Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
January 28th, 2011


They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Well, I’m wondering what tree the creators of these vehicles fell from! My daughter, Wendy (a girl-child, mind you — and a retiree, to boot) is happily at home in Cerrillos NM, putting together a VolksDragon Tryke which is destined to look like this. She says she is converting a ’70 VW Bug and “72 Honda C750 into a VolksDragon.   She posted the steps involved in reaching this end result on her Facebook page.

Meanwhile, back  in Fort Lauderdale FL, Wendy’s son has replaced his stolen Schwinn with this! He built the front springer forks, seat layback and custom motor mount himself. Let’s give credit where credit is due, I say!  Isn’t it a beauty?

January 25th, 2011



The March for Life has been called THE ULTIMATE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.  It doesn’t get any bigger and it doesn’t get any more important.   There are no civil rights without life.

I marched for life every January for many years until these old legs just couldn’t take it any more. It was always awesome. I would come home and expect to see photos and news reports of the thousands who traipsed to Washington annually just to protest the murder of the innocent. And I was always disappointed. If there was anything at all in the media it never showed the pro-life masses amassed and always showed the handful of “pro-choicers” — so as to be fair and balanced.   Hardly.

So today, thanks to LIVE EWTN coverage, I watched the 38th March for Life on my computer. (I didn’t expect mainstream TV to show it to me! A turn-out of several hundred thousand means nothing if it doesn’t agree with your politics! See last year’s post.)

“You can’t understand it until you experience it,” said a 16-year-old who had come on a bus all the way from Iowa.” Many at the March are young people and students who say they didn’t expect to see “hundreds of thousands” marching in the cold for life. They see it as “eye-opening” and plan to come back next year. A group came from a boys’ African-American school in New Orleans and described it as overwhelming. “It’s so inspiring!” Has he heard that 60% of black pregnancies end in abortion?

Teresa Tomeo interviewed many young folks, Knights of Columbus, sisters, priests, and just plain people. She said it was “great to feel old” in the presence of so many young pro-lifers – it’s not the bunch of old folks that you might expect. Each year the march seems to have more and more young people. The young folks “know it’s a baby,” and they haven’t yet formed political alliances that try to tell them different. As Father Pavone said, 70% of highschoolers are prolife but when they get to college it goes down to about 20%.

The way I see it you can no more deny the humanity of the baby in the womb than that of the black man on the plantation. We do not own them, so that we can dispose of them; they are human beings,  gifts to be received and treated as such.

I read estimates for the crowd size at 300 to 400,000.  You didn’t read that in your daily paper, did you?  Did you see them on TV for more than a passing glimpse?  What else doesn’t the mainstream media tell you?

January 21st, 2011


Build a working printer with Legos and a felt tip pen? YES!!

There is much more to the world of Legos than I ever imagined. When I came across a reference to a man who made a printer out of Legos, I just had to see it.

You can see it, too.

January 17th, 2011


While I was writing my recent post titled Seminal Thoughts, I learned that earlier this year Patrick Coffin of Catholic Answers had published a book – Sex Au Naturel.  Perhaps because Mr. Coffin is from Canada it was natural for him to choose a French title but I liked it so well that I seriously considered appropriating it for that post since, really, that was what it was all about.

Because I was impatient to read Coffin’s book, I ordered it as a Kindle selection from Amazon (my first Kindle book ever!) and read it on my PC.  It comes with endorsements  from such sane people as Peter Kreeft who writes that Patrick Coffin has done for Christopher West what Christopher West did for John Paul II.  Bernard Nathanson, M.D., says that his research has been plainly prodigious and the scope of his work is encyclopedic.   On top of that, we have an Imprimatur from Bishop of San Diego, Robert H. Brom.

“Never in history has a papal document of thirty-one succinct paragraphs set off such a maelstrom,” Coffin writes.   He admits that early on he personally didn’t like the Catholic Church’s teachings on sex and didn’t see the difference between birth prevention through contraception and birth regulation through Natural Family Planning.

