Thursday, January 31, 2013

Picture of the Day

Great winter scene from a facebook site called 'Backroad Discoveries.'

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Great American Commentator - David Gergen

David Gergen is my favorite American political commentator.  He was born in Durham NC.  His father was Mathematics Department Chair at Duke.  Gergen earned his Bachelor's Degree at Yale, and his Law Degree at Harvard. He holds 24 Honorary Degrees.

Gergen has served and advised five American Presidents.  He is presently Director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard and Professor at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  He is a member of the D.C. Bar, on the U.S. Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He is Chairman of the Board of Advisers for the Elon University Law School located in Greensboro.

When I listen to David Gergen, I am extremely confident of wise, informed, fair, and balanced commentary.  I am pleased to have met him in Charlotte at the Democratic National Convention this summer as he was participating on a panel following the release of Elon University Poll results.  He is a perfect player and a perfect fit for this era of 24-hours news saturation and social media in which we live.  

1924 Calvin Coolidge Campaign Button

I am pleased to have won this Coolidge button in the recent Anderson Americana Auction.  It is a
one and three-fourths inch pin back from Coolidge's 1924 Presidential campaign.  Coolidge, having served as Warren Harding's Vice-President for the previous four years, won a very decisive victory over Ohio lawyer and diplomat, Democrat John W. Davis.  This is a rare and desirable piece in the hobby.

(Sorry for the blurry picture.  The pin reflects a very clear and sharply focused photograph).

Thought For The Day

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stan "The Man" Musial

The is just a great tribute to Stan Musial by Bob Costas.  Costas is so eloquent and gifted.  He is America's premier sports commentator in my opinion.  He did the eulogy at Mickey Mantle's funeral as well.

Stan Musial was a class act, both on and off the field.  I have been amazed at the number of tributes to him on social media.  Take a moment and hear this beautiful, short clip from Costas' eulogy. Lives and careers like that of Stan "The Man" Musial are important and reaffirming to American culture.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Boston's Park Plaza

This is my favorite hotel in my favorite big city.  In addition, I like corner buildings.  The Park Plaza is in the wonderful, historic Back Bay area of Boston, a block from the Public Gardens, The Ritz Carlton, and it's near 'Cheers' (The Bull and Finch Restaurant and Bar), the Old State House, and the Beacon Hill neighborhood.  Fenway is only a short cab ride away.  This is such a great section of a great town.  I spent much time there when I was a company man with Hancock and when I spent two summers on Cape Cod.  Do yourself a favor and stay at the elegant, and affordable, Park Plaza in a great American city. 

Shift Change

This old picture shows the crowds and traffic snarls associated with a shift change at the Groton Connecticut Electric Boat Works. The picture was taken in 1941. The work and business is in stark contrast to the typical pictures from the Great Depression of just a few years prior. It is interesting how war helped break us out of the Depression.

A Writing Desk

In Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, England

Six Sisters, Alamo Square, San Francisco

Always a delightful San Francisco image.

Saturday, March 2, 2013 - Dixie Chapter Meeting and Show of APIC

Saturday, March 2, is the date for the 2013 Dixie Chapter Meeting and Show of the American Political Items Collectors (APIC). It will be held at the Holiday Inn Airport on Burnt Poplar Rd. (I-40 and Hwy. 68)  There will be collectors and dealers in from all over the country. APIC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of material relating to political campaigns.

The show is from 8:30 to 2:00 on Saturday, March 2 (Friday evening there will be room hopping and a hospitality suite; all are invited). Admission Saturday is $3.00. Above is some of my collection. This frame contains items from each major party presidential candidate from the elections of 1896 to 1928. 

Like many others, I will be set-up and will be showing, trading, buying, and selling. Please come out if you have interest. It is a blast. Bring any items you may wish to have appraised by the nation's top dealers at no charge.

Monday, January 21, 2013

First Dance - January 21, 2013

Just an awesome day, and just a wonderful photo and wonderful way to end this day, January 21, 2013, representing the beginning of a historic second term for President Barack Obama.  Godspeed and God's blessings.

A Good Day In America

"We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare and Medicaid and Social security – these things do not sap our initiative. They strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great." ~Barack Obama, January 21, 2013

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth." ~Barack Obama, January 21, 2013

Chapel Hill's James Taylor Sings "America The Beautiful"

The Presidential inaugural day's activities have been emotionally moving and extremely special for me thus far.  I look forward to taking in the evenings activities.   I have seen them all since JFK, both parties, and this one is special.  The above was one of the simple highlights for me.  Amen, James Taylor, amen.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Reflections on Lincoln and Obama Inaugurations

Tomorrow President Obama will take the oath of office with two Bibles that once belonged to a pair of civil rights icons: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.  King's "traveling Bible" was provided by his family, while the Lincoln Bible is from the Library of Congress and was used during the 16th president's inauguration on March 4, 1861.  A black President will be taking the oath of office for a second term, on Martin Luther King's birthday, using those two bibles.  Rather astounding for a 64-year old guy like me who grew up in the Jim Crow south.  I am very happy I lived long enough to witness it.

