Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ya think? ...

Vatican newspaper: Beatles' music better than today's pop songs - Catholic News Service, 11/24/08:
The Beatles' songs have demonstrated "remarkable staying power, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians," it said.

The newspaper also recalled that the Beatles were recording with rudimentary tools compared to those used by the high-tech recording industry today. Even so, "a listening experience like that offered by the Beatles is truly rare," it said.

As for John Lennon's famous quip in 1966 that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, the Vatican newspaper dismissed it as youthful bragging.

"The phrase that provoked profound indignation, especially in the United States, after so many years sounds merely like the boast of a working-class English youth faced with unexpected success," it said.
Does this mean we can start singing it in church?
FOCA's effects seen as dire, but chance of it passing considered slim - Catholic News Service, 11/26/08:
Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, has concerns about people outside Catholic health care "saying Catholic health care institutions are going to close" should FOCA become law, she told CNS.

She said CHA has always opposed FOCA and will continue to do so. But "even if this bad legislation were to pass, we would not be forced to participate (in providing abortions) and we will fight for that," she said.

Catholic health care institutions will not dismantle their systems or compromise their principles, she said. "We have many examples in this country of how to respond to unjust laws and we have learned from them. We will protect Catholic health care in this country without compromising our position on abortion."

First, however, Sister Carol said, "we must focus on protecting mothers and their unborn children."

"The first thing we are called to do is redouble our efforts to be sure pregnant women do not see abortion as their only option," she said in a statement released Nov. 24. Easily accessible and high quality obstetrical care, assistance with food stamps, housing, education and child care, can help women feel they have options other than abortion, she said.

She said CHA has been in touch with Obama's transition team, as they were with Sen. John McCain's aides when they were planning a possible transition.

"We've found (Obama's staff) more than willing to discuss our perspective," she said. "They recognize we play a fairly significant role in health care and are a large part of the social safety net."
Um, not good ...

Bishop says Texas Catholic hospitals performed direct sterilizations - Catholic News Service, 11/26/08:
Bishop Corrada's statement follows an investigation by his diocese after a national Catholic newspaper reported claims last July that thousands of sterilizations, and possibly some abortions, took place in 23 Texas Catholic hospitals from 2000 to 2003.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Searches for Fr. John Zeitler have brought a couple of surfers here recently because I have one post in which I mention him.

I didn't really expect that Fr. John was still around but, out of curiosity, I searched on his name myself. And found that, not only is he still around, but he's "Priest of the Month" for Nov. 2008. And, he's a monsignor now, of course.

Earlier this year, he received the Baker Award. Here's the announcement in OLPH's bulletin:

Click to enlarge

And, no, that isn't a picture of Fr. Zeitler above.

You can see him here:

The entire PDF file is cached here but here are some pertinent excerpts:
In May, 1958, his boyhood friend, Joe Bissonette, was ordained a Catholic Priest. John recalls, “That was the year I said to Joe, ‘I’m not happy in law school.’ And he said, ‘Why don’t you try the seminary? Give the priesthood a try. You and I, we always thought alike.’”

Fr. John’s first assignment was on the Missionary Apostolate at St. Joseph’s Parish in Bliss, N.Y. for one year.

He did, however, find his services were needed at Notre Dame High School in Batavia. For the next ten years, he taught Chemistry, Spanish, German, and English as well as completed his Masters Degree at Canisius College. In all, he spent 13 years at Notre Dame teaching and coaching baseball and golf.

In 1984, Fr. John went to the University of Buffalo Newman Center, located on the North Campus where he stayed until 1990. It was while Fr. John was serving at U.B. that his lifelong friend, Fr. Joseph Bissonette was murdered.

Looking back, he reflects, “My life as a priest has been more than I had bargained for. By the Grace of God, I was always led to the right place. I am pleased to have served so many people over the years in His name. In following God’s will, I feel I have completed my life and have honored my father and mother as well. I feel blessed that the Holy Spirit has guided me in every phase of my priesthood. As Jesus said, ‘Many are called but few are chosen.’, yet the decision that counts is the one made that leads to happiness and a sense of fulfillment. And I was happy the first moment I made the decision to enter the seminary.”
I remember he knew German which I believe was spoken at his home, growing up. And my mother told me he was pastor briefly at St. Cecilia's when I was an infant but I wasn't aware that he had taught at ND. 'Though he was gone before I was out of middle school anyway.

Thanksgiving 2008 Flickr photo set.

The boys were there, too, 'though you wouldn't know from the pictures in the photo set. They kept to themselves, for the most part, playing Playstation II video games.
CBA recalls "gregarious and thoughtful man" - Examiner, 11/26/08:
CBA Director of Advancement Garry Koch said he knew O'Gara for a many years and sees him as "a representation of what CBA is today."

"He was a man who followed his Christian beliefs and was a gregarious and thoughtful man."

O'Gara was famous for his warm Irish laugh and engaging manner.

