Archive for April, 2011

The Boss’s Stinky Rule (Only Lebs Will Get This)

April 30, 2011

I couldn’t have been much more than 7-years-old.

I know because this story involves my dear departed brother Lou, who was exactly 10 years my senior.

Once he left for college, just before turning 18, he never moved back home.

That may explain how he became a Democrat.

I remember standing in front of the toy closet in my parent’s den.

It was a built-into-the-wall-full-length-version, with deep wooden shelves and toys piled high.

Beside me was cousin, neighbor and best friend, Billy.

We were trying to decide which board game to play.

Suddenly I lost control and broke the silence.

In honor of Lou, my famous jumble-style censorship shall rule.

I said to Billy:

Oops…I just f%a&r#t^e*d

My brother Lou, who was probably babysitting, retorted.

Hey, don’t use that language!

Billy and I both looked at each other.

We were so young we knew only one other word to describe that act.

And it wasn’t English.

The word we Lebanese kids used for breaking wind was “foos.”

Louis…what word are we supposed to use if that word is bad?  Do you want us to say “foos” to all our American friends?

Both Billy and I were waiting for the answer. 

Lou replied.

I don’t know…just don’t use that first word.  It’s foul.

So, there Billy and I were, 6 and 7-year-old boys, locked in a world where every other boy we knew used a word we thought was just a regular verb.

By my brother’s rule, and we believed him, he left us no choice but to use a word our friends wouldn’t understand.

We loved our Lebanese culture, but there were certain things about it that we preferred kept to ourselves.

Like the word “foos.”

Fast forward to 2011.

The latest controversy in the President’s world is the condemnation of another common occurrence.

The use of the video smart phone.

The San Francisco Chronicle, a left-wing newspaper with a usually pro-Obama reporter named Carla Marinucci, broke the windbag’s rule about embarrassing him.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/bronstein/detail?entry_id=87978&tsp=1

There’s no need to elaborate on this story.

It stinks.

The President’s best friends have decided which game they want to play, it’s called Censor the Truth.

You go Carla…my brother Lou isn’t the only Democrat I admire.

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Downhill Approval Ratings

April 29, 2011

Today’s analogy might be a bit cruel.

It’s because I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to be sweet.

The approval rating of the Scribes and Pharisees was at an all time high on the morning of Good Friday.

They persuaded a horde of protesters in Jerusalem to beg Pontius Pilate to kill Jesus of Nazareth.

Never before had so many people agreed with them.

They were on a roll.

Until the Resurrection and Pentecost, when the horde saw their mistake and repented.

When Truth is buried, eventually it comes back to life.

When Truth is God, three days in the tomb is all it takes.

I read this morning that the President’s approval rating was at an all time high–the week after the inauguration.

Basically, before his ship left the harbor.

Once it did, well…you know the rest.

His approval rating today is at an all time low–for the second straight week.

Apparently his appearance on The View didn’t help.

Loud mouths like me, way back in 2008, did what we could to warn Americans that Obama was far too radical to steer our economy.

The Truth is starting to be uncovered.

Not that there’s anything wrong with his Birth Certificate, it’s the pattern.

Why did it take two years to release it?

What else is buried?

Is there an S.A.T. score that someone’s ashamed to share?

A college transcript?

No matter what it is, eventually, even in places like Syria, the public demands performance from its leaders.

Before you know it, the Press will turn on him.

Once that happens…and there are rumblings….well…you’ll see.

Treat Your Vote Like Cash

April 28, 2011

Over 20 years ago, when my brother and I owned the White Star Confectionary, I hired a worker named Todd…(not his real name).

Todd came from a poor neighborhood and a family without the best reputation.

I was a young manager and didn’t give Todd’s background much thought.

Each day, another employee named John, would bring in bags of change from nearly 100 vending machines we owned.

John would toss those bags into a big safe, which was pretty much impenetrable.

Unless someone forgot to lock it.

