14-Year Old Daughter was Confirmed by the Catholic Church. For the uninitiated, Confirmation is a spiritual rite-of-passage. A sacrament. It’s kind of like a Bat Mitzvah, I think. Actually, I’m not quite sure what a Bat Mitzvah is.

At Confirmation, you receive seven gifts from the Holy Spirit:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Fortitude

(So far, so good.)

  1. Understanding
  2. Piety
  3. Counsel

(Not bad. Keep going.)

  1. Wisdom
  2. Fear of the Lord

HOLD IT. Back up one. What do they mean Fear of the Lord? Does He really want us cowering in fear? Wouldn’t ‘Love of the Lord’ be psychologically healthier? It sounds like yet another Catholic beat-down to me. They should change that last one to ‘Fear of the Church.’ That’d be more accurate.


Not-so-fun Fact: In the Pledge of Allegiance, the phrase, “under God,” was tacked on in 1954 as a response to the Communist scare. Idiots.

*      *     *     *     *

Manhattan skyscrapers are loaded to the teeth with over-sized lobby art. There are some nice pieces by Roy Lichtenstein and Frank Stella. The murals in Rockefeller Center are spectacular. But there’s one piece that isn’t about aesthetics. Can you guess what this is?


I’m not claiming it’s visually appealing. It isn’t. It’s visually appalling. I pretty much hate all forms of graffiti. But this is important.

These are five sections of the Berlin Wall. Remember that one, old timers? I don’t know who trucked these things all the way to NYC—they must weigh tons—but I like them. I remember when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 there were people down on Wall Street selling what they claimed were pieces of the wall. This side faced West Berlin.


The East Berlin side tells you everything you need to know about what it must have been like to live there.


Fun fact: The femme fatal in the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, was Vesper Lynd. That was Ian Fleming’s playful take on West Berlin.



January 2, 1992

For Christmas, Colleen gave me a book about people throughout history who’ve kept journals. I don’t know what made me think doing this was so special. You walk around thinking you’re one in a million but the truth is you’re a dime a dozen.

Kat and I exchanged gifts. She put a catalog of worldwide timeshare properties in my lap and said, “Pick one and I’ll send you.” I got her bamboo windchimes.

I felt terrible and tried to tell her I couldn’t possibly accept. I told her it was an unwarranted, undeserved and overly-extravagant gift. I phoned Marshall and he called me a fucking idiot and said to pick the place the furthest away. Preferably on the other side of the planet.

Oh, she also handed me a beautiful, professionally wrapped box and inside was a great Ralph Lauren tie and an evergreen cotton/linen pullover sweater. She said she really likes her windchimes and can’t wait to hang them. I got the 8:00 train back to the city.

There’s a terrible exhibit at the Whitney right now. A lot of cold, soulless, hyper-modern garbage, if you ask me. This was the only piece that had some humor. These are Gary Simmons’ gold-plated basketball shoes.


Yes, real gold. Of COURSE it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know if it’s supposed to. It’s playful.


I think those markings running up the wall are the measurements from a Branncok Device. Someone had to point that out to me. I’m not that clever.


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102 thoughts on “Potpourri!

  1. Our fifth grader just went off to end-of-year school camp yesterday, another kind of rite of passage. It made me think, why are these rites about going off — becoming more independent, I suppose? It makes sense; I don’t understand the Confirmation rite though. To the cynical, it may signal the beginning of acceptance into tribes or workgroups you didn’t ask to be a part of, that make you feel special by leaving behind other parts of yourself. Or maybe I should just shut up, say it. I can’t get past my blog draft this morning and I’m in my robe, feeling like a slacker, like Jeff Bridges in that Coen movie. Mix me a White Russian, comrade.

    • Rites of passage are as old as they pyramids. Must be something in our biology that drives us to make them. I, too, have ambiguous feelings about Confirmation. While I think it’s important to be part of a community, I questions some of the lines you have to toe in order to belong to this one. I’ll let her set her own agenda when she’s older but, for now, I think it’s more good than bad. She seems to enjoy it well enough. And you don’t have to tell me about being slack. I can barely gather up the gumption to read, comment and write. It’s an ongoing dry spell. Hold steadfast.