"He had the stereotypical Irish personality and wit," Koch said. "He made you feel special as he was such a positive person."
Horse found wandering loses his fight for life - Examiner, 11/26/08:
"I was shocked at the condition of the horse," she said.

The animal was emaciated and his hipbones stuck out like coat racks.

Gaboff did not think he could have wandered very far, and speculated that he may have been dumped in the area.

Post said he was covered in manure on his left side, with open sores on his protruding bones.

"Poor old man, at least he had seven days of being warm, dry, with a full belly and lots of affection," Post said.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The annual SBL conference is done. Jim said, via an email, the days there were "enjoyable." michele posted a link to a GNT reading guide for 2009 which I'd like to make my New Year's resolution, an impossible one.

I have the Readers GNT that was reverse-translated from the NIV (and the TNIV? I need to look again at the introduction for the second edition). I wonder whether I should get the Readers UBS GNT that Lee's reading guide (and notes) uses. I just wish they'd settle on a text basis for the GNT!

And, at Singing In the Reign, I read that Pablo Gadenz was at SBL with those bloggers. I remember reading in the diocesan newspaper that Gadenz had finished his studies.1 Well, shoot, he and I attended the same parish in Eatontown during the early 90's. His father and I worked for the same company, but not the same department, etc.

I can say only good things about him and his family: wicked-smart people, disarmingly kind, fervent believers and faithful Catholics. But then, so was everyone at that parish. It was a great place for me to spend ten years.

It seems to me I once had a link to his dissertation ...

1 "in June 2008 defended his doctoral dissertation on Rom 9-11 at the Pontifical Gregorian University."
Tim was causing strife with his brothers this morning, so I took him to the daily with me. Without telling him where we were going.

Oh, he was furious when we turned onto Stillhouse:
I don't like going to church twice a week!

But CCD was cancelled last night, so we're making up for it.
He actually bought it! LOL. He's so easily duped.

I knew he would like the two main differences: way fewer people and much shorter duration. Spot on - he did!

I told him where we sat was up to him. He gestured to the cry room. Uh, no. He ran up to the choir loft, our weekend cloister, but I beckoned him back. No, somewhere in the main sanctuary.

So he walked and walked and walked down to just outside the sacristy, in front of a statue of the BVM. I just told him that, in order to sit so close, in view of everyone, he would need to behave. My warning made zero impression.

The celebrant whispered a "good morning" to us on his way to the sacristy. I was fumbling with my weekday book, a hefty single volume edition, so unwieldy. My kids like to pull all the ribbons out of place. I suppose I can't blame them. I always seem to have too many ribbons; I must not be marking everything.

Now, when I was a kid, I enjoyed watching the movements and gestures carried out during the Liturgy of the Eucharist and, sitting so close, Tim's attention was captivated a bit. At one point, 'though, he reached around me while I was kneeling and removed my cell phone from my pocket. He brandished it about, threatening to take pictures, as I lunged to get it back. He handed it over after I made a bribe of "hospitality" afterwards, a.k.a. Dunkin' Donuts.

For the sake of my mental health, I've blocked the rest of his antics from memory, except for his unexplained disappearance at the beginning of communion ... and his sudden reappearance, bolting down the center aisle from the vestibule to my side.

I can still hear the sound of his penny loafers on the carpet, trotting up behind me. My mother had a habit of burying her face in her hands after communion. I'm beginning to have an idea of why ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How a bill doesn't become a law - National Catholic Reporter, 11/28/08 (emphasis mine):
Still, Obama’s victory does change the equation: It actually makes it less likely that FOCA will receive genuine congressional consideration. If John McCain had won, FOCA would have been a much livelier issue because the Arizona senator was perceived as a threat to Roe.

“With Roe v. Wade [in place] there is no practical need for the legislation, there is no crisis,” a Senate aide intimately familiar with the bill told me last week. “And Roe v. Wade is going nowhere soon,” he said.

There are genuine abortion-related issues worthy of debate right now -- [...] FOCA, however, is not among them. In fact, it’s not even close.
Monday's Voices In the Family on NPR ... "Gratitude"
The difference between girls and boys:
Jillian held her applesauce cup in her hand, looked down at it and sat very still.

I noticed and asked her whether she needed help opening her applesauce. She said yes. I opened it and gave her a spoon.

Tyler opened his applesauce cup with his teeth ... and I complimented him.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm Mrs. Delaney, Mr. Doe . . . and God bless you, my boy.

Gee, whiz—I'm all mixed up—I don't get it. Look, all those swell people think I'm gonna jump off a building or something. I never had any such idea. Gosh! A fella'd have to be a mighty fine example himself to go around telling other people how to—Say, look, what happened the other night was on account of Miss Mitchell, here. She wrote the stuff.

Don't you see what a wonderful thing this can be? But we need you, John.

In a small town, Meet John Doe.
What Happy People Don't Do - New York Times, 11/19/08 ... watch much TV.
Stephen Colbert on Fresh Air about "A Colbert Christmas:"
"... singing "Can I Interest You in Chanukah?" from the new Stephen Colbert Christmas special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All which premieres on Comedy Central this Sunday. Was it hard to convince Jon Stewart to actually sing?"

