30 Pieces of Silver by Hank Williams


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”

They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.  (Matthew 26:14-16)

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Hank Williams Sr
Hank Williams Sr

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The greatest American country music artist of all time, Hiram Hank Williams Sr., a singer-songwriter and musician, was country music’s first superstar. He earned fame with songs like “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Hey, Good Lookin’,” “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” “30 Pieces of Silver” etc.

Hank Williams loved the music broadcast over radio and the hymns sung by the church choir. He learned to sing folk and country music. His mother presented him his first guitar. It cost her $3.50 which she paid fifty cents a month. Young Hank, determined to play the guitar, contributed to the cost with the money he made as a shoeshine boy and selling peanuts on the street.

Along with this early success Hank’s behavior became erratic. He often showed up at live performances drunk. Later he became a regular on the “Louisiana Hayride,” a regular Saturday night performance hosted by a radio station in Shreveport. His performance on this show greatly increased his popularity. In 1949, the release of “Lovesick Blues,” carried him into the mainstream of music.

Hank Williams died suddenly of a heart attack in the back seat of his Cadillac in the early morning hours of New Years Day in 1953 (January 1, 1953) at the age of 29.

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Hank Williams Memorial
Hank Williams Memorial

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Despite his short life, Williams has had a major influence on country music. In all, Hank Williams recorded 35 singles. Of these, 11 songs ranked number one in the Billboard Country&Western Best Sellers chart. With five of the 35 songs released posthumously, he earned a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In 2010, 57 years after his death, the Pulitzer Board awarded Williams a special citation for song writing.

As an ardent fan of Hank Williams, I used his song “30 Pieces Of Silver” to create the following video clip as a tribute to him.

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Lyrics – 30 Pieces of Silver by Hank Williams, Sr.

Tis’ a sad but true story
From the Bible it came
And it tells us how Judas
Sold the Savior in shame

He planned with the council
Of high priest that day
30 pieces of silver
Was the price they would pay

30 pieces of silver
30 shekels of shame
Was the price paid for Jesus
On the cross He was slain

Betrayed and forsaken
Unloved and unclaimed
In anger they pierced Him
But He died not in vein

‘Twas on there on the hillside
The multitude came
And found our dear Savior
Then took Him away

They bruised and they mocked Him
Thorns was crowned around His head
And His garment of purple
Showed the blood stains of red

Far off in the mountains
With his face towards the sun
Judas begged mercy
For what he had done

He gave back the silver
For his heart filled with strife
Then there in the mountain
He took his own life

30 pieces of silver
30 shekels of shame
Was the price paid for Jesus
On the cross He was slain

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Mother, Motherland, and Mother Tongue


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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mother-feeding-child

When someone else feeds you, then you will realize the worth of your mother.

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motherland

When stranded in a foreign land you will recognize the worth of your motherland.

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mother-tongue-3

When you struggle to make yourself understood in a foreign language then you will realize the worth of your mother tongue.

Black Friday and the United Stupids in America (USA)


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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People in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a national holiday in the United States and people celebrate the day with religious fervor.

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Thanksgiving Dinner (Photo: oldstrathcona.ca)
Thanksgiving Dinner (Photo: oldstrathcona.ca)

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People get together with their loved ones, invariably devour large amounts of food centered around an enormous roasted turkey, and like angels and saints praise and thank God for all that they have.

Traditionally, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season starts in the United States on the following day, the Black Friday. Most major retailers open their sales outlets extremely early on Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season and offer promotional sales.

The name “Black Friday” originated before 1961 in Philadelphia, after the disruptive movement of pedestrians and heavy vehicle traffic on the day-after-Thanksgiving Day and used broadly in other regions around 1975. Later, a new explanation of the term started circulating: “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit and are back in the black.

Though Black Friday is not an official holiday, many non-retail employers give their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.

Earlier, retailers opened shop on Black Friday at 6 am. However, in the late 2000s, many retailers opened their retail outlets at 5 am, and some opened at 4 am. Big names including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, etc. open at midnight. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, broke the Black Friday tradition in 2011 by opening its store on Thanksgiving evening.

Four years ago when I was in the United States, a week before Thanksgiving Day, a friend from India called me over the phone . He said that he had heard that on Black Friday electronic goods could be bought at bargain prices in the United States and requested me to buy a laptop for him. Little did he know about the madness that inundates the United Stupids of America (USA) on Black Friday.

