Friday, December 28, 2012

Blogs Away!

Blog Machine
Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)
Here is a favorite blog posting from this blog-The Church that Stood and Stands
Jean Purcell
This is probably my most memorable blog posting because it was the most emotional at the time I wrote it. My husband and I had visited the Twin Towers site in New York City and had stood in a long, silent line with many New Yorkers on lunch break and many visitors to the city, like us.

Here is a favorite blog that gives warm chuckles or fresh perspectives: Deirdre Reilly's Blend of the Day

Deirdre's blog is read by people where she lives, in a picturesque New England town, and beyond. I "get" what matters to her, along with her brand of humor (she is my daughter, as you may know already). She comments on daily life and spoofs trends or news of the times, making the laugh on no one but herself or our shared human condition.

If you want me to read your blog and comment on it, I'll be glad to visit. Just put the link in the comment box or write to me at Twitter.

Copyright (c) 2012 Opinari Writers. Do you like this blog? Join, Tweet, FB, Like, or Recommend it? Thank you.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Christmas is about...Charlie Brown and friends

Snoopy and Charlie Brown (Image source:
Charlie Brown is a famous little guy from the drawing board and wisdom of artist Charles Shultz. In 1965, the cartoonist permitted Charlie and friends to tell their Christmas story in "Charlie Brown's Christmas," where our little hero bemoaned the commercialism at  Christmas.

Recently, Colorado Springs, USA, drew attention to its own Charlie Browns and friends. The city labeled local Christmas workers of the Salvation Army "panhandlers" and pushed them off their usual Christmas cheer spot.

The Salvation Army remained ready and soon the downtown Wyndham Hotel heard of their plight. "There's room for you with us, on our property, at our inn,"  the Wyndham said.

As Salvation Army's bells and donation kettles moved to a welcoming place, lots of Christmas hospitality extended again, around Colorado Springs, through the bell-ringing, kettles, and generous donations of shoppers. Many proud recipients of that hospitality will enjoy especially prepared holiday warmth, food, and toys for the children among them. Many will enjoy the goodness of friends.

It's the Charlie Brown, Linus, and friends... thing to do.  

Here's to your Christmas joy no matter how small the tree or the gifts. Here's to your Christmas cheer no matter how many or how grumpy the cynics.  (watch-7 minutes, 24 seconds)

Copyright (c) 2012 Opinari Writers. Do you like this blog? Join, Tweet, FB, Like, or Recommend it? Thank you. 

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Sunday, November 25, 2012


Hurrican Sandy
Flickr: Hurricane Sandy (Photo credit: jaydensonbx)

Credit is due to media people still reporting on Hurricane Sandy's hardest hits on New York City boroughs and how residents are faring, not forgotten. 
     On this Sunday afternoon, let's send a shout out to residents still bearing the weight of loss; helpers working to clear up, haul away, salvage, and stay connected, including wading through remaining red tape.  

1/25/13 - People continue to live in basements of friends and in tents. Those in hotels have had a recent 2-week extension. Some believe it will be at least mid-Spring before clearing of debris and starting new construction approvals can begin to be planned. 

See Related Articles below. There may be something you can add. 

Copyright (c) 2012 Opinari Writers. Do you like this blog? Join, Tweet, FB, Like, or Recommend it? Thank you.
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Alone?

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...
English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Thanksgiving 2015: Thinking for the people of Paris this American Thanksgiving Day. Thankful for experts that risk their lives to help save others. Hope for refugees to find safe havens.
     This Thanksgiving Day, there are three of us at home in Maryland. Others in Massachusetts and Tennessee, as well as North Carolina. Older brother in nursing home since earlier this month, in North Carolina. Thankful for the family care that surrounds him. Many family people far away and yet still very close. Thankful for the love we share. Thankful for life, for a heart of peace, and for love to give. 
     Here now is a Thanksgiving post from a few years ago and true today for me in its essence. *********************************************
*One Thanksgiving I was far from home, a new resident of Geneva, Switzerland, with my husband.  
     There and around the world, most people had gone about their morning or evening routine with no thought for something called the American Thanksgiving holiday. 
     And yet, Thanksgiving Day had been deeply ingrained in us since childhood days. 
     On that Thanksgiving morning in Geneva, my husband left for work. He returned to our apartment just after 6 PM, Geneva time; it was just past noon-time back home in the United States. Boo hoo! Our family members were probably starting to gather around a table for a happy feast! Each one of them, whether in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, or Florida.
     That first Thanksgiving morning far from home, after my husband left for work at his new job, I went back to bed. You know, the blues. Thanksgiving. Then I turned to a book that lifted my mindset...the Psalms, and especially these verses, which I read repeatedly. Slowly, their truth settled within me and by evening an abbreviated feast was ready for us to share, with thanks:    

O God my Strength! I will sing your praises, for you are my place of safety (Psalm 59);

For wherever I am, though far away at the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help...for  you are my refuge, a high tower (Psalm 61).

