Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Sense Of Proportion

I mentioned in my Las Vegas trip report that we had a hard time going to Mass Sunday morning because of the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon (and half marathon).  From the Rio, we effectively couldn't go north, south, east, or west without running into a street blocked for the race.  That foiled our plans to go to an 8 AM Mass, so we had breakfast at the Gold Coast, returned to the Rio and checked out, and then made another attempt at Mass, this time at the Strip's Guardian Angel Cathedral.

It took us nearly an hour and a half to get there; the only street we could get onto was Frank Sinatra Drive, which paralleled the Strip and I-15.  Problem was, everyone else in Vegas was there as well.  We found a parking lot where we thought we could park, but a man there was ensuring we couldn't do so.  Eventually, I dropped Sandy off about 10 minutes before Mass was to start.  Driving around the block again, I found the Strip was finally reopened where I could actually get to the cathedral parking lot.

Upon first appearance, I was unimpressed with the cathedral.  The mural behind the altar looked like something out of the Fantastic Four, and otherwise it's a rather un-ornate sanctuary, looking like a converted ski chalet.

But all that didn't matter once the homily started, given by a visiting priest.  He was a missionary, and he told us how in Central America his order was trying to get more children in their schools so they might have a chance at getting out of poverty.  They'd even feed the kids twice a day.

This was news to the poor villager parents who would put their kids to work for 12 hours a day, as soon as they were 8 years old, picking through garbage dumps for anything recyclable so they could make a couple dollars.  The priest mentioned one boy who found something that still looked edible . . . and had to fight off vultures for it.

Needless to say, we were rather generous with the collection for his mission.  And we appreciated the reality check and its accompanying sense of proportion.  We're getting stressed about Las Vegas traffic, and elsewhere, 8-year-old kids are picking through garbage.  And I didn't feel guilt like I did when my mom would tell us, "Millions of kids are starving in Africa!" when we didn't clean off our plates.

(Our smart-alecky response: "Name two.")

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Trip Report: Las Vegas

Sandy and I hadn't really had any time away to ourselves since we moved out here, and I had some leave time I had to use before I lost it, so we decided to take a long weekend in Las Vegas, 450 miles southeast of Reno.


December 2: The flight out was nice and uneventful.  I've never seen luggage get dumped onto the carousel as quickly as it did at McCarran International; it seemed almost as if the Clampetts all arrived at once!  That's how I managed to miss my suitcase the first time around.

We made what turned out to be a smart move by getting a rental car from Enterprise, the third Chevy HHR we've had from them in just over a year.  Then before we checked into the Rio (we'd stayed there before), we had lunch at Marie Callender's just down the street.  We each had a special that included a slice of pie for dessert, and we let the way too energetic server talk us into Chocolate Satin.  Wow, was that rich!  Fighting the sugar and chocolate high, we checked into the Rio and slept for a few hours; I had been up all night until then.

That evening, we decided to go check out the Orleans casino not far away.  We'd stayed there before as well, and were actually hoping to go there this time as well, but we got a better deal at the Rio.  We dined that evening at the TGIFridays on site.

Beginning that night, we saw lots of folks in ten-gallon hats, and would see many more over the next few days.  The National Finals Rodeo was starting that weekend.  I thought I saw my co-worker's wife, who was planning to be in town on a girls' trip for the NFR, but 1) she wasn't there yet, and 2) she's not a blonde.  Didn't see her or her friends at all that weekend.


December 3: My in-laws had taken us to the Gold Coast casino across the street from the Rio for breakfast before, so we went there for a most reasonably-priced buffet.  Part of the same chain as the Orleans, the Gold Coast has many of the same amenities, including a 70-lane upstairs bowling alley.

Yes, we spent a good amount of time at the slots.  Some of the ones that were kinder to me included Mystical Mermaid, Money Storm, and Russian Treasure (you can get winning lines both left to right and right to left).  It seemed as if when Sandy was doing well, I wasn't, and vice versa.

We had hoped to swim or take advantage of the Rio's spas, but it was really too cold to do either comfortably, so we didn't.

That night, we made our way to the Venetian to see Blue Man Group.  We marveled at how they managed to communicate so much without saying one word (there were voiceovers).  Also, I had the urge to find some PVC tubing to hit.  Even the announcements before the show were quite silly.  Note: if you don't like thumping bass music or strobe lights, don't go.  You'll be sorry if you don't, however.  It's something that really has to be experienced to be believed.


December 4: Our day started early as we took a tour bus to Laughlin, near the southernmost point of Nevada.  We straggled over to the Flamingo to catch said bus, passing the Donny and Marie store, and looked for a quick bite to eat.  My "quick bite" of a bagel with egg and bacon and a bottle of water cost $12.

On the way, we stopped at the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada" sign which has a new parking area on the south end of the Strip.  Then we stopped briefly at Hoover Dam, as we had done on a previous trip with my in-laws.  Lake Mead is WAY down, something like 130 feet below normal!  A new bridge will help alleviate congestion getting across the Colorado River.  We spotted a bighorn sheep or two on the rocks above the river.

Rather irksome: Our tour bus driver, a Pennsylvania native, kept calling it "neh-VAHH-dah."  It's "neh-VAA-dah"!  But he did tell us why Boulder City and other towns out west (including Reno and Sparks) have their initial letters on the hillsides: it's because mail used to be flown in, and the letters were all they had to go by to know which town was which!  Now it's done just to keep the tradition alive, and new communities in our area like Galena and Spanish Springs do the same thing.

We drove past a massive solar array south of Boulder City, and then through Searchlight, the small town that inflicted Harry Reid upon us.  Blink and you miss it.

Riding through the desert is a wild experience.  From miles away, I can see where we have to turn, or what town we're driving toward . . . but it still takes time to get there!  It really changes my sense of perspective.  The mountains on either side of the valley were quite impressive.  Wile E. Coyote would have been at home.

The bus then turned east and went downhill to the Colorado River and the gaming town of Laughlin.  It's a smaller version of Vegas, with its casinos drawing folks like the Kingston Trio and the Smothers Brothers.  It's also a lot quieter and less congested, and the Colorado River makes a great setting for it.  We strolled along the Riverwalk in the afternoon, following a lunch buffet at the Edgewater Casino.

On the other side of the Colorado is Bullhead City, Arizona.  We were amazed by how quickly water taxis skip across the river despite an extremely swift current!  Most river rides weren't operating because of the cold weather that day; some go downstream all the way to Lake Havasu City, AZ to take in the London Bridge.  In the summertime, Laughlin and Bullhead City, like Vegas, can get extremely hot.

During the return trip, we watched the movie Radio with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris.  That was impressive, and quite a story.

That night, we partook of the Rio's seafood buffet, a little pricey, but we got our money's worth.  We were disappointed that the Rio had scuttled its famous, albeit campy, "Mardi Gras In The Sky" show for racier stuff.  Also at the Rio, girls will get up and dance at the drop of a hat, and guys will effectively sing Karaoke.  I guess patrons enjoy that.


December 5: We didn't want to eat in the hotel, so we drove out to the Strip and had breakfast at Denny's.  Then we headed over to the Orleans for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert.

Apparently, the Las Vegas TSO concert was a late addition to their schedule; as a result, the Orleans Arena was far from sold out, although I'm glad we got our tickets from will call before everyone else jumped in line.  We had lunch with a lady who said the casino workers should file a grievance to prevent smoking in the casinos.  (Ummmm . . . yeah.)

When TSO stuck to their bread and butter of classical-based metal tunes, they were spot on, and the special effects were quite impressive; I've never seen rigging move that much.  But when they chose to tell a Meaningful Christmas Story Through Music, the concert dragged to a halt, although the narrator was quite good.  Still, I forgot just about everything they did in that whole middle section.  The kids behind us didn't help any by yakking through that whole segment; the glares I shot them went unheeded.

By the end, however, TSO kicked back up to high energy and finished strong.  I found it interesting that all their female musicians were young blondes. In retrospect, we probably should have gone to their later concert; we were unable to go to Mass that night, a decision that would come back to haunt us later.

That night, we headed to Las Vegas' old downtown on Fremont Street, getting dinner at the Golden Nugget across from its aquarium complete with a water slide through the middle of it.  We then visited a small old casino that still dealt in nickels (just about all others print out receipts).  In it was a couple that obviously had a few (dozen?) too many.  She appeared extremely amorous at the time, perhaps not wanting to wait to get a room!

We caught the Fremont Street Experience's sound and video show of Don McLean's "American Pie".  The rest of the schedule is on the above link.  Unfortunately, we didn't get any video because our camera's battery was low (sounds almost like an "American Pie" lyric!).  We then searched the souvenir stores for a sweatshirt for Sandy, but sweatshirts without hoods were in short supply.


December 6: We knew this was the day of Las Vegas' Rock and Roll Marathon and Half Marathon, but we didn't realize how much it was going to impact our attempt to get to early Mass.  We were effectively blocked from leaving the Rio to the north, south, east, and west!  So we checked out of the Rio, went to breakfast at the Gold Coast, and tried again to get to Mass.  It took us an hour and a half to get to the cathedral downtown . . . only about three miles away.  But what happened that morning was so profound and sublime, I'm saving a separate post for that.

After Mass, we headed down toward the airport.  We checked out the Town Square Las Vegas shopping center on the south end of the Strip, which featured a Fry's Electronics.  It's an enormous store that puts Best Buy to shame, and we'd never been in one before.  Why isn't there one in Reno or Sparks?  It would clean up!

Then we drove around looking for someplace for lunch.  I overindulged a bit at Claim Jumper, having a large platter of chicken carbonara when a small one would have sufficed.  While waiting to be seated, we met a family from Maryland who were also Ravens fans, although one of the girls was showing a lot more of her pelvic area than necessary.  Turns out the general manager of the Claim Jumper is a Ravens fan too.

We dropped off the rental car and awaited our flight home.  At the airport, Sandy met one of her co-workers who had competed in the half-marathon.  Only when we were airborne did we learn it was snowing in Reno; we knew it was going to be cold, but we hadn't heard about snow.

The pilot told us repeatedly to expect a rough descent into Reno.  I felt like I was awaiting an elementary school fire drill.  The beverage service consisted of water only.  And then we began the descent with the plane bucking back and forth through the winds aloft in the clouds.  I wish I could have been listening to my MP3 player as a distraction.  But we landed safely, albeit not that smoothly because of the snow.  Good job.

So that was our long weekend.  When getting home, I quickly unpacked my suitcase and grabbed a little sleep before heading to work that night in half a foot of snow.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Don't Support The CCHD

Instead of giving to the lefty Catholic Campaign for Human Development next weekend, print out this coupon and put it in the collection instead.

This, this, and this will explain why, as will this site and this Facebook group.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Not So Lonely

I'm happy to report I've gotten off my duff and am socializing more.

I've been to the last two Nevada Wolf Pack games, both victories (yes, Anita, I'm looking at you). More importantly, in addition to Regina Pacis Cantorum, I have now joined the Reno Silver Dollar Chorus to sing barbershop as a tenor.

And LC and I have joined a Why Catholic? group at our parish. It's been good so far.

That should keep me out of trouble for a while, and give me a better attitude toward down time.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Lonely

I wish I had more friends out here. I'm not a partyer like a lot of other people in my profession. And the schedule I work limits a lot of what I can do socially.

I spend a lot more time by myself than I care to. (And no, I'm not blaming my wife.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Swarm

On Thursday, LC and I drove from Sparks to Sacramento where we would spend the night before flying to Orange County for the weekend. The going was quite slow on I-80 across the Sierra because of massive reconstruction. We decided to have a late lunch in Auburn at a Marie Callender's, then headed back toward Sacramento.

At first, traffic was better than we expected; most of it was headed east toward Carmichael, Rocklin, and other suburbs. Then we heard on the radio about a big rig accident on I-5 southbound, and saw a consequent backup on the ramp from I-80 westbound to I-5 southbound. We grinned and bore it.

And then they appeared. First a couple, then a few, then dozens, then hundreds, then thousands. Bees started attacking our car and the others on the ramp! Some even tried to sting the windshield. We wondered first whether these could be Africanized bees, and then whether this was a one-time thing related to a traffic incident or a regular occurrence. Most of the other drivers appeared unfazed, except for motorcyclists who weaved their way between the lanes to keep from getting stung.

We reached our hotel which was only about 200 yards from I-5, but . . . not a single bee. Weird.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Youth Mass Purgatory

LC and I were away for the weekend in southern California and had not been to Mass yet. We were driving back from Sacramento, and our flight had gotten in too late to go to Mass there. So we planned to go to a 5 PM Mass somewhere to fulfill our obligation.

We got into Carson City in time for the Youth Mass at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community. I guess I go to Youth/LifeTeen Masses every once in a while to remember why I don't like going to Youth/LifeTeen Masses.

Everyone was talking in the sanctuary before Mass, making prayer difficult.

It started off with the senior team members (or some such term, which seemed to be half the kids) standing with their backs to the altar and clapping to the opening song, which was typical "Aren't We Great?" fare. Music was provided by a guitarist, a bass player, and a drummer.

The kids clapped to just about every song, and at the end of each. Applause was the rule of the day here, never mind that it is only at an ordination Mass that applause is allowed.

"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. " (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 198)
Father may have been ill. He left the altar three times and did not distribute the Eucharist. Moreover, he omitted the entire second half of the Eucharistic Prayer! I'm guessing that at any other given Mass, he would not have done so. But more disturbing than that illicit slip was this: Despite the fact that the sanctuary had kneelers, no one knelt during the Eucharistic Prayer.

The Our Father and the Sign of Peace were complete chaos. The kids ran around the sanctuary to find their BFFs to stand next to, and then went all over again to give the Sign of the Lack of Peace. I declined to give it to one girl who was "making the rounds."

I mentioned Father didn't distribute the Eucharist. The EMHCs did . . . using crystal glass to hold the Body and Blood of Christ, which is expressly forbidden:
“...Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate....” (Redemptionis Sacramentum, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments)
There was no closing prayer, but there was 10 minutes of announcements. And then the congregation gave itself the doxology!

Bottom line: This Mass had all the reverence of a Miley Cyrus concert. And is it any surprise why so many Catholic teens transition to their twenties and fall away from the Church because they discover to their horror it's not like they thought it was at their precious Sunday afternoon pseudo-Masses?

Now, I'm not bashing the whole parish here: it looks like it's on the right track in many other ways. But Youth Masses really do Catholic youth a disservice, telling them the Mystery of the Sacrifice of the Mass really isn't for them unless it's packaged like a Disney Channel show. Why do so many well-meaning parishes give them a counterfeit liturgy?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Of Dolphins and Cell Phones

I have no idea who the lady snorkeling with a dolphin in this photo is. This is from our honeymoon in Key Largo when we visited Dolphins Plus. She was in the first group, and we were in the second.

It was fantastic swimming with the dolphins in an untrained environment. I dove under to chase a small pod of them, and then they all turned around on a dime and came back at me! I think they did it just to see what sort of reaction I'd have in my heart rate and blood pressure; their sonar allows them to see that. One of the stories we were told was six or seven dolphins once gathered around the waist of one woman. They could see she was pregnant before she knew she was!

Anyway, the woman above was in her late 70s or early 80s. After the 20-minute swim, she said, "I didn't see a single dolphin!" We all pointed out the dolphins paid more attention to her than anyone else in her group. But she didn't know because she was looking straight down. They were all around her!

I do that with my spirituality a lot. I get tunnel vision about how God should work in my life.

Fast forward to last Friday. LC and I went to Western Village Casino for a nice inexpensive dinner at the Vineyard restaurant, and then hit the slots. I fared surprisingly well.

On the way home, I noticed something: my cell phone was gone. I drove back and looked at every machine where I'd played, praying to St. Anthony for his intercession as I did so. Nothing. I called the next day. And the next. And the next. No phone. LC canceled service to the phone. I felt like St. Anthony let me down; I really believed the phone would turn up.

So I punted on Monday and bought a new phone, which fortunately has the same number as the old one. One good thing about this phone: it's smaller and fits in my pocket quite nicely. Every time I've lost a phone, it's happened when I had it on my belt . . . or, as happened Friday night, when I didn't have a belt, but just put it on my waist.

Then it hit me: God gave me the money to get the phone . . . in cash! Duhhhh. I was like the woman with the dolphins, looking in only one direction. God really does work in mysterious ways.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ten Years And Counting

Since I was last in government service. My final day was September 1, 1999.

While I made some good friends who remain so to this day, I really don't miss government. I could have been there for the next 20-plus years, hating every minute of it. I knew people not much older than me who were literally counting the days until retirement. There's no amount of money that could make me do that.

And what I hated most is it didn't play to my strengths: creativity, spontaneity, humor, extroversion. I can do all that in my current broadcasting career. Oh, I could have stayed and been mediocre; government rewards mediocrity and punishes risk takers. But I was starting to dread going to work, and knowing I didn't belong just weighed me down all the more.

I definitely got paid more -- a lot more -- in government than I have since, with the exception of my six months as a contractor, ending in an unceremonious layoff as the dot-com bubble burst and Y2K became a distant memory. But I don't want golden handcuffs today.

Oh, I wouldn't mind being happy and well paid in my work. But if I have to choose between the two, I'll take happy.

New and Better Countdown Clock

Until President Zero (h/t: Joe of St. T) and his autocratic ways are safely escorted from the White House. It's on the sidebar.

Friday, August 28, 2009

And the Children Shall Lead . . . Us To Gomorrah

The homosexualists are totally in control of the educational establishment. (Remember the staircase back here?)

Today I saw a horrible PSA advocating the eradication of the expression "That's so gay," as if that's the worst thing our kids say or hear said every day. What, no PSAs about not saying the N-word?

Turns out this PSA was produced by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), whom the courageous Peter LaBarbera with Americans for Truth about Homosexuality has been exposing as trying to get an extremist, pro-homosexual viewpoint into our schools. Take, for example, how GLSEN had no shame whatsoever in being graphic with minors at a university forum about "fisting" (NSFW).

What really saddens me is how kids, when they should be being encouraged to use critical thinking, are really just being indoctrinated, getting only one side of the story about homosexuality (and not one word about health risks). They don't take on faith everything the government says, do they? And the schools are letting the mighty Sodomy Lobby represented by folks like GLSEN bully them around. I mean, how dare any student say he or she thinks homosexuality is vile, disordered, a mental problem, or just plain wrong? We're all equal now in this relativistic society. Tolerance Permissiveness is the highest virtue.

I've talked to teens, and whereby they have no problem rejecting the faith of their youth, they'll just as easily accept everything the homosexualists spoon-feed them. So sad.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How did it all begin? The story of my spirituality

Part One of a series

After we returned from the UK in 1972, my parents got involved in a prayer group at their church, and then were directed to a local couple who led them in the Life in the Spirit seminar. From there, they started attending a prayer group called "God's Dwelling" in a parish on the other side of Baltimore, which was ironically my father's boyhood parish.

While my Catholic faith hadn't meant that much to me up to that point (I was 8 or 9), I remember being touched emotionally by certain music pieces, notably a song by the Medical Mission Sisters (whom, sadly, need to be told it's no longer the '60s) and the Godspell tune "Day By Day", which our "folk group" would frequently play for communion. Next thing I knew, I was being taken to the other side of town for the prayer meetings. For a while, I was left in child care, then afterward I'd help myself to some of the punch that tasted like crushed St. Joseph aspirin.

Eventually, my mom and dad had my sister and me go through Life in the Spirit as well. What that was like for me was imitating my parents. Did I have the gift of "tongues?" I didn't know, but I'd heard plenty of other people do so, so I had an idea how to sound like it at any rate. Meanwhile, I started singing in my parish choir, as my older siblings had done. Yes, I was a soprano.

I eventually forsook the tumbling mats and games in the library and began going to the prayer meetings. A couple times, I'd burst out with a spontaneous Scripture, and I found that went over well with those in attendance. They'd all praise God and shout, but I knew this was really an affirmation of me. I didn't get as much of that as I'd wanted elsewhere, especially not in my Catholic elementary school. Most of that is a whole another post, but I will say I always craved being a lector too, and would pester my uncle -- an ordained deacon -- to give me an opportunity to do so. Most of that was self serving and attention grabbing. At the invitation of a classmate, I briefly attended a Sunday night youth group at a Lutheran church in my neighborhood, but I didn't really like it.

When I was 12, I found out we would no longer be part of God's Dwelling. Based on a "prophecy" that smaller groups should join up with larger ones in order to face the "dark times," my parents informed us we would now be part of a new group called the Lamb of God Community, operating out of Timonium.

To be continued

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Healthy Shame

Is there such as thing as healthy shame? I think so, but someone I know from the therapeutic community says no. I think this era of feel-good, nothing-is-my-fault therapy has given shame too bad of a name.

I wish the above-mentioned guy could have seen the mom today in Target whose shorts were shorter than those of her kids . . . and left the bottom of her bottom hanging out. That woman needs some healthy shame.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

At Least He Wasn't A Priest

Wonder if Monstah and her ilk will be so morally indignant about this guy? Naaah, he's 1) a Democrat, and 2) not a clergyman.

A leader among pro-abortion Catholic circles has pleaded guilty to two felony counts of compelling the prostitution of a 17-year-old girl.

Robert Eric McFadden, 46, admitted last Thursday that he marketed the minor for sex on the Craigslist website. The court dismissed five other counts of pandering obscenity and promoting prostitution.

McFadden's activity was discovered as part of an online sex sting operation conducted by police investigators in January. Prosecutors say that McFadden took photographs of a girl he had met in an online chat room before offering her services to others on the Internet as a "recommended" prostitute.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 20. McFadden could face up to ten years in prison.

[...]

McFadden has served in several capacities as a leading "abortion reduction" Democrat Catholic: he was the founder of Catholics for Kerry in 2004, and in 2005 was president of the left-leaning Catholics for Faithful Citizenship. In 2006, he was the spokesman for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, another liberal Catholic group that considers a nominee's stance on abortion negotiable in light of his or her position on other social issues.

[...]

Last year, McFadden wrote a letter the Knights of Columbus criticizing Supreme Knight Carl Anderson for instructing Catholics not to vote for pro-abortion candidates.

"Carl Anderson should resign as Supreme Knight so the good work of the Knights of Columbus can continue without the stain of partisan politics," wrote McFadden, himself a Knight. (Um, Anderson didn't make it partisan: YOU did.)

(HT: LifeSiteNews)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Taking Cues From Code Pink

As a pro-lifer, I condemn the tactic of random pro-lifers -- even Norma "Roe" McCovey -- disrupting the Senate hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor by yelling things out from the gallery. But what mystifies me is how much support this tactic seems to have, as well as the belief that if you don't support this tactic, You Can't Be Pro-Life.

This is straight out of the ultra-lefty Code Pink's textbook, or Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Why should we be emulating them? Have they won more people to their cause? Why do we believe our side will accomplish anything more? Whose minds will be changed? The marches we have, for example, show a lot more strength than random misguided idiots (there, I've said it) yelling from a Senate gallery, even if the MSM ignores the marches.

I concede Judge Sotomayor will probably rule from a pro-choice position, but the reasons to oppose her are more obvious (her racial bias and her disbelief in the 2nd Amendment).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sleep Apnea and TMJ

I have known for years that I have sleep apnea and TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), but until I visited Reno's TMJ Sleep Center the other day, I didn't have a clue what it was doing to me. I've used a CPAP machine (which always gets intense scrutiny at airport security) and a mouth night guard to try to deal with it.

The purpose of a CPAP machine is to force air into my throat so I don't stop breathing while I sleep, which is essentially what sleep apnea is. It can be harmful or fatal if left untreated.

Even with the CPAP, however, I've often felt groggy, tired, and unrefreshed upon awakening. Some of that was because I rarely got enough sleep, especially in my last couple jobs where I had to start very early (5 or 6 AM). But ever since moving to Nevada, I felt even less refreshed, and I've had nearly constant headaches and neck pain. I chalked a lot of that up to my working overnights.

It turns out I'll probably have to start from square one with my treatment. For starters, the air pressure used from my CPAP is really only applicable at sea level, as was the case with my last sleep study in Maryland. But the air is considerably thinner here in Sparks at an altitude of almost 5,000 feet, so the sea-level setting doesn't go as far.

After checking me out, the folks at the TMJ Sleep Center discovered my jawbone lays almost right against my ear, especially at night. No wonder I have constant headaches in my temples! They also found as a result, my airway is roughly the size of a straw at night. No wonder I don't feel refreshed; I could have the air generated by the takeoff of a 737 going into me and it wouldn't make any difference! Finally, my night guard may be hurting me more than helping me.

Fortunately, it looks like the treatment involved won't require surgery, just a properly-adjusted CPAP and the use of special alplainces to get/keep my law in the proper position. I'm hoping other things start falling into place once that gets taken care of; the center tells me sleep apnea plays with my hormones, making me feel like I want to eat when I don't have to. I definitely want to be more active, but it's difficult when all I want to do is sleep. Just search on "I'm so tired" here in this blog.

I'll keep you posted on what happens. Meanwhile, I'm off to take a nap.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Who needs homilies?

We went to [parish unnamed to protect the guilty] in the Baltimore area last week before heading down to Chincoteague, VA with our family for vacation. Father [ditto] decided since it was Father's Day, he wouldn't give a homily, but just a series of jokes instead.

He begged the congregation no less than four times not to write the Archbishop.

Naturally, I just sent my letter, citing the GIRM (emphasis added):

The Homily

66. The Homily should ordinarily be given by the priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to the deacon, but never to a lay person. In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate.

There is to be a homily on Sundays and holy days of obligation at all Masses that are celebrated with the participation of a congregation; it may not be omitted without a serious reason. It is recommended on other days, especially on the weekdays of Advent, Lent, and the Easter Season, as well as on other festive days and occasions when the people come to church in greater numbers.
And I'm sure he's not the only one.

UPDATE: Here's the Archdiocese's reply:

Your e-mail below was referred to me as the Director of the Archdiocesan Office for Worship. True concern for the liturgy and the life and love that Christ wishes to bestow on us in the liturgy are high priorities for the Archbishop and for me personally. I contacted Father ____ and asked him to explain the situation.

Father ____ shared with me that he did in fact have a homily on June 21, Father’s Day. It was shorter than his usual homily and it did contain three humorous stories all of which he sent and none of which involved Jesus playing golf. Father ____ used these stories to feature the care that father’s give their children. Then he related that to the care that to his primary focus, the God has for us, as was evidenced in the gospel where Jesus calms the storms. He has since received compliments on the homily, one of which he shared with me. While compliments do not ensure a good homily, he indicated that those who complimented him understood and appreciated the point about God’s care for us. I am sorry that you did not share this reception.

After examining the situation, I am confident that, while different in style even from his own usual homilies, there was no liturgical abuse at _____ Church on June 21, 2009. Father _____ is a good pastor who is familiar with and follows the rubrics as laid out in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the other pertinent documents. Father _____ also indicated that he greets people after every Mass and would have been more than willing to discuss this with you. Since you indicate that you return to the area occasionally, perhaps next time you may want to bring it up with him after Mass.
No, thank you. Quite simply, this priest lied. I will not attend his parish again, since he has no credibility with me anymore. And what a whitewash.

I will, however, pray for him.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Devastating Arguments

Two of the best articles I've seen on why same-sex marriage is so wrong:

The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage
by Sam Schulman (in short, no concept of kinship).

God, Gays, and Mayberry by Stuart Schwartz (some facts you'll never hear from Brian, Katie, or Charlie).

Stand firm, folks. Don't back down. Don't shut up.

Church Review: Holy Cross Catholic Community, Sparks, NV


First of all, I'm inclined not to trust any parish that bills itself a "Catholic community." That's just so Spirit of Vatican II. Then again, so is this design, built in 2002.

At the sanctuary's only entrance, it has a Big Baptismal Font which has been the trend in many modern churches, with holy water located nowhere else that I could tell.

The sanctuary more resembles a chapel where one would go on a high school retreat. There's a magnificent view to the west toward Spanish Springs. Logistically disturbing was the sign I saw at the emergency exit doors: "Doors Will Open In 15 Seconds." That doesn't sound very fire code to me!

No pews or kneelers, only chairs. No one in the congregation that I could see genuflected toward the altar. No one.

I could abide these things if before Mass, the PA system hadn't been playing Indian sitar music. Had I known George Harrison was approved for liturgical use, I'd have started belting out "Within You Without You" or "My Sweet Lord." Doesn't help for meditating on anything other than Ravi Shankar.

Most people were failing to observe Holy Silence.

The lector introduced all the ministers of the Mass. As a friend once said, "You don't need to know the bus driver's name for him to get you where you're going." Then the obligatory "turn and greet those around you" (for no particular reason).

Most of the rest of the Mass was rather uneventful, except for the Prayer of the Faithful. Prayers to end war (okay) and Global Climate Change (wha-wha-wha-whaaa? Those folks seriously need to read this), but nothing about ending abortion.

On the upside, the bulletins weren't handed out upon entrance, but upon exit instead. Do people really need to meditate on what the Youth Ministry is doing next Wednesday night?

Summary: Your all-too-typical postmodern suburban parish that reeks of the Tyranny of Nice.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Downside Of Term Limits

You've got to hand it to the Republicans in the Nevada Assembly. Do any of them have backbones at all, or are they so afraid of Speaker Barbara Buckley and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford that they just follow along like sheep?

They eagerly voted along with the Democrats to override Governor Jim Gibbons' veto of nearly 800 million dollars in tax increases. Raising the sales tax is really going to work when sales are plummeting. If I wanted this, I'd have stayed in Maryland.

Now I expect bluster like this out of Governor-wanna-be Buckley: “Most of us agreed we needed new revenue…that we couldn’t cut our way out of the crisis, and we couldn’t tax our way out of the crisis.” Madam Speaker, taxing us out of the crisis is exactly what you've done! And do you really expect businesses to roll over and accept higher taxes without doing anything else? We're trying to draw businesses from California, not keep them there.

But this is about the caving of the Republicans. I don't know exactly how many fall into this category, but I know my senator, Maurice Washington, a Republican, voted for the overrides. Guess what? This is his last term because of term limits, so nobody's going to hold this against him. I hope he's proud of having his constituents foot the bill.

I was a supporter of term limits, but no longer. They undermine accountability on both sides of the aisle. The Democrats who have been term limited won't have to answer for their actions either.

And, Governor Gibbons has gone way up in my esteem. Unlike Bush 41, he said "no new taxes" and meant it. He was just the irresistible force meeting the immovable object . . . a bloated bureaucracy whose prime directive is self-perpetuation at all costs to taxpayers, businesses, anyone except itself. Bravo, Governor Gibbons.

Well, it could be worse. This could be California.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Juxtaposition

Got these two stories, one above the other, in my e-mail RSS feed:

Baltimore Plans $60K Study On Boulevard Construction

Baltimore To Cut City Fire Resources

So let me get this straight: The city will spend all this money to consider getting rid of a perfectly functional freeway to replace it with something that Looks Nicer for business? And is cutting fire resources in hopes of becoming Detroit?

I'm so glad I don't live there anymore.

Oh, yeah, the Preakness may be done there as well.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Defeating the Bullies


One of the most mind-blowing articles I've ever read came from the American Thinker, called "Defeating Political Ridicule" by Kyle-Anne Shiver (hat tip: Jill Stanek).

Read it. I like it for several reasons:

1. It shows, once and for all, that Obama was, and is, a disciple of Saul Alinsky, a spiritual godfather of ultra-leftist radicalism. Actually, anyone who cared to discover that about Obama during the campaign could have found that out easily (yes, Big Media, I'm looking at you, who in your sanctimony made a bigger deal out of Bristol Palin). See the above photo, where Obama teaches Alinsky's Power Analysis.

2. Shiver explains how political discourse has fallen to the level where it resides now . . . the gutter. I'm not saying conservatives don't do it (Ann Coulter has made a career of it), but I'm convinced liberals do it more, and more than ever with the previous and current administration.

3. It drives a stake through the heart of current conventional thinking on bullying.

And I guess that's what I wanted to focus on the most. As a child, I was convinced the more I didn't give bullies what they wanted, the more they goaded me. It turns out I couldn't have been more wrong. In this article, Shiver shows more understanding of how bullying works than a PTA convention. And I have fallen for it, all my life.

Shiver points out that Alinsky knew this, and so does Obama. Why else is Obama busy demonizing car companies, credit card companies, and health care providers? And yet, Obama works extra hard to come off as a populist saint. He'll do no less when he speaks at Notre Dame tomorrow (which is less Obama's fault than the fault of ND, Father John Jenkins, and the typical modern Catholic university quest for prestige over fidelity and Catholic identity. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, anyone?), making it seem he's really not pro-abortion . . . when everything he's done and said indicates otherwise. (And all the Catholic left can say is, "where's the proof?" For those who do not believe -- or put their hands over their ears and scream -- no explanation is possible.)

Anyway, as a kid I simply did not have the moxie that the bullies did, nor could I read people as well as they. So, as Shiver demonstrates, they reveled in my reactions. Later, as adults, they could point the finger at me when I stooped to their level. Hence what Alinsky wrote in 1971:

The fourth rule of tactics: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.

The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
I used to be on a message board that I shall not name where I was routinely ridiculed for what I believed. I've now walked away from it for many of these reasons, and Shiver has helped me see I'm walking away a winner. I'm not playing the bullies' game anymore. I'm sticking to my convictions, and I'm not going to argue them to a bunch of people who couldn't care less about rational discourse.

I guess it's like what you hear on the Internet about spammers: "Don't feed them, and they will die." Easier said than done for me, but no less true.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two Women I Admire

Some latter-day heroes we can look up to:


Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA, and a winner in my book for telling morons like "Perez Hilton" to take his same-sex "marriage" and shove it, and is getting criticized roundly for her stance. As Mark Steyn said, "What's a 'gay' man doing as a beauty pageant judge, anyway?" She's got a bigger crown than she'd ever have if she'd won.

Mary Ann Glendon, who told Notre Shame and Fr. John Jenkins to forget honoring her at the same commencement where the university was going to ignore the last shred of its Catholicism and award an honorary law degree to the most pro-abortion president in history.

We need more women and men who are willing to stand up for what they believe, no matter what the cost. God bless you two for your example.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Donner Summit


On Friday, I was going to Hayward, California, a city sandwiched between Oakland and San Jose on the east side of the San Francisco. But when trying to get anywhere from Nevada to Sacramento and points west, there's a small logistic that needs to be overcome.

Make that a big logistic, called Donner Summit. Yep, Donner, as in Donner Pass, as in the Donner Party.

There are only two practical ways to get from northern Nevada to California over the Sierra Nevada mountains. One is west from Carson City over Spooner Summit to the south end of Lake Tahoe, then down toward Placerville. That's Route 50, which ends in Sacramento (and begins in Ocean City, MD). The other is through Donner Pass, now traversed by present-day I-80.

I guess the Donner Party would have given anything to have the problem I had Friday morning. I had just gotten off my overnight shift, bought gas, and gotten some money, and was ready to head west. Earlier in the week, temperatures had been well into the 80s.

But that day, there was snow just west of Reno, those big, wet, and thick flakes. And it was snowing hard enough at Donner Summit that vehicles needed chains to get over it. There are many passes in the country that are at a higher elevation than Donner, but probably not as many that are as treacherous and fickle. And as far as I know, Route 50 was open with no controls, but that's a considerably longer route from Reno/Sparks. Finally, I don't cross the Sierra enough to warrant purchasing chains.

So I chose to have breakfast at Boomtown Casino in Verdi (rhymes with "where-dye") and wait things out, taking a brief snooze in my car afterward. With signs in the casino still saying "chain controls," I took a chance and got back onto I-80, and as I approached the summit, the clouds were breaking right over it! Wish I'd had a camera. And I had no further snow issues, but I did have probably the only car in the Bay Area with salt on it.

Unfortunately, a big rig had chosen that time to break down in the right lane, so it took me another ten minutes to get through the summit. Again, that would have been the least of the Donner Party's worries.

Footnote: When LC and I first visited the area in 1993, we both swam in beautiful, but chilly, Donner Lake. That lake is NEVER warm! She shivered just about the whole rest of that August night.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Acquiring Intelligence, Obama-Style

Here's how we'll get information out of captured terrorists like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed et al. in the future:

We turn them over to the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. (Naaah, someone will decide that's torture too.)

We never tortured anyone. What is this country coming to?

"Mr. KSM, we'll give you ten minutes to tell us what we want to know."
"And if I don't?"
"Well, um . . . we'll give you longer."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Regina Pacis Cantorum


Over the past month or so, I have been singing tenor with Regina Pacis Cantorum, a traveling a cappella Latin choir throughout the diocese of Reno, and the only one of its type in the area.

I am so enjoying singing Latin chant and polyphony (many voices) at Mass again; for years, I sang more Latin with the Parkway Chorale (mixed chorus at my workplace) than I ever heard at Mass. Frankly, we need more of it, not less. Pope Pius X thought so too in his encyclical Tra le Sollecitudini (emphasis mine):

These qualities are to be found, in the highest degree, in Gregorian Chant, which is, consequently the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers, which she has jealously guarded for centuries in her liturgical codices, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, which she prescribes exclusively for some parts of the liturgy, and which the most recent studies have so happily restored to their integrity and purity.

On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down thefollowing rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.

The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone.

Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times.

4. The above-mentioned qualities are also possessed in an excellent degree by Classic Polyphony, especially of the Roman School, which reached its greatest perfection in the fifteenth century, owing to the works of Pierluigi da Palestrina, and continued subsequently to produce compositions of excellent quality from a liturgical and musical standpoint. Classic Polyphony agrees admirably with Gregorian Chant, the supreme model of all sacred music, and hence it has been found worthy of a place side by side with Gregorian Chant, in the more solemn functions of the Church, such as those of the Pontifical Chapel. This, too, must therefore be restored largely in ecclesiastical functions, especially in the more important basilicas, in cathedrals, and in the churches and chapels of seminaries and other ecclesiastical institutions in which the necessary means are usually not lacking.

I could tell you more about Regina Pacis Cantorum, but I'll let my esteemed director do so, courtesy of Be Present Faithful Catholic Apostolate:

Dear Friends of Our Lord and Our Lady:

For many years, Regina Pacis Cantorum (Queen of Peace Choir) has been serving both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the liturgy in the local diocese, singing the sacred music of Gregorian Chant and polyphony. These are the only forms of sacred music specifically recommended in the liturgical documents.

It would take too long to provide citations from the documents which provide the foundation for the choir, whose mission is:

“To foster and maintain the treasury of sacred music of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Regina Pacis Cantorum is also dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Many. It has been our pleasure to sing for the closing Mass at the Eucharistic and Marian Conferences hosted by Be Present Faithful for all three years it has been held.

Faithful Catholics have learned over the years that anyone and any cause completely given over to God, His Church, and the Blessed Mother must certainly expect difficulty. Beyond doubt, this is our time.

This is NOT a plea for money!

Rather, it is for an even more precious commodity; your time and the sharing of the gifts God has given you.

We have lost membership over the past couple of years due to my adherence to the Pro-life message [I KNEW there was something I liked about her!]. There have been other losses due to opposition to Catholic moral teachings. One of the losses was especially hard to bear; that of our accompanist and my dear personal friend.

Since we are not “attached” to a particular parish, recruiting has been problematic. Most parishes will not run bulletin ads for us, thinking that it could detract from recruiting for their own musical needs. That is understandable.

So, I am asking simply this. Did God bless you with a good voice and musical ability? Will you consider placing those gifts at his service and help us in continuing our efforts to fulfill our Holy Father’s wish for a return to truly sacred music?

We need voices in ALL ranges and, if there is a generous soul out there who would donate keyboard skills for our efforts, I know there would be many blessings in store for you!

Rehearsals are on Wednesdays, 7 PM – 9 PM at Trinity Episcopal Church. If you would like even more of a challenge, the choir’s schola, Sursum Corda (Lift Up Your Heart), meets on Tuesdays, 7 PM – 9 PM at my home. For more information, please contact me at 345-6106 or via e-mail at bkreinh@gbis.com.

Please give this your prayerful consideration and be assured of my prayers and gratitude.


Pax Christi (Peace of Christ),

Kathy Reinheimer

President/Director

Regina Pacis Cantorum

Friday, April 03, 2009

Nevada 101

For my East Coast friends. Let's start today's lesson.

This is Nevada. All together now: "neh-VAA-dah." No, not "neh-VAH-dah." "Neh-VAA-dah." Very good.

It's the seventh largest state; it could hold 10 Marylands. It's slightly larger than Colorado and just smaller than Arizona.

It was founded in 1864, hence the reference to "Battle Born" on the otherwise admittedly boring flag. But the state nickname is "The Silver State."

Who knows the capital of Nevada? No, not Reno. No, not Las Vegas. No, not the Palms (*whack*). It's Carson City, where a U.S. Mint used to be back in the Comstock's (area near Carson City) silver heyday.

Note where people live in Nevada. With all due respect to Ely (e-lee), Elko, and Tonopah, most Nevadans live in one of two areas: down south, in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, or Boulder City; or in Reno, Sparks (collectively known as the Truckee Meadows), or Carson City in the northwest. Since Vegas and environs have such a large population, they have two of the state's three Congressional districts. Congressman Dean Heller serves the whole rest of the state.

Note the distance of Reno and Sparks from Las Vegas, about 450 miles. That's about as far as Boston is from Washington, DC, but you're still in the same state. Needless to say, Reno and Sparks are not suburbs of Vegas. The nearest bigger city to Reno? Try Sacramento, 120 miles to the west over Donner Pass. In terms of the West, 120 miles is pretty close. San Francisco is about a four-hour drive from Reno.

Just southeast of Reno is historic Virginia City, which you may remember from the opening of "Bonanza." Of course, I don't know why they kept burning up that map. To the east is Fernley, which suffered a flood last year when canal levees broke; and Fallon, site of a naval air station that is the home also of the Top Gun aircraft. Out east, Elko is a small but fairly wealthy town, built on gold and silver mining.

Not on this map is Searchlight, a southern town between Boulder City and Laughlin that gave the world Harry Reid (John Ensign is our other senator); and Yucca Mountain, south of Tonopah and the designated repository for the nation's nuclear waste . . . maybe. And between Tonopah and Vegas is the famous Area 51, where extraterrestrials may or may not be hidden. Art Bell of Coast to Coast AM fame lives in Pahrump ("pah-RUMP"), where things go Pahrump in the night.

Most of Nevada consists of mountains and high desert. Both Reno and Vegas sit on the edges of the desert, meaning any precipitation that comes usually doesn't last long in the valleys (see also: Denver), but the mountains sure get their share. While it's routine for summertime temperatures in Vegas to reach into the 110s, it's rare for Reno temperatures to top 100, but it has happened. And when it snows in the valley, it's actually rare for schools to close for it.

Mountain snow is the primary water source for northern Nevada. Much of the snowmelt runs through the Truckee ("Trucky") River. As a result, even in late summer, most of the lakes and rivers in northern Nevada are quite chilly. But that's also what gives Lake Tahoe its deep shade of blue. Southern Nevada relies more on Lake Mead and the Colorado River for water, but so does Arizona, southern California, and other states.

Prostitution is legal only in authorized brothels in Nevada's counties except Washoe and Clark, where Reno and Vegas are respectively. Most locals laugh as visitors go off to those places. No streetwalking is allowed.

More than 85 percent of Nevada is owned by the federal government, whether as Indian reservations, national parks or forests, or just plain land. Not much happens on it, except for wild horses running across it. The Bureau of Land Management is arguably the largest federal agency out here.

While Vegas is still very much built on gaming, that industry is losing its foothold here in the Truckee Meadows, largely because of competition from Indian casinos in northern California. The area has lots of festivals, however: the Rib Cookoff, Hot August Nights, and the Reno Air Races, to name only a few.

Any questions?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ed

Five years ago, my dear friend Ed Leonard was found dead of a heart attack after walking and shoveling in a blizzard. He'd had some other health problems I won't go into here.

There weren't many like Ed. He was a fellow member of the Lamb of God Community, and at our "Community Gatherings," he played drums. Or, more accurately, he attacked the drums. He threw everything he had into playing them. He needed to wipe himself off between songs because of the sweat pouring off him. During one Gathering, the sound to the rest of the worship band cut out, so all anyone heard was him and pianist Jo Ellen. We decided Ed needed to cut an album titled, "Ed Leonard's Percussion Praise."

Ed had five other guys living with him in his house. If you went into his kitchen pantry, you would see stacks of foodstuffs, such as 48 boxes of Corn Flakes. Well, if he saw a coupon deal worth snagging, and there was a limit per person, he'd grab the other five guys and have each of them get their limit of boxes. With the Corn Flakes, they were eight to a customer, hence 48 boxes.

Here was Ed's food shopping hierarchy, as denoted by cable channels (which he didn't have):

  • HBO - Household Buying Obligation (Milk, bread, butter, the things you can't be without).
  • CINEMAX - Clear Incentive: Necessary Elements and More Are eXtracted (such as the a/m Corn Flakes). He also wanted to call this FANFARE (Free And Nearly Free: All Remaining Extracted), but it didn't fit the motif.
  • ESPN - Empty the Shelf Price Now! He had no qualms about emptying the shelf where applicable.
Most of his wardrobe came from thrift and second-hand stores. He had a closet full of short-sleeve Oxford shirts obtained that way, and he kept them hung according to color. I think he had about 10 blue Oxfords!

In the words of the (ironically enough) Swirling Eddies:
If you think of Ed today
You better keep him in your prayers
'Cause the Eds of this world
They are something rare!
And so I will:

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Come In, We're Open . . . Now, Get Out.

Cygnus' First Rule Of Retail:

If a store acts like it doesn't want your business, the worst thing you can do is give it to them.

You would think in an economy like this, the last thing a retail store would want to do is go out of its way to tell customers they aren't welcome and it doesn't want their business. But that's exactly what I encountered today.

Back east, one of my favorite places to look for used CD's was the Princeton Record Exchange. Thanks to LC, I found a rare CD by the Christian jazz supergroup Koininia called "More Than A Feelin'" while there. Check it out if you get a chance.

So today I ventured over to Recycled Records on Kietzke Lane. I found a few CD's I wouldn't mind having, although they mark them up quite a bit (all such stores do that). The guy behind the counter with the ZZ Top beard was saying "eff" every three words or so.

And then I saw the stickers. This was one of the nicer ones, and it went downhill from there.

By displaying such anti-Republican, anti-conservative messages so prominently, the message was loud and clear: "Mr. Cygnus, we don't want your kind or your money in Recycled Records. Get. Out." My response: "With pleasure."

Well, Recycled Records has the absolute right to display whatever messages or sell whatever stickers it wants, and tell half or more of their customer base it doesn't want their kind. And I have the absolute right never to trouble it with my business again.

I'm currently boycotting Pepsi and Frito-Lay for the same reason. And I haven't bought a pair of Levi's in eons.

Monday, March 09, 2009

What First Amendment?

HT: BigSis, Adoro, Anita

What part of

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
is Connecticut -- one of the 13 original colonies -- having trouble with?

Connecticut Legislature Moves To Regulate Catholic Church In Suspected "Payback" For Marriage Stance

For now, the measure has been tabled, but that doesn't mean it's gone.

As Anita points out, this legislation is the brainchild of one Tom Gallagher, who proposed this in a "Voice of the Faithful" newsletter. The "Voice of the Faithful" couldn't be more misnamed; it's a group of opportunistic dissident Catholics who use the clergy sex scandals as their platform to wrest the Church from that pesky Magisterium. Read this bunch of claptrap justifying their position as "adult members of the People of God."

Mr. Gallagher and company: If you want a democracy, leave the Catholic Church! But if you want to violate the First Amendment, you can't be much for democracy either.

Here vs. Back East, Part 3

We got an unexpected snowstorm today, and one which dumped 2 to 6 inches on us in the valley, depending where in the valley you were; here, we have what is known as "micro-weather." Driving was precarious, and listeners were upset that we didn't have this information; our weather forecasts from the TV station were still saying "a chance of snow showers."

But as is the case with much of our snow, it was all but gone by mid-afternoon. True, it was the light, powdery type, but it still didn't hang around long. I wouldn't be surprised to see folks out playing golf on Wednesday, if not tomorrow.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Another Difference Between Here And "Back East"

On Wednesday, some parts of the Sierra in the Lake Tahoe area got up to six feet of snow. Schools in the Tahoe and Truckee areas were closed.

The next day? Not one school even went in late! I doubt that would have happened Back East.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Love That Californica Democracy

State Lawmakers Pass 2 Anti-Prop 8 Resolutions

So, let me get this straight . . . a vote of the people isn't a vote of the people if the legislature says so? Guess we have to coin a new term: "legislative activism."

It just goes to show there are no lengths to which homosexualists won't go to force acceptance of their lifestyle from those like me who know it to be abhorrent, disordered, immoral, and just plain wrong.

Then again, tolerance was never their aim in the first place. As evidence, check out this British Columbia "social justice" conference. This photo says it all:


And just let anyone dare say otherwise, including -- and especially -- parents.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

My First TLM

This morning, LC and I drove down to the Holy Spirit Mission in Washoe Valley for the Traditional Latin Mass, the first I've ever attended (after missing the turn and having to go another three miles before I could turn around!). It's a small church with only one Sunday Mass, and about 40 in the congregation.

Overall, I really appreciated the Low Mass, and found it a refreshing change from the irreverence of many Novus Ordo Masses (on Ash Wednesday, the priest at Our Lady Of The Snows had the second graders join him around the altar because he was "lonely up there." Wrong, wrong, wrong!).

Observations:

  • One complaint others have lodged about the TLM is that the congregation does not participate. This is true, if the only definition of "participation" is "responding out loud to the prayers." Instead, I felt more directed to participate by focusing my mind and spirit on what was going on, rather than having it spoonfed to me.
  • The reverence and mystery was awesome. Everyone genuflects . . . and means it.
  • I wish I could have been one of the altar servers.
  • I actually received the Eucharist on the tongue, kneeling, at the altar rail! That's the first time I've been able to do that since I was a teenager.
  • I loved hearing Latin hymns again.
  • Although I didn't partake, it was nice to see confessions being heard before Mass.
  • LC looked cute with her head covered.
I know I'm not going to be able to attend TLM every Sunday, but I look forward to doing so as often as possible.

Afterward, we celebrated with breakfast at Joe's.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Carson City Volksmarch

The walk I took last Saturday in Carson City (the capital of Nevada, or did you already know that?) was a little tougher than advertised. There weren't any brutal hills or anything, but it seemed like it wasn't going to end. Indeed, it was 11 kilometers as opposed to the usual 10. But it's not like there was nothing to see, as my photos will show.

The first 2/3 of the walk took place on the west side of town out near the foothills. The rest wound through downtown by the state complex and other historic sites.

Check out the pics here (it's a lot easier than uploading them on this blog).

Post Of The Week

From Adoro Te Devote. Read it, live it, love it:

Enemies of the World

"If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you." --John 15:18


(I haven't been posting as much lately because of work, Facebook, etc.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What's In The Porkulus Bill?

Lots of YOUR money going to finance God only knows what. Except now you can know via StimulusWatch.org.

Gotta love that $99,000 in Mississippi for . . . door bells. Heck, you can get them from Home Despot for cheaper than that.

Sure need that $886,000 for a Texas disc golf course, don't we?

And how about that $600 million for a Forks of the Road Heritage Trail?

Keep telling yourself there are no earmarks. There Are No Earmarks. THERE ARE NO EARMARKS!

Doing nothing would have been better than this. In fact, Congress works best (no matter who's in control!) when it does as little as possible. The only thing worse than our economy right now . . . is our government trying to "fix" our economy.

Thanks, Senator John Ensign, for standing on principle. Why can't YOU run against Harry Reid?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Three Bills

I now weigh 300 pounds.

To say the least, I'm not proud of this fact. While I don't have a wide caboose, I have a pendulous belly. I'm pretty sure that's the main reason for the stress I feel in my neck and shoulders. If they didn't have this load beneath them, I'd probably feel a lot better. And that's not all the problems I have.

I could blame my overnight shift, my sleep patterns or lack thereof, or all sorts of stuff. But as my doctor out here said, "Your body doesn't care."

So I'm starting to exercise more, using the apartment complex's workout room in addition to walking around the marina. Eventually, I should start some weight training too. And I'd like to find a place to swim, since that doesn't hurt my joints.

I know folks who don't eat any sugar, wheat, or flour. I have to admit I can't conceive of doing that, but then again, someone must be able to do so. We'll see.

I've got some work to do, and I have to remind myself, IT WON'T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. I appreciate your encouragement and support.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Fight FOCA

I'm grateful for how forcefully the priests in the Diocese of Reno have come out against the Freedom of Choice Act, the signing of which Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood would be his first act as President. As a result, we Catholics are inundating the offices of Senator Harry Reid, Senator John Ensign, and Congressman Dean Heller with post cards urging them not to pass this measure which would roll back all state restrictions on abortion, from waiting periods to parental notification to conscientious objection. It would codify Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. I was so pleased to hear the priests at St. Thomas Aquinas Church speak so forcefully against FOCA from the pulpit, I applauded them . . . even though applause is inappropriate for Mass.

Why do we have to do this? Because to Obama and the vast majority of Democrats, killing babies is a right. How much more evidence do we need to show how anti-life this President is? More than those who voted for him -- especially Catholics -- want to hear.

On Father Z's blog is a note from a congressional staffer who thinks Obama could be luring us pro-lifers into a "FOCA trap." The President could be using the Bill Clinton triangulation ploy of promoting something so extreme, then opposing it and appearing moderate, only to quietly pass increments of the anti-life agenda.

Looking at that link above from Obama's own website, the staffer's argument could be supported in that Obama was saying those things -- and his promise to PP -- just to get elected. But I don't think so. He believes he has the mandate to make all this happen, and if he can finagle a way to get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, he can pass pretty much anything he wants. He wants FOCA passed so he can "end the culture wars," which must never end as long as innocent babies are slaughtered every day.

I also call upon the Republicans in Washington to ignore the calls for "unity" at any cost now that The One is President, and stand firm in what they know to be right. For years they've fallen into a different trap, the one of If We're Nice To Democrats, They'll Like Us. It hasn't happened until now; why should the next time be any different?

Fight the good fight, folks. Fight FOCA.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Cat Ate My . . . Earbuds

Today, I strolled over to Target and bought my 4th set of earbuds since I got my MP3 player. Reason? My cats keep eating the wires on the other ones! They think anything resembling a string is a mouse tail. Never mind that they've never seen a mouse, except as a toy.

But? I love 'em to death. Gregory has taken to attacking my feet and laying on his back in the process. If I didn't know better, I'd think he was in heat. Basil is getting huge, and his coloring is deeper and richer by the day. They'll be six months old on Feb. 8. Photo here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

West Coast Walk For Life 2009

Only a few hours after Barack Obama decided we needed to export tax dollars to groups that know better than anyone else that abortion is the only way to save the rest of humanity from itself, LC and I boarded a bus in Reno that took us to San Francisco for the Walk for Life West Coast. It was about a four-hour ride, and we began reciting the Rosary as we approached the Bay Bridge.

It was a gray, overcast day, but it didn't rain. We joined about 30,000 peaceful but enthusiastic protesters on the east end of the Embarcadero and heard some great speeches, including from Karen Shablin of Feminists For Life whom we would later meet on the walk. The new archbishop of San Francisco ws there, while Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles was conspicuous by his absence. Singer Diana Nagy gave her powerful testimony of how she chose (there's that word) to bring her son into the world . . . and then she introduced him to us! But the most stirring testimony was that of Reverend Clenard Childress, who told us of the impact abortion was having on the black community; over 1/3 of all abortions are African-American babies. Think Obama realizes that?

Sadly, there weren't that many blacks in the crowd; we'll need them on our side to carry the message to the victims of abortion who wouldn't hear it from us. But there were plenty of Latinos and Filipinos, and a huge number of teens. I was really encouraged by that, and I pray their fervor doesn't get plucked off in college or otherwise.

So the march began, and we crammed into the MUNI walkway on the Embarcadero accompanied by a group of young bagpipers and drummers. In the march were Latino groups sing songs and playing drums, as well as several groups praying the Rosary.

I only saw about a hundred or so counter-demonstrators, mostly chanting the same sing-song chants their mothers and grandmothers were singing in the 60s, although there were more of them back behind us during the rally. They? Were exclusively white and between college-age and mid-30s; so much for diversity. I was more amused than rattled by them, and I pray that somehow, in some way they never imagined, their spirits were touched by our quiet resolve, by God's love operating through us. They're not bad people; God loves them every bit as he does LC and me. They're just misguided and committed to a lie. I just wish some of them could express their opinion without profanity, but I guess that's a bit much to ask.

Signs of the day:
"Women Deserve Better Than Nancy Pelosi" (of course, I'm originally from her hometown)
"Your Ovaries NEED Our Rosaries"

It was a long walk that took us about three hours, going all the way up the Embarcadero past Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf where tourists looked at us somewhat curiously. Then we headed up and down several short hills as we marched through Fort Mason and then disbanded at Marina Green. We opted not to partake of the various vendors and headed back to our bus, whuch wasn't a short walk either. Props, by the way, to the San Francisco Police, who were most cooperative and helpful all the way through the walk, even to our buses.

It would be about another hour and a half before our bus set out across the Golden Gate Bridge. As I've said before, San Francisco is a gorgeous city, but the biggest problem with it is that it's in San Francisco.

We worked our way north through Marin County, then headed east on Route 37 across the North Bay to hook up with I-80 again in Vallejo. We passed through Sacramento, then the fun started as we headed up into the Sierra Nevada in a decent snowstorm. The bus driver didn't have to put chains on, but he did have to go slowly to keep us from skidding. He couldn't get back to normal speed until after Truckee. The return trip took five hours.

LC and I were exhausted from the walk, the bus rides, and the excessive heat on said bus. We had dinner at Straw Hat Pizza, then went home. I was in bed by 10:30 and didn't wake up until 11 Sunday morning (we went to 5 PM Mass, which will be a separate post).

Props also to KTVU Channel 2 which gave a pretty fair report of the day's proceedings.

I've rarely felt more proud to be a pro-lifer, but I know I have to do more.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sorry, We're Closed

When I look back over the jobs I've had, I find a disturbing trend: Most of the places I've worked for no longer exist.

I thought about this especially when I learned that XM Satellite Radio (now Sirius XM) showed all its Traffic and Weather reporters the door last week. I worked for XM Traffic and Weather for two years, and really enjoyed my time there; we had a lot of fun together, and the facilities were great, for the most part. I certainly hope the reporters can find new jobs, although I doubt there's much of a future at Sirius XM, which at last check was trading at 12 cents a share. I love the concept of satellite radio, but I'm just not willing to shell out $13 a month for it, especially when my commute is now too short to warrant it. Satellite radio could be a distant memory within the year.

Anyway, let's look back over my career. I'm not counting temporary jobs:

  • Baltimore Sun collections and delivery for Gene Slater, a subcarrier. He gave up the business in 1981.
  • Dishwasher for Blue Bowl Bakery. Closed after the ovens blew up, and was a laundromat last I knew.
  • Bus boy for La Fontaine Bleu. While the franchise still exists, its East Baltimore locations where I worked are long gone.
  • Vendor, Memorial Stadium (I got to see the Orioles in their last World Series appearance, as well as the last Baltimore Colts game ever!). Torn down in 2001.
  • Sales assistant, Clover Furniture. Now a bingo hall.
  • Sales, Watson's Bull Roast, Harborplace. Closed maybe a year after I left.
  • Sales and parts associate, Montgomery Ward Automotive. The store closed in the early 90s, and the chain went under in 2001, although it still exists online.
  • Computer consultant, Loyola College. The school may still have consultants, but I bet its VAX 11/780 has long since been recycled.
  • Insurance representative, Eastern Aviation and Marine Underwriters. Underwent a couple of reorganizations and buyouts, and otherwise no longer exists.
  • Defense Department. Somehow, it exists without me. :-)
  • Keane Federal Systems, government contractor. Still exists, but the Columbia, MD office I worked out of is no more.
  • Gateway Country Store, Annapolis. All Gateway stores closed in 2004, and the company is a shell of its former self.
  • WJRO-AM 1590, Glen Burnie. Was a Gospel station, but is now known as WFBR and plays ethnic programming.
  • WSBA-AM 910, York, PA; and WFMD-AM 930, Frederick, MD are both still in business.
  • XM Traffic and Weather. Closed up shop last week.
  • Traffic.com, Silver Spring, MD. Still in business.
  • Luke's Pizza Company, Frederick. Closed the week after I left.
  • Vocelli's Pizza, Frederick. Still in business.
I hope my current job doesn't find out! =:-o

Pittsburgh Has Our Number

I'd like to see a Baltimore team win just ONE postseason game or series over a Pittsburgh team. Since 1971, we're 0-6.

  • 1971: Roberto Clemente's home run proved to be the difference in Game 7 as the Pirates beat the Orioles in the World Series.
  • 1975: Bert Jones was leading the Colts deep into Steelers territory late in their playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium when he was sacked. Andy Russell ran the ensuing fumble back 95 yards for a touchdown in a 21-10 victory.
  • 1976: At Memorial Stadium, the Steelers blew out the Colts, 40-14. In a strange way, it was a good thing they did so, because shortly after the game, a single-engine plane crashed into the upper deck of the stadium. Had the game gone into overtime or the Colts had won, there could have been many more injuries or fatalities. As it was, only the pilot was hurt.
  • 1979: Up 3 games to 1 over the Pirates in the World Series, the Orioles would score only two more runs over the last three games. Like Clemente, Willie Stargell hit a home run in Game 7 to wrap it up. I remember crying in my bed at age 14 over that one. I still hate the song "We Are Family" to this day.
  • 2002: Having beaten the Dolphins, the Ravens came into Heinz Field for the divisional playoff and were thoroughly outplayed by the Steelers, 27-10.
  • 2009: Troy Polamalu's interception of Joe Flacco and return for a touchdown snuffed out the Ravens' comeback bid in a 23-14 Steelers win.
I mean, it's just not FAIR!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ironic quote of the day

"Isn't it wonderful to have a president who will put women and children first?"

--Nancy Pelosi, at a pre-coronation inauguration dinner hosted by the pro-abortion group EMILY's List (HT: LifeNews.com)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Congrats, Squealers Fans

Dear (oh, all right) Steelers Fans,

Well, you beat us three times this year (one of which I still question), which I guess qualifies you for a Super Bowl. But, let's face it, Ben Roethlisberger made the plays, and Joe Flacco didn't. Troy Polamalu made his plays, while Ed Reed was nowhere to be found (off covering the rest of the world, I guess). And we turned the ball over more than you did.

You will have your hands full with Arizona, although I never thought the football gods would let a Bidwill-owned team into the Super Bowl. Kurt Warner knows how to win, and Larry Fitzgerald will give you fits. It should be a good game. Hope so, anyway.

Yeah, you have your blessed National Following; there's even hordes of Steelers fans here in the Truckee Meadows, while LC and I are still looking for another local Ravens fan. Well, we Ravens fans neither have, need, nor want a National Following. (Don't tell sports talk radio hosts about the fact that almost any road game is a home game for you guys because of your fan base in every NFL city; let them all think 40,000 of you travel from Pittsburgh to every game.)

One thing is for sure: We'll be playing you twice every year. Maybe we'll split. Maybe you'll sweep us like this year. Maybe we'll sweep you like 2006. But. We'll beat the tar out of you one way or the other. And you will to us.

That's what makes this rivalry great.

See you next year,

Cyg

P.S. WTG Ravens on a season no one expected from a rookie coach and a rookie QB. Least of all, me.