Monday, June 29, 2009

Peter's Day

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
~ Matt 16:18

On the Catholic Church's calendar, today is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.  They are considered the two pillars of the early Church, most directly responsible for its survival and growth throughout the world.

It is also my husband's "Name Day," a very big deal in his family's Latvian tradition.  While Pete was alive, he received a religious greeting card and a telephone call from his mother each year on June 29 for "Peteris Dien"--Peter's Day.

Wherever you are, Pete, I hope you've enjoyed your day.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What Might Have Been

For all sad words of tongue or pen,
the saddest are these, "It might have been!"
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

We will never know whether Michael Jackson's upcoming  London concerts would have marked a triumphant comeback or a humiliating failure.  I like to believe it would have been the former, but my practical side fears it would have been the latter.  No matter now; he's gone, and the question will remain one of the imponderables.

What we do know for certain is that a world-famous entertainment icon, gifted with immeasurable talent and plagued by personal troubles, many of his own making, is gone forever.

We are left with two realities.  One is an almost psychotic media immersion in and fascination with Jackson's death.  This unfortunate fact, a sick sign of our celebrity-obsessed culture, will, thankfully, blow itself out, given enough time.  If the media spent weeks on Anna Nicole Smith, they will spent at least months on a star of Michael Jackson's magnitude, achievements, and longevity.

The second, more durable reality left behind is Jackson's body of work.  Whatever his considerable flaws and foibles, the "Man in the Mirror" had musical mojo for the ages.  His work will stand solidly, as is and on its own--for decades, if not for centuries. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Generally Speaking

I've been waiting a few days to comment on the Barbara "dumb as a box of rocks-er" Boxer flap.  I was curious to see just how quickly the MSM would allow the story to die.

Faster than a sniper's bullet, Boxer's appallingly stupid shot at the general vanished into the distant past.

One Marine's View has something to say about that, as well he should.  As it happens, I noticed the same fact Maj. Pain did--in all her high dudgeon, "Senator" Boxer never once addresses Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh as "General."  She never even bothered using "Sir."

Did the general work as hard to achieve his worthy title as the senator did to get hers?  There's a question that deserves answering.  I'll wager that the general had to exert a bit more effort than hoisting cocktail glasses and blowing hot air from a podium to earn his rank.

Gen. Walsh's bio is linked, here.  Just the facts--ma'am.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Lord, what fools these mortals be!
~ Midsummer Night's Dream Act 3, scene 2

I find photos from England on the summer solstice yesterday rather depressing. Stonehenge now reminds me more of the 1969 rock concert Woodstock than the mysterious ancient monument, shrouded in the mists of the secret past.

36,500 people were scrunched into Stonehenge for the occasion of welcoming summer. I guess with a worldwide recession going on, people have some extra time on their hands. Were there enough porta-potties, I wonder? That thought alone kind of squelches any mystique attached to Stonehenge. And check out the list of rules, linked here.

Today's Stonehenge is actually a "park," complete with hours of operation.

It's hard to imagine the druids putting up with such a state of affairs. No doubt there would be a healthy, for lack of a better term, amount of human sacrifice going on. Maybe that's why druids are so hard to find these days. Happy Midsummer to all.

Photography by Vintagedept

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trouble in Utopia

A bipartisan survey shows that President Obama's popularity has slipped from 61% to 56% since April.  That's a rather dramatic slide, one likely to keep the presidential teleprompters humming.

This is not surprising news to me.  Most Americans are reasonably happy with and proud of their country.  We are not interested in seeing the philosophical structures of our homeland torn down to the foundations and retooled into the "United States of O-merica."  Sometimes it seems as though the new president is settling in for a lifetime reign, especially when he makes ten-year budget projections.

Math was never my thing, but even with an unlikely two terms, isn't Obama gone after 8 years?  Why is he expounding on a budget ten years down the road?  Does he think we'll all kneel down and beg him to stay?  Excuse me if I laugh.  Despite their dangerous delusions, megalomaniacs can be quite amusing.

The rapid 5-point dip in the president's poll numbers is a sign of the times.  To quote the real Abraham Lincoln:

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. 

And President Obama has the poll numbers to prove it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Encouraging Evil

"Bush worried them. Obama doesn't."

New York Post's Ralph Peters has a piece about the Iranian upheaval in today's edition that is gospel truth.  Read every word of "The Obama Effect," but only if you can stomach the self-absorbed squishiness of our current "leader."

Hugh Hewitt was taking calls from Iranian Americans only this afternoon, and it was fascinating to listen to real people who understand oppression and dictatorship on a firsthand basis.  They often seemed uncomprehending over the Obama White House's silence and hesitation in the face of brutal events in their native land.  One of the callers said he wished that President Bush was still in office for this crisis.

