Monday, May 21, 2007

Blogging is becoming Narcissistic; Adoro has tagged me with another Self Referential Meme

Here are the rules according to whomever likes to make up rules: • Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight things about me that you really don't need to know

1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

When I started, in March of 2006, I had several ideas as to what I wanted to do with a blog, but the strongest perhaps was to create a forum for the Catholic Church in Minnesota and surrounding area where people could seek and share information to assist them in their individual spiritual journeys. To this end, Stella Borealis has been most effective in the blog roll list of Catholic blogs, organizations and events. Almost all of them listed in the sidebar are based in our area.

Finding the websites was easy compared to finding links to events, particularly educational events. That takes a tremendous amount of time surfing those most active sites and the parishes and dioceses for scheduled events. That has been very weak in terms of its completeness and effectiveness. But I still try.

I find that I don't do as much "personal posting" as do some on their blogs, but you will find that if they push the right buttons, you will find me commenting on many of the most popular of our local blogs. I have an opinion on almost everything.

2. Are you a spiritual person?

I love that question. And I love the answer most often given on singles websites when people are asked to describe themselves. The answer most often given seems to be "Spiritual, but not religious." I really wonder what that means. My answer would be "Spiritual AND Religious, but not nearly as much as I should be."

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

A computer with a cable modem, a Blogger account and electric power. (Is that four)?

4. What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Birthday parties. I was the oldest of five children and we always made a big deal out of birthday's, even my Dad's which occurred on the day after Christmas. As hard is it is for a child to buy a present for a parent, can you imagine how hard it would be having to buy two for your Dad (or Mom)? And Dad, a mailman, invariably in the style of Tiny Tim, at every such event would proclaim "I wonder what the poor people are eating tonight?"

5. Are these your first (tagging) memes?

Not by a long shot. I'm going to start posting as "Anonymous."

6. Eight random facts about me

a. I won a city-wide Catechism Contest sponsored by the Knights of Columbus in Duluth when I was about 12. To me it seemed like everybody got tougher questions from the back of the Baltimore Catechism than I did. But I happened to know who the First Martyr was, something nobody had studied; but St Stephen's feast day is my Dad's birthday!

b. I went to the U of MN on an Evans Scholarship sponsored by the Western Golf Association for having been a caddie. The scholarship is fairly easy to get and far and away the easiest to keep, a C average, and it paid room and tuition and you live with a lot of great guys (and now, gals, I guess). It is still given out at country clubs that belong to the Western Golf Association. There aren't that many caddies these days, so have your kids check it out.

c. The Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor was my first boss in my first "adult job", as a busboy during lunch in the cafeteria in the basement of Coffman Union at the U of MN. Garrison was a radio nut, even back then, volunteering for WMMR, the dormitory radio station. I would have liked to do that, but didn't bother to talk to him to see if there would have been an opportunity for me there.

d. The U.S. Army trained me to be a Farsi/Persian linguist and about two-thirds of the way through the course in the hardship base of Monterey, CA, they decided to retrain me as a radio intelligence analyst. Then they sent me to Germany where I learned to ski and how to drink beer. If we declare war on Iran, I suppose they could still call me up.

e. During my "vacation" from Catholicism between 1960 and 1981, I never thought that the Church was wrong, but only that it didn't seem to have all the answers for me. Two famous theologians whose seminars I attended were Hans Kung (at St Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Mpls about 1975) and Dominican fruitcake, er priest, Matthew Fox, at UST maybe about 1980. Fox has long ceased to be an active priest.

f. I was employed on the U.S. Senate campaign of Mpls Representative and early pro-choice hero, Donald Fraser, in 1978. We got beaten badly in that year's Minnesota Massacre. I was a very timid pro-lifer in those days.

g. I did a lot of dabbling in New Age activities before and after my reversion. In 1981 I participated in the controversial "est Training" founded by Werner Erhard. Two weekends, 18-20 hours each day, verbally glued to one's chair. I did it because they were a big customer of the company for which I worked and it seemed "interesting" and the company paid the $400 fee. I didn't get out of "est" what others got. I got my faith back. Within a month I had attended a retreat at the Basilica of St Mary and went to confession for the first time in 21 years. While I was back, it probably took another ten or fifteen years to become what might be described as "possibly orthodox" in my practices. I don't regret a minute of those two weekends.

h. I've been collecting books for thirty or more years. Much of my collection involves Minnesota history, and the history of labor, socialism and radical movements in the Upper Midwest. Some of my better books I have already sold.

I don't think that I know eight people who might want to participate in this "meme." Rather than embarrass them publicly, I'll send a copy of this post to them and ask them if they want to play.


Terry Nelson said...

I just don't know what to say...est? That is so california post hippie. How cool is that? I used to go to the Basilica...did you see Caddy Shack? Well that's about it...that was very revealing Ray. I have enough information on you to do a thorough background check and then some...KIDDING!

Unknown said...


“California post hippie.” Apt description! But there is a great deal of value in it. But not all knew where to look. I didn’t know that there was or wasn’t so I didn’t even try to look, and it just happened.

Seriously! It took me over a year to realized exactly what did happen and to “get” the things that others “got.”

I didn’t elaborate on what happened to me on the last day, but I got home about 2 or 3 in the morning and the first book I picked up even before going to bed was Frank Sheeds “Theology and Sanity.” I had purchased that book in 1963 or 4, upon the recommendation of a friend who later became a PhD in Theology and a Prof at St Kate’s. But I was not able to read more than a chapter. But for some reason I kept it. I even brought it to Europe with me when I was in the Army; brought it back, still unread, and it wasn’t until one night in September of 1981, after “est”, that I picked it up, read it in about a couple of hours, understood the meaning of the Holy Spirit, showered, shaved and went to work.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: You neglected to come clean regarding your stint with the Weather Underground but I'll look for that in a future meme. Maybe I should create a meme called the FBI Monitored Organizations I Used to Belong to Meme. I can start it but I won't do it for myself for reasons I don't care to go into right now.

Sanctus Belle said...

I'm always amazed that anyone came out of the sixties a practicing Catholic. What a mess of a decade. I enjoyed reading this post Ray and thanks for the tag. I feel so loved!

Unknown said...

Chrism Cathy:

I did forget to mention my presence at the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee “ demonstration in front of Coffman Union when Prof Mcgloff (McLaughlin) got egged while boring the pants off the demonstrators, something he also use to do to International Law students also.

Unknown said...


It was indeed a mess of a decade. I don’t believe the whole story has been written yet.

I think the only reason that I “survived” is that I spent the years 1964-8 in the Army peacefully studying, drinking, sightseeing, skiing, “und so weiter” (etc.) in Germany. When I returned in March 1968 I was flabbergasted at the changes I encountered and the behavior of some of my old pals.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: So in other words you were bombed and in another country during the 60s! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting answers, Ray --you were quite the liberal, I think!! And I knew you spoke Farsi, which is really cool -- are you also a fan of the famous Persian language poets: Khayyam and Hafiz and Ghalib, etc.? I am occassionally exposed to them, although I don't understand a word of it! Urdu, which is spoken in Hyderabad, has many Persian words in it, particularly the formal and most proper Urdu. Of course, I haven't learned but a very few words. I am unfortunately NOT gifted with being able to pick up languages, although I sure wish I were. You are very blessed to have that talent!