It seemed when I was growing up that our Catholic masses ended oddly.
Priest: The mass is ended.
All: Thanks be to God.
Was everyone to be thankful to God that the mass had just ended?
That didn’t seem very complimentary to the celebrant, nor very respectful to the services themselves – everyone saying thanks be to God that the mass was over. It seemed like we were all saying “Geez, it’s about time! It seemed to be dragging on forever. And the game is about to come on!”
It just seemed that it would have been better if the mass ended differently.
Thanks be to God, the masses can end differently now .. and better.
In fact, now there are a few options to choose from. Here are the options:
Deacon (or Priest): Go forth, the Mass is ended.
or Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.
or Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.
or Go in peace.
I prefer the “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord” or “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life” options. Aren’t those closings more inspiring to the Christian leaving mass and going out into the world to bring the light of Christ into it than merely, “The mass is ended”?
Fortunately, for us, there were no changes to what we say, and we all still say:
All: Thanks be to God!
So now, go forth, my blog story is ended.
(No one better say: Thanks be to God!)
Now, here is a fun video trailer for the comics series that I put together to further promote the series.
You can sign up to follow the series on the Ed Novick Comics site. Just click on the Follow link in the right hand column and you can receive the daily comics by email.
Does anyone remember Letterman?
The Adventures of Letterman was a cartoon that was on Electric Company, a children’s TV show on Public Television channel 11, when I was a kid. I looked it up and found this video of it on Youtube.
The voices of the narrator and Letterman sounded familiar, so I researched and found out that the narrator was Joan Rivers and the voice of Letterman was, just as I thought, comedic actor Gene Wilder (love him!).
Letterman would take a letter off his Letterman jersey and change a word to save the day. In this episode, Dancing In The Dark, the villain Spellbinder turns the word “light” into “night”, casting the world into darkness. But fortunately Letterman peals the “l” off his jersey and turns the “night” back into “light” again to save the day.
Artistically to me, the Spellbinder represents Satan (evil) who had his moment turning all things dark and filling life with fear. But Letterman who represents the hero of The Word, saved the day, and he did it with an “l” that is close to His heart, and put the light back in life again.
Words, and the thoughts they trigger, are funny that way.
I was recently driving down the road and thought I saw a sign that read “Marital Arts”. I thought, “How nice. There needs to be more focus on marriage and the art of it.”
Upon closer inspection, it became evident that I had misread the sign which actually read “Martial Arts”.
Had the Spellbinder struck again?
My mind went to my recent blog Happy Trails To You in which I had a similar experience upon seeing the words “trail”, thinking it was the word “trial”, and wrote an insightful blog story comparing the two words and how they differed greatly. In the same way that “trail” and “trial” are similar with only a transposition of letters, but a vast different in meaning, it made me think the same of the words “marital” and “martial”, and it made me think of my own failed marriage.
In the word “marital”, the “i” is first. I put everything into my marriage and made it marital, at least as best I could. I loved my wife. I took care of my family. I trusted my spouse. I loved God and tried to follow His ways in all things. I had faith. I gave it everything I had.
Unfortunately, the Spellbinderput my former wife, Tina (or “T” as I used to sometimes call her) under a spell and tempted her to put herself first, overriding the “i”, and turning “marital” into “martial”. Martial means “relating to war” … and that is what the marriage became as a result. It was warlike. It was combative. There were casualties. There was pain. It was hell.
I could only pray for God’s mercy on us – me, my former spouse, and my children.
God is love. And He is most merciful. And His Word is the light of the world and will save us all. And, like Letterman, He seems to be using an “l” close to His heart to save the day by put light back into life again.
Here is the trailer for my recent blog article – Essential Soccer Moves to Master.
(I’ll bet you didn’t know that a blog article could have a trailer. Well, now you do. If the blog article is good enough, important enough and promoted well enough, it will.)
I have been a Chicago Cubs baseball fan as long as I can remember. I was 3 years old in 1969 when the excitement of the ’69 Cubs turned into the disappointment of the ’69 Cubs as they collapsed in September. I loved watching the day home games at Wrigley Field on TV with my dad and knew the Cubs players by name that year…Don Kessinger, Glenn Beckert, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Randy Hundley, Fergie Jenkins, and Mr. “let’s play two” Cub himself, Ernie Banks. I have been a fan ever since.
Now, for a kid growing up watching Chicago Cubs baseball day games at Wrigley Field, that place is heaven.
Have you seen the Field of Dreams movie? Then you might understand – there is something surreal and heavenly about the place.
My brother Michael is as big a fan as I am – and even probably bigger.
So for Michael’s 30th birthday in 1997 we got a set of tickets to go on a Wrigley Field day tour.
I had a college friend, Betsy, who, for a summer job, gave day tours at Wrigley Field. On the weekends when the Cubs were out of town, Wrigley Field gave behind-the-scene tours at the ballpark. Betsy suggested going on the tour, so taking Michael there for a birthday gift seemed like a great idea to celebrate in a special way doing something memorable.
