Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wow.

Has my life changed since I last posted!

Health collapse. Business collapse. Personal and professional collapse. It's been challenging, to say the least.
But I'm recovering. I'm still here, still breathing and still believing. Love my family, love my God, love this beautiful Earth.

Would like to connect and reflect with others here on Alcinous' Banquet, so I'm going to begin posting again.

If you'd like to join me, I'd love to.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Mass365: Redux

Fr. Timothy Davison celebrates Mass
January 4, 2013 with Craig Boyne and his son
serving. Father, father and son serving Christ.
January 7, 2013 - Feast of St. Raymond Pennafort

OK, so I'm back, swinging for the fences.

After a multi-year hiatus from the original attempt, I'm resurrecting my Mass365 Project. In short, it's daily Mass, eventually at each one of the many parishes or places where Mass is celebrated within the Diocese of Tulsa.

Along the way, I'm planning to include pictures and commentary about each of the parish churches, along with interviews or two with parish priests and others who make these holy sites work for God's greater glory (AMDG).

We recently left our parish home of many years at the Latin Mass Parish of St. Peter and moved to the Parish of Sts. Peter and Paul, where we attend the Latin Mass in that diocesan parish. Words cannot describe how grateful and happy we are to join Fr. Timothy Davison's parish.

In addition to the 1 p.m. High Latin Mass, Sts. Peter and Paul also offers an English Novus Ordo Mass on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. (one of the few N.O. Masses celebrated ad orientem) and a Spanish language Mass at 5 pm as well. The congregation is mixed between Anglos and Hispanics, with Fr. Davison serving as a bridge between all three somewhat distinct congregations.

The parish move followed (or perhaps slightly preceded) the demise of the Parish of St. Peter with the withdrawal of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP in French). Many hard feelings, many hurt people were left behind.

On a happier note, however, Fr. Davison opened his Christ-like arms wide and welcomed the Latin Mass refugees into his similarly-named parish -- also on Tulsa's north side. In charity and justice, I must add thanks to Fr. Angelo Van der Putten, FSSP who helped Fr. Davison learn the Tridentine Rite and was therefore crucial to our refuge at Sts. Peter & Paul. Thanks also to His Excellency Bp. Edward Slattery who has long supported the Latin Mass community in Tulsa. Without our good and holy bishop, it would never have happened.

Anyway, I look forward to the journey this year and I hope many will join me -- if not in person (which you're more than welcome and invited to do) then at least by following this blog series.

AMDG

Ben Callicoat
Tulsa, OK




Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Hermeneutic of Discontinuity: Life as a Traditional Catholic in a Post-Christian World

Having survived -- so far as I can tell -- The Rapture this weekend, I'm struck by a couple of things I experienced.

The first was a discussion with an old friend who does not attend the Latin Mass, but who is increasingly dissatisfied with what passes for suburban post-modern Catholicism of the "I'm-OK-You're-OK-Anything-Goes--Except-Pre-Vatican-II-Catholicism" variety.

He's less than satisfied with the atrocious level of Catholic teaching at his parish, and pretty much most parishes he's visited. I happened to speak with his wife in a separate conversation, and she echoed the same sentiment about the lack of Catholics who seem to practice Catholicism. Specifically she was complaining about the lack of decency in dress at Sunday Mass -- halter tops and short-shorts and the like. When she wondered aloud whether there were any parishes where such things were not occurring, I responded "Well that doesn't happen in our [Latin Mass] parish." "But we're freaks, of course," I quickly added.

And then today on the way to Mass (across town to the ghetto where they keep us Traditional freaks -- for reasons unknown, it's pretty standard that the Latin Masses are relegated to the worst-possible areas of town all across America) we passed one of the local parishes, where I noticed several parishioners doing yard work around the parish sign, apparently oblivious of the 3rd Commandment's strictures against menial or servile physical labor on the Sabbath day. (Yes, I know they were undoubtedly well-intentioned, but couldn't someone have proposed doing this work on a Saturday instead?)

Everywhere you look, it seems that Catholicism is observed more in the breach than in actuality.

I really try to refrain from this sort of fuddy-duddy harumph-harumphing. Really I do. For one thing, there are seemingly no end of faults of my own to concentrate upon (Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.)

But it's getting more and more difficult to view Catholicism as it's preached and practiced in the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order of the Mass - the Ordinary Form) and as it's preached and practiced in the Traditionalist parishes and chapels around the country and pretend that the two versions are really one and the same Church.