In his first few chapters Coffin describes the cultural shift from a society in which birth control and abortion were dead wrong, to the current time when both are not only accepted but encouraged.  He gives the biblical background concerning both birth control and contraception and reasons for accepting the Catholic church’ teachings on them.  Chapter Nine deals with sterilization (why not?) and Chapter Ten with Natural Family Planning (why?).  “Human beings have a right to come into existence the way God has ordained, which is through the bodily union of father and mother…Rich is the irony that an over-sexualized, anti-baby culture should excel at producing technologies aimed at making babies without sex!”

This is an easy-to-read study of why the Catholic church still teaches such old-fashioned stuff, with references galore — an excellent go-to handbook.   I find little in it on the psychological and physiological reasons why Sex au Naturel is best, which is the main thrust of  my aforementioned post on Seminal Thoughts.

January 16th, 2011


These gems arrived in my email today, claiming they were “PUNS FOR EDUCATED MINDS.”   Somehow I got sucked in!

The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was  Sir Cumference.   He acquired his size from too much  pi.

I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island,  but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian..

She was only a whiskey maker, but he  loved her still.

A rubber band pistol was confiscated  from algebra  class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

No matter how much you push the  envelope, it’ll still  be stationery.

A dog gave birth to puppies near the  road and was  cited for littering.

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in  France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

Two silk worms had a race. They ended  up in a tie.

A hole has been found in the nudist  camp wall. The  police are looking into it.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies  like a banana.

Atheism is a non-prophet  organization.

Two hats were hanging on a hat rack  in the hallway.   One hat said to the other:  ‘You stay here; I’ll go on  a head.’

I wondered why the baseball kept  getting bigger. Then  it hit me.

A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab  center said: ‘Keep  off the Grass.’

The midget fortune-teller who escaped  from prison was  a small medium at large.

The soldier who survived mustard gas  and pepper spray  is now a seasoned veteran.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it’s your vote that  counts. In  feudalism it’s your count  that votes.

When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of  religion.

If you jumped off the bridge in  Paris, you’d be in  Seine .

A vulture boards an airplane,  carrying two dead  raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m  sorry, sir, only one  carrion allowed per passenger..’

Two fish swim into a concrete  wall. One turns to the  other and says ‘Dam!’

Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were  chilly, so they  lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank,  proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.

Two hydrogen atoms meet. One  says, ‘I’ve lost my  electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m  positive.’

Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain  during a root canal? His goal:  transcend dental  medication.

There was the person who sent ten puns to friends,  with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did!


January 13th, 2011


Explanations welcomed!

January 10th, 2011


Here is the backstory about Abby Johnson’s turnaround — how she quit her job as a Director of a Planned Parenthood in Texas and wrote her book, unPLANNED,  which will be released on January 11.  (See note below#)

I know something about dramatic conversions to the pro-life cause. I experienced one myself some years ago in a Chinese abortion clinic. I had never really thought about what an abortion entailed until I witnessed one with my own eyes. But I could not ignore the result — a dead baby and a mother deeply wounded in both body and spirit — and I turned away in horror.

Abby Johnson’s epiphany occurred in similar circumstances, although she was not, as I had been, an innocent bystander to this crime against humanity. Rather she was the long-time director of a Planned Parenthood clinic which, over the course of her tenure, had done thousands of abortions. Abby, in fact, had scheduled the abortion that changed her life.

She had joined Planned Parenthood as a college student because she had been led to believe that the organization was dedicated to helping women in crisis. She believed them when they told her that they wanted to make abortion rare. She repeated their lies when she told naive young women that what was growing in their wombs was not a baby, but just a fetus, little more than a clump of cells, or a ball of tissue.

But as she went from being a volunteer to full-time employee, she learned that a key goal of the organization was to make as much money as possible by performing as many abortions as possible. Instead of helping to make abortions rare, as she had believed, she realized to her dismay that she was helping to make them more common.

Then came the day when she herself was asked to assist with an abortion, holding an ultrasound probe to allow the abortionist a clear view of his tiny target. What came up on the screen was an entire, perfect profile of a baby at 13 weeks. As the doctor inserted the suction cannula, she saw the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. But there was no escape. As she writes, “For the briefest moment it looked like the baby was being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then the little body crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then everything was gone.”

Abby was devastated by what she had seen. And she swore to herself that she would never again support abortion.

