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Friday, December 24, 2004
What would television be without New York's Yule Log on Channel 11?

Flash Link to the WB 11 Yule Log

WB11's 2004 Online YULE LOG!!

The beloved Yule Log, a favorite New York holiday tradition, will again burn twice as long and twice as bright this year on Tribune Broadcasting's WB Television Network affiliate, WPIX Channel 11 (The WB11). The Yule Log, The WB11 video Christmas card to New York, which returned to television in 2001, ending a 12-year hiatus, will again be seen for four hours this Christmas instead of the traditional two hours. It will be seen from 8 am to Noon on Christmas Day (Saturday, Dec. 25). The Yule Log was first expanded from two to four hours for Christmas 2003.

For Christmas 2004 The Yule Log will also be seen in High Definition Television (HDTV) on WPIX's digital channel, WPIX-DT Channel 12. The Yule Log in HDTV, as close as TV can be to a real burning fireplace log, will be available to those with HDTV sets who can receive the WPIX-DT signal. Those with standard TV sets will still be able to see the Yule Log in its traditional format from 8 am to Noon on December 25, Christmas Day. Both versions will feature popular Christmas music in high-fidelity stereophonic sound.

In addition, this year, portions of the WPIX Yule Log will be seen nationally on Christmas Eve beginning at 1:30 am on Superstation WGN, America's only nationwide TV superstation..

The Yule Log, video of a blazing fireplace accompanied by holiday music, was a holiday tradition on Channel 11 from 1966 to 1989. During its hiatus, the many letters and phone calls to Channel 11 requesting its return attested to its undying popularity. The Yule Log has won its time period for WPIX in New York's overnight Nielsen Station Index ratings each year since its return to television.

The Yule Log was the creation of the late Fred Thrower, General Manager of WPIX from 1953 to 1975. "I thought about all the cave dwellers in New York, all the apartments that don't have fireplaces," he remembered in a 1988 interview. "I thought this might be a wonderful way...to let people hear real good Christmas carols and to have their own fireplaces burning."

The first Yule Log was a 17-second film of the fireplace at Gracie Mansion, residence of New York's mayor, shot when John Lindsay was in office. The film was looped to fill a two-hour broadcast. It was re-shot a number of times, always with care that the fireplace should resemble the original at Gracie Mansion. To bring The Yule Log back to TV in 2001, the film was completely remastered using the latest digital technology to give a very sharp picture. The sound track, however, is the original collection of carols that delighted viewers throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

I recall being about the age of my youngest son now and seeing this for the first time. It's not as good as Scrooge's memories on Christmas in the 1790's, but it is fitting for New York's children.

Check local listings. On Time Warner Cable of New York it is on MSG (Madison Square Garden Channel). On cable and broadcast is will be on WPIX at 8am Christmas Day.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:34 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Look at what the New York Times buried on page A15

Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue

...In interviews and public appearances since Election Day, Democratic officials have said that the party should open its doors to abortion opponents and that candidates should make abortion a less central focus of future campaigns...

All these issues that put us into the extreme and not the mainstream really hurt us with the heartland of the country," said Donna Brazile, a Democratic Party leader who managed Al Gore's campaign in 2000. "Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies."

OK. Abortion will be the focus. Abortion will be the central focus. But only less so.

Is that a rallying cry for the pro-life movement or not?

What they are trying to do is conceal their true agenda. What they are not looking for is a strategy to include pro-life people in their party but a better strategy for distracting people who would vote Republican for their pro-life positions.

All the more reason for stopping Giuliani and Schwarzenegger for acquiring influence in the Republican party.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:55 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, December 23, 2004
Merry C-------s! A politically correct primer
In the middle of detailing the horrors the Roman emperor Decius loosed on Christians in AD 250 for a book I'm writing, a friend sent round an Internet story concerning the latest battles in the war against Christmas, part of the effort to entomb Christ with boulders of legalism.

---The Woodbury, N.J., school board has forbidden a high school's brass ensemble to play Christmas carols at their "winter holiday" concert --- not even as instrumentals. Mention of Jesus, angels and even Santa Claus will not be tolerated.

Well, it's a slippery slope, getting presents from Santa to devoting your soul to Jesus, you know.

The examples you've read before, but Sean Wright has an interesting historical perspective.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Followup: Kerik resigns from Giuliani Partners: Newsday
Bernard Kerik may still be a friend of Rudy but he's no longer a Giuliani partner.

Kerik, the scandal-slammed former police commissioner, resigned Wednesday as senior vice president of Giuliani Partners less than two weeks after his nomination for Homeland Security secretary imploded.

In a street-corner news conference, a pale and shaken Kerik said he was quitting immediately to spend time with his family, finish his second book and "clear my good name" after weeks of damaging personal and professional revelations.

This would be a good time for Giuliani to do something, anything, to get something else in the news about this posssible candidate for the Senate or Presidency.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A Christmas Carol: Which One is Your Favorite?

I always try to see a few versions of this each year. Please share with me your favorite or favorites.

1938 Reginald Owen kind of stagey, and the soundtrack is primitive. This is the first Hollywood version with sound.

1951 Alistair Sim This version is quite durable and Sim is excellent at expressing the regret that Scrooge has for his uncharity.

1962 Mr. Magoo First of several animated versions.

1970 Albert Finney (musical)

1983 Mickey's Christmas Carol a interesting character loop: Uncle Scrooge McDuck is based on the Ebenezer Scrooge character.

1984 George C. Scott

1985 Jetson's

1988 Bill Murray (contemporary setting) a lot of fun.

1992 Muppets with Michael Caine My kids favorite.

1994 Flintstone's I don't believe I've ever seen this one.

1999 Patrick Stewart my overall favorite. I own the DVD.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:03 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Today's Lesson, Class is "Freedom of Religion" means "Freedom from Religion"

So, this is what it has come to.

Keep religion out of my school: York Daily Record

As a concerned student and as a concerned human being, I say please and with all due respect, kee the religion out of my school because it has no place in the classroom.

Actually, Danielle calls skepticism of Darwinism, in her terminology "holes", a forbidden subject.

Religion is already in her school in the form of philosophical materialism. The belief, without "scientific proof" in her terminology, is that all exists is matter and energy.

There's been no explanation, nothing close to an explanation in fact, for the information density in life arising from randomness.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:15 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Pope Defrocks Priest Shot By Alleged Victim: AP
Pope John Paul II has defrocked a priest accused of sexually abusing a parishioner who shot the Baltimore cleric years later as publicity mounted over the child abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, The Associated Press has learned.

The pope decided in October to dismiss Maurice Blackwell "from the clerical state," and the Archdiocese of Baltimore received the official documents earlier this month from the Vatican, archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said Wednesday.

There's quite a bit of interesting detail in the report -- such as the fact that the petition for involuntary laicization proceeded ahead of a admission by the accused or a civil or criminal court verdict -- and that according to the Archdiocese spokesman Blackwell retained until this decree the faculties to offer Mass privately.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:25 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Priest Sentenced for Child Porn: AP
A 71-year-old Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography over the Internet has been sentenced to 15 to 21 months in federal prison.

The Reverend Elwood Figurelle, former pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mount Union, also must pay a 20-thousand dollar fine and receive counseling.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:22 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Here's a priest with other priorities
The Rev. Mike Arms of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Inver Grove Heights will be at Friday's Vikings-Packers game: Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Rev. Mike Arms of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Inver Grove Heights asked the archbishop to stand in for him at Mass: I'm a season ticket holder and have been since the franchise started.

I hear there's baseball in Minneapolis on Easter, too.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:10 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Who did these jobs before all the illegal immigrants arrived?

Who bussed tables, washed dishes, cut lawns, put up siding, put down asphalt... before the arrival of the illegal immigrants?

Somehow these jobs were getting done. Until there's zero unemployment among citizens and legal residents, there's no point to inviting illegal immigrants.

The truth is the employers can drive down wages and not be concerned about hours or working conditions when they hire illegal immigrants who have no recourse to the legal system to get decent wages and working conditions.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:43 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Just because it's so cool to link to Al-Jazeerah

