Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas to all

Dear Family and Friends,

For obvious reasons, this year we have had occasion to sing lots of lullabies. Leo in particular has enjoyed singing Sicilian lullabies:

Ninna nanna, beddu miu (Lullaby, my handsome guy)
dormi dormi, nun chiangiri, ninna nanna... (Go to sleep, now don’t you cry, lullaby...)

Life has not been the same since Allen and Christine blessed us with our first grandchild, James, born this past July 9th. It’s not that he needs the soporific and calming effect of a lullaby; truth be told, the kid doesn’t cry much. On the few occasions that he fusses, we put him back in Christine’s arms and, presto! ...problem solved!

But it is an incredible joy to sing lullabies to a grandson, be they Sicilian, Italian or otherwise. Maybe it’s because in so doing we start to imagine the lullabies that our grandparents sang years ago to our parents, and even to us. The thought brings with it a bittersweet nostalgia. At our age, these memories are starting to become dearer as the years slip by, taking with them more and more loved ones from those wonderful generations. And little by little, in due time we will be considered the older generation (notwithstanding that we are rather young grandparents, barely into our fifties.).

These two semi-older folks are doing pretty well this Christmas. Thank the Lord, we do not lack for decent health. Truth be told, we really don’t lack for anything of importance. We love each other, and our children (and, of course, our grandson) are a great source of joy. What more could we ask?

Above all, our greatest gratitude and joy are for the Child who was born more than two millennia ago. Because of Him, our sins are forgiven, and we have the blessed hope that the passing of the years and generations is not the final word. We wish you a blessed Christmas and a joyful New Year.

Leo and Susan and family

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pourquoi blog?

Actually, I am a late comer to blogging, partly because I did not think I had the time, partly because I wanted to keep my privacy. I also had this feeling, rightly or wrongly, that a personal blog might be considered a bit vainglorious, a way of calling attention to oneself, shouting to everyone on the web: “Hey, look at me!” Even now as I am entering the fray, I am questioning my own motives and wonder if that is at least part of my motivation. I hope not.

I was introduced to the blogosphere in a most unlikely way. I recently became a regular contributor to a blog called “Down with Absolutes!” a somewhat irreverent and otherwise left wing site which is my polar opposite ideologically, culturally and politically. So how did that happen? It’s a bit of a long, convoluted story.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


[Originally posted at "Down With Absolutes" on 12/14/2008]

Oh, no! Another TMI post from Leo?

During the past decade or so of biannual checkups, my general practitioner had been warning my wife and me that, after we reached the half century mark, we should have a colonoscopy. So after I turned fifty this year, we decided to go through this rite of passage together. We called the gastroenterologist recommended by our G.P., and he arranged everything, pre-certifying the insurance coverage, and we were scheduled for back-to-back days at a nearby hospital.

Those of you who have already had the pleasure know that the worst part of a colonoscopy is not the procedure itself, during which you are mercifully under sedation, but rather the preparatory phase. This involves a day of fasting, with nothing but liquid intake the day before the procedure, including a gallon or so of a foul tasting solution specifically designed to clear out your intestines. Needless to say, this causes a significant deterioration to your social life and mobility, keeping you no more than two meters from the nearest bathroom.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


[Originally posted at "Down with Absolutes" on 12/03/2008]

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and writing posts and comments on DWA, especially when the debate is substantive and lively, I don’t even mind serving as the lightning rod, as it gives me the opportunity to sharpen my debating skills, do some research, think things through, shore up the foundations of my convictions, and even learn a thing or two.

In contrast, some posts at DWA can be more laced with “expletive non-deleted” verbiage than rational debate. They tempt me to consult the DSM-III to see if there is a clinically documented case of textual Tourette’s Syndrome. The following gems are just a sampling: