Landscheidt Part 2

Standard

Why am I sharing this?    Well, it’s past writings prior to Catholic Diatribes.   Really, I was just re-reading and rekindling my interest in the climate change debate, and more importantly what the sun might have to do with all of this.

I don’t find it inconsistent at all to stray into other areas of interest in a Catholic blog.   All creation is made by and designed by God.   The realm of science is embraced by the Church as long as its study is aimed at helping us understand creation, and by extension, a little itty bit of the mind of our Creator.   Where we run afoul is somehow thinking that science helps explain things absent from God.   That is a perversion of science, and unfortunately most science has run afoul of the limits of its own discipline.

In addition to that, when I see injustice suggested in the name of science, especially erroneous science, it is entirely Catholic to look for the truth in that issue and combat injustice.   In our day, what should be good – a focus on good stewardship, proper environmental concerns, taking care of our planet, etc. – is elevated to religion and is not kept in balance with human needs.   People are put out of work because of silly environmental policies, but even worse we have started to accept the premise that human beings are bad for the earth.   This leads to further promotion of contraception, abortion, once child policies, sterilization, etc. as an actual good.   But it is not a good – all those are innately evil.

So, with that, let’s talk about the sun and the solar system.

The sun (more accurately, the Center of the Sun – heretofore known as CS) revolves around the Center of Mass of our Solar System (CMSS) as the CMSS traces an orbit around the galaxy. The sun is a ball of plasma. As the CS goes around the CMSS, which is changing relative to the sun’s position based on the dispersion of the planets in their respective orbits around the sun, it traces a path in a Helix-type pattern, at different orbital curvatures and distances from the CMSS. When things revolve around a fixed point, there is Torque and a change in angular momentum. Plasma being a charged (ionized) gas, the revolution around the CMSS creates a magnetic field with a certain potential (vector potential) that is driven by the changes in angular momentum. This then is a key driver of solar activity.

 

While I refer to the sun’s movement about the CMSS, it is a more accurate representation to refer to the CS’s movement about the CMSS, since CMSS is often within the boundaries (or “limb”) of the sun.   So, from this point on, I will use the more accurate CS in referencing the sun when discussing orbital movement.

As mentioned before, I only do this to try and boil it down so that laypeople can take something away from it, because I feel it is largely a missing piece of the climate change debate.

We are still on the ABSTRACT:

Sentence three: Relatively strong impulses of torque A L occur at mean intervals of 19.86 years.

Landscheidt identifies a period of time within the secular cycle (defined in the previous discussion) of 19.86 years where the torque reaches its maximum. To think of an impulse of torque, imagine swinging something attached to a string. If you swing it in a steady motion, there is a constant torque. Let’s say every now and then you give it an extra “oomph” and whip that sucker around. That is a torque impulse. Landscheidt says that this happens with the sun every 19.86 years, on average, in its path around the CMSS. This coincides with a minimum in distance between the CS and the CMSS.  The reason it happens at minimum will be fully explained later, but can be boiled down to a couple things: CS has a tendency back to an equilibrium distance from CMSS, and we can think of being at minimum from CMSS as that point on a spring where it’s fully stretched and wants to “snap” back.   More technically, at minimum distance from CMSS, CS is still revolving, which means it is in its tightest orbit, driving up angular momentum. All this will be looked at in more detail later, but for now, just note the 20ish year period.

Sentence Four: Four consecutive impulses respectively define a permanent wave with a quasiperiod of 79.46 years which determines the distribution of positive and negative extrema in activity.

Quasiperiod is actually defined functionally, but its use in this case really refers to the fact that the 79.46 period is determined by a goofy shape that doesn’t really wrap around on itself, although it is a repeating pattern. The wave aspect of this tells us that there are peaks and troughs of solar activity, and the 19.86 year period defines the length of this “wave.” There is an average cycle of minimum distance between the sun and the CMSS, on average, every 19.86 years.   Depending on other criteria, these distance minimums either drive increased solar activity or solar inactivity.

 

To Turn or Not to Turn

Standard

His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah stirred the pot and excited some people in early June when he announced that he prefers and recommends that Priests celebrate Mass ad orientem.   As Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, it seemed a legitimate thought that he made these statements in an official capacity.  Waves of cheers rocked the traditionalist community and they saw that it was good.  Most of us shrugged, and said, “whatever.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols chimed in with a different view in July and essentially poured cold water on the idea, at least for his archdiocese.   It seemed that Cardinal Nichols felt like this could lead to a bit of Liturgical anarchy, and perhaps even some sort of competition.    He directed that his priests should not interject preference into the Liturgy.    Cardinal Nichols now became the subject of scrutiny in traditionalist circles – was he even Catholic? – and they feared the tremendous progress made would be sabatoged.   Most of us shrugged and said “whatever.”

