Monday, March 31, 2008

15 Percent

Kids have a knack at asking some difficult questions that often leave older people feeling kind of sheepish. From here.


The obvious answer is that she is cuter.

From the Email Bag via Nurse Jerz.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

What Would Moses Drink?

Passover is only a few weeks away, and you know what that means? KOSHER COKE! That's right, once a year Coca-Cola in the United States produces Coca-Cola using real sugar, well sucrose according to the ingredient label, but the main thing is that kosher Coke isn't made with corn syrup. In other words kosher Coke is being made like regular Coke used to be made 50 years ago: it is once again the real thing and the classic it claims to be.

However, not every coke in the store has been graced backed to its original recipe. You need to look for the Coke with the yellow cap that has Hebrew stamped on it in red. Though kosher Coke is for sale, it is difficult to come by, as it isn't being carried in your average grocery store -- believe me I look every year for the stuff.

My neighbor, who is Jewish, was down in Baltimore doing some pre-Passover shopping at a kosher grocer. She knew that I had been looking for Coke made with sugar instead of corn syrup, so she picked me up a 2 liter of kosher coke and a couple 2 liters of kosher Pepsi (yes Pepsi is selling a kosher product too).

It has been years, about 10 or so, since I last had Coke made with real sugar. So I did a little taste test, and this is what I determined: kosher coke is smother, less bitter, more refreshing, and better tasting than the coke made with corn syrup. In short, kosher Coke is the superior product. I really don't know why coke wants to make an inferior product just so that it can save a few bucks by using corn syrup.

Burnt Coffee America, Chicory, and Hijacking Meaning

I stopped into a local large international coffee shop today, that I will call Burnt Coffee America (BCA), to work on some outlines for my comprehensive finals this July. Well, I had a hankering for a café au lait, so after being greeted by the barista, I quickly asked for an “au lait with your dark roast.” They call their dark roast ‘bold’ despite the fact that not ever dark roast is bold in flavor, but that is beside the point. After ordering my coffee and before the barista started making my coffee, I said, “If you have any coffee with chicory could you use that?” As it is, a chicory au lait is the best kind of au lait. All other au laits are just weak imitations.

“Chicory,” the barista asked, “What’s that?”

“Are you serious? You don’t know what chicory is,” I inquired.

“Never heard of it. What is it,” he asked again?

I could tell he was serious because he gave me that look that you only see when a person is genuinely unsure of something: head slightly cocked to the right, a furrowed brow, an open body posture, hands hanging at the side. It is a look that is reminiscent of the way a dog looks at a person when it is confused about something. I found it surprising that this gentleman, who worked in perhaps the largest coffee chain in the world, did not know what chicory was.

Part of my surprise came from when I worked in a large family chain coffee shop in South Louisiana through out college, and we would not have even thought of opening for business if we did not have our chicory coffee ready to serve come opening time. To me, a coffee shop without chicory is like a seafood boil without beer or worse: a seafood boil without the seasoning. While working for this one particular coffee shop in Louisiana, we had to learn our product and learn it well, so this meant cupping (tasting black coffee) the different roasts and blends of coffee the store sold and brewed and learning the differences in the regional coffees we served: like the difference between a Costa Rician coffee (which is kind of clean and crisp) and a Sumatran coffee (which is ‘earthy’ – tasted like dirt if you want to know the truth).

Eventually we learned all about the local (I didn’t realize this was a local thing till recently) treat known as chicory coffee, and its history in Louisiana. I found myself repeating this information to the barista at BCA. In short the history is as follows: Chicory is used in coffee to give coffee a stronger taste. Chicory is cheaper than coffee so what people in Louisiana did, mainly the French settlers during the 18th century in New Orleans and much of Europe when coffee was scarce, was buy coffee and mix ground chicory with it to make their coffee go further. By mixing ground chicory with coffee while brewing the result was a strong cup of coffee more akin to espresso and more bitter than espresso. To cut the bitter taste of the coffee/chicory mixture, people added milk to the beverage. The name of the drink, café au lait, literally means “coffee with milk”, so if you go to France and order an au lait you will most likely get a glass of milk without any coffee. Because a coffee/chicory blend is cheaper to produce and cheaper to buy, a café au lait is sometimes refereed to as a ‘poor man’s latte’, and if you have a good au lait it is very difficult to tell the difference between a latte and an au lait.

After I finished my history of chicory coffee, the barista proceeded to make my drink excepet when he told my order to the girl behind the espresso bar he told her I ordered a coffee mitzo (spelling?). “I have never heard of this term before to describe an au lait,” I thought to myself. When waiting for my drink, I saw that café au lait was not even on the drink menu. So it got me thinking. Why is it that in 99.9% of the coffee shops I go into all have café au lait on the menu and they call it a café au lait but BCA decided to call it something else?” This really should not surprise me because it is the same coffee shop that calls a vanilla latte with a squirt of caramel on top a caramel macchiato, while the rest of the coffee world calls a shot or two of espresso marked with a dollop of milk froth and caramel a caramel macchiato.

This might not seem like a big deal, but it is clearly an example of how one company can single handedly change the meaning of words without anyone really knowing meanings have changed until the new wrong meanings have become part of the society’s vocabulary. What does it matter? Changing the meaning of words causes confusion. For instance, when I would worked the drive through at the coffee shop in South Louisiana and a person ordered a caramel macchiato and I would give them a what they asked for – a shot or two of espresso marked with a dollop of milk froth and caramel in a little four ounce cup instead of a big honking 16 ounce vanilla latte in a paper cup– the driver would look at me like I was an idiot. When they objected to the drink that they ordered and insist that I gave them the wrong drink, I then had to let the customer know that we are not Burnt Coffee America and we use coffee terms according to their intended meaning unlike BCA and that what they actually ordered was a shot or two of espresso marked with a dollop of milk froth and caramel.

I guess my beef is that I hate it when people don’t use terms and words as they are meant to be used. It is as if someone robbed the meaning and coherency from the language that many people have worked hard at learning while no one was looking. This hijacking of terms and meaning for a person’s or company’s own private use is deceptive, misleading, and confusing. For instance, I would never go into a steak restaurant order a steak and expect a piece of chicken or fish to be served as my meal. To think such a thing is lunacy. My words contain meaning and my words must mean something in the context in which they are used, and hopefully there is some common meaning that will help others understand what it is I am trying to mean with the words I use. For some reason this experience at BCA reminds me Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Chesterton Sphere Spinning

Alright, I got the image to rotate. Though it makes me a little dizzy in its full size. So here is the link if you want to check out Chesterton in all of his 3.14 glory.

Chesterton Sphere

As if he wasn't round enough to begin with. Here is Chesterton in 360 degrees. I made one that rotates too, but I can't figure out how to get it to rotate when I post it on blogger. I might have to experiment a bit.

Forgive Me Father For I Have Dined

The road to perdition is paved with supersized fries, large shakes, and Big Macs. As ridiculous as this sounds it might be what the American culture leads one to believe. With the increasing number of ‘guilt-free’ and ‘sinless’ labels on food products, one might suspect that America has become so mad that it is no longer sin that arouses guilt in the heart but one’s caloric intake. It is not sin that takes one down to perdition but that extra slice of apple pie after dinner.

When did it become sinful to fulfill a natural biological necessity for one’s survival? A person should not feel guilty about eating food -- unless they eat too much of it and be guilty of gluttony. People should feel guilty about sin. It is as if the bar that was set to judge one’s degree of guilt in the heart is no longer determined by the amount, nature, or degree of sin or sins one commits, but instead, by today’s standards, a guilty heart is the result of a high calorie diet. Since when did it become the case that the lower one’s caloric intake means the less guilty and sinful one is, while the higher one’s caloric intake means the contrary? With this line of reasoning one would assume that the starving in Africa are the pure and righteous of the world, while every person who dines on a Thickburger from Hardee’s is surely one bite from eternal damnation.

Is it really any wonder that we fill our stomachs with empty things? For once the heart goes empty we seek to fill it with all sort of things in all sorts of places by all sorts of means. It only makes sense that since our hearts are empty and filled with nothing so too our stomach and bodies be filled and nourished by nothing. I think we have forgotten that it is not what goes into the mouth that can defile but what comes out of it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Sermons From Augustine Found

I have been hearing rumors of the discoveries of some previously unknown sermons of St. Augustine over in Vienna, so I emailed one of my professors I had at Notre Dame, John Cavadini. He did some hunting around and eventually wrote back to me a few days later, "You were right! --jc".

This is very exciting news, indeed! Included in the email were a few links in Austrian (At least, I think the links are in Austrian . . . it might be German) from a professor Dorothea Weber who teaches at Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften . I could only pick out a word or two here and there from the site that is reporting the news. Here is the link to the press release. Here is a link to the Bibliotecha site that copies some of the press release.

Here is a link to a google translation from German to English of the press realease page. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the translation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Twice a Year Church Goers

Did anyone Catch this cartoon on Sunday? Click on it for a larger image or just go to the link in the previous sentence. I'd order a print if it didn't cost $65.00.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jim Tweedy

I was in the French Quarter yesterday with my mother for lunch. While we were walking past a few shops, we ran across this painting by native Louisianian artist Jim Tweedy. I laughed out loud when I saw it, so I bought a copy. You can see a larger copy from his website, and you can order your own print there too. I think he also has a similar one for Georgia Bulldawg fans.

The Angelic Doctor Is In


Inspired by an idea from my friend Emily over at the Parousian's blog

Monday, March 24, 2008

Adventure in Catechesis #7

We find our Catechetical Leader teaching a high school class on basic church doctrine.



Text:
Catechesist: "Class, what is the teaching office of the Church called?"
Student: "The Magic-Steering-Committee!"

Here are two links to some info on what the Magisterium is. Link1. Link2.

The word 'magesterium' comes from the Latin 'magister' which means 'teacher', 'administrate," or 'master.' A more modern form of the word comes in the form can be seen in the phrase 'governmental magistrate'. I don't remember my Latin as well as I once did, but I believe the case is genitive, which would make the word possessive. If I am correct in my cases a more literal translation might be "The Body's Teacher". Hmmm... the Body. The body of Christ. The Church. The Church's Teacher. Granted the ultimate teacher of the Church is Christ and the Holy Spirit; however, thankfully God left His church some earthly teachers to help discern the movements of the Spirit.

Chesterton Thing

I'm learning to do some basic graphic design on my computer. So I'll be posting things I do from time to time. Here is one that I did on the plane flight -- it is amazing how many people stare at your computer if you are using it on the plane. Having an open computer is not an open invitation to stare at my screen. Anyway, tt takes me a long time to do this because I'm a rookie at it. As you can tell, I like Chesterton. Also, I think I might go back a try to make it larger so that it can be used at a desktop wallpaper. The current dimensions are 800x600, so it can be used as a desktop wallpaper it will just have to be stretched or have a border around it. Feel free to use it how you see fit.

Click on the image for a full view.
The quote is: "Christianity is a sword which separates and sets free." -- Yes I know I misspelled "Separates", which is one of the reasons why I will be going to back to redo this image at a later date.

Hallelujah, He Is Risen!

One of my favorite times of the year is the Easter season. A buddy of mine, who is now in a seminary in Conn., used to use an ancient (or at least we were told it was an ancient) way of greeting each other during the Easter season. We liked doing this greeting so much that it almost became a challenge to see who could greet the other with "Hallelujah, He is Risen!" first. Our friends thought we were a little strange.

The greeting, if you are curious, is: "Hallelujah, He Is Risen!"

The response from the person being greeted is: "Truly, He Is Risen!" or "Indeed, He is Risen!"

Though your office co-workers might not know what you are doing, what a great way to greet people and start up a conversation . . . or you might just get looked at weird. Then again, I've been told that the truth will make you weird.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BRB


Adventure in Catechesis #6

We find our Catechetical Leader teaching pre-school.

Text:
Kid: "Teacher, I know how Jesus died!"
Teacher: "How?"
Kid: "In a Car Wreck!!"
Teacher " . . . "

Well, looks like we have some work to do.


Thanks to Mandy.

Science, Morality and Public Policy

Recently, Elizabeth Pisani, wrote the following in a recent issue of The Guardian:

For many years now, social policy in the US has been moulded by morality. (Interestingly, commercial policy hasn't. It's illegal for one adult to pay another for sex, but perfectly legal for two adults to be paid to have sex with one another by a third person, who will film the encounter and then sell it as pornography to other adults.)

Morality, which is hard to define let alone to measure, is not a good basis for public policy. Science is a good basis for public policy. Economics, even. But not morality. Look at sex education in the US. The Bush administration promotes abstinence. No information about condoms, nothing about safe sex. The result of this cross-your-legs-and-think-of-God approach, according to official figures released this week, is that a quarter of teenage girls in the US have a sexually transmitted infection. How moral is that?

Though morality demonstrably collapses in the face of reality, the US is committed to exporting this approach. Its taxpayers have been asked to part with an astonishing $65bn to pay for HIV prevention and care in the developing world. To get a penny of that money, organisations have to pledge that they will oppose prostitution. The pledge was brought in by former Aids tsar Randall Tobias, handpicked by George Bush. "Former" because he resigned from public life last April, after his phone number was found on the client list of a Washington escort service. Spitzer is in good company.


A Few Points:

  1. In other words, the US should have been basing public policy upon the principle of a2+b2=c2 (the Pythagorean theorem). The thing about science is that it can tell us what the outcome of an action is, but it can't tell us what to do without experimentation: the scientific method only makes observations of outcomes and propose theories as to what those outcomes might be. If one were posed with the dilemma of whether or not to use another, for whatever reason, that individual would be hard pressed to derive an answer using the scientific method; further, any logician should be quick to point out that even the scientific method cannot be proved using the scientific method. The Scientific method cannot make a moral claim because the scientific method is amoral; yet, science cannot make policy without taking into account morality, for to do so would deny the ineffable mystery of humanity and turn the human person into a mere integer.