On Black Friday, the American people unitedly become stupids by transmogrifying  from angels to demons.

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Black Friday - People waiting outside a mall.
Black Friday – People waiting outside a mall.

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They stubbornly gather outside malls, some from midnight on chattering and shivering, undaunted by the bitter winter cold, and wait for the shops to open.

When the shops open their doors, the stampede begins.

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Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

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Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)

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Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.
Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

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They behave like crazed animals. They barge into the malls like raging bulls. They trample and maul one another to buy more stuff that they already have or absolutely do not need; just 24 hours after offering thanks for how much they already have.

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Black Friday: Only in America, you find people, who just 24 hours after offering thanks for how much they already have behave like crazed animals frenziedly trampling each other to buy more stuff that they already have or absolutely do not need.
Frenzy buying on Black Friday (Photo: telegraph.co.uk)

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That is Black Friday for you in the United States of America. No other country in the world can boast of such a frenzied day.

Here is a video clip depicting the madness of the United Stupids of America for you to decide whether you too want to join these berserk folks and avail bargains on Black Friday.

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Is There an Error in the New Indian 2,000 Rupee Note?


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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new-indian-2000-rupee-notes

Twitter is buzzing with the news that the new ₹2,000 note had an error on it and some websites too reported that the so-called ‘error’ is on the back side of the note.

If you have the new ₹2,000 with you now, you will see the value of the currency written in 15 languages on the back side of the note.

reverse-side-of-rs-2000-note

In Marathi two thousand rupees is written as दोन हजार रुपये (don hazaar rupaiye).

But why does it appear twice on the note?

In any Indian currency note, the value, written in Marathi usually precedes the value written in Konkani. Which in the case of the new ₹2,000 note is written in Konkani as दोन हजार रुपया (don hazaar rupaiye) as well.

The confusion stems from the fact that Hindi alone does not use the Devanagari script. Other major Indian languages such as Marathi, Konkani, Sanskrit, and Nepali are also written in Devanagari script.

So the Devanagari script is used five times on the note, to write in five different languages, hence the confusion.

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Journalist Exposes the Claim of the 570 Km Swim Feat by the 12-year-old Shraddha Shukla as False.


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Sharada Shukla, 12-year-old swimmer (Photos: (L) – Hindustan Times; (R) – Bhaskar
Sharada Shukla, 12-year-old swimmer (Photos: (L) – Hindustan Times; (R) – Bhaskar

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Shraddha Shukla from Kanpur’s Cantonment area swam 10 km from Ganga Barrage to Siddhnath ghat at age six and a year later she swam 6 km from Kanpur to Unnao. On August 11, 2013, when she was eight, she covered 16 km downstream in just 80 minutes nipping 10 minutes from her earlier best. The following year, Shraddha swam to Allahabad from Massacre ghat in less than a week.

On Sunday, August 28, 2016, the 12-year-old Shraddha Shukla was ready to set a record by swimming 570 km in the swollen Ganga from Kanpur to Varanasi in 10 days. She plunged into the river Ganga at Massacre Ghat, Kanpur at 11:10 am and scheduled to reach Varanasi on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. According to her father and coach Lalit Shukla, she would set a record by swimming about 70 km a day with breaks after every four to five hours. The total distance covered would equal 13 Olympic marathons.

Lalit Shukla hopes his daughter if selected to take part in the Olympics would win a gold medal for India.

Shraddha Shukla became a star overnight.

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Vinod Kapri, Senior Journalist & Filmmaker (Photo: Bue.rahuljaiswal)
Vinod Kapri, Senior Journalist & Filmmaker (Photo: Bue.rahuljaiswal)

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A Mumbai-based senior Indian journalist and documentary filmmaker, Vinod Kapri, who in 2014 won a National Award for the documentary film “Can’t Take This Shit Anymore” contacted Lalit Shukla.

For two days, Vinod Kapri along with three of his associates travelled on Lalit Shukla’s boat. He noticed that most of the time Shraddha Shukla travelled in the boat instead of swimming and whenever they approached a ghat or when people were around she dropped  into the waters and swam. So, according to Vinod Kapri, the girl swam only when spectators were present.

When Kapri questioned why Shraddha swam only two to three km per day instead of 70 Kms, covering most of the distance on the boat, Lalit got irritated and threatened him. Kapri then hired a motor boat for himself and his team.

