Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Oh shameful, shameful me. I've neglected my blog for a whole month! O.K., so that has to change. In the meantime, I'd like to wish you and your families a blessed and Merry Christmas, and may the incoming New Year bring you all good health and prosperity.

Thursday, November 25, 2010



Who is not hungry at Thanksgiving?
The turkey, he’s already been stuffed!

Why did Johnny get such low grades after Thanksgiving?
Because everything is marked down for the holidays.

Okay, enough with the stupid jokes. But I would like to wish you and all your loved-ones a
Happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mixed Signals??

So the big news circulating in some Catholic and non-Catholic media outlets is that Pope Benedict has approved the use of condoms in certain circumstances. Asked if the Church has had a shift in principles, Pope Benedict answered:

"She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality." Read full article here.

I find this story, which, again, is spreading through the internet like wildfire, somewhat unreliable. But if true, I can see former critics singing his praises and current supporters feeling somewhere in between confused and outraged.

CNS provides a piece that seems to clarify Pope Benedict's stance on the use of condoms. Read here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Here!


My blogger friend, Terry, has fired the first official Christmas salvo here. I'm going to fan the flames by posting favorite Christmas carols, followed by more Christmas music and many other Christmasy things.

The BEST Advent piece (advent is right around the corner!) ever composed.

(Turn your volume up.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hacked

I think both my Blogger and Facebook accounts were hacked into recently. I'm wondering how these little cyber monstrosities get inside places they're not suppose to when I'm pretty tenacious about protecting my passwords, accounts, and about the places I visit online.

Could you PLEASE notify me if you've gotten any spam emails from me on Blogger or on Facebook? I'd feel so embarrassed if one of my Blogger or Facebook friends received from me any spam or emails or messages or Lord knows what else happens when your system is hacked into.

If this is the case, I sincerely apologize to any of you, my Blogger friends, ahead of time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elections Tomorrow

Vote these losers OUT!
Republican or Democrat, party affiliation is inconsequential.
These two are BAD for the country.




Does anyone remember this spectacle?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I never thought I'd defend Juan Williams, but the day has indeed arrived.

These are the comments Williams made during an interview with Bill O'Reilly that got the dipsticks at NPR all fired up, and ultimately cost him his job at NPR: "I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country," Williams said. "But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

I hope enough NPR enthusiasts take issue with the station's conduct and withhold their donations during the station's pledge drives.

SNL's Royal Deluxe II

One of the funniest SNL sketches/ commercials ever!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Old News

The depravity of Father Marcial Maciel is beyond comprehension to me. How was he able to seamlessly reconcile the significance of the priesthood with a behavior that was nothing short of barbaric? Was he mentally ill? Did he suffer from some kind of undiagnosed neurological disorder that no one knew about? Did he think the filth hidden in his rotten, private life would would always remain concealed?

I know Maciel is old news and the shock of his debasement has diminished. But went I think of the troubles the Church has experienced in resent times, his face inevitably is one of the first to surface.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Complacency in Faith

"If you understood, what you understood was not God." ~ St. Augustine


I've used this quote by St. Augustine quite a bit. I reflect on it during those moments in life when one is tempted to conclude that God is absent or that He doesn't care. Only in retrospect can the value of those desolate moments be truly appreciated as opportunities to expand your faith.

I'm guilty of this: I get "comfortable" with my faith and with my idea of God. There is the temptation to conclude that while somethings remain mysterious, for the most part, we have this life and the things that happen in the next life figured out to some extent. You die. You are judged by Christ. Heaven, hell, or purgatory. The end. Personally, I think this simplicity undermines a Mystery that is both hidden and beyond comprehension. Sometimes I hear a good-intentioned individual describe to me almost in step-by-step sequence of what happens to the soul as it enters into eternity.

Know this, regardless of how well versed you are in Church teachings, theology, Christology, mysticism, and the lives of the saints, the only thing we can say with certainty is that God is both infinite justice and infinite mercy. No one who has died absolutely and irrevocably has come back to life to give an account of what the whole experience was like. God is both infinite justice and infinite mercy. Those two qualities are not opposites. On the other hand, it's a mistake to conclude that because God is infinite justice, that in the word "justice" is implied a condemnation to hell. I think hell is tragically the place or word people think of when we speak of God's justice, when justice could mean mercy as well.



I know it sounds silly to some of you, but it's stuff like the above piece (arguably the greatest sacred composition of all time) that energizes me and awakens my senses to the Mystery the Catholic faith is imbued with. I often wonder what Allegri's Miserere sounds like to my non-Catholic blog visitors. Archaic? Anachronistic? Baroque crap? Clearly, everybody has his or her likes and dislikes, and some just miss the point altogether.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cheesy Nuns

This is better than that other nun story CNN was running yesterday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Personal Revelations and Apparitions

One of the most fascinating explications and clearly defined Catholic position on apparitions and personal revelation. Understanding is one of the many positive bi-products of listening to someone who knows what he is talking about. And Cardinal Francis Arinze- who stands a decent chance at becoming the next Pope - knows what he's talking about.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day weekend to all of you and your families from all of us!

Toby wants to celebrated Labor Day by going to a friend's house and "enjoying a quiet time with friends and work colleagues." Can you believe that??? That's the most ridiculous things I've ever heard! Toby actually being quiet- ha! I know him to well. He's going to go there and get boozed up.

I said NO. He threw tantrum.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Heads up, ya-all!

