Sunday, September 6, 2015

"If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him."

If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him (逢佛殺佛) Linji
People don't get this, neither from the East nor from the West. Why would you dare to kill an exalted, now deified, personage? Who are you to do this?

The thing is that is exactly what Kozure Okami, the lone assassin, had to do. He had to walk right up to a good, quiet, holy man – a buddha – and kill him. And when he did that, the old monk smiled, and he died, cut right in half. "A perfect cut!" he exclaimed as he died.

People don't get this.

I said the same thing in a meeting two weeks ago.
Me: I'd go right up to Mount Olympus and punch Zeus in the face.
Boss: You Americans! It's not pronounced 'Seusse,' it's pronounced 'Zevfs'!"
Me: Whatever. I'd STILL punch him in the face.
Boss: You really wouldn't want to do that. He's a god, you're a human. He'd take his lightning bolts and destroy you.
Nobody got it.

What's to get? What is this zen-koan telling us?
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him
And why would he smile when you did just that?

The thing is, the Buddha was just a man, who became enlightened, and the second that he did, did he keep that gift all to himself? No. He spent the rest of his life preaching and teaching – a guru – but what is a guru? A master, that his students all kowtow to? No. A guru, a teacher of the way, of the heart, is a person who is ever-desiring (or in Buddha's case: ever-desireless) to give to one person, just one other person, what he has.

Just one person.

How many people did Buddha enlighten?

Let me tell you another story.

Dhaval and I were commuting into work one day, and we were trying to see if our boss was a good boss. He got results. Boy, did he get results, but our boss was sad, because nobody was stepping up to the plate and taking charge of the projects he needed to leave behind to put out other fires in the company (in a big company there are always other fires, aren't there?). Dhaval, bless his heart, was growing and trying. I tried. Neither of us had those ineffable qualities that made a real leader (or 'effable' as there are books aplenty that enumerate True Quality of Real Leaders).

So our boss was sad.

His 'boss' was Steve Jobs, and our boss ran his organization like Steve Jobs, blowing out people left and right, but there was no doubt of his vision, and you either saw his vision and aligned with exactly how he saw it had to be executed or he gave you your ball back and you went home.

I surprised my boss. I took my own ball back and went home.

Long story.

Ask me about it, but buy me a beer, or three, first.

But Steve Jobs. Was he a leader? A guru?

He was a visionary. There's no doubt of that, and Apple died when it kicked him out when it couldn't stand him, and when they begged him to come back, and he did, they became the number one company in the world.

No doubt.

But who is there now that is Steve Jobs? Hands up, anyone, who sees this person as having the vision and the drive to make a number one company in the world?

Steve Jobs was no guru. My boss, bless his heart, is an excellent Steve Jobs, no doubt, but he, too, is not a guru.
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him
I've taught at uni. I'm one-of-a-kind. I've screamed out in joy about object-orientation. I've danced on my desk when I was showing off perl-hacks. I prepared my lesson plan thirteen hours for each hour I taught in class. I gave it all for my students, every single class.


I've had over 1,000 students. I'd say two or three of them were what a teacher looks for: not only apprehending the lessons, but then going and doing new stuff on their own.

But not once, ladies and gentlemen, did a student take my dry erase from my hand and say: "Then, this and this, and then you can do THIS!"

Not once.

Oh, how I wish that ever happened!


Once, I was taking Silva mind-control from Judy Qua ...

... (I can feel another person's cancer, right there where it is in my pelvis, from across the country. I can read minds. Freaks my coworkers out. That's another story) ...

... I went up to Judy and said: "So, how do I become a leader in the Silva Method and each others."

Judy looked at me with tired-tired eyes, and said, "Listen, Michael..."

... Filipinos can't pronounce my name, so they give me one they can ...

"... Listen, I've taught thousands of people this method, and only three times has somebody come up to me and asked this, and each time it's lead to naught."

I smiled at her. "So I'm the third one, then, ha?"

I smiled because I know how it feels, to teach and to teach and to teach to the same people, over and over again who just aren't getting it, because why? Because they aren't changing how they see things. They aren't even trying to change.

I wasn't the one. I don't know if there is one who will pick up the work Judy is doing.
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him.
I'm a writer. I have over 125-thousand page views, I have thousands of readers. Tens of thousands? Out of those perhaps even maybe one hundred have written me back and reviewed my work, letting it know what it means to them.

And from that, I have garnered six marriage proposal (my wife thanks each of you. Not), and have learned that I have saved at least four lives with my writing.

That's ...

No. No words. You go save a life and then you tell me how that feels.

And that's what I want, more than anything.

Because that's what has happened. Four times.

From my writing, of the more than one-hundred thousand page views, four people have written stories, and two of them have told me that a reader of theirs told them what they wrote saved their lives that day.

I'm responsible for that. Because I dared to write something, and I hate it, every chapter I write, I hate opening my heart and baring my soul like that to you. I cry, every single chapter I write, but I do it.


Because it's not about me. It's about you and your life. And if I write something that touches one soul and makes one person's day better or even bearable whereas before it was not?

Then isn't that worth it?

Yes, it is. But you can answer that. And you can do that by daring to be more than just you.

There are people's lives at stake here in this game called life, and you can play this game with your own little ball all by yourself.

Or you can share your ball, your life, with somebody else – with somebodies elses – and you can change their lives, and all I'm doing, everything I'm doing, is opening up, when I sure as hell don't want to, and saying:


I saw this.

It hurt.

I cried.

Love doesn't make the hurt go away.

But, God, it helps you. It helps her.


And is that so hard?

Yes, it's the hardest thing in the world.

But not loving, not sharing? What do you call that? You call that a life?

Did Jesus not love? Did Jesus not share? What did Jesus say: "Go, and do thou likewise."
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him.
Well, we surely did that. We killed him. And by we, I mean you and me, particularly you young Catholics so full of self-righteousness about the state of your piety (we: you and me, brothers and sisters). We're not loving and sharing. We are standing on our mountaintops or soapboxes and proclaiming how good and righteous we are and how evil the world is ('the world' meaning "all y'alls who don't agree with me").

We did cruxify Jesus and we do cruxify him each and every time we do not love and serve God and not love our neighbor as ourselves.