*Summary of of "Giving Thanks," in Not All Roads Lead Home by Jane Bullard (pen name of Jean Purcell).
There remains much work to do after the sweeping devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Volunteers and government workers continue to help. Still there are needs, and this holiday, through Facebook and Internet links, people hit hard by Sandy are being invited to others' homes to share Thanksgiving Day.  
     This Thanksgiving Day is a time to remember people thrown into upheaval, along with their homes. It is a time to remember, with thanks, those who serve, including volunteers who may not be home this Thanksgiving, and also the New York City mayor, New York state senators and NYC's representatives. 
     If you are alone and are reading this, I am thinking of you and people I know who might be alone this day or far from home. I hope the Psalms will help you and them, too. Here's to a blessed Thanksgiving to you, for your life and hopes.

     A Happy and hopeful Thanksgiving to all!

Copyright (c) 2012 Opinari Writers. Do you like this blog? Join, Tweet, FB, Like, or Recommend it? Thank you.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg Found for Relief?

Kirsten Gillibrand Meets With Women Bloggers
Kirsten Gillibrand Meets With Women Bloggers (Photo credit: glennia;free/non-commercial)
Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department ...
Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, speak about the National Guard (Photo credit: The National Guard)
Chuck Schumer in Albany
Chuck Schumer in Albany (Photo credit: azipaybarah)
Michael Bloomberg was affiliated with Salomon ...
Michael Bloomberg was affiliated with Salomon Brothers before launching his own firm Bloomberg News and later becoming mayor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Commentary-Part 2/New York City

A couple of days ago I questioned here, "Where is Mayor Bloomberg?".
     Mr. Bloomberg has been found. Today he hosts, in Gotham, the U. S. president and significant cabinet people and senators.       The Daily Astorian says that the mayor will tour ruined parts of the city with dignitaries arriving via the presidential plane, Air Force One (AF1). President Obama is scheduled to bring Janet Napolitano, (Homeland Security Secretary) and Shaun Donovan (Housing and Urban Development [HUD] Secretary), as well as New York State's U. S. senators. The AF1 passenger list represents a small chunk of Washington power players. 
     Also somewhat missing have been U. S. senators Schumer and Gillibrand. Well, they, too, have been found...with the president. In an effort to be fair, here, I have read that Mr. Schumer has made a lot of calls on behalf of the worst-affected boroughs and neighborhoods. Probably, Ms Gillibrand has done the same.  
     Dear New York City victims of the devastation of storm Sandy, living in the worst-hit areas: Will this latest visit by dignitaries to your homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and dark/electricity-less streets reassure you? Will some of you feel literally unwashed, in  unwashed clothes (unless someone has helped you by now), growling, hungry stomachs (unless "ditto," about the help), and in the not-so-comfortable setting of...rubble? 
     Almost three weeks after the storm, is this your dream of a meeting with people elected and appointed to serve you? Do you expect that their words like "we see you and what you're going through" and "we will not forget" will rise to the levels of urgent needs that you live every second of these uncertain and painful days? 
     What will you see improved in your lives in hours and days after AF1 and her human cargo leave? They've been found. They've sort of found you. "What next?," I wonder...and worry, pray, and yes, hope. Donations of money are a starting point only, and are not yet enough.   

Copyright (c) 2012 Opinari Writers. Do you like this blog? Join, Tweet, FB, Like, or Recommend it? Thank you.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Hurricane Sandy's NYC Sufferers: "Where is our mayor!?!"

A business on Targee Avenue, Staten Island, NY
Reach out to Staten Island, Belle Harbor, and other places of New York City. Above, a business (before Sandy, 2012 hurricane) on Targee Avenue, Staten Island, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been alarmed as you probably have been too to learn of the continuing, growing, and urgent health, economic, environmental, and basic survival needs of thousands of survivors of post-Hurricane-Sandy in Staten Island, Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, and other worst-affected NYC coastal communities. The continuing failures of quick-response planning and action in New York City should wake all of us up to disaster response holes that just might exist in our own local, state, and federal plans, as well.   
     On Staten Island and in Belle Harbor, NYC, for example: neighbors, outside people and businesses, and organizations, such as Christian missionaries from the U.S. State of Tennessee, and volunteer doctors and nurses have responded with real help by real, and usually regular, people doing the dirty work alongside those who suffer so much loss. It did sadden me today to see on television a father and, I suppose, his son, piece by piece clearing out the debris of their home leveled by the storm. 
     What if all NYC government buildings had been hit by Sandy? What responses would be there now, on the ground, almost around the clock? Yet, still, loss of electricity keeps many NYC residents in the dark. Would government people be helped with hotel rooms if their homes had been destroyed, even the mayor's home, by fire or storm? Think about this, Mr. Mayor of New York City! Is this the way to treat your city, where lack of electricity remains as a trial to thousands of suffering NYC citizens… more than two weeks later? I think your lights would have been on much faster...and probably were. [We lost power at home in Maryland, during the hurricane storm, for only three days and I can remember how it began to grate on us after 48 hours!] Why in the world isn't New York City's mayor paying attention until someone working with him rises to the ability to think creatively enough to solve this problem by any means,  no matter how "out there"? There are many, albeit unusual and legal, possibilities for those "in power." If they possess any ingenuity at all, why are they not using it and their power for good, ongoing?   
     At the beginning, local, state, and federal officials were on site in the worst-hit locations or nearby. Their words and hugs gave temporary hope. Recently, however, real answers and help remain in silent Emergency Response Brake-On mode; swift and significant help appears to be on hold. This is the response of those in government, many being politically-connected executives with enormous power, many often boasting of what government can do and how it cares. Part of the problem is that "it" is not a person; I suspect that many career people employed by relevant local, state, and federal agencies groan at having their hands tied to give the same on the ground help that others try, with little help, to give. These best of public servants sadly recognize the distance that remains between giving assurances and following through until the dirty jobs are done and rebuilding can begin.
     In light of health, economic, environmental, and basic survival (warm shelter, food), Urgent Post-Hurricane-Sandy Needs should be addressed. Right away. 
  • Where are the local, state, and federal health and human services departments? 
  • Where are the financial resources being applied to real help on the ground? 
  • Where are EPA and FEMA at local and state levels? 
  • Where are the national health plan brains needed to figure out how to help the affected localities become proactive regarding looming risks of health due to oil or gas leaks, standing water and disease-prone foul air, soil and water after flooding and fires of this hurricane?
     It was said that Katrina-failures would never happen again, but they have!
 Where is Mayor Bloomberg? 

Where are U. S. senators Schumer and Gillibrand? 
Where are all NY City's public servants, and what are they doing? 

Streets of New York cry out! 

The Link for people who want to help and will help...leads here.
Another Opinari New York City article [9/11]
Copyright (c) 2012 Opinari Writers. 
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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Please, Do Not Read if Your Mind is Closed on Subject of "Women's Health" as "Abortion" Euphemism

Senator Boxer Speaks Out Against Continued GOP...
MD Sen. Mikulski stands alongside. Senator Boxer Speaks Out Against Continued GOP Assault on Women's Health (Photo credit: Senator Boxer)
"Women's Health" is one politically correct way to refer to "abortion for any reason or for no reason." Terms, like "women's health," that are used in order to "clean up" the shock of "deliberate ending of the life of an unborn human being" are euphemisms. Euphemisms help some people feel less uncomfortable than saying what they really mean or propound.  Another popular euphemism of our time is the phrase "death with dignity," increasingly used in place of "suicide" or "deliberately assisted suicide." (I agree that death can be helped along by another person; I do not think that anyone who has watched many people die would say that, overall, death is a "dignified" thing to watch during or to stay admire, in its natural, pre-funeral state, after.)
     But let's get back to "women's health." I am a pro-life person who understands and respects the frightening dilemma that the woman or young girl faces when she learns that her decision to have sex, or her victimization through a rape, has resulted in an "unplanned" or "unwanted" pregnancy. Here, I am not addressing rape, which I could speak to another time, yet without claiming to propose easy answers. But here, in this writing, I an speaking about members of the majority of females that consider abortion. They include the girl or woman that chooses to engage in sex, as a single or married woman...following her free choice/decision to have sexual intercourse with or without contraceptive restraint. 
     I look at the innocent human life that has begun to grow in such a girl or woman. That life, now seen mainly as a threat to an unwilling "mother's" future or comfort, nevertheless is not a monster but a being in formation possessing all major human features. 
     I have counseled, in the past, at a free pregnancy center for women. Many of the adolescents and adult women who came to the center learned for the first time facts about newly suspected human life, helpless and most vulnerable. Most had chosen freely to engage in sexual intercourse. Yet, afraid they were pregnant, they began to learn, at the center, that human life at that point has its own human DNA, heartbeat, blood type, gender, and so on...of its own, not solely or necessarily exactly or even only remotely like that of the biological mother. Certain identity factors belong in unique patterns to that specific, unique, unborn human life, and to no other--past, present, or future.      
Our human lives before we were born shared and continue to possess similar facts of our uniqueness. Including, that when you and I were in utero, where we began to thrive...if someone--medical or otherwise--had done something to harm us, we would have felt distress and pain. Deep physical pain if deliberately applied to attack or to threaten your life or mine would have had to be a result. Any threat to our being, that is...deliberate effort to prevent you or me from being born...would have caused distress and/or pain. Which is, by the way, why I take for granted that surgery done upon human life in utero--for example, heart surgery, which has been done in utero--assumes use of anesthetics, for the unborn child as well as for the mother, as needed. 
     The beating of the human heart in the womb used to be thought to begin much later than it is now known to exist' we know it is beating by three weeks, at least, after conception. We also know that pain can be recorded in life in utero, experienced by the nonverbal yet fully human life, male or female, by 20 weeks. That is scientific record. 
     In the U. S. Congress, there was debate about killing (scientifically speaking) human life in the womb after 20 weeks. One U. S. congressperson from my state of Maryland (go to the page linked, scroll down for MD representative) presented his arguments on YouTube, based not on morals but on science and basic human tolerance, concern, pity, mercy, and compassion. Here is his presentation about pain of human life before birth, in the womb. I believe that women's psychological health depends upon knowing these facts, as well.I believe that any female having sex or considering that choice deserves to know all the facts...for their health and beyond.

