Category Archives: All It Takes

Imagine This!

Some folks may not like this.  So what.


I sit here, now, imagining

That nothing was or is.

That nothing ever  mattered

Nor nothing ever will.

Imagine there’s no people

Nor light, nor darkness too,

No time or anything to do.


Imagine if there’s never

Nor ever will be you!

Just kill yourself then, Brother

And make it all come true!


Oh, ohhh, ohhh, ohhh!


It’s just a dream that’s all

And we’re all imagined

Shadows on some wall.

A wall that’s just a shadow

At the bottom of some cave

Where no light’s ever entered

Nor nothing’s made or saved.


Oh, ohhh, ohhh, ohhh!


Imagine what you cannot do,

Nor never thought, nor never will:

No God, no stars, no planets

No one to love or kill.


It’s just the perfect answer

For all the things we love.

Or hate if that’s your fancy.

Below or high above.


No heaven high or hell below,

No safe earth in between.

Simply nothing!  That’s the riddle

And the answer, don’t you see,

The Cheshire’s smile does mean.


Oh, ohhh, ohhh, ohhh!


My song’s about now over;

Well, really not begun.

Never really warbled

And never really sung.

Like a rainstorm in the desert

Or sunshine in the night

Drowning burning devils

In new agonies of fright.


Ah, ahhh, ahhh, Hahhh!


peg 06/11/2018





It’s A Record!

You know, there’s probably a few thousand folks around the country thinking that; and perhaps a few hundred thousand folks around the world (God, I hope it’s only that many.) thinking the same thing.  Somewhere north of fifty is the body count, and a couple of hundred people in every hospital for miles around waiting to see if they’ll increase the count.  And, there they stand, on the corner watching, worrying, waiting, counting, and, perhaps, grimly smiling in their best “I told you so!” manner…

Some V.P. at one of the TV stations lost her job because she simply gave voice to what was going through the minds of not a few people.  “Somebody’s got to pay!  Somebody’s got to be responsible!  Why not “them”, the ones who believe in all of this stuff, anyway.  Live by the sword…”

I mean, what’s the problem?  We set a record for cripes sake!  So, we lost a few one toothed rubes.  What was it that guy said, the English one a couple of centuries ago, about Irish babies?  Same thing.  Who dies doesn’t matter.  What matters is we set a record, or, better still set a record and in some way “provide a benefit to the country”.

And, as usual, there are plenty of folks who, understandably upset at the method employed for record setting, are calling for more gun control, calling for the government to step in and prevent such things from happening again.  They did the same thing when the last record was set in Orlando a couple of years ago, and before that when some teenager in Connecticut  set the Youth Division Record in his school a couple of years ago.

Be that as it may, though, it is the truth that all of these folks died not because guns were allowed out in public and got over eager, or carried away by “record fever”; as if they were in some competition;  some Orlando versus Las Vegas thing.


Put a gun down and it stays there; stays until hell freezes over.  The next gun setting a record for body count, whether it’s rubes or boobs, lawyers or liars, will be the first.

You see, that isn’t the problem.  Motive is the problem, and guns, inanimate objects, mere tools that they are, are incapable of forming a thought, however twisted it may be, or developing a motive.  Do we remove hammers from carpenters who bludgeon their wives, children or co-workers with them?  No, we remove the carpenter from the hammer, and either execute them or lock them up for life.  Hammers remain in circulation.  More are made every day, and sold to anyone with enough money to buy them.  And knives.  And bricks.  And sharp spades.

The current and latest record holder is dead, but, I will bet a ham sandwich that like them, the other two I mention above, he was as mad as the Mad Hatter; “barking mad”, frothing at the mouth mad.  And, I will bet another sandwich that absent guns, he would have done what he did with matches and kerosene, or a hammer, a bow an arrow, or, as is becoming a trend around the world, a large truck on a crowded street.

I cannot understand what drives some folks into a rictus of fear driven indignant frustration, what has them wide eyed and sputtering about the need to control guns.  Is it the desperate straits we’ll be in until the last gun is safe behind bars, or melted into something really useful, like a door stop;  and, possibly, until all present gun owners, many of whom were probably fittingly present in Las Vegas the other night, are sent to some quiet place for re-education?

Well, yeah!  And there’s the rub.  It will never happen. But, some folks won’t stop crying and trying.  Well not some, but an awful lot of folks; the brow knitted, hand wringing, teary eyed, do gooding, banner carrying, folks with a cause.

Yesterday I got myself into a discussion on a “social media site”.  You know the one.  Maybe you’re a subscriber, too, along with a couple of billion other people. Just shows you how much spare time there is in the world.

