Interesting. Kind of funny, too. Rose-colored glasses must be big sellers in Poland.
America, the promised land for all Poles. For more than a century, thousands emigrated from Poland to the U.S. in search of their American dream and sent their hard-earned dollars back home.
The greenback seemed like god. Especially during the second half of the 20th century, one U.S. dollar bought an amazing lot in Poland where the average pay at times was a mere $20 per month.
Two or three decades ago, you could buy an apartment in Warsaw for $5,000 — roughly the amount a Manhattan cleaning lady from Poland can save within several months! (Today, you could buy no more than a square meter for it.)
Landline phones worked in the U.S., while in Poland you had to wait for 20 years to get installed. Cable television gave you dozens of channels to choose from, while in Poland two state-owned channels would only rarely show production from the First World. Blake Carrington even had a mobile phone in his limo! Wow, America was the paradise on earth indeed.
Notwithstanding that in 2010 you can get a mobile phone in Poland within minutes and it costs next to nothing, that there are hundreds of TV channels in Polish, and the U.S. dollar no longer buys all that much, some people still nurture the image of America that they created in their hearts some time during the last century.
Here’s the latest example, from conservative daily Rzeczpospolita, which writes on its blog today:
“What does a tourist see zipping through America over one week? He sees unlocked doors in suburbia, unlocked cars and bicycles left on the porch, not strapped to anything. He sees people who smile to each other on the street completely for no reason. He doesn’t see anyone littering. He sees that each and every car stops at the Stop sign that’s on every street corner instead of traffic lights. And no driver or almost no driver exceeds the speed limit and it won’t even occur to the driver not to stop before a pedestrian crossing even if the pedestrian is only getting ready to cross the street.”
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est.
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning.
O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer; and by night, but find no rest. Yet thou art holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In thee our fathers trusted; they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
To thee they cried, and were saved; in thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.
But I am a worm, and no man; scorned by men, and despised by the people.
All who see me mock at me, they make mouths at me, they wag their heads; “He committed his cause to the LORD; let him deliver him, let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
Yet thou art he who took me from the womb; thou didst keep me safe upon my mother’s breasts.
Upon thee was I cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me thou hast been my God.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near and there is none to help.
Many bulls encompass me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; thou dost lay me in the dust of death.
Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots.
But thou, O LORD, be not far off! O thou my help, hasten to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the mouth of the lion, my afflicted soul from the horns of the wild oxen!
I will tell of thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee: You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you sons of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you sons of Israel!
For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hid his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
From thee comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
May your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.
For dominion belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
Yea, to him shall all the proud of the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and he who cannot keep himself alive.
Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, that he has wrought it.
With all the voices clamoring for our acceptance of alleged apparitions these days, it’s worthwhile listening to the advice given by this esteemed Cardinal on how to carefully and prudently evaluate the claims of the “seers.”
On one hand, he reminds us that even canonized saints have been confused or mistaken in some detail or another of their recounting of events associated with authentic apparitions. On the other hand, His Eminence also warns that if an alleged apparition tells people to disobey the pope and the bishops, “it’s not from heaven.”
I have studied Mormon theology and history for nearly 25 years now (yes, I know that’s an uncommon hobby for a Catholic), during which time I’ve seen a marked shift in the attitudes of many Mormons toward the moniker “Mormon.”
While it was for many decades a generally accepted name for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (A.K.A. the Mormon Church), I recall meeting increasing resistance to the name from members of that Church. Many times I was gently admonished by them for calling them Mormons, rather than the preferred “Latter-day Saints” or, for short, “LDS.”
Well, times they are a changin’. I was fascinated to read today about how the name “Mormon” is now back in vogue, mainly because the Mormon Church’s study of search-engine data shows that, by far and away, more people search for “Mormon” than for any other variant.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
After a decadelong moratorium, Mormon is back. The name, that is. It will be on display everywhere this weekend as thousands gather for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 180th Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City.
Where LDS leaders once were pushing members to call themselves Latter-day Saints, rather than Mormons, now the church-owned Deseret News has created the Mormon Times. “Mormon Messages” is on YouTube. The “Mormon Channel” is on the radio. And the faith’s missionary Web site is mormon.org.
So what has changed for the nearly 14 million-member church? The Internet.
Last year, some 26.8. million people searched for the word “Mormon,” 5.3 million hunted for “Mormons,” and 1.3 million scouted for “Mormonism,” noted Michael Otterson, managing director of LDS Public Affairs.
Although about 32 million searched for “LDS,” church officials believe most of those were members. Few search for the official name.
“It’s simply a reality that people think of Mormons, they don’t think of Latter-day Saints,” Otterson said Thursday. “Mormon is here to stay.”
In fact, this weekend’s two-day conference will be followed closely on blogs such as “Feminist Mormon Housewives,” “Mormon Matters” and “Mormon Stories.” (In the so-called bloggernacle, “Mormon” outpaces “LDS” in blog names by 3-to-1.)
