Friday, November 30, 2012
I saw there was a message waiting for me after I got out of the pool, and a woman told me what had happened. She and the car behind her slowed down by Mt. Hermon Methodist Church when they saw Dante and allowed him to pass safely - but an SUV behind him came up, hit Dante, and just kept on going. This kind lady who called me stopped, and she and another woman moved Dante to the side of the road. She assured me, he was killed instantaneously. As I write this, my husband is getting ready to bury Dante in our woods.
Both Mark and I had noticed recently that Dante was slowing down, and I thought he was starting to lose his sight. We had had some scares with him over the past year, regarding fatty tissue tumors that kept appearing, so maybe something was happening inside. Recently, I had given him a bath and noted that the large tumor by his groin area - which had given me a scare this time last year - had not grown anymore, and I was relieved.
I just hope that his years with us were happy ones. We were his third owners, coming to us in 2008, a gift from a priest who had previously owned him. He was already called Dante, but the kids joked, saying his full name was Dante Ulysses Moneypenny . . . with "DUM" as his initials. But Dante was not dumb - he was a smart and loving gentleman of a dog. Within the past year, I had started allowing him to ride shotgun with me if I had a quick errand to run, because he loved to hang his head out of the window and watch the scenery pass by, and he was so well-behaved, waiting patiently for me as I ran into a store or the post office. He was my special pup; whereas the other dogs are always happy to see me when I come home after being gone, Dante would wedge himself between my legs and groan in delight, because his Mom was with him. I called him Teddy Bear Boy when he was younger, because his ears were never cropped and when walking behind him, he looked like that popular children's toy.
One time I was sitting with folks from my previous parish in Santa Ana, St. Joseph Church, where Dante lived before he became my dog. It was after the annual charity walk for Concern America and Dante had joined us on the walk. We were sitting outside Pop's, a cafe, laughing and having breakfast and came up with alternative lyrics to the hymn, "Gentle Woman," instead calling it "Gentle Schnauzer" as a joke. While cleaning up a drive on my computer just a few days ago, I came across those lyrics when I wrote them down years ago. It is hard to type with the tears, so I will just copy and paste them here.
For you, Dante, my sweet, sweet puppy. We are going to miss you terribly.
Gentle Schnauzer, quiet dog, morning walker,
Pulls hard and strong
Gentle Schanuzer, peaceful pup
Eats some grass, and then throws up.
You were abandoned by Father
But taken in by me
‘Cause he never would take you outside
Except for the Walk Out of Poverty
Gentle Schanuzer, farts of death, not a shedder
Gets cow hoof breath
Gentle Schnauzer, mounts all mutts
At the dog park, then sniffs their butts.
Spoiled are you at my house
Pigs ears come by the dozen
Except you have to put up with Josie
Your fellow canine corgi cousin
Gentle Schnauzer, quiet dog, morning walker,
Pulls hard and strong
Gentle Schanuzer, peaceful pup
Eats some grass, and then throws up.
Updated: it occurs to me, today is the 4th anniversary of my mother's death. Ma always told us, that when it was your time, you never faced Death alone - somebody would come to escort you to the afterlife. The woman who called me, she said that the other lady who helped her "was just there." I wonder if it was Ma. She and Dad were always dog lovers. I would like to think they are taking care of Dante for me now.
"[T]he art world is full of people who are shoving yams up their bums and doing horrid things to the Virgin Mary"
Old-school ’70s punk shock tactics are so widespread in today’s art world that they have lost any resonance. As a result, twee paintings like Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Constable’s Hay Wain now appear mesmerizing, mysterious, and wildly transgressive. And, as Camille Paglia brilliantly argues in her must-read new book, Glittering Images, this torrent of penises, elephant dung, and smut has not served the broader interests of art. By providing fuel for the Rush Limbaugh-ish prejudice that the art world is full of people who are shoving yams up their bums and doing horrid things to the Virgin Mary, art has, quoting Camille again, “allowed itself to be defined in the public eye as an arrogant, insular fraternity with frivolous tastes and debased standards.” As a result, the funding of school and civic arts programs has screeched to a halt and “American schoolchildren are paying the price for the art world’s delusional sense of entitlement.”
Indeed. I was particularly amused by one link in the article that brought me to an installation that - alas - is ending today and I simply haven't the time to rush to MOMA in New York to view it in all its glory. Called "Meta-Monumental Garage Sale" it is . . . a garage sale.
For her first solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York–based artist Martha Rosler presents her work Meta-Monumental Garage Sale, a large-scale version of the classic American garage sale, in which Museum visitors can browse and buy second-hand goods organized, displayed, and sold by the artist. The installation fills MoMA’s Marron Atrium with strange and everyday objects donated by the artist, MoMA staff, and the general public, creating a lively space for exchange between Rosler and her customers as they haggle over prices. If customers agree, they may be photographed with their purchases. The project also includes a newspaper and an active website.
Martha Rosler is widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of her generation, one whose artistic practice, teaching, and writing continue to influence succeeding generations. Rosler makes “art about the commonplace, art that illuminates social life,” examining the everyday by means of photography, performance, video, and installation.
Now looky here - those who know me also know that for years I was La Reina de la Segunda - the Queen of the Rummage Sale - at St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, CA, during its annual fiesta. I, too, created a space in the parish hall where "visitors can browse and buy second-hand goods organized, displayed, and sold." In fact, my art had a greater reach than Martha here, because in MY installation, I created "a lively space for exchange between [me] and [my] customers as [we] haggle over prices" - in both English y tambien en espanol! THAT's multiculturalism, baby!
|Holy crap, it even resembles the parish hall!|
Rosler invited the public to donate items to the Meta-Monumental Garage Sale—clothes, books, records, toys, bric-a-brac, costume jewelry, art works, odd items, mementos, and whatever items, large or small, that strike one’s fancy.
I must suggest to Fr. Ed, St. Joseph's administrator, that he is taking the wrong approach. Tickets to MOMA are $25 for adults. He needs to advertise among the intelligentsia of Southern California that for, oh, say, $10, they can view "multicultural ephemera" in a "sacred space" while contemplating "art naif" - the kids' projects from St. Joseph School - and experiencing a "nascent olfaction" (because the cleanser the maintenance guy uses for the bathrooms in the parish hall is pretty darn strong) that allows them to explore una segunda as a metaphor for a "transitory, moveable populace."
What a steal!
Thursday, November 29, 2012
A lawsuit seeking the removal of a Jesus statue near a Montana ski resort will go on after a national group of atheists and agnostics produced a local member who says he is offended by the religious symbol whenever he swooshes down the slopes.
So the foundation found William Cox, an atheist who lives 15 miles from the northwestern Montana resort. Cox submitted a statement that says he frequently goes to Whitefish and has skied many times past the statue, which he considers religious and offensive.
However, let me add my $.02 as one of them attorney types – I am all for the First Amendment and like it or not, we do not have a constitutional right to not be offended. If that were so, Lady Gaga would be a walking violation. I only wish Glenn Beck had not done this in response to Michael D’Antuono’s “Truth,” not because it stoops to that artist’s level, but because it serves to bring attention to really bad, clichéd, and hackneyed art. Really, casting Obama on a Crucifix? Ooooh . . . fierce And boring as all hell – Dan Lacy, the Painter of Pancakes (not to be confused with Thomas Kinckade, Painter of Commercial Crap, in turn not to be confused with Wiley, Artist Obsessed with Whale Tails and Painter of Equally Commercial Crap) had a more original idea painting an erotically nude Obama atop a unicorn.
The person for whom I really feel sorry is the very fine Jewish writer, Chaim Potok (of blessed memory). Think back to high school, boys and girls, and see if you can remember reading his 1972 book, “My Name is Asher Lev.” The protagonist of the book is a young Hasidic boy who is a prodigy with his talent of painting. The book’s climax occurs when he wants to portray his mother’s suffering, worrying as she did about her only child and her husband’s travels for the Rebbe – sometimes behind the Iron Curtain (the book is set in the 1950’s) – and her grief when her younger brother was killed, also on a mission for the Rebbe. There is no symbolism in his Judaism to portray adequately her sacrifice to her family . . . and so, he paints her in a crucified position, and titles the work, “Brooklyn Crucifix.” It creates a scandal in his Hasidic community and the book ends with the Rebbe sending him abroad (and read, too, its sequel, “The Gift of Asher Lev”). In 1972, that was a skillful plot twist . . . and now it has become a trite cliché, presented out of any meaningful context. What’s next, Che Guevara Crucified? *Yawn!*
Poor Mr. Cox. Frankly, if I had some Rossignols strapped to my feet and could be schlussing down a mountain in Montana, I would be having myself a durn fine time than to be worried about a statue of a bearded gentleman in a robe (and, I note, a safety helmet, which I could find offensive but I think He would just laugh off, you know, being omnipotent and all).
This man is evidently so offended, that he finds the time to ski "many times past the statue."
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Have fun, people!
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
And just for the heck of it, some still photography from the locale:
Okay, since everything is racist today - heck, I might even say that a Black woman dying her hair blonde is racist - and since I had never heard Micki Minaj sing, I said, "Okay, let's be fair and not judge her on her illiterate sounding tweets, but let's listen to what she passes off as talent to the public.
And so . . .
I got about 20 seconds into it before I had to turn it off.
Pediatricians treating teenaged girls should consider writing just-in-case prescriptions for the morning-after pill, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said on Monday.
It’s the second recommendation in a week from a major doctor’s group that would make contraception more widely available to women. Last week, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended making all birth control pills available over the counter.
The Food and Drug Administration says emergency contraception – the so-called morning after pill – should be available to any woman who needs it without a prescription. But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA a year ago. Now, federal policy says girls under 17 need a prescription to get it.
AAP says many teenaged girls need emergency contraception, and their pediatricians should help make it easy for them to get it. “Studies have shown that adolescents are more likely to use emergency contraception if it has been prescribed in advance of need,” the group said in a policy statement.
“Despite significant declines over the past two decades, the United States continues to have teen birth rates that are significantly higher than other industrialized nations,” it added.
