Sunday, December 31, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sorry Tom

Scientology proves that one man's religion is another man's science fiction.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bush swore

Bush swore.

He said shit.

He didn’t know the mic was on.

That’s no excuse.

The fact that he talks like that when he thinks no one is listening tells us something about him.

I’d rather have a president who swears openly.


Of course, I’d really rather have a president who doesn’t swear at all, public or private.

Or better yet, one who is not ruining the country.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A saying

Some people burn their candles at both ends. I just throw mine in the fire.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Aphorism 3

Using contraception is like eating a meal then vomiting so you can eat some more.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Maybe I’m getting old.

Just before Mass, Sister said we needed lectors and Eucharistic ministers.

I volunteered.

No problem.

When it came time for me to read, I noticed a young lady in the front row.

She was chewing gum.


I looked around.

I saw more women chewing. Some were in their 30s or 40s.

Chew. Chew. Chew.


Here are still rules about fasting, even if they are relaxed.

And what do they do with the gum at Communion?

Move it over to the side of the mouth?


That sort of thing bugs me.

Like people who talk during Mass.

Not the occasional comment.

Actual conversations.

And then there are the people who leave early.

Why the hurry?

Did God scare you?

Maybe I’m being petty, but He did die for us.

I think we can afford to give Him a little of our time.

With our mouths reserved for prayer and song and ready to receive him.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A time for poetry

Easter break is nearly over.

I attended all the Easter services. For some reason, I didn’t get to lector.

I did join a march for life on Good Friday. Lee Strong (View from the choir) was there.

He waved. We didn’t talk.

But he wrote later.

Dada. His latest fad.

Actually, I know he’s been interested in Dada for a long time.

He even created this joke character for his daughters.

Baba Dada.

But now Christian Dada?

Why not just be a Christian? That’s Dada enough.

I guess he has a point there.

As for me, I’ve been reading. Lots of poetry.

Spring does that to me.

It’s National Poetry Month too.

Winter is a season for novels.

Spring is for poetry.




A middle-aged man’s mind turns to poetry.

It’s better than cleaning the yard.

That’s next week.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Friday, April 14, 2006

Aphorism 1

Whatever doesn’t kill you will probably leave scars anyway.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Reading on Palm Sunday

I was a reader on Palm Sunday.

I was Voices.

An anonymous Apostle.


The High Priest.

Pontius Pilate.

The Centurion at the Cross.

A serving girl.

A man with a wine-soaked sponge.


A rogues gallery.

When I studied acting, one of the things I was taught was when you play a character, try to find something in yourself to build upon and help to bring the character to life.

I could do that with each of the person’s whose voice I was.

I was tempted to give each a different voice as I read, by the way.

I didn’t.

But it was fun to think about.

Pilate was British.

Peter was Irish.

The high priest was this priest I sometimes hear on the radio.

Judas was one I was still searching for.



Pat Robertson?

But as I prepared, I did manage to find something in each character I could identify with.

That’s scary.

That’s probably one of the points.

Dang. Whoever wrote the Gospels was good.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Paying a bill

I got a bill today.

It wasn’t mine.

It was mixed in with a pile of my mail.

I absent-mindedly opened them all without looking at the addresses.

It was a credit card bill for a Cynthia S.

Being nosy, I looked at the bill.

She was nearly at her credit limit.

She’d only bought four things with the credit card last month.

Two of the purchases were at a bookstore.

I liked that.

The purchases were all at the beginning of the month.

Like she was being careful so as not to go over her limit.

Last month she paid just a bit more that the minimum payment.

I recognized her street.

It’s in a neighborhood of college students and young people just starting out.


Maybe she’s in a low-paying starter job and can’t pay off her bill.

Maybe she’s been swamped with other bills.

Maybe she’s looking for work.

Maybe she’s a student just trying to get by.

I looked at the purchases again.

Two at a bookstore.

Each about the cost of a book.

I wrote out a check.

For double the minimum payment.

Just to help out.

I put it in the mail.

People used to help me when I was just starting out.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

D*** you, Adam

Spring ahead, fall back.

Tonight is the night we lose an hour of sleep.

It's all that daylight savings stuff.

Of course, the sun will come up and go down at the time it's supposed to.

It doesn't care about a clock.

That's a human thing.

The sun is God's thing.

I wonder what the world would be like if we paid heed to God's things.

Would we have global warming?

Would we have passenger pigeons?

Would I have to wear ties to work?

If Adam had paid attention to God's things, I wouldn't have to wear a tie, or shoes, or underpants that bunch up in the wrong places.

I could run around naked.

With lots of other naked people.

And none of us would care.

Of course, I don't believe in Adam.

