By PDMACpayday loans
Last Friday on my way to the grocery store I noticed my brakes felt soft. On the way home for the store the “something’s wrong with your brakes” light came on every time I stopped. I also had to push the pedal all the way to the ground.
Saturday I topped off the brake fluid, test drove it, parked, and pumped the brakes a bit. No better. When I got out of the car I found a lovely puddle of brake fluid under the rear right tire. Yay. Then I got ready for a birthday party (the guest of honor, Daniel, is a car enthusiast, so at the party I asked if he had time to help me look at it on Sunday.)
Did I mention this is a 1994 Grand Caravan? I really don’t want to sink a ton of money into it. Did I also mention that I don’t do much in the way of working on cars? I can change bulbs and wiper blades, and that’s about it. Fix a flat tire.
On Sunday I took off the wheel to see if I could find the source of the leak. The brake line looked fine, I didn’t see any clear leak points. I had Peter pump the brakes a bit while I looked. Brake fluid poured out from inside the drum. Ugh. Daniel came over and we got the car up on a jack stand, then proceeded to try and remove the drum. It wiggled just fine, but wasn’t moving. Whacking with a hammer didn’t really accomplish anything. We ended up using a 3′ crowbar, with piece of wood against the sprint to lever against.
Yay. We could see the guts of the thing. (This is when Daniel informed me that he had never really worked on drum brakes. No matter, since he still had more experience than me fixing cars.) The brake cylinder was leaking from one of the seals…a $10 part. We ran to the store, picked up the part (ABS or non-ABS? We didn’t know for sure, so we picked up both, along with some more brake fluid) and got some advice on how to proceed. “Be careful taking the brake line off. Loosening the fitting can sometimes twist the brake line, and you’ll break it.” Yep, we sure did. Broken brake line on a Sunday night after the auto parts stores were all closed…that’s not a recipe for a completed repair.
By this time it was after 9, getting dark, so we packed things up with the plan to continue things on Monday. I would just take Heather’s van to work for the day. My van stayed up on the jack stand overnight, and all of the supplies/tools went into the van. Daniel, when he got home, checked his supply of stuff and found a replacement brake line in his garage, so I didn’t have to go buy one. It also had fittings for both ends of the line. I missed his call at 10pm, but he dropped it off in the morning. Saved me a trip to the store.
Monday evening Heather went off to meet some childhood neighborhood friends, and Daniel and I got to work on the brake line. (The kids were watching Tangled on the projector, so they were content.) We took the old brake line off (breaking the line at the other fitting), and went about putting similar bends in similar places on the new (too long) line. Cut to length(ish), re-flared the end, and we were ready to put the thing in. Ha! As if it would be that easy. I think it took longer to actually get the new line in place than most of the rest of the work. Whoever designs these systems is a sadist. After the struggle (re-cutting and re-re-flaring the end), we finally got the brake line installed, installed the new brake cylinder, bled the line, reset the brake shoes (I think we put everything in the right place), reinstalled the drum, reattached the wheel, took the car off the jack stand, and test drove it. No crashing, so I think it’s good.
And there was much rejoicing.
I had fixed the car (well, I helped fix my car).
Brake line: $5
Brake cylinder: $9
Brake fluid: $7
$21 to fix my car. And a bunch of time. That was much better than what it would have cost at the mechanic’s.
There has been a lot of reaction to the HHS decision to require all healthcare plans to cover contraceptive services, with a conscience exception so narrow that it basically is nonexistent. The Bishops have (rightly) been issuing statements and telling the Obama administration to expect disobedience to the requirement.
Some Catholic Obama supporters have reacted as if to a slap in the face. Well, they clearly weren’t paying attention to what the President has done for the past 3 years, nor his record before then (slim as it was).
I don’t think this was a slap in the face. I don’t think this was the administration telling us Catholics to “go to Hell”, as Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh said. I think this is, flat out, plain and simple, an attempt to get organizations who do have a prohibition against such things to stop offering health coverage. On purpose. They want things to get worse, so the government can come to the rescue.
Think about it. Health insurance companies will be required to only offer plans to larger organizations that include contraceptive coverage. Catholic organizations, unable to get the exemption (which only lasts until Novermber anyway, IIRC) will have two options. Violate their conscience and get coverage that includes contraceptives, or to stop offering any coverage at all. Some places have already opted for the second choice.
I think that’s part of the plan. If churches, schools, and other Catholic organizations cancel their medical insurance plans, their employees will have to get it on their own. It will be a hardship for those individuals (especially since they will be limited in options as well), and some won’t be able to afford any insurance. This will, in their minds, increase the demand for universal coverage.
To sum up:
1 – Require organizations to violate their consciences if they want to offer health insurance.
2 – Organizations that refuse to violate their consciences will cancel insurance.
3 – Large groups of people will have to obtain private insurance.
4 – The government gets to fine the organizations that don’t offer insurance to their employees (income!)
5 – The government gets to fine people who don’t get private insurance (income!)
6 – The number of uninsured increases, thus “proving” the need for universal healthcare.
I think that’s the plan. It’s not an attack against Catholics because we’re Catholic, it’s an attack against a strategic target to reach an ultimate goal.
ETA: By the way, I’m uncomfortable with how Bishops and others have been reacting to this. I think they’re months behind, and arguing the wrong point. NOBODY should be required to offer coverage that violates their conscience. For example, if the Chick-Fil-A owners (Corporate Purpose: To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.) want to provide health insurance to their employees, but don’t want to cover abortions or contraceptives, that should be their right. The outrage shouldn’t be limited to religious institutions being forced to pay for this coverage. I realize it’s easier to argue the Free Exercise clause, but what about all of us other people who want to follow our consciences?
Life isn’t fair. We’ve all heard this truism, usually introduced to us by our mothers after a whiny “…but it’s not FAAAIIIRRRRRR!!!!” And by the time we’re adults, I would hope we understand and accept that life really isn’t fair. Since “fair” is a human concept, a projection of human behavior onto the natural world, chance, divine will, what have you…the concept really doesn’t apply to “life”. But “life isn’t fair” is much easier to say than “life does not adhere to the human concept of fairness”.
But once it’s re-branded, understanding of this self-evident truth disappears.
The childhood cry of “it’s not fair” has become the more adult-sounding “it’s an injustice that this perceived inequality exists”. “Equality” is the new brand name.
Now I’m not saying that equality is bad. Equal treatment under the law, equal pay for equal work, and so forth, are all good things. I fully support such equality.
Equality does not exist in all things, nor can we force it to exist. Not without changing humanity…replace the human race entirely, no men or women or children with different experiences, but 100% asexual clones (with absolutely no genetic drift) raised in the exact same environment, experiencing the exact same things, living the exact same lives. Barring that mechanized, drone-like life, there are going to be differences between people. Differences that will be reflected in the choices we make in similar situations, and differences in the situations that arise for each individual.
Take, for example, opportunity. One great thing about the US is that this is the land of opportunity. For all the belly-aching done by some people, anyone can become a millionaire here, even without playing the Lottery. 1st generation immigrants start their own businesses and, through hard work and much sacrifice, succeed. They expand and open a second location, and then a third. What opportunity existed was seized, taken advantage of, and success was achieved.
But that’s not good enough for some. The fact that the opportunity exists isn’t enough. The amount of opportunity must be equal for equality to exist (in their minds). White suburbanites have more opportunity than inner-city blacks, therefore it is an inequality that must be combated. The children of the ultra-rich are “given” more opportunities than others, and it’s unjust. So goes the logic. But when really examined, it boils down to “it’s not FAAAAIIIIRRRR!!!!”
There is nothing we can do to eliminate the inequality of opportunity that exists as a result of chance of birth. Some people are genetically better athletes, some people are born into wealthy families, some people get the shaft. That’s life.
Now that I’ve pointed out and accepted the fact that life isn’t fair, and that there will naturally be an inequality between individuals due to chance of birth, where do we go? We can be jerks about it and ignore those who got a horrible hand dealt to them. We can be reasonable about it and try to help those who got life’s junk hand. Or we can be jerks about it and blame the rich for their chance of birth.
