Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The End of the House of Ruth

For God's sake let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings!
How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed...

It's many long years since I was a fervent Yankee fan, but well do I remember the heyday of Mickey Mantle. I attended my first major league baseball game at Yankee Stadium, at age eleven. The vast expanse of emerald outfield was my first glimpse into the revered sports cathedral that was Yankee Stadium, and I remember the sight like it was yesterday.

The day before yesterday, Yankee Stadium followed Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig into the mists of history. A bigger, "better" venue will be constructed close by. But the legendary "ghosts" of Yankee Stadium, will they follow the team from their hallowed ground into the new stadium? Time will tell. I, for one, am dubious. I think moving the stadium seriously messes with Yankee mojo--and I think the negative chi started this season.

For the sake of all my loyal Yankee fans "back East," I do hope I'm wrong. I hope the Bambino and the Iron Horse will smile down upon the new Yankee playing field. I hope that Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto's oft-cited "wind," that almost magical outfield force, will follow the team to mysteriously assist those wavering long balls over the wall.

Game over; thanks for the memories.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
Turn whereso'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Michael's Day

Two years ago today, MA2 Michael Monsoor (SEAL), threw himself on a grenade to save his fellow fighters. He died of his injuries a few minutes later.

It was September 29, 2006, the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel.

Regular readers may recall I have described the popular tradition of "name days" in many European cultures. In Latvia, the feast day of the saint that bears your name carries greater significance than your birthday. In fact, considered among the best blessings at death is to die on your name day. Latvian tradition says that such favored souls proceed instantly into heaven.

Appropriately enough, Michael the Archangel is also the patron saint of soldiers and sailors. Earlier this year, President Bush presented Michael's Medal of Honor to his parents at the White House. That was a poignant and fitting moment honoring the brave sacrifice of a truly great young man, one who has gone on to even greater glory beyond our understanding.

On this Michaelmas, MA2 Monsoor, we your grateful countrymen salute you.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Legend Leaves Us

People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked. (video link)

If you don't have enemies, you don't have character.

~ Paul Newman, 1925-2008

Sadly, we learned this weekend that the media whispers of Paul Newman's approaching death from cancer were true. As was his practice in the many important undertakings of his life, he didn't talk much about it; he just went ahead and did it.

Paul Newman was not your garden variety celebrity. In fact, he went to extremes to avoid the trappings of his worldwide fame. Aside from his enormous success as an actor, Newman became an accomplished race car driver, after his interest was piqued while filming Winning.

Although he himself did not publicize his numerous charitable and philanthropic activities, they became well known through his many admirers and associates, as well as by the success of these endeavors. Perhaps most famous is the line of "Newman's Own" salad dressings and other foods. All proceeds, after taxes, are donated to his charities, including the Canary Foundation, for research on early detection of cancer; the Hole in the Wall Gang, for children with life-threatening illnesses; and HELP USA , to educate and assist homeless people.

Newman also created The Scott Newman Center in memory of his son, who died of a drug overdose in 1978. The foundation fights drug abuse through education, assists in recovery, and provides a haven for survivors of abuse.

This is an impressive legacy of meaningful philanthropic achievements from a man who wasn't expected to do much more than just show up and take off his sunglasses. Paul Newman could have simply strolled along the red carpets of his lifetime and still have been remembered as a brilliant actor and towering icon of the entertainment world.

For Newman, the star-strewn pathway was not enough. He chose a more challenging road of hard work and sacrifice behind the scenes to leave the world better than he found it. With his passing, we lose a talented and treasured American actor. But by far the larger loss is that a kind and thoughtful man, of generous heart and bold action, leaves us behind.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Phoning It In

...just call my name; I'll be there in a hurry;
you don't have to worry...

Call me on the line
Call me, call me any, anytime
Call me my love
You can call me day or night
Call me

~ Blondie, Call Me

I'm still in a state of disbelief over this statement by Obama, linked here. Call him if needed?? "If I can be helpful"??

If needed!!

Excuse me! A sitting U.S. senator, his salary paid by the increasingly-strapped taxpayers, dismisses the $700 billion--BILLION!--bailout proposal with a wave and a sniff as he announces he thinks his presidential campaign should continue. After all, he notes with overweening superiority, the president's job includes doing more than one thing at once.

