Month Archives: December 2006

This Day in History/Quote of the Day

by Tom McClusky

December 29, 2006

On this day in 1908 Otto Zachow and William Besserdich of Clintonville, Wisconsin, received a patent for their four-wheel braking system, the prototype of all modern braking systems. You can read more from this link to a Fedruary 28, 1938 Time magazine.

QoD: I’d like to get away from earth awhile: And then come back to it and begin over.

May no fate willfully misunderstand me: And half grant what I wish and snatch me away:

Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love: I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.

I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree~And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk

Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. Robert Frost, Birches.

Four links a-linking

by Jared Bridges

December 28, 2006

For those of you still reading the internet on this fourth day of Christmas, here are four links (plus a bonus):

This Day in History/Quote of the Day

by Tom McClusky

December 28, 2006

Today could officially be called Geek Day, so many things happened of the nerd variety:

1980-2006For the pocket protector set there are a number of events surrounding today. For those whose nerdiness leans toward the math side (and those without a pocket protector there is no need to worry, because on this day in 1849 M Jolly-Bellin discovered dry-cleaning by accidentally upsetting a lamp containing turpentine and oil on his clothing and saw the cleaning effect.) The white coats born this day include Arthur Eddington (1882, astrophysicist/mathematician), John Von Neumann (1903, mathematician/astronomer), Clabon W. Allen (1904, astronomer), and Maarten Schmidt (1929, astronomer who discovered first quasar), Paul Horowitz (1942, physicist.) For the less bookish geeks, unless we are talking comic books, on this day in 1922 Stan Lee the creator of such comic icons as Spider-Man, X-Men and the Incredible Hulk was born. Two years later in 1924, host and the man behind the Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, Rod Serling was born. In either 1933 or 1936 Nichelle Nichols, Uhuru on the original Star Trek was born. And definitely in 1934 Dame Maggie Smith, Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter films and Thetis in Clash of the Titans, was born in Ilford, England. Other random but connected events on this day include the death of Dutch astronomer Albert Pigge in 1542, the patenting of chewing gum by William Finley Semple in 1869, the world’s first commercial screening of a film at the Grand Cafe in Paris in 1895, the announcement in 1948 of a U.S. study looking into launching an Earth satellite and the birth of the first American test tube baby in 1981.

QoD: “When a friend calls to me from the road, And slows his horse to a meaning walk,

I don’t stand still and look around, On all the hills I haven’t hoed, And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’, No, not as there is a time talk. I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,

Blade-end up and five feet tall, And plod: I go up to the stone wall, For a friendly visit.” - Robert Frost, A Time to Talk

Merry Christmas 2006

by Tom McClusky

December 21, 2006

As many of us get ready to leave to celebrate Christmas with our families, let us end on a high note with some inspirational Christmas stories from this year (For the three people who have missed it, This Day in History/Quote of the Day will return when I do next week.)

Merry ChristmasFirst off let us look at Santa’s helpers who work on his behalf in all the malls. A recent survey found that 90 percent say they get their beards pulled daily; About half nearly lose their glasses from clutchy kids every shift; Some 60 percent are sneezed or coughed on up to 10 times a day; About a third have been wet on and more than half say they get their boots stepped on as many as 10 times a day. Despite all this the survey, commissioned by Auntie Anne’s pretzel shops, revealed that Santa’s love their jobs.

Everybody comes in a good mood and that puts me in a good mood,” said Steve Macarus, 39, of Elgin, who was playing Santa at Navy Pier on Wednesday. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” said Johnson, a retired printer. “There’s no, ‘Aw, do I have to go to work today?’ I look forward to it.”

The only number from the survey I have a dispute with is:

Some 75 percent of kids say they’ve been good all year, the survey reported.

Now going to Vermont and a story that we hear a version of every year. A good hearted soul in Barre, VT put a coin from 1908 that is potentially worth up to $14,000 into one of the Salvation Army’s red kettles. You can donate any type of coin you want to the Red Cross here.

From Maine comes the story of how for “15 years, the Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington has been taking Christmas wreaths to the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., to decorate the graves of fallen U.S. soldiers and sailors. A burst of publicity this year came with two developments. First, instead of just focusing on the Arlington cemetery, the company started what it calls “Wreaths Across America” and sent six wreaths each to 230 state and national cemeteries in the 50 states and Puerto Rico. The expansion was the bright idea of Karen Worcester, who with her husband, Merrill Worcester owns and runs the company.” The picture on the blog is from their current laying of the wreaths.

