Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Catechism of the Catholic Church


Way before June 1921 when The Mansfield News celebrated Howard Herring:

"Although he has no gilded medals upon his bosom, Howard Herring of the North American Watch company, walks the walk, and talks the talk, of a hero today."

There was Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi -  As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live

In the Early Church, there was liturgical tradition before there was a common creed, and before there was an officially sanctioned biblical canon. These liturgical traditions provided the theological and doctrinal framework for establishing the creeds and canon

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is organized in Four Parts:  1.  What We Believe, 2 How We Worship. 3. How We Live 4 How We Pray

There are nine sources for the Catechism:

  • Sacred Scripture
  • Professions of Faith
  • Ecumenical Councils
  • Certain Councils & Synods
  • Pontifical Documents
  • Ecclesiastical Dcuments
  • Canon Law
  • Liturgy
  • Ecclesiastical Writers

Farher Mike Schmitz started a very popular  Catechism in A Year Podcast January 1. 2023. The Podcast covers the entire Catechism with explanations & illustrations as required. Podcast is recommended for believers and non. As the Catechism Assension Edition concludes:

" The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love. - Roman Catechism  Preface 10; cf. 1 Corinth 13:8

Given the Feast of #SaintThomasAquinas
Heb 11:1-2, Brothers & sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for & evidence not seen. Faith and science: "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. - CCC- Par #

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

On The Road To Damascus

Today is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle


Before his conversion Saul was an  enlightened Jew. Elitist, learned, a man for all seasons

 - a person who religiously would have read the progressive literature of the day, including the New York Times of Israel, for example.

Saul was a "... Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,

but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well"  Acts 22:3

Before his conversion, he was a Jews' Jew. The STASI, the DOJ, with power to arrest any Christian at any time.

On the Road to Damascus, he realized he had been sincerely wrong, converted and became Saint Paul.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

St. Augustine, Sermons, 241, Easter: c.411 A.D


Symbiotic relationship between faith and reason

The beauty of the unchangeable creator is to be inferred from the beauty of the changeable creation

"Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air, amply spread around everywhere, question the beauty of the sky, question the serried ranks of the stars, question the sun making the day glorious with its bright beams, question the moon tempering the darkness of the following night with its shining rays, question the animals that move in the waters, that amble about on dry land, that fly in the air; their souls hidden, their bodies evident; the visible bodies needing to be controlled, the invisible souls controlling them; question all these things. They all answer you, 'Here we are, look ; we're beautiful.'

Their beauty is their confession. Who made these beautiful changeable things, if not one who is beautiful and unchangeable? Finally in man himself, in order to be able to understand and know God, the creator of the universe; in man himself, I repeat, they questioned these two elements, body and soul. They questioned the very thing they themselves carried around with them; they could see their bodies, they couldn't see their souls. But they could only see the body from the soul. I mean, they saw with their eyes, but inside there was someone looking out through these windows. Finally, when the occupant departs, the house lies still; when the controller departs, what was being controlled falls down; and because it falls down, it's called a cadaver, a corpse. Aren't the eyes complete in it? Even if they're open, they see nothing. There are ears there, but the hearer has moved on; the instrument of the tongue remains, but the musician who used to play it has withdrawn.

So they questioned these two things, the body which can be seen, the soul which cannot be seen, and they found that what cannot be seen is better than what can be seen; that the hidden soul is better, the evident flesh of less worth. They saw these two things, they observed them, carefully examined each one, and they found that each, in man himself, is changeable. The body is changeable by the processes of age, of decay, of nourishment, of health improving and deteriorating, of life, of death. They passed on to the soul, which they certainly grasped as being better, and also admired as invisible. And they found that it too is changeable; now willing, now not willing; now knowing, now not knowing; now remembering, now forgetting; now frightened, now brave; now advancing toward wisdom, now falling back into folly. They saw that it too is changeable. They passed on beyond even the soul; they were looking, you see, for something unchangeable. So in this way they arrived at a knowledge of the god who made things, through the things which he made."


