From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

McEntire and thousands of her closest friends pray for peace

McEntire in 2012  (Photo by Angela George) 
Reba McEntire is praying for peace, and she wants you to also.  So much so that she has begun a campaign (complete with video and a potential hit song) asking others to join in on this sacred endeavor…

Gayle Thompson of The Boot explains that McEntire strongly
believes “in the power of prayer.”  McEntire herself has stated,
“Every time I watch the news, I’m just waiting for a story with
a happy ending…  I find myself praying for peace, and a better
outcome for the world.”

This is not the first time that McEntire has proclaimed her spiritual leanings.  During a 2008 interview with Alan Petrucelli of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McEntire revealed that she believes in reincarnation and “has been here before as a man.”

She told Petrucelli that these disclosures would likely shock her many Christian fans.  Her response to their potential condemnation?  “…I’m sorry, but this is how I live my life, this is what I believe…  Who knows?  Maybe I’m part Buddhist.”

Famed Buddhist Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, also publicly prays for peace.  While
spiritually advocating for “humble sentient beings, tormented by sufferings without cease,” the Dalai Lama has repeatedly requested:  May all their fears from unbearable war, famine, and disease be pacified…   


Copyright July 23, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What is black and white and was orange all over?

1903 Chain Gang  (Public Domain)
Walking past an upscale tailor's the other day, I couldn't help but notice an orange-as-orange-can-be tuxedo in the window.  Orange is indeed “the new black,” and seems to pop up just about everywhere these days.

Back at the Saginaw County Jail, however, “black and white are the new orange.”  Inmates there have had to trade in their “cool” orange jumpsuits for more punitive-looking attire:  zebra-striped uniforms.

When some of the inmates complained about this new unfashionable statement, they were basically told by the sheriff:  “If you don’t like these outfits, then don’t show up at my door.”

Nevertheless, it is understandable that these inmates miss being enveloped in orange. explains that orange can strengthen a person’s self-confidence, creativity and independence.  Lack of orange, on the other hand, can
lead to reclusiveness, destructive behaviors and difficulty in communication,

As for black-and-white stripes?  These might evoke chain-gang images, especially for those who have watched one too many such movies.  Not exactly what you'd wish to dwell upon when living behind bars…

Copyright July 22, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trash Islands: Plastic hideaways

In memoriam...  (Photo by Daderot) 
Whereas once there was a bountiful Turtle Island upon which indigenous people thrived, nowadays there are stark Trash Islands upon which sea creatures wither.

If your seafood dinner tastes a bit different than it used to, that could be due to some trashy additions in the aquatic food chain.  Tia Ghose of Live Science reports that “about 35 percent of the fish they [Captain Charles Moore’s team of Pacific Ocean researchers] sampled have swallowed some plastic.”

If chewing on Tupperware doesn’t appeal to you, consider this:  Moore has previously noted that these Trash Islands also contain a smorgasbord of eel traps, toothbrushes, floating nets, etc.  Something for anyone whose molars are cutting-edge.

All this has caused Moore to issue a dire warning:  There will soon be “a new floating world in our oceans if we don’t stop polluting with pastics.” 

And chances are, it won’t be fit for God, man or turtles…


Copyright July 21, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Siberian crater: Gateway to Hell?

Dante's Hell  (by Gustave Dore)
Those who believe in the literal truth of Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia might not wish to purchase a ticket to Siberia any time soon.

Eric Pfeiffer of The Sideshow reports that the existence of “a mysterious 260-foot crater” in a remote region of Siberia known as the “end of the world” has now been confirmed by Russian officials.

This crater was recently discovered by a helicopter pilot flying above the Yamal peninsula.  Recorded footage of this hole makes it appear “to descend infinitely below the surface.”

Theories abound regarding the cause of this crater.  Because it is not too far from “Russia’s largest gas fields,” some wonder whether an underground explosion occurred.  Others believe this hole to be a “pingo” (aka “hydrolaccolith”), a natural result of ice
pushing up “from underneath the ground.”

Perhaps these scientifically-oriented folks haven’t yet read Dante’s descriptions of Hell’s geography.  Wikipedia explains that it consists of “nine concentric rings leading deeper into the Earth and deeper into the various punishments of Hell…"  (That’s Hell with a capital H.)

Hell has often been described as an “underworld.”   If it is indeed under our own world, then this crater might best be approached very gingerly – if at all.


Copyright July 20, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Domestic drones: Neither bird nor plane

Eye of Horus  (Image by Jeff Dahl)
Hospitals were never much known for their privacy.  However, what little there was just got a whole lot less.

Colin Lecher of The Verge reports on the use of a domestic drone “to film outside a medical exam room.”  Never mind that your proctologist’s office is seven flights up.  A drone can easily get there before you do.

This drone’s owner, David Beesmer, not only flew his DJI Phantom 2 within 15 feet of an exam-room window, but then went ahead and
“posted videos of the hospital” to his Facebook page.  His DIY surveillance stint yielded Beesmer a date in court with a possible felony charge.

As legal and ethical debates drone on, the skies are filling with more and more of these “I spy with my high-tech eye” flying cameras. 

All-seeing eyes, such as those of Horus and Ra, were traditionally fraught with protective powers that warded off evil.  Drones, on the other hand, are only as benevolent as their manipulators’ intentions.

Seems time to trade in that flimsy hospital gown for an opaque (and perhaps bulletproof) suit of armor...


Copyright July 19, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stereotypes bad for dogs and other living things

(Photo by Ildar Sagdejev)
Some people cringe at the very thought of being near a pit bull.

However, the exact definition of “pit bull” is often up for grabs.  Although this name technically refers to the Pit Bull Terrier (a cross between Old English Terriers and Old English Bulldogs), it has become a catch-all term for breeds with a variety of genetic backgrounds.

So how did pit bulls come to strike terror into the hearts of those who otherwise love dogs? That can be blamed far more upon human influences than upon the breed itself.

Although some pit bulls have been “selectively bred for their fighting prowess,” many have simply been trained by people to engage in such “bloodsports” as “bull baiting, bear baiting and cock fighting.”  Wikipedia
explains that pit bulls have also been “used for illegal dog fighting.”

What people don’t usually know is that pit bulls can also make wonderful companions and/or therapy dogs. The Associated Press recently reported on a pit bull that saved a deaf boy’s life by alerting him to a house fire. 

When this pit bull smelled smoke, he began frantically licking the sleeping boy’s face.  The boy awoke and got out in time, taking the dog with him.  Firefighters were afterwards able to save his cat.

Although the house suffered approximately $175,000 worth of damages, its occupants were all fine – thanks
to the efforts of a concerned and loving pit bull.

Copyright July 18, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Marveling at Thor's new chromosomes

Thor of Old   (by Marten Eskil Winge)
Not since Thor’s oak was felled by Saint Boniface back in the eighth century has there been so much hoopla about the hammer-wielding god.

These days, Thor himself is undergoing a mighty blow – perhaps to his male ego.  Eliana Dockterman of TIME reports that “a woman will take up Thor’s mantle – err, hammer.”

Although there has never been a female Thor before, there have been plenty of damsels within his thunderous circle.  However, the identity of Thor’s successor remains a mystery for now.

Axel Alonso, Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief will only say this much: “She is worthy.”  And well she should be…  After all, it would take a veritable goddess to fill those mighty iron gloves of her soon-to-be predecessor.  

Wikipedia explains that Thor’s domain has traditionally included
“thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind… hallowing, healing and fertility.”

Will this new leading lady be up to all that?  Fan “Ryan Penagos” seems to think so.  He writes:  “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor.  This is not Thorita. This is THOR.”


Copyright July 17, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved