Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meme: The Holy Septalogue for Atheists, Dummies, and Progressives

Hours before Memorial Day, Tom Roeser returned to Christ. Tom was a brilliant original thinker among a throng of 'Wait, Wait -Don't Tell Me!' group thinkers. Group thinkers are the readers of Cliff's Notes for Life or Redaction Graphic Novels. Cutting edge.

Across the pond of our continental east, lies the island nation of my forebears. The insular Irish are recovering from economic disaster and cultural vaporization. The Irish are Euro's - chock full of PC. The Irish pews are empty and the Mass Rock now has PC mold. During and after the Famine, the Faith kept the people resilient. The Faith is now Meme'd as the Sex Scandal of Cassocked Buggers and Croziered Cover-ups.
RTE -Raidió Teilifís Éireann or Irish PBS crows doctrines from its secular pulpit - just it it does here in Yankland.

Against this tide of slick imbecility is writer Kevin Myers of the Irish Independent. Mr. Myers is a witty, well-read, principled and courageous social critic, not unlike Chicago's angelic curmudgeon and 18th Century Man Tom Roeser.

Where there is original thought given voice there is hope. Last week I read two insightful criticisms by Mr. Myers of group thought - one on Aggressive Feminism and the other on the daffy Arab Spring ( Arab Spring was developed by NYT's Tom Friedman, or fed to him by NSC Samantha Power to remind us that the Mideast all of us helots that 'Just Like" Prague in 1968). In both cases, Kevin Myers links the atheist Darwinian Richard Dawkins' Selfish Gene - Meme. Meme is the hot word tossed out by hip tossers and poseurs in print and on the air-waves.

Meme one writer states, "A meme is an idea that behaves like a virus--that moves through a population, taking hold in each person it infects."

Thus, Casino Gaming cures Budgetary Cancers; Marriage Can Be Legislated; Racists Don't Hope.

Kevin Myers is especially brilliant in taking down the goofy notion (meme) called the Arab Spring. This is the current group thought in currency among readers of the New York Times, Salon, listeners of NPR and viewers of PBS.

However, what makes the Arab Spring meme so fascinating is its sheer power. Consider Prague, home in 1968 to one of the finest symphony orchestras in the world and to one of the greatest ballet companies in Europe, with many lively schools of philosophical and literary debate.

I must have missed this somehow or other, but is there a Cairo Symphony Orchestra? A Syrian National Theatre? A Saudi Ballet Company, whose quite Diaghilevian brilliance, alas, is largely concealed by the ballerinas' burkas? Is there an intellectual ferment in Yemen about the role of the welfare-state in a post-Marxian neo-Hegelian dialectic? Does Kuwait resound to the chatter of female students discussing the maternal rights of lesbians? Are gays in Algiers preparing their first wedding ceremony, to be conducted by a transsexual rabbi?

Now that is one solid palate cleansing gulp of insightful original thought. The Meme crafters or the Selfish Genes in popular culture and print have succeeded in underminng Faith. Why understand human behaviorin the light of Faith? The Meme Doctors tell us that the Koran and New Testament are alike. Don't bother reading the Koran, trust us.

Imagine, if you will, Carol Marin objecting to the patriarchal hierarchy of the Imams,with the same vim and vigor that she castigated the Catholic Church for not ordaining women. Would Carol's noggin be receptive to stones and boulders of Islamic critics?

Current Memes demand that we accept on faith that !. Gay couples and married couples produced the same number of children, after all homosexuality is Gay! Think not? Homophobe!!! All convictions are the result of coerced confessions. Coerced Confessions are the result of torture; All Convictions must be paid off in millions of dollars/

Mosaic Law? Shucks we got these here Memes and there are only seven.

Aaron Lynch described seven general patterns of meme transmission, or "thought contagion":[16]

1. Quantity of parenthood: an idea that influences the number of children one has. Children respond particularly receptively to the ideas of their parents, and thus ideas that directly or indirectly encourage a higher birthrate will replicate themselves at a higher rate than those that discourage higher birthrates.
2. Efficiency of parenthood: an idea that increases the proportion of children who will adopt ideas of their parents. Cultural separatism exemplifies one practice in which one can expect a higher rate of meme-replication — because the meme for separation creates a barrier from exposure to competing ideas.
3. Proselytic: ideas generally passed to others beyond one's own children. Ideas that encourage the proselytism of a meme, as seen in many religious or political movements, can replicate memes horizontally through a given generation, spreading more rapidly than parent-to-child meme-transmissions do.
4. Preservational: ideas that influence those that hold them to continue to hold them for a long time. Ideas that encourage longevity in their hosts, or leave their hosts particularly resistant to abandoning or replacing these ideas, enhance the preservability of memes and afford protection from the competition or proselytism of other memes.
5. Adversative: ideas that influence those that hold them to attack or sabotage competing ideas and/or those that hold them. Adversative replication can give an advantage in meme transmission when the meme itself encourages aggression against other memes.
6. Cognitive: ideas perceived as cogent by most in the population who encounter them. Cognitively transmitted memes depend heavily on a cluster of other ideas and cognitive traits already widely held in the population, and thus usually spread more passively than other forms of meme transmission. Memes spread in cognitive transmission do not count as self-replicating.
7.Motivational: ideas that people adopt because they perceive some self-interest in adopting them. Strictly speaking, motivationally transmitted memes do not self-propagate, but this mode of transmission often occurs in association with memes self-replicated in the efficiency parental, proselytic and preservational modes.

Behold! The Meme Septalogue!
Memorize and repeat after me: Thou shalt have no God other than Meme.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Loss of Tom Roeser -Chicago's 18th Century Man.

This great photo captures the essence of Tom Roeser and I believe that it was taken by his friend and colleague Cal Skinner.

The 18th Century was the age of Teach the Pirate, Jack Ketch the Executioner,Samuel Mason the Highwayman, Edmund Burke the Statesman, Alexander Pope the Poet, Joseph Priestly the Scientist, Locke the Philosopher, Handel, Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi.

It was a conservative age that ended in republican revolutions -only one succeeded. The American Revolution balanced Jefferson's wild-eyed republicanism with Adams, Hamilton, and Madison's principled Federalism.

It was the age of Giambattista Vico whose Scienza Nuova was the script for conservatism. Vico help that truth gets around - to employ my south side vernacular.

Man begins history as a vulgar brute grunting, hitting, and killing as a form of expression. As man signs and grunts with greater clarity, human understanding begins - stay away from my meat, or get clubbed and eaten. Gotcha! This is where Man employs tropes and metaphors in a less than aesthetic poetry, but truth will be communicated.

Eventually Man achieves what Vico called ragione tutta spiegata fulfilled reason in which reason and right combine to provide not only political, economic and religious stability, but fulfillment and reverence for beauty, majesty, and purity. Then along comes our age - Who's to Say, I was Born This Way, Deal With It.

This is the advent of what Vico called the human Ricurso, or the return to grunts (MSNBC, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Glen Beck) and signs ( Global Warming, Lean Forward, Lock and Load and You Betcha). The Ricurso is the recurrence of the Savage's trope -Listen to me, or I'LL KILL YOU!

The true conservative reminds us of the joys and liberties of the Republic, in order to avoid the savagery of anarchy and despots. It is an 18th Century concept.

Tom Roeser was a true conservative -politically and theologically. His life warned against the Roads Most Travelled -group think.

Tom Roeser was an original thinker who stood upon the texts and traditions that best preserved what is best in our politics and in our Faith. Though Catholic, Tom Roeser was a catholic (universal theologian).

Tom Roeser was God's watchdog and fearless intellectual combatant. Tom never once said that he had all the answers. Rather, he pointed all of us in the direction of where the right answers were to be found.

Tom Roeser disagreed, but always welcomed debate; even with singularly disagreeable people, all were invited to Tom's feast.

A giant has exited and pygmies have taken the stage.

Chicago has lost an 18th Century Man. God help us. Thanks for for your stewardship, Tom. See you in Church!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Leo High School Wins Its Fifth Class A and Sixth IHSA State Track Final

In the entire history of the IHSA the only Catholic/Private school to win a track & field title is Leo High School.

Leo has won five Class A State Track Championships and one Class AA Title.* Leo High School has no track. Leo Lions tain in the school.

Today, Coach Ed Adams and the Leo Lions did it again.

CHARLESTON, Ill. — Bruce Gray didn't want to leave the track Saturday after completing the 100-meter dash. Instead, the Leo senior stared anxiously at the scoreboard, waiting for the race results at the Class 1A boys state track and field meet.

After a push in the final 20 meters, Gray paced around during a short delay while the photo finish was reviewed.

"I didn't know where the finish line was," Gray said. "I just wanted to finish."

Gray's surge led to a rare first-place tie with Peoria Christian's Jon Hutchison. Both finished in 10.79 seconds. The tie helped Leo edge Harrisburg 42-41 for the 1A title.

"We haven't had (a state title) in a few years," Gray said.

Leo's first state title since 2003 can be credited to a strong showing in the relays.

