Archive for October 2013


October 31, 2013


(picture upload temporarily not functioning)


I had a typical American childhood, and Halloween fun was as innocent as the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.  All three performed the same function, that is, helping a child make that crossing from baby thinking to adult thinking.

So, this story is called:   CROSSING THE LINE INTO REALITY.

Crossing over from a world of imagination, where anything is possible,  to a world where reality is real.    That’s what I did so many decades ago.    I was six or seven years old,


We had had our Halloween party and costume parade in school that day, and it would be two hours yet before either of my parents came home from work and another hour or so before it was dark enough to put my costume back on and  go Trick or Treating.

So there was “lots of time” to do other things, like walk down to my friend’s house and see if she could “come out and play.”

But I never made it.


There, about a half a block away,  was a tiger!    It was an upright tiger, brown and orange stripes, walking slowly on the sidewalk.    It hadn’t seen me yet.

It was bigger than I was.   Maybe, it had to be one of the big boys in the neighborhood, but it was too early to put your costume on, broad daylight, a sunny day –  and a big boy would know that it was the wrong time.   So it was a strange tiger, one that didn’t understand normal people.

I ran home and got into a room far away from the windows, and sat and thought about this.   A weird tiger on the sidewalk.   A large weird tiger.    A large weird dumb tiger that doesn’t understand the way we do things.     Unpredictable.

But it walked upright like a big boy would,  and it looked like a costume… A very, very good costume.   Convincing.

It was a very unpredictable world which placed two very convincing possibilities before me.  Is it a tiger or is it a big boy in a costume?

I’ll never forget that afternoon of weirdness, where what I think I knew to be true seemed to dissolve before my eyes as evidence to the contrary competed for my sense of reality.

Now, I’m not going to go into politics and the news media,   propaganda, censorship, and the distortion of reality;  but I know that adults can become victims of their imaginations too.    Words have meanings, but when the words we hear don’t seem to match the reality we see,  we use our imaginations and our wishful, hopeful thinking to bridge the gap.

They say we are bombarded with such a flow of daily information that our minds just can’t handle it effectively.   Reality shifts and bends and is manipulated for us by the experts until we don ‘t know how much Truth there is in the world we see.

My story has a good ending.   I often remember that one Halloween day when I ran home and sat very quietly,  and I thought about what is possible and what is impossible.

And then I knew that what you see isn’t always what is there.


October 29, 2013

It’s still Tuesday here where I’m sitting.   It’s still a Tribute because – well, you gotta hand it to them:    

They can’t change the facts that are public record, but they can mess with our minds and make us not see things. . . .

This is a non-“hypothetical” –

Suppose the mother of the man is a British citizen.

Suppose the father of the man has dual citizenship,  one British, one from a country in a continent south of Italy.

Suppose the man’s adoptive father is a citizen of yet another country, say, Ma *  – lay –  as *  ia.   So the man has a passport that says he (the son) too is a Ma *  – lay –  as *  ian   citizen.

Suppose there is no record of the mother, the father, or the adoptive father ever applying or re-applying for American citizenship.

What would you conclude about the man?

Good question for a Tuesday.



October 29, 2013

Feels like I’m behind in everything.   Haven’t even posted about the beautiful Sunday Liturgy for Christ the King, two days ago.  (I’ll get there this week.)


SAMSUNGThat’s me, for a while.  A purplish-yellowish swollen-fingered me.   I think I broke something…the ache is not subsiding as it would with just a big bruise.   I’m okay, I know what to do, I know how to take care of teeny bones which might be cracked.

I also know that I should slow down a bit so it has a chance to heal.

So, okay.  I know how to do that too :


Time to do another one of these.     $4.99 spent – to keep me in one place for a while, so my hand won’t get bumped again.      It aches when I run around and try to accomplish things.   It hurts to use a pen.   It hurts to use a keyboard, so everything will be done “briefly” as the title of this posting says.


(Oh, how did I do it?)       (Running in the house.)      (Colliding with a door jamb.)



October 29, 2013

I know;  it’s not the weekend anymore;  I’m a day behind.   Explanation in the next post. But for now:

This weekend I got up “early” with those  noisy birds, and went outside to feed them on my deck.    Got the birdseed,  opened the deck door . . . and went gliding across the deck!    When I skidded to a stop, I looked down at my feet…. SAMSUNG

That’s what I saw!      Jack Frost at work on my deck!

Undeniably beautiful! SAMSUNG

Charming and whimsical!



Some lighting angles brought out the blues, some brought out the brown tones.


Every plank of the deck was an artistic achievement.


It wasn’t going to last very long.    The sun was up, and these frosty little patterns would be gone.

(And it would be safe to walk on the deck again!)



October 27, 2013

There was a reason to be unhappy this weekend too.    It wasn’t the rain;  it wasn’t the hail.   It’s what came down in the rain and the hail — and we all have a reason to be unhappy. . .