One night our alarm went off at the building.

Brother Phil went in to see what, if anything, was the cause.

He saw nothing, shut off the alarm, so we wouldn’t have another false one, then went home and back to bed.

When we came in the next morning, the whole crew arriving around the same time, Irene, who happened to be John’s wife, noticed the safe was empty.

All the bags gone.

Before anyone else spoke, Todd ran over to a spot against the wall and pointed upward, through a crack in the drop ceiling.

Look, there’s a hole in the roof.

The entry point to the building was discovered.

Three thousand dollars gone.

Todd never came back to work the next day, he disappeared.

We started hearing there was a man around town trying to spend large sums of coin.

We knew.

No more mistakes.

The safe was always locked at night.

Very soon we’ll be given a chance to vote for a new President.

There are signs of flaws in the one we have now.

No business experience is the biggest.

As Americans, we need to guard our liberty, which includes our economy, like a business man guards his hard-earned cash.

I’m willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt.

His crime is ignorance.

It took 4 years to see his Birth Certificate, but that’s not as important as his S.A.T. scores or College board results.

Please go after those next Mr. Trump.

All of us are vulnerable when ignorance is in charge.

Better scrutiny with our authority to vote is the most mature thing we can do.

We must treat that vote like it’s our money.

Celebrity Counseling

April 27, 2011

The airwaves are filled with reality programs that include famous celebrities.

Dancing with the Stars….the Apprentice etc…all give us a glimpse of the so-called elite.

At the same time, weekly shows like American Idol, take unknowns, with one simple gift, and make them household names.

We become passionate about who wins or loses.

Their personalities connect with ours and we get attached.

Why?

Because when we watch, we spend time with them.

Their real selves, not some caricature.

Today’s Gospel reading is one of my all time favorites.

It’s appropriately described as the Road to Emmaus.

The freshly risen Christ joins two disciples walking out of Jerusalem on their way to another town.

He asks them “why so glum?”

They look at him as if he slept through a tornado.

To their despondency about the missing body at the tomb, He dispels their fears with a historic game of connect-the-dots.

In the climax of this rendezvous, He breaks bread with them and blesses it.

All of us have had those “aha” moments, where everything comes together at once.

In this case, Christ is laying the foundation for the greatest Faith of all time.

The Creator of the universe takes on human flesh, and suffers like none ever before.

Lord…You’ve got my vote.

You embody “Reality.”

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

High Gas Prices?—Blame the Eskimos

April 26, 2011

If you’re anything like me, when you realize you’ve made a huge mistake, you’ll make a 180 degree turn around.

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2, the story of Pentecost is unfolding and Peter the Apostle is preaching to the Jews.

Check out their reaction as they realize they actually did kill the Son of God.

“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you.

On that day the Church added 3,000 men.

Today I hope to add 3,000 men to my way of thinking….I’ll take 3 if I can get it.

One of those dreaded Oil Companies that The Left hates so much was just slapped silly by a 4-member appeals board of the EPA.

In spite of the fact Shell Oil has been following the permitting process over the past five years flawlessly–

In spite of their $4 billion investment in leases, research and equipment–

In spite of the fact that the closest town with an Eskimo population of 245, is 70 miles away from the proposed well, and the EPA board said the air quality there would “approach” levels unacceptable, not “equal or exceed”–

This radical, activist, all Democrat, all appointed by Obama’s Environmentalist in Chief Jackson, have shut down a new oil reserve field with an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil.

The opportunity is dead in its tracks and guess who’s celebrating?

If you guessed me and you you’d be wrong.

That’s right, the Environmentalists.

These are the same ones who think our gas prices should be higher.

Please check out this video or read the article.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/04/25/energy-america-oil-drilling-denial/

Now, if you voted for Obama and this doesn’t make you one bit upset, then you too must be an environmental activist.

If so, may I please borrow some money to drive to the supermarket?

My wife and I just ran out of Eskimo Pies.