Aided by another strong finish by Gray in the 400 relay, the team that included Andre Patton, Theodore Hopkins and Denzel Tucker took second (42.95), just ahead of Winnebago (42.96). Leo junior Rueben Blackwell was second in the 110 hurdles (14.83) and Gray added a fifth-place medal in the 200.

Leo's 800 relay team of Patton, Hopkins, Tucker and Gray finished runner-up (1:29.31) to Walther Lutheran's Cole Evans, Tyreese Russell, Andre Cooper and Sean Cotton (1:28.12).

"Everybody came out and ran their hearts out," Cotton said. "I just tried to run (the anchor) hard and hold off Gray."


*Boys Track & Field
Season Class Titles Place Won Lost Tied Coach
1980-81 A 1 Bro. John O'Keefe
1982-83 A 3 Bro. John O' Keefe
1994-95 AA S 1 Ed Adams
1997-98 A S 1 Ed Adams
As Chicago (Leo)
1999-00 A S 2 Ed Adams
As Chicago (Leo)
2000-01 A S 3 Ed Adams
2001-02 A S 1 Edward Adams
2002-03 A S 1 Edward Adams
2003-04 A S 2 Edward Adams
2004-05 A S 3 Edward Adams
2009-10 1A S Edward Adams

A Special Relationship(s) - The Heat's Dwayne Wade and Coach Jack Fitzgerald

Dwayne Wade is a Superstar athlete - one of the giants of the NBA. Jack Fitzgerald is a high school and small college basketball coach - a legendary journeyman mentor who graduated from Leo High School in 1969, returned his alma mater and learned the craft from Tom O'Malley. Tom O'Malley was one of Jimmy Arneberg's boys. Arne was coached by Brother Francis Finch and the great Vince Dowd.

This is a Leo chain of being.

Dwayne Wade never attended Leo High School but he was mentored and coached by Jack Fitzgerald at Richards High School.

Dwayne Wade understood that he was helped by a man who understands not only the game, but the reasons put everything, heart, mind and body into any effort.

Dan McGrath wrote another wonderful portrait of two men brought together by a spirit much larger than their ambitions and wants. Click my post title for the full New York Times story.

Any of us who have watched our children play sports or tiptoe through a dance recital or blow the fluegelhorn in a concert could empathize with Jack Fitzgerald on Tuesday.

He viewed the Game 4 telecast of the Bulls-Miami Heat Eastern Conference playoff finals from a quiet table in a South Side pub, and a nosy reporter tried to be unobtrusive as Fitzgerald agonized. Dwyane Wade is not his son, but Fitzgerald has paternalistic feelings for the Heat’s All-Star guard, the best player and one of the best kids he worked with during 27 years and 444 victories as a high school coach in the Chicago area.

“It’s hard to watch,” Fitzgerald said. “I get a little pit in my stomach, the same way I did when I was coaching.”

The pit felt like a bowling ball on this night as Wade struggled, missing seven straight shots at one point, including an uncontested breakaway dunk.

“He’s just not in the flow,” Fitzgerald said quietly, his stoic demeanor concealing his inner turmoil.

Jack Fitzgerald would never admit to being a great man and that is his greatness. Jack Fitzgerald helped Dwayne Wade become the fine young man he is, even though he is an NBA Superstar. The hands that help are guided by a spirit of very old and willing hands going back generations.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

And Palms Before My Feet: Leo Boxers Eat With George Foreman

This donkey needs a shave, a shower and a financial bail-out - too blessed to fail.

Where do I begin? Hours ago!

It was a stormy day outside of Leo High School. Within it was cheery and warm with anticipation of the upcoming evening's fete at Harry Caray's on Kinzie with two-time Heavyweight Boxing Champ, 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist, Minister of Christ, Entrepreneur, and philanthropist George Foreman.

While winds and rain buffeted 79th Street, Leo High School was warm with academic, athletic shoulders to the wheel and much anticipation. The Big Shoulders Fund and the Boxing Brokers invited Mike Joyce's Leo Boxing Team to share steaks with George Foreman at Harry Caray's. Not only that, but the Track Team was heading down to the State Meet.

Leo's track team departed for the IHSA State Track meet at 11:30 AM. Track coach and Leo AD Ed Adams handed me a key to a vehicle. Off they went with shouts of beefy good-fellowship and God Speed.

At 5 PM, Asst. Boxing Coach Marquis Ball arrived and we inspected the nicely decked-out squad of boxers - Shirts and Ties all. Marquis offered to drive and I handed him the key. Me and the boxers followed the big Leo Alumnus and future Chicago Police Officer out to the motor pool. The vans were gone. There was one of a trio of 22 passenger bus into which this key fit and worked - it was a real pig -last used by the track team in April. With a cloud of white smoke, we wandered away from the warmth of Leo High School toward cold steel and glass of the Loop. Nice ride on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Marquis pulled in front of Harry Caray's and handed the key to the young Mexican American Valet. We were greeted and directed up to the George Foreman Event. This dinner is prelude to tonight's charity boxing night at Chicago's House of Blues -BBF The Broker Boxing Foundation.

George Foreman charged up to greet us and warmly pressed the flesh with the Leo Boxers. "Come on up and let's get our pictures taken!" We all all got into the ring with the most menacing and happy man on the planet. I put my tiny dukes up with the Champ and the camera man, Mr. Nixon the event's chairman, snapped a shot.

No sooner had I stepped away, than the sober and serious baby-faced Marquis Ball, a man in the image and likeness of George Foreman softly whispered "Transmission's shot.The bus is stuck."

I went down to the lobby and the manager told me, "The bus will not move."

Thanks be to God! We were here anyway. Think Mule. Call for a tow. I did. Call for a limo to get the guys back to Leo. The manager contacted a service. Done. Hickey you are one get-it-done Donkey. Steak Time!

Nope. No sooner had I eyed the fried ravioli cascading over Marquis Ball's plate, than I got a call from the Towing Service. " I'll be there at 7:30 you gotta ride with me - Oh, and it's cash only because my boss has the truck with the card swipe."

No Sweat! I went down to the Harry Caray ATM and took out . . . limited to $ 200. The tow was going to cost $ 245 minimum it will be more believe it Esse. Well I had close to a yard on me - $ 84 and change.

The manager again. " Mr. Hickey, the limo will cost $ 145 minimum in cash." Do the math, Mule. Back to the ATM - command;English;Yes to $2.00 Fee; Receipt? You Bet! Mercifully, the ATM though limited to maximum take-out of $ 200 allowed me to extract another two yards from my checking account and there was enough in the balance thanks to my modest 2010 Tax Return.

Another phone call. "Mr. Hickey, you gotta come along with me in the tow to tell me where to place the bus. I'll be there soon."

Marquis and the boxers would return to Leo, having sated themselves with steak and spoon vitals, and take the limo home.

At 7:35 the tow truck arrived and shook hands with my shipmate Rico, a Puerto Rican kid from Pilsen who now lives in Evanston and drives for a towing company in Skokie.

We had a great talk on the way south about boxing, being a kid, Roberto Clemente High School, Leo High School, and thanking God that at least the bus arrived in front of Harry Caray's.

We put the bus in the lot north of 79th Street, because it was pouring rain and there were no other vehicles in the lot. I paid Rico and duked him $25. I was getting soaked . . .by the rain. The tow was more than fair.

I opened the padlock on the gate of the faculty lot on Sangamon, crossed over to Leo and went around to east entrance and let my self into the school vestibule and waited. By the time the Limo with the kids and Marquis arrived, it was 9:45 PM.

The kids all had autographed pictures of themselves with George Foreman. I got a hot one of the team with George and the actor Martin Klebba - he is the dwarf from Pirates of the Caribbean. This one will belong to the school.

God is good.

This donkey knows.

G.K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blago II : Epilogue - A Quinn Martin Prodcution

Rod Blagojevich, the now removed Governor of Illinois, serial gate-crasher, lout, lay-about, whiner, buffoon, pistachio pitch-tool, and political plantar's wart is set to testify.


I remember on a website called Chicago Sports Fan on the 620 Score there was a post called Blagojevich: Epilogue A Quinn Martin Production and I laughed my ass off . . .well not literally, it still follows me around.

I connected immediately. Blago is a Quinn Martin Production. Pat Quinn? Nah.

This entire shabby saga has been soup for nuts. Blago was kicked out of a very prominent post-South Side parade parties decades ago. Everyone goes to this Morgan Park worthy's party, but Blago was not invited. He did not go there for the fun, fellowship and free feed; Blago gate crashed in order to gnaw on the rumps of the likes of Neil Hartigan, Bill Daley, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry ( South Side attendees all) and captains of labor, church and industry.

Everyone but everyone knew Blago to be exactly the man he is today. That's politics, kids.

The Blago saga has had no real light shined upon since Rep. Jim Durkin tuned up Roland Burris.

This has all been a tedious drama, not a comedy. It reminds me of the Old 60's TV shows The Fugitive, Twelve O'Clock High, The F.B.I., and The Invaders, all broadcast on ABC that always had a pretentious Act I, II, III and IV - and the Epilogue.

