View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Catholic League goes after Savage

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights had this to say about Michael Savage and his anti-Catholic diatribe this week:


Here is what radio talk-show host Michael Savage had to say on March 28 about the Catholic Church’s response to the immigration issue:

It is a pig story! It’s animal farm all over again. And also make no bones about it, it’s the greedy Catholic Church that was behind it because the people of America walked away from the molesters’ dens and they need to bring in people from the Third World who are still gullible enough to sit there and listen to the molesters…the Roman Catholic Church was behind this, the Roman Catholic Church started this a year ago. The Roman Catholic Church flooded the streets because they cannot get parishioners anymore amongst educated white people who have caught onto the racket and instead they need to import dummies to sit in the church pews. That’s the story and it is not difficult for you to understand—I’m telling you the truth. It’s all about greed. It’s greed at the top of the Catholic Church.

Make no mistake about why this is happening. This has nothing to do with compassion for Mexican workers. This has nothing to do with fairness for Mexican workers—it has to do with the greed…. That’s all there is to it. And that includes the Catholic Church pigs. And if you don’t like it, don’t listen to the show—I really don’t care anymore. I’m not going to be duped by this sanctimonious garbage that all churches are good and that the institution itself is good. Bah humbug. The institution is rotten from the top to the bottom.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“I was scheduled to be on with Mike Savage the day he savaged the Catholic Church and made bigoted comments about Latinos. But in the pre-interview—which occurred just a half hour before Savage went ballistic—I let a producer know that I did not share the host’s position; after he checked with Savage, I was told they would not have me on the show. That was fine, but what is not fine is Savage’s diatribe about the ‘greedy pigs’ in the Catholic Church He owes all Catholics an apology.”

---- On his show tonight (March 30), Savage responded by basically dismissing what Donohue had to say, defended his record abut the Catholic Church, got in a few more digs at the church, then said that he will not apologize, and that instead he is owed an apology.


I’m sorry I didn't contact my local radio station earlier to ask that they remove your show, Mr. Savage - or, as it says on your birth certificate, Mr. Weiner.

Springtime for Hitler ...

In the words of Michael Savage:

“The White Race is being snuffed off the planet through immigration.”


"The next time you’re in your backyard grilling hot dogs, don’t be surprised if your Korean neighbor is actually grilling his dog. That’s the way things are done in Korea.”

"I'm beginning to think that women should be denied the vote. Their hormones rage; they are too emotional."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More coffee spirituality

My strength...returns to me with a cup of coffee and the reading of the psalms.~~Dorothy Day

(A coffee quote thanks to M2

Chesterton (contra Savage): Love means ...

Love means to love that which is unlovable, or it is no virtue at all; forgiving means to pardon the unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all; faith means believing the unbelievable, or it is no virtue at all; and to hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all.
-- G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)

I wonder what Michael Savage would make of Chesterton?

I wonder what Chesterton would make of Savage?

I think Savage would not understand Chesterton – but that Chesterton would understand him all too well.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Savage: Hate-monger and bigot?

Michael Savage is anti-Catholic and xenophobic.

The talk show host has called for people to desecrate Mexican flags to protest some of the immigration proposals being discussed.

He slammed the Catholic Church at the same time alleging that the Church is behind this effort to help get new followers. He claims the Church is not motivated by compassion. He says it’s a business that wants to hoodwink these immigrants.

In his "honor," I post the Mexican flag.


St. Tutilo: a worthy model

Now that I’ve finished my Robin Hood play, I’m looking for another writing project.

The horror novel I’ve partly finished?

The collection of children’s poetry?

Revising and trying to publish “The Grumpy Shepherd” (a Christmas Story)?

The idea I’ve had for a series of allegorical plays about the Seven Deadly Sins?

Turning my song, “There’s a Great Big Monster under My Bed,” into a children’s book?

Finishing the hymn I’ve been mulling over?

Too many ideas.

One of my vices is that I skip from idea to idea without finishing many of them. I get bored easily.

Interestingly enough, today is the Feast of St. Tutilo, a Renaissance man (or monk) from the 10th Century.

He was a Benedictine monk who was a poet, a portrait painter, a sculptor, an orator, an architect, a composer, a musician, and a teacher.

Naturally, he is believed to have been born in Ireland.

Only three poems and one hymn remain of all of his works, but some of his paintings and sculptures can still be found.

He was also humble and prayerful.

Got me there.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Coffee haiku 2

March morning –
my prayers rise like the steam
from my coffee

Yesterday's readings

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Coffee haiku 1

In Japan
haiku are served with tea –
mine come with coffee

In four-part harmony

Today we sing:

Lord Have Mercy – Stephen Kraus
Psalm 137 – Let My Tongue Be Silenced
God So Loved the World – Noel Goemanne
Mass of Creation
Agnus Dei – Bob Hurd
Amen. El Cuerpo De Cristo – John Schiavone
Save Your People – Jim Farrell

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Coffee is good for your soul

If Jesus had come down to save us today rather than 2000 years ago, I’d have some advice for him when it comes to the Eucharist.

The bread/host is fine, but forget the wine.

Go with coffee.

Many churches already run on coffee – coffee hours, coffee for meetings, coffee for the staff, etc.

Heck, at some churches, coffee (with donuts or cookies) is about as close as they get to the Eucharist.

I admit I’m acting out of self-interest here.

I'm not a big fan of wine, but I do love coffee.

I drink 6-8 cups of it a day. When I was reporter/editor, and there was a steady supply, I drank 12 or more cups a day.

I know. The health conscious are all blanching at this point. But I've never had any obvious adverse effects (other than the color of my teeth). In fact, some people think I'm so laid back that they wonder what I would be like if I didn't drink coffee. Probably be comatose, they think.

Actually, I have given up coffee at various times. A couple of times it was for Lent. But I didn't go through withdrawals or become prone to suddenly falling asleep in public places.

Besides, I think coffee is spiritual.

It stirs the soul - or at least wakes it up. Dervishes used to drink a lot of it to help them in achieve their ecstasies. There have been some multi-cup days I understand what they experienced.

It may not look like blood the way that wine does – hence losing some of the visual symbolism - but many people will attest that coffee is the lifeblood of creativity.

It certainly was when I was working on deadline.

It is also true that there’s been a long history of praise –and debate – about the spiritual values of coffee.

Mormons won’t drink it. Some Protestants eschew it.

In the 16th century, priests tried to get Pope Clement VIII to ban coffee, calling it "the devil's drink." They linked it to the Muslims. Clement tasted it first, then declared, "Why, this Satan's drink is so delicious, that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it."

I don’t know what else he did, but I think this one action makes him worthy of a sainthood investigation.

Certainly coffee has had plenty of supporters.

The 18th century philosopher Sir James MacKintosh said, "The powers of a man's mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drank."

Ah. I drink therefore I think.

And Sheik Abd-al-Kadir said, “No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.”

Can’t argue against the pursuit of the truth.

Isak Dinesen declared in 1934, "Coffee, according to the women of Denmark, is to the body what the Word of the Lord is to the soul."

Always did like Denmark.

Some of our good Catholic women might want to consider the words of Stephanie Piro: “’Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee.”

As for dietary concerns, Alex Levine said, "Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat."


Yes, coffee seems the right drink for these troubled times.

As Alexander King suggested, “Actually, this seems to be the basic need of the human heart in nearly every great crisis - a good hot cup of coffee.”


So coffee would be a worthy choice for Jesus to make these days.

Alas, though. He already came.

Wine got the nod.

At least we can come home from Mass with the taste of wine in our mouths, put on Sebastian Bach’s “The Coffee Cantata,” and clean our palates with a cup of coffee.

Or two.

Half full, half empty.

Some folks say the cup is half full, some that it is half empty. And some folks just complain about the cup. - Ron Legest

Friday, March 24, 2006


I began this blog a year ago.

March 21 to be exact.

Much has happened in that year.

Good and bad.

My mother died.

