Thursday, March 31, 2011

". . .and a Diet Pepsi! - Supersize, Please"* in nature equal ends produce; In man they join to some mysterious use. Alexander Pope Essay on Man

I yield to no man (or woman) in foolish behavior. I hold a life membership in Anti-Mensa because I voted for John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain in 2008; sold all of my gold holdings on September 19, 2008.

However, I take vigorous morning walks. Drink Canfields Lime Seltzer. Smoke, only five Marloboro Reds a day. Eat at midday. Snack not. Sleep early and wake early. This lad crowding sixty reads everything and dismisses cant quickly and vigorously. While Americans are said to be dangerously obese, the lard between their ears tends to be more burdensome than the cascade of chins at Michael Moore's Adam's Apple. Americans too often feast on bullshit. Witness Charlie Sheen's sold-out performance at Chicago Theatre, the demand that Lois Weisberg was really important to Chicago Culture, because she put plastic painted whimsical cows on every corner, Rahm Emanuel is a Chicagoan, Food Deserts, or that Libyan rebels are all dentists.

I enjoy an Italian Beef/Sausage combo sandwich from Pop's on 103rd & Kedzie*, smothered in hot Giardinara and eschew the fries, in most cases. While waiting for one savory piling of char-broiled sausage and paper thin cuts of beef soaked in au jus and stuffed into a pillow of Gonnella roll, I observerd two trencherman order their noon meal.

"Six Dogs with everything, extra fries, two Tom-Tom Tamales, onion rings and two extra large diet pops - one white and one dark."

"The same here."

I asked the gents about the white and dark diet pop

' We suck some out and then mix them further down.'

I see. That is code for WTF?

Both twenty something gentlemen were more than generously proportioned - to wit, they were morbidly obese. Now, my manly frame is dappled and dimpled with lard, here and there, befitting my burgher outlook and satisified American life, but these boys were going to give Chicago Fire Department's overworked EMT's two monstrous workouts in days to come. The jaws-of-life will be needed to open the portals of each man's garden single-bedroom apartment, appointed with an electric Lazy Boy lounger, X-Box acoutrements, Wide Screen Plasma TV and larders filled to capacity with Frito-Lay products and cases of white and dark diet pops.

Following my afternoon's ephiphany, I turned on ME TV for the 3PM showing of Rawhide and was treated with this ad for Diet Pepsi.

This busty lass, I am quite certain, just might not wash down six dogs with everything, large fries, Tom-tom tamales, onion rings & etc. with a frosty Big Gulp full of iced Diet Pepsi . . .or, I might be voting for John Kerry or John McCain again . . .I think not. Another selection offered up on the endless bullshit buffet! Bon Appetit!

*Extremes in nature equal ends produce; In man they join to some mysterious use.

"In one five-week study conducted in 2008, 27 rats that were provided with a saccharin-sweetened yogurt ate more total food and gained more weight than rats fed sugar-sweetened yogurt. And it wasn’t because they loved the saccharin-sweetened yogurt—in fact, they tended to eat less of it, but went back to their regular chow for second helpings more often than the rats given sugar. On the other hand, a 2004 study of 24 French men and women, also for about five weeks, found that the individuals randomly assigned to include high-calorie, sugar-sweetened beverages in their diet did the most overeating—and had no better hunger control compared to a similar group allocated to consume artificially sweetened beverages."
So since they taste like sweetened rat urine, what on earth is the point of drinking diet sodas? Roberts has thoughts on that, too: "magnetic resonance imaging studies tracking the brain’s responses to sugar and intense sweeteners show that in our unconscious brain we know they are different—even while we perceive both of them as 'sweet-tasting' in our conscious brain. While this might seem like bad news, I view this as positive because it means we can still enjoy sweet taste without getting the neurological high that accompanies a rush of sugar calories."

So you enjoy what you're drinking, but you don't get a buzz. Roberts theorizes that over time we can retrain our brains to uncouple the connection between sugar and the dopamine rush we get from it: "In other words, using artificial sweeteners may actually make us like the real thing less over time, and provide a bridge to a healthier low-calorie, low-sugar diet that still tastes sweet due to our increased sensitivity for the sugars in natural foods."

** Testimonial" I travel 100 miles, each direction, for beef sandwiches. I have been coming to Pop's, PH location for more than 20 years.
- Brice H. McCarty II (verified 232.9 miles round trip!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

American Exceptionalism: 'Even Eden, you know, ain't all built,'- Charles Dickens Took Wild Exception to America

Last night, while watching President Obama wax Exceptional on our involvement in Libya, my thoughts turned to Chares Dickens and his opinion of America and Americans -louts, villains, snobs, back-shooters, bullies,braggards, blackguards, humbugs, frauds, hypocrites, cut-throats, spitting-bi-peds, rubes, slavers, lynchers, and loud-mouths.

The President seemed to speak of American Exceptionalism with same enthusiasm and sincerity that a third grader squeaks out while being pummeled and slapped by the fifth grade Corinthian Tom astride his belly.

American exceptionalism? No, but a pretty good imitation of the opinions of American Intellectuals, News Commentators, Celebrities, Academics and Activists and Film Makers.

Charles Dickens visited America in the 1840's and could not get home to England quicker. William Makepeace Thackeray his chief literary rival loved America and portrayed American Exceptionalism - liberty loving, heroic, self-less, welcoming, thoughtful, inventive, hopeful, charitable and adventurous - in his novels The History of Henry Esmons and The Virginians.

Dickens eclipsed Thackeray when tubby tyrant Henry James (the Noam Chomsky of fin de ciecle 19th Century America) lorded that Thackeray presented 'loose-baggy monsters.' All obeyed.

Fat Henry wanted to be a European in the wurst way and subsequnet would-be American academics(Chomskey, Zinn, Ayers, et al.)obeyed the unreadable and humorless James. Americans needed to bash themselves and their institutions in order to be taken seriously by the very silly people who demand that rubric. Charles Dickens set out a wonderful and funny template for this very faux pose in his brilliant satirical American chapters of The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzelwit.

Martin Chuzzelwit is a wonderful study of self-ishness, cruelty and hypocrisy that begins with Old Martin Chuzzelwit a wealthy creep who so afraid that his relatives desire his money that he plots ways to root out their motives and who hires a beautiful young girl to care for him who will be well compensated while he lives, but be cast out penniless when he dies - that he believes will be his long-life insurance.

Young Martin wants the old guy's dough - what bright young man of us does not desire an inheritance? Young Martin gets disinherited and goes to America to seek his fortunes. In America, after a horrific Atlantic crossing and stepping onto Yankee soil Chuzzelwit and his companion Mark Tapley ( the only genuine good guy in the book) meet the press!

'Here's this morning's New York Sewer!' cried one. 'Here's this morning's New York Stabber! Here's the New York Family Spy! Here's the New York Private Listener! Here's the New York Peeper! Here's the New York Plunderer! Here's the New York Keyhole Reporter! Here's the New York Rowdy Journal! Here's all the New York papers! Here's full particulars of the patriotic locofoco movement yesterday, in which the whigs was so chawed up; and the last Alabama gouging case; and the interesting Arkansas dooel with Bowie knives; and all the Political, Commercial, and Fashionable News. Here they are! Here they are! Here's the papers, here's the papers!'

'Here's the Sewer!' cried another. 'Here's the New York Sewer! Here's some of the twelfth thousand of to-day's Sewer, with the best accounts of the markets, and all the shipping news, and four whole columns of country correspondence, and a full account of the Ball at Mrs White's last night, where all the beauty and fashion of New York was assembled; with the Sewer's own particulars of the private lives of all the ladies that was there! Here's the Sewer! Here's some of the twelfth thousand of the New York Sewer! Here's the Sewer's exposure of the Wall Street Gang, and the Sewer's exposure of the Washington Gang, and the Sewer's exclusive account of a flagrant act of dishonesty committed by the Secretary of State when he was eight years old; now communicated, at a great expense, by his own nurse. Here's the Sewer! Here's the New York Sewer, in its twelfth thousand, with a whole column of New Yorkers to be shown up, and all their names printed! Here's the Sewer's article upon the Judge that tried him, day afore yesterday, for libel, and the Sewer's tribute to the independent Jury that didn't convict him, and the Sewer's account of what they might have expected if they had! Here's the Sewer, here's the Sewer! Here's the wide-awake Sewer; always on the lookout; the leading Journal of the United States, now in its twelfth thousand, and still a-printing off:—Here's the New York Sewer!'

'It is in such enlightened means,' said a voice almost in Martin's ear, 'that the bubbling passions of my country find a vent.'

