Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wasting Valuable Time

I've found a lot of ways to waste valuable time with my computer.
(Check the archives...they include links to many of them.)
The latest is an ingenious innovation by the good folks at Google.

The Google Image Labeler makes the drudgery of labeling pictures into a game you can play with others.

I can just imagine the meeting in Silicon Valley when someone at Google said, "We have all these images...how will we ever label them all?" And, a co-worker said, "let's put people to work on it...for free." Their conclusion: "Let's make a game."

With a few clicks you can find yourself in competition with a virtual stranger as you race to label pictures of animals, landscapes and snapshots of famous and infamous people.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it?

Well, check it out.

I'll warn you. It's surprisingly addictive.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A (Belated) Saintly Salute

Today is the Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Or, so I thought, for my entire life as a Cafeteria Catholic. Turns out, the Church switched things up almost 40 years ago. Elizabeth's feast day is now Nov. 17th.


So, why does an ordinary, run-of-the-mill Cafeteria Catholic care about what day the anniversary of the death of a 24-year-old nun in 13th century Hungary?

Well, Elizabeth is the middle name my parents gave me years ago on this day. They picked it because I was born on the Feast of St. Elizabeth. And, through my Catholic upbringing, bearing the name of the saint with whom I shared a special day was quite an honor. When it came to sharing patron saint stories in Catholic school, I always felt like I had a winner. Turning a basket of bread into roses is powerful stuff!

Over the years, I've baked a basket of bread or two. And, in that act, I've always felt a bit of a connection to "my saint". In fact, I've set aside this birthday to bake dozens of dinner rolls for our Thanksgiving feast. That's what got me thinking about St. Elizabeth. I did a bit of quick research and was disappointed to discover the "reform" of the Roman Calendar in 1969 meant Elizabeth's feast day moved back two days.

Yep. I missed the memo.

So, which saint IS being honored this day? Actually, there are several. But, have to say, there isn't a good middle name in the bunch.

Wonder how Mom and Dad would've felt about Medana? Or, Mechtildis? Or, Ermenberga?

Elizabeth has such a nice ring to it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I really don't forward those emails that people say they don't usually forward but send to you anyway. (The cynical side of me suspects these massively forwarded emails are fertile ground for spammers.) Of course, that subjects me to all kinds of bad luck, I know. But, I figure it's worth the risk.

One such email landed in my box the other day from someone I care about and pray for. So, instead of forwarding it to five or more of my friends (who wouldn't really want it anyway), I thought I'd post it here. Tell me, there are at least five of you who pass through this place. Right?

The Subject:
The Message:
God determines who walks into your life...it's up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.

I need this back. If you'll do this for me, I'll do it for you. When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need.

Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.
The Prayer:
Father, God bless my friend in whatever it is that You know they may need this day! And may their life be full of your peace, prosperity, and power as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with you.

The Big Finish:
Then send it on to five other people, including the one who sent it to You. Within hours you caused a multitude of people to pray for other people. Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life.

P.S. Five is good, but more is better.
I'm all over it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Coming to America

After months of being away from the Cafeteria, something called me back today. Over breakfast this morning I heard the news that Pope Benedict XVI is planning a trip to the U.S. next Spring.

"High time," was my first thought.

"What will he see when he gets here?" was my second.

His agenda looks pretty heady for a five or six-day trip: meet the President of the United States at the White House on your 81st birthday; celebrate mass at one baseball stadium and attend a game at another; stop by the United Nations for a chat; celebrate your third papal anniversary with mass at St. Patrick's; and pay your respects at Ground Zero. Along the way they'll be visits with Bishops and educational leaders.

No doubt the pontiff will receive a warm welcome from the faithful from New York and Washington and others who make the pilgrimage for such a rare and important visit.

Will he see those of his flock who have suffered abuse from the 5,000 or more of the priests who have been exposed and have cost the Church nearly $3 billion to make restitution for those charges? Will he see those Catholics among us who are deeply divided on many issues including stem cell research, assisted reproductive technology, birth control and homosexuality?

Will his visit inspire those who wrestle with their faith as well as those who stand fervently in it? That, would be one powerful trip.

We shall see.

Friday, February 09, 2007

New Year, New Blogger

OMG. My first post in 2007 happens well into February.

What's the deal?

Well, I have been busy: work, travel, work, work, work...that sort of thing. And, frankly, there hasn't been much that's inspired me. Where's the Spirit when you really need it?

Tonight, after a frightfully long day that brought to end an unbelievably long week, I took one precious moment to log into my mailbox for the first time in weeks. And, I found this from one Cafeteria patron:

Re: Are You Dead?

Your last posting was some time ago.

Did the GOP do something to you?

Hello? Anybody home?
That post prompted me to act. It also made me laugh. (Thank you!)

I'm pleased to report CafeCath is alive and well. I'm just busy. The GOP has left me alone, as have the Dems. (You see, I don't really fit with either.)

My REAL problem, as it turns out, is Blogger.

You see, it's changed.

It's all new.

I don't know my way around.

I'm not sure I have the time or energy to figure it out.

Not really! It might take some time, but I will - dear patrons - figure it out. You see, I've missed ya. And, I will -- in the words of the Governor of the Great State of California -- be back.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

'Tis The Season

As the holiday season approaches, my thoughts turn to to-do lists, shopping and hearing cheery retail clerks wish me a Happy Chrismukkah.

Not so fast. It looks like things at my neighborhood box store might be a bit different this year.