  2. Hm, I thought the markings behind the gold-plated shoes were like line-up markings in a police case – how tall were the individuals that wore those shoes? Don’t know because they’re invisible.

  3. I have a piece of the Berlin Wall…unfortunately the grey Eastern side. I was thinking about the wall coming down recently and how we should never give up on the hope of social change. xx Rowena

    • Hey, are you new? I had to approve this. Well, welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read and chat. It is much appreciated and it never gets old. If Donald Trump is elected we’ll be experiencing social change in reverse. The walls will go UP instead of down. [shudder]

      • I’ve heard there’s going to be a mass exodus into Canada if he’s elected.
        I was reading your blog more regularly about a year ago. I’m in Australia if that rings any bells.

      • I do remember you! (Actually, it came to me after I posted my comment.) You have a distinctive name.

        You can laugh about moving to Canada but the fact is the Canadian Immigration Office has been flooded with queries from the U.S. Canada should build a wall.

  4. I actually like that mural – if only for it’s historical significance. Hopefully I’ll get to see it next time I’m in the city. As for confirmation – I was born into a Catholic family that left the church soon after my baptism, so I know little of the inner workings of the faith. My husband is Jewish and so I’ve been to my fair share of bat and bar mitzvahs. While they are long and boring and the after parties sometimes ridiculously extravagant, the underlying message I’ve taken away is that these children are now full members of their community and take responsibility for their role in it. Religion of course plays a role, but it seems more about responsibility and integrity and love for community.I really like that notion, over and above “fear of God.” (I still call myself a Christian, and I do not believe our God is one to be “feared,” but rather – revered and loved and respected.)

    • Next time you’re in town, that wall is in the lobby of a building on Madison and 53rd. Worth a look of you’re in the neighborhood. When it was first displayed, it was in an outside courtyard. They renovated the courtyard and move it inside. I thought looked much outside than in the lobby. I’ve read stories about the ostentatious show of wealth at Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. I think Aerosmith played one once. That’s more about the dad showing off than the poor kid, who takes a back seat to his/her own ceremony! My mom had a healthy relationship with the church. Took the good aspects and never proselytized.

  5. At one point in time (don’t know if it’s still there or if it was a temporary exhibit), there was a section of the Berlin Wall in Washington, DC. My mom took my younger brother and I to see it. I was barely a year old when the wall fell, and my brother hadn’t even been born yet. I remember it being a moving experience for her, seeing that piece of rock. My brother and I were totally oblivious. We didn’t understand how a city could have a wall in the middle or what that meant. I don’t like graffiti as a general rule but I think it’s pretty apropos here.

    • Barely a year old! There you go bragging on your youth! If you’ll excuse me, I have to go lock myself into a stall in the men’s room and have a little weep. Who throught of brining these things over here? Seems an incredible feat. Maybe I’m making too much out of it.

      • Hah! Yesterday was the six-year anniversary of my college graduation; several friends and I were texting back and forth about how we feel so old and want to go back to college to remember what it’s like to be young and irresponsible.

        I’m glad someone had the foresight and self-awareness to save them. I think if I’d been there, I would have wanted the wall hacked to smithereens, historical preservation be damned.

      • God, what I wouldn’t give to be six years out of college with all that youth and life stretched out before me. Life truly is a matter of perspective and it’s equally true that youth is wasted on the young. No offense.

  6. Confirmation! I haven’t thought about that particular ritual in ages, but now it has all come back crystal fucking clear to me! I took my Mother’s first and middle names (along with a long lecture from a nun whose name I’ve forgotten about the “inappropriateness” of doing that) and at my grandmother’s insistence, my aunt was my sponsor. What a joke that all turned out to be, I’m no longer Catholic and she no longer speaks to me. *shrug* I wonder if there’s a connection?

