It’s “Merry Christmas,” Folks

I held off as long as I could, but finally had to just blog about this.  I’m a “Merry Christmas” kind of dude.  When I’m shopping and interacting with people this time of year, that’s what I say to them.  It’s simple folks, it’s the Christmas shopping season, not the Holiday shopping season.  Political Dumbness Correctness is out of control in many areas; particularly this one.

I’d rather get a Hanukkah or Kwanzaa greeting than to receive a sterilized-so-as-to-not-offend-anyone “Happy Holidays.”  In fact, I’d prefer a simple “thank you” or “have a nice day,” in lieu of that annoying “Happy Holidays.”  And don’t give me that “it’s store policy” riff — I’m not buyin’ it.

So, to accompany this short rant, give this poll a try.

Extra credit if you can guess the response Deacon Chris chose

Categories: Commentary, Ranting | 2 Comments

If all your friends jumped off a cliff . . .

That was my mother’s response to any request I made that she didn’t think was a good idea.  “But mommmmmmmm, all my friends get to do ____.”

And, so today, I’m jumping off a cliff that I never thought I would.  I have joined a so-called “social networking” site.  Everyone’s on facebook, apparently.  My wife finally convinced me to create a profile there, so here I am, in the 21st century finally.

I don’t mind sharing with you my reticence to climb on board this phenomenon — last year I attended a seminar for ministers and therapists on the vast world of on-line addiction, particularly pornography and on-line relationships.


I was floored by the depth and width of these addictions, and the cyber-bullying that occurs on-line as well.  The damage to families, to children, to spouses and to individuals is absolutely staggering, and nearly unquantifiable.

So I’ve spoken to parents about the dangers of MySpace and so forth, and just didn’t feel right about getting involved in such sites myself.  Plus, my friend, Teresa Tomeo warns against these types of  sites, and I regard her opinion highly.

I know there are legitimate and good purposes for them as well.  In fact, I was rather surprised, when I created my profile, to find fellow deacons and priests and old classmates on facebook.  Apparently everyone is on this site, including Dinosaur Deacon Chris.

If you see me on there, say hello, or “add” or “poke” or do whatever it is that equates to an electronic hello.

I’d love it if you not cyber-bully me, and pray that you use these sites only in wholesome, useful ways.

Categories: Ranting, Technology | 2 Comments

Patience is a virtue, but . . .

It’s something that I don’t have much of.  And it’s not a secret, either — my family, my friends, my co-workers and certainly my wife would agree that I need to work on patience (often and comprehensively). 

For now, I am just content to struggle with seeking patience.  Consequently, I take a particular interest in anything that doesn’t require patience.  I’d rather watch something vaguely interesting on Encore or IFC over something that I actually like showing on a network channel.  Not only are there too many commercials per break; but they also occur way too frequently throughout the program.

Take The Office, for example — I’ve taken to watching it, but only by taping it on the DVR to watch later when I can fast forward through the commercials.  I think the show ends up being about 20 minutes with 10 minutes of annoyance.  That’s ridiculous.

My impatience drives another quirky habit — before I wil read a magazine I have to go through it completely and remove all the annoying inserts.  I don’t like my reading to be interrupted by those kind of “magazine commercials” either.  Too many of them, thicker, rougher paper and overly redundant.  I mean, how many subscription cards does one issue really need? 

So I was quite delighted when Erika showed me a copy of Cook’s Illustrated.  She received a complementary copy for some reason.  I read it cover to cover the other day and enjoyed it thoroughly.  Here’s the top three things I like about this publication:

  • First off – they don’t accept advertising, so there isn’t any in the magazine
  • They test recipes and brands and cookware in the vein of Consumer Reports and share their findings with their readers
  • There are a lot of illustrations and how-to diagrams for various cooking techniques

So, I will be buying a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated.  And a word to the rest of the publishing world — I’d read more of what you spew forth if you’d lay off those stupid insert cards and advertising on every other page.

I’ll keep working on the virtue of patience, who knows maybe someday I’ll be content to read a regular magazine or watch a network show . . . maybe

Categories: Cooking, Ranting | 2 Comments

Angels Watching Over Me

Angel is the Greek word for “messenger.” Today is the feast day of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, archangels.

Much confusion exists about angels today – fueled mainly by a movement within the country toward a so-called “spirituality.” Not the traditional definition of the word, but rather the hijacking of the term by those who profess something along these lines:

  • I think that all religions are more or less the same
  • It doesn’t matter where (or if) you go to church, as long as you live a moral life and believe in Jesus
  • Therefore – I prefer to call myself not religious but rather, spiritual

The short-comings of such thoughts are many – but I think at the core this is driven by a disordered fascination with individualism that is rampant in America today. These old-fashioned denominations are okay for some, but I have some personal, unique insight that just can’t be met by them. I’ll do my own thing – I’ll journey with God in my own way.