Oops, is that OK to eat?

I don’t want to upset the food Czar.

Accident Forgiveness

April 25, 2011

The difference between Jesus and the rest of us, is His ability to stay calm in the face of stubbornness.

We all makes sacrifices from time to time.

Sure, not on the Cross unto death, but we still give of ourselves.

It was almost 20 years ago now.

My mother-in-law, who lived with us, had loaned her car to her eldest grandson, who was in his early 20’s.

While driving that car, he was in an accident.

Thank God he was fine, but my mother-in-law was sick about it.

She had a limited understanding of how auto insurance worked.

All she kept talking about was how the driver of the other car would sue her and take away her nest egg.

It was upsetting to see the fuss, so I called an attorney.

The lawyer also happened to be my oldest brother in Boston.

He wasn’t just any attorney, he was the best.

Louis spoke to her for 20 minutes, explaining the other driver, who was at fault, couldn’t sue her, especially since there was insurance on the car.

Her grandson was a licensed driver, he wasn’t intoxicated, so there was no case, or chance her nest egg would be taken.

He was incredibly reassuring and knowledgeable, and I just figured everything was back to normal.

She even praised him and said.

 Thanks for taking the time to clear this up.

I hung up the phone for her, she looked at me, I was waiting for a thank you…here’s what she said.

I still think I’m going to be sued.

I lost it.

Confession time.

Sisters-in-law reading this, I almost killed your mother that day.

I shouted.

The best lawyer in Boston just spent 20 minutes telling you that can’t happen.

The sacrifice I made started out good, but ended badly.

I overestimated human nature, especially my own.

In today’s reading from Matthew 28, we learn about how incredibly deceitful the enemies of  Truth were.

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

Thank God I’m not Jesus.

My forgiveness would’ve lasted about two seconds.

Had I, in my omnipotence, overheard that corrupt deal between the chief priests and the guards go down, their “kingdom-come” would have.

Lord, help us to be more like You when we give of ourselves.

Let there be no strings attached, or expectations of any kind.

You Go First–Merry Easter

April 24, 2011

My oldest memory of Christmas morning is probably my first on Loumar Drive.

We moved there when I was almost three.

My bedroom was one I shared with Sittoo, who wasn’t there that day.

In winter she escaped New England to stay with my Aunt Freda in Orlando.

My father was a good sport and agreed to escort me early to see what Santa brought.

I remember zooming down our wall-to-wall carpeted flight of stairs.

The living room, with the Christmas tree and gifts, was right around the corner, behind a partition wall.

I thought about looking around it to see the wonderment.

I hesitated….what if Santa’s still there?

Loved the guy, but wasn’t ready for the shock.

I looked up at my dad, who was just a few seconds behind me and I said;

You go first.

I’ll never forget the look on his face and his giant belly laugh.

That amused him.

Once he rounded the corner, seeing all was safe, I flew into a pile of presents with “Jimmy” tags on them.

In today’s Easter reading from John 20, the author, writing about himself, has an experience similar to mine.

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.

God gives us mentors in our faith for this very thing.

Blessings, like Christmas morning and Easter, are there for us to take.

Yet, sometimes we hesitate fearing the unknown.

Just like my dad helped me embrace a Christmas blessing, Peter helped John embrace a far greater Easter surprise.

Lord, thank You for stalwarts in our lives who’ve helped us grow.

May we share with those behind us in faith, in the same loving way we’ve been enlightened.

Veneration of a Friend

April 23, 2011

Last night, Good Friday, I attended a Veneration of the Cross Service at St. Mary’s Church in Lee.

As most Catholics know, there’s no Mass offered on Good Fridays.

Two wide-eyed and proud altar boys, around 11 years old, held out a cross for the congregation to line up and venerate, one by one.

Most kissed it.

One altar boy was there to wipe clean the kiss with a white hanky, the other held the cross, like a small bundle of wood.

They saw the raw emotion in every face.

As I approached, the thought of my dad’s last Mass at St. Mark’s Chuch in Pittsfield, crossed my mind.

He was a professional salesman in Berkshire County, friends with a community of other salesmen who called on the same stores.

Dad was 62 when he died and the younger men on the road looked up to him.

After he received communion that day, he sat back down near the center aisle in his pew.

Dad was weak and looked thin and pale.

Skip, one of the young salesmen I mentioned above, saw my dad and reached out to shake his hand, just moments after he too had received communion.

Dad didn’t just shake in return, he pulled Skip’s hand toward his mouth and kissed the back of it.

I was seated in the pew one row back.

Just like those young altar boys, I was face to face with the veneration of a friend.

My father died just a week or so later, from the effects of cancer.

Twenty years after this event, I had the opportunity to bump into Skip.

He told me he was a big fan of my dad.

“Your father kissed my hand at church.  I’ll never forget that.”

In our Lebanese culture, the hand is a profound symbol.

I remember asking my Sittoo Betros, a very holy woman, how to say “thank you” in Arabic.

She taught me the long version.

The short version is “shukran,” I learned later.

Sittoo taught; “salaam dayaadtak”, which translates to–“peace be on your hands for the goodness and sacrifice they have made for me.”

When my turn came to Venerate the Cross, at St. Mary’s in Lee, you can probably guess what part of the Cross I kissed.

Salaam dayaadtak oh Lord.

No Mass

April 22, 2011

It’ s the most solemn day of the Christian calendar.

Good Friday.

Catholics do not allow Priests to celebrate Mass.

The Great High Priest, in the order of Melchizedek, takes charge as victim-advocate, at the altar of Calvary.

Anything else would be a distraction.

I have memories of walking the Stations of the Cross with my family.

I recall helping carry a real cross on State Street in Pittsfield, up to St. Mark’s School, as we did the re-enactment outdoors.

Impossible to forget.

No more need be done, other than reflect.

The tradition of  restraint and silence at 3pm makes sense.

No TV.

No Radio.

No Music.

No Mass.

Just Christ on Calvary–fulfilling prophecy from Isaiah 53.

 4 Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
   stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

The Massachusetts “Judas-icial” Court

April 21, 2011

One sad event I’m honored to attend each year is our city’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving vigil.

Our District Attorney’s office invited Marisa, my daughter, to sing the past two years.

One by one, families walk to the altar at the Congregational Church and light a candle, while a photograph of the departed appears projected onto a screen.

The State Police send two troopers as honor guards.

Each year, one of the mothers gets up and talks about her loss.

To close the event, Marisa’s usual song, “Smile,”(though your heart is breaking) by old-time funny-man Charlie Chaplin, strikes a powerful chord.

The vigil is not funny in any way.

It’s an outrage that needs repeating each year.

In spite of real District Attorneys, like ours, David Capeless, there are higher authorities in our State, who don’t deserve their lofty positions.

Since today is Holy Thursday, I’ll try to restrain my anger.

Jesus washed the feet of Judas, just hours before being sold out–and He knew what was coming.

The Massachusetts State Judicial Court, just two days ago, (I almost can’t write this) ruled that;

The odor of marijuana smoke is no longer enough for police officers to order a person out of a parked car.

If that isn’t reason enough, then what is?

Have the Judges not heard of DUI?

Talk about selling out the Moms and Cops.

To give perspective on this “Judas-icial” Court, a few years ago, they ordered the Massachusetts Legislature to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples–legislating law from the bench, not dividing truth, as is their real job.

Now they’ve legislated murder behind the wheel, in the name of “hip-ness.”

They are so cool–NOT!

In honor of the thousands of mothers across America, who’ve lost children to drunk drivers, I’d like to dedicate a song, as I volunteer to wash the feet of these Judges.

It’s called–“Love That Dirty Water–Boston Your My Home”–(for radical murderous Judges).

Sorry Jesus…I couldn’t help myself.