    Sadly, I think you’re correct about what the future COULD hold for us regarding walls. Hell, I just hope everyone with my last name are in the country should that happen. xoxoxo

  7. I haven’t thought about confirmation in forever, especially the Fear of the Lord part. Confirmation was practically a class at Catholic school. I still have the Bible my parents gave me. I think many still see it as a rite of passage. My husband and I weren’t consistent churchgoers but he was insistent they be confirmed. He is a Methodist so we settled on going to church there. The former Catholic in me thought the Methodist confirmation process was a bit too casual. I was relieved when the whole process was done.
    I picked a random name for my confirmation name.
    I like the pieces of the Berlin Wall you’ve posted. I follow a blog by an American living in Germany who occasionally posts about German street art. Sometimes seeing graffiti, etc. through someone else’s eyes gives you an new perspective.

    • I hadn’t either until my daughter turned 14! My confirm name was Richard. That’s the last I’ve seen of that. I think it’s good to get the kids come church in their lives and let them sort it out later. You just have to spend some time un-doing some of the more unsavory aspects, which I don’t mind very much. As far as graffiti, when I first moved to NYC, the city was a mess of it. The subways looked awful. Most of it wasn’t the highly-styled pieces you see in museums. Most of it was ugly garbage.
      My journal friend was one of the wealthiest people I’ve ever known. Very, very nice woman. Very generous. We still occasionally talk and I’m happy to have her in my life.

  8. Cool cat at the end Mark. I really like the idea of the Berlin wall sections on display – thought provoking. Your journal friend had a few nickels to rub together -whew. Did you take her gift of the time share? It would also make me uncomfortable to accept such a rich gift – but I’d give it a lot of thought and might have taken it.

    The fear of the lord thingy is something I’ve pondered over the years. It was obviously used as a tool by religion to manipulate the believers – do our bidding or else. That aside, it has a much more complex meaning as well. If we accept that God made the universe and before that there was nothing – no space,no time, etc.- then it is obvious that He made the universe, including us, out of Himself. Which makes sense – He disassociated Himself into pieces so we could have choice and through that choice create ourselves by integrating – i.e. love (“desire to be one with”), integrity, collaboration, value, etc. Which means that this whole universe and all in it is literally made out of God. And it can be a fearsome place. God gives us the tools we need – intelligence,skills, food, material etc- in our environment,to survive but it is not simple. If we do not fear God, then we will perish. That sounds trite, but take the flooding of New Orleans as an example. We knew that category 5 hurricanes existed – that they are a part of God’s world – and that New Orleans stood in an area where sooner or later one would hit – just basically a statistical certainty. And yet we chose to NOT build dykes high enough or strong enough to protect the people of New Orleans. And sure enough, a category 5 hit and flooded and destroyed most of the city. We were lacking fear of God’s creation – and we paid for it.

    Fear is basically the acknowledgement that what we face can seriously harm or destroy us. And as much as God loves us, we live in a world He created that has many dangerous things in it. That said, on another plane.we should also fear God if we are abusing others or failing to acknowledge with our acts that we are all a part of a higher power. I truly believe there will come a judgement day and that our existence goes well beyond this physical plane. Given that then I fear that I will disrespect that higher power and in so doing create serious pain for myself in the next life.

    So,you see it is not God’s love for us that we should fear (that is unconditional and eternal), it is when we stray outside that love or lack respect for the supreme being that we should begin to fear. Think about a person who climbs mountains. If they lack respect and fear of the mountain,they will eventually die a very nasty death. And yet by climbing carefully and using the right techniques and equipment and knowledge, a climber is safe from all but the most unforeseen occurrences. Which is to say, they can still get hit in the head by a rock as much as we can get run over by a bus, but it is unlikely.

    • Thanks for the excellent though-piece on God and a higher power. I just with the church’s messages were more positive than they are. They’re always reminding me that I’m a sinner and not worthy of God’s love. It’s tedious. I don’t think they’ll be a judgment day in the biblical sense. I don’t think it’ll be fire and brimstone and the great wrath you read about in the bible. More like the earth will peter out because of a spent environment. But nothing spiritual. People speculate and think their faith is truth but it’s just not so.