But, but . . .
The rate of teenagers becoming mothers is declining rapidly, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The average teen birth rate decreased 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching an all time low of 34.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19.
That's a 44 percent drop from 1991 to 2010. There were less teenage mothers in 2010 than any year since 1946.
So under the old scheme of things, we have a teen birth rate that is "declining rapidly" but it is advisable for teen girls to have easy, OTC access to birth control for a "just in case" scenario. "Just in case" a teenager will have sex, and the belief that allowing them to walk around with the morning-after pill will not encourage them.
In Huxley's Brave New World, those women who were bred to reproduce often wear a fashion accessory called a Malthusian belt, which resembles a cartridge belt and is designed to hold the "regulation supply of contraceptives." I am sure some one on Etsy will design some sparkly, blinged out case for Brittney's morning-after pills. Oh, wait, here we go . . .
Monday, November 26, 2012
The number of U.S. children hurt while using inflatable bouncers, such as bounce houses and moonwalks, is 15 times higher than in 1995, according to a new study.
Researchers, who published their findings in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, said there are about five bounce house-related injuries per 100,000 U.S. children every year.
That's far less than the estimated 31 trampoline-related injuries per 100,000 U.S. children reported in 2009, but the study's lead author says the new findings should make people take notice.
"Groups should take a look at these data, help us get the word out and make sure parents are making informed decisions," said Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Get the word out? Make informed decisions? I, like most parents, do not possess a degree in Physics. Nevertheless, I can look at an item like a bounce house and know that (a) kids bounce in it, and (b) some kid may bounce out, and (c) bare feet are probably better than socked feet because the friction will keep a foot from slipping and thus an ankle from twisting, and (d) too many kids in it at one time is a bad idea, jut like too many kids in a pool or too many kids on a set of monkey bars.
Oh, wait, we don't have monkey bars anymore. Okay, too many kids on a rock climbing wall. But you get the idea - a little common sense will go a long way. I read the good doctor's statements to mean that OMG, THESE THINGS ARE INHERENTLY DANGEROUS AND PARENTS OUGHT TO KNOW, THEY NEED TO KNOW!
Seriously, will there be a parent crying in an emergency room, "If only I had known!" as wee Octavius gets his ankle wrapped?
Uh . . . yeah, probably.
So, thinking as a lawyer, if we get the word out, then parents know and those renting out these bounce houses will be on notice. Which means if a parent thinks Jose or Al of Fun Tyme Jumpers did not give adequate warning when his $10-an-hour assistant showed up at 9:00 am to drop off the My Little Pony bounce house for Calpurnia's 4th birthday party . . . they will sue.
|DEATH LURKS INSIDE!|
And so Fun Tyme Jumpers will increase its prices. Along with making you stand there for an hour, filling out multiple waivers.
And this is why we can't have nice things. Because while Calpurnia and her little friends are bouncing around, Muffy and Biff are too busy socializing with Chip and Taylor to notice ten kids are piled on one at the far end of the bounce house. Or too busy trying to capture the moment on film. For their kid, not the one on the bottom of the pile. Because you know you should not interfere with another's parenting.
Which is why . . .
Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised against the use of trampolines at homes and playgrounds. (see Reuters Health article of Sep. 24, 2012. http://reut.rs/OPn4z5).
You watch - skateboards are next.
And I beheld: and lo a Lamb stood upon mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousand, having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the noise of many waters and as the voice of great thunder. And the voice which I heard was as the voice of harpers, harping on their harps. And they sung as it were a new canticle, before the throne and before the four living creatures and the ancients: and no man could say the canticle, but those hundred forty-four thousand who were purchased from the earth. These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth there was found no lie: for they are without spot before the throne of God.
-- Revelation 14:1-5
According to the Jehovah's Witnesses faith, that passage and Revelation 7:1-8 are interpreted to mean that exactly 144,000 souls will make it into Heaven. I was reminded of this as I read today's reading, thinking, well, poor John on Patmos is seeing this outside of the group, which means he is not part of the 144,000, which mans he's screwed, man.
What's in a number?
Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
-- Matthew 18: 21-22
In the culture of the Hebrews, numbers had meaning. Each Hebrew letter had a numerical value and no for certain words, the addition of the numbers assigned to their letters resulted in numbers that were held with significance, a practice called gematria. As an example, the word for "life" - transliterated as "chai" - adds up to 18 and so many Jews will give gifts or make donations in multiples of 18, the idea being it is multiples of life (so now if you have ever watched Chabad's annual telethon, you know why you see so many donations of $36 or $180).
Sunday, November 25, 2012
A storefront at night, along River Street in Savannah, Georgia.
Taken November 20, 2012.
I plan on returning to Savannah in January. My daughter is very much taken with SCAD and would like to go there to study video game design and programming. While I was in Savannah last week, we went on a tour of SCAD and I have to say, it's quite impressive, offering their students state-of-the-art technology.
Plus - what the heck, send you kid to a college located in a place where you want to visit.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
A shot I took on November 20, 2012 out at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, as a boat heads into the harbor at sunset.
