Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Stop judging and you will not be judged."

Or, for you secularists, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

The verse from Luke 6:37 - "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven." - is an admonition many devout Christians fail to recognize. The inadvertent propensity or temptation to make inappropriate conclusions regarding the salvation or interior disposition of other human beings is too powerful and tantalizing to repulse. "Certainly," some of you might conjecture, "with so many people from so many ages defiling, perverting and subverting every tenet from both the Old and New Testaments, someone must be in hell by now." That general inference about humanity is then focused on specific individuals we feel fall short of our moral, ethical, and Christian expectations.

I will remind you that our Catholic tradition states, in no uncertain terms, that judgement alone is reserved exclusively for the Sovereign Lord of history, and not for humanity or a combination of God and humanity. Though we may speak bluntly when evaluating the actions of other sinners, to judge the sinner himself is to trespass unto theological grounds we have no business visiting.

The Politicking Pharisees
I look without anger, carping, cynicism, but with profound fascination at the demagogues in public office, who speak of ideals, patriotism, and standards they've repeatedly tarnished in their private lives, or never came close to fulfilling in their public ones. Yet in their speeches and other public discourses, there is an implicit declaration that they are the standard bearers of decency and righteousness, and that through their principled leadership, their constituents will find prosperity. You know the type. You've seen them a million times, and will again a million more.

I've always wondered how a congressman can sit through committee after committee, investigating and drilling subpoenaed witness over some public disgrace, and yet be guilty of something far more heinous that he or she might be keeping secret inside the skeleton closet. This is where that abandoned and forgotten word - which apparently has lost circulation - comes into play: CONSCIENCE. Without one you're not intellectually or morally different than the animals you see at the zoo.

Come election day those of us who were duped before shall be duped once again. Perhaps this cynical mentality is responsible for the burgeoning voter apathy in the United States, which, in turn, propagates the good ol' boys culture of a group that thinks it can operate with impunity.

Now, having stated these points, it should also be mentioned that we are a weak and broken humanity. I truly believe that. We ALL make mistakes, and there might be something in our past we reflect on with profound regret. Father Timoney, the pastor of a Church I attended, in his sermons used to mention that it was useless to try and figure out the Trinity since we had failed to adequately grasped the relatively simple concept of ourselves. How true. We don't know what goes on inside every human being. We don't know with absolute knowledge why some people can open up more to God and His loving grace than others who claim He does not exist. Only God can see inside that person, and for all we know, it might be mercy and love that moves Him instead of wrath.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Crazies on TV

Sometimes I think stupidity overwhelms some people like an aggressive disease or virus. And just like some advanced plague, this type of loggerheadedness has no vaccine that can cure it or stop its advance. The following clips are of two individuals who are contaminated from the neck up, and, for all I know, remain in that condition to this day. I do feel sorry (and ashamed) that Pope John Paul II was subjected to this.

Looney toon #1:

Shaven Misbehavin' Sinead O'Connor, I believe, has been ordained in a schismatic Catholic group of some kind. After this SNL spectacle, her career went the way of the Dodo.

Holy Spectators

Guess who else likes the Tour de France?

And in case you weren't keeping track, Spain’s Carlos Sastre won the Tour de France.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

God, Creation, & Eschatology

Most well educated theologians do not take the Genesis account of creation literally and as historically factual. This also includes the chronicles of Adam and Eve and the misconduct that ultimately banished them from the Garden of Eden and separation from God. Most theologians, who also have a science background, agree there might have been a moment in time when the first human beings became aware of themselves and of the universe around them. But it's impossible to tell with absolute exactitude which of these was the male "first" (Adam) and the female "first" (Eve)to become self-cognizant, and how Homo sapien comportment evolved to also include shameful acts of sin and appalling destruction. This, however, does not negate the importance of Genesis as a valuable biblical constituent, nor the important theological Truths it has contributed by the shaping of our faith for thousands of years.

"Don't you ever,
You up in the sky,
Don't you ever get tired
Of having the clouds between you and us?"

A Native American prayer

This brings me to my next question. If the Genesis account of creation and separation is not scientifically substantiated, how then do we explain the separation of Man and God? Why does God create away from God and Man struggles so hard to find Him? The most intellectually defensible answer I can formulate is an amalgam of assertions made by two theologians who also understood the scientific method. Arthur Peacoke believed that God created outside himself, and then gave his creation "the potential to be all that it could." Teilhard de Chardin lived his life firmly positing his faith in an eschatological Christ. A Christ that summoned all of creation to ultimately converge in him. Might a combination of these two assertions be the answer? God creates outside himself, gives his creation the momentum to evolve and to realize its full potentialities. And then, through the passage of time, call his creation to converge in Him.

"It was his purpose in the fullness of time to bring all things to ahead in Him." Ephesians 1:10

The thought of God calling his creation to him is a beautiful idea to me, although it does leave me somewhat perplexed. Why move his creation away from him to ultimately take it back? This question, which demands considerable understanding, will leave you more perplexed the more you think about it, while at the same time revealing the beautifully mysterious ways of the Creator.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I've been tagged by Auntie A with a new name for a meme I had never heard before: Eweewe. No, not an owie. That's when you got a hurty in you wittle finger. A Eweewe (pronounced you you) is like most memes in that it comes with a set of instructions to follow, but this time the answers you provide are in reference to the person who tagged you. Did you like my baby talk?