Saturday, January 07, 2023

Avian Industry Is Thriving: Cruel & Inhumane Hobby?


The purpose of this essay is to share a newbie parakeet owner's experience as I dealt with a difficult birth of four parakeets ending in four of dead babies, leading me to conclude the hobby may be cruel and inhumane.

Perhaps this experience can help prepare other newbies under similar circumstances.

A secondary objective is to serve a repository of best practices for avian pet owners. While the intended audience is newbie pet owners and the Avian Industry. I welcome professional breeders and experience owners to share best practices pointers.

But why restrict it to birds and not dogs, rabbits or lizzards,, you might ask.

Corporations and governments often use Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian logic aka “cost-benefit analysis.” to put a dollar value on human life. From government dead panels to the infamous Ford Pinto Case.
In the Ford Pinto case. the design allowed its fuel tank to be easily damaged in the event of a rear-end collision, sometimes resulting in deadly fires and explosions. While Ford was aware of the design flaw, it refused to redesign it. Instead, Ford decided it would be cheaper to pay off possible lawsuits for resulting deaths. Mother Jones Magazine obtained the cost-benefit analysis that it said Ford had used to compare the cost of an $11 repair against the monetary value of a human life, in what became known as the Ford Pinto memo. While Ford was acquitted of criminal charges, it lost several million dollars and gained a reputation for manufacturing "the barbecue that seats four."

In the case of pets, Veterinarians use the word euthanasia to refer to humanely ending a pet’s life in order to stop or prevent unnecessary suffering due to an incurable medical condition, including seniors. Typical dog euthanasia is in the several hundreds range no counting the hundreds or thousands of dollars to diagnose and treat the underling disease.

For birds, euthanasia can be a DIY project.

Then there's the cost to vet ratio: a dog can go from a few hundred dollars to thousands, and vet welfare check nay start at $80. Whereas a parakeet may go for $60.00 and vet costs for $60-$80

Even Scriptures note the little value humans place on birds: "Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:26) and "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Several objections have been raised o the utilitarian logic of seeking “the greatest good for the greatest number.” We have all heard about the Irresponsible pet owner mistreating dogs. We don't hear about Irresponsible bird owners because birds are invisible.

The Avian Industry Is like the Jet Printer Industry - they give the printer away so they can make the money on ink. Avian Pet Owners should be aware of the total cost of ownership (TCO) and the Industry should be more transparent. It's surprising the Humane Society has not been involved.

"The avian pet industry is growing, though headwinds in product availability and price increases present challenges to independent pet retailers." Writes Ethan Mizer in Pet Product News

“There are not a lot of specialty bird stores left in our area, or really around in general nowadays. So any place that does cater to that specialty bird market is seeing a pretty big boom, as far as sales are concerned, between cages and food, toys and other bird products. Sales are quite good as far as equipment is concerned. I have trouble keeping cages in stock because of the amount of cages I go through.” said Ryan May, head bird keeper for NJ Exotic Pets, a pet store in Lodi, N.J.

“I’ve seen actual sales of bird products steadily climb since the pandemic started,” May said. “Now, things have subsided somewhat … but it created an open door for a lot of people into the hobby. It’s really brought back a whole new energy into the bird-keeping hobby. Bird product sales have been quite high.”

Besides cages and accessories, pet owners should factor in veterinary costs: roughly $80.00 for a wellness visit. Meaning that if everything looks good, the first visit may cost two times what they paid for the bird
"My vet, a very well reviewed center that specializes in avians and exotics, charged me $93 for a "check up" for my GCC which involved weighing, observing of behavior, looking into mouth, eyes, nose, vent, checking of wings, feeling of tummy. I'm not discounting the importance of a vet check, but all of these things I can (and do) do myself, albiet without the training/experience that a vet has, and the vet literally spent only 10 minutes with her. For $93. My visit did not come with any testing, and the "basic" package of tests was $300+." Writes Avenue veteran.

