Saturday, December 27, 2014

Neil deGrass Tyson is better than satanists

Read the latest bruhaha about Neil deGrasse Tyson? Apparently he's still a jerk. But sorry, I am not outraged. Yes, he is posting secular messages about Christmas, but what did you expect an atheist to post at Christmas?

Yes, it would be nice if he posted something nice, but let's get real - the guy has made quite a big name for himself by being an insensitive jerk. Let's look at some:
QUESTION: This year, what do the world's Jews and Muslims call December 25th? ANSWER: Thursday!
Actually Christians called it Thursday as well, and from what I've read, Muslims do not call it Thursday, but al-Khamīs (fifth day). But who really cares?
On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30 would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642
True (as far as I know - I don't care enough about it to look up Isaac Newton's birthday to confirm). And at least he had the courtesy not to add "CE" to the date.
Merry Christmas to all. A Pagan holiday (BC) becomes a Religious holiday (AD) which becomes a Shopping holiday (USA).
Well, historically inaccurate, but I can sympathize with his dismay of the commercialization of Christmas. But as I said I am not bothered in the least with his posts. I am, however, bothered by the satanist display at the Michigan Capitol. Tyson's posts, while not Christian, were not anti-Christian.

The satanist "snaketivity scene" can't be interpreted as anything but anti-Chrsitian. There is no satanic holiday that it commemorates. According to my understanding their major holidays are Walpurgisnacht and Halloween. So a big display on a non-holiday can only be construed as a mockery of the holiday it's opposing. In fact the very name "snaketivity" indicates it is a mockery of a nativity scene.

So yes, the fact that a blatant hate message must be "tolerated" by Christians who are not allowed their own expression without calls of bigotry is hypocritical and, well, intolerant.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Saving lives

Monday Joke

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to "Elves",
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions up at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!?

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.

And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."

And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows:
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.
No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football...someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere...even you.

So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth...

"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

[This document is copyright (c) Harvey Ehrlich 1992.]

Sunday, December 21, 2014


I haven't done a recipe in a long time. When I was a child we had a kid's cook book that had something called "refrigerator cookies" in it. Somewhere along the line the cook book disappeared, and I spent a long time looking for the beloved refrigerator cookie recipe. All I remembered was it contained oats and chocolate, and it was delicious.

A few years ago I discovered this recipe that tastes like I remember the refrigerator cookies of my youth. We make it for parties when we don't have a lot of time to prepare, because they can literally be made in 15 minutes or so. Here's the recipe:


3 ½Cups Oats (can be instant or regular oatmeal)
1Cup Granulated Sugar
Cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
1Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1Stick (4 ounces) Unsalted butter
6Tablespoons Coffee (the drink, not the grounds)
1Cup Shredded Coconut


Mix everything together. You can use a food processor if you want to reduce the oat a little, but it's not necessary.

Place coconut in shallow dish. Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls, then roll each in coconut.

Refrigerate in airtight container.

Makes about 3 dozen balls.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Receiving Our Lord

I recently saw a Facebook thread on whether people receive Hoy Communion in the hand or on the tongue. As you might guess (or not) it went the way of more Facebook controversial issues...

To most non-Catholics, it's a non-issue. Likewise to the 37% of Catholics who do not believe in the Real Presence. But for those of us who do believe, how we receive Our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist is important. In fact it's supremely important, since this is the way in which we actually and truly meet Jesus, literally in the flesh. Think about it. How would you dress, how would you prepare, how would you approach Jesus if you knew you were going to see Him at church on Sunday? I bet you would want to treat Him with all the reverence you could show.

That's becoming harder and harder. When I was young, there was no controversy. We all wore our "Sunday best" to mass. Every church had an altar rail. At mass, we would approach the altar reverently and kneel at the rail. The priest, accompanied by a altar boy, would approach. The priest would announce "The Body of Christ" which we affirmed with an "Amen." The altar boy would place a paten beneath our chin to guard against the host or a piece of the host falling to the floor, and the host was placed on our tongue. We were taught not to chew the host, but rather let it soften and swallow it - so that morsels of the host would not become stuck in our teeth. Everything was pretty well thought out. You may not like the ceremonial aspects of it, but you have to agree it is reverent.

Now, in post Vatican II America, things are complicated. Most churches in the US have removed the altar rail, and the USCCB have said that they prefer communicants receive standing (although kneeling must be permitted according to the Church).

However, that's not the end of it. Priests on their own initiative, citing concerns about people tripping, have refused to give communion to people kneeling (in direct contradiction to Church rules). Also, most people receive in the hand these days (I'm sure there are parishes where this is not true, but I have not found one in New Jersey). And so, priests are not in the practice of giving Communion on the tongue.