During the football game, Son noticed it was raining hard.   So I jumped up and said,  “Hey!  We can measure that!”    I ran to get my Inspector General,  ran outside onto the deck, and Son and I watched as the Counts Per Minute increased dramatically.   He held the detector,  I took the pictures.


That’s about what you want to see.


We never saw 30.

The device is measuring beta radiation in Counts Per Minute.   Normal background radiation around here is 20 – 30.    On a sunny day, my deck near the plants is around 32, a little more, a little less.

SAMSUNG 184,  going up to  192.  The danger alarm had long since sounded out its warning.

We were out in the rain and the hail.


209 CPM.     I’ve never seen a rainstorm that made the Counts go up this high.   The beta radiation being measured is probably Cesium-131….perhaps some other isotopes of Cesium too.    This rainstorm carried radiation from Fukushima to us and is probably high because of the their recent cyclones (hurricanes)   which caused massive amounts of radioactive water and dirt to be taken up into the atmosphere  and then carried over here by the jet stream.

It’s not only Cesium from the jet stream raining down on  us.   Strontium is entering our bones.   Various isotopes of radioactive Iodine is coming down on us.   Plutonium is up there…the killer, one particle inhaled can kill.   There is a long list of radioactive substances from Fukushima that is in our atmosphere.   Those of you who have been checking the link in the right-hand column (     will be aware of how much worse it has become for us since that first day of the tsunami.

Those of you who are keeping up with Fukushima news will know what a dangerous thing is being planned over there with the spent fuel rods…next week, I think.   It’s never been done before and some think the risk is so high and the consequences so fatal that they ought to not do it.


Those are the last of my cherry tomatoes trying to get ripe out on my deck.

My tomatoes.    My peppers.    My wonderful big herb garden.

I’m a little nervous about  eating anything from the deck now.

The parts of my  skin that was exposed to the rainwater became prickly after a half hour.   It occurred to me to take a shower and wash my hair.   It was a little disconcerting to feel so much better after the shower.   It means there was something on my skin that was not very good.



October 26, 2013

I can see that this particular weekend is going to be one that stirs up my emotions.  All my emotions.   Let’s start with Happy!

I’ve had this poster on my kitchen wall for about a month now.


It’s always fun to anticipate this annual Southern Gospel Quartet concert in our area, and “O Happy Days,”  this was the weekend!    I have a “history” with this kind of music.  Not only did I grow up among Southerners who sang this kind of music just naturally “around the house”  but when I got into college,  I was the piano player for a men’s Gospel Trio.     I banged out the accompaniment  (rather badly)  and they sang out the Gospel songs (rather badly)  but we had a good time performing in little churches and once in a great big auditorium packed with people.     There’s a kind of fellowship among lovers of Gospel music.

These kind of songs stick in your mind and cheer your heart.    I find myself humming them once in a while.    I remember a surprising amount of the lyrics.    (And If I were the kind,  I’d raise my hands and clap right into the air!     It’s that kind of music!)

I might have done some of that last evening:

SAMSUNG Son and I had  a seat way in the back,  but we really could see everything and hear everything.   (Those five ghostly white people way up there on the stage are some  of the eight singers from the two Quartets which performed. )  They had the traditional sound, which is the best way to experience these numbers.

The leader of one Quartet is Mark Trammel who sang with the Cathedrals some time ago,  who our own Men’s Gospel Trio had tried to imitate.   If I tell you we also tried to imitate the Blackwood Brothers and the Imperials,  I’d be telling you my age.   Nevertheless, you can look these groups up on YouTube — and just let your feet start tapping along.      (For fun,  I’d recommend looking for “The Fourth Man”  or how about:  “This Old House”. . . Or how about enjoying J.D. Sumner and Elvis Presley singing together: “Lord Help Me Jesus.”  Oh, boy.)

The men of the other Quartet were younger in age.  They were in their twenties and to my wonderment belted out a fine strong bass voice that supported a high and wild tenor and an impressive baritone.   These guys are going to carry Gospel music successfully on down to the next generations.

I rarely listen to recorded music in my home or in my car,   but… I think I might a little more often now.


I didn’t “succumb” to their stage offers.   All along I was hoping they’d brought some CDs for us to purchase, and I was glad they had.   What a Happy concert that was!   I’m going to take some Happy along with me.

I do hope you’ll give one of these Quartet concerts in your area and enjoy something really different.    It’s home-grown American music!


October 22, 2013

My last posting was called Bias to the Normal.   Normal, my foot!    Nothing about the last 48 hours has been normal!


A mother goes berserk when her son is lost.    I knew the flight pattern that would take him from The Netherlands to his home.   I posted a screen shot of it in that last posting.  I knew how long it would take him to drive home after that.     But he didn’t arrive.

And for the next 24 hours or so,  absolutely no one knew where he was.    No communication with him.     Nothing.

Nothing but a very overactive imagination on my part.   I imagined a whole lot of things that could happen to him.     Hour by hour by hour. . . .

When frantic frequent prayers brought no results I turned to —

SAMSUNGYeah. . . .I opened up a brand-new picture puzzle.    I had to do something to stop pacing and start breathing again.    Did nearly the whole puzzle that day.

At a certain time, I turned to that most meditative of prayers and lost myself in the Gospel story for about twenty minutes.    You know the part about Our Lady “losing”  her son Jesus for a few days in Jerusalem?    I nearly lost it there, but I can say I now understand.  I understand.  I understand this Fifth Joyful Mystery.


When Son finally appeared at my door,  I felt like a robot;  couldn’t move.    There was the reality standing before me.   I had had him kidnapped and murdered;  jailed;  mugged and bonked on the head;    sick and unable to identify himself;    in Pago Pago after having gotten on the wrong plane with no way of getting back;    detained and lost forever by Airport “Security”;     chopped up and buried someplace after a fight in Detroit over his beautiful black GTO which had been waiting for him….

Well, I was right to worry about one of those things.   Son came in and sat down and proceeded to talk, non-stop, for the next few hours.

After two missed flights – (TWO!   have you ever heard of anyone missing two flights in a row?)  –    and I’ll spare you all the details, all the roadblocks that the world seemed to throw in front of this young man —  he finally arrived, once again, at the airport looking rather unkempt,  very much lacking in sleep,  hungry,  agitated,  hot and sweaty,  unable to focus on anything except hoping to get  on the plane.

Now imagine that you’re  Airport Security and you have someone standing in front of you who looks agitated, unfocused, sweat running down his face,  impatient with questioning,  all  alone,  can’t find his baggage claim ticket to prove he had checked some baggage –  and he looks like a Viking –  tall, blond, blue-eyed, and muscular…..and he claimed to have no problem with all the extra money this is costing him…..and he didn’t connect with all the questions…..

Miraculously,  they let him on the plane.  Miraculously,  he was not “flagged” when he landed in America.  MIraculously,  he made it home.

I asked him one question.   About when was it that you were being questioned by the authorities?    I didn’t say anything then,  but his answer told me that it was at the same period of time that I had my rosary in my hand.

Who says working a good picture puzzle can’t calm you down enough — so that you can then think to do the right thing!!!!

Deo gratias.


October 21, 2013

“Normalcy.”  We’re returning to normal, here at the Spruce Tunnel.


Very soon now Son’s plane will touch down and he will have returned, according to FlightAware’s tracking system.

SAMSUNG   He had stopped in to say good-bye more than a week ago, on his way to the airport.   He was going to spend a week and a half with his sister (known around here as Daughter)  who is working temporarily in Amsterdam.    Daughter and Daughter’s Husband and – Cooper! – were all there ahead of time.

I knew everyone would have a good time together,  and that’s what I concentrated on, that day when I watched Son’s car drive away.



Probably only a mother would keep a little spot of light in her heart,  but that spot of light at the end of my street would be my last “picture” of Son, and for a while life would not be quite “normal” without him.

That was okay:    Cooper awaited:

Ams Dutch Shoes


And Son would be Cooper’s Uncle for a few days:

Ams Abbey Rd John 1 400

A good kind of “not normal”  –  an interesting,  mind stretching, life enhancing “not normal.”

We all have built into us, built into our minds, the Bias to the Normal.   We quickly adapt,  and new circumstances become normal for us, for a while or permanently.    It’s a good coping skill.  We look all around us, assess the situation, learn the parameters and the new rules, and then live with it.

But that Bias to the Normal can also get in our way if we’re not alert and watchful.   As things happen,, as things change,  as new things come into existence,  we expect the Normal.  We just send out our “minds” and put them on auto-pilot, without discerning whether what has developed around us is good or bad.   Our “mind” is not our intellect, but we use our intellect to make decisions and judgments.  Are these new circumstances “all right”  or is something developing which ought to be stopped and redirected?

The entertainment/news media,  the culture, the politics and the fashions of our generation all use our minds on auto-pilot and put our intellects in the background.       And then our Bias to the Normal acts as a filter between the world and our intellects.   We think what we’re seeing is probably normal.

Following  along with only our minds can lead us into some very non-normal circumstances.  And then we’d have to adapt ourselves to an unexpected new world  —  a whole New World Order of things.




October 19, 2013


It started one day as I was raking leaves.   My neighbor drove into my driveway, rolled down his window and cheerfully asked me if I still had Hubbie’s cider mill in the basement so he could use it to make cider.

Well, huh?   I didn’t know I had a cider mill in my basement, Hubbie or not.  He roughly described where it probably was, so I told him, as long as he’s not “afraid” of cobwebs,  he’s welcome to it!


The next afternoon he came over and found the cider mill.  Just a wee little thing, but oh, so heavy!  It’s apparently cast iron, and very well made!   We washed it, and I followed him to his own back yard, where he had prepared a place for our labors.