Sure thing, you condescending rookie. It also includes knowing how and when to set priorities. John McCain has run circles around Obama in this area, but the junior senator from Illinois is too busy maintaining his pompous persona to even realize that fact. And by the way, Trainwreck Obama, you're not president--thank God. You're a U.S. senator, and you can't be bothered to do your current job.

And the U.S.A. is expected to trust this self-important jackass to run the whole enchilada?

Lord protect us if the dithering, clueless Obama gets elected. Putin, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, and all their sorry ilk, are virtually salivating with glee at the prospect. Charge up your cell phones, fellow Americans. It's going to be a long and frightening conversation--without much action--if Obama wins.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beyond Faith

"Once I was thrown into another cell after a long and difficult interrogation. I discovered scratched into one of the cell's walls the creed "I believe in God, the Father Almighty." There, standing witness to God's presence in a remote, concealed place, recalled to my faith by a stronger, better man, I felt God's love and care more vividly than I would have felt it had I been safe among a pious congregation in the most magnificent cathedral."
~ John McCain, Faith of My Fathers

Among many gripping passages in John McCain's book, Faith of My Fathers, the above quote drew tears.

During the slow, ongoing process of sorting through Pete's belongings, I found McCain's book. I remember Pete reading it shortly after its publication in 1999. In view of current political events, I decided now is a timely moment to read it.

There is no doubt that John McCain has been tested in ways few of us can imagine, let alone survive. While reading, you can't help putting yourself in McCain's place and asking that imponderable question, "How would I do under those conditions?" In all honesty, I must say I have no idea what would become of me.

The book is a glowing love letter to his grandfather and, particularly, his father. I had not known, before the current presidential campaign, that his father had been CINCPAC (Commander in Chief Pacific) during McCain's imprisonment. McCain's father had to order bombings near his son's prison, a heavy load for any father to carry. One touching passage describes how the senior McCain had been seen each Christmas walking to the farthest edge of the DMZ's tarmac and spending time alone, looking north, towards his son's place of imprisonment.

Another moving chapter told the story of a fellow POW who had saved scraps of red, white, and blue cloth and stitched a makeshift American flag inside his shirt. The POWs would recite the Pledge of Allegiance to it each day. When the guards discovered it, they dragged the prisoner outside and beat him brutally. When thrown back into the cell, he had broken bones, a punctured eardrum, and was nearly unrecognizable.

After his cellmates helped him to his mat, everyone got quiet and tried to sleep. Before falling asleep, McCain glanced over to check on the beaten man.

Although his eyes were swollen nearly shut, he had picked up his needle and thread and begun sewing a new flag.

That is more than faith; it is sheer guts, raw courage, amazing grace, impressive strength, unimaginable perseverance and spiritual power, all qualities of character that, forged together, create the living soul of a nation. These are the heroes who have always stepped into the breach and, without fear or hesitation, taken the pain in our stead. These are the men I would trust with my own life, my family's life, and my country's life.

On November 4, I will be proud to vote for one of them.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Rallying Cry

If you're voting this year, read every word of Bill Whittle's NRO article, The Undefended City. It makes you want to stand up and fight.

Now, where have I heard that before?

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Matter of Conscience

Visit, linked here, to view a powerful video on the moral values choices that are at stake in this year's election.

You don't have to be Catholic to relate to the message.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Penniless Patriots

Like most Americans, I have been pummeled in this week’s Wall Street meltdown. My retirement account is hemorrhaging cash on a daily basis. I’m not employed at the moment, and the stock options I had been granted by my former company will expire in two weeks. The options are currently worthless, many dollars under water, and I have no reason to think they will surface enough for me to cash in even the smallest gain.

World famous and revered names in finance are falling in domino fashion. Few people doubt that there is more pain to come in the markets. Even for “experts,” there is really no telling when the bleeding will stop. Of course, the “experts” never saw this disaster coming. Or so they say.

I remember my late husband predicting, in 2004, that the financial market would crash. “This whole setup is going to implode,” he told me. He drew that conclusion from easy money funding the housing frenzy. Pete had worked outdoors for most of his career, in construction. He never took a business management course in college. But he had plenty of common sense, and he knew that the runaway mortgage free lunch could not continue without severe consequences.

