I have not been able to get sufficient time on a computer to put up a real post for a week. I had several ideas for posts, but couldn't do anything about them. So, I will here put these ideas together in one post, just giving the salient points and avoiding prolixity.
Congratulations to and prayers for the three men who were ordained priests in Toronto last weekend.
We need more.
I was going to write about he death of bin Laden, but I quickly got bogged down in a long post that was just begging for misinterpretation. I will toss out the condensed version.
bin Laden point number one: I do not rejoice over the death of anyone by violence.
I rented a car for Mother's Day weekend. When I arrived at the rental agency to pick up the car, I discovered the agency had messed up my reservation. "We don't have the Golf you requested," they said. "But we will give you another vehicle at no extra charge." The vehicle turned out to be a Lincoln NKX.
That thing had every piece of electronic gee whizzery imaginable. There was even a television screen on the console that played a short Lincoln commercial every time the car was turned on. It would show you where you were backing into as you went in reverse- which was good, because the car was full of blind spots. It was beautiful. I was scared to touch it. I especially didn't want to know how much it cost.
Back when I owned a car, I did the repairs myself, as I couldn't afford a mechanic. This thing- I couldn't even begin to touch. This could only be repaired by someone who had a PhD. in that car.
Elder had a project where she had to interview someone with a job, and present her findings to the class. I tried to give her an interesting interview.
Question number three: What is the downside of your job?
Answer: Dealing with my bosses. And the customers. And the coworkers.
Teacher's comment: Your father doesn't like his job, does he?
bin Laden point number two: I accept and understand the need of Americans to bring bin Laden to justice, or, as the case turned out, to have justice brought to him.
The car was a beautiful luxury ride. We had room. Usually we're crammed into the car, with elder and younger in the back complaining every inch of the way. "Dad, she hit me!"
"I told you to give me more room!"
"There is no more room!"
Me, dispensing justice in my wise, equitable fashion: "Shut up, the pair of you!"
Question four: What level of education does your job require?
Answer: My job could be comfortably done by any high school dropout. Heck, it could be done by a one eyed, anacephalic chimp with a pencil jammed into its paw, were it not for the fact we prefer to employ them as managers.
Teacher's comment: Your father really doesn't like his job, does he?
I took mom out for a drive in the car the day before Mother's Day. She likes drives, and I try to take her out once a month. This is my gift to her for whatever gift giving occasion comes along. She likes to go places she's never been before, which, at her age, is something of a challenge. On that day we were continuing our waterfall/battlefield/old church tour, specifically, the old church part of it. I took her to see St Patrick's in Hamilton, designed by Joseph Connolly, who designed and did renovations to many of Ontario's most beautiful churches.
This one was typical Connolly, very nice.
A few people stopped us as we made our way around the church after Mass, asking me to join the choir.
Me: I live in Toronto. Besides, the way my voice is now, I tend to drown out choirs rather than blend with them.
Them: Couldn't you be a cantor, then?
Me: I still live in Toronto.
Them: What about next week?
They were very helpful, though, in helping us around the church and pointing things out to us, even though the church was supposed to be closing. We spoke about the history of the church, and they found out I have an interest in history, and that I am familiar with Connolly's work. They asked me if I could help them find a picture of Connolly for their parish website.
Mom was pleased at seeing the church. However, in taking her to Hamilton, I inadvertently broke my number one rule of taking drives, which is: Don't go to Hamilton.
I got directions as I disobeyed my rule, but as we were on our way, and I thought it was time to break out the directions, I discovered they had fallen from my pocket. I had broken rules number two and three:
2. If Hamilton cannot be avoided, always have a reliable set of directions.
3. Make that two reliable sets of directions: one for coming, one for going.
Hamilton is all one way streets, and very easy for outsiders to get lost in. I am told the Lincoln had GPS, but I couldn't activate it.
Long story short: we got lost.
At least it's an easy way to show her things she's never seen before.
bin Laden point three: I was uncomfortable with all the rejoicing over his death, and some of the forms it took. That's what they did. We're supposed to be better than that.
