Thanks to a religious vow taken by the men of our house Wednesdays has, with the rare exception of the occasional fish and chips, become Pizza night in the Ingemi household.

Fitchburg Massachusetts has the distinction of housing 15 different Pizza places, From Pizza Hut, Papa Ginos & Little Caesars, to family owned locations like Patriot Pizza, Village Pizza & the Cleghorn House of Pizza and that doesn’t counting convenience stores like Cumberland Farms or supermarkets like Market Basket.  That works out to about 1 for every 2687 people in the city.

That gives plenty of choices and that’s a good thing because it seems all of us have different tastes, and pies we don’t care for.  If it was up to Sam we would never order from Espresso’s.  I’ll eat Parkhill if it’s in the house but will not order it if given the choice.  Danny doesn’t care for Domino’s pie when it’s meatless and if Valery doesn’t like the Pie at a place, she goes for the chicken parm.

This isn’t a reflection on the quality of the various pies they are just made to different tastes.  I spoke to the owner of Zedas on the subject, he is careful to keep up quality and tries to make a pizza that can appeal to the largest number people but in the end there are always going to be some people who just have different tastes.  That’s just life.

And this brings us to the subject of sin.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church there are all kinds of sins described, offenses against truth, others property, modesty, family, life , the dignity of marriage. and God and others.

Some of these sins are graver than others,, some of them society frowns on, others are promoted and lionized,  some are primarily self-destructive and others harm thousands, some are done brazenly and other in secret out of shame.

Most important of all, these sins appeal to different people, there are those who would steal the coins off  corpse’s eyes but would never raise a hand against anyone, there are people who will play the field married or no, but wouldn’t touch a dollar that belongs to someone else, there are those who would spend every cent they had on a drunken binge, but would never neglect a prayer or a mass, there are those who would never tell a lie but couldn’t hold their tongue when it comes to gossip about someone else’s problems.

Sin is in fact, a matter of taste, and do not doubt for one moment that like the various pizza places in Fitchburg the Devil does his best to tempt you to those tastes.

So when you see your brother sin, remember while it is certainly proper to call sin, sin make sure you don’t do so in pride, because if you do you might find yourself being served the same helping of sin, with just a different flavor.

 

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

While all the headlines about criminal pro players blazed, my sister and I went to see the ultimate football movie, When the Game Stands Tall the other night. The main reasons were that Jim Caviezel stars, and it’s not a chick flick since I hate chick flicks.

Most of the movie takes place on the field. Mind you, I’m a graduate of the University of Georgia in Athens (where alumni buy condos with a view of the football field), and my sister’s son and her husband both are avid Miami Dolphins fans (and proud owners of season tickets), but neither one of us is keenly interested in sports.

The movie was fascinating.

Unlike most sports movies, it’s not about an underdog (Rocky, The Champ), charming losers (Tin Cup), or fantasy settings (Field of Dreams), and the hero doesn’t die of a tragic illness (Bang the Drum Slowly, The Pride of the Yankees).

It’s based on the true-life story of high school football coach Bob Ladouceur, who, as the movie blurb says,

took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American sport.

Ladouceur coached the Spartans to consistently “give a perfect effort from snap to whistle” indeed. The winning streak was an extraordinary accomplishment for any coach, by any standard, but that is not the reason why this film is a must-see.

The reason why this story is so compelling is that Ladouceur leads his team members to live by an ethic that transcends sports:

I have often heard it said that football builds character. I disagree; I believe it reveals character. There are many different people, events, and experiences that contribute to character formation. Every single person at this gathering has a special talent. Mine I think happens to be coaching – many times I wish that I had certain talents my students possess but that’s what God gave me. This point could not be better illustrated that in Jesus parable of the Three Servants in Matthews gospel. In it, a wealthy landowner gave three of his servants a certain sum of money to see what each would do with it. The first two returned the money with profit. They used their courage and ingenuity to parlay their sum into something more. The third hid the money and just returned what he originally received. The landowner didn’t expect much – he just wanted the servants to have the courage to use what talent they had and do something. The key point to the story is and I quote, “The land owner gave to each servant according to his ability.” The assumption here, is that each of us has some sort of ability: talent. Now it’s our responsibility to discover what that is and what’s more, have the courage to use it.

Ladouceur believes in integrity and Christian values as a way of life for each member of his team. As Erik Daniel points out,

Where most high school football movies are about sex, pride, drinking, and disobeying your parents, When The Game Stands Tall stresses the importance of purity, humility, and family.

The film shows the entire team reciting the Lord’s Prayer in unison, with reverence, which, as of itself, will probably bring out an atheist hissy fit or two. (That may be why 78% of the audience liked it but only 17% of the critics did at Rotten Tomatoes.)

While the poster tag line reads “It’s not how hard you fall, it’s how you get up”, I also find in When the Game Stands Tall an especially American theme: It’s not just about how you play the game, it’s how you win.

Add to all this a great team of perfectly-cast engaging young actors, and you have a winner.

Go see it.

Rated PG. Suitable for the whole family, but leave the preschoolers home since there’s a shooting, and realistic, rather violent, scenes during the games may frighten some of the youngest viewers.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

I noticed this headline at Reuters

Citing security threat, Obama expands U.S. role fighting Ebola

and this at CNN:

Obama: U.S. ready to take the lead in Ebola fight

Well that’s good, It’s a tough thing when disease is rampant, It’s good to know that the US is going to be taking the lead here. So I presume we will be sending large quantities of medical experts, huge supplies of drugs and supplies to improve sanitary right? 

U.S. Africa Command will set up a Joint Force Command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities and facilitate coordination with U.S. government and international relief efforts. A general from U.S. Army Africa, the Army component of U.S. Africa Command, will lead this effort, which will involve an estimated 3,000 U.S. forces.

U.S. Africa Command will establish a regional intermediate staging base (ISB) to facilitate and expedite the transportation of equipment, supplies and personnel. Of the U.S. forces taking part in this response, many will be stationed at the ISB.

What? I know that’s the White House site but maybe I read that wrong, let’s check the Daily Mail:

US to send 3,000 troops to Ebola danger zone as Obama administration shuffles military’s mission in Africa
The Obama administration said late Monday night that the U.S. military will set up a command post in Monrovia, Liberia, the Ebola outbreak’s epicenter
‘This effort … will involve an estimated 3,000 U.S. forces,’ according to the White House
Pentagon official says military will ‘be the lead dog, and that will make a lot of people nervous. … No one wants U.S. personnel enforcing someone else’s martial law if things go south and the entire region is at risk’

So we are going to send 3000 troops to fight ebola? What are we going to do, shoot it?

The Pentagon is asking Congress to shift another $500 million in its budget for Ebola response, doubling the amount it’s seeking to spend from its contingency fund to as much as $1 billion, the White House said yesterday.

In all seriousness what does it say about Africa that the solution to Ebola is for the US to establish a military command post in order for Ebola aid to be distributed, and what happens if our Islamic friends decide to send fighters to go after both the US troops and doctors?

And finally what steps are going to be taken to make sure those troops don’t become infected themselves and take the disease back to the US?

“Now now now…. Raquel, RA-quel. Now there’s something you have to understand here. It’s really simple. Now these are the people that BUY the TICK-ETS. And they’ve been waiting a LONG time to talk to ya’, and you should go right ahead and do that because this is part of the job.”

Jimmy Stewart as told by Raquel Welch 

 

This week the Politichicks put out their hot list of conservative men Ted Cruz was (deservedly so) the big overall winner.among choices that included Pol, Radio Talk Hosts, bloggers and authors.

The pool of voters was small and there was no category offered for Supermarket Chain owners but Monday at the Market Basket on Water Street Store number 14 a larger pool of voters left no doubt that the winner of their hot contest would be a short balding man by the name of Arthur T. Demoulas.

Less than three months after his removal as CEO of the Market Basket Chain and just 20 days after his successful purchase of the said chain from his cousin’s side of the family Mr. Demoulas was in Fitchburg visiting store #14 as part of his regular rounds to see first hand how things are at various locations.  Under normal circumstances it would be just another routine visit like all the other ones he has done over the decades.

That’s not exactly how it worked out.

The employees delight at seeing the man for who they had spent a summer risking their jobs fighting for could hardly be restrained.  He greeted them, spoke with them, shook their hands and posed for picture after picture.  One 20-year-old worker in between stocking shelves took great delight in taking out her smart phone to show me the her selfie taken with her CEO bursting with the enthusiasm of a person who just got a kiss from their favorite rock star.

Nor was that feeling confined to the workers on shift, text messages and phone calls exploded from the location alerting workers off duty, family and friends that Arthur T was in the building.  By the time I arrived, camera in cart, a sort of receiving line had formed between the butter & margarine section and the eggs where customers and employees lined for a chance to speak to the man and have a picture taken.  A manager on duty told me he had already spent over two hours speaking to every person who wanted some of his time.

I watched as person after person came up to him and he greeted them, not as a conquering king, nor as the richest man in the store, but as a man expressing gratitude,  Thanks to customers for their support, thanks to employees for their hard work as if they were responsible for every dollar he had ever made.

Finally after doing my own shopping and seeing a brief gap in the flow of people approaching him, I asked for a brief interview which he granted without hesitation.

 

and spent the entire time giving all the credit to others and stressing the importance  if approaching each day with an attitude of serving others.

We talked a bit more off camera, he talked of how giving the customer (in the form of low prices and good service), the employee (in the form of pay & benefits) and the owners (in the form of profit) a stake in the Business’ success helps make it successful but by then my brief window was gone as more customers came in to meet the man whose face they had seen on posters, signs and news reports for the last three months.

In the end he stayed till 7 PM giving four full hours to one of the 70+ stores in his chain just to say hello.

Some might consider that a waste of an owners time, but I suspect Mr. Arthur T Demoulas understands that those hours meeting his employees and customers will pay dividends for years to come because he knows the right thing is almost always the smart thing.

And in addition to everything else Arthur T Demoulas is one smart businessman.

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Olimometer 2.52

We remain 5 grand away from making our expenses for the year and a sold $1000 away from making them this month.

If you think the coverage and commentary we provide here is worth your support please consider hitting DaTipJar below to meet our annual expenses.

Consider the lineup you get In addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit)  on Sunday Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly Fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?