While waiting near Vindhychal ghat in Mirzapur, Kapri and his team spotted Lalit Shukla’s boats and started filming. They found the girl sitting in the boat with her father. When the team started filming, Lalit Shukla hurled abuses and issued life threats.

Lalit Shukla repudiated Vinod Kapri’s claim that his daughter swam only when spectators were present. He said that after every 15-20 km they pulled the girl out of the water  to apply a cream on her body and give her something to eat.

The Uttar Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (UPSCPCR) ordered a probe into the alleged violation of rights of the 12-year-old swimmer, who is said to have covered a distance of 570 km in 10 days.

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The Chinese Double Ninth Festival


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Once upon a time a man named Huan Jing believed that a monster would bring pestilence to his country. After asking his co-villagers to hide on a hill he went alone to defeat the monster.

Later, people celebrated Huan Jing’s victory over the monster on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month as the Double Ninth Festival (Chung Yeung Festival).

Since then, the Double Ninth Festival observed on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar has become a traditional Chinese holiday. The Chung Yeung Festival is mentioned in writings even before the East Han period (25–220 AD).

yin-yang

Duality is found in many belief systems, According to the Chinese I Ching, or Classic of Changes, yin and yang describe how opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interdependent, and interconnected, in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other since they interrelate to one another. So, Yin and Yang are parts of a Oneness equated with the Tao.

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The 24-hour-yin-yang-cycle
The 24-hour-yin-yang-cycle

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In the above diagram, Yin is the black side with the white dot in it, and yang is the white side with the black dot in it.

The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley.

Yin (meaning the ‘shady place’ or ‘north slope’) is the dark area occluded by the mountain’s bulk, while yang (meaning the ‘sunny place’ or ‘south slope’) is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed.

According to the I Ching, nine is a yang number. Since the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (or double nine) has too much yang the date is considered potentially dangerous. Hence, the Double Ninth Festival is also known as “Double Yang Festival” (重陽節).

To protect against danger, it is customary for the Chinese to climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum tea, and wear the zhuyu (茱萸) plant, Cornus officinalis, a species of dogwood known also as Japanese cornel or Japanese cornelian cherry. Both chrysanthemum and zhuyu are considered to have cleansing properties and are used to air out houses and cure illnesses.

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Chai Wan Cemetery Hong Kong on the Double Ninth Festival (Photo: Susan Gerbic)
Chai Wan Cemetery Hong Kong on the Double Ninth Festival (Photo: Susan Gerbic)

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On the Double Ninth Festival day, the Chinese visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their homage and respects by cleaning and repainting inscriptions. Incense sticks are burned. They lay out food offerings such as roast suckling pig and fruit, before the graves which are then eaten later after the spirits have consumed the spiritual element of the food. Chongyang Cake is also popular.

In mainland China, the festival offers an opportunity for the young to care for and appreciate the elderly.

In 1966, Taiwan rededicated the holiday as “Senior Citizens’ Day”.

Though Double Ninth Festival may have originated as a day to drive away danger, over time it has become a day of celebration like the Chinese New Year. In contemporary times it is an occasion for hiking. Mountain climbing races have become popular and the winners get to wear a wreath made of zhuyu.

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I Am the Good Shepherd…


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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i-am-the-good-shepherd

John, Chapter 10: 1-5

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.

The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”

i-am-the-good-shepherd-2

John, Chapter 10: 11-14

I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.d

This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, …

Note: I have used the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Bible – John, Chapter 10

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Donald Trump, the “Walking Eagle”


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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donald-trump
Donald Trump

Donald Trump, the current nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States in 2016 had thought of running for president in 1988, 2004, and 2012, and for Governor of New York in 2006 and 2014, but did not enter any of those races. In 1988, Trump was considered as a potential running mate for George H. W. Bush but lost out to Vice President Dan Quayle.

Trump, who wants to be the next president of the United States has voiced whatever caustic thoughts he has. To him, the Mexicans were “rapists” and “anchor babies“, he has used adjectives such as “bimbo” and “fat pig” to describe women. For months he has preoccupied himself with mocking Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, by calling her “the Indian” and “Pocahontas“, and insisted that she was a racist for having listed her heritage while on the faculty of Harvard Law School.

I was surprised when I was told that Donald Trump was invited to address a major gathering of the American Indian Nation. At the meeting, he spoke about his plans for increasing every Native American’s standard of living. Although Trump was vague about his plans, he spoke eloquently about helping his “Red sisters and brothers“.