Perhaps her story would have ended there, were it not for the friendships she had formed with the pro-lifers who had long held prayer vigils outside her clinic. These compassionate prayer warriors had long interceded not just for the women who visited the clinic and their unborn children, but for the clinic personnel as well. It is thus no accident that when Abby walked out of her Planned Parenthood office she went directly over to the office of the local 40 Days for Life director, Shawn Carney, and that he and other pro-lifers helped her transition from abortion advocate to helping women and saving lives.

The story of Abby’s conversion, which was years in the making, is nothing short of miraculous. I was reminded in the telling of how Father Paul Marx befriended abortion pioneer Bernard Nathanson, a friendship which greatly aided Dr. Nathanson in his long spiritual journey from the atheism of his youth to his final confirmation in the Catholic faith. (I understand that Abby and her husband have left the Episcopal Church over its pro-abortion stance, and are receiving instruction in the Catholic Church.)

If you are tempted to despair over America’s continuing embrace of abortion, consider the moral courage of Abby Johnson and those who stood with her, and be reminded that all things are possible with God. unPlanned is a story of God’s grace and redemption that should be read by every one determined to build a Culture of Life.

By Steven W. Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute.

For a limited time Ignatius Press is making available at a special price a special edition of unPLANNED with bonus contributions by Fr. Frank Pavone and others.

January 6th, 2011


Here’s a letter to our liberal local newspaper, and below it is my response. They were quick to publish a pro-abortion letter.   Let’s see if they will publish the response.

Defends Planned Parenthood against genocide allegations
Published: 12:51 p.m., Friday, December 24, 2010

Regarding Darlene Senete’s letter of Dec. 10, I was appalled at the distortions, outright falsehoods, and slander used to promote her anti-choice agenda. The film she discusses was produced by Life Dynamics, a virulent anti-choice organization.

She writes of the emancipated slaves as an “economic liability of the wealthy elite.” Nonsense. The wealthy elite seized upon the opportunity to continue keeping black people as virtual slaves, as sharecroppers, etc. The larger the slave or sharecropper family, the more no- or low-cost labor for the wealthy. Black women were allowed no choice.

Today, of black women who choose abortion, three quarters cite economic problems as the reason. Therefore, to reduce black abortion rates, Senete might consider supporting better jobs and pay, rather than victimizing black women once again.

As for taxpayer-funded abortions, federal funds are specifically forbidden to be used for that purpose, either in the United States or abroad. The law that Senete cites as having been banned or rescinded by various administrations is the “gag rule.” It has to do with freedom of speech, as to whether a woman can be told of the full options available to her when confronted with a problem pregnancy. It has nothing to do with tax money.

I can’t end this letter without expressing my disdain for anyone who would slander Planned Parenthood, an exemplary organization that provides education and planning to help women avoid problem pregnancies and their consequent abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortions have declined each year since records have been kept.

In 1973 there were a million and a half abortions, in 2005 there were 820,000. As for weapons of mass destruction, WHO (World Health Organization) cites illegal and unsafe abortions as causing 78,000 deaths and 600,000 pregnancy-related injuries each year.

It’s not Planned Parenthood, it’s the coat hanger, the crochet hook, the caustic fluids, the slivers of wood, the dung, the people who want to make abortion illegal — these are the weapons of mass destruction:

Shirley Bernard


Shirley Bernard (Dec. 24) expressed her disdain for anyone, like Doreen Senete (Dec. 10) who would “slander” an “exemplary” organization like Planned Parenthood. Does she not know that PP is the foremost abortion provider in our country? For Planned Parenthood, killing unborn babies is a business. They do not help women become parents as their name might imply. Unlike the workers in Crisis Pregnancy Centers, PP employees are PAID to do what they do. And they specialize in killing unborn boys and girls.

Look up “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” on your computer and learn what CPCs have to offer the pregnant woman who needs help — and these people are volunteers, helping out on their own time, with their own dime. Then look on Youtube for “Planned Parenthood exposed” and watch what happens on undercover visits to various PP clinics. Also on Youtube look up “Abby Johnson” who was Director of a PP in Texas until she was so convicted by what she saw on an ultrasound that she left her job and became pro-life. Her book, unPLANNED, comes out this month.

Finally, I urge you to take Ms. Senete’s advice to go to The video she recommends is well documented. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, has said that “Planned Parenthood is carrying out black genocide right under our very noses.” Even though Blacks make up less than 12% of the population, they account for more than 37% of abortions. Approximately 50% of black babies are aborted.

Don’t be deceived. ALL babies (even black ones) are precious in the sight of God. As Rev. Hunter (a black pastor) writes: “I have to wonder, how many of the politicians tolerate abortion because they think the right babies are being killed.”

Dorothy Vining

Black pastor, Clenard Childress, talks about black genocide.

January 5th, 2011


No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets

But as truly loves on to the close,

As the sunflower turns on her God when he sets

The same look which she turned when he rose.

I have loved these words ever since I first heard them sung by John McCormack on Victor 78s in the 1940’s.    They bring to mind a faithful love, the dog always at his master’s side, the eyes of the servant on her master’s hand.  So our eyes are to turn to our God.

Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until  he have mercy upon us.  — Psalm 123:2

I do not know if the sunflower’s face actually turns toward the sun throughout the whole day but the imagery works for me.

Thomas a Kempis in his Imitation of Christ writes:
I have said to thee full oft, and yet I say again: Forsake thyself, resign of thyself and thou shalt enjoy great peace. Give all for all, seek nothing, ask nothing again; stand purely and undoubtingly in me and thou shalt have me; thou shalt be free in heart and darkness shall not over go (overwhelm) thee. To this enforce thyself, this pray thou, this desire thou, that thou may be despoiled on all manner of self, and thou, bare, follow bare Jhesu (Jesus only) and die to thyself and live everlastingly to me. Then shall end all vain fantasies, wicked conturbations and superfluous cares; then also shall go away inordinate dread and inordinate love shall die. [ Part 3, Chapter xlii ]

And yet, and yet, while something in me seeks the will of God, how often and how well do I turn to him?  A few days ago I went to mass a half hour early, thinking I will ask God to teach me to pray.  This is one of my most constant prayers. I am not happy with how I pray.   I look about me, I see people sitting quietly in church, unmoving, apparently recollected, probably praying.  But me, I’m in the back seat because I’m fidgety, because I need to rearrange my body, because I used to the agoraphobic, because I want to see who comes in and what’s happening, and yes, I sometimes pray for these people, but I also cough, and clear my throat,  and move about, and I’ve been known to do “pew exercises” out of sheer boredom.  I turn to God and when he doesn’t talk back I move on to other things.

Father Thomas Dubay, S.M.,  says that waiting is a kind of prayer.  It is an activity that involves looking for someone, an expectancy, a yearning.   But I have trouble staying in waiting mode for any length of time.  The mind wanders.  It is true that often I go home after mass and the rosary and know what I am going to blog about that day.   It has somehow come to me at church.  How much is from me and how much from God I couldn’t tell you.

I don’t fret about the distractions too much.  God has shown me that he can get through to me if he wants to.  He knows how often I’ve asked to pray well.   I’ve learned from The Little Flower (St. Therese of Lisieux) that to be a little flower may be exactly what God asks of her (and of me).   I fancy she is a white violet.  Me, I’m a chickweed bloom.

Somewhere I read of a nun who wanted to learn how to pray well.  And a saint (I forget which) advised that she not strain over one method or another but pray like the flower in the field that simply turns to the light and opens up.

Fill my cup, Lord
I life it up, Lord
Come and quench this thirsting in my soul.


As the deer pants for streams of water,
So my soul pants for you, my God.  — Psalm 42:1

January 1st, 2011


Celebrating family! These are the people who have been along for the long haul. In fact, I knew most of them as new-born babies!  Starting at the left and around the table we have sister-in-law Margie, me, cousin Johnny, sister Dolly, sister Annette, brother Ernie, brother Bob.  There were five of us siblings and there still are five of us, thank you, Lord!

Here I am, holding the list of cousins that gathered last month at brother Ernie’s home in Monroe. There are ten of us on the list and our ages add up to 853, which means there is probably an error in addition.

We then went to visit Aunt Fran in the convalescent home in Fairfield.   She has just turned 102.   She hadn’t seen us in years yet remembered who we were and where we fit into the family constellation.   That’s Annette on the left, me on the right, and Fran’s daughter Anne behind her. 

Like Old Barns, we old folks have a past, a certain beauty, and a future. ENJOY.