My daughter’s cat got sick and died unexpectedly.

My oldest daughter got married.

I became the primary caregiver for my father and grandmother.

My father moved into an adult home.

I relocated my grandmother to an adult home near me.

My father has been hospitalized twice.

My dreams of the diaconate crashed.

I finally got to play Santa.

I got some haiku published.

One of my plays got performed.

And I even got nominated for an award for “From the back pew.”

Still, my blog has not grown as I’d hoped.

With everything going on, I haven’t had time to do it justice.

I found myself beating some of the same topics.

At the same time, I haven’t picked up the number of readers I’d hoped. (I’m grateful for the faithful few. You have been so kind, especially when I faced some troubled times. Thank you.)

That tells me that perhaps what I’ve written does not have broad enough appeal.

Or maybe I just don’t know how to promote.

Anyway, I felt it was time for a change.

My first thought was just to kill the blog.

But then I thought I’m just revamp it a little.

So I start with the title.

When I began the blog, I was a back pew guy.

Now I sing in the choir.

The view is nicer.


And I’m participating rather than just watching.

Maybe my point of view has changed a little, too.



More weathered.


There may be more changes in the works.

Keep reading.

I’ll keep singing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wednesday: St. Joseph's day

As part of my ongoing exploration of St. Joseph, my patron during this year, I’ve just learned today that Wednesday is the day of the week specially dedicated to St. Joseph.

In honor of that discovery, I share another discovery: A prayer to St. Joseph the Worker composed by Pope Pius X:

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who devote their lives to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance in order thereby to atone for my many sins; to work conscientiously, setting devotion to duty in preference to my own whims; to work with thankfulness and joy, deeming it an honor to employ and to develop by my labor the gifts I have received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties; to work above all with a pure intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must then render of time ill spent, of talents wasted, of good omitted, and of vain complacency in success, which is so fatal to the work of God.

All for Jesus, all through Mary, all in imitation of you, O Patriarch Joseph! This shall be my motto in life and in death, Amen.

Pro-abortion vandalism targetting pro-lifers continues

We always hear Sanger’s Sirens harping on “pro-life violence.”“ The media sucks it up, and so we are stereotyped. (Sort of like most Muslims, who are not violent, are being painted with a broad brush because of the violent minority)

Anyway, here’s some information about the other side.

This is, of course, on top of the ongoing pro-abortion violence of killing babies and scarring women.

Steven Ertelt Editor
March 21, 2006

Rockford, IL ( -- There's an old adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Pro-life advocates have tried 10 times to keep an advertisement they've taken out on a bus bench in a highly trafficked area of time from being vandalized.

Abortion activists keep hitting it again and again.

A local pro-life group rented the bus bench three weeks ago and various pro-life message continue to be vandalized.

Abortion advocates spray painted over one slogan saying “Women deserve better than abortion,” and they have scratched off others.

A picture of a baby attached to the bench in another ad was stolen and the incidents have been reported to local police.

Kevin Rilott of Rockford, a spokesman for the pro-life group, told the Rockford Register Star newspaper he's disappointed that abortion advocates don't respect free speech.

“It’s just affecting someone and made them very angry,” he said. “We know it’s a controversial issue, but if we can't peacefully express our opinion, it’s not what our county is about.”

Rockford indicated the group has contracted advertising on the bus bench through November and will keep on putting up new slogans when older ones are defaced.

This vandalism follows several news stories across the nation where abortion advocates have vandalized pro-life property.

Pro-abortion students at Harvard University torn down posters the pro-life student group posted, subway signs in San Francisco have been repeatedly defaced, and pro-life students at Baylor University have seen their share of vandalism as well.

Printed from:

Robin Hood play: end

(This is the end of the working draft of the play. I have already begun some revisions. Rehearsals start Monday.)

Will: That’s what it was like. Robbing, and tricking the sheriff and giving people
their money back, and never having to do laundry or take showers. We
were really Merry Men. Then things changed. (Exits)

(Marian, disguised as a man, enters. Robin steps out.)

Robin: Hold there lad. Where are you from? Why are you in these
woods alone?

Marian: I am from Nottingham. My business here is none of your business.

Robin: I am the collector of tolls on this road. All who pass here are my business.

Marian: Toll collector? More like a thief. (sniffs) And a smelly one at that.

Robin: (Drawing sword) Unless you state your business, I must assume you are
a servant of the Prince John. Please pay the toll.

Marian: (Drawing sword) I serve whom I serve. Let me pass.

(They begin to fight. Battle back and forth across the stage.

Robin: You fight well.

Marian: Thanks.

Robin: And your teeth are so white.

Marian: I brush them twice a day. You should try it.

(Then they battle down the steps to the front of the audience.)

Robin: Phew. This is hard work. (Turns to a member of the audience). Could you
please stand up? (Audience member does so) Here, if you could hold this
sword up for a minute, and let him hit it. (Hand over sword, and give
directions. Marian just keeps hitting it lightly) Thanks.

(Robin takes out a bottle of water and drinks some. He keep directing the
audience member.

Robin: That’s right. Just keep holding him off.

Marian: I could use a break too. (Enlists volunteer from audience.) Here, if
you could just his sword a few times. (Gives audience member her
sword). That’s right. Just keep hitting it. (Takes out bottle of water.)

(Marian and Robin step back and watch the fight. They keep giving
instructions to the audience members fighting in their place.

Robin: Good fight.

Marian: I could stand here all day and watch it.

Robin: Well, I suppose we better get back to it.

(Both take the swords back. Point to volunteers.)

Robin: Let’s here it for our stunt doubles.

(Robin and Marian lead the audience in applauding, then begin fighting
again. Fight gradually goes back up on the stage.)

Robin: Hold it, friend. I am bleeding. You are bleeding. Neither one of us is going
to win at this rate. Let’s just call it a draw.

Marian: You will let me pass?

Robin: Yes.

Marian: Then I will tell you my business. I’m looking for Robin Hood.

Robin Hood: Why are you looking for him?

Marian: We were childhood friends. I’ve been away to school. I came back to find
all the evil things the Sheriff is doing to my beloved Nottingham. And
now, the Sheriff wants to marry me.

Robin: Marry? But you’re a boy.

Marian: I am really Maid Marian.

Robin: Marian? Why I am Robin!

(They hug)

(Little John, Much and Alan burst in with swords drawn.)

Little John: We heard a fight

Alan: Back away stranger.

Robin: This is no stranger. This is Maid Marian. We knew each other when we
were children.

Little John: I remember you. My father worked as a woodsman for your father.

Marian: You are John the runt?

Little John: Yep.

Much: Runt?

Little John: You should see the rest of my family.

Robin: Marian has come seeking our help. The Sheriff wants to marry her.

Little John and Much: Urgh.

Robin: Wait. I thought the Sheriff was married.

Alan: He was.

Little John: A hunting accident.

Robin: I didn’t know the Sheriff’s wife hunted.

Alan: She didn’t.

Little John: It happened in the dining hall. She was hit by three arrows, an ax,
and a large kielbasa.

Robin. Oh. (Then to Marian) By the way, where did you learn to fight like that?

Marian: I went to an all-girl school where there’s only one bathroom.

Robin: We don’t have bathrooms here in the woods.

Alan: Or bathtubs.

Little John: Or a laundry.

Marian: I noticed.

Robin: We’ve been kind of busy.

Marian: Nonsense. There’s always time for a little cleaning up. After all,
cleanliness is next to Godliness.

(They exit. Little John, Alan and Much come out with sweeping the stage
and dusting the scenery. Marian joins them and supervises. Will Scarlett
comes out brushing his teeth.)

Will: Marian certainly cleaned things up in Sherwood Forest. We even built some
bathrooms. In honor of the Prince, we called them Johns.

(Merry Man approaches and dusts Will. He glares at the man. The man
moves away.)

Will: But all was not well.

(Robin enters, looking unhappy.)

Will: Robin, is something wrong?

Robin: Is something wrong? Yes. With me.

