Friday, June 30, 2006
One of the more unusual aspects of Mike Deasy's tale of life in the 1960s Los Angeles rock world is that Deasy survived with his spirit (and brain cells) intact. Via rock historian Steve Stanley, here's a reminder that not all musicians of the era were so fortunate: the first page and the second page of Stanley's 2003 Mojo interview with Bobby Jameson, a former prodigy of both Frank Zappa and the Rolling Stones.
On the positive side, the article does mention that Jameson's been sober for the past 27 years. The turning point, he says, was when he went to sleep after a night of bingeing and woke up next to a corpse.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
[The following is an article I wrote for Mojo magazine in August 2001 that never made it to print. I'm sorry they didn't use it, because Deasy was so gracious in telling me his story. I haven't been in touch with him since then, and hope he is still active. He was still an amazingly powerful guitarist in 2001; I saw him perform before Pentecostalist churchgoers and he really slayed them. If you'd like to reprint this story, please e-mail me, dawn -at- dawneden.com.]
When imagining the prototypical Sixties session musician, one generally pictures a clean-cut gent in shirtsleeves, not a bearded hipster bearing incense and a goatskin rug. Then again, there weren’t many studio musicians like Mike Deasy, a powerhouse guitarist who cut a wide swath through Los Angeles studios. Even as he juggled sessions with Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, and Elvis Presley, he found time to record acid-drenched psychedelic albums under names like the Ceyleib People and Friar Tuck.
Deasy, now a successful Christian musician, has never before spoken to the press about his Sixties exploits. Reached by phone while on tour in Lexington, Kentucky, he says that he started playing rock and roll while attending high school in an L.A. suburb. Upon graduation in 1959, he joined Eddie Cochran's band, the Kelly Four, playing both baritone sax (you can hear him on Cochran's "Hallelujah I Love Her So") and guitar.
After Cochran's untimely death in April 1960, Deasy toured with the leaderless group for a time before returning to L.A. There, he quickly developed a reputation as an astonishingly dextrous--yet disciplined--guitarist, equally comfortable reading music charts or improvising fiery riffs. By the end of 1965, he was doing 15 sessions a week including ones for the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, which he remembers fondly. "Brian Wilson couldn't write out the musicians’ parts, and he didn't hire an arranger to do it. Instead, he would say to each musician, 'Now, you play this,' and he would hum out a part. He could describe sounds to you, too. If you just listened to one part of it without hearing all the others, it almost didn't make sense. But we all knew that we were going somewhere with this music."
Although Deasy only did a few sessions with Phil Spector, he is often named as a member of Spector's legendary Wrecking Crew, because he recorded frequently with Crew members such as drummer Hal Blaine, bass player Joe Osborne, and keyboardist Larry Knechtel. Together, Deasy says, this elite group had a chemistry that belied their studio origins. "We played with each other twelve, fourteen hours a day. A person could walk in with a song, and, without any rehearsal, we would record the song and sound like we had been playing it all our lives."
In 1967, Deasy contributed psychedelic guitar stylings to recordings by producer Curt Boettcher's groups the Ballroom and the Millennium. (He says Boettcher and friends would jokingly put microphones on incense to pick up the "good vibes".) He also produced several trippy recordings of his own, most notably Tanyet, a mystical concept album by a studio act called the Ceyleib People. The players included Deasy himself (under the pseudonym Lybuk Hyd), Ry Cooder, and future Derek & The Dominos drummer Jim Gordon.
Although Tanyet (available on CD from Drop Out/Demon) failed to chart, it increased Deasy's reputation as one of rock's finest sitar players. When he was hired to play sitar, he would charge double his usual rate, but he gave added value. "I would take a goatskin rug and burn incense."
One night in 1967, Deasy crossed paths with rock's other great sitar player. "I was working with [The Mamas & The Papas'] John Phillips at Western Studio B, when this entourage of people in drapey clothes came walking down the hall. One of them came in and sat down with me in the studio, just hanging out.