"It was remarkably not. He's not known as a crooner, and he's made it clear that he doesn't think he can sing. But he sounds pretty good there. I think he's been hiding his light under a bushel."
The comments say it's Clapton and Richards. I guess. I just can't get over his voice, it's awesome.

Yeah, he flubs a verse, so what? It's his song. Yer Blues
cf. Mother Superior, Jump the Gun (White Album, 40th anniversary) - Commonweal blog.
Cool ... I think ...

"Millstone church gets green light to expand" - Examiner, 11/20/08:
The Planning Board at its Nov. 12 meeting unanimously approved the creation of two lots and a private road on the church's parcel, which is currently a nursery.

Pape said that Mayor Nancy Grbelja had earlier raised concerns about the proposed driveway going between two houses on Stillhouse Road. He [...] met with homeowners Ed Herrschaft and Jose Marquez and reached an accord. Each family would gain a minimum of 14,000 square feet of property and the church would create landscaping to buffer the houses from the project. Pape added that both families were exceptionally reasonable in their requests and polite to the church.

Another neighbor, Jason Reese, was not happy with the church's plan. He moved to 86 Stillhouse Road six months ago and said the church never approached him regarding the development.

"I was always taught that the church should embrace the community," he said, asking Father Michael Lang why he didn't come over to speak about the project. Lang said that Reese did not come to him when putting up a new garage.

Reese said, "I think that was very inappropriate, Father."
I'm a little taken aback by that remark, too. Maybe this gifted property is something of a mixed blessing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What I missed Thursday night.

Well, I don't know.  Nobody has had the courtesy to send me an email with so much as the homework assignment for next time.  After Thanksgiving, I'll ask around.

In the meantime, I bought a couple of commentaries, the one by Raymond F. Collins and the best one ever written (so they say), the latter is probably too hard for me.  There's a watered-down one available but I've waded through other volumes in the NIGTC series before.

It can only get easier, right?  RIGHT?!

The county library doesn't carry any NT commentaries, only Anchor Bible OT volumes.  I might skip over to the library at my alma mater if I have time before next session.

WRT to the text, I studied up to chapter 5 which, for me, is pretty diligent.
This week's diocesan newspaper announced that Fr. Rich LaVerghetta had been "upped" to monsignor.  He was long-time pastor of St. Greg's until a couple of years ago.  Now he's at Joan of Arc in Marlton.  


Jeff says Fr. Rich must have been a good earner to get upped. Spoken like a Roman centurion (Matt. 8:9).

There were a few other men so honored but I can't find the article online anywhere.
It was always a favorite, but Pulp Fiction brought it back to prime time. When Chris heard it in my mix of CDs, he flipped out.

He couldn't wait to share the song with his older brothers:
"Kenny, Timmy - listen to this song! It's called Son of a Creature Man!"1
It's funny how boys' minds work -- the gorier, the better.

I don't normally listen to WNYC but caught this Soundcheck program on Friday, "The Soul of British Soul" on Dusty Springfield.  It's ok.

1 'Cuz, of course, our "preachers" don't have sons, generally!
Odds against them didn't stop them, they were fools that way. All the good in this world came from fools with faith like that. You can't quit now. Not you.

They aren't all Taylors and Paines, their kind just throw big shadows. You didn't just have faith in Paine or any other man. It was bigger than that.

You had plain, decent, everyday common rightness. This country could use some of that. So could the whole cock-eyed world. A lot of it.

Clarissa Saunders, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington script
During their tennis lesson this morning, I read the first chapter of Ruth. Nice story so far.

The introduction class was Thursday morning during which we typically walk through the biblical timeline from Genesis to our book of interest. Don't have to go too far to reach Ruth this way. So, to kill the two hours, we went into greater depth. And last year's study of Genesis (thank you, Janet) was still surprisingly fresh. Not everyone was as familiar, so I looked like some kind of Bible genius, at least until we got to Exodus. Even our study leader admitted to being rusty on Exodus and she made a mental note that it might be time to study it again.

Study really makes a difference with these historical narrative books.

I'm amazed at how often the ladies can't guess the order of the Pentateuch. I mean, no, they shouldn't be guessing, they ought to know it by heart. Fundamentalist Protestantism is going soft, I tells ya.

Last week I picked up the Anchor Bible commentary on Ruth at the public library. I also looked on my bookshelves to see that Block's commentary on Judges comes coupled with Ruth. Two ought to be enough, considering the perspectives.

My first question, 'though, is why during famine did the family head for Moab rather than Egypt? I mean, like, Moab is in the opposite direction. No doubt, someone will tell me it's historical. Maybe, but it also means something, yes?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eating pizza at the usual place while Kenny did fencing, Tim spotted this picture over the doorway to the main dining room.
"What's Obi-Wan Kenobi doing holding a sign of the cross?" he asked.1
I should have said to him, "You mean Old Ben Kenobi?" but instead I just told him it was Padre Pio.

