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The Comenius Institute “Truth in Two” videos suggest we believe in objective, real, accurate facts. But we take the word “Truth” further to say what is honest in a straightforward way. Representing the Comenius Institute, I will be very honest. There are two commands in the Bible especially troubling around Thanksgiving. “Give thanks always” and […]
My sister, Gwynne, is one of the sweetest people in the world. Five kids in our family, I was the youngest and she the eldest and growing up she spoiled me rotten. Even today, if I’m coming over to visit she’ll ask, “What would you like for the dinner? Tamales? Pizza? Steak? Will you want cinnamon rolls for breakfast?” But the thing is, if she met you, she would probably find out your favorite dessert in ten minutes and be baking it within the hour.
She always kind, and I remember one particular instance when that kindness shined through. And so we, her brothers and sister teased her mercilessly for it.
We were on a car trip. One of my dad’s car trips. The seven of us were stuffed in the station wagon, I was always in the way back. The only reason to stop was for gas. Mom made sandwiches beforehand. Rest room stops were planned around those gas stops. (There was always a pot for emergencies.) On this particular trip, my dad needed help with directions. He didn’t often admit he needed help with directions, but he asked the attendant who pointed me dad in the right direction.
Jim and Greg take time to reflect on what they are politically thankful for in 2022. Their items range from a war thousands of miles away to key developments right here in the U.S. And they offer some things they are personally thankful for too…including you! Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoy this special edition of the 3 Martini Lunch.
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard talk with Nathaniel Philbrick, historian, winner of the National Book Award, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and author of Mayflower: Voyage, Community, and War. Mr. Philbrick shares what we should know about the actual historical events of the First Thanksgiving in 1621. He describes who the Pilgrims were, their beliefs and educational traditions, and the obstacles they overcame to found Plymouth Colony. They review the seminal documents of this history, such as the Mayflower Compact, and lessons about the Pilgrims, Patuxets, Wampanoags, and their world. They discuss how the Native Peoples of 17th-century Massachusetts lived, worshiped, and governed themselves, and noted figures like Massasoit and Squanto. They also explore the experiences of Pilgrim and Native women, and their role in the First Thanksgiving. Lastly, Mr. Philbrick explains how the relationship between the Pilgrims and Native Peoples changed in the decades leading up to King Philip’s War. The interview concludes with a reading from his book, Mayflower.
Stories of the Week: Higher education is expecting to see a sharp enrollment decline over the next 20 years, in what industry experts are calling “the enrollment cliff,” as a result of declining birth rates during the Great Recession. Is the highly respected New York State Board of Regents high-school graduation exam on its way out?
Don’t you just despise when the ads for Christmas come up in October!? I certainly do, although I love the secular celebrations of Christmas. But lately I’ve been in a funk, and I hate being there. It’s so boring and debilitating. I remembered, however, that not only is November my birthday month (which I celebrate for at least a month, although I usually start the month on my birthday), I figured that this year I would have a double blast: my birthday and Thanksgiving! Only I’d start Thanksgiving a month ahead of time! That’s almost two months total of rejoicing!
This will not be easy. Even now I want to complain about anything that comes into view. But I’m going to resist the temptation. No old-age complaints, no election complaints—well, see, I can’t stop myself! I know in the end, however, that a heavy burden will be lifted from my soul, and I will be freer to appreciate my life. Here are my plans for the next three weeks to celebrate Thanksgiving, starting now:
I will revel in the wonderful friends I have.
Today is the great American holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s not a religious holiday, and yet it is religious. It is a day to thank God for all the blessings he has given us. Since all religions, I think, thank God in some way and since we have many religions in the United States living side by side, this is a perfect American holiday. One that we can all share.
But we Catholics know gratitude to the Lord in a special way. Every Mass as part of the Eucharistic Prayer (part of the consecration of the bread and wine) we offer God our thanks. This exchange which leads to the Eucharistic Prayer should be familiar to Catholics.
Norm Macdonald was a regular guest on Dennis Miller’s radio show back in 2010 or so. My Thanksgiving tradition is to listen to Macdonald’s speech about the many things he’s thankful for. Here’s my transcription; audio included below.
Firstly, I’m thankful for the fine ladies who live across this country and leave pies on their windowsills, so an old chunk of coal like me might have a meal from time to time.
I’m thankful for all of my five children, especially the one that I like.
Norman Rockwell was not a realist. You aren’t supposed to interpret his paintings as depictions of everyday America as it actually was. No one who lived during his lifetime considered America a hunky-dory paradise populated only by upstanding and friendly citizens. The America he painted was one we wanted, the one we strove for, America as promised by our founding ideals. He focused on the best parts of our country. His artwork is aspirational, not delusional; optimistic, not whitewashed.
Political commentators spend most of their days following the awful things happening in the world. Bad news, after all, is what dominates the news cycle.
War, death, poverty, and injustice (and the occasional cat video) fill our laptop screens from the moment we wake until we go to bed. By the fourth day of the workweek, it’s easy to cycle between outrage and despair.
