Archive for the ‘Freshly Pressed’ Tag

I’d Like To Leave a Wake-Up Call For the Morning, for Iran….To Free the Hikers

Tree of Life stories.

Nomads and their survival in the inhospitable desert, with air as hard to breathe as the sand.

When you inherit the desert and its emptiness. Or, if you were in your 53rd week of detainment, involuntarily, amidst the emptiness. In Iran. Without any bubble bath.

Heredity and environment for the descendants of nomads. And so in the vastness of the desert comes the nomads. The Wasteland, T. S. Elliott called it. Devoid of inhabitants. Particularly nomads who had taken barren wives. The stories of barren women of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, dealing with their anguished loneliness. The conflict of the interior and the exterior worlds, amidst a fragile economic recovery. Awakening in that darkest part of a desert night with fears which bring me to the state of being desolate. Desolation, with fears about my own future; with fear of anguished loneliness living without the ones whom I love; with fear something important is due and is unfinished; and the one big surrounding fear of the human condition without borders–the fear in the silence and emptiness of a barren land of not having done enough, of being incomplete.

Formed in God’s image. The God of these nomads whose environment, in all of the time before the creation of the universe, was nothing but vast emptiness. His vast emptiness. And so out from the vastness of the desert comes stories of identity and purpose.

Barren women and the unanswered question of the timing. And all of the expectation for suffering. Looking for evidence. That God is love. In birth. In death. In desert desolation, devoid of inhabitants. With an emptiness so vast, the desert and its barrenness becomes you. Nomads and their fears in the barren desert, where the desolate imagination is given body. Anguished nomads at night, in the frigid and inhospitable desert. In the prison of desert desolation, where the only thing left for the nomad is to meet God, and find herself. Or himself. “Amid the anguished loneliness,” writes an author named Saldaña.

The choices of Chosen People. The stories about the children of prophets. The parents who always thought and worried over their children and the choices of their children. On issues of birth, death, and fertility by the descendants of nomads. Or on issues of hiking.

The compelling stories of life’s ongoing intersection with the Tree of Life, and coming to know a Living God. Filling the emptiness. Coming to know God, in the desert. Where the desolate imagination in anguished loneliness is given body. Discovering that the only things left to meet here in isolation and silence are the self and God.

Trying to fill the emptiness. In the Wasteland. Looking for evidence. Devoid of inhabitants. With all of the missing visible goodness. And so little evidence of life.

Desert desolation. With an emptiness so vast, the desert becomes a prison. To nomads.

Belief in a lover. Belief in fidelity. In any land. Promises fulfilled. Belonging. To each other. Tree of Life stories about a Promised Land. With ritual and ways of life based upon belonging to one place and to one God. In any nation. To somehow find yourself in the Tree of Life story. With knowledge of God, some knowledge of God, in those Tree of Life stories about nomads and their barren wives. In the Book of Genesis. Overcoming their own barrenness. with some knowledge of God. To come somehow to know God, in both the interior and the exterior worlds, from the Tree of Life stories in the desert, devoid of life, in the Book of Genesis.

Knowledge and belief. In any land. Even when you were only 28-years old. Belief in the Supreme Leader’s Advisor for International Affairs, because you always ordered the supreme pizza when you were at home. Yeah, but you still were not home. But in your 53rd week of detainment. In an anti-semitic republic. But you were not Jewish, and you just dreamed of getting home for a pizza. And the Islamic provisional Friday Prayers Leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, seemed about as holy as Father Guido Sarducci, but not as funny. And you hoped someone still was at the front desk of this prison. With the keys. Because this place had long ago run out of bubble bath.

Free the hikers. One journalist who had moved to Damascus, Syria to convey personal stories which promoted justice and empathy for those of cultures different from his own, to improve relations with the Muslim world. One woman enrolled at the University of Damascus learning Arabic, writing articles which focused on the plight of women affected by the Iraqi war and upheaval in the region, as well as teaching Iraqi refugees English. One teaching fellow, part of a group of faculty and students with the International Honors Program in Boston, officially traveling to Asian and African countries.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Iranian Labor News Agency on September 10, 2010, quoted Abbas Jaafari Dowlatabadi, Tehran’s chief prosecutor, as saying the “legal procedure” to secure the release of 32-year-old Sarah Shourd as a gesture of goodwill to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, at Eid-al-Fitr, was not yet complete and she would not
be released Saturday morning at what had been the Hilton Hotel in north Tehran that is now used as a protocol office by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The move suggests a kind of factional infighting within the political establishment under the jurisdiction of President Ahmadinejad that bedevils the Islamic Republic, with a judiciary under the control of Sadegh Larijani, whose brother Ali is speaker of parliament, opposing Ahmadinejad’s populist economic policies and locked in a political war with Ahmadinejad. Officials of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Foreign Ministry had earlier announced the planned release of Ms. Shourd. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast had said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intervened to secure Shourd’s release because of the “special viewpoint of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the dignity of women.” And currently, the internal struggle within Iran politically was over the volatile nuclear status of women in their society. When it might seem safe to conclude the Larijani family is not allied with the cause of the western concept of the rights of women, there is the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. In other news on September 8, 2010, an Iranian foreign ministry official confirmed that the sentence of stoning against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was suspended, though she still faced death by hanging. Reporters in Iran have been banned from reporting on the case. The conflict between performance versus ideology. In 2008, draft legislation was submitted by Iran’s judiciary to parliament for approval to scrap the punishment of stoning. In July 2010, the Iranian judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad was quoted as saying “Stoning has been dropped from the penal code for a long time, and in the Islamic republic.” Following the election of President Ahmadinejad, reports were of judges handing down stoning sentences in 2006 and 2007, and 2010. The Iranian judiciary has indicated that stoning will no longer be practiced in Iran. In Iran, the ancient form of execution punishment stoning did not exist until 1983, when the contemporary Islamic Penal Code was ratified.

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Reach Baseballs

Father’s Day.

In the house I grew up in there was a spot in the basement where my father kept at least a dozen Reach baseballs. Maybe two or three dozen.

Those different generations…. for my family, Father’s Day and baseball were and still are synonymous. In the age of television, Father’s Day and the U. S. Open are now synonymous, at least with fathers who grew up with television as a foster relative.

What is inside the ball? From one generation to the next, kids have always wondered what’s inside the ball.  Whether it was about the inert game of golf or baseball, most kids have a curiosity about the insides of the ball.  There is a sense of wonder about what is inside, and what is inside the ball is part of the attraction to the game.

Reach was the manufacturer of these baseballs kept in our basement. With Joe Cronin’s signature on them. Made in Haiti. In the late 19th century, Spalding had acquired Reach and then operated the company as a subsidiary, leaving the Reach name on these balls used in the American League. Our supply was always replenished.

That childhood sense of wonder –of what was inside the ball–was the first of the various real life mysteries in our lives … for my father’s kids, anyway.

It was a Father’s Day in the last 1980s. I lived in Chicago and my dad was in town on a trip that had him, for professional reasons, at Comiskey Park on that Sunday.  Afterward I took him to five o’clock Mass at old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. It was one of the few buildings that had survived the Great Chicago Fire.  Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church then was being revitalized by a priest named Jack Wall.  And I think that was the day he delivered his Holy of Holies homily.  It had to do with Roman centurions storming into the temple, which must have been in Jerusalem, in search of the Holy of Holies about which they had heard so much.  It was the secret to what inspired the passions of the people of Israel.  After much destruction around the location inside the the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle where Holy of Holies was kept, the Roman centurions left.  They were unable to resolve the mystery of what was behind the thick curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place drawing such reverence from the people.

That Holy of Holies. It is not irreverence to compare my feeling to what is inside the ball, to the same mystery that Jack Wall talked about that Sunday. Have you ever been overcome with the smell of horsehide?

The spirit within. Exhibiting that spirit within. Hustle. The tenacity shown on the diamond. Or the gentleness at home.

Children in their innocence had a reverence for things that too many jaded adults lost along the way. About baseball. About life. The institutional voice of a parent who was always there from the beginning, as the seat of authority. In the humanness of a Father. The mystery and reality of life. Until one day any child had to answer the question: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Baseball was an art form, in one of the mysterious celebrations of life. Baseball which all seemed to start in our basement. At my house. Someone once wrote, “Art happens when what is seen becomes mixed with the inside of the person who is seeing it.”