That third option is what I’ve been seeing promoted lately. It’s there in every argument to eat the rich. It’s there in every argument that those born rich (Paris Hilton, for example) got an unfair share of life’s opportunities. It’s there in every argument that rich suburbanites (relatively speaking) must pay for poorer inner city extra-curricular programs. In every argument that some people earn “too much” and should have the excess stripped away from them and given to someone in need.
I disagree with such sentiments. While the objective of helping those in need is indeed laudable, the means to the end is unjustifiable. I much prefer private donation over public programs funded by high taxes. Many (if not most) of the so-called rich are very generous, and really do support programs that give additional opportunities to others. And I believe there is a moral obligation for them to give such support.
But the support shouldn’t be at gunpoint.
That’s just not fair.
(This post inspired by various discussions surrounding this article)
The President is rightly getting flack for this.
Now, I’ll ignore his reaction to a large family, and just do the math for my family, just to show how his “solution” isn’t a solution.
We burn through about 45 gallons of gas per week. It’s a rough estimate, but I usually fill my minivan twice a week and Heather’s minivan once a week (maybe less), and each fillup is close to 15 gallons. So I use 30 gallons, Heather uses 15. So we’re looking at 180 gallons per month (give or take), 120 in my tank and 60 in Heather’s.
Gas was about $2.80/gallon a year ago. It’s now $3.80 and climbing.
2010 cost: 180 gallons * $2.80/gallon = $504
2011 cost: 180 gallons * $3.80/gallon = $684
Now, both vans get about 18mpg under normal conditions (built-in systems track that for us, and I reset it once in a while to check current efficiency). 180 gallons * 18 mpg = 3240 miles driven. Two-thirds of that is mine, so I drive around 2160 miles per month, while Heather drives 1080. For simplicity let’s round those numbers down to 2000 and 1000.
I drive more, so let’s start by trading in my 1994 Grand Caravan for a used smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle. We’ll aim for a car that gets 30mpg, a vast improvement over my measly 18mpg. That’ll save a lot of fuel. In order to drive 2000 miles per month, I will need to use about 67 gallons of gas.
2011 efficient-Matt cost: 67 gallons * $3.80/gallon = $254.60
Looks great! Let’s do the same for Heather. She has to be able to seat 7, since we have six kids. Looking into things, the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (WOOO! HYBRID! GREEN! </sarcasm>) has an estimated 28MPG city rating (it was the best rating on some “Go Green” site for 7+ passengers). Most of her driving is in city conditions, so let’s go with that. At 28mpg, she’ll only need 35-36 gallons of gas. We’ll round this one down, since we rounded mine up.
2011 efficient-Heather cost: 35 gallons * $3.80/gallon = $133.00
Super! Add them together and we get:
2011 efficient cost: $254.60 + $133.00 = $387.60
Holy cow! Look at that! Not only did that cut over 40% out of my gas bill now, it’s even less cost than what I spent a year ago. I’m saving $116.40/month over 2010′s spending. How is this not a great idea?
Simple. I haven’t figured in the cost of getting those new (to us) used cars. Assuming we can get a reasonable trade in for each current car and apply it to the purchase of a more efficient used car, let’s calculate some things.
I probably can get a fairly efficient small car for me in the $5000 range. 30mpg might be a stretch, but hey. Let’s assume my old 94 Grand Caravan with several issues fetches $1000 for a trade-in. And let’s finance the remaining $4000 over 5 years (an insane amount of time to finance a used car), and the Credit Union gives us the best rate they have right now, 3.49%. That comes to $72.75/month.
This doesn’t look good.
Per cars.com, there’s a 2006 Highlander Hybrid 63 miles from us going for $13,900…the one recommended by that eco-website. Assuming a $4000 trade-in on her minivan, we finance the remaining $9900 for 5 years at 3.49%. Monthly cost is $180.05.
2011-2016 efficient cost: $387.60 + $72.75 + $180.05 = $640.40
2017+ efficient cost: $387.60
So, doing as the President suggests will, for the next 5 years, save me about $44/month. Assuming gas prices stay at $3.80 (which they won’t). But I’ll still be paying $136 more than I did in 2010. And I’ll have two new loans. And I’ll have to hope and pray that both cars survive the length of their loans.