And Jesus died willingly. He said take this cup from my lips, but when the time came, he drunk deeply of suffering and death, and the crowds reviled him, cursed him, and abandoned him.

And one criminal stayed and said: "No, I deserve this. Jesus, save me."

One criminal. And a billion Christians today. Yay! And this is the state of the world today.

And no wonder why people wonder if Jesus saw this now, would he even have bothered.

The thing is: he did see this, and he did bother.


No person would be happier than Jesus to be strung up if that one person, that one sheep could be saved.

But what if ...


What if you actually heard his words, and lived them?

Do you know what 'lived them' means? It means 'Go, and do thou likewise.'

That's what 'lived them' means. It means preaching and teaching, two-by-two, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

It means actually living your live and actually doing something.

Saving people's lives. Not just your own.

Jesus would love it if you took your sword and cut him down on the road, if it meant your repentance and your redemption. Because what does your repentance and your redemption mean?

There's numbers to that. John Newman's conversion let to ten thousand conversion of English men and women. St. Francis of Assisi led to how many conversions of heart? St. Augustine? Mother Teresa? St. Thérèse of the little Child? Padre Pio, and his towering faith and lion's roar, throwing women out, dressed like 'foolish clowns,' 'trapped' in the confessional for up to sixteen hours each day? St. John Vianney, thrown out of seminary, eating one boiled potato, and fighting Satan every night who couldn't whisper a homily to save his life?

These are men and women, flawed, imperfect, 'unlikely' candidates that you'd never vote for (St. Paul was thrown into jail and convicted and forgot the names of the people he baptized, some parish priest he was), but they did one thing: they took up their crosses, and followed Christ.
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him.
You. Me.

I said I would punch Zeus, Zevs, whatever, in the face, and nobody got that. You know why?

We are made in the image and likeness of God.

And you're living your life how?

God made us too well, for we are wonderfully and terrifyingly made, and yet you spit it all out, living your lukewarm lives, neither too hot nor too cold, with the sole goal of not being noticed. God looks at you scared to do something, and those of you who don't ...

Why don't you just take the talents God gave you, and slam Him in the face, because that's how much you are hurting Him, ladies and gentlemen. Each sin you commit and each sin I commit is another hammer-blow, nailing that spike into God's precious hand.

And you, and I, commit the sin of omission, every. single. time, you let your fear exceed your faith, and you do nothing, cowering in fear, or you do something, by running away as fast as you can.

God looks at you and He tweets: "smh."

But then.

But then, each time you look at your fear, no, look through your fear, and actually do that thing? That thing that scared you to death? That time you wore your mantilla to Mass, even though the other school kids where talking and looking and pointing at you, the weird girl, wearing her mantilla.

Even that.

Even just a little tiny proclamation of faith, that thing that scared you to death, but you did it ...?

God looks at you and He doesn't tweet. He doesn't tweet because He's crying, so, so proud of you that you took the first baby step away from fear, toward Faith, toward Him.

Of course, that's the first baby step, now you've got to run like Mother Teresa.

But that come later, every day you encounter your fears and then you have to choose to proclaim your faith. Faith is a journey.

But how many of us are not on that journey? How many of us lax, complacent Christians, tweeting a Bible verse to assuage ourselves and show everybody else what Good Christians we are, see, Lord, I'm not like that Tax Collector, or President Obama or Douchebag Trump or that lax Christian whose knee doesn't touch the ground when they genuflect. I'm Better Than. I'm better than those guys who go out drinking and then get swept right on tinder for a hook-up. Look at me, and look at them.

Or those people who just live their lives, doing what the eff they want to do, because that's how they do, and do you have a problem with that? No. Didn't think so.

My fear for myself, and for you, too, is that you and I, we are going to live our lives like this, one or the other, and then we're going to bow down before God, trembling in fear in that Final Judgement, hoping that our Last, Perfect Act of Contrition will magically put us in God's grace.

God will look at me, and look at you, and tweet: "smh."

And off to Hell we go, we quivering, cowardly, Christianity-and-water Christians.

Why do I say that?

Cassiopea was beautiful, so beautiful than even the goddesses, and dared to know that and to proclaim that. She was enthroned in the heavens and remembered forever.

Upside down, yes. But I have a question for you: what happened to all those other 'nice' girls that did nothing, pointing at her and laughing: 'You get what you deserve!' they say, never once pointing their fingers at themselves.

What happened to all those devout followers of Buddha, bowing and scraping and wanting enlightenment, but never truly letting go of their own pettiness? Not really.

What happened, or who was chosen in all the heavens? Who was sent when God said: "Whom shall I send?" Was it the Cherubim or Seraphim? All the angels in heaven?

No. One scared little guy look looked around at all that splendor and whispered: "Send me."

And God had his lips anointed with a hot coal, ladies and gentlemen, and he was on fire since then.

No. Don't live your life that you have to quiver before God, hoping he overlooks your pointless, wasted life.

No. Stand tall. Stand proud. Are you God? Or are you a sham? And swing with everything you've got, right at His face.

SACRILEGE! You scream. Oh, yeah, what did Jacob do, all night long? He fought, and he broke that Angel's knee, and for it, he was blessed for all generations to come. Scream your sanctimonious 'sacrilege' at me, living your small, quiet, petty lives, wanting to drag me, your friends, your family, yourself down with you. And go down to Sheol and cover your head with your bitter ashes.

Or ... not.

Be the one, the only one, who dared to look God in the face, like Moses, and save yourself, save a Nation. Save the world.

Me, I'm going down anyway. Might as well go down swinging. God will know.

And maybe I'll get lucky. God is Irish after all, perhaps He'd be in the mood for a little stand down after hearing all those sycophants and their insincere lamentations.

Don't be one of the so many, bowing and scraping, and saying "Oh, Lord, I didn't know!" ... when you did, all along, no matter how often you silenced your conscience and your guardian angel. You did know. You could have acted. You could have chosen faith, not fear.

No. Stand. Fight.
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him.
Get it?

You don't get it. You never will. You'll go on living your scared, quiet, self-righteous life.

I'll see you in hell.

(but at least I tried, and I went down swinging) I know, I know.
Pride proceedeth the fall.  Prov 16:18
but then Matt 18:15-18.

I'm done here.

*geophf drops mic

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Weight of Sin

Dear LORD,

I thank you that people are outraged now at the selling of aborted children's bodies. I pray this outrage turns to action and helps supr the dissolution of Planned Parenthood and that it helps women to reconsider before they abort their children.

Dear LORD, there is so much sin in the World and so much sin in me. Cleans my heart, purify me and make me new so that I may love and adore you unreservedly and so that I may love and serve my fellow man and help him fix his eyes on You.

I ask this in the Name of Jesus, the Christ.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Thank an artist today

Now, ... Low Roar is awesome. Obviously. They are making incredible music.

You know who doesn't know that? Low Roar.

After their set, I went up to the band members, except the lead who was otherwise engaged, and I told them this.

"Hey, you're the drummer? That was a really great set."

"Really?" he said. "Thank you!" and he smiled.

Same thing for the synth-guy.

Look, they're making incredible stuff, but the feedback they are getting (like 2 million views on youtube, right?) is not coming back to them.

After the concert, go up to them and say, 'Hey, great stuff; I really liked it.'

Make an artist's day.

Why do I have to say this?

You read a book. It's a good book. Write the author. 'Hey, I really liked your writing.' Do you know how many letters your fav unrecognized (or recognized) author gets that says this?

Zero. Zero per one hundred readers. That's the average.

Beat the odds and be the difference. Make the day of somebody who really needs their day made.

You like that book? You like that song? You admire that painting? Do you know how painful it was for that artist to write that book or song or paint that piece? They did it for the art, of course, but if you say 'hey, good stuff!' your letter could possibly be the one thing that made the difference in their lives to break through to the next work.

As an artist, it's so easy to see your own failings, particularly the failing in your own works, and it's really, really hard to see the impact your work is having in the world, particularly in the silent world, that cold, uncaring, heartless world that you put your work out into and all you get back is indifference.

That indifference is you, dear reader, even, particularly, if you like the work with all your heart, and don't let the artist know this.

So, do yourself a favor. Write a letter to your favorite author or artist and tell them what you like about their work. Today.


Low Roar


So, you're missing something and you don't even know what you're missing it until you go to it.

Not a helpful review of the Low Roar set, so I'll try to be helpful.

If you listen to Low Roar on your laptop, you have to wonder why they are called Low Roar? Is the elegiac theme threaded throughout the music, you wonder.

No, it's not that. You actually have to go to a concert to experience this, and what 'this' is is this (because you can't experience this in any other way): threading the music of Low Roar together is not a common theme, it's the almost subsonic bass drone.

Low Roar's music hums, it cried, it dies, continuously, and you have to be submerged in this, well, this low roar to experience, together with the artists, the feeling of being truly lost, bereft of any direction, any hope, any joy, to see where you really are right now.

Then, seeing this, being this, you come to find yourself in communion to the one group that can sing this pain, this loss, this hopelessness that you didn't even know you felt, sing it out, not to you, not to the concert goers, not to anywhere.

Low Roar sings it out into the silence, the nothingness, and for what purpose? why?

Okay, that.

Low Roar is the epitome of #introvert problems. Not once did they look out to the crowd listening to their music. They barely even looked at each other.

They didn't need to. They were so lost, not in themselves, not even, really, in the music, but moreso in the moment, and, being lost, separate, they were really one.

And the music they made...

Again, this is not something you get from listening to the media. Unless you have some really good speakers and you crank them up all the way.

That is: you're not 'listening to music.' You are recreating a concert.

This is what you need to do with their music: respect it.


Because, unlike most music out there, Low Roar's music respects you.

Okay, I don't know how Ryan Karazija did it, but somehow, moving to Iceland ... well, let's put it this way: this music could not have been created in California. This music needs Iceland, with its cold weather and its cool people. It needed the silence that does not exist in the hustle and bustle of this maddening crowd. And, in this silence in which this music was created, it is able to reach out, without trying, and touch you. Not 'touch you' in general. I mean it reaches out and touches you in a personal and intimate way that you do not find except in that moment of fulfillment when you see her and she sees you and you both look into each other's souls and see the hurt there, and, maybe not make it better, but just see it there, and understand.

That's what Low Roar's music is.

Here's what else Low Roar's music is.

First, let me tell you what it isn't.

Here are the drums: Boom-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa, Boom-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa
Here's the bass: dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum
Here's the guitar [whatever]
Here's the lead soloist: wha-wah-wha-wah-whatever

That's most of the music you find out there. Good music. eh-music, you know: whatever floats your boat, that music is out there to be listened to in the background so you can get on with your pointless life.

Low Roar's music. Here's what Low Roar's music.

When the drums are being played? There's a reason why the drums are being played, and when the drums are being played, it's a frikken revelation.

Oh, my God! Those are drums!

A revelation.

And an exercise in endless patience for the drummer, because the songs are not Boom-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa, but the payoff is just incredible when he does come in.

Same thing for the guitarist. The guitar spent more time in its stand than in the hand.

Low Roar's music requires from you, the listener, and intensity of listening for you to just get it, because if you don't listen intently, you won't get it.

You'll say: "I just don't get this."

Good. Don't. The door's over there.

But for those of you who try to get it.

The treasures therein are finer here than the finest gold you'll find in the mainstream music which panders to you. Low Roar's music doesn't pander, but it also doesn't demand. Not really.

It's there for you.

It's a gift.

Low Roar's music is a gift. They are touring throughout the U.S.A., right now. Buy you a golden ticket, go to the concert. You're not rewarding them by your presence, although they are appreciative of their audience. No, you will be rewarded with the music you'll experience nowhere else.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Being counter-cultural: morning coffee

@BookOfTamara said #countercultural is now overused (imp: meaningless). Sad fact.. Case in point: don't buy your 'coffee' this morning. Your 'coffee' is not coffee, it's sugar; you didn't make it, and you are giving your money to The Man, and not using it to better yourself. You're making yourself sick (obesity and diabetes are now epidemic) and, if you HAVE to have your coffee, ... it's simple $sbux owns you. You want to be #countercultural? Buy a coffee/espresso machine, NOT from $sbux. It'll pay for itself in a week, and that coffee? YOU made it.

Friday, May 29, 2015

"My mom has cancer; hard times; pray for me"

You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. – James 4:3

People asks wrongly: "I'm scared; I'm having a bad day; my mom is dying." Don't ask for the bad that is. Ask for the miraculous good! GOD!

