Saturday, January 31, 2015

'Pope Francis effect' boosts Church says survey.


"The personal charm, homespun wisdom and liberal overtures of Pope Francis have boosted the popularity of the Catholic Church among Italians to a record high, a poll said Friday."

The media have been reporting on the "Francis Effect" since almost the very beginning of his pontificate. There's no question that Francis is more "popular" with the unchurched than Pope Benedict XVI, but the question, for me is whether this increased popularity has brought about an actual increase in Mass attendance. Stories from 2013 (Time ) suggest so.

I'm a little more skeptical, however. It's purely anecdotal, but from my personal observation, I've heard more than one unchurched individual speak highly of the Pope but that admiration has not led to a repentance or conversion.

The media have portrayed Francis as someone who will bring about a great deal of change within the Catholic Church, and unbelievers have taken to this enthusiastically, though not enough to convince them to change their behavior.

I'm sure that as the years roll by, and the doctrines of the Church do not change, the Progressives will fall out of love with this Pope.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Stevie Wonder's Odd Statements.

I was not in the least bit surprised when I read that Stevie Wonder recently opined that opposition to President Obama and his policies are "because of hatred towards him because of his skin color".

Wonder's support of Obama is based on the color of his skin, so naturally, he would believe any opposition to Obama comes from racism as well.

However, I was surprised by one comment attributed to Stevie Wonder in his eulogy at Andraé Crouch's funeral.

"Yes, I truly believe in freedom of speech, I really really do believe in that," he said. "But I think if we don’t put some limits to us being able to give praise to that one that we hold sacred, we got a problem."

I've read and re-read that comment several times, and I can't figure out just exactly what Wonder is trying to say.

Is he saying we should put some limits to us being able to give praise to God? That's how it comes across to me, but I can't get my head around whatever point Wonder is trying to make.

Monday, January 26, 2015

POTUSBO Brings Together China and India.

It's not often that arch enemies, India and China agree on anything. They have been unable to get along, at least as long as I've been alive......quite probably even much longer.

But now, POTUS, Barack Obama has done what I never thought was possible; he's actually brought the people of the two nations together.

The Times of India is reporting that Obama is being slammed by social media in India for his show of disrespect by the "ungainly sight" of  "US President Brack [sic] Obama chewing gum during the Republic Day parade on Monday."

It was just this past November that the Chinese criticized him for the same faux pas.

According to the White House, POTUSBO isn't being rude, or insensitive, but merely chewing on nicotine gum because of his addiction to cigarettes.

If  POTUSBO was chewing Nicorette while in China, and assuming he had only started using the gum then, he should have kicked the habit by now (late January). I was once a heavy cigarette smoker who had an extremely difficult time stopping until I tried Nicorette. I'm here to tell you that the stuff is pretty good and it shouldn't take more than about 2 months to break someone of smoking.

I guess, if you really want the gum to be effective, you have to want to quit smoking. I suppose POTUSBO quits smoking like he does everything else - halfheartedly.

Dream a Little Dream.

I heard, or read somewhere or other, that we all dream every night and that those who say they don't dream simply don't recall the dreams upon waking. Who I am to argue?

From my own perspective, for many years I've awoken from sleep having forgotten my dreams, but it seems that during the past six more or so, I've awoken with memories of very bizarre dreams. I won't go into the details of the dreams, but they've always been disturbing.

I've never cared for dreaming or the "dream state". As long as I can remember, my dreams have been unpleasant. To me, the words "dream" and "nightmare" are synonyms.

These dreams or nightmares don't have monsters and things that go bump in the night. I think it is the fact that the dreams are so illogical and so not down to earth that makes me so anxious.

In wikipedia, some of the possible effects of frequent nightmares is that those of us who suffer "experienced abnormal sleep architecture and that the results of having a nightmare during the night were very similar to those of people who suffer from insomnia. This means that, like insomniacs, people who suffer from nightmares do not get as much rest as those who do not suffer from chronic nightmares. Therefore, they experience a lesser quality of sleep than others."

I can say that I certainly don't get enough rest from sleep.

One website I came across while looking into dreaming, gives "15 Interesting Facts about Dreaming. Note - not all 15 are very interesting, but I digress.

#7 on the list is "Emotions. The most common emotion experienced in dreams is anxiety. Negative emotions are more common than positive ones."

OK, but that doesn't make me feel better.

#6 "Dreams are Symbolic. If you dream about some particular subject it is not often that the dream is about that. Dreams speak in a deeply symbolic language. Whatever symbol your dream picks on it is most unlikely to be a symbol for itself."

Well, if my dreams are telling me needs working on in my life, well, it'd be nice if the dreams were a bit clearer and easier to interpret.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

After Leaving the Desert.

As mentioned in yesterday's blog post, I've just returned to the world-wide-web after a nearly three week absence. What have I missed during this time of deprivation? Not much, really.

Without access to online news services, I've escaped the constant bombardment of anti-Obama updates. Don't get me wrong, you won't find anyone who dislikes the current POTUS as much as I, but frankly, getting a never ending supply of Obama news was far and above,too nerve-racking for me.

The same goes with the Pope Francis news embargo; The current Pope is the most often misquoted and misunderstood Pope since the last one. Having the news media misrepresent the current Pontiff didn't start with Francis, but it's been a relief to be away from the Internet updates on whatever "Pope Francis controversy" was attempting to break the Internet.

