Saturday, December 14, 2013

Elihu Joseph

Father Steve Cooke at St. Peter’s Parish -- Take it easy; I don’t have a Jesus agenda -- spoke of faith in a September 29th homily. Before I get into that, it warrants mentioning that the Catholicism portion of my life has been rugged at best. I hated Mass as a kid, quit attending as an adolescent, and directed my spiritual channels towards eastern thought in my 20s. The only consistencies my church-going life have ever maintained were to a) make my sister(s) laugh during service, and b) to not fall asleep during homilies.

As the months leading up to marriage dwindled, it occurred to me that my future wife was really not going to drop the church thing. She was going to make a practicing-Catholic family out of us if it killed her. She’s done just that, and I admire her for it. I haven’t always been on board -- I like to sleep in and used to loathe the notion of tithing -- but I’ve come around, and I almost look forward to it these days.


Here’s the skinny with Mass, though, if you’re not familiar: Sing, a reading, sing, a reading, sing, Gospel, homily, sing, collection, sing, Communion, peace offering, sing, conclude. Our church puts on a heck of a good Mass, and that’s worth mentioning because there are those out there that simply don’t. It’s pretty painless, and we’re always done with breakfast and chatting before football starts, so it’s a sacrifice I’ve come to accept.

The first reading features a passage from the Old Testament, the second is from the New, and the Gospel focuses on a passage that has to do with Jesus’ life. The priest, then, is supposed to incorporate the themes of the three passages into one idea and express it in a way that involves modern-day life and how humans might go about living it.

I think it would be easy to do that once. Fifty-two times a year not so much. And for consecutive years without sounding redundant? Big-time challenge. Big time. The only other minor detail is that you have to care about what you’re saying and if you’re good at it that should come across to your parishioners.

So, I can’t recall what the readings were about on September 29, but in his homily Father Steve spoke of faith. The idea of such a concept is something I’ve borderline hated for as long as I’ve been old enough to have complex opinions. People are always telling you that you should have it, or that you’ve got to rely on it, like it’s a solid stock in which you should invest. I think, though, that I’ve always been of the mindset of questioning faith’s return; the old what’s-in-it-for-me adage. But he talked about his family and a particular outing in which he and his 14 siblings ate dinner with their parents.

An older brother of his toasted their mom in such an exquisite, thankful fashion, that the rest of them moaned and C'mon'd him for having gone first with an untouchable toast. Then, several years later, at a similar meal, that same brother stood to toast her again, which prompted some eye rolls. This time, his toast was short: "Thank you," he said, "for the gift of faith."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Breaking Stuff

Lately I’ve been infatuated with the idea of breaking shit. Or rather: The idea has been infatuated with me. Lemme clarify: I haven’t wanted to break any of my shit; mostly my wife’s. The life of the idea is akin to a photograph flash as I’m always reminded that she doesn’t really have any shit I could break that would just devastate her. Mostly, I think, she’d just feel broken knowing that she’s married to a crazy person.

And that’s no fun. She works with crazy people for a living. So it’d be like taking pieces of her paycheck and putting them in the trash, as we’d naturally want to replace whatever it was I destroyed.

What probably ruins it more, though, is that she’d have to tell her family and friends that I smashed something in a fit of rage and then they’d look at me funny. Or at least I’d be paranoid thinking they were looking at me funny, talking about me behind my back. Also, I can hear my daughter parroting “Daddy broke ours” whenever it occurred to her to say so, or when she came across such an object out there in her little person’s life.

I’d probably feel pretty crummy about breaking the thing, too, but in that pan sizzle of a moment when I’ve body-jumped into the temporarily insane me -- man, do I want to break something. I’m uncertain about the makeup of such a desire, but usually it feels like: two parts release, one part display of power, and half a part of some vague symbolism into which I haven’t yet tapped.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bob Costas', Gyasi Ross' View on the term "Redskins"? Hostile and Abusive

(Editor's Note: I wrote the first portion of this piece yesterday, and embarrassingly, didn't realize that there was much more to write. Thus, the text and the headline have been redacted.)

Gyasi Ross put up a piece on Deadspin the other day, and I've been indirectly told not to write pieces about pieces, but sometimes you just can't help it. He started with a Bob Costas clip, then elaborated.

I’ve always admired the work and professionalism of Bob Costas. That is, I did, until he used prime air time to call the term “Redskins” an insult and a slur. This development disappoints on an inward level. Costas has, for years, been a household name, and deservedly so: His dedication to consistent, top-tier production of his craft has few parallels. That he’s been given the platforms he has is admirable, and his delivery almost always warrants respect. But not this time.

He does a great job touching on the history of sports teams with Native American mascots, both past and present. I find it suspicious at best, however, that he failed to include the University of North Dakota’s recently retired mascot: the Fighting Sioux.

In short, the school’s mascot was in existence for 13 years, and for most of those years -- based largely on pressures from the National Collegiate Athletic Association -- said existence was an ongoing court case because the NCAA felt the logo and imagery were offensive to Native Americans. The logo, by the way is a profile-style likeness of a male Native American face. I use “likeness” loosely there as it resembles a human being about as much as a modern-day pirate would have an eye patch and a wooden leg.

Either way, there were groups that supported, if not led, the idea that the university should cease usage of the mascot. Many more were in support of keeping it. The NCAA -- under the claim that the imagery was hostile and abusive -- then threatened to fiscally punish the institution, but saw their efforts thwarted when they were sued.

Friday, May 17, 2013

"I Was Riding Down the Road One Day" and That Someone, It Turns Out, Was Me

Back when this blog trickled out of the sports realm and into the whatever-I-felt-like-writing-about realm, I decided that it would be best for me to refrain from using curse words. I did this for some time, and applied the same rule to Twitter. The idea was that someone -- anyone -- was going to stumble across my writing, and say, I've got to tell the boss to throw this cat a pile of cash to do some writing, and that those chances would be hindered if I were immature enough to use profanity. Sort of like not wanting to have a bunch of blood-shot-eye, Jager-bomb-in-hand photos on Facebook while you're interviewing for jobs during the sunlight hours.

In hindsight, it was pretty dumb, but in hindsight, so have been many of the thoughts I've had since, well, adolescence. That said...

I fucking hate possums. Or opossums. Why do we have two frickin' ways of spelling this word? I looked at both entries on, and found myself with a better question than that: If the definition of these things includes the phrase "of the eastern U.S.", then why, in the name of all uncute marsupials, are these things everyfreakingwhere in the midwest?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Dumbest Blog Title Ever

It doesn't really matter which tune you have rollin' around in your noggin right now. It's not for forever. Tomorrow'll be a new day, and some different bad number will be up there.

Kinda how it goes.

There're probably dozens of different names for a blog that just aren't taking root right now, and, as Stuart Smalley would say, "that's okay."

I can change it if one of them resonates with me at some point.

Really, though, the only thing that even contended with "Whitesnake Lyrics" was a line from The Shawshank Redemption. The token one.

The one that comes after the two-month stint in the hole. Yeah. That one.