Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Requiescat in Pace, Deke Dog

Yesterday, 21 April, 2008, marked the end of the road for the Dog who had been in my family since 1997, and whose picture, up until now, graced the right side of my blog.
He was a good old dog, was Deke, and didn't really seem too upset as the anaesthetic flowed and he passed away. I think he was just tired of the discomfort of the ever growing tumor in his abdomen. So, in a few seconds, it was over for the old guy.

Odd name for a dog - Deke. It was actually picked by my wife, based on the way we acquired him, suddenly and unexpectedly in March of '97. At that time, I worked as a manager of a local car dealer, and I went by the office one Friday afternoon (my bi-monthly day off) to get my paycheck. As I walked across the showroom, there was, sitting at one of the tables, a girl with a big black dog on a leash. I immediately said "Aww, a doooggg!" and went over to say hello. As I knelt down in front of him, and the dog gently reared up on his haunches and gently placed his front paws on my shoulders. Then the girl explained that it was her family dog, and she was taking it to the animal shelter, and had stopped to get an oil change on the way. It was a good dog, she said, but her neighbor was a kook and for a series of reasons, they had to get rid of the dog. A couple of quick begging calls to my wife later, the dog was in my truck and headed for home.

When we got home, she asked what was his name - it was "scratchy". Well, we wanted to rename him to make him ours. Since he had managed to essentially save his own life with minutes to spare, she suggested "Deke", based on the quote from my favorite test-pilot astronaut, "Deke" Slayton - "A test pilot in trouble doesn't think 'I've got 10 seconds until I crash', he thinks 'Hell, I've got ten seconds! I bet I can save this thing!'" I liked it, and it stuck.

He was an odd dog - silent - he only barked three times in the 11 years we had him. And loved LOVED to run - as long as it was away from me! We quickly learned to never let him off the leash, or he was g-o-n-e. And boy did he love food! The people kind, that is. And he was infinitely kind and affectionate with the kids. And me.

But now he has gone from this world, and I miss him badly.

Arrivederci, My Friend.

Monday, April 7, 2008

City - vs - Everywhere Else

(Note: This post may reveal some of my prejudices, but so be it.)

For as long as I can remember, I have been disgusted with the way the overwhelming majority of these United States are portrayed in the media. The Big Media centers of New York and Los Angeles are populated with people whose view of the nation is (understandably) prejudiced. They live in "The City", and eventually operate under the assumption that "The City" is the the country. Hence we get a media driven phenomenon like the doomed presidential campaign of Rudi Giuliani - "America's Mayor". He was a good guy who did a good job of running New York City - especially post 911, but he had not a snowballs chance in hell of translating that into the presidency. The rest of the country "out here" are not under the same illusion that "The City" is just like everywhere else in the US - a condensed melting pot so to speak. Then there is the accurate, telling and incredibly offensive term "flyover country" which the "cultured" media use to describe the vast majority of the United States where the "uncultured" rest of us live.

There is a fantastic blog which I have been following the past few months, written by an Irish family in an RV, traveling across the U.S. This morning, I read this post wherein this fine Irish gentleman contrasts the America he has found with the America as perceived in his homeland. It is a fascinating description from an outsider's perspective on the nature of the American people. Or at least the nature of the good citizens of flyover country.

I no sooner read this post that I blunder into this story about raising children in New York City. Apparently, having three children in "The City" is now considered to be a status symbol - a way of saying "look what I can afford". This amazing column not only tells us that some see having three (3) children in "The City" as elitist or selfish or unnecessary, but gives an interesting insight into what parental life is like for "In upscale urban areas and tony suburban enclaves". From $800 a week child care to $50,000 a year nannies to hauling children to squash (the game, not the food), it give a glimpse of how "the other half" lives. To be fair, the author is in no way bragging about these things, and is in fact trying to make them seem a bit absurd or over the top - which they are. But that doesn't change the fact that there is no way that someone who loves in that world can understand what life is like in my world.

So next time you hear someone on a network TV broadcast from New York tell about their life and their travails. Remember that, well meaning though they may be, their perspective is unavoidably different than yours.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New Translation of Vatican II in the offing???

My faithful Google Alert sent me a link to a post on this blog by a retired priest in the UK. Included as part of this post about Cardinal Hoyos and the status of the SSPX is this little nugget:

Cardinal Levada the Holy Father's head of the Doctrine office has indicated he wants "new and authoritative translations of major council documents"

This is the first I have heard of this, and a quick Google search turned up no mention of it anywhere. I don't have the time or resources to investigate (I'm posting this during a 10 minute class break), but it sure seems like it would be worth looking into!
So I would hope that someone will read this and look into this possibility, because it is very very exciting to me, and I'm sure many others.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dignity... Always, Dignity

"Well, Dora, l've had one motto
which l've always lived by:

'Dignity. Always dignity. '

This was instilled in me by Mum and Dad
from the very beginning."

Gene Kelley, in the opening scene of Singin' in the Rain.

Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jeffers Schori