Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington

Women’s March: Hundreds of Thousands Protest President Trump

- Gloria Steinem's speech at the March .....

- Michael Moore and Ashley Judd speak at the March ....

Washington Flooded With Pink As Women's March Descends On D.C.

The National Mall has flooded with pink, as demonstrators descend on the nation's capital Saturday for the Women's March on Washington. Just one day after President Trump's inauguration, marchers from across the country have gathered in the city to protest his agenda and support for women's rights ....

Despite the event's humble origins — a simple Facebook invitation after Election Day — the protest has ballooned into something much more massive. By the time marchers hit the streets Saturday, the Women's March on Washington had gotten a broad platform of progressive political positions, a slate of celebrity performers and a series of sister marches planned across the world — on all seven continents ...

Friday, January 20, 2017


I've been trying a new tv series this week - Lucifer ...

an American fantasy police procedural comedy-drama television series .... It features a character created by Neil Gaiman .... The series focuses on Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil, "who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell and resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the beauty of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals".

The show is, well, not awful ;) so I may keep watching. It does have a lot of music in its soundtrack. Here's one of the songs from the episode I watched tonight, A Girl Like You ...

And here's a trailer for the show ...

Inauguration Day 2017

Donald Trump’s ‘American Carnage’ Inaugural

All hail the PussyGrabber-in-chief :(

Or be like me and instead think about how you can help those who will be the most vulnerable in this new administration ... those homeless and low-income, LGBT people, women, immigrants, racial minorities. And don't forget the environment. Consider supporting organizations like the ACLU ... Here Is the ACLU's 7-Point Plan of Action to Take on the Trump Administration

Resistance is *not* futile.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Women's March: pro-life's effort to co-opt feminism

Coming up in a few days: the Women's March on Washington. There's been much in the news lately about the fact that a pro-life women's group has been dropped as a partner to the march because of their anti-choice stance, and the question has been asked once again ... can someone be pro-life and a feminist? The short answer is "no".

Here's a bit from an article about the women's group that was dropped as a partner to the march ...

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa applied for her organization, New Wave Feminists, to become a formal partner of the march in early January. New Wave Feminists describes itself as a “Badass. Pro-life. Feminists.” Herndon-De La Rosa, who lives in the Dallas area, has long been outspoken in her opposition to Donald Trump. “Donald Trump is the guy who asks to buy you a drink at the bar and when you tell him you’re not interested, he calls you as a cunt and says he didn’t want to do it anyway,” she told me in August .... her goal is to “make abortion unthinkable.”

Perhaps she believes that being "badass" enough to use the dreaded C word makes her a feminist ;). There are a number of these pro-life women's groups that try to pose as feminist ... another is the Feminists For Life, of which Sarah Palin is a member (I wrote about it here) ... and what they have in common is that they want to abolish all legal abortion, even in cases of incest, rape, when there are severe fetal abnormalities, and when a woman's health/life is in danger.

Simply being female is not enough to make you a feminist .... President Obama is a feminist and Justin Trudeau is a feminist and both are men ... Sarah Palin is a woman and she is not a feminist. Being a feminist means, in part, believing that women are responsible moral agents who have the right to make decisions about their own bodies. These pro-life "feminist" groups do not trust women to make those decisions, instead they want to take away women's choices.

What's creepy is the way these groups are trying to twist the meaning of the term "feminism", trying to co-opt it for their own pro-life purposes. It isn't working ...

Read more: Top 10 Worst Pro-Life ‘Feminist’ Lies

Monday, January 16, 2017

Troubled Times

Green Day drops new anti-Trump music video ....

What good is love and peace on earth?
When it's exclusive?
Where's the truth in the written word?
If no one reads it
A new day dawning
Comes without warning
So don't blink twice

We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times

What part of history we learned
When it's repeated
Some things will never overcome
If we don't seek it
The world stops turning
Paradise burning
So don't think twice

We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times

We run for cover
Like a skyscraper's falling down
Then I wander like a troubled mind

What good is love and peace on earth?
When it's exclusive
Where's the truth in the written word?
If no one reads it
A new day dawning
Comes without warning
So don't look twice

We live in troubled times

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Sunday, January 15, 2017


- German priests: open the priesthood to women, make priestly celibacy voluntary ... It makes no sense continuously to ask the Holy Spirit for vocations while at the same time excluding women from the priestly ministry. .... Celibacy often leads either to fruitless loneliness and social isolation or helpless work agitation. It rarely releases a spiritual source for pastoral work. We accepted celibacy but did not choose it.