For a minute, forget the price of a veterinary visit and consider our own experience over New Year's Day: Had we been lucky enough to book an Avian Veterinary on an emergency basis when Salty Seaweed was nearly gone, the Veterinary surely would have recommended we put her done. Miraculously enough, we enjoyed Salty's presence for another 48 hours.

It almost seems like Sunny Jewel and Ocean Coral sacrificed their first newborns to pave the way for a more Humane treatment. As a result, we now have a scale, an incubator, a special nesting house & several heating elements to guard against the inclement weather in the Pacific Northwest.
have information focused on what to do if the birds were to mate plus a list of the additional equipment required. As an engineer with a minor in biomedical, I tried my best to handle hatching of four new parakeets during the Holidays when the weather was at its worse, but failed.

Salty Seaweed seemed to be Thriving 24 hours before she passed

Looking back, had PetSmart or the Avian Infustry been more transparent, I'm sure that at least Hot Tamale and Salty Seaweed would be alive today.

This happened to my baby within 24 hours. After she was fed baby formula & taken out of the cage

When we purchased Sunny & Ocean, we signed an agreement with PetSmart that read more like the purchase of a toaster and not a living organism. It would have been nice to have a simple "What to Do" to handle fertilized eggs during the winter
Breeding Nest that can be attached inside or outside the cage:  inside makes impractical, outside needs to modify the cage

Breeding  Nest  mounted outside the cage.  Sunny took to it in a few hours, started decorating it


Incubator can be used as temperature- control warming/breeding  nest

Sunny Jewel & Ocean don't seem to like the heated perch

You can lead a parakeet to a nest, but not force her to nest.  Sunny quickly took to warming nest covered with cloth.  She looked at the thermally-controlled card board one & didn't like it.

She has been exploring the thermally controlled wooden warming/breeding nest for a couple of days.  She's peeked inside, but quickly gets out.

Sunny has been watching the hanging wooden breeding nest for a few hours.

Specifically, I would like the Avian Industry:

Selfie with Salty

1.  To be transparent about total cost of ownership

2.  TOC notwithstanding,  go on record that contrary to utilitarian logic. pets are living organisms, not assets that can be disposed of at will

3.  Recommendations for potential bird pet owners as to what to do in case birds breed, including equipment such as breeding nests, avian ICU.  incubators. hygiene and so on.

4.  Instructions, perhaps videos, showing how to perform a wellness check: Something a vet charges for a consult when all is well.

5.  Fund a vet center for newbie bird owners whose birds are breeding so they can call free-of-charge and ask basic parenting questions 

Heating Element next to Sunny & Oceans favorite perch 


1.  How many fertilized eggs hatch?

2.  How many hatchlings make it to one month?

3.  How many survive to four months?
Temperature-controlled breeding nest

Chalk That Door - The Christian Mezuza

On or around January 6th, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, a holiday primarily commemorating the Magi's visit to the baby Jesus and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Eastern traditions, which usually call the holiday Theophany, focus on Jesus' baptism, seen as the manifestation of Christ as both fully human and fully divine.

The three Wise Men, Kings, and the Three Magi—were distinguished foreigners in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition. They are said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Part of the celebration involves chalking the door - not unlike the mezuzah, also spelled Mezuza (Hebrew: “doorpost”), a small folded or rolled parchment inscribed with scriptural verses (Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13–21) to remind Jews of their obligations toward God

The blessing  of the House, the chalking, is done as a family.  While anyone can do it, fathers, as spiritual leaders are encouraged to take the lead.

The Christian inscription is performed yearly as a request for Christ to bless those homes so marked and that He stay with those who dwell therein throughout the entire year


Friday, January 06, 2023

Baby Parakeets - Longest week of the Year

Sunny Jewel and Ocean Coral were the perfect team for the better of four months, giving birth to four baby parakeets in December, during the worst weather of the year.

Prior to giving birth, their environment consisted of two warming nests, a heated perch. At night, the cage was covered with blankets and a portable heater would turn on. The heater is on a tomer placed under a table where which holds the cage.

