Thursday, July 31, 2008

Internet Addiction

The Internet really took off when I was a freshman in college so I have been exposed to it from its infancy. I remember finding the e-mail address of some random person in Australia so I e-mailed him to see if it would actually get there. After I sent it, I started freaking out because I thought the college would get hit with a huge long-distance bill of somekind! He wrote back and said, "Yep, I got it. The Internet is an amazing thing, huh?"

Northwestern University came out with a report that Internet addiction is a real compulsive behavior. I may qualify for that! Check out the report here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Blog

My friend and soon to be seminarian, Andrew Nelson has started a blog about seminary life. He still has a few weeks to go before he starts school but he has his blog up and ready to go. It is a work in progress but it will be awesome once he gets cracking. Check it out here.

Get to work Andrew!

P.S. You may wonder why his blog, which he created last Saturday, has over 1,000 hits already. Let's just say that his counter is as inflated as his ego!

Homework...in the summer

As I prepare to enter my third year of teaching, I still cannot believe how lucky I am to be doing what I do. I love my job, I enjoy waking up in the morning, and we have a damn good schedule. We do have a lot of "outside" work and I will spend the rest of my summer planning but it is still a great gig.

I am taking a class this week to prepare for a class I am teaching this upcoming year. I have to prepare five lesson plans for Friday. Tomorrow is Lynn's birthday and I am taking her out for dinner so I have to get the work done tonight. I am almost done but I am procrastinating like no ones business! Now I know how my students feel when they have to sit down in the summer and read the three books I assigned. Homework in the summer stinks.

More Liberal Backlash

Thanks to Comcast, I no longer have MSBNC (although I don't really miss it). However, I would occasionally catch Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank on Keith Olberman's show "Countdown" (KO was so much better when he was on SportsCenter, what happened??). Milbank and Olberman are liberal peas in a pod but I was thrilled to read Milbank trashing Sen. Barack Obama for his "victory tour" around the world and the halls of Congress. You can see here it. One interesting tidbit:

As he marches toward Inauguration Day (Election Day is but a milestone on that path), Obama's biggest challenger may not be Republican John McCain but rather his own hubris.
Some say the supremely confident Obama -- nearly 100 days from the election, he pronounces that "the odds of us winning are very good" -- has become a president-in-waiting. But in truth, he doesn't need to wait: He has already amassed the trappings of the office, without those pesky decisions.

This all may come back to bite Obama. According to some polls, Sen. John McCain, who is running the worst presidential campaign in history, is very close. In fact, Obama did not get any bounce from his trip abroad.

When the phone doesn't ring, I'll know it's you

Voice of the Faithful was founded in 2002 in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. I think many well intentioned Catholics joined the group in order to vent over the anger of the revelations. However, the group was soon hijacked by liberals and "reformists" who used VOTF as a mouth piece for their views. Now they are a complete joke.

VOTF prattled on about how they're "centrist" and do not want to change Church doctrine (wink, wink, nod, nod). However, last week VOTF's New Jersey group recently called for the Church to change its teaching on birth control. I e-mailed VOTF's president and executive director asking them if this is a change in VOTF's stance and ideals. Predictably, I have not received a reply.

Sound the dirge for this group.

UPDATE: I did receive an e-mail today from the executive director. She said she was on vacation and will look into this story and get back to me.

Update on Edwards and LA Times bloggers

Last week it was reported that the LA Times has banned its bloggers from commenting on the John Edwards scandal. This raised charges of media bias as if Edwards was a Republican, this would have been all over the news.

Simon Owens over at Bloggasm scored a great interview with Tony Pierce, the editor of the LA Times blogs. Take a look here.

Bad week for Kerry and Edwards

The 2004 Democratic nominees for president and vice-president have had interesting weeks. First, former Sen. John Edwards was caught visiting a California hotel visiting his mistress and had to hide in a bathroom from the media. Now, Sen. John Kerry was photographed on Nantucket with a gaggle of girls who were out partying. Actually, this was quite harmless. He was walking down the street and they asked him to take a picture. The funny thing is that he looks trashed and the girls have beer in their hands and straws that look like a male body part.

The Herald has the Kerry article and the pictures here. Again, it is no big deal, just funny.


Monday, July 28, 2008

More on women "priests"

My uncle John Dargan e-mailed me a great column from the Lawrence (MA) Eagle Tribune. The column focuses on the three women who were recently "ordained" at a play mass in Boston and are now running around pretending they are Catholic priests.

These gals remind me of when I used to pretend I was a priest and say mass in my kitchen. My poor parents had to switch off as my congregation and I would get mad if they didn't say the responses. I once yelled, "Mommy, daddy won't say the words." He then started to mumble the words and begrudgingly sing stuff like the alleluia and Holy, Holy, Holy. Ha, I can still picture him sitting in the kitchen with a can of beer and a look that could depress a clown!

Anyway, here is the column in its entirety.

"For women 'priests,' church is all about them"
Taylor Armerding

I'm not a Catholic. So, I've got no personal religious stake in the current hot, cutting-edge challenge to the pope and his cadre of old white men (well, OK, a few of them aren't white) in hats and red robes. It wouldn't have affected my life if the priesthood had been co-ed from its foundations instead of entirely male.

So I should get points for no religious conflict of interest, even if I lose them for being the wrong gender. Either way, I can't help being amused at the predictable approach of the "activist" group Roman Catholic Womenpriests to the pillar of church doctrine that they find unacceptable: Only males can be ordained.

The group used a Protestant church, of all things, to "ordain" three women last weekend, in defiance of that doctrine. And their response to the Vatican, which said the women and those who attempted to ordain them have excommunicated themselves?
Well, they defy that as well. It doesn't matter what the pope says, they contend. They're still loyal Catholics, and they are now priests. Period.
Glad that settles the matter.
Of course, it doesn't. Or, more accurately, it is settled, but not the way these women want. It has been settled for more than 2,000 years, and political correctness run amok is not going to unsettle it.
But it is so very boomeresque. Perhaps even Obamaesque, as in, "We are the ones we have been waiting for."

We boomers are the greatest generation that ever lived. History and tradition, foundations and doctrines — those are just artificial constructs of old or dead people (we're not really getting old — it just looks that way). We are not bound by them. We will trample them because we make our own rules, and they are the only rules that matter. "Get out of the new world if you can't lend a hand / For the times, they are a 'changin'."
We don't accept the word "no." We don't even accept the word "wait." We want what we want, and we want it now. And that's a very good thing — it has to be a good thing because we are never wrong.

It's just that this song has been sung so many times before. It's older than Dylan's anthem of "change," which predates Obama's mantra by several decades.
There's a longtime name for this kind of self-indulgence that still applies today — "Cafeteria Catholic." I'll take what I want in the doctrine smorgasbord, and ignore the things I don't want. I'll take a nice helping of "housing for the poor" and "tax the rich," but don't expect me to put anything on my tray about divorce, abortion or the male priesthood. Ick.
This, they say, is all about "practicing my faith." Well, of course it is. Note the emphasis on "my." See — the church belongs to them, not the other way around. I suspect they don't really believe they're even made in the image of God. God is made in their image. How could it be otherwise? How could they love or obey a God who is supreme and who might have standards or rules they find confining or unacceptable, when they're so much more in love with themselves?
I think what they need to do is establish the church of Mary, or Judy, or Pamela, or whatever their names are. They obviously don't want to be Catholics. What they're doing makes as much sense as one of them insisting that she's still a "loyal" member of the Barack Obama campaign staff even though she urges people to vote for John McCain, wants to maintain the "Bush tax cuts," opposes universal health care, doesn't want to bring the troops home from Iraq in 16 months and doesn't think an African-American should be president.
And, of course, if Obama sensibly "excommunicated" her for undermining his core principles, that wouldn't matter. Only what she said and thought would matter.
There is no need for such delusional absurdity, of course. There is no mandate requiring anybody to be a Catholic. If women find the church's doctrine too restrictive, they are free to leave. There are other denominations — some of them quite close to Catholic in their traditions, sacraments and liturgy — that ordain women.
But, that is not enough for these "activists." They want Catholic to mean whatever they want it to mean. They want to remake it in their own image. Because, of course, they are the ones the church has been waiting for. And given the self-absorbed times in which we live, they may get their way at some point.
But if they do, Catholic won't mean just what they want it to mean. It won't mean much of anything anymore.

