Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Messages: 2015

Four years ago I posted here the Christmas messages of the President of the United States and the Queen of the United Kingdom. I offer a similar post for 2015.

First, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland addresses her nation and the Commonwealth for Christmas.

The President of the United States and Mrs. Obama address this nation for Christmas.

And, finally, since I have visited his home, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden gives his annual Christmass speech to the Swedish people. Since few of my usual reader understand Swedish, below is the official English translation from the Swedish Royal Court.

Dear Swedish citizens, at home and overseas. Everyone in Sweden!

My family and I would like to wish you all an enjoyable Christmas. This year the cheer of Christmas has perhaps been even more keenly awaited than usual by many of us.

It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that this has been a challenging year for Sweden and the Swedish population. Global concerns have impacted on us here in a way we haven’t experienced for many years. We should take the opportunity now over the holiday to take a step back for a while, and take time to reflect on the past year and perhaps formulate our hopes for the year ahead of us.

There are 60 million refugees in the world. Some of them have come to seek asylum and a future for themselves and their children here in Sweden. We have a strong desire to help people. Massive and important efforts are being made to assist those seeking asylum and security.

In the autumn I met several young people at an asylum centre outside Östersund and I was greeted by a sense of enthusiasm and a keen aspiration to succeed and do well in their new country.

Together with The Queen, I also visited Kronan School in Trollhättan a while back. A perfectly ordinary Swedish primary and lower secondary school with basketball hoops in the playground and the word “Welcome” painted in large yellow letters at the entrance. It could have been anywhere at all in Sweden if it wasn’t for the terrible act of violence that had occurred at this very school several weeks earlier. Candles in memory of the victims had been lit at the youth recreation centre.

Amidst the grief and gloom it was good to see how the staff were working to restore things for the pupils. To restore a sense of normality and security, which is so valuable, to children and adults alike.

Then in November, 130 young people lost their lives in a series of coordinated terror attacks in Paris. These attacks affected us all deeply, and they reminded us how vulnerable we are. The openness and trust that has characterised our society thus far cannot always be taken for granted. Not even here in Sweden. We must safeguard and stand up for these values.

Undoubtedly, our times are subject to darkness and unrest, but that is one of the reasons why it is so important to also hold onto all the positives and remind one another that we have good reason to feel hope and confidence in the future.

As Sweden’s head of State, I visit many places both in Sweden and beyond our country’s borders and meet many people from different walks of life.

Over the past year, for example, I have visited several authorities working to consolidate our contingency planning for accidents and crises. I have seen some of the important work being done by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and SOS Alarm. Work that is particularly relevant today. It is also interesting to see how international cooperation is leading to reciprocal exchange. Swedish know-how can save lives in other countries and we in turn are able to learn from others’ knowledge and experience.

During the year I have also met many talented Swedish entrepreneurs who are creating new jobs, in particular through environmental innovations. The people behind these enterprises have extremely varied backgrounds. They may come from Västerås, from Gnosjö or from Pakistan. However, they have certain crucial things in common: they have an idea, and they are focused on working hard to realise it. Such ideas, and the genuine desire and driving force embodied within them, will benefit us all in the future.

It is inspiring to gain an insight, through these meeting and visits, into some of what is being done to not just keep Sweden running, but to ensure future development, even in times of hardship and change.

One of my most recent trips this year was to Paris and the big UN climate conference. I was there when the conference opened, and there was a strong feeling of optimism in the air, but also a sense of gravity and determination.

The countries of the world have worked together on one of our biggest future challenges. We now have a common objective to curb global warming. A historic agreement is in place: the first ever global climate agreement. It is gratifying and inspires hope in the face of future challenges. I am proud to be able to say that Sweden will be a force to be reckoned with in the continued work towards a sustainable future.

Incidentally, it was also in Paris, 120 years ago, that Alfred Nobel wrote the will that formed the basis for the Nobel Prize. It was a particular honour this year to be able to award the Prize in Chemistry to a winner with a Swedish background. Tomas Lindahl began his career as a scientist here in Sweden, and together with colleagues he has laid an important foundation for the development of new cancer treatments, among other things.

The major issues of our time sometimes bring us face to face with a difficult balancing act, as a country and as individuals. It is not always easy to know which is the right way forward.