Some wonder why the Utah-based church tried to jettison the nickname in the first place, especially after spending years and untold millions creating a “Mormon” brand. The tag line for its award-winning “Homefront” TV spots, for example, was, “Brought to you by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the Mormons.”
“Branding is a very difficult, lengthy and taxing process of attempting to influence the consumer mind at a basic level,” said Kenneth Foster, a marketing research expert in Salt Lake City and a Mormon. “The church can’t really back away from the use of the term Mormon, given the ingrained history of the term and resources the church used to establish it. A better strategy may be to embrace and revitalize it.” . . . (continue reading)
“They are the digital-age equivalent of crop circles — mysterious patterns appearing on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s national radar system without any explanation. UFOs, perhaps?
“And the random images, described as red stars, rings of fire and white doughnuts, are sending online conspiracy Web sites into meltdown. The anomalies first began on January 15 when an “iced doughnut” appeared over Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.
“Satellite imagery showed there was no cloud over the area at the time to explain the unusual phenomenon, but farmers’ online comments claimed it was “unusually hot” all day. It was followed by a bizarre red star over Broome on January 22 and a sinister spiral burst over Melbourne described by amateur radar buffs as the Ring Of Fire Fault.
“The Bureau, which did not respond to repeated requests for comment, has acknowledged the anomalies on its popular Web site. It has posted a disclaimer above the national loop feed putting the images down to ‘occasional interference to the radar data.’
“‘If you notice any circular patterns or straight lines originating from the center of the radar location, this is due to occasional interference to the radar data. The Bureau is currently investigating ways to reduce these interferences.’ the disclaimer said.
“Conspiracy Web sites, however, have lit up with dozens of breathless theories behind the strange anomalies from alien involvement, secret military testing to government weather modification. One theory gaining traction online is the belief the U.S. military has expanded its High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program. . . .” (continue reading
Media pundit Nikki Finke points out an admirable and rare trait among modern-day Catholic actors: Courage to not abandon one’s convictions in the face of worldly emoluments.
Neal McDonough is the actor in question. I very much enjoyed his portrayal of heroic WWII G.I. Buck Compton in Band of Brothers and, more recently, his role as Captain Dave Severance in “Flags of Our Fathers.” I haven’t seen any of the TV shows she mentions below, but I really appreciate the fact that Mr. McDonough won’t cave when the temptation presents itself to go along to get along in Hollywood. God bless you, sir!
“[He] is a marvelous actor who elevates every role he plays, whether it’s in Band of Brothers or Desperate Housewives.
“So when he was suddenly replaced with David James Elliott 3 days into the filming on ABC’s new series Scoundrels earlier this week, there had to be a story behind the story. The move was officially explained as a casting change. But, in fact, McDonough was sacked because of his refusal to do some heated love scenes with babelicious star (and Botox pitchwoman) Virginia Madsen.
He’s a family man and a Catholic, and he’s always made it clear that he won’t do sex scenes. And ABC knew that. Because he also didn’t get into action with Nicolette Sheridan on the network’sDesperate Housewives when he played her psycho husband during Season 5. And he also didn’t do love scenes with his on-air girlfriend in his previous series, NBC’s Boomtown, or that network’s Medical Investigation.
“‘It has cost him jobs, but the man is sticking to his principles,’ a source explained to me. You can’t help but admire McDonough for sticking to his beliefs, even if he’s poised to lose as much as $1 million in paydays…” (continue reading)
These are five of our classic, award-winning, paper-&-ink editions including:
Premiere issue: Is Our Number Up? You’d Better Not Pout by Curtis Martin • Apocalypse Again by Paul Thigpen • How I Solved the “Catholic Problem” by Kristine Franklin • The Knot That Can’t Be Tied by Mark Lowery
Vol. 1.1: The Devil Plans to Make You Do It. Apologetics Without Apology by Mark Brumley
Vol. 2.3: Too Many People? Divine Will Hunting by Fr. Terry Staples • Mything the Overpopulation Boat by Dr. Jacqueline Kasun • Tell Him It’s God Calling by Brother Stephen Fichter • From Utah with Love by Steve Clifford
Vol. 2.4: Who Is That Masked Man? “Ancient Baptists” and Other Myths by Fr. Hugh Barbour, O. Praem • Holy Osmosis by Sara McLaughlin • A Pro-Abortion Icon Comes to Life by Fr. Frank Pavone • Satan’s Battle Plan for the Third Millennium by Peter Kreeft • The Mouse That Roars by David Palm
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The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
[MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself.]
* * * * *
THE ANT & THE GRASSHOPPER (MODERN VERSION)
The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
When winter comes, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving. CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shiv
ering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, “It’s Not Easy Being Green . . .” ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome.” Then the Rev. Al Sharpton has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake. Dear Leadercondemns theant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight. Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to mak
e him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugsand, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.
The story ends as we see the grasshopperand his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.
The entire Nation collapses, dragging the rest of the free world with it.
span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family:'trebuchet ms';">[MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2010 and 2012.]