The Prince of Darkness is ill

Robert Novak, one of my favorite columnists, announced today that he has a brain tumor. No word if it is malignant or not but he is being held for tests in Boston (he was visiting his daughter on the Cape when he felt ill). This may explain (maybe!) why he drove off after hitting a man with his corvette last week in Washington. He claims he didn't know he had hit someone. Come on - a pebble hit my windshield the other day and I almost had a heart attack!

Anyway, Novak has suspended his columns which are real treats. You can read some of his past ones, including his latest, here. If you want to get some insight into his career and the way journalism used to be, check out his memoirs "The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington."

Castle Island

Lynn, Kevin, and I took a ride to Castle Island in South Boston yesterday. It was a beautiful day and Castle Island was the perfect place for a Sunday trip. Castle Island's attractions are a playground, beach access, fishing, walking areas, beautiful views of Boston's skyline, and Sullivan's.

Kevin had a blast with all the dogs and kids running around. He fell asleep soon after we got into the car for a ride over to Lynn's parents house in West Roxbury.

This was the first time I had been to Castle Island in sometime and going there with Lynn reminded me of the first time her and I went there.

When I was living in South Boston, I took a History class at UMass Boston. One warm spring night in 2003 I was working on the final paper and my roommate Dan asked me if I wanted to go for a walk at Castle Island. I told him that I couldn't because I really had to finish the paper. Well, about an hour later, Lynn called me and said she was going for a walk around Castle Island and asked if I wanted to go too. We weren't dating yet but I was very interested so I figured the paper could be out on hold! Dan was a little taken aback when I started heading out but I think he understood (I hope) when I explained the situation!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

This state needs an enema

So says Howie Carr. He has another great column in today's Boston Herald on why we must abolish the state income tax this November. You can read it here but here is a taste:

It becomes clearer by the day the entire hackerama has careened utterly out of control. It requires an intervention. It’s got to go cold turkey. And since the hacks can no longer even pretend to control their spending habits, someone has got to stop them.

On Nov. 4, vote “yes” on Question 1. If it passes, it will return to working people $12.5 billion the hacks now squander handing each other six-figure jobs, lifetime pensions beginning in their 40s, endless raises, free health care - you know the list. Every day brings more headlines about new outrages. Yesterday, it was the news that 337 employees of the MBTA made more than $100,000 last year.

Camp Deval

I have made no secret of the fact that I am no fan of Gov. Deval Patrick but there is a nice article in today's Globe on the governor's home in the Berkshires. It mentions how Patrick's presence there is helping to give the Berkshires more of a connection to Beacon Hill. Presently, they feel closer to New York. I think more people out that way get Albany TV stations rather than Massachusetts ones.

It would be nice if Patrick helped turned the Berkshires into a destination place - that is - to live and work. You never know. Take a look at the article here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Catholics for Choice

Today is the 40th anniversary of the now prophetic "Humane Vitae" the papal (Pope Paul VI) encyclical that taught that Catholics cannot use birth control.

I don't want to get into a debate on the teaching on birth control (but for the record I agree with the Church 100%) but wanted to point out the absurdity of some of those who oppose the Church's teaching. A group called "Catholics for Choice" and about 50 other dissidents put out an ad today in an Italian newspaper calling for the Church to change its stance. According to the Associated Press, the ad states that the ban on birth control has had "catastrophic effects", particularly on the fight for AIDS.

Let's look at this logically. I am going to assume that they're referring here to condoms since the Pill can do nothing to stop AIDS. Let's also assume that they are referring to unmarried couples having sex. Are you going to tell me that a guy and girl have sex outside of marriage (a sin) but they don't use condoms because the Church teaches its wrong?

I can see it now. Some 20-somethings meet at a bar, get drunk and head back to his place. They start making out and it is obvious that they are about to have sex. Just before they do, the girl asks him if he has a condom. "No, I don't use condoms when I have sex, I am a Catholic." Oh.

Take Action

Remember some years ago that integrators at Guantanamo Bay were accused at desecrating the Koran in front of Muslim prisoners? People were outraged and rightly so.

However, on the flip side, the media is apt to stoke the flames if stuff like this happens to Muslims but they're usually mum if Christians (especially Catholics) are targeted ("Piss Christ" comes to mind).

Now we have Biology Professor Paul Z. Myers of the University of Minnesota. This guy is an avowed atheist who hates organized religion. Earlier this month he threatened to desecrate a consecrated host (communion) and the Koran and he apparently has followed through. The Catholic League has the story:

University of Minnesota professor Paul Z. Myers made good on his pledge to desecrate the Eucharist today. According to his statement on the subject, “I pierced it [the Host] with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash.”

Saying he did not want to “single out just the cracker,” Myers also tore pages from the Koran along with a few pages from Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and nailed them to the Host. He then said, “They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred. (His emphasis.) Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“A formal complaint against Myers has already been made. What he did—in both word and deed—constitutes a bias incident, as defined by the University of Minnesota. The policy says that ‘Expressions of disrespectful bias, hate, harassment or hostility against an individual, group or their property because of the individual or group’s actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion…can be forms of discrimination. Expressions vary, and can be in the form of language, words, signs, symbols, threats, or actions that could potentially cause alarm, anger, fear, or resentment in others…even when presented as a joke.’

“The University must now take action and apply the appropriate sanction. We are contacting the president, Board of Regents and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office at the school, as well as Minnesota’s governor and both houses of the state legislature; the Catholic community in Minnesota is also being contacted. Moreover, we are also contacting Muslim groups nationwide.
“It is important for Catholics to know that the University of Minnesota will not tolerate the deliberate destruction of the Eucharist by one of its faculty. Just as African Americans would not tolerate the burning of a cross, and Jews would not tolerate the display of swastikas, Catholics will not tolerate the desecration of the Eucharist.”

You can contact University of Minnesota's president, Robert Bruininks, at bruin001@umn.edu. We CANNOT let this guy get away with this.

More Media Bias

Let's review...

1. The NY Times rejects John McCain's op-ed piece and suggests it "mirror" Sen. Barack Obamas's recent op-ed

2. Sen. John Kerry uses the term "tar baby" and nothing is said despite Gov. Mitt Romney getting ripped apart when he said it a couple of years ago

3. The media's coverage of Obama's world tour

4. Now the LA Times is banning its bloggers from reporting on or mentioning the story that former Sen. John Edwards was caught in a hotel late at night visiting his alleged mistress. Slate.com has the story as well as the e-mail from the editor of the Times. See it here.

In the tank for Obama

Sen. John McCain's campaign made a video on the love affair between the media and Sen. Barack Obama. It is a bunch of news clips (with Chris Matthews being the prime offender) with Frankie Valli's "I Can't Take My Eyes off of You" playing in the background. The one I found to be the most annoying was when female journalists are yelling at a Secret Service Agent to sit down so they can get a better view of Obama. After the agent sits down, you hear a bunch of giggling and squealing, you would swear they were high school girls checking out the stud quarterback.

Take a look (h/t to richardhowe.com):

Comcast and Blogs

My wife often makes fun of me for blogging (both reading and writing) but they are becoming powerful forces (just ask Dan Rather). Comcast is the newest example of how blogs are very influential and great means of communication.

Comcast is undergoing some negative press lately because of their decision to move some channels to digital meaning that analog customers have to pony up more money to get their favorite stations. My wife and I still have analog and over the past year or so have lost ESPN Classic, C-SPAN 2, the Hallmark Channel, Comcast 3, EWTN/BCTV, and MSNBC. I don't really miss these channels at all but it will only get worse - I think more and more channels will be moved exclusively to digital. Liberals are furious for MSNBC being moved and I am sure many elderly are upset with the departure of EWTN/BCTV.

Comcast claims they are moving channels to digital to make room for more HD channels. By moving channels off of analog, they save a ton of bandwidth (I am pretty sure it is because they can make more money off of digital cable). Because of this, and historically poor customer service, Comcast is being killed in the blogosphere. Go to google.com, click on "more" and then click on "blogs" and type in "I hate Comcast" and you'll see what I mean.

To combat the negative attention, Comcast is trolling the internet looking for complaints and trying to respond to them. One guy I see a lot is named Frank Eliason and he (and his work) is the focus of an article today in the NY Times. Take a look at the article here.

Double standards for liberals

A couple of years ago, Gov. Mitt Romney used the term "tar baby" to describe the Big Dig. I never heard the term before but I guess tar baby means a boondoggle. However, I guess it is also a racial slur. Romney was raked over the coals by the media and it was the top story on the news, radio news, etc. He had to apologize over and over again before the media left him alone.

Well, on Tuesday Sen. John Kerry used the same term. Have you heard a thing about this? Of course not, Kerry is a Democrat so he gets a pass. Just like Sen. Robert Byrd was let off the hook when he used the N word or when Sen. John Edwards is caught visiting a lady friend at a California hotel in the middle of the night.

Howie Carr tackles all this in a great column today, it is a must read. See it here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I am not the president but I play one on TV

From a purely political point of view, Sen. Barack Obama's travel to the Middle East and Europe is brilliant and apparently everything has gone off without a hitch. The media, of course, is helping but Obama's staff has everything so tight and packaged that there is hardly any room for error.

Obama is now getting some blow back from the media for acting as if he is already the president. Newbusters.org transcribed a report from ABC New's Jake Tapper which I have posted below (I bolded some quotes that will make your blood boil).

DIANE SAWYER: We want to turn now to the race for '08. The new poll out showing Barack Obama leading 47 to 41 percent over John McCain and it comes as the candidates engage in two very different campaign schedules. Our correspondents are opening their notebooks this morning to take you behind the scenes and we'll get to ABC's David Wright for a look at John McCain in just a minute. But, beginning with senior political correspondent Jake Tapper in Berlin with Barack Obama this morning. Jake?

JAKE TAPPER: Guten Tag, Diane. Well, we just arrived in Berlin a few hours ago. Everything about this trip has been choreographed to make Senator Obama appear like President Obama and that's certainly the case with the speech he's going to deliver later today here at the Victory Column in central Berlin. Senator Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met this morning, just a few hours after Obama's pre-dawn visit to Jerusalem's western wall, his last stop in Israel. For the first stop of his European swing, Obama's campaign has been pulling out all the stops, distributing these flyers in German to round up a huge crowd for his speech tonight, one the Obama campaign is billing at almost presidential. Even though he is not the president. From the scenic vistas in Jordan where local reporters clambered for his attention --

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Reporters are the same everywhere, aren't they?

TAPPER: --to his hobnobbing with world leaders, to his military exercises in Israel and Iraq, everything about this trip is meticulously designed to make you comfortable with Obama as commander in chief. That started with his newly retrofitted plane. The American flag on the tail wing has been replaced by an enormous Obama "O." And the slogan "change we can believe in" is on the sides. [Tapper is now inside the plane.] Inside, the plane has been redesigned to separate the senator and his staff from us lowly reporters. And this was the site of a big media mutiny the other day as Obama officials insisted they'd be able to brief us on background as anonymous officials. One of them said that's what we did at the White House during the Clinton years. We pointed out they don't work at the White House. Other flourishes, an Obama napkin holder after we refueled in Ireland.

OBAMA: The world is keenly interested in this election. And I think they're hungry for a sense of where America is going. So, you know, certainly there's a curiosity factor involved.

TAPPER: Some authorities are anticipating a crowd as big as one million, but Senator Obama said we should not set our expectations too high for the crowd. He expects it to be more like in the tens of thousands. Diane?

SAWYER: All right, Jake. I want to say, Jake, I don't want to be around if there's a media mutiny and you're one of the mutineers. I would be running for the hills. Okay. Thanks so much.

Use of the word Congress and Congressman

Jim Ogonowski, a native of Dracut, recently ran for the Republican nomination for United States Senate but had to drop his bid because he did not have enough signatures to be put on the ballot. He was criticized for trying to run for the Senate when he already lost a race for the House to Rep. Niki Tsongas. Rob Gray, a Republican political consultant said in today's Lowell Sun "...Jim Ogonowski should have run for Congress again instead of taking the next step to a statewide Senate race" (emp. mine).

Um, Ogonowski was running for Congress. Did Mr. Gray mean he should have run for the House?

This is one of those things that has always irked me. Why do people refer to the United States House of Representatives as "Congress" and U.S. Representatives as "Congressman." As we all know, Congress is comprised of two houses as article 1, section 1 of the Constitution stipulates:

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
The Lowell Sun makes the same error in their article. They say (about Ogonowski), "Since first catapulting onto the Bay State political scene with an unsuccessful run for Congress..." No, he was running for the House of Representatives.
This same mistake is not made on the state level. We don't say that someone is running for the legislature, we say they're running for the House.
While we on the subject, another thing that irks me is when people refer to the third Monday in February as President's Day. There is no such holiday, it is called Washington's Birthday. Congress never changed the holiday despite popular belief. The National Archives did an article on this in a 2004 issue of their magazine "Prologue." Take a look here.

Mass. Pike Bailout

Because of the burgeoning debt/interest from the Big Dig, the project will now end up costing taxpayers $22 billion. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority manages the Big Dig and has the fiduciary responsibility for it.

Now the Mass. Pike is floundering and nearing insolvency and they're asking the state to help bail them out. They're also going to raise tolls to help pay down their debt.

Thankfully the Boston Herald sees right through them and today released the gross salaries of Turnpike employees. They had to get the information from the Pike under the Freedom of Information Act because the Pike would not release the information willingly. Take a look at the salaries and you'll see why the Pike, who is crying poor mouth, does not want you to know what their bloated payroll looks like.

Take a look at the article titled "Take this exit for payrolls" here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The hits keep coming

I guess we should be thanking the Massachusetts hacks and politicians who keep on spending our money like drunken sailors - they are making the case more and more for eliminating the state income tax this November.

Tonight's hack du jour is Middlesex Country Sherriff Jim DiPaola. He recently felt the need to spend $20,000 to plant 56 pear trees on the grounds of the Middlesex House of Corrections in Billerica. Granted, $20,000 is a drop in the bucket but there are a ton of drops in the buckets that keep on adding up.

The Lowell Sun has the article here.

It couldn't happen to a nicer company

The New York Times announced today that their second quarter profits were down 82% as compared to last year's figures. This made my day. Nothing would make me happier than to see the NY Times and their sister paper, the Boston Globe, go down in flames.

The Financial Times has the story.

For those who think we shouldn't get rid of the state income tax

The Boston Globe reports today that the City of Boston has hired over 1,000 new employees in the past four years (an increase of 25%). Of those 1,000, 698 were for the public school system. The city now has over 17,000 employees and personnel costs now account for 69% of the city's budget.

What does this have to do with the state income tax you may ask. For FY 2009, Boston Public Schools received over $221 million dollars in aid from the state (Chapter 70 funding). In addition, the city received over $164 million in "additional assistance." The entire city of Boston's budget for FY 2009 is $2.4 billion so state taxpayers are paying a good chunk of that.

There is detailed information on aid given to all cities and towns on the state's website. The City of Boston has detailed info. on their budget here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Typical hypocrisy from the left

Every time you fill up your gas tank, 18.4 cents goes to the federal government by way of the gas tax. On top of that, states assess a state gas tax (in Massachusetts it is 23.5 cents).

With $4.00 a gallon gasoline and a horrible economy, people have been begging for a summer suspension of the gas tax but Sen. Barack Obama and the Democratic controlled Congress have refused, calling the proposal a "gimmick" (you can read Obama's thoughts on his website - click here).

Well, as usual, the Democrats are saying one thing and doing another. When the Democrats meet in Denver this August for their convention, they will fill their fleets at city owned (i.e. Department of Public Works) facilities and not gas stations, thus avoiding state and federal gas taxes (a total of 40.4 cents per gallon). You can read the article here. You may want to take your blood pressure meds before doing so!

I have never met such a sanctimonious group of people who refuse to practice what they preach.
  • Sen. John Edwards goes on about poverty but just built a 29,000 square foot house
  • Sen. Ted Kennedy says we need new sources of energy but fights efforts to place wind turbines near his house on Cape Cod
  • While running for president, Sen. John Kerry criticized "gas guzzlers" but there was an SUV parked in his driveway
  • Al Gore prattles on about being green but uses private jets

Need I go on?

The ugly step-sister

Jake Taylor: "I play for the Indians."
Chaire Holloway: "Here in Cleveland? I didn't know they still had a team."
Jake Taylor: "Yup, we've got uniforms and everything, it's really great."
From the 1990 baseball movie "Major League"

The only local professional team not to win a championship this century is of course the Boston Bruins. As a matter of fact, the Bruins haven't won the Stanley Cup in my lifetime (I am 32). When I was in junior high in the late 1980's, the Bruins were THE team in Boston. The Red Sox were a .500 team, the Patriots were a complete joke, and Larry Bird's Celtics were coming apart. The Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup Finals twice during this time but lost both series to the Oilers.

The Bruins were so huge that the final event ever at the Old Boston Garden was an exhibition game between the Bruins and the Canadiens. Now...you almost forget they're still around.

Last year, Boston Magazine did a great story on the sorry state of the Bruins and the horrible relationship between the fans and the team's long-distance owner Jeremy Jacobs. Take a look at the article here.

Update on Berkshires

Perhaps the Boston Herald read my post on the Berkshires (!) because today they have a story on Richmond, MA and how it is the new "it" place. Gov. Deval Patrick has a house there as do other movers and shakers. Take a look here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Focus on the Berkshires

One of my favorites places in Massachusetts is the Berkshires. Located on the New York border in the western part of the state, the Berkshires are a fabulous place for sightseeing, quaint downtowns, and Americana. I blogged some time ago on my favorite thing in the Berkshires: the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

The first time I can recall going to the Berkshires was about 5 years ago in October, 2005 B.K. (Before Kevin - back when were dating and actually got to go out and do things every now and then). We met up for an early mass and then I drove us out to see Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts. However, when we got it out there it was snowing so we could not climb the mountain (in retrospect, not a bad thing). We drove up the mountain but the visibility was zero so we left fairly quickly.

After that we had no idea what to do as we planned on spending the day climbing the mountain. We grabbed some lunch and then happened to stumble upon the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge. We walked around, went to 3:00 prayers, and browsed the bookstore. We then found downtown Stockbridge which was immortalized in Norman Rockwell's painting "Stockbridge at Christmas." Lynn wanted to have dessert at a real Americana place and we saw the Red Lion Inn. It was just what Lynn was looking for - a quaint and colonial place. We stopped in and had some dessert and coffee and caught the end of the Patriot's game (well, I did). We strolled downtown and then headed back east. It was a perfect way to spend a fall day.

Ever since I found the Norman Rockwell Museum last year, I have fallen in love with the Berkshires and have been out there 3 or 4 times in less than a year. I am not sure I could live out there but one never knows. I think Western Massachusetts is the next big thing in real estate. I often look at houses for kicks and there are some real nice places at reasonable prices.

"Greater Boston", a nightly public affairs show on PBS in Boston is doing a segment all this week on the Berkshires. I just happened to watch tonight's show and caught today's story on a playhouse. Tomorrow they're highlighting the Norman Rockwell Museum! It is on at 7:00pm on channel 2, check it out.


Finally something from McCain

This may be the best move Sen. John McCain has made in a while - click here for the story.

What a day

I had hoped to take Kevin to the York Wild Animal Kingdom in York, ME today but I was thrown a mega curveball.

Papa was scratching himself something fierce yesterday and we were afraid that he had fleas. There is no reason for him to have fleas - he stays inside and he has not been around any other animals. Lynn gave him a bath last night but he was still scratching like crazy this morning so I took him to a groomer in Tyngsboro around 10am. From there Kevin and I went to Petco to get some flea bombs and a flea collar. We then went home to clean-up and prep for the flea bombs.

I set the bombs off around 12:30 and then got Kevin some lunch at Friendly's. From there we headed to Lynn's office to switch cars (in case there were any "leftover" fleas in my car). You're supposed to let the bombs go off for two hours so I came back home around 2:30 and turned on the AC's and fans. You can't stay inside for another 30 minutes so we went to mail something and then picked up Papa. We got some good news at the groomers - they could not find any fleas on him. I asked why he was scratching and he surmised dry skin.
I came home and cleaned up and fed Papa and Kevin. Now we wait for Lynn to get home. I typically cook supper during the week but after a day like this, I feel like some pizza or something!

This is not a picture of Papa but it sums up the kind of day we all had!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

WYD a success

By all accounts, World Youth Day 2008 in Australia was a success. It seemed more low-key than in years past (due to distance and major time difference) but those who attended appeared to have been moved spiritually.

The final mass, held at a racetrack, had 400,000 people in attendance - far less than the 1,000,000 that attended the one in Germany in 2005. However, it was expected that this WYD would have fewer participants because of its end of the world location. The good news, however, is that the mass was the biggest crowd for an event in Australia's history!
Some snippets from his homily:
Dear young people, let me now ask you a question. What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the “power” which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What difference will you make?
The world needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading: an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns (cf. Jer 2:13) in a desperate search for meaning – the ultimate meaning that only love can give? This is the great and liberating gift which the Gospel brings: it reveals our dignity as men and women created in the image and likeness of God. It reveals humanity’s sublime calling, which is to find fulfilment in love. It discloses the truth about man and the truth about life.

The Church also needs this renewal! She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be young in the Spirit (cf. Lumen Gentium, 4)! In today’s second reading, the Apostle Paul reminds us that each and every Christian has received a gift meant for building up the Body of Christ. The Church especially needs the gifts of young people, all young people. She needs to grow in the power of the Spirit who even now gives joy to your youth and inspires you to serve the Lord with gladness. Open your hearts to that power! I address this plea in a special way to those of you whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Do not be afraid to say “yes” to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!

At the end of of Sunday's mass, Pope Benedict announced that World Youth Day 2011 will be held in Madrid.

The Vatican's website is pretty up to date with the pope's speeches and homilies but be sure to head over to Whispers in the Loggia for pictures and comprehensive commentary and analysis.


Obama has a crush on Obama

Joan Vennochi, an ultra-liberal columnist for the Boston Globe, eats her young today by taking on Sen. Barack Obama's massive ego. If you haven't heard, Obama will not be making his acceptance speech at the hall of the Democratic National Convention (the Pepsi Center in Denver) but rather at the Denver Bronco's football stadium (ala JFK's 1960 acceptance speech at the Los Angeles Coliseum). He feels it will provide a better setting and allow more people to attend.

Throughout the column, Vennochi takes Obama to task for his messiah complex and his bloated head. Great stuff, take a look.

Do you know who I am?

Ahh, it never ends. Thank you Howie for exposing these hacks!

"I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore"

Jeff Jacoby, the lone conservative at the Boston Globe, has a great column in today's paper on the maddening scams pulled by politicians, hacks, and public employees. You can read the column here but this is his main point:

Column after column could be filled with the ways the Massachusetts political class and its hangers-on play taxpayers for suckers - the gold-plated tax breaks for moviemakers, the insanely lucrative sick-time buybacks, the indefensible police details, the public-sector-only paid holidays, the "temporary" tax hikes that last forever, the state budgets that keep growing even as family budgets shrink.

It will never end - not until the suckers get riled up enough to fight back. Not until they start throwing incumbents out of office, instead of blindly reelecting them. Not until they stop letting themselves be treated as ATMs for politicians and doormats for public-employee unions. Not until they force their public "servants" to defer to them, instead of the other way around.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I may be going to hell

I admit that I am no Brad Pitt nor am I am the picture of health (just ask my doctor). However, this story is so ironic I could not pass it up.

National Public Radio (NPR) did a sob story on an Ohio family who is experiencing such tough times in this economy that they cannot even afford to buy meat. At first you feel bad for them but click here and see why perhaps them not eating meat for a while may be a good thing.

Second Fiddle Pope

Poor Pope Benedict. He does not travel much so when he does go overseas, it is huge news. However, he has been overshadowed twice now by other major world events. In July of 2006 he visited Spain for a major mass to close the World Meeting of Families. However, that same weekend was the World Cup Finals. What do you think more people were paying attention to in secular Europe???

Now, the Pope is in Australia for World Youth Day. He will say a final mass on Sunday but I am guessing that most of the world's attention (i.e. the media) will be on Sen. Barack Obama's trip to Europe and the Middle East.

D'oh.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Reason 5,407 to repeal the state income tax

So we're in tough economic times. Major cuts are made to the state budget. Gas prices are through the roof. The Big Dig now costs $22 billion. And how does the City of Lowell react? By giving huge raises to four assistant superintendents of schools with mega perks.

Some highlights:

1. They each got a 6.3 % raise (on average)
2. 25 vacation days with the ability to "bank" 80
3. Full reimbursement for classes towards a Ph.D.
4. The salaries range from $108,308-$118,963

The Lowell Sun has done a great job on this story, check out their article here.

Howie Carr's Election


No, not as a politician but into the National Radio Hall of Fame. I mentioned last week that I was able to join Howie and some others on his now successful trolley campaign through Boston. His radio station, WRKO, has pictures and video of the trip on their website. Check it out the pics here with video here, here, and here.

Misleading headline

Michael Paulson is usually pretty good about covering religion for the Globe but this article on the "ordination" of three women as priests is way off base. These women will not be ordained Catholic priests. They will be playing pretend mass like I did when I was 5 years old!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The pot calling the kettle black

Where does Nancy Pelosi get the gall to call anyone a total failure? I concede that President Bush has not been the most inspirational president, but under Pelosi's leadership as Speaker of the House, the approval rating for the U.S. Congress is at its lowest ever. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is no better. Talk about the proverbial 98 pound weakling. This guy spends his whole day doing nothing other than bashing the president when he is the biggest twerp to ever lead the Senate.
I mean look at these two...do they inspire confidence? Do they remind you of the great leaders our Founding Fathers envisioned? What a joke.



No accident in politics

I firmly believe that there are no accidents in politics. News, announcements, and political speeches are timed to maximize media exposure and/or to fend something off.

Thus, when I heard that the Massachusetts Turnpike is nearing insolvency and that the Big Dig's price tag is now $22 billion, I knew what was up. Gov. Deval Patrick and the legislature not only want to defeat November's ballot initiative to eliminate the state income tax but they also desperately want to raise taxes, fees, tolls, etc. That is why we are hearing nothing but grim financial news out of Beacon Hill lately. They want to inundate us with dire news and consequences in hopes that we will practically beg them to raise our taxes.

In the meantime, hacks still dominate state jobs, firefighters file phony disability claims, and the legislators get paid to drive to the State House.

Disgraced Marzilli

Sen. James Marzilli, a state senator from Arlington, has been accused of accosting and groping almost 10 women in the past year. He was initially charged some time ago but the District Attorney said there was not enough evidence to proceed (a nice gift from a fellow Democrat). Now, about a month ago he was charged again and this time the DA is going after him hard.

Some senators have called on Marzilli to resign but he is just riding out his term (which expires in January). Why is he waiting? To prove his innocence? To let the justice system do its work? Nope - there is speculation he will not resign because if he "works" one day in a year, it counts as a full year towards his state pension. Why leave now when he can stick around and collect more money from taxpayers? The senate president refuses to strip Marzilli of his committee chairmanship. Why? Because he is innocent until proven guilty? Of course not - a chairman position carries a pay bump of $7,500. If he has that taken away then his pension will be reduced.

You say, well if he is convitced he will lose his pension, right? Howie Carr points out that Marzilli can appeal this by citing an arcane pension rule that allows someone to collect their pension if they were "fired." Yet another reason to repeal the income tax - it is the only way these hacks will learn.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Getting rid of homelessness

The Democrats like to call themselves the party of the poor and the little guy. They say they "fight" for those who can't fight for themselves and that Republicans lack compassion and only care for the rich and elite.

Well, it seems when push comes to shove, the Democrats prefer that the poor and homeless not be around to bother them as they head to cocktail parties. The Rocky Mountain News is reporting that the "do as I say, not what I do" crowd is offering movie tickets, museum passes, and other amenities to the homeless during the Democratic National Convention being held next month in Denver. They claim they don't want the thousands of convention goers and protesters to disrupt the homeless. Right - they just don't want them in the way.

Typical beautiful people.

Summer fun in China

I rather swelter than deal with this! Article is here:









0-60

The rest of my week went from nothing to jam-packed in a matter of 20 minutes.

First my mother called me and invited us to a BBQ this weekend for my aunt and uncle. Then, about 10 minutes later, my mother-in-law called and invited us over tomorrow evening to visit with Lynn's aunt and uncle who are up from Florida. Finally, 5 minutes after that my friend Andrew called and asked if I could help him move on Friday. Phew.

When I got home, I checked my e-mail and had two e-mails about meetings in mid-August - one from the principal of my school and another from a committee I served on for the Diocese of Manchester. When it rains it pours.

Trolley Ride

Our parish, Saint Francis in Dracut, has a kids group called S.P.A.R.K.S. I forget what the acronym stands for but it meets every week or so for trips, activities, etc. Kevin and I started attending the group last week and we hope to go on the weekly trips during the rest of the summer.

Kevin is the youngest kid by far and he doesn't really get into the events. I only bring him so we can get out of the house and for him to see other kids (my wife says I go because it makes me look good). Last week we went to an animal show at Boarding House Park in Lowell but he just wanted to run around. Today we took the trolley ride at the Lowell National Historical Park. We've actually been on the trolley before and he sat there and was well behaved. This time, however, he just wanted to run around the trolley and he screamed if I held him so it made for a stressful trip for me. Luckily we stopped a couple of times so he could run around.

The moms are impressed with how big he is and well he can walk for a 13 month-old. Kevin has been walking (in some form or another) since he was 8 months old. Lucky me!

He fell asleep on the way home and is he still napping. I kind of wish he stayed awake so he could go to sleep later and sleep longer. But, he should wake up within the hour or so and that will be it for naps for the day. I guess that's OK - it is another beautiful day, no clouds in the sky.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hollywood Double Standard

It is no secret that Hollywood/Los Angeles is a bastion of liberalism. Those who are conservative or Republican are persona non grata (think Mel Gibson) so they have to hide their political affiliation or risk losing work. Democrats call this blacklisting if it is done to them but no one ever accused them of being consistent.