So here we are. Bank failures, government bailouts, wildly erratic stock market, plunging retirement accounts, total uncertainty about the next shoe to drop. To me, it seems like a bad time to be talking about increasing taxes on anyone. Even those “patriotic” $250K-makers can’t afford it right now.

Who's Out of Touch?

On September 12, Barack Obama declared that John McCain is "out of touch" with everyday, hardworking Americans.

On September 16, Barack Obama attended a $28,500 per plate dinner on his behalf with the Hollywood glitterati in Beverly Hills. The Barbra Streisand concert after dinner was extra, to the tune of $2,500. The combination gala raked in $9-11 million for Obama, depending upon which report one reads.

John McCain spent September 16 at a voters rally in Vienna, Ohio. No charge.

On the basis of these two events, it's not difficult for me to draw a conclusion about which candidate is more out of touch with hardworking Americans.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Knowledge is Power

That we have not yet had another terrorist attack in the United States is remarkable, but it will happen. Al Queda keeps its promises.

I have heard Brigitte Gabriel interviewed many times on the radio, and she is always a compelling speaker. Hers is a riveting story of life under the hard fist of radical Islamic terrorism, escape, and triumph over adversity in her new home, the United States.

Now, through her writing, speaking engagements, and American Congress for Truth, she fights to keep her haven, the U.S.A., safe from the enemy she knows, from terrifying experience, will never stop seeking our destruction.

Author of Because They Hate, Gabriel's new book is entitled They Must Be Stopped. Although I have heard her discuss these works extensively in radio interviews, I have not yet read either book. But they are high on my must-read list.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In a Perfect World

I think I may have posted this link, "What If Firefighters Ran the World?"once before. If I did, excuse me, but it's worth repeating.

It would be heavenly to see these guys run Congress for just one day. If only wishing could make it so!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering Reality

Misremembering is as dangerous as forgetting. If we must know one thing, it is that the Sept. 11 attacks were neither a natural disaster, nor the unfortunate result of human error. 9/11 wasn't the catastrophic equivalent of a 3,000-car pileup.

The attacks were not a random act of violence or insanity. They were a deliberate and brutal act of war committed by religious fanatics engaged in Islamic jihad against the United States, all non-Muslim people and any Muslim who wishes to live in a secular society. Worse, the people who perpetrated the attacks have explicitly told us that they are not done.
~ Debra Burlingame, sister of Capt. Charles Burlingame, American Airlines Flight 77

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Do Not Forget

Shanksville, Pennsylvania - September 11, 2001

Manhattan, New York - September 11, 2001

My country saved me and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

On the Mark

Mark Steyn, whose brilliant commentary is sorely missed during his leave, checks in with some customarily pithy comments on the continuing presidential campaign flaps. Check them out for a chuckle.

I can only hope that Steyn is working on another book--or two.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

No Lipstick Needed

"Class is an aura of confidence that is being sure without being cocky. Class has nothing to do with money. Class never runs scared. It is self-discipline and self-knowledge. It's the sure footedness that comes with having proved you can meet life."

That quote is from one of the late Ann Landers' more well-known columns. It seems to me that it applies to the Republican presidential ticket.

That's classy.
"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a
piece of paper called change. It's still gonna stink. We've had enough of the
same old thing."

If that outburst was supposed to showcase his inspiring leadership skills, Obama sort of missed the bull's eye (or maybe I should say, moose's eye).

Write this down, Sen. Obama: Class never runs scared.

With or without lipstick.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mary's Birthday

September 8 is the Catholic Church's traditional birthday observation for Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ. The roots of this feast day go deep into the misty nebula of early Church history. As is often the case in the Church's early years, there is not an overabundance of documentation. Yet the calendar reference has endured to this day.

For American Catholics, it is worth pausing to note her birthday in this vitally important year for our country. Mary, as the Immaculate Conception, is patron saint of the U.S.A.
I visited the Washington D.C. National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception as a pre-teen and vividly remember the sense of awe and wonder I felt looking up at the massive mosaic, Christ in Majesty. It's worth the time to visit this beautiful building next time you are in our nation's capital.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Yellow Journalism

Hmm, let's many threatening associates have been swept under Barack Obama's political rug? Let me count the rogues:

Bill Ayers
Rev. Jeremiah Wright
Fr. Phleger
Tony Rezko
Louis Farrakhan

The left-leaning MSM steadfastly ignores these very relevant Obama connections. Obama is a friend of Bill Ayers, the American terrorist. For 20 years, he attended the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, anti-American preacher. He's associated with Fr. Phlegar, radical priest who ridiculed Hillary Clinton during his fifteen minutes of fame. He's a buddy of Tony Rezko, convicted felon and Obama campaign contributor. Obama also marched in the Million Man March with the oft-described anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader.

