Tag Archive: George Carlin


Oregon will never be confused with Tuscany.

In Tuscany, thousands wait in line for hours to check out Michelangelo’s “David.”

In contrast, somebody in Oregon is named, “David.”

In Tuscany, one can queue-up for hours to admire Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” standing in her perfect sea shell.

In Oregon, one can find sea shells at the coast, not sure about Venus.

Frances Mayes’ book, “Under the Tuscan Sun,” and the movie with the same title tells the story of an American (e.g., actress Diane Lane) in search of a life change, and a little love too.

She made a totally impractical, impulsive decision. Seemingly on a whim, she bought a classic “fixer-upper” in Cortona, Tuscany and lived to talk about it. The book’s story and the heroine, who took the ultimate plunge, set off a series of similar decisions as literally hundreds of upper class Americans rushed to Central Italy to buy their own Italian villa in the sun.

Reportedly, some even asked the locals for the Italian word for “cappuccino.”

The author of Almost DailyBrett eventually made the trek to Tuscany with his new bride, Jeanne, to celebrate our honeymoon. We stayed in a 12th Century Italian villa on a bluff overlooking Il Duomo de Firenze, but we resisted the temptation to buy the Torre di Bellosguardo.

That does not mean your author is innocent when it comes to rash, impulsive decisions. In 2010, I came to Oregon at 55-years-young in search of a master’s degree, Oregon football games in the fall, and maybe a little love too.

The impulsive part comes into play when one asks: Why would a middle-age widower (being kind here) decide to buy a three-bedroom, two-bath 2,000-square-foot “tree” house for himself and his American shorthair feline, Percy?

Wouldn’t renting make more sense, particularly when one contemplates widespread academic prejudice: my chances of landing a teaching job at University of Oregon after graduation would be next to none? Renting easily made more sense, except for the George Carlin “stuff” factor.

Carlin’s comedic monologue about the never-ending acquisition of “stuff” (i.e., beds, dressers, chairs, tables, washer/dryer, fridge …) results in a predictable crisis. Can the author of Almost DailyBrett downsize from a 2,200-square-foot Monopoly (ranch-style) house in Northern California to a 1,000-square-foot apartment, and still find sufficient space for his stuff?

Let me interject right now: your author does not do orange metal doors surrounded by Berlin Bunker concrete (e.g., storage units = unintelligent loss of legal tender).

So what did all of the above make me? A displaced Californian with equity to transfer, looking for a tree house to display his stuff, and live and study as well … Under the Oregon Clouds.

Spider and The Fly

On more than one occasion, it has been questioned why would a single-at-the-time, follicly challenged mature dude acquire a 2,000-square foot house with a deck, hot tub and occasionally serving prosciutto and melon with Sangiovese? Was my Eugene house the human equivalent of a spider’s web, looking for “some little girl to fly on by” as suggested by Mick Jagger in The Spider and The Fly?

Almost DailyBrett will piously declare the primary purpose for the turn-key Eugene house with next to zero backyard maintenance was to serve as a place to study, research and finish a master’s degree in Communication and Society. The next steps were finding a full-time teaching gig. The wonderful new wife came later, even though my eyes were always surveying the horizon for both.

The aforementioned Jeanne became Mrs. Brett on her own recognizance, and yours truly was offered a doctoral fellowship to Arizona State University and a tenure track professorship at Central Washington University, taking the latter position.

What that on-the-one-hand and on-the-other-hand decision meant was transporting my new bride, two alley cats and our  “stuff” to a townhouse in Ellensburg, Washington and renting out the house Under the Oregon Clouds. That plan worked for two years until the renters (e.g., Stefanie and George) decided to move.

Considering that our move back to Eugene was not coming anytime soon, we made the decision to sell the house Under the Oregon Clouds. Think of it this way, a house is bricks and mortar or some variation of that theme. We can always buy another house, another day maybe with sun above. Right?

And yet, the house did not sell as the rain fell during the winter. The house Under the Oregon Clouds is quirky (e.g., it has character). It has three flights of stairs, a car-port instead of a garage (for your stuff). Das Haus ist nicht für Alles.

It did not sell. We couldn’t be happier.

Someday, we will once again visit the 12th Century Firenze villa Under the Tuscan Sun.