Andrew Breitbart, CEO of the news site breitbart.com, wrote a fantastic column in today's Washington Times on the impact this is having on the creative process in Hollywood. Take a read by clicking here but here is a excerpt:

But Los Angeles is a one-company town. And because of bullying (or what Democrats would call blacklisting or “political discrimination” if the shoe were on the other foot), Hollywood has become a one-party town. History will show this dynamic hurt both the creative and the political processes. In the absence of checks and balances we end up with a system that creates a mainstream film about Ronald Reagan — written, produced and directed by narcissistic and myopic partisans who only viewed the Gipper through the lens of partisan AIDS activism. Like anyone would watch an epic movie about America’s victory in the Cold War.

Oliver Stone — a left-wing conspiracy theorist — gets to take a cinematic stab at George W. Bush before he even leaves office. Thankfully, he assures us he will treat the subject evenhandedly.

Every big screen cartoon warns toddlers of anthropogenic global warming or the wrongs of corporate America. It’s almost like they conceived a process to scientifically extract the joys from childhood.

There are tons of movies on Nazi Germany. But why the dearth of stories on the rise and fall of the Iron Curtain? Are there no stories of tragedy and triumph in the 100 million or so dead, or those who came out alive?

If you will Recount, all historical political episodes are seen through the eyes of Democrat protagonists while Republicans are cast as the villains. If only the GOP could outsource its PR burden to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Those guys sure know how to erase the bad guys from the big screen.

More than a dozen box office failures vilify the troops without a single counter-perspective seeing the light of day. Yet one impactful and heartfelt pro-war film, Brothers at War, dares to tell the story of a noble and patriotic American family yet can’t find a distributor.
The litany of negative consequences to the ideological rigidity of modern Hollywood is virtually limitless. The lack of tension between competing ideas has made the arts increasingly tedious and rendered the celebrities woefully uninteresting.

Verizon Meltdown

Every couple of years, Verizon Wireless lets you get a new phone for free (as long as you commit to their service for another 2 years). This month Lynn was eligible for a new phone which was a blessing - the phone was over four years old and this weekend it got wet and was acting all funky. So Kevin and I went to the Verizon Wireless store at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua this morning to get mommy's new phone.

Kevin is Captain Active - he does not like sitting still and his favorite hobby is running around and "destroying" things. My father-in-law calls him HW - House Wrecker. In my experience, the service at Verizon Wireless stores is notoriously slow and today was no exception. We were there for about 30-40 minutes and Kevin was getting pretty fidgety (to put in mildly). I finally gave him my phone to play with which kept him quiet the last 10 minutes or so. However, I realized that he was putting it into his mouth and getting the inside of the phone all wet. Now my phone is all messed up and I may need to get a new one! Ugh.

I took Kevin to the pet store across from Verizon Wireless for a new minutes and we then left. He hadn't slept yet and he was hitting that cranked stage. We got to the car and he was gone in about 2 minutes. It is 12:20 and he is still asleep which may mean no long afternoon nap. That's fine, it is a beautiful day and I think I will take him to a local lake for the afternoon.

Soccer Player to Priest

Chase Hilgenbrinck, a professional soccer player for the New England Revolution, will be leaving the team in order to enter the seminary:

Although he has felt the calling for some time, Hilgenbrinck also knew it would be easier to continue playing soccer. He tried to convince himself that he was not ready, not deserving, or not in a hurry.

"I was putting up a bunch of barriers, saying I'm not worthy to be called to something like that," he said. "But, one by one, the barriers started to come down."
With a short window in which he will be able to play professional sports, he considered postponing the priesthood until after his career was over. But he decided with the same certainty that he could not allow himself to wait.
The entire article can be found here. It is from the USA Today so you know it will be short and sweet.

A 108 year old blogger

Blogging is not just for the young. Take a look.

Catholic Boston

I just finished reading Philip Lawler's new book "The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture." I'll let you read the book to see if you agree with his ideas but I wanted to point out one thing from his conclusion. He ends his book by reminding Catholics in Boston that they are now the minority. Despite the likes of Cardinal William O'Connell, John F. Kennedy, James Michael Curley, and others, the Catholic Church is no longer what it once was in terms of adherents and influence (both here in Boston and around the world). He says we have to get used to the fact that we are now the minority. He quotes Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) who said that Christians must recognize themselves as "creative minorities."

Lawler reminds us, however, that we've been down this road before:

A creative minority: That phrase could accurately be used to describe the loyal Catholics of Boston after years of scandal. The same could be applied, actually, to the Catholic presence in Boston some two hundred years ago. Catholics formed only a small minority in the early nineteenth century, despised and oppressed by a hostile majority. But they were bound together by the same strong bonds of a shared faith, determined not merely to endure but to spread that faith. They were confident that they could overcome all opposition, and eventually they did. With the power of faith it could happen again.

Fancy speeches, no substance

In the 2008 Democratic Primary in Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton handily defeated Barack Obama. Obama was backed by Gov. Deval Patrick who campaigned hard for him but to no avail. The conventional wisdom was that Obama and Patrick are cut from the same cloth - they both use pleasant platitudes in their speeches and they provide no real substance.

Patrick was praised for his speeches and new ideas in his 2006 run for governor and was elected in a landslide. He was the first Democratic governor in almost 20 years. Now, Patrick is being exposed for what he is - an empty suit. His first term as governor as been a disaster. He has an unbelievable majority in the House and Senate (there are 24 Republicans COMBINED out of 160 legislators.) but he cannot get anything accomplished. Despite painting himself as a different sort of politician, he bought a fancy Cadillac for his personal car, he refurbished his office with expensive drapes and rugs, and he made a phone call to regulators on behalf of a shady mortgage company he used to work for shortly after assuming office.

Now, Patrick, the man who said he was not like the others, found a loophole in state fundraising laws and is hosting expensive fundraisers where the money goes to the Democratic Party who in turn pay off Patrick's campaign expenses and debt. See more in today's Globe's story.

Massachusetts voters saw another Deval Patrick in Barack Obama - they used the same speeches, had similar slogans (Yes We Can vs. Together We Can), etc. Hopefully Americans will look at Massachusetts and see what an empty suit Patrick turned out to be and not make the same mistake with Obama.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The pope down under

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Sydney yesterday for the tri-annual International World Youth Day. WYD is really about a week-long gathering of young Catholics from all over the world. The week culminates in a Saturday night prayer service with the pope and a Sunday morning mass. The youth will sleep outside on Saturday night and wait for the pope to come back the next morning for mass. Rocco over at Whispers in the Loggia has complete coverage.

I had the opportunity to attend World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany. It was an amazing experience and there were about a million people at the closing mass (see picture for aerial shot). After the mass, we were to board buses to head back to our hotel. There was so much confusion and long lines to get on the buses that a few of us from our group decided to walk back to our hotel (about 15 miles away). When we got outside the waiting area, we saw our bus and decided to get on. However, we felt bad that we had cut the line like that and we had already decided that we wanted to walk back. It was a LONG walk back but despite not knowing where we were or knowing how to speak German, we made it back to our hotel with no problems. Our group actually passed us on their bus and were waving and laughing at us but we were glad we walked - it added a new dimension to the trip.

Another nationwide search?

This article says it all about Massachusetts politics....

Tough times for firefighters

The past couple of years have been tough for firefighters. We all respect the hard work done by firefighters but sometimes they can get really greedy and incorrigible. First, it was discovered that two Boston firefighters who died fighting a blaze last year were drunk and high on cocaine, this spring the FBI announced a probe into disability pension abuses by the Boston Fire Department, this July 4th, the Randolph Fire Department refused to participate in the annual fireworks display due to a contract dispute, and the Chelmsford Fire Department did not march in the town's parade for suspicious reasons.

