Thursday, July 30, 2009

Metropolitan Tribunal Conference...

Just getting back from spending a couple of days in Covington, KY at the annual meeting of the Tribunals of the province of Louisville. Fr. Phillip and I drove the hour and a half to Covington, and couldn't help but laugh when we passed this bakery truck. Check out the picture:

Yes, the name of the place is "Bimbo Bakery." Amazing. We had to get a picture as we drove by. You'd have thought their logo would be something more exciting than just a bear wearing a baker's hat... oh well!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Smoky Mountains National Park...

For several years now, a group of us - all Ordained around the same time - have been taking a week's trip together during the summertime. The purpose was originally to go whitewater rafting, risk our lives, and live to tell the story. However, with age comes a certain amount of wisdom... Now that we're getting older, the focus of our summer trip has shifted. Once it was about "staring death in the face," but now it's more about getting away: taking a break from our pastoral assignments, relaxing, and fostering priestly fraternity. Instead of paddling through class V rapids, we're taking things a bit more slowly these days.

Such was the case this past week. For our yearly trip, we rented a cabin overlooking the Smoky Mountains National Park. With an abundance of good fishing opportunities, two of us (Fr. John and myself) took to the rivers and creeks of the park in search of rainbow trout. We found ample numbers, with Fr. John taking the first (and largest) fish of the trip: a 15" rainbow that was hiding under the first rapid we cast to. Our guide Brad, from Smoky Mountain Angler, ran us up and down the river: over boulders, through rapids, and across the mountainous terrain to find a good number of beautiful rainbow trout. It was a week of beautiful scenery, good food, and good company. I'm already looking forward to next year...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Road Trip: Wrigley Field...

Summer is now a bit more than half over. With my canon law classes taking the summer off, I have been keeping busy with several things here at home: working at the Tribunal office, filling-in at various parishes (Immaculate Conception in LaGrange last weekend...), and various other activities. This past Spring, thinking about what I would like to do over the break, I came up with a kind of "bucket list" for my Summer. Being a baseball fan, one item was to take the opportunity to catch a few baseball games here and there. So far it has materialized into one trip to Cincinnati (Reds lost to the Phillies) and one trip to St. Louis (Cardinals beat the Royals in interleague play).

Yesterday we checked another one off that list: the Cubs beat the Braves 4-2 at the "friendly confines" of Wrigley Field. I had been there before, back in high school on a family trip, but I forgot just how cool Wrigley Field is: quaint, old-fashioned, representing everything that is "good and holy" in the game. The fans armed with their gloves, standing along Waveland Avenue just beyond the left field wall waiting to catch homeruns during batting practice; the people wearing t-shirts decrying the evils of night games; the cool breeze coming-in off Lake Michigan and thinking that the term "southpaw" was coined on that mound. Babe Ruth stood at that plate in 1932 and called his shot! Why, O why, did baseball ever abandon such places for Astroturf and the designated hitter?

-Catching batting practice homeruns along Waveland Avenue with the classic hand-operated scoreboard in the distance:

-A pre-game beer at Harry Caray's:

Wrigley, unlike other parks, isn't as pricey as you'd first think (it ain't as cheap as Cincinnati, though). 30 bucks bought a seat directly behind home plate on the lower level, not more than 100 feet from the plate - and there was only one support beam that just barely blocked my view of the right field corner. Concession prices weren't outrageous either (like St. Louis!): a beer and a dog cost $10. Heck, they even have a well-organized score card to keep track of the game with (I'm getting back into the routine of keeping score during ball games this summer - a practice I had quit). I have to hand it to Cubs fans too (as much as I would prefer not to...). While they can be a bit obnoxious, you have to say that they are truly fan-atical. I forgot just how loud a Wrigley Field crowd is. They pack the park for a Monday evening game, and it seemed that every single one of them was dressed in some Cub paraphernalia. No doubt - they are into the game. And I assure you, unlike most other parks I've been to, not a soul left that game until the final out was made. Even with my allegiance as a Reds fan, Wrigley has my vote as baseball heaven.

-The Classic Wrigley Scene; A Classic Baseball Scene:

-"The Sign" Cubs Win:

With roughly another month and a half of the summer left, where will I end up next? All indications are that I will probably be catching a Rockies game while on an upcoming trip to Denver, as well as a Red Sox game at Fenway with my sister Katie.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hats, Hats, Hats...

I have always liked to wear a hat... just a habit I've gotten into, I guess (covering my increasingly bald head). Lots of people have noticed, and I've gotten a lot of hats as gifts: mostly baseball hats - which I normally wear - but every once in a while I mix it up a bit. A straw panama during the summer; a black fedora; and don't forget the biretta for ecclesiastical wear!

Well, check out this website recently recommended by a friend (thanks, Fr. John...) featuring a most disturbing collection of ecclesiastical and academic head wear. Hold on to your biretta and click HERE! It helps if you can read German...

The trusty old fedora:

The "Biretta Padua" (an apparent variation upon the trusty old biretta):

You're a monsignor and want to wear the house cassock and biretta to the ballgame? NO PROBLEM!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Life at the Tribunal...

Fr. Philip showing the signs of extreme physical and mental stress after a hard day's work at the Tribunal... Is this a sad glimpse into my future?!