      • Yeah for sure the fire and brimstone is a human construct to scare the people into obedience. And I do not like or attend church – religion is not for me. But I can’t help looking at the level of organization and efficiency of the universe without seeing intelligent design. And where there is intelligent design there is intelligence. And I have had many personal experiences that I could not explain unless there was a supreme being. It is a short step from supreme being to life after death and some kind of a threshold that sorts. Perhaps it will be like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter – Ha! I don’t know but you will not find me buying into religion’s threats of immortal peril.

      • Organized religion is not for me, either. And it never really was. The funny thing is that I attended a parochial school and went to church and and received all the sacraments. I had plenty of exposure but it never really took. I’d like to think I have spiritual streak though. I’m not a full-blown atheist. Yet.

    • This is why I must ask, Paul – when are you going to give us another post? Have I missed one? It’s hard to keep track of you, sir, but I’m anxious to keep trying.

  9. I love your Potpourri posts, Mark. Confirmation is the one thing I didn’t do. It was my decision and most of it was brought about because my parents were getting a divorce. I see I made the right decision. Fear of the Lord…that’s so typical Catholic. Growing up, I was counseled I was going to hell. This can’t be healthy. What an endeavor to move all the Berlin Wall pieces, but so worth it. I had no idea that the shoe measuring device had a name! I learn something new everyday. Whatever happened to Colleen? That was a nice gift. Maybe she wanted to go to the timeshare with you. Who is Tiger? Is the kitty yours? Did you get a cat??!!!

  10. I grew up Lutheran so my confirmation was a little different, but not much. I remember an older woman asking me if I felt different. I told her yes because I knew that’s what she wanted to hear, but I remember wondering if missed a step somewhere. Was I supposed to feel different? Mostly I was just glad to be done with the two years of catechism.
    The pictures of the wall are amazing — I’ve never seen the differences between the East and West sides. It speaks volumes!

    • I once thought of converting to Lutheran. It didn’t seem so crazy to me. But then I bailed out on theology altogether and that was that. I didn’t feel any different when I was confirmed, either. I, too, was just glad the catechism classes were over. Seeing my daughter confirmed was like a giant flashback. West Berlin = color. East Berlin = dreary.

  11. Wow, I’ll have to check out the Berlin Wall murals the next time I’m in New York. They’re near Rockefeller Center? Not sure how I missed them before. I was probably too busy watching out for the Naked Cowboy and the Naked Grandma. Oh, and those Sexy Babies.

    • Hi, Carrie. Nice to see you. The Berlin Wall is near Rockafeller Ctr but definitely off the beaten path. I don’t think they’re that popular an item although I think they’re kind of cool. I’ve never seen many out-of-towners look them over.

      All those naked babes are gone. I wonder if they’ll be back when it gets warm? I’m OH bound in July.

  12. Since I grew up in in bilingual household speaking two languages badly (French & English) I also got two religions – badly. Half Anglican, half Catholic. I gave it all up. No fearing of god over here.

    I have a chunk of the Berlin Wall. My cousin-in-law crawled up there hammered it off for me. Given how drunk we were, it’s a wonder no one broke a leg or lost an eye.

    Great potpourri! 🙂

    • Badly or not, I would think that being exposed to two languages and two theologies would be to your great advantage. Am I mistaken about that?

      How big a chunk? Like, a paperweight or more like a loaf of bread? I wonder where that stupid thing is today. Maybe Trump can buy it off the Germans.

      • I eventually sorted out the language thing and incorporated them into my brain. And yes, it has been an advantage. Growing up, it didn’t feel like one, though. The religious exposure was different matter. My parents pretended that it wasn’t an issue but it really was. I finally decided not to have any kind association with any of it. From an educational standpoint, though, bi-culturalism gave me a great deal of breadth. It just wasn’t easy. Most things that are worth anything usually aren’t.

        My Berlin Wall chunk is bigger than a paperweight. It’s about two kilos or 4.4 pounds and it comes from the western side of the wall – it carries lots of paint. A large section of the wall has been preserved in its original position as a memorial, but the majority of it wound up in people’s pockets, so it doesn’t really exist any more.