Sunny & Ocean chose the biggest warming nest to take care of the fertilized eggs. In early December we could could hear chirping, indicating live chick.

Eexperts" say baby parakeets poop in their own fecal sacs, which a parent is supposed to dispose of and to avoid touching the eggs or baby birds, we let Sunny & Ocean do all the parenting.

But finally on December 31, they became so overwhelmed, they cried for help. As I got ready to go on a walk, Sunny & Ocean were crying out for help. My wife stopped me on my tracks and said "the birds are calling you" - indeed, as I made a U turn, I could see two dead chicks. On closer look I saw Hot Tamale & Salty Seawood still alive but caught on the grill of the cage.


I insulated the cage, took down the backed up warming nest & turned on a heater. Not withstanding problems trying to control the ambient temperature inside the cage, both survivors seemed to have dodged a bullet: My wife & I slept on the sofa so we could fed the birds every two hours.

By January 2 even though the temperature inside the cage had dropped to less than 73 degrees, both seemed to be OK. As the older chick, Salty would be always embracing the younger Hot Tamale.

Hot Tamale had a great meal at 2:00 January 2. Only to die suddenly by 2:45 om

On January 3 morning Salty was stiff, cold, not chirping and barely breeding. By 7:30 am, I declared her dead. As I planned her burial, I held her on my hand I held her breathing on her for a couple of hours - then a miracle happened! She snapped back hungry, leaving poop in my hand! The good news was that the poop color & consistency indicated she was well.

By January 4th, things seemed bright for Salty:  I had already received a scale  and baby formula. By 10 pm she weighed a high 54 oz and she slept outside the cage in a thermal carrier

She started taking the baby formula, which she didn't like - It had a fishy odor, so she only got a couple of nibbles and went back to sugar water & diluted apple juice.

By January 5th at 10:00 am Salty had dropped to 46 Oz.  By 2:30 feeding, she had no appetite & her green poop indicated either lack of nutrition or stress.

Lack of appetite continued and by midnight her weight had dropped to 39 oz.  By 4:00 am she weighed 46 oz after her feeding.
and by 7:00 am she was too weak to stand up dying at around 8;00 am

Sunday, January 01, 2023

Our Latest Christmas Miracle: GrandParaKids

Ten years ago I experienced a Christmas miracle ofvsirts Our twins, granddaughters were born in November and granny was fortunate to witness their birth.  I was scheduled to fly in to Wenachee on the 23nd so I could meet the newborns and spend Christmas with the family in Leavenworth.

As  expected, there were many delayed & canceled flights.  I spent a few hours at Seattle's Sea-Tac waiting for the weather to improve. After we were cleared to fly to Wenachee, despite the turbulence, it looked like smooth sailing, but as we approached the Wenachee airport, we could see it was snowed in.  The pilot decided to circle the airport, hoping he could see the runway - he couldn't.  So we had to head back to SeaTac.  On the way back, dejected, I  that spending Christmas with the twins was on serious jeopardy.  Once at Sea-Tac I called my daughter to tell her the bad news. My daughter & Son in Law decided to drive in bad weather to pick me up while grandma looked after the newborn  twins.  While I thought the decision was risky, as the Bard said, All's is Well That Ends Well:  A Christmas Miracle-Gro indeed!

For the last four or five months, our parakeet mom Sunny Jewel has been spending most of her time in the warming nests, contrary to experts advice as to how long the parakeet incubation period takes.  Sunny and Daddy parakeet Ocean Coral in an exemplary display of devotion and respondibility teamed up to bring to life four parakeets.  On new years morning, both Sunny & Ixean cried out for help. As the got my attention, all of the baby parakeets were on the bottom of the cage.  two, including the youngest were dead.  Of the two  surviving baby parakeets, one had her eyes open. The second one was weak & her eyes were closed. Both are doing well.  The boldest has been baptized as Salty Seaweed, the youngest one Hot Tamale  - our second Christmas Miracle