People on all sides succumb to this emotional low road, which is why there’s so much anger about failed politicians, terrible policies, and broken promises. Our grandparents would yell at the newspaper, our parents at the TV, but now everyone can hear our complaints. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube spread everyone’s misery worldwide.
This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Nicholas Basbanes, author of the 2020 literary biography, Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He shares why poetry – from the Epic of Gilgamesh and Homer to Dante, Shakespeare, Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, and Langston Hughes – may well be the most influential, enduring form of written human expression. He then provides brief highlights of Longfellow’s life, and why he was often regarded as the most popular and recognizable “fireside poet” New England has ever produced. They discuss the tragic death of his second wife Frances Appleton in 1861, and his lasting importance as among our nation’s most celebrated poets, literary figures, and translators of Dante. They review Longfellow’s well-known poems, including “The Wreck of the Hesperus” and “Paul Revere’s Ride,” recited by countless generations of schoolchildren, and their wider cultural impact on interest in poetry in American schools. They also discuss Longfellow’s 1842 anti-slavery work, Poems on Slavery, and his close friendship with abolitionists such as U.S. Senator Charles Sumner; as well as other notable works such as “Evangeline,” and “The Jewish Cemetery at Newport,” that celebrate religious liberty and inclusiveness. Basbanes concludes with a reading from his Longfellow biography.
Stories of the Week: Many state education officials are seeking guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on how to meet the accountability requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act after COVID-related testing disruptions. In Utah, student achievement on state assessments has declined across all grades, subject areas, and student groups in 2021 compared to 2019 (tests were not administered during 2020).
On this Thanksgiving-themed episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” Senior Editor Christopher Bedford and Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky discuss the importance of spending time with family, taking days off, slowing down, and expressing gratitude for the many blessings that grace our country.
The movie Braveheart is a fictional account of the historic Scot, William Wallace. Wallace is legendary as a freedom fighter against English rule in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Hollywood version of the story notwithstanding, the theme of the movie for all people is the same. Having been betrayed and led to his execution, […]
Androcles, a young Roman slave, sought escape in the wilderness from his unhappy life. Finding respite in a cave, he found himself face to face with a lion. The beast was anxious only for the removal of a thorn from his paw. Upon its extraction by Androcles, the lion submitted to the man, caring for him. After being captured as a runaway some time later, Androcles was sentenced to death-by-mauling within the coliseum. However, the lion let loose upon Androcles was one and the same who had benefited from the slave’s earlier kindness. Instead of attacking the defenseless man, the lion lay at his feet, whereupon both were released by an astounded Roman governor.
The story of Androcles and the lion prompts this question, “How does gratitude change us?” I believe that gratitude is one of the chief pillars of life. Gratitude says that we give acclaim to Someone outside ourselves. Our response to this outside gift-giver is the basis for ethics: doing right by how we live. Doing right is proper response to gratitude. Doing right is based on remembering we live because of the gift given by Another. Doing right is a small response to a large endowment. Gratitude caused the apostle Paul to exclaim about Jesus, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” To acknowledge life as a gift of God, one’s whole focus and concentration is moved from ourselves to One outside ourselves.
Disciples of Jesus as Lord bow the knee to their Sovereign Savior both in response to Who He is as well as what He has done. Following His instructions is the least we can do to show our gratitude. “Androcles and The Lion” teaches the lesson that doing what is right is first motivated by someone doing right by us. Gratitude is the basis for ethics.
Sometime after our unsuccessful stint with chocolate bar sales, my sister and I decided to go door to door collecting non-perishable pantry items for a Thanksgiving drive our school was sponsoring. It was another little school rally that convinced us to participate: boys were pitted against girls. Our attention was weekly directed to the growing […]
I first read today’s quote in a fourth grade classroom seated next to a girl who claimed descent from George Washington. I suspected the claim at the time because George Washington had no biological children, but President Washington effectively adopted two of Martha Washington’s children, so, maybe. The Civil War was over two years old and the ravaged nation could see no end in sight. The proclamation below managed to acknowledge the ongoing ordeal while placing it in the context of Providence.
October 3, 1863
Today marks my final Thanksgiving Day in uniform. I have spent it largely alone, as the Middle East dust has been playing Old Harry with my sinuses, sharply limiting my opportunities for fellowship. I did make an exception to go serve the troops at the dining facility, or “DFAC” in our military lingo. I was entrusted with the corn-on-the-cob, collard greens and gravy. They kept me away from the carving knives, which was probably the right call, manual dexterity not being my strong suit.
I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic–indeed, thankful–as I tic off each of these “lasts” through this final year on active duty, an extraordinarily fulfilling 35-year adventure from start to finish. The Air Force collected me from a disastrous early college experience, gave me a trade and sufficient structure to get me through those undisciplined early adult years, and then let me go back to school once I’d grown up enough to handle it. It sent me to amazing places and introduced me to even more amazing people–including my lifelong friend and soul-mate, who willingly signed up for the rest of the journey.
If you could recommend one movie to watch on Thanksgiving, what would it be and why? No, I am not trying to impinge on @vinceguerra‘s movie question series, the person whose recommendation receives the most likes will be able to bask in whatever glory they derive from that. And I don’t care if you nominate […]