Boinkie's Blog

Universalis

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Haywire

Poem: "Haywire" by George Bilgere from Haywire. © Utah State University Press. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Haywire

When I was a kid,
there was always someone old
living with my friends,
a small, gray person
from another century
who stayed in a back room
with a Bible and a bed with silver rails.

They were from a time before the time
the world just plain went haywire,

and even though nothing
made sense to them anymore,
they'd gotten used to it,
and walked around smiling vaguely
at the aliens ruining the galaxy
on the color console television,...

in the back room
someone very tired
closed her eyes and watched
a wheat field where a boy
whose name she can't remember
is walking down a dusty road.

No sound
but the sound of crickets.
No satellites,
Or even headlights in the distance yet.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Lecture

If you scroll down this page, there is a debate with Peter Kreeft about if Abortion can be justified...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jergens, anyone?

One of the sad thing is that many Philippinos have to work overseas to make decent wages.

Unlike the USA, if you don't "know" someone, you don't have a chance to succeed.

And in a land where many cannot afford medical care, the nursing schools here in the Provinces advertise for students by saying that if you study there and pass their course, you have a chance to make money overseas.

Nurses often can go to the USA, Canada, Australia, or the UK...it's easier to find work there as a nurse, so even docs who can't get a job because they can't pass the MD exam or afford time to retrain (required by law) as an intern/resident, you can study, become a nurse and earn good money.

The money is sent back to support a large extended family, allowing them to build a decent house, send kids to school and college, and maybe even buy a car, jeepney (small bus), or tricycle (motorcycle with side car) to get around or to make money.

If you can't pass your nursing exam for USA, you have two options; Work as a nurses aid/caretaker, or work in Saudi/Kuwait.

Unlike the USA, where often people eventually get green cards, bring over extended families and become full blown US Citizens (like our family), you face many problems in the middle East.

Most of those who go to the middle East are not nurses, but chauffers, oil field workers, nannies or maids...often the maids have no education, and are mistreated: passports taken, overwork, no day off, verbal and physical and even sexual abuse.

On my other website, I have a series of "Rapunzel" reports, about maids in Lebanon who were literally locked up by their employers when the Muslim areas of Beruit were bombed...and in panic, they jumped out of the windows, injuring several and killing two maids.

But at least in Kuwait and Lebanon, there are local Catholic churches and some laws that allow you some freedom-- of religion, of finding refuge if you are abused...

In Saudi, things are worse.

There are an estimated one million catholics in Saudi Arabia (7 million of the 16 million people living there are from other countries). Yet there is no church.

The state department report is HERE...

The Philippine response was that when Gloria, the president, visited there, she got 800 out of jail for minor offenses, and that was that.

When you read about women and children in the sex industry, remember that many of these women come from very poor villages, and they often have no choice....they apply for jobs as maids (and are abused by the men in the house) or as entertainers (and become what used to be called "b girls" i.e. low level prostitutes) or even worse.

Remember all of this in your prayers.

Monday, September 18, 2006

When Christendom almost was destroyed

and with all the kerfluffle on the Pope's pointing out the obvious, and the distortion by the BBC and other major news centers, one should not be surprised that a nun who served the poor for 50 years in Somalia was murdered...

But I will only blame Islam for the terrorists they inspire if the World Council of Churches apologizes for supply money to buy weapons to communist freedom fighters who killed 34 missionaries, many of my friends, in Zimbabwe...and apologize for the dictator who is killing people there now...

The Eucharist

Poem: "The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside Our Church: The Eucharist" by Mary Oliver from Thirst. © Beacon Press. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside Our Church: The Eucharist

Something has happened
to the bread
and the wine.

They have been blessed.
What now?
The body leans forward

to receive the gift
from the priest's hand,
then the chalice.

They are something else now
from what they were
before this began.

I want
to see Jesus
maybe in the clouds

or on the shore,
just walking,
beautiful man

and clearly
someone else
besides.

On the hard days
I ask myself
if I ever will.

Also there are times
my body whispers to me
that I have.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Clueless bishops take two.

The bishops whom I criticized in my last post come from New Zealand...