Now, I would prefer to go back to the "old" ways, and receive kneeling, on the tongue. However, I receive standing, in the hand. I feel that given the problems I mentioned, receiving kneeling is more likely to provoke scandal (by the possibility of being refused and causing a scene) and receiving on the tongue is creating more of a danger of the host dropping to the floor or being mishandled. Thus, ironically, the most reverent way available to me is standing, in the hand.

I consider this to be discriminatory, as are most of the "inclusive" changes made over the past decades. For instance, allowing people to stand instead of kneeling may be considered inclusive (now there are 2 ways and you can choose) but in practice removing the kneelers means people who want to kneel can't easily, and ultimately means that they will be forbidden to kneel, as the practice has been discouraged to such an extent. It means only the ones who want to stand are accommodated.

Again, this may seem like a small issue to most, but when it comes to the way we approach God it becomes a matter of importance. I've been told it doesn't matter because "God knows what's in your heart" but it does matter. I would like to be able to do what my heart tells me to do. I don't know how many other people feel this way, but I wanted to share my views on the matter.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Moses Supposes his Toeses are Roses...

...but Moses supposes erroneously.  That's a line from a song in a movie I wish I had seen instead of "Exodus: Gods and Kings" today. Since everyone else seems to be reviewing it I thought I would too.

Upon the "curtain going up", we experienced 35 full minutes of trailers for other movies, some good, some horrible, all of which I wish I had seen instead of...well, you get the idea. I had skipped "Noah" after reading reviews that said it was wonky, but decided to give "Exodus" a chance after reading that it was boring because it didn't reinterpret the original story enough. Sounds like an endorsement to me!

However, I discovered that the people who said that the movie didn't reinterpret the Bible story enough probably never read the Bible. "Exodus" is a completely secular tale, and a bad one at that. One of my favorite Sci Fi movies, "Contact" has more religion in it than "Exodus." Both movies have a character who has a private encounter with the unknown which may or may not have been real, but at least "Contact" has a person in it who believes in God, and one who realizes that the world is much richer than she imagined. "Exodus" makes it clear that Moses is an atheist, and nobody in the movie experiences any change.

Spoiler alert. Well, there shouldn't really be any spoilers because we all know the ending, but here goes anyway. Note that I'm leaving out a lot, but I wanted to highlight some things that go terribly terribly wrong.

You may wonder how they pull the story off with Moses as an atheist. You see, Moses doesn't believe in the Egyptian gods (OK), but he also doesn't believe in the Hebrew God. He makes that clear when he climbs the mountain God has forbidden men to climb. Up there, he hits his head on a rock and starts talking to a "petulant" child (quotes are because that's what every other reviewer calls the depiction of the angel) who nobody else can see. Is it all in his head? Probably.

So Moses goes back to Egypt and becomes a guerrilla fighter for the oppressed, Che Guevara style. It is here that we discover that ancient Egyptian buildings were filled with high explosives, and that almost everything in the ancient world was apparently soaked in gasoline and would burst into flame at the slightest spark.

What is he fighting for? Religious freedom? No, he wants Pharaoh to pay the workers a living wage and grant them citizenship (ala President Obama). Pharaoh says this will cause economic chaos (are you listening, Mr. President?) and offers to do it, but over the course of a generation. God says He can't wait, and Moses is tossed aside as a failure.

How 'bout them plagues? Well, you see some giant CGI crocodiles stirred up some red mud, which made the water look like blood and killed the fish, and chased the frogs onto the land, where they died and bred flies, which bred disease. At least that's the scientific explanation given by Scotty - I mean the Egyptian scientist (who has a Scottish accent for some reason).

Of course Moses is mad at God because all these plagues are affecting the Hebrews too (what?). So God sends locusts and hail (or maybe it's all just natural phenomena, we're not sure) and Pharaoh says "I'm a god and I'm going to kill all the Hebrew children not yet walking." Strong words from someone who's just finished cutting down his own starving people in cold blood because they tried to steal his grain (which of course bursts into flame at the first spark).

So Moses tells the Hebrews to put lamb's blood on the door posts (nothing about eating the flesh of the lamb, of course - that would be too Catholic), and all the Egyptian children die, but none of the Hebrew children. Well, perhaps there is a God, you might think, but note that it is all children, not first born - soooo could be some natural phenomenon once again.

Pharaoh goes out to the Hebrews and gives Moses a somewhat ironic speech about how can the Hebrews worship a God that would kill innocent children (hellooooo Pharaoh - didn't you hear yourself the day before when you said the same thing?). So Pharaoh says "go" and they go.

Moses leads the people out to go to the Red Sea, which he found a way to cross at low tide on his earlier adventures, but Pharaoh has changed his mind and now wants to kill the Hebrews (Moses knows this because his riders spotted the Egyptian army's chariots just behind them). So bumbling Moses takes them by a shortcut to escape the army and gets them lost. They wind up at the Red Sea, but in the wrong place to cross.

Moses prays, but nothing happens and they all lie down on the beach to await death. But wait! The next morning the water is all rushing to one end of the Red Sea and they can cross!

Meanwhile Pharaoh has been riding his chariot at a gallop for two full days (and all night - they try to tell him to rest the horses, but he says "no"). After two full days of galloping the horses are almost in sight of the 400,000 men women and children on foot (with all their animals). But as luck would have it, the path that the 400,000 men women and children plus animals crossed is too fragile for chariots, and collapses, destroying 90% of Pharaoh's forces. The other 10% push on!

Apparently the Red Sea is only a few hundred feet wide, by the way, because Moses turns with a small group to fight the Egyptians, just as the water comes rolling back in. He sends his troops back to the far side as Pharaoh's troops abandon him for the near side. The Hebrews all make it, while the Egyptians all drown (probably because the horses were tired from 2 days of full gallop). Moses and Pharaoh are caught together in the middle, and both are swept to their respective sides alive.

The movie ends with Moses back on the mountain, watching the Hebrews worshipping a golden calf while talking to his imaginary friend, while chipping the Ten Commandments into stone tablets. After all, the written law will replace human leadership, or so sayeth God.

Obviously this is a very abridged synopsis, but I think it gives the feel of the overarching story, which sadly takes pains to avoid mentioning God, or any belief that He actually exists outside Moses' imagination.

I won't comment on the lack of acting, unfulfilled subplots, etc. that all the other reviewers have spoken of. They are correct, but I wanted to focus here on how a Biblical story can be so unbiblical. Yes, I have heard all the theories about the plagues and natural disasters. That's not what bugs me. It's that in a Biblical story, at least the people involved should themselves believe in God, even if we, the viewers, are led to a different conclusion. In removing that aspect of the story, nothing Moses does seems genuine or believable, and the story is, like all works without faith (or faith without works), dead.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Joke

A couple were Christmas shopping. The shopping centre was packed – as the wife walked through one of the malls she was surprised when she looked around to find that her husband was nowhere to be seen.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Joke

At Duke University, there were four sophomores taking Organic Chemistry. They did so well on all the quizzes, midterms and labs, etc., that each had an “A” so far for the semester. These four friends were so confident that the weekend before finals, they decided to go up to the University of Virginia and party with some friends there. They had a great time—however, after all the hardy-partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn’t make it back to Duke until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, they decided to find their professor after the final and explain to him why they missed it. They explained that they had gone to the University of Virginia for the weekend with the plan to come back in time to study, but, unfortunately, they had a flat tire on the way back, didn’t have a spare, and couldn’t get help for a long time. As a result, they missed the final.

The professor thought it over and then agreed they could make up the final the following day. The guys were elated and relieved. They studied that night and went in the next day at the time the professor had told them. He placed them in separate rooms and handed each of them a test booklet, and told them to begin.

They looked at the first problem, worth five points. It was something simple about free radical formation. “Cool,” they thought at the same time, each one in his separate room, “this is going to be easy.” Each finished the problem and then turned the page.

On the second page was written: “(For 95 points): Which tire?”

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Joke

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said: "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Death of a Hunter

Disclaimer: I am not a hunter, nor do I play one on TV.

I read today about a man in Windsor NJ who accidentally shot himself while duck hunting. The man was 45 years old, out hunting with his father, who is 75 years old. Both men were licensed experienced hunters.

While many people responded sympathetically, the anti-gun/anti-hunting people had some very unkind things to say.

What's really sad is that the the guy who wished the family would die in a car accident got 17 "likes."

What is the world coming to when we can't even have sympathy for a tragic accident? And even those who don't make fun of or wish ill upon this poor man's family are using the tragedy as a bill board to call attention to their agenda. On twitter I read:

Man shot dead in West Windsor (NJ) hunting… || #GunFAIL 29th hunter shot, 9th hunting fatality this month.

But is that true? I went to the web site of the Committee to Abolish all Sport Hunting, which maintains a national list of all hunting accidents as an argument against hunting. For this month, nation-wide, they reported three this month, in MN, ND and LA. I guess four if you include this incident in NJ.

But let's say for the sake of argument that 9 hunters died this month. Does that mean we should abolish hunting? Approximately 3,000 people will die in car accidents this month, yet I don't see the same level of public outcry against owning and driving automobiles, or even against racing them. If the argument was against accidental deaths then we should go after the things that have the highest accident rate first.

New Jersey is in the midst of a hunting crisis. Game animal populations are so high that entire ecosystems are threatened. Every winter I watch out my back window as more and more deer destroy trees trying to forage for food. Later in the winter I see them trudging at all hours of the day and night, searching for food that's all been eaten, their ribs clearly visible.