Who, despite his canonization, hasn't become known as "St. Padre Pio." That's not a problem Teresa of Calcutta will have, I don't think. Because who can pronounce Pietrelcina?! Oh, I don't know ... lots of casual Italian spoken in that restaurant tonight, maybe everyone could. But no one made the mistake of addressing me in Italian.

I'll show Timmy the statue of Padre Pio at the entrance of St. Joe's this weekend.

1 Wouldn't have been out of character.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I was supposed to go out tonight to my usual every other Thursday thing but Jeff forgot to come home on time. Because it was last week too. We doubled up this week because of Thanksgiving next week. We might meet on Ascension Thursday, All Saints or Immaculate Conception1 but never on Holy Thursday or Thanksgiving.

I gave three explicit reminders during the week, including this morning when Jeff said he couldn't drop Christopher at school for me. I said that was ok as long as he came home in time for me to go out in the evening.

As I plan to do a number of Advent things, including one of Wednesday evenings, he'll make it up to me. Since Advent is shorter than Lent ... it's less of a commitment for me.

So, to console myself since all my housework was done and caught up, I plopped down on the couch to watch some TV. And came across Clerks. Well, I needed a laugh so ok. 'Though I happened to pick up the film at nearly the beginning which has some pretty stilted dialogue to the degree that I began to suspect Randal was reading it off the newspaper he was holding. I can't find that clip at YouTube 'though other scenes are there. And I noticed he was wearing an AT&T logo'd shirt. I remember he worked in the mailroom of Holmdel; saw him a couple of times pushing the mail cart around the building just after the movie played in Red Bank.

But, I had to stop watching eventually. Not because of the rough language but because I identified with Dante too much: I'm not even supposed to BE here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Maybe they waited until after the election to print this as Palin is AofG:

I'm Not One of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians" - The Onion, 11/19/08:
But believe me, we're not all that way. The people in my church, for the most part, are perfectly ordinary Americans like you and me. They believe in the simple old-fashioned traditions—Christmas, Easter, the slow and deliberate takeover of more and more county school boards to get the political power necessary to ban evolution from textbooks statewide. That sort of thing.
It's only mildly funny, imo.

via BHT (enjoy it while it lasts).
Well, yeah, so since I uploaded photos from the trip at Flickr, uh, obviously they made it home last night eventually. I don't have any idea what time, but maybe almost 2AM.

The evening flight was delayed an hour and then Jeff discovered a flat tire, along with a flat spare. A couple of weeks ago I renewed his lapsed AAA membership so after onsite security couldn't inflate the flat sufficiently, Jeff was able to contact roadside assistance for more air.

It was wicked-cold last night, 29 degrees, and I couldn't imagine them out there waiting for help. Much less could I imagine me rousing the kids out of deep sleep at 11:30 to trek up there and fetch them. So I'm glad they made it home. Of course, by the time they hit the highway, the car lanes of the Turnpike were closed.

Jeff said driving 45 mph on a spare in the truck lanes after midnight is a harrowing experience. I'm not sure whether the TA closes car lanes as a matter of course or due to ongoing roadwork.

All this just reminds me that I need to put blankets in the car again for winter driving.

Judging from the pictures, it looked like a good time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Has anyone else noticed that the mass readings sidebar widget has displayed incorrect scripture references the last few days? I left a message at to that effect. All the links work correctly but the display is just wrong.

The widget's calendar didn't go TLM on us, did it? (that's a joke, I think.)

So many Catholic blogs feature this widget ... all wrong right now.

UPDATE: CatholicContent replied to say that the source of the readings is a religious community that tends to observe optional memorials more often than does the USCCB. True enough.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This is my All Saints / All Souls post, I guess ...

Tim's project involved collecting fall leaves according to a few different and simple specifications: shape, color and texture.

I had been dying for a reason to tour the newly-opened Perrineville Lake Park, the latest county park property to be developed preserved.

But, instead, Tim wanted to conduct the nature walk through the Old Tennent Churchyard. I can't exactly say I've been dying to visit the cemetery - as I've never set foot there - but I supposed there would be a variety of trees with an occasion to stress good graveyard etiquette.

I grew up with the public cemetery practically in my backyard and I cut through it on the walk to church which had its own chain-link fence-enclosed cemetery. I never entered that one, as it belonged to the church. I had too much respect.

Old Tennent Churchyard is expansive enough to drive through, there are several paved loops and we encountered one or two other cars and the rare grounds truck. A white Lady of Lourdes statue frankly caught me off-guard as I thought the site exclusively Presbyterian. There were plenty of Irish and Italian names in that section which doesn't necessarily tell you much.

Kenny spotted some Hebrew lettering on a mausoleum which he mistook for Greek and I was able ... a little too proudly, I'm afraid ... to tell him it was the decalogue ... which is easy to recognize when one knows little else.

I stopped the car at interesting-looking trees, Timmy and I stepped out, plucked a leaf or two from the trees and got back in. I was in no position to walk, actually, especially with all the kids.