Then the Vatican itself went to the replay booth and essentially overturned the play.  It became clear that, despite his official capacity in his role, Robert Cardinal Sarah overstepped a bit and had not run this idea past Pope Francis before springing it on the world.    The traditionalists’ fears were now confirmed, the Pope hates them, and all is still lost.    Most of the rest of us shrugged and said “whatever.”

Personally, I find the entire thing silly on the one hand and troubling on the other.

I love my friends – many of them who strongly prefer a more traditional Liturgy, and would essentially love to see all masses revert back to the traditional Latin Mass.  I respect their preference and would never, ever tell them that their preference is wrong.   Further, even though it’s a little bit longer of a drive, there is an oratory in our area that celebrates the Latin Mass.   They have that option.   I suppose it would be nice to have a few more places celebrate Mass in that way so they didn’t need to work as hard for them to have that experience.

My issue is, as usual, with those who cannot let this go.   Who elevate their preference to a dogmatic level and want to force everyone to accept this as the “correct” Liturgical form – not merely a preference in form – and that anyone who doesn’t see it their way is somehow less serious about the faith than they are.   Unfortunately, this is a very real phenomenon.    It is actually part of what keeps me from adopting a more traditionalist bent, myself.   I see spiritual pride and judgment and I want to avoid that.

Do not misunderstand that I don’t know the arguments that are made for why people really prefer the ad orientem posture.   I do.  There’s a symbolism there I can appreciate.  There’s nice symbolism in all sorts of things, though.   We follow the Church’s guidance on what must be an element of Mass, what should be, what may be, and what cannot be.    We need a certain uniformity among all the faithful, and then there is room for preference as long as it is within the guidance of Liturgical norms.   If you want to go to a church that celebrates in one way, then go ahead, but don’t tell me I need to want or desire that.   The same can be true of more liberal interpretations of the Liturgy, as well.   And I’m not saying there aren’t lines that get crossed – there are.   When things move from a preference that is allowable to something that is actually discouraged or outright impermissible, I don’t shrug.   That is simply wrong, and needs to be called out.   but this is NOT one of those things, as the GIRM currently stands.

The following cartoon has made the rounds:

This is stupid.

I will borrow my arguments from a Facebook exchange I read in discussing this cartoon.    But in general, the cartoon is trying to make the point that the Priest is turning his back to Jesus.    This is just unnecessary divisive.   Which, excuse the tangent here, is my main issue.   Why are we constantly arguing and hating on each other over things like this?    Do we really believe that God wants this to be the issue that leads our heart to determine that the Pope must be the Antichrist?    Seriously…

Anyway – again borrowing arguments from others:  Jesus is actually at the right hand of God the Father.  We don’t praise His image on the crucifix.   We may desire to look at it while we praise Him to help us focus on our image of Him and a reminder of what He went through, but it is not necessary to face the crucifix to pray to God.   Further, God is with us in our midst wherever any number are gathered in His name.    There is no requirement that we all face the same direction to acknowledge that.   Third, the altar is where Christ becomes physically present to us.   When the Priest consecrates the hosts and the wine he is facing Jesus.   So are we.   What difference does it make whether Jesus is between us or at one end of the line?

And yes, I know that there is more to it than that – the Priest is “leading” us.   But that’s not the point of the cartoon, so I’m responding to that whole “what makes more sense” bit.  Probably the only remotely reasonable argument I heard on this from the pro- camp was that it would have been a better representation above if it were the tabernacle instead of the crucifix.   I can buy that to an extent, but it’s not as if the tabernacle is ignored and dismissed during Mass.   Great reverence is paid to it.   Further, again, the altar is more the focus of the Mass itself, anyway, and the physical presence of Jesus that is in the tabernacle until communion became manifest on the altar.

Interestingly, the vast majority of Catholics probably don’t even realize this debate is going on.   If you’d bring it up they’d be all like “Uh…  what?”   Many people would default to the idea that this, in and of itself, is a bad thing.    We all need to be better educated and understand why this is important, and only then can we all be enlightened and think like they do.    I’m being a bit overboard here – I do think it is important to understand, but I also can’t really help but think about all the old ladies throughout the years who never concerned themselves with much other than going to Mass, praying the Rosary, and feeding their families.    The greater debates of the Church throughout the centuries more often than not took place without them having any particular clue about it.

I like that simple faith.    I try to abide by that as much as I can.   If the Church and the Pope says it’s OK, then I’m fine.   If they say it’s not, I’m fine.   If they need to change something, I’m fine.

I guess you need people to push and ask questions and keep things in check.   That’s OK, too.    I think some are called to that, but I think most are not.    Further, those that are called to it have a unique responsibility to do so in a manner befitting a Christian, and not create unnecessary division while they are doing so.   In extreme cases, some division must occur, but in most cases it does not have to.

Until then, I’m firmly in the camp that shrugs and says “whatever.”

The Truth – How I started Blogging

Standard

One of the reasons I am Catholic is because I’ve convinced myself through the art of reason that it is the truth.    It was not good enough for me to have simply been raised Catholic, or for it to be a convenient fit in one way or another.   This salvation stuff is serious business – I want to be sure that I am pursuing truth, otherwise what’s the point?

When I started blogging, I started with a site called “Digital Diatribes of a Random Idiot.”    Little did I know at the time that I would start to embark on a serious effort to figure out what was true and what was not true about global warming.   The science interested me, but more than that I wanted to know what was true, because truth matters.

As it turned out, I started a series of pretty honest posts about my findings, whether I liked the answer or not, and quite frankly my analysis seemed a breath of fresh air to many.   I soon had a following in that community of like-minded interested people in the subject.   I even inspired another person to start a blog which would go on to provide much more rigorous and detailed analysis, and be a very popular blog in that community.

All of this was nice, but quite honestly I just wanted to share some interesting things and move on.   But I suddenly felt a bit obligated, and even trapped, by it.   So I kept at it for quite a while but eventually decided I wanted to move on.   Since that day, my blogging is casual and is at my discretion.    I now focus solely on Catholic Diatribes.

But as a Catholic – meaning Universal – I don’t want to limit myself to only Catholic topics.    Our faith should light our approach forward into all realms and topics.

Just because I want to, I am reposting something I revisited recently from years ago.   Why?   Really, just because I want to.   But secondly, because truth matters.   I have found the insights in some of my past articles very illuminating on a larger scale – meaning that it is worth fighting against disinformation anywhere it forms, because it is often followed by an agenda, and usually not a good one.   In the climate change arena, population control, pro-abortion policies, one-child policies, etc.  are all derivatives in one way or another from environmental concerns.   Truth is worth it.

I present the first article from a paper that is, admittedly, pretty difficult.   But I still find it very intriguing:

 

I have become recently fascinated by some papers I have run across recently that really help me understand solar cycles and the impacts on climate. However, I am a simple guy. Yes, I am a math guy and a science guy, but quite honestly, despite all my education and years in those fields, I’ve never reached the point where I prefer formulas over lay terminology. And as I read the papers themselves and synopsises thereof, I am left with a feeling that this important topic is being left behind by the normal human being in the debate. What I want to do is give a very thorough review and understanding of it that accomplishes two purposes: the thoroughness allows the reader to actually understand the scientific mumbo-jumbo. Because a non-scientist will not understand what is being said in 10 words, I will use 100 words. But in the end, hopefully, the reader will be able to intelligently give a short, layman’s explanation that hits the salient points, and is factually accurate.

I am going to try to do something here that I may regret. I have become very interested in papers written and researched by Dr. Theodor Landscheidt. But I am not a scientist, and neither are most of us. The concepts, however, are vitally important in the debate regarding global warming and whether or not it is driven by solar activity. Read the rest of this entry

Discerning Private Revelation – New and Old

Standard

Those of you who have followed me in the past know that I am very interested in Catholic Prophecy.   It is fascinating to read some of the prophetic messages of past Saints, Marian Apparitions, and the like.    You will also know that I have a somewhat bi-polar relationship with prophecy.   I fully and embrace the reality of prophecy and prophetic messages, but am also pretty skeptical by nature.