"I had this guitar that didn't have any frets, and it could make some really interesting sliding sounds. This guy was interested, so I handed it to him, and he was a good guitar player. We played guitars for about 45 minutes. It turned out he was George Harrison! I had no idea."
In 1968, producer Bones Howe tapped Deasy and James Burton to play guitar in Elvis Presley's comeback TV special. When Elvis played the guitar at the beginning of the special, he was actually miming to Deasy’s playing. "Elvis was at his best when he was with other musicians. He was most relaxed then, because he could be himself. What he really loved was things like when we were sitting around in a circle, playing guitars and singing."
In June 1969, six months after the wildly successful Elvis special, Mike Deasy was on the verge of losing both his health and his sanity. It started when Terry Melcher, who was then employing him as a guitarist, producer, and engineer, innocently suggested he visit a group of hippies at the Spahn Ranch. "Terry said, 'Dennis Wilson and Gregg Jakobson found this singer up in the hills.'"
The singer was Charles Manson. "I had a trailer with a four-track unit that I was going to use to record the Hopi Indians. Manson and the Family lived like a bunch of Indians, so Terry said, 'Why don't you go check it out?' So a friend of mine and I went up there to record their songs."
Deasy won't go into detail about his three-day encounter with the Family (only two months before the Tate-LaBianca murders), calling it a descent into hell. "I felt this great fear of the evil that was there." Overwhelmed, he overdosed on LSD. "I took so much acid, I couldn't get down. I was having so much difficulty with my own mind. Here I am, working with Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys, I'm at the height of everything I've dreamed of doing, I've got a wife and beautiful kids, and all of a sudden I've wrecked it. It all crashed down, and I couldn't put it back together."
When Deasy made it home, still in a state of drug-fueled paranoia, he knew he had to get help. "I tried everything I could. I went to Jungian analysis, I went through transcendental meditation, and nothing was working."
After facing hell, he was ready for heaven. "I went to a Billy Graham crusade where I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I ran to Jesus to set me free from all the terror of drugs."
During the early Seventies, in between playing on albums by Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra, as well as the soundtracks for "Dirty Harry" and "Play Misty for Me," Deasy entered the Christian recording world. By mid-decade, he had produced and written songs for several hit Christian albums, often working with his wife, Kathie (the sister of saxophonist Jim Horn). Today, while he continues to record his own music (available from his Web site, mikedeasy.com), he concentrates his efforts on "Yes to Life," an antidrug musical presentation that he performs in schools.
Listening to Deasy's fuzz guitar on the Association's "Along Comes Mary" or his acoustic fingerpicking on Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)," one senses a level of genuine feeling that was rare for studio musicians of his time. "Once, I was talking with Tommy Tedesco and Dennis Budimir, who were both fine studio guitarists, and we agreed that the difference between me and them was that I liked what we were doing. They really loved jazz. I'd worked with jazz groups, and I liked that too. But I actually liked playing rock and roll."
Visit Mike Deasy on MySpace.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The remarkable changes at the Raving Atheist's blog continue today with his latest God Squad review.
The God Squad is a rabbi/priest duo who write a newspaper column in which they answer readers' theological questions. Their theology is liberal, making them an easy target for the RA, who, over the past four years, has regularly roasted them in his blog for the logical contradictions he finds in their wishy-washy answers.
He doesn't do that today.
Instead, he points up a contradiction in what might be an an atheist's argument against the God Squad.
The subject of the post is the Holy Spirit — which, methinks, is working overtime in the RA's corner of the blogosphere.
Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon, writing against the Raving Atheist, claims that the pro-life thinking of the RA is logically unsound. Referring to the RA's volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, she writes: "RA’s argument is a fetus has different DNA, which means I’m sure that when he finishes his volunteer work at the CPC, he goes and pickets for the right of tapeworms not to be removed, due to the rights due to them from having separate DNA than their hosts."
I find it difficult to believe that Marcotte is serious writing such a statement as that. As one who prides herself on her ability to point up logical fallacies in arguments, she must know that the reason the RA cares about the existence of a preborn child's DNA is that the DNA belongs to a human being.
What's interesting about Marcotte's throwing out such a statement for shock value is that she's stating in the most explicit terms the "fetus as parasite" argument that underlies many pro-abortion rationales on her blog and on those of other Third Wave feminists.
The question, then, is: Since a woman's body is designed to help conceive, then support and foster, a gestating human being, why would Marcotte or any woman consider such a child a "parasite"? I'm assuming that the women who make such a statement are not willfully cruel — for the logic of their analogy, if carried through, would mean that any child dependent upon its mother would be a parasite and deserving of death. (They'll say that the analogy extends only to a child who's physically inside the mother's body. However, if a woman begins by viewing her preborn child as a parasite, that child, upon being brought to term and remaining dependent upon its mother, would still be the creature that began life as a parasite. People don't begin life as a tapeworm and end it as Amanda Marcotte.)
I haven't myself quite figured out why a woman would use the parasite analogy, but I have an idea that it begins with the woman's view of her own birth. A woman who feels unloved is going to see herself as a parasite upon her own parents, spouse, or lover. In viewing the child gestating within her as a parasite, she is extending her own feeling of worthlessness and alienation to her baby. By exterminating the child, she is insuring that it will never be the burden upon others that she believes she herself was or is to those close to her.
That's the reason for the enduring appeal of Margaret Sanger's slogan "every child a wanted child." Those who support the abortion of "unwanted" babies are responding to their own trauma of feeling unloved — and perhaps, without realizing it, exacting revenge upon the people who didn't want them.
The more delicate subscribers to the parasite philosophy use the same excuse for aborting the "unwanted" as euthanasia advocates use for starving the disabled: "I wouldn't want to live that way." When someone makes such a statement with the express object of killing another human being, they are really speaking of themselves. They wouldn't want to live that way; therefore, nobody should be permitted to do so. Murder, after all, is suicide turned outward. The truth that such people don't want to hear is that when they kill the "worm," the demons remain.
There is hope after abortion. Visit Rachel's Vineyard.
Monday, June 26, 2006
"No human being escapes the necessity of conceiving some good outside himself towards which his thought turns in a movement of desire, supplication, and hope."
— Simone Weil
Several months ago, I found a copy of Simone Weil's Waiting for God lying on a sidewalk. I started reading it and was at once taken with the beauty of Weil's faith and the depth of her philosophy — and at the same time frustrated at her steadfast refusal to be baptized. Overflowing with love of Jesus, she was yet bounded on all sides by what some might call scruples, but seem upon closer inspection to be intricate layers of integrity. It was impossible for me, reading her words, to believe that she was willfully resisting the Church; what hindered her entry was her sincere conviction that God wanted her to be an outsider.
Today, I'm glad that I was exposed to the complex dynamics of Weil's emotional wrestling with the Church — because I see her spirit in the latest entry by the Raving Atheist, "More Than Words."
Some would say that the greatest benefit of Christian faith is joy. I myself am thankful for that joy; it brought me the realization that life has meaning and purpose, erasing the serious depression that had plagued me for over a decade.
In daily life, I find that the most useful gift of Christian faith is not the experience of joy — but, rather, of shared suffering. When reconciling with the world feels like a struggle, then — with Paul as an example — I may unite my sufferings with Christ. Doing so reminds me that He has overcome the world — and that He has promised that those who endure until the end will be saved.
Empathy — like altruism — points to something, or rather Someone, outside ourselves that enables us to do things we wouldn't be able to do on our own power. It is an unspeakably beautiful gift to be able to alleviate another's suffering with our love, and to receive such selfless love.
Maximilian Kolbe exemplified such love, not only when he gave his life so that another man might live, but throughout his sufferings at Auschwitz. He found meaning in his sufferings there because they gave him the opportunity to help others — like when, recovering in the infirmary from a guard's brutal beating, he heard fellow patients' confessions.
Another who was imprisoned in Auschwitz, Victor Frankl, may have been thinking of Kolbe (whom he mentioned in his classic Man's Search for Meaning when he wrote, "The meaning of our existence is not invented by ourselves, but rather detected. ... What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment. ... We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by doing a deed; (2) by experiencing a value; and (3) by suffering."
