Prepare for battle

wrestleIn a couple days, Pope Francis and Donald Trump will meet face to face, person to person, two heavyweight approaching the center ring of international diplomacy.

I have been reading the advance predictions about what they will discuss and whether there will be sparks.  From what some writers suggest, this could be a titanic, awkward clash of irreconcilable differences.

Of course, the news media depend on conflict, so it won’t be much of a story if Francis and Trump get together, swap recipes, and tell family stories.  The press wants blood, and given the history of these two men, they have some reason to expect it.

Despite being people of different cultures, occupations, and histories, Francis and Trump have one huge thing in common:  causing chaos in the public square.  For Trump, the tool of choice is Twitter.  For Francis, the tool of choice is the off-the-cuff comment, often in an airplane news conference.

The assumption is that these two giants of the international stage have little to nothing in common – but I dare to disagree.  Some examples:

Francis worries about global warming and Trump is a skeptic.  But both want the earth of prosper and people to have enough food and shelter.

Trump wants to build a wall and Francis favors bridges.  But both want a workable immigration system that helps those in need and recognizes the sovereignty of nations.

Both men are Christians and want the persecution of Christians around the world to end.

At the risk of sounding like a beauty pageant participant, I believe both men want world piece, although they likely won’t agree on the steps to get there.

There won’t be fisticuffs, mud wrestling or foul language.  There will be a search for common ground and an effort to build a foundation for collaboration.

I have a sense they could become friends.

Mother of all whatever

BLU-82_Daisy_Cutter_FireballPope Francis got lots of media attention (a common event) this week when he expressed shame at the American reference to dropping the “mother of all bombs” on some nasty people in Afghanistan.

The bomb’s official name is GBU-43 Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB). I suppose MOAB could be an acronym for “mother of all bombs.”

In any event, I agree with the Pope that the mixing of bombs and motherhood I a bit distressing.  Motherhood ought to involve cuddly babies, pot roast in the oven and mini-vans going to soccer matches.  No bombs allowed.

This motherly controversy inspired me to do some research and I discovered that the term “mother of all” is, well, the mother of all phrases.  That is, it turns up often.

There is evidence is has Arabic origins, with Saddam Hussein having called the Gulf War the “mother of all battles.”  For Saddam, it turn out to be the “mommy dearest” of all battled.

The mother of all modified has been widely applied:

  • Mother of all marches
  • Mother of all terrorist groups
  • Mother of all questions
  • Mother of all countdowns
  • Mini of all mini lipstick duo
  • Mother of all lists
  • Mother of all brunches
  • Mother of all herbs

You get the idea.  Something really big and special becomes “mother of whatever.”  It could be something good or something bad – mother of all chocolate bars or mother of all mosquitos.  Frankly, mother really doesn’t make sense in any of these examples.

Therefore, I propose an alternative to mother of all:  honking humungous.  It works really well with a range of topics:

  • Honking humungous elephant
  • Honking humungous argument
  • Honking humungous army
  • Honking humungous computer

I think it works.  And even though I set out to write the mother of all blogs, I’m happy to settle for one that is just honking humungous.

Another step toward total depredation

deathThe “Newsbusters” headline sums it up:  Jewelry Company Offers Parents ‘Sacred Art’ Made of IVF Embryos.

That’s right, fertility fans who have leftover embryos after conspiring with modern medicine to play God, can make jewelry from the uncompleted, potential humans.

I would say this is as sick as it can get, but I’ve said that before and been proved wrong.  So…I’m sure something more horrendous will crop up sooner than you can imagine.

Humans have a long and sordid history of misusing parts of dead people.

There is evidence that some Mesoamericans used human heads in a game resembling soccer.

Some Native American tribes ate the organs of defeated enemies, apparently in the belief the practice gave them greater strength.

Some ancient cultures used the skin of defeated enemies to make wall coverings.  The Nazis updated this practice to the creation of human skin lamps.

Chopping off heads has been a practice from ancient times through the Middle Ages, the French Revolution and today’s beheading enthusiasts, ISIS.

Thus, the problem of what to do with a leftover body or part of a body has long challenged the crueler side of the human mind.  Severed heads can be hung from a pole or be impaled on a post.

Now, I’m sure someone will raise the issue of those creepy Catholics and their relics.  You know, pieces of saints’ bones, fingernails, hair and whatever.

No, it isn’t the same, for many reasons, of which I’ll state only the most obvious:

·       Catholics don’t abuse the body parts of enemies, they venerate the relics of really great people.

·       We keep them in respectful containers, not in hoop earrings or souvenir pendants.

There is a huge difference between honoring a saint’s relic and desecrating a body.  Desecrating a baby’s body is hard to comprehend.

We think our culture is so advanced.  We’ve put behind us all the barbaric practices of the past.  But somehow, they keep cropping up.

What would be grosser than making dead babies into cufflinks?  I don’t know, but I’m sure someone already is working on it.


Bravely forward I go

teeth-887338_960_720Yesterday was my day of bravery.  I left my home, alone and unsupported in my moment of challenge.  A short drive and I arrived at the place where I would offer myself for assessment and potential discomfort.

Yes, I went to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned.  Having my teeth cleaned isn’t painful, but my dentist is thorough almost always finds something that requires further attention.  Perhaps a cavity or a crack in a tooth.  Yesterday, she recommended a cap for a crumbling molar; I said I’ll procrastinate until my next cleaning.  Getting a tooth cap isn’t physically painful, but financially so.

A couple years ago, my dentist sent me to a specialized oral surgeon to have some specialized work on my very special gums.  The doctor did a fine job and it didn’t hurt much (physically).

I like my dentist and have great confidence in her judgement and skills.  But she doesn’t do the specialized work she sent me down the road to receive.  And it never occurred to me to demand she do the work – or sue her if she refused.  I don’t think it makes sense to force someone to poke around in your mouth who doesn’t want to be there.

So…I’m mentioning all this to cautiously sneak into the subject of sex-transition surgery.  This is both more serious and more silly than dentistry.  But like dentistry, it requires certain skills and isn’t to be taken lightly.

I recently read about a woman who wants to be a man, for which she wants to undergo surgery.  The thought of such surgery is inconceivable to me.  And such surgery is inconceivable to the private Catholic hospital where the woman desiring manhood asked to have her surgery.

The hospital explained that it is Catholic and doesn’t do surgery that runs counter to God’s plan, which doesn’t include trying to surgically convert women to men.  As could easily be predicted, the woman and the hospital now are embroiled in a lawsuit.  The woman says she has suffered terrible discrimination and, of course, is getting help from the American Civil Liberties Union.

As I said earlier, this is both serious and silly. It is serious because a Catholic hospital should never have to defend its practice of the Catholic faith.  And it is silly because, well, I can’t imagine suing someone to operate on a part of me they don’t want to operate on – especially THOSE parts.