Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Robert Burns Dinner 2016

My brother Mike got tickets to the premier Robert Burns dinner in Columbus, and was kind enough to invite me along for an evening of drinking, dining and alcohol fueled fun.

This is not the first time I've attended this event, but it's far and away the best dinner ever served - and the beer was outstanding.

For anyone that has never attended a Robert Burns dinner, let me explain that it's a carefully staged production number, attended by Burns aficionados and other people who enjoy eating, drinking and having a great time, all under the guise of superior aesthetics and a love of poetry.  Should you attend, it helps if you enjoy haggis and top-shelf scotch whiskey.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Two Party System

I used to believe in the two party system, and by that I mean a party on Friday night and a party on Saturday night.  I still do believe that this is a great system, but not when you get older.  Or just plain old.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pastor Jim and Ruth Riccitelli

I got the latest news about Pastor Jim Riccitelli and his wife Ruth - my Godparents.  They're living in the Shell Point Retirement Community in Ft. Meyers, Florida.  When the elevator in their building needed some extensive repair, they were evicted from their apartment and relocated to an assisted living facility.  They liked it so much they decided to stay.

You can read the entire article online at Riccitellis Test Assisted Living at The Springs (go to page 31); I've included a copy here (used without permission).

Pastor Jim and Ruth
Although it isn't show here, Jim has a brand new electric scooter that he's learning to drive.  I gather it uses a joystick rather than a steering wheel, which poses something of a challenge to a man used to driving his truck across the plains of Burkina Faso.

We are taught that the Lord will provide for us, and He certainly has done for Pastor Jim and Ruth.  When they decided to move to Florida, their house sold in a few weeks for the asking price.  They have a very nice home in Florida, where they've made many new friends, and, from what I hear, Pastor Jim is left retirement for the nth time.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Film Review: The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Last night I watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), a film about a girl who is possessed by demons and who dies shortly after a failed exorcism.  This is advertised as being based on real events, for whatever good that does.

The film is very loosely based on the true story of Anneliese Michel (Anna Elisabeth Michel), who was born in 1952 and passed away in 1976 at the age of 23 due to malnutrition and dehydration. At the time of her death she weighed 68 pounds, had broken both knees and was suffering from pneumonia. She had been undergoing continuous exorcism ceremonies for the past year.

The entire business took place in Klingenberg am Main, Bavaria, West Germany, where I would suppose that such things as death during exorcism raise a few eyebrows.  The accused, including priests and parents, were arrested, tried and found guilty of negligent manslaughter.  The sentences were very light, and no one served any jail time.  The interesting part here is that the sentences were a good deal heavier than the prosecutor requested, who recommended that everyone be allowed to walk away without punishment of any kind.

One argument is that the parents were protected by the German Constitution, which allows for the freedom of religion, or the free exercise of religion.  In practical terms, it would seem that the judge and all the attorneys involved were either very reluctant to cross the Catholic church, or that there was more to the story than neglect, superstition and church rituals not often performed in public.  I'm guessing that it was a combination of the two.

Being a religious man and having lived in haunted houses twice, I'm open to the idea of demonic possession.  I do not subscribe to Catholic ritual as the only sure cure for a case of possession.  Prayer will suffice.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Nice Site

I was looking for Pound's Sestina: Altaforte which I wanted to read for inspiration, and I stumbled across this site by accident: Open Culture.  I haven't time to explore it now, but it looks very interesting.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Tuco and Blondie (Cigar Scene)

As some of you know, I'm selling the old family estate and moving to Columbus, probably for the rest of my life. I was born here and grew up in this house, and as I think about leaving for good and all, I feel a bit like Tuco at the end of this scene from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, where Tuco (Eli Wallach) has just gone through a tumultuous, emotional reunion with his older brother Pablo, who is now a priest. Tuco's brother reveals that their parents are dead, then castigates him, and rejects him. In this scene, Tuco lies about the reunion to his partner in crime, Blondie (Clint Eastwood). Blondie knows the truth about the reunion and responds by offering Tuco his cigar, which Tuco accepts with some consternation. At the end, Tuco shakes off the past and looks ahead to a future he believes will be much better than his past life.

I think that's where I'll end up - shaking the dust from my heels and moving on. It isn't like I haven't moved before, as I've lived any number of places in the U.S., mainly East of the Mississippi, and each place was better than the last.