- A Firestorm of Protests Will Take Aim at Donald Trump's Inauguration

- Pope Francis Completely Trivializes The Reasons Why Women Seek Abortions and Ugh, the Pope Told a Story About a Woman Who Had an Abortion to Preserve Her Figure

- Scientists solve a whale of a mystery: Why orcas have menopause ... Out of all the mammal species in the world, only three are known to experience menopause: humans, short-finned pilot whales and killer whales.

- Who owns the moon? Competition heats up for Google's Lunar X Prize.

- So what was that dossier on Trump all about? Find out: SNL’s Donald Trump Grilled About Alleged ‘Big Russian Pee-Pee Party’ .....

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The movies of 2017

The Atlantic: 27 Movies to Look Forward to in 2017

The ones from their list that I'm especially looking forward to are all science fiction :) ...

- Logan ...

an upcoming American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine .... The film takes inspiration from "Old Man Logan" by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, which follows a past-his-prime Logan undertaking a final adventure in the post-apocalyptic future .... Hugh Jackman stars as Logan, known before as Wolverine, in what is intended to be his final portrayal of the character after having played the role for 17 years, with Patrick Stewart co-starring as Charles Xavier.

- Kong: Skull Island ...

an upcoming American monster film directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein. The film is a reboot of the King Kong franchise and will serve as the second film in Legendary's Godzilla–Kong film series. It stars an ensemble cast consisting of Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman ...

- Wonder Woman ...

an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name .... and stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui and David Thewlis. In Wonder Woman, after American pilot Steve Trevor crashes on the island of Themyscira and tells Diana Prince about a world war that is happening, Diana leaves her home to try to stop the war and becomes Wonder Woman.

- Blade Runner 2049 ...

an upcoming American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve .... It is the sequel to Blade Runner .... Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

- Thor: Ragnarok ...

an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is intended to be the sequel to 2011's Thor and 2013's Thor: The Dark World and the seventeenth film installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi with a screenplay by Eric Pearson, and stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor must defeat the Hulk in a gladiatorial duel in time to save Asgard from Hela and the coming Ragnarök.

- Justice League ...

an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name .... and features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, and Ciarán Hinds. In Justice League, Batman and Wonder Woman assemble a team consisting of The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and the newly resurrected Superman to face the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.

- Star Wars: Episode VIII ...

an upcoming American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It will be the second installment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The film is produced by Lucasfilm, will be distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis in returning roles. New cast members include Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran in unconfirmed roles. It is Fisher's final film role following her death in December 2016. Johnson has stated that the story resumes immediately after the events of The Force Awakens.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Some music :)

The song Badge, written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison. Especially recognizable is the short guitar refrain written by George.

I helped Eric write Badge you know. Each of them had to come up with a song for that Goodbye Cream album and Eric didn't have his written. We were working across from each other and I was writing the lyrics down and we came to the middle part so I wrote Bridge. Eric read it upside down and cracked up laughing - 'What's BADGE?' he said. After that, Ringo walked in drunk and gave us that line about the swans living in the park.
- George Harrison: George Harrison performs on Badge by Cream

Here's the original Cream version ...

And here it's performed by Eric Clapton at the Hartford CT Civic Center, on May 1st, 1985 ...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pope Francis and Fr. Mauro Inzoli

There's not been much about this pedophile priest and Pope Francis in the English-language news but I think the situation is a good example of why many people feel that Francis is failing miserably on the issue of sex abuse by Catholic priests.

One cliché in our church is that all those who criticize Pope Francis must be reactionary conservatives who fear his liberal reforms. It's true that many conservatives dislike him, but what often is left unsaid is that he is *not* a liberal reformer and that he is not popular with liberals either - he is the darling of moderates only. My point here is that there should be no ideological divide when it comes to the sex abuse problem - if the Pope is doing badly on this issue, that should be noted by everyone, conservative, moderate, and liberal.

Here are some mentions of the Inzoli situation and the Pope's role in it ...

