Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unlikely house of reason and mercy

Pope Francis laments that the church "sometimes has locked itself up in small things." Rather, he says with unusual insight for the office, "the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all."

I can't wait for Myk's commentary.

Of course, Peter, the elder, would say, who cares what the Pope says? I would agree. For historical and social reasons, what the pope says matters. But for religious reasons, you listen to the pope at your peril. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Worse than politics and religion

From the AP wire service:
An argument in southern Russia over philosopher Immanuel Kant, the author of "Critique of Pure Reason," devolved into pure mayhem when one debater shot the other. 
A police spokeswoman in Rostov-on Don, Viktoria Safarova, said two men in their 20s were discussing Kant as they stood in line to buy beer at a small store on Sunday. The discussion deteriorated into a fistfight and one participant pulled out a small nonlethal pistol and fired repeatedly. 
The victim was hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening. Neither person was identified. 
It was not clear which of Kant's ideas may have triggered the violence.
It does seem clear, however, that the two were not discussing the categorical imperative, "Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world."—unless moral irony runs rampant in Russia.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Understanding is a mighty powerful thing—actually, the best thing in the world.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Baseball Poetry

It was 1993, and the seventh game of the National League championship series.  It was bottom of the 9th inning.  The game was tied 2-2, and Atlanta was down to its last out of the inning.  Francisco Cabrera singles to left and sends former pirate Sid Bream home sliding just ahead of the throw from Barry Bonds to catcher Mike LaValliere to win the game.  This is the event that sent the Pirates down a road of 20 years of losing, which is about to come to an end this year.

My Heart Did Not Burst

my heart did not burst
when ex-Buc Sid Bream
slid his dirty slide
all over the once white plate
just past our pudgy catcher's
too late tag
and the umpire
in the same instant spread both arms
in either direction
signaling an end to world serious hope
for my precious Pirates

my nerves did not snap
despite eight and two-thirds frames
of tension
I did my deepest breathing to relax
control I did not have
over loaded bases and balls that were strikes
that were not called
in the bottom of the 9th
at the unlikely sound
of Francisco Cabrera's homicidal single
my brain did not crack
under tons of promise and possibilities
that twist and untwist but can never undo
the undisputed truth
of 3-2

my arms did not rip
the TV from its cabinet
I could not shatter
the televised outcome
It happened, like a bad wreck
I could not help but watch
the explosion of Atlanta madness
I wished was mine, ours
days, months after the damage

- Frank Bienkowski (Pittsburgh musician, Ambridge native, die-hard Pirates fan), April 1993.