Little John: What do you mean?

Robin: People tell all sorts of stories about me. They say I’m a hero.

Much: But you are a hero.

Robin: What kind of hero am I? Will, you beat me in a sword fight. Little John
knocked me in the river from the bridge. Even you Maid Marian, a girl,
fought me to a draw. And I look like a midget next to Little John.

Marian: Everyone looks like a midget next to Little John.

Will: Everything you say is true, but you can do other things.

Alan: You beat me at chess.

Little John: You can run circles around me.

Marian: Can you think of something you can do well?

Robin: I bake pretty good chocolate chip cookies.

Will: Besides that.

Robin: Well. I am a good shot with a bow.

Little John: Good shot? You are the best in the land.

Will: And you are a great leader. I beat you, but I follow you. Little John beat you,
and he follows you.

Much: And you do make such great cookies I sell them at the public market. I
even sell flour with your picture on it. I call it Robin Hood Flour. It’s a big

Robin: You’re right. I am a leader. I am a good shot. And I make great cookies.

Will: You just have to make use of your strengths.

Robin: Much and I could open a bakery.

Will: NO. Use your strength as a leader. Use your archery.

Robin: Yes. There must be something I could do with my archery.

(All Exit. Enter the Sheriff and Lackey. Lackey is eating a cookie.)

Sheriff: Robin Hood! Robin Hood! That’s all I ever hear.

Lackey: He is big news.

Sheriff: He steals everything I steal and gives it back so I have to steal it all over

Lackey: It’s not that bad.

Sheriff: What do you mean?

Lackey. I’ve been going over the books. See. Last April we collected 300 pieces
of gold. This April we collected 450 pieces of gold. Gold revenues are up
50 percent. And that doesn’t count the cows, pigs and kielbasas.

Sheriff: Let me see those figures. (Studies the scroll.) Wait a minute, The reason
they are up is because every time we collected the taxes Robin and his
men stole them back and we had to collect them all over again. We
collected some of the same coins three or four times. Look here. What’s
the net?

Lackey: Oh. The net is down. But kielbasas are up.

Sheriff: Where did you learn accounting anyway?

Lackey: The Lakeside Learning Center.

Sheriff: Sounds like a fly by night organization.

Lackey: Well, at least we have jobs. Robin Hood keeps us in business.

Sheriff: He won’t keep us in business for long. Prince John is not happy.

Lackey: There’s a stall at that public market that sells great chocolate chip
cookies. We could send the Prince some.

Sheriff: All he wants is Robin’s head.

Lackey: Cookies would taste better.

Sheriff: Forget the cookies!

Lackey: It’s hard. They are great after a hard day of taxing and running from
Robin’s men or at the target range.

Sheriff: That’s it! You finally have an idea!

Lackey: I’ll get us some milk to drink with them.

Sheriff: NO! The target range!

Lackey: You want us to shoot at cookies?

Sheriff: No. Robin fancies himself a great shot. And he is proud. That’s his

Lackey: Pride goeth before a fall.

Sheriff: Exactly. We will have an archery contest. That will draw him into
Nottingham, and then we’ll catch him.

Lackey: Brilliant idea. Only you could come up with something sneaky like that.

Sheriff: Yes, I am good.

(They exit. Lackey returns and puts a sign on a tree. He exits. Robin, Will,

(Little John, Much and Marian enter. They look at the sign.)

Much: I never learned to read. What’s it say?

Little John: The Royal Sheriff of Nottingham is sponsoring an archery contest at
the Nottingham Fair.

Will: The winner will receive a golden arrow, a bag of gold, and an autographed
picture of the sheriff.

Marian: And the winner will be named the best archer in England.

Robin: I’m the best archer in England.

Little John: It’s obviously a trap.

Robin: Of course it’s a trap.

Marian: You can’t go. The Sheriff will be waiting for you.

Robin: That’s why I will go in disguise.

(All exit except Will.)

Will: We tried to talk Robin out of it. But he had to go. And we had to go with him.
In disguise. (Puts on a flowered hat)

(Sheriff, Lackey and Soldier 1 enter.)

Sheriff: is everything set?

Lackey: We have soldiers everywhere. Some are in disguise. We have
archers in the towers. We have soldiers in all the secret tunnels.
There's no way he can escape.

Sheriff: Then we can clap him in chains and take him to Prince John.

Lackey: But what if Robin Hood doesn't show up?

Sheriff: And pass up a chance to prove he's the best archer in the

Lackey: True.

Soldier 1: But what if somebody else wins? Then you'd have to give them the

Sheriff: We'll get it back. There's a prize tax.

(Townspeople begin to enter. All of the townspeople are either soldiers or
merry men in disguise.

Archers begin to arrive. All are obviously in disguise. Viking. Native
American. Knight. William Tell. Whatever costumes we can find. One is
the hunter.)

(The old man comes in dressed in a cape.)

(Robin enters in disguise as an old man dressed in a cape. He nods to the old man, who nods back.)

Sheriff: Keep a sharp eye on anyone who looks suspicious.

Lackey: No one so far.

Sheriff: Well, I think they are all here. Let's get started.

Lackey: (Loudly) It is time for the archery Contest.

Contestant: What do we shoot at?

(Everyone looks around.)

Sheriff: (to Lackey). Where is the target?

Lackey: (to Soldier 1) Where it the target?

(Soldier advances to the edge of the stage and points to the audience
member who had moved the target earlier.)

Soldier: Hey, Peasant.

Hunter: Pheasant? Where?

Entire cast: He said “Peasant.”

Hunter: (dejected) Sounded like pheasant. The people around here all talk like
Australians. (Other archers comfort him.)

Soldier: (To audience member, saying the first word with emphasis) Peasant. Go
get the target.

(As the audience member gets the target, Robin looks at the old man.)

Robin: (trying to sound old): We old fellows still got some life, eh? Maybe we'll
surprise these young whippersnappers.

Old man: I think many people will be surprised.

Robin: I have not seen you around here.

Old Man: I've only just come to this area.

Robin: So word of this contest has spread.

Old man: Word of what is going on here has spread.

Robin: Well, good luck.

Old Man: Good luck to you.

(Target is placed at the far right side of the stage.)

Sheriff: Let the shooting begin.

(First archer fires. All follow flight of imaginary arrow. We hear loud

Lackey: Miss. Next.

(Hunter shoots upward. All follow flight. Duck with an arrow in it
falls to the stage.)

Lackey: Miss.

Hunter: Miss? That's the best shot I've ever made.

(He goes to retrieve the duck. Returns to the archers, who all
congratulate him.)

Sheriff: Enough of that. Next.

(Third archer puts on thick glasses, shoots. We hear a scream. Soldier
runs across the stage with an arrow sticking out of him. As he runs he
yells Ow Ow Ow Ow. Exits.)

Lackey: Miss. Next.

(Old man fires. All follow the shot.)

Lackey: Direct hit!

Sheriff: I told you he would come!

Lackey: Next.

Robin: Good shot.

(Takes aim. Fires. All follow flight.)

Lackey: Direct hit. It split the other arrow.

Sheriff: That has to be Robin.

Old man: Good shot.

Robin: Thank you.

Lackey: We have to have a shoot off. First finalist.

(Old man takes aim. Fires. All follow flight. All gasp.)

Lackey: Direct hit again. He split the second shooter’s arrow!

Sheriff: That has to be Robin.

Robin: Good shot. My turn.

Robin takes aim, fires. All follow flight of the arrow. All gasp.

Lackey: He split the arrow again.

Sheriff: One of them has to be Robin.

Lackey: But which one?

Sheriff: ( Loudly.) I declare the contest a draw. Congratulations to the winners.
Now, arrest them both.

(Robin and the old man draw swords. Merry men join them. Sheriff,
Lackey and soldiers advance with swords drawn.)

Robin: (To old man) They don’t want you. They want me. I’ll tell them I’m Robin
so you can leave.

Old man: I’ll stay. Things are getting interesting.