I believe the Raving Atheist already experiences the first two events that Frankl cites, via his volunteering at a pregnancy resource center. Reporting his experiences has earned him a measure of Frankl's third event — suffering. Whether he unites his sufferings with those of Christ remains to be seen. But I have no doubt that, reading about his journey, I will learn from him as one can learn from one who wrestles with God — and as I learned from Weil, despite my frustrations.
Here is a poem that sparked Weil's journey to faith:
"Love," by George Herbert
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guiltie of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.
A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here.
Love said, You shall be he.
I, the unkinde, ungrateful? Ah, my deare,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand and smiling did reply:
Who made the eyes but I?
Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love; who bore the blame?
My deare, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat.
So I did sit and eat.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Flash: 'Pro-Choice' Blogger Hints That Perhaps, in a Small Minority of Cases, Women Should Not Receive Late-Term Abortion on Demand
Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte writes in a comment to one of her own posts that she considers arguments against late-term abortions to be "red herrings":
Of course, I’m clearly unconvinced there’s a reason to restrict the vast majority of late term abortions, which are done to save a woman’s health or to remove a dead fetus, but that’s neither here nor there to my point about Red Herrings and Anti Choicers Who Won’t Admit They Don’t Have An Argument.The fascinating thing is that she's unconvinced only that there's a reason to restrict the "vast majority of late term abortions."
Why, if she believes in abortion on demand — a "right" that she regularly champions in her blog — is she not unconvinced there's a reason to restrict all late-term abortions?
With heavy heart, I suspect Ms. Marcotte will issue a swift response saying, in typically forthright manner, that I misunderstood her, and that there is never any valid reason to restrict abortions. But for now, I'm enjoying the moment.
Oh, joy — a YouTube user has posted my favorite comedy sketch ever; "Superthunderstingcar," Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's parody of Gerry Anderson's puppet TV shows ("Thunderbirds," "Stingray," and "Supercar"), from their mid-1960s series "Not Only But Also."
Warning: If you're at all familiar with Anderson's shows, or with "Team America: World Police," the "South Park" creators' homage to them, this sketch is liable to make you spit out your coffee.
Some comedy relief for you this morning: a legendary clip from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's "Not Only But Also" Christmas 1966 special. It's a satire of Swinging London, with John Lennon as the doorman at an exclusive nightclub located in a men's lavatory. Love Cook's attempt at an Idaho accent:
Friday, June 23, 2006
The Raving Atheist, like his spiritual brethren Nat Hentoff and G.K. Chesterton's friendly sparring partner George Bernard Shaw, has never been afraid to align himself with Jews and Christians when they take a stand for something he believes in.
Those who have been following RA's blog know that the most obvious common ground he shares with certain theists is a belief that abortion kills a human being.
His post today describes how he was recently excoriated on atheist blogs and message boards because he suggested to an atheist who denounced crisis pregnancy centers that she should see one for herself — and he offered to compensate her if she volunteered there.
Regardless of what opinion you may hold of the RA because of his blog name and his past criticisms of Judaism and Christianity, I urge you to read his post — and make sure you catch the last line.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Thanks for stopping by! If you're looking for some Chestertonian reading to go with my book recommendation, the best example of my writing on this site is the excerpt I recently published from my upcoming book, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On. Also check out my writings for the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, accessible through Gaits of Eden.
"I believe that the opposition to pre-marital abstinence (and chastity generally) is a case of good ideas facing rejection because of their historical association with theistic orthodoxy. "
— The Raving Atheist, from "Chastening Thoughts"
Leave a comment at the Raving Atheist's blog (but beware of foul language in the comments section).
Jill of Feministe writes to point me toward Feministe's post criticizing a high school that punished a female basketball player who gave birth. The post notes that penalizing high school athletes for having babies has caused some young women to have abortions.