It is Tuesday, August 17, 2010. I'm quite certain you knew that already, but did you know what this also means? It means CHRISTMAS is just four months away!! Less if you consider the time the decorations start going up and the rampant commercialism kindles. A few short months, grumpy, and Christmas time arrives! I'm going to make some mulled cider sometime this week just so I can get into the spirit of the season sooner.

Com'on, get in the spirit, will ya? And lose that cheerless demeanor, it's just not welcomed here.

I love Christmas. I've always wanted to spend it somewhere in a New England village with lots of snow, narrow streets, and colonial-style architecture. Instead, I get to spend my Christmases in a barren dessert with ubiquitous roadwork, unnatural palm settings accompanied by man-made oases and white tigers. Lovely. But it isn't all that bad. I have some very fond childhood memories of Christmas here in Vegas. Simpler times when I had my grandparents with me.

Well, that's it my little Grinches. I just wanted to remind you that it's almost Christmas and you should feel joy, happiness, merriment, and, yes, some nostalgia. M'kay Ebeeezer?

And speaking of Ebeneezer, I'm going to leave you with two of my favorite Christmas songs. The first one is called "December the 25th" and it's from my all-time favorite Christmas movie: Scrooge with Albert Finney. It's a musical that you just have to make a part of your Christmas movie collection (I know, it's a musical. But some musicals are actually pretty good!). Mr. Fezziwig has lead vocals on this one and he's just so darn jolly!


The second song is the classic "Gabriel's Message." Listen to the arrangement of this song. It's so contemplative and evocative of a snowy, gray-sky Christmas Day. Turn your volumes up for this one.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meme

I've been tagged by my blogger-pal Terry over at Abbey Roads with a meme (I think) he made up on a whim. Basically, I'm to state a series of points that I'm against or in opposition to.

1) Catholic Pro-aborts: I feel such a tremendous sense of betrayal of both Church and God every time I see a "practicing Catholic" facilitating or defending the so-called right to destroy an unborn child. Politicians, like the current whack-job Vice President, are so high on my "S" list it's not funny. Yet, he is allowed to remain in the Church! See my post on Church politics. And check out this video featuring Cardinal Arinze. FUNNY!



2) Reality Shows: I've yet to find one that I think is worth watching. Most of the time they show individuals reaching new lows, trying to usurp one another (unless producers are staging these events for higher ratings). Regardless of their authenticity, there are too many of these shows on the air right now.

3) Bill O'Reilly: He is NOT a nice guy, nor is he as tolerant as he wants you to think he is. I don't even think he's a real conservative but rather a TV personality saying what he thinks his audience want to hear him say. Warning: Bill has a potty mouth.



4) Grunge music during mass. That's right. GRUNGE MUSIC. The teen mass in my parish played what I would call a "slow ballad written by Curt Cobain if he were alive." It was pretty awful, even though I know the teenagers meant no offense by it. This happened quite a while ago and I've not had the chance to hear the music they're performing these days. I think these kids were just in desperate need of a good choir director.

5) Christian Fundamentalism: Perhaps the most disturbing component of this methodology is their inherent anti-Catholic bigotry. Time after time I see uneducated preachers print an essay or stand in from of their flock (on television) spewing lies about the Catholic Church. As a matter of fact, these pulpiters can't even tell or don't know the truth about themselves! The Protestant preachers manning these rouge churches haven't had any formal theological training of any kind. They just pick-up the Bible and preach their own interpretation of what they read. Here's a new term their congregation should cozy up to: stillborn Christianity.

6) Sister Donna Quinn- A nun who volunteers her time escorting clients into an abortion clinic. Isn't that lovely? An individual who supposedly consecrated her life to God, now working earnestly to help terminate the most vulnerable beings of our society. I can't help but sometimes wish for a hell infinitely worse than the hell depicted in the most horrific of horror movies.

Assumption

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Calling all movie buffs


Has anyone seen Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol in 3D? I just pre-ordered it from Amazon and it's set for a delivery date of mid to late November. It came out last year on the big screen and I completely missed it. Let me know if you saw it and if it was any good. I've got plenty of time to cancel the order.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Church & Politics: An Unenviable Position

"No one can serve two masters." ~Matthew 6:24

The Church has always done politics. Many times it's damned if you do and damned if you don't for Church leaders who do the politicking. This is especially true for dioceses and the local parishes who deal with a politically assorted, sometimes affluent and progressive laity that it does not want to alienate. It does this by adopting a passive or inclusive attitude towards Catholics who publicly, in some way, labor to oppose Church teachings. But how much "politics" can the Church do without sacrificing the authenticity of the teachings it has been handed down from Jesus Christ and the Apostles? First and foremost, for the purposes of this post, the type of Church politics that I'm focusing on is the propensity of Church leaders to fail (or feebly enforce) Church teachings on social issues such as abortion with Catholic lawmakers who promote, or at the very least defend, this so-called choice (it can be any social issue). How many times have we seen a Cardinal mingle with powerful Catholics who are diametrically apposed to Catholic social teachings? Many of these liberal Catholics donate large sums of money to their diocese, and the bishops and archbishops overseeing those diocese don't want to rub them the wrong way by insisting they get their act together. At the same time, these same Church officials are under pressure from vigilant, conservative Catholics to enforce Church teachings, even at the risk of distancing progressive Catholic benefactors. This inclusiveness doesn't always have to be for financial reasons. I sincerely believe that some bishops and pastors WANT to be liked so badly that they are in complete opposition of showing disapproval or lack of support for any groups that enjoy secular approbation.

Take St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in New York. For years a group of gay and lesbian parishioners from Xavier has been marching in New York's gay parade with a banner proudly displaying their Catholic affiliation. The pastor of the church, Father Joe Constantino, is fully aware of this custom and has been supportive of this group's presence in the gay parade. Then Archbishop Timothy Dolan got wind of what was going on and barred the group from carrying the St. Francis Xavier Banner in the gay pride march. Needless to say, Father Constantino was quite disconcerted when the Archbishop handed his decision. But what were Father Constantino's motivation behind the support for this group? Was he trying to be inclusive? Did he just want to be liked by all his parishioners in the hope of keeping the Church full on Sundays? I certainly would be appalled by the idea of barring gays and lesbians from entering the Church and denying access to pray before our icons or from from receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so to that extent, inclusiveness is a moral must. However, I do find Fr. Constantino's motives in this situation highly suspect.



The above recapitulation is just one example out of Lord knows how many better ones I can submit. But clearly, some of our Church leaders are obeying two masters when it comes to enforcing the Church's position on social issues. They are trying to be Catholic and on the other hand they want to be popular with specific demographics.

Here's another example. The pro-abort politicians, how many of these have been denied communion? Very few, to my knowledge. As a matter of fact, the Church's upper echelon has dismissed any and all requests from more faithful Catholic laity to refuse communion to any politician who supports the destruction on an unborn child. They simply don't want to alienate the politically powerful, who often times is very wealthy, and lose the benefits of having someone of that status in their Catholic camp.

Instead of condemning clergy like Father Constantino and other Church leaders, the first sentiment that strikes me when I read of their situation is how unenvious it must be to be in their position. They have a progressive component in the Church tugging at them who want to be accepted and feel they can contribute to the Church both financially and through their presence. And, on the other hand, their is a traditionalist constituent inside the Church who insist that our priests adhere to and enforce the teachings of the Magisterium. To the clergy who feel they are caught in the middle, to you I simply say you can't serve two masters.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Devotions Meme

My dear friend Terry from Abbey Roads has tagged me with a Devotions meme. I haven't been tagged in ages, and surprisingly, I've never been asked to complete a meme with this subject matter.

It's quite simple. Just list my five favorite Devotions, then tag a few of my blogger pals at the end. The first one should be of no surprise to anyone.

1) Mass/ Eucharist.

2) Throughout the day, I PRAY and REFLECT quite a bit on the closing Doxology of the Mass. I'm deeply moved by this simple collection of words that describe the Trinity so concisely, so completely, so deeply. I can't find a better description of the Holy Trinity than in this short prayer:

"Through him, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever. Amen."

3) This one may sound a little strange, but I think those venerable monks who go deep inside themselves to look for God, understand where I'm coming from. Okay, here it comes:

I meditate on the knowledge that God is real, and that He exists, and because He exists I exist. Because of His incomprehensible and unimaginable love, and through His son Jesus Christ, we have been created and can share in the hope of someday seeing Him "as he is."

I know that sounded trivial, but it's profoundly meaningful for me.

4) Confession. A bundle of nerves before it, but feel SO renewed after it.

5) Rosary. Sometimes I'm at work and begin praying it, but in the hustle and bustle lose track of which Hail Mary I'm on. When I have doubts as to how many I've prayed, I'll say a few more just in case.

I tag any of my blogger pals who want to participate. (And hopefully some of you will want to!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Throwback to Antiquity?

Or is this the way it should be?



I'm struggling with this video. It was posted on another blog by another Catholic blogger. It has intentions that are respectable, but at the same time there is something very, oh how shall I put it, sectish or fundamentalist/ evangelical about it. The lady in the video speaks about a program she has put together called "Completing Him." Supposedly, this program, or "challenge" as she puts it, assists or offers guidance to wives who want to be more supportive of their husbands. Sounds okay so far, right? Right. But then she makes a comment that modern-day society would rise in opposition to: "our husbands are our leaders." Before making that statement, she makes several scriptural references that reinforce an exclusive male domination over members of the immediate family.

Yes, there are several passages in Scripture that give authority to the man, placing his spouse and his children in a subservient capacity. But haven't the most orthodox of Catholics and Protestant practitioners abandoned a male-centric power structure for a more progressive power-sharing arrangement when it comes to marriage? How many of you ladies out there would feel comfortable with the statement "our husbands are our leaders" or any other arrangement that gave the men in your lives exclusive veto power over what could or could not be done?

What about a video training men how they can be more supportive of their wives, but also asking those same men to allow their wives to be the leaders? How would that go down?


What I hate About this Post

Does this post not sound politically correct? You have no idea how loathsome and superficial I find it being politically correct. It's a type of behavior that is driven by the politics of saying anything (or not speaking the truth truthfully) for the sake of capturing the populous vote.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hello!

Miscellaneous

I haven't posted anything for nearly two weeks, but that is partly because I've been too busy, and partly because I've been too lazy to write anything during those brief moments of reprieve. I have a lot of school loose-ends to take care of, and I'm anxious to begin drawing with my oil paints. Tonight I'm going to drive to a street here in Vegas and snap a picture of it. It's one of these streets that's imbued with an odd mixture of desolation and an elusive attractiveness that is difficult to put into words. I hope to make a decent drawing of this lovely avenue.

