Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dick Clark

I can find no evidence that Dick Clark ever met the Holy Father, but he sure does rub elbows with people who are close to the pontiff.  Let's take a "Rockin' New Year's Eve" look at celebrities who Dick knows who know the pope or are close to someone who knew the pope.

Dick Clark and First Degree, Michael Jackson
This post is in the spirit of Janus, the Roman god of the new year.  This god has two faces, one looking back and the other looking ahead.  Let's see who Dick Clark knows who has already been mentioned in the blog or who may be mentioned in 2011.

Dick Clark and Bono: 2 Degrees
As mentioned in a previous post, Bono met Pope John Paul II and gave him so rad shades.

Dick Clark and Nicole Scherzinger: 4 Degrees
A member of The Pussycat Dolls, Scherzinger met Dick as we see her performing at last year's show below.  She also appeared in "Dancing With the Stars" with second degreer, Buzz Aldren as see in this post from October.  

Dick Clark and Betty White: 5 Degrees
Betty White appeared on $25,000 Pyramid, a game show hosted by Dick Clark.  She also appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Johnny Carson filled in for Red Skelton when Red was in Europe with his family, see that post here.  Red Skelton and his family met and were blessed by Pope Pius XII.

Dick Clark to Ralph Edwards: 5 Degrees
Dick Clark was on "This is your life" hosted by TV giant, Ralph Edwards in 1959.

Ralph Edwards is pictured here with
Marilyn Monroe
Lovely Marilyn was the girlfriend of President John F. Kennedy.  The Jerry Lewis post in which President Kennedy and Miss Monroe are degrees is here.  President Kennedy met Pope Paul VI, the pope who elevated John Paul II to cardinal.
Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Wojtyla 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Birds and the Bees

Some of you will be giving "the talk" at some point during the holidays.  I thought it would be a lovely Christmas gift to you to share these videos.  These arguments about the church teachings on sexuality are easy to understand, logical, said with humor, and timeless.  Fulton Sheen is one degree from the Pope.  His post was last November 13.

I love his approach.  Sheen doesn't even mention sex until the second talk.  It's great stuff.

Spice up your marital sex life!
Your children are watching you.  If you don't have the kind of sexual relationship that they would love to have, why would they wait for it?  Why put forth the effort to abstain now and get married?  No reason at all.  Don't know where to start?

Pope John Paul II has some thoughts for you.  There are 129 lectures that became "Theology of the Body."  These lectures are about 500 words each, and they teach how our physical bodies reveal God's nature to us.
Let's face it, men are microwave ovens and women are crock-pots.  Our warm up time is vastly different.  These lectures can really really help.  Read each one together as a couple and discuss them and live them.  As a woman I can tell you that these words
  • increase the time I spend with my partner in prayer
  • give words to him to express his love to me
  • make me feel loved by the church
  • when my husband agrees with them, I feel truly loved by him (crock pot gets turned up)
  • there are always new lectures to read
  • once you've read them all, the first ones could bear repeating
  • no porn, swinging, fetishes, kinks, or special equipment necessary
  • the improvement to desire and connection is lasting.  Instead of needing a constant increase in intensity, the love just feeds upon itself.
If you would like a shorter version, try reading Christopher West's book, Good News About Sex and Marriage.  Engaged couples can greatly benefit from Theology of the Body.  There are several publications of the lectures, and the Christopher West book is a great gift for an engaged couple.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Granny O'Grimm

A loving greeting from a Catholic grandma.  We're not judgmental, no, not us!

A very special Christmas gift from Granny Grimm to you.  She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance here!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Red Skelton

2 Degrees

Red Skelton and his family met Pope Pius XII.  Pius is pope #261, John Paul II is #265.  I am not sure if Red Skelton officially converted to Catholicism, but his heart is definitely one that Jesus identified as His own.  Below are three heart-warming stories.  The first is Red's "Plight before Christmas," from his variety show.   Then "Littlest Christmas Tree," a radio broadcast, shown here with pictures found on the web.  The last is the story of Red Skelton's own son who was diagnosed with Leukemia, the family visit to Rome, the audience with the pope, and eventual death of his child.  Have tissues on hand when you read that story.  
“Life is eternal because of God. So if life is taken away from one person in a family they are never separated because the family will always live together in eternal life with God.”
Some of you are facing a Christmas without a loved one who made past Christmases beautiful.  Read Pius XII's words of comfort to the Skelton family.  Also, know that you are in my prayers tonight and always.  May God bless and keep you at Christmas and forever.

