Boinkie's Blog


Sunday, November 25, 2007

The price of life

My husband Lolo was looking at a photo of himself and his highschool chums...
"that one is dead...that one is dead"...only one of the six are alive, and he had a stroke and lives with his son in NYCity.

So yesterday, we heard a cousin "fell" and couldn't get up, and was taken to the next city to the hospital there. When I asked if he had a stroke, they said no, and they didn't think he had broken anything, but the usual scenerio in this type of fall is a hip fracture.

He is also in his eighties, and Lolo visits him every two months or so and gives him money...he has a daughter who is a teacher working overseas, but she apparantly doesn't send any money back for him, so he lives off a small pension and his other children here. He has arthritis but is usually cheerful.

We checked all the public hospitals, but couldn't find him...we finally found him at the good private hospital. Sure enough, he has a fractured hip, and needs surgery...but no money, no insurance.

Surgery would cost 2000 dollars.
When we went to visit, Lolo took 200 dollars with him to give, but now he faces the question: should he dig into his dwindling savings to pay for the surgery, or just let it go.

A third alternative is to go to a public hospital, but the nursing care there is poor, and there is a wait to get surgery...or maybe they just won't do it.

Seeing the cousin's poor health, he could die in surgery. But the non surgical treatment for hip fracture is bedrest, and most elderly die within six months due to pneumonia.

This shows the dilemma of the poor people here. Rice is cheap, so there is malnutrition but not starvation. But you don't heal well because you lack protein...and if you get sick, you might not be able to afford the medicine.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Philippine pro life video

Prolife Video series from the Philippines now available on Google video...some discussion is in Tagalog...


Friday, November 23, 2007

Stem cells: war over?

"...He decided in the end to go ahead, reasoning that the work was important and that he was using embryos from fertility clinics that would have been destroyed otherwise. The couples whose sperm and eggs were used to create the embryos had said they no longer wanted them.

Nonetheless, Thomson said, announcing that he had obtained human embryonic stem cells was "scary," adding, "It was not known how it would be received."

But he never anticipated the extent and rancor of the ensuing debate....

Seeing our deeds as the imitation of Christ

"...Aphraates develops different arguments in his Expositions. True to his Syriac tradition, he often presents Christ’s salvation as a type of healing and consequently, Christ as a doctor. In keeping with this, sin is seen as a wound, which penance alone can heal: "A man that has been injured in battle," says Aphraates, "is not ashamed to put himself in the hands of a doctor. ... Equally so, he who has been injured by Satan should not be ashamed to admit his fault and to distance himself from it, asking for the medicine of penance" (Exposition 7,3)..."

Song of the day


Friday, November 16, 2007

Gift item for travelers


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Poems to Mary

CafeteriaIsClosed blog has his translation of Rilke...a sample:

She felt compelled to lay her hand
on the other body, further along than she was.
And the women dizzily approached one another,
touching clothes and hair.

Each one, filled by her sanctuary,
protected herself with her cousin.
O, the Savior within her was still a blossom,
but the Baptist in the cousin's womb
was already moved to leap for joy.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Even Athiests pray

Surveys show that 52% of Americans pray every day, 57% of Catholics pray every day, 41% of those who aren't sure of life after death pray every day, and 15% of people who aren't sure there is a God pray every day.

He said, with a grin, that people pray "to whom it may concern" or "occupant" and that some subscribe to the theraoy that "it can't hurt"...

Yup. It's Father Andrew Greeley, sociologist's hat intact, bursting the bubbles of the accepted wisdom again.

Usually "church news" consists of hard facts, like a scandal or someone visiting somewhere.

And usually church "statistics" are again about the business of churching. LINK
and LINK

At the same time, the press is lauding books by fundamentalist atheists listing the sins of Christianity to prove their is no deity...something I always take with a grain of salt. After all, a quick study of the history of China would find a lot worse things being done without a Christian or a believer in sight. Ghengis Khan was the greatest murderer in history until Mao took over, and neither of them believed in a deity...

So to put things into perspective, Andrew Greeley gave a talk about the scandal or prayer...

For Catholics, prayer is "lifting one's mind and heart to God".

This covers a lot of territory, from saying rote prayers to lighting a candle to meditation/contemplation without words, to dancing or music which opens you mind to something beyond the act, or simply relaxing and allowing one's mind to go beyond the cacophony of the day and place oneself into a larger perspective.

The key point in prayer is that it is not making a grocery list for the big guy in the sky and demanding he fulfill your every need. It is merely acknowledging that you are yourself: Not the king of the world, but someone who is part of a pattern of life that lives under a greater power.

In non monotheistic religions, this may be a blind power, or a oneness with the universe, but in the monotheistic ones, it means the higher power is loving and compassionate who cares about you.

Prayer places one into a state of reverence, recognizing you are not yourself a god, so that you see yourself and your actions in the perspective of eternity. Essentially, true prayer leads to wisdom.

Much of this goes against the currant "wisdom" that sees fundamentalists as dangerous bigots. ( and Greeley, sociologist hat intact, answers such opinions with a book of hard data that shows the complexity of conservative Christians).

One example he uses is that praying on one's knees corresponds to opposing the death penalty. Greeley points out that "the very act of praying might make think seriously about taking another's life".

True. Too often one's initial response is to say "black" and "white". Yet often the time of prayer let's one see things into perspective, beyond passion and quick judgement. My essay on if torture would be justified if it saved lives is an example of how prayer lets one see a perspective beyond cliches.

On a more personal level, this is why a 1981 Redbook survey showed Christian wives had happier marriages.

You see, if you pray, you need to confront your own faults and see the other's actions with the eye of compassion. This doesn't mean one needs to become a punching bag, but praying place the little faults that destroy relationships into another perspective, renewing the emotions of love.

And one of Father Greeley's favorite statistics is that couples who pray together have a better sex life. This is because praying together is expressing an intimacy, where you as a couple are placing yourselves before God. Such prayer encourages communications that are necessary for marriage, but the sex part also makes sense because as humans we express love by our bodies.

Yes, it's one of the themes of Father Greeley's books and R Rated novels: that God loves us like a man loves his wife, that he courts us as a lover courts his beloved, and that he made us with a body that is not evil but good, and that pleasure, including sexual pleasure, is merely an echo of the joys of heaven.

Such arguments usually bring rage from the Catholic right,; but unfortunately for the puritans, it is also a theme of the "Theology of the Body" lectures of John Paul the Great...and the Song of Songs in the Bible...

The scandal of prayer is that something that is so common is ignored for it's complex effect on one's life and actions.

Often, when I saw overworked ladies, I would start them on an exercise that came from one of my business newsletters.

They were to spend 30 minutes each morning doing something that relaxed their mind . Usually it would be reading a great book or the bible, or praying the rosary, or doing yoga, but it also could be knitting or music. After they did that, they could sit down and plan their day, and I instructed them to plan their lives: not what they were supposed to do, but what they wanted to do or they themselves needed to do. Pretending to look back on one's life from age 80 was one way to see things into perspective.

Something everyone needs to do, even atheists and agnostics.

based on an article: Father Greeley speaks about "scandal" of prayer in America by Peggy Weber, The Catholic Observer, Nov2,2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I am visiting relatives in the states...

Everyday they watch a show on remodeling and getting rid of junk, but the basement is so full of junk that I can't find some of my junk that I sent for storage.
why do we keep stuff?
A lot of the stuff has memories that transcend the actual article.
I know who gave x to me, or where I was when I got it.
So our "stuff" is actually a way of counting our past.
In some ways better than photographs,since each object has a story behind it.