March 1, 2020

So we’re leaving Afghanistan, with a partial, then ultimately a complete withdrawal. The Taliban has promised to behave themselves (that is, not to support Al-Qaida), or maybe they haven’t, really (is the extent of the promise really just to not provide aid for any planned attacks on the US?).  I could read, and attempt to parse the so-called “peace agreement,” but I doubt it really matters.  Its purpose is not to ensure that the Taliban enter into the Afghan government… Read more

February 27, 2020

It’s 8:30, the day after Ash Wednesday. And I’m pleased to report some early success with Lenten weight loss:  I’m down half a pound after yesterday’s, well, half-a**ed fast. OK, so actually, there’s some context there:  having gained weight during the summer and more weight during Halloween/Thanksgiving/Science Fair Season, I had already been dieting since New Year’s.  (Yes, the norm is to gain weight in the winter, not the summer, but summer is not just the season of being more… Read more

February 21, 2020

So in the Archdiocese of Chicago, this is Annual Catholic Appeal time.  Not a fan, especially for that one week when, rather than a homily, we listen to a recording of the cardinal and are then instructed to fill out pledge cards in the pew, down to a literal script in which the priest says, “In Box 1, put your name.  In Box 2, write your street address.  Don’t forget your apartment number if you have one,” etc.  So, since… Read more

February 20, 2020

Yes, round about a year ago, I griped about the Annual Catholic Appeal and spent what may have been overly much time digging through the pastoral center’s annual report and trying to understand whether the money came from and where it went to.  I was particularly peeved last year because, just before the appeal began, the Cardinal had every parish play a recording in which he spoke about (as I phrased it at the time) “how very much he cared… Read more

February 19, 2020

In the news last week: “Tampon Tax Break Faces Resistance in Tennessee; A proposal to include feminine hygiene products during Tennessee’s annual sales-tax holiday is facing resistance from lawmakers concerned about the lack of limit on on [sic] such purchases.” AP, February 11, 2020. “Male lawmaker frets about loss of state income if tampons are included in tax-free holiday” — Washington Post, February 13, 2020. “A male lawmaker worries women will abuse a tax break to hoard tampons; ‘That is… Read more

February 12, 2020

The following is a speech I offer to Sen. Amy Klobuchar as she tries to build on her New Hampshire momentum: Earlier this week, I reached out to the leadership of the Democrats for Life of America and asked for an opportunity to speak with some of their members here in the beautiful state of [fill in the blank].  And I’m here to ask for your vote — and to explain myself and to tell you that, well, I get… Read more

February 8, 2020

Here’s a line of reasoning that promotes voting for a Democrat, any Democrat, for president in 2020: Yes, protecting the life of unborn children is important.  But Trump can’t produce a change in American law with respect to abortion – that’s happening at the state level, in the form of increasing restrictions in Red states and elimination of any restrictions in Blue states — including a number of states which have or are moving towards wholly eliminating any limitations or… Read more

February 7, 2020

Yes, after a break of over two years, I am trying to get back to the family history project, if for no other reason than to save off information and cancel an ongoing subscription to  In my last post on the subject, I wrote about the mystery of the Lutheran great-grandmother whose father and died-in-infancy sisters were buried in a Catholic cemetery.  Now I’ve made another discovery, and it goes like this: Richard Stapleton was a son of an… Read more

January 30, 2020

OK, confession time: who among you hate-reads the Slate advice column “Dear Prudence” or the more explicit “How to Do It”?  These two, and especially the latter, don’t hesitate to suggest “opening up the relationship” as a cure to something that’s gone wrong — and, no, that doesn’t mean being more open with your partner about what troubles you.  It means one or both partners having sex with others, openly, in some sort of negotiated arrangement specifying the conditions. If… Read more

January 24, 2020

Regular readers will by now be used to the fact that I get into funks periodically about the Catholic Church, as an institution, and about my local parish, and, in fact, the other day I was told that our attendance numbers have dropped by about 20% in the past half-decade or so, so it’s not just my imagination.  And I seethe at the inaction, at the complacency and fatalism of those who are the designated leaders, whether it’s “we’ll just… Read more

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