This past Tuesday, the mysterious yet not mythical Mrs. Dude and I took in a one night only presentation of a concert film. Well, to be accurate I took it in; she endured it. Said film was a never-before shown Grateful Dead show recorded in the summer of 1989 at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Given how I’ve gotten into the band in recent years, this is as close as I’ll come to seeing them live (sorry, John Mayer, but Dead and Company doesn’t do it for me).

Although the Dead are commonly and not inaccurately associated with San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury, hippies, the Summer of Love, etc etc etc (translation: sex, drugs, rock’n’roll), many non-fans are surprised to learn the band had a huge and fiercely loyal following on the east coast. And I do mean following, with multitudes piling into their VW microbuses and following the Dead from show to show, selling anything available – including themselves if need be – in order to score concert tickets. It truly was a long, strange trip.

Musically, either you get the Grateful Dead’s free-flowing mix of easy blues, Americana, roots rock, folk, free-form jazz, and whatever else came to mind during assorted lengthy improvisation sessions, or you find them quite possibly the most boring rock band in history. Either is okay. I don’t possess 1800 different concert tapes, pouring obsessively over each one and thus able to immediately tell whether a song is from Watkins Glen in 1973 or Boise in 1982. Further, I couldn’t tell you if the band played either of those locations during said years. Or at all. I listen to live shows on Sirius XM’s Grateful Dead channel, I own a few live CDs, and I have all of the band’s studio efforts. That’s good enough for me, sugaree.

Anyway, back to the concert film. It was magic. The band was on that night both musically and personally, with shared smiles the norm from start to finish (i.e. from “Touch of Grey” to “Black Muddy River”). It was good to pretend, at least for a couple of hours, that time had reversed itself and Jerry Garcia along with keyboardist Brent Mydland were still with us instead of Mydland having overdosed a year and five days after the concert in question, followed by Garcia succumbing to the ravages of drug use along with diabetes and other health complications in 1995. They are missed.

The next day, having one of those modest perks of working in retail known as a day off during the week, I took myself into San Francisco. Allow me to backtrack a bit: over the decades, I have loved, absolutely loved, walking around San Francisco. Avoiding certain neighborhoods such as the Tenderloin District, I have luxuriated in the city’s vibrant energy, sampling the multitude of one-off shops and restaurants. It has been an exhilarating time most every time for this hybrid boy comfortable in both pastoral rural settings and amidst concrete and steel.

Yesterday I hated most every minute of it.

One is always best advised to be on high alert in every section of San Francisco, practicing full streetwise caution techniques and staying aware at all times. That said, yesterday I felt not the energy of times before, but rather tremendous disquiet. The street people no longer seemed sadly amusing. Now, they felt threatening, emboldened by a city government blissfully ignoring their excesses and public excrement while labeling any who dare complain as haters, or worse yet in their eyes Trump supporters.

This discomfort is not solely confined to San Francisco, of course. It permeates most every city out here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and as friends around the country report, most every major and not a few minor metropolitan areas. There is a palpable anger, a defiant edge marinated in by many on both left and right. It is one that can easy explode into violence, and not just the occasional Antifa versus Trump supporters clash. This is something far worse.

I believe there is a genuine danger of widespread civil disobedience in the very near future. No, not the cartoon kind practiced by those who believe waving a sign and getting “arrested” constitutes making a stand against the evil corporate oppressors who made the phones with which all involved are filming things. This is the kind that lobs live ammunition, and lots of it. Should the current deep state plus establishment (no party line delineation needed) open war against President Trump succeed in forcing him out of office, there will be blood and lots of it as the deplorables embrace a call to arms. I pray it will not come to this, and I pray I am wrong. But I don’t believe I am.

All I can do is pray and be a witness for Christ. His love and life-changing, along with saving, power can change even the hardest hearts into acceptance of others without compromising beliefs. This is what our country needs. Only then will San Francisco and all like it again vibrate with natural energy, not the dark energy of a city and country teetering on anarchy’s edge.

It would help if more people listened to the Grateful Dead too.

I spoke to Blythe Kaufman of the Children’s Rosary at the 2017 Catholic Marketing Network

Their blog is here.

The Rest of my Catholic Marketing Network posts are here.


This blog is a venture in capitalism that depends primarily on readers. You can help finance this by picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

If your Catholic Church gets a monthly missal one of the things you will notice occasionally are short form options on some Sunday readings. This is characterized by a set of brackets around part of a reading that can be omitted if the celebrant of a mass so chooses.

As a rule this happens when a Sunday’s scheduled passage is particularly long but last week was an exception.  There were two choices for the Gospel reading.  The short option was Matthew 13:44-46 which says:

Jesus said to his disciples:  “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

This is a perfectly good Gospel, but you glanced at the length of the full reading in the missal you might have said to yourself what I did.  “Brackets?  These verses only add a few sentences.  Why on earth would the church feel the need to shorten it?

Once I read the missing verses understanding came to me.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.  When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets.  What is bad they throw away.  Thus it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

“Do you understand all these things?” They answered, “Yes.” And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” 

Unlike the short form which only teaches of the joys of salvation, the long form also reminds us there are consequences horrible consequences complete with the fires of hell and wailing and grinding of teeth, for those who do not achieve it.  This is lesson that Christ teaches often, from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16) , the parables of the fig tree, the narrow gate and calls to repentance (Luke 13).

Put simply Jesus talks about Hell an awful lot and repeatedly gave warnings about that fate:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.  How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

But in these Vatican 2 , “who am I to judge days” it seems that some have decided that the faithful can’t handle this critical message, so it’s best to be skipped.

I think skipping those difficult verses are underselling their congregation but more importantly I would remind those pastors making that choice of the words of God to Ezekiel

Thus the word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, you shall warn them for me.  If I say to the wicked man, You shall surely die; and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live: that wicked man shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death.  If, on the other hand, you have warned the wicked man, yet he has not turned away from his evil nor from his wicked conduct, then he shall die for his sin, but you shall save your life.

I think that’s a warning worth heeding.


The Layoff bleg continues. with 8 days to go we’re $1755 away from the goal to make August dedicated to the blog, the new radio show (shows?) and events.

This blog is a venture in capitalism that depends primarily on readers. You can help finance this by picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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and if you really want to help for the long term consider subscribing and get my book as a premium


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.