There were always the questions. The bad hops. The mysterious bad hops, in the game of inches. On the playing field. The subtleness of the mystery. On diamonds. In churches. Until you eventually figured some things out. With the help of a father. Like the indicator before the steal sign. From one generation to the next. Those sacraments that produced Grace. Baseball was one of the sacraments that produced Grace. Like the sacrifice fly. God in His incredible subtleness, day in and day out. With the squeeze play. Baseball was one of the outward signs, believed by me anyway, believed by some American Irish Catholics anyway, over time, which produced INWARD signs. When the outward signs over time produced INWARD signs. And Grace.

What was the attraction? When I grew to be a man there was still a sense of the Holy of Holies around the game of baseball. The spirit within. At an outdoor ballpark. We had had this 28 year gap in Minnesota, with real baseball.

Generations were more adept now at using the new technology. My brother subscribed to the “bigger, stronger, faster” philosophy in sports that you heard promoted on television. That new technology. In car commercials and sports. Wherever that had taken us. With Chrysler and General Motors.

Baseball, in the horsehide, was one language of creation. Not many spoke the language like I had heard it. Like in poetry, here were places for pauses. For silence. Like in church. With the background noises, in the relationships which developed.

When I was fourteen, I got my first job. It was at a ball park. I worked there over 9 seasons. At an outdoor ballpark. Something happened to a person when you went to a ballpark everyday of the summer, even when the team was on the road. The ballpark was like a church. Something was absorbed each day. With the smell of resin and horsehide. A relationship developed, an invisible bond, with the past to the present. An invisible bond which was too often missing from too many who played the game professionally today.

Whereas I used to wonder what was now inside the ball, now with Bud Selig’s autograph I wonder in the age of steroids, from about 1992 through the present day, what is inside the athlete. I wonder about what inspired the passions of these present day people who had missed out on the real Holy of Holies.

Though my father died eleven years ago, Father’s Day and baseball still for my family are synonymous. I had come to learn baseball was about relationships, that a ballpark was more than a holy place where the Holy of Holies was kept, but a place to share something deep inside, from a craftsman who was connecting the past to the present, very much the case by my own father. With a reverence for the game, through Sport involved with Time and Place and Distance, baseball had become a part of me, through this father-son relationship passing on the power in bonds between people, passing on the Spirit.

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Té Tremble

In modern times, one universal truth since the French Revolution has included the anger and the fear that the young always directed at institutions which sheltered a civilization. Not at all unlike the anger and the fear that came out of slavery. Like in Haiti about the time of the French Revolution. Before the Louisiana Purchase. The anger and the fear directed at royalty and the clergy. At the time of the French Revolution, the anger at all of the estates, including the journalists covering the story.

The anger was over the powerlessness…. in the always and everywhere identity of being a slave — this powerful identity from the past in the New World based upon race that is not allowed in polite society to be discussed… Or about that anger from the past which had come of slavery.

I spent part of last weekend with the descendants of displaced slaves. I attended a program on Sunday about rebuilding Haiti. After waking earlier that day to “Speaking of Faith,” a National Public Radio program that morning which had discussed life in western Alabama where shelter had always been based upon a social order of the soul, with its burden of history. The houses of western Alabama always had had porches, in a day when air conditioning did not cut off a family from a neighbor, with a concern of long-term survival. Whereas part of the rebuilding process, part of the architecture included recycling building materials of the past, and an architectural teacher from the University of Auburn mentioned the slave houses in this part of the Alabama. As he was talking about the importance of an architecture that was committed and engaged, he asked who now could ever understand in this day and age slavery? “Either its social and/or cultural part at the time of slavery?” In western Alabama, where had been the descendants — with its displaced slaves and the slave masters still present. Architectural students from the University of Auburn had to find out about the truth in the collective memory of slavery, in the architectural systems being re-created.

