Friday, April 03, 2015

Black Friday

Today is the real Black Friday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Perfect Birthday...

...because growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s, I heard this every Monday through Friday during Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade until I started first grade. And, since I had the record, a whole lot more times until I wore it out.

Scheduled to post on the 56th minute of St. Patrick's Day, Pacific Standard Time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Campaigning for Bishop (or Pastor)

The office of the bishop is political in the best sense of that term. Many of Basil [of Caesarea]'s letters reflect situations of high political intrigue where Basil extended the power and authority of his specific see to shore up and support the struggling churches in outlying areas or areas where orthodoxy had only a fragile hold on the clergy and people. Frequently he intervened in episcopal elections urging the clergy and people to elect a man who would be faithful to the traditions oreceived fromt he apostles and the fathers.... What we gain from Basil's handing of a crisis such as this is a good conception of the historic continuity in shaping the character of the pastoral office. As bishop one is not only placed into a congregation which extends back several years or even several generations, but as bishop one has a responsibility to be faithful to the totality of the Christian experience as it has unfolded over the course of centuries. There is a corporate identity to the church which cannot be reduced to the sum total of the present situation, for in defining what it means to be Christian the totality of the Christian past must be taken into consideration. Basil's point is that the office of the pastor is one of the chief means by which the Church is able to maintain and articulate the meaning of Christian faith from generation to generation.

In Basil's own situation such awareness gave him freedom, for it allowed him to look beyond the immediate squabble with Arianism and the allinace of Arianism with the emperor. Perhaps Basil's comments have a conservative ring to our [modern] ears, for those who today frequently call for loyalty to the past are really hindering our dealing with the present and restricting our freedom to cope with the future. But I doubt wheter this is really the case, for the past about which they speak is frequently the immediate past.... Seldom is it a appeal to the fullness of the tradition, a genuine catholic attempt to see the Church in larger terms than our immediate denominational tradition.... They usually mean the tradition of the last fifty of seventy-five years.
Robert L. Wilken, "The Practice of Piety: Basil of Caesarea and the Pastor Office," Una Sancta (24:4, Christmass, 1967), 79-80, as it appears in the March 2015 issue of Forum Letter which arrived in today's mail.


Friday, February 13, 2015

A Bad Day for L.A. Media: RIP Gary Owens

And as soon as I finish one post, another familiar name shows up "trending" on Facebook. Gary Owens died yesterday at the age of 80. Most famous, perhaps, as the announcer from "Beautiful Downtown Burbank" on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and still heard as the voice of Antenna TV, Garish had the 3-6 pm shift on KMPC 710, the radio station I listened to the most growing up.

"The Nurny Song" (not only sung by the "staff" singers, but by just about every recording artist of the '60s and '70s, including The Carpenters and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir); the words "insegrevious," "fnork," and "krelb;" an autographed picture of the Harbor Freeway; Krellman; Earl C. Festoon; the "Gary Owens Rumor of the Day;" "The Story Lady" (nearly 300 episodes are currently available at that link); speaking to or of "Wayne Doo" (KMPC engineer Wayne DuBois); and the Zookmeister Broadcasting System. Good music, news and traffic reports, and plenty of promotions with Dick Enberg, announcer for the (then) California Angels -- KMPC and the Angels were both owned by Gene Autry, who also owned KTLA channel 5. Ending a finance company commercial with, "and there are 29 offices within the sound of my voice. And now," speaking much louder, "there are 57 offices within the sound of my voice."

Yet in all that non-stop zaniness, he was also a consummate professional. Here's an aircheck, unfortunately it begins a bit wobbly, from his Sept 17, 1970, KMPC broadcast. (Note that in air checks the middle of songs and commercials are frequently cut out.) Oh, the memories this brings to me!

Stan Chambers, Gary Owens... I hope I'm not back in a krenellemuffin.

RIP: L.A.'s TV Reporter Stan Chambers

On a Friday afternoon in the spring of 1949, 3½-year-old Kathy Fiscus fell into an abandoned well in San Marino, California, and a rescue attempt was begun. Newspapers and radio stations covered as an anxious city (and eventually the nation) followed the story. At some point during the rescue, someone at KTLA Channel 5, the first commerically licensed TV station in the western US, thought to send a camera crew. And for 27½ hours, Stan Chambers stood before and beside the camera telling viewers -- this was the early days of television, so perhaps 20,000 people were able to watch at home -- what they were watching on their screens, including the sad news that Kathy had died long before her rescuers reached her. This was the first on-the-scene live TV coverage of a breaking news story. It would not be the last, for television or for Stan Chambers. Sales of televisions skyrocketed.