I grew up in New York hearing that old ditty: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight/Red sky at morning, sailor take warning." A red sky at morning meant a storm was heading in.
My teenage daughter likes to refer to Japan as the "Land of WTF?", but while there can be made here a joke of those in the Adult Baby/Diaper Lover lifestyle, that is not the case. That the adult diapers are sold more than baby diapers is an indication of a population that is rapidly becoming lop-sided, with the number of senior citizens growing while the birth rate sharply declines.
And that is bad news for a culture. According to academics, there are only 16.6 million children in Japan with one disappearing every 100 seconds. A low birth rate means there will be no one to change the nappies of the grandparents . . . much less buy them.
What is to blame? There is not one factor that sticks out - so no quick and easy cures - but it seems that my daughter's description might hold a key. "Virtual," on-line friendships are more important than traditional marriage. The cost of living is great but what must be figured into that is also what drives the cost of living and in a society of rampant consumerism, with more emphasis placed on the technical Apple than the human egg, the "status quo" may be quite hard to maintain.
Surprisingly, there appears to be a lack of interest in sex among Japanese youth. Oh, there is no lack of porn, but when you live with 24/7 access to "anything goes" in a virtual world - and if you don't know what I am talking about, Google "hentai" - the "real thing" pales in comparison to what the images and mind can conjure . . . so why bother?
Here in America, just a month ago the Census Bureau reported that the U.S. birth rate was down for the fourth year in a row. I don't think anyone has checked the sale figures on Depends vs. Pampers, but I suspect the same factors are at play along with what Blessed Pope John Paul II called the "culture of death." Our replacement rate is still at about 2, meaning every one adult is replaced by two children - and, I regret, I have not done my part with only two kids to show for my efforts - but as more and more social services become "rights," it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to pay for the population.
Maybe Obamacare death panels will relieve us of "burdens." Perhaps someone like Jay Leno or David Letterman can make a joke about the opening factoid - but it points to a serious problem.
I went to downtown Knoxville last night to check out the annual Celebration of Lights, the city's annual start of the Christmas season. It is a cool event, co-sponsored with several local businesses, the main one being Regal Entertainment - kudos to them all for bringing this to the people.
There is ice skating in Market Square, the tree lighting (complete with pyrotechnics) in Krutch Par, and people wandering through there and on our main thoroughfare, Gay Street (only rude out-of-towners snicker at its name, child). Music on two stages! Free marshmallows and hot cocoa! Train rides! The Salvation Army band playing while you all know, Baby Jesus smiles mightily when you hear those bells and drop some money into their red pot.
And the lights are still on! Come on down, y'all, and celebrate the season in an old-fashioned, down-home way!
The woman, a 31-year-old dentist named Savita Halappanavar, died at University Hospital Galway on Oct. 28. An autopsy carried out by the hospital two dayslater found that she had died from blood-poisoning and an infection known as E.coli ESBL, according to a report in the Irish Times.
This evidently is nothing new, as a story from 2007 shows:
An ESBL-producing E.coli strain, which is said to be harder to treat than MRSA, now infects about 30,000 people annually in England and Wales, according to a TV Tonight Programme. It is thought imported chicken is closely linked to the presence of this resistant strain.
This E.coli strain produces Extended-Spectrum Beta Lactamase (ESBL), an enzyme which makes it such that infections become resistant to several antibiotic drugs. Patients develop urinary tract infections, which can develop into dangerous septicemia (blood poisoning).
This is still a tragedy, but the fact is an abortion would have done nothing to save Savita's life. This is not to say that the hospital may still be liable for neglect - perhaps the husband should seek legal recourse against the staff for failing to take action to save - possibly - his unborn child.
Will this still the anger against the Catholic Church? Of course not - never let the facts get in the way of righteous indignation. Those bastards still killed her, you know. Evil, evil churchmen. And don't expect this news about the autopsy report to be widely reported - it does not fit the agenda.
Now, there are thousands of dSLR owners out there who never take their camera off of "green" (meaning fully automatic). And yes, they are probably just using a $1000 camera to take snap shots.
Are they happy with their pictures and the people with whom they share them? If so, alrighty then. Let them have their fun. I consider myself semi-professional but I do my photography for the love of it. So I try to shoot better and I buy gear that is costly, but . . . I know what to do with it. And sometimes when I see people like this, I may help out if it is something quick, such as when they pose Aunt Mimi in front of a bright beach scene and I suggest a wee bit of fill flash will help.
In the meantime, when we first saw this commercial, the DigiHusband remarked, "Huh, that looks like someone I know . . ." and gave me that "over-the-top-of-eyeglasses" glance.
Remember, the best camera to capture the shot is the one you have on hand, even if that means a cellphone. And shoot to make yourself happy. I once had a professional photographer, a deacon at my parish, thank me for taking pictures of events as it took the pressure off him to do so. When I emailed him back to express my gratitude, I asked him if he could just give me a few words about my pictures, even if he wanted to tell me they needed improvement. He answered by sending me just a link to an article as to why it is a bad idea to try to enter the professional photography market at this time. All I could think was, "What an unhappy photographer he must be." In the meantime, here in Knoxville I have met a number of photographers - pros, semi-pros, amateurs, etc. - who have been helpful, instructive, and . . . joyous in how they shoot.