The Saint Paul Public Library offered a panel discussion with sponsorship of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library with mostly Haitian people. Max Adrien is a Haitian-born Hamline University French professor with a Ph. D., from Tulane University in New Orleans where he helped establish a Haitian Creole program. In examining Haitian history, he told the story which began on December 5, 1492 in Haiti. Where Columbus sank the Santa Maria. Why Columbus came, with the late 15th century European God. Perhaps initially with a 16th century benevolence. To find a route to the east. To avoid the Ottoman Turks –those fierce Ottoman Turks. Adrian said he had a B.A. from Loyola University in Chicago, and knew well the theology of Columbus’s world. In a five minute history, he spoke of the arrival of the French who formally claimed control of the western portion of the island of Hispaniola. With the encouragement of Louis XIV, the French West Indian Company had begun to grow tobacco, cotton, indigo, and cacao under the labor of the enslaved Tainos who inhabited the island before Columbus’ gang arrived. With high Taíno mortality attributed to a missing immunity to Old World diseases, a French monsignor had suggested going to Africa to import replacement labor. And thus the history of African slaves from hundreds of different tribes, with hundreds of different languages. The estimated number was 790,000 African slaves in 1783-1791. And so the story of displaced slaves, from Africa.

Thirty years younger than the United States, Haiti was the first independent black nation in the Western Hemisphere. Adrien discussed Toussaint L’Ouverture’s revolution from France that caused enough fear to Napoleon for the United States to complete the Louisiana Purchase. Louisiana, with its sugar base economy. Louisiana, with its same French connection. Louisiana, caught in the same slave trade triangle as Haiti. He made mention of crippling reparations paid to France after the country’s revolution in order to lift an embargo. And its history has shown the ongoing dependence ever since, based on reparations for the freed slaves, and with the old paradigm of slavery. In the 18th century, Haiti was the richest island in the Caribbean, with its economy based upon sugar.

Barbara Pierre-Louis, a Ph.D. candidate, gave a personal account of her Haitian history, where reference was made to Paul Farmer’s powerful book, The Uses of Haiti. Both of these speakers had been in Minnesota on January 12, 2010 on the day of Té Tremble. Roulio Lundy was a young Haitian who had married a Minnesotan in March 2009 but was home on the island. One of 19 children, he gave a moving account of visiting a neighborhood where a woman his own age had prepared him lunch as he readied to journey 60 miles in his car to return to his mother’s home on that Tuesday. After turning down an invitation to eat food three times, he finally took the food and put it in his back seat and set off for home. Five minutes down the road, there was upheaval on the road he was driving on. The sky turned black. And the buildings along the side of the road collapsed. It seemed the end of the world had arrived. He spoke of picking up 3 young men in his car as he resumed his travel, witnessing horror after horror of adult men sawing off their arms, to escape from the rubble of their buildings. Offers of all worldly goods were made by those trapped if somehow they could be saved. The four men distributed the food and water in the car as they came across horrific scene after horrific scene. And he found that the woman who had prepared his food had died in the earthquake. He had a flat tire later that afternoon, and took a wheel off another car to continue on, at one point abandoning his car. It took him until midnight on Thursday to complete his journey on foot to his mother’s home. He found that all of his family member were alive.

There were questions. One question was from a woman who had sponsored a child through the NGO called World Vision. The Minneapolis wife of Roulio Lundy suggested that the people in the audience take a different approach. She told of the dislike of non-government organizations (NGOs), who have been helping in Haiti for 50 years, with more poverty today than 50 years ago, with a greater number existing on less than $2 per day than ever before. The view there that the people were poorer, and the NGOs richer. Causing in the view of many locals, more damage than good. The NGOs that seemed to want to do something. That was the environment in Haiti before the earthquake.

Yes, I had spent part of the weekend with the educated descendants of displaced slaves. Maria Roesler-Lundy had married a descendant. Her husband was the only member of the panel who did not carry a post graduate degree from an American university. And all of the Haitians had spoken of the prestigious schools in Haiti. The few prestigious schools. Education maybe not unlike the air conditioning which had cut off so many from their neighbors. And there was this undertow of class, even among the descendants of displaced slaves, some who had gotten the chance to attend the prestigious schools, to pursue passing on the academics to the next generation. With or without the anger at the concept of the 16th century God.

The institutional advancement of a nation. Maria Roesler-Lundy came over to give a more explicit answer dealing with World Vision, about the NGOs created and survive, on the back of the poor.  She said her answer had not been about just World Vision. Her answer dealt with giving not just money alone to Haitian causes, but the need to get actively involved with the people in the nation. And when her husband compared this crisis of rebuilding to being about more than sharing money but similar to preparing food and then eating it with the people, and suddenly I was overcome with the realization that the only reason he was standing in front of me was because he had not stayed to share the food prepared by his former next door neighbor. And I understood the reasons hat he had wept at the conclusion of his speech, delivered in Creole.

