July 26, 2019

It might have been the first act in a terrible ghost story, but it wasn’t. Michael found a cell phone, ringing on top of a snow drift, on a dark cloudy evening. This was a few years ago, when we were far poorer than we are now and living in that nightmare apartment on the worst street in LaBelle. Michael was walking home by himself, down the middle of the deserted street because the snow plows had piled up drifts… Read more

July 24, 2019

I have made no secret of the fact that I am a huge fan of Mr. Rogers. Fred McFeely Rogers was a marvelous educator, a heroic American, and, in my opinion, a saint. I am fully prepared to love a feature film all about Mr. Rogers. Or at least I was, before I saw the trailer. In case you haven’t heard, Tom Hanks is playing the part of Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,  coming to theaters this… Read more

July 24, 2019

  I’m sure by now you’ve heard that the  Wyoming Valley West school district in Pennsylvania threatened parents that their children would be put in foster care if they didn’t pay up the children’s lunch money debts. Such an extreme punishment for the crime of poverty garnered national attention, and most of the reactions I’ve seen have been shock. I, myself, am shocked.  As the editorial board of the Times-Tribune of Scranton pointed out, the school district has become the… Read more

July 23, 2019

I used to know a well-to-do woman of the neighborhood, a Catholic stay-at-home mom with several kids.  She was always pontificating about something, and that something was usually poor people. One day, several years ago now, this woman was particularly incensed because she had seen a truck handing out free lunches at the local public pool. These lunches were part of the government’s school lunch program, which used to bring lunches to parks and other public places in the summer… Read more

July 20, 2019

  July is the hottest month. July is the month where you’d rather be anywhere else but here; you’d rather it be any time of year but July. July is hell, but temporary, so I suppose that July is purgatory. Living in the Ohio Valley in July is like living inside the body of some feverish demon. The air smells both sulfurous and organic, somehow. The ground feels warm on bare feet, and it’s nearly always swampy. After evening rain, sometimes, you… Read more

July 18, 2019

  First of all, for those of you who weren’t sure, yes, racism is a sin. The Catechism, quoting Gaudium et Spes, states that  “Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” Curbed and eradicated. Not politely giggled at, not I’m-not-racist-butted, but eradicated. It’s that serious. If you are Catholic, you may not discriminate against people… Read more

July 17, 2019

Folks, I have a very important request from The Friendship Room. There is going to be a severe heat wave in Steubenville this week. Temperatures are going to get at least above 90 for the next few days, and heat indexes are expected to reach 110. The Friendship Room serves as a warming center during the winter, but this time of year it’s all about keeping people cool. They have an air conditioned room for people to cool off, a… Read more

July 14, 2019

I saw videos circling the internet– the video footage of Mike Pence in a black blazer and polo shirt, standing before a cage full of desperate men. The men were making fours and zeros with their fingers, crying that they had been there forty days with no shower.  And Pence stared absolutely coldly at them, not addressing them, just watching them suffer. Later he tweeted that the prisoners were receiving care that any American would be proud of, and that… Read more

July 14, 2019

In Eastern depictions, the Good Samaritan is Christ, the victim, Adam. You and I, already broken, waiting—Christ, the social outcast, helping when priests and holy men left us in the dust. Read more

July 14, 2019

I despise doing this twice in one month, and I’ll be on with actual content in a few hours. But I have to rattle my tip jar once more and remind everyone that more than 90% of my income as a blogger comes from gratuities. I work from home as a blogger because I struggle with fibromyalgia. I write about politics, religion and life in the Ohio Valley. If you like my writing, you put a few dollars in the… Read more

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