With no natural predators, they overpopulate the area until there is no food left, and they are wandering onto the road, causing accidents, sometimes fatally. Yet those deaths are ignored in the hunting debate.

My anti-hunting friends suggest that we should put out deer food laced with contraceptives, Of course, this ignores the harm done to the environment by contraceptives in the water supply, and the effect it will have on other animal populations. Others say catch the deer and surgically sterilize them, but this is expensive, time consuming, cruel, and ultimately futile as a method of controlling deer population. And it's not just deer. Squirrels, rabbits, ground hogs, and other animals are severely overpopulated, leading to stress and disease among animal populations.

What's wrong with allowing people to kill and eat those animals? Hunting not only controls the animal population, but provides a food source, not only for the hunters themselves, but often for the underprivileged in society.

That's not to trivialize this story either, merely to point out that this man did nothing wrong (except to break the rules of firearm safety). Painting him, or other hunters, as evil is itself depraved. To the man who died, and his family, my heart goes out to them.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Joke

There was a poor old Irish cobbler whose shop was next door to a very upscale French restaurant.

Every day at lunch time, Mike, the Irish gent, would go out the back of his shop and eat his soda bread and maybe a kipper or piece of Irish blue cheese while smelling the wonderful odors coming from the restaurant's kitchen.

One morning, the Irishman was surprised to receive an invoice in the mail from the adjoining restaurant for "enjoyment of food"

Mystified, he marched right over to the restaurant to point out that he had not bought a thing from them.

The manager said, "You're enjoying our food, so you should pay us for it." The Irishman refused to pay and the restaurant took him to court.

At the hearing, the judge asked the restaurant to present their side of the case. The manager said, "Every day, this man comes and sits outside our kitchen and smells our food while eating his. It is clear that we are providing added value to his poor food and we deserve to be compensated for it."

The judge turned to Mike and said, "What do you have to say to that?" The old Irishman didn't say a thing but smiled and stuck his hand in his pocket and rattled the few coins he had inside.

The judge asked him, "What is the meaning of that?"

The Irishman replied with a mile wide grin, - "I'm paying for the smell of his food with the sound of my money."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Joke

Feeling kind of old, so it's a senior joke bonanza!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Election Results

Well, the election results are in. The Pro-lifers are claiming victory because they got more pro-life seats. Pro-gun people are claiming victory because they got more pro-gun seats. Pro-marriage people are claiming victory because they got more pro-marriage seats. Pro-religious freedom people are claiming victory because they got more pro-religious freedom seats.

Each group is patting themselves on the back as being the cause for the win. But I think the reality is that what caused this win was the fact that all those groups were united. They all need each other to make a majority. And part of the "win" must be laid at the feet of the Democrats who have pushed government overreach into every area of our lives in an unprecedented way.

These groups are natural allies. They all have something in common - a respect for the founding documents of our nation. I know some pro-gun people who are pro-choice atheists, and some pro-life religious people who think nobody should have a gun (because Jesus is a pacifist, ya know). The fact is all these issues, marriage, life, self defense and religious liberty do have something in common. The obvious thing is the founding documents of our nation (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights).

But why should our founding documents mention all these things? I think they all stem from a common world view. That world view is one where everyone is considered equal. Where everyone is free to follow the dictates of the religion they hold to be true. Where every human life is considered equally valuable. Where everyone is allowed to have access to technology that keeps them from being victimized by others. Where everyone's personal property and privacy are respected.

I think one of the reasons why we have gotten into the mess we're in is that we have let others divide us into factions that will not only not support each others, but will actively undermine each others' efforts to create a just society. We see that in our president's speeches, constantly demeaning various groups. He decries racism, yet consistently takes one side in every issue of mixed race, whether race was originally a factor or not. He preaches about the "war on women" yet his own administration has hung victims of rape and sex trafficking out to dry. I could go on...

...but if there's one thing we should learn from this election, it's that we need to stop infighting and work together if we are to correct the course of our nation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Costco and Voting

Yesterday I blew up at the lady at my polling place. It started when I gave my name and she looked it up in the book. There was my signature, partially missing, poorly photocopied, and a blank line next to it. "However you write your name now, you have to write it this way."

"What?" I asked, not quite getting what she meant.

"If you changed the way you sign your name, you have to make it look like this one." She repeated.

"Huh? I haven't changed my name" I said.

"If you write your name differently, don't do it. You have to write your name the way it is written in this book" She said, somewhat exasperated. Apparently she was in a bad mood because the other person at the table "didn't move the rubber band" - or so she kept complaining.

At this point I finally got what she said and got a big grin on my face, thinking of my own stupidity. But that didn't sit well with her.

"Sir, this is not a joke! she said sternly.

That set me off. "Oh but it is a joke. I walk in here carrying three forms of government issued IDs, but the thing that's going to determine whether I can exercise my right to vote is whether I can copy a squiggle on a page, while looking at it right on the page next to me? I could vote for any person in that book and you couldn't say a word, because it would be 'racist' for anyone to verify that I actually was voting as myself. That's the joke, and it's not funny!'

I looked around. Everyone at the polling place was grinning and nodding. I wondered briefly if anyone would start a slow clap, but before that could happen I handed my voter slip to the nice man and disappeared behind the curtain of the voting machine. In another few seconds I was done and slipped out the door.

I thought about the issue later as I was leaving Costco. I had to produce my receipt to go out the door. Why? To verify that I had a legal right to the good in my cart. Every time I by a movie ticket, or a plane or train ticket, the same things happens. I have to have an insurance card to show that I am insured. I have to have a driver's license to show I can drive. A registration to show that I registered my car. I have to register for social security and for every other government service. But for voting, which is arguably the most important interaction I have with my government, they don't care who I am, or if I have voted already.

Some people say that requiring an ID to vote is racist because it would affect minority voters' right to vote. But when someone votes using another identity, or votes twice, they are effectively taking away the right to vote from a legal voter, by nullifying their vote. What about the rights of those voters who lose their vote to fraud?

By the same logic we need to get rid of social security, obamacare, student loans, the DMV, insurance companies, movie theaters, and Costco, because they are all racist for requiring some form of identification. And the thing that sickens me most of all is that the media, and the consumers of media are unable to present or comprehend the other side of the issue.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Joke

It's election week, so of course we need a political joke. I was going to put jokes about several party, but I couldn't find any anti-Republican jokes that were not, shall we say, overly mean. And anti-Tea party jokes were not only mean, most of them were sexually offensive or violent. Not a good sign for such "tolerant" times.

So I picked the least offensive joke I could find. Enjoy.

P.S. Remember to vote for people who have respect for life, from conception to natural death.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Some Things to Remember

Tuesday is election day. This is an important midterm election. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding how to vote [bold text added by me, all quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, taken from the St. Charles Borromeo Church web site]:

First of all, voting is a duty and a serious responsibility.

2442 It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens. Social action can assume various concrete forms. It should always have the common good in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. It is the role of the laity "to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice."231

Secondly you need to consider the candidates:

2237 Political authorities are obliged to respect the fundamental rights of the human person. They will dispense justice humanely by respecting the rights of everyone, especially of families and the disadvantaged.

Specifically with regards to "non-negotiables," such as respect for the dignity of human life:

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80
"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."81
2275 "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."83"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."84"Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity"85 which are unique and unrepeatable.
2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.
2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.
Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.
...and respect for human sexuality:

2335 Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."121 All human generations proceed from this union.122
2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.

A candidate who does not respect these basics of human dignity does not deserve to serve in office. Remember:
2244 Every institution is inspired, at least implicitly, by a vision of man and his destiny, from which it derives the point of reference for its judgment, its hierarchy of values, its line of conduct. Most societies have formed their institutions in the recognition of a certain preeminence of man over things. Only the divinely revealed religion has clearly recognized man's origin and destiny in God, the Creator and Redeemer. The Church invites political authorities to measure their judgments and decisions against this inspired truth about God and man:
Societies not recognizing this vision or rejecting it in the name of their independence from God are brought to seek their criteria and goal in themselves or to borrow them from some ideology. Since they do not admit that one can defend an objective criterion of good and evil, they arrogate to themselves an explicit or implicit totalitarian power over man and his destiny, as history shows.51

I, for one, will not be voting for any candidate that does not respect life, or who does not respect the laws and Constitution of this country. I call on you to do the same. Look at your representative's voting record in the area of respect for human life. You can find an abridged list of recommendations here if that helps. Or search for pro life voter guide for your state.

Assuming you can't distinguish candidates on life issues, look at how they voted on things like the first amendment (religious liberty, free speech), the second amendment (right to self defense), the fourth amendment (right to privacy) and other aspect of our constitution. Are they restricting or threatening our rights?

Being an informed voter isn't hard. With the internet it's easy to see the voting record of incumbents on various issues, and to read the platform of each candidate. Do a little research today, and vote your conscience on Tuesday.
2238 Those subject to authority should regard those in authority as representatives of God, who has made them stewards of his gifts:43 "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution. . . . Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God."44 Their loyal collaboration includes the right, and at times the duty, to voice their just criticisms of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Leaving Church

A recent article in "Our Sunday Visitor" described a Pew Research study on why Catholics leave the Church. They were given the following reasons:
No longer believe: 48%
Spiritual needs not met: 67%
Lost interest: 66%
Dissatisfaction with atmosphere: 47%
Too formal: 36%
Too ritualistic: 38%
Music not enjoyable: 36%
Too many money requests: 56%
So I thought I would examine the views of people who actually attend mass every Sunday. They reported:
No longer believe: 48%Spiritual needs not met: 67%
Lost interest: 66%Dissatisfaction with atmosphere: 47%
Too formal: 36%
Too ritualistic: 38%
Music not enjoyable: 36%
Too many money requests: 56%
Actually I expected higher numbers on the music thing...

All this makes Tresus sad...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Joke

OK, the joke police tell me I used this one 2 weeks ago, so here's a different joke from the one I originally posted today...

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee, inspected the elephants foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.

Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenage son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Joke

A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork.

As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."

The teacher paused and said, "but no one knows what God looks like."

Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Joke

A man and his wife were awakened at 3:00 am by a loud pounding on the door.

The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push.

"Not a chance," says the husband, "it is 3:00 in the morning!"

He slams the door and returns to bed.

"Who was that?" asked his wife.

"Just some drunk guy asking for a push," he answers.

"Did you help him?" she asks.

"No, I did not, it's 3 am in the morning and it's pouring rain out there!"

"Well, you have a short memory," says his wife. "Can't you remember about three years ago when we broke down, and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself! God loves drunk people too you know."

The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pounding rain.

He calls out into the dark, "Hello, are you still there?"

"Yes," comes back the answer.

"Do you still need a push?" calls out the husband.

"Yes, please!" comes the reply from the dark.

"Where are you?" asks the husband.

"Over here on the swing," replied the drunk.

[H/T Makemeaspark from plurk]

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Joke

Sitting on the highway waiting to catch speeders, a state police officer saw a car puttering along at 22 M.P.H. He thinks to himself, that car is just as dangerous as a speeder. So, he turns his lights on and pulls the car over.

Approaching the car, he notices there are 5 old ladies, two at the front and 3 at the back, wide eyed and looking like ghosts. The driver obviously confused said,"Officer, I don't understand, I wasn't doing over the speed limit!, What seems to be the problem?"

"Ma'am," the officer said, "you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be dangerous".

"Slower than the speed limit? NO SIR! I was doing exactly 22 miles an hour", the old woman said proudly.

The officer containing a chuckle explains that 22 was the route number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned, thanking the officer for pointing out her error. "Before I go Ma'am, I have to ask, is everyone OK? These women seem badly shaken and haven't uttered a word all this time"

"Oh! they will be alright in a minute, Officer, we just got off Route 142."

[H/T Andy Burnette on FB]

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Joke

Today's politically incorrect joke...

Having arrived at the Gates of Heaven, President Obama meets a man with a beard.

"Are you Mohammed?" he asks.

“No my son, I am St. Peter; Mohammed is higher up."

Peter then points to a ladder that rises into the clouds.

Delighted that Mohammed should be higher than St. Peter, Obama climbs the ladder in great strides, climbs up through the clouds and comes into a room where he meets another bearded man.

He asks again, "Are you Mohammed?"

"Why no," he answers, "I am Moses; Mohammed is higher still."

Exhausted, but with a heart full of joy He climbs the ladder yet again. He discovers a larger room where he meets an Angelic looking man with a beard.

Full of hope, he asks again, are you Mohammed?'

"No, I am Jesus, the Christ; You will find Mohammed higher up."

Mohammed higher than Jesus! Man, oh man! Obama can hardly contain his delight and climbs and climbs ever higher.

Once again, he reaches an even larger room where he meets this truly magnificent looking man with a silver white beard and once again repeats his question:

"Are you Mohammed?" he gasps as he is by now, totally out of breath from all his climbing.

"No, my son, I am Almighty God the Father, the Alpha and the Omega, but you look exhausted. Would you like a cup of coffee?"

Obama says, "Yes please!"

God claps his hands and yells out: "Yo, Mohammed, two coffees!"

[H/T Suzanne from plurk]

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Joke

Recently leaked Church documents confirm that in the last Papal elections, Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis)was originally not the Cardinals' first choice. The first choice  was, interestingly, Cardinal Hans Grapje.

Grapje went to a Catholic school in The Hague and, as a   young man, aspired to become a priest, but was drafted into the Army during WWII and spent two years co-piloting B17s until his aircraft was shot down in 1943 and he lost his left arm.  Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual aid to soldiers, both Allied and enemy.

After the war, he became a priest, serving as a missionary in  Africa, piloting his own plane (in spite of his handicap) to villages across the continent. In 1997, Father Grapje was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver mine caused a cave-in.  Archbishop Grapje went down into the mine to administer last rites to those too severely injured to move.