It is indeed good to see Feministe criticizing a policy that leads some teens to have abortions. I wouldn't call their position pro-life though, any more than a steak house that offers mashed potatoes could be called pro-vegetarian. The Feministe position is based on a commodification of the preborn child; the baby is not a person, but an object that must not be allowed to stand in the way of a woman's education. That the blog recommends the bureaucratic obstacles to education be removed, rather than the baby itself, is admirable — but it still doesn't acknowledge the preborn child as anything more than a political basketball.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Fascinating facts from the Amazon.com page selling my upcoming book The Thrill of the Chaste:
What do customers ultimately buy after viewing items like this?
76% buy The Man Who Was Thursday : A Nightmare (Penguin Classics) by G. K. Chesterton $8.95
12% buy Liberal Fascism : The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton by Jonah Goldberg $16.38
9% buy the item featured on this page: The Thrill of the Chaste : Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On by Dawn Eden $10.77
3% buy The Da Vinci Code Mysteries: What the Movie Doesn't Tell You by Amy Welborn $5.95
Monday, June 19, 2006
Friday, June 16, 2006
Watch St. Louis seminarians Michael Grosch and Edward Nemeth battle for the eminent position as Camp Director of Kenrick-Glennon Days summer camp, hosted at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary by St. Louis seminarians and the St. Louis Office of Vocations. Mike and Ed’s performances are spectacular in this film produced by Jeff Geerling.Check it out — and make sure you stay for the end of the credits. Way to go, Jeff! Now, put it on YouTube already.
UPDATE: Wish granted — here it is on YouTube:
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Of all the criticisms from the bloggers and commenters who lashed out against the excerpt I published from my upcoming book The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On, one struck me as the most bizarre.
It came from several people in response to my writing, "Likewise, when you become chaste, you'll notice for the first time that women who have sex outside of marriage don't really appreciate men." As voiced by Jill of Feministe, the criticism ran like this:
"... just as I would never tell [Dawn] that she must have premarital sex in order to appreciate men for who they are, I find it completely offensive that she would attempt to tell everyone else that we can’t possibly respect and love men as human beings unless we refuse to have sex."
What I find funny about this reaction is that it's in response to a line that I wrote to readers buying my book, who have presumably an interest in getting off the premarital-sex merry-go-round.
For the condoms-and-Cosmo coalition to say that it's wrong of me, in a book about chastity, to tell women the positive experiences they'll have when they become chaste — it's like the Fraternity of Fabulous Fatties berating a diet author. It's like unregenerate drunks ganging up on Bill W.
How can the wanton wags be so certain that I'm wrong? They can't. I'm their 9/11 widow; they can't deny my experience, because they've never been there.
If the concupiscent kaffeeklatsch really wanted to criticize my chastity advocacy, they could attempt to show empirical evidence that the unchaste live as happily as the chaste. That would take us into the seemingly bottomless morass of conflicting scientific studies — the pro-marriage and family side of which is displayed on MarriageDebate.com — but at least it would remain on the level of civil, reasoned, intellectual debate, and each side might learn something from the other.
The real problem that the lattes-and-latex lads and lassies have with chastity is not an intellectual one, but a spiritual one. They know that if chastity truly enables one to enjoy life, love and friendship on a deeper, more intense level than one can experience through nonmarital sex, then the mere existence of such a lifestyle invalidates their own.
None of this is to say that I live in any way a sinless life, or that my life is free from stress or loneliness. But, with the life I'm living now, I firmly believe that there is far more joy ahead of me than I ever could have found in the life I left behind. I wrote The Thrill of the Chaste not to make women feel bad about their sex lives, but rather to help them see that they are more, far more, than their sexual nature — and that their sexual nature is far more than biology.
"Because I have problems everyone must stop screwing."
— Atrios of Eschaton, "Shorter Dawn Eden"
Atrios is responding to an excerpt I posted from my book, which is now available on Amazon: The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On.
"She's delusional. I will reinterate once again: if any man is spending lots of time with you, he wants to f--- you. Maybe not immediately, but he wants to f--- you. Eden can spout this delusional nonsense, but straight guys like women. And like means wants to f---, unless they don't. Men, at least those not using her as a beard, will play along until they can find the situation to f--- her. They humor her, probably because she is attractive."