Getting it up onto the horses took huge effort.  I was afraid for his back, but  the muscles in his arms and shoulders were strong enough to take on the burden.

The apple trees in his yard had produced abundant fruit.   It wasn’t hard to get enough apples.


Rather large knives were waiting for us.    Apple cleavers!


We lined the cider mill with cheesecloth.   (I wouldn’t have thought of that.  I think “someone” here has done a little homework about cider making.   Thanks, my friend.)


We used the huge knives to chop up the apples, and filled the mill.


He chopped, I took pictures.

I chopped too, really,  and then we took turns cranking the handle on the mill which caused a thing to press down harder and harder on the apples inside.   A big screw, attached to some gears, attached to a lid.     The only thing that wasn’t attached was the cider mill to the platform, so we had to be very careful not to allow the heavy mill to fall over.  One time we weren’t careful.   (A chance to practice the Christian virtues of patience and longsuffering. . . .)

Every last drop was collected:


My cell phone camera gave out for a while as it became sticky with apple cider from my fingers, but a nice sponge bath and a rest in my soft dry pocket helped it recover.   We cleaned everything else up too, and then brought the cider mill to the front yard for a wash-down with the hose.


And THEN – finally –  we tasted the fruit of our labors.     Special stemware!


Yes!  It tasted good.  Yes!   it was refreshing.   Yes!  It felt like “real food.”    And while we sipped our cider we spoke of things of Health, things like good “living” apple cider that doesn’t have the health-giving enzymes nuked out of them; things like how much effort it takes to find and prepare “real” food that keeps you healthy;  and many, many other things.


We had been working for several  hours.   We started in daylight and we ended at moonrise.    We were tired and sweaty and  sticky, but we felt good and  refreshed.    I was enthusiastic.  All that good honest work and such good cider!   I said we could do this again in a week or two.

I didn’t get an enthusiastic reply, though.


October 16, 2013

It all started with a trip to OfficeMax yesterday.

Office Max

I’ve done some pretty inventive things with my computers, cell phones, cameras,  e-readers and MP3 players lately.     But this time both my cell phone and camera were giving me some warning signals that they were “full up to here” and they didn’t seem to appreciate my creative tinkering.   I tried connecting and downloading and exporting but was always stopped by some pretty strange messages from my devices, and since very precious photos were at stake, I decided to get some professional help.

I cannot praise these people highly enough.  After just a few minutes I said good-bye to the OfficeMax people, having great confidence, two happy devices with brand-new storage,  old SD-cards in good condition, and a few new ones to spare.    I’ve spent hours now, reviewing and downloading three years’ worth of photos into every electronic thing I can think of.

“Wow.  Was that me?”     “Was that my life?”    “Was that how it was when Hubbie was still alive?”    “Am I still me with all these changes?”    I found my favorite photo of Hubbie.  It was in the Fall, just a few years ago.  He was in my favorite shirt, a tan plaid, flannel shirt.  ( Have you ever hugged someone in a tan, plaid, flannel shirt?   mmmm)     Well. . . .   That photo sure brought me back to … the past, which I can still feel.

School Days. 

bus city

During this time, a random search for a weather report sent me to the television and the Weather Channel, which was just then giving a “nostalgic”  photo review of Hurricane Hazel.   Instantly, I was transported back to my school days, a little girl on a school bus, watching out the window as the “Chicago City Limits” sign glided past, knowing I’d still have fifteen long minutes to go before I was home.

DCF 1.0I spent a lot of time daydreaming from the inside of a school bus –  until I was old enough to roller skate back and forth to school!


hazel the witch At 8 years old,  when I heard “Hazel,”  I thought of Hazel the Witch, of course.   And cartoon witches were fun, but real witches were bad.    So – at 8 years old –  I was musing about the grown-ups who had named a hurricane after a witch.    I’m not sure I knew what a hurricane was, and I’m not sure if I knew the word “appropriate,”  but it seemed fitting that a storm that brought such bad things should be named after a witch.

Hurricane Hazel Damage

Hurricane Hazel Damage

So…I had experienced two uses for the name Hazel.   And then I thought of my friend who knew someone who had a cousin who had an aunt who was named Hazel.    Ahhh.    So real people were named Hazel.   Poor them.

I can still “feel” that sense of discovery, that words have so many meanings.    I can still feel what it was like to be a little girl in a school bus wondering about all these things.    As my SD cards showed me,   I am “me” then and now.

Another thing filled our world when I was a little girl, and it was still there when I was a teenager, a young married woman,  and now…. all the things I am now.  It was the presence of Premier Khrushchev, of the Soviet Union.      Their growing strength and overtly threatening words were a part of our everyday life.    The Cold War was real.  We were all thankful it was staying “cold.”

The documents that guided the Soviet Union were sacred directives, and eventually produced a plan  that was discussed in our Congress.    It was  a step-by-step plan for overtaking America in the only way they realized that they could:  by stealth, and not by outright war.   It’s often called The 45 Goals of Communism in America.   You can use any Search engine for that, or if I figure out how to use the More function on this computer, I’ll copy them there.

I grew up knowing these goals, at least knowing they were there…knowing some of them…knowing them less and less because it was one of the goals to be “stealthy” about their plans,  and since they succeeded in our media and in our government and in our schools,  they succeeded in being stealthy.

Socialism is part of the ongoing revolutionary revolt against the Church.   That’s why the Soviet Union proclaimed itself to be atheist.    That’s why the national socialists of Germany executed so many Catholics…and those of other faiths.     The forces of the self-named “enlightenment,”  of the French Revolution, of the various republican revolutions of the 19th century,  of the various communist revolutions of the 20th century,  of Liberation Theology and the takeover of the Church, the European Union, the communists’ foundation of the United Nations,   of the socialist takeover of the United States. . . .  The Revolution isn’t over yet.

And I fret.

And then I feel that “heavy hand” of St. Francis de Borgia on my shoulder –  Nunca Mas! –  and I remember I was still “me”  through all the history I’ve seen, just as St. Francis served his God and king through all the historic changes he saw.   And I know deep down that in spite of what was going on around him, he wrote what he wrote,  he did what he did,  he taught what he taught and he did all because he was serving God first.      Circumstances didn’t change his faith.    He reached that most important goal of Eternal Heavenly Rest.   I know what he’s saying to me.


PSALM 66 –

 May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may he cause the light of his countenance to shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us.

 That we may know thy way upon earth: thy salvation in all nations

 Let people confess to thee, O God: let all people give praise to thee.

 Let the nations be glad and rejoice: for thou judgest the people with justice, and directest the nations upon earth.

 Let the people, O God, confess to thee: let all the people give praise to thee:

 The earth hath yielded her fruit. May God, our God bless us,

 May God bless us: and all the ends of the earth fear him.




October 15, 2013

I’m doing another Tribute to Tuesday anyway.      That’s Tuesday,  11-06-12.    Hats off to our clever conquerors that day.

Catholics are a significant minority in the United States.   The “person” our Rulers placed into our  wh-   it –  e   ho – use  has declared war on Catholics in this country, carried out by his most faithful followers.

Because of a “lack of money”  they have closed public and private tourist places (illegal)  and have closed Veterans Memorials to veterans  (immoral and illegal)  and they have prevented Catholic priests from saying Mass in the Army and now the Navy!    They have locked up the chapels, locking the Holy Sacrament and Catholic  property inside.   300 families in one area are without Sunday services,  marriage preparation, and catechism classes.

No Sunday Mass is a very serious thing for a Catholic.

“Lack of money” ?   Our Rulers won’t even allow the priests to work voluntarily, at no cost to anyone.

“Lack of money” ?    Protestants people are allowed to hold their services in the same chapels that are off limits to Catholics.

“Lack of money” ?   There is enough money TO PAY THE CADDY THAT SERVICES THE CAMP DAVID GOLF COURSE.

Maybe the caddy isn’t Catholic.


If America doesn’t protect the freedom of religious expression for everyone,  then it isn’t America anymore, and the Constitution has been abrogated.  




October 15, 2013

(Avila, Spain, specifically.)

So,  what would you do if you looked around you and you saw a need to reform your church or your nation or your corporation — or even just something in your own family?

Most of us influenced by Western Civilization have heard a little about St. Teresa of Avila, whom we recognize  today on the Liturgical calendar.

teresa looking up

Those who are minimally educated know that St. Teresa  effected reforms for the Carmelite tradition which had, in the 16th century,  fallen into a bit of loose discipline, leading to a weakening of the faith and sometimes scandal to the surrounding culture.   She and her reformed    (or “Discalced Carmelites”)  contributed to the revival of faith and sobriety and civility in the culture of Western Europe.   That’s merely a sociological observation and somewhat of a historical turniing pont for our civilization.

But even greater was her influence on the reform of religion and the development of a greater, deeper,  more genuine spirituality.   Through her,  God was able to bring about a reform for Christianity that can still today increase our faith and love for God — providing we avail ourselves of her insights and her writings.

That is,  our Christian faith today can still be improved (“reformed”) if we at least read what she wrote.

But here’s an interesting point that came to mind this morning:    From the little I know of St. Teresa,  I see that she sought to restore “all things in Christ”;  that is true.   But she did NOT look back to the previous generation, nor to any previous century, to model her reforms after.   In other words,  although she used the wisdom and teachings handed down to her generation,  she did not try to rebuild any society that came before her.

This is an issue for those who would like to “reform” the Church today.

Teresa looked squarely at her convent and her society and what its problems were.   She took a realistic look at the problems of her own generation, and then sought to solve those problems, offering ideas and practices that would eliminate those problems, and – in the process – build a better society.

And for us today?   Church or State?  (God works in both arenas.)   It is an earth-shaking necessity to examine the erroneous statements and practices  that have crept into both Christianity and into America.

