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Archive for March, 2013

Beauty In Common Things

Seek not far for beauty.  Lo!  It glows,
In dew-wet grasses all about thy feet;
In birds, in sunshine, childish faces sweet,
In stars, and mountain summits topped with snows.
Go not abroad for happiness.  For, see,
It is a flower that blossoms at thy door!
Bring love and justice home, and then no more
Thou’lt wonder in what dwelling joy may be.
Dream not of noble service elsewhere wrought;
The simple duty that awaits thy hand
Is God’s voice uttering a divine command;
Life’s common duties build all that saints have thought.
In wonder-workings or some bush aflame,
Men look for God, and fancy him concealed;
But in earth’s common things he stands revealed,
While grass and stars and flowers spell out his name.
  —   Written by:  Minot J. Savage
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If they could understand my need,
And hear what I confess and plead,
And know how fully I depend
Upon my precious Lord and Friend;
    —    Edith L. Mapes
From the hymn / poem:  “Oh, If They Only Knew!
[Another of the bits and pieces I’ve got in my journal.   Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the full hymn…   —    KMAB]
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Sometimes things just pop into your head…
A few days ago, I was listening to oldies on YouTube and I stumbled across a couple of old songs I really liked growing up.  Actually, they’re more words put to music, than singing-songs, but I guess they still count as “songs”.  Anyway, the first that popped into my head (and led to the second) was “Who Will Answer?” as sung by Ed Ames.
One of the verses goes:
From the canyons
of the mind,
We wander on
and stumble blindly
Through the
often-tangled
maze
Of starless
nights
and sunless
days,
While asking for
some kind of clue
Or road to lead us
to the truth,
But who will answer?
Interestingly enough, although the song has been “adopted” by many religious folks claiming it is about God or Christ or whomever, the song itself never actually answers the question posed: “Who Will Answer?”  Personally, I believe we must each answer the question for ourselves, in our own way, with our own faith (or lack thereof).
The second song is “The Last Farewell“, which I remember not as a song, but for the chorus:
For you are beautiful,
and I have loved you dearly
More dearly than
the spoken word
can tell.
To me, this has always been a very romantic way of telling someone you love them.  It is particularly true if you (as I do) believe that real beauty is from the inside, is strongly enhanced by your love for the other person, and that the emotion can be so deep that words do fail.
The song was written and performed by Roger Whittaker.  To be honest (as mentioned above), I have no recollection of the song – only the verse/chorus.  It is only on rehearing that I’ve found it’s not so much a love song as it is a going-off-to-war song.  And, in it’s own way, it’s an anti-war love song…
Does faith sustain us when we are shaken by life’s seeming randomness?  Do the fears of war (injury and death) stir us even deeper in our appreciation for those we love and might lose?
I hope you’ll click over to the lyrics on my Poems page to check these (and all the others) out.  As always, once you’ve read the lyrics, go check out the actual recordings on you favorite music site.  And don’t forget, please support your local artists by going to their performances and seeing them live.
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I walked in the woodland meadows,
Where sweet the thrushes sing,
And found on a bed of mosses,
A bird with a broken wing;
I healed its wing, and each morning
It sang its old sweet strain,
But the bird with the broken pinion,
Never soared as high again.
I found a young life broken
By sin’s seductive art,
And, touched with a Christlike pity,
I took him to my heart;
He lived with a nobler purpose,
And struggled not in vain,
But the life that sin had stricken,
Never soared as high again.
But the bird with the broken pinion
Kept another from the snare,
The life that sin had stricken,
Raised another from despair;
Each loss has its own compensation,
There’s healing for each pain,
But the bird with the broken pinion
Never soared as high again.
    —    Written by:   Hezekiah Butterworth
[I first read this poem as a teen.  At the time, it only struck me that the bird was a symbol of lost hope, never to be regained.
But the bird with the broken pinion
Never soared as high again.
On reflection though, it seems the bird is a symbol of God’s acting in “mysterious” ways to save both the bird and the man.
Imagine the first verse is the man’s view of finding the bird, then the second, the bird’s view of finding the man.  Finally, the third verse is a third party explanation of the preceding verses relating the bird is saved from death and the man from a life of “despair”.  Both have sacrificed, and both are scarred by the sacrifice, but the bird’s “truer” physical sacrifice remains for life.
I’m sure there are a million interpretations of this poem, but this is mine for now…  Only the two lines cited above were in my journal.  The rest of the poem was rediscovered (by me) when I researched the lines for this post.   —   KMAB]
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He used to dream of things he’d do
When grown to be a man,
Beguiling boyhood years away
With many an idle plan.