Copyright (c) 2012 Opinari Writers. Do you like this blog? Join, Tweet, FB, Like, or Recommend it? Thank you.
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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Election Crisis Management: A Calming Dose of Humor

A Good Humor vendor
A Good Humor vendor (Public Domain- Wikipedia)
We the people, in my view, need to try to influence, somehow, if possible, shorter political campaigning cycles in the U. S. A. We are subjected to campaigns of two or more years. We are worn out. We need more Good Humor trucks in the neighborhood than political signs. 
     And also...what might we do in the near future to start working to stifle the length of time paid professional campaign staffs, lobbyists, pundits, and advertisers can overdo politics? I think that even some candidates would appreciate any success we might have in such action.
     Meanwhile, in the present situation and in need of a "lighten up" injection to keep my brain balanced...or somewhat near that I took a Blend of the Day  politics-and-calming-tongue-in-cheek-humor break with Deirdre Reilly's "Guide to Politics," given the upcoming USA elections. I invite you to follow the links in this section and take a break. She's only kidding...I think.Having witnessed a television on the street interview with a few 20-somethings recently, however, I think she's onto something. The young people could not name from which country the U. S. gained its independence. What school system was teaching them during their K-12 years, one wonders. It pains you to see young people so uncomfortable and embarrassed not to know that answer as well as the answer to "who is the Vice President of the U. S. now?" I am not kidding you.
     A reminder: If you don't vote early, vote at the final opportunity, which is next Tuesday, November 6, before the polls close. Meanwhile, if you are still undecided about your votes, you have a little time left to listen to both sides of every issue that matters the most to you, whether it's jobs, education, unions, health, stopping the legalization of yet another casino in Maryland, U.S. Chrysler auto manufacturing overseas, local judge-ships, or other topics that could affect your life and your loved ones' lives significantly, up ahead.     

Copyright (c) 2012 Opinari Writers. Do you like this blog? Join, Tweet, FB, Like, or Recommend it? Thank you.
P. S. Deirdre's Portlandia excerpts
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Good for the Soul

English: Young Johann Sebastian Bach. 1715. Te...
English: Young Johann Sebastian Bach. 1715. Teri Noel Towe seems to demonstrate that the portrait is probably not of Bach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
   As writer Cecelia Porter tells it, 17th and 18th century “occasional music” was “for coronations of monarchs and installations of important civic leaders.” She notes a glaring significance: “All these commemorations, whether religious or civic, relied on sacred texts-a far cry from today’s custom of choosing secular music for public heads of state.”  
   Thanks to The Washington Post (Style, C10, 9/25/2012), Ms Porter's music review of works performed locally by the Washington Bach Consort led me this morning to YouTube, to savor some of the cited works: “Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn,” BWV 119, “composed to honor the Leipzig town council’s inauguration in 1748,” and Bach’s “Lobe den Herrn,” BWV 69.  (She noted also Washington Bach Consort’s performance of John Blow’s “God spake sometime in visions” and William Boyce’s “The king shall rejoice.”)  

   When I hear certain compositions by J. S. Bach, I recall that God is working all things together for good to those who love Him, as St. Paul wrote in the familiar Romans 8:28 scripture. That Bach wrote music for “the glory of God and the recreation of the mind” is evident. His composing has brought us a sense that life is intended for good, capable of higher planes that we can only attempt to imagine or dream; yet by the grace of faith we participate in them, in part, now and will participate fully one future day.  
    J.S. Bach is my favorite composer, but not an exclusive favorite, if that makes sense to you. It is like love, this love of certain music, in that it is open, receptive, varied, and unlimited. Bach's inventive genius works behind music of the eras since his time. I recommend you to listen to an overview, with music excerpts, of Bach’s life and musical influences. Also, look for audio or video featuring Yo Yo Ma or Rostropovich playing Bach cello compositions.  
   I came to know of Bach’s life at about age eight or nine, when my new sister-in-law gave me a children’s biography of his life. I was taking piano lessons and she, a calm, intelligent young woman, recently married to my oldest brother, held my fascination. Anyone that could catch one of my handsome brothers had to be special. She set a bright tone, beginning by directing me to an interest to Bach.  
   No one has to know, grasp, or understand most of the deeper technicalities of the composing genius of Bach. You may know what I mean, perhaps having, as I did, to learn Two-part Inventions and the calming, flowing "Well-Tempered Clavier.” Of the latter, I relate instantly to what one concert pianist, who plays it every day, said:  

It has something good for the soul…
“ is so pure, cleansing...
like taking a shower,”

   “Bach was able,” says one of the video commentators, “to articulate the inner self of modernity…um, and we are modern people… (his music) gives to our fragmented lives a…sense of significance that takes us beyond the muddled present and helps us touch something timeless and eternal….” –

“The glory of God and the recreation of the mind…”
—the musical reasoning of Bach

Sources: All quotes not cited from The Washington Post are from the YouTube video. Subscribers to The Washington Post by delivery can get e-paper free and paste:

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Friday, September 21, 2012

China: A Hundred Flowers, National Book Festival, and My Recommended China Books

Pictured here is former Chinese Chairman Mao Z...
Pictured here is former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong announcing the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1 1949... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Readers interested in more about China, as well as aspiring book reviewers, should read Eugenia Zuckerman's review in The Washington Post today (September 21, 2012), "A bloom in the dark of Mao's China." It's about Gail Tsukiyama's novel A Hundred Flowers from St. Martin's Press. 
     Author Tsukiyama is expected at the National Book Festival this weekend, on the Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol. The festival, initiated by former First Lady Laura Bush and in its second decade, is entrance-free. If you cannot get to the festival, you can check out C-Span if you have TV cable. They will cover some authors speaking about their books, and I hope that author Tsukiyama might be one of them. 
     I was in Beijing after Mao's rule, and I saw his Little Red Book at sidewalk displays near Tienanmen Square. U. S. news magazines in the book's hay-day did not, in my view, take Mao or his red book seriously enough; if they did, they hid it well. However, Nien Cheng, in her book, Life and Death in Shanghai, told how she used the book's declarations to state her case often when brought before her inquisitors, when she was in prison under one of Mao's purges. 
     A Hundred Flowers is mainly about people thrown together in a hard time and scraping from their miseries some different kind of beauty. The novel is based on history under Mao and the review describes it as a book of "secrets, guilt and regret swirling through" the story; the reviewer adds "it might have been a book about betrayals - from those of Mao to those within the family" of the story. 
     I plan to read A Hundred Flowers next. 
I recommend-from my collection on China:

--Life and Death in Shanghai-a memoir by Nien Cheng 

--The Unknown Story of Mao by Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans, and Jon Halliday. Time called it “An atom bomb of a book.” In the same vein, if is a bombshell of disclosure of evil at work in the life of one man and his tyrannies toward “friend” and foe.  

--Mao and China: a Legacy of Turmoil by Stanley Karnow, Introduction by Nien Cheng, author of Life and Death in Shanghai-“Anyone who wishes to understand the Communist revolution in China should read this book”- from the Introduction

--Hudson Taylor and China's Greatest Century-series by A. J. Broomhall

--Man of Suffering by Watchman Nee

--The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun

--Bill Wallace of China by Jesse C. Fletcher_pre-Mao

T--he Good Earth by Pearl Buck_pre-Mao_ (author withstood literary criticism for this book that was appreciated by many people in China)  

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