That's the key in a lot of things, y'all.
Friday, November 23, 2012
It is always disheartening when the season of giving becomes the season of seizing.
In many dystopian novels, the people are kept in check by a combination of two things. First, there is the threat of punishment, usually severe, for rebelling against the norm established by the State. This was seen in Soviet Russia, where paranoid reigned as any misstep was feared to send a person to the gulag.
But had the USSR included the second factor, perhaps it would still have survived today. And that is feeding the people their basest appetites. In Huxley's Brave New World, the citizenry can ingest soma that keeps them in a happy state; in Bradbury's Farenheit 451, the walls of apartments become giant television screens and people are kept entertained by soap operas and kept away from books.
When I look at the scene above, I am not convinced it is a love of material goods and the alleged pleasure they bring that are causing these people to act as they are doing. Rather, it is the game that retailers construct, the competition, of waiting in long lines against the elements and then fighting the person next to you for . . .
For what? An Iphone? A flat screen TV? Look below - these are thousands lined up for lingerie.
Black Friday is the Hunger Games of retail shopping. A person who would take on a gladiator's stance for a pair of undies is someone who is not going to stop and think about what their government may be doing, who is not going to stop and question whether the State is acting in their best interest. Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the masses. How very wrong he was - in fact, the present State fears religion and seeks to contain it, if not eradicate outright. Consumerism is the opiate of the masses. And even then, it is the consumerism of the impulse buy.
I read an article that reported may low income people do not know what benefits are available to them under Obamacare. The article missed a point - they don't care. It is not on their radar, not until one needs medical care, and even then it is demanded with no thought as to how it will be paid for or who will do that - because it is a "right." I am confident that when the iPhones or bras ran out at the stores above, there were many angry shoppers cursing the retailer for not stocking enough - "enough" being an adequate quantity for them to find their size and color, but beyond that, who cares - because they believe they have a right" to be able to purchase their goods and the evil corporations kept them in line all night.
Until the next sale.
For another great perspective, go see my buddy, Dave Oatney, at his blog.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I have been told that Savannah is the country's most haunted city, even more so than New Orleans. Allegedly, step anywhere and you tread upon someone's burial plot, whether it is occupied by the Indians living there before the White man came, or early settlers, or Union soldiers.
Francis Sorrel, a man of wealth, built this house. And in it he followed his Haitian mother's practice of voodoo. His second wife "slipped" - head first - from the second story, and his mistress was found hanged. Later, the Weed family bought it. During one of the many yellow fever epidemics to hit Savannah, the family hid their sick members in the basement to avoid having them dragged off to the wards to die and be cremated in a communal fire.
My daughter felt someone pushing her in the dining room. I observed an orb in the basement. And a bad feeling permeates the home.
Who is up for a visit? I went back to take this night shot below.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
If you love seeing military pomp (I do) and you love beautiful Catholic Liturgy (I do), then you will like this . .
A Solemn High Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite was celebrated at Saint Benedict Church in Chesapeake, Virginia, on November 12 for all of our veterans on the occasion of Veterans' Day.
The Reverend Kevin M. Cusick, LCDR, CHC, USN (R) served as celebrant, the Reverend Neal Nichols, FSSP, as deacon and seminarian Philip Gerard Johnson, LTJG, USN (Ret.) as subdeacon.
Uniformed military service members and families were in attendance. Cadets from Benedictine Military Preparatory Academy in Richmond provided the flag honor guard at the commencement of the Mass and a sword arch for entrance and recessional prcoessions as well as at the consecration of the Mass.
See more pictures here.
St. Anne in Santa Ana is literally down the block from my former parish, St. Joseph, which has been well-documented on this blog until I left in June 2011. I have to admit, I am surprised that Bishop Brown has not asked the pastor to remove this sign.
But . . . whatever works.
St. Joseph also needs a new air-conditioning system. Unfortunately, the way the building was constructed in 1947, to install a functional and effective one would require big bucks. The roof needs more attention, anyway. As the former pastor would tell me, if you feel an earthquake during Mass, grab the kids and run.
This one was on Reddit.com: "Mom was worried about my trip to the Grand Canyon, I sent her this picture."
Thursday, November 15, 2012
-- Original Post --
The death of Savita Halappanavar is tragic. I pray for her soul and consolation for her family.
I also know that the finger of blame will be pointed at the Catholic Church in Ireland. Here is what is being reported, so far:
Savita Halappanavar's husband, Praveen, said doctors determined that she was miscarrying within hours of her hospitalization for severe pain on Sunday, Oct. 21. He said that over the next three days doctors refused their requests for a termination of her fetus to combat her own surging pain and fading health.
"Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby," he told The Irish Times in a telephone interview from Belgaum, southwest India. "When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning, Savita asked: `If they could not save the baby, could they induce to end the pregnancy?' The consultant said: `As long as there is a fetal heartbeat, we can't do anything.'"
"Again on Tuesday morning ... the consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita said: "I am neither Irish nor Catholic," but they said there was nothing they could do," Praveen Halappanavar was quoted as saying.
