My friend and competitor Peter Jennings was across the way, anchoring an impressive and much more ambitious ABC News production on the turn of the century, as he demonstrated one of the marvels of our new age: communication by satellite and via Internet, which allowed him to instantly call up colleagues in China, Australia, Africa, and elsewhere, and bring the global party to his glassy studio in midtown Manhattan.
The biggest concern at the time was Y2K, shorthand for the year Writing in The New York Times, Louis Uchitelle warned about the likely possibility of a big downturn in an economy so dependent on a booming stock market. The spenders would pull way back. Companies would, too, in response.
Job growth would halt; the unemployment rate would rise and incomes would fall. But debt would not. Eight years later that warning became reality as the sharpest, longest downturn in the American economy since the Great Depression knocked over our house of cards and spread around the world.
It was one of the few exceptions to the otherwise conventional wisdom dispensed during the millennium festivities. But on such an occasion, who noticed? Nor could I fully grasp the personal effect of moving past middle age and becoming a grandparent. Beyond the nomenclature, grand-parenthood brought with it wonders and worries about the world my descendants will inherit. What to make of all this? All rights reserved.
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BBC Newsday Value this story? Support the news. It is a history that now stretches to the shores of Lake Sevan, where I was recently reminded that the process of preparing khorovats is the Caucasus equivalent of arm wrestling, of tug of war, of seeing which male can write the longest word while peeing in the snow. It is about marking territory and flashing colors. Have you ever wondered why it was a rib that God took from Adam to create Eve?
What is missing from the Biblical creation account is that, after taking the rib from Adam, God made khorovats from it, and only then did Eve evolve. Making barbecue is our way of trying to get the rib back — of recapturing Eve.
It is an entangled issue, the complexity of which is sorely underestimated if you think it is only about eating. My turn in the pit came by default. I was the senior male of our holiday group. I worried most about building the fire. Bring on the sacrifice! Bring on the eggplant, the tomatoes, the peppers, the potatoes, all carefully skewered and a personal touch color coordinated.
The saints desire our friendship and to do good for us as they stand before the Glory of God. All Saints is no longer a holy day of obligation everywhere. This year it falls on a Sunday, so it is a holy day of obligation. Regardless of what day it falls on each year, there is no greater way to celebrate a feast day than through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The truest and greatest celebration we can give to a saint is the reception of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
To be Catholic is to be counter-cultural. That is a reality we have to come to accept. It does not mean that we do not appreciate the goodness and beauty within our culture, but it does mean that on many occasions we will have to operate differently. It means that we should encourage our children to embrace true heroes and heroines who can be found in the Communion of Saints.
Dressing up as St. George or St. Elizabeth of Hungary is to still allow our children to be Knights and Princesses or Queens for trick-or-treating. There is nothing wrong with imagination and make-belief, G. Chesterton once said:. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.
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Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear. However, for Halloween, we have an opportunity to bring the Catholic tradition of the feast to the forefront and that is the celebration of the saints. All Saints is to rejoice in the heroes of the Catholic Faith who have followed Jesus Christ to their eschatological end.
They are our examples of how we too can persevere on the journey and stand before the Beatific Vision upon our death. Children live a simple, but profound faith, and trick-or-treating as a Catholic saint can serve as a beautiful witness. Carving pumpkins is a fun tradition. The Church has often incorporated the seasons into her calendar and that includes harvest time.
Pumpkins and winter squash are a part of the harvest for this time of year. Instead of ghoulish representations or scary Jack-o-Lanterns, why not carve something beautiful from our Catholic Faith? If you are an artist, how about St. Michael defeating Lucifer? The options are endless.