Anyway, folks were going on about guns, and how they cause all these deaths, set all these records, and no one seems to do a darn thing about it, seems to want to keep them out of the hands of screw ups all over.  They always say, “Write a law, or change one, and let the government control what guns there are, or anything else, how many there shall be, and who shall use them and when and where and how.  One of them had written, when I asked why should guns be controlled the following, and my response appears below it:

 “Umm, because people with guns who take a life seem to have more rights than their victim. Seems obvious to me…. right to own and carry a firearm gets talked about way more than the right to assemble in a public or private place without threat of violence.”

I answered this way: “I don’t own any guns, never have.

But I was issued a gun, and carried it for 33 years. On more than one occasion I was glad I had the use of it. And on many more occasions I was glad I had possession of it. It was a magnificent argument winner.

I also know quite a large number of men and women, and children, who own and use guns. Not a one of them has caused an injury or death to anyone else by gun. And there are millions of people like them.

Many, many more people are killed by automobiles each year than by guns; killed by leaping from bridges and tall buildings than by guns, killed, dare I say it, by abortionists, than by guns.

Yet we have not outlawed cars, bridges, tall buildings (or sleeping pills, or cigarettes) or abortionists.

Perhaps, what we really need to do is outlaw pre-meditation.

Then we have only to solve the problems posed by cars, bridges, buildings, pills and tobacco…and, of course the current bette noir, opiods.

Shall we outlaw knives because thousands each year are injured or die by knife? How then would we carve Tom Turkey? And pillows? Shall they be done away with to prevent the death by suffocation of demented elders or annoying spouses?

I offer a revision of the “Guns don’t kill people…” line: Guns don’t kill people, sin kills people!

Outlaw that!”

My interlocutor answered: ” Only one of the items you listed has the sole purpose of inflicting harm upon another living thing. Can you identify which one?”

How shall I answer? Do you know which of the many things exists solely to harm other persons? Cigarettes? Abortionists?



The Last Delivery

When my father cashed in his chips on April 26, 1969 the responsibilities for the proper conduct of his obsequies fell upon my dead brother Tom (MP 56, Fordham 67), who was very much alive at the time, and my humble self.  And so, the next day we appeared at Williams Funeral Home, not too far from Joe’s Fish Market, and just across Broadway from the RKO Marble Hill accompanied by our grieving mother and sister to learn what could be done to honor a devoted letter carrier.

The funeral director, whose name I never can remember, but whose manner I shall not forget, sat behind his desk, which seemed about the size of a carrier’s flight deck.  It was the most slick and shiny piece of furniture there has ever been and was empty of everything except a black phone, his folded arms, long fingers knitted together so as to make me think of a bed of snakes, just below the inverted reflection of his face in the highly polished wood; that face a practiced and professional mask of compassionate sympathy, welcoming us in a properly consoling manner; both in reflection and in fact.

  “We accept cash or check,” were what I remember most his consolations.  That and the soothing words, “Payment is due within ten days, or late charges go into effect,” did much to ease the pain of loss.

My mother, stoically silent, merely nodded, opened the purse she held on her lap, produced a pile of bills and counted out the full amount.   “We would like to see the coffin,” my brother said, standing.  “You have a showroom, of course?”

With no more than the merest gentle smile, your man rose and gestured that we follow him, from his carpeted office through the door and down the carpeted corridor to a doubled door opening into a large room filled with beautiful examples of funerary magnificence.

To be sure, I was awed.  He gestured in such a manner that gave us to understand any of these was ours for the asking.  Thus invited, we strolled among les Objets des Morts, whispering comments and questions until we had narrowed our choices to two.  My dear sister spoke for the first time.  I know this sounds unusual for those who know her, but nevertheless…  She spoke and said, ” Are these the right size? “

For the first of several times during the next few days the, until then, composed, controlled, supremely confident gentleman, our very own Virgil I had come to think, appeared to lose himself in surprise.  “No one has ever asked that question,” he answered with the tiniest waver in his voice.  My mother, smelling blood, smiled ever so briefly and said,”We are.”  I thought I saw him stumble backwards, slightly.  My brother was nearest him, now, and said, “Our father was above average in height, though slimmed some by the disease which finally took him from us.  He suffered greatly in this life, and we would be grieved to know we were the cause of any further suffering for him on his “Last Journey”.” Turning to me, Tom added, “Peter, here, is closest to our father’s height.  We would like to see in which of these Dad would look his best.”

“Of course he’ll take off his shoes.”  The gentleman had raised only this objection after a nervous cough and a frantic look around, whether for help or a way out I have never known.

And so, barefooted since I wanted to feel the satin lining on my feet, I climbed in and lay down in the coffins feeling a bit like that little girl in the story.  The first one was too small by several inches, and I thought of my poor father spending only God knows how many years awaiting the Parousia with cramped aching feet.  But the second was just right, and upon my testimony, we all chose it for Dad.  He, or what is left of him, lies there still, waiting comfortably.

There were several details left to be attended to, so we returned to the office.  The next matter was the preparation and publication of an obituary for the deceased as our Master of the Rites informed us.  In response to Tom’s question he explained just what the charges would be in each of the several papers and offered himself as amanuensis in its production.  He removed a blank piece of paper from within one of the desk drawers and, smiling, paused expectantly.

My mother asked if this was included in the fee just paid.  Sadly, it was not; a piece of information which caught us short for the merest moment.  We were not people of means, and had little set aside for the honors which might have done my father justice.  His early death caught us unprepared. Then my brother offered what I think was a brilliant solution.  He said, “Why not: Ed Gallaher, dead!”

After he had found himself; only a short while, really, our guide gave us some bad news.  “There is a minimum charge.”

It was my sister, then, who suggested a solution.  We would approach my father’s favorite barkeep, Angie of The Kingsbridge Tavern on the corner of our block.  He was always good.  We’ll just add it to Dad’s tab, now in the low four figures.  And that was the end of that!

The last matter of business for the afternoon involved the number of cars for mourners, and, of course the hearse and flower car.  We would do this all without flowers, my mother said, since it was too early for dandelions she added, soto voce.  That left us with the matter of a hearse, and the positioning of cars.

And, here, I spoke up.  “My father’s last wish was to have a Mailman’s Funeral.”  He had been writing something on  piece of paper when I said this, and he slowly put down the pencil.  Looking directly at me he spoke, a little tremulously, “What do you mean?”

I guessed he had never heard of such a thing, so I explained that my father’s body would be carried from the funeral home on the day of the Funeral Mass by six pallbearers in full dress Letter Carrier’s uniforms placed in a mail truck and driven to the church.  Behind it we would all walk, led by the Mailman’s Marching Band.  The Mail Truck, to be driven by my father’s longtime mailman friend and partner, whose name I only remember as Ralphie Boy, would be further decorated with two brand new leather mailbags, one mounted inside out on each each door to signify that inside a dead letter carrier lay.  Further, a gold ribbon bearing the word “Cancelled” in black letters would be draped across the hood of the truck

“Really?” He said.  ” If they are available,” I answered.  “That would be good,” my mother interrupted.  “With the money we save on your hearse, we won’t need Angie.”

And so it was. Or could have been.  The fellow was kind enough to say he would absorb the obituary costs if we allowed him to take Dad to church in his hearse.  Such a deal we couldn’t get in a store as Moe the tailor used to say.

We took it.  He couldn’t stand, so we shook his hand and left.

There are other stories to tell about Dad’s wake.  But, I’ll save them.

We Went Out To The Ballgame Last Night, Hearts Filled With Hope


It’s raining this morning.  Raining cats and dogs.  Earlier it was raining refrigerators, boxcars and horse drawn wagons; with horses attached.  But, none of that stuff happened last night.  Last night it rained home runs, big cheers and great joy!  Great joy after deep gloom; the best kind to have.  That’s the story of baseball, one of mankind’s greatest achievements along with a cold mug of suds and a fat sandwich, and kids who play the game with heart, so guys like me never have to grow old.

Here’s how it happened.

A BRIEF CAUTIONARY NOTE:  The reader will be aware, I hope, all half dozen of you, that what I shall tell below is a story, not factually perfect.  I took no notes, and I work from an overtaxed memory.  But it’s a true story, believe me.

It all started a few days ago when the home town team, The Nashua Silver Knights, was scheduled to play The I Mavericks from Portsmouth, NH, in a three game series to see who would go up against the Western Division’s team for the 2016 Champeenship  of the FCBL (Futures Collegiate Baseball League).  We’ve had season tickets for several years now, and a season’s worth of ball games in the open air, with attendant beer drinking and hot dog eating and screaming at the umps, cheering for the good guys, costs about as much as a night down in Bean Town or a day at Fenway , is closer to home and better for the soul.

Anyway, our guys lost the first game.  Actually it was stolen from them.  But, like Mom always said, “There’s no use…”, right?  And besides winning or losing, we knew we were better than “them”.  So, like everyone in Brooklyn long, long ago, we headed for the next game, last night’s, up in Portsmouth at what I was led to believe was a nice place for a game, Leary Field; our hearts topped off with hope and swagger.  We bought our own chairs with us, and I thought, “This is real!” as, after paying only three bucks, we wandered across the field with our folding seats, and jackets just in case.  It was a beautiful night for baseball, a game of which makes every night more beautiful.  But, nature had put on the Ritz for the game: clear sky, high clouds, a neat little park across from the library with church steeples and old houses and tree lined streets ringing the place, and a quarter moon crooning brightly in the light of the setting sun.  I kept looking for Norman and his easel.

The game was late getting started, and I can’t remember thinking it was because of the crush of the crowd.  Fewer than a hundred people were in the stands, or spread out along the chain link fence on the visitors’ side.   I remember thinking that the ball park was a hitter’s paradise.  It looked like a place for high school ball; no fence further than about 350′, and none higher than 7′.  Compared to ours in Nashua, where Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella played, it was an orange crate to a mahogany chest.

Anyway, I couldn’t help remarking to one of their players, as we passed them by on the way in, “Good game last night.”  He looked up from his stretches and said, “Thanks.”  “You got lucky, ” I answered and walked on.  It was going to be a serious night of ball.

The first three innings were a hitless, scoreless pitchers’ duel, lots of strikeouts, but, also something else.  There were lots of terrible calls from the home plate umpire.  By the end of the third inning, it was more than obvious that the bad calls on the other side were for balls instead of strikes, and on our side he called them the other way ’round.  I know it’s not a good thing to hate anyone, but this fellow was the one exception where hatred was a virtue.  Well, not “the one” exception.  But, you know what I mean.

Striking everyone as odd, the first thing he did when coming out to the field was rearrange the batter box boundaries, a thing no one had ever seen before.

And so it went.  We scored two runs on one hit in the fourth, and it seemed to me, and every other one of the folks with us that the ump was definitely favoring the other side.  Yet even with a tenth player on their side, they couldn’t score.  Our coach was visibly angry with the guy, and our own players were getting upset.  One of our pitchers, the starter, came out in the middle of the fifth because he was too visibly upset to continue.  The umps tactics had gotten to him.

The relief fared no better, and by the 7th inning the score had been tied.  Then, they broke out in front, scoring three more runs on a double by their big first baseman with the bases loaded; bases that were loaded on three walks in succession delivered to them courtesy of the ump, and another pitching change for us due to the same cause.  The kid who came in took the mound, and I could see that the terrible conditions behind home plate had already had an effect on him.  His behavior was full of contradictory signs, all doing with trying to work under tough conditions.  It’s hard building a castle when it gets knocked down before you can get a wall up.  Bad metaphor, I know. Nevertheless the whole team was by this time affected.

We fans, we few on the right side, were catching the virus, too, feeling powerless.  About all we could do is commiserate with the team, and curse the ump, while watching bad call after bad call, and our hopes drain away.  Strangely enough, there was a deafening silence from the fans on the other side; as if they were, somehow, ashamed.

The “scouting report” on our opponents from one of the fellows who was with us said that they were weak in pitching.  Who needed good pitching when one was able to count the ump as a player. Nevertheless, there were some things the guy had to call balls, and out bats still worked.  So, despite the handicap, the fellows managed to even the score. And it was tied at five runs apiece.

But in the eighth inning one of our guys hit a solo home run, a shot clearing the fence way out in center field; too far, I thought with a grim satisfaction, to be ruled foul by anyone so inclined to try.  And, that ignited everyone!  The celebration lasted through the next two at bats by our lads, I think.  Some folks were literally dancing with glee.  I know I was.  It was Christmas and the Fourth of July and VE Day!  I picked the latter to remind everyone, you special seven readers, that work had still to be done.

The bottom of the eighth didn’t change a thing for them, and we went into the ninth ahead by one run.  I have to say the other side tried everything  they could in a long time at bat; but their best efforts still left things as they were.  And, as they were was definitely  not to safe a position to hold on to.  One run against a team that had beaten us by five just two days before was no cushion to rest on.  It was a sharp rock in your back!  Everyone knew it, and knew we needed to build a bigger lead. A combination of worry and determination and purpose built like a coming storm on us, on everyone, I think.  The “game” took one a meaning more than play.  The on deck “circle”, a stretch of gravel next to the ugly squat cinder block shelter that was the dugout, was a busy place with sometimes three players stretching, squatting, practice swinging, loosening up….waiting, and trying not to wait.  The dugout itself was quiet.  The fans, when we weren’t biting our nails, and looking for rabbit’s feet were doing what fans ordinarily do; our best to build a little hope, give a little support.

Have you ever been in a position where you get in inkling that the weather is about to change, feel a cool breeze on a hot sweaty day, a lightening of the heart, a change in attitude about someone or something?  I had sat quietly for some time during the last inning really worrying about our thin lead, and, I guess, praying that we could build on it, to ensure the win I hoped was coming.  And as the first batter walked to the plate, I thought I felt that breeze.  This is no hindsight working on me now.  I simply had a premonition that things were going to be OK.  Only, I didn’t yet know how OK they were going to be.

So, I stayed to see.