Sheriff: We have you now Robin Hood. The town is surrounded. There
are archers in all the towers aiming at you right now. I have you,
whichever one of you is Robin.

(Merry men all look around.)

Robin: Even if we die here now, we will take some of you with us. We
fight in the name of King Richard.

Sheriff: Richard? Ha. He's dead. And even if he is alive, he's far
away from here.

Old Man: Not so far away. (Takes off wig and cape to reveal he is King

(Crowd all gasp and mutter. It's the King. The King. All bow)

Sheriff (to Lackey) He's shorter than I remember. (To the king.)
Welcome back sire. We are happy to see you well.

King Richard: Yes, I am back.

Sheriff: Just in time to watch us arrest the great criminal, Robin Hood.

King Richard: He is not a criminal. Everything he has
done has been for the good of the kingdom.

Sheriff: Oh, your highness. You have not been around. You haven't
heard all the things he's done.

Lackey: He's a bad one.

King Richard: I have heard enough about you Sheriff, and my dear brother
John. Time to flush out everything that's wrong in my kingdom.
(Turns to Robin) Robin.

Robin kneels before the king: Yes, sire.

King Richard: You are now Sir Robin of Locksley, Sheriff of Nottingham.

Sheriff: But that's my job. What do I do now?

Will Scarlet: With your experience there's a perfect job for you in
the stable. All you'll need is a good shovel.

Sheriff: (To Lackey) Do something!

(Lackey approaches the king with a bag.)

Lackey: Like a cookie, sire?

King Richard: Thank you. (Takes a bite.) Mmm. Good.

Much: It’s Robin’s recipe.

King Richard: I like it. And I like Robin’s recipe for England. No unfair taxes.
Justice for all.

Little John: It’s time to make England Merrie Olde England again!

Marian: It’s time to clean up England. (Merry Men all groan)

Robin: All hail King Richard.

Will: And all hail Robin Hood!

All applaud.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Robin Hood play, second section

Will: And so Robin and his merry men began their lives of robbing the rich.

(Enter rich woman, followed by two men struggling with a trunk.)

Woman: Hurry up. Hurry up. I don't want to be stuck in these woods when it gets
dark. Can't you move faster? I can always replace you.

(Robin and Much steps out with swords drawn.)Robin: Halt. This is a toll road.

Woman: Oh, mercy me. Thieves! Robbers! Highwaymen! (To her servants)
You fools. Defend me or you’re fired!

(They look at each other, shrug, and put their hands up.)

Robin: You have wise servants. Now, we are not thieves. We are
protectors of this forest road. We merely collect a toll.

(Woman sits on trunk.)

Woman: Oh, I have nothing. My husband never gives me anything.

Robin: What is in the box?

Woman: Just some trifles.

Servant 1: Jewels and gold.

Robin: Nothing?

Woman: Oh, don't mind him. He’s not all there. Besides, he’s from Leicester.

(Much opens the trunk, lifts out some jewels.)

Woman: How did those get in there?

Robin: That should be just about enough for the toll. (To the
servants) Gentlemen, would you be so kind as to carry this trunk
with us?

Servant 2: Might as well. We're out of a job now anyway.

Woman: I was just kidding.

Servant 1: Good joke. We’re laughing.

Woman: What about me?Robin: I don't think Much could carry you. But he will be happy to
escort you to the edge of the forest.

(All exit.)

Will: Robin gathered more followers. That's when we met.

(Scarlett starts walking across the stage. Robin steps out from hiding.)

Robin: Halt stranger.

Will: I'm not used to being ordered.

Robin: Forgive me. I don't mean to offend. I am merely doing my job.

Will: And what job is that?

Robin: Toll collector on this royal road. And loyal servant of King Richard.

Will: I. too, am loyal to the King. But I don't pay tolls.
Robin: Your bad luck. ( Draws sword.)

(Will draws his. The two begin to fight. It goes back and forth, then
Will knocks Robin's sword out of his hand and holds his sword to
Robin's throat.)

Robin: Well played. You are a good swordsman.

Will: You too. But alas I am no match for bows and arrows - such as
the ones pointed at me from behind those trees.

Robin: True. Still, it seems a shame to charge you a toll.

Will: Especially since I have nothing to collect. The Sheriff of Nottingham has
seen to that.

Robin: And how did you run afoul of him?

Will: I was at the inn when some of the sheriff's soldiers stood to toast Prince
John. I refused to drink with them. Then I proposed a toast to King Richard.
Everyone in the inn stood - except the soldiers. The next day, my home was
seized by the sheriff to house soldiers. Then they took my money and said it
was a tax to pay for protecting my home.

Robin: Ah, well we could always use a good swordsman. You are welcome
to stay with us. I'm Robin Hood.

(All exit except Will.)

Will: So that is how I joined the merry band. But I was not the last to join
– or battle Robin.

(Robin, Alan and Much enter stage left. They spot a bridge.)

Robin: Stay here while I see if the coast is clear.

(He approaches the bridge. Little John enters from stage right, and
approaches the bridge. They both stop and look at each other.

Little John: Ho stranger. I am crossing this bridge. Please move aside.

Robin: I intend to cross, too.

Little John: There is not enough room for two of us. I started across first, so I
will go first.

Robin: I’m in a hurry, and so I will go first.

Little John: I have the right of way.

(Robin raises his bow.)

Robin: This gives me the right of way.

Little John: That hardly seems fair. I am armed only with this staff.

Robin: Then I will be fair.

(He picks up a staff. They meet in the middle of the bridge. They battle.
Robin finally falls off the bridge. His men come rushing out.

Much: Robin, are you all right.

Alan: Should we shoot him, Robin?

Robin: No, he beat me in a fair fight. Let him pass.

(Little John reaches out a hand.)

Little John: Are you Robin Hood? I have been looking for you.

Robin: Why?

Little John: I want to join your band. I want to fight the sheriff.

Robin: A big fellow like you is more than welcome.

(All exit except Will.)

Will: And there were many fights.

(Enter Much. He suddenly stops. Soldier 2 enters. They begin got
fight with swords. Then soldier 3 enters.)

Much: Feet don’t fail me now, (Runs off stage)

(The soldiers follow off stage. We hear a scream. The soldiers run out.
One has an arrow through his head.

Soldier 2: (to the wounded one): Keep moving. It’s all in your head anyway.
(They exit.)

(Several merry men emerge with bows, laugh and point after the fleeing
soldiers, then exit)

Will: Yes, many battles. Sometimes it was to help people on the road and in the

(Enter an old man, walking with a staff. Solders 1 and 4 approach him.)

Soldier 1: Hold it there, old man.

Soldier 4: We’re collecting taxes.

Old man: All I have are a few pennies to pay for food.

Soldier 1: An old man like you doesn’t need much to eat. Give us the money.

Old man: Things were not like this when King Richard was in England.

Soldier 4: Richard has been captured and is being held hostage. The taxes are
for his ransom.

Old man: What if he is already free?

Soldier 1: Then he can stop the taxes when he gets back. Until then, we collect.

Old Man: As far as I can tell, all of the money is being used by Prince John
and his friends for themselves.

Soldier 4: We have expenses.

(Little John and Much enter with bows aimed.)

Little John: Maybe it’s time to cut down on some of those expenses.

(Soldiers run. As they go off stage, Little John and Much fire. We hear

Much: That should save a little on salaries.

Old Man: Thank you.

Little John: Just doing our service for England.

Old Man: And who are you?

Much: We are Robin Hood’s Merry Men.

Old man: I have heard of Robin Hood. They say he is a thief.

Little John: He only robs those who steal from others.

Much: He robs from the rich and gives to the poor.

Little John: And he serves King Richard.

Much: We are all waiting for the return of the king. Then things will be better.

Old Man: There are rumors that he may return soon.

Little John: The sooner, the better. But for now (hands him a package) here’s
some food to help you on your way.

Old Man: I won’t forget the kindness and loyalty of Robin Hood and his men.

