Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category


August 28, 2017

Going to a zoo sometime during this trip west was something I looked forward to.

Z Zoo Sign

I found a couple:   the Kansas City Zoo in the city;  and this one,  way out in the country through narrow two-lane roads.     Surprisingly worth it.

Of course I’ve been to lots of zoos before, and in one way they’re all “alike”  —  all the familiar animals arranged in simulations of their native continents;   but each zoo is a bit different too,  and it’s those differences plus the animals that make it worth “going to the zoo again.”

Z Rhino

So,  you’ve seen lions and tigers in person;  you’ve seen a rhino;  exotic birds; you’ve been up close to elephants;  maybe you’ve even fed the giraffes with their long black muscular tongues!     (He just stuck his tongue back in when I snapped the picture.)

Z Giraffe 270

Some zoo tips:

First:   you are never too old to go to a zoo.    No matter how old you get, no matter how many zoos you’ve seen,  even if you have to go alone, your zoo trips are not behind you;   you’re never too old!

Second:      In the summer?   On a hot sunny day?    Hat, sunglasses, plenty of water and sunscreen with you?    But don’t forget that the animals are hot too and this is the time of day when the most interesting animals   go    to   sleep!

Sleeping furry tail 300

Cute little guys –  but they’re not going to be moving anytime soon.

Sleeping Flamingos 320

Pretty flamingos.   Pretty sleepy flamingos.

You won’t see much action from even the big guys:
SleepingTigers 370

And I think the bright noon sun bleaches out the colors in the photos.

Third:      Ride!      Ride the trams . . .

Zoo Tram 400

. . .  the trains . . .

Z Train 400

. . .  and the sky rides.  . . .

SkyRide 400


You’ll see the zoo in comfort and in shade, with a cool breeze blowing past you;  and it’s surprising how long you can last the day without feeling a bit tired.

Riding,  rolling  gliding your way through the zoo is a great way to see where all the exhibits are and plan which ones you’d like to actually walk to.   And there are always frequent stops,  so just get off near exhibits that you want to see, and then get back on    when you’re done there.

Fourth:   Don’t forget to see the humor – and take some funny shots!

Funny shots 400

Like a headless polar bear

Fifth:   Enjoy the signs –  but remember to be safe or you’ll get some surprises.       This sign was easy enough to understand:

Kangaroo sign and spiders 400

What it meant was that the kangaroos run freely, no cages,  and there are no barriers between you and them.

Kangaroo Spider surprise 400

This made one young man – one foolish, boastful young man –   tell his girlfriend (or wife)  that he was going to run right at those kangaroos and scare them!   His young girlfriend (or wife)  told him  “No!   They’re wild animals!    They could hurt you!”

But the young man ran off our pathway,  through the opening in the bushes,  and promptly began to yell:   “Aaaaaargh!!”       He had run right into some wild . .  .   spider webs!   He came out spitting and sputtering and rubbing his face.      “I’m not going back there,”  he said.   I guess he’d found his wild things.

Sixth:    Look all around and enjoy the whole wild, strange, exotic world that you are just a tiny part of:

Z Blue 400

There was a group of maybe 40 of them, all dressed alike in the same colors:  moms, dads,  children,  babies . . .  speaking “Pennsylvania Dutch,”   which since “Dutch”  means “Deutsch”  I could understand about a third of what they were saying.   How I wondered and speculated what their world is like!

Seventh:   Take Google with you:

Snake google 400

This is a giant python.  An ordinary python with a genetic defect  causing amelonism because of  a double heterozygous gene which produced a condition called … “leuco-”  something.   Another lady and I were trying to figure out what all this meant, what made the python such a pretty yellow color.   Finally we looked each other in the eye,  smiled, and whipped out our cell phones,  consulting Google for the full explanation –  which was rather satisfying.

And that wasn’t the last time Google answered our questions –  questions which could make sense only while we were there,  but answers which will stick with us for a while.

Eighth:       Leave your POLITICS  at home!!!

Not you –  the young millennial zoo people who insisted on writing, for every animal exhibit,   that HUMANS  have destroyed this animal’s habitat and that they are now becoming extinct, or in danger of becoming extinct, or one day will think they might become extinct.       Because  “humans did it.”      Humans are horrible!    Humans make it no fun to be an animal.

And soon there will be no more zoos.

Let me add a little animal sound to that:   “grrrrrrrrrrrrr.”


(Next post:  I’ll show them an extinct thing or two!)







FOURTH SHORTS – 3 Birthday Time

July 4, 2017


Happy Birthday — well, to our daughter!