Whenever mention is made of them, all of these legitimate, pertinent stories are immediately dropped like hot bricks by the Obama media. They are swept under the rug, ignored, unreported, downplayed and covered up. Nothing to see here, folks, let's keep moving.

So much for "vetting" the candidate.

But the news of Sarah Palin's pregnant 17-year-old daughter? Well! Pull out the verbal bullwhips, MSM, and let's flay this story until every drop of Palin blood has soaked the ground.

This shoddy display gives new meaning to the term "yellow journalism." To me, that no longer indicates sensationalism and half-truths in the news. Today's yellow journalism, appropriately enough, is cowardly. The media that so carefully protects their fabricated left-wing darling are afraid of Sarah Palin. These brutal, highly personal attacks upon Palin and her family are the result of pure panic. The more lurid and disgraceful the media attacks, the stronger the reek of their fear.

Yellow, jaundiced journalism has rarely worn an uglier face than it does today in its deliberate trashing of Sarah Palin and her family. And it appears there is no end in sight.

MSM is apparently terrified that Americans might actually make up their own minds about which ticket is better qualified to win the presidential election. Ironically, the old media labors under the illusion that voters pay all that much attention to them in the first place.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Playing Catch-Up

There has been so much happening since I checked out for my son’s wedding, it’s difficult to know where to begin. But one must start somewhere, so I’ll just plow right in.

Sarah Palin

What a great pick from Senator McCain. It’s going to be an uphill climb now for the Democrats to effectively claim this is “Bush’s third term.” Can you imagine G.W. Bush ever choosing Palin as a running mate? No? I can’t, either. Stand aside for John “Maverick” McCain, always dependable for a surprise. I’m grateful this seems a positive one for American conservatives.

MSM has been quick to report that Palin’s husband has an alcohol-related traffic violation from over 20 years ago. I now hear that there are some other traffic citations on his record. Oh, I must sit down, I’m shaking in fear.

Although I was planning to vote for McCain in any event, my decision was without enthusiasm. With the arrival of Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket, I am energized and looking forward to Election Day.

On a number of levels, Palin is a brilliant choice. No experience? I beg to differ. She’s known as a reformer within her own party, she’s run a budget, held executive office, sent a son to the military, supports the Second Amendment and understands energy issues from an oil-rich state’s perspective. Palin has certainly walked the right-to-life walk by bearing her Downs syndrome child and also by supporting her pregnant teenage daughter’s choice to carry her baby to term. Sarah Palin is a tough lady who has made tough choices. She’ll be a formidable opponent for the Democratic ticket.

Hurricane Gustav

First, the good news: everybody got it. This time, the residents of the Gulf states, the local and state leaders, the relief and defense agencies and the Feds were all extremely proactive in anticipating the potential disaster presented by Hurricane Gustav. This is in stark and pleasant contrast to the man-made disaster that followed Katrina in 2005.

Now, the bad news: I’m weary of watching constant weather maps and empty rain-drenched, windswept streets and listening to boring reporters trying to find enough drama in Gustav to fill the TV screen on a 24/7 basis. Let’s move on, shall we?

RNC Convention

The event is appropriately low-key, considering the preparations for Gustav. Far from being a negative, the readjustment of convention activities in deference to conditions on the Gulf Coast should prove to be a blessing in disguise. The competency and effectiveness of advance plans and unfolding logistics for Hurricane Gustav are a refreshing counterpoint to the unrelenting harangues and finger-pointing over Katrina.

Besides, conventions are largely one-sided puff pieces designed to showcase the candidates in the best possible light. It is the upcoming debates that will tell the true story of the candidates and their readiness to lead. I, for one, can’t wait.

Oops, forgot the Olympics--must have been a Freudian slip. I never was a fan of holding the Games in Beijing. Anyway, due to wedding events I missed almost all of the Olympics, which was a small loss to me.

In any event, it's good to be back.