Walking Eagle
Walking Eagle

When he concluded his speech, the Chiefs of the American Indian Tribes presented him with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, “Walking Eagle” which a proud Trump accepted pompously.

After he left the venue, a reporter asked the group of chiefs how they came to select the new name for Trump. They explained that “Walking Eagle” is the name given to a bird so full of shit it can no longerfly.

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Only Cowards Would Target Mother Teresa: She’s Been Dead for 20 Years, Let It Go


bikram-vohra

 

 

 

By Bikram Vohra

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Mother Teresa during a mass at the Basilica of the Assumption. (Reuters)
Mother Teresa during a mass at the Basilica of the Assumption. (Reuters)

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What is some people’s problem with Mother Teresa?

I truly don’t get it. If the Pope wants to sanctify her why are people like Justice Katju and British-based activist Aroup Chatterjee spewing so much venom and the media running with it without any evidence except conjecture that was a lot of no good.

Is it to get attention for themselves? There are worse people in the world and I don’t see what advantage there is in assaulting the reputation of a woman who has been dead for 20 years. Where were all these people when she was alive and the Mission of Charity was functioning under her aegis and she was holding lepers in her arms?

So she liked chocolates, ice cream and fun. Which is what? A series of sins?

Oh, she was using second-hand syringes. Since I did not give her any money I have no idea how she harnessed her resources but would so many poor people keep coming to her for a little solace and comfort if she was such an evil person.

Read more …

Reproduced from F. INDIA

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The Reliquary of Saint Teresa of Calcutta


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Statue of Saint Teresa in the National Shrine, Washington DC (Photo: T. V. Antony Raj)
Statue of Saint Teresa in the National Shrine, Washington DC (Photo: T. V. Antony Raj)

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At every canonization ceremony in the Catholic Church, people connected to the new saint carry to the altar a relic in a reliquary which is often an ornate work of art in gold or silver.

A relic is a keepsake, a tangible reminder that the new saint was human yet heroically lived a life of holiness.

The relic may be the purported or actual physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with saints or other religious figures. The authenticity of any given relic is often a matter of debate; for that reason, some churches require documentation of the relic’s provenance.

In the Catholic Church, a reliquary, also known as a shrine or by the French term châsse is used as a container for relics.

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The reliquary containing the relic of Saint Teresa
The reliquary containing the relic of Saint Teresa

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The relic presented at the Mass for St. Teresa of Calcutta was a few drops of her blood contained in a phial embedded within the centre of a wooden reliquary in the form of a simple cross reflecting her life and values.

The back of the cross-shaped reliquary is made from Lebanon cedar (Cedrus libani), a species of cedar native to the mountains of the Mediterranean region, known as a symbol of nobility and spiritual greatness.

The front of the large cross is made of wood taken from places associated with Mother Teresa’s works of mercy: The first home for the dying she established in Calcutta, a home for those with Hansen’s disease, an immigrants’ boat, a Gypsy shack, and wood from the kneeler of a confessional because Mother Teresa believed the “Sacrament of Penance” also known as “Confession” or “Reconciliation” was the greatest expression of God’s mercy.

In the centre of the cross,  the phial of Mother Teresa’s blood is sealed in a glass orb in the shape of a water drop as a symbol of her vow to quench the thirst of those literally without water and those dying in the aridness of being unloved.

A roughly sculpted wrinkled hand supports the glass to symbolize that it carries this drop of water, full of love, in response to the cry of Jesus “I thirst” on the cross echoed by millions of people around the world.

The religious dress of the Missionaries of Charity bears special significance. The white colour of their sari stands for truth and purity and the three blue borders each signify the vows that the nuns of the Order take: the first thin band represents “Poverty”, the second thin band represents “Obedience”, and the third broad band represents the vows of “Chastity” and of “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”.

The water drop on the reliquary is framed by a heart of three sweeping bands of blue on the left and a white band on the right to symbolize the sari St. Teresa adopted as a habit for her sisters of Missionaries of Charity as well as to express devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The three sweeping bands of blue on the left side of the heart are curved and bent to represent St. Teresa’s own curved form bent in prayer. The white band on the right side of the heart displays the words, “I thirst in gold, reproduced in St. Teresa’s handwriting.

The base of the reliquary is made of battered iron to represent how society always sees the poor people whom Mother Teresa loved with her whole heart.

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