She shares a birthday with our country – and always celebrated her birthday with parades,  picnics, and fireworks.   What a fun date for a birthday!

ballet shoes

…She’s grown up to be her own person, now:  wife, mother,   a professional in business, a vice president of North American Operations for . . . something, actually.   But along the way we watch her learn how to read and write,  navigate her way through  “schools,”  and develop a few hobbies.


We’ve had many days of car-pooling to sports games, gymnastics  track practice,  orchestra practice,  and always . . . ballet.     Ballet classes,  ballet rehearsals, and ballet performances.


Today,  out in the High Sierras,  she is hosting a huge deck party on the lake;    the one where you invite your friends – and their children.  And people seem to be having a lot of children nowadays!

Though they could,  there won’t be time for snowboarding this year.

Happy Birthday,  Daughter!




FOURTH SHORTS – 2 The All-Purpose Explanation

July 3, 2017

flag      Another Short Note for the Fourth of July holiday. 


It took me a long time to decide to get rid of cable in this house.   I was keeping it for sentimental reasons.   I was keeping it for Hubbie’s sake.    Hubbie and I got cable just as soon as it came out,  somewhere around 1980, I think.

We were so excited to have a 24/7 news channel.    What a concept!   We were both teachers,  we had studied history and business,  and we both liked to stay current with the news.

And over the decades we watched the “news” media devolve into a cartoon imitation of itself.   Now it tells us fairy tales,   24/7, and plays one tune:




Stuck, I guess.

I don’t need to be sentimental anymore.   Sadly,   I admit Hubbie doesn’t need cable anymore.

And I sure don’t.


FOURTH SHORTS – 1 The Ferocious Kitty

July 3, 2017

flag   I love the Fourth of July holiday!    I probably won’t be writing any “thoughtful”  blogs –  just a few short notes here and there,  humorous and not.  (Letting off some steam.)


I did it a few weeks ago –  I finally did it:   I  “cut the cable.”    I  haven’t missed it at all.  I understand the entertainment-news media is 100% against President Trump and they are leading the Take Down Trump movement.


Trump is like a bright red shiny target for them.


And the media thinks they’re very effective:





June 21, 2017

(In a word:  Why?   Why?   Why?   Why?  Why?  Why?   Why?)  

Gloomy Cloud


Gloomy Gus speaks  today.


So,  listen to a great man,  a man with distinguished military service,  with knowledge, wisdom, and  gravitas, as we like to say nowadays.  He is General Omar Bradley:

We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.  Ours is the world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.    We know more about war than we do about peace;  more about killing than we do about living.

Does this have anything to do with the effect of the Cultural Revolution orchestrated  (successfully)  by the marxist-socialists,  which broke down the ethics and moral norms of our society?

Does this have anything to do with our reliance upon science and technology to solve our problems?      Or upon our Rulers – the State – to fix our problems and give us easier lives?

As a society,  we reject not only the Sermon on the Mount, but we reject its Author.

General Bradley was pessimistic about our ability to stay out of the next war.    The saints of Christianity were analytic.  They say:  “War is a punishment for sin,”   (which is, again, rejecting the Author of the Sermon on the Mount).

Humans can’t go on living as though God is not a factor in today’s world,  no matter how hard we try to keep Him out of our decisions:


God is not dead.

Everywhere I go to read the news eventually an article about WWIII comes up.   It’s beginning to become convincing . . .  .

Somewhere in my mind there is a memory of the recent stories of incidents which generally lead to war.   Threats,  near-misses, and collisions with our naval vessels – any one of which could be seen as a provocation.    Near-misses with our Air Force places,  a five-foot  near miss in the air yesterday!   And   “we” are doing it too;   a fighter plane was attacking an ISIS command post this week,  and “we”  shot it down –  we shot down a fighter plane belonging to another sovereign nation.

Around the world the nations’ troops are being called up,  strengthened,  positioned, made more ready than ever before.   Social and economic conditions are ripe.

Omar Bradley may be right.  This thing about misplaced values may have horrific consequences.   The saints may be right.

Ignorance of ethical values,  rejection of cultural norms, corruption of “family values,”  the weak-willed acceptance of colonization by a people who are opposed to peace and freedom,  and the trivialization of Life in our protection of abortion, euthanasia,  and hideous medical industry practices — will have consequences.

It’s the Law of Human Nature.







June 13, 2017

Our home away from home:

hospital new

Still spending my days in the hospital, keeping vigil over the young lady who has not regained consciousness and is still on a ventilator.     There is no place else I’d rather be than at her bedside.   Son and I think  she might be aware of our presence on some level.   It gives us comfort to think so.

But there’s no way to tell.

clock spinning  When you spend your time like this,  it’s one l  o  n  g  day inside,   but the days outside of the hospital just go slipping by.  Pardon me if I let  this past Sunday go by – a very important Sunday in Christendom, for this  one is called Trinity Sunday where we emphasize God the Holy Trinity of Persons:   a Trinity in Unicity.   Three Persons,  one undivided  divine substance,  one God.

No theology today (for who can understand a triune Being anyway?)  but just to remind you of the One of a Kind, Unique,  Only  Trinity in Uniticity – One in Three —

No other religion in the history of Mankind has ever presented such a Being.

idol wood

The old prophet Jeremiah   (well, he was a young man,  but he lived in “olden” times)  ridiculed people who worshiped a lesser god.  He said:  You take down a big tree and make furniture from part of its trunk, and you make  pots and dishes from other parts,  and you make wagons and wheels from other parts of its wood,  and then you . . .  oh,  say,  you have  some extra time so you make an  idol of the leftover wood and set it up on a shelf in your house and say:  “That’s my god!”

Let’s make him fancier:

idol fancy

All kinds of idols.

See, a human is created with the ability to fulfill his duty  as a creature,   which is to worship and glorify and serve his Creator.  It’s built into our nature.     And if man doesn’t  find his way to the One True and Living Creator,   he will create his own god,  even if he’s putting himself in God’s place.

“Mankind”  creating its own god!!     Worshiping his own choices!

sh   It could be a great and “wise”  teacher, like Buddha.   It could be the sum total of all one’s ancestors.    It could be Nature,   one’s homage paid to rocks and trees and animals and bodies of water,  and  thunderstorms,   etc.


One could choose to worship gods represented by  the sun,    distant planets,  the moon,  or –  the crescent moon.   Moon and star j Powerful figures!


No,  the One True and Only God actually revealed Himself to the ancient ones who lived in ages past,  and then  to one man,  Abraham,  and  his descendants, and then revealed Himself more  completely to one particular generation of Abraham’s descendants,  the Jews in Roman Palestine,  and then sent out the directive to  “teach the Gospel to all the whole world  (to the ends of the earth).”

No other religion ever experienced by Mankind worships a God who is Triune, yet One.

It’s above our ability to  “invent.”

Some of you heard a portion of the book of Exodus read in church this past Sunday.*  At the top of Mt. Sinai God explains to Moses  a little about Himself,  what kind of God He is. And the response of Moses, great leader of many people  —  is to fall down flat to the ground, to plead for mercy, forgiveness,  and to confess that the people are a “stiff-necked”  people,  having shown that they want to go their OWN way —   and they didn’t know what they were talking about.

Have mercy  on us.


You are God . . . . . .    and we are . . .   not.



Bar Cross in middle


.*  Exodus,  chapter 34 –   ( 6)The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, (8) And Moses made haste to bow his head toward the earth, and worshiped.( 9) And he said, “If now I have found favor in thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray thee, go in the midst of us, although it is a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thy inheritance.”


June 4, 2017

(I know some people – by name! –  who will not read beyond the word “science” in the title!      But,  sheesh, guys,  this is easy. )

Besides,  God made all material things in the natural world and He made all the laws of nature and the  principles which explain (to us)  how the natural world works.   Why wouldn’t we be interested in science?!

A Pentecost image

So this is about Pentecost*  which Christians celebrated today.      Ascension Day,  ten days ago, and Pentecost  are two sides of the same coin (of reality).   They’re the same movement between  this world and  the Other world.   Here’s how that works:

All matter is supposed to be made up of atoms,  right?

Atom 2-d

A simplified two-dimensional representation of an atom.       We’ve only recently invented a way to look at an atom, and we’ve only recently invented a device that let’s us see the parts of an atom . . .

(Atom-smashers!!!   —  Or:  Cyclotron.    See “CERN”  and the work it’s doing if you’re interested.)

Now,  that diagram is way out of proportion because the parts of an atom like that are so tiny that the little pictures and the size of the labels take up too much space.  Actually  the space between the parts of an atom are far greater than  the space between the planets in a solar system.

Atom to solar system

Hopefully, you had time to contemplate these vast distances when you were in high school.    These are vast, vast distances that a person’s mind can just fall into and then begin to contemplate Eternity.

So there is much more “empty” space between the parts of an atom – and each molecule of matter –  that we can almost comprehend.   A solid object   is  basically empty space, so to speak.  And so there is plenty of “room”  for other dimensions to exist at the same place as our physical world.

There is plenty of “room”  to understand Eternity to be penetrating – or rather interpenetrating –  our physical world.    What we see is not all the reality that there is around us.   The natural sciences not only allows for an unseen and very real Other world,   (other dimension),  but actually makes room for it!


The Ascension

So where did He go?        On Ascension Day,  where did Jesus go?   Up?   For a moment He did.   Did He go “up”  past the moon?     Past Jupiter?    Past the Oort Cloud?

A Oort

Of course not.      You do not reach Jesus by inventing a super space ship and following Him “up” and away.

The movement of Jesus was from our physical world into the Unseeable world,  Eternity,  an unseeable dimension that interpenetrates our physical,  seeable world.

Ten days after this event comes Pentecost.       The Holy Being,   the Spirit,  comes towards us in this physical world,  moves  towards us from the Unseeable world,   and because this is Infinite Holiness –

Atom energy fire

—   that Infinite Holiness breaking into the physical world brings with it Infinite Energy,  like a fire,   and entered into a small portion of this world,  the Upper Room,   where the followers of Jesus were waiting and praying  (contacting that Unseeable, Infinite world).

It brought with it noise,   like the wind roaring in the trees,   and a shaking that affected that particular building.

And it penetrated the building, the people in the building,  and seemed to split apart,  onto each of the people there,  penetrating them with holy light and energy and power. That’s why pictures show the people with  tongues of fire”  on top of everyone’s head.

The lesson of Pentecost is that everyone who lives in this natural, visible world is intimately close to this Unseeable, heavenly realm    —  and it needs only your permission,  your will,  your humble request,   while you yet live,   for the Holy Spirit to live in you in the same way as It entered into the men and women at the first Pentecost.

Permission or not,   we all enter that Unseeable world when we die.  . .

Energy Unseeable

. . .     either close to that  Infinite Source of Life and Love — or far, far away.   No time.   It’s an eternal now in whatever condition you had chosen.


. * Pentecost –  Be careful when looking for pictures of Pentecost  (and other religious events).      The modern world displays great contempt for the things of God.

Pentecost?  —

aaaa watch your images!


Note:   “Mary at Pentecost”   Mary,  Queen of Angels.   Of course she was there.   Why isn’t her presence listed in the Bible?     Because she forbade her name to be mentioned.   The new Church needed to understand Jesus, Our Savior;    the living Mother of God among them  would be way too distracting for  this understanding to develop.


April 20, 2017

(An update on Cooper)

(Boys and girls.   Nothing like having one of each to appreciate the differences!)

When Hubbie and I were expecting our very first child,  we didn’t know whether we’d have a girl or a boy.    I wanted a boy.    In my naivete I wanted a whole basketball team full of boys – and then maybe a girl later.

Well.     After knitting little blue sweaters,  I got a  girl.

Appreciated having a girl.   So when we were expecting another child,  I though how nice it would be if she had a little sister!    So I knit little pink sweaters.

And then we got a boy.

I will have to say that after each birth, my only thought was “How perfect!”

Now,  I was more used to girls because  as I was growing up,    I had become the big sister of two little girls.     I understood them,   I knew all the subtle little things to expect.

But boys!    That was a new experience!    Straightforward.  Direct.  Practical.   Honest.   Not afraid to show delight.   And their sense of humor is really funny.

So I offer you two “boy”  samples.   One is a joke.    But it’s a boys’ type joke.    Non-sentimental.   Non-fussy.    Just plain funny.   (It’s all over the Internet, associated with the name of  Corden,  that’s all the attribution I can make.)     Here it is:

A 16-year-old boy in Bosnia broke a world record this week by smashing 111 concrete blocks with his head in 34 seconds. When asked how it felt to break the world record, the boy said, “Lampshade tricycle is my favorite flavor of pizza truck.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha . .  .  really appreciated that!

And now there’s  another little boy in my life,  Cooper,  my grandson.     Just returned from a trip to Portugal.     Here he is,  straightforward,  direct, and matter-of-factly enjoying a visit with the pilot:

Cooper Pilot

He excused himself from his airplane seat and knocked on the “pilot’s door”  and had a nice long conversation about flying airplanes.    He knows quite a bit about airplanes — he’s on his SECOND passport book right now.  The first one got all filled up with stamps.    The pilot came out after a while and gave his email address to his Cooper’s Mommy, offering to help   in any way possible should Cooper ever want to become a pilot!   He called Cooper “remarkable.”

My word exactly.

This little boy takes on  the world exactly as it comes to him,  an attitude that is frankly quite charming.

Hawaii?    Just a place to express your joy.

Cooper Dancing Ocean 300

I think he’s ready for the whole world.


(There’s a lot of “girl”  still in me,  but  I’m learning a lot from observing the boys!)