More importantly, we will surely move back to that special tree house Under the Oregon Clouds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Tuscan_Sun_(film)

http://www.francesmayesbooks.com/under-the-tuscan-sun/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0CSs4Nf-64

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“This (pedophile priest cover-up) scandal is putting us, the clergy and the church, where we belong — with the excluded ones. Jesus was painted with the same brush as the two thieves crucified with him.” – Cardinal Roger Michael Mahony somehow equating himself with J.C. in a recent blog

There was life for the Catholic Church after the “Great Schism” between Rome and Constantinople.

And yes, there was also a future for the church after Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg.

There was life after Bernard Law. There was life after the Da Vinci Code.

And finally, there will be plenty of life for the Catholic brand even in the aftermath of the church’s irritating pimple of a cleric, Roger Michael Mahony.

mahony

Guess they were surprised when yours truly walked into a recent conference to talk about social media.

They were expecting a Millennial or maybe, an X-Gen.

What’s this? A follicly challenged Baby Boomer approaching the 2x mark of his 29 birthday coming before them to evangelize about all things, digital self-publishing?

Maybe, just maybe, my gray locks provided me with a little more gravitas and a smidge more credibility as I spoke to communication types last week. The communicators were concerned among other topics with the never-ending pedophile-priest cover-up stories, the latest version courtesy of Cardinal Mahony (1.53 million Google mentions…and counting).

Considering the plight of the church, it already has a ton on its plate with a Papal conclave right around the corner, and now has to deal with Mahony’s above-the-fold headlines. With or without Mahony, there is the question whether social media is helping or hurting the church’s brand. Some are clearly uncomfortable with the notion that the Catholic Church as a brand. (Have you ever seen the cross, Jesus, Mary…?)

More importantly, will the church manage or will it be forced to watch others manage the Catholic brand by means of WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and all the other social media outlets. I sensed the church elders fear the answer to the question.

And yet there are good tidings to proclaim. The church with more than 1 billion “subscribers” has been around since about 33 A.D. It survived Martin Luther’s aforementioned 95 Theses (aided by Gutenberg’s printing press). It has co-existed with the Protestant Reformation. It outlasted the waves of other communications gadgets. It endured Cardinal Law. And yes, it will eventually outlast Mahony, even though he took to Twitter to announce that he will do his heavenly duty, voting behind the ecclesiastic doors of the Vatican for the next Pope.

Hopefully, there is zero chance that Mahony will be elected Pope…Talk about a public relations train wreck.

Years ago, I went to Tahoe with a fraternity brother or two to see the late comedian George Carlin. He did his gig about parochial school. The refugees of Catholic School, including this writer, were rolling in the aisles. Those who went to public school really couldn’t relate.

Think of it this way: To a non-Catholic, the image of a nun usually points to saintly Mother Teresa. To someone who endured the petty tyranny of the priests and nuns, the fearful vision is one of a woman in a habit with a steel ruler.

The Catholic Church in many ways invented arrogance. That’s why there was a Protestant Reformation and King Henry VIII created a new church so he could get his divorce and remarry. I would also humbly opine that arrogance/superiority is a primary reason there are so many fallen Catholics, including the writer of this humble blog.

Can a homily by a priest, monsignor, bishop, cardinal etc. be transformed into a thought leadership blog. The answer is affirmative provided the All Mighty accepts the theory of two-way symmetrical communication, the simple idea that members of the flock are entitled to critically respond.

There in a nut shell is the rub. Writing and delivering a sermon that is quietly received by the congregation and maybe saluted after the proceedings are done is not two-way communication. It is essentially a top-down talk from the mountain top.

Social media is a conversation, and a true two-way dialogue at that. The church or any other entity (e.g., corporation, non-profit, government agency, political figure) has to understand that its brand is in play in cyberspace by anyone at any time. Digital publishing enables an around-the-clock brand stock exchange with some rising and others falling…sometimes very quickly.

Didn’t St. Luke (14:11) write the following: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted”?

Cardinal Mahony is cornering the market when it comes to exaltation. Maybe the rest of the church can be a little more humble in order to succeed as a brand in this 24/7/365 digital world.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/23/17057099-las-cardinal-mahony-calls-himself-scapegoat-ahead-of-deposition-conclave?lite

http://www.religionnews.com/2013/03/04/cardinal-mahony-the-vatican-told-me-to-come-to-the-conclave/

http://news.msn.com/world/cardinal-my-sexual-conduct-had-fallen-below-standards

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Church

http://bible.cc/luke/14-11.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ninety-Five_Theses

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382625/

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