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World Views

14 Days in October and a Christmas Carol

On October 14, 1962, U.S. reconnaissance flights over Cuba detected photographic evidence of Soviet medium-range nuclear missiles being assembled for installation. Only 90 miles from the coast of Florida, the threat they posed to America was of immediate concern and thus the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tense standoff between two nuclear superpowers had begun. On the 22nd of October, President Kennedy announced to the nation via a television broadcast, the appearance of the missiles, his decision for a naval blockade of Cuba and a resolve to use military force if necessary to neutralize the threat. Following this public announcement people around the world awaited nervously for the Soviet response. A crucial moment came when the Soviet Navy tried to breach the blockade but were turned away. The fear of nuclear war was palpable, some Americans began to hoard food and gasoline. I was 10 years old, at the time, and I remember having drills in our grade school class rooms, where we pulled down the shades on the windows and sheltered under our desks. After 2 weeks of some intense moments the crisis was resolved. Russia removed their missiles, we agreed not to invade Cuba and we secretly agreed to remove our missiles from Turkey.

Married songwriting duo, Gloria Baker and Noel Regney were asked, by Columbia Records to compose a simple B -side Christmas Song. The intense political climate and the threat of nuclear war inspired them to write a plea for peace. Columbia eventually turned it down and Mercury Records picked it up, and made it  into a A-side song. "I had thought that I'd never write a Christmas song: Christmas had become so commercial. But this was the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the studio, the producer was listening to the radio to see if we had been obliterated," said Regney in an interview for the Ridgefield Chronicles. The song was released and had become only a regional hit that November. It wasn't until the following year when Bing Crosby recorded it that it became a global hit. By then the original meaning had been lost. The name of the song: "Do You Hear What I Hear," and now you know the rest of the story.

Posted by Art Flickinger

"Faith and Reason are Mutually Reinforcing," says Clarence Thomas.

Oxford Dictionary, Dictionary.com and Merriam Webster all recently announced their word of the year for 2019, and they are: (drum roll please) Climate Emergency, Existential and They, respectively. 

MY TAKE

Hello, Oxford, that's two words! The last time I had a climate emergency was when my furnace conked out during a cold snap last year. Other than the aforementioned, I don't think I would have too many uses for climate emergency in my vocabulary. How about existential? Now there's an interesting word! Dictionary.com blew the dust off of that word to make it their word of the year. The story behind its selection was that it was inspired by Toy Story IV character Forky, the plastic spork who wanted to be a toy. Forky said he was having an existential crisis. This explanation is right off of their website. If I were Dictionary.com I wouldn't have admitted to that. Instead of watching Toy Story cartoons for vocabulary words they could have just watched ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC news casts and their respective talking heads, who have continuously repeated for the last 3 years, that Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democracy. And now for the coup de gras, good old Merriam Webster comes up with the preposition 'they' as their word of the year. 'They' refers to someone whose gender identity is nonbinary. I can think of a better word for that: how about stupid?

Posted by Art Flickinger

Don't Believe in God? Lie to Your Children

Erica Komisar a renowned psychoanalyst has written an opinion piece in the WSJ with the above title. Citing a 2018 study from the American Journal of Epidemiology, Harvard researchers found that children or teens who attended a religious service at least once a week, scored higher on psychological well-being tests and had a lower risk for mental illness. In addition, it was noted that weekly attendance was associated with higher rates of volunteerism, a sense of mission, forgiveness and lower probabilities of drug use and early sexual initiation. Ms. Komisar is often asked by parents in her clinical practice why depression and anxiety is so common among children and adolescents. Her answer in large part she states, is due to the lack of religious or spiritual beliefs. A 2018 American Family Survey showed that nearly half of adults under 30 do not identify with any religion, a sad fact that one can easily extrapolate from, that the children of these parents will be raised without beliefs. 

What happens when a loved one dies and your belief is that they turn to dust and cease to exist, and your child asks you where did grandpa go? How do you tell a child this? Well because of all the above benefits as outlined above you don't, you lie to them. This is the professional advice of Ms. Komisar. 

I believe that this a great disservice to her patients. If a parent is pricked in the heart by the thought of telling their young child that once you die it's lights out and that's all there is, are they not admitting that they want better for their children and what they have to offer makes them feel guilty? What a perfect time to tell them they need the God of truth to fill that void,  and not a lie.

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Posted by Art Flickinger

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