On this Labor day I talk about a something many who labored hard in the past dreamed of
Only people who have no grasp of history fail to appreciate it.
On this Labor day I talk about a something many who labored hard in the past dreamed of
Only people who have no grasp of history fail to appreciate it.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.Jesus via Matthew 6:19-21
My oldest son turns 30 next week and when I was writing my under the fedora piece for today (that is going up tomorrow instead) I touched on a story that brought this to mind.
Back in 2009 he had been offered a big scholarship to Anna Maria college and we went to visit the place. What I saw at the “catholic” college was less that overwhelming:
My problem with the place is one of my pet peeves. The college is a Catholic College There are old crosses on buildings and portraits of older bishops in one or two places, but I saw nothing affirming their Catholic identity. No portrait of the pope, no schedule of Masses (although they do offer daily Mass).
There were pictures celebrating the new president all over the place, banners celebrating diversity, announcements of the woman’s study courses but nothing on the March for Life later this month in Washington. The concert was a “holiday” concert. In the Anna Maria in the news bulletin board at the admissions office there was an article talking about protesting the pope in the US. That was the extent of any recent mention of religion.
Of course that was written in the days when “Is the Pope Catholic” was a one liner rather than a legit question but I digress…
When he was offered a full boat at the local Fitchburg State college (before it became Fitchburg University) which never pretended it wasn’t a secular organization he jumped at it allowing him to live at home and continue in our parish where his faith was well formed. I was going to let it go at that until we got a letter from the Bishop congratulating us on being accepted at Anna Maria and the Scholarship and the importance of a Catholic education.
At that point I wrote a letter to the Bishop that said in part:
We were excited when Sam was accepted at Anna Maria; even more so when they offered the largest (in dollars) scholarship of any of the nine colleges that have accepted and attempted to recruit him. We looked forward to the visit to the college and liked the prospect of a college that would expand both his faith and his educational horizons.
Then we actually visited the college.
Comparing your description of the college as a “great example of a Catholic institution…” and my experience I thought of George Weigel’s line commenting on the differing press releases concerning Speaker Pelosi visit to the Holy See: “Were Benedict XVI and Nancy Pelosi in the same meeting, or even in the same city?”
When I talked to the gentleman from admissions after the tour he informed me that this was not unusual at Catholic colleges and seemed to stress diversity rather than the Catholic identity, in fact seemed happy to reassure the next visiting student that he would not have to take any courses having to do with religion. Continuing my quote from the blog:
…It would be nicer if Catholic identity actually meant something. I’ve spent much more than I can afford over the last 10 years giving my sons a Catholic education. If I’m going to spend a whole lot more for a Catholic College then I expect a Catholic College.
I can’t reconcile your description of Anna Maria with what I saw and I can’t believe you would make that description after visiting the college yourself. While academically I believe it would be strong I don’t believe attending would foster his faith, in fact I suspect if he choose to wear his faith proudly it would go hard on him there.
The Bishop forward my letter to the president of the college who wrote me to dispute my impression and I posted both letters on the blog trusting readers to make their own decision.
Because I was referencing this story in the post I took the liberty of visiting the Anna Maria Web site curious if things had changed in twelve years and under a different president.
The front page like many sites has a rotating gallery highlighting many different things none of them involving the faith and while on other tabs you could find a reference particularly on the Campus Ministry page you will be hard pressed to find a sign of it. For the fun of it I did a search for the phrase: “Jesus Christ” on the site here were the results:
two of those are blog posts from 2020 and the other two are programs offered.
Now if you search for “diversity” however…
You’d have to go to additional pages to see all the results you can find but I figured the 1st page was enough to make my point. If you search for LGBT…
Well at least Jesus does equally as well as LGBT in the search results. I’ll wager there are plenty of Catholic Colleges where he doesn’t.
Well that’s Anna Maria College 12 years later. As for my son twelve years later last week I had a rare Sunday off and so I had the pleasure of my wife and sons all with me at the 6 PM mass at our parish. Neither of my sons received communion but both went up to the priest arms crossed for a blessing. When the mass was over they asked him for confession. When they had both received the sacrament the pastor took them to the tabernacle and they received Holy Communion after mass. I can imagine my mother & father punching the air in heaven at this and as their dad I can’t adequately state how proud I was to see this.
The best non-decision my wife and I ever made still remains not moving to the Portland Oregon area after our Honeymoon there 33 years ago but I’m thinking giving Anna Maria a miss twelve years ago comes in as a pretty solid second.
I have a hatred of thieves that comes from personal experience.
It had been my dram as a kid to own a comic book store and in 1985 long before the days when Chuck Lorie & Jim Parsons would make it cool, I opened that store at age 22 having saved enough between setting up at flea markets as soon as I was old enough to drive and working full time at Raytheon in the Scientific Computer C/enter to do so without debt.
Alas even in those pre-gang and pre-drug days of Fitchburg my store was broken into regularly and stock (mainly baseball cards) whose bubble was just beginning) stolen.
The police were rather indifferent on the subject as it was “only” baseball cards. Neither the fact that I had paid cash for them nor my lack of insurance didn’t seem to provide any motivation on the cases.
After the seventh time I was hit my big brother arranged for a friend to weld an iron gate over the front door that I would secure nightly with a large iron chain put on my front door (we used to call it the home of the caged collectables after that) until a car taking the corner of the street too fast crashed into it and took out my gate and door.
It was a discouraging thing and it put me in a big hole for a long time which caused a lot of tension early in my marriage. When a large established comic book store bought out my competition (which had suddenly opened a month ahead of me just after I bought a large collection which delayed my open opening but that’s another story…) my days were numbered.
This is the origin of my visceral hatred of thieves. To this day the easiest way to activate my temper and one of the things I find hardest as a Christian to forgive is stealing from me, even if it’s just food from the fridge at work.
But I’ll say one thing for the thieves and gate crashers that helped put me in the hole that I was never able to climb out of and the police that never found any of my stock or the people who stole it and even for the people that broke into the indoor flea market where I set up with a stock of Magic Cards years after I closed my business to rob my booth and my booth alone or even the folks who for a while at work found it amusing to steal the lunch of the only white guy in my building not in management before the camera were installed in the new building
None of them after having robbed me or aiding and abetting or covering up for those who did or being completely indifferent to my being robbed when it was their duty to right that wrong insisted that I publicly declare that I was never robbed nor put a disclaimer on my statements that I was.
If you wonder why my tolerance of the left has evaporated over the last few months, wonder no more.
“Quite obviously you don’t think alike,” Kirk said, “or both of you would have offered that remark simultaneously and in the same words.”
“True but not relevant, Captain, if I may so observe,” said Spock Two, “Even if we thought exactly alike at the moment of creation of the replicate, from then on our experiences differ slightly —beginning, of course, with the simple difference that we occupy different positions in space-time. This will create a divergence in our thinking which will inevitably widen as time goes on.”
“The difference, however, may remain trivial for some significant time to come.” said Spock One.
“We are already disagreeing, are we not?” Spoke Two said coldly, ‘That is already a nontrivial difference.”James Blish Spock Must Die 1970
This was a piece of advice that came up in conversation with a couple who have been married 47 years who my wife and I was visiting. I was so impressed with this piece of advice that it is our final piece of advice.
“When you have something to convey to your partner, when you’ve told them, ask him or her to repeat back what they understood you to say, not what they heard you say but what they understood you to say.”
No matter what the culture or academics say men and women are different but more than that PEOPLE are different and understand things differently. You can have five eye witnesses to an event and each will have a different spin on what they saw.
People in a marriage are no different, they have different backgrounds, different experiences and different way of looking at things, they can see and hear the same thing and come back with totally different interpretations of it.
So when you say something that’s really important don’t assume he or she thinks you mean what YOU think you mean. Ask them to say how they took it.
This has the potential to save days of potential arguments.
My thanks to Mar Mar and Mike for this input. I wish I had heard it 30 years earlier.
The 30 (33) tips so far
Miranda: Ummm that was incredible. Was it good for you?
Fletcher: I’ve had better.Liar Liar 1997
Of all the tips you have read so far this is the one that the two of us have the had the most trouble keeping.
On Radio there is a kill switch or if you know you are dealing with something that can cause grief you will have a seven second delay to allow the engineer, to keep something off the air that will get you in trouble. Marriage is the one other place where that can be most useful.
A seven second delay between the time you think something and the time you decide to say it aloud can be one of the best ways to keep a marriage strong.
