Saturday, December 13, 2014

Torture on the Catholic blogosphere

It should come as no surprise that the release of the Senate report has opened up a floodgate of posts across the blogosphere.  Mark Shea has posted almost a dozen in just a couple days.  As one who stands back and watches, I'm amazed at the overall hatred and contempt that one sees for the US in many of the arguments.  At this point, it's simply assumed that the US has ever and always been an evil nation, a nation of genocide and slaughter, bigotry and racism.  There are Catholics who hate America, and ironically, live up to yet one more stereotype of old.  That stereotype was from those anti-Catholics of the 19th century who warned that Catholics would come to our shores, serving the Pope but using the US until it was done with it, then running back to Papa.

Thank goodness they were wrong!  After reading several posts, I put in my two cents about the whole 'America is a racist genocidal nation, torture doesn't represent our values!' hilarity so common in our modern narrative.  In a show of sad demonstration, less than a half hour later a regular on CAEI posts that the statement I responded to was spot on.  The US is always and has always been the Great Evil.  Again, having sex with prostitutes while calling them whores.  Sometimes it staggers my imagination the number of Catholics who appear capable of living up to negative stereotypes or vindicating old prejudices.  I'm sure it will continue.  And it will continue nowhere else more consistently than at CAEI, where such is not just tolerated, but increasingly encouraged.  By a conservative, patriotic Catholic no less.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Remember Pearl Harbor

Just saying.  I've not seen it mentioned much.  A couple news clips.  Nothing major. That is was a sunny Sunday like today all those years ago, as well as the 7th of December, just makes it more special.  Here's a piece I did my first year of blogging.  I can't say it much better.

Wisconsin Rest in Peace

The Wisconsin Badgers never knew what hit them.  Almost every sports analyst knew it would either be a squeak by win by OSU, or the Badgers would mop the floor with the topsy turvy Buckeyes.  After all, OSU was playing with a 3rd string quarterback in his first career start.  This after loosing not one, but two Heisman trophy candidate quarterbacks in the same season.

And on top of that, it dealt with the apparent suicide death of one of its own, some suggesting that concussions played a part (and interestingly not mentioning his wrestling career as possible blame - but that's for another day).  Given last year's disaster against Michigan State, and the equally embarrassing show in the bowl game, many wondered.

Cardale Jones, the 3rd man who started as quarterback this year, came onto the field with the lowest of expectations.  If he doesn't botch it, and the defense steps up, we might make a run of it.  Then, on the first possession, after only a couple plays, Jones stepped up in the well defended pocket and heaved a whopping 50 yard bomb into 'glue on his fingers' Devin Smith in the end zone.  One of the most impressive catches of the game.  Touchdown.  It all went down for Wisconsin from there. At 59-0, it was Wisconsin's worst defeat since 1979 (against OSU then), and one of the worst defeats in Big Ten championship history.

Boasting one of the best running backs to ever play college football, and a clear favorite for the Heisman, Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon was completely shut down.  Whenever the young man had the ball, there were at least 4 OSU jerseys on the spot. The Wisconsin offensive line couldn't keep up, and Gordon was on his own, barely making 76 yards - a disaster for him.

In addition to several turnovers by Wisconsin, and a howitzer leg punter who twice put the ball back inside the Wisconsin 5 Yard Line, nothing went right for Wisconsin.  And more than anything, Ohio State made it look easy.  It was as if it was an exhibition game by a team of crack veterans, not a 3rd stringer in his first start with a team filled to the brim with freshmen.

Now the pundits will debate.  For me, I'd be happy with Ohio State not going to the playoffs.  Stretching ourselves past expectations has not always worked well with the Buckeyes in recent years. Wisconsin seemed to plan against the short pass and the run.  Logically, since being green, one could have expected Jones to be nervous and gun shy and stick to short passes and heavy running.  Other teams won't make the mistake.  They will exploit what weaknesses OSU had last night, and be prepared for a mature, capable team, not a team of green freshmen.  We'll see.

What Pope Francis said

According to headlines, was that the Koran was a prophetic book of peace.  Thomas McDonald puts that in its place.  Apparently he didn't, but simply quoted what Muslims think the Koran happens to be.  But like Mr. McDonald, the more disturbing thing for me at least was his referencing fundamentalists as somehow the Christian equivalent of Islamic terrorists.

Not that I'm a fundamentalist, but I remember when even the TV show The West Wing had a show dedicated to pointing out that while fundamentalists are truly the most despicable form of human life, in fairness, they aren't murderers.  They don't fly jets into skyscrapers, they don't behead captives, they don't strap bombs to women and blow up buses filled with innocent children.

When CNN had a special called God's Warriors, many eyebrows were raised by who they chose to cover.  There were Islamic terrorists, radical Zionists, and Christian fundamentalists teaching abstinence only education.  Certainly, even the most stout non-fundie critics admitted, there was one in that group that wasn't like the others.

So Pope Francis dropping what even the more hardcore liberal and leftists were willing to shy from seems a bit strange, or possibly telling. Remember, he's not a liberal or a socialist.  All such accusations are the result of media lies or conservative radicals.  That only the most hardcore leftists lump Christian fundamentalists in the same group as Islamic terrorists means nothing at all.

File Under: Jury still out

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lessons from Ferguson

By Rich Lowry.

  • Don't rob convenience stores.
  • Don't push around minimum wage workers (usually the most important people in the world, but strangely irrelevant in this case)
  • Don't assault police officers.
  • When a police officer pulls his gun and tells you to stop, then stop.  

Seems pretty simple.  Yet young people say they can't do the right thing without being assaulted by police.  So by the right thing, I'm to assume they mean plenty of the above?

Again, remember those old time mobs and masses we used to scoff at?  See the local news to learn how they happen.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Congratulations Ohio State

And prayers and get well to young Mr. Barrett.  One of the Cinderella stories of the year, Mr. Barrett was a 3rd stringer thrust into the spotlight when everyone's favorite quarterback Braxton Miller was injured before the season began.  After a rocky start, J.T. Barrett passed and ran himself into the record books, and took a struggling team filled with freshmen all the way to the brink of the championship series.  And all this when already the team faced difficulties with one of their own, Kosta Karageorge, is missing and hasn't been seen in days.

Then, as can happen in the game of football, disaster struck.  A bad tackle brought him down with a hurt leg, forcing him to be carted off the field.  His condition is not known, though he's likely out of the remainder of the season.  But it brought out two of the things about football that I love.

First, OSU's defense, which had been lackluster to the extreme today, rose to the occasion and mauled Michigan, almost as if in tribute to their fallen quarterback.  Second, Devin Gardner, Michigan's long suffering QB, rushed out to the field to console Barrett as he waited to be taken off the field.  That, my friends, is class.

And in all fairness to those who hate football, revile it, despite it, I say it's because American football is a throwback to another age.  A sort of chivalrous time when warriors clashed on the battlefield, but saluted one another when the dust had settled.  You may go out and bash the hell out of each other during the game, but you stand next to one another when it's all said and done.

One of the sacrifices of homeschool was taking our boys out of our local school sports programs.  Even though they can be on the teams, our own life needs have made it impossible.  But I missed my third son experiencing that special camaraderie that seems to only happen with football.  It's as if the players usually know they are part of something bigger than themselves, and they are all in it together.  Perhaps that's why the modern liberal culture, and not a few in the geek/nerd culture, seem to hate it so badly.  You never know.

In any event, well done OSU, God's speed Mr. Barrett, and well played Michigan, especially Devin Gardner.

A Catholic Thanksgiving blessing

Remembers that Squanto was a Catholic convert (of the right kind, no doubt), and that despite the vile English Protestants like John Smith (who is thwarted by the always loving and Beautiful Spanish Catholics) and those anti-Catholic Puritan separatists, Squanto is the Saint to be venerated because he saved their butts for only the purist of reasons.  That some of the Indians embracing the Pilgrims may have had to do with local Indian politics is, of course, ignored.

Yep, that's about what I've come to expect around Thanksgiving time in the world of Catholic apologetics.  An interesting take, when compared to this piece at an Orthodox site.  Heck, the Orthodox piece even seems to suggest the Pilgrims are worth celebrating! I have no doubt that Orthodox Christians are prepared to point out the sins of America's past and present.  I just don't see the singular obsession with it, or with the Protestants in general, that always seems to creep into Catholic apologetics.

Does Pope Francis want to increase human slaughter?

According to news reports, Pope Francis has said that the horror of ISIS justifies the use of military force.  Sounds reasonable to me.  But in that perverted parallel universe known as the Catholic Blogosphere, that could pose some problems.  In the land where righteousness is obtained by carefully picking and choosing which statements in the last 2000 years matter, the notion advanced by former pope Benedict XVI that we've moved past justifiable war was all the rage.

That's right.  Because of our weaponry and the destructive powers we posses, it might be time to reexamine the ability to fight a just war.  Seems understandable.  Worth a good debate,  But in the Catholic Blogosphere, those words became Gospel, and anyone trying to debate - ahem - was accused of simply wanting to increase human slaughter; simply wanting to ask how many more humans can be butchered.  If you were asking 'could there be times when war might be justified despite was Benedict suggests?', why you were instantly accused of nothing but wanting to elevate the carnage and the body count.

So, by that standard, it looks like our good Pope Francis is just itching to increase human slaughter, correct?  Not so, for the clever Catholic blogger!  In a world where amateurs reign supreme, they will have no problem invoking the post-modern mantra of punditry over principles by simply ignoring the standards they used yesterday in order to win the latest argument on the internet today.  Francis will be the guy of the hour, of course ISIS deserves it, and so on.

The more I live, the more I realize how utterly useless the blogosphere is for navigating Catholic teaching and a Faith lived out.  If you must, go to actual sites run by professionals, paid apologists at least, or religious.  It can still be a crap shoot, but your chances of getting real examples of Church teaching will increase tenfold.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Add caption

A hat tip to the Pilgrims, whose courage and devotion to their faith set a precedent that has flowed through American veins for over two hundred years.  And if we were smart, would inspire us today. Here's a post I wrote a couple years ago regarding my views of those heroes in light of some Catholics who prefer the 'stupid, evil puritans' take.

Oh, and here is a list of the Bad Guys.  And here is a nice list of the Good Guys.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A case for Orthodox Christianity

By Mark Shea. Yeah, that's right.  Mark makes a great case for Orthodoxy when asked by a reader why he is Catholic instead of Orthodox.  How does he do this? Certainly, he makes it clear why he is Catholic!  Of course.  But the content of his arguments just doesn't seem to be, well, read for yourself. 

Well, not really.  First, he fails to give the Number One Reason he has always defaulted to when pointing out the flaws in others' testimonies: Because it is True. No matter what, that's the bottom line reason to be Catholic.  I'm not saying he doesn't think this.  But it's noteworthy when distinguishing between the Church and the Orthodox, a clear "Because It's True" never occurs.

Much of the reasoning - and indeed, much of the reasoning in the comments - is a broad version of 'their mammas wear army boots.  Suggesting that Orthodox are more this or more that or more the other, as opposed to Catholics.  The problems with this, of course, is that it means nothing about the Truth of Orthodoxy's claims, as has been said on CAEI and other Catholic blogs when Atheists blast the actions or tendencies of religious people. 

Several of the theological issues he touches on seem to be vaguely understood at best, and he never really delves into them as I would like to have seen.  The Filioque is perhaps the main example.  Not mentioned by most was less the fact that the Orthodox churches disagreed with the theology of the phrase as much as they disagreed with the theology of the Roman Church suddenly feeling it could add to the Creed without input from the rest of the Christian world. 

Another interesting twist on Mark's take was the emphasis he put on those rascally converts.  This is shocking since, in the day, Mark would be the first to come down hard on someone for impugning the motives or tendencies of converts to Catholicism.  In Mark's piece, he once again makes the suggestion that while 'many' may not be that way (in standard fashion, pointing to personal friends he knows as examples), clearly a problem with Orthodoxy is its converts.  Followed by an equally condemning attitude toward those dreaded reactionaries, many of whom are such converts who become Catholic for all the wrong reasons.  That's called change.  Mark saying what Mark once would have condemned. 

Some of the reasons are silly.  The idea that the Orthodox are anti-Western?  Most of Mark's own Catholic readers are part of the whole 'the West is dead, let it die' movement.  We won't even discuss their attitudes about the US.  Does he mean anti-Western in the sense of the Old Western culture, or currently anti-Western?  That's a broad term and tough to pin.  In that Orthodoxy is not a product of Western Latin Culture is true, and could be part of the issue. He does mention its hostility toward the West since VII.  But I don't really know what is meant by that, so it's hard to say. 

Mark ends it with saying the Orthodox Church just isn't ready to accommodate, as Cardinal Newman said.  Though the phrase is assimilate.  A hairline distinction between those terms to be sure, and a balance I'm not sure the Church is any better at achieving.  Sure, "Doctrine (TM)" will never change.  But almost anything you do with it can change if you're clever.  Something the Orthodox might have figured out, that the Catholic Church, after centuries of changing to fit the latest, still doesn't seem to get.

Anyway, in light of my own post a few days ago, I thought the timing was interesting.  On our way into the Church, we seriously considered Orthodoxy.  Practical considerations made it a moot issue.  But reading this, and the rather weak and contradictory reasons (at least contradictory reasons when considering the criticisms of others' reasons for conversions) was an interesting read. 

Oh, and one more thing.  Mark made a little dig about the Orthodox letting bygones be bygones.  He mentions his ability to get over Pearl Harbor.  Yet even now, there are still tens of thousands of families who lost loved ones living today for that very attack.  Mark's OK with that.  And yet.  As can be expected, grudges are only excusable for the right reasons and right people.  So many revealing statements, so little time.  

The Pro Life Inquisition

Is on display.  Torture is bad.  Got it.  I was shocked at how many conservatives jumped on board that bandwagon.  I understood.  It was clear that many were more concerned with scoring points against Bush than protecting America, and I think in desperation and fear many embraced what they never would have embraced.  But desperation and fear make bad reasons for embracing moral stances.

The A-Bombs were bad.  Got it.  I don't know another way, given the knowledge we now have that suggests Japan's post-war take on events wasn't always the most accurate.  Apart from pacifism and 'just let'm die', don't know what we could have done.  But I've never imagined it was a wonderful thing to cheer about.

War is bad.  Of course.  Who wants war?  Though some of the bygone attitudes surrounding war: sacrifice, honor, loyalty, duty (words seldom used in modern discourse) are quite good.  And again, pacifism or war?

The death penalty is bad.  In that I wish there were no crimes that deserved it, yeah.  And I like mercy over execution.  But historically the Church has understood the need to protect the innocent in a fallen world.  Now that the Church is wanting to change, I can understand the debate.

Some, however, can't. So we have a reminder why the Catholic Church has the dubious distinction of being the only major world religion with its own official Inquisition.  As one who has been accused by the author of the piece of wanting to increase human slaughter, simply because I question the Church's reasoning for suddenly wishing to abolish the death penalty, I can understand a little better how some of those moments in Church history took place.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Is everything that the media has been wanting it to be.  Think on this.  Either we are victims of a vast, evil, white racist legal conspiracy.  Or we have a media that has, twice now in just the last couple years, attempted to destroy innocent (or at least somewhat innocent) individuals in order to advance agendas and destroy those who stand in the way.  And if cities and lives and livelihoods are destroyed?  So be it.  Either way, Ferguson has been everything that the media has worked diligently toward for endless months.  People willing to exploit and utilize race to advance agendas and grab a few electronic devices are willing to jump in and lend their support.

For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition...  The media man of the hour.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Merchants of Amsterdam

Is a darn fun game.  And semi-educational too.  I say semi-educational because in fairness, most educational games are just that, semi-educational.

The game has no dice.  It has a time tracker that moves through various years of the 17th century that mark certain events in the fortunes of Amsterdam, when that city was a center of trade and commerce.  In the rules, it gives a bullet point about what happened in that particular year to make it worthy of note.

The rest of the game is a strange combination of strategy and pure luck.  You open markets around the world, build warehouses in Amsterdam (noted for such building in its day), and speculate on the commodities market.  Through a bizarre combination of factoring and figuring, you can rake in the money or lose everything.  The one with the most money at the end wins.

As "historical" games go, it's somewhat light even when you think semi-educational.  But compared to most video games (computer games being another issue), it soars.  It got my kids to realize there was this place that occupies a footnote or a few sentences in most history books that really was, for quite a while, a major player in world events.