        And Trump? Maybe you could wall him inside his house??

  13. Yep fear of God is the pits. Maybe fear the devil but not God. Anyhow, I like the variety in this post. A bit of info about several things is good.. Such a waste of gold on those damn basketball shoes. Oh well different strokes for different folks. The best of this post? Tiger the cat. 🙂

    • Right?! God is love. Imagine that. The Catlick Church is selling the wrong message. Again.

      I agree that Tiger is the best thing up there. Pictures beats words like paper beats rock. Or scissors beats paper. Or rock beats scissors.

  14. I am not a fan of western religion but i was raised cat-lick. My confirmation name was Paul, if i could do it again it’d choose Ringo (Paul was actually my maternal grandfather’s name), my mom who bolted the cat-lick church cuz they wouldn’t sign off on her divorce is now a bible-toting born again nutjob, i always tell her i’m not down with a belief system predicated on fear, i laugh and tell her to choose love, that said we can agree to disagree about religion, i respect people’s right to believe what they choose as long as they respect my right to be a heathen, i tell the boyos it’s up to them if they want to choose one, i’ll help them but ultimately it should not be forced and should be chosen if they want to practice one…

    and you had some swell friends back in the day, i never got a x-mas present from anyone aside from the odd six pack or tab of acid or x-mas fuck (my personal favorite). My how things change.

    • And how can crazy cat dude not comment on the fine feline? looks part Tabby? Tabby’s are fucking brilliant, smart animals, much smarter than their humans most of the time, my new cat has a crooked tail that delights me to no end, she’s chosen me as her human which makes me very happy.

    • My confirm name was Richard. As I mentioned above, my sponsor was a cousin I looked up to but he grew into a big coke head so he couldn’t guide me through the tricky waters of my spiritual awakening. Who was your sponsor? Paul seems a laugh. So docile a name. Sorry to hear about the moms that’s a demotion in my book. I had a friend whose mom was all filled with the spirit and whatnot and she gave all her money to some slick-haired preacher out of Akron. Sad. People who are filled with the spirit are NEVER going to respect your right to be a heather. You have to toe the line to their exacting specifications.

      I never went on that trip. The friendship kind of petered out. Isn’t that a great shot of the cat? Look at how the light is hitting him. Nice.

  15. You’ve got to fear the Lord and love him at the same time. It’s a sadomasochistic thing – the late C Hitchens compared it with Kim Jong Il and his people. Those gold shoes look amazing! – are you allowed to touch them? I’m starting to understand what King Midas felt.

    • Hitchens didn’t even believe there was a God! A devout atheist straight through to the end. There’s something admirable about being ravaged with cancer and still not admitting to a higher power. It’s funny you should mention touching the shoes. I actually wanted to pick one up because gold is a heavy metal, but there was a security guard on post at all times and he wasn’t bored enough to let his attention wander. I never got a chance.

  16. I’m going to do a pot-pourri post I think coming up as I have a few bits, but nothing that’s enough for a whole post.

    I never quite get where you stand on religion – I’m not asking you to tell me, I’m just saying! Like you express cynicism but then you still get your daughter confirmed. Oh dear, this sounds like I’m being terribly judgmental, I don’t mean to sound like that at all! I won’t delete it though, because hopefully you understand what I mean and don’t feel judged!

    I hate that when someone gives you a better present than you gave them! Or worse, they give you something and you’ve got them nothing at all! Around Christmas time I tend to keep a couple of bottles of wine in gift bags, and wrapped boxes of chocolates in the car so that if that happens, I can say “Ooh, I’ve left yours in the car, hang on!”

    • Potpourri is a great way to empty out that draft folder. We all have bits that won’t amount to a whole. Is it ‘pot-pourri’ in thee UK? With the dash? Or is that you bit of panache?