While it would be several years before KTLA had a regular news broadcast, they'd broadcast special news events live and Stan Chambers was usually the guy on screen reporting. The testing of an atom bomb in Nevada. Brush fires all across the Southland. Floods, earthquakes, riots. He covered the assissination of Bobby Kennedy and broke the story beating of Rodney King. And Stan reported good news, too, not the least of which was the Rose Parade (which, if you cannot be there in person, is still best watched on KTLA [Thank God for the internet!]). I saw him report hundreds of stories on Channel 5's News at 10 living in LA. And he continued this until he retired in 2010 at the age of 87, after 63 years at KTLA and in the homes of Angelenos.

A little while ago, "Stan Chambers" started appearing on the "trending" portion of my Facebook page, dying today at the age of 91. A true television pioneer. RIP, Stan Chambers. Here's one of KTLA's tributes.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

My Ultreya Talk

At the invitation/encouragement of some parishioners, I made a Cursillo in 1994. I've remained part of that community ever since, even as we also started Via de Cristo, a Lutheran version of the Cursillo, here in the Heart of Illinois in 1997.

The Cursillo begins as a 72-hour "short course" in Christianity in a retreat-like setting, with 15 talks by laity and clergy, each followed by small group discussion, with time for prayer, worship, etc. And comes the Fourth Day, that is, the rest of your life. Part of that is the monthly Ultreya, which the Peoria Cursillo website describes as "reunions of the Peoria Cursillo community at-large and are open to invited guests. They afford Cursillistas an opportunity to meet, pray and socialize with others who are dedicated to living a Christian life. They also provide support for a Cursillista's efforts to bring Christ's message to others in His environment."

Part of that "support" is the Ultreya Talk, usually given by a lay person or couple, witnessing to their faith journey as they continue in their Fourth Day. But occasionally, a clergy Cursillista gives the talk, and at Saturday evening's Ultreya that was me. And if you'd like, you can listen to it beginning about 11:45 into the recording embedded to this post. ¡De colores!

Thanks to Fr. Terry Cassidy, pastor at St. Ann's Church.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!!

A blessed and prosperous 2015 to you all.

This seems better than Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga -- Guy Lombardo, for the New Year of 1977.

Then you can go back to last New Year's Day and watch "Auld Lang Syne" with Guy Lombardo from 1958.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Day after Thanksgiving

Working in the Cashier's Cage at Sears Northridge beginning in 1997, the day after Thanksgiving was much like any other day -- except the store and the mall were much more crowed.

The day after the day after Thanksgiving was a whole 'nother thing. Our chief task in the cage was to count the store's cash receipts from the day before. In those days, most people used cash or checks. Normally we'd finish the counting around lunch time; busy days it would be the mid-afternoon. Saturday's receipts, usually the bigest sales day of the week, took the entire Sunday shift -- 11 to 5 in those days. The day after Thanksgiving, however, was the biggest sales day of the year, and the Saturday after Thanksgiving, even with the full staff, we were lucky to get everything counted before the store closed that evening. Forget any of the paperwork. Yes, the rest of the days until Christmas would all be long days, but the day after the Day after Thanksgiving was always the longest.

Only one Black Friday offers eternal savings. [image of Golgotha]
I did that each year from 1977-1984. And through the end of 1987 I was in that same Sears store, though by then in the Sears Savings Bank branch inside it. Eleven Days after Thanksgiving I worked in retail, the biggest sales day of the year. It was called "the day after Thanksgiving." Never "Black Friday."

Until I had been a Pastor here in Peoria for a few years, "Black Friday" had only one meaning. It was an alternate name for Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. "Black" because historically that was the color you would find in Anglican, Lutheran, and other churches on this Friday the banks, stock exchange, and many other enterprises closed early at Noon so people could go to church. Black Friday would never fall in November, because it is the Friday before Easter, in April or late March. Black Friday would be the day of the fewest, not the most, cash receipts.

Today is the Day after Thanksgiving.

And unless I absolutely must purchase something today, you won't find me in a department store or at the mall. They're way too crowded for me. You won't find me there next Black Friday -- Good Friday, that is, April 3, 2015 -- either. Of course, that will have nothing to do with crowded stores, and everything to do with eternal savings.