Near the tombstone of a young man in his 20's was a plastic case in the ground, filled with sand and toy construction vehicles. The headstone said something about building and excavating. I told Timmy that the grave had a memory of the dead man's life profession but all Timmy wanted to do was break through the plastic to remove the toys, as the man "wasn't using them anymore." The kid's utilitarianism scares even me at times.

I said the most he could do was call his other brothers over and show them the memento we'd found. I like it when folks have that flair, to put something so meaningful and permanent at a grave, especially for a young person who hasn't really defined himself fully.

I'd say it was a worthwhile outing and the completed collection of fall leaves was stunning. I know of a couple of other graveyards nearby, so I guess I can take the kids again sometime.
As I was without Christopher and his 9:15 preschool start time this morning, I was able to visit my parish for the daily.

I do enjoy the readings at the end of the church year, I've said before, and I was pleased that, after all this study, the opening of Revelation sounded so familiar, 'though the lector, Jean, couldn't pronounce Ephesus. A small matter, as even without my missal - as if Ella allowed me a free hand! - I knew the text well enough.

I was delighted, as the priest prepared the altar, for Ella to call out in the midst of the liturgical silence "CUP!" with her cute, feminine, two-year-old's voice. That's right, "cup." I'm trying to get her to recognize the image of Jesus on the cross; I use my holy cards like flash cards with her at times. Perhaps we were seated back too far from the front for her to see the apse.

I was relieved to see another baby there today, however that baby was young enough to keep quiet. Mine kept calling things out, things unrelated to the proceedings. And, for that reason, even without Christopher's preschool start time, we can't be too regular.
"Lost" Beatle track could finally be heard - CNN, 11/16/08:
Almost everything recorded by the Beatles from their early days in Liverpool and Hamburg to their break-up in 1970 has been released to meet insatiable public appetite for anything to do with the legendary Liverpool quartet.

In the 40 years since its recording, "Carnival of Light" has acquired near mythical status among Beatles fans
Not sure I've ever heard of it, but I'm starting to forget things that I used to know about the Beatles. Not available in time for Christmas this year, I'd say.

There's was some Beatles trivia that came up recently ... I can't remember what it was or if I knew it.

Then there was another instance of trivia, related to learning that Sarah Palin's birthday is 2/11/64 ... this sounded to me like a significant date in Beatles' history ... and it is, their first live US performance ... though I thought it was their appearance on Ed Sullivan.

I'll have to ask Jeff what that other thing was, the thing I've forgotten. I just vaguely remember him chiding me about not being a "true Beatles fan" who would know such stuff. Oh, I've a modest knowledge of the band, nothing more.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I wonder if the pot heads from Webster who listened to him in college read him now ...

Ted Nugent: Obama's victory is sad vote for state of dependency - Waco Tribune-Herald, 11/16/08.

So glad newspapers won't survive this recession/depression ... can't we stir up successionist1 secessionist sentiment in the Lone Star State somehow? Sheesh.

via BHT

1 that might help, too.
"In truth, had I known while writing the original bulletin that my words would be read beyond my parish, I would have given much greater care to my formulation of the problem posed by voting for a pro-abortion politician.

These columns are written every week for our little bulletin and are almost always written in haste against the deadline of getting the pages printed at the end of a busy week. Last week’s column was no exception to this rule and was not meant to be a careful or systematic treatment of even one part of a complex issue."

- Father Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina
Well, my parish priest writes a weekly note in the bulletin too ... and it isn't nearly ever as well-put as this. I hope his parishioners know how blessed they are.

It was probably wrong for the Greenville paper to pick it up ... obviously desperate for a story.

via First Things
No wonder nobody was in church last night ...

Pop Warner Regional Champions - Asbury Park Press, 11/16/08:
[C]heerleading squads anxiously waited on Saturday evening at the 2008 Pop Warner Regional Championships, held at Sovereign Bank Arena, to hear which divisions would advance to nationals.

The Pop Warner National Championships will take place from Dec. 8 to 12 at Disney World, in Orlando, Fla.

"She has for years, and she's been dreaming about going to Disney," she said.

The following is a list of local squads advancing to National Championships:

Junior Pee Wee Small Novice Division: first place, Hazlet Hawks; second place, Millstone Eagles.
Thing is, probably all these girls can afford to go to Disney with their families.

Nevermind, congratulations all!
A sad one ... requiem in pace.

Christian Brothers Academy teacher killed in crash - Asbury Park Press, 11/16/08:
Michael Wheeler, of Long Branch, a 30-year-old math teacher and junior varsity basketball coach at CBA, was killed in an accident Friday night when he lost control of his sport-utility vehicle while driving the wrong way on Route 18. The vehicle crashed through a guardrail and rolled down an embankment.

According to the Eatontown Police Department, a witness called in a report of a vehicle driving erratically and then entering the exit ramp of Route 18 northbound at Wayside Road. Wheeler continued to travel in a southbound direction in the northbound lanes of Route 18 for about a half mile before crashing about 8:52 p.m., police said.

Wheeler's death comes just six days after the school's president, Brother Andrew O'Gara, died on Nov. 8.
From CBA's website:
Michael Robert Wheeler, 30, of Tinton Falls, died Friday, Nov. 14 at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune Township, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He was born in Neptune Township. He was a graduate of St. Jerome's School, West Long Branch, Class of 1992, Christian Brothers Academy, Class of 1996, and Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Class of 2002. ... He was a communicant of St. Jerome's R.C. Church, West Long Branch.
Visiting hours and funeral arrangements are also listed there.

Now that I think of it, Fr. Mike seemed very, very down this morning.

Saturday's Asbury Park Press article.

Map of the area.

Yeah, Route 18 can be confusing over there by Wayside Road but, for a local guy, not likely? OK, sure, the rain was bad Friday night but, still, what exactly happened?
The first reading this weekend, Proverbs 31 -
When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.
I was just reading my friend's blog ... I think of her whenever talk turns to "the Proverbs 31 wife," as she bears it out. free polls
How do you handle being shortchanged?
Huh? I don't even count my change.
Politely ask for proper change.
Demand correct change.
Just don't ever shop there again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

In these trying economic times, not knowing the hard price of anything in advance adds anxiety to cash transactions in NJ mom-and-pops.

There's too often the sense that prices are set out of thin air, as menus are posted without them. Even at places I frequent, there's no consistency: one day a soda is two fifteen and the next day, it's one ninety-five.1 The applicability of sales tax is hit-or-miss.2

The corner pizza shop is often the most guilty of ballpark pricing.

Moreover, there's an unwritten code of courtesy that the customer does not count change, at least not beyond a mere glance. Of course, the checker would never count change back to you ... it's counted as it's taken from the drawer. Why count it again?

A customer would only quibble if too much change has been received.

Just last week, the WaWa clerk shortchanged me 75 cents because her drawer had no quarters. She had asked her shift manager for a roll of quarters but she went ahead and handed me my change without them. I was a little shocked that her ADD was so acute. And I was shocked at my blasé acceptance.

I confessed to Jeff that I don't push back or barter with clerks on price. He said I should.

So, the next day, I pulled up to a Citgo on 33 that I had used only a couple of times before. As the attendant started pumping, I noticed the digit display price was erroneous, showing "03FF." I got the attendant's attention, scurrying out of my car to do so, and demanded to know whether the pump was working accurately. He said I would know for sure at the end of the sale, on the printed receipt, but I said that's already too late. Since gas was at $2.50 a gallon then, I did a little math myself as the tank was filling and determined the ppg was accurate. But God knows what they could be doing at the pump and most people are in too much of a hurry.

So, I suppose my question to my Christian readers (three or four of you) is whether one should speak up when being overcharged or shortchanged or whether one should accept it without complaint.

I tend to feel worse when I speak up, especially when I'm wrong.

1 I'm willing to concede that the lower price may apply to "frequent customers;" sometimes I'm so recognized and sometimes I ain't.

2 I visited a book fair with the kids at their school this afternoon. The art teacher was adding up our purchase on a calculator. She said proudly, "I'm using the 'tip' feature on this calculator to figure sales tax!" No wonder she overcharged me $5!
From Hamilton, NJ this year ...

8-ton tree arrives for NY Rockefeller Center debut - Associated Press, 11/15/08.
Nation goes blue, county stays red, Examiner, 11/13/08:
More than 70 percent of Monmouth County's registered voters turned out for the Nov. 4 election, with most voting for Republican candidates.

a slim majority of Monmouth County voters (51 percent) voted for Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin
Let me be the first ...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

This bookmark is a hangover from last year and occasionally, I click it by mistake.

Up until today, it's displayed a countdown page marked in days. But today, it allowed me to create an elf - something Jeff and the kids did last year, but I didn't.

I just grabbed the most recent image of my face for the paste-in ... a snapshot I took during an iChat session with Jeff Thursday night. I'm not looking at the camera straight on, as I guess I lean a bit right when using my laptop.

Incidentally, Ella loves having video conferences with Daddy. Chris is content to just watch his own image.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And I missed this lecture ...

Joy: the under-appreciated value - The Monitor, 11/13/08.
Uh, mostly no. Just the underlined bits are alright.

You Are Checkers

You are very logical and rational. You are able to understand what is and isn't a factor.

You're able to compartmentalize and focus on the essentials.

You appreciate simplicity. You can see the layers of complexity and beauty in anything.

You are also playful and good natured. You don't take life too seriously!

Jeff said she got nowhere with the school superintendent so she went to the newspapers. It doesn't come across as a fluff piece, IMO. I'd be mad too ...

The first on and last off the school bus - Examiner, 11/13/08:
Natalie Kelly has to wake her third-grader up at 6:25 a.m. each weekday to be out the door by 7 a.m. to catch the school bus.

Kelly's third-grader and neighbor Julie Lee's third-grader typically board the school bus at 7:10-7:15 a.m. each morning, but must be outside waiting along Rocky Brook Road at least 10 minutes in advance as per school district guidelines.

