Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
July 31st, 2010


Just because the weather outside is incredibly hot and steamy doesn’t mean that interesting things aren’t going on outside, worthy of note.

The little bird sits at his door in the sun
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer he receives.

Yes, the robins did their thing again this year, in a different rosebush. And just a couple of days ago the last of the fledglings took flight. It’s about three weeks from hatch to dispatch and the rapidity of this metamorphosis never ceases to amaze me.

Two years ago a rabbit ravaged my garden. Last year the cause of devastation was a mole (or a family of moles?) This year a woodchuck decided I would have no broccoli and no parsley so I borrowed Stan’s Have-A-Heart trap and set it with a chocolate chip cookie plastered with peanut butter. In one day we caught a monster of a woodchuck which has been carted away to distant parts. I don’t know whether to reset the trap to see if the woodchuck has a family hereabouts. I worry that that might catch the skunk that I saw the other night and smelled this morning. What do I do if I catch a skunk?

Tomatoes are starting to ripen, thanks be to God. The miserable tomato blight that killed the whole crop last year makes us grateful for every healthy plant with the promise of yummy tomatoes this time around. As usual, I just pop the extra tomatoes into a bag in the freezer and usually have enough available for the entire year. Just hold the frozen tomato under warm water from the faucet and slip off the skin — behold, ready to cook for sauce or whatever.

The potato tops are starting to die down and digging can then begin. Mary and I find this enjoyable and like to do it together. Wonderful things happen underground when we’re not looking! (On another note, I suspect we have enough horseradish underground to start a small factory. But it is so hard to dig up that I usually settle for one small root a year, grate it, mix it with vinegar, and that’s that. Want to start a horseradish business?)

For years I shied away from petunias because they were everywhere. Finally I succumbed and used them in my flower boxes where they were, of course, colorful and prolific bloomers. This year I didn’t buy any, hoping they would reseed, but nothing happened and I was happy to receive lovely purple petunias for Mother’s Day. If I could have been patient until mid-June I would have learned that they would indeed reseed, in their own time. Bless them, they are now all over the place!

About five years ago some sort of vine started climbing up the rope hanging from my clothesline by the back door. Each year it returned and two years ago it bloomed in September, little white flowers all over it. This year it is mammoth and wants to take over the world!

Now that’s a VINE! When we Vinings do VINES we do them  RIGHT!

When I showed this vine to daughter Terry I told her that if we waited till September it would bloom for us. That was when she informed me that it must be a fall-blooming clematis. Of course I argued that it couldn’t be a clematis because the flowers are quite small and white and my spring-blooming clematis has bright magenta flowers 5 inches across. “It has clematis written all over it,” she exclaimed, and sure enough when I googled late-blooming clematis the picture looked exactly the same. I also read that it could easily cover a small shed or a slow-moving animal!

(Added: September 3.  Sure enough – it DID!  This is just a smidgin of it.  )

Fall-blooming clematis

I reluctantly add that we Vinings not only have rose vines (red, white, and wild), clematis, English ivy, a trumpet vine, but also a collection of truly evil vines which take over the garden about August. Perhaps if I do a special post on the evil vines that thrive hereabouts someone will 1) identify them and 2) tell me how to get rid of them.

Being a Vining is not all fun and flowers!

July 28th, 2010


For 25 years now I’ve watched Oprah almost daily. Some of my friends don’t understand my devotion to Oprah since she doesn’t seem to stand for anything I stand for. They say she’s a left leaning liberal. They say that she’s full of herself and has to have her photo on every cover of O Magazine. They say that even her generosity is self-serving. In fact, Oprah herself has said she is full of herself and you can’t give to others unless you are first filled up.

So why do I watch (and love) this wealthy, influential woman who leans so far left? I see so much of her that sometimes I think I know her better than I know my own children, especially the ones living in other states. It’s true that she was quick to jump on the Obama bandwagon and I saw her weep tears of joy when the first “black” president was elected. She undoubtedly  played a big role in his election. It is also true that I think Obama is a fake Christian (see my post ), a liar and a deceiver (another post).

Also, Oprah seems to do her best to present homosexuality in a favorable light. If you’re a man on the down-low, apparently that’s OK. If you realize after years of marriage and several kids, that you’re really gay, apparently that’s OK. Change your gender? If that’s who you really are, that’s fine. She had a minister on her program who said being gay was a gift from God and she seemed to like that. To me, accepting others where they are is part of loving them, but the Bible has important things to say about marriage and homosexuality which Oprah chooses to ignore. I cannot fathom why she does not see anal sex as unhealthy and a perversion of a normal function. If her dogs behaved in this fashion she’d think something was seriously amiss.

When you come right down to it, if we lived according to God’s rules — being chaste before marriage and faithful in marriage – one man married to one woman — it would solve so many problems. AIDS — and many other sexually transmitted diseases –would vanish in one generation (how would they be spread?) . Children would be raised by two parents. No more young males roaming about with no role model at home. Less delinquency and less poverty. I would be so much happier if Oprah preached biblical Christianity instead of her own brand of doing whatever feels good. It seems to me that a society under God’s rules would be considerably better off than the free-for-all that exists today.

Oprah reaches more people on one TV program than most preachers can hope to reach in a lifetime of sermons. She is admired by many as a spiritual leader. Indeed, calling people to live their best life is what Oprah is about. She thinks others can learn from her own search and promotes books and prophets that appeal to her. Because of this one evangelist has called her the most dangerous woman in the world, peddling New Age philosophy to her many followers. In the following video Oprah is accused of rejecting Jesus.


As in the above video clip, folks are claiming that Oprah (who might actually consider herself a Christian) has abandoned Jesus. She is saying that Jesus is not the only way, that people who have never heard of Jesus (or people who came before Jesus) can find God. While many Protestants take issue with this, I, as a Catholic, have no trouble agreeing with her. Jesus, who wants no one to be lost, certainly would not condemn a person for something that was not his fault. What kind of justice would that be?

Pope Paul VI in Lumen Gentium (16) writes:

Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life.

Again, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (1281):

Those who …without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will are saved even if they have not been baptized.

The Catholic Church has long accepted as sufficient for salvation the baptism of blood (should you die for your faith unbaptized) and the baptism of desire (should you ardently desire water baptism but die without it) in lieu of water baptism.

Therefore, I totally agree with Oprah on this particular issue. Jesus IS the way. It is through his willing death on the cross that we are saved (even people who came before him, and even those who have never heard of him.) A just God would not condemn anyone for something they did not choose!

I feel that Oprah is sincere and a truth-seeker and I love that in her. I, too, am a truth-seeker. We have come up with different “truths.” Both of us could be wrong, but both of us can’t be right. Truth is truth. I think Oprah has to make up her mind who she believes Jesus is. Is he just another man in history who said some really good things? If Jesus came as Lord and Savior as he claims, she would do well to listen to what he said.

Oprah, have you really thrown Jesus, his death on the cross, his resurrection, and this teachings under the bus? Is Jesus your Lord or not?


Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” — John 14:6

But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. — Matthew 10:33

Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.  —  Romans 1:26,27

July 19th, 2010


This unusual letter by Bob Muckle of  Connecticut Right to Life in Waterbury CT arrived in my email today.  It is addressed to Brian Brown (formerly of Connecticut)  who is currently president of the National Organization for Marriage [2029 K Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC  20006.]

I was impressed by the letter because Muckle, without half trying, gives a comprehensive overview of what has gone wrong in our country in his lifetime, since the Lambeth conference.


Long time no talk to.  I hope that everything is going well.  I hear all kinds of good things about you and what you are doing.

I would like to make some comments about the Council of Catholic Bishops and marriage. If this goes too long, forgive me, but I have a lot to say.
Over 44 years ago my wife and I became a teaching couple of Natural Family Planning.  In 1965 we became a teaching couple of the Symptothermal Method of NFP and taught it on a couple-to-couple basis to married and engaged couples.  We lived in complete awareness of our fertility for over 20 years.  We, or I, have attended many conferences and talks over the years.

My hero is the late Father Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International.  Father Marx always said that every nation that accepted  contraception eventually legalized abortion.

In 1985 I attended a talk by Msgr. George Kelly in Bloomfield.  He is the author of the book “The Battle for the American Church”  During the Q and A period, the topic of contraception came up.  He quoted a comment by Anglican Bishop Charles Gore at the Lambeth conference of 1930.  This is the conference when for the first time in 1900 years of Christianity that a Christian church said that contraception would be OK in certain hard cases.  Bishop Gore voted against the majority.  His comment was, according to Msgr. Kelly, “Once you deny the presence of God in the marriage act and separate the loving relationship  from the life relationship with God, then not only is contraception allowable and permissible, but there is no reason why it has to be confined to married people. Once you separate sexual fulfillment, as a human value that is independent of God, then there is no reason why it has to be confined to members of the opposite sex.”  When I heard that, my ears perked up.  To me, he said that the acceptance of contraception would eventually lead to the acceptance of homosexuality.  I taped the talk, so I have it on a cassette.

After the American Federation of Churches followed suit with the Lambeth Conference in 1931, the Washington Post on March 22, 1931 editorially said, “Carried to its logical conclusion, the committee’s report, if carried into effect, would sound the death knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality.  To say that the use of legalized contraception would be careful and restrained is preposterous.

Within 30 years every Protestant Church legalized contraception.  The Catholic Church was the only holdout.  In the 1960’s the big move was put on the Catholic Church to follow suit.  The New York Times led the way with Catholic theologians like Father Charles Curran not far behind.  Everything was settled with the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae when Pope Paul VI reiterated the teachings of the Catholic Church.  The American bishops did not defend the encyclical the way they should have.  The only bishop that I know of who did was Bishop Glennon Flavin of Lincoln, Nebraska.  Because of his defense, he never lost a priest and his vocations flourished.  Most of the other dioceses fell by the wayside.  As years went by, a number of dioceses did follow bishop Flavin’s example and they too began to get many vocations to the priesthood.

The reason I am bringing this up is because I am convinced that until the American bishops defend Humanae Vitae 100 %, the battle against same sex marriage and homosexuality will never be won.  They can say all they want about Genesis and “A man leaving his mother and father and clinging to his wife and the two of them becoming one flesh” to no avail.

Listening to married couples who went from contraception to NFP over the years and the way it changed their lifestyle is very encouraging.  Many times I have heard about homosexuals making  the comment that if married couples could contracept, why couldn’t they live their lifestyle.  What’s the difference?

Keep up your good work, but every time I hear the bishops on this topic, I can’t help but wonder!

God bless,

Bob Muckle
July 18th, 2010


A powerful video about a couple, not ready for the baby they had conceived — and a dream. Please watch Don’t Kill The Butterfly

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be


He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.  — Micah 6:4

July 18th, 2010


Ever since Father Thomas Euteneuer became president of Human Life International in 2000 I have been impressed by the clarity and reasonableness of his writings on life issues.  When I learned that Father Euteneuer was also an exorcist I thought it would be really interesting to know what he had to say about exorcising evil spirits.  His new book, Exorcism and the Church Militant does not disappoint.

It is telling that Rev. John Corapi in his Foreward writes:

Everyone seeking a more complete knowledge of the Catholic-Christian  faith, indeed, reality itself, can profit from a careful and prayerful reading of this book.  Priests especially should profit from this material, for it is my personal experience that the need for it has increased exponentially in recent years.  Preparation for this dimension of spiritual warfare is singularly lacking in almost all seminaries, novitiates, or other Catholic institutions of learning.  One of the reasons for this is that many such institutions have faculty that from all indications don’t necessarily believe what the Church believes.  This leaves a terrible void, so much so that it is often extremely difficult to find a priest with even the most rudimentary knowledge of this essential facet of priestly ministry.  The effect on souls can be devastating.

According to Father Euteneuer Satan nowadays is “walking tall in powerful structures of sin like abortion, pornography, sex slavery, rapacious greed and terrorism.”  And, again, “nowadays objective evil is displayed out in the open air with impunity, celebrated in the public forum and strategized in plush board rooms.”  Also, “if the measure of a war’s ferociousness is the number of casualties, the modern war to exterminate souls is unprecedented in the history of humanity; it is nothing worse than history’s worst nuclear holocaust in spiritual terms.”

Obviously Father does not mince words and those who have eyes to see will agree that evil is now afoot.  And, according to Euteneuer, “the Church has yet to seriously enter the battle and become what it is called to be, namely, the Church Militant.”   Christ has given the church the authority — it has only to be used.

