Thursday, March 31, 2016

Book Reviews--no thank you

Everyday I am offered 2-3 books to review and mention on one of my blogs or on Facebook. These are free, and rarely worth keeping or recommending, but occasionally I get something really good, like the very first book by Pope Francis, co-authored with Benedict, or an interesting first novel or a pink NIV Bible for elementary school girls. Today it was another anti-Catholic, anti-religious book about child abuse. Here’s my not surprising response (I usually just send a “Thanks, not this time” reply).
“Sorry, wrong reviewer, Lissy. I realize you’re just doing your job. Everyday I open the paper or see on the local news about a teacher or coach or youth organization leader who has been charged with crimes against children, yet no one blames the public school system, which has far more employees than religious organizations. And at the same time, we ordinary citizens are called “transphobic” if we don’t want sexually intact men wearing make up and dresses in little girls’ restrooms. Crazy world. This sounds like another religious witch hunt, and we know how those end.”
One time I was sent something on race relations that was really intended to worsen them instead of improve them, so I sent a similar note. Surprisingly, the gal wrote back and apologized, told me she felt the same way (she was black), but needed the job and worked out of her home.

Alcoholic finds Christ and her writing vocation

Heather King, who lives in LA and is a Catholic, tells her story of addiction and compulsion to coming to sobriety and joy, and then her vocation, writing. I found her reading her blog, which included this video. Funny, inspiring and entertaining.  You'll love this. I learned so much--and enjoyed her talk thoroughly.
"I'm an ex-barfly Catholic convert and I'm proud. I write, speak, give retreats, edit, and clean bathrooms.

Look for my monthly column, "Credible Witnesses," in MAGNIFICAT; and "The Crux," my weekly column on arts and culture in TIDINGS, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of L.A.

My heroes are Flannery O'Connor ("The writer has no rights except those he forges for himself within his own work”) and the late comic Bill Hicks ("Play from your F-ING heart!")."
Poor Baby, her book (essay) about abortion, available on Amazon.
" I came of age during the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. I’m a former waitress, an ex-lawyer, a sober barfly, a Catholic convert, and a self-supporting writer. I’ve been financially independent all my life. But I’ve never much been able to reduce the mystical to the political. I’ve never been much moved to call myself a feminist. The feminists had said that sleeping around would be empowering. The feminists had maintained that “choosing” would make me free. The feminists had asserted that there’d be no repercussions. The feminists had been wrong. That I’m for life—and against abortion, war, the prison industry, capital punishment, and the destruction of all that is most precious in us and the people around us—is a given. That I’m for life is why I suffered, in silence, in guilt, in sorrow, for over twenty years. Even women, who will talk about anything, don’t talk about abortion. But I do, in this 10,000-word essay that I hope might open the door to a new way of thinking about and talking about this difficult subject. Because abortion is not a political issue; abortion is a mystical issue. Abortion is a matter of emotional and spiritual poverty, of what we inherit from our parents and what we pass on to our children, of what we absorb from a culture that is saturated with violence. As Dostoevsky observed: “Love in reality is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.” "Poor Baby" is the tragicomic story of a harsh and dreadful thing. May it shed some light on our collective yearning for love. NOTE: POOR BABY is a 54-page essay, not a full-length book."

Donald Trump's qualifications to be President

I saw this on Facebook, and have no idea of the provenance, authenticity or truthfulness of the author (who said he was a Democrat).

Life long voting democrat and blue collar: Lets check out Trump's presidential qualifications:

Obama is against Trump
The Media is against Trump
The establishment Democrats are against Trump
The establishment Republicans are against Trump...

The Pope is against Trump
The UN is against Trump
The EU is against Trump
China is against Trump
Mexico is against Trump
Soros is against Trump
Black Lives Matter is against Trump
is against Trump
Koch Bro's are against Trump
Hateful, racist, violent Liberals are against Trump.
Bonus points
Cher says she will leave the country
Mylie Cyrus says she will leave the country
Whoopi says she will leave the country
Rosie says she will leave the country
Al Sharpton says he will leave the country
Gov. Brown says California will build a wall.

Trump for President!

I believe the SuperPac lady who left the campaign who said he never intended to run; but did so well at the beginning, he just continued.  His political advisors are very frustrated with his open mouth insert foot campaign, the latest being women getting abortions should be punished, which later had to be retracted, and his "3 most important functions of the federal government being security, education and healthcare," 2 out of 3 of which are the Democrat platform.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ten Conservative Principles by Russell Kirk

And Donald Trump doesn't fit any of them.

Ten conservative Principles

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created. Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk.

Sorting Christmas cards at Easter

 Image result for women at the tomb

Since we were having Easter dinner here in two days, I thought it might be time to put away the Christmas cards. I take one last look, keep the letters and photos (which after 55 years is now a huge box for my kids to go through when I graduate to the next phase) and toss the rest.

Three things I have to pass on to you.

1) NEVER send cards with sparkles! My goodness. What a mess. My couch and jeans were covered.

2) Please, always write your last name!!! By the time I sort and throw the cards out, the envelopes are long gone and I get confused by all the Nancys, Jims, and Johns.

3) Third, I was rereading a handwritten note from my cousin Sharon and since she is (I assume) a U.S. citizen but has lived in Canada since her marriage 55+ years ago to Angus, she is paying attention to our election, but is seeing Canadian news sources. She writes: “Only Cruz and Trump use the words radical Muslims. I just heard Islam may not qualify as a religion under the Constitution. It only contains 15% religion and the rest is political ideology, which could take you anywhere even violence, depending on who is running the service even having you pledge allegiance to them. Maybe there is something going on here.” I had heard something similar—that it is a cultural ideology not a religion.I know this doesn’t sound like a Christmas greeting, but she also included her travels, health report and weather for Toronto. And it is all handwritten!

Then going through the cards I found notes I hadn't responded to, so I phoned Ann, a local call, who had scribbled something about genealogy that really puzzled me, but she was referring to a chapter in a book from 2003 that I had contributed. Stories of Ohio; tales my grandparents told me, by Dorothy Briss.

I had a note from my college roommate, Dora, and attempted to e-mail her but it bounced, and I looked her up on Google and phoned her in Boston. We had a great chat. Among the cards were some that had been returned to me that I had sent relatives in a nursing home years ago, which included an address for a cousin my aunt had requested. So I googled her, and found out she had died in late December. She and I had corresponded for years about genealogy, but I'd never met her. She's been a Church of the Brethren missionary in Nigeria, and one of the memorial suggestions was for the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, because that was the area where she served. Marianne Michael was 98.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Blessings

I'll be off line for a few days. 

Six failures of Obamacare--according to John McCain

Although I thought John McCain was a very weak candidate to go against Obama in 2008--old white military hero of memory against a young handsome black hope and change vision for the future, I'm still getting e-mails from him.  Today I received this--and he's speaking for Arizona, although it's much the same in other states.
  1. HURTING THE ECONOMY: The CBO has projected that Obamacare will result in 2.5 million fewer full-time jobs by 2024 and increase taxes by $1.2 trillion in the next decade. During these tough economic times, [Arizona] Congresswoman Kirkpatrick stands by her vote as her constituents face job losses and higher taxes.
  2. INCREASED DEDUCTIBLES: This year, Arizonans are facing a 21% increase in health care insurance deductibles. Yet, Congresswoman Kirkpatrick has done nothing to reduce these higher costs on Arizona families.
  3. FAILED INSURANCE CO-OPS: The Arizona insurance co-op was removed from the Federal Marketplace resulting in 59,000 Arizonans losing their health insurance. Congresswoman Kirkpatrick continues to stand by Obamacare, proclaiming it as her proudest vote.
  4. FALSE ASSURANCES ABOUT OBAMACARE: Despite her previous assurances, Americans who liked their plans were not able to keep them. Congresswoman Kirkpatrick even contradicted her own support of maintaining existing health insurance policies by voting against the Keep Your Own Health Plan Act.
  5. INCREASED PREMIUMS: After voting to pass Obamacare, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick announced that the new law would expand protections to consumers. Unfortunately, Arizona families have only seen tremendous increases in their premiums each year with no relief in sight. In fact last year alone, premiums increased by an average of 17.5 percent in Arizona.
  6. FEWER CHOICES: Fewer insurers are offering Obamacare plans on the 2016 exchanges, according to a report from Government Accountability Office and federal and state Obamacare exchange data. Congresswoman Kirkpatrick promised more choice and competition but has stood silently by as the number of plans continues to decrease.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Easter celebrates the bodily resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ, the hope for all Christians; but here's what appeared in my mailbox.
  • $17.32B: In Easter-related spending is expected in 2016
  • 89%: Of Americans believe chocolate bunnies should be eaten ears first
  • 81%: Of parents steal from their kids’ Easter baskets
  • 1.5B+: Marshmallow Peeps are consumed each Easter
  • 2.6B: Eggs are purchased each March
Imagine if $17 billion were given to agencies to improve housing for the poor or elderly with no cut for government bureaucracies.

Luther and Trump

If you know your church history, you know that Martin Luther split the church by deciding that Scripture meant what he said it meant, not what the Church declared. He discarded a number of books of the Old Testament, or said he didn’t like them (like James, Revelation, Esther, and Hebrews which remained canon, and he much preferred John to the other Gospels) all the while declaring “sola scriptura” to be the basis of faith. He changed the Catholic church’s definition of original sin and justification to one he created. 
But the implications went far beyond the church—probably because there were many forerunners of revolt who didn't like papal control, and the church was in great need of reform. Or, scratch a religion, any religion, and you get politics. Once that Bible cat was out of the bag, all sorts of interpretations began cropping up among others, and one was the horrible conditions of the peasants of Europe, who were virtually slaves to the local Lords. This was ready to explode even before Luther since their lives were so awful, not unlike slavery in the U.S. but often worse. So when the peasants got word of what Luther was saying and posting and writing (liberty in all things), they thought he could be their leader against both the church and the lords. Wrong. Luther sided with the German power structure, not the peasants. They rioted; Luther didn’t support them. Over 100,000 peasants died, as well as people in other classes who were poor or had less power. 
Let’s jump ahead 500 years. Luther was hot headed, intemperate, nasty, prone to deep depression, but brilliant in gathering supporters and translating Scripture into the language of the people, German. He touched a nerve both spiritually and politically. His ideas exploded all over Europe.
Does that sound familiar? Like today’s headlines?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lard is good for us--again

When I was growing up, there were always several pounds of lard in the house. Mom cooked everything in it. Plus she was the most fabulous pie baker in the world with the flakiest crusts--all made from lard. But she always read the health articles in the ladies' magazines, and sometime in the 1950s, lard disappeared from our home, and even the grocery stores. I've never purchased it, but it's been coming back in style the last 10 years and is much healthier than the oils that replaced it.

Peanut powder

I bought some Jif Peanut Powder yesterday. Mixed up about a TBSP today to eat with celery and to taste test. Not bad, but obviously missing a lot of fat--which is the whole point. 2g fat per serving of peanut powder compared to 16g fat per serving of peanut butter. Unlike Jif Peanut Butter this ingredient list contained only peanuts. Next, I'll mix it with a little chocolate.