(Reprinted, again, because I wanna.)
In New Zealand, we’ve already begun Lent — 40 days of prayer, fasting and penance leading up to Easter.
Since this is (mainly) a humor blog, I will begin my Lent by republishing a favorite about two great priests who were incredibly funny in very different ways.
Archimandrite Stephen was bigger than life and perfect for his ministry in media and evangelization. He could preach up a storm. And he so loved to laugh. Hee hee hee.
On his generous girth:
“I’m an Archimandrite in the Melkite Greek Catholic tradition. As you can see, we’re rather fluffy. Ha ha ha.”
“As you know, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So why would you want a little ol’ prayer chapel when you could have a Grand Basilica with a Rotunda? Ho ho ho.”
On being the only Catholic in a Louisiana family renown for producing Assembly of God preachers:
“I’m the family black sheep. And I love to tell my cousins that I’m the favorite of our departed relatives because I’m the only one praying to get them out of Purgatory. Heh heh heh.”
On Catholic teachings (when a kiwi TV interviewer was beating him up because the Church won’t conduct same-sex marriages):
“I’ll tell you something even crazier. We won’t marry a man and a woman who are living together in sin unless the stop and go to confession. Can you believe THAT? Hee hee hee. Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho.”
On being a tad theatrical when speaking at our annual Auckland Eucharistic Convention:
“I need one of those lapel mikes. I want to be able to walk around the stage and show off for your Bishop.”
And then, there was Father Des, 75, my first Parish Priest in Auckland.
He was half the size of Father Stephen, but equally hilarious in his no-nonsense, Kiwi way.
Once, when he asked me to distribute holy communion at Mass, I declined.
For you see, Catholics believe Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said His Flesh was true food, and His Blood true drink.
“I can’t. I’m not worthy,” I said, prompting Father Des to roll his eyes and reply:
“Don’t be stupid.
“Of course you’re not worthy.
“But somebody’s got to do it.”
Rest in Peace, Archimandrite Stephen and Father Des.
And happy Lent to all y’all from New Zealand.
Even with my bum shoulder, I could have played catch with Bruce Springsteen last night. That’s if we both had had gloves and a baseball at Mt. Smart Stadium where, just 24 hours ago, the Boss played his second concert in Auckland, New Zealand.
I don’t have a Bucket List. But if I did, seeing The Boss would have been at the top. And it’s finally, at age 58, checked off.
I’ve written about how devastated I was when his first concert sold out before I could grab tickets on-line; it truly summoned the black dog. But when I got a couple of tickets for the second show, I was over the moon.
Sure, paying about US$400 for two tickets was ridiculous, but nobody said checking things off your Bucket List should be a cheap exercise. Or that the process of getting there should be a simple one.
To Get My Bruce On, I started watching his clips on You Tube. I was stunned, actually ashamed, that he’d done so many records that I didn’t know about. I mean, I knew he was still cranking out GREAT music. My son gave me Magic awhile ago, and I instantly fell in love with it.
The one that stunned me was The Rising. I didn’t know Bruce had done a post 9/11 album or, obviously, how strongly it resonated with Americans. So I listened and listened and listened. And I read and read and read, including “Healing a nation: Deconstructing Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising” – a freeking academic paper for crying out loud. On The Boss.
I was in New Zealand when the Twin Towers went down. It was an awful time for me, but nothing, NOTHING like what it was for the people of New York City.
Especially the firefighters.
Sometimes your heart breaks.
I was at the skin doctor last week to have a few more pounds of ugly cut off the top of my head. But when I arrived at the clinic, there was no receptionist; just three people standing in line.
I joined them in the line for about five minutes, but then I decided to go sit down in a complete huff, making one of those long sighs that men make when they want everyone to know how put upon they feel.
A few minutes later, a door opened down the hall, and I heard a woman’s voice. “You’re doing find. You’re doing fine. We’ve got you. You’re doing fine.”
Then I heard a whimpering sound that made my heart stop. A soft whimper mixed with small gasps for air, almost crying. It was an awful sound that made you want to help, and made you want to cry.
It is a very good thing that the Singaporean Missus and her sisters and brother will soon gather in Singapore, to bond, eat and walk around saying “soooooooo cheap”.
Because otherwise, the Venus & Mars border clashes back in New Zealand would almost certainly escalate into a nuclear conflict.
We mention this because we were just enjoying a lazy summer Sunday in New Zealand, lounging on the deck, petting the dogs, and topping up the healthy mall Japanese lunch (miso soup and tuna roll) with real ‘Merican food (cheese, crackers and Root Beer).
At which point the Missus strolled out, armed with three ibuprofen packets, each containing a different number of capsules.
“I would appreciate it if you would.. Do you see these three packets? None of them are empty. They are all taking up space. It is so… Untidy. So, I ask, would you mind…”
Now, it would be pointless, since we were unarmed, because of New Zealand’s stupid gun laws, to defend ourselves in this matter, even though our defense would be absolutely bulletproof.
See, we have a bum shoulder which has, as of last Monday, required two, count them, two cortisone shots. This is because there is a spongemorphic spangula of the freetus valve socket, or something like that, according to our specialist.
Even though the shots help a bit, when I lift my hand above shoulder level, especially if I am moving it across my chest — like to retrieve pain medicines from the cabinet, or to fling excess pain meds back in the general direction of the pill cabinet (which is inside the bigger cabinet, of course) — it feels like there is a half-torn cello string in my shoulder that hits a rusty nail and goes PWAAAAAANNNNNGGGGG.
At which point I drop to my knees and say a very bad word.
I was never that much of a hat person.
But thanks to the UV deluxe sunshine in New Zealand, and the hole it already burned in my head, I tend to wear a hat when I am outside.
Sometimes it’s a baseball cap. But I prefer my straw fedora. I think maybe I like wearing it because my Grandpa wore one, and he looked pretty cool when he did it.
Not “I am Clark Gable” kind of cool. Just “I am an old guy and I know that, deep down, you know I look cool in this hat.”
There is nothing quite as fulfilling as when you are driving down I-35 and you hit a big ol’ June Bug. Or a whole bunch of them.
And those suckers go SPLAT, covering at least half your windshield. And always the half that you are looking out. Or that you were looking out. Until there were June Bug guts all over it.
But that was no problem, because you’d just hit your wipers washer button. And then you’d smear June Bug guts all over BOTH sides of your windshield.
Because you never remembered to put “debuggifying juice” into the windshield wiper reservoir. At best, the reservoir might have a few squirts of plain ol’ water, which is not especially good at actually “cutting through” June Bug guts.
*Lao Tzu, an older contemporary of Confucius, was keeper of the imperial archives in the province of Honan in the sixth century B.C. All his life he taught that “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao”, which makes you wonder what exactly the guy was being paid for.
Anyways, according to ancient legend, as he was riding off into the desert to die – sick at heart at the ways of men – he was persuaded by a gatekeeper to write down his teachings for posterity.
That same exact thing happened to me. And while the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The Hog Tao that can be blogged is whole nuther thing. This is the Super Bowl edition.
The greatest virtue is to follow Peyton and Peyton alone.
He is elusive and intangible.
OK, he is intangible, but not so elusive any more.
He’s 37. With a bad neck. So cut him some slack, will you?
Where were we?
Oh yes, Peyton is intangible,
And within has 10,000 formations.
He is a wily old fox..
From the beginning until now,
It’s name has never been forgotten.
Thus we perceive creation.
Broncos by 7.