The following article is from The American Catholic, an online Catholic newspaper on culture and politics, and was written by Donald R. McClarey.  Click here for the original article's site. 

In 1957 comedian Red Skelton was on top of the world.  His weekly comedy show on CBS was doing well.  He had  curtailed the drinking which had almost derailed his career.  Not too shabby for a man who had started out as a circus and rodeo clown and who was now often called the clown prince of American comedy.  He and his wife Georgia had two beautiful kids:  Richard and Valentina Maria.  Then the worst thing in the world for any parent entered into the lives of Red and Georgia Skelton:  Richard was diagnosed with leukemia.  

Unlike today, a diagnosis of leukemia in a child in 1957 was tantamount to saying that Richard was going to die soon.  Red immediately took a leave of absence from his show.  CBS was very understanding and a series of guest hosts, including a very young Johnny Carson, filled in for Skelton during the 1957-1958 season.

Red and his wife made two decisions.  First, they decided not to reveal to their son how ill he was;  if  worse came to worst they wanted him to enjoy the time he had left.  The boy’s leukemia was temporarily in remission and outwardly he appeared healthy.    

Richard's imagination was captured by movie,
"The Last Days of Pompeii"
When the boy saw “The Last Days of Pompeii” on TV and was fascinated by it, his mom and dad made their second decision.  They were going to take him and his sister to Europe so the boy could see Pompeii and other parts of Europe and the world, and to allow the parents to consult with foreign physicians and also to conduct a pilgrimage for their son.

The Skeltons were Protestants, indeed, Red was an active Mason, but they had chosen to educate their kids at a Catholic school and Richard was very religious, his room filled with religious pictures and statues.  Like many Christians of whatever denomination, in their hour of utmost need the Skeltons decided to seek aid of the Catholic Church.

The entertainment press was just as aggressive then as it is now.  Skelton informed the press why his family was going on an around the world trip, but asked their assistance in helping keep from his son that he was afflicted with a mortal illness.  Amazingly enough, the Americanpress agreed to help him.  The American ink-stained wretches of the Fourth Estate behaving quite honorably in this instance.

The British press was quite another matter.  While the Skeltons were in England during their trip, the British tabloids, always in a contest to see which paper can be the most vicious and cruel, denounced the trip as a cheap publicity stunt by Red Skelton.  Richard learned of his grave illness by reading one of these disgusting rants.  Only nine years old, however, the boy was a fighter.  “Everybody says I’m going to die but that means everybody but me.”, was his brave reaction to the news.

On July 22, 1957  the Skeltons had a private audience with Pius XII.  There was nothing unusual about this.  Pius considered it as part of his duties to meet with anyone who wished to see him:  rich or poor, Catholic or non-Catholic.   These audiences often had a large impact on the people who saw the Pope.  For instance, while Rome was occupied by Germany during World War II, German troops, Protestant and Catholic alike, flocked to see the Pope, until such visits were forbidden by the Nazis, fearful of the impact of the Pope’s words regarding mercy and Christian charity on the troops.
Pius XII on the cover of a magazine
with a boy, not Richard Skelton

The Pope spent a great deal of time talking to the Skeltons.  He blessed Richard and the other members of the family and gave them religious medals.  Red would later describe this visit as the high point of his son’s life.  The Pope gave them these words of comfort, which really are the only words of comfort for members of a family when one of them is nearing death.  “Life is eternal because of God. So if life is taken away from one person in a family they are never separated because the family will always live together in eternal life with God.”

The family saw Pompeii which greatly interested Richard.  Arriving in Paris he said, upon being asked by a reporter, that he wanted to see the Eiffel Tower.  When asked as a follow up what else he wanted to see, he showed that perhaps he shared his father’s comedic talent.  “What else is there?”
The family had a great deal of fun, but the European physicians could offer no hope.  In August the Skeltons went to Lourdes.  “God alone can save my boy’s life as science has done all it can.”, was Red Skelton’s comment at the time.

After they returned to the States, the leukemia came out of remission and took its dreadful course.  Richard underwent treatment at the UCLA medical center.  His parents were constant visitors to see him.  Both father and son, as detailed here, did their best to keep up the spirits of the other children undergoing treatment by telling jokes.  On one occasion Red Skelton sat up most of the night with a young girl who was undergoing surgery and kept reassuring her that everything was going to be all right, as it turned out to be in her case.

“The doctor was as gentle as he could be when he told me there was a good chance I had something that would mean amputating my leg. I remember crying for hours that night. The night before surgery I was very scared. My mother was at home with three small children and I had a difficult time falling asleep. When I finally gave in and allowed sleep to take over, it wasn’t for long. I awoke to find my friend Richard’s father asleep in the chair next to my bed. He woke up soon after I did, and in a very gentle voice kept telling me it was going to be ok. I just had to believe. There he stayed for most of the night. I would sleep and waken, and he would sometimes be asleep, other times he’d smile and comfort me.

Surgery went well, and my leg wasn’t amputated, but I was in and out of surgeries, casts, and the hospital for the next two years. Richard passed away from leukemia the second year, but has lived on in my heart and memory. His father became my hero as I watched him on television, then and in later years. For during the time I knew Mr. Skelton and his son Richard, I only saw their courage, compassion, and tender hearts. I saw a man who was “in character” to make the children laugh and forget their illnesses, but I also saw a very gentle man who was not “in character”, as he sat by the bed of a fatherless 11 year old. Setting aside his own fears, or sadness, Red Skelton, the clown who entertained millions during the early days of television, made sure I was able to face a scary situation with the hope it was going to be ok.”

I find this remarkable.  Dealing with the approaching death of his own son, Red Skelton found it within himself to keep up the spirits of other children.  I guess he really meant it when he said, “God’s children and their happiness are my reasons for being”. In the years to come Skelton would become a major donor for charities for sick kids, and would also assist children through his establishment of the Red Skelton Foundation in his hometown of Vincennes, Indiana.

Throughout his treatment at UCLA Richard kept a bag packed near his bed at home just in case the leukemia would go into remission again and his family could go on another trip together.  Heartbreakingly, that was not to be the case.  As his tenth birthday neared, his father brought a catalog to his son so he could pick out what he wanted.  He did so and also picked out a surprise gift for his mother for mother’s day.

The end came for Richard on May 10, 1958, a week before his 10th birthday.  As he lay dying he asked his father to remember to get his mother the red blanket he had picked out since he didn’t think they’d let him out of the hospital so that he could buy it himself.  An hour later his gallant struggle against leukemia ended.  His mother and father wept quietly by his bedside for half an hour.

Shortly after the boy’s death, a package arrived from the Vatican.  It contained a crucifix bless by Pope Pius XII.  Just before his death the boy had requested the crucifix, and the Pope had immediately sent it.  Richard doubtless realized the great truth that the crucifix is the symbol of Christ’s victory over death, and our victory also.   

Pius XII sent a crucifix to Richard.
Richard was buried holding it.
(This picture is not a copy of that crucifix.)
The mortal remains of Richard Skelton were buried with the crucifix in his hands.  I have absolutely no doubt that the soul of the brave young boy who loved God so much immediately enjoyed the Beatific Vision after his period of travail on Earth.  As Red Skelton said after the death of his son, “I want the thousands of people who have written us that they prayed for Richard during his illness to have faith that God will answer their prayers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens
Dickens reading his
works before an
Third Degree: Charles Dickens
The author of A Christmas Carol will forever be loved and remembered at Yuletide.  As you prepare your holiday meals and tend to the house, play one or all of the following versions of this classic tale.  Below, I've embedded the version from the 1950s narrated by Vincent Price.

If you prefer, here is a link to Lionel Barrymore's narration of A Christmas Carol from 1938.  Here is a link to a 1910 silent version.  To hear Orson Wells and The Mercury Theater performing A Christmas Carol in 1938, click here

Second Degree: G.K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton wrote many of the forwards for Dickens' books.  In 1906, Chesterton also wrote the definitive biography of Charles Dickens.
"The common mind means the mind of all the artists and heroes; or else it would not be common. Plato had the common mind; Dante had the common mind. Commonness means the quality common to the saint and the sinner, to the philosopher and the fool; and it was this that Dickens grasped and developed. In everybody there is a certain thing that loves babies, that fears death, that likes sunlight: that thing enjoys Dickens. And everybody does not mean uneducated crowds; everybody means everybody."
I'm just discovering Chesterton, so I'm going to steal his bio from Dale Ahlquist, president of The American Chesterton Society. 
G.K. Chesterton was 6'4", weighed
over 300 pounds, and wrote an essay
every day

Atheist C.S. Lewis read
The Everlasting Man
and soon
after became Christian.
Born in London, Chesterton was educated at St. Paul’s, but never went to college...He wrote over 4000 newspaper essays, including 30 years worth of weekly columns for the Illustrated London News,and 13 years of weekly columns for the Daily News. He also edited his own newspaper, G.K.’s Weekly. (To put it into perspective, four thousand essays is the equivalent of writing an essay a day, every day, for 11 years. If you’re not impressed, try it some time...Chesterton was equally at ease with literary and social criticism, history, politics, economics, philosophy, and theology. His style is unmistakable, always marked by humility, consistency, paradox, wit, and wonder...stood 6’4" and weighed about 300 pounds, usually had a cigar in his mouth, and walked around wearing a cape and a crumpled hat, tiny glasses pinched to the end of his nose, swordstick in hand, laughter blowing through his moustache. And usually had no idea where or when his next appointment was.
H.G. Wells
Ghandi was inspired by
Chesterton's writing
This absent-minded, overgrown elf of a man...who wrote a book called The Everlasting Man, which led a young atheist named C.S. Lewis to become a Christian...This was the man who wrote an essay in theIllustrated London News that inspired Mohandas Gandhi to lead a movement to end British colonial rule in India...Chesterton debated many of the celebrated intellectuals of his time: George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, Clarence debate Chesterton is to lose!

Why not purchase this book
and read it during Great Lent?

Chesterton argued eloquently against all the trends that eventually took over the 20th century: materialism, scientific determinism, moral relativism, and spineless agnosticism. He also argued against both socialism and capitalism and showed why they have both been the enemies of freedom and justice in modern society.
And what did he argue for? What was it he defended? He defended "the common man" and common sense. He defended the poor. He defended the family. He defended beauty. And he defended Christianity and the Catholic Faith. 
Enjoy this reenactment of a Chesterton debate.

The pope's ruby slippers on British land! His trip was
paved with the blood and bodies of martyrs and held
with the mortar of Chesterton's words.
Chesterton converted to Catholicism, but, like many converts, once converted, he was a powerful voice of truth and justice.  I believe that Pope Benedict XVI's journey to Great Britain was paved by the blood of martyrs, but mortared with the words of G.K. Chesterton.  His wit and charm disarm us and bring us closer to his core message of Christian love.  For more on Chesterton's conversion click here.

First Degree: Pope Pius XI
Pius XII
Upon the death of G. K. Chesterton, Pope Pius XI declared that we had lost "a gifted defender of the faith."  The papal nuncio, Giovanni Pacelli (who would become Pope Pius XII,) sent condolences to Chesterton's widow.
Pius XI

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Caesar Augustus

Caesar Augustus
Statues like this were in every
city in town of the empire
3 Degrees

Caesar to Jesus to Saint Peter to JPII

Caesar Augustus was the first Caesar of the Pax Romana, two centuries of peace that blessed the Roman Empire.  Sure there was Nero and Caligula, but every institution that lasts is going to have its stinkers.  It's Christmastime, and we don't need to mention Nero's fondness for flaming Christians on a stick.  Let's keep the post cheery.  

Caesar Augustus was arguably the greatest political mind in history.  He attained his office at the age of 30 and reigned for over 40 years.  Busts were made of him in his youthful prime.  These images of him never changed.  He was adored and revered by the citizens of Rome as a young, vibrant ruler.  This image is retained by Caesar Augustus to this day.  For the complete BBC program on a bust of Caesar Augustus click here.  To view the head of Caesar Augustus click here.
Saint Luke tells us that Caesar Augustus was emperor when Jesus was born.  Below are two accounts of the nativity story from Luke.  The Charlie Brown version and the original King James Version from 1611.  

Luke 2:1-12
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

"Render unto Caesar…" is the beginning of a phrase attributed to Jesus in the synoptic gospels, which reads in full, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (“Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ”) (Matthew 22:21).  Perhaps Jesus was holding a coin that bore the head of Caesar Augustus.  No doubt, these coins were still in circulation when Jesus came of age.  

The home of Caesar Augustus was recently excavated.  Let's take a tour.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bing Crosby

2 Degrees
A story in pictures and glorious video.
Rosemary Clooney starred with
Bing Crosby in the movie.
Here they are in a still shot from the
movie.  Costumes by Edith Head,
they are divine!

Dante DiPaulo was a dancer and choreographer on White Christmas and dozens of other films.  He and Rosemary had a romance that spanned decades.  Horrible events in Rosemary's life led her into a deep depression.  When the depression lifted, there were the open arms of Dante ready to hold her.

Rosemary and her husband Dante DiPaolo at their November 1997
wedding.  They married after a 50 year courtship.  Rosemary certainly did
"count her blessings" after that bout of depression lifted.  
DiPaolo and Clooney went on their honeymoon to Rome and had an audience
with this fellow.  Read all about it on Rosemary's site here. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer

St. Susanna the
Deaconess Martyr
It's my name day!  St. Susanna the Deaconess was born into the Kingdom on December 15.  I'm giving myself a treat with this post.  I just love Rudolf and Burl Ives.  My father was very fond of these claymation specials from the 60s.  General Electric, the company my dad worked for for decades, was the sponsor of Rudolf.  I don't think the blatant electricity of his nose was an accident! 

4 Degrees
Fourth Degree: Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Third Degree: Burl Ives
Rudolf's film debut was with Burl Ives.  Burl played the snowman who narrates the Rudolf saga.  Part 1 of the first film is embedded above.  

Second Degree: Gary Cooper
Burl Ives appeared on "What's my line" August 7, 1955.  Gary Cooper was on the program October 18, 1959.  Here are the clips of their appearances.  

First Degree: Pope Pius XII
Gary Cooper converted to Catholicism well into adulthood.  For the story of his conversion and his encounter with Pope Pius XII, click here.  

Gary Cooper with Pope Pius XII (source: Janis, 79; photo credit: G. Felici)

Pius XII is on the road to sainthood.  He was made "venerable" by Benedict XVI.  For an article about his elevation to venerable, click here.  

1 Degree: Benedict (also) also elevated his predecessor, John Paul II.
Benedict at tomb of Pius XII
photo by Getty Images and AFP

Rudolf is all about light.  Children look to him for a light in the darkness of a winter's night.  We look to the saints for light when we are in darkness.  May you find the light you need to find your way this Christmas season.  

To read the origin of the Rudolf story, click here.  I warn you, you'll need tissues!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Commentaries and Tiger Woods

Photo by CNN
Tiger apologizing
This post is made up entirely of ideas.  There are NO points of actual contact.  Each contact simply expounds on the next contact.  The goal here is to help you in your journey through Advent.  It's a mini-Lent you know.

Fourth Degree: Tiger Woods
Tiger comments on his own behavior in this video.  He apologizes for repeated, opportunistic adultery over the course of their relationship.  It was objectifying of women and of himself.  The problem probably began with Tiger objectifying his wife.  In this season of Advent, it's a good time to reevaluate our marriages and look at one another with love instead of objectification.

Third Degree: Brit Hume
On an opinion segment on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume commented on Tiger Woods' spiritual life and family life by means of faith.  Here is Keith Olbermann and Dan Savage commenting and Brit's remarks.  It is very funny in spots and some great points are made.

Second Degree: Father Rober Barron comments on Jesus through the first chapter of Matthew.  Think of this as you enter the Christmas Holidays.

1 Degree: Jesus and Peter
We know that Jesus instituted the papacy through Peter.  Here He also addresses our topic at hand.  He tells a parable that encourages us to go to confession (a great idea during the Advent Season).  Then we have Peter telling Jesus that he's not worthy and is sinful.  Jesus calls him to be a fisher of men.

0 Degree: John Paul II
Before he was shot, before he was ill, before all the troubles in his papacy, but certainly not in his life, he came to the US.  Some thoughts from JP2 to help you begin the Advent season.

* please note that journeying toward John Paul is not always going "up".   John Paul was a sinner and imperfect like the rest of us.  As I noted in the title of the blog, we want to be 0 degrees from Christ.  That is the ultimate goal.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

King Tut, #3

The intellectual high-ground of xenophobia
When famine, earthquake, or other disaster struck, this group of people fled to their neighbor, the richest, most powerful nation on earth.  There, they worked, lived, loved, and learned from their powerful neighbors.  Cultures merged as new ideas were brought to both sides.