As for the game play, it's not easy.  Sometimes it goes fast, other times it drags.  Long term strategies work better than fly by the seat of your pants.  Figuring what to focus on - worldwide markets, warehouse building or commodities exchange - is one of the keys.  And the high point each round is the Auction, which includes a rather bizarre timer.  Who hits the timer first gets the purchase for the price the timer indicates.  That's where it's every man for himself. For the record, I came in 3rd last night.  My wife won, being the non-man in the room.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

American racism

A thought.  Is America a Racist Nation?  Yep.  That's because America inherited the racist justifications used to excuse the African slave trade and persecution of American Indians by the European imperialist powers.  Protestant England, Catholic Spain and Portugal, and yes, the Islamic world.  All had their own Racist Justifications for what they knew was wrong, but a justification for what they wanted.

The thing is, America is a young nation formed in the midst of this.  Those cultures and nations and kingdoms were already ancient by the time the Founding Fathers came together to make some sense of this mess.  The slavery and racism that America had on day one of its official existence was, of course, the gift given from England.  Not that England was unique.  But that's where it came from, and it was in their blood like persecuting opposition to gay marriage is in our blood today.

But when it was time, those cultures could simply dilute those racist excuses into the larger pool of their more ancient cultures, customs, traditions, values, and histories.  America as a nation couldn't.  Racism used in America to excuse African slavery and Indian persecution was there from day one.  There is nothing greater to swallow it up.

Of course that's not to say racism only exists in America.  Or that those other European nations don't still have traces of it in their blood.  But if England adopted flagrant racism to excuse the slave trade or stealing land from the native inhabitants, all of which it benefited from for almost 200 years, that was only a small part of its history that stretches back centuries upon centuries.  Same with Spain.  Or any of the Islamic states that had their own brand of 'they're just so close to animals' reasoning to justify the robust Arabic slave trade.

America?  Nope.  Our existence has had that from day one.  If we got rid of all traces of racism tomorrow, we would have to exist another 600 to 800 years without racism to have the same amount of overarching culture to swallow up the blight.  That we've come this far already, in only a matter of a dozen generations or so, is - to me at least - a point to celebrate.  Especially when we consider the fact that in such a short time, there are 15% of non-whites in the US Congress, vs. 4.2% non-whites in the much more ancient (and far less racist) British Parliament.  Put that in your clay pipe and smoke it.

Just saying.  Since this week is a week once reserved for, among other things, thanking God, being with family, celebrating our heritage; now it's a week to be reminded of white racists imperialists slaughtering godlike indigenous people in order to set up a holiday which is only good as a means for increasing Wall Street's bottom line.  I thought it was worth the reflection.

Because Global Warming causes everything

MSNBC, with its patron saint of science, Bill Nye the Science Guy, steps in to remind Buffalo that this is all because of Global Warming.  Bwa Ha Ha Ha!  Remember in the late 90s and early 00s, when winters were mild and summers were scorching?  Ah, that's when MMGW scientists had it easy.

For the record, what do I think?  I think this.  First, the climate changes.  Every time I look out the window and don't see glaciers and woolly mammoths, I'm reminded that the climate changes.

Two, I have no doubt that mankind's humankind's unbridled embrace of industrialization and technology has not always been great for the natural world.  Lesson learned?  Don't hand science/technology/industry a blank check and say 'here, we're sure this time there will be no problems!'  Of course, rethinking our current approach of science and technology to solve all problems might not be imprudent. After all, caring for the environment isn't a bad thing.

Three, I reject the idea that humans (the latest stage of primate evolution) are the only animals who are a festering malignant blight upon the world whose numbers need to be thinned to save the planet.
Fourth, I certainly reject the notion that America is the sole culprit that needs to be beaten down to size, and that the only way to save ourselves is to support socialists and liberals who need to put me in my place as they await their limousines and private jets.

Fifth, I'm curious why we assume warming has to be a bad thing.  It seems that if we played our cards right, it might mean longer growing seasons and larger tracts of land previously barren.  Who knows?  But who knows?

Sixth, I'm always and forever suspect when people pull variations of Archie Bunker's famous "Stifle it!' approach to dialogue, especially since the majority opinion and the Truth don't always go hand in hand.

Finally, the laughable changing and twisting terms and arguments should make any sensible person skeptical.  Not that scientists have to be experts at public communications.  But when they sound more convoluted in their reasoning and arguments than a bad used car salesman, I'm going to be hesitant when it comes to embracing the weeding out of people as the only way of saving the planet because of something we all have to believe because 'shut up or you're an idiot!'.

Watch Lorenzo's Oil

A prolife movie and then some.  Nick Nolte pulls off a respectable Italian accent, and the always solid Susan Sarandon does her usual excellent work.  It's a tear-jerker.  But it's inspiring.  It's also based on a true story. Alas, young Lorenzo died a few years ago.  But to see the affirmation of life, that life begets life, reminds us that had Lorenzo's parents gone the way of Oprahianity, they would have accepted things, focused on their own lives, and thousands of children would never have been helped by their heroic efforts.  Honorary medical degrees are not given out like nickels and dimes, but Mr. Odone more than earned it. True, it is not a miracle cure.  And I have no doubt that not all experienced the same benefits, as all medical cures tend to be.  What helps most does not always help all.  Nonetheless, as a film, it flies.  Like all great movies, there are many things that recommend it.  But the prolife message is at the top of the list.

BTW, it's worth noting that when he died, many news agencies seemed to want to focus on the shortcomings or failures, rather than the successes.  Whether it's because the emphasis on life is bothersome or we just tend to shy from successful heroes and prefer 'hero in the generic', I don't know.  But I noticed it and took note when it happened.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Arthur Rankin RIP

Arthur Ranking, Jr. has died.  He was 89.  What can one say about a person who helped to shape an entire world for young people of my generation?  Just this last Sunday, we settled in for our annual viewing of Rankin and Bass's The Hobbit.  It's still, IMHO, the best adaptation of any of Tolkien's works to date - Jackson's bloated attempts included.

But it was more than just Hobbits.  Rankin and Bass had their finger on that strange mixture of post-war Boomer culture and various cultural traditions and milestones.  Using varying mediums to convey stories, they brought a host of famous characters to life and defined how an entire generation visualized at least the secular spin on the Christmas holidays. 

For my part, aside from The Hobbit, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Little Drummer Boy.  Others need no introduction.  Rudolph kicked off the whole Christmas Specials for Kids genre, and became one of many specials around which kids my age centered their calendars on the long march leading up to that day of days.  

Anyway, a big thank you for all the memories, the good times and the great stories.  

More atmosphere in a couple minutes than Jackson has managed in over 15 hours of state of the art film making.

Monday, November 17, 2014

On a more serious note

A reminder that the Modern Left is about crushing freedoms and liberties and eradicating wrong-think.  To that end, I applaud all who aren't stupid enough to try to find compromise with a movement that would seek to destroy all that most sensible people should hold dear.

One of the nice things about traveling

Is the food you get to experience.  Finances being what they are, the one thing I miss is traveling.  I can take everything else, but in our day we did quite a bit of traveling.  Some of it was ministry related.  Often personal.  But we made some pretty good dents in the map in years gone by.  Not so much the last few years.  But we've still had our chances to go hither and yon, if not on a limited basis.

Not great for the culinary experiences we used to enjoy, but you can still touch base with old favorites.  One of ours is quite simply the best Irish Pub on this side of the Atlantic, known rather whimsically as The Irish Rover.  Even when not staying in Louisville, we will adjust our travels to make sure we stop there for a bite and a draught.  It's owned by a bona fide Irishman who routinely goes back to the old country to make sure his recipes are authentic and darn good.  It's not a bar made to look like a pub mind you.  You feel as if you've stepped back a generation or so and into a land of emerald greens half way around the world.

In my Doctoral days, I used to stop there every Wednesday at lunch for fish and chips and (psst, don't tell any Baptists) a glass of Harp.  A Presbyterian minister friend of mine sometimes joined me.  It was an 'everybody knows your name' time when my faith in my own denominational doctrines was being shaken, and my journey toward the Historic Faith was taking shape.

Anyway, we found an article in a Louisville publication that had some of the recipes, and we tried our hand at one of the Rover's more scrumptious offerings - Scotch Eggs (a traditional English dish named after Scotland and served in an Irish Pub).  I have to say, except for using mild rather than spicy sausage, the results were splendid.  My Mom called it the best thing she's eaten since she doesn't know when.  Perhaps we'll get her down there someday for the full options.

A perfectly poured Guinness, eyed playfully by our 'still too young' oldest. 

Before the meal, all eager with anticipation. 

Our little attempt at matching the greatness.  Not bad at all.