Wednesday, March 28, 2007
When my manager brings a copy of our schedules into the lab, and discusses with us the shifts we are going to be working, I, like everyone else, copy my schedule from that copy. Well, this week I get screwed (as have others recently). Before the master copy was put into the computers, the schedule was changed. So, the official schedule was different from the one I had copied directly from my manager. So.. I showed up to work at 8am only to be sent home. I lost out on an eight hour shift. I also find out that I was supposed to work yesterday! When I asked my manager why no one called, she simply said "We had enough coverage, so we didn't bother." Now, I'm listed as a "no call - no show" which is a very bad mark on my work record.
So yea.. now I not only have the mark on my record, instead of 20 hours of pay this week.. I get a meager 12!!! >=-O
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
I have come across some articles lately bashing His Holiness, Pope Pius XII and his role during WWII. Quite frankly, it pisses me off. Anti-Catholicism is one of the last acceptable prejudices that still remain in our country, and it always surfaces with a vengance during Lent and Christmas time. And the latest "attacks" I came across had to do with one of the medias favorite target. Reading the crap about Pius XII (my favorite Pontiff), I felt compelled to post this article in defense of the Holy Father. This is the tip of the iceberg of articles I have read, and testimonials from Jews that I have read and heard in person.. but what do they know.. they're only alive today because he gave up his own home for them.
The KGB Campaign Against Pius XII - George Weigel
February 25, 2007
Call me skeptical, but I suspect that what my friend Joseph Bottum christened "The Pius War" will never be resolved. Controversy over Pope Pius XII's role during the Second World War and the Holocaust is too juicy a topic, involving too many interests (and academic reputations), to ever die down. The Pius War may eventually outstrip the Hundred Years' War in duration.
No serious scholar believes that Eugenio Pacelli, elected pope on February 2, 1939, was an anti-Semite, harshly indifferent to the fate of European Jewry. No serious scholar contests the evidence that Pius XII took direct and indirect measures to save Jews from the Nazi death machine. Visiting Castel Gandolfo this past September, I walked past the places where thousands of persecuted Jews had been hidden on the papal summer estate, and I remembered that Jewish children (some named "Eugenia" or "Eugenio" in honor of their benefactor) had been born in the pope's bedroom.
Heeding the advice he was receiving from resistance leaders, and after the Nazi roundup of Jewish-born Dutch Christians which followed a sharp critique of Nazi practice by the Dutch bishops — the roundup that began Edith Stein's journey to Auschwitz, and eventual canonization — Pius XII seems to have concluded that direct public protests from him would endanger both Jews and Catholics. Even so, his public criticisms of racial persecution, which mirrored the Holy See's anti-Nazi commentary throughout the 1930s, were understood by both the Nazis and, mirabile dictu, the New York Times, to be directed at Berlin. It is also reasonably well-established that Hitler wanted to kidnap Pius XII, which rather cuts against the claim that Pacelli was, somehow, pro-Nazi; so does Pius XII's role as middle-man between Britain and Germans exploring an anti-Hitler coup. On his death in 1958, Pius XII was praised by Golda Meir, then foreign minister of the State of Israel.
Reasonable people can debate whether Pius's strategic decision to avoid an explicit, public condemnation of Nazism, precisely for the sake of saving lives, was the correct one. But it takes a certain bias, contradicted by many facts, to conclude that this decision was taken on the basis of cowardice. It takes even worse bias to conclude that it was taken because of anti-Semitism.
Why, then, the campaign of defamation, which has reached the point where one overhears tourists in St. Peter's Basilica, spotting the bronze statue of Pius XII erected by his cardinals, whispering, "That's 'Hitler's Pope'"?
Serious scholars have long suspected that the origins of that campaign lie in the anti-Catholic machinations of the KGB, the Soviet intelligence service. Confirmation of that thesis now comes from General Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former Romanian intelligence officer and the highest-ranking Soviet bloc spymaster ever to defect, in an article posted on National Review Online on January 26.