- From the National Catholic Reporter: The strange disconnect between Pope Francis' words and actions about sex abuse

[...] In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI dismissed Fr. Mauro Inzoli, who was accused of abusing dozens of children over a 10-year period. In 2014, Pope Francis reinstated him and required him to live a life of "prayer and penance", the same punishment that Pope Benedict XVI handed out to the notorious Fr. Marcial Maciel. When Italian Magistrates asked the Vatican to have access to the evidence submitted to Inzoli's canonical trial, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith refused, stating, "The procedures of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are of a canonical nature and, as such, are not an object for the exchange of information with civil magistrates." Pope Francis himself maintains the secrecy that this week he condemned ...

- From The Week: A child abuse scandal is coming for Pope Francis

[...] Consider the case of Fr. Mauro Inzoli. Inzoli lived in a flamboyant fashion and had such a taste for flashy cars that he earned the nickname "Don Mercedes." He was also accused of molesting children. He allegedly abused minors in the confessional. He even went so far as to teach children that sexual contact with him was legitimated by scripture and their faith. When his case reached CDF, he was found guilty. And in 2012, under the papacy of Pope Benedict, Inzoli was defrocked.

But Don Mercedes was "with cardinal friends," we have learned. Cardinal Coccopalmerio and Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, now dean of the Roman Rota, both intervened on behalf of Inzoli, and Pope Francis returned him to the priestly state in 2014, inviting him to a "a life of humility and prayer." These strictures seem not to have troubled Inzoli too much. In January 2015, Don Mercedes participated in a conference on the family in Lombardy.

This summer, civil authorities finished their own trial of Inzoli, convicting him of eight offenses. Another 15 lay beyond the statute of limitations. The Italian press hammered the Vatican, specifically the CDF, for not sharing the information they had found in their canonical trial with civil authorities. Of course, the pope himself could have allowed the CDF to share this information with civil authorities if he so desired ....

- From Damian Thompson: Why more and more priests can’t stand Pope Francis

On 2 January, the Vatican published a letter from Pope Francis to the world’s bishops in which he reminded them that they must show ‘zero tolerance’ towards child abuse. The next day, the American Week magazine published an article that told the story of ‘Don Mercedes’ — Fr Mauro Inzoli, an Italian priest with a passion for expensive cars and underage boys.

In 2012, Pope Benedict stripped Inzoli of his priestly faculties, effectively defrocking him. In 2014, however, they were restored to him — by Pope Francis, who warned him to stay away from minors.

Then, finally, the Italian civil authorities caught up with this serial groper of teenagers in the confessional. Last summer Inzoli was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail for paedophile offences. The Vatican, under ‘zero-tolerance’ Francis, refused to supply evidence that prosecutors wanted.

If Pope Benedict XVI had displayed such a hypocritical attitude towards a clerical child abuser, the roof would have fallen in on him: he’d have been driven out of office instead of resigning.

But most of the world’s media have pigeon-holed Francis as a fearless reformer, doing battle against Vatican mafiosi, kiddie-fiddlers and ‘fundamentalists’. This perception made it easy for the Pope’s allies to keep the name of Mauro Inzoli out of English–speaking news outlets until last week ....

More from International Business Times: Playboy paedophile priest 'Don Mercedes' pays out €125k to families of abuse victims in Italy

For more on the Pope and sex abuse, here are a couple of my past posts: Pope Francis and the sex abuse Cardinals and Pope Francis is failing on sex abuse

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Big storms

Here in California we've been experiencing some big storms ... California storm brings flooding, forces evacuations. Even the famous drive-through sequoia tree fell ... Iconic California Sequoia 'tunnel tree' destroyed in storm.

Here there's some flooding in the yard ...

And the ditches are filling up ...

But the worst thing so far is the condition of the garage. That's where the cats hang out when it rains, but the roof leaks very badly and with the non-stop rain, I've had a hard time trying to control the leaking. Half the garage is now covered in slimy wet cardboard and water-absorbent pads but I'm running out of them and the rain continues ...

Thor is not amused ...

Rain, rain, go away!

Monday, January 09, 2017

Doctor Strange

I'm looking forward to the Marvel film, Doctor Strange ...

a 2016 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures .... and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton. In Doctor Strange, surgeon Stephen Strange learns the mystic arts from the Ancient One after a career-ending car accident.

