Blog Archives

February Tragedy

World Figure Skating Championships, Tokyo. Tak...

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The Deadly Plane Crash That Nearly Killed A Sport : NPR.

Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in myself that I don’t stop and think about the pain others might be dealing with.  Like right now–the 6th anniversary of my miscarriage is approaching.  I keep thinking nothing could be sadder than that.

Then I saw this story this morning.  Talk about sad.  My miscarriage touched very few lives, and none outside of my circle of family and friends.  This plane crash touched families, friends, and fans of a sport.  It affected the whole world.

I wasn’t alive when this happened.  The crash was 15 years–almost to the day–before I was born.  But as a figure skating fan, I knew about it.  The entire United States figure skating team–athletes and coaches alike–were on board a plane heading to Prague for the 1961 world championships when the plane crashed.  No one survived.

At the time, America was a figure skating powerhouse.  Our atheletes were the ones to beat.  Great things were expected from this particular team.  Their loss was felt deeply.  Out of respect for these lives lost, the figure skating world championships were cancelled that year.

In all, this crash claimed 72 lives–the figure skaters, their coaches, family members, skating judges, the crew of the plane, 29 other passengers, and one person on the ground.  Fifty years later, they are still missed, still thought about, still the subject of countless “what ifs”.

And perhaps those skaters are in Heaven now, teaching my little one how to skate, spin, and jump across the ice.

  • Figure skaters pay tribute to victims of ’61 crash (

Robert G. Pielke’s A New Birth of Freedom


My love of reading came from my mother. My love of history–and my tolerance for science fiction–came from my

Click here for an excerpt from the book

 father. These passions–and that said tolerance!–collided for me when I read Robert G. Pielke’s book A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor.

I LOVED this book! And that is unusual for me. OK, so it’s not unusual that I would love a book. It is just unusual that I would love a book that doesn’t have a romance in it. In fact, now that I think of it, I am not sure there were any female characters in the book. Not that it’s a bad thing. This book was just about perfect, even without a woman’s touch.

The problem that I am having is giving you a description of the plot without giving anything away. The best that I can do is say that the book revolves around a visitor from America’s distant future trying to save humanity by traveling to 1860’s Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

What I liked about the book was the attention to detail. Historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee are described just as history books portray them. And I don’t just mean in their looks. Pielke brings the men to life with their mannerisms and personality quirks. It was done in such a way that it both men seemed very real. It was wonderful.

Another great thing about the book is that while reading it I didn’t often feel like I was reading. It was more like watching a movie. I felt like I was transported to the scene, watching everything unfold as the story was told.

The one thing I didn’t like was the ending. AARRUUGGHH!!! Talk about a cliff-hanger! It did set up for the next book in the series. I can hardly wait to have that book in my hands.

Read the author's blog here



Robert G. Pielke’s  Bio:
Robert G. Pielke, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California. He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history.

His academic writings have been in the area of ethics, including a boring academic treatise called Critiquing Moral Arguments, logic, and popular culture. Included in the latter is an analysis of rock music entitled You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture. He has also published short stories, feature articles, film and restaurant reviews. His novels include a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history, science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music, which is being republished by McFarland & Co.

He swims daily, skis occasionally, cooks as an avocation, watches innumerable movies, collects rock and roll concert films, is an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and maintains a rarely visited blog filled with his social and political ravings. His favorite film is the original Hairspray; his favorite song is “A Day in the Life”; his favorite pizza is from the original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, MD; and he is a firm believer in the efficacy of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Somehow his family and friends put up with him.

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Letter to Our President

Dear President Obama,

I’ve heard a lot of discussion lately about the religion you follow. Some say you are a Christian. Some say you are a Muslim. Based on what I have seen and heard of you, I don’t know what to think. Not that it is really any of my business. This is a country founded on religious freedoms. Sure, as a Christ-following woman, I would prefer to know that the leader of my nation follows Him as well. But this is a personal matter.

The most recent thing that I have heard is that you profess to be a Christian. I imagine that would be a hard thing to do in your job—to claim one religion over another. It seems that you risk offending or even alienating a certain portion of the country by being vocal about what you believe. It must be hard to hold fast to any sort of convictions as President of the United States of America. That would claim to be a Christian is a very admirable thing.

It leads me to a few questions, though. Mainly, it makes me want to ask, “Mr. Obama, what does it mean to you to be a Christian?”

As I said, this is a personal matter. It is not a question that I—or anyone else in this world, for that matter—need to hear the answer to. However, it is one that I hope you are able to answer for yourself.

I can tell you what it means to me to be a Christian. It means love. It means seeing opposing views in this world, meeting people who disagree with everything I’ve ever been taught, and loving them anyway. It means reaching out to those in jail or shivering on a street corner and giving them a helping hand. It means seeing someone who has no idea where their next meal will come from and inviting them into my home for dinner. It means having enough compassion for the sick to hold their hands as they struggle for breath, and listen to what they have to say.

Being a Christian means showing kindness to others. It doesn’t mean letting others walk all over me, or just allowing my right to worship God be stomped all over. I can be firm in my determination to worship Christ according to Biblical principles, while still being kind to those who think I should have less freedom to worship. It means I can love God, I can love Christ, and I can show that love to others—with or without the use of words. I prefer to show that love without words. After all, if people can’t see the love of God in my actions, they are not likely to believe me when I talk about that love.

Above all, being a Christian is more than just a lifestyle choice. It’s more than just a few carefully chosen words. Being a Christian is a life-changing experience. It’s not something that I can just claim one day because it sounds good. It’s a change in my heart, a way of living that I know I’d never be happy without. It is total dependence on Jesus Christ for joy and happiness. It is as much a part of who I am as being and American is.

What is it to you?

Lynn McMonigal