In the past I have noted what I believe to be one of the seminal works on the subject, “Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph” by Desmond A. Birch.    The reason I am as fond as I am about this work is that he takes my own preferred approach to the subject.   There is not whimsical adherence to random prophetic utterances.   Instead, he starts with key statements about what private revelation is, rooted in the Catechism.   He then lays the groundwork for what he decided to consider in presenting different statements or writings:   if a Church approved apparition, or if the statement came from a venerable, blessed, or Saint then these statements carry more weight and are the focus of the book.

There is no statement for or against anyone else using this approach, but it is the safest approach to take.

Interestingly, and not surprisingly, there are many common themes that run throughout the book, and across the words of many Saints of many different times.    One might wonder if the writings are really their own revelations or if they were simply instructional teachings, learned from others.   I think it’s a fair question, but for the most part I believe the statements were from personal and private revelations of one type or another.

Perhaps more surprisingly (or not to some) is that there are many degrees of variations provided in prophetic messages that aren’t always easily reconciled.    And this is where things get murky.    First of all, Private Revelation can never rise to the level of Public Revelation.   There is no guarantee of protection from error on any number of fronts:   Did the seer hear or see something incorrectly?   Did the seer misinterpret what they saw?   Did the seer repeat the message properly?    Is there possible translation error into other languages, either explicitly or in a contextual sense?   Was the prophecy conditional (meaning the outcome has since changed based on our response to God’s warning embedded in a message?)      And, there is always the possibility that the person simply did not receive a real message of divine origin at all, or conflated a real message with some confabulation or other assumptions made.

Because of this, we need to both take seriously the prophetic, but also be very careful and discerning.

In the past, I’ve openly mused about Medjugorje.   I have never understood why it would be necessary for messages to be given/received over and over and over with very little differentiation in the message from day to day, week to week…   Having said that, I simply don’t know, and one can’t deny the stories about experiences at Medjugorje.    I’m completely open and uncommitted on that.    It simply doesn’t make sense to me, but I also know I’m a simple man and God doesn’t always make “sense” to me.   So I choose to await the Church on this one.

There are numerous other cases around the world of interest.   I am generally both interested, but skeptical, of most of them.    I choose not to spend too much of my time on them.

Every now and then you start to hear a lot about this person or that person.   Usually, in my opinion, as you look more closely at them you can’t help but be somewhat disappointed, at least in regards to the reliability of the people and their messages.    I don’t want to judge, but part of me thinks that some people receive very strong feelings or promptings that lead them to develop a message that seems divine or prophetic.   Perhaps it even is.   My sense is people have to guard against an almost addictive desire for this to continue, and move from a valid (or at least not invalid) experience to something they are forcing.   I think many of those who “receive messages” are really not, but honestly think they are.   The problem with this is that their overall message may be edifying, but the extraneous content – the more predictive elements – is nothing more than their own conjecture.

There was a series of messages that could be followed from a site called “Words From Jesus” some time ago.    It started off as somewhat intriguing, but as I checked in and tracked the messages and followed them, I personally felt strongly that this was not authentic.   Again, it was a case of message after message with not dissimilar warnings of a general nature, which may well have been something authentic.   But any time the visionary ventured into specifics about upcoming events or outcomes, or even some specific prophecies of the Pope, they never really happened.    One must be willing to walk away from something and not get too involved to the point that you can’t recognize error, whether in teaching or in more specific prophecy.   You can’t get too emotionally involved or you risk being misled.   Focus on the message and the character of the person and the rest wil take care of itself.

Another more pronounced example is a supposed seer in Brazil, named Pedro Regis.   A big deal was made some time ago because he accurately predicted some devastating circumstance in this place or that place.  It was compelling to me until I studied him further.    I went back to the beginning of his documented messages, and interestingly I found that his early messages were all very vague and unspecific.   There was very little actual “prophecy” in terms of forecasting future events.   As time went on, there seemed to me to be a distinct shift in message to more of a constant declaration of some bad thing happening somewhere at some point.    The issue I have is that he’s bound to get some right, and people made a big deal out of it when he did, but there are endless messages regarding different regions or countries or cities that nothing of the sort has happened.    Now, there’s usually not timeline, so I suppose it could all come to pass, but the next question is “what’s the point?”    OK, on a daily basis we’re told that some specific area of the world is going to suffer catastrophe.    Theoretically, I suppose it could all happen at the same time.   So why not just say “look, you’re all hosed unless you pray more.”