Regarding Lincoln's second inauguration, weeks of wet weather preceding it had caused Pennsylvania Avenue to become a sea of mud and standing water. Thousands of spectators stood in thick mud at the Capitol grounds to hear the President. As he stood on the East Portico to take the executive oath, the completed Capitol dome over the President's head was a physical reminder of the resolve of his Administration throughout the years of civil war. Chief Justice Salmon Chase administered the oath of office.

The following is likely the most significant, poignant, and powerful paragraph in any Presidential inaugural address in history.  It was the last line of Lincoln's address.  In little more that a month,  President Lincoln would be assassinated:
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Tomorrow will be a good day in America.  Godspeed to President Obama in his second term.  And at America's most critical hour, thank God for the life of Abraham Lincoln. 

South Island, New Zealand (2004)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

President Lincoln and President Kennedy.......Go Figure

Have a history teacher explain this if they can.

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.

John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

... Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.

John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.

Both wives lost a child while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.

Both Presidents were shot in the head.

Now it gets really weird.

Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.

Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.

Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.

Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.

Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names.

Both names are composed of fifteen letters.

Now hang on to your seat.

Lincoln was shot at the theater named "Ford."

Kennedy was shot in a car called "Lincoln" made by "Ford."

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.


Lincoln was shot in a theater and the assassin ran to a warehouse...

Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and the assassin ran to a theater.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thought For The Day

"I am more and more convinced of the shortness and fragility of life. Friends, search diligently each day for all the love and joy you can find, and if you can't find any, go make some. Let's get this right".  ~Mike McKeown

I wholeheartedly agree with Mike's important words here.  They resonate with me.  Mike is a friend whose thoughts I highly regard.  Mike is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He leads music in a Church of Christ congregation and he is in the insurance business.  ......Yes, let's strive daily to get this right.

Monday, January 14, 2013

From "The Christian Agnostic", by Leslie Weatherhead

I enjoy the blog of my friend John Pierce, Executive Editor of 'Baptists Today', a good, moderate Baptist publication.  John and I have connected, not only due to our moderate Baptist faith, but due to our love for baseball.  John, who lives in Macon, is an Atlanta Braves season ticket holder.  He has been to Greensboro and attended a Grasshoppers game with me.

Here, John shares a wonderful excerpt near the end of one of his favorite books by Leslie D. Weatherhead, "The Christian Agnostic."

“If God is only a myth, a wishful thought, a projection of human fatherhood, a fantasy of infant thinking, then the atheists are right.

"But I have had moments which do not make sense unless God exists, and they have been the highest, most significant and most deeply joyous moments I have ever known.

“Sometimes, I believe, [God] unmistakably speaks to us in what must be called mystical experience. I do not mean visions or voices, although of course I do not dismiss them as necessarily illusional.

“It may be only in the love of another human being, the gratitude of one we tried to help, the feeling that there is something supernatural at the heart of a close relationship with another, the solemnity of the evening sky, the trust of a little child, great music if our mood is right, or great poetry or great art, the sound of a church bell far away, the silence in the lonely hills, the sermon of some dedicated spirit who has seen into the unseen.

“Any such experience demands commitment, and commitment brings peace of mind; not the end of a journey but the end of wandering, not the end of a road but the end of searching for one, not the end of doubt and questioning but the discovery of a Friend in whose friendship nothing is felt to matter so much as maintaining the love relationship.”

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Marsalis and Clapton - Great Jazz at Lincoln Center!

Istanbul, Turkey

Istiklal Street in snow, Istanbul.  Nice winter scene in ancient Turkey with great 'feel' to it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Christian Left

The Christian Left movement interests me.  I like the idea of a social gospel that speaks primarily to social justice and concern for the poor and oppressed (minority groups) and to redemption and forgiveness. The Christian Left holds that social justice, renunciation of power, humility, forgiveness, and private observation of prayer (as opposed to publicly mandated prayer), are mandated by the Gospel (Matthew 6:5-6). The Bible contains accounts of Jesus repeatedly advocating for the poor and outcast over the wealthy, powerful, and religious. The Christian Left maintains that such a stance is relevant and important.  The posters above say a lot about the movement in rather clever ways. 

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