Heaven can wait, I’m going to raise hell.

– Bumper sticker of the week: To all you virgins, thanks for nothing.

– Quote of the week: A fish like a man came walking ashore,

Whatever it was had a certain allure.

He looked at me dead straight in the eyes,

I have to admit, it was quite a surprise.

He asks what I thought about poisoning the water,

And if it was me who had poisoned his brother?

I say I’m not sure, but I did spray for bugs.

He doesn’t look up, just turns and shrugs. From Fish Tales and Dreams,

The Peever

– Sneaky Catholics trying to get into Heaven: "The Da Vinci Code," the novel, has cast attention, and doubt, toward what is a real life Catholic organization, Opus Dei. The first page of the novel declares: "Fact – Opus Dei, a deeply devout Catholic sect that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brainwashing, coercion, and a dangerous practice known as corporal mortification."’ I had never heard of it, so I did some research.

Sure enough, it is a fact. Said to be 85,000 strong worldwide, with 3000 members in the U.S., Opus Dei is fraught with controversy and mystery. It appears to wrap itself up in secrecy, which its leaders prefer to call privacy. Its membership is supposed to be secret, as is its main theology, called "The Way." I personally have never found any comfort in secret societies. They’re usually secret for a good reason. If you knew what was going on, it would scare you to death. Strike one!

Some of the members use privation and pain to reflect a sinner’s need for penance. A whip is used for self-flagellation, and a device called a cilice, a barbed wire type contraption, is worn around the hip or leg. While Opus Dei members see the resultant pain as a way to emulate Christ’s suffering, in many circles it would reflect a need for psychiatric help. Strike two!

And wouldn’t you know it, the group seems to appeal to fundamentalist, right-winged white men. (And apparently a few women). Sounds fairly familiar. A reported sampling of these white men: Robert Bork, Robert Novak, Sen. Sam Brownback, conservative book publisher Alfred Regnery, and it’s said, Supreme Court Justice Scalia. Now of course some of this may be speculation, since it is supposed to be secret. What’s not secret is that the founder of the group, Fr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, a Spaniard, was a cohort of Gen. Francisco Franco, long-time Spanish dictator, whose authoritarian regime had a liking for fascism. So we’ve come to strike three!

No one knows for sure what this is all about. The novel, while clearly a work of fiction, is about as clear an explanation of this group as anyone has given. Opus Dei has schools in Chicago and Champaign, where they are said to do aggressive recruiting of undergraduates. And this group has some big money. They recently bought a building in New York, on the corner of Lexington Ave. and 34th St., for $47 million. It’s even said that they once financially bailed out the Vatican, which apparently has led to the unusually rapid sainthood of Fr. Balaguer. Strike four!

I’ ‘m sure this group does do some good, and I expect I’m about to hear it.

– Some days I don’t think we’re going to make it:

Going back to the Moon or Mars doesn’t inspire me. While I do like discovery and exploration, I would prefer it take place on Earth. We need to discover how to feed everyone, provide affordable housing, hold honest elections, cure AIDS and cancer, clean up the environment. How about exploring Congress for a brain?

We love war and killing. We love guns. We love shooting guns. I don’t think this is a natural act. I think you have to work at becoming this demented.

Bush increases money for war and decreases money for education, pre-school, social help programs, the EPA. For one to be able to do that, you surely have to sell your soul to the devil. I think that’s why he looks so funny and can’t talk.

Sometimes I think we have a serious fatal flaw in our design that destines us for extinction.

– Bogus budget: The President blames everyone and everything but himself for a record deficit. Now he wants to increase defense and security budgets and decrease everything else. This makes all his right-winged paranoid friends very happy. They want assurances that the millions they are bilking from us is safe and secure. He asks us how we feel about this? I say to you, Mr. President, that I would feel much safer and much more secure if you quit and took all your right-winged cabinet members with you. Go back to Texas. I hear they could use a good laugh.