The most obvious application is during an argument when someone will blurt out something that they instantly wish they could take back, or in a social setting when one might embarrass one’s spouse but believe it or not it’s OUTSIDE of such situations that this rule is most applicable.
A lifetime of watching sitcoms has had a bad effect in the sense that the idea that a conversation ends with a “zinger” might seem to be the norm, but the reality is that while that a good thing if your goal is to get a laugh from millions of viewers if your goal is a good relationship such a statement to your spouse is more likely to cause grief and not just grief the type of grief that doesn’t get expressed right away and is stored ready to be remembered as a grievance at a time of trouble perhaps even at a critical time.
This is your spouse not your “straight man” and there’s a reason why you haven’t quit your day job to go on tour.
It might take some practice, but getting that kill switch “installed” in your head will pay dividends for years to come.
The 30 (32) tips so far
Basil Fawlty: Yes yes, it’s 95 even if I give her ten, I’m still ten up. Polly for the 1st time in my life I’m ahead, I’m winning ah HA HA HA [Mrs. Richards enters] Ah Mrs. Richards how lovely to see you. You’re beautiful vaze that you bought yesterday has just arrived. Now remind me the money that you have there, is it yours or mine?
Mrs. Richards: I told you, it’s mine.
Basil Fawlty: But you’re still £10 short?
Mrs. Richards: Yes I am!
Basil Fawlty: Polly give Mrs. Richards this would you?
Mrs. Richards: What’s that? [indicating the cash in his hand]
Basil Fawlty: This is mine!Fawlty Towers Communications Problems 1979
Money is often a cause of trouble in a marriage and one easy way to avoid this is to have your own.
Don’t misunderstand. We don’t mean separate finances, or a separate credit card where you can build thousands of dollars of debt unbeknownst to your spouse (that’s a recipe for disaster). We mean a small amount for personal use.
Each spouse should have some spending money on hand or available for smaller purchases, without feeling like a child asking for an allowance. You want to buy some clothes, books, coffee, comic books, whatever? Set aside a small amount that neither one has to account for. You can choose to spend it, spend it on each other or save it up. It is discretionary and disposable income, and it does not have to be a lot.
By designating an amount as “your spending money” either by keeping some cash back from your check or putting it in an extra bank account if you want something buy something say $50-$200 you don’t have to go begging to your spouse for it or have questions raised when the credit card statement comes in.
DaWife has expanded on this. She has a “fix it” fund that she puts a regular part of her check in, for repairs that need to be done. Last year those included a new shed and fence and this year she’s saving for a patio.
The amounts or what it’s used for (or saved for) doesn’t matter. Having that independence a few dollars provides is meaningful and can help dodge a lot of potential friction over the years.
The 30 (32) tips so far
“You pay me tribute, by which you become my slaves. I have, therefore, a right to order you as think proper.”The Dey of Algiers to Capt William Bainbridge USS George Washington 1800
We have reached the point where people are being fired for stating that all lives matter (which is true) vs “black lives matter” (which is true because they are a subset of all lives)
We have also reached a point where business’ that I go to have found the need to state very emphatically that “black lives matter” out of fear that their will be looted or vandalized while not daring to state publicly “all lives matter” for fear that they will be punished for it.
To be unable to express the point that all lives matter, which is a central theme of Christianity, because of either financial property or physical retribution is oppression and to submit this is to become a slave to fear.
Furthermore more once you give in on this there will be a new demand and then a new one and then a new one, or as the Dey of Algiers told William Bainbridge when he balked at running an errand with his warship for him after delivering American tribute , a payoff to keep US ships from being attacked he said: “You pay me tribute, by which you become my slaves. I have, therefore, a right to order you as think proper.”
We are told by the left, by the media but the democrat that if we only submit we will not be hounded or fired or have our business looted or smashed.
This is unacceptable to me. What would my father who fought in world war 2. Who defended his business when thugs and/or officials demanded tribute from him over the years so I could have the life I do, and suffered for it, say if I agreed to this demand? What example will I be giving my sons to pass on to their children if I gave in?
So knowing the cost and the risks let me say this on this public platform:
I refuse to submit.
There are four fingers, there are four lights
All Lives Matter
So, this is how I’m maintaining my physical health during the LA lockdown.