Now, the Globe reports that a Boston firefighter who has been out of work for months (collecting his salary tax-free) due to severe backpain that left him "totally and permanently disabled" competed in a bodybuilding competition! And how does one build a body...by lifting heavy weights! The Globe article highlights some of the other shady practices of the BFD and the millions of dollars they are scamming from taxpayers. It is maddening.

Cutting pork or playing politics?

Gov. Deval Patrick signed the state budget yesterday (almost 2 weeks late) and in doing so he vetoed $122.5 million in pork. The Boston Globe reports that this his cuts are "far more" than the cuts he made last year. Patrick claims that deceased tax revenue and tough economic times are the reasons he made the cuts. However, call me a skeptic but I am pretty sure he is trying to head off this fall's ballot initiative to eliminate the state income tax by showing the people that the government is cutting waste.

Some people say that the budget is $1 billion out of balance because it relies on tax increases on cigarettes that just went into effect. Essentially, the government is spending money it does not even have yet. They also transferred $500 million from the reserves (aka rainy day account) to fund the budget. Of course, dip into our savings and tax people instead of making big cuts.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The big backyard

Over at my cousin's blog, he writes about his new yard furniture, grill and swing set that he put up in his back yard. His family broke in the new stuff yesterday with a BBQ and play time in the yard. I am jealous Bill!

Lynn, Kevin and I live in a condo and all we have is a OK sized deck. We have a lot of space in the back but it is hilly and abuts a huge patch of woods (which means a huge patch of bugs!). It is nice and quiet here but I am dying for a backyard and a house. As a Catholic school teacher I don't make a ton of money and Lynn does pretty good. However, we could never sell our condo now with the real estate market being so poor (we'd lose our shirts). Some day...

Slow Summer

Sorry for no postings yesterday but I wasn't really home all day. I had a meeting at my Church at 9:30 and after that I headed up to Gloucester to see Terry LoJacono, a friend of mine who I used to work with at Sun Life. He recently bought a restaurant in Gloucester so he invited me and another friend (David Thornhill) up to see the place. It is a perfect location, right at the intersection of Routes 127 and 128 in Gloucester. It is call LaRosa's and he serves pizza, sandwiches, seafood, etc. It is a sit-down (with wait service) restaurant but he also does take-out.

He made us a buffalo chicken pizza with bacon on top. It was damn good - thin crust, crunchy bacon, awesome sauce, and spicy chicken.

If you're up on the North Shore, you got to check his place out. It is located at 23 E. Main Street in Gloucester. Take 128 North into Gloucester and go around two rotaries. After the second rotary, you will come to a set of lights and LaRosa's will be right in front of you.

Terry is an awesome cook - he used to run a seafood restaurant in Rockport and he has done catering as well. Terry makes his own pizza dough and sauce - no canned or frozen stuff here! You will NOT be disappointed if you go to his place.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Free at last...

My parents watched Kevin today while I went into Boston for the day. One of my favorite talk radio hosts is Howie Carr (WRKO - 680 AM). He has been nominated for the Radio Hall of Fame and today he went around Boston on a trolley asking people to vote for him (click here to vote for Howie). He broadcasted the first hour of his show from the trolley and we were throwing t-shirts to people on the street, into cars, etc. You could tell people were listening to the show because they would drive up and ask for a t-shirt.

Howie, despite his public persona, is really down to Earth and easygoing. I've met him a few other times and he is always willing to chat, answer questions, take pictures, etc. Before we boarded the trolley, I took a picture with him and asked him some questions.

Prior to that, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I was drawn to an exhibit on Spanish art from the reign of Philip III but I spent most of my time walking around the museum's regular exhibits. I was blown away by the size of the museum and the magnificent pieces they have. I haven't been to the MFA in about 20 years (when I was in junior high) so this was the first time I really appreciated it.

I loved everything but I tended to focus on the American and European art. My favorite was the section on Medieval Art - namely religious statues and paintings. I was struck by a piece called "Christ in Majesty with Symbols of the Four Evangelists" - a 12th century fresco that once hung in a Church in Spain. I asked an employee how they were able to remove and transport something that essentially looked like wallpaper (I can't recall exactly but I think they took it off the walls with some water-based product). It was very impressive.

Another piece I was happy to see was the "Striding Lion" which is from ancient Babylon and in honor of King Nebuchadnezzar. I have used this image when teaching about the exile of the Jewish people and about ancient Babylon so to see it in person was amazing.


After the MFA, I walked over to Kenmore Square to meet the trolley with Howie Carr. However, I had 2 hours to kill so I decided to take a tour of Fenway Park. I've been to Fenway dozens of times but I thought it would be cool to take the tour (although I felt like a cheesy tourist). I didn't really learn anything new but I haven't been to a Red Sox game in years (thanks to all the bandwagon jumpers and pink hat wearers buying up all the tickets) so it was nice to see the ol' ballpark again. It is much improved from what I was last there. It's always been a dump but the owners have really cleaned it up and added some nice new sections.
I got back to my parent's house around 5:00 and we met Lynn for dinner at a new restaurant in Malden called Bobby C's. It was delicious Italian food but Kevin was a maniac and Lynn had to take him home before we finished.
All in all, today was a perfect day. I was able to do some grown-up things and spend a nice day in Boston.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Unintentional Comedy

Bill Simmons of espn.com often talks about "unintentional comedy ratings." That is, something that cracks you up but was not meant to be funny. Examples are corny reality shows (The Two Coreys), serious moments on shows like "Saved by the Bell", mullets, etc.

One of the funniest unintentional comedy moments I have ever seen was a closing "mass" held by the extremely liberal "Catholic" group Call to Action. The Northern California affiliate held a conference in April and posted video of their closing "mass" on their website. This is actually old news but the clip of the mass was viewed by so many people that the website crashed for months! I was thinking of the clip today and found that the website is back up. If you haven't seen this, you got to take a look (click here and scroll down to where it says "click here for video of closing liturgy). I showed this video to my students and they were rolling on the floor laughing (not literally). It is one of the most absurd things I have ever seen. Here is a sampling of what to expect:

Back to Basics

The Archdiocese of Boston released their annual financial report today. The church is still hurting but things are looking up. They hope to have a balanced budget in two years and donations are going up.

I am reading a book right now called "The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture" by Philip Lawler. It is an interesting read and although I already know much of what Lawler writes about, it is nice to see if all laid out chronologically. The news that the Archdiocese of Boston is still in financial trouble, selling off land, and closing parishes is grim and speaks to Lawler's thesis. The Church in Boston got too caught up in preserving its reputation and having prestige and thus sold out its spiritual mission for material gains (acceptance, power, etc). Now, we are paying the price.


I have a lot of trust in our current archbishop, Cardinal Sean O'Mallley. Hopefully we can get back to basics (making Christ known to all people) and stop having to worry about money and land.

Manufactured Rage

A few years ago, a state representative in Massachusetts used the word "niggardly" to describe the allocation for some budget item. I forget who it was but he was slammed for using a "racial slur." Now I admit that the term niggardly seems to be a bit antiquated in today's day and age but it is not a racial slur. It means cheap or frugal. The same thing happened in 1999 in Washington, DC. David Howard, an aide to Mayor Anthony Williams, used the word to describe some financial item. The people who heard him were all worked up and the guy had to resign.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney used the term "tar baby" to describe the Big Dig in 2006. The media was all over him and it was the top story the next day on WBZ radio. I had never heard this term before but I guess it is a pejorative word for black people. However, Romney's context was that the Big Dig was a financial and political boondoggle.

Now we have a new example of people not knowing their vocabulary. At a meeting in Dallas about traffic tickets, some county commissioner referred to the office that collects payments for tickets a "black hole" (because a lot of paperwork has been lost in that office). A black colleague interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" Give me a break. That is not a racial slur - it is a scientific term and it is a common expression. This guy must have been looking to be offended.