On Saturday I had to rush my dad to the ER. He's doing better now, but he's fighting an infection that should hopefully abate with the antibiotics he was prescribed. As a result, I was unable to make my volunteer shift at my local hospital. To make matters more complicated, I was unable to reach the voice-mail of the volunteer coordinator to inform her that I wasn't showing up. Her phone number was in my old cellphone (which you can observe nn the previous post), and as you can see, in such deplorable condition that the display no longer functioned. I had to leave a message on a different voice-mail that doesn't get checked very often. When I go snap my photo tonight, I may make the long drive to her office and slip a note under her door.

Take Me to Prague

I've been stricken with a fascination with Prague. For the longest time I've been wanting to make a trip there, but just recently those hopes have intensified. I've seen pictures of this magnificent city and I can say that I love the many churches, the narrow streets, the snow (in the winter), the historicity, all those things about this place (how did this place ever manage to fall to the grips of the communists with such a pronounced Catholic presence?). My brother, who has visited Europe many times before, and just about every major city in the world at least once, has been to Prague. I've failed to pick his brain about the experiences he had there, nor have I seen any of the pictures he snapped on one of his visits. I must put that on my to-do list.

Here's a brief video of Prague. There are better ones than this, but I prefer this one because of the way it presents the Catholic Churches. Notice how the music becomes choral (at 3:04) when the video reaches the segment showing the churches.
Align Center
Pause music player on the right


Thanks for stopping by and please keep my dad in your prayers. God bless you.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Didn't Have to

...but I did anyway.

I went ahead and purchased the new i-Phone 4. This is a pic of it, inside a protective case, leaning against my acrylic mediums. It really is an amazing apparatus, despite the justified criticism it has received over a design flaw in the antenna. The antenna in this thingamajig can be found throughout the border of the i-Phone, the same place most people smother when they talk on the phone. When the i-Phone is gripped in a certain way, calls have a tendency to fail because the phone can no longer receive any transmissions. A protective case (now being issued for free) diminishes the frequency of the dropped calls.



Or maybe I did have to...




The above pic is of my old cellphone. As you can see, it's in a decrepit condition. I'm trying to start a rumor on blogosphere that this was the same phone Mel Gibson used in his very publicized tirade against Oksana.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Conclusion



Here lies Mel Gibson's career. On the ascend for a number of years, it recently suffered major collisions with the media and various groups who took offense to comments he made that were less than complementary. The final punch came on July 9th when his former girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, released a taped conversation in which Gibson is allegedly heard going on a tirade, and even admitting to domestic violence. Also laid to rest today is this blogger's hope that Mel Gibson - a once popular actor with a history of "Catholic involvement" - would tout the many positives of the Catholic Church to those unfamiliar with the Catholic faith.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Corny

A long time ago Terry posted what I would have to describe as one of the corniest Youtube videos around (there's another video of an older couple teaching how to dance to disco music that is equally maladroit). Anyhoo, listen to the music (I know, it's hard!) and pay close attention to the dancing, especially to the dance moves of the male lead singer.

Terry, hope it makes you laugh like it did last time!


Pause music player to the right to avoid cacophony.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Did you know...

that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the 4th of July? Gives me goose bumps when I think about the probability of two American figures of great historical significance dying on the same day, and, of all the days in the year, the fourth of July.

Pause music player to avoid cacophony.


Happy 4th of July weekend!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Before and After

Before






After







I'm only showing a small part of the kitchen. The counter top continues to the left, and in that same direction is the refrigerator. In order for me to show the other half of the kitchen I have to do that "stitch assist" with my camera and I'm really no good at it. If you continue to the right, you would find my new (yay!) dishwasher. Also, as you can see I had to put plastic wraps over my kitchen utensils, toaster, and mixer since at the time that these pics were taken, we were still working on minor loose ends. I didn't want anything getting inside someplace it wasn't suppose to.

Finally, I leave you with a pic of THE most ferocious beast of the west coast. He was fed this evening in a paper plate because his bowl was untidy and the poor thing was very hungry.



Be careful! Don't get too close to your screens. He's off his leash and ANYTHING can happen!:0)

Friday, June 25, 2010

More Trouble for Mel

Did you know that Mel Gibson and girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva split up earlier this year? They both have a daughter together who was born on October 30th of 2009.

It was on April of 2009 that Gibson and his wife of thirty years filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences for their break-up. Shortly thereafter, Mel Gibson's relationship with Oksana Grigorieva became public. Today, several media outlets report that Gibson has filed a restraining order against Oksana Grigorieva.

I'm not sure what to think of Mel Gibson anymore. He once gave me the impression that he was trying to be more Catholic than the Pope by rejecting both Papal authority as well as the reforms of Vatican II (let's not even talk about his father). Now I see him caught up in divorce and fathering a child with someone he has absolutely no intention of marrying.

Was it all just talk, Mel, this Catholic fire and brimstone exhortation? I'm not judging you. We're all sinners.

Monday, June 14, 2010

For the Immaculate Heart of Mary (I know. I'm late.)

I must apologize for my untimely observation, but I wanted to post this for the feast day of The Immaculate Heart of Mary. Unfortunately the feast day passed without my contribution. This is the Salve Regina by my current favorite composer Arvo Part.

Important: Please ignore the absurd commentary/ imagery of this video. Just stay focused on the music. I'm going to try to look for a different video that offers this same piece of music. Pause Music Player to the right of the blog before continuing

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Murderer x 2

I hope this bastard gets whatever is coming to him.



