Saturday, July 19, 2014

On presumption, ambition, and vainglory.

Madonna by St. Catherine of Bologna

Looking at roots of the problem of spiritual pride and egotism.

How good people online can become angry, though it may not always be righteous anger ...
Among these spiritual persons there are also those who fall into another kind of spiritual anger.  Through a certain indiscreet zeal they become angry over the sins of others, they reprove these others, and sometimes even feel the impulse to do so angrily, which in fact they occasionally do, setting themselves up as lords of virtue.  All such conduct is contrary to spiritual meekness. - Dark Night, Bk. I, 5:2
On presumption, ambition, and vainglory. 

The principal defects springing from pride are presumption, ambition, and vainglory.
Presumption is the desire and inordinate hope of doing what is above one's power. The presumptuous man believes himself capable of studying and solving the most difficult questions; he settles the most abstruse problems with rash haste. He fancies that he has sufficient light to guide himself without consulting a director. Instead of building his interior life on humility, renunciation, fidelity to the duty of the present moment even in little things, he speaks particularly of magnanimity, of apostolic zeal, or indeed aspires to the immediate attainment of the high degrees of prayer without passing through the various stages, forgetting that he is still only a beginner, whose will is still weak and full of egoism. He is still full of self; a great void must be created in him in order that his soul may some day be filled with God and able to give Him to others.
 The ambition of self-appointed online evangelists and apologists.
From presumption springs ambition, under one form or another. Because a man presumes too greatly on his powers and judges himself superior to others, he wishes to dominate them, to impose on them his ideas in matters of doctrine, or to govern them. St. Thomas says that a man manifests ambition when he seeks offices carrying with them honor which he does not merit; when he seeks honors for himself and not for the glory of God or the profit of others. How many schemes, secret solicitations, and intrigues ambition inspires in all walks of life! 
The quest for affirmation and esteem ... and profit.
Pride leads also to vainglory, that is, the wish to be esteemed for oneself, without referring this honor to God, the source of all good, and often a wish to be esteemed for vain things. This is the case of the pedant who loves to display his knowledge, binding himself and wishing to bind others to trifles. 
Many defects spring from vainglory: boasting, which easily makes a person ridiculous; hypocrisy, which under the appearances of virtue, hides vices; stubbornness, contention or asperity in defending one's opinion, which engenders discord; and also disobedience, sharp criticisms of superiors. 
There were scribes and Pharisees ...

We always point out the Pharisees to condemn online, but we forget Jesus also condemned the hypocrisy of the scribes.
Thus we see that pride which is not repressed sometimes produces disastrous effects. How many discords, hatreds, and wars are born of pride! It has been justly said that pride is the great enemy of perfection because it is the source of numerous sins and deprives us of many graces and merits. Scripture says: "God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble."  And Christ says of the Pharisees, who pray and give alms in order to be seen by men: "They have received their reward";  they cannot expect that of our heavenly Father, since they have acted for themselves and not for Him. Lastly, a life dominated by pride is grievously sterile and presages perdition unless a remedy is promptly applied. - Three Ages of the Interior Life

I have to go to confession now.

Drawing by St. Alphonsus Ligouri

I like this.

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (Il Grechetto), 
The Vision of Saint Bernard, 17th century

Divine Love, A Gift of the Heart of Jesus.
The infusion of this divine charity also has its origin in the Heart of the Savior, 'in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.'  For this charity is the gift of Jesus Christ and of His spirit; for he is indeed the spirit of the Father and the Son from whom the origin of the Church and its marvelous extension is revealed to all the pagan races which have been defiled by idolatry, family hatred, corrupt morals, and violence.
Divine Love, the Source of All Graces.
This divine charity is the most precious gift of the Heart of Christ and of His Spirit:  It is this which imparted to the Apostles and martyrs that fortitude, by the strength of which they fought their battles like heroes till death in order to preach the truth of the Gospel and bear witness to it by the shedding of their blood.  [...]  This finally, moved the virgins to a free and joyful withdrawal from the pleasures of the senses and to the complete dedication of themselves to the love of their heavenly Spouse." - Pius XII: Haurietis Aquas

Friday, July 18, 2014

Social media users more likely to divorce.

Why am I not surprised?
Social media websites in general and Facebook in particular may be linked to an increased likelihood of divorce, claims a recently released study.
"Results show that using social networking sites negatively correlated with marriage quality and happiness, and positively correlated with experiencing a troubled relationship and thinking about divorce."
"It's hard to know what comes first: Divorce or obsessing about the lives of others on Facebook." - Christian Post

I wonder how many have lost jobs as well?  Or worse - quit their jobs to write a blog and collect donations, hoping for a book deal and speaking engagements?  

Were people this nuts before social media?

A sampling of nearly unbelievable comments from the Unam Sanctam Catholic blogosterium.

I see the pope his sacred trust betray,
For while the rich his grace can gain alway,
His favors from the poor are aye withholden...

Catholic blogs sounding a bit like Novus Ordo Watch.
"We have a duty to preserve the vocation of a Pope, most especially when a current occupant wants to turn it into the adventures of Forest Gump."
Advising the pope.
"He’s (Francis) got a priority problem.
And we the Church have a pope problem.
Some people don’t want to say what needs saying, but it’s the truth. We have a pope problem.
It’s an easy fix, just STOP giving off the cuff interviews/non-interviews. Stick to pre-written statements that the Vatican has looked over to make sure there will be NO chaos or confusion. That way we won't have to wait days for the Vatican to explain what the pope MEANT rather than what he said."

From a combox:
 "I do not think that you all understand that YOUR RESPONSIBILITY NOW IS TO PROTECT THE TRUTH OF TEACHING OF JESUS.... You you, lay bloggers give up, what poor Christians are going to do ? Priest are too afraid... ONLY YOU HAVE POWER TO STAND UP AND SPEAK THE TRUTH !!!! You are needed even MORE THAN BEFORE... Courage!"
"he is, sorry to say, an anti-pope. The true pope was cleverly removed from his rightful THRONE... Benedict XVI still wears white... it speaks VOLUMES... It is better to know the horrible truth, than be constantly frustrated. Get ready for a very bumpy ride.. "

Burt and Marge have been shaken by it all.
"We dropped out of RCIA."

A word of advice: Do not ignore what the Pope says.

Ignore Catholic bloggers who take his words in vain.  Catholics have no need whatever to pay the slightest attention to Online Catholic pundits.

Decimating Gaza

Stop.  Pray.  Fast.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Father Cornioli said that Pope Francis’s message had given Christians in Gaza fresh courage and hope.  At the same time he said the casualties are mounting as a result of the ground and air offensive with many wounded arriving in Gaza’s hospitals and the medical staff are struggling to cope with the influx.  The priest urged the international community to do all in their power to help stop “this massacre.” - Vatican Radio

At what point do we call it genocide?

The origins of traumatic stress disorder.
Meanwhile, for several days now, the Sisters of Mother Teresa and the 28 disabled children and 9 elderly people in their care have taken refuge in the parish. It is expected that they will remain in Gaza together with the parish priest Father Jorge Hernandez. 
Father Jorge reports that the “crimes are multiplying. The smaller children are beginning to get sick from fear, stress, the blasts, the continuous din. The parents are going to incredible lengths to distract them so that the violence does not overwhelm them, like playing and jumping every time they hear an explosion, dancing or simply hugging them and holding their hands over their ears.” - CNEWA

Courage members who are willing to give their testimony in a public forum.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
have mercy on us.

A new documentary film:  The Everlasting Hills

The film debuts this weekend at the Courage Conference.  You can view the trailer here.  I look forward to viewing the entire film when it is released.

Fr. Check comments on the film:
I admire the three people whom you will see in this movie—Rilene, Dan and Paul. I admire them because of their humility and courage. I realize—and more important, they realize—that some viewers may be troubled, offended, or even angered by their stories. No one involved in making this film wishes to cause anyone distress. On the contrary. But if we are free to design our lives, then each of us will have a story, and whether or not this story is welcome, it deserves respect. It deserves respect not only for the unique mind and heart the story reveals, but also for what it may contain for others. 
Rilene, Dan and Paul do not claim that their stories are just like the stories of all other people – or even of any other people. Yet do their stories share unifying themes? Yes, they do. So has this film been made for a purpose? Yes, it has. Indeed, it has been made for a dual purpose, because the film takes up not just one of the questions I mentioned, but both of them: What it means to design one’s life well, and how to know when we have really found peace and fulfillment. For in the end, finding peace and fulfillment are what the precious gift of freedom is for. –Fr. Paul N. Check, Executive Director, Courage, Int.

I like how Fr. Check acknowledges that their stories are NOT just like the stories of all other people, or even of any other people.  Indeed, their stories share unifying themes - some people's stories are darker, others more benign - what telling one's story demonstrates however is that one can move beyond 'gay', beyond the limitations imposed by LGBTQ theory and culture.  Unchallenged, the 'identity' tends to block natural joy, peace and that freedom of spirit so essential to authentic spiritual development.  "Blessed are the pure of heart - for they shall see God."  That intention, or disposition, is essential to the interior life and growth in virtue.

One major reason I support Courage Apostolate is that one can be sure one is receiving authentic Catholic teaching, spiritual guidance, support and formation.  It is Catholic spirituality supported by the sacramental life of the Church, it is a means to sanctify one's life.  It is solidly Catholic.

I congratulate all those who have made this film, for their courage and humility.  When we tell our conversion stories - to be of any value at all - it is not so much about ourselves and the things we did - rather it is about what God has done, in Christ:  It is about the mercy of God - his overwhelming love - which is in fact, the very source of our desire for 'the everlasting hills'.  As the famous saints who were once sinners have said - "forever I will sing of the mercies of the Lord!"   That is the big difference in profiting from conversion stories online - there are those who celebrate themselves, yet the authentic stories are those which glorify the mercy of God.

I think the people in this film do that.

I just have to say - the growth of Courage Apostolate is truly edifying and encouraging for the entire Church.  Praise God!  It wasn't always so well supported - believe me.  Even if you are not part of a group, or you don't like groups, whatever - you can benefit from the research and writing generated by those associated with Courage since its founding - Fr. Harvey's works are still available and relevant to our needs today.  Do not be afraid!

And never let anyone tell you that the Church does not care about you.  The Church loves us.

H/T Austin Ruse, Crisis

Courage Apostolate

Fr. Paul Check

Catholic ministry to those with same sex attractions.

Courage Conference began Thursday July 17.  Details here.

Fr. Paul Check has a great interview here.

With priests like Fr. Check and other Courage chaplains around the country, the Church is in good hands.  With membership in Courage growing, the witness of men and women living in fidelity to Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage prevails.

A couple of quotes from the Fr. Check interview.

Within the apostolate, we’ve grown considerably, and I think that’s a testimony to the veracity of the Church’s teaching. Many people have lived one way and discovered through experience that the promise [of happiness] was not fulfilled, and they’ve had a change of heart. They have looked to the Church to assist in confirming what they’ve experienced interiorly. 
And then the other thing is that we have Courage members who are willing to give their testimony in a public forum. Many members have a sense that now is the time to give witness, and at no small cost or sacrifice, by going public. - NCRegister
Going public is a huge sacrifice.  People who do so in support of Courage Apostolate need our prayer.

Contraception, the original sin of the sexual revolution.

And then, of course, there’s the whole contraception question, which has made this all the more difficult, because so many Catholics, including, sadly, many priests, have it settled in their minds that deliberately sterile sex promotes the human good. But it doesn’t. We know through Revelation, reason and lived experience. 
Once we have the idea that deliberately sterile sex within marriage is good, then it’s a very short step to same-sex union. What contraception does is remove the distinctively male and female aspect, the complementarity, of sex. Once you give up that ground philosophically, you wind up where we are culturally. Some of that has seeped into the minds and hearts of Catholics. - NCR

On the language used in the Catechism.
Hypothetically, if you could revise the Catechism, would you replace the phrase “objectively disordered,” and if so, with what? 
I know that phrase falls very hard on the ears, and not just on the ears of people who are dissenting from the Church’s teaching or inclined to dissent. There are many good people who say that this phrase is difficult. Of course, it is not a moral judgment, but an anthropological judgment meaning the erotic attraction to a person of the same sex can never be fulfilled in a way consistent without nature. That’s what it means: that people are out of harmony with their nature. 
But the good in the phrase is that it’s very clear, and while it can be hard on ears, its clarity has brought to many people a deeper or more thoughtful reflection on what the Church teaches and why. 
As long as we are careful to make the three-part distinction that the Catechism does make [person, inclination and action], then I think we can use that phrase. Now, that doesn’t mean it needs to be used all the time or from the pulpit on Sunday, but certainly in a Christian anthropology or ethics classes it has its place. - NCR
Read the entire interview - it should answer many of your questions on same sex attraction and the Catholic Church.

If you never hear another word from me or read another post on this blog, please remember that Courage Apostolate is the best ministry available for same sex attracted persons in the Catholic Church.

I'll be praying in union with those at the conference this weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Feast of St. Alexis

Story of St. Alexis.

St. Alexius the only son of Euphemianus, a wealthy Christian Roman of the senatorial class, fled his arranged marriage to follow his mysterious holy vocation. Disguised as a beggar, he lived near Edessa in Syria, accepting alms even from his own household slaves, who had been sent to look for him but did not recognize him, until a miraculous vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary singled him out as a "Man of God." Fleeing the resultant notoriety, he returned to Rome, so changed that his parents did not recognize him, but as good Christians took him in and sheltered him for seventeen years, which he spent in a dark cubbyhole beneath the stairs, praying and teaching catechism to children. After his death, his family found writings on his body which told them who he was and how he had lived his life of penance from the day of his wedding, for the love of God. (Source)


Art:  Terry Nelson
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Screenshots: Pewsnipper's War

Shea: A clearinghouse for contempt for much of the Church’s magisterial teaching and this pope in particular. Take the log out of your own eyes, anonymous Pewsitter cowards! 
... more
Fr. Longenecker: PewSitter negative, sour, cynical, misleading 

It's no longer funny.

If there was ever an atmosphere of hate and derision - you will find it on the Pewsitter web page.  Talk about American Catholic Tabloid News.  Yesterday it struck me as LOL funny - if not seriously insane - today it is just plain scandalous.  The site presents as a legitimate source of Catholic news and they resort to tabloid tactics insulting their critics with the most unflattering photos and salacious headlines they can concoct.  (That's my job, BTW.)

I'm blown away by Catholics online.

I got an email from some guy with a website, calling me out for leaving up a post I wrote in self-defense of falsehoods he wrote about me on his blog a few months ago.  He said that my post - which was in response to his poorly researched post - (which I had totally forgotten about BTW) - is  "slanderous, name calling, inaccurate, and mean spirited."  Holy crap!  The pot calling the kettle black I'd say.  All he had to do was ask me - instead he insults me again by calling my post "your little victim rant about me."  Huh?  Who was ranting?  This guy is supposed to be a professional Catholic apologist, evangelist, radio host, and writer - yet off screen he resorts to the exact same type of behavior he accused me of.

Sound familiar?

Amazing that any of us dare call ourselves Christians and go on to cite others for heresy and error and all sorts of infidelities. (Yep!  I'm guilty too!)  Calling others out like this discredits the Catholic online presence completely.  It demonstrates outright hypocrisy, envy, greed, ambition and false religion.  Everyone can mouth Catholic teaching - even go so far as to correct the bishops and the Holy Father himself - but they only have the outward show of religion.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. 
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. - James 1

In Thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel.

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions in our necessities, 
but deliver us always from all dangers, 
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Prayers answered.

My friend who had asked for prayers because he was facing almost certain homelessness, after exhausting every possible route to find a place to live, wrote to me this morning with this news:
I wanted to let you know that as of July 16 2014, around 11am est I have been approved for an apartment...

Thanks to all who have prayed with us in this novena, and to the priests who offered Mass, and most especially thanks to the Blessed Virgin, Queen of Carmel. 

Solemn Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel

Queen, beauty of Carmel!

O most beautiful flower of Carmel, 
fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, 
Blessed Mother of the Son of God, 
Immaculate Virgin, assist us in our necessity. 
O star of the sea, help us and show us the way. 
O Mary conceived without sin, 
pray for us who have recourse to you.

In the Ascent of Mount Carmel, St. John of the Cross wrote: “Oh that someone might show us how to understand, practice and experience what this counsel is which our Saviour here gives us concerning the denial of ourselves, so that spiritual persons might see in how different a way they should conduct themselves upon this road than that which many of them think proper.... Oh that someone would tell us how far Our Lord desires this self-denial to be carried!” This lament is addressed to us “spiritual persons,” who claim to be Christ’s friends. - Sr. Ruth Burrows ocd

In thanksgiving for the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel.

Happy feast day! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"New" Catholic News Portal: News And Faith

I've mentioned News and Faith before.

If you are looking for a convenient Catholic news portal alternative that is regularly updated and 'outside' the current online-Catholic tabloid 'loop' and parochial establishment of Catholic bloggers, check out News and Faith.   It's a faithful site.

What's really important...

Thoughts for the Vigil of the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
"For I have often heard that it is more safe to hear and to take counsel than to give it.
It may also happen that each one's thought may be good; but to refuse to yield to others, when reason or a just cause requires it, is a sign of pride and willfulness." - Imitation of Christ, Bk. I, Chp. 9:3
Pope Benedict on St. Benedict.

A reading from Magnificat for the feast of St. Benedict struck me, and held my attention since I read it...

"[T]he three fundamental temptations of every human being:  the temptation of self affirmation and the desire to put oneself at the center, the temptation of sensuality and, lastly, the temptation of anger and revenge... " - Benedict XVI

The Holy Father was discussing the three years solitude Benedict spent at Sacro Speco - a time of testing and purification - wrestling with the fundamental temptations of man.

My prayer for the last day of the novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

"Let whoever is simple turn in here; to him who lacks understanding, I say, Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed.  Forsake foolishness that you may live, advance in the way of understanding." - Proverbs 9
Send forth Wisdom from your holy heavens
and from your glorious throne dispatch her
that she may be with me and work with me,
that I may know what is your pleasure.
For she knows and understands all things,
and will guide me discreetly in my affairs
and safeguard me by her glory. - Wisdom 9

Excellent advice from Fr. Longenecker on Pope Francis


For those who get rattled over some of the things the pope says and does.

Ten things to remember if Pope Francis upsets you.
Many conservative Catholics are experiencing a range of negative feelings about Pope Francis. When a headline screams that he stated that 2% of Catholic clergy are pedophiles, that he “promises to solve the celibacy problem” that he doesn't want to convert Evangelicals or that he doesn't judge a homosexual who “searches for the Lord and has goodwill” they experience confusion, anger, resentment, bewilderment and fear. - Read the rest here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Screenshots. Laughing with you - not at you - REALLY.

That wasn't an interview. The Pope 
didn't mention pedophile cardinals, 
he didn't talk about celibacy that way, 
and he didn't say he'd come down hard 
on pedophiles 'just like Jesus did.' 
... more

Fr. Longenecker: The vocations crisis is over because people who remember pre-Vatican II years are dying? 
... more
Te Deum's Korzeniewski on new 'less dogmatic' Cologne Cardinal Woelki: Don't follow those pitiful, distasteful other bloggers off the proverbial cliff. 
... more
Shea: The Seamless Garment is basically common sense Catholic Social Teaching. 
Anchoress: U.S. Bank teller was making a pest of herself. Are we going to have to endure Wiccan curses now? 
... more

UPDATE 7/15/14

Editor's note:  Now I know why my post was misconstrued ...  I had no idea what went down yesterday as a result of Pewsitter's questionable journalistic skills and copy writing style.  A screenshot from today's edition explains everything:

....Shea: Odious PewSitter deserved both barrels 
... more

To Hell with You, PewSitter 
... more

Saints in Art: St. Elesbaan, one of the pillars of Ethiopia

"The story of St. Elesbaan goes back to the early period of Christianity’s long presence in Ethiopia.

"This remarkable black saint, whose story of victory and piety begins in ancient Abyssinia, now known as Ethiopia, found his ultimate fulfillment much later as a spiritual guide to his fellow black Africans. In this painting, the saint wears the habit of the Carmelite religious order and holds a miniature church. The inscription at the bottom of the painting attests to his Abyssinian origins and declares his special role as a protector against “the dangers of the sea.”  - Read the rest of the story here.

H/T to my Abyssinian research assistant.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Menswear: Milan

Song for this post here.

What if Jerry Falwell was right? Teletubby viewers are in their late teens to early twenties now.*

How the Q found it's way onto the LGBT.

Think about it.  The mass hypnosis of young children parked in front of the television watching Tinky Winky with that purse.  It was definitely queer.  Falwell got the gay part wrong, Tinky Winky wasn't at all a homosexual role model.  Tinky and the rest were queer.  Teletubbies opened the way for queer - genderqueer.  An entire generation - and their older siblings - were brainwashed.

That said, did you know that in June 2014 the BBC announced a new 60-episode series of Teletubbies will be aired?  I wonder why?

What's so scary about this post 
is that you are not sure if I am serious or not...

*Actually I'm just a little bit older than that.  But I was definitely influenced by the Teletubbies.  I began experimenting with bright colors in my design schemes, and fell in love with bright green landscapes against a sunny blue sky in my secret paintings and I started to wear fleece.

The Ethiopians are gone...

Coptic boys pray in ruined Egyptian church. 

Without the outward signs in the Sacraments we could not know when or with what effect the grace of the Sacraments enters into our souls. - Baltimore Catechism

I've been writing with great joy on how the Ethiopian Orthodox have been 'using' the church across the street from me each Sunday since Divine Mercy Sunday.  (The church is Seventh Day Adventist and they have service on Saturdays, which allowed the Ethiopians to use it.)

I don't know what happened, but they are not there this Sunday.  I'm not sure if they found another church or returned to their original church, since I surmised there had been some sort of rift among them.  Evidently not everyone in their group got the message Liturgy would not be celebrated at the rented church today since a few Ethiopians have come and gone this morning.

From Ethiopian Church of St. George.

I feel sad.

How much I wanted a Catholic church across the street - and I was not at all disappointed that the Orthodox happened to be the Catholics using it each Sunday.  Why is it important they be Catholic?  What is so special about Catholics?  It is precisely this: the Liturgy and the Sacraments - made possible only because of the ordained priesthood.  Other Protestant churches have the 'form' of religion, but not the 'power' - they cannot confect the Eucharist, nor can their ministers absolve a penitent from sin.

A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.  - Baltimore Catechism

The absence of the Ethiopians this morning reminded me of what it must be like in Mosul or Kirkuk now that the Christians have been exiled, and Mass is no longer celebrated there.  It left me with a very deep empty feeling and sadness.

What would I do, what would you do without the Mass?  Without the Sacraments?  Without the Blessed Sacrament?  What would we do without priests?

Even the most unorthodox priest retains the power to confect the Eucharist, to absolve from sin, to anoint and prepare us for heaven.

What if we were deprived of this grace?  What if all of our churches were closed and we had no place to worship?  Not even able to have a clandestine Mass in some hidden place because there were no priests?

The Sacraments have been instituted as a special means through which we are to receive the grace merited for us by Christ. As Christ is the giver of the grace, He has the right to determine the manner in which it shall be given, and one who refuses to make use of the Sacraments will not receive God's grace. - Baltimore Catechism

Never miss Mass on Sundays if you can help it.  Never omit regular-frequent confession.  Never withhold your support from the Church.  Always respect every priest - even when you believe him to be unfaithful - because he can still administer the sacraments.

Be faithful - even when others are not - because God is always faithful.

The effect of the Sacraments does not depend on the worthiness or unworthiness of the one who administers them, but on the merits of Jesus Christ, who instituted them, and on the worthy dispositions of those who receive them. - Baltimore Catechism

Random post.

Random photo.

I looked away from the screen and pointed the cursor onto my photo file and this is the image it landed on.

I decided this is how I will blog from now on - the random photo will determine the subject of the post...  So.

Designer luggage.

Looks as if I'm 'called' to write a post on the necessity of designer luggage when flying.

First:  Do not go to the airport with this type of luggage - otherwise you will be bumped from the flight as these people obviously were.  I'm surprised they even got through TSA screening with this amount of carry on.  It's just too tacky for air travel.  Obviously these travellers are trying to return home after being turned away by the flight attendant, and they appear to be waiting for a taxi.

Second:  Too many carry ons.  These people obviously ignored airline policy.  One carry on designer bag or check it.

Third: Designer luggage guarantees better service - even if you are shabbily dressed like the riff-raff in the photo.  Louis Vuitton can get you an extra bag of nuts, or another drink.

Style - you either got it or you don't.