I was asked: "Why do you care that Catholics read the Bible?" BECAUSE THEY SAY STUPID EVIL SHIT! THEY NEED TO SPEAK ARIGHT!

God will NOT bless the evil that comes from your mouth. God will NOT be mocked. Speak truth, speak right, speak life.

"Oh, my mom has cancer, pray for me"...that what? that she has more cancer?

Pray instead: "Please pray for healing for my mom and her peace and happiness"

Dwell on bad, think about the bad, guess what you get?
Pray for a miracle, think on the good you are working to!

My mom had cancer. SO WHAT! Is God bigger? Is her faith bigger? Does she know I love her, no matter what? My mom is fine, thank you.

Oh, and one more thing:
Do you pray harder when things are going great?
Or do you pray harder only in the desperate hours?

Think about that.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Azaleas in Spring

Spring. Azaleas.

 ...and s'more azaleas (we like pink here, 'cause it's #manly ... wut?)

Ramen for breakfast

Sometimes it's a conundrum to me.
Eat something healthy and yummy? Skyr, oats, cranberries.
Coffee. Of course, coffee!

Never a conundrum for my 13-yo daughter.
Ramen noodles.
Next question?

Cool story, bro:
My daughter schlumphed out of bed, looked at me blearily and said: "Ramen."

You want proof?

Friday, May 15, 2015

My Schedule

So, here's my day.

My day starts at 9 pm:

9 pm: post solution to today’s @1HaskellADay problem
9 pm: post tomorrow's @1HaskellADay problem
9 pm: curl
9 pm: scrap that, run system, record orders, place order execution for tomorrow’s opening

10 pm: eat a banana. brush teeth. go to bed

6:30 am: reveille, pack breakfast and lunch, weigh in, take vitamins, record
7:05 am: depart for 7:14 am bus

8:30 am: work, give them your best, every day
noon: lunch, record actual order executions placed last night, audit returns

5:30 pm: commute home, write, ignore people clipping their fingernails on the bus, ignore people who have the need to share their phone conversations publicly and loudly and for the whole bus ride home.

6:45 pm: walk home from bus stop, pray rosary
7:30 pm: supper

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Prayer for healing

For the homeschooling mom of three who has a cancerous tumor in her kidney, may she be healed. For MisYvo's niece, that she have Your love and consolation, I pray in the Name of Jesus, the Christ.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015


A recipe to make skyr, Icelandic yogurt-cheese.

It's really easy (and I messed it up really badly the first time, so don't give up after the first try)

So many different ways to do this, but the best-best way for me is as follows:

prep: double-boiler, so outer pot fill 1/3 with water, that is, high enough for medium-sized inner pot to fit into the outer pot and have the water up to the lip of both. Half-gallon of organic, fat-free milk, yogurt starter (any probiotic yogurt will do, I use 'siggi's skyr'). Yes, you need yogurt to make yogurt.

Turn your oven light on now, which is late evening, after supper.
  1. Bring water to a rolling boil with the inner pot inverted over the outer pot. This sterilizes the inner pot.
  2. Seat inner pot into boiling water, pour milk into inner pot, bring heat down to a light boil, heat milk this way for 30 minutes (it will not boil), bringing and maintaining milk temperature at 180 deg F. (it just does this, some say use a thermometer, but there's no need to fuss over this)
  3. remove from heat, empty outer pot of hot water, then, in your sink, refill outer pot with cold water, stirring the milk and bringing its temperature down to 120 deg F, which takes 5-10-15 minutes of stirring. Don't overcool it, as it slows the fermenting process too much. You'll get a feel for this eventually.
  4. 'Pitch' the yogurt. That is mix a tablespoon of yogurt with a half-cup of milk completely, then pour that mixture into the heated milk.
  5. Cover the pot of milk with a towel, place in oven next to your oven lamp, close oven.
  6. Walk away.
  8. The next morning, the yogurt is ready if you like runny-silky. That's fine for most.I make skyr, however, which is Icelandic yogurt/cheese, so:
  9. Place a cheesecloth (I use a sturdy cloth napkin) over a strainer big enough to hold the yogurt, place strainer over big, outer pot, and pour the yogurt into the (cheesecloth-covered) strainer. Stow in the refrigerator. Walk away.
  10. The next morning, you have skyr above the strainer and pure whey below. You can discard the whey or make whey-berry-soda if you'd like, but that's another recipe.
A cup of skyr is small, but it's equivalent to 4 cups of yogurt, protein-wise, and with no added sugar. I like to serve my skyr with home-made granola (oats, almonds, dried cranberries, honey) and with a teaspoon of lingonberry preserves. Yummy breakfast!

* need, v: 'need' as in, yes, eventually the milk will generate the bacteria that will consume the sugars and produce yogurt, but an infusion from already-made yogurt gets things moving along very nicely (like, the fermentation-process just takes overnight, not days).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Via, Veritas, Vita

"I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me." – John 14:6

So, this debate has been going for a while, so I'd like to take a moment to reflect on it. The problem, stated briefly, is why do you have to go through the Christ to be saved? If you're a good person, Buddhist, Muslim, Druid, Wiccan, what-have-you, and you live a good life, why are you thrown into the fiery pits of hell when eh-so-so-Christians get a free ride right through the Pearly Gates with a nod and a pat on the back from St. Pete?


I think, firstly, the argument is a fair one if taken at face value, and has been addressed by the Magisterium: through the Christ is Salvation.

Okay, we're done here.

Or. Are. We?

The question of Salvation is a tricky one, first-and-only, because it is in the provenance solely of Christianity, and that is the context that the neo-pagans and the neo-pantheists miss entirely: they are debating Christian virtues informed by a Christian context and want to be allowed into the Christian Wedding Feast and not be left outside, improperly dressed, without enough oil, wailing and gnashing their teeth.

Because the wailing and the gnashing of teeth is not where the party's at.

Do you see the double standard here?

Salvation belongs to our God.

And when I say 'our' I mean 'our' as in Christian, because no other religion before, and no religion since has the concept of Christian Salvation (which requires its dual: our fallen nature, which Christians and non- are quick to forget for themselves in this debate).

Let me back up this statement.


Pantheism, Greco/Roman-style: nope. You could be a servant at the dining table, but only if you were a hero of supernatural success, or you were so super sexy Juno wanted to impregnate you after turning you into a goat. That was 50/50, the other 50 was you were flung up into the heavens to hang there, upside-down for all eternity. You want that? I think not.

Your other other alternative was to put a coin in your mouth so Charon could row you into Hades (the place) where you'd forget everything and basically be a vegetable for Hades (the dude) and Persephone to walk over your head.

Pantheism, Hindu style: Okay, talk to a Hindu. Get a synopsis of Hinduism? Great. Talk to another Hindu, get a different story? Great. The great wheel keeps on turning, but the gods don't much involve themselves with us, because there are the gods, doing their thing, and here we are, turning on the great wheel, getting reincarnated. When we attain perfection, we're good, but is there a morality to it? There is rightness and asceticism but every action and thought is permitted so long as you think and do them perfectly, with various conflicting definitions of perfection.

Manichaeism: Good vs. Evil. Except not. Good was pure spirit and light, Evil was physicality, so what did this mean. It meant the body, people, were evil, and the worst thing you could do was capture a spirit into a body, i.e., have a baby. So, you abstained from physical things and tried to be spiritual.

What was the reward? At the end of time, the equally empowered forces would gather in armies and one of the sides would win, hopefully yours. Nothing was said of a reward for fighting (and winning).

In neither case was God: a) present, nor a Father, nor a Savior. Creation was something that just happened, and the gods came from that, just like we did. In consequence, the gods were just like us, only moreso.


Buddhism: Hinduism 2.0

Islam: Catholicism as rewritten by a crazy guy (debate with me in this, but only after you've read the Noble Qu'ran, too, like I have).

New Age Crystals: Coexist, but only insofar as everyone chillaxes with pan flutes

Confucianism/Taoism (or is this New Age)/Shintoism: These are right ways to live now, by respecting your Elders, and there some talk of Shamanism/Spiritism, but what does it buy you or them?

Capitalism/Communism: Same thing these day, bb, be he the State or Business has one thing in mind: itself, and you are raw material, a cog in the tooth wheel to be (re)educated, worked to death and then spit out when you die ... if you're lucky to be worked to death. There's always the firing squad for the Communists or Capitalisms (they call them 'drones'). Both philosophies are well-captured in this past century, as well as their effects. The one thing both lack? Joy. Hope. Love. Whatever you want to call it. Both drain humanity from human. Their color is grey. Read and enjoy Ayn Rand and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I've read both.

It is only in Christianity that God so loves us that He incarnated Himself for our salvation. Not only did He create us, but then, by His Incarnation, He adopted us as co-hiers of His Glory. No other god, before or since has offered this to us, and not because He has to or because we've earned it, but it's something freely offered to us.

The thing is: we have to take it.

He gave us free will. We can look Him square in the eye (we can't, actually, but He looks at us and knows us, better than we know ourselves), and say 'nope,' and take our ball and walk away from Him.

He could force us to love Him. He could make us accept our salvation: robots programmed to face Him always, saying 'Holy, Holy, Holy' all the time, as the Cherubim (freely chose to do, I point out here).

Or, He could let us choose to say 'Holy art Thou, O LORD,' freely, any time of the day, week, year, decade, or never. He could choose to allow us to walk away into whatever the hell we want to do, live the life of self-pleasure, and die that way, sure in our self-righteousness, for obviously, we know better than God.

That's what I choose, every time.

And what is the cost of that choice? Nothing. It's freely given to me.

What is the cost of salvation?

A sacrifice, once, for all, and for all time.

A perfect sacrifice, and only God is perfect, so God had to sacrifice Himself to Himself to pay for all my sins, and everybody else's sins.

Sin, Hebrew: an arrow that misses the target.

If we aren't dead-set staring straight (back) at God, singing 'Holy, Holy, Holy' we're missing the boat.

We're missing the boat.

So that's the cost of salvation.

But here's the reward.

When I lift my head up out of the cesspool of my sins, out of myself, and look up to God, and cry: 'Oh, God, save me.'

God, right there, saves me. Not that time, not the next time.

Every time.

Every time I turn from my sin, and turn back to God, reconcile with Him, God saves me. He saved me once to pay the price of Sin, and He saves me now, to pull me up out of my sins.

And the payoff for God?

Nothing, God doesn't need to save me, it doesn't make Him feel better.

He does it because He is God.

I am the shepherd, He says, and we are His sheep, and He laid down His Life for us and knows us and calls us by name, and He goes out into the wilderness to rescue a lost sheep and bring that lost sheep, me, back to His fold.

Because He is God.

Salvation belongs to our God.

Not because He is a Jerk and only plays with the cool kids who are total jerks, just like Him.

That is not Christianity. There are Christians who are jerks, yes, but Christianity, the followers of the Christ, follow Christ because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father, except through Him.

And in following Christ, are made better by it, even as they start out by being total jerks, even if they end up that way. Put down that stone, please, and first look in the mirror and say: 'Yup, I'm not a total jerk, and I never have been, so I'm free to judge others on their journey.'

Did that? Great: now you can cast your stone at me.

I'll die for it: you, and your beliefs: the stone you throw at me. Happily. To be Christian is to give oneself to God. Totus tuus. And if 21 Coptic martyrs don't convince you (one of who was not a Christian, but became one that day, seeing the faith of the others), then, sure, I'll put myself on your path, so that you might be saved. A soul? Yours? Worth it.

Follow your own way. Follow it to its very end. Find out the reward of your way is. I beg you. Get to the very bottom of it. Know it better than anything else in the world. See its fruits.

Then ask yourself, what is the Christian way? Look at the Church, in all her flaws and imperfections, what is it really there for? Look to God and see Him beyond the hate you have for Him (this hate is not coming from Him, by the way), all the things you've heard and seen that you blame Him for.

Then, ask, seek, and knock.

For whosoever seeks will find, whoever asks will be given, whoever knocks the door will be opened unto him.

God loves you. He is not going to hand you a stone when you ask for bread. He has made you and, seeing what He has made, has declared it very good. You were created in God's image and likeness. He loves you, more than you know.

And I do, too.

I'm praying for you.

Friday, April 24, 2015

"Kids these day!"

Kids these days.

Particularly teenagers. I tell you what!

Well, let me tell you what.