His father is deceased, so he doesn't have the free legal advice this time around.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Two More Go Up


Two more windows went up today with still a few more to go. I'm also going to paint the house on the outside, so we're in the process of prepping the exterior for the paint.

This whole revamping experience has been a Nightmare on Elm Street.

Also, is anybody interested in a small dog who is in cahoots with the forces of evil?


Yes, the landscaping in the first pic above will also be overhauled. I'm just not sure whether I should put in new grass or desert landscaping.

Again, if you are interested in an (evil) pup, please let me know.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Wasn't Kidding

The floors are done, but the house still is a mess. I have a long way to go before all the furniture is put back where is belongs. Speaking of furniture, the one you are seeing in this pic, is on its way out. There is the option of refurbishing those bumps and grinds that occur over the course of time. It can save me a pretty penny if I take that route. I'm still, for the most part, undecided.




The new kitchen. Pardon my dust. As you can see, I have to clean it from all the dust generated by the removal of the old counter top. There is even a screw driver on it from all the activity happening to the right of it.




New energy efficient windows (is that the correct term?)




These are new as well. The patch-up you see on the wall is the result of a new kitchen sink and plumbing that I'm putting on the other side. It will, of course, be fixed properly and meticulously. But that is for the outside renovation, I'm still working on the inside.


Out with the old, in with the new. The old counter top has been dumped. In it's place will be a granite surface with new sink.


My pool. Next to it is the sofa that will join the sink and the carpet. On top of the sofa are clothes I had to remove from a closet somewhat abruptly. They'll probably not go back in there again. And yes, the pool deck I have to mend as well. Here in Vegas, and I suppose in many other places as well, their is subtle seismic activity that over time creates cracks in the decking. That and the unforgiving heat. In the background, you can see that my neighbor is doing his share or renovations as well.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Prayers for Toby. Busy.

I'm in the process of getting my house painted, and at the same time, in another part that is already painted, I'm putting in tiles on the floor (bye, bye carpet!). This is the second week that I spend time working on this and there is much more to go.

I took Toby to get groomed this morning (as EVERYTHING else was taking place) when I got a call from the groomer telling me he could not be shaved. Apparently, he was being very combative, so they put a muzzle on him that also covered his eyes. The groomer then told me he might have had a seizure, since he stiffened up and his tongue turned blue. I rushed him to the vet where he is in the process of getting check out as I write this (BTW, they couldn't draw blood because he fought both the doctor and the technicians. Subsequently, they had to sedate him to run the tests).

I'm being selfish, but if you can, could you say a prayer for Toby and for a peaceful solution the phenomenal mess I'm in right now? Thank you and God bless!

PS
I meant to visit the blogs of some of my dear blogger pals, but as described above, EVERYTHING is hitting at once (other stuff I'm not mentioning).

UPDATE

I brought Toby back from the vet yesterday afternoon, after being sedated so the doctor could perform blood work on him. Toby, before sedation, was very unruly and combative with the medical team, so he had to be asleep for the procedure. Tomorrow (Monday) I may have the full results of the blood work.

This afternoon, he vomited just as I was about to give him his chow. The doctor instructed me to give him just a spoonful of food, and see how he reacts. If all is well after a short while, I can give him a little more.

All ways something, isn't it? That's life, however.

THANK YOU for keeping us in your prayers! Remember us, please, next time you pray.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL :0)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fallen

I was just reading in the news that the son of the late actress Dana Plato, Tyler Lambert, committed suicide on May 6th of this year. Almost 11 years to the day in which his mother died of a drug overdose. He was only 25 years old. This got me thinking about the multiple tragedies that characterize the lives of crestfallen celebrities. Many child stars, like Dana Plato, begin their careers at an age when most children are thinking about school and playmates, not contracts and maintaining a public image. When their careers begin to plateau, that's when the trouble starts. In Plato's case, she had reduced herself to committing armed robbery, engaged in drug abuse, and starred in softcore pornographic films.

The deaths of Dana Plato and her son Tyler Lambert, are analogous to the tragic deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and her son Daniel Smith. Both situations (Plato/ Lambert; Smith/Smith) involved individuals who wanted more than what life could give them, and all of the individuals involved died young, some while possessed by addiction.


As a child, I remember watching Different Strokes, and thinking to myself just how beautiful Dana Plato was. Those big, dazzling eyes, freckled cheeks, and a mouth that seemed to smile even when serious were just some of the things this puberty-bound boy became enamored with when her image appeared on my television set. How undeserving of any human being to spiral to an early grave the way she did.



For the Ones Who Died by Suicide

God, lover of souls, You hold dear what You have made and spare all things, for they are Yours. Look gently upon those who have taken their own lives, and by the Blood of the cross, forgive their sins and failings. Remember the faith of those who mourn and satisfy their longing for that day when all will be made new again in Christ, our risen Lord, who lives and reigns with You forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Betty White on SNL (For Adults Only)

The venerable Betty White (88 years old) shows that older folks can make younger audiences laugh till they bust a gut.

This is the link to the video on Hulu.com

Happy Mother's Day

A Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there who have patiently, and through very difficult times, given us your unconditional love. God bless you immensely!

And a BIG Happy Mother's Day to the most beautiful and sweetest supermom I know...MY mom!