All four Acts of this sociopathic mirror gazer Blago have been Epilogue

Act I - The Primary - Money, Vanity and Fear Give Illinois Blago over Paul Vallas

Act II - The Governorship 1 & 2 - The Looting of Illinois & PACE for Grannies

Act III - The Impeachment and Fitzy- Starring Roland Burris - need I say More

Act IV - WLS, Trial One, Survivor and Pistachios
The Epilogue, or denouement ( DE new Mon) as we Francophiles like to toss about, was the resolution of the alleged drama in which David Jansen shook off the hay from the farm work he did as a doctor on the run from the one-armed guy. Blago has more explanations about his many one-armed guys, than the Vitalis-ized David Jansen could ever dream of.

All Four Blago Acts are Epilogue - This Has been a Quinn Martin Production!!!!!!

US Producer
Born Martin Cohn. Born in New York City, New York,
U.S.A., 22 May 1922.
Died, in Rancho Santa Fe, California, 6 September 1987.

Leo High School Boxers to Meet George Foreman and The Big Shoulders of Chicago

The Big Shoulders Fund of Chicago has boosted thousands of inner city kids up through the financial ropes and put them toe-to-toe with success in Catholic Schools. You can not get into the ring without some help.

The Big Shoulders Fund was started by a 79th Street guy by the name of James O'Connor. Jim O'Connor was the CEO of ComEd, when it did not hammer citizens with utility bills. Jim O'Connor was the man who built the nuclear power plants that generated cheap, affordable power to Illinois citizens in Chicago and northern suburbs. Jim O'Connor wanted kids from 79th Street, 63rd Street, 55th Street, along Archer Ave., North Ave., Milwaukee Ave., and Irving Park Road to have the opportunity to attend Catholic Schools. Catholic Schools prepared Jim O'Connor to become a successful, caring and giving citizen.

The Big Shoulders Fund works year round to scare up funds, assist schools with budgeting plans, leadership plans and operational efficiency. The Big Shoulders Fund is the cut-man for the Office of Catholic Schools.

Tonight, the Leo Boxing Team will attend a dinner honoring George Foreman and the George Foreman Foundation at Harry Caray's restaurant. Most of our boxers have never been to Harry Caray's. In fact, many of these kids never really see much of Chicago beyond the few square miles that comprise their neighborhoods and Leo High School.

Leo High School is on 79th Street a few blocks east of Jim O'Connor's boyhood home on Marshfield Street. Jim O'Connor knows Leo High School. The Big Shoulders Fund has helped Leo families meet the costs of an education at this school, since the early 1990's. Thanks to that commitment and support, Leo High School makes a difference in the lives of young men. One method of life preparation outside of the classroom is the Boxing Room on the school's second floor. This facility was built with the help from State Representative Mary Flowers, Irish Boxing Trainers Martin and Oliver McGarry, Mexican American Middleweight and contractor JC Gutierrez and attorney, Leo Alumnus, Advisory Board Member, Hall of Fame Inductee and Leo Man of the Year 2011 Mike Joyce.

Since 1999, Mike Joyce has trained Leo High School boxers to fight in the methods developed by Constantine "Cos" D'Amato -the peek-a-boo approach style of boxing, where the hands are placed in front of the boxers face for more protection.

Protect yourself in the ring and in life. Cos D'Amato trained Floyd Paterson,Jose Torres and Mike Tyson. Mike Joyce trained thirteen Golden Gloves champions, the captain of Team USA, Lamar Fenner and Superheavyweight Thomas Hayes. Leo Boxers also became the scholar/athletes any school would envy. Boxer Eder Cruz is Leo's 2011 Gates Millennium Scholar.

A man who came from a tough environment, boxed for America and won the Gold Medal in Mexico at 1968 Olympics, and won two Heavyweight Championships, turned his life over to Christ and helped others develop the life worth living - a life of giving.

George Foreman has the shoulders to match the Big Shoulders Fund and those of Jim O'Connor. Tonight ten Leo Boxers will have the opportunity share their life stories with people who know what life is all about - James O'Connor and George Foreman.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Leo High School Graduation at St. Columbanus May 21, 2011

Gates Millenium Scholar Eder Cruz and Principal Phil Mesina outside of St. Columbanus Catholic Church.
Soon to be members of the Leo Alumni Association
Leo Teachers and Urban Heroes All!
The Gunny -VP Frank Wilson with Ms. Silva and Ms. Latifi
The Prize

Leo High School not only endures, it thrives. Established in 1921, Leo High School's first student registered was Francis O'Neill Class of 1930. On Sunday May 21st at Chicago's St. Columbanus Catholic Church the 82nd Class of graduates received their diplomas from Principal Phil Mesina, Vice Principal Frank Wilson and President for Institutional Advancement Dan McGrath ( Leo '68).

Chicago Tribune columnist and Wittenberg College's greatest field-goal kicker Fred Mitchell addressed the graduates - his theme " Let No One Else Define Your Life." The young men coming out of St. Columbanus with a Leo Diploma, were not defined by their freshman entrance scores, the neighborhoods where they lived, the dollars in their family accounts, or the denomination of Christian church in which they were baptized - in fact one or two young men are Muslims. In four years, they learned to meet the odds and better resourced foes. It matters not that Leo has no track, its track team left all the wealthy suburban and private schools in the dust at Friday's IHSA Track Sectional with a score of 110.3 with their nearest competition scoring 87 points. It matters not that Leo High School's facility is eighty-five years old and land locked in Gresham on 79th Street without a tree-lined campus. What happens inside this school is a miracle.

Eder Cruz 2011 is a Gates Millennium Scholar. Eder's classmates Josiah Jones and Edward Vaughan the Salutatorian and Valedictorian will both attend University of Illinois with scholarships. Denzel Tucker, one of the toughest and finest young men it has been privilege to know, will go to Ferris State College in Michigan. Denzel is one of the State Track qualifiers, a boxer, a student leader and a gentleman to the backbone.

These fine young men and their classmates were served by genuine urban heroes. The faculty of Leo High School is comprised of veteran Catholic school war-horses like the legendary Pete Doyle who served as an Irish Christian Brother in the '60's, Principal in the '90s and the new Millennium, the spiritual link of thousands of Alumni to the school's traditions and mission, Leo's utility man Mike Holmes ( Football Coach, Admissions Director, Dean of Men and community activist/broker) Bob Schablaske, Joe Check, Ed Adams, Dr. Milt Kobus and The Gunny - Vice Principal Frank Wilson, USMC (ret.) who developed Leo's Freshman Academy. There is also a maniple of young men and women who patiently and commandingly direct the studies and deportment of proud and at times 'willful' young men - Aurora Latifi, Margarita Silva, Jon Crotty, LaDonna Hill, Noah Cannon, Kaitlyn Curta, John Lattiere, Nick Masciola, Christine Meany, Melinda Monge, Robert Sills, Bill Tomaka, Gloria Jones and Velma Smith.

Two Leo Alums, Dr. Jack O'Keefe and Denny Conway came out of retirement and volunteered to coach and tutor Leo upperclassmen to improve ACT scores. The school's scores were raised by 2 full percentage points over last year thank to these men.

Supporting all of these good people are the 8,000 + Leo Alumni. The Leo Alumni pumped hard needed dollars into scholarships for Leo families and into operational costs. More importantly, Leo Men are present at every event the school hosts and our guys know who exactly is backing their efforts and who will have their backs in the years to come.

Leo High School is blessed with young men who are making the school stonger -

Meet Darnell Harris of the Class of 2014. Darnell leads the freshman class with a GPA (unofficial prior to final exams mind you) well above 3.Something, plays basketball and was Leo's Student of Month for April. He is flanked by President Dan McGrath and some guy from Little Flower.

I love doing sic and fetch for this great school and the magnificent people the school represents.

Monday, May 23, 2011

No Craic Barack Where You're Heading -

After a visit that seemed shorter than Chicago's once fabled South Side Irish Parade, President Barack Obama, the Missus and the Presidential retainers have jetted to Perfidious Albion a day early. Iceland is acting the fool again!

In Ireland, President Obama warmed the cockles of the heart in Moneygall, got a Hurley from the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and was favorably received by throngs of folks.

Here is what is waiting in Great Britain across the Irish Sea:

O'Bama? Oh puh-lease! By James Delingpole Politics Last updated: May 23rd, 2011

1245 Comments Comment on this article

Ah Bejaysus and Begorrah! Oi’ll be swearin’ boi the auld shrine to the Vorgin with the shamrocks growin’ round it next to the hill where Cuchullain slew the Great Leprechaun of Kildare on St Patrick’s Day that Barack Seamus O’Toole Flaherty Joyce O’Bama is the most Irish US president that ever set foot on the Emerald Oisle, so he is, so he is.

Except, when he’s in Africa, of course, when he disappears into the dry ice and re-emerges with a grass skirt and a bone through his nose and declares himself to be Mandingo, Prince of the Bloodline of the Bonga People, Drinker of Cattle Urine, Father of A Thousand Warrior Sons, Keeper of King Solomon’s Mines, Barehanded Slayer of Lions, Undaunted Victim of the Evil Colonial British Empire.