Martin turned involuntarily, and saw, standing close at his side, a sallow gentleman, with sunken cheeks, black hair, small twinkling eyes, and a singular expression hovering about that region of his face, which was not a frown, nor a leer, and yet might have been mistaken at the first glance for either. Indeed it would have been difficult, on a much closer acquaintance, to describe it in any more satisfactory terms than as a mixed expression of vulgar cunning and conceit. This gentleman wore a rather broad-brimmed hat for the greater wisdom of his appearance; and had his arms folded for the greater impressiveness of his attitude. He was somewhat shabbily dressed in a blue surtout reaching nearly to his ankles, short loose trousers of the same colour, and a faded buff waistcoat, through which a discoloured shirt-frill struggled to force itself into notice, as asserting an equality of civil rights with the other portions of his dress, and maintaining a declaration of Independence on its own account. His feet, which were of unusually large proportions, were leisurely crossed before him as he half leaned against, half sat upon, the steamboat's bulwark; and his thick cane, shod with a mighty ferule at one end and armed with a great metal knob at the other, depended from a line-and-tassel on his wrist. Thus attired, and thus composed into an aspect of great profundity, the gentleman twitched up the right-hand corner of his mouth and his right eye simultaneously, and said, once more:

'It is in such enlightened means that the bubbling passions of my country find a vent.'

As he looked at Martin, and nobody else was by, Martin inclined his head, and said:

'You allude to—?'

'To the Palladium of rational Liberty at home, sir, and the dread of Foreign oppression abroad,' returned the gentleman, as he pointed with his cane to an uncommonly dirty newsboy with one eye. 'To the Envy of the world, sir, and the leaders of Human Civilization. Let me ask you sir,' he added, bringing the ferule of his stick heavily upon the deck with the air of a man who must not be equivocated with, 'how do you like my Country?'

'I am hardly prepared to answer that question yet,' said Martin 'seeing that I have not been ashore.'

'Well, I should expect you were not prepared, sir,' said the gentleman, 'to behold such signs of National Prosperity as those?'

He pointed to the vessels lying at the wharves; and then gave a vague flourish with his stick, as if he would include the air and water, generally, in this remark.

'Really,' said Martin, 'I don't know. Yes. I think I was.'

The gentleman glanced at him with a knowing look, and said he liked his policy. It was natural, he said, and it pleased him as a philosopher to observe the prejudices of human nature.

'You have brought, I see, sir,' he said, turning round towards Martin, and resting his chin on the top of his stick, 'the usual amount of misery and poverty and ignorance and crime, to be located in the bosom of the great Republic. Well, sir! let 'em come on in shiploads from the old country. When vessels are about to founder, the rats are said to leave 'em. There is considerable of truth, I find, in that remark.'

'The old ship will keep afloat a year or two longer yet, perhaps,' said Martin with a smile, partly occasioned by what the gentleman said, and partly by his manner of saying it, which was odd enough for he emphasised all the small words and syllables in his discourse, and left the others to take care of themselves; as if he thought the larger parts of speech could be trusted alone, but the little ones required to be constantly looked after.

'Hope is said by the poet, sir,' observed the gentleman, 'to be the nurse of young Desire.'

Martin signified that he had heard of the cardinal virtue in question serving occasionally in that domestic capacity.

'She will not rear her infant in the present instance, sir, you'll find,' observed the gentleman.

'Time will show,' said Martin.

It certainly does for the immigrants. Dickens offers a satirical litany of lectures. Our MSNBC snobs and simpering dope-smokers like Bill Maher offer less intelligent caricatures of Americans -'Tea-baggers and Twats.'

Martin and Mark are cheated by land-swindlers and contract malaria along the Ohio River. And, they meet Chollop - the Yankee blowhard. Oh, we Americans do love our pretensions to serious thought!
He had come to Eden on a speculation of this kind, but had abandoned it, and was about to leave. He always introduced himself to strangers as a worshipper of Freedom; was the consistent advocate of Lynch law, and slavery; and invariably recommended, both in print and speech, the 'tarring and feathering' of any unpopular person who differed from himself. He called this 'planting the standard of civilization in the wilder gardens of My country.'

There is little doubt that Chollop would have planted this standard in Eden at Mark's expense, in return for his plainness of speech (for the genuine Freedom is dumb, save when she vaunts herself), but for the utter desolation and decay prevailing in the settlement, and his own approaching departure from it. As it was, he contented himself with showing Mark one of the revolving-pistols, and asking him what he thought of that weapon.

'It ain't long since I shot a man down with that, sir, in the State of IllinOY,' observed Chollop.

'Did you, indeed!' said Mark, without the smallest agitation. 'Very free of you. And very independent!'

'I shot him down, sir,' pursued Chollop, 'for asserting in the Spartan Portico, a tri-weekly journal, that the ancient Athenians went a-head of the present Locofoco Ticket.'

'And what's that?' asked Mark.

'Europian not to know,' said Chollop, smoking placidly. 'Europian quite!'

After a short devotion to the interests of the magic circle, he resumed the conversation by observing:

'You won't half feel yourself at home in Eden, now?'

'No,' said Mark, 'I don't.'

'You miss the imposts of your country. You miss the house dues?' observed Chollop.

'And the houses—rather,' said Mark.

'No window dues here, sir,' observed Chollop.

'And no windows to put 'em on,' said Mark.

'No stakes, no dungeons, no blocks, no racks, no scaffolds, no thumbscrews, no pikes, no pillories,' said Chollop.

'Nothing but rewolwers and bowie-knives,' returned Mark. 'And what are they? Not worth mentioning!'

The man who had met them on the night of their arrival came crawling up at this juncture, and looked in at the door.

'Well, sir,' said Chollop. 'How do YOU git along?'

He had considerable difficulty in getting along at all, and said as much in reply.

'Mr Co. And me, sir,' observed Chollop, 'are disputating a piece. He ought to be slicked up pretty smart to disputate between the Old World and the New, I do expect?'

'Well!' returned the miserable shadow. 'So he had.'

'I was merely observing, sir,' said Mark, addressing this new visitor, 'that I looked upon the city in which we have the honour to live, as being swampy. What's your sentiments?'

'I opinionate it's moist perhaps, at certain times,' returned the man.

'But not as moist as England, sir?' cried Chollop, with a fierce expression in his face.

'Oh! Not as moist as England; let alone its Institutions,' said the man.

'I should hope there ain't a swamp in all Americay, as don't whip THAT small island into mush and molasses,' observed Chollop, decisively. 'You bought slick, straight, and right away, of Scadder, sir?' to Mark.

He answered in the affirmative. Mr Chollop winked at the other citizen.

'Scadder is a smart man, sir? He is a rising man? He is a man as will come up'ards, right side up, sir?' Mr Chollop winked again at the other citizen.

'He should have his right side very high up, if I had my way,' said Mark. 'As high up as the top of a good tall gallows, perhaps.'

Mr Chollop was so delighted at the smartness of his excellent countryman having been too much for the Britisher, and at the Britisher's resenting it, that he could contain himself no longer, and broke forth in a shout of delight. But the strangest exposition of this ruling passion was in the other—the pestilence-stricken, broken, miserable shadow of a man—who derived so much entertainment from the circumstance that he seemed to forget his own ruin in thinking of it, and laughed outright when he said 'that Scadder was a smart man, and had draw'd a lot of British capital that way, as sure as sun-up.'

After a full enjoyment of this joke, Mr Hannibal Chollop sat smoking and improving the circle, without making any attempts either to converse or to take leave; apparently labouring under the not uncommon delusion that for a free and enlightened citizen of the United States to convert another man's house into a spittoon for two or three hours together, was a delicate attention, full of interest and politeness, of which nobody could ever tire. At last he rose.

'I am a-going easy,' he observed.

Mark entreated him to take particular care of himself.

'Afore I go,' he said sternly, 'I have got a leetle word to say to you. You are darnation 'cute, you are.'

Mark thanked him for the compliment.

'But you are much too 'cute to last. I can't con-ceive of any spotted Painter in the bush, as ever was so riddled through and through as you will be, I bet.'

'What for?' asked Mark.

'We must be cracked up, sir,' retorted Chollop, in a tone of menace. 'You are not now in A despotic land. We are a model to the airth, and must be jist cracked-up, I tell you.'

'What! I speak too free, do I?' cried Mark.