In the one, you have a complete breakdown of traditional practices and devotions like Friday abstinence and the sacrament of Penance ("Confession"), and pathetically weak homilies about being nice. In the other, you have homilies about reality of Hell, and the need for sacrifice and penance from the laity, and reinforcement of the age-old Catholic teachings against contraception and divorce and the Commandments.

Don't know what to do about it, other than the old ever-necessary tools of prayer and penance. In today's homily my priest was railing about the need to be bold examples of the Church Militant in the world, rather than meekly observing the political-correctness which requires us to hide our Catholicism from the world.

I'll guess we should try both prayer-penance and militancy. Jesus does not require that we be successful, but He does require that we preach the Good News to all the world -- which would I suppose include the Catholics at the parish down the street, as well as the non-Catholics and the rest of the world.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Apple Customer Service Rocks!

I've been reading about the importance of customer service lately. Patricia Seybold makes the case in "The Customer Service Revolution" that we're currently undergoing a business revolution that is more profound and long-lasting than even the rise of ubiquitous internet access, and this is the rising influence of the customer on businesses. 

In these days of instant world-wide communication using Twitter and Facebook, one customer's bad experience suddenly becomes known by millions of people around the world. Last year United Airlines experienced the bite of bad customer service when its baggage handlers broke a passenger's $3000 Taylor guitar, and United arrogantly refused to replace. (Google "United Breaks Guitars" for the YouTube video record of United customer service nightmare.) Estimates of the cost of United's customer service FAIL are in the hundred's a millions of dollars. All over a $3000 guitar that their employees smashed.

Despite decades of corporate blowhards telling us how customer service is "job one", now it really is becoming true. I'm currently reading "Flip the Funnel" by e-marketing whizkid Joseph Jaffe (http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Funnel-Existing-Customers-Gain/dp/0470487852). In it, Jaffe makes the point that companies have been doing marketing "wrong" for years -- instead of sweeping in mass quantities of consumers by making them aware of your product, they ought to be using those who have actually used the product to market it for them to their friends, relatives and associates. 

Which brings me to Apple and my iPhone. I think Apple has been on to this marketing secret for years. Over the past several years, their market share has grown steadily from people who first bought an iPod, then moved on to bigger and more expensive products like the iPhone and now iPad. Apple's customers almost invariably become "Apple fanboys" or fanatically supportive of the company and its products.

I oughta know, since prior to the purchase of my first iPod I'd never owned anything made by Apple -- despite being an avid technology buff and a former IT professional. My first iPod Shuffle, led to my buying an Apple Mini, followed closely by an Apple MacBook and finally last Christmas, the iPhone 3GS. Within the space of just about 3 or 4 years, I've moved from someone who was completely indifferent to Apple's products, to a fanatic. I love the company and I love their products. 

Today, I dropped my beloved iPhone. (Really -- these things are the greatest inventions I've ever used. No kidding.) Although I didn't notice it right away, later I noticed that the touch screen was making an almost imperceptible click when I pressed it. A closer inspection revealed that the case had separated just slightly from the phone's bezel.

Stricken, I immediately called my local Apple Store and made an appointment to have them look at my phone -- within the hour. Upon arriving, the Apple Genius (that's what they call their support staff) looked at it and said, "I can try to put it back together, or I can replace it. Which would you prefer?" Honestly, I hadn't even considered that they might replace the thing. Having quickly realized that my phone was backed up only 3 hours earlier, I chose the "replacement" option. Literally 5 minutes later, I walked out of the Apple Store with a brand-spankin' new iPhone 32 GB 3GS phone. Cost: zero. Took it home, plugged it in to my MacBook and restored the entire phone -- apps, music, settings and all. No problem.

As a gadget nerd, I have to say that I've seen the HTC Droid Incredible phone (the latest in a long string of putative "iPhone-killers") and it's nice. Shiny, even. But customer service is the reason that these "iPhone-killers" will never succeed.

Apple, you definitely rock!

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Marriage Encounter Weekend: a Review

Back from OKC where Tracy and I spent the weekend at a Marriage Encounter weekend. It was a mixed bag, I think.

On the one hand I do think it is good to stop and focus on the the reason you got married to your spouse in the first place. ME does a really good job of helping couples reconnect and rekindle. And you know that can't be bad, to quote the Beatles.

Another salutary practice is the recommended daily practice of "Dialoging" -- where a married couple each write each other a "love letter" on a specific topic. I cannot help but think doing something like that would have a wonderful effect on a couple's intimacy and connectedness. In these days where marrieds barely find the time to say hello and goodbye each evening and morning, the effect of a daily exchange of love letters between them could not help to revolutionize any marriage.

But it wasn't all wine and roses, either. Or if it was, it was like ripple cut with sugar, and Bette Midler's sappy song, The Rose -- which they actually played at one point to set the mood or something. (Seriously -- they did that.)

Much too much time was spent on finding weird ways if describing your feelings, e.g., "When you bounced that check dear, I felt angry and my anger was the color of winter sunset in the Rust Belt after there's been a big layoff at the Caterpillar plant. It left a bitter taste like Brussel Sprouts that have been reheated in a microwave oven once too many times." Yeah, I kid you not. It was just like that for hour after droning hour.

I've written before about the feminization of the Roman Catholic Church, and here's another example. Worldwide Marriage Encounter fairly screams of the feminine worldview and the all important topic of one's feelings. A huge portion of the weekend was given over to how to discuss, analyze and describe precisely how something makes you feel. The materials have an entire appendix devoted to suggested similes and adjectives to be used to describe feelings.

I'm a Roman Catholic too, but one adhering to a different rite -- the Extraordinary form of the Latin rite, also known as the traditional Latin Mass. Our liturgy, our sacrments and our practices harken back to the way the Church was before the revolution imposed by the aftermath of Vatican II. The difference between the two liturgies is as far as the East from the West. One of the things that jumps out at you is the masculinity of the pre-Vatican II rite when compared to the way Mass is celebrated today at most parishes each Sunday. 

The new Mass is feminine in so many ways. Long gone are the controversies over whether girls should be allowed to serve as altar boys, and the typical Novus Ordo (trans. "new order") Mass is shot through with lay women serving in every possible role except that of the priest -- the alter Christus.  There are women cantors, women reading Scripture, and women assisting at the altar, and even women handing out the Body and Blood of Christ, Himself -- all of which was completely unknown and actually prohibited for the 1,935 year history of the Mass prior to Vatican II.

So too, the feminine touch is evident in nearly everything the Catholic Church does these days. From marriage prep to offices of the chancery -- if you removed women from the day to day management of the Church, virtually every chancery in America would be a ghost town of empty desks not to mention ringing telephones. Though Marriage Encounter is put on and run by married couples, the feminine touch of the program is unmistakable and for me, off putting. 

Ben Callicoat
(918) 409-2462

They're making a movie of your life story, here: http://www.catholicscomehome.org/epic/movie.phtml

Bonum, Verum, Pulcrum.

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter, 2010

The tomb is empty and Our Lord is Truly Risen!

We attended Easter Vigil last night at the Parish of St. Peter with Fr. Angelo Van der Putten, Fr. Eric Flood, and Deacon Rhone Lillard -- all FSSP. Wow. 

I feel so incredibly blessed and fortunate to have been led into the Traditional Catholic movement, where the Latin epigram "Bonum, Verum, Pulchrum" (The Good, the True and the Beautiful) have such significance and impact.

After a Parish rosary a little after 10 p.m., the Easter celebrations at our Traditional Latin Mass began with the New Fire ceremony outside the doors of St. Augustine Catholic Church in North Tulsa.

It begins with the congregation surrounding a wood fire outside the doors of the church, where the year's Paschal Candle is blessed and inscribed with the Alpha and Omega and the year, and then blessed grains of incense are inserted into the candle in cruciform. The Paschal Candle will be burned during the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the liturgical year. 

Once it is blessed, the candle is lit from the fire and the entire congregation processes into the darkened church, pausing three times -- once at the entrance, then in the middle, and finally at the sanctuary -- for the traditional sung chant "Lumen Christi!" (The Light of Christ!) and response from the congregation "Deo Gratias!" (Thanks be to God!)

Arriving at the sanctuary, the holy fire is passed to the acolytes who then pass the fire to the congregation's candles and the entire church fills with the warm glow of the holy light of Christ. 

From there the Easter Vigil begins and the next two hours are filled with the sounds of the Holy Prophecies -- readings beginning from Genesis and throughout the Old Testament, prophesying the Birth, Passion and Resurrection of Christ.

During the liturgy the lights of the church remain off and the only light is that of the Paschal candle and the candles held by the parishioners as they worship in reverence and attentiveness (excepting the little ones, who invariably fall fast asleep in the pews.)

The culmination is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the reception of Communion. But for some reason I particularly love the Litany of Saints -- which dates from approximately 590 A.D. The litany is done in call and response with a cantor intoning for example "Sancte Michael" and the congregation responding "Ora pro nobis".

