Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wowee Zowee, Malawi.

Ever vigilant, blooger LarryD has posted a story which he discovered on The Daily Mail where the government of Malawi plan to punish persistent offenders 'who foul the air' in a bid to 'mould responsible and disciplined citizens.'
In other words, the Malawai government will make it illegal shall I say it.......fart in public.

The original article makes reference to the website , so, intrepid reporter I am (and not to be outdone by LarryD) I went to to get to the source of the story. Unfortunately, I could not find the story of the Malawian anti-fart law on the website, but I was able to find other stories pertaining to the African nation that are just as - if not more - bizarre.

In one story [Malawi: Villagers stop officials from hunting hyenas] villagers in a district in central Malawi have asked police and game rangers to stop hunting wild, marauding hyenas that have seriously injured at least two villagers. According to villagers, these hyenas are "man-made" - that is, the product of witchcraft and "meant to harass or eliminate some people [and] as such there is nothing the police can do." Police Spokesperson, Kondwani Kandiado, confirmed that there had been no sign of the hyenas since the police arrived, ergo, the creatures were the product of witchcraft.

In a second story [Malawi: Witchcraft fracas lands 16 in court] we read that "sixteen parents will answer charges of malicious damage after razing down houses belonging to three alleged witchcraft teachers". An unreported number of children told their parents that the three had taught them all witchcraft and "flying lessons to steer the aircraft". I'm not sure what that means.

According to the story, witchcraft is not recognized as a punishable offense in Malawi, though The Witchcraft Act makes it a crime to accuse someone of practicing witchcraft.

The third story from the website is, I'm sure, the strangest of all. The title says it all ......Malawi: Man cuts off testicles for sale.

22-year-old Pilirani Lazarous was in need of money to buy fertilizer for his farm and having heard rumors that there was a market for testicles in Malawi's capital city, Lilongwe, Lazarous attempted to - as the story says - make ends meet. Lazarous said, "The first people I tried to market them reported me to police”. Police took him to the hospital where he will undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Bargains.

Ever on the look out for bargains during what I call the Obama recession, I came across a wonderful deal on a book that's been on my wishlist for quite awhile.

As luck would have it, I found a hardcover copy of Archbishop Charles Chaput's Render unto Caesar for $1.99 plus $3.99 shipping. I jumped at it and the book arrived yesterday.

Funny, the postage was shown on the package as $2.38. Still, the total was $6.09 with tax, so I'm not complaining.

I managed an even better deal on John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father (Hardcover) by Peggy Noonan . Ordered that one for $0.92 plus postage.

I won't be working next week, so at least I'll have a couple of worthwhile books to read while I'm off.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two New Books.

Our Parish is giving away copies of Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor by Allen Hunt and Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly.

Managed to finish Hunt's book rather quickly. Not having heard of Hunt before now, I found his conversion story very interesting. The book lead me to Hunt's radio show WSB in Atlanta. As much as I enjoyed his book, I find him a better radio talk show host than writer.

I'll get into Kelly's book next.

We were asked at Mass to give our copies to fallen away Catholics after we read them. Not sure who I could give them to......I know one or two folks who need to read the books, but that doesn't mean they would.

Oh yeah; in his book, Hunt recommends The Incorruptibles by Joan Carrol Cruz - which I've read and recommend as well - and John Paul The Great by Peggy Noonan - which I've just ordered in Hardcover for $0.92 - and Jesus Shock which I've put on my wish list.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Warm and Cozy Day.

After being off for five snow days, one weekend and Martin Luther King's Birthday, my son, J.P. returned to school Tuesday. When he came home that day, he brought with him, a note from his teacher informing us that Friday (today) would be Warm and Cozy Day.

I had never heard of Warm and Cozy Day - this was all new to me. According to the note, the Pre-K kids in my son's school would be allowed to wear their pajamas to school today. We didn't have Warm and Cozy Day back when I was in school.......that was pre - Vatican II and the nuns in our school, obviously, didn't believe in anything warm or cozy. I remember we were given a tour of the convent and I can assure you that their home was anything but.

Of course, J.P. would have to participate; it might scar him irreparably should he be the only child in Pre-K not in pajamas. However, my wife decided that none of his p.j.s would do. None of the ones he has would be fit for public viewing. He would need new pajamas.

