Wednesday, April 27, 2005
It was kind of fun, though, because one girl got into a fight with this other guy about which edition of the Bible is better (the King James of the NIV), and started yelling about "thees" and "thous" and this other guy tried to get onto a Seventh Day Adventist dating service site- but he was denied admission because the school blocks any website that has to do with sex. The professor (who knew about as much about Anabaptism as I did) just sat there on the table next to us and laughed. It was so odd and kind of funny at the same time...
Finally we just gave up, because our girl was winning the "thee" argument and the guy figured if he couldn't get a date off of this project, it wasn't worth it. So we just left. The other three religions had bolted as soon as he gave us the assignment to do "research" (i.e., get coffee and go home), and even the prof was kind of looking bored (except for hte getting denied by the dating service. That he found hilarious.).
To sum things up, we know nothing more about Anabaptists than we did at ten o'clock this morning, except that those Seventh Day Adventist sites must be pretty freaky if the school won't let you on. *rolls eyes* Why couldn't we have gotten Catholic? I could have done that!
Next class should be intersting as well- Catholic theology. I wonder how the Catholic professor is going to tackle that in this place???
And this was after my profoundly interesting and slightly entertaining history class this morning. We were discussing post-WWI Middle East, which I didn't know that much about. I mean, I know all that's going on over there, but I didn't know how it all came to be. Suffice to say, I learned that those Israelis and the Palistinians have their work cut out for them. Especially the part about East and West Jerusalem (because that Berlin thing worked out so well...). And then the Palestinians want East Jerusalem for their capital- even though it's outside the West Bank???? Even the professor was cracking up. And now Israel is building the wall (again, that Berlin thing should be a big flashing warning light...), which complicates that whole capital-outside- the-nations-territory thing. Very interesting.
In general- a good and entertaining day. I'm kind of going to miss political science, because that's been really interesting. Not holding out that much hope for biology, though- that's usually pretty dull...oh crap, I have an assignment due....
Monday, April 25, 2005
And it's not just bread- every single piece of meat in this house is frozen. So, if you want a chicken sandwhich, let's say, you would have to take a scary frozen chicken breast out of the freezer (and actually discern that it is in fact chicken, and not some other meat), put it on defrost for ten minutes. Then you would have to turn it around and heat it on regular for another minute or so, and then the middle would still be frozen. Then you would have to get the bread out the fridge and microwave it, and then assemble the parts into a sandwhich that contained chicken that was so hot on the outside it burned your mouth, but still frozen in the middle, and bread that is wet and wilted because it had crystalized in the freezer. And it tastes freezerburned.
So, as I stumbled into the kitchen this evening, working on very few hours of sleep (remember, people, I'm not used to this), I did not feel like going through this whole ordeal. So I looked in the fridge. Nothing. Sour cream and shredded cheese. I could have combined these into something interesting, if only I had had taco meat. But that was frozen. So we moved on. I checked the other fridge. Well, checked was not really the word. Contorted myself would be more like it. My dad was doing something with the sink, so there was a chair shoved up against the counter. Between that and the waste basket (which I theoretically could have moved...), you had to stand on one leg and shove the other one between the door and the wall to keep it form closing while you peruse the contents. And there wasn't even anything there. Just ketchup. Again, perhaps this would have been tasty on a hamburger, but all those were FROZEN. Grrr.
Dejected, I contemplated making au gratin potatos from the box, but decided that twenty minutes was too long to wait. Finally, in a desperate attempt to find something that didn't involve a microwave, I descended into the basement where we keep our canned goods and such. I figured I could find soup or something. Even that wasn't easy. We had two kinds - cream of potato, and french onion.
Author's Note: At this time I would like to reflect on what led somebody to look at a potato and think, "Oh, I could put milk with this and come up with a really nauseating blend!" Moving on...
Now, I generally don't even like soup. Except brocolli cheese, which is really more thick. But I've also been desperate before. Once I even at these weird frozen egg rolls that my cousin stashed in our freezer for about a year. I figured if I could choke down Ko Thi Mi Chicken Rolls or whatever, I could take soup. I settled on cream of potato.
Once you actually got this stuff out of a can, it became even more disgusting than on the label. I'm not even sure I cooked it the right way, because there are chunks of potatos that look suspiciously like lumps of soup and therefore I was not sure if I should mash them up or what. Eventually I decided to crush anyting that didn't really looked like a potato. I think it worked, because I havne't thrown up yet.
I tried to choke it down for a few minutes, but eventually just gave up and picked the potatos out. And ate saltines. Those are tasty. I'm still kind of hungry, but I'll just get a muffin tomorrow morning. My final act in the kitchen was to search in vain for the grocery list that's usually taped the fridge so I could write in large red writing "BUY SOUP- TALK TO KATHLEEN FIRST!!!" Couldn't find it. Maybe it's in the freezer with the rest of our food... :)
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
I believe that it was sometime in the middle of last week, and I was innocently doing homework (or more likely watching TV or surfing the web), when my mom announced that we would be going up to my father's land on the weekend. You see, with the falling property prices in the late seventies, my father had purchased several plots of what can only be described as forest that bordered (well, not really bordered, but was sort of connected to) a small lake about four hours north of us. We visit occasionally, and Daddy proudly walks around and shows us the fire pit and the "Sacred Pine" (please, don't ask. I can't relive that experience). When I was little it was really fun, because the little third of an acre lots seemed much bigger and you could practically get lost in the trees. Now I pretty much just stay in the car because I don't like ticks. Or other sorts of bugs. Or a lot of trees, for that matter.
But wait- this time we would have a special mission! We were going to retrieve my dad's fishing boat and bring it home where it would probably languish in the backyard (looking oh so lovely, I'm sure) until my brother (who, despite not being a teenager yet, has decided that he wants the house when my parents kick off) dies and the house is presumably sold. Now, one must understand that this boat has been sitting in the woods for twenty-five years- long before my father even met my mother.
I looked at her uncomprehendingly for a few moments. Saturday?, I asked. My mother replied "Do you have anything going on?" Did I have anything going on? I didn't think so- I mean, I don't really have a life. But it was Saturday- a day traditionally reserved for sleeping and the like (especially since my annoying bio professor decided I could start coming to the labs at seven thirty A.M. Grrr.). I wasn't sure I could get out of that. But at the same time I didn't really want to stay home all day when I was 99% sure that they wouldn't allow me to drive anywhere while they were "out of town". And I do like going on road trips- even if they are only a few hours away. After throwing in a couple of comments like "Mom, they hadn't released the Iranian hostages the last time that boat was moved", or "Do you know how many diseases are on that thing?", I agreed, reluctantly acknowledging that I would not be able to sleep in until next Saturday- a very distant day that I could hardly comprehend.
I didn't understand, nor did I really care, how my father was planning on getting this boat home. (Or even why. We have a perfectly good boat already.) While we do drive a minivan, and a rather large one at that, I did not feel particularly comfortable with the idea of putting the boat on top of it and then driving home. (At least not through any counties where I know people...) I felt even less comfortable with the idea that I might actually have to help. I think my father felt rather uncomfortable with this, too, as he has taken to calling my sister and I "Paris and Nicole"- I'm not exactly good at working. I did resolve not to dwell on it, though, because chances are once my dad decides to do something (especially if it involves a sea-faring craft) he's going to do it even if it puts the entire family in jeopardy and he ends up lost within the breakwater---but I'm getting ahead of myself. That's a whole different story.
At some ungodly hour of the moring on Saturday we pull out of the driveway. I'm not happy- my hair is wet, it's supposed to get up to seventy degrees, I'm tired, and I get carsick as soon as we get on the expressway. (Come to think of it- I don't know exactly why my parents like doing things with me...) An Egg McMuffin shuts me up for awhile, though, and I'm pretty much fine for about two and a half hours. By this time, I have listened to every Josh Groban CD I have, am ready to kill Maroon 5 for recording "This Love" which is playing over and over in my head, and have just gotten out of a lovely bathroom that sold condoms. Ugh. Isn't our state wonderful???