The elementary school-aged children wait for the bus during daybreak and often leave their homes when it's still dark out, which is a concern for their families.

Kelly also noted that if her third-grader misses the school bus, the family has to wait 45 minutes before dropping her off at the school. The actual distance from Rocky Brook Road to the elementary school on Millstone Road is 5.4 miles.

"Truthfully, I have been driving her," Kelly said, adding that the busing concerns have resulted in four of the seven elementary school children on Rocky Brook Road being driven to school by their parents instead of taking the bus.
I prefer the consistent school start and end times at my sons' schools to the annual shuffling that Millstone has done. Lots of Millstone parents drive their children to school because it's just five miles away, takes ten minutes. Why should they spend an hour on the bus each day?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We finished up the last three chapters of Isaiah this morning but I haven't done the homework in two weeks so I'm eight chapters behind. That's too bad because I felt that I was getting a handle on Isaiah and the effort required to keep up.

Anyway, one of the ladies quickly shared on Isaiah 64:6 (verse 5 in NAB) as she had read in a book by a Willow Creek pastor that the Hebrew expression has been euphemized in our English translations.1 So what else is new?

I have heard the literal expression before but, after the benefit of reading the better part of Second Isaiah, I pondered it more.

It's offensive, isn't it, that a natural female process would carry a negative connotation, even being equated with sin? But think of it another way: it signals a failure to conceive, a missed opportunity to create, a missed blessing almost certainly. And given all the imagery of birth and mothering - yes, I said "mothering" - in Isaiah (46:3 comes to mind), this verse can't simply be inspired misogyny.

And the other thing this verse isn't is a commentary on our "righteous deeds" in the estimation of a holy God. If the deeds aren't at least potentially righteous, then why even describe them as such before undercutting them? There must be such a thing as "righteous deeds" in order for particular instances to be disqualified ... by go-it-alone, human autonomy.

Plenty of verses speak of our inadequacy, so let's not try to make this one say more than it really does.

1 The HCSB has the literal word in a footnote.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From the comments at Commonweal:
I wonder if the name “Barak” could be the Arabic cognate of the Hebrew “Baruch”. It is an interesting thought that with a little Latinization Barak could become Benedict.

Obama is way ahead of you ...

Thanks for the confirmation. Is this an instance of nomen omen?!
Surprise, Surprise!

Doesn't he look happy ... with his new bed that arrived in a week ... instead of 3 months!

I was surprised too and kinda hoping we wouldn't have to pay the balance until February! Oh, well. Postpone Jeff's office furniture a little longer ... 'though he's going to IKEA after work tonight for some bookshelves.

Now, I did something amazingly stupid: I overpaid the installer by the amount of the deposit. Getting the bank check, I didn't open the invoice at its single fold. When I noticed my mistake, I drove to the showroom as it's on the way to the grocery store. Over the weekend, the store owner called to confirm the overpayment and said a refund check was mailed out. Because of the holiday, I received the check today. Much faster refund service than with my property taxes.

Not something you want to do, overpay your taxes. The tax collector said I might see that money in early December.

Anyway, Chris is sleeping well in the bed. We have a bed rail but haven't put it up yet as he hasn't fallen out yet. If he falls out, then we'll put it up. And Jeff ordered a 5 X 8 blue striped rug which arrived today. The rug pad arrives Friday.

I don't like their boring rugs but the kid gets a splash of blue in his sister's room.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We used to have a joke, a double entendre, before, like, our banks merged.

You see, our accounts were at Commerce bank which took them over from Tinton Falls State Bank - remember them?1 In the wake of the savings and loan crisis, TFSB was a safe, reliable institution headquartered, coincidentally, in our town.

The kids liked Commerce Bank's free lollipops. Not such good news to the dentist as she has replaced one of Kenny's molar seals already. I thought either the economy or the bank take-over would put a (healthy, good) end to those treats but, after a few weeks hiatus, the lolli's are back, in purple and green instead of red. And the kids love them.

Oh, so the joke? Well, you might not know there's a town in NJ called Red Bank on the Navesink in which two of my children were born and my car is serviced (how's that for assocation?). So, whenever I mention that I'm going to Red Bank, the kids think of the Commerce branch on West Main in Freehold. "You're going to the red bank?" "No, I'm going to Red Bank!"

Ah, well, maybe it's a joke that deserved to die before the kids outgrew it.

1 Commerce Bancorp to Acquire Tinton Falls State Bank, Business Wire, 8/13/98.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sun-Times columnist Fr. Greeley injured - Chicago Sun-Times, 11/9/08:
As the cab began to pull away, the 80-year-old priest fell to the ground and hit his head, fracturing his skull.

"Right now he's critical but stable, very stable," niece Laura Durkin said.

Greeley, who was wearing a Barack Obama baseball cap when he fell, suffered bleeding on the brain.

"You know, he's a fighter and a tough guy," Goggin said. "He's got everything they want in a patient. All the signs are very positive."
via My Domestic Church
cf. Why so many pro-life Catholics backed Obama - Chicago Sun-Times, 11/5/08.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I'm afraid that I usually think of lobbyists in a negative way ... in this case, undeserved ...

Fort Monmouth clinic expected to stay open - Examiner, 11/6/08:
"There was a group of us who were absolutely determined that this was not going to happen," Burry said. "I lobbied for this in every way that I knew how, both here and in Washington. As time evolved, we got the attention of the VA on the state level and eventually they saw the foolishness of the decision to abandon veterans in our area."

Initially, the VA had been prepared to abandon Fort Monmouth and close what is known as the Patterson Army Health Clinic.

... 500 acres of land at Fort Monmouth will be saved for open space and use by the public. They include basketball courts, a teen center with a swimming pool, as well as the parade grounds and marina in Oceanport.

Burry said. "It won't be houses and it will fulfill a tremendous need in that region of the county."
As there'll be a glut of vacant houses in the area soon, if not already, no reason to build more.

Oakfield Sesquicentennial gifts
Freehold track has not accepted $1.6M bailout - Examiner, 11/6/08:
The funding would help the state's horseracing industry to maintain purse levels and to keep New Jersey's $1.1 billion horse industry viable in the face of increased competition from neighboring states, which already have slots at their racetracks.

He said horses from all over the country and the world race at the Meadowlands.

"People don't come from all over to race at Freehold Raceway. It's a local track and most of the horses come from the Freehold area."

Maintaining New Jersey purse levels affects other quality of life issues in the state as well, according to McNamara.

"People don't understand that it's not just a horse going around in a circle with a driver on its back or a cart behind it," he said. "The horses at the tracks are all stabled in New Jersey and trained and bred on New Jersey farms. All of this means free green acres to the taxpayers of the state."
I'm still trying to figure the "free green acres" remark.
School district leaders disclose credentials - Examiner, 11/6/08:
Donahue earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in Glassboro and the following graduate level degrees; both a Master of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in Administration, Supervision and Curriculum Planning from Georgian Court College in Lakewood, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Fitzpatrick earned both his Bachelor of Arts in Education and Master of Arts in Education from Boston College in Newton Centre, Mass. He participated in an educational administration doctoral program at the University of New Hampshire in Lane Durham, N.H. and was awarded a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study. He also received a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How much you wanna bet the neighbor boy doesn't run over tomorrow after school, as he did four years ago, and boast to my kids that the "right man" won the election for president?

Jeff took the older ones with him this morning as he voted before driving them to school. I took the two younger ones with me when I voted before driving to the aquarium. The important part is them seeing the process and I'm grateful it runs smoothy here in Monmouth County.

Here's a cute post: "Crashing the Monmouth County Democrats Election Party".
Posted photos on Facebook and Flickr.

Same photos.

Of today.
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good video in which Neuhaus is featured, apparently against his will, as a "prominent" Catholic. Yeah.

And a Lennon anthem set to choir music?! Is nothing sacred?

Beginning at about 2:43, the final three points are worth listening to:
The prophetic perspective is what the church needs here. And by that, I mean, we don't live for politics. We don't base our confidence about the future on whoever gets elected. 'Let those who marry, marry as though they were not married. Let those who rejoice, rejoice as though they were not rejoicing. Let those who buy, buy as though they were not buying. Let those who deal with the world, deal with it as though they had no dealings with the world.' That's First Corinthians 7. And I'd just stick in, let those who vote or do politics, do it as though they were not doing it. Which means there's a kind of engagement that is not all consuming. There's a kind of voting, a kind of doing politics, a kind of advocacy which is not investing our whole selves into it because we're not here fully. We have a foot in heaven and a foot on the earth. We are citizens of two kingdoms. This is not our main home. This world is passing away. Says that in First Cor. 7, says it again in First John, chapter 2, verse 15. The world is passing away and the lusts of it, but those who do the will of God abide forever. So we know that this system is disappearing and therefore we shouldn't be so worked up about our opponent getting elected that's going to undo our life.

I sensed there's, I talked with one man after church on Sunday a few weeks ago and it's as though his whole world were going to collapse if the person he didn't want to get elected got elected. And I just said to him, 'Your issue is a spiritual one, here, Brother. You got way too much invested here. Are you a Christian?'

So the prophetic perspective says, 'I am God's child. Jesus Christ is my King. America is not my allegiance. God and Heaven are my Allegiance. God can turn this for good no matter who gets elected. And I will always be pursuing His Kingdom first and let the political chips fall where they will. That's the prophetic perspective.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I received a rare handwritten note from Mother on Saturday in which she insisted she will vote for Obama.

She sounded excited. She's the type to get passionate about a candidate. She was enthusiastic about Hillary for senator.

'Bout the only political commentary I remember growing up was her frustration that Cuomo did not support capital punishment. She voted for Pataki for that reason.

I don't know for sure, but it would seem that she isn't so much voting for Obama as voting against McCain. She's even admitted to liking all things Palin!