Tag: Group Writing

Group Writing 20190119: Renovating Memories

 

Scientists now tell us that every time we pull a memory out of long-term storage, we then re-write it, and in this rewriting, it may get changed. This may play into some instances of what has come to be known as the Mandela Effect. Someone asks, “Does the Coca-Cola logo have a hyphen or dash […]

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“Emergency” Renovation

 

As Mark Davis says, “Trump makes everyone better.” Well, maybe not the sad section of the “conservative” commentariat driven mad by the Great Big Ugly Man, but his administration has been a refiner’s fire for lifer politicians like “Cocaine Mitch” and Lindsey Grahamnesty. In the same way, his presence has unmasked the long-hidden corruption of our federal law-enforcement and intelligence community, last disinfected in the mid-1970s by the Church Committee. Now, President Trump’s threat — to use two laws (not a pen and a phone), passed in the 1970s and 1980s, to legally reallocate particular current appropriated funds — is sparking a renewed interest in reforming national emergency authority. More goodness!

There are real concerns, from multiple points in political space, about presidents being granted, or asserting, “emergency” powers. Many real concerns seem to arise from confusing language, prompting misunderstanding. All the real concerns should be distinguished from false claims, like those of Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the original illegal alien amnesty “Gang of 8.” His posture of worry about what a future Democratic president will do is a howling fraud, both because he knows everything we will review below, and because he has proven himself allergic to real border and immigration control. Likewise, we may discount CNN, the paper dying in darkness, and all those poor souls discombobulated by the Great Big Ugly Man. Setting all the false fears aside, let us consider the real concerns.

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Renovation Update

 

Shameless plug: January Group Writing: Renovation has lots of open dates. We really don’t need me writing another Charmin post, let alone the next baño bit. Consider yourselves warned. More

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Josephine Garis Cochrane: American Sorceress for Domestic Life

 

Everyone knows necessity is the mother of innovation, and good help is hard to find. These two idioms must have combined in the mind of Josephine Garis Cochrane who needed clean dishes for the frequent dinner parties she loved to host, despite the careless servants who chipped her china when cleaning up afterwards.

Even though she was a nineteenth century woman of means who was married to a successful businessman, Cochrane was undaunted by the prospect of hard work. She became so frustrated with the incompetence she saw on display in her grand kitchen that she began to wash her own porcelain wares by hand.

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January Group Writing: Renovating Humor

 

The surest sign of age is the loss of the vital powers that once came with ease. The mind may be the first thing to go, as my wife has been telling me for years, but weakening flesh is the cruelest harbinger of failing vitality.

I well remember the first unmistakable sign that things were slipping away too quickly to notice. We had a tree stump in the backyard that had to be removed. So, manly man that I used to be, I buttoned up my sleeves, pulled on a pair of gloves, policed up a long crowbar and a rock to serve as a fulcrum, and set out to show that stump who was who. I got the bar lodged underneath the stump, pushed down with all my might, and…the stump refused to budge. I grunted and groaned, kick and cussed for about twenty minutes, unwilling to accept my ignominy. Fortunately, my nephew dropped by and, seeing that I was in great distress, offered to help. Now Nate is a giant of a man and a kill trained Marine who’d served three tours in Iraq, so I figured he’d just add his muscle to mine. Instead, he wrapped his arms around the stump, let out a groan, and pulled it up roots and all.

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December Group Writing Wrap-up: Veneration

 

Many thanks to the members who stepped up in a month full of holiday travel and events, answering the challenge to write on the theme of veneration. Bookmark this one and peruse the uniformly excellent posts if you missed some. There are lots of dates available in January Group Writing: Renovation. Follow the link to […]

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Unexpected renovation; or, a return to writing

 

You might think that starting this off in the obtuse poetry of a balding and portly 20th century academic is a little strange, and you’d probably be right. Wally Stevens can’t compete for notoriety against the likes of Lemmy Kilmister, Jeff Chaucer or Steve Harris, and as for me let’s face it, outside of my […]

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“Must See” Movie: Peter Jackson vs. Ken Burns

 

https://static.wirtualnemedia.pl/media/top/Peter-Jackson-They-Shall-Not-Grow-Old.jpgMany thanks to Ricochet member @ejhill for alerting us in advance, from Britain, to the December US Fathom event showings of Peter Jackson’s World War I Centennial documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old. His review put the film on my “must see” list, @she provided a helpful reminder to the community on the first day of the December showings, and @eb provided a brief review. Viewing the film in 2D (it is also available in 3D) prompted reflections on renovation and invited contrast with other war documentaries. Ken Burns’ Vietnam War PBS series especially came to mind, starkly contrasting with Peter Jackson’s big screen documentary.

I respect EJ Hill’s technical assessment but have a slightly different view. Viewing the entire film in 2D, I cannot comment on any 3D issues. Aside from that disclaimer, I wholly endorse Peter Jackson’s vision and technical decisions. If you were turned off by Mortal Engines or soured at some point in the six episode Middle Earth franchise, know that all that money and technical talent has been harnessed to faithfully bring to life the Great War that was said to have inspired Tolkein’s stories.

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Venerating the Mother of God: Stabat Mater speciosa

 

The serendipity of a saint search led me to the story of Jacopone da Todi. That led to two poems, and onward to musical settings. This exploration led to reflections on Mary, the Mother of God.

A saint’s story.

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The Renovated Man

 

I am born anew of Spirit. Each day I am made new again, and I learn the lessons that are before me easily.