Germans dealing with Turks?
French dealing with North African and Middle Eastern immigrants?
Americans dealing with Mexicans?


Ancient Egyptians and the Jewish people.  

The Jews and the Egyptians have a history with one another going back to at least 1000 before the birth of Tutankhamen.  After the death of Joseph, a Pharoh, who was unfamiliar with Joseph and his story, enslaved the Jews, subjecting them to great cruelty.  

Donny Osmond as Joseph
and his coat of
many colors
Several generations later, another Pharoh did not like the high birthrate of the Jewish people.  This Pharoh saw Jews as vermin who were taking over Egypt.  He decided to control their population and demoralize them by murdering their first-born sons.  God intervened to save His chosen people.  God saw to it that Moses was saved by Pharoh's daughter.  He then saved them via a series of plagues, and finally, His Passover.  

Today's connection to the papacy is through Jesus' family, the Jews.  There's lots of video in this one.  Let's get started!
5 Degrees
King Tutankhamun with 3000 pounds of gold make-up

Fifth Degree: King Tutankhamun
King Tutankhamun without his 3000 pounds of make-up
Fourth Degree: Amenhotep II
Amenhotep II, the most likely candidate for the pharoh of the Exodus
The Great-Great Granpa (and uncle) of King Tut
Third Degree: Moses
Although he is not a direct ancestor of Jesus, Moses and Jesus have a common ancestor, Abraham.  The Jewish people have brought many wonderful things to the world.  Besides the Messiah, they have given us a wonderful sense of humor.  

Second Degree: Abraham, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Christ
For a full genealogy of Jesus' foster father click here.  You can also see Exodus 2:1-2 and Matthew 1:1-17.
Since Abraham is father of all Jewish people, he would be a common ancestor for both Mary and Joseph.  

First Degree: Saint Peter
Saint Peter was Pope #1.  John Paul II was Pope #265

Dr. Zahi Hawass has figured prominently in all the Tut reckonings.  Here he is discussing the restoration of a Jewish Temple in Egypts history.  To deny the history of all the people of a region is to deny history itself.  For my post about anti-semetism click here.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

John Adams

This post was originally part of a series of presidents for the month of February, but it took a turn that made it appropriate for Pearl Harbor Day.  I strongly suggest you see all the videos from the BBC that begin with one toward the bottom of this post.  King Tut #3 is coming on the 8th.

John Adams
John Adams was President of the United States (POTUS) from 1797-1801.  Most think of him as the second president, but it depends on your reckoning.  He was the second president under the constitution of 1787, but #12 if you consider the country from the moment it became united.  This video is really interesting.

Fasten your seatbelt, this is a ride of 9 degrees that covers 5 presidents
and 2 Japanese emperors!

9th Degree: President John Adams (portrait above)
8th Degree: President John Quincy Adams,
author of The Monroe Doctrine

7th Degree: President James Monroe
The Monroe Doctrine stated that, while the United States will not interfere with nor
deny the legitimacy of any existing colonies of European nations in the Western Hemisphere,
it would see the formation of any new colonies or expansion of existing colonies as acts of
war against the United States and therefore require US retaliation.   

6th Degree: President Teddy Roosevelt
In 1905, Teddy Roosevelt modified the Monroe Doctrine.
In that same year he also encouraged Japan to expand onto the
Asian continent.  This was NOT his finest act.

5th Degree: Emperor Meiji Mutsuhito expanded Japan onto the Asian
continent, setting the course for WWII in Asia.

Fourth Degree: Emperor Showa Hirohito
invaded Manchuria in 1933, the first of his invasions that
lead to the Asian theater of WWII.

Third Degree: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)
Declares war on Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Second Degree: President Harry S. Truman and Emperor Showa Hirohito
After the European side of WWII ended, as concentration camps were being liberated and other atrocities were coming to light, the Asian war burned hot with no end in sight.  President Harry Truman decided to drop the first atomic bombs on Japan.  Here is audio of him discussing this decision.  

This video is the gateway to an excellent BBC documentary about the bomb. 

1st Degree: Pope Pius XII
Harry Truman and his predecessor, FDR, exchanged letters with Pius XII.