And in typical American style, this spirituality movement has been snatched up by clever marketers who make all sorts of angel stuff these days. Books, prints, statues and the like. Lots of the materials available are quite poor theologically (by any denominational viewpoint).

As you go about your day ponder these thoughts about angels:

  • Angels do not have bodies – they are spirits possessing intellect and free will – only in encounters with humans in Scripture do they assume the use of a body
  • Sacred Scripture identifies nine choirs of angels – angels, archangels, virtues, powers, principalities, dominations, thrones, cherubim and seraphim
  • Angels are often depicted as “fairies” assisting people with decisions and such – this is not the nature of an angel
  • Angels are incredibly powerful – MUCH more powerful that humans – an angel could will that the earth smash into the sun and it would happen
  • Angels are not God – they are God’s messengers – sometimes tragic things happen to people, that is the nature of free will in a fallen world, not because your guardian angel wasn’t looking out for you

Categories: Catechetics, Etymology, Ranting, Saints | 1 Comment

Garage Sale?

I am not a fan of garage sales. I was visiting with a friend recently who was taking two days off work to organize and run a garage sale at her home.

I was astonished – Not only was she going to have a garage sale, she was going to use precious vacation time to get it together, too!

My disdain for garage sales can be explained by three simple reasons (not necessarily in order of importance):

  • The sorting, tagging, cleaning, pricing, advertising, displaying and selling of your old stuff is hardly worth the time spent on all these steps.
  • I am not a patient man – the thought of wasting a Saturday on the principle that someone might buy some of my unneeded items sends a shiver up my spine.
  • Stewardship – anything we no longer need we feel privileged to donate to someone that can use it.

And today it is easier than ever to donate items to charities. St. Vincent de Paul Society, Amvets and others come right to your door and pick up whatever you might have.

On the other hand, some people (such as my friend) actually enjoy the art of garage-saling. And it does provide a valuable service for those in need to purchase items at a fraction of what they would cost new.

So, in a spirit of cooperation I won’t be going to any garage sales – I don’t want to take up the good parking spots for those who enjoy it.

Categories: Ranting | Leave a comment

Labor Day?

Today is a holiday that honors the “working man.” At least that’s what was envisioned when the first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City in 1882.

But maybe today we should call it Consumerism Day or Materialism Day or Best-Day-for-a-Car-Sale Day. Because it’s focus seems to have somehow morphed into a day for commerce.

So, ironically, instead of a day off for working people, everyone in the retail business has to work harder.

One thing that seems to fit nicely with Labor Day is time to spend with your family. Lots of vacation stuff happens around this long weekend, and I really like that.

Enjoy the day, spend it with family or friends. Relax, converse and just enjoy being with others. It’s a lost art these days.

Categories: Educational, Ranting | Leave a comment

Caged Grudge Match – Man vs. Cake

Yesterday I made a Waldorf-Astoria cake for dessert. According to the legend, this cake was served at the luxurious hotel years ago. You can see a lovely shot of this premier hotel here ——->

Sometimes people also refer to it as red cake because the cake itself was a sort of blood-red color. Usually four layers of cake filled and topped with a thickened butter-cream frosting.

In any regard, I have my Mom’s old recipe for this cake – and I wanted to make it just as she used to.

Waldorf-Astoria Battle Royale: Red Cake = 3; Rev. Mr. Chris = nada

Against the insightful comments of my wife, I refused to line the pans with parchment paper. I said to myself, “it said grease and flour, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do, nothing more and nothing less.”

  • Red Cake goal numero uno – One layer stuck to the pan, and broke as I tried to extricate it

I made the frosting, but waited too long before incorporating the thickening paste (it said to let it cool, grrrr) to the butter base.

  • Red Cake scores again – Frosting separated and would not bind properly

As I was preparing the thickening paste for frosting batch #2, I got distracted with something to do with the salad for dinner.

  • Red Cake scores a third time – thickening paste has become solid glue

Finally, on batch 2 1/2, the frosting came out correctly. I slathered it between the layers and on the top and threw the dang thing in the fridge to set up.

This is not how I remember it working out for Mom

I ate a piece tonight rather triumphantly, but I wasn’t very pleased about it. The cake itself is a sort of pinkish red, not blood red (even with two full thingies of red food coloring that wasn’t enough).

I noticed that the Waldorf-Astoria (a Hilton property) no longer serves the blasted cake – I wonder why?

Categories: Cooking, Cuisine, Ranting | Leave a comment

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