I'm not holding a grudge, and have recently fallen in love with Japan and her people, but history, remembrance, and memorials are important, so it is sad to note that FDR's date which will live in infamy is mostly ignored.

Yet Ed Hayes came through, as did BC and Mallard(More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 7:02 am | Edit
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Last night we heard the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra play Pierre Jalbert's deeply moving In Aeternum, which he wrote as a memorial to his niece who died at birth. Naturally, my thoughts were about Isaac as I listened, running a gamut of emotions, including anger during an intense part of the work with a heartbeat motif running through it—that brought back memories of the doctor who interrupted the family's last moments together to tell them Isaac's heart rate was slowing down.

I had the privilege of speaking briefly with Jalbert afterwards and was able to tell him (though not fully express) how much the music meant to me. You can hear an exerpt of In Aeternum here.

(Some readers of this blog will be interested to know that Jalbert is a native son of Manchester, New Hampshire!)

Having been set up by last night's experience, I was not prepared to handle this morning's news from the United Kingdom: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology is recommending active euthanasia for severely disabled newborns(More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, November 5, 2006 at 7:07 am | Edit
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One of Janet's friends from Japan needs as many responses as possible for a survey that will become part of her senior thesis. Please take a moment to help her out. The survey is below; you can respond in a comment, or e-mail me if you'd prefer a less public venue, and I'll send her your answers.

My own response is here, if you're interested. And here's a succinct Baldo commentary on the American Dream. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 11:32 am | Edit
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There's not much I can—or want to—add to the story of the latest school shooting, the tragedy in Amish country. There are a few unusual things about this event that are worth paying attention to, however. Some quotes from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story that randomly showed up in my mailbox this morning (thanks to the Google news alert I have set for "midwife Pittsburgh") highlight some of the differences between this and your run-of-the-mill (ghastly thought) school shooting. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 7:25 am | Edit
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From this article on a Scottish study of the health benefits of drinking cider, I learned the following critical difference between what we in the U. S. and Canada call cider and what you get if you order the drink of that name elsewhere:

What is Cider?

It is an alcoholic drink made from apples which are first crushed and then fermented. In the USA and some some parts of Canada it is known as 'hard cider' - in those parts, the term 'cider' can often mean non-alcoholic apple juice. In the rest of the English-speaking world 'cider' refers only to the alcoholic drink.

Cider usually has an alcoholic content of 5% or more. It is generally stronger than beer. The British are the greatest cider drinkers in the world. In the UK it is available in many forms, such as sweet, medium or dry.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 at 6:03 am | Edit
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One recent morning I suddenly realized the theme from the Addams Family television show was running through my head. What brought about this bizarre occurance I have no idea. As far as I remember, I have not heard the song in some 40 years, and I even remembered some of the lyrics.

Be that as it may, it sparked a few thoughts about the evolution of the television experience. Regardless of how macabre Charles Addams' original cartoons, or the more modern stories of the Addams Family, may have been, the 1960's television show was more funny than disturbing. And that was about as deviant as television shows got back then. If most of the shows of that era can be accused of showing life as unrealistically innocent, today's stories (be they television shows, movies, or books) depict life as unrealistically foul, freakish, and frightening. Both approaches may be in error, but I know which is more likely to promote hopeful individuals and a healthy society.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, August 28, 2006 at 6:57 pm | Edit
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Okay, the latest airport security problem is not in the least bit funny. But sometimes you have to see the humorous side to stay sane, especially when you have loved ones planning to fly in the next few days.

All liquids and gels are presently banned from carry-on luggage at U. S. Airports. Exceptions are being made for certain medications and for pre-mixed baby formula, which will be allowed after inspection. After getting the word, parents at the Orlando International Airport (and no doubt elsewere) were frantically preparing bottles of formula and hoping they wouldn't spoil on the trip, since they couldn't bring bottled water on board.

How nice to have your baby's food with you at all times, handy, pre-mixed, with no fear of spoilage, and in a form that can't be consigned to checked baggage.

It was nice of the Transportation Security Administration to reassure us on that last point, however (emphasis mine).

Exception: Baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines
I'm guessing they're referring to expressed breast milk in a bottle...but still...it makes one think....
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, August 10, 2006 at 12:08 pm | Edit
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Tom Grosh alerted me to this October, 2003 Christianity Today interview with Yale University professor Lamin Sanneh, Sanneh's observations are especially important in light of the great division in the worldwide Anglican Communion between the Third World countries and the West, particularly the American Episcopal Church.