He said his wife vomited repeatedly and collapsed in a restroom that night, but doctors wouldn't terminate the fetus because its heart was still beating.
The fetus died the following day and its remains were surgically removed. Within hours, Praveen Halappanavar said, his wife was placed under sedation in intensive care with systemic blood poisoning and he was never able to speak with her again. By Saturday her heart, kidneys and liver had stopped working and she was pronounced dead early Sunday, Oct. 28.
Whether or not a doctor actually said, "This is a Catholic country" is irrelevant. Ireland's constitution outlaws abortion. However, its supreme court held in 1992 that abortion was permitted if the mother's life was in danger. No one seemed to legislate the inconsistency or promulgate clear guidelines as to when action could be taken. And so you have a hospital worrying less about the life of Savita and more about liability.
And let us say her doctor was a staunch Catholic - what could he or she do?
Deliver the baby and administer care to both mother and child.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2273 states:
Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.
Section 2274 states:
Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.
Of course it would be likely that the baby would have died, being delivered - whether via induced labor or c-section - at 17 weeks. But that is not abortion since the intent is not to kill the child.
Do people really think that the Catholic Church would allow a mother with an ectopic pregnancy - one where the embryo implants in the fallopian tube - to die an agonizing death? That is nonsense. The treatment may, in fact, kill the child but again, it is not an abortion as the death of the child is not the intent.
So rather than a blanket condemnation of Catholicism (I took the image above off the Facebook page of someone who already told me that it is "in his DNA" to hate Catholics), perhaps people's wrath should be directed at the doctors and ask why they did not follow common sense and pursue a course of action of simply delivering the child. I would ask a medical professional to confirm this, but it seems to me that a dilation and evacuation (dilating the cervix and using suction to basically vacuum out the womb, which is the typical procedure for abortion at 17 weeks) for someone with blood poisoning is riskier than delivery of the child via c-section.
But, for some people . . . it is easier - and preferable - to hate.
Eternal rest grant them, your servant Savita and her child, oh Lord. Let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls rest in peace through your Mercy, oh God. Amen. (+)
And may Your Grace flow upon Praveen and her friends and family, that they may be consoled. Amen. (+)
-- Update --
This article was brought to my attention:
From the available facts, we know that Mrs Halappanavar was miscarrying and that she died within days of being admitted to hospital from septicemia and E Coli ESBL.
We do not know for certain whether ending the pregnancy upon her arrival in the hospital would have saved her life, but to repeat, if medical staff needed to do that they could have done it.
Therefore the 'woman dies because she was denied abortion' storyline is simply not true. The 'woman dies because of Catholic opposition to abortion' is also not true.
We simply do not know for certain at this stage whether Mrs Halappanavar would have died no matter what was done. This is what the investigation into her death will ascertain.
I also read this comment from Reddit.com:
While I am politically pro-choice, here's the deal--an abortion wouldn't have been guaranteed to save her life. Period. I'll do my best to explain what I am pretty sure was happening.
1) Either the fetus or the placenta got its blood supply cut off to some degree. This caused necrosis of the associated tissue.
2) This necrotic tissue produced septicemia ("blood poisoning"), which is an infection that intrudes into the circulatory system, causing widespread damage.
3) Due to this, the woman's body became unable to sustain the life of the baby any long. The baby still had a heartbeat, but the mother's body was in the process of terminating the pregnancy. This isn't something that happens right away, but a process.
4) The family was told that the pregnancy was causing a septic infection in the mother. They assumed that an abortion would have cured this infection.
5) The physicians refused for a couple reasons. First, even by chemically terminating a pregnancy, it would have taken time to remove the infected fetus or placental tissue. Even then, the infection had spread throughout her body and it would be a hard fight to counteract it. Also, chemical abortions place stress on the body, potentially more stress than her system could handle at the time without killing her.
Now, I realize that Ireland has an abortion ban. However, couldn't they have gotten this woman to England, where she could have had the baby aborted, if this would have saved her?
What I believe happened is that the doctors believed the trouble of getting her to another country to perform a procedure her body was already in the process of performing was more effort than they thought necessary. They believed antibiotics could counteract the infection. No one thought the baby would survive. They simply thought this was the best way to save the mother, and they were wrong. It happens. Doctors aren't miracle workers.
TL;DR--Not a simple abortion vs pro-life case, but a complicated medical decision that had no clear up-side.
Source: from a medical family and currently studying medicine
Edit: Posted this below, but relevant. Even if they would have aborted the baby in Ireland, the source of the infection would have had to get out of her body. They would have had to make the choice between letting the fetus pass from her body naturally or to go in surgically. In her infected state, surgery was pretty much a no-fly zone. Far too risky. So, they would have let her pass the fetus naturally, even if it was chemically aborted. So, performing the abortion in-house wouldn't have sped up the removal of the cause of the infection whatsoever. An abortion would have done next to nothing, no matter where it was performed, unless they could surgically remove the fetus, placental tissue, and other associated anatomy, and even then they would have had a systemic infection to fight.