So we got tickets and a group of 6 of us went – Michael, his friend Charles, my cousin Jim, his wife Christy, my former wife Tina, and I.
What a great experience!
Betsy and her co-tour guide conducted the tour and did a great job informing us about the history of Wrigley Field. We got to go to parts of the park that are usually off limits to fans. We went into the Press Box, the Bleachers, the Visitor’s Clubhouse, the Cubs Clubhouse, and even into the Cubs Dugout.
But the best part was walking through the Cubs dugout and emerging onto the field of our childhood dreams.
The grass was soooo lush! It was so bright and the sky was so blue.
My brother Michael and I were giddy to be on the field at Wrigley. It felt surreal – like we were in heaven.
I said to Michael, “When we die, I’ll meet you here”. I thought this must be what heaven was like, and for two Cub baseball fans like us, what more could we want to do when we got to heaven than to spend our time playing baseball, the game we loved, on the field of our choice which was the Cubs very own Wrigley Field.
We were allowed to go out onto the outfield grass….and play catch with a baseball where our childhood baseball heroes roamed. My friend Betsy who suggested the tour, and conducted it, had given me the heads-up to bring our baseball gloves and a baseball so we could play catch on the field. We did. It was so exciting! We played catch for 15 minutes or so before the tour was over and we had to leave the field.
We captured a few photos of the experience and a little video on our video camera too. Here are a couple of the photos.
Looking for something novel and memorable to do this weekend?
Why not check the tour schedule and get tickets to an upcoming Wrigley Field day tour.
You just might think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
From the moment I wake each morning and open my eyes, I perceive colors and shapes. I perceive all colors of the rainbow. I perceive shades of light, various hues and objects of different shapes and sizes – great and small. I can see objects up close, and objects light years away in deep space.
From the moment I get out of bed I navigate these objects smoothly throughout the day. I can master them and arrange them, and make the objects and the colors around work better for me and others too.
I perceive sounds in my head. I can identify and interpret the sounds. I identify and understand voices. I can derive meaning from them. My mind can decipher and interpret them and create solutions that allow me to function and make a better world.
I open my mouth and can make sounds come out to communicate concepts of thoughts that come into my mind. I can express my ideas through sounds that are emitted from my mouth in the form of words that seem to be perceived by those around me.
My feet hit the floor and I’m able to ambulate. I move about and navigate around space and the objects around me. At times I move around them rapidly sometimes very rapidly. I can run!
I can open doors. I can explore the world.
I sense subtle fragrances through my nose. I can track the fragrance down to the flowers and plants and foods around me. I can similarly sense odors that may pose me threats – smoke, chemicals and gasses. I can avoid things that threaten my health or welfare.
I can move towards those objects that I desire to reach out and touch them. I can sense subtle textures in the objects. I can grasp them. I can pick them up. Sometimes those things I pick up may be very, very heavy. I can lift and move them where I will.
I can sense things that move around me. I sense vibrations in the ground below me when a large vehicle goes by or a person walks across the floor near me. I can feel the soft gentle caress of a breeze as it passes by.
I can get in an automobile and navigate it at high rates of speed, around other objects without colliding with the objects.
I can store images, concepts and memories, almost endlessly, in streams, and recall them vividly even many, many years later.
I can sense time and move through it in a controlled way.
I can sense what is stirring within me – hunger and thirst. I can sense, identify and enjoy hundreds of unique flavors of things I feed on or drink to quench the hunger and thirst within me.
I can feel ranges of emotions surge within me. I can control them. I can use them to relate to others or to motivate me.
I can perceive concepts of virtue and vice that stir within and move me. I can control them. I can use them to power me in small and great ways.
I can perceive love and harness it to do good and make a better world.
I do not do these super things by my own will. These super powers are not my creation.
I sense something beyond me that I do not see, do not hear and can not touch. I sense that force is where the super powers come from.
I sense I have the super powers for a reason, even when I don’t know what that reason is.
I have complex abilities that seem to be a list beyond what I can even fathom right now. All I can do is explore them and try to master them more fully.
Am I alone?
I am seeking to find others like me with similar super powers.
Might you who are reading this have them too?
Not everyone I encounter has all these powers. Some have some of them but not all of them – and they need help. Some cannot perceive the light. Some cannot perceive the sounds. Some of them cannot interpret or speak the words. Some of them cannot get around to navigate their world or move about or lift the objects. Some cannot reason fully. Some can not sense the love that is all around … or the source of it. These people need our help.
Will you help me?
I sense we are called to unite.
We can call our united efforts a club, a guild, a league, an association, a community, a church or simply, humanity.
If you have such amazing super powers as me, for goodness sake – don’t squander them doing nothing. It would be such a waste of such astounding and marvelous gifts. Put your super powers to use for good too, and help me make a better world.
