May 30, 2011

Marching Memoirs from the Month of May

Happy Memorial Day! I wish you every joy on this day as we honor the men and women who have given their lives in military service to the United States. Thank you, armed forces!

I really enjoy this three-day weekend. It is the official starting point for summer events and always gets capped off with a BBQ and a big parade down Main Street. Every year, I take a seat on the grass in front of the bank and watch as the marching bands go by, filling the afternoon with celebratory music -- drum majors twirling their batons, glockenspiels ringing out timeless melodies, trumpets, tubas, drumlines pounding triumphant beats. The sound is powerful and inspiring. Of course, my favorite is always the pipe groups. It is an amazing sight when they stroll down the road clad in tartan kilts and feathered Glengarry hats; the air being pervaded by the unique tone and droning bass of the bagpipes. I just love it.

"To fear the LORD is to hate evil;
I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech."

~Proverbs 8:13


May 28, 2011

Cradle of Aviation

Without having any definite plans for the start of this Memorial Day weekend, I simply opted to let the GPS guide me. I entered "museum" and it took me to "The Cradle of Aviation"--a place that chronicles the history and progression of the human race’s journey into the sky.

The first room of the building is dedicated to the earliest objects to ever leave the ground--basic hot air balloons and kites. There are dioramas set up depicting the fundamentals of aerodynamic movement. At the touch of a button, museum patrons can inflate a balloon and watch it ascend to the ceiling on the power of a single light. The tour continues along a corridor dedicated to the world’s first flying machines, many of them quite comic in design. Such is the case of the propeller bicycle; I somehow doubt that a contraption like that ever left the ground. On the walls, there are vintage advertisements and several black and white photographs that catalogue early flight attempts. These brought a smile to my face. I always find black and white photographs to have great character and innocence.

Next, one finds the museum’s largest section; its exhibits span the eras from antique wooden planes, through combat fighters, up to modern jumbo jets. It is wonderful to stroll around these hulking exoskeletons, knowing that they once patrolled the skies. The feeling is one of utter veneration. At one point, there is a cockpit of a bomber set up so that guests can sit at the controls and imagine themselves on a mission. It is like reliving a little piece of history.

From here, the tour continues down a hallway of stars and arrives in the era of lunar modules and space capsules. It is comforting to know that the human spirit can truly reach the stars with just a little bit of imagination…

The remainder of the museum is dedicated to the space age, even down to the clever bathroom signs.

Even the museum cafĂ© had a distinctly Martian feel. As I sat on the Red planet and ate my potato chips, I thought it a perfect complement to the day that a bird swooped down from one of the overhead rocket ships and perched itself on the chair next to me. After all, in a museum dedicated to flight, who better to share lunch with than one of God’s winged creatures.

Today, may your soul soar in clear blue skies on the power of hope, gratitude, and kindness. Love & light…

"Stand still and consider
the wondrous works of God."

~Job 37:14


May 25, 2011

Pups & Circumstance

Today is my absolute favorite day of the school year at Stony Brook University: Graduation Day! For this one afternoon, the entire campus takes on a completely different feel. There is a wonderful excitement in the air. Everyone comes dressed in their finest, bringing smiles and well-wishes for those who have worked so hard to reach to this milestone in their lives. It is a day of hopes renewed and dreams come true. It is the culmination of things striven for and the emergence of new horizons. A day of Caps & Gowns and Pomp & Circumstance.

Oddly enough, for most of the ten years that I have worked for the university, it has rained on Graduation Day, though today's early forecast is for sunny skies and 79 degrees. That would be terrific. In the Transit Department, we have a tremendous BBQ to celebrate the end of the school year. Huge spread of food. I pretty much snack all day long and go home in the evening feeling very full and satisfied. Not all of the departments on campus enjoy the festivities (some think it is too hectic and would rather avoid it), but that is one pessimistic view that I will never share. This is a great day! Congratulations, Class of 2011!

In other news, the Long Island Kennel Club hosted a dog show on Sunday at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration. While I've watched these types of events on TV, I had never been to one and I was excited to see what it was all about. The first thing that I noticed as I stepped on to the grounds was that I did not hear the sound of barking. One would figure that a space occupied by hundreds of hounds would be somewhat loud, but that is not the case at all. These are canines of sophistication and refinement, meticulously groomed with silken coats, and possessing calm dispositions.

As I browsed the various tents and performance areas, I encountered breeds of all types (sporting, herding, terrier, toy, etc.), many exotic and some unusual. It is an impressive sight when a dog strikes its best pose for one of the judges--regal equipoise, chin held high, tail out straight. There are also demonstrations of agility training in which the dogs run through obstacle courses, scaling hurdles and slaloming around orange cones. Of course, after all of the exhibitions are concluded, the pooches get to enjoy some leisure time walking among the spectators, most of whom are ready to stop and give a well-earned scratch behind the ear. Overall, the LIKC show is a cool experience. Mostly, it made me think about my own dog (now gone for almost two months). She was my "Best in Show" and her blue ribbon will always hang above the hearth of my heart. Love & light...

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen. For what is seen
is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

~2 Corinthians 4:18


May 21, 2011

A Day for Dancing, Not Judgment

Well, according to Harold Camping, today (5/21/11) was supposed to be Judgment Day. Regarding that, I would like to submit for your approval the following scripture, Matthew 24:36: No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

So, if God has not even made Jesus Christ privy to such information, how can Harold Camping claim that he knows when the end of the world will come? Quite simply, he can't. All End-Time prophets, by the very nature of their predictions, can only be false and their words should be regarded as nothing more than foolish fear-mongering. No, the world is not going to come to an end on December 21, 2012. Also, 2 Peter 3:10 tells us that "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." No advanced notice. No preparations. No fanfare. No countdown. The moral of the story should simply be this: Live your life uprightly now! Don't wait for Judgment Day because you'll never see it coming...

Anyway, safe in the knowledge that God wasn't going to destroy the Earth by this afternoon, I headed over to Northport High School where Anita's Studio of Dance & Theatre Arts was hosting its annual recital. I have been going to this event for a few years now and it's always a pleasure. It's good to see young people expressing themselves creatively through the performing arts. Great costumes. Lovely choreography. Foot tapping tunes. It's something that I definitely support. This time around, they chose "A Touch of Broadway" to be their theme and featured songs from Les Miserables, West Side Story, Annie Get Your Gun, and Beauty & the Beast mixed in with other popular songs. The performances were lively and showcased a variety of dance styles (ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop). The program ended with all of the students on stage for a grand finale of Donna Summer's Last Dance. Overall, the atmosphere was one of happiness and it was very apparent that the kids were really enjoying what they were doing. It was very inspiring!

"Turn my eyes from worthless things,
and give me life through your word."

~Psalm 119:37