Never again?


The phrase “Never again” originally meant that we would never let the horrors of the holocaust happen again. But I think we’ve come to think of it as saying it never could happen again. It’s unthinkable.

But genocide has happened in our lifetime. Perhaps is happening right now. Moreover, persecution of the Jewish people–always present–seems to have increased recently.

It is well known that Jews have been driven out of most Muslim countries.

Rising anti-Semitism in Europe is equally well documented.

The response to these events is basically a collective, “Meh.” I mean, it’s bad and all, but things are bad all over. And don’t worry, we said “Never again!”

What do we mean by that? Do we still mean it? I wonder, since it looks like we’ll be put to the test.

In the eastern part of the Ukraine where pro-Russian forces have taken over, Jews have been told they must register with the government. If they don’t, they’ll lose their property and be deported. This has happened before, and the whole world turned a blind eye. We had bigger issues–economic troubles, conflicts popping up all over the world. Sound familiar?

The most overused and most true quote regarding our connection to history is this: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Never again?

Be smarter

Tuesday morning was the first of four total lunar eclipses that will occur over the next 18 months. The total lunar eclipse is often called a blood moon because… science. (Explanation here, scroll down a bit), dealing with the light spectrum. Why is the sky blue and all that.)

Apparently, some Christian numbskulls are saying this particular astronomical event foretells bad things for Israel. I don’t know, I honestly didn’t bother to look it up. For one thing, I don’t buy into Christian astrology any more than I buy into pagan astrology. I’m also not a big fan of fearmongers.

The other reason I don’t buy it, even if I did buy into Christian astrology, is simple logic. The tetrad of eclipses foretells something bad for Israel? Then why aren’t any of them visible from Israel?

all eclipses

So God decided to use an unusual astronomical series of events to warn Israel about impending . . . something or other, but decided not to let them see it. That makes sense.

Will something happen to Israel in the next couple of years? Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Israel is in the middle of a bunch of unstable countries, many of whom want to wipe them off the face of the earth. Something is always happening in and near Israel.

If something big does happen, the Christian astrologers get to say, “I told you so.” If something doesn’t happen, they can say, “I warned you and we prayed, so God averted the disaster.”

Columbus was able to manipulate Native Americans into continue to giving him and his men a free ride using his knowledge of an upcoming total lunar eclipse. They had the excuse of not knowing what was coming, what’s our excuse? Christians, can we use our brains? Can we not listen to the fear-mongers and those who preach more superstitions than gospel?

Obviously we ought to be continually praying for Israel, and for the whole world for that matter. You don’t have to look to the stars to realize their are hurting people everywhere. There are those who need to be rescued, those who need to be protected, and evildoers who need to be stopped. Do we really needed a lunar eclipse to wake us up to the reality of a hurting and dangerous world?

What do I think about the lunar eclipse? I think “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” I plan to enjoy everyone of them, God willing. Without fear.

Terrible Tuesday: Blood red yawn

Because today is Terrible Tuesday, after all, we didn’t wake up all the kids for the lunar eclipse, just Little Miss, our budding astronomer. We’ve got 3 other shots at a lunar eclipse over the next 18 months.

If you slept in, it looked like something this:

lunar eclipse

Very tired links.

Calling out the trolls. Lots of wisdom from this sheriff.

Rethinking our relationship with germs. Long, but very interesting article. Also lots of talk about poop, so you might not want to read it over lunch.

4 tips for having a minimalist wardrobe. Somebody do this for me.

Classy: “Childbirth is something that is primitive, ugly, nasty, inconvenient.” (It’s an article on Brazil’s high rate of c-sections, but that sums it up right there.)

Study finds benefits of circumcision outweigh risks.

Drug all the kids! Or not.

New violins beat out old violins in a blind test. This reminds me of he story of violinist Joshua Bell playing in the subway. I think how we enjoy–or don’t enjoy–an experience depends on our expectations?

Good doggie.

Happy *yawn* Tuesday.

Palindrome week! For some of us.

If you live in the United States or other places where we place the month first, and if you don’t include the first two numbers of the year, then it’s palindrome week where the date written in numbers is the same forward and backward.  Poor Brits. No fun for you!

palindrome week

4/10/14 and 4/11/14 also work. This will happen again next year in May, then in 2016 in June, 2017 in July, 2018 in August, and 2019 in September. Then in December 2021 (12-11-21 and 12-22-21) and then. . . not until the next century? Maybe?  Unless you write February as two digits: 02, then 02-11-20 and 02-22-20. Same for March 2030, etc.

Speaking of palindromes . . .

Palm Funday!

I know. I’m ashamed of myself.

Actually, my Palm Sunday does not include the traditional activities that make Palm Sunday fun, namely sword fights with palm branches. This is because my church doesn’t do the traditional handing out of palm branches either because they’re killjoys or they’re smart. Smart killjoys?

For those who do attend churches that hand out palms, it is the most exciting Sunday of the year. Any church worth it’s salt will have a pool going on which kid will lose an eye/which kid will put out an eye. They’re often in the same family.

For less violent Palm Sunday fun, Grandma shows us how to make a cross. (Not my grandma, who is not a Yankee.)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Palm Sunday with many alleluias, whether they were accompanied with palm branch smacking or not.

