Phoenix (The Wonder Cat)

As you can see, Phoenix is a tortoise shell #cat. My wife acquired her from a rescue shelter when we were living in San Antonio. She was seven then and now she has reached the ripe old age of fourteen.

Unfortunately, she was de-clawed while she was there. De-clawing is such a foul and despicable practice. She still likes to scratch her imaginary claws on carpet posts.

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Phoenix is something of a princess. Her favorite pastime is sleeping on the couch. Of course she turns into a lap cat whenever my wife and I cuddle up on the couch. She is playful, but on her own terms. Phoenix only likes to play with me or my wife, as for other cats….fuhgeddabowdit! Like I said, she is too much of a princess to bother with other cats. I’m sure she regards them as commoners in her royal eyes.

Even when we have visitors, Phoenix will sit on the back of the couch without the slightest hint of curiosity. Naturally she expects guests to approach her throne and greet her formally.

Since she is affectionate, a newcomer can make friends instantly by brushing her or using a toy mouse on a string. I think she enjoys a grooming session more than most other kitties.

Lastly, there is the specialty of her name. All of our cats’ names have something to do with Harry Potter. So goes my wife’s influence on the household.

Got cats, dogs, or something else? Tell me about your pet(s).

DON’T GO – COMMENT BELOW!

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The One Thing I Hate About Christmas

I can hear some of the initial reactions to the title of this post.

Most likely you’re thinking, “Bah Humbug to you too, pal,” or… “Is your real name Ebenezer San Giacomo? After all, your initials wouldn’t change.”

To save myself from the holiday madness:

I can avoid crowded stores and traffic by shopping online.

I can avoid spending lots of money by hunting for bargains or doing the shopping earlier.

I can avoid cooking for hours on end by enjoying a simple dinner with my wife and no guests.

I can avoid the anti-religion ad campaigns by Atheist groups by simply ignoring them.

I can avoid (place any other pet peeves about the holidays here).

However, the one thing that I wish I could avoid, but can’t, is going to church.

That’s one incredible thing for a devout follower of Catholicism to say, but it’s true. In fact, you can toss in Palm Sunday and Easter as well.

***If only I had the ability to photograph your wide eyes and gaping jaws at this moment.*** 🙂

But that’s the truth. Palm Sunday, Easter, and Christmas are the three days of the year that I’d like to avoid going to Mass.

Why? Because of all the PECs. “What’s a PEC?” you ask. It’s what regular parishioners call those people who attend Mass three times a year. PECs only go to church on Palm Sunday, Easter, and Christmas. Although I think crediting them with three church attendances per year is being nice. I’m sure the majority of PECs actually score only one or two out of three.

I agree with most clergy on this matter when they say things like “Well…they (PECs) are better off in church than not.” Who knows? Maybe they’ll come back for more and become a regular parishioner. It’s possible, and I’m hopeful for such things.

So it’s not their presence that bothers me. Nobody’s presence bothers me in church; those doors are always open to all. Which naturally begs the question, what bothers me about PECs?

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It’s their attitude.

I’m sure at some point, you’ve seen video footage from stores where people get trampled or fight over that toy in short supply. How depressing it is to witness something like that. Well, that’s the same attitude that the PECs bring into church, treating communion like a first-come, first-served “free for all.” The clergy have wised up over the years, and now give out instructions that communion is dispensed row by row. Imagine the PECs’ disappointment over the fact that they got to the church early in order to be the first in line for the communion and “beat the crowd”, only to find out that it’s done in an orderly fashion. It’s as if they are on line at Best Buy for the latest iPhone gadget.

Oops, I almost forgot something important about Catholicism. If you’ve ever missed a Mass, then you can’t receive communion until the sacrament of reconciliation (confession and absolution) has been dispensed to you by a priest. But don’t try to tell that to a PEC.

