Friday, August 31, 2012

A Tire-ing Day

Flat, Flat filler that didn't work, Spare with pushpin
Thursday was a different day.
I was discussing with Mother-in-Law a problem I was having with taxes and a prior business partner. The IRS recently told me that a bit of money I had earned in a business partnership a while back had had no taxes paid, even though the partners had held on to some of the money for taxes. The former partners were not eager to cough up the money and I was pondering whether it was better for me to continue negotiating on my own, or turning it over to someone who did that for a living, when I looked up and saw my car had a flat.
No problem, I thought! I dug out the can of flat sealer in my trunk emergency kit, read the directions, and started inflating. That failed; the white goo spit out from somewhere around the metal wheel ( retrospect, maybe I should have jacked up the car to take weight off the tire and re-establish the connection between the tire and the wheel, but I didn't think of that.)
No problem, I thought! I pulled the spare out of the wheel well and saw a little blue disk stuck on the side. I pick it up and ps-s-s-s-s-s-s-st! it was a broken-off pushpin, neatly holing my tire.
When I got the spare out for a better look, there as a second pin (red) stuck in the other side.
I have no idea how this happened or when. It would be a very odd sort of vandalism but I don't see how it could have happened accidentally. I'll probably never know.
At this point, I decided life was just too complicated with bad stuff. I really need to focus on what I'm good at, and let the other stuff go .... letting others handle it if I can find them. Mother-in-la gave me and my flat a ride to Costco, where I'd first bought it. Unfortunately they told me they couldn't fix the tire because of the flatsealer. When M-I-L pointed out that Wes Schwab had fixed tires with flatsealer in it, the technician sneered that Wes Schab would sell anything. I didn't like that response, but I wanted to get back to productive work, so we paid for a new tire.
I Can Haz Cute Cat
By the time I got home, I was resolved to just not deal with negative people. I informed my former partners that although they could contact me if they wished, I was not going to deal with them except through a representative. It's worth the money to let me concentration on what I prefer to do.
I then committed a few acts of creativity, e.g. start the Hawaii State Bar Association in wikipedia; this is not a project that makes me any money, but it gets me rolling so I can work on things that do.
At some point, the cat Imp rewarded me with an act of cute. I don't believe in all that whoo-whoo magic stuff, but sometimes the universe does provide messages.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Take the Stop Bullying Video Challenge!

The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention invite youth ages 13 to 18 to create 30- to 60-second public service announcements as part of the Stop Bullying Video Challenge
Video submissions should showcase ways the youth are taking action against bullying and promoting kindness and respect within their communities.

  • Grand prize: $2,000
  • Two runner-ups: $500 each. 

The three winning videos will be featured on

Entries must be received by 11 p.m. E.T. on October 14, 2012.
More Information:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tom Rastrelli on Priests Who Lie; the Dilemma of Sexual Orientation and the Priesthood

My friend "Mudball" pointed me to  a story that interested me as an ex-seminarian. Tom Rastrelli writes:
"People don’t expect their priests and bishops to lie, but as Michelangelo Signorile’s recent post illustrated, clerics do lie. Some even make a virtue of it. I know this from experience, for I was ordained a Catholic priest on a lie.

“I’m coming out of the closet,” I said.

My spiritual director loosened his clerical collar and lit a cigarette. “Where’s this coming from?” he asked. A couple of chattering wrens whooshed past. ..."
CONTINUED, and well worth reading for Catholics .... "
The story itself is important for understanding today's Roman Catholic Church as it really is, not as it advertizes itself.
The comments following the story are also enlightening for their sad and desperate dinialism. One of the first commenters says that he was straight and had never been asked to lie, implying that such a thing no longer occurred. But elementary logic tells us that it is irrelevant to state that one's own experience in the seminary did not include being asked to lie about sexuality; first, it is unremarkable that a straight would never confront that choice and, second, that one's experience may be different does not falsify the lived experience of the original poster.

What most struck me about the story is that it is, at the deepest level, not about sexuality so much as it is about honesty. In my short (4 year) stay in seminary, I do not recall one time being told, "If you are gay, go home; you are wasting your time and ours." Not once! Such an elementary message would have been very helpful; of my graduating class, at least 20% have come out as gay and there were likely more who either haven't come out or who haven't bothered to send me a Hallmark "I'm So Gay!" card. That's a lot of wasted time, especially for those who were eventually ordained and then booted.

Institutional dishonesty is bad enough as a support mechanism for sexual abusers, but it may be even worse as a rot that invalidates the entire enterprise.

To that point, a final story: one priest-instructor at my seminary eventually left, to go marry. It was a mildly romantic story, giving up the priesthood for love, and my memories of this man as a priest was that he was an exceptionally inspirational leader. He lived a long life, active in his hometown church, and died beloved by many.

Imagine my surprise to read in his obituary that his career included not only no mention of his priesthood, but a falsehood about where he was teaching at the time. It stated that he went from college to teaching at a private school in another state, and then moved to the town he lived in the rest of his life. His time at St. Edward in Kenmore Washington was less than tears in the rain.

Surely a requirement that you lie even in your obituary is a terrible indictment.