Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Helpful hint

Ever have stale bread, the kind that has grown so hard, you could probably register it as a weapon? At the very least, chewing it is like chewing leather.

I think we all have had this experience. What can you do with stale bread? Use it to make stuffing? Throw it to the birds? Feed to farm animals? Throw it, heaven forebear, in the trash?

Actually, no. You can actually make it not quite like new but reasonably edible. Here's what you do:

Take a glass -- shot container, drinking glass, small bottle -- and put about an ounce of water in it. Then put it and your bread in a microwave. Put the bread in for roughly 40 seconds, turning over about half-way through. When the buzzer rings, you'll have soft bread that you can easily eat.

This works best if you put your microwave setting on "Bread Defrost" (assuming your machine has such).

Good luck and good eating!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Depressed? The quickest way to get out of depression is to do something--an act of service, an act of charity, an act of kindness--for another. Depression, even at its chemical worst, has some element of self-centeredness. Not in the sense of being selfish (or not necessarily), but too focused on "self" and all that entails. Depression is an almost self feeding on self. This came to mind because I was reading St. Faustina Kowalska's diary, where she writes, "Pure love [i.e., not the feeling but the action, the act/choice of the will] ... is happy when it can empty itself and burn like a pure offering. The more it gives of itself, the happier it [presumably the soul] is. But also, no one can sense dangers from afar as can love; it knows how to unmask and also knows with whom it has to deal" (No. 140, Notebook 1). So be happy. Love.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Conversations with an atheist

On my Facebook page, I recently posted an observation about Pope Francis, who, if you've been living in a cave or were otherwise unaware, was named TIME's "Man of the Year."

To which my atheist chum responded thusly:
Why can't you catholic folks do your thing with god, Jesus, or whatever without supporting these men who are no better humans than you, living a lavish lifestyle while people all over the worlds suffer. They haven't talked to god and if they tell you they have they are lying.
I responded:

Why wouldn't we do the God thing? You misunderstand his purpose, it seems to me. To whit:

*If Catholic Christians and indeed all Christians believe Jesus is the ordinary means to eternal salvation, and;
*If this is not a relative belief (i.e., it is an objective rather than a subjective truth; not meaning to insult, but simply for the sake of brevity, if you don't know the difference b/t the 2, look it up), and;
*If it therefore follows that under ordinary circumstances, no Jesus, no salvation, and;
*If Christians are called to love (and they are), and;
*If what is meant by love is not a feeling but rather an act of the will, and;
*If that means love is to will the good of another, and;
*If we are to love, then, we love by wanting good for another, and;
*If the ultimate good for another (indeed, everyone) is eternal salvation, and;
*If the Pope's principal "job"---any Pope's job---is to work for the eternal salvation of all the faithful (and it is);
*Then it follows the Pope is simply trying to lead everyone to eternal salvation. Indeed, he's doing no more than what ATHEIST Penn Jillette observed in part: "How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?"

Furthermore, as an atheist, if you don't care or like that, why does it bother you? Why not just ignore it? It would seem the problem lies with he who is bothered rather than with he who bothers.

Also, you misunderstand the Pope's role as vicar of Christ. He's not an oracle, mate. I talk with God everyday. He doesn't always talk back, mind you, but He has. It's not a booming voice a la the Charlton Heston movie, "The Ten Commandments." Rather, it's a "still, small voice." You have to listen for it, of course, and it's not like some magic trick. ("OK, here I am, God, being silent. So speak, already. Get on with it.") It doesn't happen each and every time. That said, it does happen. You can call me crazy. You can say it's just my imagination, but that's a statement of faith on your part, for you really don't know, do you? Atheism is as much a faith based on reason (I would say fault reason, but that's another discussion) as is Christianity. Jillette, Hitchens et al are wrong when they say faith are inimical to science and reason. To say otherwise is just willfulness and ignorance.

Tell you what: When you can definitively refute Aquinas' "Five Proofs for the Existence of God," let's talk. It's a pretty safe bet I'm making. In fact, here: Let me give you a head start. Just read the bullet points under each proof's "Summary" section if you don't want to read the actual argument.

BTW, Dawkins' argument about smelliness is stupid b/c it goes away from perfection. He would have been better served had he gone in the direction of smell-less, but that wouldn't have worked for his argument now, would it have?

Incidentally, here is the Pope's "lavish" apartment.

Here's the layout of the "luxurious" papal apartment occupied by Benedict XVI (half of which space is taken up by the chapel).

Friday, January 3, 2014

Movie Reviews: "The Secret in Their Eyes" & "Monsoon Wedding"

Saw two movies of late, thought I'd share my thoughts on them because ... well, why not?

The first was the Argentinian The Secret in Their Eyes, 2010's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film. I had mixed feelings about a retired judicial investigator who decides to write a novel based on one of his past rape/murder cases in which justice was first served and then thwarted. The film had great suspense, a more than engaging plot, and truly fantastic acting by the ensemble.

However, the rape scene didn't need to be so graphic. It occupies all of 2 minutes in the movie, including the crime scene investigation, but it's not something American films depict ... ever, and with good cause. Also (SPOILER ALERT), I didn't like the cavalier attitude toward adultery portrayed at the very end of the movie. It also turns a blind eye through the protagonist toward vigilanted justice (not as bad as the also-recently-watched Jack Reacher, though)

My recommendation: Partly worth seeing because of the above considerations. Stricly for adults only.

The second was Monsoon Wedding, a 2001 film I'd wanted to see for some time. I finally did, and I'm glad I finally got around to it.

The movie involves the days leading up to an arranged marriage between an Indian young man living in the US and a young lady living in Delhi with her parents, younger brother, and female cousin who is about her age.

The problem is that the fiancee is still in love with the married host of a television program. She can't quite seem to itch the scratch from him.

Several other love stories concerning the guests and others get woven in along the way, so that one's focus never gets held for too long on one subject. That's not a bad thing, necessarily.

Basically, Monsoon Wedding is an Indian Tyler Perry movie. It has a lot of drama, a healthy dose of comedy, it puts a soft lens on love and relationships, and the whole package is wrapped up at the end with a ribbon of a happy ending that prompts a few tears.

My recommendation: A feel good comedy worth seeing if you're not someone who hates that type of film. Not recommended for children because of various adult situations, most especially (but not limited to) a subplot involving child molestation.

Thank you

If you're reading this, you are probably one of the intrepid few (very few) who have read this blog over the past year. Thank you. Thank you for journeying with me through 2013. I hope we can continue to journey with one another over the course of 2014. In any event, may the year be blessed for you, most especially in your relationship with Jesus Christ. May it be ever closer. This is what I wish for you.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Some news regarding this blog. I'm segregating out the saints news and putting it into a different location. All saints-related news will henceforth be found at