Perhaps because of my own genetic blend of the two faiths Christ symbolized and because of the incredible persecution both Jews and Christians have suffered since Calvary, it is not important to me whether Jesus was the son of God. What does mean something to me ~ and it means a very great deal ~ was that this individual came among us and by both the doctrine he preached and the personal example he set, he inspired others to actively work for a more compassionate society.
There can also be no denying that the example he set resonated. Yes, it bothers me that much that was not humane was done in his name but then this too was going on long before that fateful night in Bethlehem. Like so many fine and decent things in life, his gospel has been tarnished and used to shackle those very people Jesus sought so desperately in his life to free.
A great deal has transpired since his birth. Mighty empires have risen and fallen. Even the geography of the planet has changed. In a relatively swift passing of those years, the human species has emerged from primordial darkness to claim the planet for its own and to launch its destiny into the universe.
It is somehow reassuring to me that for perhaps the most tumultuous aspect of that span, millions have continued not only to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but in their own way, to emulate his example in their own lives.
It’s quite a legacy you left the world, Jesus. Happy birthday.
IN OTHER NEWS
Well, the good news is that we’re living longer. The bad news is that a lot of us are not living longer well. Factors like morbid obesity and hypertension ~ as well as a general lack of attention to preventative health measures ~ are on the increase. To me, that suggests that life has become so difficult that subconsciously, some of us don’t want to add years to an existence which doesn’t seem to be providing a lot of joy, security or satisfaction. That’s sad but it’s also a personal choice and sometimes attitude really is all.
I’m not sure why I’m glad about this one but it might just be the smidge of French in me. Apparently, the head of King Henry IV, who was assassinated and then decapitated in 1610, has been verified as legitimate. The embalmed skull of this particular monarch circulated among private collections for 183 years and then, during the French Revolution, disappeared entirely. Somehow, now that it’s been found, the universe seems just a bit tidier.
One out of four applicants for military service in the United States Army cannot, apparently, pass the entrance examination, leading many educators and the Secretary of Education to conclude that America’s “underperforming” (Gotta love those euphemisms, eh?) education system now poses a threat to national security. Among 30 other industrialized nations, America ranks near the bottom on the literacy level.
We found the newly released 2010 Census Report absolutely fascinating. Thanks to population growth well ahead of the national average, Washington became the 13th most populated state in America and gained a Congressional seat. To see how your community has changed, please go here.
Sam: I’m going to take a shot at this and say we are not talking about Santa Claus here.
Women at high risk for cancer now have two new options, according to results of a recently published federally-funded study and presented at a meeting of the American Association For Cancer Research in Washington, DC. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS:
Cancer Research Journal
National Cancer Institute (American)
Fighting Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Survivor Stories
Science Daily: Health & Medicine News
American Cancer Statistics 2009
Canadian Cancer Statistics 2009
In what some experts are proving could be the majour medical breakthrough of the 21st Century, researchers saved the life of a Wisconsin child by running the boy’s entire gene sequence and finding the defective one which was causing the problem. He was treated with a blood transfusion and recovered. Yep, for more on this one, go here.
As much as we hate to encourage gluttony ~ our own and those of others ~ we’re also real practical when it comes to the holiday season. It’s past the winter solstice and those of us in the northern climes need to eat more just to stay warm. And since we are nothing but the epitome of good decorum, we do not refuse dinner invitations nor risk insulting a host by refusing second helpings. What we do in the name of good manners and going along with the program has, in the past, given us gout and tummy stretch marks. Here’s something to drink after a heavy meal.
We congratulate the American Congress and Chief Executive for making it possible for people with other than heterosexual gender preferences to serve openly in the military. One of the young people in my life, a medic with the Alabama National Guard, served with distinction in Operation Desert Storm. Her caring, courage, dedication and military professionalism were never an issue. nor was the unmitigated and public record of the service lesbians and gays rendered to their country.
Thanks to the pro bono work of attorneys affiliated with the international Innocence Network ~ a coalition of 63 individual organizations, including the Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington School of Law ~ three Washington state men convicted of rape were cleared this year through post-conviction DNA testing. They are among 29 individuals nationwide who were exonerated or whose convictions were overturned in 2010.
Well, one Oregon timberjack who started out augmenting his income by building storage sheds for his neighbours is now building the minimalist type houses that have proliferated in Vancouver, British Columbia. Over the last five years, he estimates he’s built 100 of these and now he’s looking at making an entire subdivision of these for people who have either lost their homes or are facing that bleak future. This is definitely an example that can be emulated so yep, for more, please go here.
Finding Rootedness is perhaps the most empowering blog we’ve yet come across for those of us who are pledged to a work which improves with the subscription to and application of positive and empowering alternatives. This one is for the window pushers among us. It offers not only solid alternatives to the chaos but news of where these options are being successfully implemented.
Irish Newsletter is an outstanding pocket source of Irish life, politics and times. Particularly well written are their news snaps (shorts) which ~ according to friends of mine in Erin ~ literally tell it like it is. While the Republic of Ireland’s population is only about 4.5-million, there are an estimated 80 million people of Irish descent worldwide and email version of this reached 50,000 of them.
Meade Fisher Observes Humanity From A Safe Distance is a blog authored by an outdoor writer, photographer, West Coast kayaker and environmentalist living in the San Francisco Bay area. These short, humorous, few holds barred observations on the machinations of the human species run from the whimsical to the arid and occasionally to the quietly outraged. I’ve been a fan of this particular writer for years and I’ve always found him worth the read.
Sightline Daily is the best Pacific Northwest source of environmentally friendly news we’ve encountered yet. They draw from newspapers and National Public Radio sources in Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State.
The Northstar Gallery features photography of Seattle available as postcards, computer wallpaper and workspace art.
Wrath of the Testament, an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion, is now available for $3.99 at amazon.com.
Yes magazine is the online Life and Look of the Internet combined and their present series “What Happy Families Know is both insightful and inspirational.
What’s Going On Here?
Whether you live here or plan to visit ~ and whatever it is you enjoy doing at home or as a tourist ~ you’ll find it, you’ll find it listed here at seattlepi.com.
SEATTLE FACTS AND FIGURES
Seattle Rainfall in Comparison To Other US Cities
Seattle Geography & Climate
For more information about Seattle
OTHER RELATED STUFF FROM THE SHORES OF THE SALISH SEA
For live cameras on Seattle, the Puget Sound and Washington State
Mount Rainier slide show
Eat healthy while you’re here – Seattle PCC Co-Op
Take some fresh produce back to your hotel – Seattle Farmers Markets
CRITTER STUFFWell, for those of us who love “all creatures great and small,” wolverines have apparently either returned to the Northwest or ~ after years of being hunted and trapped nearly to extinction ~ have decided that it’s now safe for them to come out of hiding. They’ve been spotted by several wildlife groups in the region who are also busy doing what they can to make sure this extremely circumspect creature of the woods is protected for posterity.
Recommended Related Links:
National Wildlife Magazine
Go Northwest: Northwest Wildlife Websites
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News - Animals
Retrieverman’s Weblog: Engaging articles on domestic & wildlife in the American South
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Okay, even for Seattle at Christmas time, this is reaching the outer limits. There’s this Jewish lady who works for the Seattle Aquarium who dons SCUBA gear and goes into the 120,000 gallon Window on Washington Waters tank with these big bags of herring, krill and squid to feed the denizens of the deep. Next time I hear about somebody dressing their hairless Chihuahua in a sweater and hat, I probably won’t be quite so quick to roll my eyes and go, “They should treat their human family so good.” Yep, for a photo and more links to Northwest weird, go here.
Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for the ear. Before you leave, if you’re in a shopping mood and into some interesting choices? We’ve got a “reader stocked” General Store that you might want to check out. If you’d like to sell something with us or know someone who does, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can do.