Radio, me, and WKRP
As some of you may know, I am a veteran of the radio booth. I love radio and every chance I get to be back on the air, I jump at that opportunity. Occasionally, people who have heard me on the air will ask me what inspired me to get interested in radio to begin with. I certainly had influences, one of which was my Grandfather, who was blind later in life when I came into the world. He needed radio hosts to be descriptive so that he understood exactly what was going on-especially when it came to sports. His favorite broadcasters were Cincinnati Reds stalwart Marty Brennaman and Atlanta Braves regular Skip Caray, son of Harry. My Grandfather was a staunch conservative (gee, I wonder where I get it from), and he also enjoyed his talk radio, and he knew good radio from stuff that just wasn't up to snuff.
One of the other influences that I had may surprise you: A television show, namely WKRP In Cincinnati, a late '70's sitcom about a third-rate radio station that was once a top-rated station looking to turn things around. What was amazing about this short-running show is how true-to-life it was about the radio business and even the lifestyle of people who work at a radio station. Having been there and done that, I can attest that the program took the life of DJs and radio people and made light and humor of it on a grand scale.
A reminder to those readers who are Catholic that today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a Holy Day of Obligation, wherein you are required to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. It is the patronal feast of the United States of America.
Labels: Holy Mother Church
Declarations of War
Today, December 7th, commemorates the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the event which propelled the United States into the Second World War. Franklin D. Roosevelt, for all of the actions that he took that may have pushed our enemies into war (such as a peacetime draft and a military buildup before any commencement of hostilities) certainly did one thing exactly right: He went to the Congress and asked for a Declaration of War-something his successors have all failed to do. "Use of force" resolutions are not Declarations of War.
The difference in the national mentality between 1941 and today is quite stark. When Congress declared war in 1941, they asked for all of the collective resouces of the United States to be utilized in the name of defeating the enemies of America. As a result, all of our collective strength as a people was put into doing something for the war effort. Entire factories were changed over from making the products they normally made and were converted to make tanks, bombs, guns, jeeps, uniforms, helmets, packaging food for the troops-if it needed to be done for the war, people took it as their patriotic duty to help America bring the war to as speedy and successful a conclusion as possible. It wasn't a mere matter of giving this contract or that contract to this or that company (although companies certainly got war contracts). The entire nation was mobilized to do something. People quit using butter so the troops could have it-margarine was invented as a result. People grew "victory gardens" so that produce could be shipped overseas. People gave their rubber, aluminum, and other scraps over to make the materials of war. Civil Defense was mobilized to guard against attacks on the Continent-there was not a person alive in America left untouched by the war.
Yet in our "War on Terror" that we are told has the Iraq War as an extension, we are not being asked to truly sacrifice as a people. We are sending our men and women overseas and they are fighting and dying, and we are being told that there is a good reason for this undeclared war. If this reason is real, then put all of the people into the war effort and make us all sacrifice for the cause as our grandparents did in World War II. If this cause in Iraq is not worth the same level of sacrifice as the "Greatest Generation" gave to win World War II, then perhaps it isn't worth the fight at all.
Freedom is not free, and causes that are right and just are worth fighting for-and they are worth mobilizing a nation to fight as well. If we aren't ready to fight a war as a nation, and our leaders are unwilling to tell us Why We Fight, then is this a cause that is a matter of our freedom, or is it a bill of goods we've been sold?
Labels: Federal politics, Foreign policy
First Sunday of Advent
Today is the First Sunday of Advent. As we both celebrate and anticipate the Lord's Advent, we should be reminded that as we prepare to comemorate the Lord's birth, His second Advent is a reality that will occur and we should live each y as if it could be the last day. We begin a new Year of Grace with the realization that it is purely by the grace of God that we live, breathe, and have our being.
It is quite common during the Advent Season in many years to hear readings that focus on John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ. While I am certain we will hear from the Lord's cousin at some point in this year's Gospel Readings for Advent (next Sunday in fact)-this Sunday the Lord speaks to us quite directly about His return:
: And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves; Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. And he spoke to them in a similitude. See the fig tree, and all the trees: When they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh; So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly. For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth. Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man.
I find it more than a bit timely that the Church chooses this reading in this cycle for the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Liturgical Year 2007. Of course no one knows the day or hour of Our Lord's return, and there have been many a man and woman in our age to say "Jesus is coming soon, the signs are here," and yet the Lord is not here just yet.
The Lord Jesus is indeed coming soon and all the signs that he spoke about in the scriptures are present that would point to that reality. We somehow continue to try and place God in human timeframes, and that can't be done-God is everlasting, and in eternity there is no concept of time as we know it. Centuries pass by as a blink of God's eye-so when the Lord said "surely I come quickly" He wasn't kidding...if He were to return today, 2,000 years is awfully quick to Him. As believers we need to get it through our head that God does not operate on our human timescale. That said, the signs are indeed here and the Lord will return very soon-just recall that God's timing of what constitutes "soon' and "quickly" is nothing like our own.
Advent is also a good time to reflect on our sinfulness, our failings, and our general unworthiness to receive the Lord. In this respect, St. Paul and I have a lot in common. Paul said that he was "chief among sinners," and I say the same. In this vein, I speak with no hypocrisy. My wife often admits to me that she wonders about what I say in the confessional because when we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, my confessions are notoriously longer than hers. I am a Christian, and I love the Lord, I love the Saints, I love Our Lady-but I am far from perfect, though I strive every day for it, I fall short often enough. Advent is a good time to remember that we very often fall short of doing what is right, of living the kind of life on a daily and hourly basis that the Lord expects of us, and that the Lord came as a Man so that we could be reconciled to God in spite of ourselves.
Labels: Holy Mother Church