Friday, May 21, 2010

Mother of Exiles

The Statue of Liberty is one of those sights so amazing in real life that even the best photographs fail to truly capture it.

Years ago, we took a family trip to see the statue. I know I'm given to hyperbole, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that seeing the statue, watching it grow in view as our ferry approached Liberty Island, literally took my breath away.

I wonder if immigrants like my grandparents, on their transatlantic crossing from Europe in the 1920s, likewise felt their breath catch in their chests as they neared Liberty's growing form over the water.

Inside the statue's base is posted a bronze plaque with a poem engraved on it. Recent events in my home state have brought that poem back to my mind with fresh meaning.

The New Colossus
Emma Lazarus, 1883

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Saturday, May 15, 2010

A hero's commencement speech

Alton Brown is one of my heroes. (In saying that, I realize I just increased my geek quotient a little, but there you go.)

So when I learned he had made a commencement speech this year at his alma mater, the University of Georgia, I had to watch the videos.

And now I'd like to share them with you. Like all commencement speeches, Brown's is filled with advice to new grads. And some of it is quite surprising. Take a look:

Part 1:

Part 2:


Friday, May 07, 2010

7 Quick Takes: volume 10

(The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.)

This week's 7 quick takes is a collection of humorous bloggy quotes on various topics, capped off with a couple of fun videos — a veritable smorgasbord, where you're sure to find something you like. (I've been told by People Who Know that a true smorgasbord is not complete without lutefisk. I've also been told by those same people to avoid lutefisk at all costs. I'm not sure what that has to do with this post, except I hope there's no lutefisk in it after this sentence.)

Enjoy, and happy Friday!


On finance and national monuments:

“There is nothing about a guy cross-dressing as the Statue of Liberty that makes me feel good about him doing my taxes.”
— Jon Acuff, Stuff Christians Like


On friendship vs. alone time:

“The hermit's creed: Call before you come over, email before you call, think twice before you email.”
— Laurie Perry, a.k.a. Crazy Aunt Purl


On sports (sub-heading: the things we do for our kids):

“I had to put on shoes of death and attempt to glide across an icy surface with my thirty-eight year center of gravity.”
— Melanie, a.k.a. Big Mama


On challenging food:

“Artichokes — the lobsters of the vegetable kingdom.”
— Julie Powell, The Julie/Julia Project


On theologians and romance:

"[Jonathan] Edwards had one of the few good marriages among our Christian heroes of his day. Compared to Whitefield’s loveless marriage to an older woman and John Wesley’s decades-long separation from his wife, Edwards and his wife were the Brangelina of the 18th century. I’m pretty sure that last phrase has never been written before."
— Mike Wittmer, Don't Stop Believing


Because we've all wondered what it would be like to attend the dance recital of prehistoric creatures (what, you haven't? Uh... yeah, me either. Cute video anyway, though...):


How the Belgians heat their homes:

And for the curious, here's the "making of..." video: