Thursday, February 28, 2008

Christ Be Our Light

I have on more than one occasion detected a pattern of speech that describes God in the past tense. Quite without any malice intent, and perhaps done so subconsciously, many of us have the tendency to refer to God as ancient and erstwhile- the aforetime God of sacred scripture, who revealed Himself to our progenitors then disappeared during The Enlightenment. In this video, you hear Mother Theresa say that with our modern capacities we have the ability to do many great things. Subsequently, she says, we put God in the past without realizing "God is." The entire video is just over six minutes long. Please, be patient and watch it in its entirety.

*Her interview lasts just after two minutes and ten seconds. After which begins the song Christ Be Our Light by Bernadette Farrell. I’m sure many of you have heard the song before. I, for one, recall singing it but I can't remember when!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


You are Totally Sarcastic

You sarcastic? Never! You're as sweet as a baby bunny.

Seriously, though, you have a sharp tongue - and you aren't afraid to use it.

And if people are too wimpy to deal with your attitutde, then too bad. So sad.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Good News Everybody!

I've just learned that Ogre Winfrey & Friends have started a year-long coarse on XM Radio about miracles and the New Age Christ.

Oh, lordy, what fun!!

"The Oprah" will feature Marianne Williamson's A Coarse On Miracles, which Williamson describes as a "contemporary expression of New Thought" as well as a " self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy." And, by the way, the term new age bears a slightly derogatory connotation, so 'they' have switched to the hipper and more concise term "New Thought."

These are a few of the daily lessons featured on Oprah & Friends since the incipient broadcast:

January 1, 2008 Broadcast:
This table does not mean anything.
This chair does not mean anything.
This hand does not mean anything.
This foot does not mean anything.
This pen does not mean anything

January 3, 2208 Broadcast:

Quote of the Day:
"We are not held back by the love we didn't receive in the past, but by the love we're not extending in the present."

January 5, 2008 Broadcast:
My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.

January 22, 2008 Broadcast:
What I see is a form of vengeance.

January 26, 2208 Broadcast:
My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.

February 5, 2008 Broadcast:
My holiness envelops everything I see.

February 15, 2008 Broadcast:
God is the Love with which I love myself.
God is the Love in which I am blessed.

Ahhhh...isn't that soothing? Can you hear chimes ringing from afar? What about water running through a brook or the smell of incense smothering the air? Only thing missing from these lessons is Yanni.

Now, there is one individual whose advice and spiritual direction I fervently adhere to. That, my friends, is Stuart Smalley. His pleasant and gentle demeanor is so disarming I think he could single handedly get all the warring factions in Iraq to lay down their arms and start asking, "What's really making me mad?" His lisp - which I wish I could speak with - destroys every pre-conceived notion of what masculinity is about, as well as any societal expectations of how a man should carry himself.

Oh Stu, if only the world would listen to your wisdom.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I was tagged by Adrienne (Auntie A to me) some time ago and my response is long overdue. The rules of this tag require that I tag other bloggers that I enjoy reading. Well, listed here is a short list of my favorite blogs, with a brief description, who will pay the price of that admiration with a tag from me. These are not in any particular order.

1) Katie Alender is a mighty talented individual. Aside from having the talent to pull off the fabrication of colorful quilts and wonderful apparel (such as dresses I don't have the body for...literally), she is also a soon-to-be published author. This year will see the publication of Bad Girls Don't Die, which sounds an awful lot like the girls I wish I was dating! LOL! Katie's blog is always fun to read and diverse in subject matter. And since she basis her life on my teachings, she loves dogs. Winston, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is as mischievous (if not more) than yours truly.

2) Abbey Roads and Abbey Roads2 is the product of Terry Nelson. Terry has a unique gift for writing some of the funniest (and serious) blogs dealing with anything from Catholicism to music, social issues, politics, and, more recently, biographical insights into his life. When you visit his blog, duck! You will notice how he has the ability to spark some very passionate debates between people who read what he posts and others who comment. It's also a characteristic of Terry to be funny without overtly trying to be funny. Visit his blog and you'll know what I'm talking about.

3) Jaime at Bell Literary Reflections is an avid reader. I envy her passion for reading, and her ability to conquer books in no time flat (almost through osmosis, so it seems). I look forward to the reviews she posts about her latest read since I reference it when browsing through local book stores here in Las Vegas. I also LOVE the cozziest little library/ reading room she made for herself and her husband!

4) Have you been properly catechized? What do you know of Catholic worship? Do you remember the meaning and purpose of your baptism? Do you like to irritate people by using words like "irregardless" or "very unique"? Then please visit Auntie Adrienne at Adrienne's Catholic Corner and use them as frequently as possible when you leave a comment. She will greatly appreciate it. LOL! On a serious note, Auntie A is the one you want heading the class in any RCIA or children's Catechism courses. She knows the faith and can inculcate newbies with traditional Catholic teachings rather than some convoluted discombobulation. But be careful of what you write when you visit her blog. You see, she has connections to Tony Soprano and his hoodlums, and subsequently her blog comes under their protection. That's why I resist the temptation to tease her irregardless of how much fun it would be!

There are other blogs not mentioned on this list that I enjoy reading and visiting very much.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What Next?

I think it's safe to say that the death knell tolls for Castro - if he isn't already dead. But what will his death mean to the island? Will his brother embrace democratic reform in the hopes of rehabilitating political relations with the United States? Or will he be as dictatorial and oppressive as the despot he succeeds?

My mother - some time ago - ended a fifty year childhood friendship with someone who spoke unfavorably of the United States while at the same time eulogizing the almost fifty-year domination of Fidel Castro. Yesterday, when I spoke to her, she had high hopes for the future of Cuba since Castro resigned the presidency, but I'm trying to keep her enthusiasm in check.

I have heard that his brother, Raul, has all kinds of perverse and disturbing idiosyncracies that he keeps well hidden from public view. Could this deviant be the crack in the wall of totalitarianism that lets democracy shine through in Cuba?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sister Leonella Sgorbati

On September 12, 2006 Pope Benedict, while delivering a lecture at the University of Regensburg in Germany, quoted a manuscript from the 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus. The quote is as follows:

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The words spread around the world like wildfire and some Muslims took great offense to this. Five days later, Sister Leonella Sgorbati - a nun who had devoted her life to helping the most empovirished regions in Africa - was gunned down outside a children's hospital in Mogadishu. Her last words were “Pardono; pardono" (“I forgive; I forgive.”).

I'm not going to explain or discuss what a cowardly act it is to shoot a female in the back - worse yet, a nun - by some gutless invertebrate. It's especially psychopathic, however, how an overzealous fanatic would cut down an individual whose main motivation is to help their people and their community. I do hope they find the suspected two men responsible for this and are made to face some kind of justice.

Yeah, right. Like that's ever going to happen.

Blessed Joseph Allamano (Canonization Pending)

Talk about having "saintly connections." Born in Castelnuova, Asti, Italy in 1851, Blessed Joseph Allamano was the nephew of Saint John Cafasso, and recieved spiritual direction from Saint John Bosco when he studied at the Salesian Oratory in Valdocco, Italy. He founded the Consolata Missionary Priests and Brothers as well as the Consolata Missionary Sisters between 1901 and 1902.

I've been trying to acquire more information about this holy man but so far no luck - which seems rather odd. He founded two orders and biographical information of him is scarce. Perhaps if he is canonized greater details will surface.

If you know anything else about Blessed Joseph Allamano, please leave me a comment.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Keeping with a Valentine's Theme

Your Love Is Represented By a Red Rose

You love passionately and fully, without any reservations.

And while romantic love comes easily for you, you also love many people platonically.

You are a true romantic, and you always can see the best in people.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

la Saint-Valentin in the cinema

Well, Valentine's Day is just a few days away and many of you lovebirds out there have reason to celebrate next to your significant main-squeeze. Since I have chosen (for the most part) to retain my bachelorhood, I'd thought I'd observe the occasion with the ultimate in sappy and mushy: list the top ten romantic movies of all time. I have conducted an unscientific (duh?) survey and compiled this list from the responses given to me by single folks, married folks, and hopeless romantics. Most of these I have NOT watched, and, speaking from a man's perspective, DON'T care to watch...unless I'm forced to watch by that one person you just can't say no to;) For the record, I prefer the horror, science fiction, and thriller genres.

1) Gone With the Wind (1939) - I've always enjoyed the title much more so than the movie. For me, even as a child, the name of this film evoked a sense of nostalgia and unfulfillable longing. Beautiful score. Winner of eight oscars in 1940, including Best Screenplay, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Movie. Mr. Gable recieved a nomination but did not win.

2) Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - Okay, I'm coming clean. I did see this film and, yes, I did like it...the second time around. The opening scene, where a taxi carrying Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) travels down an empty 5th Avenue in New York is classic. And, of coarse, the song Moon River - written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini - is also unforgettable.

3) Casablanca (1942) - "Here's looking at you, kid." Oh, yes. Casablanca is what you get when desire and morality collide within a war story. It's also the answer I got to "What movie is your love life like" from six posts ago. LOL!

4) The Notebook (2004) - Never saw this one folks, but from those surveyed it's "...sooo cute." Whatever. It did star James Garner and Gena Rowlands - two very good actors who still find respectable movie rolls at their level.

5) Doctor Zhivago (1965) - As I child, the music of this great film encapsulated me. The movie - which I have only vaugue recollections - was shot in that saturated level of color that was characteristic of films from that era.

6) Somewhere in Time (1980) - This was another film that I did enjoy. Love, time-travel, and a quasi-happy ending. What more can you ask for? How about a great score. John Barry, who scored a number of films from the James Bond franchise, did a superb job in this film. The only one he did not compose but used in this movie was the eighteenth variation of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. That one we attribute to a master of the Romantic Period: Sergei Rachmaninov.

7) From Here to Eternity (1953) - Another film with a great name. Never saw this one either, but eight grandmothers tell me it's good, so it must be. I do, however, recall the passionate kiss between Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster) and Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr) on the beach.

8) An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) - "I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to go... I got nothin' else." Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) wants to be a navy pilot and enrolls in the officer candidate school. There he meets Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley (Louis Gosset, Jr.), who catches Mayo cheating and tries to get him to quit the program by making his life unbearable. In the meantime, Zack meets Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger) who is desperate to leave her life as a factory worker and become a navy wife. The classic ending comes when Zack Mayo graduates from the officer candidate school, goes to the factory where Paula works, picks her up and walks out with her in his arms.

9) The Summer of '42 (1971) - When this film came out (which was before I was born), I think every young man secretly wished he was Hernie, with a captivating older woman, Dorothy, by his side. I don't remember too much about the film, but I do recall the fact that it took place in New England (which adds more to the romantic luster of the film), and the melancholy score by the great Michael Legrand. The Summer Knows - depending on who performs it and how it's arranged - is one of my favorite songs.

10) Titanic (1997) - When I started watching this film on DVD, I could not finish it because the boredom became physically unbearable. Sorry. Maybe it's because I'm not that big of a DiCaprio fan, or maybe the movie was moving too slowly for me. Anyway, the people I talked to enjoyed it so it came in at number ten.

An amorous and enchanting Valentine's day for you and those closes to you!!

"Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties." ~ Jules Renard

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Teilhard de Chardin: "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." Mark 6:4

One of my favorite mystics of the twentieth century is French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (May 1, 1881 - April 10, 1955). A geologist/ paleontologist by training, Chardin rejected the literal account of creation detailed in the Book of Genesis and instead embraced more scientifically driven theories that supported his teleological views of the universe and of humankind. Chardin was a strong proponent of evolution, but within a Christian context.

In his writings and personal philosophy, Chardin believed the Earth's evolutionary trajectory was gradually developing "a sphere of human thought" - an interlinked system of consciousness and information, a global net of self-awareness, instantaneous feedback, and planetary communication. He called this emerging cognizance the noosphere. Although he never used the term "internet" one can easily conclude that this visionary described the principals of this present day device. And did so in the first half of the twentieth century.

According to Chardin, evolution did not cease with the development of the noosphere. Man continues to evolve to a greater plane of consciousness he referred to as the Omega Point. All of nature, matter, the cosmos, and consciousness - after exhausting its potentialities and continuity - was converging towards this final Omega Point. To Chardin, this point of ultimate complexity and evolution he termed Omega Point, was God. In other words, all the lines of human and cosmic evolution merge in the Second Coming of Christ.

Despite the fact that his writings were profoundly theologically beautiful, and formulated from traditional Christian doctrine, Pierre's views were clearly ahead of his time. And although he was completely orthodox in the practice of his faith, his superiors detected a hint of heresy in his rejection of the literal account of Creation and subsequently prohibited his books from publishing within his lifetime. He was exiled to China and the United States by the Jesuit order in order to limit his influence and European popularity. It was not until the reign of Pope John XIII that Chardin was rehabilitated and his many works posthumously published.

Chardin's mysticism has had a tremendous impact on my personal faith because he has helped clarify some of my own believes that I had tremendous difficulty putting into words. Think about what he is saying: Right under our noses, in the monotony of our every day lives; in our sufferings and in our comings and goings; as we sleep or while wide awake; wether we realize it or not, the Sovereign Lord of History is calling you and the universe to Him. What an absolutely beautiful thought.

And you thought salvation and all the promises He made involved only us and nothing else.

"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."

"Heart of Jesus, heart of evolution, unite me to yourself." ~~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Saturday, February 9, 2008


I have heard many unkind words about the church of Scientology, and in other instances I've even joked - without any intended malice - about some of their perplexing assertions. One of their more irritable rationalisms is their uneducated attempt to debunk mainstream psychiatric practice. Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley might be phenomenal actors, but as Scientologists they are NOT qualified behaviorist or psychoanalysts. As I've read more about this institution, I get the impression that a "benefit" of being a part of the church Scientology is that it allows you to claim to be a part of a religion without having to be religious.

I am aware, and wholeheartedly agree, that some medications are abused and issued for reasons that are frivolous and gratuitous. This DOES NOT mean that some medications, when prescribed to the right patient under supervised, PROFESSIONAL medical care, do not have a beneficial psychological impact.

In is featured an article that reports of a group calling itself Anonymous. Its mission to dismantle the church of Scientology and expose the pernicious and destructive influence it says the church has over its followers. Here is the Youtube video of the clandestine Anonymous:

This is the video leaked from inside the church of Scientology that features Tom Cruise gloating over the many potentialities and accomplishments of his church. Much of what he says is in this video completely impossoble to follow, so here is a terminology key to refer to when he uses those enigmatic acronyms.

KSW = "Keep Scientology Working."
SP = Supressive People
PTS = Potential Trouble Source
BS = Most of what he says

Rachmaninov's Vespers

One of the most beautiful sacred compositions of the twentieth century is undoubtedly Rachmaninov's Vespers (All Night Vigil). Written in 1915 along the Russian Orthodox tradition, this musical operation was first performed on March of that same year to benefit the Russian war effort. As the Soviet Union emerged from its Russian antecedent, the work was banned by communist authorities.

Below is the Nunc Dimittis excerpt from Rachmaninov's Vespers. Yes, there are better performances than the one featured in the video below. If you would like to listen to the Vespers in its entirety, I recommend the performance by the Robert Shaw Festival Singers.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I've been tagged! (1 of 2)

Tracy has tagged me with a rather formidable challenge. Formidable because it requires the use of my middle name and posting a fact about myself beginning with every letter of the name. Well, my middle name has nine letter with a cumbersome "x" towards the middle (What am I going to write? X-rays are beautiful or Xanadu is my favorite movie? I think NOT!). I contacted Tracy, and with her permission I will cheat a little. I will be a TOTAL chicken and use "Thomas" as the name to answer the tag.

Here are the rules:

1. You have to post the rules before you give your answers.

2. You must list one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name).

3. After you are tagged, you need to update your blog with your middle name and your answers.

4. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and that they need to read your blog for details.)

T - Tolerance for other people's imperfections in larger doses is what I shall exercise this Lent. Hopefully apply that same level of patience beyond Easter - year round.
H - Home for me is somewhere in New England. Or, as Rita so graciously put it, Mrs. Tom and I should someday move to United Kingdom and live the real thing. LOL! Bless you Rita!
O - Oscar the Grouch you may call me when I'm sleep-deprived.
M - My life, even when recollecting some of my first memories as a child, has been mostly about the search for God.
A - Animals and nature - I LOVE them both!
S - Shaved off my goatee and I'm growing another one. LOL! (Well trimmed, of coarse).

Okay, you little rascals, if you read this and are courageous enough to answer the challenge, consider yourself tagged!


Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I would like to wish all my blogger friends a holy and blessed Lent!

"Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." Mattew 9 : 13

Monday, February 4, 2008

Another Lovey-Lovey Quiz

Your Love Life is Like Casablanca

"Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time."

For you, love is never finished. If you've loved someone once, you'll always love them.

You're an old fashioned romantic... even if your relationships don't end up as romantic as you'd like.

Your love style: Traditional and understated

Your Hollywood Ending Will Be: Complicated and ambiguous

Ambigous?? Complicated??!! I DON"T stand a chance.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Please pray for Melissa.

Click here to find out more.

Why do they all come here?

I know that Las Vegas has the regrettable epithet (used successfully as a marketing tactic) of Sin City. The image of 24/ 7 availability of just about anything you can think of (and a few things you can't!) has attracted the company of unsavory and/ or wealthy individuals looking for a good time. But we're not just casinos, liquor, gambling, and adult entertainment. We have schools, churches, parks, theaters, recreational areas, grocery stores, shopping malls, and businesses that have absolutely nothing to do with the casino or adult entertainment industries.

Having said that, we still entice some of the most notorious and unscrupulous individuals circulating in our society.

- O.J. Simpson
- Tupac Shakur
- Mike Tyson
- Steven F. Zegrean - Opened fire inside the New York New York on July 6th of 2007
- Adult film star convention
- Jack Hazen - 1976 Florida jail escapee; lived in Las Vegas for 23 years before being caught
- It is also reported that five of the hijackers in the September 11th attacks (good and holy Muslims) met inside the Olympic Garden Topless Cabaret here in Vegas. FBI reports they made about six trips to Sin City before carrying out their lethal attacks

Even our current mayor, Oscar Goodman, has a shady past since he acted as defense council for influential mob figures like Meyer Lansky; Nick Scarfo; Natale Richichi; Charles Panarella; Philip Leonetti; Jamiel Chagra; Frank Rosenthal; Allen Glick; "Tough Tony" Spilotro, with whom he developed a special friendship; and the Civella crime family: brothers Nick and Carl "Cork"; Carl's son, Anthony "TonyRipe"; and Carl "Tuffy" DeLuna. (from GSTING Blog)

Don't get me wrong, folks, Las Vegas does have a safe and wholesome component to its makeup. It's the scandalous and the opprobrious that garner all the attention and stigmatize the city.

Doesn't Minnesota or Utah need some of these guys? LOL!

Saturday, February 2, 2008


I'm sure you have heard of this horrible incident, and you can probably recall others like it.

GALVESTON, Texas - On January 29th a number of news outlets reported the discovered body of a baby boy on a Galveston roadside that had first been mistaken for a doll by the people who found him. Wearing nothing but a diaper, it is believed that the infant was murdered before being tossed from a vehicle while still strapped to a child seat. Police have obtained a felony warrant for the child's father who police say is the last person seen with the child.

I'm at a loss for words. I know atrocities happen all the time, even on mass scales. But how can someone snuff-out the life of an indefensible baby boy ? Are police looking for a criminal or someone so barbarous, sadistic, and demoniac that they are completely out of their mind?

It breaks the heart to look at his picture.