Now, again, I admit to being simple.   God has a plan.    He may be trying to reach others and this may all make perfect sense in the spiritual realm and doing what it’s supposed to do.   I have no authority whatever in making a judgment of authenticity one way or another.   I have my opinions, and will always state that opinion with the caveat that I will accept the truth whether that comes as a judgment from the Church or God someday whacking me upside the head and saying “How could you not figure out that good ol’ Pedro was my servant?”   I will have no good reply other than I’m human and thick-headed.

To end this post, I’ll start with this:   Be careful out there.   Take it slow, don’t get caught up in a single message or “direct hit,” but take your time to read up on anyone you might start to get interested in following (I use that term a bit loosely – I mean “follow” in the sense of keeping tabs on or learning more about, or even getting to know.   But never follow someone to the detriment of following Christ and His Church).

Now, having said all that, I plan on presenting my thoughts on a man named Charlie Johnston in some upcoming posts.    I have taken a number of months to read over his entire blog history, and try to figure out what he’s saying, where he’s coming from, and whether anything he says makes me uncomfortable in the context of Public Revelation, the Catechism, and what I would consider to be the more authentic messages of the Saints.   I can’t promise when I’ll be able to present my thoughts, but I’ll start putting those together.

A Little Humor

Standard

My blog is called “Catholic Diatribes.”   That doesn’t mean I can’t engage in some random humor.   Right?

 

It seems so obvious now:

Find X

I really wish I had thought of this one:

Expand

Had I been the teacher, ingenuity deserves some partial credit:

Elephant

Please, please, please tell me that this was her final answer:

Millionaire

An Honest Discussion About…

Standard

Unless you’ve been napping under a bridge with Tommy the Troll for the last week (and if you have been, please take a shower- troll’s leave a residual smell that is difficult to eradicate) you will have noticed a sudden lurch forward in the crisis that is the current state of the United States of America.    While I call it a “sudden” lurch forward, it is only sudden in the same way that a pot of boiling water requires a lot of energy input in advance of the “sudden” move to an active state of boiling.   In fact, this crisis is decades in the making, but we now find ourselves in what seems to be new territory, at least with respect to this generation.

Of course, like all crises, there are numerous things that have placed us where we are at the moment, but there is always a short list of the triggers that move one from one state to another.   The proverbial straw on the camel, so to speak.  The current straw is the recent police shootings of minorities in Minnesota and Louisiana.   The pile of straw beneath these things can be traced back quite a ways, but include previous police/minority incidents as well as the President’s and Attorney General’s own statements that, at the very least, are not supportive of police and at worst are aiding in the fomenting of the anger of an already tense relationship between cops and minorities in many areas.

Clearly, this is an unfortunate situation that calls for prayer, and an honest discussion about race, police brutality, disparate treatment of minorities, guns, and an overall lack of respect for the dignity of human life.

So, let’s talk about what this “honest discussion” looks like.   Because you are seeing calls for an honest discussion about these topics all over the place.   I completely agree with those words, but am entirely annoyed with what they usually mean from those who utter them.   In most cases I am seeing these words spoken by liberal politicians or journalists who probably think they are calling for an open discussion, but what they are really saying is “people who have been disagreeing with us are wrong, have been lying to yourselves, and we now need to have an honest discussion about how you are wrong and you need to adopt our ideas.”

Let me provide one annoying example.    In an article by Mike Lupica, Why in America do we have to choose between caring about Philando Castile and Dallas cops? he tells us where the hate in America is coming from:  “Terror, we are told constantly, is the biggest threat to America. It is. The terror of race and class and hatred, of divisiveness and ugly rhetoric and too many guns. The terror of too many whites hating blacks, or browns, too many blacks hating policemen, too many Republicans hating Democrats, and hating this President most of all. Donald Trump talks about “America First.” Okay. But which America?”

Mike Lupica, in my opinion, has been a liberal tool for some time (I mean that in the most charitable way possible).  True to form, this is not the advent of a truly honest discussion.   It is one half of an honest discussion.   Further, it is the easy half of the discussion, because the other half is the half where people start throwing out all sorts of hateful terms (ironically, they consider themselves loving and tolerant people while using terms like “bigoted”,”unchristian”,”unloving”,”hate-filled” and “intolerant”).    In general, we have a problem of the soul.   This takes many forms.   The most evident and clearly evil form are the things that come from outright hate.   But hate is kind of like that boiling point in the heating process.   Leading up to that we have pride, greed, jealousy, selfishness, and so on.    These are the things that kill us inside until it is no more possible to love anyone else but ourselves.   And when there is no more love, you’re left with hate.   But let’s even give a pass on that line of thinking and for the moment support the idea that the issue we have is simply one of hate.