'I have draw'd upon A man, and fired upon A man for less,' said Chollop, frowning. 'I have know'd strong men obleeged to make themselves uncommon skase for less. I have know'd men Lynched for less, and beaten into punkin'-sarse for less, by an enlightened people. We are the intellect and virtue of the airth, the cream of human natur', and the flower Of moral force. Our backs is easy ris. We must be cracked-up, or they rises, and we snarls. We shows our teeth, I tell you, fierce. You'd better crack us up, you had!'

After the delivery of this caution, Mr Chollop departed; with Ripper, Tickler, and the revolvers, all ready for action on the shortest notice.

We are exceptional.

Privately,Charles Dickens was married and had many children. He got bored with his wife. Old Boz diddled her cousin, brought in to help, don't you know. The author of Christmas Carol then declared his poor wife insane and had her committed. Easy divorce. Took up with the young cousin.

Publicly, having courted and sucked up to Thackeray the young Boz spread rumors and lies about Thackeray in the Yates Club. Thackeray, whose wife was actually insane, was single father of two little girls. Thackeray had his beloved Isabelle Shaw-Thackeray well cared for at great personal expense and never sued for divorce. In fact, Thackeray's wife long outlived the author of Vanity Fair and Barry Lyndon.

Dickens detested America and Americans

Thackeray respected and loved both.

I guess the thing to remember is just who is talking about American Exceptionalism.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Knowledge and Wisdom - What to do with a Tomato

Et tecum sapientia tua, quæ novit opera tua,
quæ et affuit tunc cum orbem terrarum faceres,
et sciebat quid esset placitum oculis tuis,
et quid directum in præceptis tuis.

(And your wisdom with you, which knows your works, and these things, and then was present with you made the world,and knew what was pleasing to your eyes, and what was right in your commandments.)

Initium sapientiae timor Domini. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom

Knowing a lot of stiff is nice - Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, Game Shows and Post Graduate degrees. I got letters after my name - BA, MA -BFD.

I know some Latin, some Anglo Saxon, some Spanish, less French and German.

Knowing stuff is good but wisdom is better.

Knowing the speed limit is good, but driving the speed limits is wise. Knowing the calories in a Whopper with Cheese is most impressive, but forgoing the ingestion of six of the big boys followed by a two hour nap is wisdom itself.

Knowing about Charlie Sheen might be of some help, and knowing to avoid eye contact with the gent is most helpful.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rahm Ready - Policy Power! There Should Be “No Petticoats in Politics.”

Date night for Jane Addams and Ellen Starr -Progressive Icons

From the moment that manly Miss Jane Addams stabbed her political sponsor*, Alderman Johnny Powers, in the back ( repeatedly by the way) and managed the media of her day, people who could never manage to get three people to vote for them in a public election have driven Policy. Policy is the governmental Yin to the Yang that is Politics.

Policy is cooked up by academics. Politics is the response to life's practical necessities. Policy is Progressive and Politics is practical government's hand maiden. However, the 19th Century Short-Haired Women and Long-Haired Men are today's Progressive. When policy purges politics, Progressives retain Power.

When a popular vote on public policy is an impossibility, Policy gets worked through a compliant legislature or at best the courts. Polling is applied and pie-charts spice policy. Today in Kristen Mack's fine Chicago Tribune caveat Chicago nonprofits fund Emanuel team's transition:Leading foundations agree to cover $200,000 in costs, we get a glimpse into the progressive policy wheel being set up. Qui bono? Not us helots that's fer dang shure! The usual 1960's SDS crowd of Cadillac Commies and real estate moguls will do handsomely.

Rahm Emanuel is going to cut aldermen from 50 to 25 and the media shouts up high Hosannas! Rahm Emanuel's transition will be funded not out of 'political coffers,' but from 501(c)3's dodging the political restrictions of federal laws under the camoflage of 'Policy.'

"There must be a constructive structure to develop policy priorities so that the next mayor enters City Hall with a plan to address a slew of pressing problems — an annual $500 million budget deficit, a $600 million pension shortfall, a public schools system in need of reform, depressed morale among the police force, and public transit infrastructure that requires massive capital investment," the proposal reads.

Each committee is staffed by a consultant with the Civic Consulting Alliance and a transition team employee, who will be primarily responsible for a final public report.

Between now and April 15, the committees will meet, identify candidates for key appointments and develop an initial approach for the budget, according to the proposal. By May 2, Emanuel's transition team will prioritize initiatives and publish a transition plan, including a 100-day road map and long-term policies.

E.g. - here is sample mission statement for the Harris Public Policy Institute at University of Chicago:
Our Mission
To understand and influence public policies by conducting policy-relevant research and preparing talented individuals to become leaders and agents of social change. To serve as a liaison between the academy's research on public policy questions and practitioners in the field.

This Policy gambit has been a long time cooking with many chefs ( activisits, distinguished professors, gutless political hacks, lawyers and opportunists) and has stripped the power of politics locally and nationally. There is much more on the way - what we eat, what we drink, how we worship, what we are allowed to read, what is taught, who goes to jail and who is bullet-proof is determined by Policy.

*Removing Alderman Powers from office, Jane Addams told the sober gentlemen of the Society for Ethical Culture, would be no simple task. It would require a fundamental change in the ethical standards of the community, as well as the development of a deeper insight on the part of the reformers. These latter, she pointed out, with all their zeal for well-ordered, honest politics, were not eager to undertake the responsibilities of self-government 365 days a year. They were quite willing to come into the nineteenth ward at election time to exhort the citizenry, but were they willing to make a real effort to achieve personal relationships of the kind that stood Johnny Powers in such good stead?

Policy and Progressives - grab your hat and put both hands in your pockets and reach around for that wallet! That will be impossible.

For Progressives who would not part with a personal penny to a pan-handler, nothing is impossible - once you ditch original thought, quit reading, and accept the doctrines policy will hand down. We are going to pay plenty.

The Great Rick Kogan's Hand is Flush With Green Queens

Rick Kogan* has a voice like a Gothic cathedral's pipe organ. My God, the man has pipes! His Sidewalks feature on WGN amasses a loyal following of listeners not only for the pitch and timbre of Kogan's majestic voice, but also the high quality of the narrative. As a journalist and word sketcher, Rick Kogan is the equal of Dan McGrath, a sportswriter/editor of national renown and the leader of Leo High School's institutional advancement efforts.

Today, Kogan treats us all with wonderful portrait of Chicago's ethnic royalty - the St. Patrick's Day Queens. Interestingly, in Kogan's print basso susurrations for the Sunday Tribune links us with another voice Catherine O'Connell**.

Cathy O'Connell is the 1976 St. Patrick's Day Queen Emerita and one the most gifted singers in this town. Cathy sang at Leo High School for the November Veterans Observances in tribute to all who serve America.

It is a great kind of a sorority," said O'Connell. "I feel like a den mother. We have so much fun together."

Gorecki said, "I probably didn't realize it until the luncheon, but this honor and these women who came before me are part of me forever."

The 21-year-old Gorecki — "Polish on my dad's side and Irish on my mom's side," she said — is a freshman at DePaul University majoring in international studies, having taken a break after high school to explore a musical career on the West Coast. But she is determined that music stay a part of her life.

If she needs a role model, there is not far to look. O'Connell has made a fine career as a singer, first in taverns and cabarets before quitting to start a family. For the last decade or so she has been drawn to more intimate and less raucous spaces, such as churches, cathedrals and theaters.

O'Connell will be performing with longtime pals Kathleen Keane and Jimmy Moore on April 16 at the Skokie Theatre.

She used to characterize her career by saying, "I marry 'em, and I bury 'em" but since expanding her realm to include performing at baptisms, she said playfully, "I'm hatchin', matchin' and dispatchin'." She has also made five wonderful CDs, survived a horrific car crash, raised three fine young boys and still proudly wears, but once a year, the yellow sash she received long ago when she was a queen.

The Queen of St. Paddy's Day is the subject of Mount Carmel's Pride and Chicago Renaissance Man Mike Houlihan's*** charming film Her Majesty, 'da Queen, which Rich Kogan mentions with unparalleled prose bass-baritone.

Chicago has many people to treasure.

Time to get ready for Mass!