Children learn rapidly. They are sponges of information absorption. They have not yet filled their heads with nonsense that prevents learning. Indeed, we sometimes fear they will learn the wrong things, which has led to the adage, “Little pitchers have big ears.” Our capacity to learn has not diminished from the day we were born.

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Maternal Love Rules the World

 

“God could not be everywhere and so He created mothers.”— Rudyard Kipling “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” — William Ross Wallace More

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January Group Writing: Renovation

 

There are two major monthly Group Writing projects. One is the Quote of the Day project, managed by @vectorman. This is the other project, in which Ricochet members claim one day of the coming month to write on a proposed theme. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with […]

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Icon, Part 5: The Nativity of Christ

 

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath given rise to the light of knowledge in the world; for they that worshipped the stars did learn therefrom to worship Thee, O Sun of Justice, and to know that from the east of the Highest Thou didst come. O Lord, glory to Thee. Apolytikion of the Nativity of Christ

The Orthodox icon of the Nativity is jarring to our western eyes. We are accustomed to seeing Joseph and Mary in a warm-looking and very clean wooden barn, each about the same age, kneeling before a wooden manger that has a glowing Christ-child within, while angels shout triumphant above, shepherds approach, and the Magi, newly arrived, kneel with their gifts while the star that guided them shines brightly above the entire scene. Look closely at this scene, though, and things seem off. There is no warm and clean wooden barn, but a jagged mountain with a dark yawning cave. The Christ-Child is within, but He’s wrapped up in bandages? And is the manger really a stone box that looks more like a coffin? Mary is laying out on a blanket, dominating the scene, while Joseph (an older Joseph) is down the mountain looking forlorn while a very strange and sinister figure talks at him. What is happening here? This is not the quiet and happy Nativity we know and cherish in our candle-light caroling, nor is it the Stille Nacht we envisage while the snow quietly falls.

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What Child is This?

 

As far as Christmas Carols go I’m mostly a fan of the old hymns. The older poetry had to conform to a stricter set of rules. You have to spend a lot more effort on your word choices when you’re constrained like that, and the effort shows in the quality of your writing. They also […]

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The Veneration, or Not, of the Saints

 

The topic of veneration is a bit of a challenge for me, as the first association I have with the word is the veneration of saints. I’m Lutheran though, and Lutherans don’t venerate saints; we’re kinda famous for not doing so. If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it or a lazy kid who won’t do his chores until his mom nags him.

That being said, we do still have a place for saints in our worship. They are for our education and edification, if not our veneration. My Liber Hymnorum, a hymnal of Latin hymns used by the early Lutheran church, describes a year of saintly feasts, from St. Sebastian on January 20th to the Holy Innocents on December 28th, with stops for St. Gregory in March, St. Anne in July, and St. Michael and All Angels in September, as well as about a dozen others. The Brotherhood Prayer Book, a Lutheran breviary, lists dozens more notable church fathers and mothers whose feast day is a chance for honoring and remembering their extraordinary lives, including doctors of the church like John Chrysostom, Anselm of Canterbury, Bede the Venerable, and Augustine of Hippo. (If you see a St. Martin Lutheran Church, it is recognizing Martin of Tours, not Mr. Luther.)

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Venerating Dead Politicians

 

Have the American people venerated certain dead presidents? If so, what has happened to that veneration? From our coins, to our classroom walls, to the stories we tell, have we seen a sort of secular iconography, challenged by political iconoclasts?

Dennis Prager has long held that America has a unique value system, which he styles “The American Trinity.” The American Trinity is on our coins: “E Pluribus Unum,” “In God We Trust,” Liberty.” Looking at our four most common coins, we also see four presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR.

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Icon, Part 4: Veneration and the Incarnation

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d, and the Word was G-d. He was in the beginning with G-d. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, [1] and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 14)

Thus far we have examined the first three festal icons of the Orthodox liturgical year, and in them see some of the conventions necessary to understand and interpret them (conventions such as the avoidance of over-realism, use of symbolism, a flattening of time and overlapping of events). The next Great Feast is, of course, the Nativity of Christ (Christmas), but in the interlude, I thought it time to address the icons themselves, their reason for being, why they are venerated, and what veneration even means in their context. And to do that, we should start with the prototype and, in its way, the most important icon of all, that of Jesus Christ Himself, and of one particular form — The Icon Not Made By Hands. All of Orthodox iconography is in vain if it does not point to Christ, and it is from Christ that all iconography stems.

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An Ode to the Almost Impossible and a Vision of Victory

 

“Without a vision, the nation will perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)

On a quiet Shabbat evening in 2002, Dror (a Hebrew word for freedom) Weinberg, aged 38, was enjoying the company of his wife, who was pregnant, and their five children in Kiryat Moshe, a Jerusalem neighborhood known for its understated piety. Suddenly Weinberg got an emergency call. Worshipers leaving Shabbat prayers in Hebron had been attacked by terrorists. As the colonel in charge of the Hebron brigade, Weinberg quickly donned his uniform, grabbed his assault rifle, and sped to the scene of the attack. As an observant Jew, Weinberg would not normally drive on Shabbat, but when it is a matter of saving lives, you are obligated to breach Shabbat (Sabbath) law.

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Again with the bell

 

Do you hear what I hear? Time to deck the halls and make things merry and bright. I speak, of course, of our monthly Group Writing theme: “Veneration.” There are still several days open on the sign up sheet. We’ve had posts on architecture, music, and persons worth venerating. Who is worthy of veneration? Who […]

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