Archive for April 28, 2010

I’m no fan of Catholicism .. haven’t been since I graduated from 12 years of Catholic school.

I have my reasons .. which I won’t go into now.. but let’s just say that my thoughts and opinions were my own. I could argue about theology .. I could argue about idolatry .. I could argue dogma .. but I left the one’s faith alone. If you want to believe it.. you go right ahead Sunshine.

But something happened a few weeks ago that gave me a soapbox and dammit if I’m not going to use it. You let me know what you think. That’s what the comments are for.

We have a Catholic school down the street from me. It’s been there for almost a hundred years. In this little town that I live in, this Catholic school was like a beacon to the community. Something that skewed the reality of “.. this town ain’t what it used to be” for the parishioners.

Yes.. it hasn’t changed for the better but as long as the school was there then BY! GOD! we will still have SOME hope that the kids going there will be property educated and go on to be pillars of society.

That’s what I think they thought anyway.

A few years ago, the church got a new head honcho that no one liked. And not for good reason. I don’t think he realized just what this church meant to this community. Or maybe he did. Maybe he was just a hit man in a cassock.

He started cutting out things here and there.. wouldn’t allow use of the church’s auditorium for elderly bingo and stuff like that. People grumbled.. people vented.. but they still attended mass and forked over money in the collection plate.

That is.. until they made an announcement around December that the school was going to close at the end of this school year.

Now.. the closing of a Catholic school is not such an unusual thing. It’s been happening locally for about the last ten or so years. Enrollment has gone down.. tuition has gone up.. people can’t afford it and with the advent of Charter Schools.. there was an option for a better education then the local public school and it didn’t cost anything.

So why was THIS school closing different?

Because the parents formed a committee to save the school. They protested in front of the BIG Archdiocese church in the city and petitioned the Cardinal. They blasted the head honcho that they despised.

So the church bent a little. They would keep the school open until then end of the NEXT school year but then a nasty little thing happened.

Someone went to the press and the story wasn’t good.

The Archdiocese got pissed off.

While the parents raised money to off set tuition and did everything they could possibly do to raise money to keep the school open, the powers that be were like, “.. ok. We’ll keep the school open BUT you have to come up with 200 enrollments and you only have 3 weeks to do it. Oh.. and to make sure you good Catholic parishioners don’t try to pull a fast one we’re going to increase the 50.00 enrollment fee to 250.00 as.. yknow.. GOOD FAITH”

If you have more then one kid in school.. or even if you ONLY had one kid in school.. that was a big financial impact. And it didn’t matter if your kid have been going there for years. You still had to come up with 250.00 per kid to enroll.

And so the fundraising pulled out all stops. It literally came down to people standing at the major intersection wearing t-shirts and holding sand pails collecting change.

They were going to hold an enrollment shindig at the school to promote new enrollments but the PTB :: Powers That Be :: wouldn’t allow it.

Every time the parents would ask for a number of enrollees to determine how many more kids were needed, the answer never came. The PTB wouldn’t release that information to anyone.. not the parents.. not the press.

It was kind of like, “.. here’s your noose, now go hang yourself with it.”

Very important members of the community started donating HUGE sums of money for The Cause. Upwards of 20,000.

Didn’t matter.

When all was said and done… with the parents having scrapped a number together from going door to door and asking if people had enrolled there kids.. the PTB came down and said Nope.. you didn’t make it. School’s closing in June.

People walked around like they got socked in the belly.

In my oh-so-humble-used-to-be-Catholic opinion, there were things that could have been done to save the school if the jackasses didn’t get their hinds in an uproar. They just didn’t want to.. and that’s the bottom line. They got pushed into a corner by people who’s faith dictates that they will be treated fairly and they dropped the hammer on them.

Instead of working with… they pounced.

Because all along, they knew they were closing the school but with the outpouring of the community, they had to save face so they threw them a bone. Without meat on it.

And that’s wrong. They owe something to this community who came to their aid every time they were asked. New roof.. new this.. new that.. more money.. more money.. more money.

I heard recently that they were going to convert the school into dorms to house Haitian refugees.

They have money for that, right?

They are willing to go all over the world and educate people for free.. but yet they won’t do anything in their own back yard.

And so with the closing of the school, parents are enrolling their kids in other Catholic schools that are out of the area.. and that’s pissing off the head honchos of the neighboring schools off. Church attendance is down.. meaning collection plate money is down.. meaning the church will probably get the ax soon also. And it serves them right. They have played on the faith of their parishioners.. just like the Mafia plays on the fears of people. Only the Mafia doesn’t hide behind the cross to do it.

Oh.

And by the way…

How many school do you think could have been saved if the church hadn’t paid out the millions it did to hush up the molestation victims?

This show is right up my alley because it has to do with genealogy and connecting with your roots.

Hence the title of the show.

Anyone who knows me in person knows that I diligently work on my family tree.. over achiever that I am, I’m doing both my mother and father’s family at the same time!

Anyway..

The limited series :: I hope there’s more in production :: delved into the family trees of Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmet Smith, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Broderick, Brook Shields, Susan Sarandon so far with Spike Lee to be shown next week.

The celebrities themselves are hands on with the research .. to an extent. I mean, the good folks at Ancestry.com have a way of turning up some incredible documents as well as the professors and historians making cameo appearences and making things a hell of a whole lot easier for them then it would be for you and I.