Finally for any last minute shoppers with $18,920.59 to spare might I suggest you pick up the Twelve Days of Christmas? Every year PNC tabulates the cost and this year saw it getting close to the $19 thousand mark:

 

PNC Advisors’ Christmas Price Index

 

 

2006

One Partridge in a Pear Tree

$                   144.99

Two Turtle Doves

$                      40.00

Three French Hen

$                      45.00

Four Calling Birds

$                   479.96

Five Gold Rings

$                   325.00

Six Geese-a-Laying

$                   300.00

Seven Swans-a-Swimming

$                4,200.00

Eight Maids-a-Milking

$                      41.20

Nine Ladies Dancing

$                4,759.19

10 Lords-a-Leaping

$                4,160.25

11 Pipers Piping

$                2,124.00

12 Drummers Drumming

$                2,301.00

Total Christmas Price Index

$                18,920.59

 

How Barry Lynn Stole Christmas

by Tom McClusky

December 21, 2006

(With gruvvulous apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Every American

in America

Liked Christmas a lot…

But Barry Lynn,

Who worked against religion,

Did NOT!

Barry Lynn hated Christmas!

But especially the whole Christmas reason!

I’m not sure why. Perhaps he saw worshiping the Son of God akin to treason.

But he was not alone, not at all, in his ridiculous fight.

The ACLU and People for the (Un)American Way also saw Christmas as a terrible blight.If others can post rejected Update stories then so can I

Every December these groups would sue and sue, spending every red cent

On a misguided and twisted definition of the Constitution’s first Amendment!!

They didn’t like religious Christmas carols!!

Or a child distributing a candy cane!!

They hated Poinsettias and Christmas trees!!

They would find activist judges to cause all great pain!!

They hated a lot, for all of their days, mentioning Christ made them mean!!

And God forbid (yes they hated that phrase) you displayed a Nativity scene!!

One Christmas season they stole all the creches, the stockings and mistletoe

They stole all the carols, even the First Noel!!

They stole all the trees!! They stole all the presents!!

They laughed out in glee: “We will show these religious peasants!!”

So Christmas morning came and the liberals hoped it would just be like any other day

But, no, for you see America … they celebrated anyway!!

The Left was foiled once again - what could have gone wrong?

People were praying!! And worshiping with song!!

Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” “Away in a Manger”!!

All sung in worship!! Was the Left’s assault on Christmas finally in danger??

The ACLU and Barry and Ralph - they just didn’t understand

It wasn’t the trappings that were important, but God being born to man

But the people, they knew, as did every Founding Father

Religion strengthens our nation, and is far from a bother.

The Founders recognized this, from when they first landed on America’s shore

That Christ … perhaps … means a little bit more!

It is OK to have “Christmas trees” and a nativity scene

Judges can not stop it, nor could even Howard Dean.

So I say to you, without trepidation or fear

May you have a Merry CHRISTMAS and a blessed New Year!!

Wise Men Still Seek Him

by Suzanne Bowdey

December 21, 2006

In Baghdad, the blackened cars outside churches and abandoned houses where people once worshiped point to an even greater emptiness in Iraq. Since the war, Christians have faced great persecution and hardship, all signaling a new era in a country that was once the cradle of their faith. While it may be home to the ancient cities of Ninevah and Babylon, Ur and the Garden of Eden, families of God are fleeing Iraq—afraid for their lives and the daily threat of terrorism. Frightened by a future where they would be hunted or outcast, thousands of Christians have fled for safe havens.

In the past few years, the fragile peace between the country’s Christians and Muslims has been shattered. God-fearing Iraqis have watched helplessly as their brothers and sisters in Christ fall victim to bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and intimidation. In the face of great suffering, the shrinking population still searches for asylum. By record numbers, nearly half of what was once considered the world’s oldest Christian body has disappeared. As one religious leader said, “The situation that is in the country will not allow us to practice our services freely. It is not safe to go [out] from home. We are meeting every Sabbath, but it is very difficult. We expect an explosion at any time during the day.” Like every Iraqi, he prays for a better tomorrow. “We hope that things will change,” he said. “But no one knows except God.”