I don’t mind standing in church; sometimes I actually think it’s a good thing that the pews are full. However, on the three days in question, I know that it is not a good thing. PECs cram into the front pews as if they’re lucky to get a better seat for a concert. Like I said, I really don’t mind standing, but what about the little old lady with the walker and the oxygen tank that shows up faithfully every week? Why  should she have to stand?

I would get up and offer her my seat. PECs don’t.

Next comes the unruly PEC children. Sometimes they play with toys and games. I remember one kid crawling up to the podium with a toy truck imitating engine sounds, while the priest was giving his homily. The PEC parents were smiling and laughing at their adorable child, and made no effort to stop him.

How I just wanted to tell them that not everybody thinks their child is a bundle of joy, especially when said child is interrupting a solemn ceremony.

And then there are the dreaded cell phones. There’s nothing like having a bright light jiggling around in your peripheral vision, or hearing that ring tone during the consecration of the Holy Eucharist, or their chattering.

In all fairness, I do have to say that not all PECs are created equal. The San Antonio PECs are much better than the New York City PECs. I have not yet experienced or witnessed the behavioral pattern of the typical Idaho PEC, but I’ll find that out tomorrow at Midnight Mass. Yes, I now only attend Midnight Mass for Christmas and Easter, because they are fewer PECs.

O Lord, please give me patience…right now!

If Authors Were Contractors

It’s no secret. Most of you who follow my blog know I’m getting ready for a move to #Idaho in July. It’s more than just packing up some stuff and moving. I have to get my house ready for tenants. I’ve never been a landlord before and the chores tend to pile up.

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Yes I built it!

There are many things that I know how to do, but still have to rely on contractors because of insurance. It killed me to pay an electrician to do things that I can do. Then there was the fence on the side of the house. I haven’t the foggiest idea about how to install a fence. A call to a local contractor went something like this…

Me: “It’s just a gate and two 3 ½ foot sections of fence on either side.”

Contractor: “A job that small would run about $350.00.”

I start to smile over the low price…for once something isn’t approaching the $1,000 mark.

Contractor: “But a job that small isn’t worth it for us. So we’ll have to charge you $700.00.”

Me: “Thanks for your time good-bye.”

Imagine if I could get away with something like that? I know it’s only a short story, but it had to be written, edited, beta read, and formatted as an ebook. Therefore, for going through all that trouble I’m going to have to price it like a novel.

How long would any #IndieAuthor last with that attitude?

My Last Newspaper

I was on my way to work one morning and as I passed by a newsstand I saw the huge, bold headline: Catholic Priest Sex Scandal. The priest’s picture was plastered across the entire front page.  He was a very popular priest and well known, since some newspapers had done human interest stories about him prior to that headline. Perhaps that was the reason for the press’s extra viciousness concerning this incident.

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St. Nicolas Roman Catholic Cathedral by Jennifer Boyer used under CC License

A few weeks later I purchased a copy of the paper, wanting to see the box score from a Yankee game. As I flipped through the pages and scanned the headlines I saw something very disturbing on page 17.

In a small article, nestled among many other small articles that would constitute a page of clippings, was a follow-up story about the #priest.  Apparently, all charges against him were dropped.

An NYPD spokesman said the child involved had been prompted to tell a story because the parents were looking for a cash settlement. The police became suspicious when the child kept changing his story. Detectives questioned him for a statement three times, and not once did he ever give the same answer. When pressed, the parents admitted to prodding their child to make a false claim.

What a group of forthright, just people are journalists and #newspaper editors. Shouldn’t they have put that priest’s portrait on the front page again with a bold headline proclaiming his vindication? Yes, they should have. You know it and I know it. So how could the press not know it?

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Earth Day by Deb Stgo used under CC License

I believe they knew the right thing to do. However, why should they run a story when there was probably something more sensational that day?  Also, why run a story that speaks of your own sensationalism and errors?

I think it’s sad. Have you ever seen anything similar?

Special Thanks to Don Charisma. His #blog Post “Do Journalists Tell the Truth” dredged up this memory.