Friday, April 23, 2010

Stimulus dollars at work

National Poetry Month

With the support of this $1 million National Leadership Grant, Poets House will partner with five zoos and four public libraries to create poetry installations and programs... …collaborating with wildlife biologists and exhibit designers to curate zoo installations with poems that celebrate the natural world and the connection between species.

I the GKC poem below would be a worthy entry that shows that species are only connected in the physical, like comparative religion. “.. it is so much a matter of degree and distance and difference that it is only comparatively successful when it tries to compare. When we come to look at it closely we find it comparing things that are really quite incomparable.”

Triolet Poem
G.K. Chesterton

I wish I were a jelly fish
That cannot fall downstairs;
Of all the things I wish to wish
I wish I were a jellyfish
That hasn't any cares
And doesn't even have to wish'
I wish I were a jellyfish
That cannot fall downstairs.'

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cheat the Prophet

Earth Day Predictions, 1970

"The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age."
Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

"We have about five more years at the outside to do something."
Kenneth Watt, ecologist

"Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind."
George Wald, Harvard Biologist

"We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation."
Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

"Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction."
New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

"Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years."
Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

"By...[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s."
Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

"It is already too late to avoid mass starvation."
Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

"Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions....By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine."
Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

"Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support...the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half...."
Life Magazine, January 1970

"At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it's only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable."
Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

"Air certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone."
Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

"By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate...that there won't be any more crude oil. You'll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill 'er up, buddy,' and he'll say, `I am very sorry, there isn't any.'"
Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

"Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct."
Sen. Gaylord Nelson

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day - Oh Joy

"A citizen can hardly distinguish between a tax and a fine, except that the fine is generally much lighter." G.K.C.
T. Coleman Andrews was an IRS Commissioner for 3 years. He had the following things to say about income taxes after resigning.
"Congress went beyond merely enacting an income tax law and repealed Article IV of the Bill of Rights, by empowering the tax collector to do the very things from which that article says we were to be secure. It opened up our homes, our papers and our effects to the prying eyes of government agents and set the stage for searches of our books and vaults and for inquiries into our private affairs whenever the tax men might decide, even though there might not be any justification beyond mere cynical suspicion."

"The income tax is bad because it has robbed you and me of the guarantee of privacy and the respect for our property that were given to us in Article IV of the Bill of Rights. This invasion is absolute and complete as far as the amount of tax that can be assessed is concerned. Please remember that under the Sixteenth Amendment, Congress can take 100% of our income anytime it wants to. As a matter of fact, right now it is imposing a tax as high as 91%. This is downright confiscation and cannot be defended on any other grounds."

"The income tax is bad because it was conceived in class hatred, is an instrument of vengeance and plays right into the hands of the communists. It employs the vicious communist principle of taking from each according to his accumulation of the fruits of his labor and giving to others according to their needs, regardless of whether those needs are the result of indolence or lack of pride, self-respect, personal dignity or other attributes of men."

"The income tax is fulfilling the Marxist prophecy that the surest way to destroy a capitalist society is by steeply graduated taxes on income and heavy levies upon the estates of people when they die."

"As matters now stand, if our children make the most of their capabilities and training, they will have to give most of it to the tax collector and so become slaves of the government. People cannot pull themselves up by the bootstraps anymore because the tax collector gets the boots and the straps as well."

"The income tax is bad because it is oppressive to all and discriminates particularly against those people who prove themselves most adept at keeping the wheels of business turning and creating maximum employment and a high standard of living for their fellow men."
"I believe that a better way to raise revenue not only can be found but must be found because I am convinced that the present system is leading us right back to the very tyranny from which those, who established this land of freedom, risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to forever free themselves..."

Monday, April 12, 2010

When the culture of death meets “I don’t think so”.

Dr. Boris Veysman is my new hero.

"Life is precious and irreplaceable. Even severe incurable illness can often be temporarily fixed, moderated, or controlled, and most discomfort can be made tolerable or even pleasant with simple drugs. In chess, to resign is to give up the game with pieces and options remaining. My version of DNR is "Do Not Resign." Don’t give up on me if I can still think, communicate, create, and enjoy life. When taking care of me, take care of yourself as well, to make sure you don’t burn out by the time I need your optimism the most.

My DNI? It means "Do Not Ignore" early signs of trouble when my failing body and mind need support so I can continue to function in ways that matter. And Do Not Ignore my needs for companionship, stimulation, and purpose, as these, too, make life worth living. To leave me in the hospital bed alone staring at the TV is torture. (My overarching orders at all times: "Do Not Torture.") Surround me with people; bring the kids so I can teach and talk to them. Discuss the news with me. Let me use my e-mail. Treat my depression, dehydration, malnutrition, muscle wasting, and pain with potent pills, infusions, tubes, and hormones. I don’t aspire to play for the Yankees, so throw in some anabolic steroids if that might contribute to wellness. I choose high-quality life, and I agree to chance adverse effects in doing so. …

It’s so easy to let someone die, but it takes effort, determination, and stamina to help someone stay and feel alive. Only after you made every effort to let me be happy and human, ask me again if my life is worth living. Then, listen, and comply. At that point, if I wish to die, let me die. But until that happens, none of us realize what I can accomplish with another day, another week, another month. So do it all for me. Then ask someone to do it all for you."