When I started dating my former wife, Tina, after the Christmas season in January of 1992, she had a blue-colored parakeet she had named Belew. Belew was so named because it sounded like “blue” and there was a singer named Adrian Belew that Tina liked. Belew was a very special bird and had a lot of personality.
When I met Belew I sensed that he was Tina’s guard bird or guardian angel. He ruled the roost protectively and was not shy about letting you know it.
But Belew seemed to like and trust me. They say animals have a 6th sense for things. And I was very trustworthy and had sincere affection for Tina.
Tina was very affectionate toward Belew and I could tell cared for him very much.
Tina had taught Belew to mimic a couple of phrases including, “Hi, Belew” and “I love you” which he mimicked eloquently.
Belew was often allowed out of his cage to fly around the small apartment he and Tina lived in. It was an adjustment for me to get used to Belew fly past and around my head. Belew was in control, but it took a while for me to understand that and trust him. The flutter of his wings around my head made me nervous at first. I soon got more and more comfortable with Belew flying around me as time went by.
Tina had a small silver bell in her Christmas tree, that she kept up long after the Christmas season, which Belew liked to perch next to, marvel at his own reflections in, and peck a kiss at it which would ring the bell. He rang that bell a lot. It was very precious.
As I got comfortable with Belew, and he got comfortable with me, Belew would land on my head or shoulder. He would perch there, sing or garble some message that was lost in translation, then fly away. Sometimes he would leave an unwelcome present there before he left. That was gross. But he was too adorable to be mad at for very long.
Growing up two of my favorite happy songs were Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah from the Song of the South movie and Somewhere Over The Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz movie, both of which have happy references to bluebirds. Below are videos of these warm-hearted classics that I love and remind me of Belew whenever I hear them.
As my love for Tina grew, so did my affection for Belew. It was as if we had our own little ‘blue bird’ of happiness flying around and singing sweet and happy songs to us.
Belew loved to eat people food, but his favorite was spaghetti. He would take a strand of spaghetti and whip it around in his beak as if it was a worm, take it to a safe place and then rapidly eat it until it was gone and then come back and beg for more. When he got more he would do the same again and again. He seemed to have no limit to the amount of pasta he could eat. After we were married, when we had pasta at dinner and Belew was out of his cage, Belew would dive bomb attack our plates trying to get some pasta. We would have to eat dinner with one arm wrapped around our plates to keep Belew away from our food. Tina put some spaghetti with her delicious red pasta sauce on it on a small white plate on our table so Belew didn’t feel left out and would temporarily leave our dinner plates alone as long as his plate had some pasta on it. He would pick up the spaghetti, shake it around like a worm, put it down and start devouring it rapidly. He ate a lot of pasta.
I soon taught Belew to mimic “Hi, Tina” in addition to the other phrases he already knew.
After a while, we got another bird, this one a grey cockatiel, to keep Belew company while we were away. We named that bird Steely after the band Steely Dan because we likes that band and the birds grey color resembled the color of steel. Belew and Steely got along well enough – as long as they had separate cages they could be good neighbors to one another.
A couple years later, on the 4th of July, Belew had been sick for a few days and Tina was very concerned for his well being. It was summer, but he was just lying around the bottom of his cage shivering. She held him in her hand a lot to give him comfort, affection and warmth.
We were going to a 4th of July party and Tina needed to get ready. She asked me if I would hold Belew while she showered. I did.
While Tina showered, I held Belew in the palm of my hand. He just layed there shivering. It was sad to see my little friend suffering.
Suddenly, Belew started to slowly outstretch and extend his tiny wing. He had it outstretched for but a second, then the wing folded back up to his side. The shivering, and all movement, stopped. Belew was dead. It truly seemed to me as if Belew had waved goodbye to me just before dying. I started to cry.
It was the first time I had ever witnessed the moment of death, except for maybe any bugs I had ever squashed. But bugs weren’t Belew. And Belew was a family member. And I wept.
Then, I had to break the news of the Belew’s passing to Tina when she got out of the shower. I did. And I wept some more.
The death of our adorable little feathered friend Belew hit me hard. I had never had a pet other than a goldfish, and now I understood the grief that so many people feel at the passing of a beloved pet.
We buried Belew in a small box in my parent’s back yard, and there he rests to this day, on this anniversary of his passing, to the best of my calculations, 19 (or maybe 18) years ago today.
Unfortunately, and sadly, I found no photos of Belew in a search through photo albums. But this is a photo of a blue parakeet that looks very similar to Belew.
But I will always fondly remember Belew as long as I live.
Rest in peace, my fine feathered friend. I hope to see you again someday…maybe somewhere over the rainbow.
“If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh, why can’t I?”
(“Over the Rainbow” (often referred to as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) is a classic Academy Award-winning ballad from The Wizard of Oz movie as sung by Judy Garland, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg)