Friday, November 21, 2014

Mike Nichols: RIP

Mike Nichols died a couple of days ago. I was probably 8-years-old the first time I heard the following. I've been a fan ever since.

Here he is accepting an Emmy Award in the year I was born. He definitely did not deserve this.

Television hasn't changed all that much, has it...

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Another General Election

I arrived at my precinct's polling place just after 3:30 in the afternoon. I was the 66th voter to show up, with one person ahead of me and three or four more showing up while I was in the voting booth. Not a lot of folks usually vote around here, even in a general election.

Four years ago, the last mid-term election, there were a total of 166 votes cast in the entire precinct. Two years ago (a Presidential election year), arriving a wee bit later in the afternoon, I was #200 of 346. It would be interesting to learn how many registered voters there are in this precinct.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Reading and Pondering the Declaration

Next to "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," my favorite line in the Declaration of Independence, written 238 years ago, is,
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
I don't really wonder what Thomas Jefferson and the Fathers would think of the Executive Branch of today's United States government. What I do wonder is how we Americans can be so proud of this document and then sit back as Presidents and Congresses of both parties erect more offices...

Reposted from this blog last year, 3 years ago and 5 years ago, and 7 years ago on my other blog. Image of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence from


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Friday, May 30, 2014

"You are witnesses of these things..."

From the ALPB Forum Online thread "A Blessed Ascension Day":

Last evening was the 15th consecutive year the Ascension of Our Lord was observed at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria on the Feast Day.

Our typical practice as been what Frank Senn describes as Cathedral Vespers and the Eucharist, using Evening Prayer and Holy Communion Setting III of LBW. He reports this as a better alternative to using parts of Vespers to replace the entrance rite for Holy Communion by letting each liturgy stand on its own, rather than asking it to do something else.

Vespers includes the Lucinarium (at 7pm) with procession, during which all worshipers are invited to light their own candles, Pslam 141, and the Litany. At its "Amen", the organist offers a Prelude (giving me time to change from choir dress into Eucharistic vestments when I'm the celebrant). The eucharistic procession is to the Gloria in excelsis, omitting only the Psalmody and the Prayer of the Church while following the rest of Setting III.

We, too, are not air-conditioned, so while I had been able to get the church down to 75 F in the morning -- think "brick oven" in these longer, warmer, sunny days -- it was 82 in the late afternoon when I noticed the organist perspiring as she practiced the liturgy, so I turned the ceiling and exhaust fans up and brought in a couple more to get the air moving. It's not too bad, but the acolytes aren't used to the air moving quite that much!

We specifically invited not only our sister Conference congregations (which we've always done), but all ELCA full communion partner congregations within the greater Peoria area -- that adds up to over 60 congregations --, got the word out to at least some in the Via de Cristo community (noting particularly that the preacher, the Synod's Director for Evangelical Mission, had been a spiritual director for last month's Three Days), and even got a notice in Sunday's Journal Star. Still, it's a Thursday evening at the end of May, on the South Side of Peoria, conflicting with some graduations and the community theatre.

23 in attendance (on the lower side for Ascension and a guest preacher) from 8-9 different congregations. (Some of our "regulars" had other commitments.) The Gospel was proclaimed, the Sacrament was administered, the world was raised in prayer. And, as is typical at Zion, it's a good hour or more after the Dismissal before we can put away the remaining cookies, clean up the coffee and juice, and I can finally lock the doors and retire for the evening.

Come, Holy Spirit...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

King's College Choir Announces Major Change

Choral music will never be the same...


Tip of the biretta to Father Carl-Johan.

Not the Best Beginning

Oh, my! This is an inauspicious way to begin the new season. Los Angeles Angels hitting coach Don Baylor, behind the plate to catch the ceremonial first pitch, breaks his leg. You may not want to watch the video, but it's hard to imagine the 1979 American League Most Valuable Player being that fragile, even at age 64.

(Ah, the Orange County Register reports, "In 2003, Baylor was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a bone marrow cancer that weakens the bones. He reportedly went into remission the next year.")

Then the 3-2 score over Seattle when I finally get to listen via XM Radio beginning in the 6th inning ends up a 10-3 blowout for the Mariners....

Monday, March 24, 2014

Which Do I Choose?

So the survey asks:
What best describes your occupation?

  • Arts / Literary / Culinary

  • Business Owner / Self-Employed

  • Education Administration / Support Services

  • Educator (Professor, Teacher, Coach, etc.)

  • Entertainment / Sports / Media

  • Farming / Ranching

  • Military / Law Enforcement / Fire Services / Emergency Services

  • Lawyer / Attorney

  • White Collar (includes executive management, middle management, and individual contributors)

  • Professional / Technical

  • Construction / Tradesman / Skilled Laborer (Painter, Mechanic, Plumber, etc.)

  • Hourly Wage Worker (Waiter, Barista, Stocker, Bellhop, etc.)

  • Professional Driver / Delivery Driver

  • Physician / Doctor (MD, DO, FMG, DC, DDS, DVM, etc.)

  • Healthcare Professional (Not Physician / Doctor)

  • None of the Above

  • I do believe the best response for a Christian minister is "Professional."

    But "White Collar" is mighty tempting.

    Photo: Pastor Zip at Zion's celebration of his 55th birthday.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    Another Election Day

    Today is Primary Election Day in Illinois. I voted just before three o'clock this afternoon, which seems to be my usual time of day. There were five people in the comunity room at Neighborhood House when I walked in, and another person followed me in. The six were all election judges.

    This year there is a new form for the voter to sign, and there is a space on it for the one giving the voter his electornic voting code to indicate which voter, in numerical order, this is. So I didn't need to ask, as has been my custom, how many had showed up so far. I was No. 8.

    "It's picked up since lunch time," replied one of the judges responded to my comment on it being a slow day. Turns out between the opening of the polls at 6:00 am and Noon two voters had showed up. And one of them was one of the judges.

    Well, it's a primary election, the chief offices up for election are Governor and U.S. Senator where any apparent competition for the party nominations (for some, but not all, offices) is on the Republican side, and this precinct is usually quite Democratic when people bother to vote in the general election. Nevertheless, with less than one voter per hour, the contrasts between today's election and the recent one in North Korea are not entirely complimentary to us.

    I thanked the judges for their service.