The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pears & Plasma Screen TVs

Watching coverage of hurricane aftermath, one of the things I've noticed in particular is the ridiculous amount of looting going on. One can justify stealing bottled water and other necessities (not that there's any to be had), but big screen TVs and DVD players? Come on, people, it's not like you even have electricity at this point, not to mention a dry place to set your ill-gotten gains. I was immediately reminded of the passage of Confessions where Augustine talks about stealing merely for the sake of stealing. There's gotta be a connection here:
"Near our vineyard there was a pear tree, though the fruit was not particularily attractive either in color or taste. I and some other wretched youths conceived the idea of shaking the pears off this tree and carrying them away. We set out late at night (having, as we usually did in our depraved way, gone on playing in the streets till that hour) and stole all the fruit that we could carry. And this was not to feed ourselves; we may have tasted a few, but then we threw the rest to the pigs. Our real pleasure was simply in doing something that was not allowed."

St. Augustine, Confessions
Chapter 2, book 4

Monday, August 29, 2005

I was browsing a list of campus organizations at the college where I'm taking several courses, and I discovered a few things that made me raise an eyebrow:
  • First on the list is "1 For All: Christian Fellowship." A very nice group, I'm sure, but their bulletin board in the hallway contains a scripture passage which they quote as being from the book of "Isaih." Not familiar with that one.
  • Then comes the Biology Club. I'm not exactly sure what they do, but I can just picture all sorts of...stuff getting passed off as a group project.
  • Is anyone surprised to learn that the advisor of "GLBT Unity" is also the advisor for the Psychology Club? Incidentally, their group activities are listed as "Movies (documentary and fiction)
  • I was amused to discover that we have both a Multicultural Club and a Muslim Student Association. You'd think there would be a lot of overlap (Anoka County isn't that diverse). For further amusement, observe that the name of the Muslim Student Association's advisor is Patty Pieper. Now that's a Muslim name if ever I've heard one.
So, I think I've found a few ways to get involved this semester. Fix the Christian Fellowship bulletin board in bold red ink...slip the GLBT a few movie suggestions (I bet Focus on the Family has something appropriate)...ah, yes, I'm going to have fun this year.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

From the Pope's Angelus address marking the feast of St. Augustine (my Confirmation Saint):
"St. Augustine, whom we commemorate today, makes some stupendous reflections about the invitation in Psalm 104, "Quaerite faciem eius semper -- Seek His face always." He notes that this invitation is valid not only for this life: it applies to eternity as well. The discovery of the 'face of God' is never exhausted. The more we enter into the splendor of divine love, the more beautiful it is to proceed with the search, so that "amore crescente inquisitio crescat inventi – in the measure in which love grows, let the search for Him who has been found grow the more"
(via Off the Record and Amy Welborn)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

All sorts of good stuff on Catholic Exchange today

Modest Dress at Mass

We are invited to the Eucharistic banquet every day, most especially Sundays. We do a grave disservice to our young people by not teaching them that though “you should not judge by appearances,” people do. Going to church in skimpy clothes shows disrespect for the people around you and for Jesus Christ, our Lord.
An Open Letter to Senator Patrick Leahy

As one Catholic to another, permit me to suggest that you also have an opportunity, indeed a responsibility, to insure that Catholic-bashing, overt or subtle, does not spill over into the Judiciary Committee’s deliberations from the activists’ battle-of-the-blogs and the food fights on cable TV.
New Study Finds that Unborn Babies Cry

Scientists played a 90-decibel noise to the unborn child, roughly the equivalent of a tummy rumbling, and recorded the effect the noise had via ultrasound. “It was strikingly like an infant crying,” said New Zealand pediatrician Ed Mitchell, who contributed to the US study, according to New Zealand's The Age. “Even the bottom lip quivers.”

Friday, August 26, 2005

It's a wonderful feeling... wake up at 6:30, realize that it's raining cats and dogs outside, brace to go outside and face the monsoon, and then remember that I parked the car in the garage last night.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Kind of sad that the first thing I noticed was the misplaced apostrophe

I was cleaning my room today (okay, I was helping Mom clean my room today) and I came across a story that I wrote. I was glad to see that, at least in my estimation, my writing has improved somewhat since I was 5.

