Sunday, November 28, 2010

King Tut, #1

There are three versions of  King Tutankhamun to John Paul II.  I'm presenting them from least interesting to most interesting.  Here is reckoning #1, through points of physical contact.  I'll tell the story through pictures.

3 Degrees
Egyptologists headed by Zahi Hawass unwrap King Tut's mummy
Dr. Hawass takes a moment to look into the boy-king's eyes
Preparing Tutankhamun for CT scan

Showing Laura Bush his books
"Hey, Baby, wanna come up and see my antiquities?"

Laura Bush shares a moment with John Paul II

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


House in Betty's Neck on
 Lake Assawompset

Massasoit had many children, but has few descendants.  His sons tended to die fighting the English, and his daughters married Wampanoag or men from nearby tribes who died fighting the English.  I kept hitting dead ends as I pursued Massasoit's blood lines.  I managed to find his last surviving granddaughters (many generations down the line,) living on Betty's Neck road in Lakeville, Massachusetts.  These women died in the late 1800s and their home is NOT  a museum.  It abuts a development of McMansions.  

Wamsutta James
A member of Massasoit's tribe, the Wampanoag, was invited to speak at the annual Massachusetts chapter of Mayflower Descendants' annual Thanksgiving reenactment in Plymouth.  After the Descendants read the speech, they withdrew their invitation.  To read Wamsutta James' speech, click here.  

The last known
descendants of
Canadian Trappers brought disease that
decimated Massasoit's people
In the 1610's, French Canadian trappers brought a host of microbes to the Indians of current day Massachusetts.  As a result, thousands died.  Estimates of the deaths range from 30-95% of the population.  Bacteria were not to be discovered for another 50 years.  The concept of infection control was 150 years away.  Massasoit and the families of the dead thought that the white man had unleashed some sort of evil force on them.  It's not surprising that Massasoit sent Samoset to declare peace to the white men as they arrived.  

He didn't want his people to be annihilated by another round of disease

The rest of the story in 7 degrees will be told in pictures.  Please excuse the twist I published.  After all the depressing research about Massasoit's family, disease, oppression, and plague, I needed a smile.  

7 Degrees

King of Wampanoags

Massasoit made peace with John Carver, John Bradford, Myles Standish
and other pilgrims against the Narragansett and for mutual protection.
Guess who is descended from John Bradford?

This is Natasha, she posed in Heff's magazine.  Natasha married the grandson of......
The Shah of Iran, who met.....
Ted Kennedy in 1975.  Mr Kennedy wrote a letter to....

Benedict XVI.  The pope sent a message back to Kennedy's
family.  Read the correspondences here.  

Massasoit to John Bradford to Hugh Heffner to Natasha to Shah to Kennedy to Pope to Pope
Did you know?  It's never too late for confession and reconciliation.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Captain John Smith

John Smith was dreamy!
My husband challenged me to write the last two posts in November, John Smith (of Pilgrim fame), and Massasoit.  I hope you are edified by these posts.  I certainly learned much more about Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims than I did before.  Not all of what I have learned is good news, but I'll share it all with you.

Fifth Degree: John Smith

"You're so well-developed for a 10 year old"
John Smith landed on the Massachusetts coast in 1615 with a group of human petri dishes.  The incubators wasted no time in spreading disease among the Native Americans, and the Wampanoags, Massasoit's tribe, lost 30-90% (probably closer to 90%) of their population in a matter of months.

Fourth Degree: Pocahontas 
Just a few years earlier, a 10-year-old Pocahontas saved the sweet tush of Captain John Smith.  If the two were lovers at that time it would be VERY, VERY GROSS.   Evidently, Disney Studios were under the impression that Native Americans shot their kids full of steroids to induce early puberty, but that's another post.

While Captain Smith was gallavanting on Martha's Vineyard, Pocahontas was falling for, and marrying John Rolfe.  It was THAT union that lead to peace between her father and the pilgrims (Jamestown, VA.)

Third Degree: King James and Queen Anne
Pocahontas traveled to England with her new husband (married in 1614), and met King James and Queen Anne.  She was the toast of English society and enjoyed sniffing the Queen's lace and reading the king's nifty new bible.

Second Degree: King James II
A few kings later, King James II ascended to the throne.  
King James II
James II was a genuflecting, ring-kissing, relic-lovin' Catholic!  
Pope Alexander VIII
He was the last Catholic monarch of England.  Having abdicated his throne in 1688, he urged the pope's support in a letter in 1689.  Read the letter by clicking here.  

Fiurst Degree: Pope Alexander VIII
This blog treats bloodlines as a single degree.  Since (most) of the popes did not have a papal lineage, I'm considering them as one royal lineage from St. Peter.  Alexander was Pope #242, John Paul II was 265.

Did you know?
John Paul II
Pope #265
Peter was the first pope, and there has been an uninterrupted line of successive popes ever since.  This line of leaders was not planted by "Pastor Bob" or a rogue monk.  Jesus Christ Himself started the Catholic Church.  The Roman Catholics and Orthodox Catholics are the ONLY church (singular form intentional) with such an unbroken apostolic succession.  When choosing a denomination, why not conform to His church instead of trying to find a church that conforms to your views.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Starship "Enterprise"

Sixth Degree: The Starship Enterprise

Fifth Degree: George Takei

Fourth Degree: Clint McCance
Mr. McCance's apology on Anderson Cooper's show is here.

Third Degree: Anderson Cooper
Is Anderson Cooper gay?
Delving into such a question is itself sin.  His struggles are his problem, your
struggles are your problem.  In this age of 24 hour gossip, it's tough not to wonder.
Second Degree: John Stewart
Stewart has interviewed many first-degreers.

Are Homosexual Persons Damned?
Being gay is morally neutral.  So is being alcoholic, being diabetic, and being heterosexual.  The sins we struggle with don't make us sinful unless we DO them.  Being gay isn't a sin, but having sex with people of the same sex is.  Being an alcoholic is not a sin, but getting drunk is.  Being diabetic is not a sin, but abusing food and your body is.  Being heterosexual is not a sin but rape, adultery, abortion, fornication, and pornography ARE!  Listen to Father Larry Richards discuss this topic.

If you hate homosexual persons, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.  You cannot be the arms of Christ, the hands of Christ, and the mind of Christ with a homosexual person if you harbor hate to them.  The hate will kill your soul, not theirs.  If you really want to help others, learn to love all people.

Discuss with your spiritual father, spouse, friends, etc.  Go to confession.  Pray, read scriptures and repeat.
Unless you forgive, you are damned!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

2 Degrees
Pope Pius XII and Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Pope John Paul II are currently roommates!

Friday, November 12, 2010

C3PO and R2D2

2 Degrees

Second Degree: C3PO and R2D2
The lovable androids from Star Wars have a priestly friend.  The three hooked up at a science fiction convention.

First Degree: Father Roderick Von Hogen
A great fan of pop culture and all things science fiction, Father Roderick was blessed to meet Pope John Paul II on many occasions.  This is Father Roderick's homepage.

Fun Catholic Fact:
Enjoying science fiction and fantasy literature is Kosher for Catholics.  Our faith has survived many things, wars, persecution, Nero, the Borgias...certainly Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Luke Skywalker, and Robert Langdon can't kill it.  These (in the second list) are fictional characters and therefore are morally neutral.  

Problems begin when people don't know where the fiction and non-fiction in stories meet.  
Children should not be anxiously awaiting their 11th birthdays to see if their Hogwarts letter arrives.  But they can listen to The Secrets of Harry Potter podcast, a Catholic show that celebrates all things HP.  

Children with a diagnosis of ADHD should not honestly believe that their "real" fathers are horny gods who used and left their mothers. But it can be amazingly cathartic for these children to read the Percy  Jackson books.  

Catholics should not believe that Jesus Christ had children by Mary Magdelene, knowing that he would not be able to raise those children and be with Mary.  But they can read and enjoy The Da Vinci code and realize that they have not been looking at religious art closely enough.  When I read the book, I began to read up on art history more.  To learn about the Catholic perspective on these Dan Brown books, head over to The Secrets of Angels and Demons podcast.  

There is a reason that the Church treats tradition with such respect.  It keeps us grounded and away from heresy.  Those who don't know their faith well cannot distinguish fact from fiction in literature, movies, and theater.  Those who DO know their faith well can enjoy all media as entertainment, including historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was an admirer and friend of Paul Robeson.
Robeson is 5 degrees from JP2, see the post on
"Chairman Mao," November 5, 2010
4 Degrees

Fourth Degree: Albert Einstein and Marie Curie took part in the First Solvay Congress in Brussels, 1911.  The theme of the congress was radiation and the quanta.
Einstein is second from the right
Madame Curie is seated with her head on her hand

Third Degree: Madame Curie was a guest of President Warren G. Harding in May of 1921.