Ughhhhhhhhh

Best Show on Food Network

Sometime last year, I started watching the Food Network. My wife has always watched it but I never really paid any attention. However, after sometime I started to get into it. The show I liked the most was Ina Garten's "Barefoot Contessa." At first I thought she was snobby and I would do mocking commentary as Lynn watched the show. Now, I love the show and can't wait for 5:00 when the show comes on. When the music for her show starts, Kevin stops dead in his tracks and stares at the TV - he loves the music. Sometimes he will dance and run up to the TV.

I've made a few of her recipes over the past year, namely her meatballs and sauce, orzo with roasted shrimp, herbed-baked eggs, grown-up mac and cheese, and chocolate chip cookies with white chunks. They are easy to cook and taste awesome, especially the orzo with roasted shrimp.

Thanks to the blog Food Network Addict, I found an article on her digs in New York City. Ina and her husband are filthy rich so the apartment is unreal - take a look.

Ineptness at the Registry of Motor Vehicles? Shocking!

Massachusetts hacks never fail to produce a good story. I am sure the newly appointed Registrar of Motor Vehicles, former state Rep. Rachel Kaprielian will get the operation into tip top shape! Obviously she was the perfect candidate for the job, 13 years as a state representative and a shrill for Gov. Deval Patrick and poof - she now holds a state management position! Another nationwide search!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"It's all about the Benjamins"

One of the biggest frauds in politics and religion is the "Rev." Jesse Jackson. Jackson is a well-known shake down artist and race baiter. He always sticks his nose into business deals and company affairs and essentially gets companies to line his pockets (via his organization the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition) or hire his buddies. If they don't, he will make serious noise for the company: boycotts, charges of racism, etc.

A 2002 article in National Review (be sure to read the whole article) exposed Jackson and his tactics:

Timmerman, who quotes me in his book, points to Jackson's initial opposition to AT&T's 1999 merger with TCI. Jackson complained to the FCC that AT&T had a "questionable employment record" and a "poor level of customer service." AT&T CEO C. Michael Armstrong got the hint. AT&T donated $425,000 to Jackson's Citizenship Education Fund, prompting the Windy City preacher, for once, to clam up. AT&T also included Blaylock & Partners in an $8 billion bond deal. CEO Ron Blaylock, a Jackson associate, promptly gave CEF a $30,000 donation, making the circle of extortion complete.

It came out today that Jackson is upset with Barack Obama for "talking down to black folks" and he wants to cut Obama's "n*ts off." Jackson was caught making these comments to another guy before they appeared on a Fox news show this past Sunday. Jackson did not know the microphone near them was on.

This made my day because any opportunity for Jackson to be knocked down a peg is a wonderful thing. For some reason, the media and Democrats have coddled him for decades. As such, I don't think this will cause him any lasting harm (he has survived worst) but maybe it will shut him up for a while.

Habla Espanol

Sen. Barack Obama is the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday he told a crowd in California that he believes immigrants should learn English BUT, BUT BUT...American parents must ensure that their children can speak Spanish.


You can see the video by clicking here.


Even liberal Dana Milbank of the Washington Post called Obama's hope for a bilingual paradise pandering to Hispanic voters (he also nails McCain for some good old bumkissing).

The "End" of the Electoral College?

I am not sure how I feel about this yet. As we all know, a person is elected president not by the total number of votes he gets nationwide but rather but the votes he gets in the electoral college. Each state has a certain number of electoral votes (based on the number of U.S. representatives and senators each state has) and every December after a presidential election, the electors meet at their respective state capitols and cast their votes.

Most states have a winner take all system. That is, whichever candidate gets the most votes in a state, the electoral college voters from that state cast all their votes for that candidate. For example, John Kerry got more votes than George Bush in Massachusetts in 2004. Thus, when the electoral college met in December of that year, all 12 of Massachusetts' electoral college votes went to Kerry.

There is push now to have states cast their electoral college votes for the person who gets the most votes nationwide. Four states have agreed to this and Massachusetts is considering it this month. This would be interesting. If this was in place in 2004, Massachusetts would have had to cast their electoral votes for George Bush since he won the popular vote nationwide.
The Globe has a good article on this, take a look.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Somebody get this man a copy of the Constitution

In a recent interview with the "Military Times", Sen. Barack Obama said, "Precisely because I have not served in uniform, I am somebody who strongly believes I have to earn the trust of men and women in uniform.”

While I am sure he was sincere when he said this, he should know that if he is elected president (God help us all), he will not need to earn the trust of the military, they must trust him by virtue of his office. As we all know, article 2, section II of the United States Constitution clearly states:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States...

No Shame

I hope I never have daughters! Have you heard about the ex-stripper from Reading who had a few romps with A-Rod? Now the whole world knows...her parents must be so proud.

It must be election season...


Otherwise, why would John Kerry be in Massachusetts? The junior senator has a reputation for only mingling with the plebs every six years and 2008 is no exception.

Less than four years removed from his failed presidential bid, Kerry is facing a challenger in the Democratic Primary for the first time ever. Now he actually has to spend time campaigning and act as if he is interested in local projects and politicians.

Yesterday he was in my backyard touring Lowell. The Lowell Sun has a story on his visit which is exactly what he wants. He is hoping his visits to Massachusetts' cities and towns, dubbed "Kerry in Your Corner, will find their way into local papers and websites. Gee, I guess I am helping him. Yikes.

One of my favorite stories of how disconnected Kerry is from the state is when the late Massachusetts State Rep. Bill Reinstein of Revere went up to Kerry and introduced himself as Butchy Cataldo. Kerry said, "Butchy, good to see you again."

Howie Carr has a great website dedicated to Kerry's aloofness. Check it out at www.liveshot.cc

Must be a slow news day

Pet owners prefer McCain over Obama

St. Charles Children's Home


One of my favorite groups of nuns live in Rochester, NH. Located northwest of Portsmouth, Rochester is a medium-sized, working class city of about 30,000. There the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love operate St. Charles Children's Home. They're a small community (less than ten I believe) but they are the most loving and holy group of women I have ever met.

St. Charles Children's Home is a transitional home for children who were removed from their parent's custody or who are in need of a foster home. The home is a 19th century Victorian house located on beautiful grounds. Most of the children have emotional problems or are victims of abuse. The children, for the most part, have never been loved. The nuns do their best to show love to the children and to give them a warm, happy home in which to live and grow.

For the past two years, Sister Mary Rose has spoken to my students about her vocation as a nun and the work at St. Charles Children's Home. The students are always amazed at the selfless work these women do everyday.

One of the hallmarks of the home is their daily run. The nuns found that many of the children were angry and aggressive and found that running everyday after school was a good way to work out some of that angry energy. They have parlayed their running into an annual Road Race to benefit the home which is held every Labor Day. A couple of years ago CBS News did a story on the nuns and their daily run. Click on this link for the story (both text and the video).

Parable Magazine, the official magazine of the Diocese of Manchester, as a great article on the nuns in this summer's issue. Here is a small piece:




This family attitude is what makes St. Charles Home different from other facilities, and what touches everyone who walks through these doors. When I asked about the difference her work has made, especially in the life of one developmentally disabled child who has been with them for four years, Sister Maximilian is quick to reflect an attitude she feels towards all the children who are in their care. “He is a gift to us, and he has given us far more that we could have ever given him.”

This particular child has come a long way in the time he has spent at St. Charles Home, from not being able to speak and barely being able to walk, to having just completed his first 5k. He has also helped the other children grow and find healing — and that is a perfect example of the philosophy of self-giving that the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love embrace. Their work has touched hundreds of lives, and Sister Maximilian often has the joy of seeing children who once stayed at St. Charles Home come back for a visit, happy and well-adjusted. “When we can reach outside of ourselves to do something for another person,” she says with a serene smile, “we receive healing.”

Be sure to take a look at the whole article (link above), they're a great group of women.