Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Great Garden State, part 2

This is my exit. Woo hoo!

I have now lived here in NJ for 9 years. I have driven from one corner of the state to the other: Hudson to Cumberland, Sussex to Cape May. (That sounds like a line from "U can't touch this" by MC Hammer: "I've been around the state, from Sussex to Cape May. It's Hammer! MC Hammer! Yo Hammer! and the rest can go and play. U can't touch this!"--Did I get those words right?)

I have concluded that people from out of state who want to drive anywhere in this state ought really to take a special test giving them permission to drive here. I'm looking at you my Quebecois friend! Two weekends ago, we were driving down US 1 in Mercer County, near Princeton, (a multilane highway with traffic lights, if you've never been) this guy in a red sedan with Quebec license plates tried TWICE to make a left turn when there was no left turn permitted in the intersection. He almost got us killed. It's called a jughandle, Buddy. Surely they have those in Montreal. And if not, well, you shouldn't be driving here if you can't read "NO LEFT TURN" on a big sign hanging over the intersection . And we're not putting it in French for you. I know you learn English in Quebec, jerkface.

And drivers from Pennsylvania, can we talk? I love you. I am a native of PA. It's wonderful. You're just out of your league driving here. First you must realize that everyone on our limited access highways is going at least 10 mph over the speed limit. If you'd like to drive 65 in the 65 mph zone, that's fine. I'm cool like that. But for the love of everything holy, get out of the middle lane. I know your driver's ed teacher probably told you to keep the right lane clear so that others getting on can merge easily (mine did. His name was Mr. Bill. He wore ties with his golf shirts. I don't think he bathed regularly. I wish I were kidding.) Well, New Jerseyans are excellent mergers, so just get in the right lane where you belong. Thanks, hon.

And people from New York and Connecticut should really not be allowed to drive outside of their home states at all. Those people are crazy. If you're on the Turnpike and some guy weaves in between seven cars while doing 85 in a 65 zone, he's probably from NY or CT. Look at the plates if you can. They're the blue and white blur on the back of the speeding car.

I know it can be confusing to drive here. The streets aren't well marked. The signs for the Parkway and Turnpike are approximately 10 inches across, makaing them hard to see when you're trying to keep up with us. The traffic circles that are everywhere are also confusing. And jughandles can be weird, too. I get it. I know you're trying. This is all just further evidence that, for everyone's safety--especially yours, your home state's DMV should offer a "Jersey Driving Certification" for all of you who might like to come and enjoy the wonderful things NJ has to offer you (beaches, mountains, camping, skiing, tomatoes, corn, blueberries). And I'll concede that maybe those of us licensed to engage in combat drive in NJ ought to at least take ettiqette lessons in order to be permitted to drive outside of the NJ-NY-CT area.

Let's just be careful out there.

Do we know enough?

H/t to Catholic Pillow Fight

Also, check out this list of Obama lies. Now, please know that the website is inflammatory and not balanced at all. But, there is truth in this. they have the video tape and the newspaper articles to back it up. Some things can be attributed to not remembering well, but, well, the list is up to 106. You be the judge.

Friday, August 29, 2008

So, so happy!

I just love John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska. She's really great. I watched her speech this afternoon and I am in love. Now I got to get me a yard sign!!! McCain-Palin'08!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Great Garden State

Some of you have been to my house. It's not big. It's just under 1000 square feet and the lot is 25' x 100'. Now, those of you who don't live in NJ, you'd better sit down. Those of you who do live in NJ, you know what I'm talking about.

We got our estimated property tax bill today. For next year, we owe $4500+.

And what does this money go to? I don't know for sure. I suppose it goes to the schools, but I've got to say that the schools in our city aren't in the top 10% in the state. The services here in town are good, but $4500 for my house?

Can you imagine what it's like in towns where the schools are better and the houses are more expensive?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's true.

Me: Hey, Primo, I had a very vivid dream about the Jonas Brothers last night.  Do you think that makes me weird?
P: Yeah.  Really, really weird. 

I am just going to take this opportunity to say that I don't know why I was dreaming about the Jonas Brothers.  I don't listen to their music.  My kids don't listen to them.  And Scott is a Led Zep kind of guy; he doesn't know who the Jonas Brothers are.  They were talking about them on the radio the other day.  Apparently, they have a 7 year old brother whose name is Frankie who is referred to as "The Bonus Jonas," which I find to be very funny.  

