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.