The Hot-Air Balloon Ride
By Holly

Once, for the 1st time me and my family were going on a Hot Air Balloon ride. I was really excited! My sisters were too. We got to the place where our balloon was, And we got in it.
Up, up it went. We were high in the air I could see a flower garden that looked like a rainbow
there is our car said Dad, it looks like a toy. Some bird almost flew into the balloon. The cloud’s looked really close.
At last it was time to go. None of us wanted the trip to be over. Mom and dad said we could go up again sometime. the end.

Jan 9, 95

Reconciliation Afoot?

It would seem more likely than ever, according to this article from Catholic World News:
Vatican, Aug. 23 ( - Pope Benedict XVI will meet with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior-general of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), on August 29, to discuss the prospects for reconciliation between the Vatican and the schismatic group.

Although the Vatican has not yet confirmed plans for the meeting, officials of the Roman Curia have unofficially acknowledged the accuracy of reports within the SSPX about the coming meeting.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I love being domestic

Don’t get me wrong – I would rather have Mom around than not, but since she’s gone yesterday and today, I’ve just gotta say, there’s nothing quite like the simple beauty of being “in charge” of the household: the cooking, the cleaning, the dishes, the laundry.  I can see why you moms (or dads, as the case may be) do it.

Of Punctuality and Syllabi

It occurred to me just now that this is the first year I've started school without Mom beginning the day by taking everyone's picture. Not that I would have had time for that today anyway, since I overslept until 16 minutes before I wanted to leave. Still, I managed to get out the door on time, and the only thing I forgot was my lunch. The first class of the day was English 1121, at 8 am. I made up my entire schedule around that class, as the professor was highly recommended by multiple people, and it was worth it. I think he realizes just how hard it is to get and keep the attention of 20+ high-school/college students. I was a little worried when I picked up one of the books for the course, as it contained a lot of essays by liberal feminists (one by Gloria Steinem particularly made me shudder), but none of those seem to be on the syllabus. French was a complete 180 from my Latin experience. I'm used to working mainly in grammar, and far less in conversation, whereas this class seems to be focused far more heavily in conversation. The only thing I really picked up was "Comment allez-vous?" ("How are you?") and the 6 responses she taught us. That, and our homework, part of which is to find her car in the parking lot (red Honda with a French flag on it was all she told us), write down the license plate, and find a definition in our French dictionaries (apparently it says something in French…).
Of all my classes, College Algebra 2 & Trigonometry was the furthest from what I had expected. The prof is a very energetic 30-something woman who spent 40 minutes on the roll call, as she wanted to know not only our names, but also where our dream vacation would be and why (detailed explanations preferred, it seemed). When one person replied that they would like to vacation in Greece, she said, “Oh, so you could she the Parthenon, the Coliseum, all that good stuff?” I guess that’s why she became a math teacher. She also made reference to The Da Vinci Code, which she said was based on “kind of a screwed-up subject” ((), but then said that it was remarkable just how much history and fact Dan Brown could work into his pages ((). It was also a new experience for me to be told to skip the first 598 pages of the book, but apparently that’s pretty common in one-semester classes, which I’ve never before had.
Then I had a break for over an hour, during which time I ate lunch and finished most of my homework.
After that, it was off to choir, which was by far the best part of the day. The director is a very vivacious and fun person (our concert title this year is “Bach to the Future”). She didn’t waste any time getting to the music, and we were able to get through a couple pieces right away.
Lastly, I had “Practical Experience in Journalism” (producing the student newspaper). I went to the room and there was no one there, so I checked the course catalog and, discovering I was right, went back by this point, it was after 1:00 (the designated start time) and there was still no one in the room, so I waited for a bit and then inquired at the information desk, all the while being plagued by visions of being horribly late to a class on the first day (I absolutely cannot stand to be late for anything). The secretary directed me back to the room I had been at, but this time the prof was there. As it turned out, only 3 students had registered this year and one of them couldn’t be there today. I didn’t really care that I would probably be carrying at least a third of the writing/publication, I was just so happy not to be late.
The professor remembered Katie and Jessica from when they worked on the paper a couple years ago, and that seemed to work in my favor. I’ve heard stories about his extreme political liberalism, so I don’t know if his good disposition toward me would continue if he noticed the picture of John Paul II that I have taped in the front cover of my notebook. Not that it really matters – JPII moves for no one.
Surprise, surprise, I had my last name mangled during every roll call. By the end, I pretty much stopped caring. They’re just going to get it wrong tomorrow, anyway (except for the teachers who wrote correct pronunciation on their lists; I corrected it for them). I pondered briefly what would happen if we took the “J” out of our last name, just to make it easier on strangers, but I don’t think “Kleeski” is much of an improvement.
I was very happy to discover that I have friends in 4 of my 5 classes. Hopefully, we’ll be able to study together. As the friend with whom I’ve got French and Math said, “Well, at least if we fail, we fail together.”
Anyway, that’s pretty much what I’ve got to look forward to for the next 3 ½ months. Just thought I’d share.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

