Those hot dry winds that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.
The Red Wind, by Raymond Chandler
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock mutually filing Petitions for Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) here in California? I thought it was a marriage that would outlast eternity. I mean, they really, really seemed committed to each other and making the love endure.
The breakup of Britney and K-Fed shakened my belief in the institution of marriage. This news just shatters it completely.
Okay, maybe I'm being sarcastic.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Msgr. John Sammon, chaplain to fire and police departments for the past 30 years, dies at 90.
By ROBIN HINCH
The Orange County Register
Msgr. John F. Sammon, who worked in the Diocese of Orange as vicar to the bishops and chaplain to fire and police departments for the past 30 years, died Friday. He was 90 years old.
"John Sammon has been a catalyst for growth and change," said Bishop Tod D. Brown, bishop of Orange. "He has been a tireless advocate for interreligious outreach and has earned the admiration of area police officers and firefighters while serving as their chaplain."
Sammon, known for his wit, his support of police officers and firefighters, as well as his love of ice cream, was seen as a "hands-on motivator and encouraging spirit of people," according to Ryan Lilyengren of the diocese's media relations department.
The monsignor also had, said his grandnephew Mike Tooley, no plans to retire.
Born in Massachusetts, Sammon attended Boston College, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore before his ordination in 1942. His first California assignment was at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Compton.
Before coming to Orange County in 1960 as pastor of St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Tustin, he was chaplain to the Los Angeles and Santa Monica police and fire departments.
When the Diocese of Orange was established in 1976, Sammon was appointed the first vicar for pastoral and community affairs, which included serving as chaplain to local fire and police departments.
He'd always had a special spot in his heart for those public servants. "They are always there to support others," he said once, "but no one is there to support them."
He kept a police and fire scanner in his car and would show up at a 2 a.m. fire, without even having been asked.
"Firefighters would tell me how... they'd go out to a fire and, out of the blue, there was Msgr. Sammon," said Tooley, a member of the Orange County Fire Authority. "They felt at ease when they saw him at the fire scene."
As Sammon became the firefighters' hero, (they even gave him his own turnouts – firefighter pants, jacket and boots), they, along with police officers, earned his undying affection and respect.
"Everyone, whether they are Catholic or not, loves the man," Costa Mesa Fire Chief Jim Ellis said in a Register article last year. "He gently puts us back in line when we start slipping."
One day, Sammon saw a woman at the Santa Ana Civic Center showing her grandson a memorial statue for police officers. When the boy asked about one for firefighters, she said there wasn't one.
Thirteen years later, after Sammon's efforts, a monument for firefighters was erected at the Civic Center.
But the peripatetic monsignor didn't work only with law enforcement. He was also chaplain to the Knights of Columbus, the Rams football team and other organizations. He also chaired or sat on the boards of numerous charity organizations.
Sammon worked from an office in Orange that was a jumble of papers, more than 1,000 books, hundreds of stuffed animals, including many of Snoopy, along with dusty statuettes of the Virgin Mary. He often started his sermons with a Peanuts comic strip – and a witticism.
His humor was almost as much a trademark as his gentle spirituality. (And his great love of ice cream. He rued the day when firefighters became health-conscious and started eating far less of it.)
Although Sammon worked pretty much seven days a week, Sunday nights were spent at dinner with one of his nieces or nephews in Seal Beach. At the end of the meal, he'd sneak upstairs with grandnephew Tooley to watch "Bonanza" on TV.
On Christmas Day, he would arrive, usually late, in his beat-up old Buick filled with presents and his three large dogs, Boats, Gunner and Bridget.
Although he missed helping at fire scenes when he could no longer drive, Sammon was, last year, still saying the prayer at fire graduations, memorials and meetings.
"I do what I can," he told the Register last year. "And I do feel satisfied."
He is survived by many nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Last Saturday, while the Digispouse was with Digidaughter at an Indian Princess campout, the Digison - who is a 6-year-old kindergartner - wanted to do something special with me, "the Mom." Fortunately, Metrolink, Southern California's commuter line and far less costly alternative to Amtrak, nows runs on the weekends, so we boarded a train and headed to Los Angeles.
Arriving at Union Station, we switched to the subway (yes, there is one in L.A.) and went to the Taj Mahoney. One of the few nice features about the cathedral is the sculpture garden outside, that has statues of the animals of the Bible. And the statues are made to be climbed, which on this day there was a myriad of kids doing. For Patrick, it was heaven.
One the way out, however, he insisted we stop at "The Jesus Store" (gift shop). While browsing in the children's section, Patrick came up to me with a box, made his eyes about 10 times wider than normal, and asked, "Please, Mom, please can I have this?"
It was a talking Jesus action figure. Not an action figure like Spiderman, but a benign looking doll who, at the push of a button, recites certain Scriptural passages. This is what my kid wanted, the same kid who pronounced a closet full of chausibles in our sacristy as "beautiful." And can have very detailed conversations over the relatives strengths of the different colored Power Rangers.
So I bought it. And everyone on the train ride home got a little bit of evangelization. One woman did make the small mistake of telling my son his "Jesus doll" was great, but he quickly corrected her, telling her it was a "Jesus action figure."
Now I find out that the same toy is banned by Toys for Tots. The company making these dolls wants to donate 4,000 of them to tyhe Marine Corps Reserves' popular Christmas program . . . oh, I guess it just became a holiday program because the Marines are afraid that the toy could - *gasp!* - wind up in the hands of a non-Christian child!
"We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a JewishFun? Ya shoulda seen Patrick making Jesus "fly" and do "ninja jumps" over the backs of pews on Sunday. I guess after fighting against the image of the Corps visting hell and mayhem against peoples to achieve some sort of political correctness, the Marines must be careful not to include religion into the mix.
family or a Muslim family," Grein said Tuesday. "Kids want a gift for the
holiday season that is fun."
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
In 2002, 51-year-old Mary Stachowiscz, a Catholic and a woman who worked as a Polish-English tarnslator at a funeral home, asked a gay co-worker why he "slept with boys instead of girls." While one might expect him to complain to the management about a hostile work environment or seek a lawsuit, 19-year-old Nicholas Gutierrez instead retaliated by stabbing, strangling, raping, and beating Mary, then stuffing her body in a crawlspace under the apartment at the funeral home, where Nicholas lived with his homosexual partner.
And now the defense attorney, Crystal Marchigiani, is trying to portray Mary as the aggressor, whose "attack" on Gutierrez justifies his reaction.
Have you seen this in the news?
Worse yet are the reactions:
According to a report from the Culture and Family Institute, weblog
postings after the murder were full of anti-Christian hate statements.
"I really don't feel sorry for her. She paid a very steep price for
being an arrogant religious fascist. Too bad for her," said "Iris" in a posting
on the ACLU Online Forum.
"Maybe this will give pause to other people who similarly try to
'help' homosexuals," said "Silence Dogood" on the same forum.
Friday, November 10, 2006
I love playing with Photoshop CS2. As part of one of my latest projects, the parish manager asked me to design the invitation for my church's annual Christmas dinner dance. I constructed a layout, but it needed a picture for the photo frame in the layout.
I thought it was a pity that Santa Ana, located as it is in Southern California about 5 miles inland from the ocean, never sees a snowfall, because a shot of our lovely, old church in the falling snow would be delightful. But then I said, "Reality be d**ned, I'll make it snow!"
This is the resulting picture for our invitation - the fellow looking quite puzzled as to how it came to snow on his church is our pastor, who good naturedly posed for the shot.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snoooooooowwwwwww . . .