“The terror of race and class and hatred.”   OK, I don’t immediately have an issue with this because it’s general.  I hate using the term “class” in our country because we are supposed to be a classless society.   The poorest among us are supposed to have every opportunity to not be poor.   Interestingly, when many speak of the “middle class” and how they want to be there for them, they are really being demeaning.   There is no “class.”   I may be perfectly happy staying at a particular income level or status of wealth.   But if I choose to change that situation, I don’t need a politician tell me they are there to help.   Stay out of my way – that’s how you can help.    An honest discussion about “class” divisions must start with whether or not our policies are unnecessarily creating an actual class system in our society, and keeping people there through a state of dependency on the government simply in order to maintain that status.  Put another way, we have moved from an economic and political structure that encourages free movement from one status to another (in either direction) to a structure that encourages a state of constancy – where you are is where you’ll be.   You won’t move up, but we’ll make sure you don’t move down.   Because we love you.   Thank you, government.

Next:  “Ugly rhetoric.”   I’ll agree on this, though I look at it more as a symptom of the ailment than the ailment itself.   I’m also guessing that Mr. Lupica would disagree with me on what is considered “ugly” and who the primary perpetrators are.   And that’s OK, as long as he’s willing to listen to me in an honest discussion and show a willingness to look in the mirror.   I fully admit I can be acerbic at times.   Will he?  And what’s a healthy dose of that and what is too far?

“Too many guns.”   And there you have it.   An “honest” discussion must clearly include the premise that we have too many guns.    Lupica has an opinion, I have an opinion.   We do not agree on this.   But to many, a discussion on guns can only be  “honest” if you start off agreeing with them on this point.   Now, having said that, gun supporters should always be prepared to evaluate what is going on.  A fair question is:   would the gun control law being proposed in any way have affected crime rates, the results of crimes, etc. for the better?    If incontrovertible proof can be shown in the affirmative, we should accept that some things may be a good idea.   But if this cannot be shown, they need to be able to accept that Liberty trumps unproven ideology.  Or if we decide to try something and it doesn’t work, we need to stop the insanity that reversing course is a bad thing.   This goes for nearly every policy, not just gun control.

“The terror of too many whites hating blacks, or browns, too many blacks hating policemen:”   Notice what he did here?    Whites are racist, and blacks hate authority.    This is dishonest.   And while it puts some psuedo-blame on blacks for hating in an attempt to look fair and balanced, it really isn’t at all.    One is hating because of color and once is hating because of abuse.   While hate is always bad, the one is purely evil while the other is at least understandable.

Most whites aren’t racist, but it’s a valid part of the discussion to talk about how to change the hearts and minds of those who are.   But a real honest discussion would also be to address the hatred in much of the black community towards whites.   Not just cops, but whites.   We cannot get past this issue until that is honestly addressed as well.   If all whites are to carry the burden of particular whites who have caused past and current harm in the minority community, then this is an inconsistent standard for how whites are to view the black community.   Both should be able to forgive and move on.   But too often, the very suggestion that one side do this is considered racist.   It is not – it’s Christian.   We are to forgive and love.   This is not limited to one race or another.  It is not even limited to the relative grievances one group may have over the other.   If forgiveness can only come after an assessment that each group has now been harmed equivalently, this is unworkable and insane.

The other part of this is that we need an honest discussion about both sides of the police/minority question.    It is too simply put as institutional racism among police officers.   I am not saying there isn’t some racism among the population of cops – I’m sure there is.   But the issue nobody wants to have an honest discussion about is why that is.  Most of the “racism” is probably more accurately described as “tension” or “increased anxiety.”    Human beings are not robots.   We have emotional responses to things that are reflective of past experiences (past conditions).   If a white police officer has, over the years, had much more difficult and dangerous experiences with black individuals than he has had with white individuals (on balance), it is almost certain that this will create a different  psychological and physiological response when dealing with a white person versus a black person in similar situations.   Is this fair?   Well, yes and no.   It is based on experience, so in that way it’s fair.   But it may not be fair to a particular case with a particular person.  And this is the main issue.    It is probably very real that some police officers overreact in some situations, and it can lead to tragic results.  It is probably very real that one of the reasons for this overreaction is due to the color of the skin of the person they are dealing with.   This isn’t good, it’s not right, and if a person has reached a point where they can’t control their emotions then they need to be dismissed.   But was it intentional and racist?    I’d say probably not in the strict sense.    But even if it was, part of the honest discussion needs to be about the responsibility of the minority community that led to that officer being in that state of anxiety in the first place.

Finally, my favorite: “too many Republicans hating Democrats, and hating this President most of all.”    Yes, Mr. Lupica.    Republicans hate Democrats and this President.  But no mention of Democrats hating Republicans.   Clearly, that is because Democrats are all about love and togetherness.  Seriously, how difficult would it have been to be a little balanced here and say “Too many Republicans and Democrats hating each other.”    At least that has a minimal guise of balance.    This is why I just can’t trust half the people calling for an honest discussion on these issues.    Is it true that too many take politics and political differences to a personal level, and spew hate?    That’s absolutely true.   And it’s absolutely true for both sides.  And it seems to get worse all the time.    But good grief, no President was more hated by the opposition party than George W Bush.  I live in Wisconsin, and I can tell you the words Democrats use when talking about Scott Walker are horrific.   Both sides need to acknowledge when they are moving too far in this direction.

To finish up on the point I started with and moving past this one example of hypocrisy, the next time someone suggests we have an honest discussion about division in America, ask them any or all of the following questions:

  • Are you willing to discuss how abortion and euthanasia devalue human life and has helped lead us to where we are today – that people are more willing to do harm to others because they don’t see the dignity of the human person?
  • Are you willing to discuss how the continued attack on religion and religious people – on our faith itself – has harmed our ability to bring meaning to why it is inherently wrong to bring harm to another person or their property – regardless of who they are and what they have?
  • Are you willing to revisit the premise that divisions between races is a white problem only?   That the minority communities bear some responsibility in how people – including police – see them and treat them?
  • Are you willing to tie any talk about gun control to real evaluations on how proposed actions would actually have changed the outcome of past events?
  • Are you willing to look at the actual results of anti-poverty governmental spending programs and make an honest assessment on whether or not we are better or worse off because of them?   Or if some of them are causing more harm than good?
  • Are you willing to accept that differences of opinion on the best way to handle matters – especially regarding the poor – does not mean one side or the other cares more or less?   Can we start with the premise that we both care, we just have a different vision on how best to help those people?

America was once a Christian nation.   It is not anymore.   If looking for the most succinct summary of the root of our current issues, that is it.   We lost our way, and our leadership is now floundering to find our way back to greatness, but they want to do it with God.   Without an honest reflection on that side of things, and true acts of repentance, the wisdom of man will simply not prevail.

Many are starting to pray the Rosary or the Chaplet daily for our nation.    I am not as consistent on this as I should be, but I need to get better.   We all do.

Revisiting the Wood Tick Story

Standard

When you embrace the idea of being a parent of a large family, you just accept that there will be plenty of stories to tell when it’s all over with.   Not all of these stories reflect well on you, but that’s usually what makes them funny.

This post was originally posted by me on a previous blog, but we are in the midst of tick season right now, and as a public service it is worth revisiting.   Don’t try this at home…

I am about to write a post that proves that a pair of college graduates – one of whom took his share of Chemistry, Physics, and other courses on the way to becoming an actuary – can do something so stupid that any reasonable person would ask “What were you thinking?” Believe me, if someone else had done it, I would be calling the other person an idiot. And therefore, for consistency’s sake, let me be the first to say to myself, “You are an idiot.”

With that out of the way, allow me to tell the true story of last Sunday evening. We had all had a long couple of days. Prayer time was finished and it was time for the tykes to get into bed. And then, the fateful words were uttered: “Alex has a wood tick in his head!”

Well, I have lived with ticks all my life, and it was not time to panic now. And so, my wife and I casually observed said wood tick. Sure enough, there it was, sucking the blood out of my eldest son’s head. Deep down, I was hoping it would suck out some of the thoughts that enter the kid’s brain from time to time, but I knew that was fantasy. I had to take care of the immediate problem at hand.

Well, my wife is generally proficient with the tweezers. Be it a sliver or a tick, when the tweezers come out, the kids scatter. But in the end, they are unable to escape the fate that belies them, and after a few screams along the lines of “You’re killing me!” my wife triumphantly raises the tweezers with the enemy foreign object, and screams her battle cry, “Oh, it wasn’t that bad!”

But this night would be different. The tick was in deep, and it had strategically burrowed itself in amongst numerous hair follicles. I believe the tick knew that this would cause immense pain to its victim when the victim’s mother would accidentally latch onto the surrounding follicles while trying to pull it out. In any case, the tweezers on this night were not doing the job.

It was time to explore the old wives tales.

My wife’s first suggestion was to light a match and hold it up to the tick. Apparently, the theory is that the tick is smart enough to feel the heat and try to escape by backing out. Now, we’re talking about an animal that burrows a hole into other living things, sucks blood until it’s so big it has to let go, and once it falls off it can’t move anywhere and lays around until it’s either crushed or eaten. Survival instinct just doesn’t appear to be high on the priority list.

I balked at the match idea, considering the fact that I would be holding a lit match near the head of my six year old son, who would most likely be diagnosed with ADHD if we ever concerned ourself with actually getting him looked at.

Instead, I moved onto the next brilliant wives tale. If you hold a bottle of alcohol over the tick, it will back out. I’ve been told it’s because it can’t breathe and the alcohol bothers them. Well, the first mistake was thinking that this kid would actually sit there and let me hold the bottle tight enough so it wouldn’t leak all over the place. After two minutes of hearing “You’re hurting me!” with a lot of corollary movement and rubbing alcohol having been sent flying everywhere, it was decided that this technique probably wouldn’t work anyway, but certainly wouldn’t work in our case.

Crying and doused in alchol, with wood-tick still engorged, the son is losing faith in his parents’ tick-fighting prowess.

All of our kids are witnessing this activity, save the four year old who fell asleep during prayer time, like he always does.

Now, here’s where the story gets ridiculous. And you will see it coming, and you’ll think, “Um… DUH!” or some variant thereof. As embarrassing as it is, I must go on.

My wife, frustrated at the stupidity in thinking this whole rubbing alcohol approach had any chance of working, and mad at herself for allowing me to talk her into the idea, says to me, “This is not working at all. Let’s try the match thing.” As a loving husband who wishes to please my wife, and desires to see my son tick-free, I eschew all sense of reason and all knowledge of all things science, and how one thing reacts with another, and I answer “Alright. Give me a match.”

Now, there was probably 10 seconds or so from the time I declared those words to the time that the lit match was approaching the tick. That should be enough time for someone who took two semesters of Organic Chemistry to remember that rubbing alcohol and fire are a great combination if you want to set your house on fire. They are not so great a combination if your desire is to not set your child on fire.

Unfortunately, all we could think of was getting that tick out. It blocked all other thoughts that were attempting to leap from synapse to synapse in a frenzy, attempting to pull back my hand and say “You fool! Don’t do this!” But they were too late. The match approached the tick. And then…

Poof! The entire back of my son’s head was in flames. Now, let me be clear here… within two seconds we had that flame out and it all happened so quick that there were no burns. But man, he freaked out – and rightly so. Screaming at the top of his lungs, he dove to the ground. The other kids also freaked. I lost track of my two daughters until they came charging towards Alex and doused him with water, which only freaked him out more. We yelled “What are you doing?” and they’re all like “He was on fire!”

Meanwhile, the tick was still enjoying its meal.

In the end, I called a nurse’s line, and explained about the tick and asked how best to get it out. I, um, forgot to relay the part about dousing my kid with rubbing alcohol and setting him on fire. Oops.

Anyway, she basically said you can forget about all these old wives tales. Just pull the thing out and hope for the best. Well, we did, and the head stayed behind. So, now we keep an eye on it and if we are unable to dig it out after the swelling goes down a bit, we’ll have to take him in and get it removed so it doesn’t get infected. [Edit: we never had to do that] It’s possible it will work out on its own, but we’ve heard that they often don’t. Yay. Unfortunately, we were unable to get it out without squeezing the body of it, which means some blood probably squirted into the wound. Now we have to watch for any indication of Lyme’s disease, as well, and get him treated if symptoms occur. [Edit:  Thankfully, no Lyme’s – though another child would contract it later on]

So let this be a lesson to you all. Not that you needed it, but never underestimate the stupid things you can do if the situation is just right. I’m still whacking myself in the head and asking how I could possibly have done such a stupid thing.

I guess it’s clear… I’m an idiot.

[Note: I now highly recommend a simple little device called a “Tick Twister.”   It works wonderfully, and has kept our children blaze-free for almost 9 years now.]