Sunday, April 22, 2012

Civil War Mockumentary

If you've ever sat through a Ken Burns documentary -- love it or hate it -- you are going to be delighted by this Documentary of watching The Civil War documentary.

Popcorn please!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Space Shuttle Triple Flyby

We sure had some excitement in Northern Virginia today: the space shuttle, Discovery, made its last voyage from Cape Canaveral to the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy museum in Chantilly, Virginia. It will replace Enterprise (which was only a prototype) as the in-resident space shuttle.

Nobody got any work done from about 9:30 to 11:00 am because they were all hanging out at the museum, crowding on overpasses, parking decks, and on top of buildings to get a glimpse of Discovery's flyby.  It was a little eerie to see the skies near the airport devoid of any other air traffic -- it hasn't been that still since 9-11; but this was a happy occasion.

My work place is in a direct flight line to Dulles Airport, so we got to see the space shuttle three times! The specially modified Boeing 747 and its jet fighter escort did two flybys at 1500 feet (and then a final landing) which is so low you can read tail numbers and Discovery's name.

Don't believe me? Check out this awesome shot my co-worker snapped out of my workplace window.
Photo credit: Jennifer S.

After the first pass, I abandoned my conference call and joined the others out on the parking deck. The second pass went directly overhead. You can see the giant silhouette of the 747 dwarfing the shuttle which is piggybacking on it (thanks to Sanjib for this awesome shot). Notice the extra tail fin stabilizers. You don't want the plane doing any uncontrolled rolling with something that size on its back.

Photo by Sanjib D.
And finally, since most of you couldn't be there, I offer this closeup video as the space shuttle and the fighter escort went by our window. It was awesome! We were as giddy as schoolchildren - lots of whom played hookey to see it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Minor Ritual

It is now Easter, the Resurrection of the Lord, and the most glorious feast of our Church.

Before that, though, comes the pain. Why do we call Good Friday "good"?  It is because it IS good, but that's not synonymous with pleasant.

I have my own ritual.

I try to take at least a half day off on Good Friday when possible. I am only minutes from the church. Good Friday is a day of fast and abstinence, so the cup of coffee and yoghurt I had for breakfast is long gone by the time the Crucifixion begins.  I am a hypoglycemic, so fasting hits me a little harder; I run out of blood sugar in a hurry. First the rumbling stomach, then the vise-like headache and dizziness. Eventually it settles down to a hazy aching.

That's when I make the Stations of the Cross.

My discomfort is nothing compared to the Cross. I make the Stations on my own, keeping silence between noon and three o'clock. I walk into the church and I make a move to genuflect to the tabernacle of the Presence. Only there's nobody there. It's open and empty. And I've never felt so devastated.

Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani? My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

It is a day of pain.  They beat, and beat, and repeat - and the bleeding won't stop and the bleeding won't cease. They crucified my Lord. I crucified my Lord with my sins. Mea culpa.

The Stations seem to take forever. Bony knees on hard stone. Pain stabbing upward. Ten down, four to go. Slowly, inevitably we make our way to Golgotha. To the Crucifixion. The Pieta. The tomb.

I finish and start to leave. The tabernacle is empty, so the best I can do is a solemn bow in front of the altar. And then there is the waiting. All through Saturday -waiting. Just waiting in limbo. As if Sunday will never come.

And then it does. The stone is rolled away. He is risen from the tomb. Oh yes, oh yes. Thank you. Thank you. Like it is the first time. Thank you. 

The tomb, like the tabernacle, is now empty but for different reasons. Now the emptiness means relief, joy. Now the Goodness of Friday is made manifest.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Overheard In My House

To Wynken after showing him the bridge over which he could have crossed the river:

Who was right, and who is wet?


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