Me, to mom, in the car: "I have no idea where we are."
Mom: "What road is this?"
Me: "Wellington street."
Mom: "That sounds familiar. Turn here."
Me, sixty seconds later, as we're heading up the side of Hamilton Mountain: "I kind of got me an idea that Mississauga is on the other side of the Niagara Escarpment."
(Hamilton mountain is the name of the part of the Escarpment that runs through Hamilton, for those who don't know.)
(Also, the "mountain" is a little over a hundred feet high. This is a very flat part of the world.)
Question seven: What do you do on an average day?
Answer: I go to work, see what I am scheduled to do. I begin doing it, until a manager comes along and tells me to do something else. Do that until another manger comes along and tells me to do something else. Do that until another manger comes along and tells me to do something else. Do that until the first manager comes along and demands to know why I haven't finished their job yet. Go back to that job until second manager comes along, etc, etc.
By now the teacher was aware that I hate my job.
The irony of being lost in Hamilton this time was that the road the church was on would have lead us back to the highway, had we only stayed on it.
Question 9: What are the rewards of your job?
Answer: A paycheck.
Teacher's comment: There, someone finally said it. A paycheck is a valid reward for a job.
My comment: This answer was a calculated risk on my part. I imagined that most of the other parents interviewed would say stuff along the lines of: "Helping people is the best reward I can imagine," or "just knowing at the end of the day that I helped one person is all the reward I need," with all the sincerity of an athlete who earns a hundred million bucks a year who says: "I just want to help the team." As it turns out, I was right. The other parents gave the answer they thought the teacher would want to hear, thus ensuring their children an A. I wanted to give the teacher an answer that would make Elder's report stand out from the rest. That was my strategy for the whole interview. The fact that my answers were also true is incidental.
Speaking of work, we've been pushing a bunch of 'fair trade' products as a socially conscious, or responsible, or more expensive, or something alternative to normal products.
Is it really an improvement when the sweat shops have air conditioners?
bin Laden point four: A. Terrorism is an anomaly in international law. A citizen of one country declares war on an entire nation, but the nation has no way of declaring war on an individual.
B. Under international law, armed troops crossing an international border uninvited on a killing mission is an act of war. This precedent could be with us for years to come.
My brother saw the Lincoln while I was at my mother's. "How'd you score that sweet ride?" he said. "That's a seventy thousand dollar car!"
Now I was terrified of driving the thing.
Took the family out for a drive on Mother's Day itself. It was a nice ride. I was scared silly that something would happen to the car. Nothing did. Beautiful drive. Lousy on gas, though.
It's unfortunate that's the way it has to be: comfort or economy. Beauty or affordability. It's always a trade off between desirable but mutually exclusive ends.
Question 12: What is your advice regarding higher education?
Answer: Higher education is a trap. Be a plumber or an electrician.
Teacher's comment: Didn't you say your father was educated?
Elder: Uh huh. He's got his BA, his MA, and he's ABD on his PhD. He says he's flunked people better and more educated than most teachers.
I think that report may just stand out a little too much.
bin Laden point 5: And yet, the man had to be stopped.
I did some research into Connolly, both for them and for myself, as I have mentioned the man before, and intend on going to a few more of his churches, but I found very little. I sent along my information to them in an e-mail. They responded by telling me politely that they had already found everything I had sent along, and then repeated their request that I join a choir.
I started to write a post on disgraced Canadian bishop Lahey, and his involvement with the Catholic Book of Worship III, but the post got long and verbose. The guts of what I was trying to say was this: Bishop Lahey never missed an opportunity to change words and weaken the language of the old songs. So unwilling was he to impose upon people the burden of a demanding faith, he didn't even impose that burden upon himself.
The man needs prayers. Lots of them.
Father Z and NLM have posted on a BBC series I posted about weeks ago. See what happens when you don't read me? You have to wait weeks for one of the big guys to get around to it. I wonder if they'll get around to the documentary the BBC did on Allegri's Miserere.