World Watch: FIFA

soccerIn a world that is often divided by politics, religion, and opinions, we have been graced by a somewhat unlikely connector, The World Cup. For here is a contest that has spurred the interest of so many. No matter what language, what culture, or where you are, it has brought the world together. And although we all have our favorite teams, the one we ‘cheer’ through thick and thin, the one we would travel across the globe to ‘spur-on’, the one that seduces us to stay up way beyond our bedtime, the one we say an extra prayer for…this sport has united and mesmerized people from all hemispheres.

And so I say, thank you FIFA for you have brought a bit of civility to our chaotic and confusing lives. For no matter where we are you can assuredly turn to someone and ask “What’s the score?” and they will know what you mean.

soccer ball Today’s post introduces us to the library of humor from Punch Magazine. Founded by Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells, its name and masthead was adopted from the famous French Punch and Judy puppets. Beginning in 1841, the British magazine, Punch, brought to its readers comedy and satire each week. Filled with satirical drawings, the term ‘cartoon” was coined. The magazine’s popularity had its ups and downs, when in 2002 its diminished circulation dwindled forcing the publication to no longer publish its wit and humor.

From Mr. Punch’s Book of Sports (1910) I bring you a bit of light humor in the form of poetry. Steal a moment between “games” to get an inside look at the world’s most popular sport…here is FOOT-BALL À LA MODE.

FOOT-BALL À LA MODE

[Hardly a week passes without our hearing of one or more dangerous accidents at football.]

A manly game it is, I think,
Although in private be it spoken,
While at a scrimmage I don’t shrink,
That bones may be too often broken.
I snapped my clavicle last week,
Just like the rib of an umbrella;
And sprained my ankle, not to speak
Of something wrong with my patella.
Last season, too, my leg I broke,
And lay at home an idle dreamer,
It’s not considered quite a joke
To contemplate a broken femur.
And when, despite the doctor’s hints,
Again at foot-ball I had tussles,
I found myself once more in splints,
With damaged gastronomic muscles.
Some three times every week my head,
Is cut, contused, or sorely shaken;
My friends expect me brought home dead,
But up to now I’ve saved my bacon.
But what are broken bones, my boys,
Compared with noble recreation?
The scrimmages and all the joys
Of Rugby or Association!

Ralph Waldo Emerson and gifts

sky_compressed_with name We live in a world that often regards material things as having great value, and it is often not until one is feeling poorly that we begin to value health with greater esteem. Yet, this notion of placing importance on tangible items is not a concept that is germane only to our present century, but rather one that has been well rooted seemingly forever. And so it appears that we rank highly those gifts that fit among the category of expensive or prestigious.

Perhaps this trait is a characteristic inherent to most all humans, for realistically, who would like to trade their personal comforts with those who are less endowed with equal possessions. After a weekend of camping, a hot shower and clean sheets are indeed most welcome.

But there are gifts bestowed to us with unprecedented value and are delivered by unlikely sources, such as the artist, the poet, the musician, Mother Nature; this sampling of such makes us take pause and silently reminds us that valuable gifts are not just the things we like to wear or ride in, but those things that bear witness to the uniqueness of life…that we must stop for a moment and enjoy … just because….

Ralph Waldo Emerson 2jpg Following our theme of gifts, I welcome back the “gifted” and esteemed thinker: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) preacher, philosopher, and poet, considered having the finest spirit and ideals of his age. He was a bold thinker having penned essays and gave lecture that offer models of clarity, style, and thought, which guaranteed him a formidable presence in 19th century American life. Emerson offered his views on the harmonies of man and nature, intellectual and spiritual independence, self-reliance, and utopian friendship. He was a committed Abolitionist, a champion of the Native Americans, and a crusader for peace and social justice.

From his essay so aptly titled, Gifts, take a moment for his words. Written in the 1800s, they still resonate with reason.

“It is said that the world is in a state of bankruptcy, that the world owes the world more than the world can pay, and ought to go into chancery, and be sold. I do not think this general insolvency, which involves in some sort all the population, to be the reason of the difficulty experienced at Christmas and New Year, and other times, in bestowing gifts; since it is always so pleasant to be generous, though very vexatious to pay debts. But the impediment lies in the choosing. If, at any time, it comes into my head that a present is due from me to somebody, I am puzzled what to give until the opportunity is gone.

Flowers and fruits are always fit presents; flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world. These gay natures contrast with the somewhat stern countenance of ordinary nature; they are like music heard out of a workhouse. Nature does not cocker us: we are children, not pets: she is not fond: everything is dealt to us without fear or favor, after severe universal laws. Yet these delicate flowers look like the frolic and interference of love and beauty. Men used to tell us that we love flattery, even though we are not deceived by it, because it shows that we are of importance enough to be courted. Something like that pleasure the flowers give us: what am I to whom these sweet hints are addressed?

Fruits are acceptable gifts because they are the flower of commodities, and admit of fantastic values being attached to them. If a man should send to me to come a hundred miles to visit him, and should set before me a basket of fine summer fruit, I should think there was some proportion between the labor and the reward…”

An interlude with nature

Today’s post invites you to take a walk, where we traipse among trees and come upon a dwelling in the woods, where a poem beckons to be written. And so it has………………

An interlude with nature

An interlude with nature