Friday, December 31, 2010


In a few hours, this year will be over.

January, the first month of the new year is so named in honor of the ancient Roman god, Janus, who is depicted as having 2 looking forward and the other looking back. It's appropriate, of course, because this is the time of year when we all do the same.

Looking back at 2010, I'd say the most significant thing of this past year is the rather large number of friends and acquaintances who died during the past twelve months. I realize that as one gets older, one can expect to see more old friends and acquaintances pass away, but very few on the list would be considered "old". They are - not in any particular order:

1) BJ. A friend in the Philippines who was, at one time, a co-worker of my wife's mother. He had been ill for quite some time and his passing was not unexpected.

2) SB and

3) LH. both fellow musicians that I've known since High School.

4) My cousin, Cullen.

5) My cousin, Gary.

6) My brother's mother-in-law.

7) My sister's father-in-law.

8) My sister's former father-in-law.

9) the father-in-law of my son's godmother.

10) DB. just a guy I know.

May they all rest in peace.

Looking forward, it's expected that we all make New Year's resolutions. Blogger, LarryD wrote that he resolves to "pray more; read more; be the dad and husband God created me to be." Those sound like pretty good resolutions to me; I'll try to do likewise.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The White Christmas.

It was nearly 10PM Christmas Eve and we were on our way to St. Mary's church. There was to be an hour long performance by our church choir at 10, followed by Mass. There had been some mention on television earlier in the day that we might have snow this Christmas. While driving to church, I told my wife and 5 year old son that it was highly unlikely. It rarely snows in this part of north Georgia and I had never experienced a white Christmas.

When my son awoke Christmas morning, he found that he had gotten "everything he wanted" - a refill package of foam "bullets" for the toy gun someone had given him for his birthday, battle armor and other accessories for his battery powered hamsters and a white Christmas.

We later heard on the news that this is the first white Christmas the area has received since the 1800's. Granted, to some of my readers (like those in Michigan or Iowa) this snow would hardly be worth mentioning, but this is Rome, Georgia. This is a big deal for us.

There was still snow on the ground as we left for Mass Sunday morning, but there wasn't any ice on our street. The street we live on gets very little traffic - I knew that if it was OK to drive here, then Shorter Avenue (the main road between here and the church) would be perfectly fine. Had there been any ice to speak of on Shorter, it would have already been taken care of.

St. Mary's Catholic church is less than ten minutes away from our house. On the way to St. Mary's, we'll pass quite an assortment of Protestant churches; Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian. I couldn't resist telling my wife that it would appear that these denominations evidently don't believe in following the Ten Commandments, particularly the one that says we must remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. None of the Protestant churches we passed were having services this Sunday. The 2 inches of snow had been too frightening for them.

In fairness, I must say that the 11:00 AM Mass wasn't as full as it normally is, but we did have Mass at all the regularly scheduled times.

Seeing the closed Protestant churches reminded me of Christmas, 2005 which happened to fall on a Sunday that year. It had been announced in the local paper that many of the Protestant churches would not be having services that Sunday because it was Christmas day and the pastors assumed that many in their congregations would want to spend Christmas morning at home with their families. Christmas day, 2011 will also fall on a Sunday. I'll be looking to see how many, so-called, Christian churches in our area will close that day. You can be certain that St. Mary's will be open.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Break.

One might think, with all the time I have off from work for the Christmas holiday, I would have more time to write.

Au contraire, mon frère.

Not only am I on an extended vacation, but my wife and son are on holiday as well. More time together with the family means less time at the PC.

Writing anything Friday will be completely out of the question. We'll be having a Christmas Eve get-together dinner with family and friends before going to church that evening and - of course - I'll be doing most of the cooking. The choir at church will begin their program at 10:00 PM Christmas Eve with Mass to follow at 11:00.

I don't return to work until January 3rd......that will be a 16 hour work day for me. When I do return to work, I'll take advantage of every bit of over-time available. So, it looks as if regular blogging may be a thing of the past for me. I'll come back when I can.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Radical Jesus.

Thanks to a post at creativeminorityreport, [New Statesmen:Meet The Radical Jesus] I was lead to an article by Mehdi Hasan [What would Jesus do?] where Hasan attempts to prove that Jesus was a Leftist.

To prove his point, Hasan quotes Mikhail Gorbachev, who once declared: "Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind" and Hugo Chávez, who described Christ as "the greatest socialist in history". Hasan also uses five arguments to back up his claim; 1) Jesus the class warrior, 2) Jesus the banker basher, 3) Jesus the fair-wage campaigner, 4) Jesus the NHS champion and 5) Jesus the anti-war activist.

Jesus the class warrior:
Hasan gives "a belief in redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor" as "the core of leftist thinking". I'm sure we can all agree with that description. For proof that Jesus advocated redistribution of wealth, Hasan referances Mark 10:21-25
"21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, 'You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.' 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!' 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, 'Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.'"

Granted, Christ told us that we must give up our love of money and material possessions if we are to follow him, but I do not see this as a command by Christ to give our property to the government for redistribution. It is one thing to voluntarily abandon ones possessions to follow Christ; it's quite another thing to have the government take from us and give what we own to others.

Jesus the banker basher:
To prove this point, Hasan goes to Mark 11:15-17 -
"15 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He was teaching and saying, 'Is it not written, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations"? But you have made it a den of robbers.'"
Rather than an indictment of bankers, I'd suggest Mark 11:15-17 warns against using God's house as a market place. God's house is a house of prayer not commerce.

Jesus the fair-wage campaigner:
Hasan, here, argues that Jesus was a supporter of "minimum wage" and a "living wage". He writes,
"Matthew 20:1-16 narrates the 'parable of the workers in the vineyard', which tells of five sets of labourers who arrived for work very early in the morning, at 9am, at noon, at 3pm and at 5pm. They are all paid at 6pm and each labourer receives the same amount - one denarius, as agreed to with their employer. Unsurprisingly, those who arrived earlier and did more work complained that they had received the same pay as those who had come later: 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' But, for Jesus, the casual labourers who came to work for the landowner in his vineyard had basic needs that had to be satisfied, and those who had come late had been struggling to find work in a laissez-faire market: 'No one has hired us,' the last labourers tell the landowner. 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,' in the words of Karl Marx."

In "The Kingdom of God is Like.....", Thomas Keating explains how this parable concerns our spiritual journey. In this parable Christ is explaining that God's Kingdom is not something we earn. "Grace is symbolized by the mysterious need of the householder for more workers.....". All those accepting God's invitation receive the same recompense. Following God at 9am (proverbially speaking) does not gain more merit for you that those who follow God at 5pm. Sadly, Hasan inhabits "literalville" if he believes this parable is about monetary payments.

Jesus the NHS champion:
The argument here is that, because Jesus healed the sick without pay, medical care should be free to all. The absurdity of this speaks for itself.

Jesus the anti-war activist:
I can't argue with Hasan's statements on Jesus being anti-violence -
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9)
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also" (Matthew 5:38-39)
"Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (Matthew 26:52)

I will argue against the notion that Leftists are, somehow, peace lovers.
"Democrats in the House of Representatives and in the Senate near-unanimously voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists against "those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States" in Afghanistan in 2001, supporting the NATO coalition invasion of the nation. Most elected Democrats continue to support the Afghanistan conflict, and some, such as a Democratic National Committee spokesperson, have voiced concerns that the Iraq War shifted too many resources away from the presence in Afghanistan." Obama's use of drones in Afghanistan is well documented [Obama's Shadowy Drone War].

If one accepts, as I do, that Christ's teaching can best be explained by the Catholic Church, we have this from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2425) :
"The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with 'communism' or 'socialism'. She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of 'capitalism', individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for 'there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market'. Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended."