Sanneh was born in The Gambia of African royal descent, raised an orthodox Muslim in a highly-educated family, and became interested in Christianity through reading about Jesus in the Qur'an. He eventually became a Christian—with more hindrance than help from missionaries and Western-based churches—and contributes all this perspective to his analysis of Western Christianity and the future of Christianity in general. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, August 2, 2006 at 7:29 am | Edit
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You didn't think our political culture could go any lower? In a reminder that we have made no forward progress since 1999, when David Howard of Washington, DC was forced to resign his city government job because he used the word "niggardly," Massachusetts' Governor Mitt Romney has apologized for referring to the disastrous Big Dig project as a "tar baby." (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 7:19 am | Edit
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In 1971 I worked with researchers at the University of Rochester who were studying the algae blooms that were making a mess of Rochester, New York's Irondequoit Bay. At the time, the limiting factor for algae growth in the lake was phosphorous, and household use of detergents containing phosphates had fueled an algal population boom. Thanks to such research, low-phosphate detergents soon became. I presume the effect on the Bay was salutory, though I graduated and lost track of the researchers.

That was 35 years ago, but apparently we are still learning the same lessons. Please take time to read the long, but worthwhile, article from the Los Angeles Times on the frightening overrowth of toxic algae and other primitive organisms in our oceans.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, July 31, 2006 at 7:36 am | Edit
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While doing a Google search for a friend's blog, I came upon this exchange on someone else's blog. To be fair, I know nothing about the blogger, and haven't yet taken the time to read her other posts. My reaction is based solely on her post and the subsequent comments. But it shocked me so (and the comments even more than the original post) that I'm inviting comment here—by anyone at all, but especially by those who think they know what to expect from someone calling herself, "Little Miss Reformed." (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, July 15, 2006 at 11:45 am | Edit
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When Larry Summers, then President of Harvard, dared suggest that genetic differences between men and women might, in general, predispose them to greater abilities in different fields, I had no problem with that. When he was pilloried and forced to resign, I was appalled (though not surprised) at the continuing evidence that liberals aren't necessarily liberal, those who call loudest for tolerance aren't tolerant, and "academic freedom" is an oxymoron. If the presence of a Y chromosome instead of an X can make differences that are visible and obvious, to insist that it can't possibly make more subtle differences, and to forbid inquiry into the matter, is as bad as the Catholic Church in Medieval times. Worse, because I don't think the Church ever claimed to be open-minded.

Yet as fast as Harvard tried to distance itself from Summers' heresy, there are more serious worms in its own apple. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, July 15, 2006 at 7:05 am | Edit
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The sad thing is, I'm not surprised.

During the 18 months we lived near Boston we heard a lot about the Big Dig, experienced plenty of inconvenience thanks to the Big Dig, and heard much political grumbling about cost overruns, delays, and incompetence. We didn't actually see much work being done on the project, however, and it was hard not to wonder if there was some politcal/union stranglehold on the project. Accustomed as we were to Florida roads projects, in which a "crew working" sign is usually followed by a crew working—day, night, weekends, holidays, whatever it takes to get the job done—it was shocking to see the massive construction project lying fallow so much of the time. But apparently such lack of haste did not reflect a commitment to doing the job right.

Will yesterday's partial collapse, in which a concrete slab fell from a tunnel roof onto a hapless motorist, finally cause someone to examine the entire political system that bred such tragedy? It's only the latest in a decades-long series of problems, so I doubt it.

Which is too bad. I fell in love with Boston, and Massachusetts in general, during our stay. There is much about that part of the country that I miss terribly. But the Big Debacle seems only to be a sign, not an abberation. The rest of the country—Massachusetts included—mocks Florida's politics and its voting problems, but as one who has lived and voted in both places, I can say without a doubt that democracy is alive and well in Florida, while the political process in Massachusetts sometimes felt like a tunnel with a crumbling roof.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 5:57 am | Edit
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A 62-year-old British woman is being called selfish, ridiculous, irresponsible, and unnatural because of the recent birth of her son, who was conceived through in vitro fertilization with a her husband's sperm and a donated egg. I have serious problems with the extremes to which many people are resorting to combat infertility, but age has nothing to do with it. A post-menopausal woman who uses unnatural means to conceive a child is no more absurd than an older man with a Viagra prescription.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, July 8, 2006 at 8:07 pm | Edit
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This Memorial Day I honor my grandfathers, who served our country in World War I.

Howard Harlan Langdon, WWI Howard Harland Langdon, 219th Aero Squadron

George Cunningham Smith, Sr., WWI George Cunningham Smith, Sr., 5th Engineers, Co. B

Click here for a previous tribute. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, May 28, 2006 at 7:16 pm | Edit
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