Weird stuff that happens to me: Miracle sinus headache cure

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I played soccer in high school. I also wore glasses, actually since I was 5. Sometime during the soccer season of my junior year, my aviator-style glasses (cut me some slack, it was 1977) suffered a small malfunction when the part to which one of the nosepads was attached snapped off. That left a nosepad on one side and a little metal spike on the other side. At that time, my mom & dad didn’t have lots if discretionary income to spend on new glasses, and I was also lazy when it came to speaking up about something insignificant like a missing nosepad.

So, I just wore the glasses as they were: slightly tilted up on the side with the pad, and the tip of the little metal spike sitting on my nose. It wasn’t comfortable, but it wasn’t painful either, and so I just went with it. As you can imagine, and not just because of the goofy glasses I wore, I was not what you could call a “babe magnet” at that particular time. (Nor am I suggesting I am one now, either.)

At that same time (I’m sure you can see where this is headed) I also developed a bad cold that progressed into a severe head-cold-sinus-vapor-lock kind of thing which was extremely uncomfortable because my head was so pressurized. No amount of yawning could open my ears enough to let some pressure equalize. The constant headache was painful. I don’t remember why I didn’t ask my parents to take me to the doctor, but my guess is that it was simple inertia. I could function well enough to get through the day, so I just tried to put up with my hyperbaric-chamber head. I was one miserable cowboy that week.

So, one afternoon during soccer practice, I’m on the bench (where I spent most of my time) talking with a teammate next to me when, POW! one of the players kicked the ball out of bounds and straight into my face, knocking me backward off the bench.

I lay there stunned and embarrassed. My stupid glasses had snapped in two, though not before rendering me one final, signal service.

A big smile of relief wreathed my face. That little metal spike had neatly punctured my nose cartilage just high enough to tap into my sinus and, whoo boy, all that pent up pressure came out in one very satisfying pop. I was so happy and relieved that I never forgot it.

Oh, and yes, at that point my mom and dad did shell out for a new pair of glasses. I’m sorry to report, however, that I selected another pair of aviators.

Here’s a new cause you can, uh . . . get behind

May 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Amazon carries everything under the sun! Even things that pertain to where the sun don’t shine — like, for an example, these new ribbons dedicated to promoting the cause of raising “Diarrhea Awareness.”  My guess is that, if you yourself are living with this challenging condition, you’re probably already well enough aware of its presence that you don’t need a ribbon to remind you of it.

A brief biblical primer on divorce and remarriage

May 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

It’s no secret that an immense number of people today have been divorced and remarried. Given that many of them are at best only vaguely familiar (if at all) with Scripture’s teaching on this issue, it’s important for us to remind ourselves and those we know and care about of what the biblical foundation is for the Catholic Church’s teaching  on divorce and remarriage.

Here’s a little primer I wrote that highlights the major biblical passages and pertinent paragraphs from the Catechism that pertain to this subject. [N.B., It does not address the question of those Catholics who, after a divorce, have petitioned for and received a declaration of nullity (i.e., an “annulment”), but rather, focuses on those who, simply divorce their husbands and wives and attempt to remarry or who “live in sin” with another man or woman.] I hope you find it helpful. Please feel free to share it with others.

Send in the clownfish

May 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This just in to our “Why Am I Not Surprised By This?” department:

A one-hour elementary school lesson on gender diversity featuring all-girl geckos and transgender clownfish caused a stir in Oakland on Monday, with conservative legal defense organizations questioning the legitimacy of the topic and providing legal counsel to parents who opposed the instruction.

On Monday and today, Redwood Heights Elementary School students at every grade level were being introduced to the topic of gender diversity, with lesson plans tailored to each age group.

The lesson on gender differences was one small part of a much larger effort to offer what parents last year said they wanted at the school: a warm, welcoming, safe and caring environment for all children, said Principal Sara Stone.

The school also teaches students about the variety of families at the school and takes on the issue of bullying.

“If we don’t have a safe, nurturing class environment, it’s going to be hard to learn,” she said. “Really, the message behind this curriculum is there are different ways to be boys. There are different ways to be girls.”

So, fourth- and fifth-grade students learned about the crazy world of gender within the animal kingdom with lessons about single-sex Hawaiian geckos, fish that switch genders and boy snakes that act “girly.”

“That’s a lot of variation in nature,” Gender Spectrum trainer, Joel Baum, told the students. “Evolution comes up with some pretty funny ways for animals to reproduce.”

And that same kind of diversity applies to people too, said Baum, the education director for the San Leandro nonprofit. For example, some boys can act like girls; some girls can have boy body parts; and some biological boys feel like a girl inside their hearts, he said.