(Old Man exits)

Will Scarlett: Sometimes we even went into town to help the people.

(Enter the Sheriff, Lackey and Soldier 4 carrying a large chest.)

Sheriff: All right. It’s my favorite day of the year.

Lackey: Your birthday? Gee, I’m sorry. I didn’t get you a gift.

Sheriff: No. Tax day.

Lackey: But every day is tax day for you.

Sheriff: Yes. Isn’t life good?

Lackey: (To soldier) We’ll collect. You guard the loot. I mean, the taxes.

Sheriff: (To Lackey) Search for peasants. I know they are here. I can smell them.

(Sheriff Exits Lackey sniffs, make a sour face, then turns to audience.)

Lackey: The only thing I smell is the beans he had for lunch. (exits).

(Robin, Little John, and Much enter quietly behind the soldier guarding the
chest. Much is carrying a golf bag.)

Robin signals to Little John to hit the guard. Little John tells Much to put
down the golf bag. He then pulls out a club, swings it a few times,
shakes his head and puts it away. He takes out a second club, swings it
like a golf club, shakes his head again. He takes out a third club. He
swings it a few times, smiles then whacks the Soldier 4 over the head.
Soldier 4 looks up at the air, then holds out his hand to see if it’s raining.

Robin, Little John and Much look at each other. Then Little John swings

Soldier takes off his helmet, scratches his head, and looks at the helmet.

Robin, Much, and Little John look at each other, puzzled.

Then Much takes out a small box, takes something out of it and begins to
chew. He then approaches the Soldier and taps him on the shoulder.

Soldier turns, smiling. Much breathes on him. Soldier falls.

Robin: Good job. What was that?

Much: Garlic gum. Want some?

(Breathes on Robin, who starts to faint. Little John holds him up.)

Robin: (Waving hand in front of his face): Put on the soldier’s clothes and keep
an eye on the taxes.

(Much puts on the soldier’s helmet and the guard’s outer garment. Robin
and Little John drag the knocked out soldier off stage.)

(Enter a peasant woman carrying a basket.)

(Sheriff and Lackey come in and approach her.)

Sheriff: It’s time to pay your taxes, woman.

Woman: But you taxed us last week.

Sheriff: It’s a new week. New taxes.

Woman: But I have no money left.

Sheriff: Then we will take what you have. Take her basket.

(Lackey takes her basket. He looks inside and takes out a rubber

Lackey: What’s this, then?

Woman: It’s the only food we have left.

Sheriff: It looks unhealthy. I wouldn’t want you to get sick. We’ll test it first – at my
dinner table.

Woman: Oh. Will no one save us? (Exits)

(Lackey takes the basket to the chest. Looks at the guard.)

Lackey: You look different.

Much: I’ve been sick.

(Lackey opens the chest and puts the basket in. Sniffs.)

Lackey: Phew. You must not be well. You smell like garlic.

(Walks away. Little John comes out and switches places with Much. Much
takes the basket out of the trunk and exits.)

(Sheriff enters with Lackey.)

Sheriff: Where are they hiding everything? Search that house.

(Lackey exits.)

(Sheriff looks at audience.)

Sheriff: Some of you look like you have money. I may have to start taxing you.

(Lackey reenters carrying a moose head (or some such similar item)

Lackey: Ha! You can’t believe peasants when they say they have nothing! Look
at this.

(Stops in front of Little John. Looks puzzled.)

Lackey: Didn’t you used to be shorter?

Little John: Growth spurt.

(Lackey puts the head in the chest.)

(Robin comes out, switches places with Little John. Little John exits with
the moose head.)

(Lackey comes in carrying some strange object. Looks at Robin.)

Lackey: Didn’t you used to be taller?

Robin: It’s hot. I’ve been sweating.

Lackey: Don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

(He puts the object in the trunk and leaves. Little John and Much come
out, carrying the soldier. Robin takes of the guard clothes, then they put
the guard and the clothes in the chest. They exit.)

(The Sheriff and Lackey return.)

Sheriff: That’s enough for today. There’s always tomorrow.

(He and Lackey look around.)

Sheriff: Where’s the soldier?

Lackey: He wasn’t feeling well.

Sheriff: When I get a hold of him, he’ll be feeling dead. Grab the
other end and let’s get this out of here.

(They try to lift the chest, but can’t. They open the chest. The soldier
sits up and holds his head.)

Lackey: I told you to drink some water.

Sheriff: Fools. Robin Hood and his men are around. Let’s get out of

(They exit with the trunk. Robin. Little John and Much come back in
carrying bags.)

Robin: Good job. Let’s get all those taxes back to the people who paid it

Little John: What shall we do with all this gold we also found in the

Robin: Share it with all good peasants.

(The bags contain gold covered chocolate coins. The three go down
and give it to people in the audience.)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Robin Hood: opening scenes

The following are the opening scenes of a working draft of my version of Robin Hood ( a junior/senior high production).

Cast (In order of appearance)

Will Scarlett
Guy of Gisborne, Sheriff of Nottingham
Soldier 1
Soldier 2
Soldier 3
Robin of Locksley - Robin Hood
Alan a Dale
Much, the Baker’s son
Rich Woman
Servant 1
Servant 2
Little John
Old Man/King Richard
Soldier 4
Old Woman
Maid Marian

The stage is bare. The background should include some trees, and green, suggesting a forest.

(Enter Will Scarlet)

Will Scarlet: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to our evening’s entertainment.
Tonight we present the legend of Robin Hood, who did more to
redistribute wealth than the Internal Revenue Service.

Our story is set during the reign of King Richard the Lionhearted.

(Crier holds up Applause Card. Urges audience to Cheer.)

Good King Richard was in the Holy Land taking part in the first Crusade.
He had left his brother John in charge.

Prince John was an evil, greedy man who wanted only wealth and power.

(Crier holds up card calling for Boos. Urges audience to boo. He then
takes out a scroll and reads.)

Crier: Hear ye, hear ye! Prince John decrees that henceforth Buckingham
Palace be known as John Palace. And that all castle towers be renamed
John Towers. And the name of The Royal Throne will now be The Royal

Will Scarlet: Prince John named his servants to positions throughout the realm.
One of those men was the Sheriff of Nottingham.

(The Sheriff and Lackey enter. Crier holds up the Boo Card. Sheriff glares at the Crier,
who exits. Then the Sheriff looks at the audience. He shakes his fist.)

Sheriff: Lackey, the Good Book.

Lackey: You want a Bible?

Sheriff: No, you idiot. The other book.

(Lackey rushes off. Returns with a large book labeled TAX CODE and
gives it to the Sheriff. The Sheriff flips through it.

Sheriff: Ha! (Looks at audience) There is a tax on free speech! Each boo will cost
you. (Looks at Will Scarlet) And watch what you say. (He and Lackey

Will Scarlet: (Sticks out tongue) Yes, it was a dark time in England – and not
because they hadn’t discovered electricity yet.

The land was overrun with vile men with filthy mouths.

(Enter three soldiers with bows.)

Soldier 1: Colorful language.

Soldier 2: Foul language.

Soldier 3: French words.

(All three laugh, elbow each other.)

Will Scarlet: It was at this time a hero arose. Robin Hood. (Exits)

(Robin enters, carrying a bow.)

Soldier 1: Hey, peasant.

(Hunter comes out.)

Hunter: Did someone say pheasant?

Soldier 1: I said peasant.

Hunter. Oh. Never mind. (exits)

Soldier1: Where was I?

Soldier 2: You called him a peasant.

Soldier 1: Right. Peasant. Do you have a license to carry that weapon?

Robin: I didn’t know you needed one.

Soldier 2: Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Soldier 3: Hey. What happens if we don’t know the law?

Soldier 2: We are the law.

Soldier 3: I thought I was a soldier.

Soldier 2: I don’t mean literally we are laws. I was using figurative language. You
know, like if I said you were a rock head. I don’t mean literally that your
head is made of rocks.

Soldier 1: His head is pretty hard.

Soldier 3: Yeah. When I was a kid I used to run into walls just for fun.

Will Scarlet: (Loudly) Gentlemen.

(The soldiers look around confused.)

Will Scarlet: I mean you three soldiers.

Soldier 3: (To the other soldiers) I told you I was a soldier.

Will Scarlett: Get on with the story.

Soldier 1: Where was I?

Soldier 2: I think you’re in Sherwood Forest.

Will Scarlett: (Firmly) You were talking to Robin.

Soldier 1: Who? (Looks at Robin) This peasant?

Hunter comes out.

Hunter: Did someone say pheasant?

Soldiers 1, 2, 3, Robin and Will Scarlet loudly, all together: PEASANT.

Hunter: No need to be insulting. (He leaves).

Soldier 1: Now I remember. (To Robin) Do you know how to use that bow?

Robin: Yes.

Soldier 3: How about a little contest. If you can outshoot us, maybe we won’t
arrest you.

Robin: All right. What do we shoot at?

(Soldier 1 jumps off the stage and pulls out a target. He takes out his
sword and points it at a member of the audience.)

Soldier 1: Move that target down the aisle, peasant. … Good.

Soldier 2: (To Robin) Now watch some fine shooting.

(All three shoot.)

Soldiers: (Together), Left of center. Good shot. Mine’s better, etc.

(Robin takes aim. Fires. All three soldiers follow shot.)

Soldier 3: Dead center.

Soldier 1: (To volunteer from the audience) Move it further way. (Moves it all
the way to the end of the aisle). That’s far enough.

All three soldiers shoot.

Soldiers: (Together), Right of center. Good shot. Mine’s better, etc.

(Robin takes aim. Fires. All three soldiers follow shot.)

Soldier 3: Dead center again.

Soldier 2: All right. See that deer in the bushes just beyond the target?

Soldier1: What deer?

(Soldier 3 hands him a telescope.)

Soldier 1: Oh. Right. I see something.

Soldier 2. Let’s aim for that.

(All three fire. Say things like Short. Too wide. Missed.)

(Robin takes aim. All three follow the shot. One with telescope uses it.)

(Loud scream.)

Soldier 3: (Nervously) That sounds like….

(The Sheriff and Lackey come running down the aisle. The Sheriff has an arrow
sticking out of his hat. He is carrying a roll of toilet paper. They all look at it and
he quickly gives it to Lackey.)

Sheriff: Who did it? Who fired that arrow?

(All three soldiers point to Robin.)

Robin: I’m sorry. I thought I was aiming for a deer.

Sheriff: Shooting at a deer? In the King's forest? That’s against the law. So is
shooting at a sheriff.

Lackey: (Holding the toilet paper) Especially when he is … performing some
official business.

Sheriff: (To Lackey) Quiet you fool. (To the soldiers) Seize him!

Soldier 1: Seize?

Soldier 2: It’s what you do when you have a cold.

Soldier 3: But I didn’t bring a handkerchief.

Soldier 1: You can borrow one of mine.

Soldier 2: I once saw an actor who could seize the alphabet.

(All the while, Robin is sneaking away. The Sheriff is getting angrier and angrier.
He finally explodes. )

Sheriff: I said SEIZE, not SNEEZE. Grab Him you idiots!

(Soldiers look around. They grab Lackey.)

Sheriff: Not him. The Peasant.

(The hunter returns. Before he can say anything, the cast on the stage
and several back stage who poke out their heads all say: HE SAID
PEASANT. Hunter leaves.)

Soldier 3: Who do we grab?

Sheriff: That’s what I get for hiring relatives. (Storms out. Lackey follows.)

Soldier 2: Wow, Uncle Guy is really mad.

Soldier 1: That’s what we get for working for a relative.

(They start to leave.)

Soldier 2: Maybe we should start our own business.

Soldier 3: Yeah. Like a landscaping business.

Soldier 1: I’ve always wanted to start a pig roasting business. We could call it
Hog Heaven.
(They leave.)

Scarlet: And so Robin fled to the forest, to live as an outlaw. At first, he simply
hunted and scrounged as best he could. But he soon discovered that
Sherwood Forest was full of outcasts like himself. He gathered some

(Enter Robin, Alan a Dale and Much, the miller’s son.)

Alan: Hunting for food is fine, but there are some things we need to buy.

Much: Like ale.

Alan: Yes. And clothes. And flour. We need money.

Much: I don't see why we shouldn't just rob people like some of the
other outlaws in Sherwood Forest. We won't harm anyone.

Robin: No. Some might fight back, and then we'd have to hurt them.

Much: Or we might get hurt.

Robin: That too, But the main point is it’s wrong to steal.

Alan: We could just call it borrowing?

Robin: No. We will not become like the sheriff.Alan: Wait a minute. The sheriff and his
supporters rob from the poor and the good, right?

Much: Yes. They stole my father's mill.Alan: They stole my family farm.

Robin: They stole my family's lands.

Much: And they stole my good Sabres hat.

Alan: So let's just rob from them and their friends.

Robin: Yes … you have a great idea there. But let's change it a little. Let's rob the robbers, then
make sure it gets back to the good people the Sheriff robbed in the first place.

Much: Huh?

Robin: Rob from the rich and give to the poor.

Much: Oh. (suddenly grins) Hey, I'm poor.

(They exit.)

To be continued ...

St. Joseph icon (for his feast)

St. Joseph, father and husband, pray for us.

Bug: A slice of life (or death)

There’s a bug on the bedroom wall.

It’s a millipede.

Or a centipede.

One of those bugs with lots of legs.

I’m not sure what it is. I’m not an entomologist.

Though people say I look like one.

The bug has not moved in five minutes.

Neither have I.

If my wife were to see it, she would kill it, or ask me to kill it.

I don’t want to kill it.

It’s not that I’m not a bug lover.

I just don’t like to kill things unless I have to.

At school, I always try to coax the bees back out of the room rather than kill them.

I have been known to catch flies when they land and release them outside.

It impresses my students.

(I always wash my hands after).

When I was a kid I shot a bird in a tree with a BB gun. (I’m a good shot).

I had this little kid idea that I would just stun it, then take it home and keep it as a pet.

When the bird fell, I ran over to catch it before it flew away.

It lay on the ground. It was breathing in a labored way.

I picked it up. It moved in my hand. It breathed in gasps. A little blood tricked out of its beak.

Then it died.

I’ve never forgotten that moment.

I am a killer.

Some people say I look like one.

This bug on the wall and I are having a kind of staring contest.

Who will move first?


I have to get ready for work.

I shower and return to the bedroom to dress. The bug is still there.

He must be making sure.

As I head out the door to go to work, my wife says something about there being a bug on the wall.

She says something about killing it.

I leave.

The bug is not there when I get home.

I don’t know if she killed it.

Maybe it’s dead.

Maybe not.

It’s still alive in my mind.

And now in yours.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Robin Hood

I have not been writing in my blog much these last few days.

We ordered a preview script about Robin Hood for the school play, and the kids voted it down.

They said it wasn’t funny enough.

They then asked me to write an original one (I’d done it before).

Phew. I have been whipping it into shape – but have had little time for anything else.

Our read through is set for next Monday. I still have the final three scenes to complete.

Then I have to go back, smooth some scenes out, correct typos and spelling, and refine the dialogue.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

War games, abortion, and Metaphysical poetry!

Although I am a consistent life ethic person (i.e. opposing such things as abortion, the death penalty, unjust war, euthanasia, and in favor of promoting social and economic justice), I have a secret ”violent” vice.

I like war games.

When I was a kid, I played chess in tournaments and in the school chess club. I played games like Risk and Stratego. In the 1970s I discovered games that recreated famous battles or required the use of battle tactics in hypothetical situations.

While other kids and teens played basketball or football, I refought the Battle of Bulge, the Battle of Gettysburg, D-Day, etc.

In recent years, I discovered some computer war games. I sometimes relax by playing a quick battle.