1. Highway Blues - Marc Seales
2. Baba O'Reilly - The Who
3. Tequila - The Champs
4. After the Thrill is Gone - The Eagles
5. Scary Monsters - David Bowie
6. Dance on My Own - Robert Plant
7. Grain of Salt - Toby Keith
8. Pumping [My Heart] - Patti Smith
9. Spaghetti Western - Brad Paisley
10. The Caterpiller [Flicker Mix] - The Cure
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Orange County Halloween Mass
I am happy to say that I have been given reassurances that such idiocy will NOT happen at my parish. I am UNHAPPY to say it does not surprise me, both because it occurs in Tod Brown's diocese and because south Orange County - where Aliso Viejo is located - is populated by people who want a "feel good" avergae lifestyle. This is not to suggest they're hedonistic. South Orange County has a number of new, hip evangelical "mega-churches" where the message is prosperity is a sign that God loves you and the "focus" is only on the "positive" aspects of Christianity, and everyone drives away in their Lexus or Benz SUVs feeling, well, just so gosh darned good about themselves, and about that Jesus fellow, who is a kindly, loving god (small "g" on purpose) who doesn't see the harm in a little fun at Halloween. Why, I'd bet he (again, small "h" on pupose) would show up in costume , too . . . maybe something with a robe . . . .
(I remember attending a service at something called "The Unity Church" which billed itself as a Christian denomination. I noticed something missing from the building - no crucifixes, and also no crosses. I asked the pastor (a woman) why this was so, and she earnestly explained that they did not want to "focus on the nagtive aspect of death," instead "keeping their eyes on the Resurrection." )
Halloween at My Parish
The kids at St. Joseph School had their annual Halloween parade, what with being allowed to change into costumes after instruction was completed for the day and march around the schoolyard. Not the church.
What did we do as a church? What was appropriate - Masses on November 1st for All Saints Day and a special Mass on November 2nd for All Souls Day.
Well, at least Arnold got in . . .
On the plus side, this means I get another good laugh at Christmas when my congresswoman, Loretta Sanchez, sends out another one of her stupid "holiday" cards. The "pussy on fire" one from 2004 remains the all-time classic.
Not enough awards were given to Brad Paisley.
Time to go get ready for court . . .
Friday, November 03, 2006
According to her, Katie Couric was interviewing a Marine Corps sniper. She asked him, "What do you feel when you fire your weapon to kill a living human being."
He answered, succinctly, "Recoil."
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Disgusting. This evening, as is my tradition, rather than decorate my house with ghosts, goblins, and gore, I erect a traditional altar for Day of the Dead. The response is overwhelmingly positive.
This year, I included a picture of the late Steve Irwin and the kids happily pointed him out, and were glad to honor him. Remarkably, the parents did too, and not a small number stopped, crossed themselves, and said a quick prayer for the Crocodile Hunter's soul.
If you were invited to a Halloween/ All Saints Day Costume Party, which saint would you dress up as and why? (The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is not an option.)
Hmmm, I would have to go as one of the martyrs so I have a chance at winning original costume - perhaps St. Sebastian with arrows sticking out of me or St. Lawrence with a bottle of BBQ sauce.
Okay, but to be serious, I would dress up as St. Joan of Arc because (a) I'm female, and (b) she was my aptroness long ago when I wore a uniform in Uncle Sam's Army.
Which saint or other person would accompany you to the party?
St. Thomas More, so we could stand around and complain about clients and court appearances. Lawyers love doing that.
What famous quote would help others identify you?
Well, if I'm going as St. Joan of Arc, I suppose it would have to be, "Is it hot in here or is it just me?"
Describe your costume.
Full armor, geared for battle.
Which movie or film best depicts the life of this saint?
Passion de Jeanne D'Arc, filmed in 1928.
What is your favorite book written about this saint or that he or she has written?
I don't know what has been written about St. Joan of Arc, but if we're talking about St. Thomas More, in addition to A Man for All Seaons, there is also The King's Good Servant But God's First by James Monti.
I tag anyone who aspires to sainthood.