Comments on the Passing Scene: Fran Leibowitz, Volunteer Life Expectancy, Ruth Pakaluk, Dolores Hope, and Talk Like Pirate Day

  • For an exposition of crazy liberalism, interspersed with social commentary, all presented in a radically politically incorrect manner, Fran Leibowitz makes an interesting case, in the lightly circulated documentary, Public Speaking. It is, (kind of), her version of My Dinner with Andre, set at the Waverly Inn. Of course, if they ever considered remaking this documentary, instead of cozy questioners they should stage a dinner matching Ms Leibowitz and Ann Coulter – now that would be an unfair and unbalanced free-for-all. Not surprisingly, a cursory glance showed that some online liberals were not happy with Ms Leibowitz’s film. Can it be true that liberals don’t have a sense of humor? Not that this would faze Ms. Leibowitz, since she is the New Yorker who doesn’t have a computer or cell phone, so she can’t see those reviews anyway. Of course, satire and humor don’t, and can’t, work unless they include some element of truth. And that is probably a sore point for those unhappy liberals. Ms Leibowitz presents the classic Greenwich Village/NYC view of the world, the world-view that ends at the Hudson River. From this writer’s perspective her viewpoint sharply outlines the main errors that illustrate what the culture of Love and Life is not! Her presentation of error highlights the opposite truths for the discerning viewer. She is not shy in putting certain issues on the table, as when this hard smoking writer says how surprised she would have been as a youngster if they had told her the day would come when someone could drive up to the front of a gay bar in New York, go in, sit down and be in trouble with the law for lighting a cigarette.
  • A study now suggests some people who volunteer live longer. It has tracked people from 1957 onward. It even has some unusual findings such as that volunteer males find it easier to meet girls! Now there’s a finding. But the reason for comment here is that the added life expectancy comes from those who volunteer for altruistic reasons, which means they are acting because it is good for the person, or people, they are helping. Those who do it because they get personal satisfaction out of it tend to live as long as anyone else who doesn’t volunteer. Interesting from a Christian point of view, since its basic teachings are more in keeping with the gift of self demonstrated by the first group, than the more mixed motives in the second. It is better to give than receive, after all. But that requires a continual purification. Who was it who said, I never met a motive that wasn’t mixed? All this is in keeping with this author’s experience, which is to say volunteering to help people who have serious problems can be a very annoying experience. Rose Hawthorne, daughter of the noted American writer, was a founder of a small religious community of nuns, and had some interesting experiences starting operations in NYC, when those she was trying to help tried to take advantage of her generous spirit. This in turn forced her to take a more realistic look at the challenges and limitations helping the troubled poor. Helping such difficult people certainly can help purify your motives!
  • A number of years ago a reporter from ABC News (it may be been “20/20”) called the author of this page looking for a news source on a story they were doing.  The immediate reaction was, call Ruth Pakaluk. While I never did see the package when it aired, I’m sure Ruth was helpful and gave it her all. Sadly, Ruth passed away 10 years ago at the age of 41, and now her husband, Michael Pakaluk, an old acquaintance, a brilliant man, and a former atheist to boot, has written a book about Ruth called The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God. It has received a fine personal review written by another highly reliable source, law professor Dwight Duncan (a non-lawyer’s lawyer, if ever there was one). Radiating joy amidst the screaming kids I, Radiating joy amidst the screaming kids II.
  • R.I.P. Dolores Hopes, nee DeFina, at 102. Born in Harlem she met Bob Hope in NYC and they were married 69 years. She was a genuine patriot, and a very generous Catholic, who was clearly instrumental in her husband’s late-in-life conversion to Catholicism. The Hopes funded many projects across the country and were especially generous to various church building projects. She never forgot her New York roots and when the commuter church near Grand Central Station, St. Agnes, was destroyed in a tragic fire, the Hopes funded the facade on the newly built church, a second home to many who work in the city. They were also generous with the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. May God reward their generosity, forgive any faults of human weakness, and reunite them soon in Heaven.
  • Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day…..a day vital, as always, to our national security and preventing terrorism. Evil pirates beware! All the best to the nameless legion of patriotic boys and girls keeping us safe with their counter terrorism work in Washington and around the world. Or to put it another way……What be happenin’, Matey? Grog-filled speak Like a scurvy pirate Day…..a day to celebrate national security ‘n preventin’ terrorism. Take our word fer it, ‘n evil band ‘o pirates beware! All th’ best to th’ nameless legion ‘o patriotic lads ‘n lassies keepin’ us safe wit’ their counter terrorism,  settin’ the sail in Washin’ton ‘n around th’ seven seas.

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