— Steve Gilliard of The News Blog, from "Something for the Ladies" (expletives deleted)
Steve is responding to an excerpt I posted from my book, which is now available on Amazon: The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On.
"... just as I would never tell [Dawn] that she must have premarital sex in order to appreciate men for who they are, I find it completely offensive that she would attempt to tell everyone else that we can’t possibly respect and love men as human beings unless we refuse to have sex."
— Jill of Feministe, from "Having Pre-Marital Sex? You’re a Man-Hater"
Jill is responding to an excerpt I posted from my book, which is now available on Amazon: The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
LeftBanke.nu has a treasure trove of music and memorabilia on the great Sixties baroque-pop group of "Walk Away Renee" fame — even a "Dawn Eden" section of interviews with band members.
The site's a surprise to me; I don't recall granting permission for my interviews to be used, and I can't vouch for the accuracy of the transcriptions of the interviews, published in The Bob in 1986 (right about when I turned 18). One of the "Dawn Eden" interviews, with Tom Feher, isn't even mine; I have no idea where it came from. (It also looks like the site's webmaster doesn't have a later, more comprehensive article I did for Goldmine, for which I interviewed drummer George Cameron and road manager Bob Brand. The only recording member of the group whom I didn't interview was lead singer Steve Martin.)
Overall, I'm glad that research I did 20 years ago is still valuable to people who love the Left Banke. My love of the group's music hasn't diminished since then; if anything, hearing them has spoiled me for life. Parents, if your 16-year-old has an ear for melody, play him or her "Walk Away Renee," "Pretty Ballerina," or "Desiree" and see if the teen still listens to today's pop music the same way.
Check out LeftBanke.nu's video section for not one but two videos of the group performing "Renee," including one of them lip-synching the tune on "Where the Action Is." Watch how the camera pans away from the group during the flute solo; the show's director had to do something, since no one in the group played flute.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Since Amazon won't yet let you look inside the book, my publisher has allowed me to give you a little taste. The following is from Chapter 9, "Tender Mercies: Reconnecting with Your Vulnerability":
The realization that I had blunted my emotions for the sake of physical pleasure helped me gain the strength to resist casual sex.Buy The Thrill of the Chaste on Amazon.com.
Healing the damage takes time—but there are some fun surprises along the way. The biggest surprise for me has been discovering how much there is to like about men.
I now notice things about the men in my life that I never noticed before, like their thoughtfulness, their love of family, their integrity, even their vulnerability. These are intangible qualities that don’t jump out at you when you’re in a frame of mind where you’re viewing men only as potential dates. Put together, they add up to character. It’s the most important quality to seek in a husband, and the one that’s least discussed in this day and age.
Likewise, when you become chaste, you’ll notice for the first time that women who have sex outside of marriage don’t really appreciate men. You can’t see this when you’re having nonmarital sex, because you don’t realize how much there really is about men to appreciate. You think the mere fact that you’re attracted to them and that they seem to wield such power over you shows you appreciate them for what they really are. From there, it’s a short step to the cynical stereotype we all know from popular culture—the worldly wise, “been there, done that” single woman who doesn’t trust men any farther than she can throw them.
On television and in movies, if a single woman is friends with a man, the pal’s more often than not a homosexual. The message is that heterosexual men aren’t capable of friendship or even worthy of it. In contrast, gay men are depicted as safe and nonthreatening, trustworthy, and having more to give than straight men.
Imagine if the tables were turned. Imagine watching a TV sitcom where all the gay men are Neanderthal lunkheads, while the kind, thoughtful straight men are always ready to help their female friends without asking sexual favors in return.
If you saw a show like that, you’d think the producers really had it out for gay men. Yet, many women tolerate such stereotyping against straight men, because they’re conditioned to expect “manly men” to lack character. Part of this conditioning comes from the media, but a large part of it—I’d say, most—comes from such women’s own warped perspectives, brought about by the superficial nature of their dating experiences.