I mentioned that pitching was our strength.  Well your can go for the ride of your life on a pitcher’s arm, and we certainly had a stable full of thoroughbreds.  On the other side of the field, they were no judges of horse flesh.  I guess that is why they relied so much on the kindness of umpires.  In this instance it failed them.  The fellow on the mound, God bless him, could give the ump no help, because he kept throwing things so low only an ant could hit them.  And what wasn’t low, was west of Chicago.  Oh, there were a few pitches that weren’t ankle high, and one of them, perhaps more, became hits.  He may even have walked one of them, despite the umps’s best efforts for the team.  The bases filled, then, and another single sent another run in.

The sun had arisen on a beautiful day and the birds were all in marvelous voice.  As a matter of fact everything sounded great, including the prolonged madness of our celebratory screaming.  We filled the bases again with, I seem to recall a miserly hit to shallow right field.  And that inkling I had had was growin’ fast, beyond intuition, beyond certainty and coming up on fact.  By that time several among us behind the chain link fence may have been frothing at the mouth.  I know at least two who certainly sounded that way.

The next fellow up, one of the steady producers, but not the biggest weapon by far in the arsenal, cleared the bases with a grand slam.  And while it was all over in a few dozen seconds, it seems to me now that it took several hours while tragedy and triumph mingled on the plains of battle, and the opposition’s dugout became a mortuary.

And then, our last at bat grounded out. And, as if all it was was  Dad and his pals leaving the factory after the whistle blew, our few fellows on deck turned and walked off the field.  And I felt as if civilization had just been saved.

I listened to the sound of Verdi’s “Dies Irae”  in my brain as the other guys trudged up to the plate, and I asked God for one or two small favors, three mercifully quick outs or perhaps a couple of runs, sort of as a comforting sip of water, a mercy before the just end.  That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?  And it was God’s pleasure to remain where He was and let unfold what had been ordained before the worlds were made, before the stars in all their solemn majesty were set on high above.  There was no long tragic march into Valhalla, no Wagnerian  parade across the bridge into Valhalla.  The end was a brutal fact. Merciless and swift and sure, as the lion suffocates the helpless zebra.  And silence.  For a split second before we all,players and spectators erupted in one triumphant rush and roar.

He had granted my first prayer…the one I really, really wanted.








Get Ready, ‘Cause Here I Come!

Down at the mall where my love and I work about once a week I walked through the doors to the food court on the day after Halloween a week and a little while ago.  Passing into the food court I heard playing in the background something from the 60’s.  It was a kind of Mo-Town recording of Frosty the Snowman; something like that, up-beat, smiley, guaranteed to put you in the mood…the mood to spend money.  That is after all the only reason to go to the mall.

It was the first day of November and Christmas was already here.  Or should I, out of respect, call it XMAS, and let it signify something entirely different than the old feast.  It is the last place, I suppose, outside of a few churches, where one will be able to remember the fact, and observe it after a fashion, that Christmas has once again rolled around.  The columns around the food court were decorated with colorfully lit wreaths.  Santa’s little perch in the middle of the mall where he will sit in state and dandle little kids on his knee for $25.00 a pop was already in business.  The Christmas Shop, in the space only a day before occupied by the Halloween Shop had garlands of phony pine needles, sparkling ornaments and yards of lights hanging where a scant 12 hours before hung goblins and mummies.  Walls now dripping with gay decoration only a day ago dripped with bloody horror for sale; another modern marketing sacrilege against an ancient and respectable remembrance, a time set aside to pray for our beloved dead.

The pace will accelerate, the fever will grow, the music will continue to batter the mind and ease the will into the right disposition, a mixture of frenzy and fear, frenzy to get and fear that it may not after all be able to be gotten, to satisfy the equal hunger in the heart of the recipient to receive; a hunger for the bright, the new, the perfectly engineered obsolescent machine, the momentarily stylish garment, the magically soon to be un-popular  film, game, cd; the breakable toy, the perfect gift; the one that cannot last.

Be not afraid.  Though it last what may seem an eternity of anxiety, frantic hurrying, grasping crowds, angry waiting, immense traffic jams, this season of worry and false cheer, the season of Xmas, it will end soon enough, sometime in the early afternoon of December 25th.  That is the time when the Community of Man, having feasted as few may have feasted in the million or so years of our presence here (except for the community meat frenzy around the occasional ten ton wooly mammoth, or the Neronic wallow in hummingbird tongues and other gustatory delights), gathered as one people before the Eye will enjoy The Games.  That is the climax of what used to be the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ, God and Man, in Bethlehem, in a manger, warmed by animals, sung by angels, adored by rough shepherds, held by His Virgin Mother Mary, watched over by His foster father Saint Joseph the peasant carpenter.

You will not have heard the name Jesus mentioned, or all the wonderful story of His birth retold in any mall, or sung in any song played there, in all the year; and especially not during this long season of the New Observation of the feast.  The primary desire is to keep one from thinking about all of that, about sacrifice, about Love, about salvation, about worship, about Beauty, Truth and Good.  You are meant to think about haste, about frenzy, about exhaustion, about anger, about excess of every kind.  That is the spirit of Xmas.

The first toy will break by 11:00am on Xmas morning.  When, the next day, you visit the Mall to bring back all that could not fit, was not wanted or was broken on opening the music will be a pleasant blend of “recent hits”, the Santa set will have been struck, the decorations gone, the wall bare, the Christmas store closed, its windows papered over.  Only business will be conducted as it should be, conducted with surgical efficiency and speed.


Perhaps I should let that be what it is and stop.  But then..

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Albert the Great the Dominican philosopher, scientist, teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas.  He believed among other things that the world around us shone with the glory of God and part of the work of his life, his scientific explorations and discoveries, was in the service of demonstrating that belief, making it plain as day; the world is Good, and True, and Beautiful.  His mortal remains lie today in a humble crypt beneath St. Andrew’s Church in Cologne, Germany.  Not long ago my wife, Mariellen, and I were there.


St. Andrew’s Church, Cologne, from the tower of Cologne Cathedral

It’s a lovely church just down the street from a magnificent structure, the Cathedral, built be people whose beliefs, if not as sophisticated or scientific as St. Albert’s, matched them.  You should make the pilgrimage, perhaps at Christmas time.  It will be unlike any Christmas you may have spent since you were a child yourself.

The Gospel yesterday told of Jesus’ conversation with the folks who want to know from Him when the world will end.  That short passage was one of the things that got me thinking about all the preparations now underway for Xmas across this wide land in malls and stores and in many homes and many minds; certainly on every TV channel, newspaper and radio station.  “How many of them are thinking when the world will end?” ran across my consciousness like a ticker tape.

He answered them this way: ““The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’  For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”  Even at the mall.

But, He also said: “The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.  There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.  For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.  But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

I thought of the last sentence above while thinking of the Xmas celebrations now taking place across the country.

Yesterday I thumbed through the latest issue of that Journal of Mere Christianity, Touchstone which arrives regularly in my mail.  Prof. Anthony Esolen of Providence College in Rhode Island is a Senior Editor, there.  In a lead editorial he throws a bomb over the transom into the kind of place the world is becoming.  But, he’s got another article at the back of the book, something about a lovely hymn written by Charles Wesley, “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending.”  Professor Esolen’s short article on that hymn served me perfectly as commentary on the yesterday’s Gospel.  He wrote, about the “light” descending, the Light of Christ: ” So in the dark night of Advent we await the coming of the true light that enlightens every man; yet we should remember that light is cool, refreshing waters for those who love the light, and like the glare of an enemy to those who hate it. (Emphasis added.)

He points out through the rest of the article, with quotations from the hymn “this stark ambivalence” in us so masterfully expressed in what he calls the “most majestic of our Advent hymns.”  Just a short excerpt should suffice as an example of what he means about the glare.

Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.

Every island, sea, and mountain,
Heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
All who hate Him must, confounded,
Hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment! Come away!

The Advent of the Malls, the long Xmas orgy, is designed precisely to prevent such things from entering the mind of people who really don’t want to think, and who believe the Little Tale of Bethlehem is sentimental foolishness.  Yet, they will sit on several days in the next few weeks and watch wrapped in sentimental foolishness, for the thirtieth time perhaps, The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and how many others; ignoring once more heaven’s smallest and heaven’s greatest gift.

Who designs such things as that?


Perhaps you may wish to think about that time, you don’t know when…maybe in the middle of a song while at the mall?, when He will come with clouds descending:

Another version, sung more clearly:

PS: It strikes me a little in my funny bone to know that Providence College, of such a happy name, where Anthony Esolen, whom I think such a happy fellow, is a professor in a Dominican school which without fellows like St. Albert the Great, who was probably great company, would probably not exist.

What Are You UPTA? Who Cares!

So it’s official.  The White Hose says that thing in Libya was not a bunch of guys who were partying.  It was a terrorist attack.  I read it in a story from CNN.  CNN and MSNBC electronically and the New York Times in print are to the current Administration what Pravda was to the Kremlin, wholly owned subsidiaries.  You read something there about anything those guys do and you can take it to the bank.  Anyway, the CNN story is about that the attack on the Untied States in Libya was a terrorist attack.  But, it was an unplanned terrorist attack.  This is something new, an ominous and foreboding change in tactics, unplanned attacks.  But, it is also a good thing. As long as the terrorists are launching unplanned attacks, there is no use in trying to find out what they are doing.  The terrorists don’t even know.

So when an UPTA happens, we can legitimately say , “Gosh!  We had no idea.”  And, if someone, say a drunk in a bar on Third Avenue, happened to mutter something about the crazy Muslims, we can as well point to the drunk as the cause for all of those embassies being burned to the ground, and avoid having to suffer any criticism for being clueless idiots ourselves.

In addition, there is no need wasting time, money and manpower building up a muscle bound security staff.  In fact, if the UPTF (the Unplanned Terrorist Front) decides not to plan another raid somewhere where there isn’t anybody awake or watching, we can legitimately say their barbaric murderous insanity will not provoke us since no one was home, err, figuratively speaking.  And, since nothing really was lost, our apology for being the victims , here, will not make us look like any bigger fools than we really are.

That probably means that our apologies will not have to be withdrawn, which is a good thing.  When a country goes back on an apology everyone will start to think they are getting ready for a fight.  But if we don’t know who punched us, or why, what’s the good of fighting back.  Better just to say you’re sorry somebody got upset at something and promise it won’t happen again.

Oh, you don’t believe it was a UPTA?  (That’s Washington for Unplanned Terrorist Attack.) Well the folks who should know said it was and that’s enough for me.  Here’s what this guy Carney said:

“It is a fact that there are in post-revolution, post-war Libya armed groups, there are bad actors, hostile to the government, hostile to the West, hostile to the United States and as has been the case in other countries in the region, it is certainly conceivable that these groups take advantage of and exploit situations that develop when they develop to protest against or attack either westerners, Americans, western sites or American sites.”

Not only are they Unplanned Terrorists, but they are also Bad Actors.  That is why the video of some of the unplanned terrorists dragging this dead guy, our recently living former Ambassador to Libya around and screaming “Allahu Akbar.” fools no one when they say they are taking him to the hospital.  What they are doing, really, is dragging him around so they can show everyone how their not-plan worked like a charm.

I have been given a transcript of a cell phone conversation between two members of the UTF (Unplanned Terrorist Front) in Libya.  The boys are ginning up a scheme to kill someone.  Here is my rough translation leaving out all of the profanity and references to sexual prowess, which figures hugely in conversations between terrorists, when they are not talking about murder and eating:

Terrorist 1:  Hello, Uday?”

Terrorist 2:  This is me.  Is this you Jamil?

T1:  It is but I cannot tell you it is.  Someone may be listening.

T2:  That is good.  This isn’t me, either.  For the purposes of this conversation I am The Blood of Hero Martyrs for Ultimate Death to All U.S. People.

T1:   Great name.  Did you think that up by yourself or did someone suggest it?

T2:   I got it from the last issue of Super Jihadist, the one where he kills everything in Europe but the sheep.

T1:  I like that one.  I have every issue of SJ.

T2:  Do not say that, SJ.  Those are the initials of the infidel Jesuits who slaughter Muslim babies and serve them to Catholics at their Christmas.  I can’t wait to kill Jesuits.  That is why I have decided I will go to America to study medicine at Georgetown and kill Jesuits.

T1:  Well, forgive me.  Anyway I called to ask if you are busy tonight.

T2:  Yes, I am.  I am taking my younger brother Abdrule out to rape Christian girls.  It is his first time.

T1:  Ordinarily Blood, I may call you Blood?

T2:  Yes,of course.

Ti:  As I said, ordinarily I would love to join you in helping the faith grow among the infidels, but haven’t you realized that there are no more Christian girls in town?  They have all been raped and become good wives to our Brothers, or they have died by our cleansing swords and knives and guns and RPGs.

T2:  I knew that.  I was going to take him over to Hamid’s sheep herd to practice his technique.  Next week we’re borrowing my uncle’s armored troop carrier for a trip over to Egypt to go raping.

T1:  That can wait.  I have something which is much more important for the spread of the Umma.

T2:  W hat can be more important than bringing into our faith converts who can give us many sons for jihad?

T1:  Well, you have a point. But tonight you must suppress your zeal to convert young girls and join us for an evening of jihad of another kind.  Do you still have your Kalashnikov and enough ammunition for an evening’s, umm, evangelization among the infidels?

T2:  Of course.  I have it along with five large knives for mutilating corpses, one hundred feet of cord for hangings and crucifixions, three rpg’s and some pickling spices , and a blow torch for burning holy names on the bodies of infidels.

T1:  Pickling spices?  No, I won’t ask.  Boy you guys from Abbadabbabad are weird.

T2:  Whatever.  Ok.  Anyway, what and where and how much?

Ti:   I’ll be by with some of the other fellows, The Mostly Cruel Brothers of the Heroic Martyrs of April 5th Brigade, and a few guys from The Vicious and Bloodthirsty Vengeance of the Powers of Heaven on all Infidels Social Club at about 7:00pm.  We’ll all be in Akphoom’s pickup, you know the one he was married in, the one with the 50 caliber machine gun that blew away half of his third wife during the reception.
T2: Yeah, what a laugh.  Her head exploded like a watermelon.  Cool thing was he still kept the goats.  Anyway, what’s going down, or blowing up…which is always more interesting?

