Showing posts from November, 2016

Empty and filling: life lessons abundant

In the United States, President-elect Donald Trump is filling up his cabinet, his inner sanctum of strategic advisers, whom he will deploy to accomplish his wide-ranging agendas. Some serious Washington insiders are listed and there are more to come. Back in October, cartoonist Ben Garrison set in the American mind this cartoon of 'draining the swamp.'
The promises of P-E Trump include the removing of things unpopular in Washington, DC, and especially what might be titled 'swamp' but many are wondering if the choices of insiders like Steven Mnuchin. (Steven Mnuchin, a hedge fund manager and former Goldman Sachs executive, is President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Treasury secretary) What about Tom Price (HHS), and Elaine Chao (Transportation)? More about each as they come along here on Vox . They seem to be insiders from the swamp.

Here in Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (pictured) is set to reshuffle his front bench, as close to the US Cabinet as …

Howard Hughes, Rules Don't Apply: A review

I'm not an expert on Howard Hughes. I didn't see the 2006 movie about Clifford Irving, the fake Hughes biographer, starring Richard Gere in Irving's role in "The Hoax." Leonardo de Caprio's performance as Hughes in "The Aviator" (2004) featured his earlier life in Hollywood and in the airline industry from the 1920s and 1930s. Warren Beatty's 'biography' of Hughes picks up and ends in 1964, so there is no overlap with Aviator. Beatty's super-involvement included producing, directing, writing the screenplay, and acting as the lead character. Let me highlight a few moments of the film.

Four main characters feature: Beatty as Hughes, Lily Collins as Marla Mabrey, Matthew Broderick as Levar Mathis, and Alden Ehrenreich as Frank. (For those who follow this blog about many Jewish concerns, the last three of these listed have Jewish ancestry). Other characters are played by the likes of Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Candice Bergen in more t…

Why do they 'celebrate' Thanksgiving?

I'm visiting in the US until Saturday, so I'm experiencing all the rituals of Thanksgiving, including but not limited to overeating, a glut of football games, times with family, overeating, raking leaves, watching the Christmas decorations light up, overeating (Did I mention that already? I was too busy napping from the tryptophan overload.) So maybe those of my readers in Australia and elsewhere might want a quick lesson in the holiday.

Click once on each photo to see full-size version
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists from the UK and local Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies which would later be called the United States of America. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be he…

Be seated. Another view on sitting in heaven. (Part 2)

In my first writing last year on this idea of Messiah here   being seated I majored on his victory. That is, that Messiah is seated like a priest who has concluded his work.  In this writing I want to ponder the idea of enthronement as judgment. That is, that when a ruler is seated, he is able to make decisions and rule from a position of authority.

In 2 Kings 19.15 we read, "And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, who art enthroned above the cherubim, Thou art the God, Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. Thou hast made heaven and earth." (19.15)  God is proclaimed here as both Creator and the Enthroned One. Then Hezekiah continues, "the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, afor they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. And now, O LORD our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth m…

After the election...and a football game

Donald Trump will be the president of the US beginning on 20 January next year. Full disclosure: I was not a Trump fan ever, whether as a politician or even as a person. Still, he will be my president come 20 January. These are realities. I will not speak against him as our president. I will continue to pray for him as the Apostle Paul taught in his letter to young Timothy. "Pray for all in authority," was the instruction and I will comply.

A week ago the Seattle Seahawks played a grueling anyone-can-win football match against the Buffalo Bills. There was a lot of pushing and shoving, a lot of sledging (Yanks, that is Aussie-speak for trash talk), and much involvement by the 12th man, the Seattle fans in the stadium. The announcers on the television took issue with a defenseman, the cornerback Richard Sherman, and the Bills' coach Rex Ryan even called the decision by the referees 'ridiculous' when Sherman ran into the kicker for the Bills near the end of the fir…

Donald Trump: The first 3rd party winner

Let me first join in with both Hillary and Donald in their defeat/victory speeches on Election Night/ Day and wish the disunity would stop. Americans need to get beyond the hatred and strife which characterized the last 18 months of the circus of the elections. That is a base of reality which I will again mention at the end of this blog.

Over the course of months I watched, albeit from afar, the horse race which was the US elections this year. It was easy to get some updates almost hourly, certainly daily, on the big race for president. Hundreds of other contests were decided on Tuesday this week, of course, including local propositions and senators and congress people, but all eyes seemed to be on the two main candidates, determined by the longer-than-ever primary season and the rubber stamping national conventions. And by now, informed people know that Donald J Trump is the president-elect. He will assume command on 20 January as is the national custom at his inauguration.

I wrot…

The Bradley effect and President-elect Trump

Donald J. Trump is going to be the 45th president of the USA. This was a shock to many, but not to the 37 million Americans who voted for him and Mike Pence, his running mate. He made promises over the last 18 months during his campaigns and even in his acceptance speech given in New York City at 7 pm Sydney time, which is about 3 am along the US East Coast. He promised to double growth in no set time. Will he build a wall between the US and Mexico? Will he practice what he preached about 'all Americans' and move from businessman to TV personality, to candidate, to statesman? Only time will tell.

The map of the vote (and the headline) on the New York Times website is fascinating.

Donald turned many historically blue states into bright red. He rode the waves of 'change' and 'anti-Establishment' all the way to the White House where he will find his oval office in less than 80 days. Americans are frustrated; let's see if this turns out better.

During the…

Fever heat of summer

I had to take this photo yesterday. It was stinking hot outside. 36 celsius is over 100 Fahrenheit. And it's only November. Early November at that! What does the summer plan to bring us? No matter what it was a tough day to be outside, not only to walk around and do anything.

The one phrase that kept popping into my mind while near Windsor this afternoon was "the fever heat of summer." Is that something from Shakespeare? From Milton? Dante, of course. Nope, it was none of those. It was written by a man named David. And he well knew something about summer heat. He lives in Israel. In summer and winter and all year at times.

The occasion for his writing this poem (named Psalm 32) is not known. But we do know some things about David's life and his religious practices. He wrote a similar poem in Psalm 51 after being caught out in an adulterous affair with his neighbour. This psalm is another penitential poem which might have been written at the same time.

David is p…

Paid in full

Jeni B went to the pub Saturday night. On entry she paid the admission fee and enjoyed time with her friends. I met her on Sunday morning at her church in Cherrybrook, in Sydney's Northwest. She showed me this stamp on her wrist. That's customary for many places in town, to allow for entry and reentry. If you cannot read the letters, it says, "Paid" and the date "29 October 2016." Jeni made some comments that inspired me, and this blog is a reflection of some of her comments.

You might also notice the book on which her wrist is placed is a Bible. It's open to a section in one of Paul's letters. In verse 20, it reads, "for you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." In context, the reference is part of a series of considerations: 1) about justice and not taking fellow believers to court, 2) about food and living in the sufficiency of moderation, and 3) about sexual activity, and being faithful. The Bible is tea…