They are so clueless that they didn't even mention the major cause of New Zealand's pollution:

About half of its greenhouse gases come from the methane and carbon dioxide emissions of more than 50 million sheep and cattle, from which products earn around one third of New Zealand's export earnings.


REPENT, YE SHEEP AND COWS!

Clueless bishops

New Zealand Bishops are whining about climate change.
Now, you can believe or not believe in climate change (hint: Global cooling destroyed Greenland and probably was behind the black death...climate cycles have been going on for millions of years). But the bishops have no expertise in meterology, nor in history, nor in economics, nor in demographics.....the statement is merely a routine "ain't it awful" type statement.

My favorite line? " It is predicted that in the Pacific alone, there may be a million environmental refugees before the end of this century."

Ummm...bishops. There were a million people killed by Sadam Hussein's war against Iran, not to mention the quarter million Kurds and one hundred thousand Shiites he massacred. There were 20 million starved by China in the Great leap forward. There were over a million boat people from VietNam. And there were four million refugees from the Taliban in Afghanistan (most of whom have returned after those infidel cowboys helped the Norther alliance overthrow the government).

Did you bother your asses over any of these people?
What about the one million people at risk in Dafur right now? The four million killed in the Congo? The five million refugees from Zimbabwe's economic collapse? Dafur?

Hello? Hello?

my second favorite line:

Protecting the environment involves moderating our desires to consume and own more, which creates lifestyles that bring death to millions of other people. Consumerism, global environmental change and suffering in the developing world are inextricably linked.

Actually, not really. It is consumerism that leads to call centers in Makati and women in Santa Rosa making extra money for school fees by making high priced Christmas balls. We are marketing high priced "brown rice" to upscale markets in Manila, so our local farmers can get twice the price for their efforts.

Actually, the answer to environmental change is wealth. If peasants were poor and had another source of income, they wouldn't allow the trees to be cut that causes the landslides that kill people. And if propane is cheap, locals won't cut down trees to cook food---another major cause of deforestation.

And if people are richer, they can afford to send kids to school. School fees cost money, so you have four kids not eight...(in farms, you have eight to help with the farm work).

Hey bishops: ever hear of Birth control?

My third favorite item is this:
But individual Catholics, parishes, Catholic schools, religious communities and church organizations can play a big part by making different choices, such as using less energy or buying locally made goods which require less transportation.

Ah yes. But trade allows Pinoys to buy New Zealand milk (We use water buffalo milk, but it costs just as much as imported NZ milk). You start only buying "locally made goods" and you are putting Pinoys and Chinese out of work, and then we can't afford to buy your milk...

They continue: "The world needs to reduce its carbon output by 80%, and some New Zealand households could achieve that overnight by simply changing the kind of car they drive. Avoiding water waste and excess packaging are two simple steps which can be acted upon by individuals and households. "

So goodbye daily bath, hello lice.
Put down your thermostats, and the heck with babies and elderly getting sick...ever hear of Chilblains?.....ditto for Air conditioning...

Hey bishops: Did you know more people died in Belgium in August from the heat (i.e. no airconditioning) than died in the US from Hurricane Katrina? NO? WHY NOT?

drive small cars...(and get killed in fender benders).
Stop excess packaging (and increase overhead of businesses, because the "excess" packaging is there to stop shoplifting...the alternative is a security guard in every aisle, like we have here in Philippine supermakets).


Did you know much of the poverty in Africa is caused by corruption and war? That the "Asian Tigers" were just as poor as Africa and poorer than Arab countries fifty years ago? What happened? Globalism, a morality that working hard and being honest is good.
Maybe if Catholic bishops started preaching this "Calvinistic/Confusian/Islamic work ethic" there would be a lot less poverty...ah, but preaching the ten commandments is not a priority...preaching socialism, whoops I mean social justice, is....

Ah, but the bishops answer: "But vulnerable members of our own society -- such as the elderly -- have suffered previously during power crises by going without necessities such as warmth and light, and we have to work to ensure that the costs of any changes to our lifestyles are borne by those who can best afford them. "

This is the "Why I'm fat" argument.
Comedian Alan Sherman, who was pudgy, used to have a monologue that explained why he was fat: because when he was a young boy, his mother told him to eat "because children in Europe were starving"...therefore, when you see a fat person, don't make fun of him, Sherman concludes, you should go up to him and say: Hail to thee, fat person, for you kept us out of war.

Similarly, exactly how does my keeping on an Airconditioning unit cause poverty? Hello?
I pay for the electricity, which gives local people jobs working for the electric company..and if they are working, they won't join the NPA. And the AirCon is made in China... so I am helping defeat communism...

So hail to thee, cool person using Airconditioning. You stopped communism...

But it's easy for bishops to make absurd statements. When it is 37 degrees outside, do THEY turn off their aircons?

But by doing so they overlook their REAL job: Teaching people to serve God in their daily lives. To work hard, to run businesses not for profit and power alone, but recognizing that you enable your employees to raise families. To praise farmers who supply meat and milk to Asia and improve nutrition. To say children are a gift of God, not a burden. To say that a person caring for children, or an elderly parent, or a sick spouse, is doing God's work, and that family and neighbors should help them...and to enable them means encouraging government policies to do so....but also to stress real values rather than materialistic ones.

Yes, I know: That is what you are saying. But you are saying it wrong. You are preaching environmentalism as god....You are saying we should do so to save the earth, without proof that it will actually do so. You are saying we should stop poverty, when what you suggest might actually increase poverty. And you are making people guilty about their small everyday pleasures, instead of showing them the nobility and even saintliness of family life...

Hey bishops: THAT is an area where you actually should be working. If you bothered to spend time preaching caring for those around you, maybe your parishoners would take care of grandmom at home rather than putting her in a nursing home so they can go to parish meetings and demonstrations on global warming. Maybe they could do like the Baptists in Oklahoma do: take care of each other, and watch out for family, friends, and neighbors. Maybe they should do like Pinoys do: Help each other out, and sacrifice to help one's family.

Imagine if a Bishop wrote something like this:
Well, stop wasting time getting fancy things. Use what you need, and don't waste things. Take care of family and friends and neighbors in little ways. And do the duties of your daily life.
And remember, we are all God's children, so don't forget to support those helping the poor get out of poverty. Buy Dell. (just joking---Dell has a call center in Makati).

Nah. better to write highfalutin statements like: Our understanding that we are stewards of God's creation, our solidarity with the poor, and our respect for the common good make the issue of environmental justice the responsibility of every person.

MEGO.... MEGO...my eyes gaze over...ZZZZZ....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Teahouse

The risk taking Gene

A lot of people commented about the lacksidasical way that two Fox reporters "converted" and the shrugs by the MSM about their compliance.

There is a time and place for everything, and God can use every trait for his own purpose. So "behala na" means everyone smile in the Philippines, but it also means (how should I say this) a lower standard of cleanliness, and unreliability of water and electricity, and lots of delays.

Yet there is a "flip" side to this: Physical courage and honor (something, ironically, that is common in the Philippines).
In the USA, James Webb (a Vietnam Vet against the Iraq war) wrote a book about the ScotsIrish who are rarely seen as an ethnic group (usually lumped together with the Anglo Saxon ruling class) yet who have a long tradition of fighting and honor.
Similarly, some American Indian tribes were warriors (ah, you think, they all were great warriors...well, go see the movie Smoke Signals..."All Americans see us as "dancing with wolves" says one character. His buddy reminds him:"But our ancestors were fishermen...dancing with Salmon"...and they laugh)...and the group with the highes medal of honor? Hispanics.

Some heroes are troublemakers and get into fights...yet in the right time and place they can do valuable deeds. Indeed, this is the irony of Schindler's List: Where a con man saved Jews probably because he had the skill to "bull shit", lie, and bribe...

So Austin Baey asks: did Steve Irwin take too many risks?
You know I watch a lot of documentaries, and it's not just Irwin...also those who climb mountains etc. So dumb...yet in earlier times, these people were warriors who protected others. I often remind my mothers with ADD boys that they can't sit still in school, but as a hunter or warrior they'd be fine. (I am talking about ADD as a trait, who we oversedate to make them sit in long classes, not children with brain damage whose ADD is so bad that they need treatment...)

