Thursday, January 29, 2009

Internet withdrawal.

I am in deep trouble...
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Hi! I'm at Kinko's, in disguise. Well not really, but I have a knit hat on, dark glasses and a high turtle neck type of neck warmer to cover my moustache. I know! It is hot. No one is near me. But listen...
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I brought my lap top in for diagnosis - the IT guy got the flu - he hasn't been able to work on it! This is like the 3rd day now - I have no Internet access at home. I do not know if this is a government plot or what - I'm suspecting it is some sort of conspiracy.
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I have no access to the outside world - which is why I sneaked over here. Sure I can call people on the phone - but it's a landline - and how the hell can you carry on a conversation with someone without a key board?
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Television is awful - no pop-up blockers for unwanted ads! I only have access to network news - no Drudge! Network news is biased and limited and you get only the news they want you to get.
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I don't even know what Fr. Zuhlsdorf had for supper last night!
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It is horrible - I was forced to watch The View, hoping for some type of news I guess - or maybe just to feel like I was watching something on my monitor. OH MY Gosh! But those women are really biased and superficial and just plain dumb. I think Joy Behar is senile - I love Whoopi but the other bitches do not let her talk. Condolezza Rice was on today and they asked her really stupid questions. Television is stupid! One has no control except the remote which leads you to even stupider programming. Television is nothing but advertisements for menopause medications and cleaning supplies.
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Okay. I'm running out of time. I just wanted to let everyone know what has happened to me. I'm okay - I have anti-anxiety meds - withdrawal is intense, but I should make it. I don't know when I'll be back - I don't know when the PC will be fixed. I'm in limbo till then. The not knowing is the worst.
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Is Fr. Z okay? Are the gifts still coming in? Is he eating? Does he have enough wine - moreover - is it good enough wine?
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Pray for me. I'm beside myself. I don't know what to do with myself. I thought of cleaning the house but if the vacuum is going I may not hear the phone and it could be Techs To Go calling about the repair.
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Okay - deep breath. I'll be back soon I hope. I hope!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mrs. Rabitowitz


Trust.
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Last evening, as I went to the garden to put out dried fruit and nuts, as well as bird food for this morning, I noticed Mrs. Rabitowitz waiting for me under the back hedge - looking off to the side as if she couldn't see me. Of course she does see me, and I always greet her, "Hello Missie Wabbit!" I think she likes such familiarity.
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I believe rabbits prefer to eat more at sunset and into the evening, returning just before dawn, for breakfast. (I may be mistaken, but I think this custom is observed only in winter, and may be derived from the Jewish manner of fasting, as on the 17th day of Tammuz. Although some rabbits can snack on other things throughout the day, as food may be scarce this time of year. Naturally, during mating season and after babies are born, no fasting is permitted.)
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Of course, Mrs. Rabitowitz always leaves a goodly portion for the squirrel family, as well as the birds who arrive shortly after sunrise. Although by the time Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal return, much of the food is gone. (Not to worry however, they often stop by right at dawn as well. They are good friends with the Rabitowitzes.)
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Anyway, I placed Mrs. R's food on the little table, making sort of a racket by dropping the fruit and nuts, letting her know what a delicious supper awaited her, considering how Mr. Squirrel and all the birds were in bed at that time, a luxury not lost on the Mrs. since she is free to dine at her leisure.
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After I finished serving, I noted she was no longer in the back hedge, "Ah, she must have run off, rabbits are so shy." I mumbled to myself, as I turned to enter the house. At that moment I noticed her out of the corner of my eye, two or three feet from me, beneath the south hedge, waiting to eat. I acted as she does, pretending not to notice, although I knew, she knew, I knew she was there.
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We had no need to speak, our trust said it all.
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The End.
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Note: I'm not sure if it is true, but I was told some people, as well as animals, fast and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. If that be simply a myth, perhaps people might begin to do so these days. Coincidently, today is also Holocaust Remembrance Day, as designated by Pope Benedict XVI.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tony

Leslie Carole Johnson, Tony's mom.

My apologies, I forgot to let you know, Tony's mom Leslie died on January 17. I did not see Tony, nor do I get the newspaper, but a woman at church informed me of her death last Wednesday. I hope to see Tony this Wednesday. I will let him know of all of your prayers and good wishes. I'm sure he is very sad - so keep him in your prayers. Click here for a link to the obituary.
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Photo: Tony's mom Leslie. She was founder and publisher of Mississippi Rag, a world famous publication on jazz and ragtime.