So, the issue still comes down to whether the doctors' performance was the right one medically, and even then, there are circumstances that can end in tragedy regardless, through nobody's fault. More will be known with an inquiry.
Some have suggested that the Church's position on double effect is in play here. What is meant by double effect is this:
The principle that says it is morally allowable to perform an act that has at least two effects, one good and one bad. It may be used under the following conditions: 1. the act to be done must be good in itself or at least morally indifferent; by the act to be done is meant the deed itself taken independently of its consequences; 2. the good effect must not be obtained by means of the evil effect; the evil must be only an incidental by-product and not an actual factor in the accomplishment of the good; 3. the evil effect must not be intended for itself but only permitted; all bad will must be excluded form the act; 4. there must be a proportionately grave reason for permitting the evil effect. At least the good and evil effects should be nearly equivalent. All four conditions must be fulfilled. If any one of them is not satisfied, the act is morally wrong.
I do not think that applies here. The child was already dying and if it was the cause of the septicemia, then the action could have been taken to remove the child and make the attempt to save both its life and the mother's.
This is no doubt a great sadness. However, the premise that the Catholic Church is to blame for Savita's death is a false one, fueled by ignorance, or bigotry, or both. Unfortunately, I do not believe that will sway the minds of those intent on proving the pro-life community "wrong" or using this as "proof" that the Catholic Church is evil.
Nevada District Court Judge Egan Walker has agreed that a pregnant 32-year-old mentally disabled woman will not be forced to have an abortion against her will.
Judge Walker has taken the potential abortion off the table and will hold a medical evidentiary hearing with experts to determine the best way to safely help the woman carry her pregnancy to term and have the baby. Nothing has been decided at this point about contraception for the woman, long-term.
The case of Elisa Bauer was troubling to me as a Catholic lawyer. Elisa is 32-years-old yet has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old. For this reason, her parents became her legal guardians when she turned 18. She was adopted by them as a child, handicapped from fetal alcohol syndrome. She suffers from epilepsy and, with the help of her drugs, has not had a seizure in 4 years.
At one point, they put her in a group home. Elisa wandered away and - perhaps consensually, perhaps nor - had sex with an unknown male and conceived a child. She is now about 15 weeks into her pregnancy. At present, there are about 6 couples willing to adopt the baby, even if it special needs (and chances are good it will not be, since Elisa's problems are congenital, but not genetic).
Her parents took her to her doctor so as to discuss what adjustments to her medication to carry the baby safely, both for her and the child. The doctor contacted adult protective services.
Elisa and her legal guardians want the pregnancy to continue. Judge Walker, however, initially said he could make that decision by rule of law and do so without a finding as to the fitness of the guardians or a termination of their guardianship. In essence, saying to a parent, "Yeah, sure you're doing a great job but I call the shots."
Previously, [the Bauers' lawyer, Jason] Guinasso said Judge Egan Walker did not have the legal authority to force Elisa to have the abortion or hold legal hearings on the matter. He said if the guardians, who want her to have the baby, are overruled in court, that Washoe County Social Services should have filed paperwork with the court as to why it was forcing the woman to have the abortion. Local officials have not done that.
He said previously: “There are no statutes that give this Court or Washoe County the authority to compel [the woman] to have an abortion. Such decisions are left to the sound discretion of the duly appointed guardian(s)… To date, Washoe County has utterly failed to provide clear and convincing evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Bauer’s decision to support [her] efforts to carry her child to term is unlawful or that they are not acting in a manner consistent with the best interests of [her] health and welfare.”
Let me ask you, if the Bauers had gone to their doctor and asked him the best way to terminate the pregnancy, would the State have stepped in?
I am very happy to see that the judge had a change of mind. Choice means you honor the choice for life as well as the other option. Pro-abortion activists argue that Roe v. Wade means the State cannot come between a woman and her doctor. Alrighty then - step aside and let Elisa have her baby.
Produced by Blackstone Films, "Unnatural Law?" will be a 20-30 minute documentary film. Through the use of a powerful story, beautiful imagery and moving music, "Unnatural Law?" will dispel misconceptions about homosexuality and unveil the Church's truly compassionate and forward-thinking position on the issue. It will consist of poignant interviews with leadership figures in the Church, Catholics who live with same-sex attractions and find great joy and freedom in the Church's teaching on the subject, and leading mental health experts from across the country. The final product will be released in late 2013 and distributed primarily via the internet, so that anyone can see it, whenever, wherever, for FREE.
We have until December 8th, 2012, to reach the necessary threshold of $70,000. If we don’t reach the goal by that deadline, all credit card pledges will be refunded, however, the project fails. If we do reach the goal, we will be able to proceed with the production of "Unnatural Law?". Documentaries typically cost tens of thousands of dollars per minute, so every dime we raise over $70,000 will only increase the quality of the production.
Fr. John Hollowell realized when he started teaching high school students that help was needed to get past the politicized agenda of gay activists to be able to teach about the Church and those with same-sex attraction living within Her precepts. We have heard too often from Catholic clergy and laity about how repressive the Church is with gays - it is time to know the real teaching and how, yes, you can be gay and you can be holy.
This is the new evangelization because this is what the target audience is expecting. A lecture series with PowerPoint slides won't cut it. And you can help by going here and donating even $1.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The gentleman on the right, above, sporting the biker leathers, is a friend of mine, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina and a popular Cathoblogger (his blog, Standing on My Head, is always a good read).
Monday, November 12, 2012
Lit solely by headlamps, an illuminated fog rolls with every breath the chaplain speaks. Nearly midnight with Christmas approaching, a small group of deployed service members sit on the cold rocks of the helicopter landing pad huddled in a circle to hold a Catholic Mass.
"Mass can be held anytime, anywhere," said Capt. Carl Subler, a Catholic chaplain with the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. "For Catholics, receiving Holy Communion is essential to their faith. Celebrating Mass in the field for the soldiers gives them a chance to do that, when otherwise they would go months without the sacraments."
- Are school districts educating the children prperly?
- Are the roads being maintained and trash picked up?
- Is the police and fire departments providing prompt and good service?
- Is the city budget balanced?
Taking the time out, though, to advance a political agenda for or against a jurisdiction where you have no authority I thought was stupid. Sure, I know that now and again, time is taken out to pass a resolution, usually something to honor a person or group for their contributions to the community. But the Los Angeles City Council is at it again with . . . Meatless Mondays!
The Los Angeles City Council has declared every Monday to be a so-called 'meatless Monday,' and is urging all residents to participate in the weekly day of vegetarianism.
NBC Los Angeles reports that with the vote Los Angeles has become the largest city to embrace the Meatless Monday campaign, a nonprofit with the goal of cutting down on meat consumption for health and environmental reasons.
Councilwoman Jan Perry, who introduced the motion with Councilman Ed Reyes, noted the environmental impacts of meat production, and she emphasized that a high-meat diet has been linked to health problems such as colon, prostate, kidney and breast cancers, as well as heart disease.
"Eating less meat can prevent and even reverse some of our nation's most common illnesses," Perry said.
"We've become disconnected in some ways from the simple truth that our health is directly affected by the foods we eat,'' she added.
Her motion posted 12-0 in a council session Friday.
Reyes said it is easy for individuals to feel helpless in the face of issues as big as global warming or the obesity epidemic, "but the small changes we make every day can have a tremendous impact. That's why this 'Meatless Monday' resolution is important. Together we can better our health, the animals and the environment, one plate at a time.''
The council resolution referred to the link between livestock and environmental problem, and noted that reduced consumption of animal-based foods can "lower our carbon footprint."
The resolution also pointed to statistics showing more than half of Los Angeles County residents are obese or overweight, and stated reduced meat consumption can lower health risks.
Mind you, no actual causation as to whether the obesity of Los Angeles residents is linked to meat. But I think I can agree with Perry, but for different reasons: we have "become disconnected in some ways from the simple truth that our health is directly affected by the foods we eat." But meat is not the culprit. I say it is the overall daily regime of people - diet, exercise, work, etc. - that is causing this "obesity epidemic" (Epidemic? Do they know you can't "catch" fat?) and this is too simple a solution - let's blame meat! Sure, because replacing meat with a high-fat food like cheese and overdoing that won't cause blubber around the waistline.
Now, where is this Meatless Monday coming from? It is a movement sponsored by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Bloomberg. Yes, that's right - as in Michael Bloomberg, the current mayor of New York City, scourge of trans-fats and carbonated sodas! The man who used his resources as mayor NOT to maintain and improve the city's infrastructure - as demonstrated by last winter's fiasco when blizzards hit and more recently with the problems caused by Hurricane Sandy (Day 14 and over 100,000 residents are still without power and water - heckuva job, Bloomie!), but to outlaw servings of sweetened beverages over 16 ounces in New York City.
Of course, they are wrong if they think this is a novel idea - we Catholics have been forgoing meat on Fridays for centuries. Still do, as a matter of fact, and not just during Lent. The Church did not do away with meatless Fridays outside of Lent - instead, you substitute some other form of penance (Code of Canon Law sections 1250-1252) or abstain from meat. But here is the difference between Catholic Fridays and Meatless Mondays - we mackerel snappers don't hold meat as bad. In fact, it's quite good - so good, in fact, that we do our penance and thank God for His Mercy by abstaining from it. It is called sacrifice. Meatless Mondays, however, are disguised as something "for the good of the people" but is perhaps more about promoting environmentalism as a religion unto itself. I chuckled when the Reyes said it will "better the animals" - yes, I am sure that if a cow could form a rational thought, which it can't, it would heartily approve Meatless Mondays. Do it for the cows! Do it for the chickens!
Here is a suggestion: if the Los Angeles City Council addressed the issue of crime and worked to make its streets more safe - which is well within its scope of responsibility - perhaps kids would get out and play more, and adults would stroll the streets without fear of drive-bys. Perhaps if less money was spent on the administrative costs of the Los Angeles Unified School District, more money would be available for health programs.
Meat is bad for you . . . in excess. So is pretty much everything else. The problem with obesity lies with the individual, not with the item associated with their conduct of choice.