Rick Kogan:Born and raised and still living in Chicago, Rick Kogan (left) has worked for the Chicago Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, where he is currently a senior writer and columnist. Named Chicago's Best Reporter in 1999 and inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame in 2003, he is the creator and host of WGN radio's "Sunday Papers with Rick Kogan" and the author of a dozen books, including "Everybody Pays: Two Men, One Murder and the Price of Truth" (with Maurice Possley), "America's Mom: The Life, Lesson and Legacy of Ann Landers," "A Chicago Tavern," the history of the Billy Goat, and "Sidewalks I" and "Sidewalks II," collections of his columns embellished by the work of photographer Charles Osgood

Singer Catherine O'Connell grew up in Chicago and in love with Chicago. Her affection for performing was nurtured by her parents, James and Mary, who shared with her their passions for music and theater. Her father, a talented amateur singer, gave her this early advice: "Tell the story and sing the song with a tear in your voice. Her mother, an accomplished actress, offered this: "Enunciate or no one will understand you."
Catherine, who was the St. Patrick Day Parade Queen in 1976, later developed her distinctive style and dramatic stage presence by performing in dozens of pubs, saloons and cabarets in Chicago, New York and the Caribbean.
Leaving the club scene to raise three boys, she switched direction in her career to focus on more intimate spaces in the city and suburbs, where the emotional impact of her singing has gathered her a large and devoted following. Bill Fraher, director of music at Old St. Patrick’s Church, calls her "the best communicator" he has ever worked with and one friend said "I never thought I could live through my mother’s funeral and you made me sing."
The Chicago Tribune's and WGN's Rick Kogan says, "Catherine is an original, as gifted a singer and as sensitive a performer as I have ever heard and seen. She might easily have become a star in the New York scene but, God love her, she's tied to our town."
March 2002 Catherine released her CD entitled 'I Arise Today' and December 2003 released 'Songs From My Father' available at Irish shops around the city and
From saloons to Symphony Center, chapels to cathedrals, funeral homes to festival halls, Catherine has touched the hearts and lifted the spirits of thousands of Chicagoans. She is currently working on a Christmas CD.

***Mike Houlihan

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tommy Z Fights in AC tomorrow night on HBO - Leo Boxing Coach Mike Joyce is in His Corner!

Leo Boxing Coach Mike Joyce will be in Tommy Z's corner tomorrow night at Caesar's Palace in Atlantic City, NJ. Tommy will be fighting for another victory in his professional boxing career that paralles his NFL career as a safety for the Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens safety and former Notre Dame captain Tommy Zbikowski*, Chicago wishes undefeated WBA/IBF featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, Miami, Florida good luck during media day in Atlantic City Thursday. Gamboa gets set to battle challenger Jorge Solis, Guadalajara, Mexico on Saturday, March 26, at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Zbikowski will also take on Caleb Grummet in a special attraction heavyweight bout. Highlights from Zbikowski’s fight will be shown during the telecast. Gamboa vs Solis is promoted by Top Rank, in association with Arena Box and Caesars Atlantic City and will be televised on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.

Thomas Michael Zbikowski was born on May 22, 1985 in Park Ridge, Illinois, the youngest of four children born to Edmund Richard Zbikowski and Susan Lois (née Schatz) Zbikowski. His siblings are Kristen Nicole Zbikowski, Edmund Joseph "E. J." Zbikowski and Stephen Zbikowski, who died in infancy in 1980. He is of Polish descent on his father's side of the family and of German descent on his mother's side of the family. He grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He attended Greenbrier Elementary School and Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights, Illinois and then high school at Buffalo Grove High School in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. He graduated from Buffalo Grove in 2003. He played youth football with the Buffalo Grove Bills during elementary and middle school. At Buffalo Grove High School, he played quarterback where he set the school records in scoring (202 total points), and rushing (2357 yards, 7.4 average, 32 tds) before becoming a defensive back as well.

[edit] College careerHe went to the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, he had a very productive collegiate career. He was an all-independent safety for 2 of his 4 years.

[edit] BoxingOn June 10, 2006, Zbikowski made his professional boxing debut at Madison Square Garden in New York City, beating his opponent, Robert Bell of Akron, Ohio, by TKO within 49.0 seconds of the first round. The fight was compliant with NCAA guidelines.[citation needed] Bell, who is an Ohio State fan, wore an Ohio State football jersey into the ring. He signed a three-fight contract and has one fight left. Zbikowski boxed a three-round exhibition fight against Ryan St. Germaine on March 2, 2007 at the Belterra Casino & Resort, Belterra. After the 2008 NFL season he decided to put his boxing career on hold to focus on football.

On March 12, 2011, Zbikowski returned to the ring for the first time since 2007, taking on 1-2 35-year-old Richard Bryant in Las Vegas, amidst ongoing NFL labor contract discord.[1] Zbikowski won by TKO after 1 minute 45 seconds in the first round of the scheduled four-round fight.[2]

[edit] Professional boxing record2 Wins (2 knockouts), 0 Losses 0 Draws 0 No Contest[1]
Res. Record Opponnent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
N/A N/A Caleb Grummet - - (4) 2011-03-26 Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 2-0 Richard Bryant TKO 1 (4), 1:45 2011-03-12 MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 1-0 Robert Bell TKO 1 (4), 0:49 2006-06-10 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York Zbikowski's Professional debut.

Another knockout!

Leo High School Shareholders Rally - March 24, 2011

Leo High School has been serving Chicago since 1926. The first applicant to Leo High School is Francis O'Neill of Visitation Parish. Mr. O'Neill of the Charter Class of 1930 retired as a City of Chicago Bridge Tender and on February 26, 2011 turned one hundred years young.

Leo High School Ready for Future With or Without Father Michael Pfleger :

Yesterday, Mr. O'Neill's younger brothers* gathered to Celebrate Leo High School - Gene Earner was the first man in the gym and had managed to arrive before the always early Frank McDermott. Decorated Vietnam Veterans Jim Farrell and Rich Doyle, retired Fire Commissioner Jim Joyce and CFD Deputy Chief Jim Corbett, Chicago Bulls officer Curtis Cooper, legendary teacher and coach Jack Fitzgerald, Professional Elevator Services President & CEO Ken Mason, Dr. Jack O'Keefe, retired Boeing Corp. officer Rich Finn, retired Secret Service agent Larry Lynch, Larry Banamann, Bernie Pepping, Mike Anderson - black and white Lions all - mingled and greeted students Hakim Chatman, Keith Harris, Thomas Finezzy, Lawrence Littlejohn, Eder Cruz, Jovan Lewis, Jeremy Stewart, and Alumni faculty Noah Cannon, Bill Tomaka, Mike Holmes, and President Dan McGrath and our Superintendent of Catholic Schools Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, our parents, and Alumni parents like the great Lloyd Fuller N.B. Mr. Fuller is one of the leading black contractors in Chicago and Leo gets in Lloyd's wallet almost as often as it gets him to drive vans and buses for out of town basketball games.

Many thanks to the officers of the Sixth District, especially Sgt. Parker! The Sarge keeps an eye on the young Lions, as well as all the over-tasked officers of the Fighting Sixth!

Let it be known that Leo Advisory Board Member, attorney, journalist and Fox TV legl analyst Tamara Holder was the first to push for this rally. Tamara Holder wanted Leo's great work to eclipse any bad press,

Eighty Five years of success is taken one day at a time. Deeds not Words ( Facta Non Verba) is Leo's Motto. The Lion Roars!

* I will miss some great Leo Man - remember, I am but a Little Flower Lancer, a worker-bee, and an epic-ly flawed individual.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another Presidential Teaching Moment - Always Carry Your Keys

Dang! This happens. You're on vacation. You come home. You rememeber - the house keys are in the change dish, right below the kitchen window. You locked up before you left. That is the right thing to do, but only after you stick the house keys in your jeans.

Well, that crumb George W. Bush never told President Obama about the spare set under the lawn gnome.

Today is the Feast St. Caiman - Founder of Schools Would Celebrate Leo High School

Saint Caimin
(Seventh century)

Caimin (or Caminus) was the son of Dima. He came from the race of Hy-Kinselagh and the noble stock of the Kings of Leinster. Caimin was half-brother of Guare, king of Connaught. Their mother was Cuman or Cumania, also known as Mumania. She was the daughter of Dalbronius. Little is known of Caimin's early life but considering his lineage it is certain that he was educated. The Parliamentary Gazeteer of 1845 writes that on Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) "he led a life of contemplation and austerity, the fame of which attracted to its shores numbers desirous of imitating his virtues and receiving instruction. The concourse of these disciples became at length so great that the holy man was compelled to found a place for their reception and shelter, and thus originated a monastery which, in after times, enjoyed a far-spread reputation."

It is actually unclear as to who founded the monastery of Inis Cealtra, St. Colum, St. Stellan or St. Caimin. However, St. Caimin is celebrated in local lore and legend for his many miracles and for his saintly life. It seems certain that he either built or rebuilt a monastery on Inis Cealtra and it is said that he had a reputable school here. There is evidence that a lay community and many monks resided here. Samuel Lewis writing in 1837 says that Caimin "is said to have written a commentary on the Psalms, which he collated with the Hebrew text." It is known as "St. Caimin's Psalter" and is ascribed to him by tradition. However, though it possibly originated on Inis Cealtra, it is far too late for Caimin. It dates to the eleventh or twelfth century.

