Friday, March 15, 2013

Various & Sundry: Hitler, the Vicar of Dibley, Kurt Vonnegut, Schopenhauer, and three amazing women

I learned the other day that Google Reader, from which I get all my blog feeds, will be eliminated in July. I feel a bit like Hitler about that.

On the plus side, though, there's a new Vicar of Dibley sketch coming out! I can't wait to see it.

Are you preaching this Sunday? Are you wondering why Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you"? Kurt Vonnegut, in his one and only sermon, has a persuasive take on that.

I've been thinking a lot about health and medical issues recently, and this article about the history of cardiac care was eye-opening. It did not say anything that I expected it to say regarding clinical trials on many common cardiac procedures, like bypasses and angioplasty.
The results raise a philosophical question of the goal of medical treatment: alleviating symptoms or lengthening lives? “How much is it worth investing in a surgical procedure, with all its risks,” he asks, “if all you’re doing is relieving symptoms?”
In philosophical news, I highly recommend this imagined conversation drawn from the writings of Megachurch Positivity Pastor Joel Osteen and Megadepressing Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. Unless you are inclined to despair. In which case you might want to skip the next pull-out quote.
OSTEEN: Well, guess what, Arthur! Our life is a gift from God, and the appropriate response to His gift is joy.

SCHOPENHAUER: Human existence, far from bearing the character of a gift, has entirely the character of a debt that has been contracted. The calling in of this debt appears in the form of the pressing wants, tormenting desires, and endless misery established through this existence.
Thank you for coming this morning, Arthur. Continue to be a sunbeam for Jesus.

I have to say, though, speaking of cheery things, this week had a bumper crop of obituaries of fascinating women who lived long and amazing lives.

There's Princess Lilian of Sweden, born Lillian May Davies in Swansea. "She originally spelt her name with two “l”s, but changed to Lilian when she adopted a career variously described as fashion model, ballerina and singer." Doesn't she look fabulous?

Then there's Lady Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton (103), the New York Socialite who started Bundles for Britain at the outbreak of World War II and is the only non-British woman to receive an honorary Commander of the British Empire. The 13th Duke of Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton, was her fourth husband. (The obit notes she was a devout Christian and a member of St. Thomas' on 5th Avenue. "The fashionable St. Thomas' church," it says.)

And finally, there's Dorothy DeBolt who had six children of her own, and then adopted 14 more, most of them with special needs. She also started the organization Adopt a Special Kid (AASK), which is in nearby Oakland, CA, and was part of an Academy-award winning documentary about the family.

I especially loved the final paragraph of the obit:
Two children, J.R. and Twe, died as adults. Along with her husband, Dorothy DeBolt's survivors include her children, Mike, Mimi, Stephanie, Noel, Kim, Marty, Melanie, Doni, Ly, Dat, Trang, Phong, Tich, Anh, Reynaldo, Sunee, Karen and Wendy, 27 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and her brother, Art Nortier.

1 comment:

Lorin said...

What am I going to do without Google Reader? I'm looking for replacements but nothing seems great yet. I know I have time, but I hate this.

Yes, I know, first world problems and all that.