E-Mail from an adoring reader

Okay, so not really, but it made me laugh really hard feel really honored.


My Name is Ric Benitez
I am sorry for the unusual approach but I have
acquired your email address as a person who is
actively involved in or looking for an online
*Business Opportunity.

If this is the case I would be grateful if you
would allow me to send you details of these
opportunities that may well be of interest to you.

I did not want to send you any details until I
had mailed you to seek your permission first, as
experience has taught me that not all leads that
we acquire are genuine *Business Opportunity Seekers.

If however you would like me to send you full
details of these Opportunities then please send your
reply with "Give Me-Access" in the subject line and
your Name in the text body, without this I cannot
send you any further information I am afraid.

So why not give it a try? After all I am not trying
to sell you anything. It's only information that you
may or may not wish to act on.

I want to help Internet marketers and newbies get
on the right track whether you want to believe it
or not, this is the least I can do to help my
subscribers and those putting a sincere effort into
making a living online.

In return, I hope to gain your trust and increase
my credibility so that my future offers will be more
highly considered.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you very much for your time and your co-operation.

God Bless You and your Family.


Ric Benitez

Yes, you heard it here first: I just may be a “genuine business opportunity seeker.” That explains the irrepressible urges I sometimes get to just…sell something. I’d reply to him, but with school starting tomorrow, I just don’t have time for a penpal.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Paper or Plastic?

I was cashiering at work the other day when a woman came through my line with her daughter, who was probably 10 or 11 years old.  They had quite a few back-to-school clothes, and the daughter threw a tantrum and declared, “Mom, if you make me wear that, I’ll have to wear a bag over my head!”

Her mom bought the clothes.  And asked for an extra bag.

A Cowbell in Every Pot

Apparently, Christopher Walken is running for president. Given this blog's occasional mentions of Mr. Walken (with regard to cowbell; I think he's creepy otherwise), I was highly amused by his website. I was most amused by the quotes at the top of each page: for instance, "If you want to learn how to build a house, build a house. Don't ask anybody, just build a house." What the heck does that mean!? Luke 6:48 is what came to mind for me. Anyway, I'll actually be old enough to vote in 2008, but he's going to have to work a little harder for my vote.

I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else, but apparently pickpocketing is pretty rampant at WYD. Someone from our church has been calling home periodically with updates, and here mom passes them on. Apparently, on the first day, one of the chaperones was relieved of his money, passport, ticket home, etc (of course, he happened to be carrying all that in his front pocket, so any sympathy is vastly tempered). Another chaperone lost her camera, and a friend of mine who's there was walking down the street when he felt someone going through his backpack. The thief was going after his camera, but couldn't get it because Luke (my friend) had bungeed it to everything else in the bag. Luke turned around and punched the guy, because, as he said, "It was either him or my camera."

"For just 99 cents more, you can get fries and a Pope..."

COLOGNE, Germany (CNS) -- McDonald's is a most unlikely place of pilgrimage, yet that is where, opposite the Cologne cathedral, hundreds of young people crowded to see Pope Benedict XVI. The McDonald's restaurant on Marzellan Street was ideally positioned to offer reasonably clear views over the heads of the other pilgrims who were lining and clogging the streets. At about 5:30 p.m. Aug. 18, the youths began storming the McDonald's, climbing on benches and tables and excitedly knocking at the glass windows whenever they thought there was a sign of the pope's arrival. "We just spent three hours waiting at another location, and we realized it was too crowded for us to get a look at him," said Patricia Taibo of La Coruna, Spain. "So now we came here and hope that, after coming all this way, we will at least get to see him as he drives by." "I don't mind, it's a special situation that requires me to be exceptionally tolerant," said the restaurant's duty manager, Muhammet Oezbek.

Now if McDonald's really wanted to capitalize on this, they could offer Special Edition WYD Happy Meal toys. I'd collect 'em all.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Close Enough

Something happened last night that made me very glad that we’re starting school soon, as there are clearly some people around who need just a little more education (yeah, yeah, I know – big surprise).  I was walking out of work last night, carrying a copy of Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens.  One of the other employees looked at it and said, “Charles Dickens…Didn’t he write The Nightmare Before Christmas?”  It took me a minute to make the connection, and then I replied, “No, but he did write A Christmas Carol.”  Her response?  “Oh, yeah.  Whatever.  Close enough.”  I’ve seen a lot of things, but that’s the first time I’ve ever seen Charles Dickens confused for Tim Burton.

Incidentally, Our Mutual Friend happens to be the best work of fiction I’ve read in quite some time, and the BBC movie is absolutely amazing.  I highly recommend one or both to anyone who has a little spare time.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The History of Cowbell

From Wired Magazine: The history of the phrase "More Cowbell!"

Bone of My Bone...

A rather bizarre link from the Old Oligarch regarding a new development in the world of wedding jewelry: wedding bands grown from the bone cells of the betrothed. As for myself, I think I'll stick with "Diamonds are a girl's best friend."

Saturday, August 13, 2005

World Youth Day Indulgences

Francis Cardinal Stafford, the Major Penitentiary, has signed a decree regarding a plenary indulgence to be given to all who "in a spirit of total detachment from any sin, will take part attentively and devoutly in some of the celebrations..." And then, there's the part that most interests me, and most likely anyone who is in the country to read this, which is a partial indulgence to be granted to all other Catholics, regardless of their WYD participation, if "at least with a contrite heart, they ask God with fervent prayers to strengthen young Christians in the profession of the Faith, to reinforce their love and respect for their parents, and to firmly commit themselves to shaping, in accord with the holy norms of the Gospel and Mother Church, the new family that they themselves will form or have formed, or their own life in accordance with the vocation that God has indicated to each one." You can read the entire decree here.

Not Mincing Any Words

Cologne, Germany, Aug. 12 (CNA/ - In an in interview on the preparations for World Youth Day, the hosting archbishop, Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, said the event is a gathering for young people, not for "the people of yesterday" such as dissident theologians Eugen Drewermann or Hans Kung...

"There is nothing for them (Kung and Drewermann) here, as young people are not interested in the silliness they fostered for so long. We don't need any Drewermann or Kung or anything else stale at WYD," Cardinal Meisner added.
(read the entire article here)

I think I like this guy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

And His Mother Prayed 500 Times...

Since someone actually asked for it, here are the lyrics to the song we did for Vacation Bible School last week. It's sung to the tune of "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles," and yes, I do know for a fact that it fits the music. As I said before, all credit for cleverness goes to Jess, though I don't know if I can forgive her yet, as the song has been running through my head almost constantly since Friday.

When he was born, well his mother knew he’d be
Yeah he’d be the one who defended the truth
And she raised him, yes she raised him up to be
A Christian like good mothers try to do.

