Melt Right In

25 09 2010

When I was growing up, I watched a ton of Saturday morning cartoons.  Like most people my age, I loved School House Rock.  I would watch the cartoons on ABC more than the other three channels we got because it carried the 5-min. lessons told in song between episodes.

Now that I have kids, SHR doesn’t play anymore.  So I had to buy them on DVD.  And, naturally, my kids love them.  They have their favorites and they like to sing along.  In fact, I caught them this evening watching and singing along to the America Rock episodes.

If you ask anyone to name their favorite, they’ll usually name off I’m Just A Bill or Conjunction Junction.  Those tunes were awful catchy, but my favorite was American Melting Pot.  This was reinforced a few years back when I caught a stage production of SHR for elementary students.  The performers on stage were incredibly talented and truly deserved to go on to bigger and better things.  Of the songs chosen for the hour-long show, I was really happy to see they included American Melting Pot.  The woman who sang it had a gorgeous voice and really brought out the depth and beauty of the song — both musically and lyrically.  Here’s the original version in youtube form:

If you click on the video and actually go to youtube, you can find the full lyrics. There’s a wonderful line right in the first verse that goes:

They’d heard about a country
Where life might let them win,
They paid the fare to America
And there they melted in.

Yesterday, Stephen Colbert testified before the House Immigration Committee in support of the legalization of undocumented agriculture workers.  As you can imagine, his presence caused quite a ruckus within the members of the committee, and Rep. John Conyers even asked him to leave!  (The chair, Zoe Lofgren, asked him to stay, so he got to speak.)  But what many of the democrats who support the bill didn’t seem to understand, Colbert’s presence was tweeted and publicized all over the internet and drew much attention to what is (or is not) being done about this problem right now.  Here’s his say:

As you can tell, he stayed in character for most of the time and tried to add levity to the hearing.  His words *should* have given the lawmakers pause to consider the human factor in all this, but I’m not sure what would help there.

This is a tough topic with no easy answers, at least I don’t have an answer.  I do, however, always take a stance on treating people with respect.  And Colbert ended his time by saying exactly what I feel:  “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers … these seem like the least of our brothers.”  For this important moment, he completely breaks out of character and ensures the committee that he means what he says.  He ends by saying, “Migrant workers suffer …and have no rights.”  Here’s his last words captured on video, so you can see what Stephen Colbert looks like in those rare moments when he’s being serious.

Again, I don’t know what the answer here is.  But somehow this just feels connected to the Health Care issue, the fear of persons of non-Christian faiths, and the revocation of welfare assistance during these tough economic times.  At some point, we should treat people equally and with respect.  As in my last post, we have to be courageous when we see people not being given the freedoms that we all want to enjoy.

What happens to the least of us, reflects upon us all.  It’s a melting pot.

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1000 words? More like no words.

8 09 2010

So I don’t make a lot of public comments on politics or international relations, but I found this picture recently and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  I want you to stare at it until you realize what it is.

I don’t know how old it is or where it came from, so I can’t at this point give proper credit to the owner.  I just hope I’m cool in posting it.  In the meantime I’d like to say a few words about how it makes me feel.

I think the men and women who are over there, fighting an enemy they can’t clearly define, in a land that’s covered in blood, hoping against hope that it helps someone gain a better future, are the most courageous and sacrificing among us.  The rest of us cannot know what a day looks like through their eyes, but we would all do good to strive to stand that tall in the face of fear.  Do they act with honor?  I don’t have the right to judge.  Psshhtt!  I don’t even have the right to wipe the dust from their boots.

I won’t discuss my feelings toward the war in this way.  But I will say that that picture leaves me speechless.  I have never once worried that someone would use an IED against me to make a political statement.  I have never worried that my religion would cause someone else to wish me harm.  When Americans say they are free, they mean that they feel free to live their lives without fear.  I would hope that others in this country would extend those same freedoms upon each other.   It is our highest law that everyone’s freedom of religion, of speech, and of assembly is to be protected.  Is that what we’re doing, or are we making some people here not feel very free?  [okay, I don’t want to get too political, so I’ll quit here.  Be good to each other, especially if the other is different from you, okay?]

The soldier in that picture is the definition of bravery.  And he has something to really fear.  May we all be brave when we have to stand for the freedoms of those around us.  Our country was founded on it.





The best of the Perseids

6 09 2010

I’ve seen a lot of pictures of meteor showers over the years, but this guy has some real winners.  Like this one…

His name is Pierre Martin, and I’ve been following his ubiquitous meteor observing reports for years.  …including *this* year in which I saw way fewer Persieds than normal while he saw >100/hr at one point.  Quite an amazing guy in my book.  Of course, he IS from Canada, so we’ll have to take into account the conversion rate.  Click the picture to check out the rest of his flickr photoblog.  [you want to do this!]





Best. Cake. Ever.

2 09 2010

A pic of Jeremy’s wedding cake wound up on collegehumor.com!  Since it was submitted by “JT”, we’re all suspecting it was Jenny who did it.

http://www.collegehumor.com/picture:1941944