My desire is for us as a nation to shoulder our shared responsibility to contribute to constructive solutions to the challenges of the future. But we should also take responsibility as people, to show respect and consideration to one another. And our responsibility as adults is to communicate confidence, hope and belief in the future to our children and grandchildren.

On a more personal level, The Queen and I are very happy that The Crown Princess and Prince Daniel are expecting their second child. We are also delighted that Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia are to become parents, which will make us paternal grandparents for the first time.

In this context, let me take this opportunity to thank you for all your good wishes during the year, on the occasion of both Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia’s wedding and Prince Nicolas’ christening. Your kind words and good wishes mean a great deal to all our family.

In conclusion, I want to thank those of you who are actively involved in Swedish clubs and organisations. I believe that broad networks of dedicated individuals are a huge asset to our country, in particular when it comes to taking care of our young people and helping new Swedes to settle into our community. With the new year approaching, I want to offer special encouragement to those of you who devote your time to others. You are needed!

And that brings me to the end of my Christmas message from the Royal Palace. My family and I would once again like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2016!

Happy Christmass!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanks Be to God!

"The minister may announce the day and its significance before the Entrance Hymn, before the lessons, or at another appropriate time." Thus reads one of the rubrics (or directions) at the beginning of the Holy Communion according to Lutheran Book of Worship, and so it is my custom to do this just about every service as it begins. Usually it is rather brief: "Welcome to God's House this 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, today we hear Jesus..."

On the Eve of Thanksgiving Day, when Zion has offered Holy Communion that Wednesday evening since long before I was called as Parish Pastor, this announcement takes a few moments, for it is not a holiday specifically designated by the church. Rather, it is a day designated by a proclamation of the President of the United States. And so, since the late 1990s when such things became easily available through the Internet, I have read what the President has had to say about the day and its significance. I have posted some of them on Pastor Zip's Blog in the past. Here is what I read last evening.

- - - - - - -

Rooted in a story of generosity and partnership, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the gifts we have and to show our appreciation for all we hold dear. Today, as we give of ourselves in service to others and spend cherished time with family and friends, we give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us. We also honor the men and women in uniform who fight to safeguard our country and our freedoms so we can share occasions like this with loved ones, and we thank our selfless military families who stand beside and support them each and every day.

Our modern celebration of Thanksgiving can be traced back to the early 17th century. Upon arriving in Plymouth, at the culmination of months of testing travel that resulted in death and disease, the Pilgrims continued to face great challenges. An indigenous people, the Wampanoag, helped them adjust to their new home, teaching them critical survival techniques and important crop cultivation methods. After securing a bountiful harvest, the settlers and Wampanoag joined in fellowship for a shared dinner to celebrate powerful traditions that are still observed at Thanksgiving today: lifting one another up, enjoying time with those around us, and appreciating all that we have.

Carrying us through trial and triumph, this sense of decency and compassion has defined our Nation. President George Washington proclaimed the first Thanksgiving in our country's nascence, calling on the citizens of our fledgling democracy to place their faith in "the providence of Almighty God," and to be thankful for what is bequeathed to us. In the midst of bitter division at a critical juncture for America, President Abraham Lincoln acknowledged the plight of the most vulnerable, declaring a "day of thanksgiving," on which all citizens would "commend to [God's] tender care" those most affected by the violence of the time -- widows, orphans, mourners, and sufferers of the Civil War. A tradition of giving continues to inspire this holiday, and at shelters and food centers, on battlefields and city streets, and through generous donations and silent prayers, the inherent selflessness and common goodness of the American people endures.

In the same spirit of togetherness and thanksgiving that inspired the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, we pay tribute to people of every background and belief who contribute in their own unique ways to our country's story. Each of us brings our own traditions, cultures, and recipes to this quintessential American holiday -- whether around dinner tables, in soup kitchens, or at home cheering on our favorite sports teams -- but we are all united in appreciation of the bounty of our Nation. Let us express our gratitude by welcoming others to our celebrations and recognize those who volunteer today to ensure a dinner is possible for those who might have gone without. Together, we can secure our founding ideals as the birthright of all future generations of Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 26, 2015, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together -- whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors -- and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Hey, It's a "Web Log."

I thought it was a bit chilly yesterday evening, but being raised to be parsimonious about public utilities, I have the heat set at 66°F (19°C for my metric readers) and I'll often just cover myself with a blanket while doing whatever I'm doing rather than kick it up to 68° or warmer. Besides it snowed Saturday and the yard was still beautifully covered in white. True, when I was a child in Canoga Park I was cold when it got below 70°, but my blood started to thicken with that 8 AM long distance running class at CSUN, there was winter 1990-91 in Helena, Montana (and this after a couple of summers in the Bay Area 😏), and this'll be my 24th winter in Peoria.

But when it seemed rather warm in the Parish Hall when I stepped in there for a few moments before going to bed and the temp in there was only 62°, I figured I needed to check the heat. Granted the Parish Hall always feels warmer than the Parsonage when their thermostats report about the same temp. But it was downright chilly when I stepped back into Parsonage. Still I didn't expect what I saw on the thermostat: 50°F (10°C)!

Well, come to think of it, I hadn't heard the furnace running, but I've washed dishes and done a couple of loads of laundry and I hear the water heater (and still feel hot water). But the furnace does not want to go on. And of course it's one without a pilot light, so this is not going to be something simple like the wind blew it out through the exhaust and I can simply re-light it. But I'm not calling someone at 11 PM, either. But with a hooded sweatshirt over the PJ's (my head is on the outside wall) and the oil-filled radiant heater at the foot of my bed, I was actually warm enough overnight.

Meanwhile, in this morning's mail is an invitation to join Sam's Club addressed to "Sandra Tibbetts" at the (correct) Parsonage address. Sandra Tibbetts? I have every once in a while received mailings for "Mrs. Steven Tibbetts" (who I have yet to meet, at least using that name), but this is the first time she's had a first name. Next to this address is a photo of a diapered baby crawling away, and on the other side is a mother with infant captioned "Big saving for growing families." I think not.

And no, that's not how I was warm enough last night.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Oh, my!

And so yesterday I put in the mail my subscription renewals to Analog and Asimov's, science fiction magazines that I have suscribed to since I was in university. As is my custom, I renewed for the longest available period -- 3 years at $94.97 each. It's the best deal that way.

This afternoon I noticed a recent issue of Asimov's in a stack of mail, so I took a glance. The mailing label is on the front cover, which I usually carefully peel off so I can see the full artwork. As I started peeling it I noticed the expiration date of my current sub -- 04/01/16. The year 2016 in my mind seems far in the future, but it's actually less than 8 weeks away. Add three years to it, and my sub will expire April 2019. I'll be 60.


Saturday, August 08, 2015

Which "Home" Is This?

Last week on my Google News feed I noticed a headline with "West Hills" and "crossbow," but didn't click the link. I should have, though, because the story happened about 100 yards from my parents' front door. Yup, not 100 yards from Zion's South Side parsonage. It made for an interesting story to hear about during my brief visit home this week.

P.S. KABC should have stayed with its initial report; that address is in West Hills, not Woodland Hills.

Monday, July 20, 2015

We Came in Peace...

It's hard to believe that it's now 46 years since Apollo 11's Neil
Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin climbed down the Eagle's ladder the first earthlings to set foot on the Moon. As NASA notes, that was only 8 years after after Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard were the first men in outer space. It was an exciting time to be a boy growing up, watching adventures like this live on (our black-and-white) TV. I remember, too, the almost-unbearably loud rumble of Saturn V engines being tested at the nearby Rocketdyne facility.

At a conference not long after returning home, Armstrong called it their flight "a beginning of a new age" and Michael Collins, who orbited the Moon by himself in Columbia as his crewmates walked on the lunar surface, spoke of future journeys to Mars. Well, folks, that was in 1969. Who would have believed that in 2015, one would be hoping that NASA might next send astronauts near (but not onto) the Moon within another 8 years.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

The Real Fireworks

Written 239 years ago, the Declaration of Independence is more than stirring words. We read it still today not only to recall the nation's founding. We read it to measure how well we remain true to the American Revolution. Reposted from 4 years ago and 6 years ago today on this blog and 8 years ago on my other blog.


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.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Ah, the Memories He Stirs Up

It was some time in the mid-'60s that we went to the Hollywood Bowl and saw my (then) favorite TV actor perform. I remember enjoying him singing and dancing. Now Dick Van Dyke is 89-years-old, but as this recent music video by The Dustbowl Revival shows, he still has the moves. The song's fun, too!

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.