But in my dream the Jonas Brothers (not the bonus one) all had superpowers (flying, super strength) and they were falsely accused of a murder and imprisoned in a mall.  Then they escaped back to their hotel and....they just sat around eating and playing video games.  There was discussion about them going home, but they didn't want to get caught by the police.  Then Bubba started jumping on me and I had to wake up. Maybe I'll write a script for a Jonas Brothers movie based on my dream!  Or maybe I'll stop eating so close to bedtime. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

She understands

The Novena to St. Monica starts today. Her feast day is August 27, the day after her son, St. Augustine. Monica's life was hard. Her husband had a violent temper, her mother-in-law lived with her and constantly belittled her and her children wouldn't listen. Her son Augustine, became a heretic (he was a too smart for his own good), but he eventually came around.

St. Monica is a patron saint of wives and mothers, but she is also the one to ask for help when your family and friends have lapsed from the church. My original post about good St. Monica is here (also accessible from the sidebar). In the last two years, several people, mostly women with worries about their husbands and children, have stopped by this page and have left a comment asking for prayers. Please take a minute to go a read those comments. Please keep them in mind while you ask for the intercession of the woman whose tears were finally dried when he husband and son came to the Church. Maybe you are reading this today and you are so blessed not to have any particular person in mind to ask the intercession of St. Monica. Please remember the women who have posted here before and pray for their intentions.

Novena To Saint Monica

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
You perseveringly pursued your wayward son
Not with wild threats
But with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all mothers in our day
So that they may learn
To draw their children to God.

Teach them how to remain
Close to their children,
Even the prodigal sons and daughters
Who have sadly gone astray.

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother,
Many sorrows pierced your heart
During your lifetime.
Yet you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence and profound faith,
You prayed daily for the conversion
Of your beloved husband, Patricius
And your beloved son, Augustine.

Grant me that same fortitude,
Patience and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
That God may favorably hear my plea
For (mention your petition here)
And grant me the grace
To accept his will in all things,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God forever and ever. Amen.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Today is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, proclaimed a dogma of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius XII in 1950. But this belief was handed down to us from the Apostles. There are feasts celebrating Mary's Assumption from the 500s AD. You can read more about it here.

Today's Gospel reading is about the Visitation. Mary, having just said yes to God's plan for her to become the mother of his Son, goes to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, who is six months pregnant with St. John the Baptist. When I would think about this event, I would always think, "Oh, how nice, Mary found out Elizabeth is having a baby and goes to visit her and help out a while. Isn't she great?" Then, I read something (I wish I could remember where) that said, Mary goes to see Elizabeth (yes, to help) but also because the angel's message and the full weight of what was to happen to her were maybe becoming really REAL all of a sudden and who else could identify with what had happened to Mary but another woman who was also miraculously pregnant? Elizabeth GETS it. Mary can talk to her. Elizabeth can give her guidance and comfort in a way that no other woman can. Mary's faith is never shaken. Her trust is unwavering. But what was happening to her was probably overwhelming.
She is a human being (born without original sin and all that comes with it, including this), but she answers yes to every command given to her by God. Yes, she will be the mother of his Son. Yes, she will take Him with Joseph to Egypt. Yes, she will travel with Him in his public ministry. Yes, she will endure seeing him suffer on the cross. Yes, she will accept all of us as her children, too ("Mother, behold your son...."). Yes, she will serve the Apostles (She was in the Upper Room at Pentecost). She doesn't question God's power, she accepts His will as her own. This is one of the many reasons why the Church holds Mary up to us.
God's will for us is perfect. He doesn't promise that if we do His will that it will be easy. Mary's life shows us that, too. But His plan for our lives is better than what we could try to dream for ourselves. All He asks of us, requires of us, is humble submission to him. Mary models that for us.
In the Assumption, we also see what God has ready for us when he restores His heavenly kingdom to the Earth at the end of time: our souls and our bodies will reunite and we will live as He intended us to live when He made us. How much we have to look forward to!
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This post over at Creative Minority Report got me wondering. The Vatican is an independent city-state. I would imagine that it is eligible to field an Olympic team. Who would they get to compete? Can any baptized Catholic compete for the Vatican? I know that someone doesn't have to live in the country they compete for, since there are American competing for their parents' home countries. I just wonder about these things when I am folding laundry.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A great ad. McCain '08!

Unless, of course, Jesus decides enough is enough and comes back before November (please?)