Here's a brief intro:
A Eweewe is closely related to a Meme which gives you a chance to tell others about you. A Eweewe (pronounced you you and, according to an ancient tradition, sometimes written as Yuyu or even Uu) gives others a chance to tell you about you. Now that's simple enough, isn't it? And so worth doing!

Answer the following questions as they relate to Auntie A:

In a few words, explain why you find me so attractive as a human being.
Name two things you admire about me.
Name two more.

Place a tick if you agree:
I am dynamic: +
witty: ++
fun to be with: Never hung around you before:)
cool: +

Say something nice about me.

Well, now that the check has cleared, I can say something nice about you;0)

Any time you find a human being who is as honest and as straight forward as you are, I consider myself extraordinarily lucky. Free of any pretentiousness or politically correct nuances, since I've known you you've always told it like it is. I've never seen you sugar coat any of your convictions, nor tip-toe around anything controversial. Whether it be in the sharing of your own personal struggles, or in the declaration of your own viewpoints on any social issues, you shoot right from the hip. And despite this assertive disposition, you are compassionate and devoid of any hostilities towards people who think differently than you. That's a classy human being in my book.

Now, aren't those nice things to say about you? If you think I did O.K., please tell Tony to let go of my arm. I can't write one-handed. LOL.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Melissa Hackney passed away last night.

Kimberly's blog reported that she had beaten cancer, but the drubbing her lungs took was too much to recuperate from. This is so heartbreaking. I really thought she was going to make it.

"Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints. . . .

May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life. . . .
May you see your Redeemer face to face.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Remember Melissa in your prayers

It breaks my heart to write this post about someone so young.

Melissa Hackney is fighting for her life. For the longest time, she has waged a courageous battle against lymphoma, with ups and downs throughout her conflict. Recently, she hit a significant down. Doctors have discovered anomalous cells in her lungs but are not sure if this is the result of pneumonia or a resurgence of cancer. Unfortunately, no biopsy can be performed because Melissa is too weak for such a procedure. And to make matters even more complicated, she recently suffered from a collapsed lung. Melissa is in her mid-twenties, loved by her family, with a life ahead of her. PLEASE PRAY FOR MELISSA. A simple prayer might be all that she needs from us.

There is also another way you can show your support. You can send Melissa a card to let her know we are all pulling for her. Please send them to the following address:

Melissa Hackney
c/o Strong Memorial Hospital
601 Elmwood
Rochester, NY 14642

Omnipotent and eternal God,
the everlasting Salvation of those who believe,
hear us on behalf of Thy sick servant, Melissa,
for whom we beg the aid of Thy pitying mercy,
that, with her bodily health restored,
she may give thanks to Thee in Thy church.
Through Christ our Lord.


Again I ask, pray for Melissa. Thank you and God bless all of you.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Don't mak'em like this anymore Pt.1

Whatever happened to good commercials? I remember being a kid and actually looking forward to the break in the program I was watching in order to sing my favorite jingles with the commercial actors. It seems that back then there was a certain simplicity and amusement to television advertisements that today's commercials completely lack.

What do we have these days for commercials? Before sitting down to write this post, I deliberately sought out contemporary T.V. ads and noticed they had a certain monotonous and somewhat weary disposition. Above all else, they were completely deprived of music your mind wants to retain, and that later unconsciously find yourself humming as you do odds-and-ends around your house or while driving or even while you're working.

Now before you point out to me the obvious consumerist and inherent materialistic constituents of all commercials, I want you to know that I'm well aware of these dangers. This post is a nostalgic trip back in time, not a celebration of a particular product.

Here are a few of the commercials that peppered my television viewing time. Some you know, some you might not know. How you stylize a T.V. ad is often based on demographic regions. So what might have been aired in one part of the country might not necessarily have been televised in another part.

I love this Hershey Bar jingle. My absolute favorite!

"Catch that Pepsi spirit!" Another thing I love about 70's and 80's commercials is that they featured small towns with small communities, narrow streets, and buildings at close proximity to each other.

"You got your chocolate in my peanut butter..." Classic!

N-E-S-T-L-E-S from 1986. I love the music from this commercial.

Another favorite from the 1970's featuring actor David Naughton. Love the jingle!

The video quality of this commercial is very poor, but I know you recognize the jingle.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


"When they were filled, he said unto his disciples,
Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." John 6:12

It's a story the news media normally reserves for the "less serious" portion of the broadcast. You know, those last five minutes of the newscast where surfing dogs and what celebrities like to drive take center stage. The casual and humorous treatment of what is a tragic endorsement of gluttony and waste make the focus and main complaint of this post both exasperating and upsetting. What am I referring to? How about those insufferable eating contests that actually have an international organization (International Federation of Competitive Eating) that oversees speed-gorging tournaments. American speed-eater Joey Chestnut (featured here on the left) of San Jose, California is the current world record holder for competitive eating, stuffing 59 hot dogs in just ten minutes. Oh, Joey, you make both your parents and country so proud! I'm sure you don't regurgitate a morsel of food after a splurge of that magnitude.