April 16, 2017


The other Easter joy:


peeps one gone


(once a year)


April 16, 2017




What can we say to the God of Love, Our Father,  who planned this all along so that it would be possible for us to enter into His Heaven?

It was so unexpected.  It is so above our means.

jesus risen



We say this prayer.   Repeated throughout this day.     Repeated throughout our lives.  This prayer of gratitude:


Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi,

Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.   Amen.



We adore Thee, O Christ,  and we bless Thee,

For by Thy Holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.   Amen.



And to each other:

“Christ is risen.”

“He is risen indeed.”

Happy Easter!






April 14, 2017

(At the 9th hour):        “It is consummated.”           It was.


“By means of men and their actions,  God governs the world.”*


.*  “What Jesus Saw From the Foot of the Cross”

by  A.G. Sertillanges


April 13, 2017

The “beautiful thing” of this week:

3 Moon 1

Moon and moon-in-pond.

My camera could not capture its lovely golden color.  

3 Moon 3 with effects

 The Paschal Moon shines down through my back yard trees.

The first full moon after the first new moon of the first month of the year, Nisan.

The Paschal Moon shines down on all of us this week, because once, 2,000 years ago,  it rose over Jerusalem:

3 moon above.

And Jesus died.






March 7, 2017

(… You might have already figured it out, the “degrading slavery” part —  but confirmation from Scientific American is rather dismaying.)

Purg 1

GK Chesterton was asked  why he,  a renowned literary figure of great intelligence and perceptive wit,   had converted as an adult (a seemingly sane and responsible adult!)  to the Catholic Church.

His answer is both instructive and universally true.

Here’s the beginning of his answer:    “The difficulty of explaining, ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true. I could fill all my space with separate sentences each beginning with the words, ‘It is the only thing that…’”

‘It is the only thing that…’      and he proceeded to list a few examples.    As a historian,  by avocation and by six years of university education,  my favorite example is this:

” It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

That instantly made sense to me.

Because God doesn’t like us to be in mental slavery,  not in command of our own intellect; psychological slavery, not in command of our own emotions;   spiritual slavery,  not in command of our own free will – to do good and to choose God.    That is,  as human beings,  we have souls, and our souls are free and we must act from this freedom.

Chesterton observed that those who are informed mainly by the thoughts and activities of their own (generation)  become entrapped by their own (generation).       Without any effort at all we absorb information  by watching and imitating other people,  by giving subconscious assent to the attitudes around us,  and  by  absorbing the content of the media we choose:

tv watching

That’s why an education always includes a knowledge of the history, the philosophies,  the challenges,  of ages past,  as well as a thorough knowledge of the rules of grammar, logic, and rhetoric – that is, how to think and how to express yourself and how to recognize when   someone   is  feeding  you  a line of  . .  .

Think these guys are dead and gone and irrelevant?

school of athens

Maybe dead,  but not “gone” nor irrelevant.     In fact,  their ideas and the problems they worked out are vital  to the decisions we make today.      (If you don’t want to be held in mental slavery by our current Rulers.)

Again, Chesterton  says that 90% of what we call “new ideas”  is simply the old errors coming back again,  and the Church  (not the neo-Church, but the original one)   has for one of her chief duties to prevent people from making the same old mistakes.

Here’s an “old idea” –   a “new”  prejudice from the  19th century,  at least.     I recently had a woman come into our class, just to say Hi,  and then  she stayed and talked to us for the next 2 1/2 hours!    She is a modern,  extreme-liberal,  feminist of the New Catholic Church, superior in every way, and she proceeded to instruct us in the new and better ways of the modern world – in a most friendly way . . .  sort of.


Among the things that the bad old Catholic church had done was to suppress the “rights and opportunities” of women.   Just because they were women!    They were disrespected and their talents were ignored!

She was so steeped in the contemporary attitudes of the 19th and 20th centuries, that she could not even “think outside of”  that Box.

Fortunately,  my educational credentials had come up sometime earlier in that conversation  and so she listened while I smiled and  told her about my respect and affection for Queen Etheldreda …  a Catholic  woman of centuries past.

Queen Etheldreda was intelligent.  Well-educated.   Married.   And she was also the administrator of a large population in a major religious center and surrounding “city area.”     She was like the authoritative presider over a very large number of men and women.

She is one of many women who were well-educated and well-respected leaders of people throughout the “Dark”  and “Middle”  Ages.  And she is recognized as a saint.

But our new friend,  our lecturer in the ways of modern superiority,  would not hear of any further examples.   It is sometimes painful  to “think outside of” your Box.   You would have to break with your fellow slave-thinkers.     You would have to defy your slave-masters – and risk the consequences.

