Groundhog’s Day

When I went to college way back in the early 1990’s the big technological advancement was having our own voicemail accounts on the phones in our dorm rooms. It was fun to leave silly messages for one another and periodically these were forwarded around as chainmails. My sophomore year I received a message in which some fellow student announced that he’d written the first Groundhog’s Day carol. I’ll never know who he was but to this day I recall the lyrics.

It’s Groundhogs Day, it’s Groundhog’s Day,
What the hell’s the matter?
We celebrate a holiday
for some fat rodent’s shadda!

So in tribute to Groundhog’s Day and this anonymous songwriter, let us all sing this carol together. We may get six more weeks of winter, but it hasn’t really felt like winter yet anyway.

Continuing the Conversation

It’s been an exciting week at Panorama of the Mountains. On Wednesday I was featured as “Blog of the Moment” at leading to a record 122 views in one day, many of them for my review of Thumbs, Toes, and Tears. Even before Wednesday I’d noticed an increase in views and comments. So here’s a hearty hello and thank you to all of you viewing and commenting. And keep those comments coming. I finally figured out how to change the settings so one doesn’t have to register to post a comment. If you’ve never commented before I have to approve your post to avoid spam so hold tight if you don’t see your comment right away.

People are also finding Panorama of the Mountains in unusual ways. Here’s a list of the most amusing search engine terms that have apparently brought people to this weblog:

  • german librarian 2007
  • discouraging the married man (and I thought I was encouraging to married men)
  • sams dud’s play grand
  • cows dancing and sinning

Since my last metapost Opening the Conversation, I’ve been refining my blogroll, and I’m happy to introduce some exciting blogs I’ve discovered as of late.

Fr. Ben Hawley, S.J. dropped by and made a comment earlier in the week. I’ve long been fond of the Jesuits because of their strong commitment to education so it’s good to have one as a reader. Fr. Hawley has a great blog of his own called The Good News of Christ.

I’ve been adding library blogs by the bucketfull to the blogroll and I have even more I’m following in my Bloglines feeds. Only one has me giddy with excitement and that is Mary Carmen Chimato’s Circ and Serve which may be the only library blog with an Access Services focus. Read Mary’s Bringing Sexy Back post, then read it again. It really speaks to a lot of the issues those of us in Access Services live with. I can’t thank her enough for starting this blog.

Equally exciting but related to how I get to work is the Bike Commute Tips Blog, an ever-so-needed compendium of information for those of us who go to work on two wheels and our own power.

Another shortage in the blogosphere appears to be in history blogs, but Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub helps to fill in that gap in an entertaining and educational way.

Better Sports collates current sporting news with insightful and intelligent commentary.

J. Baumgart probably has no idea that her presentation a couple of years back is when it first occured to me that I could author a blog. Now I can look for more inspiration at j’s scratchpad.

Finally, I know I’m way behind the times on this, but MetaFilter is a way cool place to find unique things on the web and a community of commentary.

Faith-based News

I like to keep up on news of faith, spirituality and religion in the mainstream and alternative reality. Here’s a selection of articles I’ve saved from the month of January.

First, two religious leaders passed this month. I had never of either of these men prior to their deaths, but reading about them now I wish I had.

Abbé Pierre, French priest and advocate for the homeless died at the age of 94. John Allen, Jr. writes in memory of Abbé Pierre.

zAbbé Pierre represents one of the towering examples in the 20th century of faith in action, an icon of what Pope Paul VI meant when he said that in this age, the church will be an effective teacher only to the extent that it is first a witness to the love of Christ.

The fact that Catholicism is still capable of generating such witnesses, despite all its struggles and internal fractures, is a heartening bit of context, one which ought to be factored more routinely into reflections about what’s happening in “the church.”

The other loss was Jesuit Father Bob Drinan, famed for serving a decade in the US Congress in the 1970’s. It’s a big gap in my education that I never knew a Catholic priest had served in the House of Representatives nor did I know that it’s now prohibited.

Anti-death penalty advocate Sr. Helen Prejean spoke out on two current events in January. First in a commentary on the God’s Politics blog she takes on the indignity of Sadaam Hussein’s execution.

Here’s the cake: rendering Hussein or any human being defenseless and killing him. Imposing a violent death on a person is the greatest indignity of all; it makes name-calling or taunts pale in significance.

Can a state killing ever be done with dignity?

Prejean also spoke out against Federal housing plans in post-Katrina New Orleans that are harmful tot he poor.

“In my mind, to know those homes are sitting there in decent shape when so many need housing is a sin,” Prejean said in papers filed on behalf of residents seeking to stop the demolitions.
“I have been particularly concerned about how many of the less-advantaged residents have yet to be able to return,” she said in the court papers.

Here in Massachusetts, there is the story of Robin McCarthy who is entering an order of religious sisters in Lowell after five other communities rejected her due to her disabilities. My own church community is discussing accesibility and attitudes toward people with disabilities right now so this strikes close to home.

As for bias, she considers the church more enlightened than its surrounding environment. “In general, I don’t think society looks at disability and sees something beautiful, where in the church, they do see that. . . . The soul of that person is every bit as beautiful in the eyes of God as the soul of the greatest genius.

I haven’t read scientist Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion but I found this interesting rebutal from Alister McGrath on AlterNet. The discussion below the article is also interesting, although I haven’t read all of that yet either.

Finally, two longer articles worth reading:

Speaking in Many Tongues: Why the Church Must Be More Catholic by Peter C. Phan in Commonweal stresses the importance of a plurality of cultural expressions of Christian faith.

Through a Glass, Darkly: How the Christian right is reimagining U.S. history by Jeff Sharlet in Harper’s Magazine tells of an eerie effort among some Christian evangelicals to creae a Christian past that never existed.