Two thousand years ago, the fate of the world hung by a similar thread. A virgin birth. The innocent manger. A promise of salvation. All were endangered by a Middle Eastern tyrant who slaughtered millions in hopes of killing the rightful King, Jesus Christ.

…After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we have observed his star and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened… Then Herod secretly called for the wise men… and sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage… When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising… When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. They saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage… And having been warned by a dream… they left for their country by another road… Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up and take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt… for Herod is about to search for the child and destroy him.’ (Matthew 2:2-3, 9-13)

Just as the Savior is born every year within the hearts and minds of His people, so too are the modern Herods, armed with angry troops and deadly weapons. But I am grateful for this side of the nativity story, because we learn that in the face of evil and corruption, the Messiah still finds His way.

Though suicide bombers threaten and war tears many apart, the faithful have clung to the Light in a world that seeks to destroy it. While the course is difficult, and fear and darkness often cover our path, history tells us that somewhere behind these horrors are the stirrings of peace and goodwill. On the other side of this manger is the Kingdom of Heaven. We celebrate with the poet T.S. Eliot, who wrote of the Magi, We returned to our places / But no longer at ease here / in the old dispensation / with an alien people clutching their gods / I should be glad of another death. This season, may the world be grateful “of another death” that brings new life in Christ.

From everyone at FRC, Merry Christmas and best wishes for a restful New Year!

Treating babies and teaching Iraqi doctors….

by David Christensen

December 21, 2006

This story about a Mumbai toddler treated by stem cell therapy provides some good news about a baby girl treated for a heart condition with her father’s blood stem cells.

I don’t know how accurate this story is, but it is consistent with the use of adult stem cells to treat patients for heart damage. The hospital mentioned, Frontier Lifeline Hospital, is focusing on cardiac care. In fact, according to this recent story, An invaluable exposure, Frontier Lifeline Hospital is working with Iraqi doctors and surgeons to help them get up to speed on newer techniques for treating heart damage. Iraqi doctors are struggling to treat heart trauma resulting from the war in Iraq, so some of them have gone for more training in India.

The 110th Congress: Hey who needs an excuse to party?

by Tom McClusky

December 21, 2006

Could he leave Nancy Pelosi in San Fran instead of his heart?I predicted Al D’Amato would beat Chuck Schumer. I predicted George H. W. Bush would beat Bill Clinton. I predicted Hillary Clinton would never become Senator of New York State. I predicted the Republicans would retain both Chambers of Congress. I predicted a ship like the Titanic could never be sunk and the Hindenburg was as safe as a horseless carriage. Finally, I predicted that the Democratic leadership wouldn’t be able to help themselves after winning Congress and would throw a lavish Hollywood type “Inaugural” - the kind normally reserved for Presidential elections. I guess I had to be right one of these times:

Tony Bennett is coming, of course, to croon his trademark “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

Carole King and Wyclef Jean will be there. Mayor Gavin Newsom is scheduled to be there, too.

And a big delegation of San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and labor leaders is jetting back East, together no less.

All will converge on Washington in early January to take part in four days of events surrounding the swearing-in of Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, who will be elected the new speaker of the House and the first woman and first Californian to occupy the post.

After running through a long list of planned events designed to highlight different phases of 66-year-old Pelosi’s life, her spokesman Brendan Daly said, “Overall this is who Nancy Pelosi is. And this is a chance for people to meet Nancy Pelosi and see who she is.”

Already “historians” are “>trying to rewrite history to say such a party isn’t unusual:

The communications strategy is simple,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “Feature those facets of biography that make it harder for people to say ‘San Francisco liberal.’”

That focus on personal history is a marked contrast from the festivities that surrounded the installation of Speaker Newt Gingrich with the Republican revolution of 1994. Then, the GOP limited the formal revelry to two days, and Gingrich concentrated primarily on speeches articulating conservative plans for the country.

We’re at a different time and a different place right now,” said Jamieson, author of several books on political communication. “Speaker Gingrich wasn’t trying to overcome a lot of stereotypes. He hadn’t been regularly vilified by the other side.”

Newt Gingrich wasn’t vilified by the other side? Apparently the liberal Ms. Jamieson didn’t read the newspapers at the time (or she doesn’t realize which party the mainstream media actually works for.) As the Media Research Center points out it was the Press vilifying Newt Gingrich in 1994.

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