Being Filipina, it is completely alien to my wife's genetic make-up to plan ahead. Any man married to a Filipina soon learns that putting things off and being late is entrenched into their DNA. Even though she had decided earlier in the week to purchase new p.j.s for J.P., she couldn't conceive of purchasing them until Thursday afternoon when she picked him up at school.

Her first store of choice was Ross where, naturally, she would not be able to find any pajamas for children. Next, she and my son went to K-mart. They were not, unfortunately, able to come to an agreement on what might be proper attire for Warm and Cozy Day so they returned home sans pajamas.

I was at work when I learned of the pajama problem. The obvious solution would have been to go to Walmart, but they were already at home, it was cold outside and my wife didn't want to go out again. It would be up to me to stop by Walmart when I finished work at 11:00 PM. I could be in and out quickly, provided I knew the right size - it shouldn't be too difficult finding a style that my son would like. My wife said size six so six it would be.

I knew that my son's first choice would be pajamas featuring Thomas the tank engine so, of course, there would be none at Walmart. I narrowed the selection to two.....Sponge Bob or Spiderman. I'd play it safe and get both. Good thing. It wasn't until this morning when he awoke that I found out that my son didn't like Spong Bob - or anything else on Nickeloden - any longer. It would be Spiderman for Warm and Cozy Day.

Cathy has taken him to school and she's headed to work. Since I don't go into work until this afternoon, I can have my own Warm and Cozy Morning. It's too bad the Sponge Bob p.j.s don't fit.

Monday, January 17, 2011


It was long ago, during the Cretaceous period (likewise, known as the late 1960’s) when I was in high school, that I first learned of Leonard Cohen. It was his Suzanne that brought him to my attention, though now, like the proverbial chicken versus egg, I can’t recall if it was his version or Judy Collins’ which I heard first. This was long before the days of FM became the norm; he wasn’t the sort who’d make it to AM radio. None of my friends were huge Leonard Cohen fans and although I liked the song, I wasn’t going to buy his LP. In those days, I was a Beatles/ Dylan and Donovan enthusiast. To make a long story short – I didn’t hear a lot of his music.

OK, I once owned an album with Joe Cocker doing Bird On A Wire but hearing his cover didn’t convince me that I should run out and purchase a Leonard Cohen LP.

Jumping ahead, to the mid 70’s, I was slightly smitten with a young lady who really loved Cohen. One afternoon, while I was visiting her, she played one of his albums for me and I found the music so depressing that I was immediately turned off both Cohen and this particular young women.

I hadn’t given the song writer much thought until recently when I came across an article at The Catholic entitled Baptism of Desire where the author writes his dislike of Leonard’s Hallelujah being sung before Catholic masses. After reading that piece, I went to Pandora Radio and created a Leonard Cohen “station” to bring myself up to date of his music.

It was at Pandora Radio that I first heard the likes of First We Take Manhattan and I’m Your Man (from the CD of the same name). As I mentioned in my post, Don’t Pay the Ransom , I ordered the CD from Probably the most surprising thing to me (even more surprising than the synthesizers) is that the music was recorded in 1988. I like most of the music on the CD; I don’t understand why I wasn't familiar with it until now. It’s the sort of thing I would have enjoyed listening to back then. I’m fairly certain that I had been listening to it when it was new, the music would have had an influence on my playing. I can hear my own guitar parts even now, though arthritis prevents me from actually playing it.

I've added another Leonard Cohen CD to my wish list ...... this one much newer than I'm Your Man. This one is from 2001; Ten New Songs with Sharon Robinson.

Who knows? Maybe one day I'll make it to 2010.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Novena in Reparation for Roe vs. Wade

I received the following email from Priests for Life:

The Catholic bishops of the United States have designated January 22 as a special day of prayer and penance in reparation for the massive killing that has resulted from the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision (handed down January 22, 1973) which permitted abortion throughout pregnancy.

Therefore, I invite you to prepare spiritually for that day by joining a Novena that starts on January 14th and concludes on January 22nd. Please say the prayer below each of those days, and to let me know that you have committed to say it each day.

This would be a great way for entire schools or parishes to pray together for life.

With that in mind, I would like to send prayer cards free of charge for your entire Parish or school (with your Pastor's or Principal's permission). Just call us at 1-888-735-3448 or email Call today as the Novena begins on the 14th.