His answer was about creating a relationship. “Don’t try to change the Haitian people,” someone had opined on “This American Life.” The moderator had wrapped up the program quoting an American physician who had gone to Haiti long before the earthquake. He had commented upon all the Fixit types who come to town and get right down to work. Never starting the morning, as the locals ask each day, “How are you? How did you sleep?” There were now a lot of foreigners who skip the morning greeting each day. The advice of anyone going to Haiti who would deal with Haitians was “Try to understand their point of view.” Because in Haiti, there were some grateful and some ungrateful.

Institutional advancement in Haiti was a slow and cumbersome process, Apricot Irving reported on “This American Life.” The pitfalls of the old model of the 19th century benevolence could be seen over and over. Many Haitians were experts at receiving aid, but not changing their own lives, maybe attributed to a built up immunity to Old World theology, as some kind of remnant of an slave culture. Foreigners always in charge, with hope that the Haitians would catch on. Immunity maybe to the 16th century God of Columbus, who somehow had allowed slavery. And then the 19th century benevolence. As the slaves over time had become dependent on their slave masters. And now this cowboy culture from the US, when the problems are there to fix. The Fixit American Men from Mars, and their women, giving out of what these people did not have. Of technology. Of water. It was the social order of slavery.

The doctor that Apricot Irving interviewed said, “Build a citadel and you build another benevolent dictatorship. The cowboy to fix the problem. For efficacy, service and security…why not become a benevolent dictator?” The choice was to either continue the dysfunction, or to create a new model. To replace the old model in this slave culture. Of Papa Doc. Or the NGOs. Or think about the hard work of community building. When along the way, services in 2010 will not be provided. And that admittedly was a terrible choice. Building true community takes time….with a perseverance in a relationship. Between people.

So the reconstruction of Haiti. And the choice between the old model and the new. The old model which creates a new slave plantation, dependent on the masters. With all of the fruits just like before. . . With the distance. And the consequence. The ensuing anger, the violence…the discontent. Or the choice which comes with authentic generous sharing. When people gave, out of what others did not have, with a true caring. A never ending caring, which was seldom recognized when any people were enslaved. So the reconstruction of all of the shelter, in the New World, which always has been based upon a social order of the soul.

And so the spiritual architects, finding out about the truth in the collective memory of slavery, in the architectural systems being re-created. In the new discoveries of 2010, in the reconstruction of Haiti.



“Michael. Row the boat ashore.”

My youngest niece is 4 years old. Within the past few days she came across 2 blue robin’s eggs in the backyard. Left unattended. On the ground. On territory belonging to her living ancestors, four generations older.

My 4-year old niece wanted to know, with her own developing sense of belonging, to whom those 2 blue eggs in the backyard belonged.

Her father expressed concern on the previous Sunday about the east coast of the United States, and the damage done by that off-shore oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon. In the area that his family lives, and where he grew up. A state that he left attended to by his mother and 3 sisters. And their families. On the east coast.

Coastlines. The suspicions of the inhabitants, with their sense of belonging. Of nomads, always in search of place. Crossing borders. With reckless abandon. Addressing those relationships. Of belonging. With new beginnings. Or at life’s end.

“Michael. Row the boat ashore.” The mystery of off-shore drilling, nearly one mile deep. Or of robin’s eggs.

Life was not fair. On shore. Just when they had the least income, old people had to go to the doctor the most. In Ireland, Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney was trying to sell to sell its state-owned health insurance company, VHI. But first she had to deal with issues of capital reserves. To attract new investors.

According to new data published today by the Central Statistics Office, women in Ireland had an average of 2.05 children in 2007, one-third of which were births outside of marriage in 2007. (The percentage of births outside of marriage was higher in my own country in 2007.) The estimated April 2007 population was 4,339,000, with 2,171,100 males and 2,167,900 females. This was the highest fertility rate in the European Union in 2007. The fertility rate in France was 1.98, while 1.92 in Britain.

