"It is finished."

“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

On this Good Friday morning, I’m struck by the simplicity of this moment and the tension created by what followed. Jesus uttered, “It is finished” and then gave His spirit over, and it truly was the end of many things… the torture, the crucifixion, his suffering. But it was also the beginning of so much! The true beginning of the Church that would rise from the tragedy, the beginning of so many new lives in Christ, the beginning of our living with the knowledge that all he endured he had endured for us. And yet…

And yet, there is still so much suffering. The suffering of the sick, the down trodden, the oppressed. The helpless, the hopeless, the depressed. The lonely, the broken hearted, the lost. The poor, the hungry, and even the rich and well-fed. We are all suffering in so many ways, all waiting (hoping?) for the time when we might finally bow our own heads and give over our own spirits.

“It is finished,” He said. And it was. And yet…

Moonvertising: Brilliant Idea or Gullible Consumers?

Man, we’re gullible. I don’t mean you, of course. I mean the collective “we”, as in the “we” who are still forwarding email messages that Bill Gates is running an experiment to give away cash. While it hasn’t happened yet, I expect my InBox to begin filling with messages decrying the use of the moon as advertising space and attempting to organize a boycott of Rolling Rock beer.

By now you’ve likely seen one of the billboards or TV spots instructing you to gaze thoughtfully at the next full moon (March 21) to see a gigantic Rolling Rock icon emblazoned there. (You can stay inside watching reruns of “I Love Lucy”… It’s not going to happen. First, we simply haven’t harnessed the power necessary to fire the laser that far that cleanly to make it work. Next, the FAA isn’t going to allow it. Finally, imagined how irritated people would be when the moon becomes a billboard.)

[Disclaimer: Those crafty Russians may have figured out a way to build this laser and would likely sell their grandmother’s derriere for advertising space, so that’s about the only conceivable possibility that this might come to pass. But I’d put the odds at about twice as unlikely as winning the Powerball.]

What Rolling Rock is hoping to gain is buzz. And that makes me feel a little dirty for even writing about it, as every mention of the campaign will be scraped, wrapped up, tied with a bow and called a success. Please don’t misunderstand me: this might get noticed, it might generate buzz, and you (they) might call it a success. But I will be astonished if sales of Rolling Rock go up an appreciable degree outside of the normal spike they might see after a large, expensive, national advertising campaign.

[Disclaimer Two: You know, Hugo Chavez has a lot of money. I could see him trying to do this just to thumb his nose at our pesky FAA regulations. “Oil for lasers” or something like that.]

We might be dumb enough to look up at the moon next week, whether out of idle curiosity or misguided intentions, but I just don’t see that translating into “Gosh, looks like the laser failed. I think I’ll head to the liquor store and grab a six pack of Rolling Rock.”

Every new author of a best-seller can demonstrate that “buzz” is good. Eliot Spitzer can demonstrate that buzz can be very, very bad. Be careful that you’re cultivating the right kind with the right strategy, or you might end up trying to shoot the moon… and miss.

"Whose woods these are I think I know…"

It was on this day in 1923 that Frost’s poem titled “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” was published. Frost thought it his best work and his best “bid for remembrance” and noted that the first two lines “contain everything I ever knew about how to write.”

“Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village, though;”

Like many instances of brilliance, this one came in a flash. After working through the night at his kitchen table on a poem called “New Hampshire,” he looked up to notice that night had passed. He walked outside on a warm June morning and, while watching the sun rise, had the idea for “Stopping by Woods.” He went back inside, sat down, and wrote the entire poem barely lifting the pen from the paper. He later said that it was “as if I’d had a hallucination.”

He was probably right. It’s arguably the most well-known poem he ever wrote and certainly a great “bid for remembrance.” Also happens to be one of my favorites.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.