We need to make a square, courageous,  open-minded examination of the problems that are really there.   Then we need to encounter those problems and choose ways that will turn us away from error.  (This is not personal,  it does no good to encounter “people” in this way.  I’d propose an act of our intellects, not of our emotions.  What do you understand, not “how do you feel about….”   We need to reject the idea that Disagreement is Hate. )  

After examination, then we need to introduce ideas and practices that will take Church or State back to its initial directive.

Neither the corrected Church nor our corrected country will look like “the good ol’ days.”    They are gone.  They had their issues to deal with.    We need to look around us today and discover what our issues are.   There are plenty of issues for each one of us to choose from!!

Use your intellect.  Use your ability to do some research.  Use your own inclinations and talents and preferences which is, after all, the way God works through us.

Reform Church?   Reform our nation?   Again, God works in both arenas.  Our duty is to let Him work through us.  Our duty is … to do our duty for a greater good.

(Pardon the unedited wordiness;  I’m writing in broad outlines, not specifics. . . But I’m not sure which point I’d want to eliminate.)

Duty?   For a little “fun” reading to consider whether or not there is something we should be doing….click on  ” Gnats”.


October 14, 2013

col stamp

Christopher Columbus was a hero of Western Civilization.   Is.   It’s Western Civilization that’s fast becoming a “was.” 

Some years ago I was honored to read the words that Columbus wrote in his ships logs.  That’s where I came to know the thinking of the man.   My son, then, knowing my respect for Columbus, gave me this beautiful commemorative book.


Inside there are the usual markers that we give to acknowledged heroes.


It is necessary for socialist victory to tear down the heroes of Western Civilization, and for fifty years I have actually watched this process.  Today socialism in this country is so prevalent that it seems “invisible”  and hard to recognize.  Nevertheless,  it exists and it is the all-pervasive dogma of today.

So it is difficult to simply talk about Christopher Columbus without having to dodge the accompanying echoes of character assassination.  I’m getting weary of easily refuted lies, and I don’t want to “play” the game anymore with indoctrinated people.    They can read ship logs and biographies and real histories and refute themselves if they want to!

  However, after that rather grumpy paragraph,  I just want to bring out two undisputable dates associated with this man.

 col santa maria

1492, of course. We all know he sailed in order to find a new trade route to the Indies.   We all know that long before Western Civilization, other cultures had sailed to what would some day be called the Americas.   Of course, he was not the “first” to “discover”  these continents.   But for Western Civilization it was important, by 1492 to discover a way to be able to continue trading with the East.

The reason for 1492 was 1453!

And why?   Because in 1453,  the Ottoman Turks, the Muslims, conquered so much territory that they were able to cut off the trade routes that had been established between Europe and the East.

Europe itself barely held on to its own territory during these next two centuries in the face of Muslim military advance, but it was clear  during Columbus’s time that an alternative route to the East had to be found.

Now, no one in 1492 believed that the earth was “flat”  and that they’d fall off the edge of the earth if they sailed too far.   Christian Europe knew very well that the earth was a globe,  from the time of the Middle Ages.  There were far more realistic unknowns that faced sailors who were planning to travel further westward than their usual routes.  

It is here where we call for courage, intelligence, determination,  confidence, faith, and trust in the Providence of God.

Qualities which characterize heroes of  Christendom.




October 13, 2013

On this date, October 13th, in 1917  70,000 people came, many to scoff, many to be “entertained,” possibly,  by some unknown event,  and a few came, hoping to see a miracle from Heaven above.

70 0000 people

That October 13th was an October 13th just like every other one had been in the natural world,  far back into time, before ever that day of the year was even called “october”  and numbered “13.”     But in that particular year,  most of the 70,000 suddenly fell to their knees.

70,000 people on their knees

70,000;  many atheists, non-believers,  skeptics, anti-Christians,  anti-Catholics –  nearly all fell to their knees.    Those who had seen the world and felt they could control their own destiny and manage the affairs of men saw something that interrupted their confidence.   The sun, that most solid and predictable of things in the natural world, was changed . . . .

70,0000 sun

. . . . and no matter what explanations are given,  everyone there knew right away that this staggering and somewhat frightening change to the sun was connected to the prediction by the three children of Fatima that a “miracle” of some kind would occur.

70,000 three unlikely people

Today is October 13th again,  and it’s an ordinary day like all other of our days.    But today, too, presents a message for us, not in the form of  a miracle, not in the form of a “dancing sun” that seemed to move from its place and whirl around, but in the form of a simple statement about the natural world received in 1917.

You can read it in the Bible or hear it proclaimed by the Church today, in her Introit for this 21st Sunday after Pentecost:

All things are in Thy will, O Lord and there is none that can
resist Thy will: for Thou hast made all things, heaven and earth, and all things
that are under the ambit of heaven: Thou art Lord of all. (Ps. 118: 1)

The heavens above and the earth, all things,  all exist within the will of God and exist because of His will.   Even the natural world cannot resist His will;  even if He wants the sun to appear to move out of our normal expectations for it, the sun, then, must move.   This is the truth of the matter.  This is the truth that underlies all the messages of Fatima, which, at their most basic meaning is, as the Introit today continues:

Blessed are the undefiled who walk in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.

And severe  warnings and certain judgment upon those who do not walk in the ways of God.

The messages given at Fatima on those “special days” simply emphasize the same message that is true for all our ordinary days:   God holds even the natural world in His hands, and He has created the right way to walk in this world.   Christ is King!

70,000 witnesses can attest to that.




October 10, 2013

Last time I wrote about the “restraining hand”  that governments and citizens are both subject to in public life; that is, the restraining hand of universal moral law.   If it’s not there,  the power of government increases until there is only the law of barbarism – “might makes right,” and our Rulers can command us, now, even to violate our faith and our consciences.   Barbarism in the spiritual realm as well as the physical realm.


Today I pay homage to a restraining hand in my own life.   It is the feast day of St. Francis de Borgia, a saint who teaches, commands, and governs by the example of his personal and public life.

St Francis Borgia, sttingBorn to a distinguished noble family in Spain, Francis was a good man, intelligent, self-disciplined, well-educated, devout, and highly esteemed for his honesty and devotion to duty.   He danced and sang and wrote music and loved poetry and sports competitions.      I can identify with this man!

Through it all he endeavored to serve Christ well.  He was severe on himself in prayer and penance and aiding the poor and the unemployed in his region. Those who owned land and large estates governed their own households well, keeping in mind the welfare of their descendants, but they were also obliged – by Christian duty – to care for those nearby who were without material advantage.

The people loved him and trusted him.

Queen Isabella bl wh

This was the 16th century.  Ferdinand and Isabella were king and queen.     When the beloved and beautiful Queen Isabella died, the royal family gave to Francis the sad and solemn honor of accompanying her body to Grenada, to the royal burial place.   The purpose was to guard the body and assure that it is she who is really being buried.

Imagine this.   It’s sunny Spain.   A journey of many days for the dead body.   And then – Francis had the “honor”  of looking into the coffin and verifying that it is the body of the queen.

At Grenada, no one could even enter the room where the coffin was placed.   The odor of physical decay was overpowering and sickening.  But Francis had to do his duty.

He approached.  He opened.  He peeked.  But he couldn’t identify the horrifying mess that was the face of his queen.   He verified only on his honor that he had never stopped guarding the coffin.

And he was changed.   “Nunca mas!”  he said.  “Nunca mas servir a senor que se me pueda morir!”

The horrifying realization that gave rise to this exclamation makes me shudder, deep down, where I understand this;  I understand this turning away from “serving a master which leads only to  death.”

From then on,  more single-mindedly, more fervently, he intensified the care of his own soul.   The things of this world, the things that matter here, all end in death and horrifying putrefaction.   All things here…come to this end.

I hear his words:  Nunca mas!  (No more!  Never again!)    Deep down,  where I understand this,  I know it’s time for me to “grow up”  and get serious about serving the Master who offers everlasting Life and Beauty and Health and Joy.

Francis is an acknowledged saint now.   He served his Lord Jesus Christ who died for us all to give us Life and so that death and decay will not be our final end.

Francis served Our Lord  with a joyful, but sober and vigorous devotion.

It is his example which keeps pulling me back to the Path of Life.   His words remind me to act wisely.   He is a “heavy hand” on my shoulder, sometimes,  but i am grateful because  that which remains of him, proves that the lesson he learned is a real one:


Thank you to a kind Christian friend who gave me this tangible piece of St. Francis’s life, a relic from something he doesn’t need anymore,  a third order relic, in the tiny little circle, which speaks to me as soberly as “Nunca mas!”





October 9, 2013

Dragon Red fl  “Here be dragons” – famous quotation from books and movies.

“Dragons”  –  age-old enemy of the human race in literature and legends.

“The Red Dragon” –  Image of the great Enemy of God in the last book of the Bible.

I intended to call this posting “Herein Lies Danger,”  but I’m rather fond of the concept of dragons, and they’re a much more dramatic way to indicate lurking danger.   We will be “gobbled up” if we’re not careful.

The Spruce Tunnel is going to move from Politics in Particular to Politics in General  to Politics in the Past.

Politics in General, today.    It began with Hobbes and Locke for us, and culminated in the making of our very own nation.

SigningWe really do  did have a wonderful country with some important political concepts that endeavored to give all citizens equal rights before the law.   The idea was to give all citizens the opportunity to vote for representatives who would then propose and debate and vote and reconsider and vote again to give us good laws.

But there was a fatal flaw, a dangerous misconception included in those early politics, and that was the concept that the authority of government arises from the people, from the citizens.  Sounds like a great idea:    the government governs by the consent of the governed.   But this concept had been tried before (Ancient Athens, for example;  Ancient Rome) and it had always descended into a tyranny within 200 years.

(We hope to be “different” somehow.)

Examine the concept, though:  that authority to govern arises from the people.   You have two elements:   the government entity, or the state;  and the people.

There is nothing in between.   There is no higher standard nor any higher authority than “the people”  who have handed over their authority to “the government.

What should be the higher authority?

I was thinking about this when I was observing how uncomfortable, how outraged we are sometimes when we hear about our politicians lying to us or cheating or using their authority to deliberately hurt others or using their position in government to get out from under the laws that they created for the rest of us.  On and on it goes,  dismay every time we hear the “news”  reports.

Why are we so uncomfortable?    Our Founding Fathers knew why and stated it in so many words, that this Republic can exist only when its citizens are good and upright and moral and honest, gentle and kind.

In all of Christendom, in the Western Civilization of previous centuries,  both king and people were subject to the same moral authority, presented to everyone and taught by the Church.

emp karlI could offer you many names of past kings and queens who ruled their countries well, in humility and service, subject to the same moral standards that all citizens should subject themselves to.   Many of these kings and queens are now saints, recognized for their “heroic” sanctity and goodness.  Their countries prospered and advanced under their rules.

But I offer instead the man in this photo:  Emperor Karl of Austria of the Twentieth Century.  Christian Soldier and Catholic Monarch.   You can read about him at this link,  and it is one of many sources of information about him.   You would be astonished at how morally upright and good and virtuous a leader could be.

What is this Dragon ambushing our own United States right now?   It is the Dragon that is tearing down our moral fiber, our moral courage, and our moral authority.

There is nothing that stands between us and an increasingly fearsome governing power.


October 9, 2013

I don’t want to write these Tributes to Tuesdays anymore.

There are too many . . .    — you know.

(Senior Citizens  story linked here.)


Post 2 wh


October 9, 2013

Post wh




October 6, 2013

A long time ago I sent a poster to my dear Grandma who was living in a nursing home, so she could look upon it and be comforted.   It had a sailboat on a peaceful lake and a good  motto.


Not exactly that sailboat.    That’s a picture of our sailboat;  that’s our friend’s lake;  and that’s our Creator’s sunset!   But it was very similar.   It gives you the idea of a feeling of peace.   The motto was:  Don’t be afraid of tomorrow.  God is already there.

My Grandma would have already known that,  but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of the good things we know –  and ( most of all) to know that we are not alone in the knowing of good things.

Before our age of poster-making,  poster-buying, and poster-posting,   this same sentiment was well-known by those who came before us.


That’s St. Francis de Sales, reminding us that God will not only be present  with us tomorrow,  but that he is caring today and still caring tomorrow.

Our Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is so not like us that we forget that He really is very different from us.   We know that when the Son of God walked this earth, in Palestine,  His reputation for “strangeness”  or “otherness” began to spread.   And they, just like us, began to have a small hope,  a little bit of faith,  that He can do things that we couldn’t do.

Today, on this 20th Sunday after we’ve celebrated Pentecost,  the Gospel given to us today  tells of the local Ruler in those days, whose son was very sick,  dying of a fever.   The Ruler ran out to get Jesus to come to His son and heal him.

Ruler's son

The man was right to run to the One Who is here to help us,   but he had an imperfect understanding.    See, the ruler asked that Jesus come home with him, to his house where the sick son was. “Here’s where I need you!   Here’s where you should come!”

But Jesus didn’t need to visit the Ruler’s home.  He is the Son of God.   He was already there.   “Go thy way;  your son lives.”

So, today,  whatever is coming down on us  in our near future, I think we can have faith that Jesus still says:  “Go thy way.  I’m taking care of things.   I’m already there.  Your son lives.”

Deo gratias.


October 5, 2013

They think they own  the planet:  the ocean and the canyon!!   A large patch of ocean and what used to be our Grand Canyon!!!

Our Rulers say we can’t go there anymore —  because we won’t give them money for their “Health”  CONTROL  law.

1,100 square miles of ocean off the shore of  Florida is off-limits to us now.   And the Grand Canyon must belong to them too, because they won’t let us go there either.   And it’s costing them a lot of money, a lot of personnel, a lot of resources to keep us out….   It will cost more to keep us out than it would to let us visit those places.

If we don’t consent to be CONTROLLED  in the name of health-delivery,  then we will be boxed in more and more, until….   Well, what do those Park Rangers say, the ones who are ordered to obey these Rulers?

Quote:  . . . .  according to an anonymous Park Service Ranger, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

Um….if  what you’re doing is disgusting,  distasteful,  so anti-American,  then why are you doing it?  Oh, yes.    You will lose your job.  You’ll lose your salary, your pension,  your health insurance;  you’ll have to pay big fines,  and your life will be pretty much over.

They “got” us.

Is it true nobody can do nothing?

Probably.     So I’m not going to  write about our present day Rulers anymore…  Just maybe warn you about some things   (deleted)

And that’s a heartbreaker.