Which brings me to abortion.

I have been watching the abortion war for years. I have been a participant, and a reporter covering events.

I liken what is going on now to one of the tactics I use in some of the war games I play.

When attacking an enemy position, it’s rarely possible to mount a massed attack and overwhelm the foe in one quick assault.

Instead, I send in troops in waves from as many directions as possible.

As my troops are repelled, I send them back, or I send in fresh units.

I try to vary where the attack comes from.

I try to hit him where and when he least expects it – like Jonathan at the Battle of Michmash.

I try to get around behind the enemy.

If possible, I attack from all sides at the same time.

I probe for weaknesses, and when I find any I begin to concentrate more forces there.

If I have the extra forces, I also try to attack other targets to distract my foe and pull some of his forces away from my main attack.

I wear down my foe.

Most often, when I succeed, he gradually pulls back, ceding ground. I then have to press the attack on his new positions.

Sometimes, he simply crumbles and surrenders, or retreats pell-mell.

I win more often than I lose.

I sense the same thing going in the fight to defeat abortion.

Attacks on multiple fronts – South Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri, the Supreme Court, etc.

Attacks on multiple targets - parental notification, waiting periods, limiting certain types of abortion or when abortions can take place, and so on.

The main target now is overturning Roe – or so crippling it that it is ineffective.

But I also know that bringing down Roe will most likely mean more battles on a state-by-state basis.

It will take a long time. I may not even live to see the end of the fight – falling like a soldier in one phase of the battle, but still helping with the progress toward a hoped for victory.

And even if we ultimately fail, I’d rather go down fighting.

And I’d rather know that I tried to advance the cause of God’s love.

For despite the military imagery, the true goal of this war is to change the hearts and minds of those trapped by pro-abortion ideologies and mythologies.

Our goal is to free them from bondage to the Father of Lies.

Our goal is their salvation, not their deaths.

As I think of this ultimate goal, I’m reminded of the words of John Donne – with his mixing of the sexual and the sacred (oddly appropriate when dealing with abortion):

Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Getting heavy (limerick)

A young master baker named Bill
was proud of his portly wife Lill.
When she’d step on a scale
he’d remark without fail,
“Where there’s a weigh there’s a Will.”

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Study: Parental notification reduces teen abortion

Austin, Texas ( -- A new study published in this week's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine finds a Texas parental notification law approved in 2000 reduced the number of teen abortions for teenagers across the board. The study is another rebuttal to the claim by the New York Times earlier this week that such laws don't reduce abortions.

The results find that abortions on 15 year-old dropped 11 percent, on 16 year-olds dropped 20 percent, and fell 16 percent on 17 year-olds.

The figures reflect the numbers since the law went into effect in 2000, which requires abortion practitioners to notify a parent of a teenage girl 48 hours beforehand that she is considering an abortion.

The figures are also adjusted for the fact that birth and abortion rates were already on the decline before the law was put in place. … (For the full article go to
The abstract of the study can be found at:

This study is just another nail in the pro-choice coffin. The new laws, the legal challenges, the statistics are all coming together.

All those years of prayer might just be paying off.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Episcopal Church continues self-destruction?

Jim Brown

A conservative Anglican leader says if one of the two openly homosexual priests who are candidates to become bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California is elected, the fallout could rival that of the controversy over the denomination's 2003 ordination of homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson.

Bonnie Perry of Chicago and Robert Taylor of Seattle -- both of whom have longtime same-sex partners -- are among the five nominees for the position of Episcopal bishop of California. …
(See more at )

After Bishop Robinson's ordination, an emergency panel of the global Anglican Communion called for a moratorium on installing bishops in same-sex relationships.

California is apparently ignoring the request.

The article notes: Canon David Anderson, president and CEO of the American Anglican Council, says the nominations are no shock to conservatives.

"This is not surprising to most of us in the Orthodox part of the Episcopal Church," says Anderson. "We understood that there is an agenda within the Episcopal Church for trying to subvert it into a 'holy homosexual' kind of a church. So we anticipated that they would do this again and again."

The diocese is scheduled to select its new bishop May 6 – prophetically in San Francisco?

The selection then has to be approved by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in June.

Pro-lifers targetted in South Dakota

Sioux Falls, SD ( -- High profile supporters of South Dakota's ban on virtually all abortions, which the state's governor signed into law today, have been targeted with act of vandalism by abortion advocates angry the state would challenge Roe v. Wade.

Leslee Unruh is the founder and director of the Alpha Center, a Sioux Falls based crisis pregnancy center that helps women in the state's largest city find abortion alternatives.

Unruh, who also heads a national abstinence group, has been one of the more vocal proponents of the state's new abortion ban. She's now the target of pro-abrotion activists.

In an interview with Family News in Focus, Unruh said her house has been plastered with eggs, she's been mailed coat hangers by those who claim women will die from illegal abortions.

Unruh has had threatening calls in the middle of the night, hate mail and her favorite coffee shop told her to stop coming in because of the problems.

"They said, 'We have a choice as to who we serve, and we choose not to serve you,' " she told FNIF. "They were careful to emphasize the word 'choice.' "

Unruh's husband is a doctor and leading pro-life advocate in the state himself.
She told FNIF that he has had the bodies of dead and decomposing animals placed on his chiropractic clinic's property. The actions have made some of his employees scared to go to work.

The pro-life activist is taking things in stride and plans to use the coat hangers to hang up baby clothes in the pregnancy center.

Good for her!

This is the second piece I’ve seen about this violence.

Nothing in the South Dakota papers I checked last night, though.

Let’s pray for this family, for the ban’s success, and for all the pro-choicers that they may have conversion of hearts.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

South Dakota abortion ban backlash begins

Mar. 06 ( - South Dakota's Governor Mike Rounds has signed a bill banning nearly all abortions in the state.

The new law-- the first statewide abortion ban enacted since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision-- is due to go into effect July 1. However, a legal challenge is inevitable, and opponents are likely to seek a court order postponing implementation of the law until the constitutional challenge is resolved.

Thus the South Dakota law sets the stage for the first direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, a case in which the US Supreme Court effectively overturned all state laws restricting abortion. The challenge would test the new balance of power on the Supreme Court, which now includes two Justices recently named by President George W. Bush.

The South Dakota legislation, based on new scientific evidence showing that human life begins at conception, was approved by solid majorities in both houses of the state legislature. A similar bill is now working its way through the Mississippi legislature.

Radical abortion supporters have evidently begun exacting some retribution for their loss in South Dakota. Leslee Unruh, a pro-life activist who lobbied intensively for the new legislation, reports that she has received threatening phone calls in the middle of the night, eggs have been splattered across her house, coathangers placed in her mailbox, and dead animals left at her husband's office. Unruh reports having received "a ton" of hate mail.

The last paragraph struck me.

Pro-lifers have been labeled “violent” by Sanger’s Sirens – and the media has been mesmerized by their song – yet here we see part of the reality.

I wonder if we will see any of this reported by the mainstream media.

Time to check some South Dakota newspapers!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

12 year old art critic

DETROIT (AP) - A 12-year-old boy stuck a wad of gum to an abstract painting, leaving a small stain on the $1.5 million (1.25 million) work by American painter Helen Frankenthaler.

The boy was visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts with a school group Friday when he took a piece of Wrigley's Extra Polar Ice gum from his mouth and mashed it on "The Bay," a painting from 1963, officials said.

The gum did not adhere to the fiber of the canvas, but left a small blot of chemical residue on the painting's lower left corner, said Becky Hart, assistant curator.

The museum is researching solvents that might clean the chemicals and will keep "The Bay" on display in the meantime, Hart said. "Our expectation is that the painting is going to be fine," she said.

Holly Academy director Julie Kildee said the boy had been suspended from the school and his parents have also disciplined him.

"Even though we give very strict guidelines on proper behavior and we hold students to high standards, he is only 12 and I don't think he understood the ramifications of what he did before it happened, but he certainly understands the severity of it now," Kildee said.