And in the Middle East, where he is Al-Barak Hussein Obama, Protector of the Holy Shrine, Smiter of the Kuffar, Lion of the Desert, Tent-Loving-Aficionado-of-the-Oversweetened-Coffee, Chomper of Sheeps’ Eyeballs, Restorer of the Caliphate.


Tony Blair used to do this trick too, his accent mutating from broad Glaswegian to genteel Edinburgh to Mummerset to Estuary to Richard E Grant to Sarf London Grime – often in the course of one Downing Street reception – the better to persuade his target audience that he was their kind of guy. And it is, of course, the hallmark of an unutterable charlatan.

I’ve argued before that Tony Blair and Barack Obama have an awful lot in common. Both are lawyers; both are snake-oil-salesman; both claim to be post-partisan, and Third Way and consensual; both play the acceptable, moderate-seeming public face of a regime chock full of Communists, class warriors, single issue rabble rousers, malcontents, communitarians and eco-loons hell bent on destroying every last vestige of what once made their country great. And both do (or did) the things dodgy political leaders always do when the going gets tough at home and their domestic audience finally wises up to how totally useless they are: they hop on the plane and pose as international statesman instead.

My colleague Damian Thompson appears to be under the impression that Obama is a great guy because he said nice things about the Queen. Look, I think the Queen’s great too, but did it really not occur to my distinguished colleague (and editor) that there might have been a hint of an ulterior motive here? Obama can’t stand Britain (his wife likes us even less): he made that clear enough when he sent back Winston Churchill’s bust and dissed our Prime Minister with those dodgy DVDS. He blames us for what happened to his grandfather during Mau Mau. He doesn’t believe in the Special Relationship. Are we honestly supposed to believe in that during the subsequent year in office, Obama has since acquired such wisdom and insight that he suddenly realises how special we are?

Of course he hasn’t. Obama is just doing now what all bullies and losers start doing when they realise how unpopular they are and that everyone is abandoning them. They suck up to anybody and everybody. They whore themselves piteously before enemies they once considered beneath their contempt. Fain will they fill their bellies with husks that swine eat – but which no man will give them: and serve them jolly well right, too!

By all means let us enjoy watching Obama smarm and grovel and ingratiate himself like some presidential Uriah Heep. But for heaven’s sake let us never give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s a cold fish and would certainly never show any mercy towards us were the roles to be reversed.

Tags: Barack Obama, Great Leprechaun of Kildare, leprechaun, Obama, tony blair, Uriah Heep, Welcome To Obamaland

No MSNBC in Old Blightey?

First BIFFO and Ireland's First Culchie Tea Talkin' the 'Begrudgery of others'

Israel has nothing to worry about Biffo* Obama is talking it over with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

President Biffo Obama -

I can turn a grey sky blue; I can make it rain whenever I wan it to. I can make it shine on a cloudy day; when it's cold outside, I got the month of may! I can build a castle from a single grain of sand and I can make a ship sail on dry land.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny -
Saying "Haaah" everytime someone says something. That's culchie. Silver mints. A nice bit of ham. TK red lemonade. Saying ahhh after a sup of tay. Giving the dog the wildest baitings. Giving the wife the wildest baitings. Knowing what pubs are on the Limerick Tipperary road. Drink Driving. Grabbing a hould of a bird in Coppers. Diesel. Saying “stall the digger”. Going out specifically to buy petrol. Super Splits. Neat Whisky. Fisticuffs after the dhischo. Drinking neat whicky followed by Fisticuffs after the dhischo. Driving up house prices in Dublin . Quinns. Tractors in a Paddys Day Parade. Laughing at people with clean wellies. Battenburg. Tanora. Tanora with a thick slice of battenburg wrapped up in an Abernethys bread wrapper on the train to Thurles. Tying up jeans with a bit of bailing twine. Buttered biscuits. Diggin Holes. Saying tis too cold to snow. A dinner dance. Tayto Cheese & Onion. Countin money. A stretch in d'evenings. Rubbing their hands together before tucking into their dinner. Pretending to like Harp . Marietta biskits. Drivin inta poholes with the tractor. Spittin in their hands before doing anything manual. A big bowl of stew. Eating sangwiches out of the boot of a car at GAA Matches. Saying someones 'Opened a Book' on something. The smell of silage. Slice-Your-Own Loaf. A bottle of mineral. Fighting with d'neighbours. Puttin on a ganzee to stop them from bein perished. 'The' Hurling and Futball. Bakin n cabbage. Price of calves.. Sayin' things like 'Well Holy God ... will ya look at that.' Dirty number plates so they cant get caught with the speed cameras. The Fear of Change. A nice bit of Barnbrac with a cup a Strong Tay. Drinkin tay off a saucer. Building stone walls. Being starved with the cold rather than with a lack of food. Flowery Spuds. Talking about the stretch in the evenin's. A good blackthorn walkin stick. Shouting 'Yaaahhhhooooooo' when something good happens. The replay of the Sunday Game on Monday. Talkin bout machinery. Sayin' things like 'Arra fer Jaysus Sake' A good read of Buy n Sell. Winnin a turkey at the cards. Scandal, as long as its about other people. A Gud bail a Turf, because dat Centril heatin's only a wemins ting. Wellies. Sponge 'n Custurt. Illegal Parking in Dublin. Begrudgery of others.

Tomorrow off to see the Queen!

Huge hat tip to Talkin' Culchie

* BIFFO - BIFFO Irish slang for a "Big Ignorant Fucker From Offaly" but feel free to substitute you city of choice...
It's especially handy when the BIFFO doesn't know you're insulting him (or her), and even better when they shorten it for themselves and asked to be called "Bif"
Hey Biffo, what's up? What's craic, Biif? Pass the salt 'n vinegar Taytos, Biffo.



Joplin, Missouri - Jesus Wept.

"Et lacrimatus est Iesus"

Last night, at around 6 P.M. a tornado of monstrous proportions destroyed Joplin, MO and killed at least 80 people.

At that time, my daughter Clare was studying for her final exams at Mother McAuley High School this week, Conor was cooking fried rice and chicken, I had come home from the Leo Graduation at St. Columbanus Church on East 71st Street and changed out of my suit and into my eating pants and waiting for the Bulls to lose to the Heat.

The clouds bypassed Chicago.

Our house and those of my neighbors are still standing - today.

This morning, I read of the devastation to Joplin, Missouri. Yesterday's Gospel from John recounted the old doubter Thomas:

Thomas said to him,

"Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."

We were told and we forget. Joplin knows. Jesus proved he was Man when he wept for His buddy Lazurus.

President Obama in Dear Old Moneygall - Offaly Nice, I Suppose.

Obama in Moneygall, Today. As real as he gets.

You might call Monday the fun day of President Obama’s Europe tour.

The president will spend an hour in the Irish town of Moneygall, where it is believed his great-great-great grandfather grew up. The town has excitedly anticipated his arrival, with people waiting hours in line for tickets to Obama’s speech there. The local newspaper, the Ofally Independent, put out a special edition Friday in which the paper dubbed itself “The Obama Independent.” (Moneygall is in a county called Ofally.)

“This is a homecoming of sorts for President Obama. He’s very excited to see this small town in Ireland from which he has roots, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing some of the people of Moneygall and making a stop there,” said Ben Rhodes, one of Obama’s top national security aides.

Obama, who arrived in Ireland Monday at 9:29 a.m. local time (4:29 a.m. in Washington) will also give a public speech in Dublin, highlighting relations between Ireland and the United States.

Offaly Nice -

President Barack Obama's Irish eighth cousin toured either side of the tiny village of Moneygall, picking out pavements to be repaired and houses to be repainted in preparation for the visit of the most powerful man on Earth.

With a population of just 300, the residents will be heavily outnumbered by the US president's own entourage when Obama returns to his Irish roots in May.

The village is bisected by the old Dublin to Limerick road, where part of the old homestead of Obama's Irish ancestors still stands. Moneygall has become a tourist trap two months before Air Force One touches down in the Republic.

Henry Healy, accompanied by officials from Offaly county council, was helping to spruce up the village for Obama's arrival. Since the president announced on St Patrick's Day that he would visit Ireland in two months' time Obamamania has been building in this quiet corner of the Irish midlands. On Friday night the locals held their first public meeting to discuss the trip.

Healy, who traces his family links back to the president's Irish ancestors, the Kearneys, was a guest of Obama when he was sworn into office in Washington DC. The president's great-great-great grandfather (on his mother's side) is said to have been born in Ireland. "Our family connection is very distant but … we do share the same lineage," said Healy. "Our ancestry is shared by the Healy and the Kearney families way back to 1761. Sarah Healy would be five-eighths grandmother of Barack Obama. I still think it's sort of surreal to say you have some connection to the president of the United States. "

Healy said the Obama connection had brightened up the lives of Moneygall's people at a time of national economic hardship. "When the primaries started in 2008 our village wasn't like the rest of Ireland. We were not talking about recession or doom and gloom. We were talking about the American presidential campaign all the way from Iowa to the White House. It was a massive boost to our morale in these dark times."

