In celebration, head over to The Curt Jester to see his amazing Dancin' Alito!
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
Recommendation for you bloggers with kids. I took my progeny (8-year-old Darling Daughter and 5-year-old son whose last words on earth I predict will be, "Hey. y'all, watch this!"), as well as my 77-year-old mother, to see the new movie "Nanny McPhee." All of us enjoyed it - kids especially will be entertained (but hopefully not inspired) by the hellacious antics that the children in the movie engage in ("They've eaten the baby!!"). Emma Thompson has got a winner with this movie. The USCCB gave it a A-II rating.
Interestingly, think of Christ's relationship with His Apostles with Nanny McPhee's "rule" that she gives the children: "When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go."
Sunday, January 29, 2006
And in honor of Catholic Schools Week, I dedicate my prayers this week in gratitude to the nuns who ran St. Brendan's School back in the Bronx, especially Sr. Owen Patrice, Sr. Katherine Francis, and Sr. Cajetan, and the priests of Cardinal Spellman High School, again of the Bronx.
Music: I love one-hit wonders. "C'mon, Eileen," "The Pina Colada Song," the one by the Scottish group singing, "But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man who walks a 1000 miles down at your door . . .," etc. I also like songs that are less than conventional - "Loser" by Beck; "Funky Ceili (Bridie's Song)" by Black 47; "God Is Here Tonight" by the Beat Farmers (see previous post), "Laid" by James, "Reasons to Be Cheerful (Part III)" by Ian Drury and the Blockheads, and House of Pain's "Jump Around" (which includes one of my favorite lines - "I'll serve your ass like John McEnroe"). I also like covers done by artists who I think do better versions that the original artists, like Oingo Boingo beating out the Beatles on "I Am the Walrus," Phil Shane (my favorite lounge act) doing Cash's "Ring of Fire," Peter Kingsbery singing "How Can I Be Sure." However, I love both Nirvana's original as well as Tori Amos' cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which I always play very LOUDLY if I hear it on the radio, screaming the refrain as I drive along . . . plus, of course, most stuff played in the 70's as I went through my period of teenage angst (except now every Who song reminds me of the opening credits in a "CSI" franchise).
Movies: I know practically all lines in "Caddyshack." Every Eastertime I sit down with a stiff martini because invariably some TV netowrk will air, "The 10 Commandments," which I think is one of the cheesiest all-time movies (I am particularly fond of imitating Edward G. Robinson and Yvonne de Carlo in their respective roles). And "Napoleon Dynamite" . . . sweet!
Politics: Any cheap shot at Hilary Clinton. I am still pissed at her for carpetbagging her way into New York, my home state. Laughing at Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez' Christmas cards that we constituents get every year because they are too tasteless.
Church-related: Short sermons, unless Father's on a roll. Inviting in young and impressionable Mormon missionaries and giving them my "God wants you to come home to the One True Faith" pitch after I ask them about blood atonement and vomiting seagulls.
Chow: Stinky cheese. I could eat gorgonzola and limburger by itself.
Clothing: Mismatched pajamas.
Hygienic: To quote the band, "Jane's Addiction": "The water hits my back/And I'm pissin' on myself/Standing/In the shower/Thinking . . ."
Saturday, January 28, 2006
I come along these great states from Norfolk Bible School
I guess I been brained along the way, a couple times.....a few
Out on the road it comes to me that everyone should know,
'Cept for scary dogs and Russians, that Jesus loves you so
Now the mission stew smells good tonight
The holy bums in line all tip their hats as I walk by
'Cause God is here to night
I make my way around this town from market to the park
Where no holy man in his right mind would venture after dark
I bless the cops and lady-men and the fireplugs and the signs
And the trestle down on Tenth Street where I lay me down tonight
The whole damn world is beaustiful in His holy light
And I don't feel the cold wind
'Cause God is here tonight
Like all good things beneath the stars I will surely end
I'll sit beside my Father and I'll watch over the land
So all you down-and-outers, lay down your heads, sleep tight
'Cause I'm keepin' an eye out for ya
And God is here tonight
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Given the choice of what five things I would ask Jesus if I get to go to Heaven or who are the first five people I would like to see in Heaven, I'll go with the five questions:
1. Just what look did Mary give you after You said it was not yet Your time at the wedding feast at Cana such that You changed Your mind? I bet it wasn't as scary as the one my mother would give me when I was out of line.