When I had premarital sex, I became accustomed to seeing myself as a commodity — a varied collection of looks, wit, intellect, and je ne sais quois. I looked for men whose commodities were worth as much as my own.
Most of all, I looked for men whose commodities were readily apparent. The singles scene isn’t known for its subtlety. Men who were reserved or modest, who didn’t flirt readily, who weren’t attuned to my single-gal vibe—the nature of my casual-sex mind-set forced them all out of the running.
Is it any surprise, then, that I tended to date narcissists? And that I believed, if I let them reach me emotionally, they would hurt me? So, I built up walls of protection. I thought I was “guarding my heart.”
Today, I see those walls for what they really are — and they look like poorly installed weather insulation. They don’t do anything they’re supposed to do. The chill winds of rejection seep through, while the warm breezes of love are muffled.
I still have a lot to learn about sustaining a lasting relationship, but I firmly believe that during the time I’ve spent working at chastity, the hardness that men perceived in me has been gradually melting away. In its place are an openness and a vulnerability that makes me more susceptible to being hurt, but infinitely more capable of attaining and sustaining the lifelong marriage my heart desires.
For those who have been following the Sacred Heart statue saga, here's the fully restored and protectively encased statue as it now stands on West 33rd Street between 9th and 10th avenues.
I know the Plexiglas looks weird, but the restored statue looks beautiful up close — and at least this way, the vandals will have to try much harder. Also, people used to walk by the statue without noticing, and they can't miss it now. It lights up 33rd Street. Passers-by are reminded of Jesus' love, mercy, and sacrifice — and that's what counts.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
You learn a new thing every day. Today I learned that there is a Surfer's Bible — a New Testament published by the international group Christian Surfers. It reportedly includes, in addition to the Gospels, inspirational texts such as the Parable of the Four Grommets (young surfers).
The Surfer's Bible appears to be out of print, but the Christian Surfers are still active, according to a recent news article. The closest thing I could find to the book online is a picturesque "Surfer's Bible Study".
When you think about it, images of baggies and beads aside, the idea of a surfer's Bible isn't incongruous. According to Psalm 77:19, which I think is one of the most hauntingly beautiful verses in the Bible, God surfs.
I was looking for a book on Amazon last night and, while I was at it, decided to see if my own book was up there.
Glory be, it is! It's discounted, too; just $10.77.
The Amazon.com sales rank currenly stands at "none," but give it time; the book's official street date isn't until December 5.
A Google search revealed to my surprise that the book is already popping up in various places, including:
- A Japanese online store (a bargain at 1,659 yen)
- The Web site for my publisher's ministry-services catalogue, which includes a little bio
- My publisher's fall catalogue
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the death of Naomi Ginsberg, the inspiration for her son Allen's poem "Kaddish."
In "Kaddish," Allen Ginsberg quotes words that he says are from a letter his mother sent him one day before she died: "The key is in / the window, the key is in the sunlight at the window--I have / the key--Get married Allen don't take drugs . . . ."
What a fascinating glimpse of divine truth.
The key is in the sunlight at the window. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18).
While Ginsberg — describing them as "Strange Prophesies anew!" — uses Naomi's final written words as proof of her insanity, his mother was indeed prophetic. Loneliness and drug abuse were her son's greatest obstacles to the life of /Zen holiness that he sought.
Here is some of the poetry that I believe Naomi Ginsberg is hearing now:
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus,
Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias
in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis
libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
"Evolution is the official state religion. Although it is possible to believe in God and evolution, it is not possible to not believe in God without believing in evolution -- otherwise, atheists have no explanation for why we are here. Thus, it's very important for the liberal clergy to force small school children to believe in a discredited mystery religion from the 19th century -- evolution -- in order to prepare them to believe in the nonexistence of God, one of the main goals of the American public education system."
— Ann Coulter
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Today she's a healthy little baby girl.
But last November, when she was this . . .
. . . she was a hair's breadth away from being aborted. Her fate hung by the thinnest of threads for months to come.
