A Sad Thing Happened Today in New Zealand

It was crappy, cold, rainy weather.

Bumper-to-bumper, rush-hour traffic on Blockhouse Bay Road, my thoroughfare going home.

All I could think about was taking some Panadol, and crashing out with a heating pad on my aching neck.

So much bloody traffic.

Then I saw him.

A really old man, broken down on the other side of the four-lane road.

I could see that his front left tire was flat; that one of those emergency Jap tires was up on the sidewalk.

And the really old man was trying to remove his flat “tyre”, as they say in New Zealand.

Judging by his flustered face and exhaustion, I figured he must have been hard at it for some time.

I thought to myself, “surely somebody is going to stop and help that old man.”

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The Morning After The Night Before

blog church art

When I was young, the headline above referred to waking up with a monstrous hangover.

Today, it refers to being back in the world after a weekend of immersion in a spiritual retreat called the Eucharistic Convention.

I feel sort of like a sponge whose every pore had been filled with water, and then squeezed dryer than dry.

The hangover cure for me today is the same as way back when – hair of the dog that bit you.

But now, instead of that “hair” being booze, it was spending the morning with a wise, old priest.

I have a thing for wise, old priests. Priests who have suffered. Priests who are holy.

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We’re Still (Trying to Be) Holy in NZ; Funny Should Resume Next Week

Our Lady Undoer of Knots art

Our Lady Undoer of Knots


If you came expecting post-Easter humor, you’re a week too early.

This week, friends and neighbors, features the Eucharistic Convention, a major Catholic event that we’ve helped organize for years.

Before you flee in horror, check these people out.

Bob and Freda Narev – When Bob “Narewczewitz” was nine years old, “home” to him and his mother was the horrific Theresienstadt concentration camp in Poland. When they were liberated in 1945, Bob was one of only 150 children who made it out alive. Freda, from an Orthodox Jewish family, spent the last years of the war hiding on a farm, “living as a Catholic” to escape the Nazis. Bob and Freda somehow made it to New Zealand, met, raised a family and received the highest awards possible for service to the Jewish and general communities.

Roy Schoeman was born outside of New York City to Jewish parents who had survived the Holocaust. Roy received his Jewish education and formation under some of the most prominent Rabbis in contemporary American Jewry. He went to MIT and then Harvard Business School, where he received an MBA magna cum laude. He joined the Harvard faculty and quickly became a ‘rock star’ professor of marketing. He lost his faith, but then had several supernatural experiences (sort of falling into Heaven), and eventually converted to Catholicism. His first book for Ignatius Press, Salvation is from the Jews: The Role of Judaism in Salvation History, was a surprise best-seller.

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Easter Sunday — He Is Risen



1 After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre.

2 And suddenly there was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it.

3 His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow.

4 The guards were so shaken by fear of him that they were like dead men.

5 But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.

6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay,

7 then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead and now he is going ahead of you to Galilee; that is where you will see him.” Look! I have told you.’

8 Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples.

9 And suddenly, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings,’ he said. And the women came up to him and, clasping his feet, they did him homage.

10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; there they will see me.’

Good Friday



When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares,
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another,
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, “
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.

This is what the soldiers did.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

(John 19:23-30)

Ear Goop and Humpy Crack Puppies

Meme -- Cute Always Wins

The duty has fallen to me to put medical ear goop into the Crack Puppy’s left ear.

This is necessary because she is a Maltese/Shih-Tzu cross.

And “Shih-Tzu”, in English, means “American Express Platinum cards accepted here.”

So in addition to giving her 3/4 of a phenobarbitone tablet morning and night, wrapped in cheese, for her epilepsy, the blog now has to convince the Crack Puppy:

a) to lie very still in our lap every night as we;

b) ram a nozzle down her ear canal and squeeze goop into it.

Which goes really well, as you can imagine.

A bit like putting drops into Junior’s ears when he was just a baby, except the Crack Puppy is way squishier and lots more expensive than he was.

As we recall, the baby hospital bill was only about $12,000. Which is chicken feed when it comes to Shih-Tzus.

Plus, our addictively cute Crack Puppy also needs her anal gland squeezed.

A lot.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Chaos in Houston

Back in the early Nineties, I was with a Houston P.R. firm charged with generating publicity about their latest master-planned community.

My boss decided to bring in a real-live Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle to the grand opening of the new community center.

At that time, hiring a real Ninja Turtle was only slightly harder than getting the Beatles back together.

We has to work directly with the licensing agents in New York City to “sign Leonardo”.

Turtle cropped cowabunga

Or at least to sign a New York actor who was licensed to wear the official Leonardo turtle gear.

As I recall, the ridiculous contract required a first class tickets for the actor AND a first class ticket for the Leonardo’s suit.

It was ridiculous, but we signed the contract, and promoted the heck out of Leonardo’s appearance.

When Saturday morning came, you would’ve thought we were giving away $1,000 bills. And ponies.


We know we had a problem when the new community center was packed before Leonardo was picked up at the airport (some 45 minutes away).

At 10 a.m. — an hour before the show was to begin — there were maybe 500 adults on hand, each with two or three wide-eyed children.

It was 110 degrees outside, and the packed building was getting more crowded and hotter by the minute.

There was NOTHING for the kids to do except cry.

And there was NOTHING the parents could do except fantasize about killing the idiot P.R. people who had organized this nightmare.

We tried to stall, to avoid being ripped limb from limb.

But there are only so many times that you can say:

“Leonardo has landed! And he’s on his way! Maybe he had to stop for pizza. Hahaha.”

Finally, just before a full-blown riot broke out, Leonardo arrived.

We briefed the actor back stage as he put on his Leonardo suit.

We cued the SUPER LOUD Ninja Turtle Music, and Leonardo showed himself.

The kids went absolutely berserk! We were saved!

It was like the Red Sea parting when Leonardo strutted to the middle of the building.

He put down his boom box and pushed play.

Then 100% authentic and fully authorized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tunes began to blare.

Leonardo was all kinds of awesome, spinning and kicking and doing totally rad Ninja Turtle stuff.

Just like in the movies!

This was the greatest P.R. idea ever!

For about three minutes.


And then Leonardo had done his dash and wanted to sit down backstage, because he was hot.

He was union. His contract specifically said he would do NO TALKING. And he was not about to sign autographs.

So we were dead.

My quick-thinking boss grabbed a mike and explained that we had boxes of cool TMNT stuff.

So if everyone could just be patient…

But by then, pretty much every kid in the place was crying.

The first wave of parents lunged toward the boxes. They grabbed handfuls of gear, then fought their way through the crowd back to their kids.

The rest of the parents soon realized there wasn’t going to be enough Turtle Swag to go around.

It got ugly.

I have an abiding memory of my 6-4 boss trying to wade through the angry sea of humanity, holding the only remaining box of Turtle Swag just as high as he could get it, maybe eight-feet in the air.

He was trying to make it to a big table in the corner. He never had a chance.

It’s a shame that the New Yorker in the turtle suit didn’t get torn to shreds like that box, is all I’ve got to say.

Other than Kowabunga, dude.