Thursday, December 8, 2016


Some sights to help distract you from the fact that you are probably not going to make your connection in Chicago - again!

A night view of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan from the left side of the plane as it banks left for an approach
to the runway, off to the top left. 

A night view from the left side of the plane as it approaches the runway. 

A marvelous view of the tunnel under the tarmac between Terminal B and C.  

Just one view of the chaos of "luggage world." It's a wonder that more luggage is not lost! 

A view of some very outdated technology - payphones! I've never actually seen anyone using a payphone in an airport. 

Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! 
 For that matter, neither have I actually seen a person who wasn't talking on a cell phone in an airport! My question is, who are the people on the other end listening to all their blabbing? Are there actually people bored enough to be interested in their every move? For obsessive "blabbers," cellphones are like oxygen masks! They must feel they will die if they turned them off! 

A view of the biggest temptation in at least two O'Hare Airport Terminals - caramel corn from Garrett's. 
It's "to die for"... and too much of it could possibly kill you for that matter! I've gotten close several times and I didn't think I liked caramel corn all that much! 

Sunday, December 4, 2016


He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
And with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Isaiah 11

John the Baptizer has to be one of the hardest persons in the whole Bible to warm up to! It fact, in this warm and fuzzy season of Christmas, he is a thorn in the side, a pain in the neck, with his wild man antics. He is the kind of man you would grab the kids and pull them close if you ran into him on the streets. The smell alone would probably gag a horse! His made his home in caves out in the wilderness of a middle-eastern desert. He wore a disgusting camel hide and ate locust smothered in wild honey that he had dug out of the rocks – and probably anything else he could find crawling on the sand. 

Like a full-blown schizophrenic off his medication, John preaches fire and brimstone repentance in preparation for someone he calls “mightier than I am!” Like any charismatic preacher with a fresh message, people went out in droves to hear his message and to receive his baptism. Because religion at that time had lost its spark, people were craving a fresh spiritual message and a new religious start.

When the religious establishment heard “all the buzz” about John, they went out to the desert to check him out and investigate this latest “nutcase” who was drawing people out from their control. This hairy, bellowing preacher-man does not mince words. He tears into these religious leaders, calling them “a nest of poisonous snakes” and warning them not to even try to hide behind the fact that they were religious descendants of Abraham.

John tells them to “put up or shut up,” to quit talking a good line and to deliver on their religious claims, because a powerful “someone” was coming who would separate the “wheat from the chaff,” “good trees” from “bad trees” and once that separating was over, the “wheat” and the “good fruit” will be gathered into his barn and the “chaff” and “dead wood” will be burned in an unquenchable fire.

These threatening words certainly did not endear him to the religious establishment, but he did not stop there. After this, he would take on the political establishment as well. He would soon get up in King Herod’s face and publicly confront him with the fact that he was committing incest with his brother’s wife. That confrontation was tantamount to smacking a lion across the face. Herod was actually afraid of John’s popularity, but embarrassed in front of his guests, Herod had John’s head cut off and served up on a platter to save face.

John was a “prophet” and this truth telling is what “prophets” do! Prophets are not so much people who predict the future as they are people who stick the truth of the present in your face and make you look at it.

Today, we call such people “whistle blowers,” people who drag the truth out into the light of day and make people look at it, whether it is convenient or not! Like prophets of old, “whistle blowers” are often considered “nut cases” at first. Like prophets of old, “whistle blowers” often get themselves killed, either actually or figuratively because most establishments do not like to have their boats rocked or the truth to come out. Instead of heeding their message, they usually turn on the messenger. If you have ever been involved in such action, you know just how dangerous it can be. If you are not physically hurt, you can be labeled or blackballed for years and maybe for life.

We still kill our prophets in a host of creative ways. We shun friends who will not go along with us when we do wrong. We ridicule the teaching of the Church, and those who teach what the Church teaches, when they won’t bless the wrong we want to do. We end up trying to call evil good and good evil so that we can do what we want to do, even when we know in our guts that we are wrong. Prophets won’t let us get away with it and so they are hated.

All of us have a built-in “prophet” as well. Our built-in “prophet” is called our “conscience.” Our conscience is constantly confronting us with truths that we would just as soon not look at. When our consciences keeps accusing us of violating our own principles, we have ways of “silencing” it temporarily and even “killing” it for good. We regularly numb our consciences with alcohol or drugs, so that we can do what we know is wrong. Notice how often the losers on the Jerry Springer Show or Judge Judy try to explain away their bizarre behaviors with the phrase “I was drunk.” If we numb our consciences regularly and consistently over the long haul, we can even silence them permanently, until one day we are capable of doing horrendous things that no longer shock us.

John the Baptist is a prefect, if not irritating, role model for our time. He stands in stark contrast to the hundreds of self-inflated, drug addicted celebrity liars that we have to endure every day in the guise of “role models.” As George Orwell put it, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

Maybe the message of John the Baptist is summarized best and most simply by Marcus Aurelius, “If it is not right, do not do it. If it is not true, do not say it.”