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Monday, February 27, 2006

What is WRONG with the people who are supposed to be rational?

I enjoy watching TLC on cable, especially the emergency medical programs. Tonight, I am watching "Untold Stories of the ER".

Here is what prompted this post:

A guy comes into the ER with the story that he has just inadvertly chopped off his hand via unruly lawnmower. happens all the time, so believable. But when the doctor examines the handless arm, he sees that the cut is not unruly, but deliberate and straight across. It was a cut made by a meat cleaver.

The police found the man's hand in his freezer, and they brought it to the ER. The medical staff prepped for reattachment surgery while the doctor and the police confronted the man about what had been found.

His explanation? "I suffer from tendonitis and I had to stop the pain."

Clearly, no one thought that this was a very rational answer, and so they called a psych consult. This is the person who is supposed to evaluate the party, and they need this psychologist's endorsement to declare this man unfit to act on his own behalf.

What does she do? She comes out and tells the doctors, very seriously, that there are all types of fetishes and this man had a good reason for doing what he did.

She was serious. The doctors were incredulous.

Their first act should have been to pack up this "psychologist" and check her credentials, but I have to admit that this likely would have resulted in her freedom and the end of their careers, for her sort of "logic" is far too common these days.

She actually argued that this guy was RATIONAL in CUTTING OFF HIS *OWN* HAND with a MEAT CLEAVER! She ACTUALLY argued that he was not a danger to himself or to others.


I remember having to make decisions about taking people to detox, the question being whether they were able to care for themselves. If there was any doubt, ie, if I was not able to articulate why this person was being taken into custody and deprived of their freedom for 72 hours, then they were released.

I just don't understand how an alleged psychological professional can candidly and seriously argue that someone who cut off his own hand is actually rational because he has a sexual fetish. He is justified, therefore, in his actions, by the current thought of the day, in removing his hand with a meat cleaver because his sexual hormones told him to do it.

This really takes the cake.

I remember the day when I worked in adolescent psych and I had to stop kids from killing themselves and others. I got to stop a girl from stabbing herself repeatedly with a pencil, and you know what? That was defined as "self-injurious behavior", which was NOT a good sign for the person in question. It usually resulted in being locked up for better supervision, restricted from sharp objects, and possibly an increase or adjustment in meds.

But this guy, if he claims a sexual fetish, is given free rein to deform himself in whatever way he chooses. He told the doctors very directly that if they reattached his hand, he would cut it off again.

I've seen that same expression in the eyes of psychotic patients, I've heard that same tone as they described how they were going to take my life and the lives of others, and yet, I watch this program with incredulity as they stitch him up and send him off with a sling because it's not "ethical" to "force" him to have his hand reattached.

Exactly WHEN did it become acceptable to cut one's own hand off for the purpose of sexual excitement?

A sign of the times, folks. Our culture is so warped that a man like this is not being treated for very obvious psychological distress, to the degree that he hs permanently deformed himself.

God help this man. He is clearly mentally ill. But even more importantly, God help this shrink who defined his disorder as "normal". It is she who is guilty of the greater sin, and it is she who will need to stand at judgment and answer to God why she allowed one of his children to walk away from her without treatment for a clear case of illness she had the power and the authority to correct.

What more can be said than that? God protect us from "medical professionals" who define "ethics" according to such a twisted idea as this.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Parents, STAND UP NOW!

Firstly, I apologize that I can't get links to work. So copy/paste this into your browser, and contact your priests, bishops, and those in charge of the schools you send your children to.

What is being forced upon children is NOT acceptable.

The above is Fr. Altier's homily regarding the subject. Here is another from the Minneapolis Start-Trib:

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Morality of Attitude

As usual, I am watching the Olympics tonight, and also as usual, I am watching "my" sport, skiing. Tonight the men are racing slalom, an even at which Bode Miller excells. Then again, whenever he has applied himself, he has usuall excelled.

Not this time around. While his recent comment basically saying that the dominant attitude, "If you can't win, don't play" undermines the various sports, his comments and attitude displayed tonight undermines the respect I used to have for him.

Bode came out and said that he was not at the Olympics to win medals, but to have a good time. He claimed to have been in better shape than those who won, but I beg to differ. Sure, the sport is demanding, but he seemed exhausted at the end of his races...every single one. He has NOT applied himself, not matter what he said. He claimed that he wanted to make skiing fun.

What this tells me is that Bode is burned out. If skiing isn't fun anymore, then it's understandable why we aren't seeing Bode at least give a decent result. I also think he's lying when he says he doesn't care about medals.

There is something more to this story, but this "Rebel without a cause" attitude ain't it.

I also think his attitude is harmful and misleading to his team. After all, his entire team is striving for medals. Now, is that to say that they actually EXPECT to earn the medals? No. They are STRIVING. They are TRYING and at the Olympics, the podium is the goal of every athelete there...with the exception of Bode Miller, apparently.

If he is not striving for a medal, then clearly he does not care to do his very best, which is not at all representative of what the rest of his team is about. It is not in any way shape or form, the Olympic Spirit. It's not as if he's sacrificing a medal for a nobler cause, ie giving his skis to someone who broke theirs. Nope. Bode has decided to be all about himself to the detriment of his team. He mislead them and he mislead his fans.

Fine if he wants to make skiing fun for himself. He can go and do that recreationally. The Olympics is about striving for medals, for putting one's best foot forward, and about living a dream that most people never even dare to envision.

And Bode has trampled this under his self-indulgent feet.