The makings of a criminal mastermind

If he’s like this at two, can you imagine what he’ll be like at 10? God help these parents. And his sister.

Fine Arts Friday: Too much of a good thing

Our artist for this term is Edouard Manet.   Here’s a good short kid’s bio of Manet and the list of suggested works from Ambleside. (We flipped terms two and three to accompany our history topics.)

I’m not going to talk a lot about Manet, except to say I like him a lot and because he was so prolific (+400 paintings), there’s a good chance there is a real live Manet near you! This painting, “The Railway,” is at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

The Railway sm

A friend on Facebook asked about taking young kids–boys in particular–to art museums. I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve come up with two mistakes that I think are common when going to a museum with young kids. This applies to most museums, but particularly art museums:

  1. We try to make them take in too much.
  2. We get between them and the art.

I think the number one problem is that we go into a gallery that has a hundred kajillion works of art and expect to see most of them. That’s just crazy talk. I understand the impulse, especially if it isn’t a free museum or if you’re on vacation and might not have another opportunity to see these wonderful pieces. But it’s the same thing as sitting down to a fine meal and gorging. You aren’t going to appreciate the individual dishes and you’re going to feel miserable afterward.

Particularly for a young kid who likes to move and touch and talk, asking them to exhibit proper etiquette in museum for a long period of time is hard. (And to be clear, I do think  you should expect proper etiquette in a museum. If your little guy can only manage that for 20 or 30 minutes, then there’s your time limit.)

So how do you get the most our of your museum trip?

  • Plan ahead: pick two or three highlights that you really must see and several more that you’d like to see if you can.
  • Let your kids pick something that interests them. Or if you see something that you know would interest them, include that in the plan even if it isn’t something you consider worthwhile.
  • This is big: Let your kids know what to expect. If you’ll be looking at art or an artist they know, show them the pictures. Remind them they’ll have to be quiet, that they can’t touch the art, and whatever other rules your family has for outings.  This is a great suggestion for all sorts of scenarios to help little ones learn to keep their hands to themselves.
  • Encourage them to ask questions! Point out the docent and give them a museum guide.
  • Plan breaks. If possible, plan breaks outside where they can run and shout and get their wiggles out.
  • Be observant of your kids–if they are getting grumpy or antsy, take a break or go home. It’s better to cut your trip short than be forever banned because Junior tried to ride the horsey sculpture.
  • I’m not a fan of worksheets, but I am a fan of maps. Print out a map of the museum with the location exhibits you want to see marked, and let your little guys lead the way.
  • Let your kid tell you about a painting. Even if it’s all “wrong”, they’ll be making that particular work their own.

The other big thing that I think we do wrong is mediate too much. We get between the kid and the painting, or we let other things like worksheets get between them (I really loathe worksheets), and we hinder them from just interacting with the art on their own. From loving it or hating it, from connecting it to other things they’ve seen, from forming their own opinion. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give them any information or context for the art, but primarily they should be experiencing it on their own. You can’t appreciate art for someone else, they have to do it for themselves!

Those are my suggestions for enjoying art museums with little kids. What would you add (or change?)

Find your happy place

It’s an epidemic of whining, crying, complaining, and flat-out disobedience. Plus stuff. So much stuff, and none of it’s flamable, so burning it with fire is not an option.

Lalalalala! I can’t hear you! I may be here in body, but my mind is far away. . .

fairy glen scotland

I’m about to hide in a good book. My favorite escape is Tolkien. How do you escape without, ya know, actually running away?

Hilarious injustice

There’s a amusing story out of Pakistan where a nine-month old baby was charged with attempted murder. Now the baby, who can’t yet walk, is on the lam.

So funny, that a justice system could take this nonsense to the point of fingerprinting a child. Can you imagine the grief the cop who charged him is getting? “Hey, Bob. I hear it’s your nephew’s first birthday party this weekend. Need backup?” Hilarious!

Unless you think of the sort of injustice that must go on daily in that system. Think of all the people–men, women, and children–who are subject to corruption and injustice, their property, liberty and perhaps even lives are taken from them. They don’t get anyone’s attention, much less that of the whole western world.

Speaking of injustice, the police had the hard evidence that proved this man was innocent of the murder he was convicted of since the night he was arrested. And if that doesn’t make you spit with rage, come here so I can smack you. Are you mad now?

Injustice abounds. It’s all around us, and sometimes it even captures our attention . . . for a minute.




Terrible Tuesday: April off the rails

Both the month and the person. One minute, we’re trucking along at a decent pace, the next I’m standing in the midst of chaos. Schedules, plans, lofty goals? All laying around looking punch drunk.

Really, April?

Dust yourself off links!

“You’re Still Here?”: A Brief History of the Post-Movie Credits Sequence.

Bees are getting poisoned and beekeepers are not pleased. This does not bode well for food prices and availability this year.

I want to do all of these to our backyard. Or rather, I want someone to do them for me. Any takers?

stargazing loft

Even if you don’t have a groovy sky watching loft, you can check out Mars from your backyard.

Worst nutrition advice in history? Kinda makes you wonder what current health trends are wrong, huh?

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. (Cracked link. Standard language and decency warnings apply.)

Is this how morning people are made? Baby wakes up dancing.