Nov 20, 2008

Advice from an Ex-Hobo

The Catholic Crescat blog writes succinctly:
... Quite frankly I am sick of hearing, reading and discussing the economy. Our nation has been exposed for the greedy materialistic and hedonistic giant that it is... "single issue" voting a socialist dictator into the white house because the economy is all those voters seemed to care about. Don't let them fool you with that tripe mantra 'yes we can' and their claims to have voted for the future based on his empty promises... they voted for their own self interests reflected in the economy. Period.

Chances are if you are reading this right now, you are not destitute and blogging from inside your cardboard box by the dumpster behind the KFC.

Consider yourself blessed.
Crescat's post reminds me of my Dad who died 30 years ago and who hopefully has been forgiven of all his sins (that to me seemed minor). Fortunately a very good priest met my convert father in the emergency room at the hospital on the day he died and gave him the Last Sacraments of Confession, Holy Communion, and Extreme Unction (Sacrament of the Sick).

When I was young and living at home, my Dad occasionally had to remind my Mother who, with several kids, worried about things such as lack of jobs, high prices, financial setbacks, and other bad happenings in our material lives. When Dad was out of work for long stretches (as long as six to seven months), Mother could be a real worrier.

In contrast, Dad was an ex-hobo of the Great Depression and rode in (or on) train boxcars, begged for food and jobs, and carried a canvas tarp and wool blanket with which to sleep on the ground. Dad would always reassure our worried Mother with these words:
We have good health, a warm place to sleep at night, and enough to eat. What else do we need?
.....Good words of my Dad to remember for a lifetime.

BTW, here are definitions of hobos, tramps, and bums:
A hobo is a person that travels to work.
A tramp is a person that travels and won't work.

A bum is a person that will neither travel or work.

Coin Laundries

How many of you visit a coin laundry? If Jesus loves the poor, then he loves coin laundries because that's where poor people wash and dry their clothes.

Do you ever leave good Catholic literature there? Poor people do not usually have the money to subscribe to magazines, but they will pick up and scan/read whatever magazines or newspapers are left lying around while they wait for the laundry machines to finish their work.

Remember that it is wrong to throw away valuable things. Don't discard good Catholic magazines and newspapers in the trash or in the recycling bin. Share your Catholic faith with others at coin laundries.

Nov 19, 2008

Rumors, Lies, and Fear

A good Catholic friend has the penchant for debunking emails and Internet ‘information.’ He’s quite good at it so our family relies on his good searches and common sense. Here’s a few examples of mass emailed errors plus abbreviated responses of the past few months (and no, he doesn’t rely on the prejudiced Snopes, factcheck, or
  • Master Limited Partnerships are great investments—My friend analyzed TNH, FGP, APL, RVEP, SPH, and ETP to show significant problems for MLPs in the markets.
  • During 1987 Congressional hearings, Col. Oliver North told Senator Gore said his home alarm system was installed because Obama bin Laden had personally threatened to kill him—Not true: Col. North himself issued a statement in 2001 that disputed the outrageously false yet widely distributed email.
  • Steve Fossett wanted to disappear and ‘took a hike’—A lot of speculation and not much fact about a secret mistress or secret bank accounts….out of character for him. The guy seemed to love the limelight. [Note: Fossett’s plane crashed and he died in the accident, but the plane and body were not discovered for a year]
  • Dell Computer is doing poorly against competition from Chinese computer manufacturers —Dell currently is doing quite well against much smaller Lenovo, and ACER is not Chinese, it is Taiwanese.
  • Precious metals and oil have to go up, and the dollar has to go down—Don’t sell or buy because of fear and panic. But if you’re thinking about these investments, today is certainly the best time in the past year to be thinking about it. However, it might still be a bit early. Fools and their money are soon parted.
  • Convert everything to gold—Rather, stay diversified, unless you can afford to take big risks (i.e. gamble). Have some of your assets in cash, some in stocks, some in real estate, even a little in gold and silver. Then, sell a little stock when everyone else is buying it, and buy a little stock when everyone else is selling it. Same with real estate, if your holdings permit you to do it.

Nov 17, 2008

When the Cow Went Dry

Whenever our cow periodically went dry back in the 40's, we no longer had milk for us kids. Necessarily, we began to drink store-bought milk in glass jugs until after the next calf was born. The store-bought milk was pasteurized, but not homogenized, so the cream floated to the top of the glass jars. The cream could either be stirred into the milk for drinking or poured off for use in coffee, cooking, or to make butter.

When homogenization was introduced (~1950), many people were upset. They suspected some of the more valuable cream was being removed by the dairy, because now it was impossible to tell how much cream was in the milk.

Only a couple of times did my parents need to buy essential milk on a Sunday. First of all, Mother always used weekdays to do all her shopping. Second, no stores were open on Sunday, except for gas stations, a few of which also sold milk and bread.

I've wondered this week about what God has thought of the past 70 years of our country's laws, morals, family life, etc. My conclusion is that God was most grievously offended beginning in the late 1940's and 1950's when "Keeping the Lord's Day" was abandoned. Until that time, 'Sunday closing laws' of the states restricted Sunday shopping except for necessary items.

Most Sunday closing laws (termed 'blue laws') were repealed or were ignored by the end of the 50's. Some argued that 'blue laws' were unconstitutional, and most Sunday closing laws were repealed or were ignored by the beginning of the 60's. The Supreme Court, in the case of McGOWAN v. MARYLAND, eventually decided in 1961 that
"The present purpose and effect of most of our Sunday Closing Laws is to provide a uniform day of rest for all citizens; and the fact that this day is Sunday, a day of particular significance for the dominant Christian sects, does not bar the State from achieving its secular goals."
As can be seen in the above statement, the Supreme Court had decided to ignore the religious foundations of our government and only rely on the "secular goals" of the State. Moreover, it was too late to reverse the established practice of people who found it convenient to shop on Sunday. In the late 1940s, there was only one A&P grocery story that opened for business on Sunday. Unfortunately, it attracted a lot of customers, and many other stores followed.

It didn't take long for a massive change in religious practice to occur so that the majority of U.S. citizens violated the Third Commandment. If they didn't violate it by working, they violated it by buying unnecessary goods and causing others to have to work on Sunday.

In 2000, Hobby Lobby decided to close all its stores on Sunday and remains almost the sole national chain that respects the Lord's Day. Even Aldi Foods, which formerly was closed on Sunday, recently opened its doors for business on the Lord's Day.