But Augustine, didn’t like theology
He liked to drink and party all the long day through
And if you struggle, with sins of impurity
St. Augustine’d be the role model for you

But his mother prayed 500 times
And then she prayed 500 more
So he’d be the man who laid 1000 sins
all down at Heaven’s door

One day Ambrose, yeah Augustine he did see
While he was preaching, as those preachers often do
In Augustine, some potential he perceived,
So he called him to exchange his sin for truth.

And Augustine, well he dropped down to his knees
And prayed, “I know my sins are very far from few,”
“But dear Jesus, I know that I must believe,”
I must believe in the great beauty that is You.

Because his mother prayed 500 times
And then she prayed 500 times
So he’d be the man who laid 1000 sins
all down at Heaven’s door

St. Augustine! St Augustine! St. Augustine! St. Augustine!
St. Augustine is in heaven now with God! (repeat)

Then Augustine, he prayed continuously
And preached and wrote as very few could do
His book “Confessions,” contains much philosophy
And he also was the Bishop of Hippo (Hippu?)

Well Augustine, he wrote many useful things
Telling all the faithful Catholics what to do.
“You are great Lord, and greatly to be praised,
Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in you.”

Because his mother prayed 500 hours
And then she prayed 500 more
So he’d be the man who laid 1000 sins
all down at Heaven’s door

St. Augustine! St Augustine! St. Augustine! St. Augustine!
St. Augustine is in heaven now with God! (repeat)

Because his mother prayed 500 hours
And then she prayed 500 more
So Augustine would be the man who laid 1000 sins
at Heaven’s door

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Gee, Didn't See This Coming...

ROME, JULY 29, 2005 ( China might soon become the most populous country of bachelors, reported a missionary of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions.

Father Giancarlo Politi, speaking on Vatican Radio, said that the one-child policy, instituted to "maintain control over the population, so that it wouldn't grow enormously," favors the birth of boys among Chinese families.

"There is still a need to seek by all means to have at least a male child," said the priest.

As a result of the policy, instituted in 1979, an estimated 25 million young men in China might remain single for life.

"The family without heirs leaves the couple in a relationship of virtual sterility, also from the human and not just the procreative point of view," he said.
I mean, really, sometimes it just baffles me that people can have such a lack of foresight. Did no one realize that a civilization can't go on if it fails to reproduce, and it can't reproduce if they are, let's see...women. Not to mention that, because of the one-child policy, China is becoming a country of only children, and that in and of itself scares me.

Monday, August 08, 2005

For when you really need a firm foundation....

Yeah, so I did a double-take when I first saw this. I mean, it's not everyday that Catholic vocabulary gets thrown out into the consumer world. I immediately thought of a few captions for it, the most obvious one of which I included above.
Anyway, it's late, and I think I'm coming down with something (probably the "VBS sickness"), so perhaps I'm finding this funnier than I should. I'm going to bed now.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Well, Vacation Bible School is over for this year, and I think I speak for everyone when I say: We're tired! Not that it wasn't worth it, of course; it always is. I effectively lost my voice today belting out St. Augustine's story set to the tune of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)," which was very cleverly written by Jess. At least the kids really seemed to enjoy it (all 10 groups for whom we did it). I think I'm going to go take a nap now...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Prayer Intention

From an email we received today (she was a homeschooling mom from our parish):

Due to a tragic water skiing accident, Marcia Ochsenbauer was found to have no brainwave activity. Surrounded by family, friends, and prayer, the decision was made to donate Marcia’s organs so her life could continue to be life giving. Marcia went home to be with Jesus sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning. A wake will be held at Mattson’s Funeral home in Forest Lake beginning at 5:00 pm and ending at 8:00 pm. A rosary will be said at 7:30pm. The funeral is being held at St. Peter’s Church on Friday morning with the rosary being said at 9:45 am and the Mass starting at 10:30 am. Burial will be held at Calvary cemetery and a luncheon (to be held at St. Peter’s Hall) will follow the burial. Marcia is survived by her loving husband Tom and their 3 children Zachary – 6, Michael – 4, and Christina – 2. Please keep them all in your prayers.

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