I don't mean to sound rigid, but these contests make a sport out of misuse and squander at the expense of human beings around the world who go without food, not to mention those who actually starve to death. There are varying global statistics on the yearly number of people who are malnourished, but most evaluations place the number between 840 and 854 million human beings, which includes up to 16,000 children dying each day of starvation.

Remember this picture from 1993?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Tracy at A Catholic Mom in Minnesota has tagged me with this latest meme.

Four, Four, Four, Four....

A) Four places that I go to over and over:
O.K., this first one is actually a tough one because there are dozens of places I visit regularly that match the EXACT answers given by others who took this meme. I'm going to select answers that weren't given by others.

1. Project City Center Construction Site (architecture stuff)
2. Park
3. Red Rock
4. Fashion Show Mall (I LOVE the design of the facade facing the Las Vegas Strip)

B) Four people who email me regularly:

1. Carmen
2. Trisha
3. Richard
4. Jackie

C) My favorite 4 places to eat:

1. Macaroni Grill
2. Florida Cafe
3. Black Angus
4. China House

D) Four places I would rather be right now:

1. School
2. New England (Hm...maybe Beacon Hill or Nantucket Island)
3. The U.K. equivalent of New England
4. Notre Dame Cathedral

E) Four people I think will respond:

Any of you - my blogger buddies - who want to play.

F)Four t.v. shows I watch all the time:

1. Simpsons
2. Law & Order (the original)
3. Charlie Rose
4. Nova

G) Four words that best describe you:

1. Introspective
2. Seeker
3. Imaginative (I try)
4. Inquisitive

H) Four favorite "old school" Hollywood Actors/Actresses:

1. Roger Moore ("Bond, James Bond.")
2. Jimmy Stewart
3. Gene Hackman
4. Roy Scheider

I) Four favorite "old school" television game shows:

1. Joker's Wild
2. Bullseye
3. Tic Tac Dough
4. Family Feud

J) Four favorite "old school" television shows:

1. Duke's of Hazzard
2. The Incredible Hulk
3. Three's Company
4. Fantasy Island

K) List four things you liked best about Christmas when you were a child:

1. Christmas TV programming
2. Putting up the Christmas tree at home
3. Christmas oriented activities in grade school
4. Christmas carols (I'm so glad we still have these)

L) List four things you liked best about Halloween when you were a child:

1. Trick or Treating with friends
2. Halloween activities in school
3. Halloween TV programming
4. Cool, autumn sunsets

M) List four things you did not like about growing up:

1. Going to school in the afternoons (The school district of Las Vegas had to double-up on some of the junior high schools - one session in the morning and another one in the evening - in order to remove asbestos from other school buildings).

2. Grandfather - loved him dearly but he drank too much
3. Moving away from my childhood home
4. Losing track of many friends after graduation

N) List four events that impacted your life:

1. Grandfather's death
2. Discerning a vocation to the priesthood
3. Many dumb decisions in life that make you speak those impossible words, "My parents were right."
4. The passing of my friend Jeaneen

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Few of My Favorites

I know I'm not the only hopeless romantic out there. A few of you suffer from this same incurable condition. To give you an idea of just how far my pathology has progressed, I have decided to share with you two of my favorite romantic/ jazz arrangements.

This first one is performed by the late Bill Evans. This arguably is (in my humble opinion) one of the most beautiful love songs ever written, and has been covered - often times very poorly - by hundreds of artists around the world. If you want the version with the lyrics, might I suggest Dusty Springsfield or Alison Moyet renditions.

"What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life"

Herb Alpert was one of the first trumpeters I heard as a child. His music reached my ears before that of Chuck Mangione's, and I have developed an unswerving appreciation for him ever since. If I'm not mistaken, this song - which debuted in 1979 - was his biggest commercial hit. I know you know this one!


And finally, a song that has incorrectly been labeled Jazz Suite No.2, and written by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovitch. It was made famous by Stanley Kubrick's horrendous 1999 film "Eyes Wide Shut" starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. My great-grandmother - a Spaniard born in the late 1800's - used to sing to us a folk song she brought with her from Asturias that bears an uncanny resemblance to Dimitri's waltz. I'm sure it's just coincidence. Anyway, the waltz is beautiful, joyous, and richly melodic. The movie is NOT.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!

I'd like to wish all of you - my blogger buddies - a happy and safe Fourth of July. Please stay safe, don't burn yourselves setting off those pyrotechnics, and don't drink too much. Above all, don't forget the intentions and expectations our founding fathers had for our country when they ratified the Declaration of Independence two hundred thirty-two years ago. Too many of us don't know, or simply don't care to know, about the amazing historical events that transpired and gave birth to our country.

Happy Fourth!!!