I insisted on all of us  laughing a lot during our 2 1/2 hour long near-confrontation,  keep it light,   find lots to laugh at;  when someone said, “Well, we’ll just agree to disagree,”  the whole class burst out laughing.   I even heard myself invite her back to our class sometime.   Hmmmm.

” It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

Oops –  almost forgot the Scientific American magazine.      Well,  I’ve been reading more Douglas Preston novels,  so I turned to Scientific American for  current thought on some issues in physics.    To my dismay,   here are some of the titles of the latest articles:  “Trump Administration Seeks Big Budget Cuts for Climate Change.”    “The Real Reason Autism Rates Are Up”  (and it does not encourage vaccine research!)  – “This Is Your Brain On Poverty”   (for all you SJW’s out there)  –  “Maps Show Where Americans Care About Climate Change”   “What Apple Cider Vinegar Can and Can’t Do For You” (and if you’re  “educated”  you won’t seek out natural remedies.)     “Climate Deniers –  You’re Climate Deniers, Deal With It”   –  (huh?   are we supposed to feel inferior?)    “Ten Solutions For climate Change”  (aw gee . . . )    

I got excited when I finally saw a hard science headline,  I thought.   “The Most Important Idea About the Universe.”     But no physics.   No hard science.   Just a promotion of energy conservation and Darwinism.   

Do you know how dated and old-fashioned these articles will be in a few short decades?  Are these guys wearing bell-bottom trousers?     Are these women wearing corsets?

The Catholic Church “is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

Once you catch on and once you can recognize when someone is speaking merely as a child of his own age,   you can almost feel compassion for his slavery.

And mental slavery is the most degrading kind of slavery of all.


I have never experienced such mental freedom since I entered into the church.


So,  if you’re interested, and if you’ve been told that “physical”  slavery is the worst kind of all,  I’d invite you to consider the life of African-slave-then freedman  Pierre Toussant – one of the men in this world I look up to.

Pierre_Toussaint 120

Pierre Toussant is in Wikipedia,   but I’ve also written about him  here in the Spruce Tunnel.

He is a Catholic.   A slave, but not a degraded type of slave.   (“. . .  for Christ has broken down the divisions between slave and free,  male and female   . . . “)  When he received his freedom,  he moved to New England during those colonial times, opened up a business,   became wealthy, and used his wealth to create orphanages and homes for the unfortunate.

He is on his way to Catholic sainthood.

Which, to the Church,  means only that his life is worthy of a “second-look” on our part.



February 26, 2017

(updated, to tamp down the enthusiasm and perhaps make more sense):



Strengthened,  happy,  and all-pumped up —  and ready for this:


Daytona Day!!!    I’m happy to have this one day out of the week when we’re commanded to stop, pause,  refresh,  recreate,   change your pace,  change mental gears so we can look upwards,  make this day set apart  (made  holy)  — to remember God.     His idea:  one day out of seven, right?

The age-old Reading given to us  to ponder on this particular Sunday concerns  a man who sat in a dusty (probably smelly) heap on the side of a well-traveled dirt road holding out his hand,  begging.


No one cared.  No one glanced his way,  because he was annoying.   We have bums like that today,  but for this man,  his situation wasn’t entirely his fault.    He was unseen and  unseeing.  He was blind from birth.  Really,  of no use to the society of his day.

This is one of my favorite stories from the Gospels, because it isn’t really about this man’s   blindness.

Jesus walks by with a great noisy crowd around Him,  but then he comes to a sudden halt – causing the crowd around him to stop too.   What for?   Jesus has heard the call of the blind man,  and He has heard the man dare to call him “Thou Son of David!”    There is only one Son of David,   but the crowd missed it.


Jesus rewarded  Bartimaeus’s  faith with a physical miracle.

I like the story, sure.  I’ve written about it before, like here.    But after the sermon,  the Mass went on . . .

As I was driving home,  I was musing on why I often feel so strong and happy after the Mass.  (   I’m referring to the actual,  original real  Mass which was entrusted to the Church and cannot be lessened and diminished.)

The (real) Mass is  a spiritual miracle,  but, like Bartimaeus,  it seemed like I often experience a physical miracle too.   I can’t explain it all,  but I thought of all the people who “don’t get it”  and what it is they don’t seem to “get.”

They don’t get:

Why we go to Mass every week – or more – and willingly.

Why we’ll bother with ashes this week.

Why we don’t eat meat of Friday.

Why we keep the marital act within a marriage.

Why  our commitment to stay in a marriage is a strong one.

Why we give our hard-earned money away to people in need.

Why we hold back when there is reason to be really angry.

Why we refrain from cussing and swearing and talking trash about other people.

Why we look uncomfortable as we’re hearing dirty jokes.

Why we dress modestly.

Why we read the Bible,  on our own, because we want to.

Why fun feels so . .  .  fun!

Lots of other things too –  but I was writing this list as I was driving home and thought it best to keep the list short.

There are many things to be blind to.    And I know there are many reasons for a man to be blind,  willingly blind.


Jesus reached out to Blind  Bartimaeus  with  concern,  pity,  love,  kindness,  and with power.   Suddenly Bartimaeus  sees  Jesus standing before him.

As we all will some day.   When we leave this world,  we will see Him with perfect clarity.   No explanations from us are needed.

No explanations  from us are possible.

No excuses.

“We will know as we are known.”   We will no longer “see through a glass, darkly,  but clearly,  face to face.”  Some day not one of us will be blind to what we should have known.

Seems safer to call out now to the Son of David   (as Bartimaeus did);  today,  rather than after this life.   Jesus reaches out today with the same ” concern,  pity,  love,  kindness,  and  power..”      When we look up,  respond, call out His name,   we begin to “see” so much.   “I have come to give you Life, and that, much more abundantly.”

Strong,  happy,  whole, and mysteriously  pumped up after each encounter!


February 17, 2017

Life was freer  140 years ago:


I applaud the new administration for attempting to tackle the removal of tens of thousands of regulations that are stifling our economy and personal freedom.

But I guess we can keep a few.

Hat tip to Cousin Lois in the Far Far North.


February 14, 2017

St. Valentine!



We have St. Valentine’s Day.   A cute,  fun, innocent opportunity to show affection for our friends and “sweethearts.”        Teachers use this day to teach their children to have respect and caring for all their classmates.    Other people enjoy a reason to share fond feelings with some activity like special meals,  special notes and cars,  special . . .   smiles.  make your Mom or your Grandma or your aunt feel special!

So many times in the New Testament we’re reminded to show love and affection and tender caring for each other.    Jesus is gone now, for the moment,   and we are to be His hands,  showing His love to each other.

This was a common  remark from the Roman citizens about the early Christians:   “How they loved one another!”


Among these early Christians were bishops and priests who both taught and modeled the love of Christ for their people.

There really was a man named or nicknamed “Valentine.”  (“Valentine” for “a valiant man.”)     The story has come down to us that  he converted many to Christianity during the second half of the 3rd century;    that  he worked among the young soldiers of the Roman army,  teaching them and marrying them to their “sweethearts”   so that, as Christians, the young man would live honorably with their wives.


. . .  Thus angering  the Roman officials.   He was beaten and then beheaded.   His relics were rescued, saved, and honored – and passed around!    An important part of his relics ended up in modern Ireland.


How do we know what he may have looked like?     Today there are experts in facial reconstruction, starting with the skull, and knowing how the tissues and muscles fit upon the skull.


So now we have a pretty close idea of what St. Valentine may have looked like!


A real, actual,  historical man.   A real, actual saint.

Love is real.




February 2, 2017

Well,  I’m not!


This was my back yard a few nights ago.    So pretty.    I had a floodlight set up into the air so I could see the snowfall better.     We got only four inches, though.

Unlike my little grandson in the high Sierras:



This photo isn’t from his area,  but it very well could be.

A story from a nearby newspaper   . . .   (The San Jose Mercury News –   Do they still use the name San Jose?)  . . .   today discussed the  well over 100% of normal snowfall they’ve received this year.


Now, “the sky is not falling,”   and no “climate change connection”   and they’ve had higher snowfall amounts in previous years from time to time,  but nevertheless, when you get a big year,  you’ve got to deal with it.   You’ll still find people who are happy with all the new snow for skiing and snowboarding  –  after all,  most of the people up there chose to live there so they could have plenty of snow to play in!     But the news article today said that people are beginning to show signs of “enough is enough”   and “we need a break.”

Normal life has been disrupted.    Schools,  postal delivery,   electricity,  cell towers.      Firefighters have to use  metal detectors to find the fire hydrants!

And what happens when you open your door — and the door is still there!!


I just keep thinking about their weather forecast for the rest of this week.   About a foot more  by the end of the week;   and another two feet by the end of the weekend.   The comment that followed was that the winter sports snowpack will last into  July.

Great.     Cooper’s Mommy,  my daughter,  has a birthday on the Fourth of July.   This wouldn’t be the first year she’s gone both swimming and snowboarding on her birthday!









January 26, 2017

Whew!  It’s been a busy 180 years!

I woke up this morning to my local radio station telling me that our state is 180 years old today!     We’ve been a state since January 26,  1837.

We’re the one that looks like a mitten.


If you ask someone from Michigan “Where are you from,”    — stand back!   One of our hands will go up and we’ll point with the other hand right where we live . . .  on the mitten.

We have a “hat” too.    A two-part state that you need a Bridge to get from one part to the other.    We have a great Bridge; the Mackinaw Bridge,  Big Mac,  5 miles long  –


“The fastest five miles on the whole trip.”

And we are surrounded by four of the Great Lakes:


Our mitten is green!     We know what “Lake Effect” snow means, and we’ve got great winter sports opportunities,  all kinds of summer and winter outdoor sports,  water sports,  hiking in giant sand dunes and in great forests.  We have the oldest exposed rock outcropping  in the United States.     And so many great places  for photography!

My grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants to this state.   Legal immigrants, so proud to learn to speak English and to live just like the Americans!   They showed me that we’re not a nation of immigrants.  We’re a nation of legal immigrants.  Law-abiding citizens.

Unfortunately for the past 60 years we’ve been ruled by the increasingly-extreme Leftists in the small southeast section of our state.   Their voice over there is louder than all the rest of our state, and they have run that great city into the ground.   Only vast amounts of our tax money has been keeping them going.


One day   George Soros/Mrs. Clinton/Jill Stein decided they didn’t like us not voting for them in 2016 so they ordered a (rather expensive)  investigation of Voter Fraud.

The investigators found it.   The found Voter Fraud.   They found  (and this was on our local TV stations) ballot boxes that hadn’t been counted;  ballot boxes with more ballots than were possible for the precinct’s population numbers; and ballot boxes that had been opened after voting hours, overstuffed until the boxes themselves ripped open, thus invalidating all the ballots inside.    There were other details too that I can’t remember, other instances of fraudulent activities, quite a high percentage in some precincts.

These  instances of Voter Fraud occurred in that small southeast area of our state.  It began to look like the greatest amount of Voter Fraud occurs in areas where the greatest number of Leftists are.

George Soros/Mrs. Clinton/Jill Stein   quietly withdrew.



Perhaps there really should be an overall investigation of our past elections.   Perhaps the Democratic National  Committee busloads of “voters”   could explain themselves, nationwide, especially where they drive over state lines with their passengers or where they arrived too late to vote but demanded that the voting place re-open for them or where the “voters” were handed their voter registrations once they were on board the bus.

Yep.  I think Mr Trump has a good reason to wonder.

I sure do.   Mittens are meant to keep your fingers warm,  not to cover over a stolen treat.







January 20, 2017

From what I’ve seen and heard on this day I can’t escape the one final and lasting impression:   we have a president who seems to be genuinely proud of his country, the United States of America. 

And all it stands for.


All its history.


All its beauty.


All its geography,  “from sea to shining sea.”.

The Moorings Village Pearl of Florida Keys resort, Islamorada Key, Florida Keys, Florida USA

All its ordinary industry and small family enterprises.


All its abundance.


All its normal, everyday people.


All its goodness and faith.


All Americans.


I saw all the new people coming into the government, and they seemed to be glad and proud that they are one of us, among us.     I think they’ll do their best.

Makes me want to be a good citizen.

These new ones have their job, now, and I have mine.



January 20, 2017

Honest to Pete!!!!             


That’s about the strongest swear word in my arsenal of mean words . .  .  but I really mean it!

I woke up this morning to   this  —


He is, of course, someone who was at Washington DC to celebrate and to support Mr.  Trump. The accompanying story and eyewitnesses say he did NOT provoke this, he and his wife were not engaging the Leftists, and you can tell because his injury is from behind!


All throughout the campaign I’ve had people tell me, “Tsk, tsk,  those Trump supporters are so violent….”  ––  and I was astonished, because what I saw with my own eyes were the Leftists (many of them hired by the uber-socialist George Soros and his organizations)  who were doing the pushing, shouting, spitting, throwing, damaging cars,  blocking highways,   and dearly trying to provoke a response from the Trump people.

My eyes saw one thing,  the entertainment-news media was telling me the opposite:  “Violence at a Trump rally again.”   NO!   It wasn’t like that.

These Leftists shout out  “No KKK!”  and then they use the violence that the KKK used.  They shout out  “No to Fascists!!!”  and then they use the same violence that the Fascists used.

I’ve got to run quickly now for my morning class.   If all is well,  we shall see a new president – in spite of the media rubbing their hands together and smacking their lips as they deliciously speculate what would happen if all the newly elected people were suddenly  k  ill  ed and Leftist appointed people would have to take their place . . .


Honest to Pete.