  2. The Sex Ed programs that focus on abstinence were ushered in during the Clinton Administration and not the Bush administration -- though the Bush Administration has kept the programs functioning and has allotted more federal money for the promotion of abstinence education. During Bill Clinton's presidency, Congress enacted the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Welfare Reform) which featured an education program on abstinence (no sex outside of marriage). The purpose of the program is to reduce out-of-wedlock births and sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). This plan is not unique to the Bush Administration.

  3. The STD rate in America has been 1 in 4 for over 10 years: its not just a female issue. I remember sitting in the auditorium at my college orientation and the MC saying, "Turn and look at the person to your left, now to your right, in front of you and behind you. One of them will not be here at the end of the year." She then said, "Now turn again and look at the person to your left, now to your right, in front of you and behind you. Statistically speaking, one of them has an STD." It is not the Bush administration that has cause this 1 in 4 statistic in America, neither did Clinton's administration, and neither will the next president's administration be the cause of the this statistic. The cause is from local, ground level, the average Joe and Jane Schmoe having multiple sex partners at an amount not before seen in years prior. The real question is where did Jane and Joe get the idea that this is the norm of behavior and to act otherwise is unhealthy, prudish, and down right crazy? I have my own ideas. Anyway, exactly how moral is it for certain industries to encourage 'free-love', multiple sex partners, and the any-thing goes lifestyle that puts individuals at a high risk of contracting STDs? Lastly, if condoms and safe-sex are the answers, then why has the STD rates continue to climb despite in increased information about safe-sex and the ease of accessibility to condoms? Saying that condoms and safe-sex programs are the answer seems to beg the question.

  4. What the new report does not tell is how STD rates and out of wed-lock pregnancy has dropped within certain demographics and has risen with others. If the STD rate has risen in the country it is not because abstinence failed but because people have failed to live the abstinence lifestyle till marriage. If the education is not working, it is only because the abstinence life style has been found difficult and in turn is left untried (or in some cases only partially tried).

  5. The fact is that abstinence ed does work for those teens who participate in the local programs. The problem is that it is not supported in the same way as other subject matter is supported in the school system -- I know this because I used to work for the Governor's Program on Abstinence in Louisiana and taught in the school system in Louisiana -- some people are out right hostile towards the idea of abstinence education. In other words, abstinence ed only appears to fail because of the disproportionate emphasis on other less essential things in our culture.

  6. Abstinence ed also has difficulty in being successful because the amount of (or lack of) abstinence ed teens receive. Most abstinence ed clubs might (very strong might) have weekly meetings through the school year. This boils down to roughly 30-40 hours of education on this topic at hand a year. Where as with other subject matter the student receives some 20-30 hours of education in a single subject over the course of a month. Combine it with what the lack of support from school faculty, school staff, health professionals who have the mentality of 'they are going to do it anyway' and with the heavy emphasis on sex in the media, is it any wonder that abstinence ed seems to fail.

  7. Abstinence ed seems to fail because in a public school of 1,000 only 20-30 students might be enrolled in an abstinence organization. Measuring two or three percent against 98 or 97 percent is hardly a fair call in determining if abstinence ed actually works. If you want to know if it works, you need to talk with, interview, and survey those people who are actually receiving the education. Even if the percentage were higher, say 10 percent, the figures would still be skewed.

  8. Lastly, the governmental abstinence programs are not "cross-your-legs-and-think-of-God" programs. The programs are aimed at developing a right (and healthy) relation with those people around you. It is about justice, as justice is the virtue of establishing right relationships between people. All of the governmental programs that focus on abstinence by law must be 'God-free'.
  9. It is not morality that has collapsed in the face of reality, it is humanity that has demonstrably collapsed in the face of the moral reality. To say otherwise is like blaming the existence of a lawful ban on murder for the reason one is thrown in jail for murdering and completely ignoring the agent's own, individual, personal actions which ultimately collapsed in the face of that lawful ban.
  10. Public morality can be legislated (thus morality to some degree can be made public policy) where as private morality cannot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Guinness Beef Stew

I make this stew every year for St. Paddy's day, and it is always a big hit.

Guinness Beef Stew

1/2 cup Butter
1-2 lbs. beef stew meat
1 lbs. Lamb (optional, but if you aren’t using replace with additional beef)
1 cup cup Diced Celery
16 oz bag of baby carrots
1 large Onion (larger than a baseball, smaller than a soft ball)
5 medium size potatoes chopped into chunky squares (medium size = about 6 inches in length)
3 can or bottle of draft Guinness
3 bottles of a comparable Irish red beer (Killians, Sam Adams Irish Red, Abita Irish Red, or just 3 more bottles of Guinness)
2-3 quart Beef Broth
1/2 cup Clarified Butter or vegetable oil
1 cup Flour
1-2 tsp of cayenne pepper or seasoned to taste (optional)
1-2 T of Black Pepper or season to taste
Crystal Hot Sauce to taste (optional)
Salt to Taste

  1. Heat ½ cup the butter in a large pot.
  2. Sear the beef in the butter until browned and season beef during cooking with some black pepper.
  3. Add the vegetables and potatoes and allow to soften slightly. I like to cut the baby carrots in half, especially the larger ones, but it is not necessary.
  4. Add the Guinness and beef broth. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.
  5. Allow to simmer for approximately 90 minutes or until the beef is tender and the potatoes are soft.
  6. Make your roux. While the stew is simmering, melt the clarified butter (or just pour in the vegetable oil) in a small saucepan and stir in the flour. Stir and cook over low/med heat until light golden. A roux can burn easily, so watch it closely and stir very often. In other words, don’t start making your roux then walk away. You can add a little Kitchen Bouquet to make it darker if you like a darker roux.
  7. When the potatoes in the stew are tender, add the roux (butter and flour mixture), a quarter at a time, to the stew and whisk to incorporate. After this addition, the stew will begin to thicken. After the desired consistency is reached, season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the stew simmer for as long as you like. The longer you cook it, the better it tastes. Also, as the stew is reducing I usually replace the lost liquid with the Irish red (thus the 3 extra beers. If you buy a six pack of Guinness, it is completely fine to add Guinness instead of the Irish Red, after all, Guinness is a deep, dark Irish Red).


Tips:
  • If you want a thicker stew, simply add less beef broth or beer (I don’t recommend adding less beer) or make and add more roux. If you add more roux later in your cooking, make sure that you let the stew cook for an additional 20 min after adding the roux -- otherwise the roux won't incorporate into the stew properly and you might be left with a stew that has a heavy flower taste.
  • Also, I’m a fan of vegetables in stew, some times I will double up on the carrots and add a couple of extra potatoes.
  • Really the recipe is more of a guide then a must follow road map. For instance, I’m a fan of vegetables in stew, some times I will double up on the carrots and add a couple of extra potatoes. I suggest just experimenting with it and see what comes.
  • Lastly this stew tastes better on the second or third day, so it is a great “make ahead of time item” that can be reheated simply by warming it in a sauce pan. It also freezes wonderfully. After cooling and leaving in the fridge over night, be sure to skim off the congealed grease on top of the stew, otherwise you will have a VERY greasy stew.
  • Invite over your friends and enjoy Guinness beef stew this St. Patrick’s Day for a special holiday you’ll all remember.

Monday, March 17, 2008

All y'all Who Seen the Leprechaun Say YEAH!

This is a few years old, but it still makes me laugh. Happy Saint Paddy's Day.

A Nice Piece of Ashe

The Rainbow s(ASH) Movement (RSM), an organization that supports certain gay issues that are in opposition to biblical and church teaching, is encouraging its emembers and supporters to greet the Pope by throwing ashes* and blowing whistles at the Pope during his visit to the USA this upcoming April.

In other news, the lay faithful are being encourage to bring small personal fans, large oscilating fans, and ear plugs for when the Rainbow Sash Movement starts hurling ashes and blowing their own whistles. The faithful are also being ask to pray for a strong wind that puts the RSM downwind from the Papal activities during the Holy Father's public appearances.

*It is ironic that the RSM doesn't even know that Ashes are not a sign for greeting a sinner. Ashes are a sign a sinner willing dons as part of their act of repentance. Repentance cannot be forced upon another by throwing ashes at another. Ashes alone does not make repentance. Also, shouldn't a sinner be welcomed with open arms? Isn't that what Jesus would do. After all, Christ came for the sick and ill.

From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world

Feel free to read about the glorious saints who have influenced beer drinkers and holy people around the world.

The Beer Saints

Saints: With Beer on Their Sides

When the Saints go Malting In

I personally like the story of
"St. Columbanus, who blew a cask of ale to bits with only his breath to prevent
a wasteful heathen sacrifice of ale to Woden. He won converts by telling all
that God loved beer, but only when drunk in His Name. St. Columbanus’s dying
wish was, “to die in the brew house; let ale be placed to my mouth when I am
expiring, so that when the choir of angels come, they may say: ‘Be God
propitious to this drinker.’”

Happy Saint Paddy's Day. Be smart in this Holy Week and in celebrating St. Paddy's Day in Moderation.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Amazon Sells ANYTHING

Here are two interesting products for sale on Amason.

Jl421 Badonkadonk Lank Cruiser/Tank


Relaxman Relaxiation Capsule

What makes these products note worthy are the customer reviews.

One for the Cruiser/Tank reads:
1,516 of 1,593 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a tank you can trust, December 1, 2005
By Thomas Dunham "Los Pepes" (Catonsville, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
I'll admit it. Shopping for a personal tank can be a bit daunting. Many times in the past I've purchased overpriced, so-called "battle tanks", then driven them into battle only to be wrecked in ten minutes by the first blow off of some insurgents home-made morter.

But not this baby, no way.

This tank R-O-C-K-S! Literally- the 400-watt sound-system keeps me rockin like a crazy man as I'm dishing out justice commando style. Wow. I just can't say enough. And the kids love it, too- imagine the look of terror in the eyes of the enemy as I'm dropping off my kid's team to their soccer game. Shock and awe, my friends, SHOCK AND AWE!

I had NAO install the optional GPS-guided white phosphorus missile system, and talk about *SWEET*! Burn baby burn!!!

Oh, it also has plenty of room for groceries, and if you need to like move a loveseat or something it'll fit if you use a little bungee cord.

The only real negative with this tank is that it shows up on radar a little more than I like (although there is a polyresin graphite stealth model available). Also, the included spare isn't full size.

Overall, a great tank.

And
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart or small children..., January 18, 2008
When I first saw this awesome war machine, I knew that I had to have one. So I sold the VW Microbus and put down a deposit post haste. My wife thought that I was crazy but that is her job. Taking advantage of Amazon's Supersaver shipping rates, the Badonkadonk arrived in 3,4,5 and 6 weeks. I was previously unaware that UPS delivered by mule and wagon.

There was an ample supply of duct tape and shingle nails provided for the final assembly. I opted for the shag carpeting and the "They hate us for our freedom" series waterboard for prisoner interrogation or wayward crew members. The lava lamps, blacklights and Jimi Hendrix posters brought the interior to life.


The ones for the Relaxman are just as funny. Here are a couple:

One drawback, when it was delivered the capsule had no bolt on the outside. But I'm handy, so I installed one.

I have been locking the wife and kids into the chamber from 7pm to 7am every evening, and boy am I relaxed. This really works.


or

I ordered one of these assuming, obviously, that in the vein of similarly named "-man" products, portability would be its chief component. Walkman, Discman, etc, all distinguish themselves from other identical products by the fact that they are portable and can be carried and used anywhere. I felt some suspicion when the crate arrived in a semi truck and required two men and a hydraulic liftgate to unload it on the patio next to my Fuller dome. Sure enough, when I finished bagging up the last of the 20 cubic yards of foam packing peanuts and took the time to closely examine the machine it was clear it would not easily clip to my belt or swing suspended around my neck by a lanyard. What a disappointment! I'm often struck by the urge for complete relaxation when traveling, commuting to work, or competing in the Extreme Fighting championship. Now that sweet escape from the brutal trials of life will have to wait until I've landed my autogyro in the backyard and hunkered down in this oversized coffin: the deceptively named "Relaxman".

The World's 50 most powerful blogs

Here is the list. Discover a new blog you might like. Though, I was sad not to see any religious themes on there -- wasn't much in the way of humor either. If you are wondering why I wasn't on the list, I was because I was number 51 (just kidding). Plus I already made one list as being a top 30 influential blogger -- I still can't get over than someone thinks this blog is influential.

Fun Fact: Richard Harris

Richard Harris was the guy who played Dumbledore in the first three Harry Potter films.

This fact come from here.
While living in England, Harris popped out for milk and when seeing the paper he noticed that Young Munster were playing in Thomond Park, Co. Limerick, Harris got the next available flight to Ireland. He spent the following 3 weeks on a drinking binge. All was unknown at the time to his wife, who had no idea where he was. When he finally returned to England, he rang the doorbell of his house. His wife answered the door and before she had a chance to say anything, he said "Well, why didn't you pay the ransom?".

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fish Filet Fridays: Fast Food . . . For the Soul

Via: the email mail bag from my friend Betsy.

Meme

Theocoid over at Is My Phylactery Showing? sent me a random Meme.

Da rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

6 non-important things/habits/quirks about myself.
  1. I write about half of my blog posts by hand. (I just like the actual writing process with pen and paper)
  2. I'm on a quest to find a good writing pen. So far I'm very fond of a LAMY fountain pen. However, people look at me weird when I use it in a public place, so I just stick with my Pilot V5 when note taking in public.
  3. I'll be at a Lenten-Lockin for the youth-group at my church parish tonight.
  4. It annoys me when I go on to a college campus or even just walk down the street and EVERYONE has their own little drum beat shoved in their ears. This annoys me because it makes it near impossible to say hello to the person you are passing or even acknowledge their existence beyond the unintentional eye contact they accidentally made while 10 feet in front of you. I don't know, maybe it's just that I am from the South. Although, it cracks me up when I pass the guy who feels the need to sing loudly along with the song he is currently listen to.
  5. I love hiking and backpacking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  6. I was an avid runner (half-marathons, 10k, 5k etc.) till I tore cartilage in my hip playing soccer in June of 2006. I had surgery last year (it took 8 months and several doctors and PTs to determind that I did indeed have torn cartilage) and am up to running 2 miles non-stop. I am glad to be running again.
  7. (Bonus) I turned this in as a joke for an assignment in my graduate level Christian Doctrine class at Notre Dame. I didn't think the professor was really going to accept it. I got an A.
I tag, your mom. So go tell her and post her info on your blog. I also tag the first 6 people who read this and wat to participate. Just leave comments in the annotations box if you are going to participate.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

VOTE Alive and Vote Often*

Remember, the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards will be wrapping up shortly. There has been some recent negative campaigning going around about the Alive and Young Blog as well as with other blogs and bloggers too. I assure you all that what has been said about the Alive and Young blog is false (unless it is something positive -- like saving a family of kittens from a burning building, which I did just last night) but everything said about my opponents is true (unless it is positive, then it is false); in fact it is doubly true.

Some bloggers have been throwing out various political cards "Vote for me, I'm a woman." "Vote for me, I'm a man." "Vote for me. I'm a college student, or a priest or whatever." "Vote for me. I have two legs." Ultimately there is only one reason that trumps all other reason on why it is imperative to the well being of Catholics and America if you don't vote for Alive and Young. Failure to vote for Alive and Young puts all of the know existence in jeopardy, for a failure to vote for A&Y means that Hillary Clinton will eat your babies. Do your babies really want to be devoured by Hillary? Do you really want your babies turned into a 90 calorie snack pack for this fiendish lady? If you don't then vote Alive and Young in this year's Catholic Blog Awards or else bad things will happen.


*this is a joke people! geeesh

Mary's Perpetual Virginity

Dr. Brant Pitri, over at Singing in the Reign, has a great post detailing old testament vows of sexual abstinence taken by women and how it relates back to the Virgin Mary and her perpetual virginity.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How To Telly You Are Suffering From Litabutinitus

Litabutinitus is a spiritual deadly crippling disease, which if not treated properly will lead to spiritual staleness, post Vatican II Blues, and closure of an infected parish. The most common cause for the contraction of Litabutinitus is liturgical abuse. Here for the help of your spiritual health, the Pontifical Office of the Liturgical Police has released the new flier detailing some of the common symptoms of Litabutinitus.


Symptoms include but are not limited to:


An unquenchable thirst for the water of life even after attending mass.












A diminishing of your spiritual and moral conscience.










A feeling of spiritual hunger that drives you to fill said hunger with other less fulfilling foods.









Frequent urges to use the bathroom












An unusual fascination with all things left.









The loss of the ability, or even the inability, to pray in the Spirit(shehomeshoehomehoehsohjsmf).











A decreased desire to pray and do any spiritual thing.










(Readers, Fill in the Blank)

Shame On You*

Shame on You Mr. The Curt Jester. It is time you ran a campaign that is consistent with your sense of humor and wit. All of your ‘supposed’ negative campaign adds. That’s what I expected from you. How clever and brow. Meet me in the blogosphere and we’ll have a debate about your humor and your wit. The only reason I am losing this race is because I am ALIVE and YOUNG. This race is bias towards youthful blood. This blogosphere needs change. I can be that change . . . just don't believe in me. You need to believe in Jesus, not me. (I'm so proud of my humility.)

The Curt Jester, get real, everyone thinks he is funny with his satire, puns, and social commentary, but you take his blog out of context and what do you have? Just a bunch of words on a screen. Is that what you think is funny? I got words on a screen if you want them. In fact I'll give you two screens of words, and you can laugh till you pee in your pants from delight if you want.

Jester what exactly is he jesting? If you haven't noticed his name bears a remarkable similarity with another word: pester. Is this just a coincidence? I think not. Is his real name The Curt Pester? I do believe so. I bet you didn't know this but The Curt Jester, I hears he wears phylactery. That's right. I also hears he supports the wearing of palliums on episcopate officers, and he even encourages them to let their pallium hang out so everyone can see it! Just yesterday he was going off about the miter. What was he trying to say? That he is mightier then us? I think not. I just can't believe it. If that doesn't tell you something about Mr. The Curt Jester's (or should I say The Curt Pester) out look on life then I don't know what does.

Now I know, things have been said of me lately. But they aren't true. Vote Alive and Young in the CBA. Don't vote for the other guy. Voting for the other guy means pie in your eye.

(This ridiculous message was approved by . . . Lolo the sign language ape)

*this is a joke people! geeesh

Conventional Literary Devices

Click on the image for a larger view.Personally I wonder what it was like to be one of the apostle and ACTUALLY experience one of these 'supposed' conventional literary devices.

Pieta

In this Tuesday's segment of Mental Floss' 'Feel Art Again' writer Andrea gives a little info about the Pieta and Michaelangelo.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A&Y Campaign Song

Earlier Today, the Alive and Young blog announced its campaign song. To make it through the final stages of The Catholic Blog Awards, Alive and Young will be doing it set to the intense double kick bass and mad guitar solos -- that can prove dangerous if one listens to while driving -- from the song Through the Fire and Flames by DragonForce. Choosing a metal band to represent the the spirit of the Alive and Young campaign is something not before seen in the campaign bloggospher. In fact, this reporter knows no other bloggers in the CBA that has chosen a campaign song. When asked about the song selection, Alive and Young had the following to say, "I chose this song because the campaign thus far has been like walking through the fire and flame. It reminds all who hear it that we must all past naked through the fire of God and be transformed. Plus, it RAWKS! I mean, if this song doesn't make you want to get up and do something, then check your pulse because you might be dead." In the uncut directors version of the video DragonForce reminds all to vote for Alive and Young in this year's Catholic Blog Awards.

Adventure in Catechesis #5

Text:
Catechist Frame 1: Alright, quiet down.
Catechist Frame 2: garblegrablegarble bien, tranquilite vers le bas garblebarblebarblebarble

New Shirts over at Mental Floss

New shirts. Below is an example of one.But Catholics report having the most fulfilling and satisfying sects.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The First Text Message

Though, today it might look more like this:
1. Ull nt oder gods B4 me.
2.
Ull nt uz God's nme n vain.
3.
kip Hly d Sabif.
4. Honor mom
n dad.
5.
dnt Murda.
6.
dnt do adultry.
7.
dnt stel.
8.
dnt li.
9.
dnt wnt yr nayber's yF.
10.
dnt wnt yr nayber's tings.



Sunday, March 09, 2008

Adventure in Catechesis #4

We find our catechetical leader teaching a group of teens preparing for confirmation on the many images of the Holy Spirit.


Text:
Catechesits: What did the Apostles receive at Pentecost?
Student: Flaming Tongues.

Flaming tongues, not to be confused with The Flaming Lips, a band of the 90's who became famous for their hit "She Don't Use Jelly" or even what the apostles really received (tongues of fire). I believe a flaming tongue might be dangerous.

the Really Terrible Orchestra

This makes me laugh. From the Article:
WHY should real musicians — the ones who can actually play their instruments — have all the fun?

Some years ago, a group of frustrated people in Scotland decided that the pleasure of playing in an orchestra should not be limited to those who are good enough to do so, but should be available to the rankest of amateurs. So we founded the Really Terrible Orchestra, an inclusive orchestra for those who really want to play, but who cannot do so very well. Or cannot do so at all, in some cases.

Moral of the Story: If you suck at something gather others around you that sucks as much as you do so you don't feel as if you have the obligation to improve yourself. I feel like this group could be someone's sociology thesis.

Introducing: Folk Guitar Hero

Grab your favorite tie-dye, your best bandanna, and don't shower for a week and prepare to folk rock around the globe with the newest addition to the Guitar Hero series: Folk Guitar Hero. Battle against, well maybe not battle as that's not in the spirit of folk guitar, so grab your folk guitar and jam with some of the greatest folksters to ever don the git-fiddle. Folk Guitar Hero features 42 track of mind altering substance and feel good rhythms and beats that will make you feel like you are in the Blue Ridge Mountains, almost Heaven, West Virginia. Play classics from James Taylor, Cats Stevens, Bob Dylan, John Denver, and Ole' Willie. Once you start playing you won't want to stop till there is peace, love, and harmony in the world. Go online and ride the peace-train globally with fellow folk guitar heroes with the internet jam feature -- there are no strangers in these blue waters.

Platforms: X-Box 360, PS 3, Wii

This package includes:
(1) Folk Guitar Hero Software package.

(1) Folk Guitar Controller modeled after the famous Martin Dreadnought guitar.

Promotional Items Include:
(1) Limited Edition, 'Young' James Taylor Signed Boxed Edition

(1) Folk Guitar Hero Bandanna


(1)Peace sign you can hang from the rear view mirror of your VW Bug or Van


Optional Equipment:

(1)Banjo Controller


(1)Steel Guitar Controller

(1)Harmonica Controller

Not Said By Jesus Sunday


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Campaign Summary

This is how I sum up each candidate's platform from the information I receive from the news.

McCain: I was a prisoner of war, served in the military for 20 years, I'm a politician, vote for me.

Obama: I'm cool, I'm hip, I can speak well, I'm a politician, Change, I'm black, Vote for me.

Clinton: My husband was president, I'm a hero for staying with my husband even though he repeatedly cheated on me, I'll cry if I don't get my way, I have a calculated response to everything that makes me seem like a robot, I'm a politician, I'm a woman, Vote for me.

Forming Something for Faithful Blogdomship

The USCCB recently released a long anticipated document concerning blogging within the context of Catholicism. The document was sparked by the recent 2008 Catholic Blog Awards and the controversy of a midwest Bishop saying he would deny access to the donut ministry table following mass to anyone who did not vote according to the timeless truths laid out by Christ and His Church guided by the Holy Spirit through the ages in the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards. The Bishop's statements started a heated discussion among theologians from every denomination. They are questioning whether or not the donut ministry falls under the confines of Eucharistic hospitality and if a Bishop actually has the authority to make such a denial. It is being reported that Canon Law is silent on the issue.

The document, which is called Forming Something for Faithful Blogdomship: A call to blogdom responsibility and a guide to the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, is an easy read and has section on various church issues involving blogging: What does the Church Teach about Blogging?, Is there Blogging in the Bible?, What Would Jesus Blog? and Do People See God's Face on My Space? The document also includes subsections and tangents on the following: being a prudent blogger, human dignity in the blogosphere, who can participate in blogging, making blogging choices, and solidarity.

The Bishops end the document encouraging all Catholics to vote for Alive and Young in this year's Catholic Blog Awards. Failure to vote for A&Y will result in the destruction of the metaphysical dimensions of reality, the tearing apart of the time space continuum (which could be really cool) and the reintroduction of New Coke into America (YUCK).

Friday, March 07, 2008

VOTE A&Y in 2008

So, how do you know Alive and Young is a good, morally sound Catholic blogger? What exactly do you know about the A&Y Blog? Well, Alive and Young took the time to fill out a small profile, so the voters will be more informed as to who A&Y is:
Hometown: Blogger, The World Wide Web

Major/Minor/Concentration: Alive and Young majored in General Studies in College. That means Alive and Young can speak about most things generally or majorly speak about all general things.

Extra Curricular Activities/Clubs, etc. in college: Around the World with St. Louis de Montfort, Box Builders Anonymous, People with long last names but abbreviate it, Air Guitar RAWKERS (Because to Air is human: to Air Guitar is divine) and like Colbert, Alive and Young Teaches Sunday School!

What kinds of things are you up to in your Catholic parish? Alive and Young is hard at work in developing the donut ministry to a level never before imagined. No longer are there stale donuts. Now there is only warm freshly glazed donuts and steaming fresh coffee. A&Y currently working with catechesis, Middle School and High School Youth Groups, Confirmation, RCIA, etc… A&Y even move tables, rearrange furniture, dig ditches, and translate ethnic slurs for the Mexican immigrants. On the weekends, A&Y entertain the elderly ladies in the parish with his sensual obey playing, leap tall buildings in a single bound, and conducts experiments based on Einsteinium physics and how the theory of relativity effects the Aboriginal people of Australia after the Sydney Olympics. Last week A&Y discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.

Hopes/Ideas for future if you win: Continue blogging and promote all things Catholic. Encounter the modern world. Show people that you don’t have to be awkward, nerdy, and uncool, to be a Christian. Alive and Young has great great plans if selected to represent the Catholic blogosphere. But of course Alive and Young will continue to laugh at himself, as if you cannot laugh at your self then you probably shouldn’t be laughing at all. Likewise Alive and Young will continue to speak with himself as, like laughing, if you can’t speak with yourself then you probably aren’t worth speaking with. A&Y also promises, that if A&Y wins, A&Y will work on A&Y's grammar, syntax, and grammar.

Alive and Young has national goals too: If A&Y wins, A&Y plans on decreasing inflation, requiring companies to put matching number of hot dog buns in the bread bags that corresponds to the number of hot dogs in a pack, establishing a mandatory National rest hour in America that will last for approximately 90 min right after lunch, and exile all Debbie Downers and Nay Sayers to a small island off the coast of Alaska where they will establish colonies and engage in combat for dominance over said small Alaskan island.

Favorite Quote(s): “Stop Whining” –Arnold; “Misers get up early in the morning; and burglars, I am informed, get up the night before.” – Chesterton

Preferred Caffeine Conductor
: Black Coffee and the occasional Coke.

Favorite Dessert
: Pralines (pronounced PRAW-lean)

Celebrity appearance that would ruin your surprise 28th Birthday party:
Parish Hilton.

Celebrity appearance that would highlight your surprise 28th Birthday party:
John Carney (former kicker for the New Orleans Saints)

Number of times you have locked your keys in your car:
10. I’m only human.

Song choice for background music during your entrance if you were in a major motion picture:
The Godfather theme.

Favorite Dance:
Cajun
Shoe Size: 12.5

Favorite Author:
Chesterton

Favorite Book:
The Hobbit

Favorite Movie:
A Man for All Seasons (the 1966 version)

Favorite Activity:
Laughing and Sleeping
Vote Alive and Young in 2008 or risk certain damnation.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Header

New Header, made it on GIMP. GIMP is the open source version of Adobe Photo Shop. As you can tell, the program isn't quite as powerful as Adobe, but it serves me well.

Vote Alive and Young in 2008

You know that other guy. You know. The guy who everyone thinks is funny. I bet you didn’t know this but he imports his humor from China. His laughs and wit, aren’t his own, and he doesn’t even write his own jokes.

I bet you also didn’t know that he voted twice against the American Humor Act. Don’t believe us? It’s in his voting record. Not only that but he drinks that water-downed skim milk stuff (how disgusting). To make matters worse, he even voted for himself in last year’s elections. Is this the kind of person you want representing the Catholic blogosphere?

There is no skim milk in Alive and Young’s fridge: Only Whole Milk. Alive and Young doesn’t water down the humor, and his laughs are genuine American wit and humor. You won’t find any “Made in China” tags on this blog. And unlike that other guy, A&Y has the humility to vote for the little guy. The other guy couldn’t: he was hindered by his own pride.

Well if you like un-American, watered-down, prideful humor then go ahead and vote for the other guy.

But if you like the real deal, All-American, whole-milk drinking toughness with a blog of great stature and of humble personage then you know who to vote for in 2008. Because Yes, I Can't.

Vote Alive and Young in 2008.*

*Add paid for by the ‘Friends of Alive and Young.” Add does not necessarily express the opinions and views of Alive and Young.

Chesterton in the Church Bulletin

Everyone one of the staff members in the parish given a chance at writing on the front right conner of the bulletin; they can do whatever they want with it . Well, I could not think of anything to do with it. So I thought I would share some of the wisdom of Chesterton with the parish. Here are the quotes I put in the bulletin:
If people cannot mind their own business it cannot be more economical to pay them to mind each other’s business; and still less to mind each other’s babies; it is simply throwing away a natural force and then paying for an artificial force: as if a man were to water a plant with a hose while holding up an umbrella to protect it from the rain.
G.K. Chesterton, The Superstition of Divorce

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.
G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong With the World

The Truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberalityand humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.
G.K. Chesterton, London Illustrated News

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Move Over Baby Einstein There's a New Kid On the Block

Check out the Curt Jester's new item for sale. Baby Augustine.

Brett Favre, May He Retire In Peace

RIP (retire in peace): Brett Favre 1991-2007. Every season with the Packers. Brett Favre is set to talk about his retirement tomorrow at an afternoon press conference. This is a sad sad day for football fans. I feel as if a piece of my childhood is now going to be missing come next football season.

Vote A&Y in 2008, and I Promise To . . .

I Promise if you vote for me over at the Catholic Blog Awards and I win top honor in representing all of catholic blogdom in whichever category I will . . .
  • Not Run for President of the United States of America.*
  • Make sure there is a pint in every hand in America (only if they are of age of course).*
  • Place a Laugh in Every heart!*
  • And put a smile on Every Face.*
  • Lower taxes.*
  • Fight Evil Doers and make the world safe for democracy.*
  • America.*
  • Not quit my day job.*
  • Require all government officials to do a cardiovascular workout for at least 30 min 3 times a week or else they will lose their position in office.*
  • Replace all military, police, special ops, guns, and nuclear weapons with the only weapon America needs: Chuck Norris.**
  • Give a tax credit to anyone who names their kid Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:1).*
Vote for Alive and Young in 2008. Don't vote for the other guy as if he (or she) wins he (or she) will destroy the world, pillage America, beat homeless people with bats, won't recycle, run around naked singing the theme song from Scooby Doo, and eat your babies. That is why you need to vote Alive and Young in 2008.

*The Alive and Young Blog (A&Y) cannot guarantee the above made promises. But wouldn't it be grand if he could. That's why you should vote A&Y in the Catholic Blog Awards in 2008. Because Yes, I CAN'T

**Chuck has already agreed to this. He has also promised to increase jobs in America by sending ninja teams to sabotage and take them back from other countries.

Adventure in Catechesis #3

We find our catechetical leader teaching 8th grade morality and learning that one must be more specific in one's questions when teaching 8th graders.

Text:
Catechists: Where is the proper context for sex?
Students: The Bathroom.

A more specific question might have been "What is the proper context for sex within the framework of Catholicism?" But hey, we live, we learn, and we laugh.

via: my roommate Eric "The Kidney Punch" Bueller.

*Don't forget to vote for me over at the Catholic Blog Awards.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Does Facebook Have a Religious Bias?

Last week, Father Chris Decker of the Diocese of Baton Rouge in Louisiana, and one of the personalities on the podcast the catholic underground (CU), logged onto his Facebook account only to discover that his religious title “Fr.” had been removed. Quite confused by the matter, and thinking it to be a glich, Fr. Chris called his friend, and other CU personality, Josh Leblanc to inquire about the situation. They discovered that the title ‘Father’ had been removed from nearly all the priests on the Facebook network. His suspicions were confirmed; it was no glich.

Father Chris and the rest of CU crew, all of whom use various media as tools for evangelization, thought it imperative that the title of “Fr.” remain on priests’ accounts as it demonstrated, in a subtle way, the church and her people encountering and engaging the modern world as well as it actualized the call for the new evangelization. So the CU crew, along with the help of many associates, set out to inquire why the titles of “Fr.”, and in fact “Sr.” also, disappeared from people’s Facebook accounts without any notice or explanation.

Father Jason Vidrene, associate pastor at the Catholic church on the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and also occasional guest on the CU podcast who also believes that “Fr.” is not just a mere title but a part of who he is as an ordained Roman Catholic priest, contacted the Facebook staff via email only to receive a reply from a Facebook representative named Patrick who wrote in his reply to Father Jason: “We no longer allow titles on Facebook for sake of confirming a true identity of those who have profiles.” It was an answer that was unsatisfactory.

After several exchanges over email between Father Jason and Patrick of Facebook, the rational behind their decision was explained in that Facebook does not wish to deceive or mislead people into thinking that its members are someone else than they claim to be. Yet, even Facebook is uncertain in regards to its own policy as to why titles were removed from names. Sarah Asbery of Atlanta, GA contacted Facebook about the same issue and received a message from a representative name Christina who gave the following reason for removing titles: “We are not trying to censor users, we just encourage only first and last names to make searching for people much easier.” Other explanations for the removal of “Fr.” from the Facebook staff includes: “Impersonating anyone or anything is prohibited” and “Any title on a user's account name is a violation of our Terms of Use.”

Whatever the reason for the removal of titles one thing is certain, Facebook has no procedures in place for confirming any information a user provides to Facebook beyond the initial email address required at account set up and there was nothing in their Terms of Use addressing the use of titles. However, Facebook’s Terms of Use does state that the user has sole responsibility for the use of his or her personal name. Furthermore, there is no way to know, via the social network, if a person is who they say they are beyond basic trust in the human spirit.

To prove the point that Facebook has no means in confirming its users, does not keeps track of its members’ identity claims, and is not serious about quality control, Josh Leblanc of the CU, created a false account for the late fifth century pontiff Pope Zosimus II. Josh even outfitted Pope Zosimus’ profile with nonexistent universities and other unverifiable information about the late pontiff. According to the late Pontiff’s Facebook profile his activities include “Running the Catholic Church, Appointing Bishops, Writing Encyclicals.” Pope Zosimus job discription goes as follows: “I ran the Catholic Church for a few years.” His favorite TV shows: “TV????” Likewise with movies. Other late individuals who have accounts on Facebook include Flannery O’Connor, Mr. Rogers, and Walker Percy; Yogi Bear even has his own account.

Yet, Father Jason, Josh Leblanc, and the 1,200 plus members of the face book group “Facebook - stop removing Fr. from priests' names!” are wondering whether or not this is a case of anti-Catholicism or at least a Catholic bias. Their evidence: Facebook has only removed the titles that are associated with Catholicism, Father and Sister, and has allowed others to keep the titles of doctor, reverend, yogi, sir, senator, and congressman. Further, Father Jason cites on the Episode 69 of CU that even though he signed his correspondences with Patrick as “Father Jason”, Patrick refused to address Father Jason as ‘Father’ and instead just called him “Jason.”

To date, Facebook has not given an adequate answer as to why only certain religious, specifically Catholic, titles have been removed, while other professional, political, and titles of other faith traditions remain.

Local Liturgist Teaches Congregation to Be Church by Interlocking Fingers

Here is the church and here is the steeple. Open the door and see all the people – or that is how most people learned the simple rhyme in Sunday school, while interlocking fingers. Last Sunday during the whole family catechesis session at St. John’s Church, Liturgist Rebecca Landry instructed the congregation on the different meanings of the word ‘church’ in the catholic tradition, and she did it using a simple child’s rhyme. A&Y caught up to Rebecca today to discuss her catechetical method.

A&Y: Thanks for taking time to talk to us today Rebecca.

RL: Oh, you’re welcome. I don’t mind. It really is my pleasure.

A&Y: Can you tell us a little about how you decided about your catechetical method?

RL: Oh yes. Well, I’ve read quite a number of papal encyclicals and in a number of them there comes a reoccurring theme: the new evangelization and encountering the modern world. So I was operating out of those ideas.

A&Y: The new evangelization. Can you sum that up for the readers who might not be familiar with it?

RL: The new evangelization came at the end of Vatican II when Pope Paul VI in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi where he expressed the desire of the council fathers to usher in a new evangelization, which I find interesting because at the start of Vatican II Pope John XXIII prayed for a new Pentecost in his document Humanae Salutis. Anyone knows that you can’t have a new Pentecost and not have it be followed by a new evangelization. But in a nutshell, the new evangelization is spreading the gospel through all means presently available.

A&Y: That is something important today. Where did you get the idea to teach about church using a child’s rhyme?

RL: It was really simple. I was teaching it to my niece, and it just hit me.

A&Y: And what were you hoping to teach?

RL: Well, I was hoping to teach a number of things. There are a number of misconceptions about what we do on Sunday. First, I wanted to inform our parishioners that the Catholic church is not a club. This is not a volunteer organization like the Elks or Lions Club or even the Scouts. The church is the Body of Christ, and the Body is the place where love is experienced and felt whose end is the kingdom of Christ. Clubs don’t require faith. Being a member of the church and body of Christ does.

A&Y: Yes. Very interesting. What else?

RL: Well, Secondly, there is this idea that the church is the building you go to on Sunday to go to mass. Well that is certainly true, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, I wanted to extend our theological understanding a bit. So I expressed that church is something we are and something we do. You know the old phrase that became popular after Vatican II “We are Church.” Well, we are.

A&Y: That seems like a phrase that is popular among certain progressive groups.

RL: Well it is, but there is some truth to it. You see, the Catechism of the Catholic Church section 795 reads “Christ and his Church thus together make up the ‘whole Christ.’” It would be silly to think that Christ, the second person of the Trinity, Son of the Living God, is made whole when in union with a building. A living God made whole by a non-living thing, as if the body of Christ is made of brick and mortar. This seems silly. It appears that the wholeness must be between two living organisms. Thus Benedict’s calling of the church as being both “Alive and Young.” So the church is alive and we help make it living while God helps keep it young.

A&Y: Yes, I am familiar with Benedict’s phrase. What else were you wanting to pass on to your families?

RL: Oh there is so much, so much. Too much really. Other points I really wanted to express, if you don’t mind a laundry list?

A&Y: Oh no, we don’t mind.

RL: Good, well: the church is holy, catholic, and apostolic, the church is an article of our faith, the church transcends time and history, it is not reducible to what you can only see, that the church is born from Christ’s self giving and flowed from his side on the cross, that Sharing in the body of the Lord is a communion in the Love of the Lord and we should be what it is we eat when we are worshiping as church - as the body of Christ - in the liturgy, and finally that the Church is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery.

A&Y: You weren’t kidding. That is a lot. What practical advice can you give to our readers about church?

RL: That as the church we are communal. The church is not your personal self-help group. Though we are church we are also the body of Christ, and as being one body, anything that one person does – though unknowingly and mysteriously, it will have an effect upon the rest of the body. It is like when you have a broken leg or hand. That brokenness affects the rest of your body. It makes other parts work harder than they should. Remember, The church and the liturgy is for the sake of the world.

A&Y: Can you share with us the rhyme you used?

RL: Certainly: “Here is the church and here is the steeple. Open the door and see all the people. Here is the birch and here is the steeple. Open the door and the people are church.”

A&Y: Thank you very much for your time.

RL: You are welcome.
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