And that, Mr. President, is why your “solution” is useless to real families. Paying $136 or $180 additional per month is still more, and still a strain on the budget.
Saw this on Facebook:
I was happily surprised to see this. Yeah, it’s from 2008 and I just saw it. Shaddup, you.
Then I read the comments. Well, some of them. It’s been 3 years, there are a lot of comments. While most that I saw were good, there were a few that showed confusion surrounding God’s prohibition against false idols. He was not speaking of these types of idols, where we look to people as role models or recognize and admire the talents or skills present in others. No, He was speaking of false gods, idols fashioned of human hands that were considered to somehow embody a higher power, that people would worship as a god.
The World English Dictionary’s 3rd definition of idol (scroll down, the first definition set isn’t quite accurate…”blind”?) is the usage in American Idol: a person who is revered, admired or highly loved. I very much doubt that anyone at Fox is propping these people up as deities to be worshiped.
Stop being stupid.
Now, that said, there is a real problem when people place greater importance on things than on God. Anything can become an idol in our lives. A quick list of common idols today includes money, self gratification, power, and “stuff” (by which I mean material possessions). Some people do anything to get more money, or seek pleasure through indiscriminate sex (mistaking sex for love, usually) or drinking/drugs, or try to gain power and influence, or think that having more material goods is all-important.
There’s nothing wrong with earning money, or having sex (inside marriage, of course), or drinking (so long as it is not in excess), or obtaining power, or getting stuff. No, the problem comes when any of those things become the most important thing in our lives. We make idols out of these things, and they can come to supersede God in our lives.
And, really, if you think about it, all of these things involve placing ourselves above God. They are all about “me”. I have more money. I am having sex. I am pleased by food or drink or drug. I have power. I have stuff.
It’s the deification of self, where I alone determine what is right and wrong, where I alone am to be pleased (if others are pleased by something, that’s fine but not the goal). By placing importance on money or power or pleasure, one is really placing all importance on self.
Having idols (i.e., heroes) to look up to, admire, and appreciate, is not idol worshiping in the Biblical sense, although it can become that. So have role models, heroes, “idols”. Just remember that they are as human as you, and not the second coming of Christ, and you should be fine.
CMR has a guest blogger this month, Rebecca Taylor. She is a clinical lab specialist in molecular biology, so it’s safe to assume she has a good handle on the science involved with, well, molecular biology.
One post that really caught my eye starts thus:
The premise that we are no more than the sum of the genes we inherited from our parents is not only a dangerous reduction of humanity to a simple sequence of letters, but it is outright wrong. Wrong both morally and scientifically. Science is quickly learning that genetics is a lot more complicated that we thought. It is not just about what genes you have but what genes are turned on or off. A whole branch of genetics called epigenetics is dedicated to understanding how and why genes are expressed. It turns out the sequence of DNA is only a part of the picture. Environment also plays a very important role. Let me give you a very powerful example that I use all the time.
Go look at the example. Read the rest. And I think the worst part is at the end:
Dr. Savulescu is by no means the only brain in an ivory tower suggesting we make sure only the “genetically fit” are born. Brains with enough arrogance to think we even know how to define “genetically fit.” I could go on all day listing the names of academics (and Nazi dictators) who have fallen in the genetic determinism trap.
Genetic determinism is scientifically invalid (increased risk is no guarantee), yet some scientists are willing to use the concept to create a master race. The Culture of Death continues to push and push and push, trying to make people “better” by culling the herd, killing the imperfect. If they had it, they’d use G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate on us.
Fr. Corapi has been put on administrative leave, pending investigation into the allegations leveled against him. In the brouhaha that has resulted, I find a horrible rush to judgement involved.
However, unlike many commenters at various places around the internet (the judgement is in the comments, not the posts for the most part), I don’t think the rush to judgement came from whomever it was who placed Fr. Corapi on leave. No, the rush to judgement is being done by those fervently defending the good Father. While I understand the desire to believe that Father has done nothing wrong, that he is being falsely accused, we have no way of knowing. We have no real information other than that letters were sent to several bishops (per Fr. Corapi’s note), and that he was placed on leave.