“It turns out that there are not just two options,” he said. (continue reading)

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 as you’ve never heard (or seen) it before

May 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Karl Keating turned me on to this video of a virtuoso performance by one Ben Bosco. He expertly plays this classic Bach piece on several stringed instruments — bass, mandolin, mandola, and guitar — and the compiled tracks make a feast for the ear and quite an interesting spectacle for the eye.  Check it out!

Archdiocese of San Francisco sees “huge decline” in weddings

May 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

In the last 20 years, the number of times the sacrament of holy matrimony has been celebrated by Catholics in Fog City has plummeted by nearly 50% even as the total population of Catholics there has grown by nearly 10%. Something is obviously wrong with this picture, and the Archdiocese is seeking to understand what’s behind this disturbing trend and what it can do to reverse it. I’d welcome comments and theories from everyone on this issue, and in particular those of you who live in San Francisco. What do you think are the reasons for this drop? I have my own ideas, but I’d really like to know what you think.

Archbishop George Niederauer has formed a task force to study marriage preparation in response to a sharp drop in the number of Catholic weddings in the archdiocese.

The number of Catholic sacramental marriages in the archdiocese dropped 47 percent from 1990 to 2010, with 1,985 marriages in 1990 falling to 1,060 marriages 20 years later.

Over the same period the number of Catholics in the archdiocese grew from 395,000 to 444,008.
Father Raymund Reyes, pastor of St. Anne of the Sunset Parish in San Francisco, said the “huge decline” is something priests are struggling to understand.

The task force will examine marriage education with an eye to revamping it, San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy said. Bishop McElroy said the task force is addressing several points raised by a committee of the Council of Priests, an advisory body. The task force will focus on renewing existing marriage preparation programs, making parishes as inviting as possible to engaged couples and making the moment of engagement a substantial time of catechesis for couples.

The task force will address the issues in the context of the diverse cultures of the archdiocese. The group will examine how the growing multiculturalism of the Catholic community plays a role in the trend and how it can be a means for reversing the decline. . . . (continue reading)


POLL: Nearly 1/3 of Russians believe historic division of Christians to be a mistake

May 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

As Father Z would say, brick by brick. The Russian news agency Interfax reports today on a recent religion survey that may offer new reasons for hope that there can somehow be a reunion between the Catholic Church and (at least) the Russian Orthodox Church. The poll results show that

Almost one third of Russians, or 30 percent, thinks the division of Christians to Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants was a historic mistake which may and should be corrected.

Such results reported to Interfax-Religion Wednesday were shown by the all-Russian poll carried out by Sreda Service Company and Public Opinion fund and covered 1,500 people.

Women, city dwellers and Orthodox Christians are more inclined to believe that the Christian schism was a mistake. And the highest percentage of respondents who agree with the above statement was shown by Orthodox believers involved in parish life (43%).

Almost the same number of respondents thinks the division of Christians into Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants was not a mistake. For the most part, they are men, non-believers and village dwellers.

The respondents’ education level had no effect on their answers. However, the individuals with only high school education mostly responded that they had no definite opinion on that matter.

39 percent of respondents have no definite opinion as to whether the division of Christians was a historic mistake.

Wherein I publicly debate a Pentecostal minister on the Eucharist

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

For me, the best part of this 1996 exchange was that it took place at the minister’s church before an audience of several hundred people, most of whom were members of his congregation, most of whom (he told me that evening) were ex-Catholics. We also debated the question of sola scriptura. The whole thing lasted about 3 hours and, for a nominal charge, is available  as a digital download. I hope you find it helpful.


India’s gender-selection hecatombs reach mind-numbing levels

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

The Russian news agency RT reports that “4-12 million girls aborted in India because parents want boys.”

Sex selection of fetuses has become a major problem in India as the country faces a huge gender gap.  The problem has resulted in 7.1 per cent fewer girls than boys, according to Agence France-Presse, quoting a recent study. The results of the study, published Tuesday, suggest that parents in India often choose to abort the child if the testing shows it will be a girl. Between 1980 and 2010, they estimate that between four to twelve million girls were aborted because of their sex, the scientists revealed.

Selective abortion of female fetuses accounts for two to four per cent of female pregnancies in India, roughly 300,000 to 600,000 per year, the study shows. A 1996 government regulation designed to prevent the use of ultrasound for prenatal sex determination is widely flouted, the researchers say, pointing out that few health providers have been charged or convicted.

Peter Fonda has officially lost his mind

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

According to the Telegraph,

Peter Fonda encourages his grandchildren to take up arms against President Barack Obama. Peter Fonda, the star of Easy Rider, says he is training his grandchildren to use rifles for a conflict with President Barack Obama.


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