Benny's World

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This is one thing I like about Obama: Joe Biden

Obama is on vacation for some much needed R and R with his family. I'm not certain why the press or the Republicans are making such a big deal out of it. He's visiting his sister for goodness sakes!

One thing I noticed in the news is that Joe Biden gave the economic briefing today and it's clear that Obama left him in charge. Good for Obama and good for Biden. That's teamwork.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Welcoming Back the Light

photo courtesy of Strictly

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice and the shortest day of the year. I noticed on the site that today was 2 minutes longer in my neck of the prairie.

Here's to welcoming back the light--despite bitter cold temperatures.

While thinking about that good thought, pick up a copy of Anne Dudley's Ancient and Modern on CD and listen to the "Canticles of the Sun & Moon." From what I read at, the song is based around the hymn "From All Who Dwell Beneath the Sky," but Dudley gives it a minimalist turn with cyclical marimba lines. Also, there is a track called From "Darkness to Light" that is very Bach-like but with the influence of Howard Hanson. Hence, ancient and modern.

Very fitting.

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Update to Helping Hands for a Family

A few minutes ago, I got this e-mail from our HR Department. It was sent by someone who knows the family our library adopted.

Dear Librarians,
I wanted to let you and the Library folks that contributed to the Christmas family know that the family came to get their presents this morning. The employee was not able to come into the building. His wife came in and was amazed at the amount of presents and food. When we gave them the money orders, which totaled $2150 and the gift cards which were another $200 and some dollars, the wife became tearful. She didn't know what to say other than thank you. She never dreamed that they would receive this type of generosity.

When we helped her carry the packages to the van I talked with our employee and he was tearful. He said it had been difficult not to have received a check in the last few weeks. He couldn't imagine that there would be people that would do this for him and his family. He was very moved by the outpouring of generosity from the Library. He had surgery on his kidney two weeks ago for the cancer and in two weeks will undergo surgery of for his lungs. He was struggling to breathe as he told me this and again certainly moved by the help given.

I think that while the gifts were very helpful, the real gift is that the employees of the Library cared and gave of themselves for this family. The caring is the gift that really matters. On behalf of the Christmas Family, I want to thank all of you.

Sincerely, FSA Program Staff

Makes my heart grow big. Do something good for those who cannot do for themselves.

Here's a nice story about the Postal Workers in Manhattan did for a Puerto Rican girl who is battling brain cancer.

The spirit of John and Elizabeth Edwards--and Scrooge. May it live inside all of us all year around.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's -24 windchill in Central Illinois this morning. We just hit winter today. Yikes!

Speaking of the cold world figuratively, I recommend the movie "Slumdog Millionaire". Mr. Benny and I saw it yesterday (before the deep freeze rolled in) and we found it to be riveting. However, rather than trying to rewrite the summary, I'll link you to Roger Ebert's. If you want a bit more detail and commentary, read the review by Anthony Lane of the New Yorker.

BW readers will appreciate the movie in that one sees the two Indias (and can extrapolate the Two Americas) of deep poverty and those of power. I remember when JRE went to visit India a couple of years ago, and some of the squallid conditions appalled him so much, he told Elizabeth that it was hard for him to sleep because of images that stayed in his head. You will get a pretty good idea of what he saw in watching this movie.

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