God bless all the moms everyday of the year!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life



One of the best jazz arrangements of this song ever. Don't ask me why, but it reminds me of a drive on a warm summer night through New England.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hospital Volunteer Stuff

Hospital Dynamics

I volunteer at a local Catholic hospital here in Las Vegas. The unit I've been assigned used to specialize in joint replacement, but now accepts adult patients who are dealing with every malady known to medicine. I hate to admit this, but when I first started volunteering, I felt an almost debilitating fear when I had to address the patients face-to-face. I was afraid of making them unhappy by denying them fluids after they requested it during a period in which they weren't allowed any (typically, when you're going into surgery or are having tests, doctors placed you in an NPO status: "Nulla Per Os" which means "Nothing by mouth") or by informing them that their nurse was busy with another patient, therefore would be a few minutes longer in bringing them their medication. These things I know happen, and NOT because I or any of the staff was either negligent or apathetic. It's considered sound medical operation to deny patients food and water before surgery or medical tests because anesthetics can cause nausea and create a very perilous condition for the patient. Nurses are VERY busy. Taking care of people in a hospital comes with a slew of paperwork, verifications, and a mess of procedural requirements that must be followed before administering any medications. This means that as they're taking care of one patient, simultaneously another patient may develop a need to see her or him.

The Patients

Needless to say, all types of people come and go in a hospital. One of the more memorable individuals was an elderly lady who (poor thing) would speak in indiscernible sounds. I would say a quick prayer just before walking into her room, hoping that when she spoke her jumbled words that at least I would be able to understand what she needed. Unfortunately, it was impossible. Her meshed words were completely inscrutable. I even tried reading her gestures to make out the gist of her concerns. I would later learn from one of the nurses that this poor lady was disoriented and confused about her surroundings. Despite her inability to communicate - which presents another medical problem for the nurses and doctors - I stayed by her side until she was finished saying what she had to say. I told her I understood, and would get back to her as soon as I could (what else could I say?)

Last week I had to apply my signature to a document that stated I had witnessed a patient sign a paper that transferred power of attorney to one of her family members. This was done at the request of the patient, and was overseen by the hospital chaplain. This made me very sad, since it gave me the impression the patient was preparing herself for the worst. She was young, and looked healthier than most people you see in a hospital.

A month or two ago a man came into our unit after undergoing back surgery for a herniated spinal disk. The man was in excruciating agony, and was taking a very powerful medication to diminish the pain on his back. What was his reaction when jolted by the pain in his spine? He would erupt into uncontrollable laughter. It was the oddest most inappropriate combination of laughter and pain that I had ever seen in my life. This man would have tears running down his cheeks, but was it from the pain on his back or from the laughter or was it from both?

In conclusion, I find a sense of solidarity with people who suffer, and a hospital is a unique place where that type of fellowship can be experienced. Perhaps what brings me closer to those broken people (both patient and loved-ones) that I meet there is my own fragility and brokenness. There is something Christ-like about people who are broken both physically and mentally, yet I can't definitively say what it is, but I know it's there. I also know that someday something beautiful will come from all the suffering and the loss.

I like this hospital. Most of the nurses I've come across are solid professionals who have humanity and compassion for the patients entrusted to them. If ever I found myself as a patient there, I would find a great measure of peace knowing that dedicated individuals like them were charged with my welfare.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

St. Mathew Passion Final Chorus

Have you ever heard J.S. Bach's St. Mathew Passion? It is one of THE most "aesthetically pleasing" sacred works in all of Christendom. By "aesthetically pleasing" I mean that it's a beautiful composition on the surface level - which is to say the music and arrangement - but it lacks the profundity and mysticism of a traditional Catholic composition. Nonetheless, the piece is breathtaking and only works to solidify Bach's reputation as an indisputable baroque genius.

This is the famous final chorus of his magnificent work the St. Mathew Passion. Give it a listen. You wont regret it. By the way, the final chorus actually begins 41 seconds into the video, so you can skip to that point if you'd like.



That string section is incredible!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Apathy

In this video, a homeless man tries to save a victim of an armed robbery and winds up getting stabbed himself. Both victim and robber flee, and passerby's don't bother to call either the police or an ambulance for the man who got stabbed. Meanwhile the good Samaritan dies in a pool of his own blood on the sidewalks of New York. God rest his soul and forgive the rest of us.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gabriel's Message

I was trying to locate this arrangement of Gabriel's Message this past Christmas, but unfortunately I had no success. Well, folks, here it is. This is THE BEST arrangement of Gabriel's Message anywhere (IMHO). Turn your volume up since it doesn't play very loud, and the sound quality isn't the best either. On the track that you find on the CD, there is a beautiful echoey sound to this choir that escapes this video significantly.



By the way, I listen to Christmas music year round. Do you?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Miscellaneous Stuff

I'm working on a pastel drawing again. I'm hesitant to say anything about it, since I'm not sure about the time of completion. As soon as it's finished, however, I'll post a picture of it and gladly invite any criticisms any interested onlookers may have to offer. Believe me folks, you can be perfectly honest with me. None of you will choose the words I will have already chosen at the moment of self-evaluation.

Speaking of pastels, this weekend I purchased a 72 count set of Unison Handmade Pastels. Since these - as the name implies - are handmade and (thankfully) are not extruded, they were pretty expensive. Exactly $227.00 for the "professional" set. I really have to watch my spending going forward, since the cost of summer classes came in at just under $2000.00, and this is not including books. Next week I have to register for fall semester and I just can't wait for the atrocious bill from the financially strapped university to hit me.



And finally, on a musical note...


I bought this song on i-Tunes. I had been resisting the temptation for the longest time, and finally gave in to the enticement on Saturday night.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This one is BAD to the BONE



This pic was taken at a friend's house (Grrrrr!)


Doing time for misbehavin'


On Easter week, he ate something he had no business eating, and suffered from loose stools as well as vomiting. We took him to the vet and he spent the night there. The X-rays taken on two separate occasions revealed that he (thankfully) had no bowel obstructions, and that he was suffering from gastritis. He was prescribed two medications, and $500 later, he seems to be doing just fine. A little while ago he broke into a room in my house that I thought was closed properly. When he got in there he managed to climb unto a sofa, grabbed the Kleenex box and went nuts with it.

Our vet. told me that Toby needs Prozac to correct his attitude. Yes, you read correctly. PROZAC. (Why not a stiff drink and a cigar?) Sheesh. After this last incident, I'm willing to give anything a try.

The Critter was NOTHING like Toby. He was such an angel that in retrospect, I think that what I had with him must have been something anomalous. He was so well behaved, subdued, and trustworthy. Toby, on the other hand, is a minion of the dark lord. Yes, we love him dearly, he's just so misbehaved!

By the way, next week he gets a haircut. Ha!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And the Winner is (drums please)...

...Father Michael Pfleger.




He will receive the "Office for Racial Justice Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of [his life] of service in pursuit of dismantling racism, injustice and inequalities on behalf of African Americans and all people of color."

-Two years ago he invited Jeremiah Wright, who was the spiritual adviser to then Senator Barack Obama, inside his church, to deliver a blessing during mass.

-In 2003 he invited Al Sharpton to speak in his church, to the objections of Francis Cardinal George, the same man giving him the award.

Catholic clergy, throughout history, have always stood up for the oppressed and for those who are less fortunate. They've spoken about the evils of race discrimination, violence, and have promoted equal opportunity for all human beings through peaceful means and often to the detriment of their physical well-being. But is this guy the best choice for this award?


Addendum

I certainly recognize that, while the level of racism in this country has diminished, there are still pockets of individuals who are pathetic and misanthropic enough to objectify and degrade another human being because of his or her race, gender, ethnicity, even sexual orientation. Most of us, thankfully, abhor such practices. Unfortunately, a few members of our society subsequently feel that the remaining segregationist and blinded-with-rage-morons still in existence gives them license to pump the masses with racially charged demagoguery.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Sunday

"Proclaim the message,'Behold our savior is risen!' Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!"

"The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens - at a particular date in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where to a historical person under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle...this is the marriage of Heaven: Perfect Myth and Perfect Fact, claiming not only our love and obedience, but also our wonder and delight, addressed to the savage, the child, and the poet in each one of us no less than to the moralist, the scholar and the philosopher." ~ CS. Lewis


A blessed Easter Sunday to all of you and your loved ones!

Monday, March 29, 2010

For Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins

You can plant one right on my...well, I'll let the nice little fellow guide your chops in the right direction.


+ Read Dawkin's comments posted by Damien Thompson.(Thanks to Standing on My Head blog).

This week at the Sistine Chapel



Does anyone know of a documentary in which cameras were allowed to film the performance of "Miserere me deus" inside the Sistine Chapel?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday


"Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross." ~Philippians 2: 6-8

The above scripture reference reminds me of what St.Augustine once said:
"If you understood, what you understood was not God."


Those are good words to ponder next time you feel like you're in the eye of the storm, and are perplexed by the path God is leading you though.

A blessed Palm Sunday to all of you and your families.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday's in Lent: Agnus Dei

This Agnus Dei comes from Karl Jenkin's The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. It sounds quite different than what I'm accustomed to posting, but it does have its meritorious qualities to consider.



On a side note, NEVER did I dream I would witness in my lifetime a contaminated plume of profanation and putridity sweep through the Catholic Church.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fr. Hans Küng

The Catholicism Project (Coming soon)

"The Catholic story is being told, but being told by the wrong people in the wrong way."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Infestation

I can't tell you how upset I am with the new accusations that have recently surfaced about child molesters in the Church. In a CNN report the headline reads, "Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal goes global." It's as if there is an infestation of pedophiles and deviants crawling inside the Catholic Church. This humiliation is undoubtedly being used by people who are ardently anti-Catholic to either validate their own religious beliefs (which is to say they are right and we as Catholics are wrong), or by the irreligious who don't like anything dealing with religion, especially if it's as big and bulky as the Catholic Church.

It also disturbs me how a group of degenerates - namely the offenders - can callously bring shame upon themselves and upon this Church without any consideration of the impact it can have both on the laity and on the victims. Good priests (the VAST majority) are held with an air of suspicion and as eventual child molesters or as the object of ridicule in inappropriate jokes.

There seems to be no end to the reports of sexual abuse. They surface faster than Church authorities can address them. Keep in my that the Catholic Church operates in terms of centuries, which means that the disgrace of these scandals are not going to go away anytime soon, nor the calumnies that are leveled by phony storytellers and cynics.

And finally, how many people are we losing because of this mess? Yes, they can always come back or we can characterize their departure as "their" loss. But the Church diminishes in numbers at least at a faster rate as the result of this mayhem. I don't want to even try to put numbers together.

Faithful Servant St. Joseph

He was a compassionate, caring man. He is a model husband that men in today's society should aspire to imitate. He was a humble and faithful servant, concerned not about himself, but for the family God gave him to look after. It's believed that by the time Jesus entered his public ministry that Joseph might have already been deceased. He is the Patron Saint of the Universal Church.

From the video:

"Joseph is helping to create the instrument most needed for the salvation of the world."

Beautiful words that are referencing St. Joseph's paternal love in the raising of his son, Jesus. Even more beautiful when you consider that as a carpenter, he has a natural disposition to create things.

If you have time, check out this short video on St. Joseph.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

God Bless the Irish (Watch out for Armando!)

It's St. Patty's Day, ma lads! Are you wearing green? If not, pinch yourself in chastisement!

On a serious note, on this greenish day we celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. Many question his actual contribution to Irish history, and some even question whether he even existed. Folks, St. Patrick DID exist and as far as I'm concerned STILL exists, perhaps more so now than he did while on earth.

Perhaps if we pray to him earnestly, he can vanish the snakes in DC.




On a Related Note...

I'm sure that all of you have heard several stories of Christmas elves gone bad (the most famous one being that of Starky the Elf who later changed his name to Dirty Durell), but here's a story of a leprechaun who is bad to the core. His name: Armando. Armando is a leprechaun with a reputation for silently breaking into the homes of unsuspecting urbanites, drinking all their liquor and scrawling graffiti all over their walls. He hits mostly on St. Patrick's day, and has been known to invade dozens of households within this twenty-four hour period.

Last St. Patty's Day, inside the home of a Mr. and Mrs. Bixby of Spokane, Washington, Armando broke in through an unsecured doggie door, and after drinking an entire bottle of Glenlivet, plus a one liter bottle of Beringer Zinfandel, proceeded to draw a picture of Mrs. Bixby's late Boston Terrier on the living room wall with his middle finger extended. You can imagine the horror on Mr. and Mrs. Bixby's face when they got home that night and found all their liquor gone (ha!).

So folks, please be careful this St. Patty's Day. Armando is evil and he's out there somewhere waiting to get drunk and scribble all kinds of offensive images all over your walls. As a matter of fact, he may have already snuck inside your home and is watching you read this post, seeing his plans gradually come to fruition as he sees you shake your head in disbelief. "Oh he doesn't exist," you might declare. But the Bixby's from Spokane can tell you otherwise. The ink used to draw Mrs. Bixby's Boston Terrier was impossible to remove. No amount of alcohol, paint thinner, or napalm could erase the ghastly image of the offensive bowwow. Eventually the entire wall was taken down.

More reports of Armando to follow.

UPDATE:

In another case that is being investigated by federal authorities, the barely discernible image of a small man was captured on video making his way inside a Manhattan apartment building with what appeared to be a box of crayola crayons and several cans of spray paint. With phenomenal speed and agility, he was seen taking the stairs all the way to the 23rd floor of the high rise, where he broke inside the apartment of a Mr. Robert Palowski. Law enforcement officials report that after helping himself to a box of Lucky Charms, the intruder raided Mr. Palowski's home bar and helped himself to at least six bottles of miscellaneous cordials, 2 bottles of Vermouth's, and a five gallon bib of margarita mix. The assailant then broke out his graffiti paraphernalia and drew a picture of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in an amorous pose on one of the living room walls. He was then seen exiting the building through the same method he entered.

Mr. Palowski, who at the time of the incident was away on business, was unavailable for comment.

Monday, March 15, 2010

One Film and One Actor

I know I'm behind the times here, but I just got done watching the film Gran Tarino, starring Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski, a retired autoworker who recently lost his wife, and sees the neighborhood he has lived in for so long dramatically change in racial demographics. The film was phenomenal, concluding with a rather heartbreaking finale that was accompanied by an equally poignant score. Have any of you seen it? If you have you'll be happy to acknowledge that the Catholic priest in the film was portrayed positively and, I believe, as a benevolent presence in the life of Walt Kowalski. It's worth the CD purchase, but not, I repeat, NOT suitable for younger audiences.




Did you know about the Murray's?

Actor Bill Murray has a sister who is a Dominican nun and stars in her own one-woman play about St. Catherine of Siena. I didn't know! (To quote Terry).

From Sister Nancy Murray's website:

Nancy Murray, OP, is making her mark on audiences across the country and throughout the world, bringing to life the Dominican saint Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church. With simple props and a fertile imagination, Sister Nancy portrays Catherine as the colorful, strong, passionate and enthusiastic personality that she was. Thanks to Sister Nancy's gift of transforming herself into this 14th century saint and patroness of the Dominican Order, numerous churches, schools and organizations have become acquainted with Catherine's fierce devotion to and love for God.

The ironic thing about this discovery is that Sister Murray is part of the Adrian Dominican Sisters based in Michigan who founded a Catholic hospital here in my neck of the woods, which also happens to be the Catholic Hospital I volunteer at every week. Maybe I should start asking the nurses if they know the Murray's.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's Getting Closer

This part of the country doesn't really get a spring season. Instead, we have what one might call transitional weeks, in which winter retreats and gives way to the searing heat only a scorching Nevada summer can inflict you with. I shouldn't complain, however. Some of you poor folks are still getting belted by winter storms so close to the official start-day of spring. Today, the weather here is a balmy 65 degrees.

It's almost here, summer that is. It will arrive. May as well usher it in with a summer tune.

Checkout this YouTube video. It contains photography by some very famous artists/ photographers that may make someone who lived during these times a bit nostalgic. I LOVE the picture taken by Roy DeCarava that comes into view at 7:34 in the video. Does that look like Chicago or New York to you? Either way, for me it's the quintessential 1940's/ 1950's Gotham imagery. Also, I must confess beforehand to not being well versed in the lives of any of the photographers whose work is featured in this video.