The Cycle Turns

I’m sitting on the porch on a sunny day, with a bit of a chill. It’s is a perfect day for Autumn, moving toward Thanksgiving and Winter. My neighbour just pulled up with her boy friend. Her son, almost 3, is not with her. Maybe he is at his father’s, maybe his grandparents’. Who knows? It’s not my place to ask.

I’ve been in a similar predicament, a single part-time parent, whose concept of parenting and family life was ripped away. An intact nuclear family was a notion that was belittled and maligned in the wake of the Sexual Revolution. I was a willing participant in that “revolution”. Only now, half a century later, can I see the personal, cultural, and social catastrophe that the Sexual Revolution was.

Madness is very alluring. Giddy mania, perpetual Mardi Gras, is the endless season of our time. No Ash Wednesday ends the revelry, no fast, no penance comes to insert reflection about our sins. There can be no sin, if we deny there is a God, just inappropriate behaviour.

Jesus used his miracles to cure the demon-possessed, even casting demons into a herd of swine, who then proceed to run off a cliff. We make movies about our demons. Computer generated special effects make them real celebrities. The Hallowe’en creepy season offers an annual showcase of depravity

Virtue? What’s that? Power? Now we’re talking. Who can I control? What can be destroyed in the name of justice?

Dysfunctional families make for ideal prisons. Managing a life of shared custody, child support, sparking a new romance or coping with loneliness offers distraction aplenty. And a talking head will happily present a lie for truth. And we’ll believe that head.

33rd Sunday In Ordinary Time

What makes time “Ordinary”? I’m too lazy right now to look up the ecclesiastical answer, and it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I went to Mass, and sat among these beautiful families, fathers, mothers, children of all ages.

My body doesn’t always cooperate. Pain centers in my lower back and in my left hip. I sat in the pew, hurting, but praying, listening, chanting the Gloria, Sanctus, Pater Noster.

Despite hurting, despite wishing those children were my grandchildren, I knew I was home.

We’ve spent a century pursuing the idols of hedonism. I’m glad I lived long enough to walk away.

Remembrance Day 2021

That is the name used to commemorate the day the Armistice was signed , ending The Great War 1914-18. We limp along, bearing the cultural, political, and societal scars of this catastrophe, even today.

The legacy of that war is the carnage of its spawn, the brutal second act of 1937-45. Her memorials need only names to convey the horrors, Nanking, Katyn, Coventry, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Auschwitz, Hiroshima.

A peace that gave monsters free reign to wreak havoc was no peace at all. Yet the pipe dream that was Versailles continues to seduce us. We’ve moved the locus of reverie, from Geneva to New York and Brussels.

I don’t have a solution to alleviate the consequences of human sin. We might want to keep the swords in the scabbards, the drones and the bombers on the tarmac, and the aircraft carriers in port. But even those gestures are but more of the same simplistic fantasy. Maybe I will reread Auden’s September 1, 1939…….

And remember the compassion of St. Martin of Tours, whose Feast Day is today.

La Palma Volcano Islas Canarias

This was taken at 0255 Local Time 25 Oct 2021.

Folks, am I the only person in the blogosphere watching this? This is absolutely incredible. You can watch it in real time on YouTube.

Beats the Heck out of football (American and soccer), politics, and gives sex a run for its money.

The cone has partially collapsed. The lava flows will destroy everything in their paths.

Safely Through Another Week

That is the title of a Protestant hymn we sang in the Presbyterian Church of my youth. The hymn was an expression of gratitude, oddly lacking in our contemporary culture of entitlement and grievance. How can the entitled and aggrieved express gratitude for anything? We either think we deserve our gifts and therefore expect to receive them or we resent that we have been denied what is ours by right. I suspect that the rigidity of the thinking of Grievance Culture does not allow for Thanksgiving.

So I made it through this week safely. My week culminated in a colonoscopy this Friday. My colon looks pretty good, one small polyp, snipped, most likely benign. Anybody who has experienced a colonoscopy knows the procedure itself is a holiday, after undergoing the preparation. The prep, at least here in the U.S. of A, involves a purging of the colon by drinking about three litres of water, after taking a course of purgative salts. At the end one is dehydrated and exhausted from the purge. General anaesthesia is a “consummation devoutly to be wished.”

Post procedure, I had a meal, my first solid food in about thirty six hours. I enjoyed a bowl of soup that tasted a tad salty, but I actually needed the salt. Then I came home, texted friends and family that I had the procedure and was OK.

The solid foods fast was not bad at all. I realized we build up a lot of anxiety around not eating. We in the developed world can afford to fast for a day and probably should, not necessarily as a religious obligation, but to allow our bodies to use some stored fat, and to rest. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have prescribed fasts of varying lengths. So if G-D expects it, fasting isn’t such a bad idea.

I’m looking forward to working out again, recommitting to healthy eating, and learning new stress reduction skills.

My next round of medical examinations and procedures will be as simple as an eye exam, and as complicated as a hip replacement.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!


I’m waiting around for a colonoscopy, four days away. I had to get COVID-19 tested today. They recommend I self-quarantine so I won’t be exposed to the virus after the testing.

But wait! I’ve been vaccinated! Doesn’t matter, I suppose. So why did I submit to the jab if these doctors are dubious enough about its efficacy to advise I self-quarantine. It’s a question for the ages.

I found this website The Internet Archive. It is the world’s digital attic, with billions of pages of stuff. I can waste hours rummaging around in it,which I did tonight.

I finally found Josef von Sternberg’s Blonde Venus, starring Marlene Dietrich and a young Cary Grant. I was pleased to identify Sterling Holloway in the opening scenes. His distinctive voice can be readily discerned. I believe he later became the cartoon voice of Disney’s Winnie The Pooh.

J texted. She was headed home and wanted me to heat some of Sunday dinner’s leftover spaghetti, which I did.

I switched out some dry clothes for wet ones in the dryer. I have a cup of decaf beside me, that I fixed in the Keurig. I should go to bed.

But I really just wanted to acknowledge the deep loneliness in my life, the ennui, the sexual frustration. I lack the courage to risk being rebuffed by my wife. So I sit.

Procreative Insomnia

Here I am, awake again at Two in the Morning. I was tired early last evening, slept for a couple of hours, awoke about 10:30 and have been up ever since.

I’m drinking peppermint tea, watching for trains in Ashland, and hoping I fall asleep again soon. A freight is coming from somewhere, either the North or the South. I cannot discern the direction just yet.

We have two trains, converging in Ashland They’re not the longest freights I’ve seen, but they’re long enough and loud enough,

After watching a particularly explicit erotic dance to the tune of Body & Soul, sung, I think, by Billie Holiday, I’ve decided to end my avoidance of praying The Holy Rosary, by joining the priest and pilgrims at Lourdes. Via YouTube, I mean. Not that I think that dancer’s gestures and gyrations were particularly sinful. Sex just seems so oddly out of place in our world of politics and killing.

If making a baby is the last thing on your mind, why do you even bother? To have sex, I mean. I know, there are plenty of answers to that rhetorical question. Maybe some of you, young enough and in love with life enough , ought to bother to do precisely that, procreate. It will make more sense when you’re 70, believe me.

Rant over. Rosary begins Later.

3:00 AM. Awake Again.

Last night I went upstairs about 11:30 PM. J was watching a show where HGTV’s Illustrated Man, David Bromstad, was showing a couple houses near Punta Gorda, Florida. For all I care, he could be showing them houses on Saipan. But there was J, enraptured with these bungalows Tattoo Guy was showing to the prospective buyers.

I had been watching a DVD, When Jews Were Funny, about Jewish comedy, particularly the old comedians, who appeared regularly on the Ed Sullivan Show. These were men like Alan King (one of my mother’s favourites), Henny Youngman, Shelley Berman, Jackie Mason. The list is long. They told jokes, almost entirely apolitical, Alan King told jokes about the absurdities of suburban life. He wrote a book Anybody Who Owns His Own Home Deserves It. Mort Sahl was the only overtly political comic. He used a newspaper as a prop. Woody Allen did comedy about his supposed neuroses. I miss them. Like my parents, they understood what a blessing it was to simply have enough to eat. The Fifties and the Sixties (up to 1967) was a time when nobody had extra money to buy so-called recreational drugs, like marijuana.This was also a world without cheap and available contraception. Nobody cohabitated with a member of the opposite sex, outside of marriage.

I’m trying to get out of my head, the extent of suburban decay, in an outdoor shopping mall, maybe eighteen years old. We went to P.F. Chang to eat overpriced Chinese food in an “upscale” setting. At least, it was once upscale. The restaurant is still nicely decorated, appropriately dark for its ambiance. Outside the upscale veneer falls off, as the stores are largely boarded up. Brooks Brothers, Saks Fifth Avenue survive. I don’t see how, but they do.Now one doesn’t have to drive all the way downtown to see boarded up retail locations. The pandemic was a stab in the heart of this community.

A little bit of my heart breaks every day.