A nice way to stay in touch with loved ones, and a convenient way to share my opinions without having everyone just walk away...wait a minute, where are you going? I wasn't finished..

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunny Spring Sunday Theology

It's a lovely day and a Sunday.

Lou and I went to Willow Creek Church for Sunday services, met my daughter Kim there, and went out to breakfast afterwards. Lou is struggling a little bit, but he's trying very hard to sort things out. He was raised Catholic and retains a strong attachment, yet after attending Mass on Sunday he picks me up to go to Willow. He has been attending grief counselling at Willow and has encouraged his own daughters to visit. Yet, he sometimes expresses doubts about Willow, upholding the Catholic Church as the true church and describing other churches as offshoots organised to accomodate the less rigorously faithful by ministers who have their own (suspect) motives.

I was very proud of Kim, she was not intimidated by Lou's impolite assertions. Neither was she defensive, nor did she respond argumentively. I think she recognised that Lou's confusion can't be resolved with a few words over breakfast.

Lou's wife used to call herself a "recovering Catholic", as though her Catholic childhood had burdened her with such guilty feelings that she still hadn't fully recovered. I was raised Catholic, and I don't usually feel guilty enough. But there is the "vale of tears" thing with Catholics, or at least Irish Catholics, which promotes the understanding that we here on earth suffer the pain and humiliation of a mortal, physical existence during which, if we remain devoted to Christ and his teachings, we will earn an eteral reward in heaven.

That's a whole different understanding than what I get at Willow - that salvation is not something we earn, that Jesus earned it with the ultimate sacrifice and it is His gift to us which we only need to accept and acknowlege. Of course, it is to be understood that in acknowleging and accepting His sacrificial gift we should resolve to live in a way that honors his wishes for us.

The difference is that with the latter understanding (or faith) one can be joyous as a faithful child of God should be. With the former understanding, one might be suspicious of the happy Christians. Maybe that is why the part of the Willow service Lou likes least is the worship when people sing uplifting songs of praise and are really happy doing it.

Well, Janett had Pride and Prejudice on but it got over and she put on Proof. A lot less conducive background for writing. So that's all for now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Be careful what you wish for...

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go.

It'll be two weeks before I start my perm status so they called me with a two week assignment to keep me busy and put some money in my pocket. There I am at this office where they run four little companies. The office manager/bookkeeper got really sick at the beginning of 2005 and eventually died. Up until May she did a less than stellar job and didn't print out financials or detailled reports. Management didn't take much of an interest in how she was doing, other than to ask occasionally, "How are you doing?" To which she had always replied "Fine"
Then after she was unable to continue working a virus infected the system and destroyed all the accounting files, master files, detail, history - everything!
Not only am I faced with having to do all the posting for the second half of the year for the four companies, I don't know how I'm going to reconstruct the numbers for the first half.

I think I'll call my company tomorrow and tell them they need to send a second person out to work with me next week and possibly finish up after I'm gone.
It'll cost the client a lot of money, but, hey, they saved a lot not having a bookkeeper for six months.

I can't help but wonder if the now deceased employee was unhappy not to get any help as her condition worsened, and where that mysterious virus could have come from.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Today is our (Janett and my) 26th wedding anniversary. Hooray for us!

I've worked about a week in the last month. One assignment fell through and the next one keeps being delayed (one day at a time). The income shortfall is a little troubling, but more important, I'm beginning to feel unproductive. Too many days on the internet and playing RISK on the computer, going out to some bar a couple times a week, partying too hard (tequila shots), and making Janett nervous (offering friends rides home). I guess I'm also starting to feel too self indulgent. But that won't keep me from having a bloody mary at Red Lobster tonight.

My friend Lou and I were talking about my ennui Sunday after church and he said I should maybe get into that purpose driven life book. It's kind of strange. After losing Meg (Lou's wife) a couple months ago and my mom this month, and having Noah shipped off to someplace, possibly hazardous, half-way around the world, I don't feel like I've changed, but I wonder if I'm acting differently. Some kind of alienation?

Ok, enough of this poor little me stuff. For more uplifting messages please visit Kim's or Steff's blog sites. That's what I do.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Lift a glass today to Oscar Traynor

Oscar Traynor
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Oscar Traynor (March 21, 1886–December 15, 1963), Fianna Fáil politician and revolutionary.

Oscar Traynor was born on March 21, 1886 into a strongly nationalist family in Dublin, Ireland. He was educated by the Christian Brothers in Dublin. In 1899 he was apprenticed to John Long, a famous wood-carver. As a young man he was a noted footballer and toured Europe with Belfast Celtic.

Traynor joined the Irish Volunteers and took part in the Easter Rising in 1916. Following this he was interned in Wales. During the Irish War of Independence he was brigadier of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Republican Army and led the attack on the Customs House in 1921. When the Irish Civil War broke out in June 1922, Traynor took the republican side.* The Dublin Brigade was split however, with many of its members following Michael Collins in taking the pro-Treaty side. Traynor and his supporters tried to help the republicans who had occupied the Four Courts when they were attacked by Free State forces by occupying O'Connell street. Traynor and his men held out for a week before making their escape. For the remainder of the war he organised guerrilla activity in south Dublin and county Wicklow.

In 1925 he was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fail candidate.

In 1936 he was first appointed to the Cabinet as Minister for Posts & Telegraphs. in 1948 he became President of the Football Association of Ireland, a position he held until his death. He served as Minister for Defence in several Fianna Fáil governments before he retired in 1961.

Oscar Traynor died on December 15, 1963, in Dublin, Ireland at the age of 77.

*January 10 1922 -Three anti-Treaty members of IRA GHQ (Curran says four); six divisional commanders and the O/Cs of the two Dublin brigades meet to formulate their anti-Treaty strategy. They say that the IRA's allegiance to the Dáil was based on the Republic being upheld and they argue that the decision of the Dáil to accept the Treaty means that since they are no longer upholding the Republic, the IRA no longer owes it allegiance. They call for the IRA to return to rule by its own executive and send a letter the next day to Mulcahy to demand that an Army convention meet on the 5th February. The letter is signed by Rory O’Connor, Liam Mellows, Sean Russell, James Donovan, Oscar Traynor, Liam Lynch and other IRA commandants.

DISCLAIMER - I can make no connection between the Dubliner Traynor and our Monaghan family, but I have a romantic attachment to the IRA of the rebellion - pistol in one pocket, rosary in the other.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Heard on PBS today: "...the president has accused Iran of meddling in Iraq."

Monday, March 13, 2006

Iran and Gold

For anyone interested, here's an article which presents the current tensions with Iran as it relates to the dollar and gold.

Subsequent Edit - apparently the date for the opening of the Iranian Bourse has been postponed from March 20. Maybe because of the complexity of organizing the market, maybe because there's not enough Euro's floating around to support the trade. I'll have to think about that.

Saying goodby to Mommo

Saturday, family and friends gathered to take Mommo to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery where she would be interred in the family plot. At the visitation before going to the cemetery, guests were invited to share their memories and thoughts. Each of her nine children had a few words to say, and each had a slightly different perspective to share, providing all in all a very full recollection of her wonderful qualities.
Bringing the whole family together was Mommo's last but not final gift to us. I think and hope that underlying the words and prayers was a reminder to each of us to continue to love one another as she loved each and all of us.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Snapshots (courtesy of Kim)

Mommo with some (not all) of her children and grandchildren.

Mommo and me (with partial dog)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

My Mother

Mommo Traynor passed away today. For the rest of us to carry on in a way that reflects our parent's qualities would be impossible if they hadn't instilled in us some of those qualities by unfailing example. Pop was the quintessential genleman, sensitive, erudite, and unfailingly courteous. Mom was both blessed and a blessing, ascetic only in her discipline, loving and gracious in every other aspect.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I wish I could get my mind around the noosphere so I could explain Teilhard to scripture based Christians. I can sort of relate it to the communion of saints, but a much extended version. I can kind of relate it to "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand" but I really can't explain it.

"You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience."

"The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin

The following excerpt is by the superior of Teilhard at the service for the repose of his soul. It's contained within the appendix of de Lubac's book with the title of this post.

His religious faith was the soul of his scientific effort and of his intellectual quest. Few priestly lives, I imagine, have been so completely a single, integral life....At a time when a gulf seemed to be widening between the most living elements in the modern world and the Church, when those men whose passion for scientific research or for the advancement of man was most intense were turning away from the Catholic faith, Pere Teilhard had met with an experience that was directly contrary....The modern world, as a vital experience had shown him, had need of Jesus Christ, and could be saved only by Jesus Christ....To Nietzche's reproach that Christians did not behave as though they had been saved, Pere Teilhard's mere existence was sufficient answer. He gave witness to the victory of Jesus Christ, and in unmistakable fashion it was manifest that he had been saved....His boldness derived from an ingenuous filial freedom within a faith that had been his since his childhood, and he completely possessed by an intrepid confidence in the victory of Jesus Christ....He despaired of no one. He had a passionate faith in man, in whom he saw, as through a transparency, the active presence of Jesus Christ."

PS Noah called this morning from Kyrzigstan. So far so good. (First time anyone ever called me from there)

Friday, March 03, 2006

My little guy Noah

Noah left today for Afghanistan. He has a wife, three sisters, and a mother.
Needless to say the girls are a lot more up-front about their emotions than I am.

I tell the kids when I look at them I see them at every age they've ever been all at once. At a time like this I remember all his vulnerable moments and almost cringe.

But what worries me most is his uncorrupted decency. A kid like Noah will instinctively give of himself for others. I trust Lauren made him promise to take care of himself and really mean it.

Too soon to worry about how he'll be different when he comes home. Just come home Noah and we'll deal with all of that just fine.

Oh, and one more thing...(about gold)

Something Congressman Paul didn't mention.

It is hypothesised by some (Google GATA) that in the nineties in an effort to keep gold prices down and disguise the inflationary effect of the Federal Reserve Banks increasing the money supply the US Treasury lent out a lot of the US Treasury's (your's and mine) gold to large banks. The banks borrowed the gold, paying 7% interest on the amount they borrowed, but the amount they borrowed was figured at the old standard price of $35 per ounce. Since the banks sold the gold for around $300 per ounce they were actually paying less than 1% interest on the proceeds. (7% X (35/300)). The bank reinvested the proceeds of the gold sales and surely earned a nice profit. Even if the banks bought nothing but US Treasury bonds paying 4 or 4.5 percent interest it was a safe and easy profit. But now the price of gold has risen, and the suspicion is that the banks still owe the treasury (you and me) the gold. Now, lets just speculate, when the banks borrowed the gold did they record the loan at the $300 per ounce they sold it for, or the $35 per ounce they were paying the interest on? Times up. Ummm, my guess is the $35.

So say Morgan Stanley borrowed a million ounces of gold and sold it but they recorded the obligation to pay back $35,000,000 - not a lot of money for those guys. But now to pay back the loan they've got to go buy a million ounces at $550 per ounce or $550,000,000. Wow, that would really hurt. But wait it gets worse- I just used the million oz for easy arithmetic.

The US Treasury is supposed to own 160 million ounces of gold. If 20% was loaned out, a conservative estimate, that's 32 million ounces the banks owe the treasury. Lets see, if the banks are in the hole for $515 million for every million ounces of gold and they've borrowed 32 million then they'll incur losses of $16 billion buying the gold back to repay the treasury. What a pickle they've gotten themselves into.

Now, I guess the banks did the "prudent" thing; when they sold the gold; they probably bought futures contracts to have somebody agree to sell them that amount of gold in the future for the same price the bank was selling the gold that day. Problem is, in the futures market you don't have to own the gold you promise to deliver later. Whoever agreed to sell the banks 30 million ounces of gold doesn't have that much gold.

Annual gold production is 2000 tons; that's 64 million ounces. So whoever promised the banks to deliver the 30 million ounces would have to go out and buy half a year's total output. Problem is the total gold demand (for jewelry and manufacturing etc.) already outstrips production 2 to 1. Trying to buy the gold for the banks to repay to the treasury (you and me) will set off a bidding war that'll drive the price of gold to new historic highs. And when the price of gold starts going up, more and more people want to buy it as an investment driving the price up even further.

The government can't let the banks off the hook by saying the banks don't have to pay back the gold. Maybe they could try to let the banks pay off the loan by paying a negotiated price including interest for the gold instead of replacing it. The government would have to pretend they had decided to invest the wealth of the nation in loans to the banks instead of holding onto all that nasty old gold. The German National bank tried to float an idea like that about a year ago. (They must have lent out or sold all their gold too, and now can't get it back) Anyway the idea got so much criticism they dropped that idea. The problem is in announcing that the Treasury is selling it's gold to the banks would make people nervous about what the Treasury actually has to back up the money in their pockets.

Well, we should be nervous. Even if the Treasury still owned the 260 million ounces of gold, with 9 trillion dollars (M3) floating around out there that comes to about $34,615 in circulation for every ounce of gold in the treasury.People would probably decide gold was pretty darn cheap at under $600 dollars an ounce, and that they'd rather invest whatever they had to invest in gold than leave it in dollars.

Either making the banks come across with the gold they borrowed, or trying to let them off the hook and admitting the dollar had fallen in so far in value relative to gold that the borrowing can't be repaid is going to cause a great demand for gold - and as noted above, there's already more demand than producers can meet.

And on the macroeconomic side it only going to get worse. The federal deficit and personal and corporate borrowing can't be paid off if people are still going to have food on the table and a roof over their heads (and gas to drive to work) The Federal Reserve will have to keep creating more and more money driving the value of the dollar down further and further and making gold more and more attractive as an alternative.

Anyway that's what I think, and I'm not going to bore you with more on this topic. (Unless I see that scumbag Paul Wolfowitz trying to steal the World Bank's gold reserves to help the US Treasury hide its gold deficits. I mean there must be some reason Bush gave him that job)

Gold vs. Currency

I previously mentioned that I was having trouble getting fired up to complete my commentary on the problems I anticipate for the US $ and my interest in speculating in the gold futures market. Well, then I came across this article prepared by US Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. He doesn't say exactly the things I would have said, or in precisely the same way, but his content and style may be better than my own, and by providing the link, I can weasel out of continuing my narrative and focus on topics of more personal interest. So without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Congressman Ron Paul, gold article .