World War I Centenary

Over on the Wall Street Journal they have an interesting site up looking at the 100 things from World War 1 that continue to influence our lives today. I think many people living today forget about the Great War(WWI) and focus on that other one with the Axis Powers (WWII) as there is a personal connection to the second one. Perhaps this feeling is different over in Europe where it happened but being a student of history in the United States we seemed to breeze through the First World War and focus on the Second one.

World War I began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. If you don’t know much about this war I think this summer would be a great time to do some reading up on it. Mental Floss has had an ongoing feature about WWI for awhile now  looking at the events that led up to the war and hopefully they will continue looking at it as the events unfold. If reading isn’t your favorite thing to do, Wikipedia has a list of films about WWI that you can watch and learn more about the war.

News Round up

History/Science- Scientist across the pond have found some skeletons from the Black Death. They have pulled molars from the skulls and examined the dental pulp and discovered Y.pestis in it. From this they have determined that it was not a bubonic plague but a pneumonic plague, which is spread by coughing. I’ve only read these brief reports about the discovery but it seems that it could have perhaps been a bit of all type s of plague bubonic, pneumonic, and hemorrhagic. Europe in the 1300s was not a real fun place as they experienced the little ice age and the great famine which lead to people with weakened immune systems. So the Black Death may not have been spread primarily by rats on land but we know for certain that is where is started. However this was in England where this study took place so who knows if the same holds true for other parts of Europe as well.

Sports- This is a cool story Pat Summitt’s son Tyler has been hired to coach the Lady Techsters of Louisiana Tech. Tyler has been around women’s college basketball his entire life and he has seen it from both sides as a player and a coach. Louisiana Tech is hoping to regain the luster it once had as they have struggled in recent years. Tyler, who turns 24 before the beginning of the next season, will be a full 2 year older than his mom when she started coaching a Tennessee. Can Tyler match his mother in results as well? Time will tell.

Yesterday was April Fools’ Day and over on mentalfloss they compiled a list of the ten best internet based jokes/pranks. All of these were great but my favorite came from the King’s College Choir. In which they have discovered a way to get around the need for trebles more commonly know as boy sopranos. April Fools’ Day is fun but sometime it can get a bit out of hand like the news that Bob Dole is interested in running for President again in 2016.  As sometime even real “hard” news you hear need to be fully vetted before you really know it is true and to be taken serious.

News Round up

As we reach the end of the year it seem like everywhere you turn you encounter a best of the year list and over on Mental Floss they have one of the best list in Miss Cellania’s Top 20 Weird News Stories of 2013.  This is a crazy list of stories from around the world already featured on the site during the past year.

Pope Francis is picking up award left and right I believe Advocate magazine named him person of the year and most recently he picked up another title that of Esquire’s best dressed man of 2013, because there was no other man in the world that would continually wear white and not complain about it. In all seriousness it was because as Mary Lisa Gavenas says “Pope Francis understands that menswear is meant to express the character of the man wearing the clothes.”

Sherlock Holmes is in the Public Domain according to an American Judge reports the NY Times The result of the case is that anyone can freely use elements from Holmes from before 1923 in their own works and not have to fork over a licensing fee to the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. for any newly derived works. I sure hope that the Conan Doyle Estate is glad that this came after the television show Elementary paid its fee. Copyright laws in the United States are very weird as it’s like 90 years after the work comes out unless an extension is put on it then it can go for years and years. This is something that needs to change in America.

First Sunday of Advent

This week we light one candle for hope, one bright candle for hope, because He brings hope to everyone He comes, He comes. Today we begin a brand new Church year and a new season in the Liturgical Calendar. Advent. Please do not be fooled by what society is telling us that it is Christmas time already, with the Christmas specials, decorations and radio stations switching to Christmas music. We need to get through the waiting part first and then we can celebrate the season of Christmas. Today in our readings we hear from the beginning of the prophet Isaiah,  Paul’s letter to the Romans, and the end of Matthew’s Olivet Discourse.

The reading from Isaiah is from the portion that is widely believed to have been written by the actual prophet. We hear about a vision of the Messianic age that Isaiah had in it he sees all nations living in peace for “they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” and not one nation will go to war or even train for war again. There is a whole movement around the world to beat swords into plowshares Mental floss had an interesting article a few year back about this and Esther Augsburger has a famed sculpture Guns into plowshares, which is somewhere in DC.

Turning to Paul he issues two simple requests to the Romans to be watchful and to “put on Christ” This seems like a strange request as Paul is saying that we need to be watchful since Paul seems to be implying that Jesus will be coming again real soon. As we know now Paul was off by a couple thousand years but the second part is the most important request that Paul gives us this week “put on Christ”. This basically means that we need to become more Christ-like in our lives, not just during the day but at night as well. Paul’s letter to the Galatians gives us some guidelines in the sarx (body/flesh)/pneuma (spirit) thing. To the Romans he write that they should not conduct ourselves as in orgies and drunkenness, promiscuity and lust, or rivalry and jealousy this is a do not list to live like Christ.

Arriving at Matthew’s Gospel we are in his fifth discourse. Scholars have noted that The Gospel of Matthew features five separate discourses Jesus telling people something important the most famous discourse is the Sermon on the Mount. Today’s reading we hear from the one that took place on Mount Olivet, the focus of this final one was the End times. This is the one where two people are out in the field and one was taken and one left. We are reminded that we do not know the day or the hour when the Son of God will return so we are told to be patient and wait. Advent is a time of the year where many of us reflect on what all has happened during the previous year and make plans for the upcoming year. I hope that we can make some more room in our lives for prayer and other things that bring us closer to God.