According to General Pacepa, the Soviets, stung by the public relations bludgeoning they had taken because of the persecution of Catholics in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and elsewhere decided to accelerate the anti-Catholic propaganda offensive they had launched toward the end of World War II by depicting the Church as a bulwark of Nazism. Pius XII was the primary target - because, as the KGB liked to say, "Dead men cannot defend themselves." So the KGB concocted a scheme whereby its Romanian ally would penetrate the Vatican archives, using agents disguised as priests; certain Vatican officials, it seems, took the bait, assured by Romanian operatives that cooperation would lead to official Holy See-Romanian diplomatic relations. No documents incriminating Pius XII were found, but the plot now shifted. In 1963, a senior Soviet intelligence official told his Romanian colleagues that the centerpiece of the anti-Catholic offensive would now be a play defaming Pius XII, The Deputy. Its author, Rolf Hochhuth, was a former Hitler Youth turned communist fellow-traveler; the play was produced by a lifelong communist. The results — for The Deputy was the Pearl Harbor of the Pius War — vindicated KGB chairman Yuri Andropov's conviction that the gullible find smut easier to believe than holiness.
Don't bet the mortgage money that this new evidence will appear in the New York Times anytime soon.
We had BEAUTIFUL weather today, with temps reaching up to 70 degrees F. Sunny and warm! I again decided to park in the furthest parking lot on campus, and make the long trek to the building where my class is held. This time though, I did not get rained on. I enjoyed the walk, and being in the sunshine for a bit. Driving with the windows down, no jacket, and sun glasses on. Such a refreshing change from the heavy coats and blowing snow which seem to have over stayed their welcome.
I've had all the windows in my apt. open to let the fresh air circulate, and it feels great.. not to mention smells good too. Ahh... fresh air! I took Toby out onto the deck to give him a good brushing. He looks like such a schmuck, and needs to be groomed badly, so I figured he could benefit from at least a good brush down. He loved it... just layed there in the sun, and didn't want me to stop. I could have built another dog with the amount of fur that kept coming off him though.. lol.
I have a long day of work ahead of me tomorrow, an 8-5 shift. BUT, I'm actually looking forward to it.. somewhat. OMG.. did I just say that??? I miss my friends at work, and I've been rather cooped up in the house for the most part... seeing as my friends have been too busy for a visit as of late. I'm looking forward to working with Shirley, and laughing with the morning crew of associates at Walmart... we wake each other up with laughter.
I've been trying to decide what I'm going to bake for Easter Sunday, as it is approaching fast. This is the first Easter we will be celebrating at our house... and just like Christmas, the first Easter without any Grandparents. What will really make this different is that we might not have ANY other relatives over except my immediate household. My Aunt and Uncle might be going to their inlaws, and my Uncle Vinny from NC might be going to his girl friend's family. As for Joey and Katie.. who knows, they too might be going to her side of the family. Thankfully, as it stands, Jason will be joining us for Easter, so we'll have at least ONE guest. I don't like the idea of a small get together for the holiday.. if it was up to me.. I'd start making phone calls and sending out e-mails telling people: "Dinner is at 5.. BE THERE, and bring your appetite!"
Monday, March 26, 2007
This is so not the bio class I was expecting. And to think, I got an A in biology in High School.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
I was bored, and wanted to go out and spend time with people, but I turned down the two offers I had to spend time with friends.. one from Vitaly, and one from Jason. I ended up going to Forrest Lawn Cemetery (my FAVORITE spot in Buffalo) and just walked around reading people's names, and doing some meditating. Jason called, and we talked for a good while was I was wandering the grounds.. helped to keep my mind off shit.
I beat the crap out of myself today.. physically. I went on the elliptical for a little over a half hour, on increased resistance, did the long walk at Forrest Lawn, did another 20 mins on the elliptical, then went for a mile walk tonight. I don't know what I expect to accomplish.. but I have to keep moving. For some reason, the more soreness I have, the better I seem to feel. At least then I can blame feeling crappy on something physical.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
My performance on the exam can be summed up in one comparison: The Titanic. Despite all the research and effort that was put forth, I still sank like a rock. Thankfully there was an extra credit question, and I was able to answer a few of those thanks to Nick's help!
I love being a professional student... NOT!
Monday, March 19, 2007
I went out to Rochester with Jeff to see the musical Annie. I had never seen the musical, movie, or knew much about the presentation at all. I of course had heard the song "Tomorrow", but that's about it. The play was great!! The kids in it sang wonderfully, and it really is a cute story line. I had no idea it took place during the depression, and it was comical to see the "Hoovervills", radio programs, and the appearances from the boisterous FDR. The acting and singing were quite good, but I have to say my favorite character in the whole play was the dog!! He was so damn cute!!! It was a nice evening out. :-)
Friday, March 16, 2007
I had a LONG day at work. I worked from 11AM to 8:15PM... and it was nuts from the word go. I came into the lab with my manager working on the printer, with chemical all over the floor... not a fun start to a day. I swear those machines plan to break AT THE SAME TIME.. because the kodak machines soon followed the mechanical rebellion, and decided to act up.
Anyway, Cindy from the portrait studio was my peep dealer.. which gave us the sugar high to keep going. We were all thrilled to find out they introduced a new color peep... GREEN! I can't even tell you how many peeps I ate, but I can honestly say, it was a peep over dose!! Hey, it gave us something to laugh about.. and as you can see from these pics (admittedly blurry), peeps are our sacred "animal" and food in the photo center! =-P
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I contacted the new pastor of the parish to praise him for the work that is being done at the parish, and basically just to say hello from a former student. Well, the simple e-mail turned into a nice discussion, and he invited me to attend morning Mass with the school kids, as well as Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament yesterday. I gladly went, and it was the first time I was at Mass in that Church since I went there with my class back in '96. Hard to believe it has been 11 YEARS!
Father already knew that I attend the Tridentine (or Pre-Vatican II) style Mass, and to help make me feel more at home, chanted the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) in Latin. It was a refreshing element after (what I consider) the annoyance of the folk singers and bongo drums that were used for the "hymns" at Mass. It was also nice to hear that Father does often chat various parts of the Mass in Latin.. reminding his parishoners that Latin is still indeed the language of the Church, and our sacred heritage.
He came to greet me immediately after Mass, and gave me a tour of my old stomping grounds, and pointed out the various changes to the building that have been done over the years. He invited me back to the rectory for a cup of tea, and we had a wonderful and LONG talk in his office... which I really did enjoy. We chatted about everything from my love of the "Classical Liturgy" (as we now refer to the Tridentine Liturgy), to my being gay. He is very supportive of my "traditional" prayer style, but certainly follows the Church's mainstream views on homosexuality... which is what I expected. I have to say though, he was never once nasty, and always very kind in the way he spoke to me, and gave his views. He even said, "We don't have to agree to be friends", and that's very true. I re-iterated that we will probably never see eye to eye on this particular topic, and that's ok... people don't have to agree with each other, but they must respect each other.. and for that, I tip my hat to Father.
It's nice to have another friend in the clergy again. Though I do talk about my faith and practices here in this blog, I try not to mention it TOO much with my other friends, as I know it's not something they share. It's refreshing to have someone whom I can talk with, and get excited and passionate about things that on some level mean so much to me. I'm hoping we get to hang out more in the future... and it's a bonus that his parish is so close.
That afternoon, I went with Jason over to visit Anne and Vince. She is doing a little better now, and doesn't need the assistance of the cane as much. She will be going for some kind of iron infusion treatment tomorrow, to help treat the iron deficiency she has.
We had a nice lunch, and pigged out on the "monkey bread" cake I made... OMG is that stuff good!! We also got to play with her great-grandson, Austin, who is almost a year old. He is the best behaved baby I have ever seen, and is all smiles! We played blocks together, and he loves going for walks around the house, as long as he has some one's hands to hang onto while he does it. For a moment, I thought how neat it would be to have a kid... then his diaper had to be changed, and the thought quickly vanished. :-)
Monday, March 12, 2007
Jeff reminded me a little of what it felt like to have something to devote your life to... working towards something you really believe in, and get so much pleasure out of. There was only one time in my life when I didn't really yearn for a home or a husband, and that's when I was seriously considering entering the priesthood.
I hesitate even mentioning this in a blog read mostly by gay people because they just don't get it. You mention the term priest and immediately a million inappropriate jokes start flying across the room. To me, it means something very personal, and meaningful... something I was willing to give up my life for.
I went to a book signing at Barnes and Noble today. It was by a very well known Catholic journalist, Raymond Arroyo, whom I am a huge fan of. I've watched his programs and interviews on EWTN for years, and always enjoyed his style of journalism... bringing us "all that is seen, and unseen." I listened to his talk about Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN, and whom the book is about that he has just written. She has always been an inspiration for me, and her live shows (back when she was well enough to do them), helped me through a lot of bad times. As I was standing in line to have the book signed, I read through some of it... a collection of her sayings and ways of looking at life. It made me laugh... she is a great theologian, but puts things in such simple terms... and has an awesome sense of humor. She reminds me of how I envisioned interacting with people as a priest.. through humor, friendship, and love.
