Sunday, July 5, 2015


When I started college I was supposed to be entering upon the intellectually uplifting world of a Jesuit Renaissance Education.  We had a very good library with several levels stacked with books down long corridors.  I spent time among those stacks in my freshman year.  I was kissing my girlfriend there in the afternoons after she finished her high school day and came down to Fordham with my roommate's girlfriend.  I was in one aisle stacked with books,  with my girlfriend, and he was in another aisle.  I was in love and love was more important than learning.  I think that I was better at kissing than learning.  I was not particularly bright and did not get stellar grades in college.  I was average.  But the queen of my junior prom and senior prom were my dates who I was dating and kissing.  Sometimes I wonder if God really wanted me to be a priest.  I mean why would I have one singular talent, and then become a priest, and not a very holy one at that.  I went back to Fordham recently, fifty years after graduation.  They had tried to erase my time and place of lust and love.  They had removed the stacks from the old library and made it into some meeting rooms.  They cannot erase the memories.  Some things are timeless.   Do you think I will at least make it to purgatory?

Saturday, July 4, 2015


While at the Botanical Gardens I went into a science building and was looking at a video about platlet movement.  I had pressed some buttons to get what I wanted and had a narrator explaining it to me on a tape.  Along comes a boy and asks what this is.  He looks at all the buttons and starts to press them.  Narration and picture gone.  Me seemingly invisible.  I refrained from telling the boy he is a jerk.  When he is older, if he is lucky he will realize that he is only the center of his delusional universe.  He may be the last to know he is a jerk.  I hope not, but I suspect he will pay many times over in personal misery for the slight he gave me that day.  He is a grace in my life.  He reminds me a bit of myself...there but for the grace of God.  

Friday, July 3, 2015

Degree of Difficulty

Having conquered my fear and inertia at taking a bus from Boulder to Denver, I decided to up the degree of difficulty and go to the Denver Botanical Gardens.  This is the now familiar bus to Denver,  the free downtown tram for several stops and then a bus to the Gardens.  It was not a hassle at all.  It just took time, but lessened my carbon footprint.  I got to see some of Denver along the way and saw how I could get to the Cathedral without driving.  No parking there anyway.  When I left the museum, the adventure got more interesting.  I went to the corner where the bus was supposed to pick me up to go back downtown.  No signage.  What corner is the bus going to be on?  I have learned to ask questions.  I saw a fellow on a porch of a corner home.  I asked him and he pointed to a bench that was partially hidden by shrubbery.  Sure enough, there was a bus pole and sign, hidden by tree vines. Ask questions.  Be patient.  Say "Hail Mary's."  It all works.  I do not want the degree of travel difficulty beat me down into driving when the public system is just fine.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Free Enterprise

My church got caught up in supporting free enterprise, which developed into Corporate America or big business.  Two things led to this.  One was the fall of the monarchies.  My church used to support the monarchies of Europe.  The monarchy in turn protected the church.  The monarchies began to disappear, French revolution, or turn against the church, nineteenth century German Kaiser.  The second thing to come along was communism, which had no use for religion at all.  Free enterprise, capitalism, was against communism.  The twentieth century church was big on business in the non-communist world.  Be against communism and you are OK with my church.  Business was about making money, which more and more came to be about getting people to consume all that is made.  Then along comes Francis I.  He is not in love with any one economic system.  He is focused on selfishness, the secular religion of "more," and profits at any cost to the human condition.  Many people wish that he would have just stayed with sex issues, and church rules.  The corporate world has the power to do a lot of good in the environmental world.  David Brooks thinks so.  But will they?  Greed is not a good thing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


For eleven years I did not play golf.  I have clubs.  I like golf.  I guess I have no golf friends.  Who knows.  Anyway, recently I played an 18 hole round, the full course.  I was dreadful.  I lost several balls.  Well, more than several.  At the end of the round, I learned one new thing.  My right forearm hurt way down to the wrist.  This is unusual if you play golf properly.  The right forearm only guides the club for a right-handed hitter like me.  The left forearm is where the power of the swing comes into play.  The whole left side drives through the ball in the swing.  I had it backwards.  I was using the wrong arm to try and swing the club.  I was using the arm incorrectly, so it got sore from a movement not natural to it.  I have all the body parts to play golf.  I just need to use the parts correctly.  A message for living life.  I have all I need for a spiritual life.  I just don't know how to use the parts.  God really isn't all that demanding.  I just find it so because I have the parts all wrong.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Create Customers

The purpose of business is to create customers.  I read this.  When you are small with no or few customers, this is what you try to do.  Customer service is big.  As the customer base grows, the purpose of the business often shifts to profits.  Money replaces customers in importance.  I think that large organizations can learn from recovery programs such as AA which is growing each year in "customers."  AA seeks to make no profit.  Its passing of the hat is for expenses.  There are a few national level employees.  But at the local "shop" the work is done by caring volunteers.  AA seeks to stay in business to pass on the product, which is the message of recovery and communal support.  I am at my best when I think of myself as a volunteer for my message.  I seek to pass on a message and have enough money to stay in business.  This allows me to work because I love what I do.  I used to make a lot more money, Columbia MBA, and all, but I was a lot less happy.   Of course, I would love a few more people to attend my talks, but then again, I might not be all that talented.   Maybe I am lucky to be in business at all!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Functional Caring Or Not

I have no idea who made the clothes I wear or grew the food I eat or packaged anything I have.  If these people get sick or have troubles do I really care?  Not really.  If my shirt says, "Made in Vietnam," I don't know anyone in Vietnam.  If the country is having economic upheavals, I pay little to no attention.  These are what are called "functional" relationships.  There was a time, even in my life, when we knew who prepared the things we eat.  I knew all the Mom and Pop stores in our Bronx neighborhood.  Longer ago then that, in small communities, people did know the farmer, who knew the baker, who knew the tailor and so on.  They cared about what happened to and with one another.  These are called "reciprocal" relationships.  I read that what comes out of these relationships is the Principle of Gratitude.  We are grateful to persons who do something for us.  I feel no gratitude to Vietnam for sewing my shirt.  We tend to be grateful for what an individual we know, or encounter does for us, but not for what a large comglomerate  is doing for us.  When people say they don't like some big organization it may be because of an individual event or simply because of some opinion or what they read.  When I go to the hospital to visit someone and pray with them, they are grateful.  It is the one on one encounter.  One encounter in love and concern, a gentle smile, a sense of humor, can counter attitudes of a functional nature.  The reciprocal always trumps the functional.  Now if I met the woman who made my shirt, I might break out in gratitude!