Life was not fair. Over the draft and a government’s ability to send young men to their death. In war. As government attempted to increase its own power, on the back of the vulnerable young men. And about those robin’s eggs. Life was not fair. On the birth issues. As government attempted to increase its own power, on the back of the vulnerable young women, so the issue of fertility. An Irish woman born in the 1980s, Ann Enright wrote: “The wars we fought about contraception, abortion, divorce were not about virtue–or only incidentally so–it was about breeding. It was about maintaining stock. The nation faced a demographic shift towards the young. We could not believe that the nation had to overproduce just to keep still. ”

Maintaining stock. The Irish government is planning to sell its state-owned health insurance company, VHI. While the European Commission had initially set a date of September 1, 2009 to implement an adequate regulatory regime to oversee the state-owned health insurance company, Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney has set a new date to accrue the required capital reserves by of January 1, 2012. As previous deadlines have been missed, this is at least the fourth deadline set by the government. The Irish government faces court action by the European Commission for failing to implement an adequate regulatory commission to oversee the VHI that could require an investment of up to € 200 million. It was as if the SEC quit overseeing Wall Street.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said: “The scheme will be significant in scale and scope, reflecting the real additional cost of health care for older or sicker customers. While we prepare the legislation and engage in appropriate consultations, we will ensure that there is significant support of costs of claims for older people though the tax system.” According to the Irish Times, having expanded beyond the health insurance market, the state-owned health insurance company has benefited from having to meet solvency levels, with exemption to set aside reserves for a minimum guarantee fund, as established by two directives of the EU non-life insurance, from the general insurance supervisory commission.

Maintaining stock. The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, stated: “We are protecting older and sicker people from being loaded with premium increases or more expensive policies solely because of their age and medical history. There are very complex challenges involved in our health insurance market. It is important to deal with all the complexity on the basis of a clear objective and a determination to achieve it.”

Those robin’s eggs. And unconditional fertility. Or infertility. Affecting movement in the story. Affecting coastlines. In the lives of a woman, young and old. And in the lives of nomads. With all the human desire for stability. So were your relationships stable? Maintaining stock when you, with your hunger and desire to connect to someone, had the inner desire to belong. And to maintain. When life was not fair. And death was not fair.

What would happen to the boat when the proportion of elderly to the young, in the way of rowers, was out of balance –when the elderly were not required to row, and the boat quit moving? When a nation had to overproduce, to maintain.

The unattended robin’s eggs. The off-shore drilling. The damage done. With her own sense of belonging to a tribe…on territory belonging to someone, with a desire to connect and sharing the inner desire to belong, my 4-years old niece wanted to know, with this developing sense of belonging, to whom those 2 blue eggs in the backyard belonged.

The mystery about fertility. And stability in relationships. Until you were related to the entire world. And all of its problems.

Maintaining stock. The challenge of maintaining stock, with the past to pass on. The relationship of a woman with her body. Or a robin to the fertility issue. Affecting the collective world. Just another relationship affecting a woman. At the age of four. Addressing those relationships. With new beginnings. Or at life’s end.

Rummaging for God. But having to deal with issues of capital reserves. To attract new investors. In the birth and death issues.

I spent last weekend with about 20 high school classmates. On Saturday I had breakfast with three classmates, two of whom were patients dealing with leukemia. The news about the leukemia of one friend I had forgotten. The other was a doctor who, after dealing with life and death issue each day in his practice, had come face to face with own mortality two years ago. More than 4 out of 5 patients with his diagnosis were dead in 24 months. Instead he was having to deal with issues of capital reserves and medical bills over the past 24 months in excess of $2 million. He has been intimately involved each day with the birth and death issues of women on the east coast. Perhaps overcome as much with other people’s suffering after twenty-five years, this one-time close friendship –that distance more than time had eroded the relationship — seemed at first to have changed. I wondered if he had lost his sense of humor. I never saw him laugh that first day during the weekend, until telling stories about his kids. And it was too often true that nothing was ever funny in the world, except for our kids.

Rummaging for God. On issues of birth and death. And fertility. But having to deal with issues of capital reserves. To attract new investors. In the death as well as the birth issues. Yeah, a nation mostly had to overproduce.

The Irish government was expected to announce a new risk equalization scheme to operate in the health insurance market. In advance of the sale the Irish government announced “substantial” capital will be injected into the company’s reserves to meet the requirements of the European Union to continue operations.

“Michael. Row the boat ashore.” New risk equalization schemes. Ministers for Health and Children. Coastlines. “Michael. Row the boat ashore.” With all the concern over coastlines. And maintaining stock. Amidst risk equalization schemes.