A few months ago I started going to the local Knights of Columbus, Monsignor Cass Council 2626, on Beech Street in Long Beach. Before that I was in the Assumpta Council 3987 in Luzerne, Pennsylvania. My first council was Our Lady of Perpetual Help Council 794 in Lindenhurst, New York. I got my first three degrees in 1992 and my fourth degree in 1994. When I started showing up at my new council I made sure I spoke to the right people, including Nick, the Grand Knight, and Hank, the Financial Secretary. I haven’t gotten my membership card yet but Hank says that they’ve been in touch with my other two councils and that all has been arranged so that there will be no further problem. The first few times I was there, I didn’t stay for the meetings. I just introduced myself, watched an episode of “Jeopardy”, and left. After a while, though, I began attending the meetings. So far I have been having quite a good time. Eventually I hope to be as involved with this council as I was with my Lindenhurst council. Their meetings are the first and third Wednesday nights of each month at 7:30 p.m.
Logically, in our type of free society, the ability and right to discuss religion and politics should, by definition, be presupposed. Unfortunately, however, such topics have always led to much bitterness and vitriol. We are now living in a country where bitterness and resentment always seem to abound in discourse. As far as I’m concerned I’ve always quite enjoyed a nice polite debate. Because, however, so many people are so entirely polarized, it’s quite impossible for anyone to have anything to say, no matter how reasonable or how intelligently thought out, without his being automatically accused of being either racist, anti-semitic, a hypocrite, or in violation of some other liberal pseudo-civil right. A couple of weeks ago, I expressed my belief about homosexuality on Facebook. Someone on my friend list accused me of being in violation of a most flagrant liberal obsession. When I explained to him that I have no major objection to the Tea Party, and that I may even vote for Ted Cruz, he immediately left my friend list. My niece and her friends just went on their high school’s senior class trip to Puerto Rico. When she got home she explained that they got into trouble, and accused of being racists, merely because they referred to a black policeman as black. Each time I read the comments on Youtube or some other internet site, I see a bottomless pit of accusations of racism, anti-semitism, hypocrisy and all kinds of other things, merely because someone had the nerve to contradict a cherished obsession. Lately I’ve been reading two books about anarchism. Like liberalism and socialism, it’s a worldview that demands acceptance from others, and refuse to treat them with respect in return. There’s something awfully seriously wrong with people these days. http://theflavoredword.com/2015/04/21/calling-all-mad-hatters-speak-up-and-speak-your-truth/ https://theyyouandme.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/humanity-haiku/ https://thelonerose.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/writing-for-me/ https://nicholacmassey.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/polite-company/
I’ve been trying to listen to a lot of jazz lately. Although I have quiet a few jazz CD’s in my collection, I’ve been listening to songs mostly on Youtube. It’s quite enjoyable but I’m not very familiar with it, except the cliches. As everyone knows I’ve always been quite smitten with the 1960’s, both musically and otherwise. Many jazz musicians,including Miles Davis, Ramsey Lewis, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus, were quite prominent during that era. Music of this kind can be quite intense, invoking a feeling of red hot emotional fury. It’s nothing like my favorite style. I’ve always especially been partial to the kind of song that can be found on the Beatles’ 1962-1966 greatest hits album, the one with the orange cover. Often a jazz song can be quite inordinately long by my standards. Patience has never been my specialty. It’s a lot easier for me to listen to something that’s only about as long as “Yellow Submarine”. Of course there are some short jazz songs. Thelonius Monk’s “Blue Monk” is only three minutes and seventeen seconds long. “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the M.G.’s is three mnutes and thirty nine seconds long. Maybe I could listen to Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo”. Up until now jazz has been as frequently a part of my life as appearances by Charlie Brown’s friend Violet in the “Peanuts” comic strip. https://zezee112.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/the-fight-over-the-event-last-night/ http://longwalksanddarkchocolate.com/2015/04/20/grandmas-cure-for-boredom/ https://thruthe50.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/nice-days-end/
“I’d always told my grandfather not to smoke when he was alone,” Chester stammered to his wife Lydia. “He knew perfectly well his shaking was out of control.”
“Honey, he was so old and forgetful,” she reminded him.
Just then a policeman approached the couple. “Mr. and Mrs. Barnes, your grandfather will be all right. He was visiting friends when his house caught fire. Of course we’ll have to investigate the fire so we can see what caused it.”
“Well,” muttered Chester, “At least he’s not hurt but a lifetime of memories are lost. The practical considerations will be staggering too.”
Mr. Bacciagalupe greeted his new arrival at the entrance: “How do you do, Mrs. Schwartz? Welcome to Daisy Hill Station. Some of these cars go to Heaven by way of Purgatory. Not many people are on them. Even fewer are on the cars that go directly to Heaven. Alas, we have so many on the train to Hell. No one knows who gets onto which car. Each passenger makes his own decision.
Mrs. Schwartz didn’t know what to think of this odd fellow. Eventually she boarded one of the next few cars that arrived. No one noticed which one.
“Uncle Clem was an avant-garde artist in the ’60’s,” Alvin reminded his wife Hortense. “You know, the kind that hung in Greenwich Village coffee houses with Andy Warhol and Timothy Leary, drinking espresso and reading beat poetry.”
“Do you think he’ll even remember you?” she asked. “After all, it’s been over forty years.”
Following the directions their G.P.S. gave them, they eventually arrived at a most unusual apartment building.
“Oh Honey!” she blurted out. “My relatives may be squares but at least they have stoops that lead up to their houses’ entrances. This guy must be quite a hoot.”
Fr. Justin Belitz OFM is the founder of the Franciscan Hermitage and author of "Success: Full Living," "Success: Full Thinking," & "Success: Full Relating." His teachings incorporate spirituality, science, and art for personal growth and development.