2. How come there is no text in the Bible about you laughing?
3. When you said to Peter, "Get thee behind Me, Satan!", did he actually do it for a second or did he figure out right away that You were speaking figuratively?
4. How come I got in trouble with the nuns for spitting while You used it to heal the blind man - wasn't spitting at Mary Kathleen Gallagher who sat behind me and always copied from me just another form of saying, "God bless you?"
5. Just for clarification - I have to love my neighbor, but I don't have to like him, right?
I am new to the blogosphere, so I will tag anyone who reads this and leaves a message!
Monday, January 23, 2006
(Okay, okay, I am not making fun of 12-step programs since for some people they are a Godsend. However, having attended a few with friends, they do remind me of "Queen for a Day." For older persons, you would remember it was a game show back when TV was in black-n-white and featured women trying to outdo each other with sob stories, just to get a new washer. I see it as a the first reality TV show. Anyway, AA meetings have a theme when people "share" - "how low can you go?")
So, being Catholic, no venture can be without a patron saint. However, having checked a comprehensive index, there are NO patron saints for dieters.
St. Jude for hopeless causes?
St. Lawrence for culinary martyrdom? (Hmmm, they don't call him Bobby Flay for nuttin')
St. Catherine of Bologna for cold cuts?
Sunday, January 22, 2006
My mother was working in the comptroller's office at Misrecordia Hospital in the Bronx when Roe v. Wade was decided. A doctor she knew, the head of obstetrics, said to her, "I'll be damned if any will be done in this hospital." This doctor was the father of five adopted children.
If you are looking for a great example of how God's mercy and love has worked, go no further than the atory of Norma McCorvey. She was "Jane Roe" in "Roe v. Wade," and over time went from being vehemently pro-choice to becoming pro-life (and Catholic, as well) to creating a ministry to help the women and babies destroyed by abortion.
I read today that Norma is having troubles making ends meet, since she has become the primary caretaker for a friend who helped out Norma during the worse times of her life. I would not wait for Sarah Weddington to spring to the rescue - indeed, see if you can even fnd Norma's name on Sarah's website for the Weddington Center. Send even a note of support to Norma through her ministry website.
Abortion kills. That is the truth. For those who still remain unconvinced, read this article (warning: it is very, very graphic, but it needs to be).
Saturday, January 21, 2006
This morning my Mother, da Polish Rose of da Bronx, was remarking to me about how as a senior citizen, her short term memory is shot but she is now recalling more and more old term memories. To wit . . .
It was the early 1950's, and Mom and a group of her gal pals had decided to drive down to Williamsburg, VA from NYC on a vacation trip. The first Sunday that they are there, one girl insists that they just have to find a Catholic church to attend Mass. After asking numerous people on the street, they are finally directed to one, some 30 miles outside of the town where they are staying, just in time for the early morning service.
The girls sit in the back of the Church. Before them, arranged in the front row, are about a half a dozen elderly women, their heads covered in the "babushka" style kerchiefs. The priest comes out and begins intoning the Latin Mass.
However, comes now time for the homily. He faces the grandmothers and begins earnestly preaching to them . . . in Polish. My mother's friends immediately ask her what he is saying, as Mom could understand Polish from her immigrant grandparents. Ma listens . . . and realizes he is lecturing them about the sin of using contraceptives. Go figure.
This is an example of the gems my mother tells me. Of course, this is the same woman who once told me - in all seriousness - that we're lucky they did not decide to hang Jesus since we'd all look pretty silly wearing a guy on a noose around our necks. Can you see why I love tha gal?
Friday, January 20, 2006
In this wonderful story from The New York Post, here are the highlights from the deposition of Paris Hilton, who is being sued by a Zeta Graff (who?), alleging defamation and $10 million in damages.
* Paris on the challenge of friendship: "I meet so many people. I don't even know some of my friends' names."
* On women who stalk women: "I would never say stalking. I'm not a dude. Like, I think a girl can only stalk a guy. She can't really stalk another girl."
* On travel: "I was in Europe for the whole summer, and all there is is, like, French - I didn't see anything because I wasn't in America."
* On the nature of e-mail: "Whatever I write in e-mail, it doesn't mean anything. It is just words I write."
* On Graff: "[I told her] she is old and should stay at home with her child instead of being at nightclubs with young people. And just that - I just . . . What else did I say? Just that she is not cute at all."
Is anyone else as bewildered as me by the Cult of Celebrity in America?
In my morning read of the Orange County Register, I cam across an article that reported that despite the coldest winter since 1927 - and one that has so far caused 31 deaths - the Russian Orothodox are not giving up their tradition of celebrating Epiphany by cutting a cross-shaped hole in the ice and taking a plunge into the frigid waters, to commemorate the Baptism of Jesus.
The temperatures have been reported as low as -24 . . . yet even the 12-year-old girl in the picture is following the traditions of her faith.
Let's all remember this the next time we think we're suffering because the choir director insists upon "Shine, Jesus, Shine" for the 6th week in a row . . .
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
January 18, 2006 -- A distraught Long Island widow who claims her husband died after dodging a flying shrimp at a Japanese restaurant
said he became a shell of himself after surgery . . .
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Anti-abortion ad on BART angers activists - many placards have been defaced or destroyed.
The outrage is at BART for daring to allow space for ads that contradict - well, now, do they contradict the popular views of the City by the Bay, or just a handful of vocal - and what appears to be actionable - activists?
"I think every woman has noticed them,'' said Suzanne "Sam" Joi, a member of Code Pink, a social justice and anti-war group. "I couldn't believe BART would allow something like this. Why are they doing this?''Political views or personal opinions are not new to BART. It appears that it has had a long-time practice of giving ad time to more than commercial interests:
But a difference of opinion is not enough for those who want to see the ads removed:
BART officials say they had little choice but to post
the ads, given the free-speech provisions of the First Amendment. The transit district also has a policy of accepting point-of-view advertising and has displayed other political material -- including advertising from its employee unions during last year's contract talks.
"We're not in the business of censorship and don't believe a government agency should be in the business of censorship,'' Johnson said. "It shouldn't be up to a government official to determine whose opinion is right and whose is wrong.''
Many public transportation agencies allow political or point-of-view advertising on their systems, including Muni, which is displaying anti-war ads.
The problem is, of course, that the ads present the cold, hard truth behind abortion - and it is not a comfortable view to face when you are a pro-choice "activist."
Critics of the ads also seem to be taking matters into their own hands. Hundreds of the ads have been defaced with markers, had stickers placed over them or have been torn down and ripped up, according to
Monika Rodman, coordinator of the group that placed the ads.
"The defacement has taken to religious epithets, profanity, everything you can think of,'' she said. A billboard at the MacArthur station in Oakland was torn to shreds, she said, and mini essays were written on others.
We have, indeed. Let's end the slaughter now.
The campaign features two ads, each slickly produced and featuring a blurry photograph of a woman against a turquoise background. One ad, headlined "9 months" in large letters, features nine months of a calendar and reads: "Because of Roe vs. Wade, this is the amount of time the Supreme Court says it's legal to have an abortion."
The other contains the message: "The Supreme Court says you can choose: after the heart starts beating, after its arms and legs appear, after all organs are present, after the sex is apparent, after it sucks its thumb, after it responds to sounds, after it could survive outside the womb.''
Both ads conclude with the tagline "Abortion: Have we gone too far?''
Caveman doesn't like Fr. Robert Lubic's style - the Punk Priest. I have to admit, I like my churchmen conservative and priestly, but there is also a side of me that enjoys the eccentric (something I hope to be when I am old and can get away with it). I admired Fr. Lubic's vocation story and his explanation of "Why a Website?" As he put it:
The most obvious reason that the Church MUST make use of this technology and begin to feel at home on the web is that is where young people around the world now congregate and spend much of their time. It is critical that we proclaim the Good News to a generation of youth who desperately need the message of hope and life that ONLY the Gospel can provide. And to reach them we MUST go where they are to be found. And like it or not, at the beginning of the 21st century, the place where they are most likely to be found is in cyberspace. In the days of the Apostles the Gospel was preached in the market places and the public squares. The market places and public squares of today, especially in the minds of youth, are no longer so much concrete physical locations as they are addresses in a virtual world sustained by a world-wide network of computers. And it is to that world that we must boldly and fearlessly proclaim Christ and Him crucified ... Christ who alone is the Way and the Truth and the Life.
I'm cool with Fr. Lubic - let's all pray that his vocation remains strong and true!
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Lisa Live: That Darn Brooks
Friday, January 13, 2006
By Lisa Bernhard, FOX News Entertainment Correspondent
Comedians are a strange breed. The best, when not in front of a microphone or camera, are reclusive and self-loathing. What’s so funny about a happy comedian?
This week I had the pleasure of spending time with two of the most miserable — and consequently celebrated — comic minds, Albert Brooks and Howard Stern.
Brooks’ new movie, “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” which opens Jan. 20, is a laugh-out-loud plunge into post-9/11 un-PC waters. It’s a fictional story about Brooks beingoffered a Medal of Freedom for traveling to India and Pakistan to find out what makes Muslim people laugh.
Read the article here.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Now poor Bill Clinton who was proclaimed our "first Black president," well, that's a little harder role to play.
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is writing a children's book.
While it's humorous enough to think that he joins the ranks of such literary notables as Madonna and the recently executed founder of the Crips gang, Stan "Tookie" Williams, what makes this funny is that it is written from the view point of his dog, the same way Barbara Bush wrote her children's book from the viewpoint of her dog, Millie.
But the real humor is that the Senator's dog is named "Splash." And the dog is a Portugese Water Dog, a breed that was bred, among other things, to rescue drowning people.
Yet to be confirmed reports are that when Senator Kennedy was asked whether his book tour would cause a conflict with his schedule on the confirmation hearings for Judge Alito, he remarked, "I'm not sure if that will cause any problems. Well, we'll just have to drive off that bridge when we come to it . . ."
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Now, I confess, I am one of those persons who love watching things that get me riled up. Just as I did recently with some of the officiating at the Rose Bowl game ("incomplete" my eye!), I enjoy screaming at the television set at those whom I consider Blithering Idiots (who occasionally rise to the level of Complete Moron) when they say or do certain things.
I don't think the Senate questioning on Alito would let me down. Already, I have been treated to absolute gems of statements that make me want to throw a dirty sock at the speaker (my son's Nerf gun is also a favorite tool):
"Every nominee has used the same empty platitude, they will follow the rule of law as a judge." Chuck Schumer, D-NY
Every nominee says it because it is the requirement of a judge. The next time you say you'll be the voice of your constituents, remind me to write it off as a platitude.
"I'm gravely concerned by Judge Alito's clear record of support for vast,
presidential authority, unchecked by the other two branches of government in decision after decision." Ted Kennedy, D-MA
I think everyone should take their brother with less than a decade of legal experience and make him US Attorney General. Okay, to be fair, Bush made a huge gaffe putting a horse judge in charge of FEMA.
"As a government lawyer, you write that you personally believe very strongly the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion. Justice O'Connor was the critical fifth vote to protect our right of privacy. We want to know whether you will be that vote as well." Richard Durbin, D-IL
Aren't they gonna offer him the Ginsburg Defense? You know, it would be unseemly for a judge to say how he (or she, in the case of Ruth Ginsburg) wouild vote on a case before the evidence is even presented before them?
"In an era where the White House is abusing power, is excusing and authorizing torture and is spying on American citizens, I find Judge Alito's support for an all-powerful executive branch to be genuinely troubling." Ted "There You Go Again" Kennedy, D-MA
The word "era" implies a long period of time, so I guess he's counting the years of the Clinton Administration in there as well. Right, Ted? That's what I love about Ted Kennedy - he's never met hyperbole that he didn't like. Hey, Ted, didya send a Christmas card to the Kopechnes this year?
I am waiting for my august senators from California - Mesdames Boxer and Feinstein - to weigh in. They are always know for their restraint. I know they won't disappoint.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
He makes his living as a film critic in which his job is to offer his critique of all elements of a movie, including character development. But now his take on the character of "Jack" in "Brokeback Mountain" has got him labeled a homphobe and the folks at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) not so, well, gay (as used in its traditional sense in the world before, say, 1982).
Here is the critique offered by Mr. Shalit:
The sheep do nothing special as they bleet around the bush, but Jack and Ennis do do something special. They have sex. Jack, who strikes me as a sexual predator, tracks Ennis down and coaxes himHere is GLAAD's reaction:
into sporadic trysts. But sporadic isn’t frequent enough for Jack. He wants Ennis full time. He whines, he pleads, he shouts that when they’re apart, he’s desolated. Jack can’t absorb Ennis’ implied response: better desolate than never.
In the piece, Shalit refers to Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Jack, as a "sexual predator" who "tracks Ennis down and coaxes him
into sporadic trysts." Shalit's bizarre characterization of Jack
as a "predator" and Ennis (Heath Ledger) as a victim reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about the central relationship in the film and about gay relationships in general. It seems highly doubtful that Shalit would similarly claim that Titanic's Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a "sexual predator" because he was pursuing a romantic relationship with Rose (Kate Winslet).
Well, a critical difference with Rose and Jack is that Rose wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with Jack, right down to the water line.
And is GLAAD saying that "gay relationships" mandate pursuit even when the target person says "no" - is that the "understanding" that Gene Shalit lacks?
Shalit has every right as a film critic to criticize Brokeback Mountain. But his baseless branding of Jack as a "sexual predator" merely because he is romantically interested in someone of the same sex is defamatory, ignorant and irresponsible. And it is equally irresponsible for NBC News to have given Shalit a platform for his gratuitously offensive comments.
That's why I wanted to find a transcript of Shalit's comments. I don't read Shalit as saying Jack is a sexual predator simply because the person he desires is of the same sex. He is saying that Jack "strikes him as a sexual predator" (you know, as in "seems to be", "appears as" - which is different than "is", but then, I guess that depends on what your definition of is is) because he pursues Ennis to coax him to leave his wife and children and join him in an exclusive relationship, even after Ennis signals that he doesn't want to do so. I can tell you, behavior like that will get you a restraining order (I know, I've gotten them for clients because of such conduct).
I think what GLAAD's real complaint is, is that they do not want any critic to see a gay character as anything but romantic and heroic, since anything but to them is a wholesale condemnation of homosexual people. This is not that - it is one film critic's opinion about a character in a movie. The villains of a story can be straight, gay, ugly, good-looking, white, black, Catholic, Jewish, whatever . . . just as can be the heroes. Just as in reality.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
"I am a good person. I made some horrible mistakes . . . I will beg and pray for the forgiveness of the families and all of those that I hurt," she said at her sentencing.
But, as a lawyer, what I found incredible was the defense offered by her attorney, Al Stokke. Now, I have met Al before and I know he enjoys a good reputation locally. But I think his Manalo Blahniks were firmly rooted in his mouth when I read this:
Defense attorney Al Stokke asked Tuesday for a three-year sentence, claiming there is a difference between a woman having sexual contact with male children and a man committing the same kind of crime against female children.
"There is a distinction," he said. "It's not right. It's still a crime. But it should make for a distinction."
Uh-huh, nice one - good luck trying to convince a judge to make a ruling based on gender differences. District Court of Appeal a-slapped that down in a second. "C'mon, Judge (and the judge in this case is a male, the very respected and Honorable Richard Toohey), you were once a boy. We all had that dream about the cute, young teacher keeping us after class for 'extracirrucular" activities. These boys had the time of their lives!"
What makes his argument even more inane is that his client was a predator, "grooming students through dinners, e-mails and phone calls." So, she exhibited all of the behavior that popular culture typically associates with the lecherous, male "perv" (and of which holds up a Catholic priest as an example, often) but should get a lighter sentence because we all know these little boys had their wet dreams come true. I don't buy it and I'm glad Judge Toohey did not either.
Said Doyle: ""It would be reckless to inject a requirement that doctors communicate unproven science to their patients during an already difficult and sometimes traumatic time."
How much less reckless is it to allow for the possibility that the fetus does indeed feel pain and not tell these women? It would be reckless to allow a patient to undergo a procedure without fulling disclosing the possibility of all consequences, including psychological ones.
Ah, but if there is any acknowledgment that the fetus might feel pain, that would make abortion appearto be cruel and barbaric - and suddenly that would make that fetus become a baby. You can't expect the pro-choice group to err on the side of caution in light of the lack of "conclusive evidence" if it undermines their position.
On The Curt Jester, I read the story about Scott Gale, as well as at the Lair of the Catholic Caveman - no, I am NOT going to call him "Reverand" or "Father" - who decided to quit being a priest. That's nor what upsets me. In fact, in my own family we've got some ex-priests, some of which properly went to their Bishop and asked to be laicized. But now, Scott felt he could not leave order of Melchizidek without first making sure his congregation knew that (a) he was gay, and (b) he could no longer remain celibate but instead just has to get out there and fulfill his "longing for a loving relationship." Worse yet, he ambushes his congregation with this tidbit o' fun.
Sorry, folks, I know I baptized your babies and buried your dead, and some of you are here because of your genuine longing to be with Christ and to live your lives in the Imitation of Him, but all of that takes second place to the fact that I need a man.
No, that's not a direct quote from ol' Scott, but what he chose to do was to make his ambo a bully pulpit and let people know he was leaving because he could no longer lead a celibate life. Hellooooooooo, TMI!!! And why? Because the Church "does not accept and value my sexual orientation."
Well, guess what, bucko - it never has. And you knew this coming into the game.
But, okay, maybe you thought you could handle the conflict and then found out you could not - just as a straight priest finds himself in a situation where he just can't her out of his mind and wants to opt for the other Sacrament of service, Holy Matrimony (I done been married 10 years - hell, yes, it IS a Sacrament of service, and of compromise). Leave with some dignity, wontcha? Don't use the occasion to condemn the Church for not accepting (which is vastly different from tolerating) your homosexual nature.
Scott Gale, I pray for your soul but that does not mean I cannot be angry with you - as we said back in the 'hood, Norwood (St. Brendan's parish) . . . ah, get bent.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Here is the story from Reuters:
Did Jesus exist? Italian court to decide
Forget the U.S. debate over intelligent design versus evolution.
An Italian court is tackling Jesus -- and whether the Roman Catholic Church may be breaking the law by teaching that he existed 2,000 years ago.
The case pits against each other two men in their 70s, who are from the same central Italian town and even went to the same seminary school in their teenage years.
The defendant, Enrico Righi, went on to become a priest writing for the parish newspaper. The plaintiff, Luigi Cascioli, became a vocal atheist who, after years of legal wrangling, is set to get his day in court later this month.
"I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression," Cascioli told Reuters.
Cascioli says Righi, and by extension the whole Church, broke two Italian laws. The first is "Abuso di Credulita Popolare" (Abuse of Popular Belief) meant to protect people against being swindled or conned. The second crime, he says, is "Sostituzione di Persona", or impersonation.
"The Church constructed Christ upon the personality of John of Gamala," Cascioli claimed, referring to the 1st century Jew who fought against the Roman army.
A court in Viterbo will hear from Righi, who has yet to be indicted, at a January 27 preliminary hearing meant to determine whether the case has enough merit to go forward.
"In my book, The Fable of Christ, I present proof Jesus did not exist as a historic figure. He must now refute this by showing proof of Christ's existence," Cascioli said.
Speaking to Reuters, Righi, 76, sounded frustrated by the case and baffled as to why Cascioli -- who, like him, came from the town of Bagnoregio -- singled him out in his crusade against the Church.
"We're both from Bagnoregio, both of us. We were in seminary together. Then he took a different path and we didn't see each other anymore," Righi said.
"Since I'm a priest, and I write in the parish newspaper, he is now suing me because I 'trick' the people."
Righi claims there is plenty of evidence to support the existence of Jesus, including historical texts.
He also claims that justice is on his side. The judge presiding over the hearing has tried, repeatedly, to dismiss the case -- prompting appeals from Cascioli.
"Cascioli says he didn't exist. And I said that he did," he said. "The judge will to decide if Christ exists or not."
Even Cascioli admits that the odds are against him, especially in Roman Catholic Italy.
"It would take a miracle to win," he joked.
Not that this is really news - after all, this wouldn't be the first time that Jesus was on trial . . .
Where can I sign on to do pro bono work for Fr. Righi?
Thursday, January 05, 2006
TV Psychic Misses Mark on Miners
Thursday, January 05, 2006
By Roger Friedman
Famous TV Psychic Makes Miner Mistake
Controversial TV psychic Sylvia Browne made a major mistake about the West Virginia miners tragedy on a Tuesday night radio show.
I always like it when psychics are asked, ‘If you know so much, how come you haven’t won the lottery or cashed in big in Vegas or in stocks?’
Maybe Browne was thinking the same thing when she was a guest on George Noory’s live syndicated radio show, "Coast to Coast" at around 3 a.m. on Wednesday. She had the bad luck to be commenting on a developing news story — the mining disaster in West Virginia —- which took a surprise turn.
That tragic twist — that the wrong announcement had been made about the miners’ fates — turned out to be even worse for Browne. Just following the transcript of what occurred, it’s clear the psychic had no idea what had happened to the miners, though she claimed to have been right on top of it.
Maybe you’ve seen the gravel-voiced Browne on "The Montel Williams Show." She appears there almost weekly, dispensing advice and connecting viewers with their loved ones on the “other side.” She commands a multimillion-dollar empire from her home base in California, deriving her fortune from in-person readings said to cost $700 and $200 for work over the phone. Her many businesses are advertised on a Web site that touts her fabulous abilities.
Unfortunately, they failed her on Tuesday night. She was in the middle of making predictions when Noory brought up the mining disaster.
Browne, who had just announced that John McCain would run against John Kerry in the next presidential campaign, was relieved to hear from Noory that all but one of the miners was alive.
Noory: "Had you been on the program today, would [you] have felt if — because they heard no sound — that this was a very gloomy moment — and that they might have all died?"
Browne: "No. I knew they were going to be found. I hate people that say something after the fact. It’s just like I knew when the pope was dead. Thank God I was on Montel’s show. I said, according to the time, it was 9-something and whatever Rome time was. And I said he was gone, and he was."
But the situation was fluid, something Browne — ahem! — obviously didn’t sense despite her claims of being able to speak to the dead, among other things. She couldn’t have imagined that within a short time, the entire story of the miners would change completely — and make her look very foolish indeed.
Noory soon announced that there were new reports that all but one of the miners was dead.
Browne — who was still in the studio taking questions from listeners — had to say something. Now she was just riffing: "I don’t think there’s anybody alive, maybe one. How crazy for them to report that they were alive when they weren’t!" Then she added: "I just don’t think they are alive." She cleared her throat, and there was a deafening pause.
Noory went to a commercial.
But that wasn’t all. Hanging over the show was a feeling of dread that Browne had shown herself to be without psychic ability, just the good sense to be quick and respond to news reports.
Returning from news and commercials for their last segment together, Noory tried to dig Browne out of her hole with a softball question. He asked: "With your accuracy rate so high ...."
Browne answered by injecting a non sequitur. Her earlier proclamation that she’d always known the miners were alive had obviously been worrying her.
She blurted: "I didn’t believe that they were alive."
Noory: "What’s that, the miners?"
Browne: "Yeah, I didn’t think — and see, I’ve been on the show with you, but I don’t think there’s any that are going to make it."
Noory: "They say there are 12 gone. I think we threw you a curveball, we were telling you after the fact."
Browne: "Yeah, no, I did believe that they were gone."
Browne has been criticized before, but she’s never actually outed herself . In March 2004, James Randi, aka The Amazing Randi, called Browne a liar on Paul Harris' popular St. Louis radio show. Randi continues to run a Million Dollar Challenge to Browne and others who speak to the dead, like John Edwards and James van Praagh, to put up or shut up — and give proof of their miraculous work. So far, no one has accepted.
But Randi has turned the challenge into a million-dollar gambit for anyone who can prove they have paranormal abilities. After listening to Tuesday night’s radio show, I suppose Sylvia Browne is intuitive enough not to put herself to that challenge.
A popular late night radio show had on the self-proclaimed psychic, Sylvia Brown, when the false news over the wires came that the miners were alive. Her alleged reaction was that she "knew" they would be found, alluding to her psychic abilities. However, she was still on the air when the corrected news came out that theye were, in fact, all found dead save for one. Supposedly, she backpedaled, clarifying that she never said they would be found alive.
What a fraud! Worse yet, what a scam as it was mentioned on the talk show this morning that someone had paid $700 for an hour "reading" with Ms. Brown.
Here is what the catechism says about this sort of thing:
2116: All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
Locally, we had been cheering for USC only because of Matt Leinart, a local boy who went to Mater Dei High School here in Santa Ana. Well, he might have come back for his senior year and could not finish it with a championship, but who wants to guess what he'll sign for next year as he turns pro? 5 million? 8 million?
Monday, January 02, 2006
Indeed, the only ones expressing utter digust at the weather seemed to be the horses, wondering why Man is called the rational animal.
One entry, though, caught my attention. Those crazy thesis-hammerin' folks, the Lutherans, paraded a giant flower-covered cross down Colorado Boulevard for their entry, "The Magic of Faith" (since the theme of the parade was "It's Magic!").
First, I wondered how many members of the ACLU in Los Angeles spewed their morning coffee at the sight of such a display being driven brazenly down a public street - one can only picture them, en masse, throwing their hands in front of their children's eyes and planning their complaints to the FCC for what they would term "obscenity."
But it also got me thinking about getting a Catholic entry in the parade. If the money can be raised to build the Taj Mahoney (aka Cathedral of Our Lady, Queen of Angels, in Los Angeles), can't we get together a few shekels for a float. I can picture it now - "The Magic of the Eucharist." Locally, KTLA usually has Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards giving the commentary (although this year they exiled Stephanie to street level to place the more youthful and chesty Michaela Pereira in the booth with Bob). One could imagine the banter between them:
"Bob, this is truly an amazing float."
"Yes, it is, Stephanie. The host is 10 feet in diameter, decorated by crushed pine seeds and white rose petals. The mechanics behind the figure of the priest raising it is highly complex - and 1200 volunteers spent hours gluing on marigold petals and crushed coconut to make up his chasuble."
"And those are liturgical colors for the season, according to my notes, whatever that means. And I am told that there are some very special guests on board this float, Bob."
"Yes, waving there at us are people such a Mother Angelica, Norma McCorvey, Bishop Fabien Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, and an appearance by celebrity Jim Cazaviel!"
"Gosh, I can't remember the movie he was in, though it's on the tip of my tongue (chuckling) . . . oh look, they even have a mascot, the little lamb that's being held by figure skater Tara Lipinski! Isn't she cute!"
"Tara or the lamb, Steph?"
"Oh, Bob, you are always such a goof ball. And following them now is the All-American Knights of Columbus Marching Band - just look at those plumes and swords!!"
Ah, I can dream, can't I?
Sunday, January 01, 2006
And steam I have to let. I am a conservative Roman Catholic, who keeps wondering what happened to the doctrine of no salvation outside the Church and just why do people continue to see any value in the United Nations? I am also an attorney, who engages in the lighthearted and whimsical practice of family law - no stress there. I'm married, got kids, pay outrageous taxes, and the damned dog wants to go out for a walk.
Why the reference to a hairshirt. For those who don't know, in the Medieval Times (the era, not the cheesy dinner theater), as a practice of coroporal mortification, a person would secretly wear a shirt made from horse hair - uncomfortable enough to keep the person reminded of it, but not so bad that the individual could not function in their everyday life. St. Thomas More wore one as a way of reminding himself that the pressures and temptations of the world are not important as compared to the Life To Come, hopefully for eternity with the Holy Trinity. I liked this saint - in some of his writings and as a lawyer, he too would complain about inefficient judges, clients who didn't pay their bills, and having to argue a case without appearing too great the fool. His hairshirt worked - when faced with the greatest temptation that would involve (a) keeping a plush job with Henry VIII of England and (b) saving his neck (literally), he instead chose to stay true to his faith, for which he was beheaded in the Tower of London.
Now, I hope this blog serves the same purpose - keep me focused on what is important and not to be caught up in the stress and madness that can come from practicing law in a crazy field like mine. Hopefully, this can be done with humor and grace. So, pray for me, I'll pray for you, and let's see where this goes.