He's not alone.  Right now, I'd give a lot to have a "cowboy" in charge who isn't afraid to speak hard facts to tyrants.  Judging by the president's studied indifference, that's not something we're going to hear anytime soon--unfortunately all of us, but especially for the Iranian people.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Something Happening Here

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Media coverage on the post-election crisis in Iran has been shockingly sparse.  It's almost as though it can be wished away by concentrated indifference.

Finally, after three days, President Obama offered a comment today.  It was one of his standard "on the other hand" reactions, parsed to give something to everyone while keeping him as clean as possible.  He said is "deeply troubled" by the violence, but we must "respect Iranian sovereignty."

Fine.  That should've taken sixty seconds.  But, as is the president's wont, it took him nearly five minutes to complete his puffed-up statement.

Meanwhile, there is a confluence of events transpiring in Iran that will not be ignored nor talked away forever.  Sooner or later, no matter how deeply troubling, we will need to deal with them--provided, of course, the president respects American sovereignty.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In Honor of Flag Day

...Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;

In her attic window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet.

Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.

Under his slouched hat left and right
He glanced; the old flag me
t his sight.

Halt!--the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
Fire!--out blazed the rifle-blast.

It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.

Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf.

She leaned far out on the window-sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.

"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country's flag," she said.

A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;

The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman's deed and word;

"Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!" he said...
Excerpt from Barbara Fritchie, by John Greenleaf Whittier

Thursday, June 11, 2009

30 Years Since "The Duke"

On this date in 1979, the legendary actor John Wayne died.  National Review has a wonderful tribute to him, linked here.  If you're a fan, it's a must-read.

I'm a John Wayne fan, mostly in self defense.  While I was growing up, he was a favorite star of my mother.  Then, early in my marriage, I learned that Pete held "The Duke" in even higher esteem than did Mom.  Consequently, both of my children were indoctrinated early into the John Wayne School of Movie Viewing.  Our family watched every John Wayne movie that showed up in the TV guide.

It's noteworthy that no matter who else is in a film with him, it's always referred to as a "John Wayne movie."  Even the great Katharine Hepburn couldn't compete with that fact.  Say what you will about his acting skill or lack thereof--the man had star power to outshine the Milky Way.

Among Pete's multiple John Wayne gift sets still gracing my video library are many classics, too numerous to list.  Wayne has over 170 film credits, and each fan has their favorites.  My top three are "The Quiet Man," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," and my all-time #1 favorite John Wayne movie, 1948's "3 Godfathers."

After Pete died, I gave his DVD of "3 Godfathers" to his dear friend Dave, who happens to be my dear friend, too, as well as my godson.  (I sponsored Dave when he joined the Catholic Church over 20 years ago--but that's a story for another post.)

The backdrop of "3 Godfathers" is Christmas, but Pete and I had a tradition of watching it on Fathers' Day.   John Wayne, uncharacteristically cast as an outlaw and fugitive, by a twist of fate finds himself entrusted with an orphaned newborn baby.  I could probably recite every actor's dialog for this entire film; still, 4 years after my last viewing, I feel like it might be time to watch it again.  

And there's Duke -- 3 Godfathers, on Netflix.  John Wayne may be dead 30 years, but he's far from gone.  Rest easy, pilgrim.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"First They Came..."

Take heed…lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and…teach them to your children and to your children's children.
 Deuteronomy 4:9

The poem by Pastor Martin Niemölle seems epecially appropriate in the wake of the fatal shooting of a guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. today.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

Then they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
I did not protest;
I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Obama's "Inner Muslim"

I have felt ill ever since the Cairo speech. Wesley Puden, editor emeritus of The Washington Times, linked here, does a perfect job of explaining why.

Obama Time will not end well for the U.S.A.  He's already a one-man wrecking ball to our nation, our values and achievements, our incomparable generosity, and our unique history.

Did you know that the U.S. is "one of the largest Muslim countries" before this  week?  It was news to me, too.  I'm also a bit confused as to why he's now touting his middle name, "Hussein," when to merely whisper it during the presidential campaign was branded racism.  This "Christian, but..." president is going to get us into a whole heap of trouble with his double talking.  Perhaps another--how did he term it?--"trauma" like September 11.

God--or should that be Allah?--help us.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Patron for the Unemployed

Founded a 
bank to help the poor and offer an alternative to usurers (loan sharks)
~ About St. Cajetan, from Patron Saints Index

It's been a while since I've posted about a patron saint, and in browsing the wealth of
information to be found on the Patron Saints Index, I stumbled across St. Cajetan. I've
never heard of him before, but, like most saints, he was a busy guy who spent a lot of timeworking to leave the world a little better than he found it.

Cajetan (b.1480, d.1547) was from a noble family in Venice, Italy. He studied law and
was offered government positions, but decided he was called to be a priest. Like
our modern-day Mother Teresa, Cajetan felt called to work among the sick and poor.
He founded both a hospital and a bank, fufilling both ambitions, and he is the patron saint of unemployed people.

St. Cajetan. In our tough economic times, he's worth knowing about.