T1.  No one’s too sure right now.  But it’s gonna be a lot of fun.  There isn’t much left, really, so we might do two or three places; a couple of churches, and that hospital, and the Ecuadoran Embassy.

T2.  Ecuador?  Why Ecuador?

T1.  It’s the only one still standing.

T2.  Well, let me get something to eat.  My brother will be disappointed, you know.  He’s already 12 and he hasn’t raped a Christian girl yet.  Dammit, I kinda wish we hadn’t burnt down that school and machine gunned all of them when they came running out.

T1:  Who knew? You know I was eight when I started raping.  It was a target rich environment then.  Anyway, bring the kid along.  He can work the blow torch.  We’ll be there in about an hour.

T2.  OK, don’t be late.  I gotta take an exam tomorrow and I haven’t cracked a book yet.

The State of The Union #3,256 (NB: Its an inflated number)

The State of The Union: The building industry at work putting the economy back on its feet. Just you wait!

I’m just an ordinary slob of a guy.  I have to take off my shoes and socks if I want to count past ten.  So, you see, I don’t really get it when the current folks we put in charge of things, the boys and girls we elected, do things that make me wonder if anybody has a brain that works right anymore.

Here’s the thing that puzzles me.  For almost as long as I can remember, the money guys and such have been forecasting our financial future and issuing reports about how good or bad it is now or is going to get.  By the way forecasting means guessing, and guess is what you do when you don’t really understand things or have a solid answer. Weather guys and girls today, and generals.   Astrologers, wizards, magicians in the old days.    These guys were forecasters.  They threw bones, poked around in chicken guts, spoke to holes in the ground and looked at the king’s last BM.  Then they came out on the balcony and said, “Nah, nothing to worry about.  Go home and get dressed up.  We’ll meet at the temple tonight and roast a cow to the Great Badapple, God of All the Universe.”  Or, they said, “Go jump off a cliff, you and everyone you know.  It’s better than what’s coming.”

Maybe they do the same kind of thing today?

Because, you see, I keep hearing this line about the housing market.  I heard it back in the ’90’s when things took a dive.  And I heard it again, when stuff hit the fan.  And, of course I’m hearing it now.  All of sudden…well for four years, anyway which isn’t really a “sudden”, more like a long groan.  Anyway, all of a sudden (groan), I hear that the “housing market” needs to recover.  And, as soon as it does, why every sunset will be golden, every dawn will begin with a fanfare right out of Hollywood.


The guy next door to me?  He can’t sell his house, because he can’t find a buyer at any price that will cover what he still owes on it. And that is because the value of the house has fallen below the amount of his mortgage, which he got in the Happy Days of not so long ago  That’s a situation called negative equity. I do not hear about negative equity until about three years ago when my neighbor tells me he has it.  At first I thought it was a disease and he should see a doctor.  Perhaps it is.  Perhaps he should.

And, I read the other day that in the last four year everyone in the country has become 40% poorer than they were, besides which everything costs more and 8% of the guys and girls who can work can’t find it, which figure does not count the ones who simply gave up looking for work after a couple of years and are…what?

Savings accounts?  Some big money guys are complaining that the problem is no saves a dime anymore.  Have you been to the bank and asked to open a savings account in the past few years?  You want to know what the bank gives to citizens who want to do their duty?  A penny for your dollar.  A penny don’t even buy a stick of gum.  They could save money if they don’t mint pennies anymore.  But then, in a few years no one would know what’s the origin of the word Copper, so I figure that’s why they still have them; to preserve the language.

Anyway, the housing market.  Everyone says we gotta start building and selling houses again like there’s no tomorrow.  That’ll put all of those out of work guys and girls back to work, their paychecks will fill up the empty bank vaults and pretty soon everyone has a new car and a new house and a new suit and a new lease on life.

I hear this and I think most of the new cars ain’t made here anymore and the ones that are made are made for guys who own the company back in Japan, or Germany, or maybe even Iceland, and their stockholders to get rich off of.  Most of the suits are made in a hole in the wall in Indonesia or Pakistan.  And the lease holders are all Chinese.  And the stuff we build houses with is all made mostly over there somewhere.  We have no more steel mills we can call our own, damn few auto companies and damn little of anything else.  Man, we can’t even keep our soldiers overseas supplied by our own ships.  We have to hire some other country’s boats for the job.  For cryin’ out loud, this keeps up and soon we’ll be renting warships.  Hell soon we’ll be renting pirates to chase other pirates.

And houses are supposed to make all of this get better?

How the hell is that supposed to happen?  Show me how the bird guts point that out.