Tweet 1:

"lol the man registering me for irsc was blown away that I have a job, dual enroll, and bought my own car at 16 years old"



Tweet 2:

"Why can't my mother see any of that"

We lament that teenagers are the lost generation, and perhaps they are, but whose fault is that? They want to be heard, we don't listen; they do stuff, we don't notice; they ask questions and demand answers, and we say we're too busy now, can you go back to your iPhone like all you teenagers do?

Perhaps, just perhaps, yes, our teenagers are a lost generation (but nobody asks if our generation is 'found' or 'grounded,' do they?), but perhaps our teenagers are, instead, the abandoned generation.

Ever think of it that way?

We've abandoned them to schools, to parties, to technology time-wasters (they aren't the only ones; I'm surrounded by zombie-commuters, their brains sucked out by their twitter feeds and candy crushes), to their amorality (because we taught them none), then we look at them and shake our heads and say, 'Grow up! Keep acting that way, and you'll ruin your life.'

And our lives are so well-put-together, that they can compare theirs to ours and say: 'I wanna be just like Mom; I wanna be just like Dad.'

Some of you are good parents (okay: justify that. By what measure are you good? How much time do you include your teens in your lives, your decisions, your work, your activities, your hopes and dreams?), so you don't have to read this: your kids are going somewhere because you are and they have a good, well-grounded example to follow.

But others of you … shake your heads at your teens and wonder why they are turning out this way.

How about this.

There's a little girl, a teen, who did the dishes and cooked supper and cleaned her room today, and she did all this, and told you, or didn't tell you, and you said, 'well, what about this, this, and this?' or 'Sweetie, I have too much work to do right now, we'll talk later, okay?'

And the thing about 'later,' is that it never, ever comes.

How about this.

Catch your teen doing something really good, really amazing, something you never did when you were 16, and sit down with her, and say, 'Honey, I'm so, so proud of you. You are an amazing, beautiful person and you really did something there. Something I never did." or "Something I didn't know how to/have the courage to do for years after your age."

Do that. Say that. Catch your teen doing something good, instead of catching them doing the same-old or instead of catching them doing something bad and punishing them.

Reward them.

Do you know what a reward for a teen is?

You put your phone down, and you listen to them, and you acknowledge what they do.

Not a car, not a phone, not a latte. Just that.

Sure, you can share a latte if you're both into it, but turn off the phone, and say, 'Hey.'

Just say, 'Hey,' and 'I just noticed how grown up you are, and I'm so proud of you.'

Just that.

Okay. I'm crying now, because I am so proud of these teens that are stretching themselves to be mature and responsible and hold it all together. And what do we have to say to them for all that they're trying to do and failing, or trying to do and succeeding, and where are we when they shine?

Be there when your teen shines.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"God Knows."

Yes, He does.

Okay, this was ... "fun."

A prayer request went out on twitter for 'special intentions.' I asked what the special intentions were and was told: "God knows."

Yes. God knows.

But what's the problem with that answer?

If God knows, and not I, then my prayers are not for a special intention, but for the general intention.

"Welp, you know, God, so have at it."

I'm already doing this.


One Rosary, at least, per day.

Are do, Miss "God knows"?

The other problem is this:

I have access. You lost your job, you want to change your job? God knows, but so do I. You want to get into editing? I have a friend who's an editor. You want to break into the computer field? Well, guess whom you're talking to-m. You failed Algebra II? Guess how we started homeschooling? The daughter of a friend failed Algebra II and she was being pushed up to the next grade, so, ostenibly, she could fail ... sorry, 'pass,' the next level of math?

But you're special intention does nothing to allow me, another member of the Church Militant, to assist you on your path through this life.

What are we here for? To pray for each other, yes, but also to help each other along. You're reticence is not helping me help your friend.

Here's the third problem with "God knows."

Your special intention? "God, I need another hit of acid. Bad."

So you want me to pray for your special intention?

1. God, who loves you, is depriving you of what you want, because He loves you.
2. It is a sin for me to pray for you to fall further into sin.
3. It is a sin for me to support things blindly.

"Please donate to our special, charitable cause!"

What is your special, charitable cause?

Oh, we provide birth control and recommend abortions to teens needing to get on with their lives.

Do you see the problem with me praying for the special, charitable intention you requested of me?

Or, "I lost my job, please pray for me."

What is your prayer request?

"I want to make sure the welfare check comes in."

Are you looking for a job?

"Well, only so I can get my welfare check."

So, you want me to pray for the intention of continuing government-supported welfare for your friend who does not work, so, Biblically, does not eat, and has continued to live in the squalor of low self-worth and is praying that it continue.

A special intention needs to be treated specially: what is your prayer request, what are the graces asked for.

Also, are you thinking only of yourself and your friend?

When I pray for graces, I ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother Teresa. She needs just one more confirmed miracle to be recognized a saint, but if I pray for your special intention and you get it, and you don't share the graces received, and by whose intercession, that process of sanctification is further delayed, and by whom? You. And do you know why? Because you are being selfish. You are thinking only of yourself and your friend, who is asking for a special intention but who is not sharing what is needed.

"I am hungry."

Here, eat.

"I am naked."

Here, be clothed.

We, my whole family, does do these actual acts of charity, further, we pray for special intentions and graces, but giving you a grace you do not need, are not ready for, did not ask for may actually cause you to fall further into despair and into sin. And, if you are asking wrongly, it is in God's provenance not to give you something that hurts you.

And I do not want to pray against God's provenance.

Do you?

If you ask for a special intention, then ask for that special intention: you will have people pray for you, knowing what they are praying for, and you actually may receive actual graces that actually help from God's agents here on Earth: bingo, people; bingo: me, because you asked for the specific grace.

If you're asking for general intention, know that the whole Church Militant and Church Triumphant is already praying with you. So why do you need to ask for general intentions? Nobody does, as nobody is that stupid to ask for what they know they are already receiving.

A special intention is special: if you ask for it, be willing to say what it is.

If you're going to go up to the bell, ring it.

Nap time: or, why I don't sleep

Sleep, n.: or why I don't

OH on twitter today: why are people up all night, working themselves to exhaustion? Isn't it time for you to take a nap.

No, it's not time for me to take a nap.

I'd love to, but here's the problem with that.

I've got bills, inflation has been killing me now for the last five years, seriously, where my income has been less than my expenses ('outgo' as it's called). That's when I have had a job. There's been times, like that Christmas-time when I and everybody else got fired? When I haven't had a job. Do you know how long it takes to find a new job. That takes time.

Oh, and the new job I got. Every morning, I got to wake up and ask myself: what is the boss going to scream at me, in front of everybody, about today? Do I have an answer for him?

Some days I had an answer. Sometimes, my answer was: I just don't have an answer for you.

I'm an expert in my fields of mathematics and computer science. Me, not having an answer for this guy? Wasn't good enough for him. Lots of times, my answers weren't good enough for him.

So I quit that job. People cried when I left, because I was one of the ones who tried to make people's lives better, not worse. I'm sorry to have left that job, but I had to retreat and take care of myself then.

Left in the morning before dawn, came home to pitch-black night, every day. Worked through a lot of weekends. 'Shouldn't you take a nap?'

Sure. That job paid $1,000 less per month than what our bills were.

So now I'm at this new job, a few blocks south of the old one: same commute. And now I don't know what the hell I'm doing, because I'm planning the work for the next two years. I'm not a manager/planner, I'm a mathematician. I am failing in this job big-time, so how long will I last here before I'm out of a job again, looking for work? Before my first pay-check?

So, I'm starting a business, because you know why? because nobody is making ends meet on their job, and once their productive years are over, they are going to be paid a big fat pension and social security is going to send them a huge check to cover all their expenses for the rest of their lives?

Sure, if they commit suicide right (before) their last payday at work.

People, we all are in hot water, and if you're not, my hat's off to you, but if you are, you're 1) in a lot company, 2) smart if you see the writing on the wall 3) working two jobs to make ends meet and 4) wondering how the hell you're going to survive your retirement.

Oh, take a nap and chillax, the problems can wait.

Sure they can.

And your wife isn't asking you how we're going to pay the mortgage or rent and the insurance this month?

But a nap sounds oh-so-good right about now, doesn't it?

Or, how about this?

Instead of napping, write.

My novel-in-progress? I have received three emails so far of people who said they didn't kill themselves because of something I wrote stayed their hand from offing themselves.

How many lives have you saved today? How many lives will your nap?

I ask myself that every day I don't write: what is your problem? Is it so big that it's bigger than saving somebody's life today.

But you go take that nap and scold me for not taking one myself, so you can justify yours because we all bow our heads to your level.

Instead of napping, work.

The first eight hours of work let you live today.

The next eight hours let you live for tomorrow. What are you doing with those next eight hours?

I'm starting a business that will multiply not only my income, but will also create wealth.

Do you have wealth? Do you have the ability to create wealth?

Yes, you do. You are a human being, alive right now, you have ideas x, y, and zed in your head, or if you're a talkative sombitch, that you're complaining and whining about every day.

Instead of talking and whining, and saying, 'oh, I'll get to that sometime; I'll get to that someday,' … get to it now. Get to it today.

The difference of a successful business owner and a good worker is …


Nothing, and less than nothing.

The business owner just takes responsibility for his or her own sphere, including the people of the company. The good worker just takes responsibility for his or her own sphere on the job.

So, do so damn well at work, they start thinking 'we've got to promote this one; this one is actually doing something, unlike all the others.'

And shut up, you've seen it on the job, the 80/20 rule. 80%: tell me what to do, or I'll do nothing. 20%: I did this; what do I do next?

Where do you fit in?

Fit yourself into the 20% on your job. Your life and soul depend on it.

Then, start a business, when you know you're ready, and fit your business in the top 20%.

Then we'll talk about naps.

Okay, so let's talk about naps.

Last night, instead of working through, I took a nap. So my technical indicators system, not ready for prime-time, is still not ready for prime time.

We'll get back to that cost in a minute.

Last night, instead of preparing my lunch for today, I took a nap. So now I need to buy lunch. The cheapest option is to buy some tasteless GMO-crap at Safeway, which, in Bethesda, will set me back $7-$8. So, Chipotle? That's ten dollars. That's the cost of a nap.

Also, I didn't prepare breakfast. I got a free muffin at dunkin donuts because I have a dunkin donuts card from my employer, because I listen and retain. Then I bought my yogurt at Safeway: $1.69 and I got to stand in line behind an idiot, again. And then I bought a small coffee for $2.07.

An additional $4 that nap cost me.

We have no credit left. None. I paid cash.

But I should take a nap.

The last technical indicators system. I worked with the guy who developed it. His partner (not me) sold out on him for a cool lowest bidder of $5 …

$5 million dollars.

My technical indicators system is not ready for prime time. It's making money …

Listen to me … my technical indicators system is making money!

How much work-per-day will I have to do once this system is up and running? Oh, I estimate 30 minutes per day. And then it makes money for me that day.

That system, when it's ready for prime time, and up and running with a proven audit-trail will be worth no less than $30 million dollars.

But, instead of working on it last night, getting it ready for prime time, I took a nap.

My nap? It only cost me $30,000,015.00 last night.

You have that kind of chump change?

1) give it to me
2) then tell me to take a nap.

I will.

Good Enough

Dear LORD,

Happy birthday to me!

As my daughters exclaim: "You're so old, Papa! Why are you so old?"

Another year, LORD; we made it through another year where I did 'stuff.'

Thank You, LORD, for seeing me past another year, touching lives during it, guiding some toward you. 

LORD, take the least of these into Your hands, the most hurting, and hold them tightly to You, right up to Your heart, and love them. Love them through their hurts, love them after the hurt is gone, love them today, with all their problems, love them tomorrow, while all their problems have still not gone away.

Make me good enough, LORD, to love them and to give them hope, and to point them to you. Help me be good enough so that they may be saved.

I ask this in the Name of Jesus, the Christ.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Welcome, my friend, to the machine

My wife told me a story.

Yesterday, she was leading an Atrium class of 5-7 year olds at the St. Michael Parish school, when in walked the Fire Marshall, escorted by a school official. He looked about the room, then left.

Okay, class, teaching moment.

What did this teach us?

It taught us, that on private property, a government official can enter without permission, and do his undeclared business.

Did the school official take my wife aside beforehand so she could prepare the children for this intrusion?


"But," my wife asked, "maybe the fire marshall was afraid I might try to hide something ..."

Okay. WHAT?

If this official suspected something, such as illegal active (and okay, like what illegal activity?) then he presented a warrant, right?


No, he did not.

Here is what your children are learning in schools, public and private: that its government, our government, can trespass at will and at their whim.

And who's teaching this to our children? Our teachers. By remaining silent, and not saying: 'Excuse me, sir: I am responsible for these children and am currently presenting a lesson. You, sir, must wait until this lesson is over, or you, sir, are in violation of the law."

Instead of that, and allowing this to happen, we: you, me, our teachers, are training our children that the government is right and we are wrong, and we must suborn our rights and freedoms so the government may do whatever it likes whenever it likes and not have to provide justification nor follow due process.

Why do I homeschool?

The fire marshall shows up at my door then he (yes, he) and I are going to have a conversation, and he is going to go away and return with a warrant, and I, in the meantime am contacting the HSLDA.

Here's the problem.

You are not homeschooling, are you?

When did the fire marshall walk in on your kids today at school? Will your kids tell you? Mine didn't. Will your teachers tell you? Do you even know (all) your teachers' names? You're entrusting the lives of your children to your teachers who are, yes, good people, God-fearing people, doing the best that they can... but it's not their house. These are not their kids. And they have an unhealthy respect for The Law Man Carrying Out His Official Duties.

We don't need Obama, nor Bush, to destroy our Nation. All we have to do is entrust our children to the State and kowtow to it.

The Fault is Not in our Stars, dear Brutus: the fault is ours.

And our government, no matter who is at its head, is not going to save us. We, you and me, dear readers, are.

I march. I write. I homeschool, because I love my God, first, my family, next, and I especially love my Country, 'tis of thee, and for which it stands.

Oh, and p.s.: and the education? 'Common core,' which is not fostering thought but cranking out resources with a predicted set of usable skill sets (see the film 'Building the Machine')? And sexual education for children, now 10 years old? So they get to ponder their sexual orientation and to be ready for their sexual activity now, without need for your guidance but with the guidance/pressure of their peers?

Don't get me started.

Yes, I homeschool, and my children are not lacking in social skills and poise. No, in fact: my children are socially-better adjusted than the 13 year old in my daughter's ballet class taking about what she did with her boyfriend or the 14 year old who's scared about what she has to do at school so as not to be ostracized ...

So, they are not learning those 'social skills,' And what they are learning is more than just to be another brick in the wall.

Please. We, you and I, can make a difference. You're too busy to homeschool? I know a single mom who home-schools. You both have to work? Look at how much money you are spending on your children to make them latchkey kids entrusted to daycares or private school, and figure out how much more money you'd make with one income-provider so the other can stay-at-home and not spend all that money to cast your children aside. Because, guess what? A six-month old child in daycare so the mom can work? That's what we're doing now. Today.

And daycare? More than 90% of them do not meet Federal safety standards (Ha! 'Federal' safety standards! A joke! But at least they are a start, and daycares don't even meet those!)

How about later with (expensive) private schools, that do not pay their teachers above the poverty line, either, by the way, and when you do that, your children are no longer yours: they are the State's, they are your overworked daycare provider's, they are the what culture in private schools, exactly?

The drug culture's. And the snobs' culture's. Do you listen to how cruel private school kids are to others and to themselves? (Sad to say: Catholic school are the worst, or the 'best', at producing snobs and monsters eaten up with pride, from what I've seen). And you want to put your children into that environment and pay for the privilege of losing your children to that culture, that religion?

What religion is this?

You remember school, right? That religion. The teachers are tyrants, but ... the other kids are much, much worse.

But not your little Johnny nor Jane.

Because you're raising them up right, right?

How many hours a day do you spend with your kids? How many hours does the school have them?

Then when they get home, do you spend any time with them? Or is it supper on the go for you, and 'just leave me alone, I've had a long day. Go to your room and text your friends or surf the web unsupervised or something, okay'?

This is my plea to you.

Just one hour a day.

Okay, that's way too much.

Then the whole family at dinner, and ban the phones. You sit, you eat, you talk with each other. Start there.

Then read to your children. The Bible, sure, or the books that they're reading at school. Aloud. You'll learn a lot. Have them read. Have them reason about what they read. You'll learn some more.

And it will be pulling teeth, probably pulling yours, right? and they are going to whine and complain. Tough. Your turn to read. Read. Talk. Think. Agree, disagree, debate, have a real conversation.

That opens the door for them: that they are allowed to think and that they can talk with you.


Well, it's a start.

Please: take this start, for your children's sake.

And, I've seen this, when your children start to think, and start to believe what they believe, not believe what they are told ... then your children start to save other children out there.

There are so many lost children out there, getting straight-As at school, and then you wonder why she snapchatted herself nude to her boyfriend, or got so drunk (or high) at the (unsupervised) party at 14, and had sex with how many upstanding boys on the football team? And you'll never find that out until it's all over the school and she kills herself, or does something else, or doesn't tell you or anyone.

And this is not happening just in Stubenville ... this is happening in the school you are sending your children to ... just in your case, it doesn't make the news, see, so it's okay, right?

It's not okay for my children... nor is it okay for yours, either, right?

So, start the conversation with your kids, every day. Not about this, 'cause that's just weird. Just talk, every day, about school, about work, about what happened today, about what's important in your life, for you, about what's important in their lives, for them.


"We hold these rights to be self-evident." Do you know what these rights are? Do you know what they mean? Do you know what they are worth?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Home, Home!

I think I'm living on Midway Island time, which starts the inquiry of if I were to move to Midway Island, for some reason ... nuclear winter? global warming? ... then would I live on Connecticut time? So, I have no home, then, because wherever I am, I am always six-seven hours off.

So, then, perhaps Antarctica, where it is always day, and always night, but then there is a society there, there are rules there, there is time there.

Homesteading, like the parents of the little girl of the snow, moving out to Alaska and living there. Claiming the land, furrowing it, planting potatoes the first year and then seeing what we can grow year over year. Trees, pigs, cows, chickens, keeping them (and us) warm. Then, is it an animal farm? Or do we grow vegetables? Fruits? Figs! Figs! and Persimmons! Figs and Persimmons!

Where, and what, is home for you? What does it feel like to be home?