Sunday, April 20, 2014

"He is not here, for He has risen . . . ."


Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene came with the other Mary to inspect the tomb. Suddenly there was a mighty earthquake, as the angel of the Lord descended from heaven. He came to the stone, and rolled it back and sat on it. In appearance he resembled a flash of lightning while his garments were as dazzling as snow. The guards grew paralyzed with fear of him and fell down like dead men. Then the angel spoke, addressing the women: "Do not be frightened. I know you are looking for Jesus the crucified, but he is not here. He has been raised, exactly as he promised. Come and see the place where he was laid. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has been raised from the dead and now goes ahead of you to Galilee, where you will see him.' That is the message I have for you."

They hurried away from the tomb half-overjoyed, half-fearful, and ran to carry the good news to his disciples. Suddenly, without warning Jesus stood before them and said "Peace!" The women came up and embraced his feet and did him homage. At this Jesus said to them: "Do not be afraid! Go and carry the news to my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, where they will see me."

The resurrection of Jesus, from the Gospel of St. Matthew 

Editorial cartoonists: keeping the legacy of Thomas Nast alive

by Jeff Stahler

American Civil War: 150 years ago today on April 20, 1864


The Civil War, 1861-1865
April 20, 1864



The U.S. government reduces rations to Confederate prisoners of war in retaliation for mistreatment of Union captives.

Confederates capture 2,800 Union priosners and a large quantity of supplies at Plymouth, North Carolina, after a three-day siege.


Information from the Civil War Almanac, by John C. Fredriksen (Checkmark Books) 
Illustration: detail from the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial in Boston honoring the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fine Lines: Mr. Met, the Secret Service and the New York Daily News

Fine Lines takes a look at headlines from the tabloids. Not the supermarket rags, but real newspapers, such as the Boston Herald, the New York Post, and the Philadelphia Daily News, that serve up the news with a touch of brass. A clever or pointed tabloid headline is a thing of beauty (or at least a heck of a lot of fun), especially if it involves wit and wordplay.

The New York Daily News reported this week that a Secret Service agent "threatened to put some high heat in the Mets mascot’s oversized dome if he ventured too close to former President Bill Clinton during a 1997 game at Shea Stadium," because the mascot's large head couldn't fit through a metal detector. In a new memoir, AJ Mass, the man inside the Mr. Met outfit, quotes the agent as telling him: “We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen. Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. But approach the President, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?” Never mind take me out to the ballgame, the Daily News said this was a threat to . . .

Editorial cartoonists: keeping the legacy of Thomas Nast alive

by Pat Bagley

American Civil War: 150 years ago today on April 19, 1864


The Civil War, 1861-1865
April 19, 1864



The U.S. Congress passes legislation admitting Nebraska as a state.

Confederate Col. John S. Mosby raids a Union wedding at Leesburg, Virginia, and then conveys his greetings to Union troops and local residents.

The huge Confederate steam ram CSS Albemarle attacks a Union squadron off Plymouth, North Carolina, sinking one ship and forcing two others to draw off. That leaves the Union garrison ashore unsupported.


Information from the Civil War Almanac, by John C. Fredriksen (Checkmark Books) 
Illustration: detail from the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial in Boston honoring the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment 

Friday, April 18, 2014

No, I haven't bought the farm just yet, but thanks for asking


As I remember it, I wasn’t particularly annoyed when the AARP invited me to join its seasoned ranks more than 10 years ago. I had been forewarned that getting such a missive was inevitable once I hit the milestone known as The Big 5-0.

Turning 50 didn’t really faze me all that much. I took the black balloons, the complimentary Geritol, the over-the-hill jokes and the “condolences” in stride. What happened 10 years later was a bigger deal. Sixty was a much more significant marker, one that carried a far more troublesome reminder of my own mortality.

But both of those turning points paled by comparison to the form letter that arrived in the mail yesterday. It claimed that I may qualify for something called the Funeral Advantage Program, which supposedly would pay my family up to $20,000 if I should kick the bucket. Or, as the letter put it more tactfully, “in the event of (my) death.”

