Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here's the family

Without Dad of course.  He was certainly missed.  But the rest of us tried to carry on the tradition of endless fun and festivities during this Christmastide.  Here is everyone on the Grand Carousel at the Columbus Zoo.  It's not the best pic (no, my grand niece doesn't have demon eyes), but shows everyone getting on and having a blast. 

L to R, My Mom, the wife, our youngest, 13 year old, 16 year old, my Sister, my 11 year old, and my grand niece

And a Happy New Year

This and that  As the less than stellar 2011 comes to a close, I leave everyone with images of a fun wrap up and hopefully a sign of enjoyable things to come.  Our annual visit to the Columbus Zoo's lights spectacular.  Alas, the pictures I took of my Mom, Sister, and grand-niece didn't come out.  I will see if any others come out down the road.  For now, here's the gang wishing everyone a blessed and joyful New Year!

The boys, complete with picture of their adorable Mom

The boys and one proud Dad

I don't know, but he has to be thinking something

Never afraid to cheese it up for the camera

It's not easy looking cool at Zoo Lights, but by goodness they gave it a try

The totally awesome lights display at the ultra-awesome Zoo that Jack built

Friday, December 30, 2011

On the Feast of the Holy Family

The flight to Egypt

On this, the day in which we remember the Holy Family, Joseph included, I would like to offer up a prayer for my family.  It's been a long, difficult year.  My sister's family has been hit hard by troubles with her son, with the sudden onset of illness for her husband, and a disastrous financial collapse due to ill fortune and corrupt business partners.  In short, they went from owning several houses to being on the verge of homelessness, my sister forced to help raise her granddaughter.

Meanwhile, my Dad's Alzheimer's caused a downward spiral last year, one that eventually led to us putting him in a nursing home in March.  Within five weeks, he had died.  We still don't know what happened.  But we miss him.  It was the first death of a close relative that my children experienced.  At the same time, I was left without employment, any freelance and part time work having dried up despite rumors of an improving economy.

In Summer, we realized my Mom couldn't stay by herself any more and we invited her to live with us; with us, in a house meant as a starter for families with three to five people, already boasting a six member family.  Now, with her, we have seven living under the same roof.  At the same time, I began working for Aflac.  A great product I believe in, one that does what it says.  The problem?  By all honest accounts, it can take up to two years before you really see the money coming in (remember, this is as self-employment, so all the glorious expenses and taxes that come with being self-employed).  No problem, as my wife made enough and had good enough benefits for us to scratch out a living until I got my feet on the ground.

And then December 7, a date which will live in infamy.  Now for more than one reason.  My wife was asked to meet her supervisor at the human resources department of McGraw-Hill, where she was promptly told that her position had been eliminated by a computer program in New York.  There was no bargaining, no pleading, no begging.  It had been printed, and it was a done thing.  By 2012, she would join the throngs of the unemployed while I was scarcely bringing in enough money to pay the expenses it takes to make the money in the first place.

So coming into the holidays, realizing that for the second time since we became Catholic, we were both without steady incomes, this time with a total of seven people to keep, and a floundering economy, I can't help but admit things have looked better.  2011 was a bad year.  It just was.  We tried to make the best, to make lemonade where there were lemons, to put the best face on it we could, but it was just a bad year. 

So we're praying that 2012 will be better, that the Mayans were incorrect, and that our fortunes will turn and we will see God at work in our lives, have the faith to follow His will, and see by the end that it was all worth it. I would like to think finding our paths would happen because of the Church, not despite the Church.  And my prayer is that we will be able to declare a wonderful testimony about how 2011 was made in some ways better by the abundant blessings of 2012.  It's a prayer I have.  And I pray to the Holy Family, to Mary, to Joseph, who like me had his earthly family to tend, and to Jesus Christ my savior and lord, that by next year at this time, we will have been put into a situation where we can finally give, and from that it shall be given unto us; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, that our children may see the blessings we have received through our Faith in Christ through His Holy Church.  That is my prayer. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry fifth day of Christmas

OK, so the best I could come up with today was a picture of five gold rings.  Still, it's great being Catholic for many reasons.  One is the realization that you are really the counter-cultural rebel.  While most of the world is back to normal, excepting that frenzy of parties and drunkenness and little smokies in barbecue sauce come New Years.  Politics is dominating the news.  Business is seeking new ways to cash in on cash strapped consumers.  Wall Street executives are filling their wallets with the money saved from slashing jobs, salaries, benefits, and exploiting third world workers.  All is getting back to normal.

But we Catholics buck the trend.  Not in the tired, predictable, stale, and boring 'rebellion' one sees on MTV, Bill Maher, or the latest 'dress like a slab of beef' pop star.  Snooze.  How dull and brain melt is that.  Really, does anyone see any of that and come away in shock?  But now, we followers of the historic Faith, we know that the Twelve Days of Christmas are more than a song about merrymakers and assorted fowl.  It's how the Church has done the holidays for centuries.  And it helps us keep the Spirit of the season alive when the spirit of this world has already resumed control of affairs in so many ways.  So Merry Fifth Day of Christmas!  May those five gold rings symbolize more than gold, and be a reminder of just how rich and deep is the Catholic tradition that is available to all!

Obligatory Fifth Day of Christmas image

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jay Mohr demonstrates that while it's difficult finding people who make Fred Phelps look intelligent

It can be done. For the record, I spent the first 45 years of my life oblivious to the fact that Jay Mohr exists. But apparently, wanting to get his name in the news, he decided to jump on the Bill Maher bandwagon and spew some good old Nazi-humor at Christians. By now, most have heard of Maher's Phelps-inspired rant against Tim Tebow. Nothing new, original, or different there. The earth's orbit around the sun is less predictable than Maher's tired old routine. But then Mr. Mohr jumps in and tries to add, well, something to the dialogue.  He - hold on for it - calls Christians 'idiots' for wanting to boycott HBO over Maher's comments:
"Yeah, that would be great Christians, except there’s nothing to boycott, there’s no commercials, you idiot," he chuckled. "‘Let me tell you something, HBO,’" he continued, as if he was someone boycotting the company, "‘I’m not buying any products you advertise. I’m not drinking Minute Maid orange juice, I’m not going to use the tricky ladder– the three-in-one ladder you advertise.’"
"There are no commercials you moron, it’s HBO Christians!" he yelled. "And I’m speaking as a Christian."
The funny part? Nobody is actually calling for a 'boycott' of HBO in that sense. They are simply calling on people to do like I do, and not subscribe to a cable network wishing for a return to pre-Christian barbarism. I never took a cable package that included HBO, and have no intention of doing so now. But so off the wall vacant was his rant, even the writer of the news article is left wondering:
"It’s unclear what boycott Mohr was specifically referencing or why he said Christians were going after HBO advertisers. The movement across Twitter and other places has referenced boycotting HBO in general, not necessarily a call for a movement against HBO sponsors."
But then, the general audience of shows like Maher's, and apparently Mohr's, doesn't exactly lend itself to sweating over such things as facts and reality. Some sex, drugs, and the ability to abort babies for better orgasms is about all they probably care to process.

FWIW, his little 'I'm speaking as a Christian' is about as worthless as anything can be worthless. Assuming it's true, and I'll take him at his word (being the only evidence I can imagine accepting for assuming it's true), it's more of an embarrassment than anything, and another reminder that it's not just the Fred Phelps of the world who make a mockery of religion in general, and Christianity in particular.  And not only that, but making it look like the domain of idiots when he goes off on a rant about something that isn't even happening. Sigh.

Well done Governor Kasich

On this, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, I thought I would send a kudos to Governor Kasich for having the guts to sign what will be an instantly obliterated bill into law.  They call it the heartbeat bill.  Basically, once an unborn baby's heart is detected, the woman cannot abort the baby.  Kill it, so to speak.  Nor can the doctor cash in the money from said dead baby.  Seems pretty Christian to me.  Alas, the ACLU and others, yearning for a return to pre-Christian barbarism (and doing a damn fine job I admit), have already promised their multi-zillion dollar bombing campaign that is almost guaranteed to place the fine and wonderful right of baby killing back into the hands of individuals where it belongs.  But, at least on this day, the day when Christians historically remembered Herod's heartless and brutal massacre of the innocents, it's a bright moment to think that maybe at least one or two lives might be spared, if only from pointing to the obvious of just what an unborn baby is in the first place.
"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked o the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,
In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."
King James Version

Pieter Bruegel's "Massacre of the Holy Innocents"

HBO couldn't book Heinrich Himmler

So they had to settle for Bill Maher instead.  Unlike Himmler, who had the power to turn his hatred and contempt for others into a reign of unparalleled terror, Maher must limp along trying to sound funny by making Fred Phelps seem sane and compassionate by comparison (really, is there any objective difference between Phelps' hatred and Maher's hatred, except I hear Phelps can by funny every now and then?).  Naturally, it's probable that since Maher supports aborting babies for better orgasms and drugs (let's not forget the drugs), HBO gives him a blank check.  Like most media outlets, HBO seems quite happy with the lowest common denominator of hatred and bigotry as long as it's promoting narcissism, hedonism, debauchery, and mindless slavery to the altar of brain rot known as television.  Some think Maher may have gone too far this time.  I doubt it.  If it helps with the ratings, I believe HBO will keep him no matter what.  Not that I want HBO to cave to pressure.  But it's possibly another reason why they might not that bothers me.  Tebow is, of course, the Muhammad Ali of the post-modern secular era.  So I can't help but think HBO would likely support what they can to bring him down, even if it's using a mental pygmy like Maher to score the hits.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A single death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic with which to win arguments

On this, the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, it's a good thing to read Mike Flynn's take on Steven Pinker's book The Better Nature of Angels. This book is a new twist on the old message of post-religionism: religion bad, non-religion good. Now thinking people can't help but ask a few questions about that, not the least question is how the 20th century fits into this equation. After all, we know that few of the major events of the century were guided by religious doctrine. Sure, some folks motivated by religion did things good and bad, but most things, such as the Russian Revolution, the World Wars, the nuclear arms race, the Cultural Revolution, had nothing at all to do with religion. Even the holocaust had only shades of pseudo-religious thought behind it, resting heavier on the latest, hippest scientific theories and social speculations about human-as-animal and its ramifications. Therefore, the 20th century, dominated by non-religious - and sometimes outright anti-religious - ideals, mixed with the largest body count of any singular century in history, poses some problems for our intrepid New Atheists who insist getting rid of religion will lead to peace, joy, and the eternal chanting of John Lennon songs.

Enter Steven Pinker. His basic hope is to convince us that if you look at the number of people butchered vs. the number of people actually living in the 20th century, that it really isn't as bad as other times in history. He then goes on to site example after example of other horrible times in other places where the body bags were piling up at least as quickly, if not proportionally more so, than during the 20th.

There are troubles with this to be sure, and Mr. Flynn does a nice job unpacking the fly-over simplicity of much of Mr. Pinker's grasp of history. He also brings out some of the usual problems with using statistics in order to win arguments (hint: if you are dead set on A being true, chances are you're going to make sure the stats prove A is true).

Of course there is a danger in any rebuttal against Pinker's thesis. For decades, post-Westerners and post-Christianists have used the terrors of the 20th century, particularly of the West, to prove how utterly unique was the dire result of this Christian based civilization. In answer to this mode of attack, many have labored for years to show that while the horrors of Nazi Germany, the World Wars, and the worst aspects of European Imperialism were bad, they were not the only horrors of the 20th, or any other, century. So we don't want to dismiss the points Mr. Pinker offers outright. But we want to make sure that we remember the sad fact that the body count of the 20th century seems only to have been limited by the means necessary for killing that many people. It wasn't for a lack of anything else but time and resources that the numbers killed were kept at that rate. That idea alone should give us pause before going any further toward accepting Pinker's proportionally acceptable mass slaughter rates defense. Mr. Flynn's rebuttal should do the rest.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Prayers for our Nigerian brothers and sisters on this Feast of St. Stephen

All too fitting that today we mourn the deaths of Christians killed on Christmas in Nigeria.  As CNN pointed out, this is the second year where the celebration of Christ's birth has been met with violence and bloodshed against those who are celebrating.  Hopefully it will not become a tradition. May God grant peace to those who mourn, and embrace those who died on that holy day, whose sacrifice call to mind the first martyr's sacrifice.  St. Stephen pray for them!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Glory to the newborn king!

And with that, I wish everyone a peace filled and joyful Christmas celebration.  I'll be around for the next week or so, but tomorrow?  I'm with the family, feasting, celebrating, relaxing, and taking in the peace of Christ which surpasses all human understanding.  May that peace fill your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Merry Christmas everyone, Merry Christmas to my lovely wife and wonderful boys, to my family, and to you Dad - you're still with us in our hearts and memories.  Amen.

Yes, the wise still seek him.  And so do the humble.

"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
       Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us."

King James Version

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas time is here

Happiness and cheer.  Therefore I can't account for how much time I'll have between now and the end of the year for blogging.  With my wife losing her job due to cutbacks and us going straight back to survival mode sans income once again, much will be happening over the next few weeks.  A shame, since readership has really taken off.  I appreciate everyone who stops by for a visit.  Still not many comments, but then perhaps once I've said my piece, there's nothing left to say!  Or it could be that folks can't figure out what the heck I'm saying in the first place.  Either way, thanks for stopping, and a blessed Christmas and merry holiday season to everyone.  I hope everyone will keep coming back, and I'll try to add things as they come by.  In the meantime, enjoy this picture taken at the Pontifical College Josephinum, just down the street from where we live, and an early location that helped stoke those embers of religious investigation in my later college days.

The reason for the season

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I had to laugh

At this picture:

I found it on Mark Shea's blog dealing with this story in which we find out that our capital's December 25th Tree will not honor Jesus, but will in fact honor President Obama.  Laugh now.  We'll most certainly cry later. 

My Saint is more popular than yours!

Unless yours is more popular than St. Francis (how can any saint be more popular than St. Francis!).  According to Catholic Online at least.  Four of my family's saints are in the top 20!  Yeah, you go!  Anyway, interesting stuff.  Sometimes it's just fun being Catholic.

The Hobbit Trailer is here!

Yep, figured I would jump on the hype.  The clip is in the article.  As I've said many times, I'm OK with Jackson's LoTR films, but that's all.  They were no better than other attempts to bring Tolkien to the screen.  Most of the time they weren't worse.  Though Rankin/Bass's animated "The Hobbit" is more faithful to the source material than the various LoTR adaptations, so we'll have to see how this new version holds up in comparison.  So far, there's enough add on that I can't help but fear we'll see more surfing elves, elf warrior princesses, and orc butt kicking rangers where deep philosophical and moral reflections should be.  The Hobbit is a simpler book, of course, aimed at children.  Maybe this will feel more at home.  Anyway, here it is.

If you thought President Obama wasn't doing anything

You were wrong!  Just because he's been nowhere to be seen regarding our budget battles, nowhere to be seen on the international stage, nowhere to be seen at home except for campaigning for his reelection bid, some folks have mistakenly assumed he's only about getting reelected and isn't doing anything else he was elected to do.  Well fella, you'd be wrong to think it.  Here we see that he's taken time for the most important issue of the age.  He has sent a congratulations letter to two homosexuals who got married, even though he apparently doesn't support gay marriage.  Heck, you figure that one out.  The important thing is, he's making time for what really matters.  And in the 21st century post modern world, that is anything non-heterosexual. 

Save our Christmas traditions

Go Green! That's right.  Just when you thought Global Warming had threatened everything there is to threaten, we learn that the three kings of Orient Asia are going to lose their beloved frankincense in the upcoming years.  Why?  Global Warming of course.  I mean Global Climate Change.  No, that's Climate Disruption.  Oh heck, everything in the weather proves it's right, so we better worry.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I have three areas of history that I have studied

The revolutionary period of the late 18th/early 19th century.  The Middle Ages, with particular emphasis on northern Europe in the High Middle Ages.  And WWII.  The last is what got me into history in the first place.  Since I had so many relatives who served in that war, it was natural that I would be fascinated by that period.  I tended to focus on the Pacific more than Europe.  And of all battles, campaigns, and topics, my number one go-to-when-I-have-a-report-to-do subject was Pearl Harbor.  I don't mind saying, there's not much out there about the attack I haven't seen, studied, or read (until recent years, I must admit), and I can give an impromptu talk at a museum to fellow costumers with the  best of them.  That's also why I laugh at all the silly conspiracy theories, by the way.

So it came as a shock to see this article stating that a famous photo of Japanese women manning fire hoses after the attack was, in fact, not true.  It was a real photo, but apparently taken much later - or so the surviving woman in the photo believes.  Now, is that the shock?  No.  What shocked me was that the photo existed.  Again, I've studied, read, bought books, magazines, articles, and documents on the topic.  I've done reports, essays, and projects centered on the topic.  I've seen just about every photo I thought there was to see.  Yet the article says this:
"The photograph has had quite the run through the history books."
I don't know.  Never saw it before now.  Of course I pretty much ignore the [Non]History Channel at this point, so if it's there I wouldn't see it.  I'm just taken that the article assumes "why, this photo was everywhere" when, in truth, after the hundreds of books and articles I've read, and the endless lists of photos I've seen, this was the first.

It says something, that's for sure.  Maybe no matter how much we think we know, there's always something out there we've missed.  Or maybe the press has a tendency to over-inflate things in order to continually promote narratives and memes of its choosing.  Or a combination of both.  Makes me wonder, don't think I don't.

Dr. Peter Ruckman

And a devoted fan help demonstrate why I became Catholic.  Peter Bradley unpacks the book and points out its more obvious flaws.  He rightly observes that it belongs to a hopefully bygone era of Archie Bunker style bigotry, racism, and prejudice that, sadly, informed far too many congregations over the years.  I'm sure there are Catholics who are just as bad.  Muslims in their own ways.  Jews perhaps.  Atheists even.  I don't pretend that one group has a monopoly on evil thoughts and actions.  But it's still telling that many ideals Protestants have about the Catholic Church are rooted in such flagrant bigotry and ignorance of the historical record.   Most, of course, wouldn't be caught dead defending such ideals, but have grown comfortable enjoying the watered down fruits of it nonetheless.  Then again, based on responses to Mr. Bradley's review, it looks like there's still some out there who worship at the 'only Church God loves' congregation of bigotry and ignorance.  Not to mention some milk-out-the-nose hilarity at mangling and mauling the history of the early Christian Church.  Sigh.

Monday, December 12, 2011

One small step for common sense

One giant step for a better generation.  Here we have the US Bishops giving high-fives to Kathleen Sebelius for trumping the decision to allow little girls the chance to get the infamous 'morning after' pill, the only purpose of which is to end pregnancies after sex, over the counter.   Many striving to reduce humanity to its lowest animal form are, naturally, objecting.  We have to get our kids to be more worthless than us, after all, or we might actually end up being history's worst generation!  But for now, common sense, common decency, and human dignity have prevailed.  Strike one for President Obama. 

How can we take racism seriously

When the charge of racism is used as often as the English definite article?  I've long maintained that someone who exploits racism for gain is no better than a racist.  This is particularly true because I can't help but get the feeling that people who obviously have it in mind to use racism for their own agendas might be inclined to want to see racism continue. 

This is, of course, difficult to prove, and can only be maintained in the area of 'hunch.'  Proving ulterior motives is, as we all know, next to impossible.  Plus, racism is the opposite side of the 'only thing Americans care about' coin (the other being sex).  As far as American popular meme is concerned, all evil is racism and if it ain't racism, it's not that important.  Therefore it's all around us like the air we breath.

Nevertheless, after the first three years of President Obama's term, it's not hard to see two things.  First, there are obviously still racists in America.  Second, there are obviously people who exploit racism for various - in this case political - agendas.  Has some of the rhetoric and images tossed at President Obama been racist?  You bet.

But on the other side, have there been obvious attempts to exploit racism in order to shut down debate and advance various topics and legislation?  Oh yeah.  So here we have an editorial cartoon portraying President Obama as a skunk.  Not particularly imaginative.  But nothing unusual.  That sort of things goes back to the beginning of the office.  Look at cartoons of presidents over the years.  Many of them have been far from flattering.  I grew up in the 1980s, and I can assure you that many of the portrayals of Reagan were far worse than this.

Still, it's in our blood to be offended when such images are applied to people we like, so it's not surprising that President Obama's supporters would not like the characterization.  But racist?  How is it racist?*  It's to make a point.  Now I might be inclined to consider that it could be racist if it weren't for the fact that almost every non-flattering cartoon, almost every criticism of President Obama or his policies has been called racist for the last three years.  And just like the endless attacks against Bill Clinton by the Republicans in the 90s eventually eroded the Republicans' credibility, I'm afraid I've heard the boy cry racist one too many times.

Racism is a problem.  Naturally.  It probably always will be.  But exploiting it, using it, even, dare I suppose, encouraging it just to score political points is no better.  Not just because of the chance of keeping racism alive and well, but also because once you've heard it a million times, and then a million more tomorrow, eventually it loses its punch.  And that, we all know, is just when the issue raises its head in the worst possible way, only to find a public that has grown apathetic about the entire topic.

*I admit I haven't seen the actual cartoon, but that's the result of crying wolf every time someone criticizes the President.  I assume, at this point, that the charge of racism is simply political expediency, not based on reality.

Alec Baldwin reminds me that it's not easy having respect for celebrities

I'm sure everyone heard the news.  American Airlines has a policy about cell phones.  Baldwin ignored the policy.  Baldwin was removed, acted like a spoiled child, and then appeared on SNL to do what SNL does: mock those who challenge its prepubescent sensibilities.  Funny?  Not really.  Most of SNL isn't really that funny, at least IMO.  I never thought it was.  I always found most of its skits to be 'I laugh because everyone else does and it's expected.'  But really.  I mean, this is the stuff a middle school student does because he gets caught cheating on a test and doesn't have the maturity to own up to his actions. 

It just reminds me that celebrities in our culture are treated like the aristocracy of old.  And apparently, not a few of them expect such treatment.  Naturally, Yahoo News gushes over the stellar performance of Baldwin and rejoices in the mockery of an airline employee who failed to genuflect to the obvious superiority of our noble class. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Macy's fires religious type to demonstrate diversity

Yep, a boy wanted to change clothes in a women's dressing room.  A backward thinking employee (one of those religious types), thought that since he was a boy, he should change in, you know, the men's dressing rooms.  Macy's did the only logically post-modern thing: they fired the employee to maintain the holiday spirit.  Today, diversity means letting any sexual deviancy be tolerated, if not demanding that it be celebrated.  Religion has got to go, unless it converts to the post-heterosexual gospel.  Those who don't?  That's where the Glorious Censorship steps in.  A few commenters catch the wave and remind us of this fact:  
"Transgender people do exist. 2. This is why religion is a load of #$%$ 3. Fire her. 4. Thanks Macy's!"
"Kudos to Macy's for kicking this cretin to the curb. If Jesus is helping you make your workplace decisions, let him also throw in some cash when it comes time to pay the rent. Until then, I suggest that all Jesus enthusiasts follow their employer's rules instead of their sock puppet savior's."
It's nice that the post-modern secular left is coming out of the closet and admitting what they want.  Anyone who still believes in the fairy tales of tolerance, diversity, and open mindedness?  Please, let me know.  I have a few bridges to sell you.  Hopefully people of traditional faiths will wake up before it's too late, if it isn't already.

The Glorious Censorship: In all things sex, drugs and bathroom humor, absolute freedom and protected liberties without consequence.  In everything else, government control, censorship, oppression and the eradication of wrongthink for the eternal praise of our hedonism and libidos.

Rewriting history the post-American way

One of the trademarks of post-American thinking is that America was so worthless, so racist, so evil, so bad and wrong about everything, that the world will be a happier place once it's out of the picture.  To buttress this notion, we learn that every culture, civilization, racial stock, and nation that wasn't Anglo-American was, in fact, superior in every way.

First on that little tablet was, of course, the switching of labels that occurred with the colonists, settlers, and Native Americans.  In this, we learned that there were indeed bloodthirsty savages, brutal barbaric murderers who couldn't be trusted, whose only meat and drink were lies and lust for carnage, and whose demise any person of a true heart must obviously desire.  Naturally, there were the heroes, the pure and honest champions of virtue, tolerance, love, and honesty opposing these subhuman creatures of the night.  Same basic story, we just switched the name tags around.  Now we know it was really the European settlers all the time who were liars, thieves, murderers, savages, environment haters, and religious types.  The Indians were, in fact, as close to perfection as one can ever get (really, have you ever heard a representative of an American Indian tribe say that tribe was wrong or to blame for anything?). 

Now, we have the next edition of this trend.  For we find that not just the American Indians, but in fact all non-Anglo Americans were superior, and have a tale to tell.  In this little PBS story (a major proponent of the post-American curriculum), we learn that Billy the Kid was actually quite the hero to Mexicans of the day.  Sure, he killed and robbed.  But mostly he did that against the Whiteskins, so no harm, no foul.  He promoted a sort of anti-American anarchy, seemed  to be pretty loose when it came to morals, and was actually a major defense against the White Racist Americans (TM) of the day.  What could be more praise worthy?
Oddly, many in the comments section smell a rat with this one, and if folks who frequent such articles to comment can smell it, there's always hope that others, when confronted with such obviously propaganda based rewriting of the past, can as well.  Not to say there isn't always the chance to learn from new information, or even see things of the past in a new light.  But the post-American, post-modern hermeneutic is so predictable, so conformist, and so narrow one can't help but be suspicious as every shred and scrap of history seems to fall into this 'new' mold and prism through which all facts must be read.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It was seventy years ago today

The date that has lived to some degree or another in infamy, occurred 70 years ago on a sunny Sunday morning.  Three thousand Americans would never see the following Monday.  Almost half of them stationed on the USS Arizona.  The combination of treachery, of Japan's planning of the attack while in negotiations, the evil of the Japanese Empire (oft forgotten because of the long shadow of Nazi Germany), and the humiliation and anger that America felt came together in a way never since repeated.   Japan had hoped for an America similar to America c. September, 2001.  A soft, foppish America full of narcissists who would gladly sell their birthright for the stew of winning an argument over how wrong everyone else is.  But what Japan got was a generation weaned in the school of hard knocks, the depression, poverty, and a strong resilience and capability to make much with little.  Silly conspiracy theories aside, and taking a moment to look beyond the million things we post-moderns focus on, such as everything America did wrong, it's a day worth remembering what America did, and what it could do again. 

Rest in peace to those men and women who never saw the sun go down on that Sunday so long ago.  And thanks to the millions more who risked, and sometimes gave, it all so that I would have the freedom to take everything we have for granted today. 

Here is a longer post from last year, on the 69th anniversary of the attack.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Speaking of backbones

Looks like the top Catholic Bishop in England has put his stamp of approval on gay unions.  I know, he draws the line at marriage.  For now.  That's about where most left leaning Protestant denominations were a decade ago or so.  I can't help but notice that there is a trend among some Catholic clergy to more or less fall into lockstep with post-modern socialist left leaning European intelligentsia and cultural elites.  Not that everyone is, but there is just the whiff.  Take away abortion and 'life' issues, and it's getting harder and harder to separate a growing number of bishops and other leaders from their more secular European counterparts.  Don't know what it means, other than the Church has been known to follow the course of human events in the past (usually to disastrous results that later require unending apologies and repentance).  We'll see how this turns out, and just how much of a trend it happens to be. For now, it looks as though the good Bishop of merry old England is outside of the Vatican fold on this.  Time will tell if he is a fluke, or if there are growing numbers of Church leaders who want to make the Catholic Church just like Protestantism, only slower.

Speaking of gay tolerance

It looks like our good friends in the Gay Rights Movement failed in their efforts to press PayPal into calling on its inner Orwell.  It wasn't for a lack of trying.  They almost got this whole freedom of speech and non-discrimination garbage tossed out the window.  But PayPal, being the wimpy organization that it is, buckled and decided that, in this case at least, it would allow a pro-life activist to access his funds.  That was darn swell.  The part of me that has always yearned for the good old days of pogroms and gulags will have to wait until an industry with a backbone finally steps up and calls it they way the GRM and other liberal post-modern activists want: all rights are values based - if you don't have post-modern secular values, you don't have rights!

An eight year old proclaims the post-modern gospel

And The Upshot beams with pride. Apparently Michele Bachmann was confronted by a sincere and devoted proponent of gay rights at a book signing event the other day.  This well read and deeply committed activist walked right up to Ms. Bachmann and clearly stated his case: My mommy's gay, but she doesn't need fixing!

It may seem a bit shallow, but hey!  This is an eight year old after all.  Give him a break. No doubt he had come up with this stance all on his own.  After all, we religious people know how wrong it is to indoctrinate our kids, so I'm sure the good mother(s)?  in question have been very open about presenting all the facts on the issue from all sides to our young master Elijah. And that's good.  Remember, liberalism is all about opening your mind and being willing to question everything.

Update:  On the upside, it looks like several readers are not joining in on the celebrations of this bold, freethinking eight year old.  Most are saying it gives them the creeps that this kid, at the tender age of eight, is so in tune with his mother's sexual preferences.  The MSM, of course, continues to gush in love and adoration.  One headline read 'Eight year old leaves Bachmann speechless.'  Yeah, since the kid basically walked up, said his speech, and then walked away.  I suppose Bachmann could have jumped over the table and tackled the boy and made him listen.  But it pretty much was a hit job, lovingly placed in the hands of a child in order to advance what is most important in our post-modern world.

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas

No, not this one:

This one:

That's right kiddies, in the old days, when Christianity, and more to the point Catholicism, pervaded so much of culture and daily life. today was a special day.  Of course the slow development of Christmas in modern times, the influence of Protestantism, the rise of Sts. Macy, Roebuck and Walmart all impacted the way the holiday formerly known as C-----mas is now celebrated; which if some have their way, I can't help but believe will be not at all.*

I know, I know.  There are some pagan elements in the way Christmas is celebrated.  I know that there have always been non-religious elements, borrowed from culture and society, that have rubbed elbows with the more Christ centered meaning of the holidays.  I also know that, until the last few hundred years, the Christmas Season included much more than a single day on the 25th, followed by sales and removal of decorations from the stores (what am I thinking?  That starts now by around the 23rd).

But it can't be argued that somehow, in some way, the Protestant tradition of removing as much of that old papist trapping and keeping the bare bones minimum from the historic Catholic calendar, has come around and bit us all in the rear.  Perhaps spreading things out again, getting back in touch with the Church's take on the season (it's Advent by the way, not Christmas), could be a step in the right direction.  You never know.

*The article in question was a rather lame article.  Except for a few stats early on and some TV ratings (which might not account for the number of households who prefer to buy their specials on DVD or Blueray, rather than chance the possible sex saturated commercial preceding Linus's exposition of the meaning of Christmas), there's not much to back up the idea that these 'traditions' are fading.  It looked more to me like a person who was hoping we could go green, ditch all this worthless meaning of Christmas garbage, including but not limited to this whole family and friends stuff, and get to the 'real' meaning of Christmas - soon to be found on the latest Wall Street ticker. 

I have an awesomely cool family

So Sunday was my birthday.  45 years old.  Because I was mostly happy about being here, I didn't ask for or expect much else.  But when I came home from a morning RCIA meeting at our local parish, I was greeted with this sign, professionally made by my two middle sons:

From there, things got interesting.  After an obligatory birthday nap, I was greeted by this little feast:

Here's a close up:

Why make just another cake when you can get cupcakes, arrange them with the letters needed for happy birthday Dad 45, and display them in all their chocolate glory?

On top of that, my boys made sure I had some presents to open.  On Saturday, unbeknownst to me, the older two went to a couple nearby stores by themselves and looked to get me some candies often reserved for Christmas.  Then after church, they went to buy me some games and a movie - with their own money - they thought I would enjoy.  They were right.  Not only did I enjoy the presents, I loved the thought and I adored that they did it themselves, with their own initiative, with a little help from their Mom. 

A very happy birthday.  Brought to me by one cool and loving family.  Thanks everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ABC hearts bullies

Gay Rights advocates rejoice with pride as an eighth grader turns in this little class project.  Looks like his school challenged kids to develop a public service announcement admonishing children to stop with the freedom of speech using the phrase 'that's so g-y.'  The eighth grade hero of the story responded by making a PSA in which he - horrors - uses the 'G' word.  Well yeah, he actually uses the name God as an expletive, but that just might offend religious people and nobody cares.

No, he uses that word.  In a derogatory way.  And so his younger brother rushes up to him and BAM!  smacks him in the face and chastises him for using the phrase 'That's so g-y.'  He even hits him in the face again to make sure it sticks. 

I know, I know.  It's just a silly skit by a kid trying to please his school.  And yet think about it.  Had the boy said he was gay, and had his brother rushed up and smacked him and said, "Don't be gay!  It's a dangerous lifestyle and is against the traditional understanding of human sexuality!', can you imagine what the response would be?  Why, CNN would devote the next month to asking where we all went so wrong.  ABC certainly wouldn't be cheering.  They would be linking violence, spanking, bullying, homophobia, you name it. 

But it's to promote the dogmas of the Left.  It's to adhere to the teachings of Gay Rights.  It's all about pushing that agenda, brainwashing the kiddies, and making sure people know that it's time for all you nonconformists out there to kiss your free speech goodbye.  Show a clip with a kid smacking another kid for any reason at all, and it will be condemned.  Glorifying bullying and violence huh?  Typical for you homophobic bigot types! Unless, of course, it is to promote the most important issue in the world.

Did I mention we have been thinking seriously about homeschooling?  Though there is a bright spot.  It looks like most readers who have commented are a bit shy about getting rid of all this freedom of speech garbage.  Maybe there's still some good old horse sense left in Americans after all.

Interesting news about some pre-Pearl Harbor documents

This is the stuff that makes historians happy:  New documents.  Pretty much doesn't change anything.  Most thinking people know that, barring some new evidence that has yet to be produced, the vast FDR conspiracy theory is about as believable as the vast Obama-is-a-closet-Muslim theory, or that vast 9/11-was-part-of-a-conspiracy theory.  The great thing about conspiracy theories is that they are self-sustaining.  All evidence proves they are right.  And the evidence that suggests they are wrong?  Easy.  It's all part of the conspiracy.  Just read the comments.  Chances are, most who say 'well duh, obviously FDR planned it' have probably no clue beyond 'it's what they've heard'.  A shame.   But then history, as we know, is less what really happened as much as what 'they' tell us happened when it fits what we already wanted to be true.

Well done Ronald

Over at the Soviet of San Fransisco, McDonald's has put one over on the city's attempt to get Big Brother into every aspect of our daily lives (outside the bedroom of course).  As is typical for most post-modern progressives, freedom and liberty mean the ability to have all the sex, drugs, bathroom humor and decadence you can without responsibility.  In all other things outside the bedroom, we need Big Brother to kick start some good old government control, censorship, and oppression of wrong think.  Here, the good Soviet city attempted to tell McDonald's how it could serve its costumers, and subsequently tell its customers what they could have.  Strike one for freedom, and order me a Happy Meal.

I don't even know why people are worried

It's not like a bunch of students discovered secret tunnels filled with nuclear warheads in *gasp!* America.  Then that would be something to worry about.  After all, we all know our government, our military, our corporations, and generally we Americans can't be trusted but to do the wrong thing.  It's just China that could have tunnels filled with nuclear warheads.  No doubt the same as Iran and the former Soviet Union.  Nothing to see here.  Just a bunch of countries wanting to give peace a chance, and wishing America would finally come down off her perch and join the chorus of tranquility.

When considering President Obama

Apparently the press feels it's best to remember the past.  I'm sure he's a nice guy.  He seems to be a wonderful father and husband.  Good family men aren't easy to come by nowadays.  But he's clearly a lousy president.  He has accomplished little.  The world seems to be burning and nobody can even come close to explaining Obama's approach to problem solving.  He is not inspiring, and his first round of attack ads make it clear that all the hooey about 'hope and change' is in the trash.

He can't speak well.  Take away the prompters, and he fumbles and stumbles every bit as much as Bush on a good day.  And it's clear to anyone with a brain that he can't lead.  He's just not leadership material.  He avoids conflict and seems to resent anyone who doesn't bow and do as he says.  He wants congress to do it all, and yet keep the credit for himself.  On the whole, a poor president.

Add to that a struggling economy.  Jobless rates still unacceptable.  Housing still in the tanks.  Non-existent inflation still on the rise.  And growing political and economic pressure from rising nations like China, India, and Russia overseas.  So what's the pro-Obama media to do?  Keep coming out with stories like this one, that's what. Try to recapture the flame, the magic, the spirit of the messianic campaign of 08.  Remind us that despite all evidence to the contrary, Obama still inspires, still brings hope, and is still the candidate of change.

Will Americans buy it?  Hard to say.  As the GOP labors intensively to nominate a person nobody wants, the press may not need to worry.  But as of now, not knowing what the future holds, I notice a growing number of these stories from an advocacy media that is clearly scared.

Dog bites man is not news

Man bites dog is news.  But dog shoots man in butt with shotgun is priceless!  I wouldn't joke about it, but according to the story, the fellow is OK, owing to a well placed pair of waders. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

God bless you Billy Graham

Each time a story like this breaks, we are mindful of the fact that the days are growing older, and the sun is setting on your remarkable life.  Soon, you will be leaving us and going on to the Lord you have faithfully served.  The selfish side of us hopes that will still be a while yet.  Nonetheless, I pray to our Lord Jesus Christ that you be given the peace and comfort that you deserve, and enjoy the time with your family as you prepare for your final journey home.  God bless.  And thanks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Who should care about the Herman Cain affair?

I guess it depends. If it was 1999, then nobody should care.  Of course that was the absolute eternal truth of the universe in 1999.  This is 2011.  And by sheer coincidence, Cain is a Republican and - again no doubt through sheer coincidence - it suddenly matters.  I mean, this isn't Edwards with the MSM being dragged kicking and screaming into covering the story.  Since the first anonymous accusation regarding sexual harassment broke, the MSM has been on this 24/7.

Now, one of the biggest mysteries to me is why people in the 21st century even pay attention to the news media.  This is the media that, during the Clarence Thomas hearings (Thomas, a conservative nominated by a Republican president), assured us that there was no crime as heinous as sexual harassment, and it was a black mark of justice that Thomas was ever nominated to the bench. 

Then, of course, came the multiple accusations against Bill Clinton, and we were suddenly told that it didn't matter.  Those were just political whores working for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (TM).  The affair?  Sorry, it was consensual, and that's that.  Sex doesn't matter.  Morals and character don't matter.  Only the president's ability to give us the greatest economy in the history of the universe matters.  Of course we were also told things like how sexist it was when conservatives picked on Hillary Clinton (or even walked close to her in a debate), and that politicians' kids are always - ALWAYS! - off limits (as in Chelsea Clinton).

Now that was then.  Sarah Palin helped dispel the whole 'don't be sexist' mantra as she was routinely called every gender based derogatory name under the sun.  As she was told to stay home and be a mom where she belonged, and was labeled everything from bitch to milf, the MSM shuffled their feet nervously, admitted sometimes folks might get out of hand, but generally agreed the real story was Palin's lack of foreign policy skills. 

That Palin's children were also dragged through the dirt was explained away by various MSM faces, such as Anderson Cooper, who informed us that the MSM always goes after politicians' kids (except, apparently, in the late 90s).  Plus, Palin did what no other politician had ever done, and that was have her kids with her  during the campaign.  Well, OK, every politician does it once in a while, but that's irrelevant.  So said the talking heads.

Naturally there have been cases where anti-Semitism and racist insults have been lobbed at political figures like Condoleezza Rice and Joe Lieberman.  And to varying extents, the MSM has shuffled its feet and explained that those cases are unfortunate.  Yes, a movie was made about then President George W. Bush getting his brains blown out by an assassin, but that was art.  Sure he was called Hitler, a Nazi, a murderer, an idiot, a dolt, a racist, and any one of a thousand things that could make your blood chill.  But that was then.  That was when dissent was the true form of patriotism and freedom of expression should always be accepted.  That was yesterday's absolute eternal values of the universe.

This is today.  And today, the absolute truth du jour is how important it is that we focus on the sex life of Herman Cain.  Like the other instances, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he is a Republican.  None whatsoever.  It's always been that way, and will always be that way, until it is no longer convenient to be that way.  Then we will be told what the eternal truth has always been.  And I suppose they assume we are either dishonest or stupid enough (or both) to believe it.  Which brings me back to my question: why people in the 21st century even pay attention to the news media.  The world may never know.

It's like living in the Twilight Zone

Without the insights and wisdom.  So let me get this straight.  Three bisexual men sued a gay softball association for being discriminated against because of their perceived heterosexuality?  Apparently.  But it looks like they all settled, the men were welcomed back, and all is right with the world.  The alliance has even revised its language to include bisexual and transgender men as well!  Heterosexuals are, of course, banned, and that's a beautiful thing.  Remember kids, bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice are the lifeblood of any civilization.  The only trick is, when you are in a free civilization to begin with, you have to rely on the stupidity of the soon to be discriminated against in order to pull it off.  Thank goodness heterosexuals are more than willing to rise up to the challenge. As the great Rod Serling would say, no other comment required.    

Why I love football

An 80 yard punt?  You've got to be kidding me.  And not a 40 or 50 yard punt that bounces for three dozen yards.  An actual, bona fide 80 yard punt from foot to ground.  Read the article, including the reaction by punt returner extraordinaire Devin Hester.  Then watch the video and wonder.  Shane Lechler is not the all time NFL leader in punting average for nothing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

An MTV Christmas Video?

That's like a Harvard Divinity School tent meeting.  So I was just stumbling along the Internet, minding my own business, when I came across this little blast from the past.

What amazes me is just how far we've come in the last couple decades.  Naturally there was no Silent Night or Away in the Manger in the medley (those were replaced by St. Lennon's Happy Xmas (War is Over)).  This was MTV, and it was still 1986.  But can you imagine anything close to this today? 

Just the general wholesomeness of it all. This is MTV?  The network dedicated to luring our teens into adopting a life of the lowest animal denominator?  MTV?  This could pass for the Disney Channel.  No, strike that.  The Disney Channel is more controversial.  Ah back in the day.  Then MTV seemed cutting edge, daring, bold, in your face to the older generation - our little cultural icons were just soooooo cool!  Now it looks like my grandma's tea cosy would have been more shocking. 

So in decades to come will the things of today that we yell and fuss about look as tame, as safe as this video does now?  Or will we pull up from the dive in time?  Personally I hope we pull out of the dive.  It sends chills down my spine to imagine what the world would have to be like in 20 years in order for things today to look tame.

BTW, that's Mike Nesmith popping off the beard and hat at the end.  That was the punchline, since he had famously dodged joining the rest of the Monkees for their 1986 reunion tour.

Kansas teen is everything I've come to expect from the post-modern left

Yep.  Looks like this young prodigy has used the wonder of modern communications to expand her vocabulary.  Well, not really.  A young girl who boasted, via Twitter, that she told Republican Governor Sam Brownback that he sucked, has refused to apologize.  Well duh.  If she opposes Brownback then I'll bet she wouldn't apologize.  In fact, most who oppose Brownback won't care, so there won't be any pressure for her to do so.  Yep, it's everything that makes us proud to be 21st century Americans.  The eloquence.  The beauty.  The depth.  The sophistication. The boring predictability and conformity to post-respectful group  think.

I wonder if Kurt Warner knows that bell bottoms are out of style

Don't get me wrong, I respect Kurt Warner, the overtly religious NFL player who stood against anti-religious PC goodthink and openly gave praise to Jesus following his 2000 Superbowl victory.  But now he's coming out and standing hand in hand with our Big Politically Correct Brother and suggesting Tim Tebow embrace the Glorious Censorship.  F-Bombs and bathroom humor are what the Founding Fathers meant, after all.  They certainly didn't expect a country where folks thought they could openly express their religious beliefs.

But the part that got me was this line:
"I know what he's going through," Warner told the Republic, "and I know what he wants to accomplish, but I don't want anybody to become calloused toward Tim because they don't understand him, or are not fully aware of who he is. And you're starting to see that a little bit."
Starting to see it?  A little bit? What planet has he been living on for the last year?  For those who don't know, Tim Tebow was the darling of College Sports while he played his way to the Heisman Trophy.  All you heard was one giant chorus of praise and adoration from sports fans and the generally hedonism-friendly sports media.  That is, of course, until his infamous decision to blaspheme the Dogmas of Liberal Diversity by appearing with his mom in a Pro-Life Superbowl Commercial.

From that point, it got ugly.  Tebow became an outcast, the sports media began emphasizing the criticisms that had been brushed away by so many.  Suddenly, Tebow was an overrated no-talent religious hack who would get what he had coming to him when he went pro and showed the world just how lousy he was.  That was then.  Now that he has led the Broncos to a 5-1, critics are having a hard time trashing his talents.  Grumbling and pissed, they can only grasp for straws and hope that Tebow implodes sometime in the near future.

And it's into this that Warner, who now works for the NFL Network it should be noted, comes out and suggests Tebow put some tape over his mouth when it comes to bearing witness to his faith?  Hmmmm.  Call me skeptical, and maybe Warner is doing it for the best reasons, but I can't see why now is the time to step up to the pulpit of modern intolerance and pitch one for the arm of the media most concerned with bust lines and beer bellies.  After all, no matter why he did it, the reason for such outcry is still the result of an anti-religious and anti-Christian popular culture where Moloch and Mammon are worshipped and glorified, and they will suffer no challengers.  If I were Tebow, I would thank the excellent Warner for his advice, and then continue being the rebel and the counter-cultural icon that he has become.

Read it and weep

I know I did.  An elitist school pushes exploiting our kids teaching our kids about sex to new lows.  Naturally, the New York Times cheers it on.  Of course, we know the misery, destruction, and death that has resulted from the grand sexual revolution.  But hey, this is the adults speaking.  The last thing we want is a bunch of kids rising up and being more mature, responsible, and productive than we were.  We are, of course, the most useless, worthless, and embarrassingly lousy and inept generation in human history.  How embarrassing to see our kids grow up better people than us.  So playing their hormones like a concert pianist, we lead them along, promising them a glorious, sexually fulfilled future. We know, of course, that most of them will end up emotionally shattered, psychologically drained, and that if they're lucky enough not to be the statistics that make up the tens of millions of AIDS, HIV, and other STD victims.  But hey, it's a small price to pay for us adults to hide our worthlessness as a generation.

In fifty years, I can imagine this being accepted

Really.  A German man is accused of fathering three sons through his own daughter.  Yep, you read that right.  The strange thing?  Everyone is shocked, outraged, aghast.  And yet, why?  He says it was consensual.  We let a president go on the same grounds for a girl who was only slightly older at the time.  Heck, we said as long as the S-word is used, it's nobody's business.

I know, I know.  I'm appalled.  I think he should have the library thrown at him.  But I'm also appalled at the rest of our society's sexual debaucheries.  I don't find this or that extreme case and use it as some umbrella of self-righteousness under which to strut.  I'm content saying that once we got off the traditional Christian Western tradition of sexual morality, we were on a collision course with, well, this sort of thing.

I'm also aware that if we were to get into the Wayback Machine, and go to around 1948, things would be different than they are today.  If I were to tell people that we would be on the brink of allowing homosexuals to marry, and anyone publicly speaking out against it would be called bigots, evil, and in danger of losing their jobs and being socially ostracized, I'll bet the good citizen c. 1948 would think I had been smoking the loco-weed. 

Times change.  And right now, the very moral subjectiveness and disregard for the Judeo-Christian heritage that said such things were wrong in the first place, that has been the foundation for allowing cohabitation and gay rights, is the platform upon which future incest and other 'lifestyles' will be built.  After all, many of these things (sex with underage kids) were quite acceptable in other cultures, the same cultures that were open to such things as homosexuality.  If we threw everything out the window to allow for some, there is no objective reason not to allow for all.  We'll just have to wait and see.

Oh no! The Mass has changed!

Not really.  They have tweaked a few things in the liturgy to make it closer to the biblical versus in the Latin text.  But it's all the buzz across the Catholic and religious blogs.  Went off without a hitch for us (I scored about a 650 in getting it right).  And it was a day that not only did my boys get to serve (how cool, first day of new liturgy *and* first Sunday of Advent!), plus I got roped into doing the readings.  All together a fun day, a grey day, a Lord's day!  Hope it went well for everyone else. 

Lighting a candle for the new liturgy.  Bonus points for them catching the change from 'cup' to 'chalice'!  File under 'It's cool being Catholic'

Friday, November 25, 2011

A quirky Thanksgiving Day

Just a quick howdy after the feeding frenzy.  I'm not sure if I could face another day if so much as a turkey sandwich was in my future.  Still, it went well.  Dad was certainly missed, though in my family's usual way, we didn't dwell on it too much.  Had the usual, with a well placed nap in the middle of the day to help things settle.  Last night we watched The Godfather on AMC with the kids.  I thought they were old enough, and my 11 year old wasn't interested enough, to see it on television. 

But one strange tradition made its way to us once again.  We have several that we try to keep, or have adjusted to now that ours is the house everyone comes to.  My sister and I used to always break the wishbone, but since Dad was the official referee, I noticed last night we let that pass.  After the nap, the family came back over and we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, the watching of which became part of this holiday when my wife and I lived in Louisville and Mom wanted to watch it with us before we went back (since we always spent Christmas to ourselves except once on my oldest's first Christmas, which just happened to fall that way). But we also kept alive another weird tradition I think is unique to our household.

When he was only about four or five, one Thanksgiving our oldest asked for a pie crust.  That's all he wanted.  Not a pie, a pie crust.  So my parents bought him a graham cracker pie crust.  Since then, it's been a tradition for the boys to get one after the meal.  They actually look forward to it, and can come to near blows if one of them tries to take too much!   Strange.  Anyway, that was that, and I'll be gone until Monday.  Have a happy and blessed season of thanks.

Traditions have to start somewhere.  Even the youngest wants to get into the act.

Fair enough

Over at Catholic Online, there's a pretty good unpacking of Thanksgiving.  OK, we know the pilgrims didn't invent giving thanks go God.  You know, it's strange, but I don't remember ever thinking that they did.  I just thought it was all part of the whole being religious package.  I may not have known the roots of historical harvest and thanksgiving celebrations, but it didn't matter.  The Pilgrims gave thanks for surviving.  And they shared their meal with the American Indians who helped them survive.  Fine.

In our usual way, we spend much time telling people what they don't know about the past.  That's fair enough, since there's enough in the past that most people probably don't know.  It's worth pointing out that Catholics were out and about, giving thanks, long before the Pilgrims came.  It's worth noting that harvest celebrations of thanks are rooted in Jewish and Christian traditions, as well as other cultic traditions.  I'm fine with remembering how the holiday came to be an official national holiday.

But the thing that always made the Pilgrims stand out is what they did and how they did it.  They came here against all odds, not in service to king and crown, not to make money, but to have the freedom to worship.  They broke the bonds, and railed against convention, and risked their lives (and many lost their lives) to have that freedom of worship.  I know, I know.  But they were intolerant and drove non-conformers out of town on a rail.  And?  When we say freedom do we mean anyone should be able to do or believe anything?  If someone is hot on Hitler, do we say 'no problem, come and let's celebrate'?  Do we tell people who are opposed to homosexuality that all is well, we can respect that, so let us sit and celebrate together?  Do Catholics say anyone should be able to do anything they want, including advocating abortion, and all is well? 

Was a time in the 70s and 80s, when liberalism promised a Utopian paradise of absolute freedom, openness, tolerance, and respect.  Didn't matter what you wanted to believe, stand for, advocate, or think, a truly enlightened society would open its arms to all comers.  So it's easy to see why, in those days, we tended to look down on the Pilgrims and their intolerant ways and see a dose of serious hypocrisy.  But today, I think the hypocrisy is on us, especially if we want to get on the Pilgrims for doing what we so gladly do ourselves.  They did, after all, what any society does. They simply established a community of values they expected folks to live by.  And they wanted the freedom to do it.  In so doing, they should be the poster-children of our 21st century society, where endless advocacy groups make it clear that this country isn't big enough for those who don't conform.

So while the article is good, and gives a nice take down on the history of the holiday without the digs and dismissals I've seen too often in some Catholic writings, and certainly without the scorn and contempt heaped upon it by our post-Christian society, it's worth remembering why the Pilgrims.  Why the honor given them?  Because they didn't just give thanks.  They gave thanks doing what Americans always valued, and that's laying it all on the line for freedom and the right to live as we would, based upon the calling we felt God placed upon our lives.  They were what Americans always aspired to, and what it wouldn't hurt more, including American Catholics, to aspire to as well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Daffy Duck on Daffey Thoughts!

Heh.  Twas the season after all.  And with that, a blessed and happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Fr. Robert Barron does apologetics

So we don't have to.  He's that good.  Here he explains that what we believe does matter.  So at this season, when we are told to just give thanks in some vague, who cares about it way, it's nice to remember that the God the pilgrims thanked may well have been different than the spirits the American Indians thanked.  And for that reason alone, it's worth celebrating since who we give thanks to says much about what we believe.  And what we believe, turns out, does matter after all.  Happy Thanksgiving Fr. Barron!

Fr. Dwight Longenecker gets it right

As usual, Fr. Longenecker offers a great perspective on this feast of Thanksgiving.  How can I, a Catholic, celebrate the pilgrims the way I do?  Easy.  One, because I reject the post-modern rewriting of history that says all evil is the result of white, European heterosexual Christians.  Second, because I realize that the pilgrims were my brothers and sisters in Christ, who were reaching back through a tradition of thanksgiving that is rooted in the Judeo-Christian heritage, even if it was based on many things they had rejected in their move away from their Catholic roots.  Eucharist, after all, means 'thanksgiving.'  We needn't be bludgeoned by the revision of history that says we got thanksgiving from the pagan, the non-Christian, the eco-green earth worshipper.  The feast as we have it is rooted in that most wonderful and civilizing traditions, the Judeo-Christian Western tradition.  Great read. 

Linus Van Pelt and a blast from the past

I was made aware that this was on Youtube.  Amazing what you find there.  This was an actual TV special back in the early 1970s.  Nothing like the Citizen Kane of Christmas specials, it still brings back some memories of Thanksgivings long ago.  The thing I notice here?  He mentions the American Indians and the Pilgrims in a positive light.  And then, and then, he actually recounts the religious focus of the first Thanksgiving and he recites a real prayer to God.   It's like some alternate fantasy world today.  Shows how things have changed.  But since our country is so much better than we ever were with all that pilgrims and God stuff, who am I to question progress?  See you next week!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Less of a myth than we've been taught, and something worth thinking on this holiday season.

I'll be out of here until Monday.  Since bringing things back, I've been pleased with the number of visits.  Things have definitely picked up in the last few weeks.  Nice to have folks stopping by.  Please feel free to comment.  I have thick skin, and don't mind hearing from folks.  I learn best when I read thoughtful comments from guests who point out this or that flaw in my posts.  In the meantime, enjoy this holiday of thanksgiving.  It really is a time to remember how much we have to be thankful for. A time that brings back memories of making pumpkin pie and hand turkeys in kindergarten.  Of band concerts before being let out early from school on Wednesday. Of rabbit hunting with my Dad.  Of snow outside and steamed up windows from the cooking on the inside. Of family over and traveling to Mom and Dad's when my own family was still so young.

I have to admit, it'll seem tough.  After all, my Dad died earlier this year.  My mother just lost the next to last member of her family.  My sister's life has all but unraveled.  And things have been hard for my boys in school.  They're good kids, and do well in school.  They do very well.  But they are, well, different.  We raise them to be different.  We try to impress upon them the need to put their faith first.  Plus, call me cynical, but I also try to let them see the shallowness of our pop culture and our society as a whole.  As a result, our boys are sort of a Casablanca bunch in an Avatar world.  And in our society, where texting, IPads, and CGI saturated movies are all the rage, sometimes they walk a bit off kilter. 

Nonetheless, despite it all, we still keep to the path.  Inspired by those who helped give us this holiday - the Pilgrims - we walk the course.  We seek to live free in a country founded on freedom, and seek ways to follow God that will be pleasing to Him, and aid us in our own spiritual journeys.  Who knows, in fifty years freedom may no longer exist in this nation.  There's certainly good cause for concern.  But as of now, we are still free, and that's worth being thankful for.  We are free to raise our kids as we choose, set them along the paths we choose, and enjoy the bountiful blessings of a nation graced with so many.  What tomorrow holds may well be in our children's hands.  But for now, we have the freedom to be what we choose to be, and that's not bad.  

So thank you Pilgrims, thank you Indians, thank you all who fought and gave the last measure of devotion for the freedoms I enjoy.  Thank you Mom and especially you Dad, for giving me a wonderful childhood of memories.  We'll miss you this year. Thank you Dee and boys for giving me a family to rest upon when the world gets me down.  And thank you God, for giving me life, abundance, and blessings beyond those I could ever deserve.  I'll be back on Monday.  May the God of blessings shower you and your loved ones with a double measure of all you need.

Jobless claims rise, but not to worry

They may have gone up, but at least they're still below 400,000 (which, last I heard, was still far above what we need to recover).  But this being an election year, and a liberal Democrat being in the presidency, expect the economic news to be bright and sunny in Philadelphia, and everywhere else.  No matter how big the cloud, the news reports will always find the silver lining.  Just like from the point in which Bush was named president, the news reports insisted we were on the brink of economic catastrophe, now we can know that no matter how dire the news, we will be pointed to the bright spot.  That things might actually be as bad, or worse, than most people think is something that the propaganda ministry news media must work feverishly to overcome.  And that is what they will do.  Who knows, at least it might make folks who get their notions of the world from the media feel better.  The rest of us, who get our notions of the world from the world around us, will probably not feel the love.

Looks like Hendrix is still number one

Nice to see.  Rolling Stone has once again named Jimi Hendrix the greatest guitar player of all time.  That's what folks said when I was in high school.  That was when Eddie Van Halen reigned supreme.  Funny how important all that was.  I wonder if it still is.  I wonder if kids today still rotate their lives around who the greatest this or that is in the music world, or sports, or film.