Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another Reason I Haven't Been to Church in Some Time

I have just recently read an article on Yahoo News about a priest in Columbia, South Carolina( Rev. Jay Scott Newman ) that has refused Holy Communion to anyone that voted for Barak Obama. Citing President-Elect Obama's views on a woman's right to choose as "constituting material cooperation with intrinsic evil" he withholds the body of Christ from many of his congregation. He also went on to say, "Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."

Damn! Whatever happened to that Christian saying "judge not lest ye be Judged?" It has been said that there is a world of difference between being a Christian and being Christ-like, seems to me that this Padre has lost his way to Christ-like living. I thought God was supposed to be talking to people in his position directly. If this is the case, God's sending a fair share of mixed messages on what it is he wants exactly.

The problem as I see it is that, intrinsically, Rev. Newman is dealing too deeply in absolutes here. Any time someone says that there is only one way to interpret something I shudder, especially when it comes to God's Word. To re-state what I said earlier, God is talking to many people. Be it through The Bible, messages to "men of the cloth," or prophets, one thing is clear...the message is not always the same song and dance. There has been too much left to interpretation to have any one true, clear, or decisive avenue to travel.

When Rev. Newman says, "Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil," he is missing a very serious mark. The pro-life candidate he speaks of is most obviously John McCain and though it is true that he takes a pro-life stance on the issue of abortion, his miss comes in the form of McCain's support of the Bush administration's push to go to war with Iraq (on the premise of the WMD lie), as well as his own wishes to enter into war with Iran. For some reason, war does not seem very pro-life to me. Nor does it seem very Christ-like to enter a war on reasons proven to be built on lies and deceptions. Isn't there a Commandment about lying? Says something about not doing it if I remember right.

Does that mean that you are pro-lying Rev. Newman? I hope not. Here's the thing though, I'm not going to let some religious hypocrite ruin my hopes for the future and my happiness in electing a candidate that deserves the presidency on many levels. Barak Obama is an intelligent, well-spoken, and able-minded successor to our present presidential predicament. The icing on the cake here is that we made history this election year and no Catholic priest is going put a damper on that.

That's me, right now, in the middle of everything.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Age? When it matters...Or Does It?

My first post in more than a month, hopefully it's a good one.
Through a debate/conversation I had many thoughts slam into my brain at the speed of a bullet train. Some centered on many issues relating to the state of things, most on my age. I think I can do them justice, so here goes.

I got "reminded" again that my age, as long as I am younger than others, will forever mean that I'm a naive, idealistic, know-it-all a-hole who goes through life second guessing his elders. My age was brought up again as a "shut up kid, what do you know?" dismissing that sometimes makes me wonder why I ever bothered registering to vote some 13 plus years ago. Obviously, I have no idea what I'm ever talking about, so I guess I'm wasting a vote every time.

Honestly, what I really thought was the opposite. Presently I am 31 and some change and the last time I checked, eligable to run for president in less than four years. Hell, I believe I can already be a congressman, senator, or some sort of local elected official. With that said, let me ask this: Why can't I have an opinion on things that matter to me, my life, my daughter, and the rest of the world? I may be half the age of the person in mind, but does that mean I haven't seen and experienced the world in a way that allows me to have and express my convictions?

Like I said, I'm 31, I work (therefore pay taxes), I'm a father, I've educated myself to vote in every election since I've been a legal and registered voter. In short, I think it may be my turn now. If not, when? I like to think that I keep myself informed and educated and that I have a viable point of view here and there and that age should not matter.

The catch is this though, and what a catch it is...As long as I'm younger than someone and my viewpoint doesn't match up, I have no right, not even in America. A country that has allowed my the right to vote since the age of 18, a country that has been taking income taxes from me since my first job at 15, a country that despite its current leadership and its mistakes, I stand by and love. To close, no matter my age, I loath the word "queer" unless it's used in its correct context, I will always oppose this war and support my troops, I will always have my opinions, and my hopes are that my daughter can someday feel the same.

That's me, right now, in the middle of everything.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Five People I'd Love to Have a Beer With

I was just recently asked this question, "If you could have a beer with any five people; living, deceased, or fictitious, who would they be and why?" A hard question to answer, I even have honorable mentions. Being in a Deadwood frame of mind, three characters come to mind; Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock, and Al Swearengen. It was difficult to narrow it down. In short, here is my attempt to answer that question.

Out of the gate I'll say the late and great Kurt Vonnegut. For starters, there is no author on the planet I have read more of. Of my large book collection, no author takes up more room on my shelves. Though, his books don't stay long as I am always re-reading my favorite passages, if not entire books. American literature was certainly changed for the better with his arrival and surely there is an unfillable hole since his departure. Talks of politics, society, humanity, all over good beer. What could be better? God Bless You Mr. Vonnegut!

Here's the thing, Vonnegut is a no-brainer for me, come to think of it, this guy is too. The Eyeball Kid, the Nighthawk at the Diner, Mr. Tom Waits. I'm hard pressed to think of another musician that has his unique brand of gusto. I heard an NPR interview Tom Waits did on Fresh Air a few years back. This man is a walking, talking metaphor. In the same interview, he also gave me two (amongst numerous others) of my favorite quotes of all time. "Music is a powerful thing. It can often be beautiful melodies telling you terrible things." And, "If you hit your baseball into my yard, you have to earn getting it back. You have to share some stories." Based on his songs and attitudes about life itself, how could having a beer with this guy be boring?

On a different end of interesting, I would love to share some suds with Robin Williams. How much fun would that be? I'm not sure how much beer I would be able to drink in this case. In fact, I might miss quite a bit if I were to drink too much. This guy is so quick that even lightning stands back and says, "What did he just say? What did he just do?" Every time I see Robin Williams perform I am in absolute awe of his wit and genius. He is nothing less than a hero to me.
In all the books I have read there have many characters I have loved. Holden Caulfield, Simon from Lord of the Flies, Atticus Finch, Kilgore Trout, Max from Where the Wild Things Are, to name a few. Seeing that some of these characters are underage and some just not the go out get a beer type, I'm going with someone different. From Joseph Heller's Catch 22, Yossarian. I also think he would be the most likely to come out with me too. Let's face it, he would be much more content going out for a beer with me than partaking in bombing missions. Though that would make him sane, therefore, he would have to fly. Which is insane. Which would mean his only clear choice would be beers with me. But...I think you get it. At least I hope you do.

Lastly, though certainly not leastly (it's a word to me), I think a beer with this guy would be very fitting. One Irish guy to another, my last pick would be Bono. To dismiss him as a pompous self righteous rock star would make whoever is labeling him as such those very things (minus the rock star). He has, perhaps more than any celebrity, an honest and earnest desire to not only change the world, but save it. How could anyone really be against that? Or him? Say what you will about the music of U2, after all, there is no accounting for taste (I'm a huge fan by the way), but Bono really is making the world a better place. If for nothing else, his tireless efforts. He's using his celebrity for good, he's living the Spider-Man mantra, "with great power comes great responsibility," and he also exemplifies the "Golden Rule." He makes my Irish heart proud. We need more rock stars like him. We need more people like him.

There it is, my wish list of beer buddies. Some variety, but for those who know me, probably not a surprise. That's me, right now, in the middle of everything.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Check This!

Like the title implies, just click the link provided here! It's a cool pic!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Manny Being Manny...Encore Edition

