Monday, October 29, 2012

Sad news ... and an Action Alert—UPDATED

Elizabeth Foss of In the Heart of My Home has some saddening news for us here in the Catholic blogosphere:  Barbara Curtis of Mommy Life, a teacher, writer and recent convert to Catholicism, had a massive stroke on Sunday, Oct. 28, and is not expected to regain consciousness.

You can go to Elizabeth's page and read her and others' testimonials to this formidable woman.  For my own part, I read plenty of her columns whenever they appeared in New Advent (and you could count on at least one a week appearing there; in fact, Kevin Knight in a fit of possessiveness calls her a "New Advent blogger" in his link to Elizabeth).  I always found her sane, sensible, often amusing and with the enviable ability to not take herself too seriously.  We'll miss her voice and her wisdom; she was a true Defensatrix Fidei.

While you're there: Barbara was trying to raise $5,000 to send her daughter Maddy, a promising opera star, back to Catholic University for the spring semester.  Elizabeth has the hat (or the PayPal button) out for that worthy cause; please take the time to make a donation and help launch a potentially brilliant career.

Fac nos, Domine Iesu, sanctae Familiae tuae exempla iugiter imitari, ut in hora mortis nostrae, occurrente gloriosa Virgine Matre tua cum beato Ioseph, per te in aeterna tabernacula recipi mereamur: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Grant unto us, Lord Jesus, ever to follow the example of Thy Holy Family, that in the hour of our death Thy glorious Virgin Mother together with blessed Joseph may come to meet us and we may be worthily received by Thee into Thy everlasting dwelling place: Who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.

Update — October 31, 2012
According to Elizabeth, Barbara Curtis passed away yesterday afternoon, surrounded by her family.  Her funeral Mass will be held Saturday at St. Frances de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, VA at 12:30.  Elizabeth is still accepting donations for the Curtis family, particularly for husband Tripp and to send Maddy back for her senior year at Catholic University.  I wasn't aware that Maddy had been a contestant on American Idol!  Here's a clip of her singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Your first time: a love story

I've found a new love.

Oh, I still have a warm place in my heart for Norah Jones.  And Halle Berry.  Oh, and Penélope Cruz.  (However, they won't return my phone calls.)

But this is it.  This is real.

World, meet the love of my life: Julie Borowski.

I know the odds are against us: a young woman and an older man, a loud-'n-proud libertarian and a reticent independent.  But if we could meet, I just know we'd fit each other, like yin and yang.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rape is a horrible, detestable crime

Today on his blog on the National Catholic Register site, Jimmy Akin posted a post-mortem on the political comments of his non-relation, Todd Akin of Missouri, and Richard Mourdock of Indiana.  Election season is the most common time of year for cases of foot-in-mouth syndrome, especially for the males of the species Politicus dufus; and T. Akin and Mourdock provided us with a couple of doozies on the subject of aborting children conceived through forced sex.  Back in the days before sonar and radar, the British submarine service had a saying: Never mind your enemies, watch out for your friends.

J. Akin's advice to pro-life politicians can pretty much be summed up in the old salesman's slogan KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Per Murphy's Law, anything that can be misunderstood will be misunderstood, particularly when it's contracted to a three-to-five-second soundbite, and most people simply don't have the patience to read or listen to such things carefully ... especially if they're on the opposite side to begin with.  In T. Akin's case, it comes with the rider that one should not introduce questionable scientific claims into the argument.  The important points to hit are: 1) Rape is a horrible, detestable crime; AND 2) We should not punish the child for his/her father's crime ... "AND" because neither point is more important than the other.

My initial reaction, I confess, was impatience.  Why is it not taken for granted that Candidate Joe Schmuckatelli holds rape to be a horrible, detestable crime?  Why must we men be made to feel that if we don't say, in so many words, that rape is a horrible, detestable crime, we must therefore believe that rape really isn't that bad?


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Now what was all that fuss about ...?