The first rush to judgement that jumps out at me is the accusation that due process was not followed, that there was no determination of credibility of the accusation. This is fueled, in part, by Fr. Corapi’s statement (“There seems to no longer be the need for a complaint to be deemed “credible” in order for Church authorities to pull the trigger on the Church’s procedure”), but to me appears to be a baseless complaint. Fr. Corapi was made aware of the letters and allegations on Ash Wednesday. He was placed on leave just this past weekend. That’s 9 days, give or take, from the time he was informed, but we don’t know how long the information was in the hands of the bishops (or his superiors) prior to Ash Wednesday. Thus, we have no way of knowing what type of investigation went into determining the credibility of the accusations. It was at least a week, probably more. So accusations that a finding of credibility was apparently not done in this case are mere conjecture. And those accusations are flying against anyone and everyone who could have been involved: the Bishops, the Regional Priest Servant, whoever, overreacted by placing Father on leave without checking the credibility of the accusation, or they’re taking down a popular priest because he challenges their authority, or whatever. Fr. Corapi is a popular public figure, a strong and powerful speaker, and as such we should hope that his superiors take due care with any accusations leveled against him. It’s important to presume that Fr. Corapi is innocent, but we must also give the benefit of the doubt to those who made this decision.
The second rush to judgement is Fr. Corapi’s absolute innocence. Again, we have no way of knowing this. We should presume his innocence, yes, but we aren’t a jury that has been given all of the information in the case. Citing Father’s holiness, and how much good work he has done, and how much he has helped so many people, is a fallacious argument. Look at Fr. Maciel. Fr. Corapi is a man, and as a man he is fallible. No amount of good works can change that, and no amount of evidence of his holiness makes him invulnerable to temptation. So he is presumed innocent, but stands accused of something deemed sufficiently seriously (and apparently credible) to warrant administrative leave. I hope and pray that Father is innocent. But ignoring an accusation because of his popularity is a bad idea.
A third rush to judgement is the guilt of the accuser. The accuser becomes the accused. And not just accused, but presumed guilty of lying. Just as Fr. Corapi is to be presumed innocent, so must she. An odd thing on this point is this: I’ve seen various people note that the accused should have the right to confront his accuser, which is a valid position. But they then go on to basically demand to know the accuser’s name. A note to those offering such a line of reasoning: YOU ARE NOT THE ACCUSED. You have no right to know who leveled the accusation, and no need to know who leveled the accusation. Your only obvious motivations in knowing who made the accusation are either for your own titillation or so you can “research” her history and see what dirt you can dig up, so as to help defend Father by destroying her. If the latter is the case, then you’re either looking to attack a lying woman who is sure to be found out anyway, or you’re going to attack a woman who is telling the truth, probably by trying to destroy her reputation.
Speaking of reputations, that’s the fourth judgement: that Fr. Corapi’s reputation is irreparably harmed by being placed on administrative leave. I acknowledge that damage has been done, but I disagree with it being irreparable. As one commenter at another site noted, look at Padre Pio’s history.
I know what it’s like to have a respected priest accused. The priest who celebrated my wedding Mass, who counseled Heather and me prior to our wedding during some turmoil caused by my own failings, who baptized our second child and counseled us with regards to medical concerns about our third, was accused of impropriety and placed on administrative leave. The action would have been legal at the time it is alleged to have occurred (30+ years prior to the accusation), and thus there was no criminal investigation, yet it would still have been immoral and a clear violation of vows. Many at my parish were shaken (he was our former pastor), and several were vociferous in their adamant belief that there is no way he could have done anything like he was accused of. While I completely respect him and believe that he is innocent, I also know that he’s just as capable of sinning as I am. I chose to presume his innocence but be patient with the process.
As a final thought, play a mind game with me. What if the accusation against Fr. Corapi is true? What if he admits it, asks for forgiveness, offers reparations? Will you turn away in disgust, that such a respected priest could have fallen so far? Or will you understand his failings, his susceptibility to temptation, and continue to honor, respect, and support him?
I made my decision on that two years ago. Even if they fell. Especially if they fell.