Just when you think enough is enough and a saga is over, a jackass swoops in to save the day. In true Manny Ramirez fashion, just about a week after the Red Sox office finally gave him what he's asked for on an annual basis, right after he says he wants to retire in a Dodgers uniform, Manny reportedly announces that he wants to file for free agency in the off season so he can sign with the Yankees.
Of course, this means Hank and George Steinbrenner will go crazy to placate his statements and sign him, just to prove they can. If for nothing else, to make yet another stupid dig on the Red Sox and us fans. An effort to turn the screw if you will. Johnny Damon anyone?
Since I'm on the the subject of the Steinbrenners I believe it necessary to mention two blatant nuggets of Red Sox envy. To quote Hank, "Red Sox Nation, what kind of s**t is that?" Sounds like he's a little worried about us to me. Secondly, I saw in a MLB catalogue, a shirt that simply said, "Yankee Universe." Here's how I picture the Yankees front office meeting that landed on that little goldmine... "Let's think people! What's bigger and better than a Red Sox Nation? I got it! Yankee Universe! There's nothing bigger than the universe!" Sounds like that guy who buys a Lamborghini to compensate for shortcomings in...ah, personality. I know you hear me on this one ladies.
OK, tangent aside, Manny going to the Yankees would only prove one thing as far as Manny is concerned. No matter what he says about not being a fan of the media, he has certainly made a one man circus of himself recently. To me, this further proves that regardless of how great a hitter he is, he is only in the game for himself. He finally gets what he has said he's asked for repeatedly over the years and he's still flinging muck at the Sox. Does he want us to hate him? Despite all good that he has said about us fans, going to the Yankees by his choice is a slap in the face of Red Sox fans everywhere. By the way, that is why we boo Johnny Damon, he's in serious denial if he thinks he hears cheers when he comes to Fenway.
As I said in my last Manny related post, good luck L.A. I like you guys and I understand the frustration you must be feeling already and can only sympathise. But, if Manny lands in the Bronx, that will most certainly be a case of "you two deserve each other" as far as I'm concerned. The Yankees and Manny might be a perfect fit. Where else would a player with an over-inflated self worth go? At this point, I'm thinking about putting Manny in the same bucket as A-Rod, Damon, and Clemens. In other words, lumping him with players who somehow think that they are more important than the rest of the team.
Go where you may Manny, at least you're not our headache anymore.
That's me, right now, in the middle of everything.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Have you ever worked the skin off of your hiney, all the while having the sensation of running a marathon, felt like only a coma sized nap will cure your exhaustion and yet, somehow, said to yourself and others, "hell, I can do another five to ten miles?" If so, that's where my mental state is at right now.
I've just completed the latest of seven, count 'em seven, summer therapeutic programs I have led and I can't seem to shake this feeling that I've only just begun. Crazy, I know. Here's the thing though, despite the tone of my last post I actually saw evidence that the skills I was trying to teach these kids were taking hold. Some of it stuck after all!
For the last few days, leading up to the program's last, I caught myself thinking I wanted more. I even dared say it out loud.
See, the thing is, I'm a very social person and socializing is my fuel for fun. Basically, if you can't find me, I'm talking to strangers. I love people and being around them. So the end of camp (the summer program's unofficial non-Medicaidese name) brings the Webster's definition of "bittersweet" to life. Yeah, I'm freakin' tired. Yeah, those kids frustrated me on a regular basis and at break-neck speed. Yeah, I hated the Jeep Commander I had to drive 100 plus miles a day this summer for reasons too numerous to count, most notably that its MPG is hovering in the low to mid teens. And yes, the rancid blueberry muffin that almost snuffed the life-force out of my trusty co-pilot and myself on yesterday's camp kid pick-up run quickly became my least favorite culinary experience of late. However and honestly, minus the the harbinger of death that was that muffin, this type of work was made for an extrovert like myself. I'm completely in my element and though it's not humanly possible to love every minute, I love most. I already miss it and will til next summer.
That's me, right now, in the middle of everything.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What I Can't Understand

As the title implies, this is a post about what I can't understand. Trust me, that's a ton of stuff. I think my saving grace is that I don't pretend to even have the slightest snowball's chance in hot, hot hell of an idea when it comes to a many of things. Example, astrophysics, I won't venture even the smallest guess. Calculus? Not a chance! Rocket surgery, don't even think about handing me that scalpel!
All of that aside, here is my most recent confusion about life as I know it...why others think they are somehow punishing me by doing, or in some cases, not doing something. This is especially prevalent amongst teenagers. The whole idea of "I'm not going to do my homework, that'll show him" just baffles my mind. After all, any teacher has already been there and done that school thing.
Most recently, I have had experiences with a therapeutic summer program where quitting seems to be the one avenue for revenge on us "a-hole" adult types. I actually had a kid say to me, and I quote, "You'll be sorry when I don't come back tomorrow!" Huh? You mean to tell me that you're going to punish me for your crappy behavior by not showing up to the next day of the program? Oh please, don't hurt me like that! Don't give me a day without your unprovoked drama! I'm begging you, whatever you do, do not leave me alone in my peace of mind! Oh the horror! To put it bluntly, I'm not running a therapeutic group because I need to practice my social and coping skills.
I told you, I don't get it.
I also don't, for the life of me, understand how anyone of any age can be an absolute jackass and still somehow believe that they are in the right by putting the blame for a conflict on the people they piss off. Almost as if they mean to tell me that it is somehow my fault that they are acting offensively, rudely, and all-out mean. That's not even taking the fact that I have almost nothing to do with the choices they make into account. I guess I'm just confused.
All in all, I really try to do my best to be responsible for all of my choices and actions. I also make sure to only call a spade a spade, to call it as I see it in other words. What else am I to do? Well, for starters, I think I'll go to sleep...
and that's me, right now, in the middle of everything.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Manny Being Manny...In L.A.?