Rash of Vandalized Nativity Scenes in the US: Thomas McArdle

Catholic League president William Donohue today discussed the latest wave of vandalized nativity scenes:
“On December 10, we issued a news release documenting 16 instances of nativity scenes that were vandalized nationwide. Since then, there have been 24 more reported incidents that have come to our attention. Here is where they occurred: Grand Rapids, Michigan; Costa Mesa, California; Santa Cruz, California; Anchorage, Alaska; Hanover, Pennsylvania; Lansdale, Pennsylvania; Knoxville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; Epping, New Hampshire; Tiverton, Massachusetts; Neenah, Wisconsin; Morningside, Iowa; Diamondhead, Mississippi; Maplewood, Minnesota; Baxter County, Arkansas; Murrieta, California; Grand Traverse County, Michigan; Plainfield, New Jersey (2 crèches were vandalized); Volusia County, Florida; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Princeton, Indiana; Whitman, Massachusetts; Norwalk, Connecticut.”
Here's the link to the Catholic League's page

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:21 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Just Leave Christmas Alone: Charles Krauthammer
It is Christmastime, and what would Christmas be without the usual platoon of annoying pettifoggers rising annually to strip Christmas of any Christian content? With some success:

School districts in New Jersey and Florida ban Christmas carols. The mayor of Somerville, Mass., apologizes for "mistakenly" referring to the town's "holiday party" as a "Christmas party." The Broward and Fashion malls in South Florida put up a Hanukah menorah but no nativity scene. The manager of one of the malls explains: Hanukah commemorates a battle and not a religious event, though he hastens to add, "I really don't know a lot about it." He does not. Hanukah commemorates a miracle, and there is no event more "religious" than a miracle.

The attempts to de-Christianize Christmas are as absurd as they are relentless. The United States today is the most tolerant and diverse society in history. It celebrates all faiths with an open heart and open-mindedness that, compared to even the most advanced countries in Europe, are unique.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004
...the opportunity for peace presented by planned Palestinians elections on Jan. 9 to replace longtime leader Yasser Arafat, who died last month.

So, Arafat was an impediment to peace? What's possible now that wasn't possible when Arafat was alive?

Archbishop Michel Sabbah: Bethlehem today is a 'prison': USA Today

Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, has been turned into a large prison by the separation barrier Israel is building in the West Bank, the top Roman Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land said Tuesday.
So does everyone at USA Today have such short memory?

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was seized by terrorists in April 2002.

The Christians at the Church including priests and nuns held as hostages were tortured, everything of value was stolen, everything else of religious significance was destroyed by the terrorists. (Details)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Who Stole Christmas: Maggie Gallager
A certain combustible combination of old-style WASP etiquette rules (Never discuss religion or politics at the dinner table) and a newly aggressive secularist orthodoxy, which travels to its adherents under the strange name of "tolerance."

Religious liberty is hard.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Jesus Christ: The name that must not be spoken

I'm going to compile some links and excerpts from the best I've seen this December on the culture war over Christmas.

The first is from Peggy Noonan who writes in OpinionJournal.com

Mr. Gerson was eloquent, his arguments apt. But what seemed most telling was his being questioned on whether, when the president refers to belief, he is speaking in "code" to evangelicals. No, said Mr. Gerson, "they're not code words, they're our culture." He said that when he put in a reference to T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets" in a speech, he was not sending a code; he was making a literary reference that springs from our culture. The same with religious references. They are not "a plot" or "a secret."

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Bill Donahue of the Catholic League Replies: Beliefnet
Ever since Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and I squared off against each other on the December 8 edition of MSNBC's “Scarborough Country,” he has been on a tear lambasting me for commenting that “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.” Context is always important, so let’s take a look at it. Just before I spoke, Boteach mocked The Passion of the Christ, saying, “It really should win the World Wrestling Federation Oscar for best movie. It's a guy for two hours being kicked, beaten, his blood gushing everywhere. It's just a diabolical, criminal, violent mess.” Thanks, Shmuley, for being so sensitive about that “guy.”
Credit: Relapsed Catholic

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:47 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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You might recall the largest American organization to protest "The Passion of the Christ"

Pope meets with Anti-Defamation League leaders

Pope John Paul II greeted a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to the Vatican with a prayer for an end to racism and assurances that the "close bonds of friendship" between Catholics and Jews would continue.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:33 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The progress of paganism: the Earth as the body of God.

Protecting all of God's creation: South Bend Tribune

About 15 years ago, Sister Mary Turgi was given a small kitten.

Sister, as the kitten was called, brought her owner closer to the natural world.

"I developed an intense relationship with this cat," Turgi said. "I think I realized she was just one piece of the nonhuman world.

"If she was so important, so was the rest of the world."

Turgi also studied holistic medicine when Sister developed kidney disease.

Sister died a few months ago but left her legacy.

Text of the Earth Stations (PDF link), sample
We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise.

To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms, we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.

I know very little about the Sisters of the Holy Cross, but the article here and the Earth Stations don't provide any sign of being Catholic or for that matter, Christian. Exactly to whom is the above prayer being directed?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:12 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, December 20, 2004
Bill Donahue Unleashed
Scarborough Country Transcript Dec. 8

Bill Donahue: I spoke to Mel a couple of weeks ago about this. And I don‘t think it really matters a whole lot to him. It certainly doesn‘t matter to me. We‘ve already won.

Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It‘s not a secret, OK? And I‘m not afraid to say it. That‘s why they hate this movie. It‘s about Jesus Christ, and it‘s about truth. It‘s about the messiah.

Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.

You have got secular Jews. You have got embittered ex-Catholics, including a lot of ex-Catholic priests who hate the Catholic Church, wacko Protestants in the same group, and these people are in the margins. Frankly, Michael Moore represents a cult movie. Mel Gibson represents the mainstream of America.

That's extreme, even for me, Bill.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:35 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Fooey to the World: Festivus Is Come By Allen Salkin: New York Times
Gather around the Festivus pole and listen to a tale about a real holiday made fictional and then real again, a tale that touches on philosophy, King Lear, the pool at the Chateau Marmont hotel, a paper bag with a clock inside and, oh yes, a television show about nothing.

The first surprise is that from Tampa Bay, Fla., to Washington, from Austin, Tex., to Oxford, Ohio, many real people are holding parties celebrating Festivus, a holiday most believe was invented on an episode of "Seinfeld" first broadcast the week before Christmas in 1997.

"More and more people are familiar with what Festivus is, and it's growing," said Jennifer Galdes, a Chicago restaurant publicist who organized her first Festivus party three years ago. "This year many more people, when they got the invite, responded with, `Will there be an airing of the grievances and feats of strength?' "

Those two rituals — accusing others of being a disappointment and wrestling — are traditions of Festivus as explained on the show by the character Frank Costanza. On that episode he tells Kramer that he invented the holiday when his children were young and he found himself in a department store tug of war with another Christmas shopper over a doll. "I realized there had to be a better way," Frank says.

So he coined the slogan "A Festivus for the rest of us" and formulated the other rules: the holiday occurs on Dec. 23, features a bare aluminum pole instead of a tree and does not end until the head of the family is wrestled to the floor and pinned.

The actual inventor of Festivus is Dan O'Keefe, 76, whose son Daniel, a writer on "Seinfeld," appropriated a family tradition for the episode. The elder Mr. O'Keefe was stunned to hear that the holiday, which he minted in 1966, is catching on. "Have we accidentally invented a cult?" he wondered.


To postulate grandly, the rise of Festivus, a bare-bones affair in which even tinsel is forbidden, may mean that Americans are fed up with the commercialism of the December holidays and are yearning for something simpler. Or it could be that Festivus is the perfect secular theme for an all-inclusive December gathering (even better than Chrismukkah, popularized by the television show "The O.C."). Or maybe, postulating smally, it's just irresistibly silly.

Interpretations of the holiday's rules differ among Festivus fundamentalists. Take the pole. On the show Frank Costanza says it must be aluminum and "it requires no decoration." But he does not specify what should hold it up nor its exact height.

Krista Soroka, 33, the host of a annual Festivus party in Tampa Bay, sank her five-footer into a green plastic pot filled with sand this year. "It's just an aluminum pole," she said, "like Frank says.'

After her party last year, she gave each of the 100 guests a miniature: a two-inch-tall ceramic pot filled with plaster of paris with a nail sticking out of the center.

Mike Osiecki, 26, a financial analyst in Atlanta, scheduled his Festivus gathering for friends and colleagues for Friday. He said his pole, which he bought for $10 at Home Depot, is suspended by fishing line on his porch, so "people can stare at it or dance around it if they want to."

Aaron Roberts, 28, a zoology graduate student in Oxford, Ohio, unscrewed a post from a set of metal shelves and sank it through the top of a cardboard box with weights inside...

A Web site she has set up, www.kwillis.com/festivus.html, provides downloads of a feats of strength challenge card, a list of grievances form and Festivus greeting cards, including one that reads, in a Hallmark-like typeface, "You're a disappointment! Happy Festivus!" Another Web site, www.crazygrrl.com, offers Festivus e-mail cards.