      This is the best comment I’ve receive in a long while. Of course I understand where you’re coming from! I like being challenged and questioned. It makes for the best conversations. I am a host of gray areas and contradictions. Most people are. While I am aghast at a lot of what the church teaches, I think there’s a fundamental good intention. On a local level, my daughters enjoy the community. I think being affiliated with a church when you’re young is not a bad thing. When they’re older, they can reassess and decide where they want to go. My mother was close to the church. It was a positive thing in her life. When my dad and step-dad left, she found comfort in a church pew. Her relationship was a healthy one. She didn’t judge people or damn them if their beliefs contradicted with her. She was more Buddhist than she realized. So in the spirit of the goodness it afforded her, I send my kids. It’s just that I have to un-do some of the things they preach.

      I hate when the gifts are disproportionate, too. ESPECIALLY when one gift is a trip to the Canary Islands and the return gift is a set of stupid windchimes.

      • They used to put gold on teeth, of all dumb things. What a waste! It’s much better to see it on a shoe, don’t you think? Even nicer on gold-flake letters. Not sure that’s a cinematic reference although it’s not hard to imagine a line-up of very fashionable criminals.

  17. I fear the Lord, but possibly I fear Communists more. Just kidding, I love a good God, especially of the left-leaning persuasion. So weird, I remember the wall coming down, and I basically shrugged it off and had to wait another 10 years to truly understand the significance of that. Now I feel like I missed something very important, which in fact I did.

    Dude – what is with the cat?

    • I remember watching the wall fall and realizing it was a pretty big deal. Never thought I’d actually see it in the lobby of a Manhattan office tower. I didn’t see that one coming.

      You should click on the cat pic, blow it up and see the look on his face. Total savage. Ready to pounce.

      • I just did… this reaffirms my dislike of cats (and dogs). I have nothing against them, but they can occasionally be creepy. Cats moreso than dogs, it seems, but neither are allowed in my house.

        Now I guess we got to deal with some borders in the Middle East and maybe the demilitarized zone in Korea…

  18. Religion is an utter pile of shite, as the post above about justifying the deaths of hundreds of people in the New Orleans flood shows, and the Catholic Church is the largest organised child sex ring in the world. I’m amazed that otherwise intelligent people such as yourself still continue to introduce children into it.

    • I agree with you but there are a lot of pieces in the puzzle. My house is run like a democracy, not a dictatorship or a monarchy, so I try to be as accommodating as possible. It maintains the peace. I’ll have a talk with the girls when they’re a bit older. I suspect they already suspect some of the stranger ideas.

      • Sounds like they’ll probably grow out of it themselves and if everyone took my hardline attitude that would be the perfect recipe for throwing children into the arms of religion. I still think it is utterly wrong though and I’m relieved none of my three show any signs of believing rubbish which is not true, and which hates their sex as females.

        But hey-ho, I don’t live in your house 🙂

      • While i’m in complete agreement with looby i don’t begrudge the pious as long as they don’t attempt to force their brand of piety on me, as a kid i was force fed Catholicism, and since i’m a heathen i never bought it, i tell the boyos they are free to worship (or not) anything they want, they can look into it and see if something suits their needs and wants, or they can believe in nothing, to create their own system of beliefs and rules to live by in order not to be an asshole, that’s the one rule we have here at me olde house, don’t be an asshole…

  19. I was Confirmed, still have the certificate. They did it in the evening on a weekday inside the church. It was kind of inconvenient for your sponsor and other people you invited to attend. It’s at that time of becoming a teenager and you are questioning everything about life unless you are a robot.
    I like how you described terrible Art. Someone needs to call it out using Art language.
    My brother-in-law makes wind chimes from colorful aluminum beer bottles. Museum quality, ready for exhibit.
    Imelda Marcos would be proud of the golden shoe exhibit.
    Regarding the Berlin Wall, how do all the Commie lovers justify the standing order to shoot dead anyone trying to climb the Wall? Glad to see this wall come down.
    Thanks again for showing stuff that I didn’t know was out there.

    • You got a certificate!? I don’t remember getting a certificate. Maybe I did. The same scheduling inconvenience happened to us. A Monday afternoon, of all things! I had to burn a vacation day and all those kids had to be pulled out of school. Jerks.