Second Degree: President Warren G. Harding

Pope Benedict XV, in July 1921,  issued an encyclical which praised US President Warren G. Harding for his efforts in international disarmament.  Read the original New York Times story here.
Benedict XV

First Degree: Pope Benedict XV was pope #259

Pope John Paul II was pope #265

To learn more about the name "Benedict," the name of our current pope, click here. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chairman Mao

Mao and Dubois
6 Degrees

Sixth Degree: WEB Dubois.  
In 1959, Chairman Mao met WEB Dubois, an American writer and thinker who was born in Western Massachusetts.  Dubois was African-American and not accepted by American intelligentsia.  Like many frustrated black intellectuals, he was attracted to the communist ideals and the acceptance that he could enjoy in communist countries.  Writing of his friend, Paul Robeson, he said “In America he was a ‘nigger’; in Britain he was tolerated; in France he was cheered; in the Soviet Union he was loved for the great artist that he is.” These words could easily be about Dubois himself. To read the entire book W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963
 By David Levering Lewis click here.

Fifth Degree: Paul Robeson 
Robeson toasting Marian Anderson
WEB Dubois was friends with Paul Robeson, the great American Bass.  Paul Robeson has one of the most recognizable singing voices in the history of song.  Most will know his as the voice of "Ol' Man River."  He was frustrated with his status in the United States as "that colored singer," and he wished to be known as simply a great artist.  He sang in the Soviet Union.  There he was not simply a caricature of a singer, but a performer of lieder.  Here is a recording from his Soviet concerts.  

Roosevelt's resignation
from DAR, click to enlarge
Fourth Degree: Marian Anderson
Paul Robeson gave a toast at a dinner given in honor of Marian Anderson.  A great lady of American song, Ms Anderson lead the way for other Divas-of-Color like Leontyne Price, Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, and Denyce Graves.

Third Degree, Eleanor Roosevelt:
She was acquainted with First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, who invited her to sing for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  Miss Anderson excepted, but the DAR refused to allow a "colored singer" to perform for them.  Outraged, Mrs. Roosevelt wrote a letter of resignation from the DAR and scheduled a concert for Miss Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial.  That famous concert is reported as a newsreel in the video click here.  I was unable to embed that video, but this one with Leopold Stokowski of the Ave Maria is below.  
To read more about Eleanor's relationship to Marian Anderson here is a link to the FDR library.  I saw these documents myself when I visited there.  Mrs. Roosevelt was an amazing woman.

Myron Taylor and Pius XII
Second Degree: President Franklin Deleno Roosevelt
FDR and Pope Pius XII exchanged many letters through FDR's envoy to the Pope, Myron Taylor.  To read all of the wartime correspondence between FDR and Pius XII  go here.  I believe you can also buy the book at that link as well.

Second (still)  Degree: Myron Taylor, Personal Envoy of FDR to Pius XII
FDR wanted his letters to the pope to be “the channel of communication for any views You and I might wish to exchange in the interest of concord among the peoples of the world.”  The pope deemed their letters to be successful in that endeavor.  He saw the US aide that flowed to be of great relief to the “misery begotten of the war” and praised secretary Myron Taylor to be the go-between at this pre-air-travel time. Click the above link to read Pius' words.

Now, I consider the letters to be direct correspondence even though they were delivered through Myron Taylor.  Therefore,

First  Degree: Pope Pius XII. Pius XII was pope #261 and John Paul #265.  Just as I'm considering bloodlines to be one degree of separation, I'm counting the papal succession as one degree as well.
Not so fun Catholic fact: Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you need to be against both sides of a conflict.  That was the case in World War II with Pius XII.  He was against the Fascist dictators on the basis of Fascist opposition to belief in God.  Fascism requires undivided loyalty of each citizen to the state, in such a state, true Christianity is anathema.  Pius was also against the Communist forces of the Allies.  Communism is by definition atheist.  For these reasons, Pius is one of the most vilified popes in history. Taking a stand for what is right will rarely render one to be popular.  Christ knew that always, most pointedly on the cross.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sarah Palin

2 Degrees
A folksy wink!

Second Degree: Sarah Palin met Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan.
Karzai:  "Not the most volatile IED by the roadside, are you?"
Palin:  "What's an IED?"

First Degree:  Karzai met John Paul.  
Karzai at John Paul's funeral
Karzai and other Middle Eastern leaders at the
funeral of John Paul II

If you live in the US, I hope you vote today.  Our choices are not always good ones, but our elections are peaceful.  Write in your friend or just vote for one race, but VOTE.  Great sacrifice was made to give you this gift of voting.  Don't dishonor that sacrifice by staying home.

Below is an awesome video of "Sarah Palin" on Catholicism.  It's a scream!