Ms. Soroka, in Tampa Bay, who has guests write their grievances in a ledger so she can show it at parties all year long, has added karaoke this year.

Some things just grow. "Last year," said Ms. Galdes of Chicago, "there was break dancing. I don't know how that happened."

My prediction: they want to make this bigger than Christmas, maybe even bigger than Kwanzaa.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Robert Blake's role as a priest was short-lived.

Hell Town was the made-for-TV movie and television series which featured Robert Blake as Father Hardstep in 1985.

Opening statements began today in his murder trial.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:31 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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God's Christmas Message to the World

I'm ready. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

The Economist has a story on the End of the World. (paid subs. reqd.)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:12 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I may be “extreme” but no one here is calling for the death of Brandy Korman for apostasy

Islam Online greets a Catholic convert to Islam

After the 9/11 attacks, Brandy Korman became curious to know more about Islam.

She started with tying the words “Islam” and “Quran” in the Google search engine but only few months later she embraced Islam and then married a Muslim.

We can pray for her.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:47 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Two cities approach Christmas thinking of the neediest

Los Angeles: Movie Stars Help Father Maurice Chase on Christmas Day

Father Maurice Chase, Los Angeles Catholic priest, former Assistant to the President of Loyola Marymount University, and Skid Row activist, will "give out" on Christmas Day $15,000 in one dollar bills to the poor and homeless on L.A.'s Skid Row!

The "free" money will be handed out in front of the Fred Jordan Mission at 5th & Towne Streets beginning at 12:00 noon on Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25th.

The Christmas gifts will be given to the poor and homeless, larger amounts to mothers with children, and a number of one hundred dollar bills to the poorest and very neediest.

The Skid Row ministry is financially supported by Mrs. Bob Hope, Mrs. Frank Sinatra, Bob Newhart, Eli Broad, Mrs. Henri Mancini, Georgia Frontiere, Vin Scully and many others.

The Bogus Beggar: New York Post

Laula Headley dressed for her job in Midtown — wearing a filthy blanket and a pathetic look on her tear-streaked face.

Then she headed home at the end of a busy day — clad in a casual-chic jogging outfit and a warm hat.

Meet the Fifth Avenue faker — a fixture for four years on the famous thoroughfare, where she begs change from high-fashion shoppers.

Last Saturday, camped out in front of the Louis Vuitton store, it took her only 20 minutes to collect $18 in bills, several dollars more in coins and one cup of cocoa from a middle-aged man who also gave her a gentle warning, "Careful, it's hot."

When work was over for the day, Headley hobbled slowly across Fifth Avenue, doubled over as if in pain.

She walked into a telephone kiosk — and, like Superman, emerged transformed.

Wearing her jogging clothing, she stood straight up, took a sip of the cocoa and strode off.

Headley, 36, claims the blanket, the tears, the bent-over shuffle are no Christmas con.

The blanket?

"That's what I use to wrap myself to go to sleep anyway," she explained.

And the slow, shuffling walk?

That, she said, was because she didn't "want to step on [her blanket] or trip."

But what about those tears?

"If you hold your eyes open long enough, they come down your face," she said. "Or you sit back, you reminisce on the past and it makes you sad."

But she admits the blanket does help her cash flow.

"It takes a long time to get $10" when she's wearing her store-bought clothes, she said.

"When I go out with my blanket, the money comes fast."

Harry Yancey, a security guard at Van Cleef & Arpels, said that before Headley upgraded to a blanket, she'd lie on the street wrapped only in black garbage bags.

"I think she's a con artist," he said. "I pity con artists. To go through that routine is hard. She deserves whatever she earns."

Another area worker was less sympathetic.

"She gets paid more than I do," he said. He estimated that "on a good day, [she makes] $200 at least."

Headley insists she deserves all the sympathy she gets.

She said she wound up on the streets when she lost both her parents at age 24.

"I basically just gave up," she said. "I stopped going to church."

She used to sleep in the station at 57th Street and Sixth Avenue, but when she hit the jackpot with her penniless pageant she gave up sleeping on a bench for nicer digs — an apartment on 123rd Street where she stays with a friend.

Not counting handfuls of coins or the price of a cocoa, the $18 she earned last Saturday would average to a comfortable tax-free $103,680 a year — if she could lie on her corner 40 hours a week. City panhandling laws make that impractical, but Midtown observers say she moves from corner to corner to escape notice.

"Sometimes worried people call EMS for her," Yancey said. "When they come, she gets up and says, 'I'm all right.' "

Perhaps she read in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Man With the Twisted Lip.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:34 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Priest Gives Up the Fight

This school vs. parish conflict which I blogged in September 2004 has been resolved.

Westschester Journal-News

A Roman Catholic priest who has announced that he would resign from his church after months of pressure from the Archdiocese of New York said yesterday he made his decision to allow his divided parish to heal. "My job is to make sure that I'm doing the best for everybody," the Rev. Anthony Giuliano said after the 9 a.m. Mass at Holy Rosary Church — even if that means going to another parish. Cardinal Edward Egan asked Giuliano to step down in March after a letter-writing campaign by a group of parents of children at the parish school who complained that the priest was unsupportive of the school. Giuliano initially refused to step down and planned to take his case to the Vatican.

A spokesman for Egan said that the request did not indicate that Egan has sided against Giuliano, but rather that the archdiocese was trying to heal a rift in the congregation.

"Our goal was from the beginning to do what was best for everyone involved. That includes all the parishioners as well as Father Giuliano himself," said Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York. "No one should see this as a judgment on Father Giuliano or his priesthood. He remains a priest in good standing. This is not disciplinary in any way."

I wonder which side the new pastor will take -- to alienate the school parents by taking away the subsidy or closing the school or to alienate the parishers by continuing to subsidize the cash-hemmoraging school.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:24 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, December 19, 2004
Answering Email (2)

I teach two classes for my parish, one is a First Communion/Confirmation class for children 10 to 14 who have never been taught the faith. This is the first year of a two year program for their sacramental preparation,.

The other class is an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) class for teens 14 to 18 who have not been baptized. (Perhaps it should be called RCIT for "teen")

In the RCIA class I've been careful to explain what the big picture is in terms of what the Church will require them to learn and what obligations they will have as Catholics. I learned that some people left RCIA programs because the scope of what was entailed was not explained up front.

I'm required to follow a predetermined syllabus but within that I strive to make it Christ-centered for the reason that this is how the Apostles evangelized.

I played some videos in last two weeks with the Gospel accounts of the birth and childhood of Jesus.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Answering Email (1)

Thanks to people who have written email who say this blog is worth reading and it's like the blog that inspired this blog's start exactly two years ago: Mark Shea's "Catholic and Enjoying It". Mark's work online especially in Catholic Exchange is always inspirational. I look forward to the resumption of his blog.

I started on pre-Internet online bulletin boards defending the Catholic faith in 1984. Some of the stuff I wrote on bit.listserv.catholic ten years ago lingers on in Google's file servers.

What gets into the blog is what interests me at the moment. I don't try to be comprehensive, but I do try to find some obscure Catholic stories, especially stories on the fringe.

Our religion is a religion of faith, hope, and love that leads to joy, triumph, and the glory of God.

The true test for any Catholic blogger will come when they discover in the Particular Judgment that the blog added to or deducted from their time in Purgatory.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:34 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Davey and Goliath Return to Save Christmas

but this is not your parent's Davey and Goliath.

It's called Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas, and it features new characters who are Jewish and Muslim. The Muslim character Yasmeen is depicted here.

It will be on the Hallmark Channel and Davey's denomination is Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Simpson's Reference: Maude Flanders' speaking about her son Todd's TV habits: "Well, he used to watch Davey & Goliath, but he thought the idea of a talking dog was blasphemous..." from "Bart the Lover"

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:47 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Christmas is leaving New York, to be replaced by the Apocalypse

Lions' wreaths no mane event: Daily News

Patience and Fortitude will be looking a little bare this holiday season.

The famous library lions that stand guard over the main branch at 42nd St. and Fifth Ave. St. won't be wearing their usual Christmas wreath necklaces - or any other decorations for some time to come.

The holiday tradition - and photo op for countless tourists - has fallen victim to pollution, which has corroded the marble on the silent sentries outside the majestic Beaux-Arts building. (December 13, 2002)

I note that that were were funds for a lavish staff Christmas Holiday party in 2004, however. The photo in this blog is from the last Christmas where the lions wore the wreath with a red, white, and blue ribbon, 2001.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com