But the stories.. oh my God, the STORIES are incredible. Like, did you know that:

Sarah Jessica Parker has an ancestor that was one of the last woman tried as a witch in Salem.. but was released because there was some type of ordinance passed that discontinued the whole “witch” thing?

Emmet Smith was found, through DNA testing, to be 80% African .. one of the highest percentages known?

That Brooke Shields can trace her Italian roots back to an ancestor who originally migrated from France and started the first Italian bank which grew into one of the largest in the world.. and that her French roots go back to include the most prestigious of Kings?

But Susan Saradon’s story is the one that really broke my heart.

She was trying to find information on her maternal grandmother, who had left her small young children and then disappeared. No one knew anything about her save for a picture that someone had from a long time ago. She was able to find out that her maternal grandmother’s family was from Tuscany and had strong roots there but back in the day, her great-grandfather came to the United States skilled in making statues.. thinking he would have a better life.

He didn’t.

Him and his wife settled into an NYC tenament where 6 of their 9 children died. His wife died also. It was found that Susan’s grandmother got pregnant when she was 12 by her 18 year old neighbor. They were probably forced to marry and I guess life being what it was, she wound up leaving for the bright lights of the clubs in Manhattan. She remarried but that marriage didn’t last either.

With a little more digging, Susan was able to find out that her grandmother married a 3rd time and this marriage had lasted 30+ year.

She lived out her life an hour away from NYC and I wondered .. as I’m sure Susan did .. if this woman who had gone through so much ever wondered what had happened to her own children. I’m going to assume that she did. The pictured they had shown of her as an elderly lady :: her nieces through marriage were found and a meeting was filmed :: showed a great sadness to her.

Usually at the end of the show, the celebrity would have a conversation about what they had discovered with one of their family members. This didn’t happen this time because I’m assuming that the knowledge and emotions would be too hard for Susan’s mother to show on camera.

If you have a chance to watch it.. please do. I highly recommend it.

The shows are also listed On Demand if you have it..

Ok..

Before I start saying ANYTHING let me just preface this with:

I THINK SEX OFFENDERS SHOULD ALL BE STRUNG UP ONTO THE NEAREST LIGHTPOST AND SKINNED WITH A DULL SPOON.. AFTER THEY ARE CASTRATED.. WITHOUT BEING NUMBED FIRST.

Does that accurately relay how horrendous I think sex offenders are?

.. and that’s tame.

For me.

Anyway.. the reason I bring this up:

I have a customer who comes in maybe 3 or 4 times a week. I know his wife.. I’ve met his kids.. and his sister is also one of my really good customers. They’re really nice people who are doing what they need to do to provide for their families.

Nothing illegal.. just working hard.. making sacrifices.. etc.

Normal.. everyday.. good people.

So this morning, he comes in and orders a breakfast sandwich. Since Chief cooks everything “made to order” we have a little time to chit-chat.

I ask him how things are going and he proceeds to tell me that his 11 year old son is in trouble.

I ask him what’s going on and he tells me that his son and a bunch of other kids in his class :: some “friends” some just “classmates” :: were hanging around in the school yard after school and boys being boys.. some kids dared the other kids to pee in the parking lot. So my customer’s son did just that.

Pee’d in the middle of the parking lot while all the other kids laughed about it.

A second kid was going to pee also, but the principle happened to be coming out of the school at the time and the kids ran.

It would have probably been just one of those stupid little Ferris Beuller pranks that aggravate the shit out of principles but in this case, there was video tape.

And when the tape was reviewed :: to determine the who the kids were :: and my customer’s son was viewed actually doing the peeing, he got suspended.

End of story, right? And what’s this have to do with sex offenders, right?

Well.. I’m not quite sure how the school board got involved. Not sure if they get involved when their is a suspension or not. But some how, the school board found out and is now pressing charges for indecent exposure on this kid.

Did I mention he is ELEVEN YEARS OLD??

And if that isn’t bad enough, if found guilty, he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. If found guilty, his family is going to have to move because they live two blocks from the school.

Did I mention he is ELEVEN YEARS OLD??

So now, his parents had to hire an attorney. And if you had been one of the lucky ones :: cough cough :: to have been following Chief’s legal problems last year, you’ll understand when I say that if you can’t afford a good lawyer, it’s no sense hiring a bad one because it’s just a waste of money. An expense that doesn’t quite fit into their already tight budget.

Did I mention that there is video of this incident?

Did I mention that the video shows a bunch of boys egging each other on to pee in the parking lot?

This isn’t an instance where this kid inappropriately touched another child .. it isn’t an instance where this kid took his weener out and waved it at his girl classmates with a Chester The Molester face.

It’s just boys being stupid boys and doing stupid things.

But that seems to be getting lost on everyone who’s so fucking hypersensitive about shit.

Remember, I said I can’t tolerate sex offenders. But is this 11 year old boy REALLY a sex offender?

Is the 19 year old boy who got caught having consensual sex with his 15 year old girlfriend a sex offender because the girl’s parents are pissed that she’s sexually active??

As cut and dry as it SHOULD be, there’s a big, big grey area and when you get into situations like the one’s above, I think it’s only right that you’re very careful on who you slap that tag onto.

So..

Your thoughts?