      I’ve got a art auction report coming up in a week or so. You just WAIT until you see some of the crap being sold this spring. Some nice stuff, too, but it’s more fun to sling mud. Always has been. Always will be.

  20. You can get away with anything if you use gold, trust me I know HERE.
    I like that Gary Simmons’ piece – isn’t it referencing The Usual Suspects or something?

    • Gold leafing is beautiful. Have you ever done it on glass? I have a friend who does that for a living. A real craftsman. Actually, craftswoman. She’s a girl.

      The Simmons piece does look like a gold-plated lineup but I don’t recognize the harsh marks as a traditional height measurement. Not sure what his point is overall but it’s kind of fun. I showed a few people at work and I’m surprised at how mad it made them.

      • What made your colleagues mad Mark? Oh, and I think the scale is inches on the right and feet on the left (which makes sense as basketball players are typically tall, sometimes over 7 feet but almost never higher than 8 feet).

      • They were mad that a piece they consider frivolous would get such high-profile treatment. Being on display at the Whitney is a pretty big deal. Plus, they thought it was a waste of gold. Art is so subjective. Lighten up, I say!

      • I agree with you Mark – art is not an endeavor that can be judged by cost. A brilliant art piece may be made from scraps from dumpsters or made of millions of dollars – whatever the artist can come up with. That does not affect it’s value as a piece of art and it is no one’s right to say a what is art and what is not.

      • I think they are European shoe measurements instead of height. I’m not sure of US shoe measurements?
        Gilding on glass – is that water gilding? That’s in a good couple of leagues above me!!

  21. Because you jump all over the place (I’m not complaining; I love it) I have 5 different trains of thought going at once, in response to your post.
    1. How do I not know more about Colleen, and is she still around and possibly bi-curious and single?
    2. I love the Berlin wall art.
    3. I don’t find the gold kicks whimsical. I find them – I don’t know. Annoying? Sort of a testament to how we reward the wrong things in society. Pay teachers dirt, and pay athletes zillions of dollars.
    4. A bar or bat mitzah is a rite of passage for a 13 year old Jewish kid. It’s allegedly a celebration of several years of study. For many people, it’s an excuse to throw a fancy party.
    5. I don’t like cats, and yours is particularly scary.

    • I like the jumping around. Keep you on your toes. Or not.

      That trip I wrote about never happened. I had a place all picked out. The Canary Islands. Then it fell apart. I forgot the specific reason why. I’m hoping my journals will eventually reveal it. Thank you for the bat mitzvah explanation. I was hoping someone would drop some knowledge on my empty head.

  22. I’m CofE – as we say here “Church of England” – I once heard a lady with a teenager in a waiting room (dentist I think) filling in a form he said to her “What religion am I?” She said “Put CofE down. That’s what everyone who can’t be bothered says”.

    I was baptised CofE but never confirmed – I attended confirmation classes but never did the deed as I found so many hurdles for me to accept/jump over… like others in my confirmation classes who were clearly racist still being allowed to continue. The vicar leading it said to me “The Church welcomes all.” So why the study? Why the attempts to interpret the bible stories? Too much hypocrisy so I walked away from it.

    • The ‘welcomes all’ is a familiar refrain here, too. Especially in the Catholic Church. But it isn’t true. If you don’t toe the line, if you’re gay, even if you’re something as simple and common as divorced, the Church isn’t interested in you. In that case, you’re to be pitied and forgiven. I don’t know what my daughters will do with religion when they’re older but I suspect the fact that I never go may play into their decision. My mother and wife both have healthy relationships with the church so who knows what they’ll do?

  23. All very cool. Especially the backside of the Berlin Wall. Apparently, people can adapt to almost anything, and not only survive, but thrive…and then, win.

  24. “The fear of God is an attitude of respect, a response of reverence and wonder. It is the only appropriate response to our Creator and Redeemer” (Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible, 1997, note on Psalm 128:1).
    This is what I have always understood.

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