St. Caimin was Bishop Abbot of Inis Cealtra and some accounts claim he was the first Bishop of Killaloe. He died probably in 644 or 652, though the Annals of Inisfallen claim that he died in 654. St. Caimin's feast day is on March 24th.

By the way, a great Catholic School on 79th Street Celebrates 85 Years of "Untroubled' Success - One year at a time.

Come Celebrate Leo High School – Our Shareholder’s
Meeting: You are the Shareholders of a Very Successful School- We Celebrate You! – Thursday March 24 at 11:30 A.M.

Leo High School invites parents, Alumni, neighbors, pastors, benefactors, and partners to a Celebration of Leo High School

Leo High School is a Blessed School – 85 Years in Christ’s Service

Leo High School is a Successful School – 85 Years of Academic Achievenment

Leo High School Moves Ahead– 85 Years of Generous Alumni Support is Good Start

Come Celebrate Leo in the iconic Brother Finch Gymnasium on the third floor of Leo High School –Thursday March 24, 2011 at 11;30 AM – The Leo High School National Honor Society will escort all shareholders and visitors from 79th Street to the gym via the gymnasium entrance.

Leo High School
7901 S. Sangamon Street
Chicago, IL 60655

11: 30 AM in Leo Gym Principal Phil Mesina – Sister McCaughey – President Dan McGrath will celebrate

The secured the support of a prominent retired contractor who gave the school an immediate $50,000 and a pledge to repair the long closed swimming pool
NFL legend Gale Sayers’ partnership with Leo High School in order to allow his Foundation capacity to launch an after school mentoring, computer skills and public speaking class.
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant of $ 300,000 for the acquisition of land near Leo HS for future development – gym and facilities
Solid Campaign Leo support and on-track foundation support in a poor economy
Major gifts by Leo Alumni in the amounts of $150,000, $100,000, and $ 50,000
Increased ACT scores by a full percentage ( Hat –tip to Alums Dr. O’Keefe and Mr. Conway
The success of the Freshman Academy – Highest GPA in School
Impressive College Placement – Too numerous to detail here
Ongoing and solid support from the Office of Catholic Schools
Record Incoming Freshman entrance exam numbers – Highest since 2007
On-going enrollment boost including Hispanic and white students
On-going enrollment boost
On-going competitive extra-curricular athletic and academic programs – football, boxing, track & field, basketball, baseball, bowling, chess
Looking to launching a Major Capital Campaign with Latz and Wall to further advance Leo’s Mission and future

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feast of St. Nicholas Owen of Oxford - Architecture's First Principle

Architecture is based upon three principles: Shelter, Efficiency and Human Expression. According Matt Taylor in his Philosophy and Practice of Architecture write "Architecture shelters human life ; produces an efficient arrangement of space and utilities; and expresses the best of human life (the values that make life possible and worth." My domicile on Rockwell Street in Chicago is a raised ranch; has bedrooms, baths, kitchens, a living room no one in my house uses and storage; and reflects my social and economic status as an American helot. It works for me, the kids and the cat.

Today, we praise St. Nicholas Owen of Oxford, England 1550? - 2 March 1606 in the tower of London) St. Nicholas Owen was a Jesuit lay brother and is one of Great Britain's Forty Martyrs of the Penal Times 1559 -1829.

Owen was a little guy - here on the south side, he'd be called a "Halfie." Hey, Nicky Boy, step up out of that hole, Son! The Rims is shaking and quaking up at the park in expectation of of your arrival!

However, like all of us little men, Owen rose to life's challenges with skills and gifts God gave him. Nicholas Owen became a skilled carpenter and crafted hiding spaces in the homes of Catholic gentry during the persecution of Catholics by the Tudors. So inventive and imaginative were the designs of Nicholas Owen in helping Catholics escape the clutches of Lusty Hank and Bloody Bess ( she was not played by Helen Mirren) that Sir Robert Cecil, a skunk of the first order, remarked upon the capture of Nicholas Owen,"It is incredible, how great was the joy caused by his arrest... knowing the great skill of Owen in constructing hiding places, and the innumerable quantity of dark holes which he had schemed for hiding priests all through England."

Owen took the First Principle of Architecture to its height - sheltering human existence. Nicholas Owen took the protective womb of motherhood and fashioned his own design to preserve life.

Owen was horribly tortured to death in the tower of London.

. . . the Keeper of the Tower, appreciated the importance of the disclosures which Owen might be forced to make. After being committed to the Marshalsea and thence removed to the Tower, he was submitted to most terrible "examinations" on the Topcliffe rack, with both arms held fast in iron rings and body hanging, and later on with heavy weights attached to his feet, and at last died under torture.

This little guy did alright.

Saint Nicholas Owen was canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI on 25 October 1970. His feast day, along with that of the other thirty-nine martyrs, is on 25 October. Catholic stage magicians who practice Gospel Magic consider St. Nicholas Owen the Patron of Illusionists and Escapologists due to his facility at using "trompe l'oeil" when creating his hideouts and the fact that he escaped from the Tower of London.

Monday, March 21, 2011

60 Minutes - A Great Profile of a Genuine Priest - Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York

This guy is the real deal. The Catholic Church in America seems to have a real leader in Archbishop Dolan. New York Archdiocese has a "Dagger John" Hughes again.

Timothy Michael Dolan was named Archbishop of New York by Pope Benedict XVI on February 23, 2009. He was installed as Archbishop of New York on April 15, 2009.

He had served as Archbishop of Milwaukee since he was named by Pope John Paul II on June 25, 2002. He was installed as Milwaukee's 10th archbishop on August 28, 2002, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, papal nuncio to the United States, installed Archbishop Dolan.

Born February 6, 1950, Archbishop Dolan was the first of five children born to Shirley Radcliffe Dolan and the late Robert Dolan. In 1964, he began his high school seminary education at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary South in Shrewsbury, Mo. His seminary foundation continued at Cardinal Glennon College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. He then completed his priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College in Rome where he earned a License in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas.

Archbishop Dolan was ordained to the priesthood on June 19, 1976. He then served as associate pastor at Immacolata Parish in Richmond Heights, Mo., until 1979 when he began studies for a doctorate in American Church History at the Catholic University of America. Before completing the doctorate, he spent a year researching the late Archbishop Edwin O'Hara, a founder of the Catholic Biblical Association. Archbishop O'Hara's life and ministry was the subject of the Archbishop's doctoral dissertation.

On his return to St. Louis, Archbishop Dolan served in parish ministry from 1983-87, during which time he was also liaison for the late Archbishop John L. May in the restructuring of the college and theology programs of the archdiocesan seminary system.

In 1987, Archbishop Dolan was appointed to a five-year term as secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. When he returned to St. Louis in 1992, he was appointed vice rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, serving also as director of Spiritual Formation and professor of Church History. He was also an adjunct professor of theology at Saint Louis University.

In 1994, he was appointed rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome where he served until June 2001. While in Rome, he also served as a visiting professor of Church History at the Pontifical Gregorian University and as a faculty member in the Department of Ecumenical Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. The work of the Archbishop in the area of seminary education has influenced the life and ministry of a great number of priests of the new millennium.

On June 19, 2001 – the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood – then Fr. Dolan was named the Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis by Pope John Paul II. The new Bishop Dolan chose for his Episcopal motto the profession of faith of St. Peter: Ad Quem Ibimus, "Lord to whom shall we go?" (Jn 6:68).

Archbishop Dolan served as chairman of Catholic Relief Services from January 2009 – November 2010. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America. He is also a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.

On June 29, 2009, Archbishop Dolan received the pallium, a symbol of his office as an archbishop, from His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, at St. Peter's Basilica.

On November 16, 2010, Archbishop Dolan was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He succeeds Cardinal Francis George of Chicago.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Eyeless on Gaza - Israel Mills it Alone. God Help Us.

. . .Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver!
Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke.
Yet stay; let me not rashly call in doubt
Divine prediction. What if all foretold
Had been fulfilled but through mine own default?
Whom have I to complain of but myself,
Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
In what part lodged, how easily bereft me,
Under the seal of silence could not keep,
But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
O’ercome with importunity and tears?
O impotence of mind in body strong!
Samson Agonistes ll.39-52 John Milton (1608–1674).

All eyes are on Libya - for now. All eyes were on Tunisia, Eygpt and other Iranian backed satrapies in the womb. All eyes are on the gas pumps. All eyes are on Charlie Sheen, Michael Moore and the race to the Final Four. Soon all eyes on Rio.

Israel is being shelled from Gaza - again.

Civilian areas in southern Israel were heavily shelled by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza on Saturday morning, when more than 50 mortars were fired at the regional councils of Sha'ar Hanegev, Eshkol and Sdot Hanegev.

There is a push to force the new government in Eygpt to further lift the blockade of weapons to Gaza. The hand-wringers and do-gooders call that humanitarian aid.

I read. I read the news. I read the New York Times and posts from NPR, as well as foreign press. I also read literature. John Milton is one of those Dead White Men that Noam Chomsky and other fashionable academic nut-bags have managed to purge from textbooks. Milton is tough. He was tough in Cromwell's time and he is tough to read now. Toughness is endurance.

Israel is tough. By south side Chicago standards, toughness is measured by how much one can endure. Like Samson in Milton's epic poem Samson Agonistes ( Agonsistes is Greek for 'struggle,' or even 'athleticism'), Israel is a flawed hero.

Milton, according to the dictates of epic form - begins his poem In Medias Res - in middle of the action.

Samson has been blinded and forced to push a mill stone and grind for his enemies - this hero wonders if his sins have brought him to this low work, when he was to be the source of liberation for his people. Israel is not blinded but it mills for civilization,surrounded by enemies and worse -feckless allies.

Samson fights despair. Samson fulfills the will of God, in a manner unforeseen. That's how God rolls.

Israel fights annihilation, while the world goes dark.

Milton was no Noam Chomsky. Milton understood God's will. Milton endures. Israel endures. Let's see if the rest of us get our sight back.

Friday, March 18, 2011

In The Long View of Things - Post St. Paddy's and Other Things

cho: Here we are in New South Wales Shearing sheep as big as whales, with Leather necks and jaggy tails And hides as tough as rusty nails.When shearing comes, lay down your drumsStep to the boards you brand-new chumsWith the rattum-rattum-rub-a-dub-dubWe'll send you back on the lime juice tub.The brand new chums and cappy sonsFancy they're the greatest guns.Fancy they can shear the woolBut the beggars can only tear and pull.[ From:]Though you live beyond your meansYour daughters wear no crinolines;Nor are they bothered by boots or shoesBut live wild in the bush with the kangaroos.Oh it's home I'd like to beFar from the bush and back countrySixteen thousand miles I've comeTo spend my life as a shearing bum.

Well, if you've got a wing-o,
Take her up to Ring-o
Where the waxies sing-o all the day;
If you've had your fill of porter, And you can't go any further
Give your man the order: "Back to the Quay!"

And take her up to Monto, Monto, Monto
Take her up to Monto, lan-ge- roo,
To you!

Have you heard of Buckshot Forster,
The dirty old impostor
Took a mot and lost her, up the Furry Glen.
He first put on his bowler
And buttoned up his trousers,
Then whistled for a growler and he said, "My man!"

Take me up to Monto, Monto, Monto
Take me up to Monto, lan-ge- roo,
To you!

You've seen the Dublin Fusiliers,
The dirty old bamboozeleers,
De Wet'll kill them chiselers, one, two, three.
Marching from the Linen Hall
There's one for every cannonball,
And Vicky's going to send them all, o'er the sea.

But first go up to Monto, Monto, Monto
March them up to Monto, lan-ge- roo,
To you!

When Carey told on Skin-the-goat,
O'Donnell caught him on the boat
He wished he'd never been afloat, the dirty skite.
It wasn't very sensible
To tell on the Invincibles
They stand up for their principles, day and night.

And you'll find them all in Monto, Monto, Monto
Standing up in Monto, lan-ge- roo,
To you!

Now when the Tsar of Russia
And the King of Prussia
Landed in the Phoenix in a big balloon,
They asked the police band
To play "The Wearin' of the Green"
But the buggers from the depot didn't know the tune.

So they both went up to Monto, Monto, Monto
Scarpered up to Monto, lan-ge- roo,
To you!

The Queen she came to call on us,
She wanted to see all of us
I'm glad she didn't fall on us, she's eighteen stone.
"Mister Me Lord Mayor," says she,
"Is this all you've got to show me?"
"Why, no ma'am there's some more to see, Póg mo thóin!"

And he took her up Monto, Monto, Monto
He set her up in Monto, lan-ge- roo,
For you!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jim Tyree - A Shining Star

James C. Tyree, chairman and CEO of Mesirow Financial and the chairman of Sun-Times Media, died Wednesday afternoon after battling cancer for several months. He was 53.

So much more . . .

God Welcome Jim Tyree!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Leo High School and God's Works - How He Goes About It? Get A Load of a Platypus

The bizarre appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. It is one of the few venomous mammals; the male platypus has a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unique features of the platypus make it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology and a recognisable and iconic symbol of Australia; it has appeared as a mascot at national events and is featured on the reverse of the Australian 20 cent coin. The platypus is the animal emblem of the state of New South Wales.

Until the early 20th century it was hunted for its fur, but it is now protected throughout its range. Although captive breeding programmes have had only limited success and the platypus is vulnerable to the effects of pollution, it is not under any immediate threat
Platypus -Wikipedia

Lord Have Mercy! There be some strange things.

We had an Advisory Board sub-Committee meeting here at Leo High School last night. The seven Leo Alumni and Principal Phil Mesina and I, talked for hours about recent college admissions of Leo seniors to Marquette, University of Illinois,Valparaiso, Ripon, Iowa, De Paul and twenty other great schools, the testing of the largest incoming freshmen class including white and Hispanic students, new patrons, and engaging the great Leo Latz - the absolute best friend maker and institutional advancement wizard in America.

As Al Swearingen, CEO and President of Gem Saloon and Cat House in Deadwood remarked, "announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh." We are not tipping our hands at all. God has plans for Leo High School that reach back to Chicago's greatest Archbishop - Cardinal Mundelein. That far-sighted German-American ordered that a Catholic high school for boys be established at 79th & Sangamon. It is and it is here to stay.

God works 24/7. I work because I enjoy it. What I accomplish often looks like the dog's dinner, or has an emetic effect on many people. Trying does not get it done and you do not get atta-boys for doing your job.

Thanks to the great Bob Foster and the wildly great hearted Leo Alumni, Leo survived the wrecking ball of Hennighan Demolition that took down the Irish Christian Brother Monastery on the west side of Sangamon Street. Leo became the fortress for success to African American young men like Lt. Mario Bullock, USA ( West Point Grad), Lonnie Newman, head pipe-fitter at O'Hare Airport, Jelani Clay, rocket scientist, and hundreds of others. Leo High School held its ground.

Now, Leo High School is bolting out of the blocks and down a bright path behind President Dan McGrath. I love the work!

God's plans are worked out somehow by the fat fingers of mopes like me following the vision, authority and concern of many people aiming at the same goal. We will see this work through according to God's Will.

God's Will includes many strange sights along the bright path to His Kingdom. Get a load of the platypus - it is there for a reason, beyond eating crayfish, worms and other Australian goodies.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Go Israel -Hamas Gaza Bound Terror Tug Taken!

Chicago sneak Kevin Clark who gets naive kids killed and arrested, while he megaphones for Hamas with ISM has bamboozled the lazy media over Israel's heroic defense of itself.

Here is why Israel maintains its strict vigilance - bad people* still want to murder Jews**.

(IPT)- Israeli commandos intercepted a ship loaded with tons of Iranian-supplied weapons that was destined for Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, reports indicate.

The elite Naval Commando 13 unit, the Shayetet, boarded the Liberian-flagged ship Victoria 200 miles off Israel’s coast in the Mediterranean Sea Tuesday. Its last port of call was in Turkey.

Haaretz reports that the cargo started in Syria, stopped in Turkey and was to arrive in Egypt’s El-Arish port. From there, it would be sent by land into Gaza. Crew members apparently were unaware of the nature of their cargo, and an Israeli military official said Turkey was not responsible “in any aspect.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to release more details about the shipment in the next day. He gave the order to board the ship based on what the Jerusalem Post called “firm intelligence” it carried Iranian arms headed to Gaza.

“The attempt to smuggle weapons into Gaza shows that there are radical forces who continue to try and harm Israel and undermine stability in the region,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children.
Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying the joy "is a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank."
Gee, and academic dim-bulbs and elected racists can not fathom the idea of Congressman Peter King's inquiry into Islamist Teror and their pals.