Slight But Necessary Editorial: Why the hell is there only one Taco Bell across this entire state? Hmmm?? A lot of us don't like McDonalds, and there is nowhere else to go! There should be a mandatory Taco Bell at every exit- and a couple on the turnpikes out east. They really need them. In fact, Friday night I had a dream that we ended up on the turnpike and I couldn't have anything except brand-less fried chicken for the entire trip. Scary. Back to the topic, why does no one realize the incredbible need that this state has for cheap and tasty tacos??? Grrr.
Finally we arrive at the lot. It starts to rain. Hard. And I can tell by the look on my father's face that the boat is bigger than he remembered. I can see this going one of two ways- a.) the boat falls onto one of us and either causes severe or fatal bodily harm or b.) the boat falls on the car and scratches it, giving us a multiple hundred dollar repair bill. Either way, this isn't looking good. So we all troop out of the car because my mom mumbled something about weight shifting which I didn't totally understand, but I didn't feel like messing with a woman holding a knife and a large piece of wood. My dad and brother go into the woods to retrieve the boat and drag it out to the roadside, and I am handed a pair of gloves despite my early insistances that I will not be assisting in this endeavor. Whatever. Nobody listens to me.
Now, this is just a simple fishing/row boat, that looks relatively harmless and easily manouverable when it's lying on the ground. Not so when it's standing on end. It's twice as tall as my dad and really wide- I don't want that thing near the car, much less on top of it. As stated before, however, nobody listens to me. So Daddy, in his infinite wisdom, formulates a plan. Right here you can tel lsomething is goign to go wrong. The plan is as follows:
1.) Lean large boat up against the car.
2.) Place tiny little washcloths beneath the boat so it does not scratch the car.
3.) Stand behind the bloat and lift it up onto the car while wife and daughter "guide" it on the sides.
4.) Hear daughter scream when she realizes that the little white globs of spider eggs that used to be on the underside of the boat are now in her hair---that she just washed.
5.) Buy daughter (who made sure that everybody knew she would not be helping beforehand) a car and/or laptop that plays DVDs and burns CDS just for being so great. And some shampoo.
I added the last one. It hasn't been fulfilled yet. See, nobody listens to me!! Okay, so the boat is actually on top of the minivan. We all have a little sigh of relief, until we realize that this boat must then be secured well enough to drive home with it. Uh-huh. Sounds like fun, doesn it??
Yeah, I think this is when my mom started calling Dad "Clark Griswold". *sighs*
What follows can only be described as funny. My dad has to get down on the ground (which is now thoroughly soaked, because it's pouring) like underneath the car, and tie these little ropes to the bumpers and license plate thingy.
Meanwhile, crowded under the umbrella, my sister is having a revelation.
Sister: Why are we bringing this home?
Mother: Because Daddy and John want to go fishing.
Sister: What? Where?
Author: I'd just like to say at this moment I was thinking "Fishing? This thing would sink in a bathtub"
Mother: The river, you know, just down the road from us.
Sister: *has a heart attack* What????? That river???? Mom, I know people. The entire track team is going to see them!! *has another heart attack- bigger this time*
Sister then proceeds to do a rather funny imitation of the entire track team running past the river and noticing their classmates dad and brother "fishing" in a not-quite-seaworthy boat. I'm still laughing.
This continues in the same vein until my father picks himself up off the ground (sopping wet now) and annouces that we're ready to go. My sister shuts up long enough to get in the car, and my mother glances nervously at the boat perches precariously on two pieces of wood. I think she muttered something about the Griswold family, but I can't be sure.
So, despite all evidence to the contrary, we arrived home safely (even finding a Taco Bell...after like three hours of searching...grrr.). And then had to the boat off the top of the car, which was almost as funny as getting it o, because it was nine o'clock at night and the flashlight kept dying.
I'm not even kidding. :)
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
After about twenty-four hours (a very short period of time) we have a new Holy Father to guide the Church. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope this morning (or afternoon in Rome) and became Pope Benedict XVI- the first Benedict since 1922 (not that long ago... ;)). I posted earlier during the very beginning of this whole thing, before we knew who it was, but I really wanted to write more about the experience of actually watching this whole thing- albeit on television from the midwest in the United States. Still amazing, though...
I think we found out because my aunt called to say that instead of her regular programming (some intellectually stimulating game show or soap opera, I'm sure...) there was just a picture of smoke coming out of a chimney and she figured we'd want to know about it. I was working on the computor and had the TV on in the background, muted, because there's only so many hours a day you can watch cable news without going crazy. I was glancing over occasionally, but I probably wouldn't have caught it at the beginning.