My daily intake:
Home juicer squeezed fruit juice consisting of:
Home juicer squeezed juice consisting of:
I drink that last concoction when I’m not going to be near anyone for a bit. A friend told me that it knocks down cold/flu symptoms, but I haven’t had either one since I started drinking it … that may or may not be proof of its effectiveness.
(Disclaimer: I am not a vegetarian and have no plans to become one.)
Nighttime: big glass of water with a spoonful of food-grade diatomaceous earth. Allegedly this stuff does a lot of things, but it does one very important thing: it makes everything come out right in the morning, if you get my drift.
Recently I was diagnosed with a condition called spondylolisthesis. It is literally a pain in my butt on the right side, but that wasn’t what caused me to have it checked out. It was this: if I lay on my back for more than about a minute, my right foot starts to tingle.
It stems from an injury I received many years ago while helping someone move a heavy object. So, that diagnosis has resulted in three things.
The first is physical therapy, during which I learn how to strengthen my core, how to properly stretch and where a cute young guy gives me a back(side) massage twice a week. And, yes, they are open during the lockdown.
The second is power walking; 45-60 minutes, roughly 3 miles, 5-6 times a week. When I reach a speed that puts me under 45 minutes, I increase the distance the next day. It’s a good time to listen to audiobooks, but I don’t do it that often. I get out and walk very early and I like the sound of silence.
I’ve been doing this for about a month and I had thought about doing some jogging, but because of the spondy-blah-blah, that’s out. Good thing, too. In spite of my Kenyan heritage, I hate running.
Walking while wearing a N95 mask: I keep it on the tip of my nose unless I’m near someone. It’s more for their peace of mind than mine.
The third thing: planking. This practice has greatly increased the length of time that I’m able to lie my back before my foot starts to tingle. And it has noticeably decreased my computer hunch.
I feel really great after I finish, both physically and emotionally.
No claims on whether this regimen cures or prevents anything, but it can’t hurt.
I was taking almost all the vitamins and the home-juice long before the onset of COVID-19, so I’m not making any claims on effectiveness against that or any other virus. Mostly I began taking these things to ward off pain, anxiety and lethargy. I have only one prescription – the vitamin D – and I plan on keeping it that way for as long as possible.
And I top all this off with a big dollop of prayers for success. God rewards action.
Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar!
Or hit Juliette’s!
Well this week I start my 2nd enforced “vacation” from work in the last six months. The 1st one was when I busted my shoulder and was out just over two months. Now thanks to a positive test of a co-worker of dawife a person she worked with closely she along with me and our youngest are in quarantine.
This isn’t just a quarantine, it’s actually a quarantine within a quarantine because my son and I have been told that he have to practice social distancing from my wife as she might already be infected. So we have to stay six feet away from here whenever possible, clean areas she’s in etc…. Fortunately the house is laid out in a “circle” in the house so it’s easy to avoid each other, also there are two bathrooms so she gets the one downstairs and we get upstairs but the big thing is that she has her quilting room that we avoid anyway.
Of course once she’s in a room quilting the problem isn’t getting her into quarantine, the problem is getting her out.
One instant change has been to the Podcast. The sunday podcast usually starts at 12:35 AM to give me a chance to get home from work but as I’m already home DaTechGuy’s Midnight Court will take place at Midnight EST. That means slightly more sleep for me and because everyone in the house is under quarantine I don’t have to worry about waking up people who have to work.
One other advantage is my taxes, I know that they’ve postponed the filing deadline but even before that for the life of me I couldn’t motivate myself to get off my duff and do them. I do them all on paper and have done so for 30 years. This week with the extra time I’ll finally get them finished and even mailed, albeit from the house.
Lucky for my family my oldest has his own apartment so he is able to go shopping for us. This is handy but there is a real danger of leaning on him too much and when you’re already in quarantine it’s easy to be short tempered so one has to avoid making demands from someone who is doing you a favor by running an errand or two while trying to stay safe from us and getting on with their own life and work.
One might get down at the thought of being stuck in a house for two weeks with dawife and son with nothing but a TV and Dynasty baseball for company but consider at least I have a home with some space, family for companionship and another son who can drop stuff off along with the sicktime to use. Imagine being in a tiny NYC apartment with no space, no family to help out and no relief other than unemployment and the government air that’s on the way.
Things could be a lot worse.
Whoever does not see the hand of God in this is blind sir, blind!Stonewall Jackson 1862
I was reading Sarah Hoyt’s list of predictions when I woke up 1st thing this morning concerning how the reverberations of this crisis will treat us over time, some good some not so good and I thought of my parents and how their lives shaped me.
My parents as depression era people and as children of people who basically had little or nothing but what they grew or produced themselves did not waste, did not splurge (well my Dad would TRY to splurge for mom but it just wasn’t her nature too need or want anything more than to be at home with her children and grand children around her) and had a profound sense of gratitude for all the good life brought because believe me they had plenty of bad to deal with and the most dangerous place to be when near them was as a threat to their family in any form. Any man who purposely put themselves in that spot was taking his life into his hands
They were also quite different in their outlook toward people. Dad was a natural optimist, Mom was a realist. Dad was always willing to take a chance (too willing sometimes). Mom was a person who played everything close to the vest. Dad couldn’t bear to see people in pain or want if he could help. For example when he got a plow for his truck he would disappear for hours because if he knew you needed to be dug out it was unthinkable to him not to do it when he had a plow handy. Mom would make sure the house was taken care of 1st and a nest egg secure before quietly offering her hand. Dad was chivalrous to a fault, no door for a woman was ever left upheld, no kid crying left without a piece of chocolate, no guy down on his luck to be passed by without being given a buck or two, even if it was his last one and no person stranded by the side of the road to be un-towed and if it was a woman with children he’d usually get them towed to a friend who would take care of them either at cost or for nothing. Mom was always unfailingly proper and polite, but minded her own business and never even volunteered advice to a friend unless explicitly asked. Dad was universally loved and when he died, too young at 65 the funeral home was overrun with people to a point I haven’t seen since the death of Mike Romano. Mom was universally respected and her wake despite taking place in 2012 a full quarter century after her husbands took place in her own home in the room she died in with her very large immediate family in attendance along with her children and grandchildren a private person to the very end.
Beyond all of this there was one other trait their shared. In any kind of a crisis either or both of them were the best people to have around. I never saw either fail to rise to the occasion in any crisis personal or public the only difference being that Mom hand, being full blooded Sicilian, would be less visible to others when deployed.
In my youth I saw their best traits minced by many in their generation but as I’ve grown older and seen all of my mothers family die and only one sister and brother-in-law of my father’s still remain those traits have become rare to the point of non-existence. That’s because those traits were built on a culture that had seen death and trouble up close and had handled them so thoroughly that their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren thought that peace, comfort and safety were the norm in society rather than the incredible historical exception made only possible by the genius of America and the efforts of her people.
And having seen the errors that this assumption has caused, particularly over the last twenty years I have been remarkably delighted over the last month with my fellow Americans.
With the exception of a few hoarders and some idiots I’ve seen a nation and a community that has done rather well in showing its best face when the chips are down. From hard working staff at the local grocery stores to the folks at the local diner, worried stiff about being able to make it, to folks carrying on at their place of work with a mask on their face I’ve seen Americans rising to the occasion, bending but not breaking.
Even in the field of politics, with some exceptions which must be expected I’ve seen people willing to lead and to do the hard work in concert with others. I’ve seen folks willing to deal with realities on the ground even when their personal philosophies may contradict with them, sometimes they’ve been forced out of their bubbles by events, sometimes with great reluctance, but on the whole reality has been respected and actions have been done accordingly
Only in media have I seen the bubble, shored up by the efforts and cash of our country’s enemies, resist puncture but with the new media, social platforms even if this bubble hasn’t burst it we have seen it bypassed.
When all of this started it was my opinion that we as a country would get though it. The more I’ve seen of our people over the last month the more I’m convinced that we will not just get though it but will thrive to a degree that we didn’t realize we were still capable of.
Perhaps I see to much of the world through my father’s optimistic eyes rather than my mothers realism or perhaps I’ve taken Eric Idle’s advice to always look at the bright side of life too to heart, but if the last three years had brought back the hope that America’s best years are ahead of us, the last month has turned that hope into a conviction that will require a lot of evidence to the contrary to shake.
God has put us to the test and so far it appears that America has decided it will not be content to squeak by with merely a passing grade. I think my father would be proud and my mother, while showing her best poker face to the world, would be pleasantly surprised.