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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.

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Archive for October, 2011

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbHalloween is finally here. Kids have been waiting with costumes in their closets, their bags or plastic pumpkins, and tummies ready for the immanent  feast of candy that they will bring home tonight. Parents have their first aid kits, flashlights, heavy coats, and bottles of water to take on the trek around their neighborhoods. The sun is sinking over the horizon and the kids dawn their cute little costumes, get their masks (or, even better, facial makeup), and grab their treat bags. They are ready!

Grab your camera, snap some pix BEFORE you leave the house, and start the rounds. As a parent myself, I always had fears when my kids went from house to house hoping that nothing terrible happens to them on their rounds. When they bring their candy back home, it’s time to check them out to try to find any tampering with the candy.

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It’s a sad day when we have to worry about sex offenders abducting your kids, older kids beating up the smaller kids as they enjoy their Trick-or-Treating ventures, and about tainted candy. In fact, some local hospitals even provide X-ray services to check the candy for foreign objects. And finally, we worry about the kids eating too much candy and get sick. But such is the change from my childhood when these concerns didn’t even raise their ugly heads; it was a better time, I think!

But, now we need to proceed with this last installment of our HOLIDAY CELEBRATION series for this year. I hope that you have enjoyed these installments and perhaps even learned something new from them. Happy Halloween, once more… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2387 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Halloween:

    

“Where there is no imagination there is no horror.”
— Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.

“Eat, drink and be scary.”
— Author Unknown

“Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night.”
— Steve Almond

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb

After the conversion of Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, the Christian faith under the control of the Catholic Church and its Popes. Not until the beginning of the 16th century did someone (Martin Luther) successfully challenge the Catholic Church’s teaching. But as a German Theologian and Augustinian Monk, Luther emerge to question the Church’s policy on Indulgences, among other things. This resulted in many of the churches in northern Europe, except for Poland, leaving the Catholic Church and adopted a Protestant faith based upon the direct reading of the bible and individual worship and responsibility.

To express his objections, this monk, Martin Luther, sent a list of 95 theses (points of question) to his Archbishop. He nailed a copy to the church door in Wittenberg as was the custom by the faculty at the seminary where he taught. This proved to be the start of a much larger movement — The Protestant Reformation.

Diet_of_Worms

As an immediate consequence of his action, he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X and faced a trial for his offenses before the Diet of Worms. He was found guilty which resulted in “…declaring Luther an outlaw, banning his literature, and requiring his arrest…” The cascaded into the Reformation. Luther did much to democratize the Christian Church produce the dichotomy of Catholic vs. Protestant that we have today.

So, let’s start our exploration in the opening battle of the Protestant Reformation…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3083 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Martin Luther:

    

“Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.”
— Martin Luther

“Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.”
— Martin Luther

“Blood alone moves the wheels of history.”
— Martin Luther

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbOur celebration of Halloween is closely related to many of the Celtic Samhain traditions from medieval Ireland and Scotland. These traditions relate to the use of masks, carving vegetables (gourds), and other celebrations of the fall harvest. These pagan rights were cooped by the early Catholic clerics in these countries, and they have more recently been restored as part of Druid/Wicca groups. While they have little direct applicability to the Halloween celebration in the United States, but rounds our the background on Halloween traditions covered in this series.

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We will just jump into our exploration of Samhain. Some of this information is somewhat detailed, so you can skip those part that deal with specific Gaelic traditions, as you wish… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3478 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Samhain:

    

“Corn and grain, corn and grain, All that falls shall rise again.”
— Wiccan Harvest Chant

“The Celts celebrated Hallowe’en as Samhain, the Feast of the Dead, when the deceased revisited the mortal world. This Oiche na Sprideanna (Spirit Night) marked the end of summer.”
— Bridget Haggerty

“Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.”
— Carol Bishop Hipps

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbMuhammad Ali was named as the “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. His rise to stardom started with his amateur “Golden Gloves” boxing that earned him  a spot on the 1975 Olympic Boxing team. He won the gold metal in those games. After his conversion as a Muslim, he adopted the name Muhammad Ali. It was with this name he fought most of his professional matches. After his opposition to the Vietnam Was as a conscientious objector, he was stripped of his Heavyweight Champion Belt. His boxing license and title were restored in Clay vs. United States decision by the Supreme Court.

Ali fought the best in the business during his career. These included Sonny Liston, Ken Norton, George Foreman, and Joe Frazer. He is associated with many bouts held outside of the United States. These include “Fight of the Century” (Madison Square Gardens in New York), “The Rumble in the Jungle” (Republic of the Congo), and the “Thrilla in Manila” (The Philippines). He often faced the same boxer more than once.

