- The true sign when a celebrity's life has hit bottom is when he/she is portrayed by Gerard Mulligan on the David Letterman show. Mulligan was Letterman's chief writer for years and is as funny and shameless a fellow as you will see. Yesterday, he went out on stage ostensibly as Britney Spears, wearing a platinum pageboy wig, a dark gray hoodie (with a menorah hanging out) and blue jeans. The thing is, Mulligan is about 6 feet tall, bearded and probably weighs about 275 pounds. Letterman asked "Britney" what she planned to do about global warming and the answer was "I'm switching to frozen margaritas." The message here is that Britney needs to take the trip up Highway 8, and quick.
- Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and that means the Lenten season is upon us. For many Christians, especially us Catholics, we tend to associate Lent with giving something up, like smoking, or eating doughnuts. When I was a kid I remember making a joke of it - I think I gave up Brussels sprouts one year, and okra another. But there is a better approach - rather than give something up, Lent is really an excellent time to do something for other people, whether through charitable donations or good works. But here's the key - don't make a big deal of it. In yesterday's Gospel, Jesus speaks about those who are ostentatious in their giving, or obvious in their fasting. There's a pretty large self-congratulatory streak in the American persona; we talk big, act big, think big and we strut, strut, strut. But as Jesus points out, God sees everything we do, big or small, loud or quiet. And my sense is that the quiet moments are the most telling.
- Barack Obama's campaign took the bait. David Geffen unloaded on Hillary and Bill Clinton to Maureen Dowd. A Clinton operative demanded that Obama denounce Geffen and return any money he'd received. Obama's campaign, touted as not using negative tactics, immediately slammed the Clintons. And thus America's savior is brought into the dirt, on Ash Wednesday to boot. Didn't take long at all, now did it? Now, if we can only get someone to do up a flow chart so we can keep track of who said what to whom.
- Speaking of things not lasting long; my beloved Badgers made it to Number One in the polls on Monday, then get swatted down by Michigan State the next day. They just can't stand prosperity in the Badger State.
- I would like to commend to your attention a blogger who has been visiting here from time to time lately. His name is Ben (not my son Ben) and he posts at www.hammerswing75.blogspot.com . Ben is a divinity student and a thoughtful guy who posts regularly on a range of topics that are near and dear to our hearts. He writes well, thinks clearly and has a good sense of humor. There's no gainsaying those qualities, which are often in short supply in Wild West of cyberspace. Go check him out - highly recommended. Here's a sample, in which our hero dispatches Valentine's Day with verve and panache:
So tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Harumph. I don't much care for it. Now that sounds downright dismissive and it would be easy to accuse me of sour grapes. (Go ahead if you want). It's tempting to explain why I don't care for it: idealization of romantic love without giving a bit of glory to its fundamentals, for example. But that's still harumphy. So with a nod to Seinfeld...
I declare tomorrow to be The Ides of February. Give a can of nuts to someone you esteem, who shows positive moral traits and an optimistic outlook on life. Show them some appreciation and let them know how they brighten your day. Why nuts? Because they're salty! So if you prefer give them a bag of potato chips or some soy sauce. Just let them know that they are the salt of the earth.