You've got to like a movie with Mads Mikkelsen in it :) Most known for obscure Danish films, he was in Arthur (see my review) and in the recent Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

But anyway, it will be some time before I get the film from Netflix, so meanwhile I'm reading the book instead - Marvel's Doctor Strange. I remember the comics from when I was a kid and all the mystical stuff in the story really appealed to me when I was a teen. Here's a bit about the story from the Wikipedia page for the movie ...

Stephen Strange, an acclaimed neurosurgeon, loses the use of his hands in a car accident. Fellow surgeon and former lover Christine Palmer tries to help him move on, but Strange, firmly believing he can regain use of his hands, instead uses all his resources pursuing experimental surgeries in vain. After learning of Jonathan Pangborn, a paraplegic who mysteriously was able to walk again, Strange seeks him out, and is directed to Kamar-Taj. There, Strange is taken in by another sorcerer under the Ancient One, Mordo. The Ancient One shows Strange her power, revealing the astral plane and other dimensions such as the Mirror Dimension. Amazed, Strange begs her to teach him, and she eventually agrees despite his arrogance ...

And here's a trailer for the movie ...

Too much fun :)

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Second Chance

Playing tonight on the Muzak at the grocery store :) ...

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


- Mark Hamill's Carrie Fisher Tribute: "Making Her Laugh Was a Badge of Honor" (Guest Column)

- More Americans Support Roe v. Wade Than Ever Before, According to a New Pew Poll

- Mistakes in 'Paleo' Eating

- Obama: The Ocean President

- When I saw this headline ... Pope to bishops: Defend children from abuse, protect their dignity, joy ... I sighed in frustration because it sounds so pious but has little to do with the actual situation or how the pope is/isn't dealing with it. Looking at the comments to the article, I saw I wasn't alone in thinking this. Here are a few of them...

* After giving this sermon, Francis then ordered that Cardinal Law be immediately sent back to America and Cardinal Pell to Australia. Actually, he didn't. I've just been reading the fake news thread....

* Excellent article in "The Week" on Pope Francis and his handling of abuse issues. Apparently there are a number of cases that Francis and friends have let pass... abusers who get off lightly because they are "friends of Cardinals". Francis it seems wants to take the investigation of these items out of the hands of the CDF where in recent years these cases were handled. Perhaps Francis doesn't want the CDF to get in the way of "mercy" actions to these abusers.

* Our Holy Father has again made his intentions clear. I expect that any day now his Commission on abuse will show how serious he is by upgrading their website, and maybe even issue a press release or two this year.

- Here's a little piggy :) ...

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Goodbye to the Office of Congressional Ethics

Update: Oh, the Republicans have backed down on this after Trump nixed it in a tweet ... House Republicans back off gutting ethics watchdog after backlash from Trump. Poor toadies - it's not easy to please the king.

Now that they have the power to do so, Republicans have voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, because, you know, in post-Trumpocalpytic America, being ethical is so passé.

What you need to know about the ethics office House Republicans want to gut

House Republicans’ Twisted ‘Reform’ Plan: Gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics

Republicans, you must be so proud.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: the year that sucked

- Deaths .... Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, George Michael, John Glenn, Gene Wilder, Anton Yelchin, Daniel Berrigan, Umberto Eco, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and many more ... In 2016, the world lost an entire tier of progressive icons right when it needed them most

- 2016 Was the Year White Liberals Realized How Unjust, Racist, and Sexist America Is

- Pope Francis says women will never be Roman Catholic priests and Pope Reiterates Catholic Church's Ban on Gay Priests

- 16 Depressing AF Science And Health Stories From 2016

- 230 Things Donald Trump Has Said and Done That Make Him Unfit to Be President ... and yet he won.

Sigh :(

Thursday, December 29, 2016

JW Waterhouse and The Lady of Shalott

I was reminded today of the artist JW Waterhouse. I loved his paintings when I was an art major in college. Here are some that I especially liked ...

- Echo and Narcissus

- Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus

- Hylas and the Nymphs

- Saint Cecilia

- The Annunciation

- The Lady of Shalott

Seeing The Lady of Shalott reminds me of that song/poem about her. I used to sing this beautiful song to my cat Kermit towards the end of her life when she was sick ...