Read entire essay here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


(NEW YORK – C-FAM) In London last Friday, a high ranking United Nations (UN) jurist called on the British government to detain Pope Benedict XVI during his upcoming visit to Britain, and send him to trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for “crimes against humanity.”

like Chesterton said this sound is recognizable it is “a hiss out of hell.”

Mark has a good answer

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

why not try it at home

"There was a time when you and I and all of us were all very close to God; so that even now the color of a pebble (or a paint), the smell of a flower (or a firework), comes to our hearts with a kind of authority and certainty; as if they were fragments of a muddled message, or features of a forgotten face. To pour that fiery simplicity upon the whole of life is the only real aim of education; and closest to the child comes the woman --- she understands. To say what she understands is beyond me; save only this, that it is not a solemnity. Rather it is a towering levity, an uproarious amateurishness of the universe, such as we felt when we were little, and would as soon sing as garden, as soon paint as run. To smatter the tongues of men and angels, to dabble in the dreadful sciences, to juggle with pillars and pyramids and toss up the planets like balls, this is that inner audacity and indifference which the human soul, like a conjurer catching oranges, must keep up forever. This is that insanely frivolous thing we call sanity. ... "

GKC What's Wrong With The World

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Missing Piece

When my children were little we would always attend Easter Mass at the Cathedral , which is a great place to be on any given Sunday but at Easter you get all the smells and bells. Since the majority of my children have grown and started families of their own this tradition has faded.

This year my bride suggested we start going again. I was not sure if it was for our littlest one or she was being nostalgic but it did not matter. I missed the Cathedral too.

Once you enter the Cathedral, even after a long absence, it is as if you were never away. There is a joyous wonder in its sameness. Its sameness comes from the dynamic position of always being where the past and the potential of the future meet in the envelope of the present.

As you walk in and someone unseen would be wailing on the large pipe organ and when the horn section enters in you could feel your sternum vibrate. The choir is angelic. The building is beautiful in fulfilling the prophesy, “If These Were Silent, the Stones Would Cry Out”, all this before the procession had begun.

As the procession past us I began to take a closer notice of the throng of the faithful before me. I felt something was different then from what I remember and honestly I missed the opening prayers trying to figure it out. Before the first reading it dawned on me – there were no ladies in hats. Those marvelously large pastel colored hats were gone - not one Easter hat. In the past as you focused on the alter it was through a sea of big brimmed soft flowing hats acting as flowers turning toward the morning sun. Now everywhere not only were there no hats there were very few ties, little finery, only a few children in new outfits. Our pew was the exception where as in the past I would sometimes feel we looked a little ragged.

I am not one to wear a tie much and I keep my sport coat in a bag until Christmas and Easter my wife never wore a hat but many did. But EASTER that was the time when dads wore suits, mom’s bought you new outfits and your one pair of new shoes for the year were bought at Easter. It all added another layer to the day we were all, in a way, “resurrected” from winter to the new life of spring.

We wore our best on the best day. Now, how is anyone to know that this day is above all other days, when all they see are jeans and polos?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A word from Pope John Paul II

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.
- Pope John Paul II

(I don't think GKC would mind a Pope being cited on this day!)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Film For Good Friday

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Speaking of Judas

Judas has appeared in all the Church readings this past week. In dramatic terms this is because he is the pivotal character in the passion, it is his decision on which all else turns. Even though we know how this story ends we keep hoping Judas will have a change of heart.

It is fascinating to me that at this time pope Ben is being assaulted on all sides by the priest sex scandals throughout Europe. Judas’ are popping up all over (in and outside the church) saying everything from the pope should resign to the pope needs to change his mind on priest celibacy and sexual "freedom", (ho-hum).

Archbishop Timothy Dolan says Pope Benedict XVI, is suffering "some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar as did Jesus"!

It is important to remember that after the first Judas the other disciples did not say, “We need to change the teaching of the Lord so we won’t have another Judas incident”.

It won’t be said now. And it will not lessen the pain.

The Judas type will be with us always. Salvation history is filled with God’s people falling away and coming back. The “What could it hurt” to the “How were we to know” syndrome.

The difference between Peter and Judas is that Peter asked for forgiveness.

The question, as always, are we going to leave Peter because of Judas?

“But the best example of this unjust historical habit is the most famous of all and the most infamous of all. If there is one proper noun which has become a common noun, if there is one name which has been generalized till it means a thing, it is certainly the name of Judas. We should hesitate perhaps to call it a Christian name, except in the more evasive form of Jude. And even that, as the name of a more faithful apostle, is another illustration of the same injustice; for, by comparison with the other, Jude the faithful might almost be called Jude the obscure. The critic who said, whether innocently or ironically, "What wicked men these early Christians were!" was certainly more successful in innocence than in irony; for he seems to have been innocent or ignorant of the whole idea of the Christian communion. Judas Iscariot was one of the very earliest of all possible early Christians. And the whole point about him was that his hand was in the same dish; the traitor is always a friend, or he could never be a foe. But the point for the moment is merely that the name is known everywhere merely as the name of a traitor. The name of Judas nearly always means Judas Iscariot; it hardly ever means Judas Maccabeus. And if you shout out "Judas" to a politician in the thick of a political tumult, you will have some difficulty in soothing him afterwards, with the assurance that you had merely traced in him something of that splendid zeal and valour which dragged down the tyranny of Antiochus, in the day of the great deliverance of Israel.”

GKC The New Jerusalem