On Friday night, twelve-year old Tamar Fogel came home to find both her parents, Ruth and Udi Fogel, two brothers Yoav (11) and Elad (four), and her three-month old sister Hadas murdered in their beds. They had had their throats cut and been stabbed through the heart.
That’s not shocking: There is no shortage of young Muslim men who would enjoy slitting the throat of a three-month old baby, and then head home dreaming of the town square or soccer tournament to be named in their honor.
Back in Gaza, the citizenry celebrated the news by cheering and passing out sweets.

That’s not shocking, either: In the broader Palestinian death cult, there are untold legions who, while disinclined to murder Jews themselves, are content to revel in the glorious victory of others

Why Ellen Degeneres is no Oprah . . .Well, who is?

Oprah never did anything for me. That troubles me. Ellen Degeneres does even less. That troubles me not.

Click my post title for a palate cleansing dose of Keeley Smith.

Education is About Vision, Authority and Concern - And Then There is the Department of Education.

On May 9th 1852 in Baltimore, the Pope appointed Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Kenrick who opened the First of Three American Plenary Councils that included six archbishops thirty five suffragan bishops, provincial heads of the religious orders and other prelates.

Twenty Five decrees were issued one of which - the establishment of Catholic schools in each parish to be overseen by the pastor.

Decree 13.Bishops are exhorted to have a Catholic school in every parish and the teachers should be paid from the parochial funds.
Title ix, Of the Education of Youth.-(i) Of parish schools. Teachers belonging to religious congregations should be employed when possible in our schools. The latter should be erected in every parish. For children who attend the public schools, catechism classes should be instituted in the churches. (ii) Industrial schools or reformatories should be founded, especially in large cities. (iii) A desire is expressed to have a Catholic university in the United States.

And finally,
Title vi, Of the Education of Catholic Youth, treats of (i) Catholic schools, especially parochial, viz., of their absolute necessity and the obligation of pastors to establish them. Parents must send their children to such schools unless the bishop should judge the reason for sending them elsewhere to be sufficient. Ways and means are also considered for making the parochial schools more efficient. It is desirable that these schools be free. (ii) Every effort must be made to have suitable schools of higher education for Catholic youth.

Vision, Authority and Concern were the three legs of the Catholic model that has become the foundation for morphing of public schools - Charter Schools are Catholic Schools without God of course.

Education requires Vision - A view of a systematic approach to teaching the acquired mastery of shared knowledge and wisdom needed; Authority - the dissemination of thought, method and purpose should lie in the care of a master teacher who connects to a higher authority; Concern - an operational organization and oversight that recognizes the shared Vision and Authority.

Then we have the United States Department of Education - “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively; or to the people.”


established in 1977, because . . . ?

Where there is no vision, the people perishProverbs 29:18 . . .however, that maxim, or aphorism, or dare I say it proverb is not allowed in public education.

Money is all that is needed by the Department of Education.

Catholic schools flourished in America, because of Vision, Authority, and Concern. The Authority thing is always a sticking point for the John Dewey - "Well, Who's to Say" crowd. "Who's to say that teaching X-Men is not more likely to stop bullying of 'questioning adolescents, than offering Henry V? Besides, Mr. Navel has never read Henry V, or anything by that misogynist Hemingway." The Baltimore Councils banned books that were 'considered' bad for Catholic school kids - bad because they lured innocent, ignorant and independent little minds away from the Vision. That takes Care, or Concern.

Secretary Duncan leads a Federal Department that seems to be lacking vision. Secretary Duncan demonstrates a solid lack of authority in the piece above and who Cares?

Education in American needs radical transformation - witness the recent nonsense at one of America's most prestigious schools -Northwestern. American essayist and retired Northwestern professor Joseph Epstein writes in The Weekly Standard

That so many of the faculty at Northwestern had no qualms about her proselytizing students is noteworthy. But then there is always faculty ready to back up the most egregious behavior of colleagues. In the case of J. Michael Bailey, the Chronicle of Higher Education chimed in with an article by an assistant professor of sociology at Middlebury College named Laurie Essig, who finds the Northwestern sex scandal, as we now say, a great learning moment. Professor Essig is of the view that shaking things up, attacking the status quo, is of the very essence of education, what the whole enterprise is really about.

“Clearly,” Essig writes, “this ‘live sex act’ triggered a national conversation about what we can and cannot look at.” She goes on to ask “what is it about the fact that there were people there on the stage that makes it different than a film with a sex scene or a book with a sex scene? . . . Why are we so damn uncomfortable with sex that is not mediated by film or text that ABC, CNN, and all the rest of the media outlets can’t stop talking about it?” Essig even wonders if “the live sex act had occurred between a straight, vanilla, normatively gendered and married couple, would we have cared as much?” She concludes: “These all seem like important questions and questions that can be asked because a professor allowed something to happen in his classroom and triggered a national debate about the dangers
of sex and education getting into bed together.”

Professor Essig joins Professor Bailey as one of the university’s shock troops. A student I talked with, who had earlier taken Bailey’s human sexuality course and who did not otherwise speak harshly of him, noted that he seemed more than normally pleased to shock his audience of students. Does Professor Bailey, one has to wonder, thrill to his own acts of épater les bourgeois? Does he, so to say, get off in his combined role as Pied Piper, Krafft-Ebing, and the Diaghilev of the kinky?

Where is the Vision? Where the Authority? Sex toys for a liberal education and grounding in the shared wisdom of ages;teachers of English who can not spell Chaucer, Shakespeare, or Emily Dickinson have become the common feature and money is the only answer. Concern? Who Cares?

Many do.

Like this skilled tradesman who responded to Illinois SEIU's Progress Illinois warning about School Choice 'bubbling up' again in Springfield, Illinois with a voucher legislation proposal,

Vouchers offer a way out of the expanding cost of education in the state of Illinois.

Give every kid a voucher for use at the choice of their parents. Public, private, it should make no difference.

If public school are superior they will overwhelm the private schools. If Private school are superior they will overwhelm the public schools.

Labor unions can organize and represent teachers at whatever school they labor at. Unions fear private school because they're afraid they can't organize them and they don't want to extend the effort to organizing.

Free choices should be available to the citizens of the state of Illinois

Bob Kastigar
IBEW Local 1220

Monday, March 14, 2011

War in Wisconsin - Only in Michael Moore's Head

"This is so not the end," Wisconsin School Teacher:

Protests have rocked the Capitol almost every day since Gov. Scott Walker proposed taking nearly all collective bargaining rights away from public workers, but the largest came a day after the governor signed the measure into law. Madison Police estimated the crowd at 85,000 to 100,000 people – along with 50 tractors and one donkey – by late afternoon. No one was arrested.
HuffPo ( click my post title)

I was there. I was in Wiconsin. I was on the streets . . .and in the diners, the bakeries, The Glarner Stube in New Glarus (Geschnetzelets "Stube Style" - Tender veal slices sauteed with white wine, cream and mushrooms), Baumgartner's in Monroe ( Klaberwurst and sauerkraut with a slice of Limburger and draft root beer), Chalet Landhaus ( Roesti and eggs), 10:30 AM Mass at St. Pat's in Hollandale, the BP in Argyle, and coffee and at the MM diner in Monticello (This Dude can Activist!) - the mood was . . .palpable, tasty, friendly, and Walker favorable.

On Saturday, a reported 85,000 to 100,000 protesters convened in Madison for the MSNBC rallies in solidarity with the public salaried union members, Michael Moore, Martin Sheen, Big Ed Schultz, Rev. Pops Jackson and the many, many talented drum and bongo players of the youth generations of all ages.

About thirty minutes south on Rt. 39, the rolling hills of Wisconsin were less congested and quiet.

I arrived in New Glarus on Friday night. In the Chalet Landhaus, packed with the Guernsey Breeders Convention, there was some atmosphere. There was concern. There was anticipation. What would happen were numbers of Holstein Breeders to enter the Landhaus bar room and bump bellies with the Guernsey crowd? " Brown and White - You Gotta fight! Black and White -I know I'm Right!" Bloodshed? I asked that very question of the Swiss Miss attending the counter. " Oh, they get along just fine," she assured me. I asked about the controversy in Madison. " Oh, that should be settled soon. Are you goin there?"

No Ma'am.

Instead, I infused stimulus money into the troubled Wisconsin economy. I wandered the home of Swiss settlers and took in the frosty but inviting air of Wilkommen.

The only Fighting Bob La Follette rhetoric that I heard in Wisconsin between Friday and Sunday afternoon came from a bald priest from Notre Dame University in civies, who wasaddressed as 'Father So-abd So' by his lay person table makes in the Glarner Stube, as Father tore into a giant sized cut of prime rib of beef with a skillet side of Roesti ( a Swiss potato/Swiss Cheese version of has browns that is artery clogging goodness itself - I opted for the creamy roasted mashed potatoes - silked by cream and Swiss Cheese). The shiny headed Curé of Ars opined to one and all - "This is Class War! Koch brothers and the same George Bush nonsense all over. Walker's a dead man. Try the klaberwurst it is made next door."

Yes, it is. Sign me up 24/7.

Welcome to the Village of New Glarus ~ America's "Little Switzerland"!

New Glarus was established as a Swiss Colony in 1845 and incorporated as a Village in 1901. The Village has retained its Swiss charm with Alpine-style architecture, ethnic festivals and Swiss delicacies. The Village is located in beautiful Green County in southwestern Wisconsin. We are just 28 miles south of Madison and 17 miles north of Monroe on State Highway 69.

Monroe is a community of 10,000 people located in Green County's rich cheese producing area of southern Wisconsin. It can be reached within an hour's drive from I-90 by exiting at either Beloit or Janesville; a 30-minute drive from Freeport, IL, by traveling Highway 26 and 69 North; less than an hour from Madison by taking Highway 69 South; and a pleasant 60-minute drive from Dubuque, IA, on Highway 11. Once you are here, the Swiss-style front on the downtown square marks your destination.

1023 16th Avenue
Monroe, WI 53566-1764
(608) 325-6157

Friday, March 11, 2011

Myles Standish O'Grady - Twice Blessed

Leo Advisory Board member John Linehan ( Leo '77) sent word that a pal of his from St. Justin Martyr Parish and Quigley South ( '77) Mr. Myles Standish O'Grady, a career counsellor for the State of Michigan, informed John of his brilliant streak of south side Irish Luck!

"Johnny! Last Wednesday I hit the Mega Millions for $ 118 million buckos - after taxes!!!! The next day I met my soul mate. John Meet Mrs. Myles Standish O'Grady! Unbelievable! How's the Leo Man doing? Check it out, Johnny!Thank you, God!"

Thank God indeed. Best wishes to Mr. & Mrs. O'Grady.

A small prayer in celebration of sweet Mrs. O'Grady:

"Armani, which art in Harrods, hallowed be thy Gucci.
Thy Cartier watch, thy Prada bag, on Rodeo, as it is in Tiffany's.
Give us this day our Gold MasterCard and forgive us our overdraft as we forgive those who decline our Visacard, lead us not into Top Shop and deliver us from Primark. Sothlice!" Tradition Anglo-Saxon Incantation

Oak Lawn VFW Benefit for an American Hero -Cpl. Yuriy Zmysly USMC

Iraq - 2005

Yuriy Zmysly was born in the Ukraine, and came to this country as a teenager. He loved America and proudly enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps to fight for his new country. He bravely served two tours of duty, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. During a routine appendectomy in a military hospital, an incompetent butcher cut off the oxygen supply to Yuriy's brain, leaving him brain damaged, paralyzed and partially blind. Because of the Feres Doctrine, he and his wife Aimee cannot sue for medical malpractice, and receive no government support to pay for his astronomical living expenses. How's that for taking care of our soldiers?

Even though our government has turned their back on this patriot, that doesn't mean that we should too. I believe we owe him at least that much.

Please help support this fine young man by forwarding this email to everyone in your address book and help make this Oak Lawn mans fundraiser a huge success this coming weekend.
Huge hat tip to Chicago Firefighter Hero - Jim McMahon

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Question to The Tribune Death Penalty Editorial Authors

I have a question to follow your heart-tugging editorial on the abolition of the death penalty -Editorial: No government can sanction an instrument of justice that takes risks with the lives of innocent people.

How does that square with Roe V. Wade?

Update and message from Max Weismann of the Center for the Study of Great Ideas:

Dear Pat,

Trouble is, for some strange reason, a vast amount of people do not consider humans residing in a womb, to be people.

1) The commonsense view is that human life (personhood) begins at the beginning -- inception/conception (successful fertilization).

2) Unique potentialities distinguish human life from all other (known) life forms.

3) These potentialities are innate. They are not acquired at any point or stage during the development or actualization process. The nucleus has everything it will ever have. In this sense, nothing new is acquired. For example, the incipient organism has the potential to think, see and play tennis long before it has a brain, eyes, arms and legs (or even a racket). These potentialities differ in capacity from individual to individual, and become actualized (or do not) in varying degrees and time frames until death.

You may post this, if you wish,


Stalkin' Union Dues Blues

MSNBC's Face of Labor.

"Some may find them [songs] merely diverting melodies. Others may find them incitements to Red revolution. And who will say if either or both is wrong? Not I." - Pete Seeger, banjo/12 string guitar/vocals CPUSA
Here's Ol' Pete

and acontemprary Young 'un

Ol' Commie (sorta"drifted away") Pete Seeger* had a song called Talkin' Union


If you want higher wages, let me tell you what to do;
You got to talk to the workers in the shop with you;
You got to build you a union, got to make it strong,
But if you all stick together, now, ‘twont he long.
You'll get shorter hours,
Better working conditions.
Vacations with pay,
Take your kids to the seashore.

It ain’t quite this simple, so I better explain
Just why you got to ride on the union train;
‘Cause if you wait for the boss to raise your pay,
We’ll all be waiting till Judgment Day;
We’ll all he buried - gone to Heaven -
Saint Peter’ll be the straw boss then.

Now, you know you’re underpaid, hut the boss says you ain’t;
He speeds up the work till you’re ‘bout to faint,
You may he down and out, but you ain’t beaten,
Pass out a leaflet and call a meetin’
Talk it over - speak your mind -
Decide to do something about it.

‘Course, the boss may persuade some poor damn fool
To go to your meeting and act like a stool;
But you can always tell a stool, though - that’s a fact;
He’s got a yellow streak running down his back;
He doesn’t have to stool - he'll always make a good living
On what he takes out of blind men’s cups.

You got a union now; you’re sitting pretty;
Put some of the boys on the steering committee.
The boss won’t listen when one man squawks.
But he’s got to listen when the union talks.
He better -
He’ll be mighty lonely one of these days.

Suppose they’re working you so hard it’s just outrageous,
They’re paying you all starvation wages;
You go to the boss, and the boss would yell,
"Before I'd raise your pay I’d see you all in Hell."
Well, he’s puffing a big see-gar and feeling mighty slick,
He thinks he’s got your union licked.
He looks out the window, and what does he see
But a thousand pickets, and they all agree
He’s a bastard - unfair - slave driver -
Bet he beats his own wife.

Now, boy, you’ve come to the hardest time;
The boss will try to bust your picket line.
He’ll call out the police, the National Guard;
They’ll tell you it’s a crime to have a union card.
They’ll raid your meeting, hit you on the head.
Call every one of you a goddamn Red -
Unpatriotic - Moscow agents -
Bomb throwers, even the kids.

But out in Detroit here’s what they found,
And out in Frisco here’s what they found,
And out in Pittsburgh here’s what they found,
And down in Bethlehem here’s what they found,
That if you don’t let Red-baiting break you up,
If you don’t let stool pigeons break you up,
If you don’t let vigilantes break you up,
And if you don’t let race hatred break you up -
You’ll win. What I mean,
Take it easy - but take it!

'Problem is Old Pete was howling to actual workers about bein' workers, back in the day. Commies were and are dead set against a middle class and that is what American labor built along with a standard of living that was the envy of the free world.

Along abouts the 1960's, lefties gulled Mayor Wagner of New York into padding the tax-rolls and public service employees became the rage. Civil Service was not near enough - a worker needed to qualify for a position.

Private sector union membership declines through the 70's, 89's, and 90's and public sector labor swells with members and dues paid to SEIU and AFSCME and salaries paid through taxes of real labor - carpenters, sheet-metal workers, coal miners, auto workers, pipe fitters, &etc. Pete's team won the battle. Taxes shrunk the American Middle Class and bankrupted local and state economies.

Thus, the war in Wisconsin.

Gov. Walker of Wisconsin looks to be winning the war.

The photo above is what passes for workers these days, kids, lay-abouts, MSNBC's Big Ed and Hunger Striker Michael Moore.

* In 1936, at the age of 17, Pete Seeger joined the Young Communist League (YCL), then at the height of its popularity and influence. In 1942 he became a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) itself. He eventually "drifted away" (his words) from the Party in the late 1940s and 1950s