I’m quite looking forward to the new, more accurate, translation of the Novus Ordo Mass into English (unlike some people). Having looked at the Latin years ago, even my untrained eye could see deviations (“et cum spiritu tuo” is not “and also with you”). Yes, it’s going to be awkward. But I’m sure things were awkward 40 years ago when the Novus Ordo was implemented. Just like it’s awkward when a priest ad libs parts of the Mass.
By the way, “awkward” is, appropriately, awkward to type, and looks…well…awkward. Seriously. Look at it.
Anyhow, that, along with Fr. Z’s post sharing a reader’s first experience, got me to thinking about the TLM (or Extraordinary Form), and my first experience with it. It was less than ideal for multiple reasons.
To answer my own list:
The one thing I will say is that the children definitely complicated getting an understanding of the EF. I think I might go again sometime soon (I think there are a couple in the area), but without the children. I certainly can’t explain to them what the Priest is doing and why if I don’t know, and I can’t know/understand the Mass until I actually go.
One last thought: When do we change the name? “Novus Ordo” means “new order”. Shouldn’t there be some other term? I think from now on I’ll just use “OF” for “Ordinary Form”.
Having watched most of the game and commercials on Sunday, I just thought I’d share my thoughts on some things. First of all, it was a great game, and I have no complaints about anything that happened.
I also enjoyed most of the commercials. Nothing stood out to me as being absolutely horrible. I didn’t see anything that was overly upsetting.
Maybe it’s because we didn’t watch Superbowls as a family, maybe it’s because I was never really interested in football as a child, but I don’t really think of the game as a Family Event. So I wasn’t really bothered by innuendo in the ads. Maybe it’s a sad statement about where our society is, but I’ve come to expect far worse than what I saw.
The two worst ads as far as I was concerned, out of the ads I saw, were for Sketchers and the Mini. I don’t need hyper-sexualized shoes or a game show called “Shove it in the Boot”. But a lot of people I respect were unhappy with the Pepsi Max ad, with the couple at dinner where we get to hear their thoughts. I thought it was funny, and based on his laughter, so did my pastor (who was at the party with us). It didn’t have scantily clad women, or simulated sex acts, or toilet humor. The lead up to the punch line was probably accurate, as far as a lot of dating goes. The woman is thinking all sorts of different things, while the guy is thinking “I want to sleep with her.” The ad didn’t try to make these thoughts acceptable, but I think it fair to say that they’re fairly normal. And, again, as I don’t really think of the game as family fare, and I wasn’t watching it with my children, it didn’t set off any alarm bells in my head. So while I understand why some people are upset about the ad, I’m not.
GoDaddy, of course, pushed the innuendo, but I went and watched the rest of the ad online anyway. Not appropriate for children, but not as bad as the whole “beaver” thing.
On to the scheduled entertainment. Christina Aguilera flubbed a line in the National Anthem. Not a big deal, she’s human and makes mistakes. Yes, she’s a professional, and should be expected to perform well. But, as I recall it, the football players are also professionals, and false starts and interceptions and other mistakes were made. Nobody is lambasting the players for mistakes they made on the field. We all make mistakes. Why should we hold singers/entertainers to a higher standard, expecting/demanding perfection from imperfect people?
The same goes for the half-time show. The Black Eyed Peas did a decent job. No, it wasn’t perfect, but again we can’t really expect perfection. There were technical glitches…a mic that wasn’t turned up correctly, a section of the stage that wasn’t lit. So what? The performance itself was okay. Not great, but not awful either. I was entertained, and that was the purpose, even if I didn’t “get” the block head things. And, for those who were watching with their kids, it was family-friendly. No wardrobe malfunctions. No horribly suggestive moves or painted-on clothing. The only thing I commented on were the lyrics to Usher’s song…did somebody actually get paid to write them?
Overall I enjoyed the evening. I was with a great group of guys, the food was good, and the game was exciting.
It seems to me that a lot of people were looking to be offended, or were waiting for things they could complain about. Instead of enjoying the evening, some were poised to pounce on any little thing that wasn’t perfect, or could be taken as extremely offensive. By doing so, they took what should have been an enjoyable evening of entertainment and sucked all of the fun out of it.
I had a great time.