No US presidential visit to Ireland would be complete without a photo of him supping a pint at the bar. JFK, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton have all been snapped by the world's cameras knocking back beer amid cheering Irish locals. Inside Olli Hayes's bar on Main Street Obama memorabilia dominates the walls, with framed pictures from his presidential campaign, paintings of the first black US president and the latest addition, a cast-iron bust of him at the end of the bar.

"I hope nobody lifts that up one day and hits me on the head with it like they did with the bust of Queen Victoria in that murder on EastEnders," jokes Hayes.

Another stop on Obama's Moneygall tour will be Templeharry Anglican church, just over a mile outside the village. It was here that Church of Ireland minister Stephen Neill unearthed Obama's roots in 2007. Inside the church, built around 1800, Neill produces the dust-laden parish record books which he used to trace Obama's lineage to the village.

"We have the baptismal records which include the Kearney relatives and back in April 2007 it transpired that this lineage related to Barack Obama through Falmouth Kearney, who emigrated to America. So on these pews, inside this very church, the president's antecedents on his Irish side worshipped here on a regular basis."

Obama's links to the Church of Ireland also stretch further south to Kilkenny city, where another branch of the family claims a connection to him. Jane de Montmorency Wright said she had traced Obama to the former Anglican bishop of Kilkenny, John Kearney. "The president's ancestor was a bishop here in Kilkenny city where he is buried in St Canice's cathedral, so there will be plenty for him to see," she said.

Hayes and Moneygall's other 299 residents are expecting droves of other Americans to follow in the president's footsteps. A few hours earlier two couples from Chicago, the base from which Obama launched his presidential bid, turned up to have their pictures taken outside the bar.

• This article was amended on 29 March 2011. The original referred to President Barack Obama's Irish cousin (eight times removed). This has been corrected.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Leo High School Track Team ( The School Without a Track) Blows Away the Field at Lisle Sectional

Leo High School is the only Catholic High School and the only non-public high school to have ever won a State Track & Field Championship in the history of the IHSA.

Leo High School has no Track. The sprinters, hurdlers, high and low jumpers relay teams and shot putters all practice within the walls of Leo High School.

Yesterday, while Cardinal George and Father Pfleger made nice after putting Leo High School in the middle of their tiff for nearly three months with a narrative of troubled school, the Leo Lions of the Track Team, coached by Ed Adams and Pete Doyle, blew away all competition at suburban Lisle Sectional -

Leo 110.5, Westmont 87, Lisle 85, Walther Lutheran 80, Francis Parker 44.

All through the constant media bombardment of unvarified slanders and slights about Leo High School from March 15th, when CBS 2's Jay Levine set the nasty tone that Leo High School was struggling to stay open and through Father Pfleger's canard on the Tavis Smiley NPR gabfest with Cornell West that Leo is 'literally failing' this school kept its head up and its eyes on the best interests of the young men it serves. N.B. While the puffed-up Tavis Smiley sells his book at St. Sabina's today, the Leo High School Football Team and other student volunteers will be distributing groceries to our neighbors at Leo Alumni Fields -Facta Non Verba.

Leo Alumni poured in support and foundations like Cashel, Clare, WP & HB White, The John Buck Company, Irish Fellowship, Bidwill, Barney aand the Brach Foundations kept faith.

Leo Graduating senior Eder Cruz was the only Catholic League representative and one of 31 Illinois Gates Millennium Scholars.

The Leo Track Team does not need a track and Leo High School does not need a Lone Ranger savior.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Leo Lions Feed the Hungry - Saturday May 21 at Alumni Field

The Leo High School Football players and other student volunteers, along with this well-fed impulse grocery shopper and President for Institutional Advancement Dan McGrath, will distribute bags of organic fruit, vegetables, juice and heart healthy canned goods to our neighbors tomorrow morning between 11 AM and 1PM at Leo Alumni Field.

Alumni Field is located on the south side of 79th Street between Sangamon Street and Morgan.

While some Chicagoans might wait for the Rapture, the young Lions will be taking care of their neighbors.

Leo High School was named for the Pope of the Working Man -Leo XIII - and established by Cardinal Mundelein in 1926. Since then, thousands of Leo Men have served their God, country, families, and their neighbors as leaders and doers.

Our guys maintain that tradition. I have been writing about the great Bishop Bernard J. Sheil who founded the CYO and was a tireless voice for Catholic Action. Here is what Shiel was all about - doing for others.

These guys are doing alright for themselves as well. Here are some of the Leo Class of 2011 College Placements:

Below are the current list of students who have been accepted into colleges with proof of an acceptance letter:

Josiah Jones-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northern Ill. and University of Ill. at Chicago.

Eder Cruz-Valparaiso University, Marquette University, Iowa State, St. Louis University, Bradley University, University of Alcorn, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Hope College.

Andre Cail-Illinois State and Northern Illinois.

Brendan Mahan-DePaul University

Rueben BlackWell- St. Norbert College, DePaul College, DePaul University, Alcorn State, Central State and University of Arkansas Pine Bluff.

Andre Patton-Iowa State, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, University of Missouri, University of Memphis and Northern Illinois.

Edward Vaughn-Georgia Tech, Purdue University and University Of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Joshua Cooper-International Academy of Design and Technology.

Denzel Tucker-Ferris State University and Hamline University.

Lawrence Littlejohn-Utica College and Johnson & Wales University, Grand Canyon University, Columbia College, Nazareth College, Sage College of Alabama, College of St. Scholastica.

Anthony Morgan-Western Illinois and University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana.

Justin Douglas-Kentucky State.

Aundra Wright-University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana and Bradley University.

Fred Montgomery-Robert Morris University.

Derrius Hendrix-Bowling Green State University and Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Delexis Jackson-Robert Morris University.

Joshua Gilbert-Tennessee State University.

Fact Non Verb, Gents!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bishop Bernard James Sheil the Victim of Co-Opting Clowns and Cardinal Cody

There ain't no clout, when your clout is dead. That is a Chicago Commandment. Shakman Decree killed clout in Chicago - "hey, can you help me? - " Not a chance;Tell me about it, walking. Shakman, Dude! No Bosses. Hit the door."

There is no Shakman anywhere else, but Chicago, Cook County and the dumber parts of Illinois. Shakman helped Michael Shakman amass millions of dollars and soulless people get elected, prevents any possible human contact in government and is destroying public service. Shakman like abortion is what passes for progressive thought.

Clout means assistance from someone at a personal level. Clout is a good thing. Goo-goos hate Clout. I have yet to experience a Progressive who ever took an active empirical interest in another carbon life-form. I have been told that they are out there, but, Dog My Cats, I have yet to meet, learn by word-of-mouth, read-about, or tripped over a Progressive (a devout disciple of John Dewey/Hegel/Jane Addams/Roger Baldwin/Margaret Sanger)who would ever dig-in past the pocket lint and fugitive Breath-Savers and claw up a nickel for another human being. I get out a lot too.

Good Works are not Programs. Programs are bureaucracies run by managers with staffs and salaries. Programs are tax-generated by cash. Cash can not do good works; metaphysical impossibility.

Progressives rail against good works, especially good works by public persons. Public Persons who do good works are called Bosses. Bosses are targets of Federal, State and local investigations by Blue Ribbon Goo-goo panels comprised of academics and political outsiders. Political outsiders are people who never do anything for anyone but themselves and call that civic virtue. Rather, Goo-goos badger their enthralled editorial boards, community activists and political suits into legislating programs that cost tax-payers but create armies of dependants. No saloon-keeper alderman can match a loudmouth with a microphone, TV time and politicians who already rented out their souls and principles.

Today, I am reacting to a reaction to my post on Bishop Sheil. Bishop Sheil is out of the general public collective memory. Shiel was co-opted to death, by the Church and the Progressives. As I noted in my previous post, Bishop Sheil was ecumenical long before Vatican II.

Born in a mixed black-white, Catholic-Jewish, Irish-Polish neighborhood on Chicago's West Side, Sheil was lace-curtain Irish. His grandfather had been an alderman, his father was Democratic leader of the 14th Ward. Entering St. Viator's College in Bourbonnais (a later pupil: Fulton J. Sheen), Sheil was ordained in 1910 and assigned to a middle-class parish. He caught Cardinal Mundelein's eye, however, and began to receive promising assignments. He served as chaplain at the Cook County jail, as an assistant at Holy Name Cathedral and was named chancellor of the archdiocese in 1923. A year later, on his first visit to Rome, he was received by Pius XI, and in 1928 he was consecrated bishop.

I got an interesting e-mail from of pal, Elias Crim, who forwarded me a note from a gent who reacted to my recent offering of Bishop Bernard James Sheil. This person noted that a Jewish branch of B'Nai B'rith had established programs similar the CYO ten years before Bishop Shiel put his ideas into action.

This was the Old Testament preceding the New Testament.

The B'nai B'rith Youth Organization began in Omaha in 1924 and spread rapidly, reaching Chicago within a year. Very quickly BBYO became organized in Jewish neighborhoods throughout Chicago, with prominent basketball and boxing programs, in particular.

There were (and are) a boys' arm, called Aleph Zadik Aleph (a/k/a "AZA", using Hebrew letters in Greek fraternity style), and a girls' arm, B'nai B'rith Girls (BBG). Heavy on sports, after-school programs, service projects, and dances, with a typical American emphasis on self-government (teens conducting business meetings with parliamentary procedure, electing officers, publishing newspapers, sending delegates to regional, national, and, by the 1940s, international conventions, etc.)

Bishop Sheil liked that model a lot.

Sheil knew what he was doing, it seems because he had some great roots dug out of the Nebraska soil and brought to Chicago, where Catholics and Jews crowded together around Halsted Street. The athletic/social activity element founded in Faith must have had an impact upon Sheil to be sure.

Catholic Social programs were well established before the arrival of George Cardinal Mundelein, but it was by Mundeleins fiat that talented underlings like Bernard Sheil and Msgr. Hoban were directed to actively improve direct Catholic Action.

The origin of the CYO in 1930 was certainly the most impressive and most dangerous to Progressives. Action was a reflection of Faith and not taxes - bureaucratic programs would sanitize Action of Faith.

The Catholic Church, no stranger to politics, had ambitious clergy who were willing to advance themselves over the bones of good people.

I offer two pieces taken from Time Magazine that are the post mortems of the CYO and Bishop Shiel.

One is from 1954:

Christmas in Chicago used to include one famed celebration. Among as many as 800 children, ecstatic before a mountain of toys and candy-crammed paper bags, workers of the Catholic Youth Organization would labor happily to distribute presents and keep order. And in the middle of the maelstrom would move the founder and father of C.Y.O., The Most Rev. Bernard J. Sheil—a firm-faced Friar Tuck kneeling nimbly beside the toddlers, leading other children by the hand, talking to twelve-year-olds with the dignity becoming their years. To Bishop Sheil, the C.Y.O. Christmas Party was a symbol of his life and work—cheerful, practical action among the big-city poor.

But this Christmas there will be no party. The toys people have offered so far have been rejected or sent to some other charity. The second-hand paper bags C.Y.O. staffers saved all year to fill with candy were thrown away unused. The staff itself was decimated and depressed; Bishop Sheil of Chicago never goes to the C.Y.O. offices any more.

"The Thing You Desire." The Christmas party is only one of many good things that began to vanish from the archdiocese after Shell's dramatic resignation as C.Y.O. director-general last fall (TIME, Sept. 13). He never told why he resigned, nor did his superior, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, but the reason is becoming as plain as the old Water Works on Michigan Avenue. Bishop Sheil, a generous and sometimes over-generous man, had undertaken a great number of ambitious projects and had spread his resources thin. His long-standing liberalism and impatience with reverse-collar bureaucracy had brought him enemies. By the time Bishop Sheil made his well-aimed attack on Joe McCarthy (TIME, April 19), which earned him considerable dislike in some places among the Roman Catholic clergy and laity, the reaction of a few big financial contributors was enough to cause serious trouble. When money sources on which he relied to meet the bulk of the C.Y.O.'s million-dollar budget began to dry up, the cardinal's office began to move in on the C.Y.O., and Sheil quit.

"The C.Y.O. will continue to benefit from your counsel," said Cardinal Stritch to Bishop Sheil publicly, "and will become the thing you desire." But today the C.Y.O. and much of the "empire" of do-good organizations he created are being whittled away.

The Casualties. Of 27 major activities related to C.Y.O., twelve are dead or have been served with a death warrant, four have been transferred to other agencies, two have been cut down and turned over to Catholic Charities, four have their fate in doubt. Among the casualties: If Sheil Institute, a commercial college. Attended mostly by young adults with daytime jobs, it required all students (15% Negro, 30% non-Catholic) to take a course in business ethics along with their other work. It will close in January. ¶ The Sheil School of Social Studies, set up to provide adult education in the liberal arts and philosophy. It has been attended by some 20,000 in its eleven years, was at its record enrollment of 700 when it closed last fortnight. ¶ The Sheil Social Service, which collected food and clothing for poor children, closed in September. ¶FM station WFJL, which promoted religion along with its boxing matches, closing December 31.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,821045,00.html#ixzz1MnOCx96M

The political clout of Bishop Sheil died along with the mortal husk of George Cardinal Mundelein in 1939. Cardinal Stritch began to undo many of the direct actions for social justice established by Bishop Sheil. Following WWII, the boys who had boxed at CYO came home, established the greatest standard of living the world has ever seen and no longer needed a leg up in life. They had the G.I.Bill, the Taft Hartley Act and the most robust labor movement on earth. The CYO?

Well, another Prince of the Church followed Cardinal Stritchs successor Albert Cardinal Meyer - the ecclesiastical mirror of the political Governor Pat Quinn or Senator Dick Durbin. John Cardinal Cody was akin to Mayor Rahm Emanuel -change came hard, fast and impersonally.

When he moved to Chicago last year from New Orleans, the Most Rev. John Patrick Cody brought along a well-founded reputation as a tough clerical administrator who likes to cut out deadwood. Last week Roman Catholic Cody lived up to his no-nonsense fame by firing one of the patron saints of Chicago-style liberalism: Auxiliary Archbishop Bernard J. Sheil, pastor of St. Andrew's parish and founder of the vast Catholic Youth Organization.

A fire-eater who publicly denounced the "phony antiCommunism" of Joe McCarthy in 1954, Sheil is now 78 and subject to ailments (most recently a broken ankle) that have kept him from performing pastoral duties. Cody visited Sheil with the suggestion that he let a younger man take over financial administration of the parish. Sheil at first consented, but then told a newsman: "I didn't retire. This is a removal." Cody expressed his regret that the matter had been made public—and coolly named a new pastor of the parish.

Since Cody had already replaced 35 other overage pastors, many Catholics agreed that he could hardly fail to seek Sheil's retirement as well. Nonetheless, there were plenty of complaints about the abrupt manner of the dismissal from priests and laymen who felt more comfortable under the free-and-easy regime of the late Albert Cardinal Meyer.

Chicago's Catholics freely credit Cody with a number of notable reforms: he has modernized the archdiocesan seminary, raised the salaries of lay teachers in parochial schools, let assistant pastors elect two representatives to Chicago's influential board of priest consultors (previously all members had been appointed by the archbishop). By the same token, Cody is something of an authoritarian; both his priests and his parishioners complain that his communications, far from being two-way, consist of his sending the word on down. Last month an ad hoc committee organized three meetings attended by 400 Chicago clerics, recommended that priests have a greater share in formation of archdiocesan policy and that assignment procedures be revised. In effect, the committee formed the closest thing yet to a union of priests.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,835601,00.html#ixzz1MnYkQLjt

Clout is direct action to do good. When your clout is dead, and nothing is deader than dead clout, the game is over.

The Church and Government chose programs over personal acts of good.

Clout is as dead as the CYO.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In the Old Man-Killing Parishes - The Death of My Irish Cousin Larry Hickey

HICKEY (Crinnie, Castleisland, Co. Kerry*) May 15, 2011, Laurence (Larry), (peacefully), beloved husband of Mary (nee Keane) and much loved father of Bart, Marina, Helen, Noreen and D.J.; sadly missed by his loving wife and family, sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, all extended family, relatives and friends. R.I.P. Reposing at Tangney's Funeral Home, Castleisland this (Monday) evening from 4.30 o'c. to 7 o'c., followed by Removal to Castleisland Parish Church. Requiem Mass tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11 o'c. Burial afterwards in Kilbanivane Cemetery, Castleisland. House private please.

When I got home from Leo High School last night, my son Conor interrupted his study of The Principles of Air and Ventilation Systems for his class at Local 399, to tell me that my cousin Larry Hickey had died. There are a number of Larrys, as there are a wealth of Pats, Mikes, Barts, and Sylvesters. Conor said, " Larry of Crinna." He was not a 399 Hickey, nor am I. Larry was a dairy farmer on an ancient family farm that sits on a mountain above the town of Castleisland, County Kerry Ireland. I am one of the very few Hickeys without an Engineer's license, or a membership -card in Local 399. I was determined 'useless' at a very early age and consigned to a vocation that did not require attention to mechanical detail and the sweat of the brow. " Jesus, Man! You had better get into a college or you'll sh-tarve,so!" was the dictate of my grandfather

Local 399 of the International Union of Operating Engineers was started by my grandfather sometime after the 1912 stockyard strikes. Many of the engineers were from County Kerry, Ireland and it was a lousy job back then - hauling coal and shoveling cinders for the packing houses of Cudahy, Armour, Swift and the smaller concerns.

Today, it is a skilled trade that requires a command of operating systems that maintain the quality of air, water and gases required to heat, conduct clean air and provide air conditioning. The trade evolved. Where once brute strength and a willingness to suffer and strain within furnaces to clean out cinders and ash, shovel coal, maintain boilers and then battle company goons for a few quarters a day were all that were required of young immigrant fresh from the bogs of Kerry. Today a sharp and scientific understanding of air and water systems as well as brute strength and a willingness to fight for one's job with skill, a sound work ethic and attention to detail is necessary.

The Kerrymen who remained in Ireland, when my grandfather left at fifteen years of age, were the elder sons who would inherit the patch of land in the name of the family. The youngsters emigrated to England, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and America.

Larry was the eldest son, of an eldest son - my grandfather's older brother Bartholomew son of Barthlomew, or Bateen -'little Bart.' Larry was a big man like my grandfather Laurence ( Larry), but a gentle and soft-spokenly understated man where Grandpa Hickey was a pioneer Rage-aholic and an unparalleled blaspheming wild bog-man. He was a powerful gent even well into his seventies and could lift a long coal shovel from the tip of the pole with his arm parallel to the floor and bring the flat end to perfect geometric tangent and all at arm's length. Try doing the same that with the end of push broom.

Larry of Kerry operated the ancestral farm on the side of a mountain - Crinnie, or Crinna. He raised dairy cattle and formed a syndicate with his neighbors that eventually became Kerry Ingredients - Kerry Gold butter, cheese, and dry products. Larry did well.

When my wife died, I took Nora and Conor to visit Crinna ( Crinnie Mountain) and Conor helped Larry's son Bart work the cattle and dig in the bogs. Irish turf was burned in the hearth and in the cast-iron stoves for warmth and cooking fuel. Cutting and Footing turf, or digging the product which was spade-shaped into ingots of flecked black peat and dried on pyramidal reeks, made the early Kerryman engineers adepts at handling the coal shovels and could work like automatons for hours. My grandfather's greatest compliment would go, not to one who acquired a university degree, won medals in a war, hit a homerun in little league, or ran for office. His only encomium was " That man can dig, so."

Here is Tom Lally cutting the turf -

And "Your man" footing the cut turf -

Cousin Larry could dig! He had powerful hands and sinewy forearms. He could operate farm machinery. Develop and maintain a business and household budget. Understand the Irish economy and EU dairy futures and be a sweet-natured and generous soul into the bargain.

Larry visited Chicago in 2007 and that was the last time that I spoke with this lovely man.

I re-read Seamus Heany's wonderful poem The Tollund Man in tribute to Larry.

The Tollund Man concerns an archaeological dig in the Jutland region of the Baltic. A perfectly preserved corpse was taken from the Jutland bogs - a Viking. The soupy bog preserved something of a person whose soul no longer drove his muscle and bones.

This Memento Mori poem is wonderful. Our families are wonderful. Life is wonderful.

The Nobel Prize Winner's Poem about the Tollund Man

Heaney purposely writes that he will go to Aarhus to see the Tollund Man even though he knows that he is on display in Silkeborg. But in Heaney's opinion "Aarhus" goes better with the metrical feet.
Here is the original poem in English
Some day I will go to Aarhus
To see his peat-brown head,
The mild pods of his eye-lids,
His pointed skin cap.

In the flat country near by
Where they dug him out,
His last gruel of winter seeds
Caked in his stomach,

Naked except for
The cap, noose and girdle,
I will stand a long time.
Bridegroom to the goddess,

She tightened her torc on him
And opened her fen,
Those dark juices working
Him to a saint's kept body,

Trove of the turfcutters'
Honeycombed workings.
Now his stained face
Reposes at Aarhus.

I could risk blasphemy,
Consecrate the cauldron bog
Our holy ground and pray
Him to make germinate

The scattered, ambushed
Flesh of labourers,
Stockinged corpses
Laid out in the farmyards,

Tell-tale skin and teeth
Flecking the sleepers
Of four young brothers, trailed
For miles along the lines.


Something of his sad freedom
As he rode the tumbril
Should come to me, driving,
Saying the names

Tollund, Grauballe, Nebelgard,
Watching the pointing hands
Of country people,
Not knowing their tongue.

Out here in Jutland
In the old man-killing parishes
I will feel lost,
Unhappy and at home.

*Castleisland is often considered the Gateway to Kerry, as the main road to all towns in Western and Southern Kerry passes through here - the N21 from Limerick continues on to Tralee while the N22 goes to Killarney and other towns in Southern Kerry.

The Glenaruddery mountains to the north and the Stacks to the west define the beginning of the 'Vale of Tralee', at the mouth of which Castleisland is situated. Most of the land around Castleisland is pasture for dairy stock, with bogland located at various locations around the town, particularly to the east and south.

It is in the barony of Trughanacmy.

•County Kerry is the most western part of Europe.
•The current popoluation is about 140,000. Just before the famine it was 293,880 .
•Thousands of years ago Ireland had two glaciers. One that carved out Kerry and one that covered the rest of Ireland.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

IMF Chairman DSK: Frog One's Guide to Wooing Women

A Saudi, a Russian, a North Korean, and a Frenchman were
approached by a reporter. "Excuse me, what is your opinion
about the meat shortage?"

Saudi: "What's a shortage?"

Russian: "What's meat?"

North Korean: "What's an opinion?"

Frenchman: "Excuse me?? What's excuse me?"

One victim of IMF Chair Dominique Strauss-Kahn* described his advances upon her as those of a Chimp on Speed. Does this Minky have a License?

Aside from their love of Jerry Lewis movies; aversion to soap, water and Burma Shave; Rousseau, Malraux, and movies about nothing I am a Franco-phile. I dig the Foreign Legion, Maurice Chevalier, Leslie Caron and French cuisine. My favorite character in the French Connection was Frog One the dope slinger and mollusk slurping French Dandy.

New York has Frog One's twin in custody for raping a hotel maid. In deferece to his Nation, let's assume that he is guilty until proven innocent.

A New York cop buddy of mine e-mailed me his thoughts on love making. They always sound nice in French.


My friends, no one lures a woman into the web of love like Frenchman.

Use these charming bon mots to woo a lovely girl and have your wicked way with her!

(Mes amis, ne leurres une femme dans le web de l'amour comme le Français.

Utilisez ces bons mots de charme pour séduire une belle jeune fille et d'avoir votre mauvaise voie avec elle!)
En français, s'il vous plaît.

1.Venez sur le bébé laissez les bons temps rouler!

2. Je suis seulement en ville pour quelques jours, donc let's rock de la casbah!

3. Quittez que sourire et déposer votre linge!

4. Q. Vous savez à quoi ressemblerait beaucoup sur vous?

5. Je parie que vous avez mis dehors comme une machine à pop!

6. Bracelet en sœur! Rocket Man a décoller!

7. D'accord, Venez en travers ou je casse le bras et de notation de crédit pour ce continent tout entier méchant!

Before we look at the charges against this beaut allow me to ask,

Q. How many jokes are there about the French?
A. One, the rest are true

This is the Manhattan criminal court complaint in the case:

Detective Steven Lane, shield 03295 of the Detective Borough Manhattan Special Victims Squad, states as follows:

On May 14, 2011, at about 12:00 hours inside of 45 West 44th street in the county and state of New York, the defendant committed the offences of:

1. Criminal sexual act in the first degree (2 counts)

2. Attempted rape in the first degree (1 count)

3. Sexual abuse in the first degree (1 count)

4. Unlawful imprisonment in the 2nd degree-DNA-eligible MISD (1 count)

5. Sexual abuse in the 3rd degree-DNA-eligible MISD (1 count)

6. Forcible touching-DNA-eligible-MISD

The defendant engaged in oral sexual conduct and anal sexual conduct with another person by forcible compulsion; the defendant attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion; the defendant subjected another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion; the defendant restrained another person; the defendant subjected another person to sexual contact without the latter's consent; and in that the defendant intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly touched the sexual and other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading and abusing such person, and for the purpose of gratifying the defendant's sexual desire.

The offences were committed under the following circumstances:

Deponent states that deponent is informed by an individual known to the District Attorney's office that defendant 1) shut the door to the above location and prevented informant from leaving the above location; 2) grabbed informant's breasts without consent; 3) attempted to pull down informant's pantyhose and forcibly grabbed informant's vaginal area; 4) forcibly made contact with his penis and informant's mouth twice; and 5) was able to accomplish the above acts by using actual physical force.

Now. get to translating Breakfast Clubbers!

I wonder how long it will take Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, and Sean Penn to raise money for his defense? Un, Du, Tois

Before PC Killed History, There Was Fighting Bishop Bernard Sheil

"You should know, that I wasn't ordained a Catholic priest in order to become an archbishop." Bernard Sheil to a banker who tried to threaten Sheil for speaking out on American Labor

Bishop Sheil was instrumental in the development of Leo High School in 1921. He was Cardinal Mundelein's eyes on the street. The Cardinal's tough guy athlete got things done by doing. He brought people into the ring with him to mix it up for a better world and the school dedicated to the Pope of the Working Man -Pope Leo XIII was his baby.

Yesterday, three college football coaches visited Leo - Yale, North Dakota and Eastern Michigan - in order to recruit some of our guys. The coach from Eastern Michigan was a huge young guy who played for the Phoenix Cardinals and now coached. Three fourths of his time is spent finding the righ student athletes for his program. All three coaches visited Mount Carmel, St. Rita, Loyola and Fenwick because young men from Catholic schools bring more to the table - they belong.

Athletes and Scholars are very similar in their drive and commitment. Catholic grammar schools and high schools, more than any other visible aspect of the Roman Catholic Church in America, reflect what is most enduring - that sense of belonging. It is wonderful to watch thirty fifth graders parade from Kennedy Park in their St. Cajetan Warrior jerseys. You do not join a team; you belong to it. You do not attend a school; you belong to the Lions, The Mustangs, the Caravan and the Meteors.

I had an interesting talk with the coach from Eastern Michigan* - no longer the Hurons - the Eagles. PC killed the sense of belonging to a school situated on the Huron River in Michigan. So, since 1991, history has been buried. Catholics bury important links to history as well. We had better quit doing that. Bishop Sheil would want us to keep our memories sharp - keep the guard up.

Bishop Sheil was an athlete who pitched a no-hitter for St. Viator College, a Roman Catholic Seminary in Bourbonnais, Illinois ( alma mater of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen), which is now Olivet Nazarene University. Shiel pitched a no-hitter against the University of Illinois and later sparred with capitalists and Communists to achieve a just wage and human working conditions.

The Catholic Church gave up St. Viator's to a small Protestant dnomination from Texas. The Nazarene Church flourished and their college in Bourbonnais is that denomination's Notre Dame. Bernard Shiel became a Catholic priest, when being a Catholic meant putting own's money where one's mouth was. I grew up at the end of that era - post Vatican II. The Mass went from universal Latin to English and lost the beauty, majesty and mystery that should be fundamental to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Liturgy was now vernacular - conducted in English, Spanish, Polish, Croatian and even Tagalog. Priests faced the congregation and Consecration of the Eucharist took a backseat to Father's lecture on Social Justice.

Social Justice had been taught in Catholic Schools and it was hands-on - CISCA -Catholic Intra Student Catholic Action. Catholic Action meant getting involved in the Faith. Helping the poor, the orphaned, the widowed, the imprisoned, the sick, the disabled and the disenfranchised.

Officially founded in 1930, the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) built upon previously initiated Holy Name Societies in parishes throughout the Chicago Archdiocese. Centralized in a downtown office and led by the legendary and controversial Bishop Bernard J. Sheil, the CYO sought to combat delinquency, Americanize ethnic Catholics, and bridge social divisions during the Great Depression. Whereas previous Americanization efforts of Cardinal George Mundelein had met with meager success, the CYO fostered widespread Catholic unity even as it furthered the Church's inclusion in the mainstream culture. The CYO offered a wide-ranging system of social services, community centers, and vacation schools; but its greatest publicity resulted from an extensive and comprehensive sports program that claimed the world's largest basketball league (430 teams) and an international boxing team. Such CYO ventures included American Indians, African Americans, Asians, and Jews, which catapulted Bishop Sheil to national prominence as a social activist and labor leader.

Gerald R. Gems

From grammar school through parenthood, Catholics belonged to the Church - they did not only attend Mass on Sunday. Whether it was a sport, a fine arts initiative, a novena, or a dance, Chicago Catholics belonged in and to every aspect of community life. Little guys and girls who played on CYO teams also joined devotional sodalities and later brought that commitment to their studies and careers.

Like St. Viator College, that sense of belonging seems to have been the price of new relevancies of Vatican II. Words not Deeds trumped everything.

The CYO became irrelevant to universal social change. CYO like too much of the Catholic Church in America was co-opted.

Social Justice was youth oriented and found outlets in athletics that brought blacks and white, better-off and destitute kids together for boxing, football, basketball, swimming and track and field. This was the CYO the Catholic Youth Organization developed by Father and later Bishop Bernard Sheil, who pitched a no-hitter against University of Illinois for St. Viator College.

Bernard James Sheil is almost forgotten today. History has burned in the Orwellian memory-hole over the last thirty years. America is seriously dumbed down. Bishop Sheil's Wikipedia passage is such thin gruel it is not worth a glance. Bishop Sheil's life is in the dusty covers of old books and the files of the Archdiocese of Chicago Archieves.

Sheil was ecumenical and catholic long before Pope John XXIII called all of the red hats and mitres to Rome. He was a priest in tradition of stockyard pastors like Monsignor Dorney who walked up and down Halsted and physically threatened pimps and saloon keepers, as well as read them off from the pulpit. Sheil, like Father Dorney who was called the King of the Stockyards, respected and obeyed by labor leaders, packing house owners and parishioners of St. Gabriel Parish, took the Gospel outdoors. Not only that, Sheil made things happen. He worked both sides of the ideological street, while working with Saul Alinskey he balanced things with Joe Meegan of the Back of the Yards Council. While fighting for social justice, Bishop Sheil confounded Communism for the snake oil that its is. The Lefties hated Sheil and they helped bury his deeds during the triumph of political correctness.

For a Progressive there is no forgive and forget. There is only forget and damned such that everyone forgets what happened ten minutes ago.

Sheil was so effective that Franklin Delano Roosevelt kept in touch with Bishop Sheil all through his Presidencies.

Most of all, unlike later day priest-prophets, Sheil used the media and did not become its tool. Sheil dug into his cassock pockets and showed up early to set-up chairs.

With his (Sheil's) own inheritance from his father and $10,000 from Utility Man Budd, Sheil set out to lure off the streets young potential gangsters—white and Negro, Protestant, Catholic and Jew—with a social and athletic program that kept moralizing to a minimum. Boxing was the major attraction. When some high-minded people clucked at the stress on boxing, Bishop Sheil's reply was: "Show me how you can inspire boys away from the brothels and saloons with a checker tournament and I'll put on the biggest checker tournament you ever saw."

Today the bishop has a staff of 500 to help him run the C.Y.O.. which spent $1,500,000 last year in Chicago alone on such projects as two large community centers in Italian and Negro neighborhoods, medical, psychiatric, child-guidance and remedial-reading clinics, a radio station, and an orientation program for Puerto Ricans. There are hundreds of other C.Y.O. centers throughout the U.S. and abroad. . . .
Bishop Sheil made himself just as unpopular with fringers on the right as with those on the left. At one forum on Christian-Jewish relations he was viciously heckled by a delegation of Christian Fronters, and a virago pushed her way towards him as he was leaving. "I'm a Catholic!" she screamed. "You're not a Catholic—you're a nigger-lover and a Jew-lover. You call yourself a bishop. You're not a bishop, you're a rabbi." And she spat in his face.

Bishop Sheil did not move a muscle. "I thank you. madam, for the compliment of your action and your words." he said calmly. "Rabbi? That is what they called our Lord."
Time Magazine 1953.

Words matter to ninnies. Action and Deeds mark a human being's impact.

Bishop Sheil took action. He was an athlete who understood balance - the Gospel must be accepted and put into action in the same way that a boxer mixes the doctrine of assault and defemse in its proper prroportion. There are no Bishop Sheil's in the ring these days. However, there are three Catholic priests who act like Bishop Sheil - Father Dan Mallette, Father George Clements and Father John Smyth - like Sheil they are too real to get promoted.

*The controversy over the nickname continues to this day, as many former students and faculty were angered that a unique name like Hurons was replaced by a common name like Eagles, especially for reasons of political correctness. Some alumni have even refused to donate money to the school until the name Hurons is restored. An official chapter of the EMU Alumni Association, the Huron Restoration Chapter, seeks to bring back the name and claims to have the support of Chief Leaford Bearskin of the Wyandot Tribe of Oklahoma and former Grand Chief Max Gros-Louis of the Huron-Wendat Nation of Quebec.[6]



Monday, May 16, 2011

Warm Wishes On A Frosty Inaugural Morning to Mayor Emanuel

I really like Rahm Emanuel's pre-inaugural weekend of pulling weeds and tilling Chicago soil in Englewood. The Mayor-elect brought his children into the labor that was so much more than a photo-op. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel stood in the elements among the people he will serve.

Politics is an art and very vicious one at that. However, I know many public men and some women who manage to remember exactly where they come from and whom they serve. These are public servants and not power players. They have happy home lives and their children grow up unspoiled and un-Entitled. They learn about service and some follow their parents into public life.

They do not step to the front of the lines. They don't flash Dad's Office and never say " Do You Know Who I Am?" These children of public persons learn to try out for the teams on their own merit, wait their turns, pitch in and help, serve their neighbors and help those in need.

Happiness comes from leading a life that recognizes something larger than oneself. Happiness has nothing to do with velvet ropes, or VIP treatment. Happiness comes from making a better world than the one that welcomed you.

Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be sworn in as the forty-seventh Mayor of Chicago ( 1837-2011) - The Harrisons pere et fil and the Daleys Dad and Lad were the longest serving Mayors and Davis Orr served but eight days.

The people of Chicago welcome Rahm Emanuel to lead this city. I wish Rahm Emanuel only best for his term of office, but more so, I wish his wife and children peace and happiness during these heady days to come.