Euteneuer’s  book is written primarily for priests who by their priesthood are specifically equipped for exorcism.  In the Church exorcism is defined as “a rite for expelling demons from persons who are possessed, authorized by a bishop and limited by canon law to the ministry of priests.”

All this, and more, is just in the introduction!

The Table of Contents  is unusual in that each chapter is divided into a number of questions which can be easily scanned to locate topics of particular interest.  For example, in the chapter on Jesus:  The Chief Exorcist, he deals with the question:  Can other religions perform successful exorcisms?    In the chapter on the devil and his minions, we learn how much power the devil has over us, whether we can become possessed inadvertently, and whether the sacraments protect us against evil.  There are further chapters on discernment, healing and deliverance.  Among his samples of deliverance prayers (which are appropriately prayed by  the laity) are prayers asking the Lord to free someone from the power of evil, prayers asking the intercession of the angels and saints, prayers of repentance, prayers of forgiveness, renunciation of evil spirits one might have picked up, prayers to loose bonds, prayers to bind spiritual evil, rebuke evil, and reject evil.  “Rejecting the devil and all his influences is a rational and calculated declaration of war and a condition for living as a member of the Kingdom of God.”

There is a further chapter on the conduct of an exorcism which contains the actual session-by-session progress of an successful exorcism.  I have a sneaking suspicion that if you were to witness an exorcism you would no longer wonder if demons really exist. The appendix contains the texts of several rites of exorcism.

As a long time member of the Charismatic Renewal, I am familiar with prayers for healing and deliverance.   As mentioned above, these prayers can be, and should be, prayed by the ordinary committed Christian.  Prayers of exorcism, however, are the the province of ordained priests.  This book is essentially a call by Father Euteneuer to his brother priests to rise to the occasion.  He feels the need for priests willing and able to deal with demons is bound to increase as “The 21st century is a moral and spiritual battlefield of such immense proportions that no era of human history will  have ever seen a war like it.”

Limited though my knowledge of  this field may be, it is my guess that this is an important and much needed work.




He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  —  John 8:44


Click here to order:


July 15th, 2010


It would have been about 1962. I was doing medical transcription in the Medical Records office at Danbury Hospital. Electric typewriters were new then, and if I recall rightly Gloria got the first one in our office. But I remember Gloria best for being the first one I knew who not only got a prescription for the birth control pill but announced it to all!

This year Mothers’ Day marked the 50th anniversary of oral contraceptives. Women did not seem to realize that in welcoming the birth control pill they were toying with the delicate interrelationship of their hormones and deliberately causing their bodies to malfunction. In previous posts I have written about the birth control pill – how it disrupts hormonal harmony and can cause early abortions, the abortion/breast cancer link, the effectiveness of Natural Family Planning, and the role of Planned Parenthood in today’s society. The Pill made it possible for women to land jobs that they might not get if they were likely to become pregnant. It made it possible for teenagers to play around with sex without fear of pregnancy. It launched an epidemic of infertility because women wanted to get pregnant in their later years, when they were naturally less fertile; because having sex with multiple partners often resulted in sexually transmitted disease causing infertility;  because The Pill sometimes disrupted hormones permanently.   Family size was radically altered world-wide.   Actually, The Pill changed the whole fabric of society.

The following documentary  presents a current overview of THE PILL (from Trent  Herbert on Vimeo)



I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. — Psalm 139:14

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. God blessed them. God
said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. — Genesis 1:28

July 12th, 2010


GLORY TO GOD! It is 4:30 AM on THE DAY! All my parts seem to be working. Computer has scanned and rebooted and tells me it is 65 wonderful degrees outside. After that tropical heat wave this is indeed a blessing. I actually slightly covered myself last night and had a good night’s sleep.

I’m one of those people who wake up hungry. Having leftover lobster ravioli for breakfast. Rejoicing in the presence of teeth. When I saw my dentist last week for a gum inflammation all I wanted was to keep my front teeth long enough to go to my birthday party yesterday. Nick’s is a wonderful Italian restaurant where we gather regularly to celebrate the birthdays of our pro-life group. What a blessing to be able to enjoy each other at a good meal! With teeth!

Coffee is now ready. Dawn is breaking, birds are chirping, God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world. Let’s see what’s happening in cyberia.