Another shaft collapsed, and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries, including the loss of his right eye.  The high silver content in the mine's air gave him purpura, a life-long condition characterized by purplish skin blotches.

Although Cardinal Grapje devoted his life to the service of God as a scholar, mentor, and holy man, church leaders felt that he could never ascend to the Papacy. Apparently, they bypassed him because they felt that the Faithful would never accept a one-eyed, one-armed, flying  purple Papal leader.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never Forget

I typically don't post much on 9-11. I mean it's obligatory to post something to commemorate the event, but it's not an event I like to remember. So I thought I'd write about what we really should never forget.

Let's never forget a president who, rather than spouting rhetoric and hatred, expressed his sorrow and pursued justice.

Let's never forget the men and women who risked their lives to try to rescue survivors.

Especially now that we seem hopelessly divided, let's never forget how we all came together as brothers and sisters

...and above all let's not forget God.

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against
the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell
Satan and all evil spirits
who wander through the world
seeking the ruin of souls.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Joke

An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a small frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll go on a date with you for a reward."

Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

The frog then said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll be your girlfriend for the rest of the year."


Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you and be your girlfriend. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday Joke

Little Johnny is afraid of the dark.

His mother wanted to help him get over it, so she came up with an idea to reward him for facing his fears. "Johnny," she called "If you go down in the basement and get my big mixing bowl I'll make you a big batch of chocolate chip cookies."

Johnny replied "But mom, it's dark down there and I'm afraid."

"You don't need to be afraid Johnny, Jesus will take care of you."

"Is Jesus going to be with me when I go downstairs?"

"Yes, Jesus is everywhere. Up here, in the basement, all over."

Johnny hesitantly walked over to the basement door, opened it, and peered into the darkness. He called out cautiously "Jesus, if you're down there, could you please hand me the big mixing bowl?"

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Joke

Sad how the press distorts stories....or maybe funny?

A Harley Biker is riding by the zoo in Washington, DC when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage.  Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the collar of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.

The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.

Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings the girl to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.  A reporter has watched the whole event.

The reporter addressing the Harley rider says, 'Sir, this was the most gallant and bravest thing I've seen a man do in my whole life.'

The Harley rider replies, 'Why, it was nothing, really.  The lion was behind bars.  I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right.'

The reporter says, 'Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed.  I'm a journalist, you know, and tomorrow's paper will have this story on the front page.  So, what do you do for a living, and what political affiliation do you have?'

The biker replies "I'm a U.S. Marine, and a Republican".

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on the front page:


Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Joke

With apologies in advance. You have been warned.

There are two legionnaires in the desert, and they've been separated from their unit and are lost. They've been wandering for several days without food and water, and are nearly resigned to the fact that they will soon die from dehydration, when as they reach the top of a sand dune, they see a big, bustling market laid out before them.

Naturally, they can't believe their eyes and think it's a mirage, but as they draw closer, they can hear the vendors' cries, and they eventually reach the market and realize that it's really there. So the legionnaires rush up to the first stall they can and cry to the proprietor, "Sir, we have been traveling in the desert for many days, and have had no food or water. We shall surely die soon unless you have some you can sell us - tell us, do you have any sustenance for us?"

The man shook his head and replied "I'm sorry, French legionnaire type people, but all I have to sell is a load of bowls full of jelly, topped with custard and cream, and lovingly sprinkled with hundreds and thousands."

The legionnaires look at each other, mildly surprised, and move on to the next stall, where they ask the vendor, "Mr purveyor of fine foodstuffs and the like, we have been traveling through the desert for days, deprived of the necessary beverages and foodstuffs which are required for survival. We shall surely die soon, unless you can sell us some skins of water."

The vendor looked at them embarrassed, and confessed "Gentlemen, tragic as I admit it is, I have none of the ingredients necessary to life for which you ask me...all I have to sell is this large bowl of jelly topped with custard and cream and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, with a little cocktail cherry in the middle at the top - there," he said, pointing out the glace cherry. "I cannot help you.."

The legionnaires look at each other in desperation, and run on to the next stall, where they demand of the owner, "Look mate," (cos they'd stopped talking funny all of a sudden) "we need water or we'll die. We've been traveling without water for days and need some now, "Do you have any you can sell us?"

The man looked at his shoes in shame as he confessed, "Sorry, fellas, all I have to sell you is a bowl of jelly, with custard, cream and hundreds and thousands. I can't help you. I'll have to condemn you to a long and lingering death through dehydration." The legionnaires were really worried by this point, and they went through the market, stall by stall, asking each person whether they had any water they could sell them, and thus save their lives, but each one gave the same reply, all they had to sell was a bowl of jelly with cream, custard and hundreds and thousands.