As you may know, the folks over at the Catholic League take Christmas pretty seriously. They've been pestering Wal-Mart to put Christmas back in the holiday season. And, according to USA Today, it appears the folks at Wal-Mart will be doing more than rolling back prices this holiday season.
New this year:

• A TV ad trumpeting Christmas will air for the first time next week. Wal-Mart also will air TV ads along with the Salvation Army mentioning Christmas.

• The name of the department with Christmas decorating needs will change from The Holiday Shop, which it was for the past several years, to The Christmas Shop.

• Store signs will count down the days until Christmas, and Christmas carols will be piped throughout the season.

• About 60% more merchandise will be labeled "Christmas" rather than "holiday" this year over last.
I suppose that's all good news. But, does it give me any more shopping days?

This Just In -- The Catholic League has launched its 2006 Christmas Watch, a site where you can give a virtual tongue-lashing to any "Christmas Kill-Joys" you meet as you celebrate the spirit of the season. (Does anyone else find that ironic?)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hey, Kids!

Coming soon to DVD: A very animated portrait of our former pontiff, as reported by the BBC.
A cartoon version of the life of Pope John Paul II, telling the story of his life and death in animated form, is to be released on DVD by the Vatican. The film, subtitled The Friend of All Humanity, will be the first cartoon account of a Pope's life.

The cartoon traces the history of a man who rose from humble beginnings in Poland to lead millions of Catholics.

The story is narrated by two white doves and animated versions of his personal diary and fountain pen.
This is one of those things that, for me anyway, is equally intriguing and frightening. (An animated diary and fountain pen?) I was somewhat comforted by the closing line of the BBC's report about the film.

It is intended to appeal particularly to children.
You think?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Good News

You can stir things up in the Catholic Church and still turn out OK. Free Republic provides proof in its report on one of our soon-to-be saints, Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin.
The celebration of a new saint offers a respite from the lawsuits and settlements that have dominated much of the discussion of the U.S. church in recent years, and Guerin's life story can inspire those struggling in their own faith, said members of the religious order she founded, the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods.

"The bishop here in Vincennes was impossible to work with, yet she always kept her faith. She held on to it," said Sister Marcia Speth, one of the order's leaders. "In that way, she witnesses to us how to be today in an imperfect, flawed, sinful church."

Guerin led a group of six French nuns who arrived in Indiana on Oct. 22, 1840, to establish a community in the woods outside Terre Haute. She and Vincennes Bishop Celestin de la Hailandiere struggled over control of the fledgling order, and he dismissed Guerin from her vows, threatened her with excommunication and banished her for a time from St. Mary-of-the-Woods. She did not return until after his resignation in 1847.

In that way, she is like many saints who found themselves bucking church authorities while alive, only to be acclaimed as saints after their deaths, said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame and the author of the 2001 book "Lives of the Saints."

"So many leading figures who had tussles with their bishop or other high-ranking ecclesiastical officials were later rehabilitated. History remembers them, but not the officials who gave them a difficult time," McBrien said. "I dare say that Mother Guerin, as a soon-to-be-canonized saint, will achieve an elevated status that will forever elude the bishop who dismissed her."
Blessed Mother Guerin's canonization is set for tomorrow. Definitely a happy ending.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Had To Do It

Cruising the blogroll, I must admit I stopped and had a bit too much fun at the Church Sign Generator. Found it at blog roll buddy Upper Canada Catholic.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I Never Knew

From the "Things I Never Knew About The Catholic Church" file comes this, via the Associated Press.
She stood at the altar in a white gown and veil, but she was there for no earthly man. Lori Rose Cannizzaro was dedicating her virginity to Jesus.

Saturday's rare Catholic ceremony, one her own pastor didn't know existed, turned the 42-year-old into a 'consecrated virgin.' Fewer than 200 women in the United States and 2,000 worldwide have declared their perpetual virginity this way, according to U.S. Association of Consecrated Virgins.
I don't know which I find more surprising: that the 21st Century Catholic Church is consecrating virgins, or that those of them in U.S. have their own Association, with a web site, no less.

I'm going with the latter.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thank you, St. Cecilia

With continued gratitude to the dedicated ministers who make music in our Church, here's a shout out to St. Cecilia.
St. Cecilia is the Patron Saint of music ministries and choir directors. She was a young patrician vowed to virginity to God, however, her parents engaged her to Valerian, who converted. They lived a life dedicated to celibacy. Her feastday is November 22nd. During the wedding Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse. She was martyred c. 117. She's also Patron Saint of composers, martyrs, poets and singers.
Special thanks to Unapologetic Catholic for the Patron Saints Quiz.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Much Better

From the AP, via Topix.net: Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday encouraged Christians and Muslims in Iraq to continue their centuries-old brotherly ties as he prayed for peace and harmony in the violence-wracked country.

"I hope that these ties of brotherhood between them do not slacken, while, with sentiments of my spiritual closeness, I invite all to join me in asking Almighty God for the gift of peace and of harmony for that martyred country," Benedict said during his traditional Sunday appearance to give faithful his blessing.

Amen to that.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Say what?

What he said.

What I'm doing.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fa la la la la

More music news. This from the World Entertainment News Network:
Pope Benedict XVI has cancelled the Vatican's traditional Christmas concert this year because he doesn't like pop music.

Acts including Simply Red and Ronan Keating were due to appear at the fundraising gig this December.

But the Pope has deemed the event unsuitable for the surroundings, and the concert will now be held in Monte Carlo.

An insider says, "The officials reasons is that it has run its course but the Pope is not a fan of popular music."
Well, we already knew that. Didn't we?