Personally, I thought it was white smoke. I mean, this looked really white--- not even close to gray. But then all the news networks (except EWTN, who I think has learned to keep their mouth shut about pretty much anything since that little flatline incident) were saying it was black, so that meant that the vote was inconclusive. Even though it was kind of gray by this time, I still didn't really believe it- mainly because it was an odd time for a vote and the entire crowd in St. Peter's Square was going crazy and screaming and everything. I switched over to NBC and their caption just said "Smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel", which I found kind of funny because it looked like it was on fire or something. Within a few minutes, it became pretty clear that this was actually white smoke, and we did actually have a new Pope, but nobody knew who it was. They rang the bells for six o'clock, and then about four minutes later they started ringing them to signal the successful election of the Pope.
My first response was to start crying. I don't know exactly why- while I wasn't happy about the fact that John Paul II had died, I knew that he would never be replaced in our hearts, so it wasn't that. Maybe it was the fact that I was watching such a beautiful scene, with a ton of people in St. Peter's Square all rejoicing and waiting, and actually watching the white smoke that is such an iconic symbol of my faith. Or maybe it was that this was the first thing of this nature that I had experienced, a moment I'll be telling my children about when they watch their first election. It was just so amazing and beautiful and way more moving than I thought it was going to be. Either way, I was sitting in the den crying over some white smoke and tolling bells.
About half an hour later, Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estivez came out and did the annoucement. First, he had to say "Brothers and Sisters" in about twelve different languages- which freaked me out because I thought he was going to repeat everything in all those languages and by that time I really wanted to know who the Pope was!!! But he didn't, and just continued in Latin. I understood most of it- probably due to the fact that I knew what he was saying in English and not my rather tentative grasp of the Latin language. As soon as he said "Joseph", the entire crowd erupted. I was just like "Ratzinger?" I really didn't think they were going to elect him, they hardly ever elect the "frontrunner" (4 to1...hehehehe....). But I was happy- he's very conservative and staunch in his beliefs, and will continue to uphold the docterine that John Paul II worked so hard to protect. And then they said he chose Benedict XVI for his papal name, which kind of surprised me, because it seemed so old world.
It didn't hit me that we actually had another Pope until he came out and addressed the crowd (picture above). For the twenty or so minutes between Estivez's announcement and his address, all the news captions said "Joseph Ratzinger elected, chooses Benedict XVI for his papal name." But then as soon as he started talking, everything switched over to just saying "Pope Benedict XVI". He's really a Pope!!! It was kind of shocking at first, but I've kind of gotten used to it.
His address and blessing was beautiful- as was witnessing him walking out on to the balcony. He mentioned John Paul II, which I thought went quite a long way to endearing him to those who felt he may have been replacing their Pope. He seemed really humble and down-to-earth, and while not quite as charasmatic as John Paul II, warm and nice in his own way.
It was an amazing and beautiful thing to experience and watch, and selfishly I'm kind of glad that I'll have a Pope for my confirmation. And I'm kind of happy that a certain liberal priest I know is probably curled up in a fetal position rocking in the corner and sobbing right now. :) And that's he's German. We just need and Irish Pope next time and all of my nationalities will be represented!!!
Friday, April 15, 2005
I, for one, would choose to be as far away from a beach where I might possibly have to wear a swimsuit as possible. I'd really hate to be dumped on my honeymoon. I think a converted castle (preferrably somewhat deserted) in the mountains somewhere in northern Europe where my hair would be frizz-free and I could wear nothing less than three layers at any time when it's light out. Oh, and it'd be snowing. And cold. And with Josh. That's the best part!!!
Anyhoo---reply! Especially you, Mary, because I didn't get to finish hearing your ideas!!
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Finally it was released on DVD yesterday and I rented it. It was a completely moving and beautiful movie. I didn't know that much about the whole Hutu vs. Tutsi thing beforehand (and, to be honest, I was having trouble keeping them straight for the first half of the movie), which is kind of amazing when I realized that I was six when this happened- it wasn't that long ago.
The story focuses on Paul Rusesbagina (I've probably spelled his name incorrectly), a manager at the Hotel Milles Collines in Kigali, Rwanda. It's a four-star hotel, and filled with diplomats and generals and all sorts of influential people from around the world who Paul is essentially schmoozing so that, if he ever needs to, he'll be able to call in favors to save himself and his family. Paul is a Hutu, but his wife is a Tutsi, which places him in incredible danger. The movie follows him as the massive and violent genocide by the Hutus to the Tutsis begins and the entire country is devestated. You see how he goes from caring for just his immediate family in the beginning of the movie to eventually taking care of anyone who needs it . The arc of humanity is evident in this one man and his family.
The one part that I found really shocking was the fact that the world essentially turned a blind eye. Now, I know that Hollywood tends to exaggerate things and make the U.S. seem worse that it actually is, but I've read several articles where people who were actually involved said that this was pretty close to the truth, and Europe and the West did really pull out, leaving nothing but the U.N. Peacekeepers (who were pretty much ineffective because they couldn't fire their guns...) to protect the Tutsis against the crazy Hutus. The people in the movie were saved only by their ability to impress the gravity of their situation on their connections, and the fact that Paul Rusesbagina kept them safe while they were doing this.
It's a very serious movie, but never cheesily so. Well, except for Nick Notle's speech that practically has "For the Consideration of the Academy" written in subtitles on the bottom of the screen. I'm kind of surprised it got a PG-13 rating, because it was quite violent, and there was some language. I guess it was on appeal from an R. But a beautiful movie. I'd recommend reading something about the genocide first and then watching this movie- it will really make it come alive.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Sunday, April 10, 2005
What the hell do you think you're doing?!?!?! I mean, okay, you gave me Lost and Alias and I really do enjoy Hope and Faith even though it's pretty stupid, but why is Boston Legal not coming back until next September???? In favor of Grey's Anatomy, no less???? Boston Legal was amazing---slightly liberally biased, but really, what isn't? It was a beautiful show, with great actors, and great plot lines. And I still get chills when I think about the last five minutes of the last episode about the death penalty...it was that powerful. Now, I'm sure that Grey's Anatomy is pretty good, and I'm fully planning on watching it this evening and writing about it here (shameless self-promotion), but it's not like your schedule is so chock-full of ratings-getters that you can't take something like Extreme Makeover or Supernanny (did you know that FOX already has a show like that?) off for the last few weeks of the season and give us something!! And excuse me, the other networks are wiping up the floor with you on Thursday nights- put this after Jake in Progress which you seem to love so much. Just do something!! I mean, let's face it, if Lost and Desperate Housewives weren't around, you'd be dead. Like bankrupt dead. Even last year, when you had essentially nothing, I stood by you and watched the stupid sitcoms on Tuesday nights and your rather ill-conceived idead of "TGIF". And now you take my show off the air. *sniff* I don't even know who you are...
Saturday, April 09, 2005
I guess it really is royal- I mean, he is the heir apparent. Whatever. But it's not like there was a whole lot of pomp and circumstance and stuff. And it wasn't actually a wedding---just a civil ceremony and a "blessing" that probably isn't even a blessing because the Church of England doesn't condone divorce. But darn, Camilla was going to find some way to wear that hat if it killed her!!! :D What is up with that??? It looks like a cat tail that's died. At least the outfit it kind of okay. Chuck, as usual, looks like a car coming at you with the doors open. No, no, I'm being nasty...I should stop that. In spite of all my opinions about this union, I really do hope Prince William and Harry are okay with this- it hasn't been that long since they lost their mother in the scheme of things, and I've heard that William had some issues, but I hope they're okay.
I wonder how Alan feels about this? I mean, he's British, so it should matter to him. But he hasn't married the woman he's been with for longer than some people have been alive, so maybe he's not that into marriage. Hmmm. We're going to have to do something about that.
Friday, April 08, 2005
I cannot wait for summer vacation. And I hate summer. That's how desperate I am. I really should figure out how many days are left...wait, that might be depressing it turns out to be large, black-hole type number. (Sorry, slipping into Bridget Jones-mode. Except for the Colin Firth part. Bummer.) Hehehehe...the British monarchs. :D They're so boring they have to hire friends!!! :D :D :D
I almost passed out in history. It didn't help that my teacher walked in and said "I'm through. How about we have the final on Monday?" Obviously he loves his job... *rolls eyes* Oooh, want to hear something funny? I was kind of- okay, REALLY - tired this morning, and so I was kind of loopy, and during history I kept thinking about Charles and Camilla and how their whole country wants them dead (hence the fake bomb) and how his mom and to call him and tell him that he had to go to the Pope's funeral, and how they had to hire guests, and the funny thing in the paper yesterday, and it just started striking me as really hilarious. So I was sitting there with bags under my eyes in a baggy sweatshirt propping my head up with my hand and stifling laughter because of the British monarchs. I must have looked quite good- especially given the fact that my makeup was done at two thirty this morning- not exactly fresh. Okay, I'm sure that made absolutely no sense, but that's pretty much how my mind is working right now. I swing between laughing about Charles and Camilla and feeling sorry for the Pope's Little Friend (sorry, I don't know his name, so he's the Little Friend for now, k?). He looked so sad and lonely at the funeral---you almost wanted to offer to let him stay with you! And the little nuns, too. I'm sure my grandparents would like somebody around to cook them tradition Polish dishes! And now he has to leave his apartment---maybe the Archbishop of Krakow will die or resign or something and he'll be appointed. It's really the least they can do. Poor Little Friend!!! :(
Crap, I'm late...
Thursday, April 07, 2005
In other news (hehehe) Prince Charles and Camilla have now hired people to come to their wedding. I guess they didn't want the entire population of Great Britain to be picketing, and decided to pay off a couple hundred of them. But alas, with the unfortunate passing of the John Paul II, their "guests" might not be able to attend. Ha! Henry VIII is rolling over in his not-so-little grave. Catherine of Aragon has so won!!!
And Prince Rainier of Monaco has died. That's really too bad, because I love Monaco. But now I can marry Prince Albert, have him die (of natural causes---not kill him!!!), wear a cute black dress with a cute black hat to the funeral, and then hop over the border to the south of France where Johnny Depp will fall madly in love with me. Imladris, who I will have introduced to Andrea Casiraghi, will then ascend the throne and have lots of little blond Irish Catholic princes and princesses. Because she will already have a summer home (and her own country), she will not need to force her son into the priesthood. Everybody wins!!! Yay!!!
Fingers tired now...
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
We finished history notes at ten to nine, and the the prof said we just had to watch a few minutes of this video with a guy who looks a lot like the dude who plays Angie's dad on George Lopez (although it's better than the British guy who inexplicably was devoting his life to telling us everthying of note about Asia...) and then we'd be done. So I'm happy, especially when the video gets mercifully turned off at five after nine. But wait, before I can get out of my seat, the guy starts talking again!!!! And he goes on and on and on about what could be boiled down to one sentence ("Once independence is gained, it's not so easy to implement democracy." No kidding) for like fifteen minutes!!! We only got out two minutes early---not good!!!! I know I shouldn't be complaining, because this is the class where he used to keep us late, but it's still annoying when he rambles about nothing, or worse, something that we already know. Grrr. Maybe I'll skip it on Friday...I'm going to be tired anyway. We'll have to think about that.
Changing tone completely, chocolate chip scones are tasty!!! :) Really, they are! They're not as heavy as a muffin, so you feel like you're not eating as much, and just as tasty. I love them. I don't know why we waited so long to get them. They would have made all of last year a heck of a lot more interesting!
Maybe they will make next semester go easier. I'm writing up my schedule, and I have six classes and I'm not sure about the music history one. It looks kind of hard, and boring, and I don't want to pay for it and then not go, or worse, have it ruin the semester and end up depressed (shades of Spring '04). So I have three options. 1.) Keep the music history class, even though it only goes up to the Baroque era, which, thanks to an internet search, I know is old and boring, and accept the fact that if I'm going to make my marriage to Josh work I'll have to know something about music. 2.) Drop the music class and just have five classes, which really is more than enough, and take the second part, which looks way more interesting, next spring. 3.) Drop the music class and take a lit class- I already have one- which would alleviate having one class on those days and having to drive here for an hour and then go right home. The only problem with this is that I'm trading a class that I could essentially audit for a class where, in the interest of betting my writing skills, I would actually do the work. Decisions, decisions. Imladris and swimmergirl, what do you think? Give me your opinions please!!!!
Crap, I'm late for my class, so I'm going to run and try not to bump into my pervy lit teacher from last semester (he litereally "bumps" into you---very uncomfortable). Ciao!!! (I mean it about your opinions girls---I need to know before Friday!!!)
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Saturday, April 02, 2005
I was listening to Henry Kissinger on TV earlier today, shortly after the Pope passed away, and he was saying how he thought that when history remembers a single person from the last half of the 20th century, it would be John Paul II. And it really struck me how much more than a religious leader Pope John Paul II really was. Obviously, he's ruled the Church, and brilliantly so, but he did so much more. He was one of the men most responsible for the relatively bloodless end to communism in eastern and central Europe, and particularly the liberation of his homeland, Poland. He was never afraid to go to unfriendly places and propose unpopular ideas (like his 1998 trip to Cuba), or to invite those whom he did not agree with to speak out. He demonstrated that it was possible to live without cultural screens and be truly informed politically and culturally, and still hold your values.
At least as equally important (at least to me, because it's my Church) was the way he governed the Church. A lot of people have whined about how conservative his views were. What I guess they don't realize (or choose not to acknowledge) is that those weren't his views, they were the Roman Catholic Church's. All he was doing was upholding them in a world in which everything else was becoming "morally relative". He was a tireless defender of those who could not defend themselves, from unborn babies to Death Row inmates, to those forced to live behind the Iron Curtain.
And his relationship with young people was incredibly special. As someone in that age group, I know that I felt a special connection to him- even though I never got to see him in person. It's not often that an 84-year-old Pontiff who represents traditional values is embraced by so many young men and women around the world, but it's not hard to see why. First of all, I think he honestly loved children and young people. Look at his face whenever somebody had him hold a baby or hug a little girl- it's so bright and happy. I remember watching him speak at one of those World Youth Day things several years ago (I was quite young, only six or seven, I think) and noticing even then how hopeful he looked when he spoke to the young adults.
Secondly, he was one of the only people who did not even try to talk down to young people. How can we be astonished that teen pregnancy rates are so high when the teaching philosophy is "Well, they're going to go do it anyways, so we might as well accept it and start handing out condoms. Just don't hurt anybody's feelings!"? But the Pope never did that. He never insinuated that teenagers or people in their twenties weren't smart enough to see the consequences of their sins, you always got the feeling that he really believed that every young person, and every adult for that matter, was completely capable of making the "grown-up" decision (certainly as "grown-up" as the decisions that popular culture urges us to make) of following Christ and the Church and choosing not to sin. It was his faith in you that made you want to strive to be a better person- more like him.
He was truly an amazing man. He was orphaned at a young age, lost his brother, studied to be a priest at a time when doing such was a dangerous move, lived under the Nazi occupation of Poland, and under Stalin, was run over by a bus and left for dead, took a bullet in the abdomen, and lived with Parkinsons disease for many years. And in spite of all this, he was still connected at a deep level to his God and His mother, the Blessed Virgin. I don't think it was an accident that he died on the evening of the first Saturday (reserved for praise of Mary) and after the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, a celebration which he himself implicated. I was listening to somebody on the radio yesterday, and they were saying how he taught us how to live, and how he had taught us how to die. Serenly, with dignity, and trusting in Christ's Resurrection.
I'm not sad about his death- slighly upset that he's not with us anymore, of course- but happy that he finally is with his beloved Christ and the Blessed Virgin whom he so dearly devoted to, and will receive the reward he earned doing more good than anyone else I can think of (well, maybe Mother Theresea) on this earth.
Whew- long post! And way more deep than I usually get. But I felt like I had to say something- I mean, you can't go right back into flap pictures and Alan jokes after this. Ciao!!!
Friday, April 01, 2005
sean connery, harrison ford, patrick stewart... the
list goes on and on. you fancy elderly
gentlemen, so of course you dig alan rickman.
why are you obsessed with alan rickman?
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