Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Open The Door, Richard

Back again...

I've got to tell you, creating a blog is a truly educational experience! The first thing I learned, besides "check your spelling regularly"["I'm in radio, man; I don't need to know how to spell"{or punctuate correctly, either...}] is, where you create your blog can be as important as what's in it

A brief illustration: my first plan was to put this in Yahoo!, through its GeoCities program. It was free, the set-up was easy, and I already had an e-mail address or two there. Well, after a false start or two [that set-up program is trickier than it looks], I finally had a blog I felt good about.Imagine my surprise, a day or so later, to discover that I had been "removed" from the system. My crime? Linking the site to WJYE, as well as a couple of other favorite sites [the same ones this site is linked to, by the way]. What in the world was I thinking?

Anyway, after a quick review of my other options, I brought myself here, and settled down for a long spell of...INDIFFERENCE? This must be what happens to all first-time bloggers: you set up a site, believing that the "connected" world MUST be hanging on your every word, and the "connected" world usually looks at your site, says to itself, "I could do better", and proceeds to start a blog of their own! This must be that dreaded "learning curve" I loved to hate in school. Oh, well, by the time I'm discovered [or at least linked to a web page or two], I'll be CALIENTE'!

On to other matters...

There's a three-hour time difference between Buffalo and Seattle, Washington, but, even if he's an "early to bed" man, Rabbi Elazar Bogomilski is probably resting uncomfortably in the Emerald City tonight. The rabbi, as you may know, became, hopefully briefly, The Most Reviled Person in Seattle. And all he did was note that Seattle's airport should add a menorah to its holiday decorations, the better to help Jewish visitors commemorate Hannukah. Granted, he did threaten legal action if his suggestion was not carried out. But does that justify the hate mail and angry messages? Granted, the operators of the airport first chose to respond to Rabbi Bogomilski's threat by taking down the 14 Christmas trees that were already decorating the concourse. But that was their choice [Both sides agree the rabbi never called for such action].

I've been a Christian my whole life [except for that athiest spell that most college students go through]. I've lived in the United States virtually my whole life. Therefore, I've never lived in a part of the world where my religion of choice was in a "minority" position. If I did, though, I imagine that I would feel more fondly towards a place that welcomed me with a symbol that reflected my beliefs. That being said, I would not want anyone's good feelings disturbed by being excluded (The ultimate solution of the dispute took this view: the airport retuned the trees, after Rabbi Bogomilski agreed to drop his suit. Next year, the rabbi will be part of an inter-faith committee that will review the airport's holiday decor') .

While it looks like a sane solution, I'm still wondering:

1. / Does Islam have an equivilant celebration to Christmas or Hannukah? What, if any, are its symbols? Can they be displayed with those of Christianity and Judaism? If so, why shouldn't they be?

2. / Our impression of Seattle, back here in the Rust Belt, is of a progressive, well-prepared city: why didn't they see this one coming?

3. / And how does Kwanzaa fit into all this? Were its celebrants represented in Seattle's airport display? And, if not, shouldn't they be? How about Wiccans, who celebrate the end of the year as a holiday? Not to make this issue any more contentious than it already was, but, if we make it a point to be proud of our tolerance for religious beliefs, why aren't we carrying out that belief, for every person of faith in the country?

Just asking...

-Mike Riley

P.S.: In this post, I asked the question, "Does Islam have an equivilant celebration to Christmas or Hannukah?" While I'm not sure this commemoration is simular to the above-mentioned holidays, a series of photos from the Reuters news service makes reference to "Eid al-Adha". The caption goes on to explain, "Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by slaughtering sheep, goats, camels and cows to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God's command". An Associated Press story on the same theme noted that Eid al-Adha is a four-day religious holiday that, at least this year, coincides with the end of the Western calendar year. The AP adds, "They share the meat with friends, family and neighbors and give part of it to the poor". If there are any Muslim readers of this site that would please enlighten me further on this matter, please leave me a comment. Otherwise, I would wish my Muslim readers the best of the Eid al-Adha season, as well as sending greetings to those who celebrate the Solstice.

I think that covers everyone...

(Update 1/2/07)

-Mike Riley