Monday, monday.

Just thinking about terminology and stuff.
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I broke my own rule last night - and I had just been to confession too. I bashed Nancy Pelosi, and mocked her claim that she is an "ardent Catholic." I get annoyed when other people do that, and now you see, I'm just as guilty as the next person. "Lord, who will be admitted to your tent and dwell on your holy mountain? He who... does not slander with his tongue." - Ps. 15. I apologize to Mrs. Pelosi and all of my readers.
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Committee rule.

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Today happens to be the commemoration of one of the martyrs of the French Revolution, the legacy of which we continue to experience and celebrate. On this date in 1794 Blessed Marie De La Dive Du Verdier was guillotined. Blessed Marie was a 70 years old widow. She and her daughters, along with her sister-in-law who was a Benedictine nun, recently expelled from her abbey by the anti-Catholic Jacobin regime, were eventually arrested by the same. Imprisoned at Angers, Marie was the first to die, followed by the others in the days and weeks to come. An old lady and her old sister-in-law, along with her unmarried daughters. Can you imagine their shock and indignation over the government's invasion of her home, the confiscation of the madame's property, culminating in their heroic deaths? These and thousands more died simply because they remained faithful to the Catholic faith. (For some reason I thought of how old ladies today must go through security at airports, sometimes being frisked and all of that. I suppose old people can be rather threatening.)
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Protective custody.
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I watched 60 Minutes last night. One of the stories featured Bob Simon's exposition of the Israeli occupation of Gaza, including the settlements established by Jews who seek to take the land for Israel, and keep Palestinians restricted to an impoverished ghetto existence. The Israelis seem to function much as the Nazis had in Europe during WWII. Soldiers occupy homes and imprison the occupants for days on end. Palestinian freedoms are taken away; they cannot travel freely, nor get to their jobs, while Israelis have built modern hill towns and highways only Jews may use. A woman mayor of a Jewish settlement was defiant about remaining and using the settlement system to confiscate Palestinian territory, because the Bible says it belongs to the Jews. If Iran and Hezbollah get their way, she and the other Jewish settlers just might fry one day.
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Government intervention.
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Remember David Koresh and the Branch Dividians who lived in that compound at Mt. Carmel, Texas? The government rolled in and destroyed the complex and many people were burned to death.
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Marriage laws.
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Remember those fundamentalist polygamists? When the state came in and took all the children away because of allegations of sexual abuse?
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Change.
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I wonder if Catholic hospitals could be nationalized for refusing to provide contraception and abortion services?
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It could happen.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why do we keep doing this...


To one another?
.Check Spelling
I watched the DiCaprio Romeo and Juliet once again tonight. A friend of mine recommended it a few years ago, and so I bought it. I appreciate it very much - in fact, my friend informed me some wonderful Shakespearean scholar felt it was one of the best modern interpretations of Shakespeare's work. It is the best I've ever seen - despite the fact I love Zeffirelli's version. My friend is sort of a genius... He knows Shakespeare by heart. He is a wonderful man.
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Yeah.
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So anyway...
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I'm having email and Internet problems right now, and I need to take my notebook in for a diagnostic. When that happens, I might be gone for awhile - but I'm not dead. Come back, okay?

Strega Pelosi



Well, in my Italian neighborhood, growing up, that is what we might have called her.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic "stimulus" package, claiming "contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government." - Source

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In my neighborhood, the strega - witch - performed all the abortions.
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So like watch out for those people who title themselves "ardent Catholics".

Points of recocognition.



Things I find annoying - no matter who does it.

Matthew


Friends.

When I was younger I regularly took note of the few solitary figures dotting an otherwise empty church, praying, long before Mass and long afterwards. They were a comfort to me, realizing I wasn't all alone, while their example encouraged and edified me. Those were the days of my early twenties, I considered these folks to be old people, and indeed, I suppose they were - usually retired men, often a bit shabby looking, or occasionally I'd notice a blind or handicapped man. (At that time, I rarely noticed young people at church, especially at adoration - they weren't to be found.)
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It was very lonely for me when I first returned to the Church back in 1972. A few churches had adoration of the Blessed Sacrament way back then, but few people filled the pews. As a result of my conversion, I pretty much abandoned my former friends who didn't understand what it meant for me to return to the sacraments along with the renunciation of vice, much less my desire to spend as much time as possible in the atmosphere of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Hence I developed a "spiritual friendship" with the very few solitary souls scattered throughout the church.
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One or two guys in particular became such friends. Of course we never spoke, except for an occasional, but rare acknowledgement of a nod or a smile. I went to Mass and adoration specifically to pray, not to make friends - that is what I told myself at least, trying to deny the deep loneliness I experienced in the initial stages of my conversion process.