I'd be the first to admit that Jesus was not the right-wing 'champion' as some conservatives portray Him. However, he was hardly the 'lefty' Hasan believes Him to be.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

John Lennon ......a Less Than Favorable Memorial.

As a consequence of the Obama recession, I've found myself obliged to put in the occasional 16 hour work day. By occasional, I mean two or three days a week. Naturally, while working these 16 hour days, I've had little time or inclination to write posts for this blog.

Had I not been working this schedule, I might very well have written something on John Lennon commemorating the 30th anniversary of his death on December 8th. Perhaps that's just as well; I have long since lost any love or admiration I may have once had for the late celebrity.

In a previous post [Goo Goo Ga Joob.] I mentioned that my favorite version of Lennon's I am the Walrus was the version done by Frank Zappa. The Beatle's recording of the song was the brain child of producer George Martin; Lennon could never had done the song in a live performance as Zappa had done. Zappa's treatment is especially ironic considering the bad blood between Zappa and Lennon over John and Yoko's "performing" (I use that term loosely) with the Mothers of Invention at the Fillmore East in 1971. Recordings were made of the concert with Lennon releasing portions of the collaboration on his Some Time in New York City LP. - The release of the recordings by Lennon was in contraction to an agreement he had made with Zappa. Adding insult to injury, Lennon took writing credit for Zappa's King Kong which Zappa had previously recorded on his album from 1969, Uncle Meat.

I know my low opinion of John Lennon is not a popular one.....particularly with my fellow members of the Baby Boomer generation. True, the music of the Beatles was an important influence, back in the day. Hopefully, as we grow older, we also grow as individuals. I've gone from being in awe of the Fab Four, to indifference, to downright hostility to much of what John Lennon represented.

His assassination was, indeed a tragedy. However, over the years I've come to believe that, had a poll been taken during the Beatles' heyday, which asked the question, "Which Beatle do you believe is the one most likely to be assassinated?" we all know who would have been the....huh.....winner.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Al Gore Lawsuit.....One Week Later.

Thanks to a throw-away post -Al Gore sues Angeles Duran for Damages- the number of visitors to my blog has skyrocketed.

The week before that post - November 19 to November 26 - the blog had received 341 visits from 246 cities worldwide. Now, one week later, the number of hits from November 27 (when the piece was posted) until today, December 4, the total has reached 4790 visits from 1568 cities.

I've used Google Analytics to track down different websites that have linked to the post. I'm including a screen shot of one such link from the says the site is owned by someone in Trondheim, Norway.

According to wikipedia, Trondheim is the "historic Viking capital of Norway". Had I known that a few days ago, I would have had Norway join Al Gore's lawsuit instead of Denmark.

Oh, yeah.....a site called makes mention that Al Gore recently sued the woman claiming she was one of the reasons global warming is on the rise.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ixchell, my Belle.........

Readers of this blog are well aware that I am of a lover of parody and satire. My recent posts on the Al Gore lawsuit and Denmark joining said lawsuit are testament that I'm not above pulling a proverbial leg from time to time.

However, this story is not a parody. Truth is, after all, really stranger than fiction. As reported in the Washington Post and News Busters, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, offered up a prayer to the Mayan goddess Ixchel during her opening statement at a UN climate conference convened in Cancun, Mexico.

Ixchell is goddess of midwifery and medicine as well as tapestry and the moon. Just what any of this has to do with global warming is anybody's guess.

In case anyone doubts me - or the news stories from the Washington Post and News Busters you can go to the UNFCCC website and download Figueres statement on pdf.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Denmark Joins Gore in Solar Lawsuit.

In a breaking story that can only be found on Internet News Network (I.N.N.) I've learned that the Kingdom of Denmark has decided to join former Vice President Al Gore in his lawsuit against Angeles Duran, owner of the Sun.
In a join press conference with Queen Margrethe, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen made the announcement in Copenhagen earlier today.
As usual, I'm providing a link to the I.N.N. story:
Denmark Joins Al Gore's Solar Lawsuit.