Toad Strangler Oklahoma Rain


I’ve lived in Singapore, and I don’t think monsoon rains come down as hard, or as sideways, as what poured down on me as a kid growing up on Nebraska Street.

When the skies opened up in Oklahoma, man, that was something to behold.

I remember water gushing out of the downspout so hard that it ripped up the grass and turned the yard into a mud bog.

The volume of water was so huge it would pour out over the sides of the gutter, and come down in absolute sheets.

If you ran underneath, it was like having a pitcher full of ice water poured right down your back.

After these Springtime cloudbursts, just about every street in Norman became a  lake.

Nebraska Street would overflow its curbs and, after a really bodacious toad-strangler, the water would lap up again the water meters that were way up in the front yards.

On those days, it was so cool to put on your cut-offs and water-bike.

It was just like going in s-l-o-w motion as you plowed through the water.

But, ever so slowly, the lake in front of our house would disappear.

That’s when you hurried down to Flood Street (before you Mom could tell you not to).

The water there was always at least to the top of your bike tire, and sometimes up to your banana seat.

It probably wasn’t the brightest thing in the world to do.

But if you built up a full head of steam and rode into Flood St., it felt like a giant grabbed the back of your bike and stopped it dead.

If you managed to stay on your bike, or if you flipped into Flood St. and didn’t get run over, it was a total WIN.

It was even more fun to get down on all fours and stick your head right into the wall of water that cars splashed up as they chugged by at about 20 mph.

Once we tried to surf those car-waves using our home-made skateboards.

Dead Man’s Curve

But the best surfing came when they put in a three-foot-tall culvert on Barbour Street.

Man, after  really big cloudbursts, you could butt-surf Dead Man’s Curve if you had a Mayflower Moving box to use as a surfboard.

The boxes would last about 10 minutes before turning into a giant spitwad.

That would lead to a new game of Cream Your Best Friend Right in the Kisser And Then Run.

Sadly, I’ve noticed that getting old has taken all the fun out of torrential rains and flood water.

A couple of years ago, I was about halfway through my 40-minute commute when I got an urgent call from the Missus.

She was more than a little agitated because water was coming over the TOP of our front door, and she wanted me home RIGHT NOW.

I started driving like a madman trying to get home, while at the same time answering phone calls from the Missus who was in tears and totally freaking out.


Turns out that the downspout had been clogged by Oklahoma-size hailstones.

That caused the rainwater to overflow the gutter, “back flush” over the door awning, and flood into the front hallway.

No question about it, crazy torrential rain is WAY more fun when you are eight years old.

Before you have to learn about flood insurance and wet, angry women.



The Morning After The Night Before

blog church art

When I was young, the headline above referred to waking up with a monstrous hangover.

Today, it refers to being back in the world after a weekend of immersion in a spiritual retreat called the Eucharistic Convention.

I feel sort of like a sponge whose every pore had been filled with water, and then squeezed dryer than dry.

The hangover cure for me today is the same as way back when – hair of the dog that bit you.

But now, instead of that “hair” being booze, it was spending the morning with a wise, old priest.

I have a thing for wise, old priests. Priests who have suffered. Priests who are holy.

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We’re Still (Trying to Be) Holy in NZ; Funny Should Resume Next Week

Our Lady Undoer of Knots art

Our Lady Undoer of Knots


If you came expecting post-Easter humor, you’re a week too early.

This week, friends and neighbors, features the Eucharistic Convention, a major Catholic event that we’ve helped organize for years.

Before you flee in horror, check these people out.

Bob and Freda Narev – When Bob “Narewczewitz” was nine years old, “home” to him and his mother was the horrific Theresienstadt concentration camp in Poland. When they were liberated in 1945, Bob was one of only 150 children who made it out alive.  Freda, from an Orthodox Jewish family, spent the last years of the war hiding on a farm, “living as a Catholic” to escape the Nazis.  Bob and Freda somehow made it to New Zealand, met, raised a family and received the highest awards possible for service to the Jewish and general communities.

Roy Schoeman was born outside of New York City to Jewish parents who had survived the Holocaust.  Roy received his Jewish education and formation under some of the most prominent Rabbis in contemporary American Jewry.  He went to MIT and then Harvard Business School, where he received an MBA magna cum laude.  He joined the Harvard faculty and quickly became a ‘rock star’ professor of marketing.  He lost his faith, but then had several supernatural experiences (sort of falling into Heaven), and eventually converted to Catholicism.  His first book for Ignatius Press, Salvation is from the Jews: The Role of Judaism in Salvation History, was a surprise best-seller.

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Easter Sunday — He Is Risen



1 After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre.

2 And suddenly there was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it.

3 His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow.

4 The guards were so shaken by fear of him that they were like dead men.

5 But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.

6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay,

7 then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now he is going ahead of you to Galilee; that is where you will see him.” Look! I have told you.’

8 Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples.

9 And suddenly, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings,’ he said. And the women came up to him and, clasping his feet, they did him homage.

10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; there they will see me.’


Good Friday



When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares,
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another,
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, “
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.

This is what the soldiers did.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

(John 19:23-30)


Ear Goop and Humpy Crack Puppies

Meme -- Cute Always Wins


The duty has fallen to me to put medical ear goop into the Crack Puppy’s left ear.

This is necessary because she is a Maltese/Shih-Tzu cross.

And “Shih-Tzu”, in English, means “making your vet a millionaire”.

So in addition to giving her 3/4 of a phenobarbitone tablet morning and night, wrapped in cheese, for her epilepsy, the blog now has to convince the Crack Puppy:

a)  to lie very still in our lap every night as we;

b)  ram a nozzle down her ear canal and squeeze goop into it.

Which goes really well, as you can imagine.

A bit like putting drops into Junior’s ears when he was just a baby, except the Crack Puppy is way squishier and lots more expensive than he was.

As we recall, the baby hospital bill was only about $12,000.

Which is chicken feed when it comes to Shih-Tzus (which in English, means “American Express Platinum Cards Accepted Here”).

Plus, our addictively cute Crack Puppy also needs her anal gland squeezed.

A lot.

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Elmo and Cookie Monster in NZ; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in Houston; Which Was the Deadliest?


elmo cropped 2

My life passed before my eyes last week.

I look around and all of a sudden realized that my normally laid-back New Zealand mall was jammed with people.

Specifically, jammed with Moms, and Dads, and Grandmas, and LOTS of wide-eyed kids.

Plus at least 10,000 strollers.

As a highly trained observer, I quickly scanned the scene for clues.

I saw a colorful, animated sign and huge security guards.


elmo security

Dear Lord, I was standing at Ground Zero, not more than 20 feet from Elmo and Cookie Monster.

And my life truly passed before my eyes.

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