Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bear Without Pants


Bear in Freising, Germany with pants.

The small Polish town of Tuszyn has made international news by rejecting Winnie the Pooh as its park mascot.

The reason?

Pooh Bear doesn't wear pants. Worse, he may be a "hermaphrodite," by which the good people of Tuszyn seem to be referring to the pantless Bear's lack of, shall we say, bare necessities. One supposes they would prefer anatomically correct pantless Teddy Bears. Of course, Pooh's anatomy is, in fact, correct for a Teddy Bear. (I wonder what their position on Gummi Bears is?)

In any case, the lack of pants is a deal-breaker.

Oh bother.

The Bear has a new appreciation for his broad-minded readership. According to a recent scientific poll (and much to the Bear's delight) they properly relate to the author of this blog as a Bear, with or without pants.

Oddly, Poland ranks fourth in the Bear's audience. If people want Bear bad enough, they'll find a way to get it.

From the Winnie the Pooh Cookbook
Dutton Books, New York

1 1/2 sticks butter
6 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
2 cups finely chopped pecans

Oven 300 degrees

Beat butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy. Eat. Get more and do the same for the recipe. Slowly add flour, salt. vanilla extract and water. Stir in pecans, cover and refrigerate for four hours. Make little finger sized logs out of the dough and cook in oven on cookie sheets for 30 to 40 minutes. Cookies should be pale in color. Let cool slightly. While cookies are still warm, roll in powdered sugar. Makes two dozen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving

The plain fact of history is that 56 years prior to the Protestant English colonists' version of Thanksgiving, the Catholic Spaniards had beat them to it, in St. Augustine, Florida.

Father Francisco López, the fleet chaplain, preceded  the expedition commander Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Fr. Lopez held a cross and Mendendez de Aviles knelt and kissed it. They shared a meal with the local Indians.

The Spaniards instituted another great Thanksgiving tradition: leftovers. They did not have time to plant and grow food, so ate what they had lived on during the voyage to the New World.

St. Augustine is a favorite family vacation spot for Bears, who relish its history and touristy atmosphere.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers of St. Corbinian's Bear. The Bear is thankful for both of you.

An Understandable Reaction

First.

Did the President really say this?

"There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply upset, even angry. It's an understandable reaction."

Did the Attorney General really say this?

"This incident has sparked a national conversation about the need to ensure confidence between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve."

The Bear supposes burning down the Dollar General is the way we have conversations these days, and that's an understandable reaction.

Juries take their jobs seriously. It's almost cute how these everyday folks get all earnest about "their case." Part of being an American is buying into things like juries and their decisions. And, believe it or not, that trust is not misplaced, at least in the Bear's experience.

Some people have forgotten how to American, if they ever knew.

An understandable reaction? Shouldn't we hold citizens to just a little bit higher standard?

Second.

Events like these present what the writer of Amusing Ourselves to Death, the late Neil Postman, called a "low information-action ratio." This occurs when we are bombarded with information about which there is nothing we can do. This produces a feeling of helplessness.

That's why it really is best to consume only as much news as you can reasonably digest. Ideally, you would only concern yourself with things you can do something about. We live in the age of the low information-action ratio. It's a good phrase to remember and remind yourself of, whether it is a riot in Ferguson, or the latest interview from Pope Francis.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Israel, Revelation, and Advent



It's that time already: Advent! Does your family do anything special during the weeks of Advent? Perhaps a wreath?

We have a wreath (must buy candles).

And so the story begins once again. It never really ended, nor did it begin. It always has been. God loves us and has loved us forever.

What does the Bear's visit to Israel and the book of Revelation and Advent have in common?

In Israel, it seemed that everywhere the Bear went, time was compressed, like an archeological tell whose layers had been smashed together into one. At the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, here was where Christ was crucified, and step over here to Adam's tomb. Look up into the Upper Room, and, in the same place, look down into King David's Tomb.

In the book of Revelation, past, present, and future are all at once. It is not so much that time has no meaning, but that it cannot contain the heavenly story. The woman clothed in the sun gives birth, the dragon will be cast out, the Lamb has been slain from the foundation of the ages.

So Advent is not just a memory, like Martin Luther King Day. Once again, we enter into the mystery of the Church's peculiar timelessness, and touch eternity with the tips of our fingers.

This Advent, the Bear will think to himself whether sometimes he has too much with time, and has lost the eternal perspective. For the dragon always wars against the saints and angels. And the dragon always lies defeated. Time cannot imprison the Babe in His manger. The Church is always reminding us that she owns time, not -- despite appearances -- the other way around. The daily cycle of Lauds and Vespers; the yearly calendar of celebrations Advent to Advent; and then again -- or is it only once and for all?