So Irwin, in other times and places, would be the hunter and teacher of young hunters...Dale Earnhart would be a sailor, a warrior, or a moonshine smuggler...and in many Andrew Greeley novels, he points out the traits that would make men pirates or profiteers in previous centuries now work fine for those in the stock market.

We have a need for physical courage in the world. And when we use our God Given traits to do good, we are doing what he wants us to do.

Even a bad temper and stubborness can be given for a reason.

One of Madeline L'Engles books has Meg and her brother captured...her brother, out of pride, has his mind captured by them, but Meg does not: Because she is stubborn...

As for myself, it was my stubborness that kept me from "going along" when I was scheduled to do abortions in medical school, and I refused.
Sometims being a bad tempered stubborn old lady does come in handy.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The problem of pain

the link is to an essay by the doctorisinthe house blog...
Healing faith

Sunday, September 03, 2006

men without chests

link to my essay...

David Warren started it by daring to criticize reporters who blithely "converted" to Islam...

Typical Stockholm syndrome, and typical of civilians and abused women.

But he got a lot of criticism (one blogger called him a "religious fanatic") and his follow up essay is HERE

I didn't condemn the two Fox News journalists for simple cowardice. I condemned them because they didn't think twice; because they took capitulation for granted. I condemned them because they showed no regret for having committed apostasy & treason, regardless of how they were pushed to it. Because they sold out the West without a second thought, & continue to sell us out now that they are free. That is what I found so starchless.

If, after their release, they had shown the slightest contrition for what they had done, I would never have bothered to write about them. For they are merely topical examples, of a much larger phenomenon, that fills my inbox from day to day.

The expression "men without chests" comes from C.S. Lewis, incidentally, as "straw men" from T.S. Eliot. These are not my inventions: they are what is called "allusions". The terms don't refer to cowardice alone, but to something broader & emptier.

One last point: a direct answer to the people who asked me, plainly, "What would you do in the position of those Fox guys?"

I would pray, ask God to guide me, & give me the strength to obey. And on my own account, I might think: "I'm getting off easy. I've lived this really reprobate life for half a century, & God is letting me off if I can just get the last twenty minutes right. It's time to cheer up."

Update:cat is okay

Chano found the second cat, hiding across the street in a tree.

So both kitties are here.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

ah rebellion

Today instead of going jogging, I was tired and achy and got angry and went back to bed...
As a result, when my husband left, so did the kittens, and disappeared...

Here in the Philippines, every household has dogs for protection. We suspect the dogs got them...but later this afternoon we found one hiding in some rocks in our garden. The other is not to be seen, either fled, injured, hiding, or dead.

So as a result of my rebellion, we lost a cat. Sigh.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Your quote of the day

I shut off the camera, and looked up. To paraphrase Dave Bowman:

My stars. It’s full of God.

I went back into the cabin, got Gnat out of bed. She held my hand as we walked around to the front; I told her to look down. We got to the middle of the lawn between the cabin and the shore, and laid down and looked up.

She gasped.

It’s so beautiful, she said. We saw the clouds of stars, the bright ones burning a billion years away, the dim pricks in the firmament that probably represented an entire galaxy, or two, and as usual you remember the wise man’s formulation: either we are alone or we are not, and either is astonishing. Although each has its own implications.

We laid in the grass for a few minutes, holding hands, looking up at the stars. Your mind goes through moods quite quickly – they’re pitiless, indifferent; they’re somehow benevolent. They’re remote but tantalizingly close. They overwhelm with their numbers, yet you can ignore them all by studying one, and giving it the full force of your conjecture. A choir of light, a million silent voices, one great chord you cannot begin to imagine – but you’d know it if you heard it.

We went inside, and she read a Spongebob book. I came out to the porch to write.

Even the light of the laptop drives the stars away. It’s amazing: I hold down the brightness key while looking straight ahead, and the Big Dipper emerges in the sky, clearer and bigger than I’ve ever seen before. There has to be a lesson here. Gosh. Now what could that be.