So I think this is as good a time as any to point out the fact that those in a position such as his, ie: an Olympic Athelete, there is a certain morality that goes along with the honor. The morality is the obligation to uphold the expetation that you will do your best, even if you don't feel like it. Because ultimately, the Olympics (or other world-class events) are NOT about the individual, but about the teams, about the countries, and about diplomacy.

In a sea of diplomacy and true peacefulness, Bode has made himself a hedonistic island. I hope he's happy there. That's all he was after, anyway.

I think I might have to label him the "Loser of the Year". Not because of errors, but due to attitude.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Twin Cities' Bloggers--UNTIE!...uh...ahem..UNITE!

This Public Service Announcement given in conjunction with the Hadleys at:

Attention Twin Cities Bloggers!
Are you interested in becoming part of a monthly discussion group for Catholic bloggers and those who comment on them? Some of us thought it might be a fun idea to get together on a regular basis to have a good time and engage in stimulating conversation. We'd meet new friends, chew the fat, discuss hot topics, and maybe even improve our communications skills. But above all, we'd be there to have a good time!

We're still putting the details together so if you'd like to be part of our group, or add your two-cents' worth of suggestions, let us know!

If you're interested, drop us an email at, or at any one of the other local Twin Cities blogs running this post.

Hope to see you soon!

So give us a yell, or an e-mail if you're interested.

This PSA brought to you via the love of Christ.

A Catholic First and all else...not first

I'm just going to come right out and say it. I'm Catholic. Doesn't come as much of a surprise, does it? But to America, speaking as a patriotic American, I proclaim that I am Catholic before I am American. I am American by soil and Catholic by soul.

Now, why is this important? Because we live in a culture in which the soul is trampled beneath the unweildy sledgehammer of relativism. Those who purport to "lead" our country exist within their own large yet solitary spheres in which they suffer from the delusion that the soul is something seperate from who they are.

This is why we get people such as John Kerry, who claims to be Catholic, claims the "right" to recieve the most Holy Eucharist, and yet still holds the invalid opinion that he can lobby for the "right" to kill a child. What hellish nonsense.

It's a cop out to try to seperate one's faith from anything, including politics. If you are going to claim a belief, then the only option is to LIVE that belief in all parts of your life. If you don't...then you're a hypocrite.

What point is it for me to say that I follow Christ, and then turn around and in my professional life, proclaim by my actions and my words that I do not follow Christ? If I claim to love Jesus, then how can I advocate for the "right" to tear a child apart from the very life-giving womb of a mother?

Consider it like this: I am American. I believe in Democracy, and I believe in Capitalism. So I am going to go overseas and find another country to live in. I am going to publicly announce that I hold soundly as a belief that Democracy and Capitalism are the way to manage civilization, but because I don't want to impose my values upon these people, I am going to advocate Communism. It's best not to "offend" by inflicting Western "values" upon a culture that has never known anything different than Marxism.

Riiiight. And this is supposed to make sense?

Politicians actually think they can seperate what they claim to believe to what they promote publicly, because they don't want to impose their morality upon others.

You know what I say to this? (Parents, cover your children's eyes, I'm going to type a bad word).


Parents, it's ok from here.

I say that it is our God-Given MISSION to impose our values upon the unbelieving public. I say that to claim anything otherwise is a denial of Christ, a denial of his sacrifice, and worthy of being called out on a sin of omission to FAIL to ASSERT what we KNOW TO BE TRUE!

I have absolutely no respect for someone who claims they don't want to "impose" their "values" upon someone else. By that statement, they reveal that they have no spine, no courage of conviction, and that they have already assumed they are probably wrong. It is a sign of a weak spirit, a soul in need of massive overhaul, and bears the mark given to the tools held by the devil.

Do YOU want to be a tool? Probably not.

I realize that there are many belief systems out there, many religions, many different ways to look at things. Clearly I think Catholicism is the one true religion, and specifically, the fullness of the Christian faith. And I still say to those who may disagree and hold another viewpoint, just TRY to impose your values on we, the faithful.

Why? Because when we are armed with Truth, we are wearing the armor of God. And when you try to inflict "values" which are not founded in God's Truth, you will be destroyed by your own words and your own agenda. And maybe, just maybe, since we are busy imposing our own beliefs upon the great societal cop out, YOU WILL BE CONVERTED and YOU will come to know Jesus as your SAVIOR.

And so I am Catholic first and all else second. When I look for guidance, I do not look to Washington, for all I see there is a bunch of poor misguided souls so afraid to offend someone that they have turned into so much jello. A spine can do a lot for a person.

I look to Rome, and specifically to the Vatican, for guidance, and so should we all.

The Truth is not found in political platforms. That's just a bunch of fluff without real substance. When I look for guidance, I look to the Lord, and to my Catholic faith.

I'd rather be a martyr for something that matters and something that leads to eternal life as opposed to the high probability of eternal damnation faced by those who publicly denounce their "faith" in favor of a few meaningless votes.

Pro-death politicans, I hope you can wash the blood of the innocents off of your activist hands before you go to judgment. If you are Catholic, or even claim to be, I can point you to a confessional, and I suggest that if you have lost your spine, you find it quickly. America is not your home, and it is not my home. It is our soil. Heaven is our home, and that's the place our souls are seeking to reside for eternity.

So to whom do you claim sovereignity? To so much created dirt and man-made lines, or do you seek to be washed in the precious blood of the lamb who died for you?