On the more positive side, I've managed to read eight books so far this month. That's far and away higher than my 2014 average of 2.5 books a month......and 2014 was actually a banner year.

Now, if only I'd knuckle down and write more.........

Friday, January 23, 2015

Best Laid Plans...........

Without going into personal details for an explanation, we moved out of the house where we've been staying since our arrival in Philippines six months ago; things were just not working.

The only negative from the move is the change in Internet connection. Unfortunately, Sky Cable does not have service in this particular barangay. That out an immediate stop to cable and huge speed internet.

We found other companies that do business in this area, but they're not as good as Sky.

For cable, we changed over to Fil Products. Hopefully they'll connect in another day or so. Fil Products does have high speed in other areas, but not here. At least they do have cable TV, so they're one step above Sky.

For Internet, we've had to get DSL from Globe. We didn't get the fastest speed's a long story. I've run a speed test and we're getting about half what we're supposed to get. Of course, when I go thru a VPN it gets turtle speed. Looks like Netflix is out of the question.

Needless to say, my New Year's plan for the blog has been disrupted. Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pope Francis and Climate Change. Part Two - Random Thoughts.

In my previous post, Pope Francis and Climate Change. Part One., I promised that I would post a more comprehensive piece expressing my views concerning Pope Francis and climate change.

This post is not it.

I have random thoughts..... "thinking out loud", if you will. There will be more of these to follow.

The view among those on the Left and the Right, is that the Pope's encyclical will open a huge can of worms, which those on the Right - the more "Conservative" - will not accept.

Many serious Catholics are leery of much of what is being reported as Pope Francis' "progressive" agenda. The comments of one Conservative Catholic blogger appear to agree with that.

"He seems to be aligning himself with the same powers (e.g., the U.N.) who are busy attacking the Third World and killing their babies."

These same Conservatives miss Pope Benedict XVI, who they believe more accurately expressed Catholic teachings. To those folks, I'd suggest reading what Pope Benedict XVI had to say concerning the environment and climate change in his message for the celebration of World Day of Peace, Jan. 2010 before giving up on Pope Francis.

More random food for thought:

Pope Francis and Climate Change. Part One.

It was recently announced that, after his visit to Philippines, Pope Francis would issue an encyclical on climate change and how the problem may affect Catholics. This announcement has, naturally, stirred controversy - par for the course with this particular Pope.

I'm looking forward reading this encyclical and have been giving quite a lot of thought recently to the problem of climate change. I've been meaning to write a post on the subject, but climate change is a difficult subject to tackle. I just haven't been able to completely get my head around the different opinions on "climate change", "global warming" or whatever you wish to call it.

I had spent a good deal of time this morning writing such a blog post. I had completed the post and was getting ready to prepare a jpg. of Pope Francis to accompany the post online. No sooner had I signed onto my blogger account, when my PC monitor went completely blank. Unfortunately, the only way I could track down the problem with my monitor was to check all my connections and that would involve shutting down my PC without my being able to save my work. I lost everything I had written this morning and would have to begin again.

Perhaps this accident was actually for the best. The thoughts as I had written them for this particular piece were not really my best work. I don't think I accurately put down precisely how I think. My putting that original piece online would have been a mistake.

That being said, I want to post this explanation, of sorts, with the promise that such a blog post on Pope Francis and climate change will be published soon. Though, I'll need to do a better job getting my point across with my next attempt.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year.

This being the first day of the new year, I could write about any number of things......some positive....some negative; like how New Year's Eve, drunken Filipinos and karaoke don't make for an enjoyable night. But, no, I won't go there.

To keep this on a more positive bent, I'll go ahead and post the list of books I've read or re-read in 2014.

This list contains 31 books; eleven more than the list for 2012. There are a few books which I started, but haven't finished - The Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain, The Devil's Pool , by George Sand, and Joseph Conrad's, Heart of Darkness . I can't say for certain if I'll finish those three.

The first book for 2015 will probably be Mystery of the Yellow Room, by the author of  The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux.

So, without further ado, the list:

The Mysterious Affair at Styles   Agatha Christie

Back On Murder                           J. Mark Bertrand

Fantômas                                      Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre

The Exploits of Juve                     Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre

Messengers of Evil                       Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre

The Picture of Dorian Gray         Oscar Wilde

The Green Carnation                   Robert Smythe Hichens

Hell: The Dogma of Hell              Fr. F.X. Schouppe

The Sight of Hell                          Rev. John Furniss

The Oedipus Trilogy                    Sophocles (Trans. Francis Storr)

The Life and Legacy of JohnPaul II    Wyatt North

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz        L.Frank Baum

The Soul of a Nation                      Philip Gibbs

The Return of the Soul                   Robert Smythe Hichens

Brave New World                          Aldous Huxley

Brave New World Revisited          Aldous Huxley

Knut Hamsun                                Hanna Astrup Larsen

Pan                                                Knut Hamsun

Shallow Soil                                  Knut Hamsun

Steppenwolf                                   Herman Hesse

The Garden of Allah                      Robert Smythe Hichens

The Stranger                                 Albert Camus

We                                                 Yevgeny Zamyatin

Siddhartha                                    Herman Hesse

The Three Musketeers                 Alexandre Dumas père

Of Human Bondage                     W. Somerset Maugham

The Magician                              W. Somerset Maugham

The Moon and Sixpence              W. Somerset Maugham

Notes From the Underground      Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A Narrative Of The Mutiny          William Bligh

The Phantom of the Opera            Gaston Leroux