Not literally, anyway.

But I'll blame him anyway.

It's a Christian thing.

So I have to wear ties.

And turn my clock ahead one hour.

April showers

It's raining.

April showers bring May flowers.

We already had flowers popping up last month.

Strange winter.

April showers bring March flowers?

Maybe the flowers emerged in anticipation.

Sort of like people who spend money before they have it.

President Bush and his administration, for example.

I've heard Presdent Bush compared to many things before.

A shrub comes to mind.

But not flowers.

As for the flowers, and the showers, the forecast calls for the temperatures hereabouts to drop down into the low 30s tonight.

Strange spring.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


God is messing with me.

I went to a meeting at church last night.

Even I get suckered into those.

Then she walked in.

The pretty girl who interfered with my view of the altar Sunday.

Twin fawns.

Unlike Sunday, she was wearing a baggy sweatshirt.

It camouflaged her twin fawns.

Someone in the room began to talk with her.

She responded.


That vacuous, meaningless catch-word young women seem fond of using these days.


I caught a few more words as she spoke.

Mostly, I heard tones and saw body language.

She is a pretty 18/19 year old.

She talks like it.

She acts like it.

She acts and talks like she knows it.

“I’m young. I’m pretty. I have twin fawns.”

Not fully aware. Only partly conscious of it.

Like an 18 year old.

I’m a 50 year old.

There are more than 32 years between us.

There are decades of joys, of pain, of victory, of loss, of relationships, of partings.

Of living.

Of knowledge.

She can say, “Sweet.”

And it is.

I can only say it with irony.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Going to Hell

I am going to Hell.

That’s according to one of my students.

Not because of anything I did or said.

It’s because of my religion.

I’m a bad Roman Catholic.

He’s a good fundamentalist Christian.

The fact that I’m a bad Roman Catholic is dooming me to Hell.

The fact that I'm a bad one is not the main point.

It’s the fact that I am a Roman Catholic.

Whore of Babylon.

He wasn’t trying to be mean.

He said it like he cared.

He is worried about me.

He’d like me to convert.

From bad Roman Catholic to bad fundamentalist Christian?

I’ve actually attended a few local fundamentalist Christian churches.

Hoping for something better.

I found good music.

Good preaching.

Nice friendly people.


Too clean.

I figure God made a world where things need to get dirty.

He’s an earthy God.

I’ve met him in many places where things get dirty.

I’ve planted a garden.

I’ve assisted at births.

I’ve changed diapers.

I’ve repaired tenement apartments and Appalachian cabins.

I’ve been to Masses in migrant worker’s shacks.

I’ve served at soup kitchens

I gave out soup and bread and juice and cookies.

I could imagine my fundamentalist acquaintances giving out soap.


There are probably plenty of fundamentalist Christians who would be willing to get their hands dirty to help others.

I just haven’t met them.

So I’ll stick to my stereotype for now.

See – I’m a bad Roman Catholic.

I’m a bad Christian.

Maybe if I tell my student I don’t believe in a literal Adam and Eve he will give up on me.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Twin fawns: Thank you, God

Sometimes I think God messes with me.

Like yesterday.

I went to Mass and sat in my usual place.

I read the readings.

I always do that before Mass. That way I can focus on the lectors who read the readings later on.

I like to hear how they interpret the words.

I like to hear their voices.

Sometimes it helps me see the words in a different way.

Sometimes it just helps the words to sink in.

“God so loved the world …”

Then the girl came in.

The first things I noticed were here breasts.

To steal from the Bible: Her breasts were like twin fawns.

Well-developed fawns.

She was wearing a dark blue top, long sleeved, covering her to her neck.

It was not skin tight, but tight enough to display those breasts to advantage.

The rest of her completed the effect.

18 or so. Slender

Dark hair brushed back and over the top, held in place by multiple bobby pins.

Hair if set free that would have brushed down over her shoulders.

Full lips with the hint of a smile. A nose that curled up ever-so-slightly at the tip.

Hazel eyes.

The kind of beauty that can make men dream.

She sat down.

Directly in my view of the altar.

The church was crowded. Mass was beginning.

No where else for me to go.

Normally I try not to keep looking at women like this.

I try to practice what a seminarian friend of mine used to call, ”discipline of the eyes.”

Look elsewhere.

To avoid thinking in ways I shouldn’t.

I don’t always succeed.

With her in direct line of my view of the altar, I had little choice.

I had to look in her direction.

At some parts of the Mass I could close my eyes.

Other times I just tried to focus beyond her.

But my eyes kept changing focus.

Then came the sign of peace.

She stood, turned, greeted the person next to her.

Standing in profile.

And then she turned to the person directly in front of me.

Giving me a full frontal view.

Twins fawns.

Communion took her out of my view.

When I returned to my seat, she was praying.

I did so, too.

As soon as the Mass ended, I left.

But I thought about her as I drove home.

Was she a test?

Was she God’s way to say, “See, without me you’d have to deal with this on your own, and you know your record in that regard?”

See, you can’t let it go.

You can’t let her go.

You never grew up.

I know people who would just say she is one of God’s gifts of beauty to be appreciated.

Like palm tree swaying in a tropic breeze.

Or a waterfall filling the air with its roar and a mist.

Or snow-capped mountains.

Mountains again.

Those people would say that the most important thing is the beauty of God’s life in her.

The beauty of her soul that transcends her physical appearance.

Appreciate the God in her.


So I say thank you God for that vision of beauty.

But next time, could you have her sit somewhere else?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Not me

They say there are two kinds of people in the world.

I’m neither one.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


I am a Roman Catholic.


There are some things about the church I have troubles with.

I've spent long periods in my life away from the church.

But I keep coming back.

Part of it is cultural.

I was raised Catholic, so that's part of who I am.

Even when I rail against things going on, part of me still loves the church.

Sort of like the way it is with brothers.

Brothers fight and bite and kick.

But pick on a brother, and the other will jump on you.

Literally. I did that once.

So even as I fight and bite and kick the church, I find myself defending it.

It's where I'm comfortable. It's home.

But more than culture, it's that as hard as I explore other faiths and denominations, I haven't yet found one in which I see more of the truth.

I see God in it. Men screw it up, but he is still there peeking out.

Hello Ron.

Hey God.

I've stumbled across him in other places. A synagogue. A Baha'i meeting. In an Adirondack forest (go Druids).

I think I even once spotting him outside a Unitarian Church after a service. He was laughing.

At least the guy looked like he could be God.

There were even some places where I thought I spotted him, but I was wrong.

Those times usually involved situations where I desperately wanted something.

Something besides God.

Like money.

Or sex.

Amazing what hormones will do.

But where I have seen him in these other churches, he is usually off to the side or at the back.

Even when he's up front, he's not.

It's always just a flash.

In the Catholic Church, though, he's everywhere. At the same time. In the back. Off to the side. On the altar. In the pew next to me. Winking at me.

He gets around.

He is central to the church.

Finally, the Catholic Church is the one that challenges me.

I can't just create my own beliefs. Like Unitarians. Or Joseph Smith.

There are certain central beliefs.

I have to believe them. Or at least accept them. On faith.


So I fight and bite and kick.

But I keep coming back.

Hey God.

Hi Ron. Good to see you.


Blame Lee Strong.

We've known each other for years. We've shared long conversations about life, art, religion, sex, humor, politics, and which was the best Beatle. (John)

We both enjoy beer.

We've argued a few times. We've even not spoken for months at a time.

I've had violent thoughts about him.

But we have remained friends.

When my wife died, he sat with me. He didn't say much. He just sat there.

I didn't think of suicide.

But I might have if he hadn't been there.

So anyway, he started this blog a year ago. From the back pew. (

It's okay. He's had some good pieces in it. Check it out.

He said I should start one.

Actually, what he said was that I was so full of it that I needed either a blog or a toilet to relieve myself.


You won't see him write stuff like that in his blog. He's got to keep up this image of the deacon-wanna-be.

(By the way, I don't think he would be a good deacon. He's basically a good guy, really religious actually, but he's not a people person and he has too many questions about the Catholic Church. And I know the way his mind works. As he sits in the choir looking at people's faces, he's also checking out the women.

He loves his wife, but he likes breasts.)

(How's that for relieving myself?)

I avoided starting one for a long time. It's too trendy. Like all the cowboy chic after Brokeback Mountain.

But the other day at work I found myself thinking of something that, if I said it, would have upset some peopel there.

I bit my tongue. 20 years ago I wouldn't have. I would have just said what I wanted to say, then stepped back and watched.

If it got too bad I'd just say, "I was just kidding."

After all, my last name can be translated as "the joke."

Ha. Ha.

But I'm getting older.

So I chomped down.

It hurt.

And sometimes I do feel kind of backed up.

So it occured to me that maybe Lee is right.

Don't tell him I said that.

I begin

I feel like David Copperfield.

I begin.


I began a long time ago. My mother and father saw to that.

But I don't think I fully realized who I was until I had been around for a long time.

I remember one day scribbling away when I realized what I was writing would, by the world in which I lived, be considered out of kilter.

The kind of thoughts that sometimes make people give me a puzzled look.

That was the day I was really born.

I scribble, therefore I am.