Those who know me for even a minute know that I am an insanely proud Red Sox fan. Being born in Dorchester, Massachusetts comes with certain fringe benefits, being a citizen of Red Sox Nation most importantly. As such, it is not only my privilege to watch and follow the most dramatic baseballers in the history of the game, but to criticize the hell out of even my most favorite players. Hey, I've taken my knocks, the 1986 World Series and the 2003 ALCS come to mind quickest. For a few moments back in 2004 (and 2007 for that matter) it looked as if I had the Sox of my 1986 memories back, going down three games to none against the dreaded Yankees (and three games to one to the Indians in '07). But alas, my boys handed the Evil Empire the biggest choke in the choking history of chokers as they came back and stunned the world with an unprecedented comeback (and gave the Indians a similar spanking). So yeah, I deserve a crack as a Sox analyst.
This brings me to Red Sox Nation's former beloved Manny Ramirez. Once again he begins his seemingly annual plea for a trade, but this time he turned u.g.l.y. with no alibi. Two weeks ago he started an all out smear campaign against the front office all the while making an ass of himself. What evidence is there? Well, his constant loafing on grounders when he should have legged them out, his admiring his own power when the ball didn't even leave the yard, and most recently a mystery knee injury that couldn't be found on an MRI. Let's not forget the other countless, yet too many to list, "Manny being Manny" moments the Sox put up with to get 30 plus homers, 100 plus RBI, and a near .300 average every season.
Even with those numbers, enough is enough! Despite the fact that Cooperstown already has a spot for him, despite the fact that he just may be one of the best hitters in baseball history, despite these facts, the drama and drag he brought to the Sox had become just too much. Good luck Dodgers and Dodgers fans, I hope he truly is happy out there. If not, you may get the same story we got here in New England, to paraphrase, "I'm happy man. This is a dream come true man. I want to retire in a Red Sox uniform." Then half way through the season he turns on us. Oh wait, that's how his L.A. story has I said good luck L.A.
That's me, right now, in the middle of everything.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Double Standards and Other Out-Right Inconsistantcies

Well, well, well. I have always been one to try my damndest to stay consistant and true to me, so I guess it bothers me deeply when others do not. I shouldn't let it get to me, I know that much, but I just can't help it.
Most specifically, when others turn their enjoyment of various things on and off depending on who's around. Or, in some cases to inflate some false sense of high and mighty for people they will in all likelihood never know in any real or meaningful way. Like I said, it bothers me despite my better judgement. I just wish people would admit to enjoying something like Finding Nemo around more people than "safe" people, a.k.a. the folks they saw it with. What the hell is so wrong about enjoying the same things no matter the company you presently keep?
To prove my point... I consider Demolition Man, The Karate Kid, and Robocop some of the best movies of all time! I also believe that U2 gets better with age and that Zooropa and Pop are damn good albums! So there! For whoever wants to read this, friends or otherwise, I have stated facts about my tastes that I'm proud to admit, regardless the company I keep. If you have known me for 15 minutes or 15 years, those truths about me are hereby self-evident!
That's me, in the middle of everything.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Movie I Love...

I have very recently watched Juno. Simply put, I loved it! To me, movies that just "arrive" are some of the best around. Meaning, movies that are just themselves, no gimmicks, just solid stories with solid characters. A movie that is what it is and nothing more or less. This is exactly what Juno is. As a bonus, it's about a teenage girl who makes, in my humble opinion, a responsible choice regarding a unplanned Did I mention that the title character Juno is also the most endearing, honest, and I dare say realistic teenage girl I have seen on film to the best of my memory? Well, she is. I defy anyone to poke holes in what I've said. Yeah, I said it, and I didn't stutter either. ;)
In any case, this is a true gem of a film. An honest look at life as an accidental mom. If you haven't seen it yet, do so soon.
That's me right now, in the middle of everything.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lately I've been thinking. I know, always a dangerous proposition, but it is what it is. These thoughts however, have been ringing in my brain for years.
Recently, I've been working a great deal with literature, reading and discussing it with high school students. Many themes repeat. By repeat I mean, they never leave. Honesty, loyalty, friendship, family, stereotypes, and choices. In a glance, it's a very daunting to even look at, but at the heart of it all, it's a reminder of how human literature is.
In a nutshell, honesty and loyalty have seriously come into question in my life. Specifically, friends doing things they ought not do, then telling me I "can't" be disappointed...What? Last I checked, they have known my style for more than a decade. In short, they know what to expect from me. How can they dare blame me? People making stupid choices is in one word, stupid. It kills me to see people I love hurt, then cause more hurt for themselves. I have the right as a human being to feel disappointed. Feel, feelings, emotions. I can't turn them off, so don't ask me to. Believe me, I would love to have the power to do so, but I'm the "live out loud" type, the type who's sometimes honest to a fault, the type friends typically come to for the raw and real. Not this time though, they wanted to hear that infidelity is fine by me, that even though there's a kid involved, it's all gonna be OK. Well, it's not, and I'm not. Like Ben Harper said, "If you don't want to hear the truth, don't ask me how I am."
So, that's me right now, in the middle of everything.