And now, when grown to be a man,
He knows no greater joy
Than dreaming of the the things he’d do
If he were still a boy.
    —   Thomas Nunan
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It is only when a person gets into difficulty that one can truly see his heart.
    —    Traditional Chinese Proverb
Found in:  “American Shaolin“, by Matthew Polly
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What matters most is what you expect from yourself.  The players who do the best are those who expect the most.  They play every down matched against their own expectations.  That’s how you win games and sustain a season.
    —    Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in:  “The Genius“, written by: David Harris
[Happy Birthday, Sarah!
The quote above is also about how you live your life without regrets…
Love, Dad    —    KMAB]
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When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.
    —    Edward R. Murrow
[And watching Faux News, not all of the TV circus performers are well trained either…    —    KMAB]
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It is also said of me that I now and then contradict myself.  Yes, I improve wonderfully as time goes on.
    —    George Jean Nathan
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An optimist is a fellow who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.
    —    George Jean Nathan
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No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated.  Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literary or artistic expression.  Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines.  Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain the freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race.
    —    Dr. Richard P. Feynman
From his book: “The Meaning Of It All
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The human brain evolved by hit and miss, by random mutations, making use of subtle chemical changes, and by a forward drive powered by natural selection and the need to survive in a particular world of given qualities and dangers.
The computer brain evolved by deliberate design as the result of careful human thought, making use of subtle electrical changes, and by a forward drive powered by technological advance and the need to serve particular human requirements.
It would be very odd if, after taking two such divergent roads, brains and computers would ever end in such similarity to one another that one of them could be said to be “superior” in intelligence to the other.
    —    Isaac Asimov
From his book:  “The Roving Mind
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“Heroes don’t die in American movies.”
“They do in Chinese movies.”
“I know, but not in American movies.”
“Then they aren’t heroes.”
“Why do you say that?”
Little Tiger paused to think.  “I don’t know.  They’re just not.”
Feeling like I was on to something important, I pressed.  “But why do you think that?”
Dequing, [one of the author’s instructors] who had been following the exchange, said, “Because it doesn’t take much courage to fight when you still believe you can win. What takes real courage is to keep fighting when all hope is gone.”
    —    Matthew Polly
From his book:  “American Shaolin
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Players must execute.  They can’t depend on emotion to win.  It doesn’t matter how much you want to win the game.  Everyone in the NFL is intense.  It’s foolish to think we can out intensity them.  The bottom line is: Can we execute a series of plays almost flawlessly?  Only through repetition and experience with those plays can each player complete the necessary assignments.  If you want something too badly, you can throw yourself out of sync trying to make a play that isn’t really achievable.  It’s not the attitude or the personnel that does it.  It’s how well you do things.  Don’t count on heroics.  Count on execution, on the things we have practiced and are good at.
     —    Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, written by David Harris
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The problem arises, however, of what one is to do with those workers who are replaced by the robots.
It is not that there will be an overall diminution of jobs.  If the past is to be a guide, technological advances create more jobs than they destroy.  Thus, the automobile industry employs far more people than the buggy industry ever did.  Nevertheless, there is a change in the kind of jobs that will be available.  The repetitive jobs of the assembly line will tend to disappear.  The dull jobs of paper-shuffling and button-pressing will disappear.  In their place will be such jobs as computer-programming and robot maintenance.
On the whole, the jobs that will come into existence will be far more creative and will take far more education and training than will those that have disappeared.
It will therefore be part of the responsibility of the corporation of the future to see to the re-education of the workforce.  This could be done out of pure feelings of humanity and philanthropy, but it is more practical to suppose that it would be done out of a very natural desire to preserve the stability of society.  It might save money, in the short run, simply to cast out the displaced, but it would not be good business to have hordes of hungry and angry people ready to change, by force, the economic system that reduced them to misery.
    —    Isaac Asimov
From his book:  “The Roving Mind
[Asimov is referring to the responsibility of the corporation replacing the worker with automation.  In today’s political climate, it is the unemployed who must retrain themselves (at their own expense).  It is nice when the government can assist, but there is no “legal” responsibility.  And, of course, the corporation has no responsibility to their workers.  It will be interesting to see if this remains a tenable relationship between worker, government and corporation.  I believe it will not be tenable and we will end up with a voter imposed (via government) “New Deal” for workers which will shift some of the costs of retraining / re-education back onto the businesses / corporations of our economy.    —    KMAB]
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