Granted, I could drop dead any day now, or be diagnosed with a terminal disease. But so could most anyone else, regardless of age. At 63, I’m well aware that most of my life is only visible through the rear-view mirror. Still, the Social Security Administration says a man reaching 65 today (and I won’t stumble across that line until late 2015) can expect to live until 84, on average. One out of every four 65-year-olds will survive longer than 90 years, and one out of 10 will see the far side of 95.

I’m not in perfect health, but who is? For the most part, the apparatus is still in good working order. I eat well and exercise regularly. I’m not remotely overweight. I don’t smoke or do drugs, and I rarely consume alcohol. My father died just shy of his 91st birthday, and my mother lived until she was 91 1/2. I tossed the Funeral Advantage Program’s letter, not just because I’ve never heard of this “program,” but also because I don’t think it’s unreasonable to hope I’ll be around for a little while yet. (Knock on wood.)

The fates are fickle, though, and I certainly don’t want to tempt them. Both of my parents lost siblings at a relatively young age. My maternal grandparents, Wilbrod and Albertine Archambeault, lived long lives, but my father’s parents, William and Eva Carrière, were not so lucky. There are no guarantees. Every day is a gift.

So I’ve settled on a compromise. While I’m not making funeral arrangements just yet, this may be a good time to start working on my bucket list.

Editorial cartoonists: keeping the legacy of Thomas Nast alive

by Mike Luckovich

American Civil War: 150 years ago today on April 18, 1864


The Civil War, 1861-1865
April 18, 1864



Confederates defeat Union troops in the Battle of Poison Springs in Arkansas, leading to the slaughter of captured African-American soldiers.


Information from the Civil War Almanac, by John C. Fredriksen (Checkmark Books) 
Illustration: detail from the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial in Boston honoring the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Editorial cartoonists: keeping the legacy of Thomas Nast alive

by Tom Toles

American Civil War: 150 years ago today on April 17, 1864


The Civil War, 1861-1865
April 17, 1864



U.S. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant suspends all prisoner exchanges until the Confederates release identical numbers of Union prisoners, effectively ending such exchanges.


Information from the Civil War Almanac, by John C. Fredriksen (Checkmark Books) 
Illustration: detail from the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial in Boston honoring the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicken Scratchings . . . . . the hen chronicles, continued (chapter 110)



On April 21, 2012, my wife Liz and I - chicken neophytes - bought three laying hens, who set up shop in a coop in the backyard of our city lot here in Maine. The makeup of our small flock has changed since then, but not our love of chickens. Chicken Scratchings looks at life with our tenants.
 

Like all animals, chickens can be mystifying creatures. I was reminded of this recently when I found two of our hens - Barred Rock Nala and Rhode Island Red Nellie - quietly sharing a nest box as they went about the business of laying their eggs.

I’ve seen this sort of thing before, from time to time, and it’s baffling for two reasons. First of all, the nest box in question is quite small . . . really only big enough to hold one hen comfortably. Yet there they were, Nala and Nellie, peacefully nuzzled, side by side, wing to wing, seemingly indifferent to how silly (and endearing) two full-grown hens look when they are trying to inhabit the same tiny space.
 

The other reason this is inexplicable behavior: there are two nest boxes in our coop. And the other nest box is twice as big as the one Nala and Nellie had jammed themselves into. For whatever reason, none of our four hens ever lay their eggs in that larger nest box. Maybe they view it as too spacious, or perhaps they’re just such creatures of habit that they are unwilling to try something new.

The upside is that I know exactly where to look in my quest for fresh eggs. If you're a hen - or, more precisely, one of our hens - that tiny cubicle in a corner of the coop has proven to be the place to go when the urge strikes. Accept no substitutes.



There are eight million stories in the naked henhouse. This has been one of them.

Editorial cartoonists: keeping the legacy of Thomas Nast alive

by Jim Morin