A diverse group of bloggers, led by the S.I.C.L.E. Cell, raised over $15,000 from generous donors to support the mother in her difficult and courageous decision to choose life.
One day that little girl may read this post -- and realize that she owes her existence to love and links. Heartfelt thanks go out to to all of you who made this wonderful result possible and turned a certain tragedy into a triumph of life.
Monday, June 5, 2006
My friend Dimitri Cavalli writes:
You guys remember Reggie Jackson's homerun off the roof in the 1971 All-Star game?(Maximilian Kolbe is my patron saint as well; read about him here and here.)
Well, follow the link below.
A couple of months ago, I prayed a novena to St. Maximilian Kolbe asking to publish an article on the specific topic in the Jerusalem Post.
Off to weekday Mass and then Yankee Stadium.
Friday, June 2, 2006
One would think that feminists would have something to say about sex selection abortion given that its victims are almost exclusively female. However, while there have been women who have spoken out about the matter, the war on unborn girls is on the far, far back burner of the agendas of activist women on the left -- if it is on those agendas at all.
Hillary Clinton’s remarks to the plenary session of the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference On Women are an example of how the issue is not on the radar screen of American left-leaning activist women when it comes to international feminist concerns. In those remarks Ms. Clinton said “it is time to break our silence” and speak out about wrongs directed specifically at women, such as infanticide, the sale of women into prostitution, violence directed at women whose dowries are deemed too small, the rape of women as a tactic of war, domestic violence, and coerced abortion. While alluding to a “history of silence” concerning these problems, Ms Clinton choose to remain silent herself about the use of sex selection abortion to effect the slaughter of millions of unborn girls.
Clinton Watson Taylor writes in an e-mail of the wire story "Wedding-night consummation losing allure":
Just back from a wedding where the couple had been living together for a year ... they stayed up late talking with the guests in the hotel lobby after the reception. Nice of them, I guess, but also kind of sad.
Note the advice of the [article's] "relationship experts" to just get it out of the way the morning of the wedding ...
Thursday, June 1, 2006
"If you found yourself with emphysema, and you woke up emperor of the whole world, with absolute power in all matters of production and consumption, what would you do?
"That's simple, of course. Forbid smoking to everyone you care about."
— William F. Buckley Jr.
Via Spero Forum Weblog, here's an American Life League press release about how Planned Parenthood uses your tax dollars to refuse service to the poor. Despite its heated tone, there's no exaggeration; all its facts about Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funding are easily verifiable. Its information about the posh clinic is taken from an Associated Press article. The release states:
"As incredible as it sounds, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota will open what may be the nation's first government- subsidized clinic that will refuse to provide services for the poor," said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League.
According to media reports, Planned Parenthood plans to open an upscale express clinic in a Woodbury, Minn., mall on June 1. According to information released by Planned Parenthood, the clinic in this well-heeled suburb of St. Paul "won't take patients on subsidized health plans if they can't pay out of pocket."
"Government subsidies for this clinic come in a number of ways," said Sedlak. "First, the government granted Planned Parenthood, which admits that it is opening this clinic to make profits, non-profit status. This status allows Planned Parenthood to buy products such as the birth control pill, which costs less than $2 for a month's supply, and sell them for 10 times that amount."
Sedlak said another government subsidy comes from the fact that Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota received over $4 million in government funding in 2004, accounting for 24 percent of its total income.
"So Planned Parenthood is using all these subsidies to underwrite the opening of this upscale clinic that has one purpose -- to make money," said Sedlak. "As pointed out in the news reports, Planned Parenthood hopes to open more of these clinics if the Woodbury clinic is profitable. Planned Parenthood is so confident of its money-making scheme that the group secured a long-term lease in a Minnesota shopping mall.
"It is time for elected officials across the country to yank all taxpayer money away from Planned Parenthood at once," he said. "The American public should not be forced to subsidize Planned Parenthood's aggressive money-grabbing ventures." Sedlak invited people who are tired of their tax dollars funding Planned Parenthood to sign American Life League's petition at http://www.StopPlannedParenthoodTaxFunding.com.