Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fantasies of the Unconscious - The Art of Appreciation

I admit it - it used to bother me that I didn’t understand much about Art - especially the newer more "contemporary" forms.

To me “real” art was always these scenes of old - oils on canvas capturing a moment of intense human interaction - be it a man dying on a cross, a scene in an Italian marketplace, well-decked virgins dancing in fields of flowers or my favourite - the hand of God reaching out through the clouds to touch some naked guy (Yes, yes - I know its Adam).

You always knew what you were looking at and the main message was clear. If you take a closer look, you would probably be able to uncover more - some of the messages lying just beneath the surface which the artist had in mind.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Christmas gift of hope

By Susan Leonard

When I recall precious Christmas memories, I think of a very special story, one which represents the magic and glory of the season. This is a true story, as told to me by my husband -- a professional Santa Claus -- of a real Christmas miracle which he experienced. A story that I think will cause YOU to believe ...

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see my Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl.

"Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your friend? Your sister?"

"Yes, Santa," he replied. "My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he said sadly. Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

"She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas. When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When the Star of David goes critical ...

Israel’s formidable nuclear arsenal is a fact acknowledged quietly but never publicly and this tiny Jewish state is just about the only nation on earth that can sidestep the prying eyes of the world’s nuclear watchdog.

Attempts by its Arab/Muslim neighbours to go down the same route, to acquire the ultimate weapon even in its crudest forms, have been met with mistrust, fear and condemnation.

Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) – the nuclear equilavent of "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you", has appeared to work well in halting ambitions and egoes in other theatres of potential conflict.

But the Middle East has never been a geopolitical crucible where pragmatic reason rules. History, religion and the delicate dynamics of the players involved, has necessitated such a special exception to be made for Israel and its nuclear programme.