I hope you will be attending national pro-life events this month or pro-life events in your own area. It would be great if you could join me in Washington, DC for the March for Life or in San Francisco for the West Coast Walk for Life. See for more information.


Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Prayer of Reparation

God and Father of Life,
You have created every human person,
And have opened the way for each to have eternal life.
We live in the shadow of death.

Tens of millions of your children have been killed
because of the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
Father, have mercy on us.

Heal our land
And accept our offering of prayer and penance.
In your love for us,
Turn back the scourge of abortion.

May each of us exult in hearts full of hope
And hands full of mercy
And work together to build a culture of life.

We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tomorrow is January 14....the first day of the Novena. I hope everyone reading this post will join us.

Only Nine Left .......

Snow in 49 states including Hawaii.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Days.

Thanks to approximately 4 or 5 inches of snow Sunday night/Monday morning, JP's school has been shut down. Maybe he'll return tomorrow. No work for me Monday or Tuesday.....Monday had originally been scheduled as a 16 hour day for me. I'm supposed to go back to work Wednesday. The loss of 24 hours work will hurt.

Don't you just love global warming?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Don't Pay the Ransom........

......I've escaped.

No, seriously, my first week back at work after Christmas “vacation” was spent pretty much the same as my weeks prior to the time off. That is, taking advantage of some temporarily available overtime at work. The availability of this overtime isn't the result of an improving economy – no, the Obama recession is still with us. The fact is, someone on third shift is out on a medical leave and the work has to be done. This week I've put in 64 hours; 2 eight hour days and three 16s.

After abusing myself with the long hours, I decided that I would “reward” myself by purchasing a few items from my wish list. The list is quite long. I'd buy the last two items I had added recently: "Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times" by Peter Seewald & Pope Benedict XVI and a hardcover edition of "Catechism of the Catholic Church”. (I have a copy of the Catechism in paperback, but it needs to be replaced).

When I put those two books on the wish list, the total price was a few cents over $25 so they'd be eligible for free shipping. When I went to place the order, I discovered that the price of one of the books had been lowered just enough to put the total under $, no free shipping. The shipping would add 6 bucks to the cost. It made more sense to order something else I wanted from my list. The lowest priced item on my wish list was an audio CD by Leonard Cohen - "I'm Your Man". Using the money I would have wasted on shipping means, I actually get the CD for approximately one dollar.

As I said, this overtime is probably just temporary. Maybe one day soon, I'll have time to read the books.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

True Grit.

On the first Saturday of the month my wife and I will get together with a group of friends to pray a Rosary for Our Lady of Fatima. The common thread we share is that nearly all the families involved have a connection to the Philippines - usually the wife.

This month, the first Saturday of the month also happened to be the first Saturday of the year.

The prayer - rightly called a "cenacle" consists of not only the Rosary (with elaborated Mysteries) but singing and a Litany to the Blessed Mother. It takes about an hour. Afterward, we eat. All the families bring food in addition to the usually large amount provided by the host family of the month. Everyone is well fed, with plenty of food to take home.

Depending on who is hosting the prayer, the Filipinas will most often sing karaoke when everyone has finished eating. The men will retire to another part of the house.....or outside on the porch if no other room is available. This past Saturday, when the women were getting ready for the karaoke, the men decided, instead to head off for the movies - there wasn't anywhere in the house we could go to and it was much too cold outside.

We had two choices for the movie.....True Grit and Little Fockers. A couple of the guys felt that a new version of True Grit would be a sacrilege against the Duke. I didn't agree with that view and I was completely against seeing the Fockers movie. I find the name too offensive and not the least bit funny.

True Grit won out. We were all pleased....even the die-hard John Wayne fans. I have to say I enjoyed this version more. The only draw back I saw was the use of the Lord's name in vain by Jeff Bridges. I understand that this is the way the character would probably speak, so I won't completely pan the movie because of this.

If you'd like to read a pretty good review of the film, you can check out True Grit and the Grace of God.
I'd recommend the movie for adults; I wouldn't take my five year old to see it. The old fashioned English might make it difficult for folks who speak English as a second language (like my wife) to understand. All in all, in was a good movie for a group of old farts to watch.