ALI VS FOREMAN KINSHASA (RM) TMKH 10/30/2011

Ali started using abusive “trash talking” prior to his matches. This was designed to create interest in the bouts and this banter helped to create that interest. This technique is still used today; the difference between then and now would seem to be that Ali and his opponents were excellent boxers. Today’s boxers sometimes seem to be more talk than action and there is much more manipulation between current boxers, with some avoiding those opponents that may beat them. This results in a “sport” that is becoming more entertainment than skill.

So, now is the time to get into our exploration of the career of Muhammad Ali, especially his rematch against George Foreman in “The Rumble in the Jungle”… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3334 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Muhammad Ali:

    

“I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me Nigger.”
— Muhammad Ali

“Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.”
— Muhammad Ali

“Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.”
— Muhammad Ali

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbThe Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos) is generally celebrated in Mexico and much of Latin America on November 2nd. It follows the more widely celebrated All Saints Day which is celebrated on November 1st. It is a day in which families celebrate those who have passed on; it is celebrated by decorating their plots in graveyards and celebrating the events of their lives. It is also celebrated in many of the Catholic countries in Europe and in the Philippines. In the United States it is celebrated by regions with large Hispanic populations, especially those who have immigrated from Mexico.

The Mexican celebration was evolved from the Aztec Festival of Mictecacihuatl. The observance of this holiday in the United States is viewed by the general population as a novelty. Our culture does not understand this event, or, in that case, many of the holiday traditions that we celebrate.

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Given the above, it might behoove us to investigate the origins of the various holidays that we celebrate. We would find that, while many appear to be related to observances by the Christian Church, especially the Catholic Church. we will find that these traditions are derived from pagan ceremonies and/or feasts celebrated in the lands brought under the control of the church. Let us become more aware of why we celebrate each of our holidays and decide for ourselves their validity for ourselves.

So, let’s dive into our exploration of the Hispanic tradition of The Day of the Dead together… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2250 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Halloween:

    

“Where there is no imagination there is no horror.”
— Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.

“Eat, drink and be scary.”
— Author Unknown

“Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night.”
— Steve Almond

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbAs one who grew up during the Cold War, I remember well the ripples in the continuum that followed the launching of Sputnik I by the Soviet Union in October, 1957. As a consequence of that event, NASA was formed to oversee our ventures into space. Our country was once again shocked by the first suborbital flight of Yuri Gagarin. And we were thrilled when we finally were able to launch our first Mercury Project astronauts on a suborbital flight; this astronaut was John Glenn. He became a national hero and was awarded the Congressional Space Metal of Honor for his feat.

From his first flight, he sat on the sidelines while the Gemini and Apollo astronauts were launched into space, culminating in Neil Armstrong taking his historic step on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 flight. John Glenn’s first suborbital flight became the stepping stone that opened the way for our exploration of space through both manned and unmanned space ventures.

F-86_'MiG_Mad_Marine'

After his tenure as an astronaut, Glenn eventually entered politics and became a Senator. When he was 77 in 1998, John Glenn once again donned a space suit. This time he was on the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery into space, becoming the oldest individual to have gone into space. He became a living case study of the effect of space flight on the elderly. In a sense, he served as his own control subject, having gone into space thirty-six year earlier. This is a man who has spent his life serving his country from his military service as a Marine pilot in World War II and Korea, his participation as a Mercury astronaut, his twenty-four years of service in the Senate, and finally as a Space Shuttle astronaut. Thank You, John Glenn.

Well, let’s get going on our exploration of the astronaut career of this fascinating man… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2359 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to John Glenn, Astronaut:

    

“There is still no cure for the common birthday.”
— John Glenn

“This is a day we have managed to avoid for a quarter of a century.”
— John Glenn

“Different astronauts sleep in different ways.”
— Sally Ride

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbHalloween is closely associated with the Catholic Church’s celebration of All Saints’ Day. It was evolved from a variety of pagan celebrations, especially as practiced by the Celts in Ireland. In the new world, it morphed into the celebration of the Day of the Dead. This latter celebration is related to All Souls Day, the first day in November; it celebrates those who have died and are living in a undefined state in the after life. In the United States, this religious observance has become the secular celebration of Halloween, which reflects a commercialization of this holiday.

More than other aspects of Halloween, All Saints’ Day is celebrated differently by the Western churches and the Eastern Orthodox churches. By and large, the eastern observations have maintained a closer observance to the religious traditions than in the western cultures. Read more about these differences in body of this posting.

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So, let’s get into an exploration of All Saints’ Day. As you read the following material, think about both the religious and secular observances to draw you own conclusions about these celebrations… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1918 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Halloween:

    

“They are not all saints who use holy water.”
— Proverbs quote

“For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.”
— William Penn

“God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.”
— Soren Kierkegaard

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbThe Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 haunts our memories to this day. I remember people building bomb shelters in their back yards, supplying it with food for six or more months, and listening to radio and/or TV news broadcasts for an indication that Nikita Khrushchev had stations nuclear missiles in Cuba, only 90 miles from U.S. territory. Our U-2 spy planes discovered them on one of its photoreconnaissance flights. This triggered a crisis meeting in the President John F. Kennedy’s White House.

Much debate took place to determine a course of action. Adlai Stevenson, our U.N. Ambassador, took these photos to the Security Council to get their support for action. Kennedy finally called for a naval blockade of Cuba to prevent any additional supplies, missiles, or technicians from getting to Cuba. About two weeks of confrontation ended on this day with both sides agreeing to a mutual de-escalation.

U-2F_refueling_from_KC-135Q

The Cuban Missile Crisis was the fourth major confrontation of the Cold War. It had been preceded by the Berlin Blockade/Airlift, the Suez Canal Crisis, and the Yom Kippur War. This type of brinksmanship usually pitted proxy states against each other rather than a direct confrontation of the U.S. and Soviet Union. Each of these superpowers had sufficient nuclear weapons to assure that any conflict using these weapons would result in “Mutually Assured Destruction”.

But now it’s time to dive into our brief exploration of this important event of the Cold War. So, let’s proceed with a look, not so much at the crisis overall, but how this crisis was brought to a peaceful end… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3569 Words ]

    

Quotations Related to Missile:

    

“America must be a light to the world, not just a missile.”
— Nancy Pelosi

“As far as missile defense is concerned, a very thorough consultation process is underway.”
— Gerhard Schroder

“I feel like a nuclear missile. Point me in that direction, I’ll go.”
— George Dzundza

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbHalloween is a big time for kids. They dress up in costumes ranging from ghouls, ghosts, goblins, and other other-worldly creatures to popular movie characters to Disney characters. And, of course, pirates are an old tradition in this country. The long tradition is for kids to go from door-to-door around their neighborhoods, ringing doorbells, and shouting “trick-or-treat”. In most cases, the only consequence is the distribution of candy and other sweet confections. Seldom does the homeowner require his little visitors to perform a trick!

Even back in my youth, kids quickly learned where the best treats were to be collected. But few kids strayed outside our own neighborhood. Today, unfortunately, we find that groups of kids are driven into the better neighborhoods from outside the area to collect their goodies. This has led to many couples, especially older couples without children at home to leave their lights off, indicating that that house is not giving out “goodies”.

halloween

Pranks have been a long time tradition of this holiday. Some of us even have taken to storing out automobiles in garages or behind fences to discourage vandalism. Of course, the standard prank of teenagers is to “paper” the houses of friends or enemies, creating quite a cleanup task for the homeowner. On the whole, however, the pranks are much less severe and don’t lead to either property damage or personal injury. But parents must maintain close supervision of their brood so they will exhibit good behavior while trick-or-treating and restrict the consumption of the sweets collected.

So, let’s start our exploration of the tradition of trick-or-treating, its origins, and how it is practiced in various areas of the U.S. and western Europe… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1885 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Halloween:

    

“Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.”
— Mason Coole

“Ghosts, like ladies, never speak till spoke to.”
— Richard Harris Barham

“Halloween is huge in my house and we really get into the "spirits" of things.”
— Dee Snider

continue reading…

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbWhile Bruce Springsteen is not necessarily one of my favorite artists, there is no doubt that the “Boss” is among the giants of the pop music scene. With his unique “Heartland Rock” sound, he emerged from the beaches of New Jersey to take the nation and world like a storm. His list of hit albums is more than impressive, and the top-rated albums include Born to Run which was released by Springsteen and his E Street Bank on this day in 1975. He has continued to top the pop charts from that time and has won multiple Emmy, Grammy, and an Oscar in the process.

He has performed with some of the biggest names in the industry and from multiple genres. He is, indeed, the “Boss” of his world. He presents a captivating sound that gives much listening pleasure.

Kennedy_Center_honorees_2009_WhiteHouse_Photo

But, let’s get on with the exploration of Bruce Springsteen and his work. We hope this gets you excited enough to pursue the included references as well as other sources to learn more about this musician… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3340 Words ]

    

Quotations Related to Bruce Springsteen:

    

“Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.”
— Bruce Springsteen

“Certainly tolerance and acceptance were at the forefront of my music.”
— Bruce Springsteen

“From the beginning, I imagined I would have a long work life.”
— Bruce Springsteen

continue reading…