Choose well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I'm strugglin', y'all

I think the title pretty much covers it, and I suspect that if I were able to interview each and every one of you, you have something similar happening.

Things are going wrong. All at once, and when you think you've hit the bottom, you've found that when this particular floor collapses, there's yet another, and another.

Yup. That's where I am.

Last night I had another bad dream, woke feeling that odd "terror", the kind that when I was a child growing up in a haunted home (I'm not kidding about that, long story but not interesting), I would wake up and want to pull the covers over my head. As an adult, I have to struggle against that impulse, because even if no one's watching, it just doesn't seem dignified, and I can't always use "cold" as an excuse.

So of course, I pray. And I say "Praise God!" to that.

Last night the dream was more about my mother, and so I began praying the rosary, and fell asleep, woke up thinking about her, continued praying. I've heard that Our Lady finishes rosaries for us when we fall asleep praying one, so I think Mom had several finished for her last night, by none other than the Queen of Heaven.

But that's not the only thing. Work has been very difficult of late, and today not only was I behind from last week's stuff and Monday's extreme clobbering, but old stuff has come back and needs attention YESTERDAY, people are upset and impatient all around, and I confess that I have likewise been impatient. It's catching, so look out!

I felt relieved to come home. Until I opened my gas bill! They said I missed a payment, so of course I went pawing through old checks, went online to see if it cleared, it did, signed up for an online account through the gas company so I could view records since their billing office is long closed...and nothin'. The record provided EXACTLY what is on my bill, while I'm just trying to find out what the last payment was that they recieved, in what amount, and what date. Now I have to wait until tomorrow. I could have shot them an e-mail, but then there would be phone tag.

It's the second bill this month which has doubled due to a missed payment. I know that the other one I legitimately hadn't paid because that was the cable bill and they have a habit of either forgetting to send me a bill for a couple months, or the post office hates me. In any case, I checked my accounts and indeed, I did not pay that bill last month, so I'm on the hook.

But this other one...I need to find out more.

And then there is the issue with having taken a pay cut recently for better hours at work, my mortgage and association fees went up, one dog was due for shots and then an old infection returned which was not apparent for our scheduled appointment, meaning that I had to bring her back. And it's not something that can be ignored..the poor girl is suffering, she's only 3 1/2 years old, and it's a simple UTI....which of course has cost me lots of money to clean up what she couldn't hold. I'm tired of that red and white Miracle enzyme cleaner. I spend more on that lately than I do on groceries. And I can't scold a dog who can't help it.

My other dog's due for shots next month, my car registration tabs are due next month, and due to an error on my taxes last year, I'll be lucky to get anythign back at all in the form of a return, and with the way things have been going, I think there's a really good chance that I'm going to have to pay in.

I'm getting hit HARD financially, folks. So far I'm OK, but I'll admit I'm getting scared.

I'm starting to feel like Job. If a strong wind blows down my house, I start suffering from huge boils, my dogs die and when I start living in a garbage dump wearing old clothes and rubbing ashes on myself, I'm going to have to study that book a little further. And if three friends approach me and tell me to repent, then I'll KNOW I'm a modern Job.

But let's not go there yet.

Because you know what I say to all of this stuff, especially the stuff that scares me? I say "Praise the Lord for he has done great things for me".

And I say, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."

Last year I suffered a great trial also, and it was long-term, all work-related. I think it's going to be worse this year, but I think that I'm starting to see a pattern. Not only is it that Lent is a time of suffering for me, but I think that I'm paying in advance for some great blessing. I read this in Raymond Arroyo's book about Mother Angelica. Whenever God wanted her to do something, he struck her down with something terrible. And then came the miracles.

I'm not Mother Angelica, that's for certain. But I think the same idea applies...God makes us pay in advance, sends us these trials to help strengthen our faith so that we don't get too high and mighty when he blesses us. When we are face down on the dirt, humbled by circumstances of our lives, even a little cloth to wipe our faces is a great blessing.

And so I praise God for whatever he is sending me now, and I ask for faith to continue on this journey. God knows, I likely deserve what's happening to me anyway. It's not as though I wasn't a sinner to begin with.

And now let me you've read this, you've been able to draw comparisons to your own situation...maybe it's financial, like mine, but involving cats and not dogs. Or a job loss, leading to the domino effect of bills piling up. Or clerical errors all over the place. And right now you're nodding your head because you feel as I do, and you understand because like it or not, this is life and it's something we all face...and sometimes it really hits us hard.

I have known for awhile that God's 2 by 4 was about to swing and knock me into the next field. I'm not sure yet if this is still the anticipation, the board whistling through the air, or if I've been smacked already and I'm now flying helplessly through the air, a human projectile.

You know how it is if you've ever been hit by or run into something....that feeling of shock, feeling the impact but not the pain yet because it takes the nerves a moment to respond and sing an opera to you.

The scary thing is that I don't think I've recieved the initial impact yet. I'll have to keep you updated.

In the meantime, I'll just keep praising God. It's all I CAN do.

God bless and keep you, and when God's 2 by 4 swings your way, may your landing be cushioned by great blessings.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bryant Gumbel is a Racist and Figure skating is not a Sport

The title pretty much says it all. Maybe I should expand a little on my points, though.

I will never deny the athleticism required for figure skating, or the dedication required by those who participate. However, that does not change the fact that it is an art form. As such, it cannot be a sport.

What really gets me, though, is the fact that "Ice Dancing", which is really just pairs skating in fancier costumes, has been allowed into the Olympics. This just proves that popular demand makes the rules around the globe.

That said, I can't imagine the Olympics without figure skating, but I could do without 2 hours of it per night for the full tenure of the Games. Is it just me or is this "sport" so far overdone so as to be political?

Recently Bryant Bumbel...uh...Bryant GUMBEL recently made a ridiculous commment regarding the Olympics...something to the effect that since they are not all running around naked and speaking Greek, and most of those participating in the winter Games are white, it is not worth watching.

What a freakin' racist. Why does he get away with this s***? I'm offended. I think I might sue for pain and suffering. I feel violated by his comment as I am a white supporter and wannabe contender in the Winter Olympics.

I also have this mad desire to put this bumblehead on a pair of highly waxed skis and thrust his sorry ass down a very steep, sprayed and salted course amisdst strong winds, fog, and generally poor weather, and see if someone can catch him on camera falling over a cliff, through gates and several snow fences. Or maybe trying not to face plant on blades. That would be fun, too.

I'd really like to put in him front of Shawny Davis and let that Olympian give him what-for.

I had a boyfriend who was black. (He did not want to be called "African-American)). He wasn't very politically correct, either.

Anyway, he was initially not interested in skiing, telling me it was a "white sport". I told him he was full of it. He was open to meeting my ski-patrol friends, and together we enticed him to come to the ski area. A world class skier offered him a free lesson, which he initially refused, but then after we stared at him and made him realize what he was turning down, he agreed.

The man has purchased skis, has invested in the sport and has gotten pretty good at it...especially for an average recreational skier.

Don't tell me black men can't ski.

Now, back to original programming. Figure skating is an artform, it is beautiful and requires much discipline. So do sports. But if we're goign to allow Ice Dancing into the Games, then we may as well allow competetive dancing into the summer games.

I don't think so.

Regarding Gumbel's idiocy:

Skiing is a sport. So is hockey. So is speed skating. And luge, skeleton, and bobsledding.

Don't sit there and tell me the athletes have to be naked Greeks in order for it to be legit. I'm not sure what this idiot's point is...maybe that he's incompetent, and that's his problem. It sure doesn't justify denigrating our athletes (even the skaters).

What I find really ironic is the number of summer olympic sports which were not recognized in ancient Greece. And the fact that by African American standards, Greeks were and remain...WHITE!

I've heard the term "reverse racism" and have even used the term, but it's a cop out. Racism is racism.

Bryant Gumbel is an outright racist, and I'm not surprised that the ACLU has not slapped his sorry rear end with a lawsuit. They're racist, too.

/ rant

Ministry Fair and Discernment to everyday stuff

Today was my parish's annual Ministry Fair, where nearly 100 possible ministries within the parish are showcased and presented for info and signup.

I'm already a member of the Frassati Society. Check.

I've gone to the Charismatic Prayer Group several times after last lent's Life in the Spirit Seminar, and spoke at another seminar last summer for that group. But although my experience with the CCR (Catholic Charismatic Renewal) was a positive one, it is not my spirituality. Maybe more on that in another post. But in any case, I do love the people who are involved. They are wonderful, loving people, and I was never once pressured to speak in tongues.

What I am agonizing over is the desire to teach, but there was no one seemingly available at the "education" tables, and I didn't feel very drawn to them today.

I did reveal to a friend, as I have before, that I am interested in the parish Commission, and this year my work schedule would permit my involvement.

But one point of agony...I love to sing. A woman once told me during the sign of peace that I have a wonderful voice. I thanked her and wished her peace and tried to still the longing in my heart.

They have often appealed for good singers, but I don't feel called anyomre. Yet I do.

Let me tell you yet another long-winded story, for those are my specialty. It's part of my endearing charm. Or something like that. "Endearing" and "charm" can be substituted for your own personal judgment.

I was involved in music ministry from a young age...always loved music, used to make up songs and sing them to my Dad, especially. They were mostly tuneless little-girl songs, but they apparently warmed his heart. I was fascinated by the various music groups at our little parish and Mom always made it a point to encourage our interest in music.

Fast forward to elementary school. I was 11. We lived in Faribault, MN, and somehow they arranged for me to play my flute during the Christmas program before the 5 pm Mass. I remember the "audition" and being happy to be there.

Then Christmas Eve arrived, I calmly walked forward when it was time, not a bit nervous. I turned around, saw how full the Church was...and I began shaking. I raised my flute, the pianist began the lead-in, but no sound came out of my flute. She looked at me and started again, and this time, by the grace of God, sound came out and I played, shaking so hard I created a wonderful vibrato.

In Jr. High I learned that I could actually sing, and got involved in the youth choir and shortly after, the adult choir. By then I was playing my flute with the choir from time to time, on some Sundays and during holidays.

My best friend and I joined the choir and also began singing with the cantors. Many of them were happy to have assistance up front, so we were always welcomed. I always brought my flute just in case it was needed.

One Christmas, I showed up for the 8:30 am Mass with my flute and sang with the cantor (who happened to be both the Director of Liturgical Music AND my sometimes private flute teacher when Mom could afford it). A little before Communion, she saw that there were not enough Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, handed me the songbook, and told me to lead the parish in singing.

I stood staring at the book, shocked.

The song was "What Child is This?", the accompaniast and I looked at each other, shrugged, and when the time came, I sang. I could hear my own voice through the mike, and tried not to listen to it.

I continued to sing and fill in as a substitute. That summer, I was on the schedule a lot, especially with all the vacations of the regular cantors.

It wasn't long before I was just placed on the list.

Now I am torn. I am a member of a large parish, and the choir's OK, although the Director does chose a lot of completely dischordant and unsingable music. The choir processes in with the priest when they sing, and that drives me crazy. The Cantor does not stand with the choir, but walks behind the altar over to the lector's stand and sings from there.

I don't like these things. I understand some of the reasoning behind it, I just disagree with it.

And I don't want to be a part of that.

The Cantors at the masses were the choir does not sing have a more informal place, and sing at the regular mike by the choir loft to the left of the altar, so I'd be more comfortable with that...but I'm not sure I want to lead singing at all anymore.

I will say I've been tempted to grab the microphone from some cantors, but let's not go there. We all have those stories.

I'm not a good singer anymore, anyway, just a passable one.

But I can't stop wondering if I'm supposed to be up there singing, anyway?

What in the WORLD does God want me to do?

Does anyone else agnoize about these things?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Olympics, mostly talkin' 'bout Bode


And the cool thing is, that I'll even find myself rooting for skiers and competitors of other countries. Take, for example, Kostilek, from Croatia...a girl who grew up in a war-torn country to find "home" on the World Cup circuit, as did her brother who is also competing in Torino. She just took Gold on the women's Downhill Combined. You GO Girl!

What strikes me about her is her humility. Humble roots, trained non-traditionally, and accepting her fame as she has accepted every other challenge of her something God gave her and darn it, she's going to get through it all with the same stoicism God gave her. God bless her and her family. I know that Croatia is a Catholic country, but I haven't heard from the media whether she is Catholic. Not a surprise.

I think she's my hero, right along with Picabo Street. I want the humility of Kostilek along with the ferocity of Street.

I actually have the speed and finesse of a turtle, but that's beside the point.

Now on to men's Alpine. Did you see the Super-G tonight? Bode Miller is...well, an enigma. I can't say I condone a lot of what he does and says, yet, in some ways, he is worthy of hero status.

He is a non-conformist. He is out for fun, and just the other day he commented about how the "desire for a medal" is being projected upon him by others. He said he doesn't care whether he wins one or not. He likes his privacy, although quite honestly, his exertions in the bars after races does not lead to much of a private life.

But I do agree with him. Tonight they showed a clip where he was discussing how the constant pressure to exceed and succeed at the higest levels gives young athletes the idea if they can't win they shouldn't even try.

I heartily agree. I'm amazed at the pressure kids have to win at sports, whereas when I grew up it was all about sportsmanship. Sure, winning was great and the whole point of a game was to win the game...but it was ok not to win. That just meant that there was an unmet challenge, and sports were about learning how to overcome while still enjoying the event.

Back to Bode. That man has TALENT! Four years ago I stood in front of a big screet TV at a trade show, watching how Bode fell back on his tails during the slalom portion of the Downhill Combined, regained his balance and finished. I don't remember his result and it doesn't matter. It was an Olympic moment and I doubt that many other skiers could have pulled off that move.

He repeated it again tonight, this time in the Super-G. He was rocking right along until he got into the soft snow, nearly fell, and it appeared we were about to witness a catastrophic crash.

But no, this was Bode Miller.

Bode got his right ski under him and fought to regain control of his left. It was like a figure skater, skiing with one leg extended behind, an acrobatic dance with an out of control ski in the place of a skate blade.

Back and forth, the tip and tail of the left ski hit the ground, torquing and amazing all that it did not simply fly off. Bode seemed to wait it out and then extended his left leg even further, and with great control brought his left leg around, bringing the ski parallel, and back down to where it belonged.

This kind of thing would have killed most people, or at the very best, would have caused broken bones and torn ligaments and much surgery for months to come.

But we're talkin' about Bode.

He defies the odds, and should we really be surprised? After all, he's finished other races on one ski, as in a World Cup event only weeks ago. Incidentally, about 6 years ago or so I saw Dahron Rahlves fall a few times and then finish the Birst of Prey Downhill at Beaver Creek, CO, finish a race on one ski. I think they do it for the World Cup points gained by finishing. Even a bad time is a qualifying time, wheras a DNF is useless.

I now look forward to a miracle with Kristina Koznik and Lindsey Kildow.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Fiction Writing and the "What If" factor

I decided when I was about 12 or so that I wanted to be a writer. I arrived at this conclusion because I understood that while I could watch things on TV, and read other people's stories about events everywhere, I could not always have the experience directly.

I began writing in earnest when I watched Winning Colors, a filly, win the Kentucky Derby. And I asked myself, "What if a filly won the Triple Crown? What if I was the jockey?"

And those questions lead to other questions, and I found the answers at the tip of my pencil, writing into the late hours of the night. I must have re-written that story time and time again, trying to figure it all out, and as an adult, I am still working on the story. Unfortunately, since my perspective has changed, it has become much more difficult and I am hindered by the fact that I still have not had the opportunity to see the world from the back of a racehorse at a dead run, although I have watched a camera fly out of my shirt pocket while at a full gallop.

So I guess I have the elements, the necessary disconnectedness needed so as to surprise the reader from time to time with seemingly inconsequential moments, and enough experience to extend the imagination.

But I don't have enough facts.

That brings me to my next point. The cool thing about writing fiction is that the process answers the question, "What if?" However, we have to consider the ethics and the morality of our answers.

Given the subject of my particular story, I need more facts. The story is fiction, but the likely audience of such a book would be offended if I got everything wrong. They would want to know why they weren't consulted. People love to talk, to share their stories, and have a personal interest in not seeing their lives, their culture, etc., misrepresented by shoddy work. That's ethics. Don't insult your readers.

Of course, it's impossible to avoid offending everyone, if a story is truthfully told; unless it is fantasy, and even sometimes when it is, people will find something offensive to their delicate sensibilities. I do not suggest that we as writers (or aspiring writers such as myself) go out of our way to offend, but we cannot be afraid of conflict. Without conflict, there is no story, and once the story is out, there may be additional real-world conflict.

I love fiction, I love reading fiction, and long ago, even while recognizing fiction, I wanted truthfulness in the stories I read. I wanted the storyline to be feasable, to make sense, and when it didn't I found myself disappointed.

I think it would be difficult to find someone not in agreement with this. One example I can give is cop shows on TV. They always get stuff wrong, and it drives me crazy. They'd have a better story if they stuck to the truth.

On the other hand, fiction opens doors to suspend reality...back to the "what if" factor. Consider "Demolition Man". One element of that movie addressed the enforcement of law without the use of weapons or force. The movie did not ask us to judge the movie by current police standards, as by their context they defined the parameters of their story to exclude what we understand to be true.

As Christian writers we need to be aware of even a higher standard, namely, as that set down by our faith. We have to be true to Jesus Christ in the words we set down on the page. Debates rage around this topic...use of profanity, use of sexual intimacy, etc. How much is too much? Is it even appropriate to bring it up?

It's difficult to avoid these issues if one is writing truthfully, but it is possible. I offer as an example Bill Kassel, who wrote a couple of great books dealing with the issue of abortion and homosexuality. If you haven't read his work, look him up.

In sum, contiue to ask the question "What if", open your imagination to endless possibilities, and let the Holy Spirit and a well formed conscience be your guide as you discern the limits available to you.

Hmmmm...define "irony"...what if this gets published somewhere like a magazine for Catholic writers? (does any such thing exist?)

No More D word

I recieved a heads up from my good friend Ray so I urge you all to check out the link he provided:

She is encouraging, in effect, not just a boycott, but for everyone to go to the movies and visit a film other than DVC. She also encourages us not to get into the media fray in refuting the movie...just to let it be. Be silent (and in my estimation, silence can be deadly--for the opposing side, that is).

And so, I will be silent. No more posts about DVC.

HOWEVER! I will read, I will study, and should I meet some poor misguided fool...ahem..I mean, SOUL, then I will use my knowledge to show them the light. Another point of my experience; people do NOT like being duped, and those who have been often complete quite the turnaround and when they see the light, they are ready to GO!

I encourage you all to know as much as you can so as to redirect the individuals, one by one, and so even thorough online silence, we can undermine all the DVC is trying to do.

Call it Catholic Militant Strategy CMS.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Presumption of guilt upon every priest

I heard a blurb on the national news and found this link on

For those who haven't heard, Cardinal George has issued a directive to all priests living a "double life" to come forward for the sake of the Church.

A priest told ABC7 Friday night that many in ministry feel especially vulnerable now to unfounded accusations. They worry there is now a "presumption of guilt" against any priest accused of abuse.

Father Corapi actually discussed this issue. The Church is under attack by un-Godly forces, and I am not referring to the left-wing media. God forbid that a priest be seen speaking to a woman unsupervised, or hugging a child. The automatic assumption is that the priest is doing something wrong.

That is not to say that some priests aren't guilty of really horrible acts, but now if someone is looking for a settlement, all they have to do is cry "ABUSE!" and the priest has been condemned without trial, his life ruined, a good shephered slaughtered by the wolves, and the flock devastated and scattered, polarized by the controversy.

I'd like to think there's a special place in hell both for unrepentent abusive priests AND the people who cry "wolf" but are the wolves themselves. However, my faith teaches me that such a sentiment is wrong and actually sinful. We cannot either elevate someone to heaven, nor can we damn them to hell, as this judgment is for God alone.

This type of attack has even made the laity wary. Last lent, I had my home blessed. I was hoping to actually make this a more formal affair...have friends over for a small gathering, have the priest bless my home, and stay for dinner. As I was living alone, I figured that both he and I would be more comfortable in the presence of others. I did not fear the priests, I did not worry about impropriety, but I was concerned about public perception. I live in a townhome community and my surrounding neighbors knew I lived alone. Given the bad press about the Church, a priest coming and going may raise suspicion.

Yes, I know I was being ridiculous. Unfortunately, our entire CULTURE is ridiculous and would prefer to assume the worst rather than the best. We live in a world of "Desperate Housewives" according to most, rather than a world of people just trying to do the right thing. Including priests.

The vast majority of our priests are wonderful spiritual fathers; they have and demonstrate integrity, love for Christ, love for the faith, love for the people. When I see a priest, I more often think of purity than I do of acts better left unsaid.

But our culture has taken a truly shattering series of events and has projected the assumption that all priests must be evil and must be kept away from children...and everyone else.

Let's think about this...who would have an interest in crippling our priests, preventing them from doing their jobs? What kind of opportunists (cough DISSIDENTS cough, cough) would use this as a platform from which to project the idea of female priests? What kind of creature would like to see our holy priests prevented from carrying out their duties ordained by God? They can't do much if they are seperated from their flocks under false charges, can they?

I still look back at my fear of having a priest come to my home as I did not want anyone to think anything untoward was going on, and were it not for the media vultures, the constant bombardment of our senses every time something of the Church came up, I would not have had this ridiculous concern.

Consider the media....nearly every time there was a story about the Catholic Church, the media would bring up the "scandals". It didn't matter if it had nothing whatsoever to do with immmoral acts...the media headlines would read, "X happened amidst the ongoing fallout of the scandals from X months/years ago".

As it happened, there was no fanfare when my house was blessed. I asked Father to bless my dog and I for some pet therapy work we were starting at a nursing home (pet visits only, nothing special or technical), and he agreed, offering to come and bless my home. I could have brought my dogs to the Church, but if he wasn't available, it's not like the dogs could have come in and waited for him! So I agreed, but had no time to prepare or invite others as it was the next day. It was simple. He came, he blessed my home, both dogs, and me, and had to leave for other appointments. Not big whoop.

Interestingly enough, the only "fallout" from this visit was another neighbor's concern that someone on my side of the building was ill. He, a non-Catholic, commented to a Catholic neighbor that he saw a priest arrive and go around the corner, and in his estimation, that meant that someone must be seriously ill.

Funny how the media incites us to stupid unfounded fears while the average person actually still retains enough sanity to see a Roman collar and realize that it's more likely to mean that the priest is there to help, not harm. Rather than causing the man to wonder about baser acts, he wondered if he owed a sick neighbor a visit or some assistance. He saw the priest and "the scandals" never crossed his mind. He was drawn to more noble pursuits such as concern for another person.

This gives me hope, but serves to remind that our priests are under a very real attack, and they deserve both our appreciation and our heartfelt prayers.

(It also serves to remind me not to watch too much TV or read the papers too much. Has tainted my mind and my perceptions, so it has.)


The Olympics

Considering that the Olymics have begun, I felt that it was time for an entry about the games.

I've always wanted to be an Olympian, ever since I had a cousin who came close and only failed due to a broken bone the day before trials. Something about striving for a medal has always gotten to me, and the elusiveness, the challenge, and the very odds make it something of a holy grail for the average person.

One only has to watch those who win the medals, observe the tears staining their cheeks as they sing their national anthem, in order to understand that this isn't just a superficial event.

Another thing that has often struck me is that here, from all over the world, come athletes to meet and compete against one another, nation by nation, and it is a peaceful affair. Throughout the games, and in the years between, athletes develop friendships with others of their sport and even though they compete with all they have, the rivalry is left to the sport.

I don't like the politics that surrounds everything, so I do my best not to focus on it. Those who do become cynical and turn in to liberal democrats.

Let us offer prayers for all those in Torino, and ask for the intercession of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati on their behalf. As an American, I do especially pray for the American competetitors, but considering that some countries have only one athlete, I have to say that it would be nice to see them on the podium as well. Overall, let us pray for their safety, for the protection of the volunteers, the workers, the families of all, and those who only watch from the sidelines.

Come to think of it, let us also pray for those who are watching from the comfort of livingrooms, wishing we could be there ourselves.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who needs the reality check here?

I'd encourage you all to read the linked article in full, but in reading it, I decided that someone needed to address a couple of problematic paragraphs.

In sum, the article is trashing the idea that Valentine's Day as it is now "celebrated" should be replaced with "A Day for Purity" focusing on teenagers. The highlights I enboldened here draw attention to the very fact that this columnist is completely missing the point.

I'm not sure "moral decline" is really a hot-button issue with today's teens. The word "purity" raises some red flags that human sexuality is somehow impure. I'd also argue with the group's belief that the culture encourages teens to "experiment with their sexual preferences

I'm just going to come right out and re-write this paragraph according to the truth of the situation:

I'm sure that moral decline is not an issue addressed with today's teens. The word "purity" is not discussed with them so they, much like the author of the column, have NO IDEA what human sexuality is all about. I'd argue with the immoral majority's belief that current culture does in fact, out of willful ignorance and a definitive lack of openness to learning the truth, teach teens to experiment profusely and copiously, not with sexuality, but with their sexual organs.

There is no responsible educator in our country who does not include an abstinence message. You don't have to have sex. You don't," says Brigid Riley, executive director of Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting. "But the majority of people will eventually have sex, and with the average age of marriage at 26, most will do it before then."

I'm not entirely sure that our schools hire responsible educators with regards to topics on sexuality. I remember these classes...abstinance was just an afterthought, and from what I have heard, it's gotten worse.

Check out Brigid Riley's quote above. It bears repeating. "But the majority of people will eventually have sex, and with the average age of marriage at 26, most will do it before then."

Oh.....Kay. So maybe we should present the same non-logical argument with regard to the topic of war. Responsible educators do not encourage wars, and in fact teach that people die in them. You don't have to go to war, or acknowledge don't. But the majority of people will eventually be confronted with a war of some sort, or a school shooting, or rather than educating our children in the art of mediation, let's just hand them guns and tell them where the safety button is and where the dangerous end is so that they'll only kill the people they shoot at.

Let's face it, y'all...this woman, and the larger public, needs a reality check. She first has a problem with the idea that "purity" implies that human sexuality is bad. WRONG! Human sexuality is a gift from God. Misusing any gift has consequences. And the misuse of human sexuality is called "impurity".

The rightful use of human sexuality, that is, an intimate, physical expression of love between a married man and woman (married to each other, that is, not to other people), is purity. And even that is not correct. To be specific, human sexuality first is a definition of the person with regard to the specific DNA of that individual which allows for healthy sexual expression. There is nothing inherently impure about sexual expression, only the misuse.

What the immoral majority don't care to understand is the fact that there is such a thing as "immorality". They don't believe in sin, they deny that God actually cares about what they do to themselves and to each other.

People suffer consequences every day of sexual impurity, and I guarantee that NONE of those issues would ever surface if they understood true human sexuality, purity, and morality.

This issue makes me want to shake the dust from my feet and wash my hands, but then I'd walk away as Pontias Pilate did...still wearing the blood of Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we are called to stand out and speak the truth, especially when we don't want to, and we're weary of an unlistening world. Jesus DIED for this miserable, unlistening world, and darn it, if he can give and give until he's given ALL, well, then I'll continue to rant against the illogical fallacy of the culture of death which holds us all prisoner in a society which can do nothing but fall.

God Bless Pope John Paul II, God keep his soul, and God Bless Christopher West and Jason Evert as they work so hard to carry this message. Let us all follow suit and re-educate people. If we can just plant a few seeds, maybe there will be a little more shade for our overheated minds and burning fingers.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The face of a demon?

I'm going to be very candid here. Demonic attacks are REAL, and they happen all the time...including at Mass.

THe last few nights I was not sleeping well as I was having bad, or at least strange dreams, but what was worse was that I would wake up terrified for no apparent reason. My dogs were both sleeping peacefully, so I KNEW there was nothing so dangerous as, say, a fire or someone in the house who didn't belong there.

Last night was different in that I slept well and did not wake up with that odd terror. But I did have a very bad dream. I just happen to be arachnophobic...a phobia which goes back to childhood. It's pretty common, as you well know.

In my dream last night, I was in a crowd somewhere, seated, and suddenly I brought my hand up and screamed as I saw the huge spider attached to me. The thing was black, had a bright red stripe running down each leg, and the bottom portion of the spider's leg was red. I think it had red eyes, too, but I only saw two of them that I can remember.

This spider was larger than my hand, but it clung to my fingers. I couldn't shake it off, I couldn't do anything. And although I screamed and begged for help, the people around me simply acknowledged that the spider was there and failed to do a thing to assist me.

I didn't wake up terrified, which is odd, given the content of the dream, but something worse happened; when I sat at Mass this morning, the image came to me and I could almost FEEL the spider still clinging to my left hand. The panic that washed over me was so strong that I shuddered in revulsion and actually shrunk down where I sat. Tears of panic came to my eyes and I had to focus hard to escape the feeling. Intellectually I KNEW that there was not a spider clinging to my hand, but the images from the dream were very real.

Focusing on the words of the readings was helpful, but it didn't end there.

The homily was about the sacrament of the sick, and while Father spoke about it, suddenly I was overcome by the "knowledge" that I am not long for this world. In short, I am going to die. It was an odd certitude that I could not deny, a type of premonition similar to other premonitions I have had regarding some things. And still I tried to focus on what Father was saying, but the feeling grew stronger, and that sensation of panic returned again. I prayed that I would have the benefit of Confession and the Sacrament of Annointing before I go to my judgment, and I remembered the scapular I am wearing. I prayed to Our Lady for assistance if I really am to die.

Now, keep in mind: I am perfectly healthy. I do not have a terminal illness (as far as I know), and I also know that disasters happen every day. So the thought that I might die isn't so bad. It can goad one into living a better life.

But of course, this was the inappropriate time to think about such things and I needed to focus on the Mass.

But different passages came to me, such as, "Fool! What you don't realize is that this very night your life will be required of you!"

And as I struggled with this, I prayed to the Lord and to my Guardian Angel for assistance, and finally, the words I needed came to me, "I have not given you a spirit of fear...."

I realized that what gripped me was fear. Demon, thy name is Fear, Lord, deliver me from the demon called Fear.

I don't think I actually prayed those words, but I realized that I've been under attack since sometime last night by this insidious beast. The spider clinging to my hand was the face of Fear, and now that I recognize him, with God's hand I can crush him. He cannot torment me when I face him squarely with the Truth that Jesus is Lord and Savior.

And as I knelt during the consecration, the last of the feeling of panic left me, although I sensed that it was still there...just hiding. I prayed for deliverance from this beast, and as I walked up to recieve our Lord, I continually prayed for deliverance. When I returned to my seat and knelt, I could not stop crying..the tears just began to fall. I wasn't sobbing, my eyes were just tearing and for awhile, it felt like a waterfall.

That happens from time to time, but the subject of tears is for another post.

I have experienced attacks of this type before. Last fall at the Eucharistic Congress, during the Mass I felt an amazing oppression which was just crushing. I wanted nothing more than to run from the convention center and into open air. And the closer we got to the consecration, the heavier this weight became. I nearly had to hold onto my chair to keep myself from fleeing. I'm thinking my Guardian Angel may have called in reserves to sit on me, also.

Then as soon as I had recieved Communion, the weight lifted..and as I knelt, the weight lifted more and was gone. The panic was gone, the feeling that I needed to flee the room was GONE.

I KNOW I am not the only one out there to experience these things. I especially know that I am no saint, and this tells me that those who ARE very close to God, or even a few steps closer than I must be suffering this battle constantly.

So! Since I now have about 5 or 6 regular readers...tell me your stories! Maybe post your own on your blog (and then tell me how to link them here).

God Bless and be strong. Let us end with a prayer:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host
By the power of God
Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the earth
seeking the ruin of souls.