As he was signing my book, Mr. Arroyo and I were able to chat briefly about the pre-vatican II rite of Mass that I attend, and which he is also a great supporter of. Nothing lights up my face, or peaks my interest as much as talking about the Mass does. That really is my field.. my "thing" in life... and there is so few ways for me to incorporate that aspect of the person I am into my everyday life. Face it, if I'm not going to be a priest.. what else am I going to do with all that insight, knowledge, and passion that makes for a career??
There were three things that made me decide not to become a priest. I never thought I'd survive the education needed to become a priest. I didn't want to move away from my family. And I didn't want to hide my homosexuality. Over the years, this has all started to crumble. Though I still feel I'd flunk out of philosophy classes, my grandparents are all dead, and I don't have that close a relationship with my immediate family to keep me here. My CLOSE network of friends is rather small these days, and I could easily keep in touch with them via e-mail and AIM, just as I do now. And I get so fed up with being gay that why in the world do I want to embrace such a frustrating, lonely, dead end road??
I often wonder if I made the right decision to become a teacher instead of a priest. There are days when I can say for sure that the priesthood and I were incompatible, but there are other days where I just wonder.... maybe that's where I was supposed to be all along.
The whole world needs to hear two things with strength and power: "God loves you" and "I love you". You must say it often to your friends. The world is not starving from a lack of money. It's starving from a want of love. - Mother Angelica
Thursday, March 8, 2007
I don't relish the idea of being "on the market" again... or scanning countless gay.com profiles that are all the same... or hanging out at the bars. Wish it was a bit easier, but it's not.
Anyway.. no hard feelings, it was nice while it lasted. --- Enough said on the subject.
Monday, March 5, 2007
In his sermon, father reminded us that we are bound to pick up some of our parents traits (reminding the parents to be an example to their children).. I leaned over to Kristy and said, loud enough for Mom to hear me, "With enough therapy, I hope to avoid that!" Kristy started giggling, and my God-mother poked mom in the ribs laughing also. =-P
Went to the station last night to visit Jeff while he was working a shift. Thankfully there were no calls, so I was able to stay with him a while. We watched a hillarious episode of Family Guy, then we watched Airplane on DVD, which I had never seen in its entirety. It was a good movie. I give Jeff a hard time because I don't get to see him much, due to what I would consider a hellish schedule, but I appreciate, enjoy, and look forward to the time I do get to spend with him. He's a great guy, worth being patient for.
I had an appointment before work today, and had an hour to kill before my shift started. I decided to run some errands instead of driving home, only to have to turn around and go back. I stopped at Burlington Coat Factory, and noticed they had Easter stuff out. I walked over, and saw that they had plush Easter baskets in the shape of PEEPS! I wanted one so bad!! I LOVE peeps!! They had the baskets in the shape of the peep birds in various colors. They had the peep bunnies, but those are stupid.. it has to be the chicks. I made my way to Target, and found they had little peep bean bag "animals"... and for $3.00 -- I had to get two. One yellow and one blue to use as Easter decorations. Even though Chocolate is the only kind of candy I really like, I do eat Peeps at Easter. Every kid who grew up in the 80's remembers Peeps, and it wouldn't be Easter without them. Oddly enough, I have no desire to buy marshmellow chicks... only on Easter Sunday I guess.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
My Dad is having surgery tomorrow, and I guess my Mom wants us to be wrenching our garments and cry our eyes out.. otherwise we're "ungrateful" I guess. I should have volunteered to make dinner tomorrow, even though I have to be to work at 5. Let them make a peanut butter sandwich, just like I end up doing when I come home from work at 9:30, starving, only to find out everyone went out for dinner.
Every day I go into work, before I even swipe my badge and clock in, I get a shout out from a manager telling me how I'm working yet another shift by myself, or am expected to act as a Fuji technician (which is NOT my job) because the machines are down AGAIN! -- OR, my schedule gets jerked around and they have me coming in on days or times I'm not available, as if the reason "we're short staffed" is supposed to make it ok with me. Is it my fault we haven't had a manager for weeks, and probably won't any time soon?
Why is it I have to be on top of everyone else's lives, remember everything they are doing, help where I can, and being supportive when most people don't remember me? I've had two fevers in the past week... Jason was the only one to check on my progress. I had a major Bio exam, and he again was the only person to follow up on how I'm doing in this class from hell.
I'm gonna start exploding at people, and they're going to turn around and say "What's the matter with Mike all of a sudden???"