Sunday, June 08, 2014

Book Review--Franklin and Lucy

Franklin and LucyFranklin and Lucy by Joseph E. Persico
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Franklin and Lucy" by Joseph E. Persico brings together all the currently available information on Franklin Roosevelt's relationship with Lucy Mercer, with whom he had an affair prior to being stricken with polio. It also highlights his relationship with all the other "special" women who surrounded him throughout his life.

I was especially heartened that this author included Anna Roosevelt, FDR's daughter, among the voices he includes. Two of FDR's sons, Elliott and James, have both written books about their famous father, but know of none written by Anna about her parents. Many books gloss over her point of view, but this one does not.

The only thing I would change would be the use of the word "cripple" near the end of the book. While I realize that "cripple" was a term used at the time, the book is not from that time period. The author should have found a more apt description for his conclusion.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014


Do you watch mickeleh on YouTube?  You should.  Michael Markman is an intelligent, retired media guy with a good voice whose references I actually understand.  Recent examples:  "Soilent Green" and  S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders", which I read in Jr. High.  I remember being shocked when our teacher told us that Hinton was a woman. 

Markman has a well-thought-out point of view on the media and modernity that is borne of experience. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Catholic Mega App

I've got an Android smart phone now and am slowly getting used to what it does and what is available for it.

I ran across a very useful Catholic app called Catholic Mega.  It is on Google Play and has Liturgy of the Hours, Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, an art gallery, a prayer wall and a discussion board. It also has the Catholic bible in various languages, the Catechism, Catholic news resources, Busted Halo and Pray as you go podcasts.

It's all you need in one app.

I asked myself last night why I need an electronic app when Catholics have done without one for centuries.  The answer I came up with is that we are now bombarded with all things electronic and we need to evangelize through the new media.

Check it out!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Science, Fluoride, Hitler, and God

Saw a social media post the other day that railed against the evils of fluoride in the drinking water.

While I'm not against scientific evidence pointing to whatever it happens to point to, I am against miss-labeling history.  This particular post/meme was of the conspiracy-theory ilk and stated that Adolph Hitler had used fluoride to sterilize and pacify people in the concentration camps.

In fact, Hitler used murder to sterilize people in the concentration camps.  He wanted all Jewish people dead. He used starvation and horrifically cruel treatment to "pacify" people. He didn't need fluoride.

Meanwhile, Antisemitism is on the rise around the world. Misinformation about Hitler only makes a greater number of people move toward the untenable myth that concentration camps didn't exist.

People also do this conspiracy-level thinking when it comes to faith.  Some things are true about the Church. There were abusive priests whose crimes were hidden for decades.  Get that truth out in the open.  Work honestly with law enforcement.

Other things are not true.  Catholicism is NOT against science.  Some other Christian denominations are. To lean over into their camp is to discredit Christianity. Don't do it.

Let true, well-practiced science lead where it may.  So too with the Church.

The Church of the Center

There are many conflicting voices about the Church these days. Extremes in either direction (left or right) are not Catholic.

Global warming, while arguably true, is probably not the most important pro-life issue.  Human beings are created as individuals.  Each separate life should be protected.  Environmental issues are important.  We are not to waste God's resources or deliberately harm each other.  But, killing an already-conceived human being is the most important pro-life issue.

On the other hand, Pope Francis is not an out-of-control anti-pope bent on leading us out of God's will.  On the contrary, he is a spirit-led man who speaks from his heart.  He challenges many groups who think themselves above such challenging.

Contrary to the belief of many, the Church is neither left nor right.  It is center.  Anything too far left or too far right is a non-thinking cult.

Book Review: Irreparable Harm

Irreparable Harm (Sasha McCandless, #1)Irreparable Harm by Melissa F. Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't usually gravitate to legal thrillers because I don't have a background in the law. Nevertheless, I enjoyed "Irreparable Harm" by Melissa F. Miller. The Pittsburgh and suburban DC settings made me smile, as I have connections to both places.

The technological angle rang true and up-to-date.

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Book Review--The Joy of Life

The Joy of LifeThe Joy of Life by Mary Beth Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Mary Beth Smith's "The Joy of Life". As many books as I have read about FDR,(with more to come!) I realized after reading this book that my knowledge of TR is sadly lacking.

I really saw, after reading this, how much TR contributed to this country and how much FDR was inspired by his distant cousin.

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Book Review--The Bronze Ladder

The Bronze LadderThe Bronze Ladder by Malcolm Lyon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked "The Bronze Ladder" by Malcolm Lyon.  It is a very well-researched story about the martyrdom of Sts. Felicty and Perpetua. I really enjoyed the details about the practices of the early Church and the fleshing out of the relationship between the 2 women. Very nice to know the back story of 2 saints we hear so often about in the prayers of Mass.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

RIP Peter Oakley

I just found out via Hank Green on Twitter, that Peter Oakley, aka, Geriatric 1927 has died.  Peter became a video blogger on YouTube at the age of 80 in 2007 and was once the most followed channel on YouTube. He blogged about his Depression-era childhood in Britain and became the "Internet Granddad" to many young people.  He was also a founding member of The Zimmers, a British rock band made up exclusively of senior citizens, which was put together to raise awareness of their needs.

He, like all members of The Greatest Generation, will be sorely missed.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day--to Everyone

St. Patrick arguably ushered in an era of Christianity in Ireland that is only now beginning to wane.  In reaction to a couple thousand years of being the majority religion in many areas of the world, and also in reaction to the sins and horrors perpetuated onto others by its followers, there are those who take offense at St. Patrick's Day (and many other widely celebrated Christian holidays).

We in the United States are entering an unprecedented time of diversity in our country.  If we are to survive and thrive as a multi-cultural nation, we must learn to be tolerant of each other--Christians and non-Christians together, Catholics and non-Catholics.  We must learn to celebrate that diversity and take joy in each other's holidays and holy days.

Recently, Pope Francis has reiterated his question to us--"Who am I to judge?"  There are so many cultures within the United States.  We are a country founded on immigration.  There was a time when Help Wanted signs in this country included the phrase "Irish need not apply."  Perhaps this early persecution helped cement Irish-Americans' joy in their heritage (that now includes so many in this country who, it turns out, are not Irish at all!).

Resisting another's culture that exists next to your own will only serve to solidify mistrust and hatred against that culture.  There is so much we can learn from each other.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to Everyone! 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

my poetry on the web

Karumi Garden

Karumi Garden
my haiku