E-mail: Several birthday greetings, including an animated card from Sister Betty Igo saying, among other things, WOW. YOU’RE OLD! And granddaughter Nikki, who shares my birthday, says, “Together we’re 111!” It’s hardly light outdoors and already it has been a wonderful day!

Facebook: Prayed the Divine Mercy marathon prayer. More birthday wishes and two people are waiting for me to take my turn at Scrabble. My profound thought for the morning is this: Consider the marvelous creation called a computer. I cannot begin to comprehend how mine works. It works wonders – I can play Scrabble with my grandson in Chicago on it. It brings information from outer space, diagnoses itself, heals itself, yet I know it was made by human beings and every once in a while human needs to fix it. No one imagines that a computer accidentally made itself! Now, consider the marvelous creation called a human being. What a biochemical accomplishment! It grows, reproduces, mends itself, thinks, even makes computers! How can anyone believe that a human being was the accidental result of chemicals bumping into each other? How can anyone not realize that a superior mind is behind it all? He says: Call on me. I made you and I love you.

On to Scrabble. I will lose one of the games, may win the other.

Time to consider getting dressed and ready for Mass. They like you to be clothed when you arrive. More about this great birthday later.

Our Indian priest gave a surprising homily about the devil who is alive and working in our society but no match for God and His people. Fits in nicely with the book by Father Euteneuer on Exorcism which I just started to read. (Be watchful and alert for your adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8)

More phone calls and more online wishes. Brother-in-law, Chuck, who is only 85, wants a picture of me which good friend Jon has promised to take. Leisurely afternoon reading and watching the end of the soccer game on TV (not that I really care). A little yard work, but too hot outside. We’ve had our first ripe tomato. The tomato harvest looks promising — it couldn’t possibly be worse than last year’s debacle. Potatoes are dying down. Will dig soon. Parsley and basil happy. Some critter is dining on my broccoli and leaving none for me. Rose of Sharon in full bloom and lovely. Hostas and petunias blooming.

Roses and lilies from Katy

Katy in Indiana sent me gorgeous flowers and I wanted to share their beauty. Alas, I am so inept at using my digital camera and transferring the photos to the computer that I don’t do it often. And, of course, because I don’t do it often, I am so inept! Anybody, absolutely anybody, could do better. But here is my offering — and thank you, Katy. Had a nice long talk with her yesterday; she is a joy.

Finished the day off with a little birthday party with Dan, Martha, and Nikki (who shares my birthday). We sang  “Happy Birthday to Us” and enjoyed brownies and ice cream with lots of whipped cream. Dan and Martha are not quite over their illness – hope it’s not catching! They gave me some great white sneakers which fit perfectly, called New Balance. I sure hope that New Balance thing works – I could use it.

How could I have forgotten?  The best birthday present ever!  As everyone  knows we have been praying at the Medical Options abortion “clinic” twice a week since 1988.   (See my posts here and here.)  This past week we learned they weren’t answering their own phone and their website was down!!!!  Oh happy day!  We did pray there on Saturday and the manager did come into the office but the abortionist never arrived.  Are they really gone?  Unfortunately there is yet another OB/GYN office in that building that does abortions so our job is not done.  But I have prayed to live to see the day that Medical Options closed.

It is 5 AM on the 12th, and a lovely 67 degrees outside. I think I fell asleep listening to David Wilkerson preach on the computer – not really sure, but had a good night’s sleep and woke up with all the parts still working. It was a good birthday and I am ever so grateful. Thank you everyone!  Thank you, God.


To thine own self be true. And it must follow as the night the day Thous canst not then be false to any man. — Polonius, in Hamlet

July 5th, 2010


I read today that Glenn Beck’s new book, The Overton Window, of the “suspense-thriller fiction genre,” has debuted as #l on the New York Times best-seller list. According to Beck, his book is “faction” rather than fiction – an imagined tale based on facts. Beck’s popularity is such that several of his books have hit the top of the list right off. Not having read the book, I’ll not discuss it further.

But it reminded me of an extraordinary program on Fox News this past January 14 when Glenn Beck interviewed Sarah Palin. I don’t recall much discussion of it in the mainstream media, except that fun was made of Palin because she didn’t have the name of  her  “favorite founding father” on the tip of her tongue. Just another example of her stupidity, you know.

