The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: July 28, 2018
Roller Coaster Madness!
There it is, folks — the official POV video of a ride on the old classic wooden roller coaster “The Beast” at King’s Island in Cincinnati. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking the real ride with my grandson as we spend a day together before school begins. The Beast, in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest wooden roller coaster in the world (7,359 feet), is an exhilarating, old-fashioned rush of pleasure, one of many we’ll be enjoying over the course of the day.
I love roller coasters, and it has been way too long since I’ve enjoyed a day of riding. My favorite park is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio and the best coaster I’ve ridden thus far is this one, the “Millennium Force.”
Their newest one looks like a winner, too. It’s called “Steel Vengeance,” and here is the official POV video of this “hyper-hybrid” coaster. Vengeance breaks 10 world records including tallest hybrid roller coaster at 205 feet tall, steepest drop on a hybrid roller coaster at 90 degrees and most airtime on any roller coaster at 27.2 seconds.
Well, those great Cedar Point coasters (and I’ve only given you a taste of my favorites) will have to wait for another day. But there are new things to try out at King’s Island too, including including the 230 foot tall “Diamondback,” which has ranked among the top 10 steel roller coasters in the world in annual polls.
I have been thinking about extricating myself from Facebook recently. Facebook had the worst day in U.S. stock market history on Thursday when its shares plunged 19%, a staggering $119 billion in market value. Mark Zuckerberg himself lost $16 billion. That, my friends, is a bad day.
The precipitous roller coaster-like drop happened after Facebook CFO “David Wehner said on a conference call with investors that Facebook is “putting privacy first” after the Cambridge Analytica scandal triggered a wave of horrible press, customer angst and regulatory scrutiny around the world,” according to Fox News.
I’m happy to hear they are focusing on this, but I think FB is to be blamed for allowing a great deal of harm to happen through its lack of attention to this in the past few years. We may never know how much damage to our democracy has happened because sinister parties took advantage of social media. And who knows how much of your information and mine has been passed along in ways we might never approve if we knew.
I enjoy using FB to keep up with old friends, communicate with family, let people know what’s happening on Internet Monk, and host the iMonk Community group. But I’m not sure it’s worth it any more.
However, here is an article that warns about some things to consider if you delete FB.
What do you think?
How are you feeling about Facebook and social media these days?
A GOOD NEWS STORY…
A Colorado resident shared a video of a group of “amazing” kids who returned a wallet they found in the homeowner’s driveway.
Jamie Carlton shared a video that was recorded July 17 on his home’s smart doorbell system of three young kids returning the wallet that had $700 cash inside.
The kids approached the front door and upon ringing the smart doorbell appeared surprised by the automated recording that asked them to leave a message.
“We found your wallet outside of your car and we just thought we would give it back to you,” a young child said. “I’m gonna put it over here so no one takes any money.”
…”If this doesn’t renew or at least refresh your faith in humanity you need help. These kids are amazing, we would love to find them to reward them and thank them. Their parents should be so proud of them. Any help finding them would be great.”
A relative of two of the kids saw the clip on Facebook and put their mom in touch with the homeowner.
Carlton later added to his post that he has been in touch with the mother who he called “a nice lady” with “such great kids.”
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF “HUMANAE VITAE”
How will Pope Francis handle the 50th anniversary of “Humanae Vitae,” Pope Paul VI’s encyclical continuing the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on artificial birth control? Will the occasion be cause for joyous celebration or quiet commemoration? Why does it matter?
The answer is twofold. First, Pope Paul’s decree, titled “Human Life in Our Day” and promulgated on July 25, 1968, remains controversial. Debate and dissent have always been part of the Catholic Church, but history recalls an unprecedented tsunami of protest when Paul published “Humanae Vitae” (HV) 50 years ago. The dissent persists.
Second, Paul’s decree banning artificial contraception as intrinsically evil remains part of Catholic moral doctrine, and the pope is the only one with authority to modify defined doctrine, either by his own hand or in consultation with others.
Nonetheless, HV remains both controversial and vulnerable, based as it is on a version of natural law that many scientists consider outdated and incomplete.The late Catholic scientist Thomas Hayes, for example, contended that HV’s definition of the reproductive act ignores the female role and warrants reconsideration. And many theologians warn that preserving an outdated, unscientific stance on birth control will weaken the Catholic Church’s credibility on all sexual issues, not just birth control.
I GOTTA TAKE A ROLLER COASTER BREAK…
A female duck in Minnesota has about six dozen ducklings in her care, a remarkable image that an amateur wildlife photographer captured on a recent trip to Lake Bemidji, about 150 miles northwest of Duluth, Minn.
…Mama is a common merganser, a duck found on freshwater lakes. Females can lay up to a dozen or so eggs, according to the National Audubon Society.
But, in a twist, common mergansers don’t incubate only their own eggs. Experts say females often “dump” their eggs in the nests of other birds in an effort to spread out their offspring and increase the chances of survival.
…Some birds, including common mergansers and ostriches, raise their babies in a day care system that’s called a crèche, experts say.
In a crèche, females leave their ducklings in the care of one female — often an older female who is experienced at raising babies, said David Rave, an area wildlife manager who oversees the Bemidji region for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The females at Lake Bemidji, many of which are related, lay eggs that hatch around the same time, he said. Afterward, he said, the adult ducks go off to molt their feathers, leaving their broods in the care of a matriarchal female.
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT!
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (Section One)
On this day in 1868, following its ratification by the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states, the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing to African Americans citizenship and all its privileges, was officially adopted into the U.S. Constitution. Here is commentary by T. J. Stiles to mark this important occasion:
This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Constitution as we know it — the glorious, flawed, unexpected moment when our basic law was transformed into a charter of human rights. Its glories define us. But so do its flaws.
I refer to the 14th Amendment, whose ratification was certified on July 28, 1868.
It shapes almost every issue we debate today: immigration, racial and gender equality, voter suppression, free speech, corporations and federal power. Its history destroys the notion that freedom grew steadily over time — that the founders bestowed liberty on white men, which was gradually extended to others. Rather, the amendment reinvented freedom. It established birthright citizenship, required “due process” and “equal protection” of the law for everyone, and put the federal government in the business of policing liberty. It removed race and ethnicity from the legal definition of American identity.
Before the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights protected almost no one. In Barron v. Baltimore, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote for a unanimous Supreme Court in 1833 that those original amendments restrained only the federal government, not the states, and so did not guarantee individual freedoms. Through the incorporation doctrine, the 14th made the Bill of Rights apply to the states, giving those first amendments the powerful role they play today….
…Before the Civil War, states had restricted speech and the press (often singling out abolitionist literature), imposed religious and racial tests for voting and funded Christian denominations; Connecticut and Massachusetts established official state churches for many years. One of the 14th Amendment’s drafters, John A. Bingham, seized the moment to stop this, declaring his intention “to arm the Congress of the United States, by the consent of the people, with power to enforce the Bill of Rights.” The constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar argues that the framers’ comments show how even the Second Amendment must be read in light of the 14th. All in all, this was a revolution — a broad reimagining of individual rights and federal power.
…The 14th Amendment is felt by all of us, every day. If it did not invent freedom, it transformed and strengthened it, codifying a universal definition of individual rights and national identity that has been an example to the world.
A UNIQUE COLLABORATION…
Thirty years ago, in mid-1988, a super-group in music was accidentally formed. George Harrison had a new album called Cloud Nine, and was preparing to release one of its singles, “This is Love.” The record company wanted a never-before-heard track for the B-side of the single. At that time, Harrison had been hanging out in his studio with some friends: Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison. They put together a great track called “Handle with Care,” which the producer knew immediately was too good for a B-side. “Can’t we make an album of stuff like this?” they asked.
Soon a unique band was formed. They determined not to use their own names, but to work together in an ego-free collaborative effort in which everybody sang, everybody wrote, everybody produced — and had great fun doing so.
The result? The Traveling Wilburys, a best-selling album, and international success.