Dejected and resigned to their grim fate, the legionnaires left the desert market and walked off into the setting sun. As they did so, one turned to the other ..and said, "That was really odd - a big market in the middle of nowhere, and all they sold was bowls of jelly with custard, cream and hundreds and thousands." The other turned to face his companion and replied "Yes, it was a trifle bazaar".

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Joke

President Obama walks into a Bank of America to cash a check. As he approaches the cashier he says, “Good morning Ma’am, could you please cash this check for me?”

Cashier: “It would be my pleasure sir. Could you please show me your ID?”

Obama: “Truthfully, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn’t think there was any need to. I am President Barack Hussein Obama, the President of the United States of AMERICA!!!!”

Cashier: “Yes sir, I know who the president is, but with all the regulations and monitoring of the banks because of impostors and forgers and requirements of the Dodd /Frank legislation, etc., I must insist on seeing ID.

Obama: “Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am.”

Cashier: “I am sorry Mr. President but these are the bank rules and I must follow them.”

Obama: “I order you to cash this check!”

Cashier: “Look Mr. President, here is an example of what we can do. One day, Tiger Woods came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he pulled out his putter and made a beautiful shot across the bank floor into a cup. With that shot we knew he was Tiger Woods and cashed his check.

Another time, Andre Agassi came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racquet and lobbed such a perfect serve, the tennis ball landed in my cup without spilling my coffee. With that shot we cashed his check. So, Mr. President, what can you do to prove that it is you, and only you, as the President of the United States?”

Obama stands there thinking, and thinking, and finally says, “Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing. I don’t have a clue what to do.”

Cashier: “Will that be large or small bills, Mr. President?”

[H/T Paul Sofranko]

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Joke

Three Bills died at the same time. There was a $100 Bill, a $20 Bill and a $1 Bill.

They arrived at the Pearly Gates and St. Peter looked at them and asked what happened.

The $100 Bill explained that they'd been taken back to the government because of old age and destroyed. So St. Peter asked "How was your life?"

The $100 Bill said "Oh, it was great! I was in the finest restaurants, I flew first class to Europe. I was on several lovely cruises. I was in beautiful jewelry stores. There was one incident with cocaine, but it wasn't my fault and I got cleaned up fast."

St. Peter said "Well, come on in."

The $20 Bill said "I had a good life too. I was at the grocery store, the bowling alley, baseball games, gas stations, fast food restaurants, birthday parties, on a fishing boat, in coach class on several airplanes and made several trips to big cities."

St. Peter invited him in.

The $1 Bill said "I went to Church, I went to Church, I went to Church, I went to Church..."

[H/T Fr. John Higgins on FB]

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Building Codes

 You didn't build that!

Muslims built it!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Joke

A Baptist preacher and his wife decided to get a new dog. Ever mindful of the congregation, they knew the dog must also be a Baptist. They visited kennel after kennel and explained their needs. Finally, they found a kennel whose owner assured them he had just the dog they wanted.

The owner brought the dog to meet the pastor and his wife. "Fetch the Bible," he commanded. The dog bounded to the bookshelf, scrutinized the books, located the Bible, and brought it to the owner.

"Now find Psalm 23" he commanded The dog dropped the Bible to the floor and showing the marvelous dexterity with his paws, leafed through and found the correct passage, then pointed to it with his paw. 

The pastor and his wife were very impressed and purchased the dog. That evening, a group of church members came to visit.

The pastor and his wife began to show off the dog, having him locate several Bible verses. The visitors were very impressed. Finally, one man asked, "Can he do regular dog tricks , too?"

"I haven't tried yet," the pastor replied.. He pointed his finger at the dog. "HEEL!" the pastor commanded. The dog immediately jumped on a chair, placed one paw on the pastor's forehead and began to howl. The pastor looked at his wife in shock and said, "Good Lord! He's Pentecostal!"

[H/T jlovesr on plurk]

Friday, July 25, 2014

So let it be written...

Nancy Pelosi says the story of Moses should be our model for welcoming immigrants. Once again she shows her ignorance of her faith.

First off, Moses was not an illegal alien. Rather, he was a child of the slave class slated to die because there were "too many of *those*" people." So the story is more analogous to Margaret Sanger (or Ruth Bader-Ginsburg or Nancy Pelosi herself) on abortion.

But let's overlook that and pretend the story is an analogue. Does she realize that the Egyptian Empire was basically destroyed by "welcoming" Moses into their household? Then what lesson are we supposed to apply to our dealings with illegal immigrant children? Kill them all or America will be destroyed?

Realize I am not suggesting we do this, I'm just saying that is the only lesson that makes sense if you want to compare your government to the Egyptian Empire and your President to Pharaoh. Maybe that's what she meant - I recall Pharaoh issuing a lot of executive orders. "So let it be written... so let it be done!"