Matthew.
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One friend I've thought about lately is Matthew. I never knew his full name, perhaps some readers may. He regularly attended the novenas at Assumption, and the church of St. Louis in downtown St. Paul, as well as St. Agnes. In fact he may still be alive. Matthew was a Native American gentleman, blind, and I think a bit lame, since he used a cane. He was very friendly, as were other parishioners, who often led him up to communion during Mass or lit candles for him. Naturally I noted all of these little attentions he received. Being blind, he would never have known of my presence, and I never approached him.
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I'm not entirely sure why I kept a distance. I surely admired his faithfulness to prayer and daily Mass, taking the bus at night and walking so many blocks to St. Agnes, but I think I was afraid of him. At that age I didn't know how to relate to ordinary people. I don't mean that in a snooty sense either. In addition, I wasn't sure how to deal with his blindness; Should I help him, or ask him if I can help him, or will he get angry? More deeply, there were other fears and apprehensions I didn't quite comprehend at the time, or was unable to recognize. Most Native Americans wandering around the downtown churches were pan-handlers and drunks. Simply by being a Native American with disabilities and rumpled clothing, Matthew appeared to share in that stigma.
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One day, Matthew and I happened to be leaving the church together. He was just a bit ahead of me seeking the railing on the great staircase outside the church. My conscience commanded me to take his arm in order to help him down the stairs. He asked my name, we spoke haltingly, and then he requested I help him to the corner. My first thought was, "See, this is what happens when you help someone, they ask you to do more." I'm not at all kidding - there is jerk who lives inside me. Again my conscience corrected me, "If a man asks you to go one mile with him, go with him two."

As I walked arm in arm with Matthew, he sensed I was shivering, "You cold", he asked?.

"Kinda." I answered with a laugh.

Then Matthew felt my arm and my waist and he said, "You gotta eat boy, you're too skinny."

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"Oh, I do. But not today."

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"You're fasting," he realized aloud. Then giving my hand a squeeze, "That's good. But you be careful about that stuff."
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We parted ways. Later, if I ran into him, the only thing we ever said was "hello" or "how ya doin'?". I regret that today. I kept my distance. I'm not good at friendship. I know that is a poor excuse.
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Matthew and I could have been good friends I think.
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There are folks who are disabled through blindness, or some sort of physical malady; while others can be disabled by things unseen; ignorance, shame, fear, spiritual pride... any number of disorders. Overtime I started to believe the physically disabled may mirror our own spiritual and psychological disabilities, as well as our need for friendship. I also think they have much to teach us on how to live with our defects, how to cope with loneliness... and even more stuff I'm still learning about.
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Some people are just slow learners... And conversion is a process that can take a lifetime.

American Arrogance?



Bigger than ever.
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The opponents of George Bush accused he and his Administration of arrogance for eight years. Yet supporters of President Obama seem unable to admit or recognize the cold calculating arrogance that is starring them in the face... One of the very first acts the President of the United States did was to overturn a ban on state funding for family-planning groups that carry out or facilitate abortions in other countries. Why is that so important? Fans of the move insist that countless women and girls will no longer have to die because of restricted access to abortion. Such nonsense. What about the countless children who are sacrificed in the ongoing holocaust? It is estimated the world suffers 50 million abortions every single day as it is.
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The honeymoon is over.
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Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, had this to say about our new leader:
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His actions demonstrate "the arrogance of someone who believes they are right, in signing a decree which will open the door to abortion and thus to the destruction of human life. What is important is to know how to listen... without locking oneself into ideological visions with the arrogance of a person who, having the power, thinks they can decide on life and death," he added.
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"I do not believe that those who voted for him took into consideration ethical themes, which were astutely left aside during the election debate. The majority of the American population does not take the same position as the president and his team," he added. " - Source
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As I wrote in an earlier post: Now it begins. I thought I picked up on the arrogance thing as he made his way down the hall to emerge onto the inaugural stage.