The Catholic Crusade is wondering if they can recruit the boy to “decorate” some anti-Catholic art.

Angels watching over me

I came across this entry over at Laura’s blog (... and if not ...)

"You are embarrassing the angels." This is what I intend to say for the next 40 days whenever I see someone who is hurting the culture, hurting human dignity, denying the stature of a human being. I mean to say it with belief, with an eye to instruction, but also pointedly, uncompromisingly. As a lady would. All invited to join in.
Read Peggy Noonan's Article

She makes some good points and comes up with a catchy phrase. After some reflection on the choice of words I think I will choose to say something along the lines of "You are embarassing yourself." Embarassing the angels is good in theory... but I think I will stick to my own phrase. Pass it on. Thanks to
Happy Catholic for posting this.

Yes, thanks to Happy Catholic and Laura.

Noonan makes some good points. I, too, for example, have found myself uneasy about the television ads for various sexual products.

And this whole business got me to thinking: What do the angels see?

Do we embarrass them or make them proud?

Would we do some of the things we do if we really believed someone was watching?

But even if we don’t think about angels watching us, what about God?

I don’t know if I will go around saying “You are embarrassing the angels.” I have been known to say “You are embarrassing yourself,” but I certainly don’t say it every time I see something that merits the comment.

I’ll think about that.

Meanwhile, this Lent, I’ll now be aware of the angels watching.

Am I embarrassing them?

And myself?

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Celtic prayer for Lent

You are God
Celtic oral tradition
(1st millennium)

You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart's eternal spark
You are the door that's open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
You are my Lord and with me still
You are my love, keep me from ill
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Savior this very day.

(I stumbled across this prayer today. I’d never seen it before. It’s one I’ll be saying often.)

Christianity: Still a risky business

North Korea ranked top persecutor of Christians

Santa Ana, Cal, Mar. 02, 2006 (
CNA) - For the fourth straight year, North Korea has made the top spot on the 2006 Open Doors “World Watch List” of 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.

The annual list ranks countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for actively pursuing their faith.

It is believed that the communist country has detained more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world and that tens of thousands of Christians are currently suffering in North Korean prison camps where they face cruel abuses, according to the 2006 World Watch List report. Though no exact figures can be given, Open Doors’ staff estimates that hundreds of Christians were killed by the regime in 2005.

Open Doors USA is partnering with the North Korea Freedom Coalition for North Korea Freedom Week, April 24-30, in the U.S.

Saudi Arabia holds the second spot on the list. Rounding out the top 10 are Iran, Somalia, Maldives, Bhutan, Yemen, Vietnam, Laos and China. In addition to North Korea, countries with communist governments include Vietnam, Laos and China. Islamic-dominated countries are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Maldives and Yemen. Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan.

With our freedom of religion in the U.S., it’s easy to forget that being a Christian is still a risky thing in the world.

In these nations, we face prison, torture, even death.

Here in the U.S. (and other Western nations where “freedom of religion" exists), we face ridicule and social pressure.

Of course, sometimes that’s far more insidious than direct physical threats.

It’s also interesting that our “ally,” Saudi Arabia is number 2 on the list.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Catholic Democrats squat on principles

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 1, 2006

Washington, DC ( -- A group of Catholic Democrats in Congress have released a "Statement of Principles" claming to respect the sanctity of human life even though they support abortion. The move appears to be an attempt to respond to the nation's Catholic bishops, who have called on churches and colleges not to give a platform to pro-abortion politicians.

The 55 signatories say they "acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas."

They declare they are "proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition -- a tradition that promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life."

However, the lawmakers call abortion a "religious issue" and claim supporting legislation banning or even limiting abortions would be a violation of the religious freedom of those who back it.

"As legislators, we are charged with preserving the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom for all Americans," the explained. "In doing so, we guarantee our right to live our own lives as Catholics, but also foster an America with a rich diversity of faiths."

Hmm. Some people backed slavery on religious grounds. Guess we should have kept that.

Some folks thought women should be “protected” and denied certain rights on religious grounds. Guess we should go back to the old ways.

Some folks believed they had a right to practice polygamy on religious grounds. In the name of religious freedom we should allow that.

Some folks hold religious beliefs opposing the intermarriage of races. We’d better restore those laws.

Some people believe on religious grounds that they should be allowed to have sex with children. We shouldn’t deny that particular religious freedom, right?

Oh, and some people maintain on religious grounds that Catholics should not be elected to office (don’t want the pope controlling the U.S.!).

In the case of these Catholic Democrats, that last point sounds about right.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Supreme Court, RICO, and the Godmother

She looked up and down the street several times. Then she pulled up her collar, put on a hat that covered most of her face, and got out of the car.

She hunched over and rushed to the door of the Margaret Sanger Tea Room and Women’s Health Spa.

She hurrind in.

Several nervous looking women were seated at the tables. One young woman was crying as she pretended to read a magazine.

A song from k.d. lang's new album was playing on the sound system.

“Helpless, helpless, helpless…”

The security guard looked at the woman who had just come in, and nodded in recognition.

The receptionist also looked at her, then gestured with her head toward the back room door.

The woman went to the door, and knocked.

“Come in.”

She went in.

‘Ah, Consigliore Richards," a woman seated behind a large desk said. " Welcome. I am glad to see profits are up at Planned Parenthood. You are doing well.”

Richards rushed over to the woman, knelt, took her hand, and kissed her ring.

“Oh, Godmother, the news is bad.”

“It’s never that bad,” the Godmother said. She gestured toward the couch. “Sit”

Richards sat on the couch sinking into its depths.

A portrait of Margaret Sanger glowered down at her.

“Now, what is troubling you?” the Godmother said.

“The Supreme Court decision …,” Richards began.

“Yes. I am saddened by this,” the Godmother said. “The RICO decision takes away an important protection. We spent a fortune to keep it in force, but our people in Washington failed us.

“And now, the anti-choice fanatics can feel free to protest without fear of being charged with conspiracy.

“Yes, I had a long talk with Caporegime Nancy Keenan at NARAL. She, too, is upset.”

“But godmother, it could be worse,” Richards said.


“I will be blunt,” Richards said.

“We conspired to lie about the number of women who died from illegal abortions.

“We conspired to lie about Jane Roe getting pregnant by rape so we could get Roe v Wade through.

“We conspired to lie about Jane Doe wanting an abortion so we could get Doe v Bolton through.

“We conspired to change the language so that we got people to talk about choice and women’s health instead of about killing babies.

“We conspired to exaggerate the extent of anti-choice violence, and to downplay pro-choice violence.

“We conspired to lie about the vast amount of support provided to pregnant women and new mothers by anti-choice organizations.

“We conspired to lie about the physical and emotional effects of legal abortion, and to conceal the number of women who die from it.

“We conspired to lie about the nature of intact dilation and extraction, and worked to try to get the media to stop calling it partial-birth abortion.

“We conspired to lie about who Judge Roberts supported to try to derail his approval to the Supreme Court.

“I could go on. We’ve conspired to build an empire of lies.”

“Yes,” the Godmother said, “we have played loose with the truth. But look at how we have profited by it.”

“That’s my point,” Richards said. “Part of what RICO targets is extortion, profiting from conspiring together. The anti-choicers never profited. We did. So the RICO statute applies to us far more than it ever did the anti-choicers.

“My fear is that the anti-choicers will catch on and try to use RICO against us.”

The Godmother nodded.

“You are a wise consigliore,” the Godmother said. “We and Planned Parenthood are lucky to have you.”

The Godmother looked at the picture of Margaret Sanger for nearly a full minute.

“Yes, we must be proactive,” she finally said. “We must make sure we put some safety measures in place.”

She picked up the telephone and punched in some numbers. Richards could hear ringing, then a muffled voice at the other end.

“No time for pleasantries," the Godmother barked into the phone. “I want you to spread the word to all the operatives. Contribute to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”