This is how the interview began:

Before we start, Sarah, I want to read what I wrote last night in my journal, because it’s about you.

Tomorrow, I meet Sarah Palin and family for the first time. I’m actually a little nervous — as she is one of the only people that I can see that can possibly lead us out of where we are. I don’t know yet if she’s strong enough, if she’s well enough advised, or if she knows she can no longer trust anyone. I don’t know if she can lead and not lose her soul.

That is where I’d like to go for the next hour, to find out if this is the woman that can lead us and not lose her soul.

How odd is that? Mr. Beck is  wondering whether being a political leader might result in the loss of one’s  soul! Who ever worries about losing their soul nowadays?

Later Beck commented on the fact that he and Sarah also topped the lists for the most ridiculed and also the most admired people in the world.

You and I both were, I think, the number one and number two Halloween costume of the year. Did you know that? We both have been nailed on “Saturday Night Live” as being stupid. We are also both just recently voted on the most admired list of people in the world. We both have been on the cover of major magazines in the last year.

We all know that politicians “don’t get no respect.” They are known for deals, corruption, bringing home the pork, lavish living, being power-hungry,  with a finger  in the wind testing which way to go. It is with good reason that a recent popular bumper sticker reads:   Re-elect nobody.     A trustworthy politician is a rare bird.

Later in the program Beck tells why he won’t run for office:

BECK: And I made a promise I would never violate trust, I would keep my word, do the hard thing. I would follow – just live the Ten Commandments, try that one on for size. I don’t think you can go to Washington and not lose your soul. I’ve never met somebody who went to Washington and came back and I said, wow, you’re a better person. Have you?

PALIN: Come to think of it, I don’t know if I have, Glenn.

BECK: How do you — because the parties, the system is so infected, how do you, as an individual go in — I’m not asking if you’re going to run. But let’s just say you were going to run. How do you go in and how do I as voter know that you’re not going to cut so many side deals to get that power that by the time you had that power, you’re no longer who we needed?

Here is a clip from that interview, from, of all places, atheistmediablog.

Beck is worried about the souls of politicians, and Palin actually said “I believe that there are eternal ramifications based on what we do here.”   Beck is mocked because he  sometimes gets weepy in his heartfelt pleas to the people to arise and save their country.   It’s labeled “fake crying.”   Palin’s religion is considered dangerous and is fodder for ridicule, as seen in the following video.

There’s no getting around it: These two are odd balls.

They say that you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.   Perhaps this will explain why Beck and Palin are admired by so many.  We  are looking for someone that is trustworthy and hoping against hope that these odd balls might fill the bill.


For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? — Mark 8:36

July 2nd, 2010


If someone were to tell you that My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, is  about a girl who was conceived in vitro and genetically selected to provide blood cells, marrow, etc., for a sister with terminal leukemia, it would sound like a good story line and you might think you knew where it was going.  But you would be so wrong.  Yes, that’s a good plot.  Even gripping.  But this is an extraordinary book and it is gripping on so many more levels.

Jodi Picoult in 2003 received the New England Book award for her entire body of work (twelve best selling novels so far) and the American Library Association Alex award for My Sister’s Keeper.  When you know that, you figure the writing will be at least half-way decent and, of course, it is. We also have here a monumental ethical dilemma – can you use one person for another person’s benefit?  Or to save another’s very life?

When Anna, at the age of 13, decides she is going to take her parents to court and sue for medical emancipation,  we have an obvious conflict of interests.  She goes to see a lawyer in the very first chapter.  This is a story  with so many twists and surprises that I would not want to spoil any of it with further details.  Suffice to say the novel is not only about Anna, her sister Kate, and her parents, but about her lawyer, his dog, his honey, his honey’s twin sister, Anna’s brother — other people who are profoundly affected by Anna’s decision.

Author Picoult displays an amazing grasp of the medical intricacies in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia, the really worst kind.   That perhaps is to be expected. She did her research.  But along the way she also provides insights into astronomy, firefighting, gay bars, terminal illness, juvenile delinquency that fill these pages with depth and sidelights that are seldom found in just one book.

It’s a page-turner, surprising, educational, recommended. (425 pages)