C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

It was quite a remarkable year in many ways, good and bad. Here are some milestones:







And a few more milestones to make you feel old jog your memory, fellas. This was the number-one song in America 50 years ago this week:




And this was number one 40 years ago:




And one more thing: do you realize that kids graduating from college this year were in first grade when the Twin Towers fell - and have no memory of a world without the Internet?

Where does the time go?


Hawaiian Surprise Wedding

A sweet surprise for two servicemen, Christian Alarid and Shayne Barnes, courtesy of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau:




Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Bear-Naked Chef: Chicken Cacciatore

Adrian de Berardinis serves it up au naturel in this new web series:




Read more about Adrian and his recipes at bearnakedchef.com.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: My Reputation


Steve Hayes reviews:
Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent make holiday sparks fly when they begin a controversial romance in Curtis Bernhardt’s MY REPUTATION (1946). Stanwyck plays a newly widowed woman with two teenage boys who meets a handsome major on a skiing trip, and much to the dismay of her friends and family, falls in love and must choose between her happiness and her reputation. Eve Arden is on hand as her best friend to offer humor and consolation, and Lucile Watson plays her formidable battle-axe mother. Warm and romantic, Stanwyck and Brent make a wonderful team. Beautifully photographed, the film is also lovingly scored by Warner’s favorite Max Steiner. It’s a holiday romance that you won’t want to miss. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!




Catch more fabulous movie reviews at Steve's YouTube channel.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Drive: O Come, All Ye Faithful

As performed in Westminster Abbey, Christmas Eve, 2013:




I post these choral pieces every December in memory of my late husband Cody, 1950-2005, organist and choir director, who always put his heart and soul into his Christmas concerts and Sunday services for forty years, and thereby gave delight to many.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Dishes from around the World

Kate Arnell gives us a Cook's Tour of holiday meal customs:



Friday, December 25, 2015

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast, 2015

The Queen, who will turn 90 next April 21st, today delivered her 63rd televised Christmas message to the nation and the Commonwealth:




Excerpt:
For Joseph and Mary, the circumstances of Jesus's birth - in a stable - were far from ideal, but worse was to come as the family was forced to flee the country. It's no surprise that such a human story still captures our imagination and continues to inspire all of us who are Christians, the world over.

Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ's unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another. Although it is not an easy message to follow, we shouldn't be discouraged; rather, it inspires us to try harder: to be thankful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives, and to look for ways of spreading that love to others, whenever and wherever we can.

Full text of Her Majesty's message here.

So This Is Christmas 2015

Our little hacienda, all lit up for Christmas.

Well, fellas, it's been a momentous year in many ways, not the least of which is the legalization of marriage for all across this U. S. of A. - so I picked this song to express what's in my heart and send it out to all of my truckbuddies with good wishes for a very merry Christmas.

Here where I live, we are especially grateful for all our blessings, as last night M.P. in his little Hyundai was hit by a truck full of giggling girls doing 60 across an intersection. But thanks be to God, they only clipped his front fender instead of ramming him broadside, so he was completely unhurt. We'll be carless until next week, but it could have been so much worse, you know? So give those you love an extra hug today, fellas, and be careful out there.




Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Drive: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing


The Magnificat:

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;

he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,

according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.


As performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge:




Saturday, December 19, 2015

More Churches Okay with the Gay

Results from the 2014 Pew Research Center survey of religious life in America continue to be assessed.  This week, the Pew folks released these charts showing the change in acceptance of homosexuality among various Christian denominations between 2007 and 2014 (click to enlarge):




And here's a chart Pew created last July showing where American religious groups stand on same-sex marriage:



Also of interest from last summer is this chart showing religious affiliations in major U. S. cities:


In case you are wondering, Wikipedia lists the major American metro areas and their populations here.


And of course individuals vary widely in how much time they devote to church activities, as shown in this chart released last month:



Friday, December 18, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Love the Stranger

A Syrian refugee fleeing Isis fighters in Tal Abyad holds onto his daughter as he waits to cross into Turkey at Akcakale border gate, on June 15, 2015.  (International Business Times, July 10, 2015)

Well, what to do about it?  Before you answer, consider two families, two stories:

1.  Welcome to Canada

2.  Welcome to Texas


Today's text, Deuteronomy 10:16-19:

16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.


Cf. Matthew 25:31-46.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Separated at Birth: Bunker & Trump


Not to be outdone by the Brits, who have only a smattering of genuinely ludicrous pols, America has turned its entire electoral system into a sitcom. As witness this brilliant comparison, and I only wonder why someone hasn't done it before now.  Not embeddable, and autoplay will start when you click the link - but totally worth watching.

And don't miss Trump's magnificent campaign song, "How Great I Am," over at Wounded Bird.


P.S. - Yes, children, this really was a thing way back there in 1972 - ah, those were the days:


Monday, December 14, 2015

Oh, Those Hilarious Brits

Check it out, guys: England's answer to Homo Depot.  I think this is supposed to be what we would call a laff riot - but then, with the British one can never be quite certain, can one?  I wonder what dear Oscar would say if he could see this.





Friday, December 11, 2015

Waitin' for the Weekend







Here's to Firsts: Family

A new ad put out by Allstate Insurance, featuring two dads and their brand-new daughter:





Monday, December 7, 2015

Obama: "Freedom Is More Powerful than Fear"

Last night, the President addressed the nation from the Oval Office for only the third time in his presidency, speaking about the threat of terrorism and the means to overcome it:




As might be expected, prominent Republicans immediately denounced the speech.

Full text of the President's remarks here.


Update, 7 p.m.: Adam Glopnik writes about Obama's speech and Republican double-talk in the New Yorker, concluding:
If the gun lobby ever spoke honestly, what they would say is that of course we are broadly responsible for these killings, but regular mass killings of innocent people is the price we pay for the liberty to own whatever guns we want, in order to be protected from a phantom threat we cannot name. That is their actual belief, although one sees, on examining it, why they never want to state it quite so clearly. So there will be ever more mass gun murders, some to be accepted blankly as the cost of liberty, others to become the occasion for surrendering liberty to a militarized state. Like the song says, only in America.

The New York Daily News front page referred to in Gopnik's article:
who is a terrorist, exactly?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: The Thin Man


Steve Hayes reviews:
William Powell and Myrna Loy create marital bliss and movie history in their first two teamings as Nick and Nora Charles in W.S. Van Dyke’s The Thin Man (1934) and After The Thin Man (1936). Taken from a novel by Dashiell Hammett and based on his relationship with playwright Lillian Hellman, this off-beat husband and wife detective team round up a bunch of fabulous suspects played by top notch character actors and proceed to solve multiple murders. The results are a perfect combination of suspense, hilarity mixed with a touch of sophistication that simply can’t be beat.



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