organized foretaste of what awaits most of humanity.

Camping has also said that “gay pride” and same-sex marriage are “a sign from God that judgment day is very near”. “No sign is as dramatic and clear as the phenomenal worldwide success of the Gay Pride movement. In the Bible God describes His involvement with this dramatic movement … We will learn that the Gay Pride movement would successfully develop as a sign to the world that Judgment Day was about to occur,” he writes.


I, for one, will be standing outside when 6pm comes today.  I don’t want to hit my head on my way to heaven, LOL. This will also be my last post if the Rapture occurs;  so I will say goodbye to you all and will say hello again once we are in Heaven together.

Though this post is done with humor, Harold Camping does believe he has predicted the end of the world, which will actually come five months after the “Rapture” on October 21, 2011.  I am a Christian, and I tend to believe the Bible:


Matthew 24:36

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Mark 13:31-32

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Therefore. I just can’t take these predictions seriously.  I also don’t believe in a literal “rapture” as described by those who say we will be flown up into heaven.


Some notable rapture predictions include the following:

  • 1844 – William Miller predicted Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, then revised his prediction, claiming to have miscalculated Scripture, to October 22, 1844. The realization that the predictions were incorrect resulted in a Great Disappointment. Miller’s theology gave rise to the Advent movement. The Baha’is believe that Christ did return as Miller predicted in 1844, with the advent of The Báb, and numerous Miller-like prophetic predictions from many religions are given in William Sears book, Thief in The Night.
  • 1914, 1918, 1925, 1942 – Dates set for the end by the Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • 1981 – Chuck Smith predicted that Jesus would probably return by 1981.
  • 1988 – Publication of 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988, by Edgar C. Whisenant.
  • 1989 – Publication of The final shout: Rapture report 1989, by Edgar Whisenant. More predictions by this author appeared for 1992, 1995, and other years.
  • 1992 – Korean group “Mission for the Coming Days” predicted October 28, 1992 as the date for the rapture.
  • 1993 – Seven years before the year 2000. The rapture would have to start to allow for seven years of the Tribulation before the Return in 2000. Multiple predictions.
  • 1994 – Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles predicted June 9, 1994. Radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted September 6, 1994.
  • 2011 – Harold Camping’s revised prediction has May 21, 2011 as the date of the rapture.
  • 2060 – Sir Isaac Newton proposed, based upon his calculations using figures from the book of Daniel, that the Apocalypse could happen no earlier than 2060.

Sources:


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