In the week or so preceding the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation fundraiser dinner, I got messages from the American Life League, and a couple of other organizations fussing over the invitation Cdl. Timothy Dolan extended to Pres. Barack Obama to speak at this event.  Very little was said regarding the invitation Gov. Mitt Romney also received, though his pro-life street cred is almost non-existent.

That Cdl. Dolan would invite both candidates to the dinner is nothing odd; at least every other presidential election cycle the two leading candidates speak, beginning with Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Richard M. Nixon in 1960.  Candidate pairs since then include Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter (1976), Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan (1980), George H. Bush and Michael Dukakis (1988), veep candidates Al Gore and Jack Kemp (1996), George W. Bush and Al Gore (2000), and Obama and John McCain (2008).

Moreover, the night is hardly devoted to full-fisted politicking or the conferral of honorary doctorates.  The Foundation awards grants to several charities and institutions around the Archdiocese, and the Dinner brings out a lot of the 1%, who pay unconscionable sums of money for overdone chicken and underdone steak, to be entertained by people who don't often get a chance to show their lighter side.  Because while the chicken and steak may be cooked, the candidates get roasted ... first by Al Smith IV (who, I notice, is making sounds that make me concerned for his health), then by each other, then finally by the Archbishop.  I'm sure His Eminence was particularly looking forward to zinging Obama in a venue where the President couldn't fire back.

Look, guys ... just lighten up, would you?  The invitation to trade quips and barbs with Gov. Romney in front of a couple hundred insanely rich people for charity is hardly on a par with the invitation to Notre Dame; you really have to work hard to make an endorsement of either candidate out of the event.  (Though Romney, satirizing the MSM, stated that the headline would probably read "OBAMA EMBRACED BY CATHOLICS; ROMNEY DINES WITH RICH PEOPLE".)  Watch the clip, have a laugh, and for Pete's sake get a grip!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A kid, a Marine, and a magical moment of grace

© 2012 CNN/Ben Kruggel.
I'm sure by now most of you have heard the story of young Ben Baltz, an 11-year-old boy with a prosthetic leg and a whole lotta moxie, and the bad break which turned into the Kodak moment of the week (as well as the kind of PR for the Marine Corps that you just can't buy).  But in case you did just break free of a Turkish prison, or have emerged from a hermitage for a bidecadial convention of anchorites, let's go through it again:

When Ben was six years old, he lost his right tibia and fibula to cancer.  However, Ben is one of life's chargers; he has two legs, one of which is adapted for sports such as soccer, basketball and children's triathlons, such as Florida's Sea Turtle Tri Kids in Pensacola, which took place last Sunday (10/7/12).  Ben was "in it to win it", not just to be a token or a mascot; reporter/photgrapher Joel David, who found himself focusing more on Ben over the course of the events, said Ben "had an inspiring look of determination and I wanted to capture that emotion in a photo."  (For David's photos of Ben competing, the link is here.)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Obama Speaks Truism, Conservatives Dismayed

You know the campaign season is just about over when the two sides have to scrape stuff off the sidewalk to get angry about.  So here we go:

(Source: The Weekly Standard)

Okay, here's the line that causes the fuss: "We don’t believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country."  Even read apart from the rest of the paragraph, it's nothing.  Obama, darn him to heck, is right: we don't believe people are entitled to success.  People are free to work for success, to earn it; you don't get to succeed just by showing up and showing your birth certificate.  And that's what Obama says: "But we do believe in opportunity.  We believe in a country where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded, and everybody is getting a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same rules."

Look, you know I'm no fan of the President, and that I have no intention of voting for him next month.  His presidency has been a disaster from Day 1, and I say this as a very vocal critic of his dumb-bunny predecessor.  But do you have to get worked up about everything that falls out of Obama's mouth?

PRES. OBAMA (recorded): "So I took a shower this morning ...."
RUSH LIMBAUGH: "Can you believe Obama said THAT?  Has he got something against taking baths, for Pete's sake?  Is that something only the capitalist élite do?  He's too good to sit down in the water with his washcloth and bar of Zest?  I suppose he has one of those effeminate poofy things you pour [mocking tone] 'body wash' onto.  How did this wierdo get elected President?"