Here's a link to a YouTube video containing the litany: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiM9uJIN64g

A blessed and wonderful Easter to all! Remember that Easter began today, but lasts for the next 40 days. Let us go forth and transform the world through the light of Jesus Christ, who loved us so much that he willingly endured the pains of torture and death to rescue us from Hell.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Year in Review: Smart phones - with apps - rule

Led by the iPhone and the BlackBerry family of devices, the smart phone market expanded beyond its roots as a corporate tool or early-adopter plaything.

A ChangeWave Research survey of consumers in September found that 39 percent owned a smart phone and 11 percent were planning to buy one in the next 90 days. Another study by the NPD Group found that smart phones represented 28 percent of all cell phone purchases in the second quarter, up from 12 percent at the end of 2007.

For many cell phone users now, the issue is not if they will upgrade to a smart phone but when.

"Smart phones were just a gee-whiz gadget a few years ago, but now you have a herding situation where people are asking each other, 'What kind of smart phone do you have?' " said J. Gerry Purdy, chief mobile analyst for research firm Frost & Sullivan.

This shift has touched off a frenzy among mobile software developers, hardware manufacturers and cellular carriers, all eager to cash in.

Computer manufacturers such as Dell and Acer joined the fray, releasing smart phones in 2009. U.S. market leader Research in Motion Ltd. cranked out even more BlackBerry devices, including its second touch-screen model, the Storm 2.

Established players made aggressive bids to turn around their businesses using flashy handsets sporting new operating systems. Palm released its webOS operating system with the Palm Pre in June. Motorola produced the Cliq and the Droid, which both run on Google's Android operating system.

Google on board

Android had one of the largest growth spurts this year, going from one device in 2008 to eight handsets available in the United States this year. A Google-branded device, the Nexus One, is reportedly set to hit the market in early January. Google's Matt Waddell, chief of staff for mobile and developer products, said Google developed Android because the smart phone has become a key access point for Web information.

But he said smart phones - with their array of sensors and tools like GPS, a compass, a camera and Internet connections - enable a new way of interacting with and searching your environment.

"The smart phone is the most personal of computers," Waddell said. "When you combine that with a rich set of sensors on the device, you can do things that you couldn't do on the phone before."

Cell phone operators also are on board with smart phones, expanding the number of devices they carry. Verizon Wireless joined T-Mobile and Sprint in supporting Android, which is fast becoming a contender in the smart phone race.

AT&T, which boasts the most smart phones of any carrier, said about 42 percent of its subscribers in the third quarter owned smart phones, up from 13 percent at the end of 2007 and 27 percent at the end of last year.

Terry Stenzel, AT&T vice president and general manager for Northern California/Reno, said users have embraced the ease of use and utility of smart phones. He credits Apple for leading users into the smart phone market and convincing them they have the power of a computer in their pocket.

"Apple took the fear away from the device, and when you take the fear away, people want to use it and they will use it," Stenzel said.

Stenzel said AT&T's network has experienced a 5,000 percent increase in data usage in the past two years. And as of the third quarter, 60 percent of connections to AT&T's Wi-Fi network are made via smart phones instead of laptops as they traditionally have been.

New hardware was only part of the equation for smart phones in 2009. A key factor was also the rise of mobile applications, made popular through Apple's App Store.

Though the App Store opened in July of last year, it was in 2009 when the store - and the whole notion of buying apps for phones - gained critical momentum, fueled by Apple's ubiquitous "There's an app for that" advertising campaign.

By mid-January, there were 15,000 apps with 500 million downloads recorded. In September, Apple posted its 2 billionth download, and by November, there were more than 100,000 apps in the store.

"The iPhone was a great device, but it was the store and the software development kit that really changed things," said Cassidy Lackey, vice president of mobile app developer Handmark. "Now everyone is playing catch-up with the store experience, and they're all fighting for developers."

Most competing platforms rolled out their answer to the App Store in 2009. BlackBerry created App World, while Microsoft introduced Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Nokia opened its Ovi store, joining the Android Market, which started in October 2008.

Huge market

The stores have united hardware and software in a way that's never been done before, giving customers easy access to a wealth of programs for their phones. It's also helped softwaremakers boost their revenue. Gamemaker Tapulous of Palo Alto reported recently that it's making nearly $1 million a month from sales of its iPhone applications.

Smart phones also got a boost from the rise of social networking. According to Forrester Research, 65 million people now access Facebook via a mobile device, compared with 8 million a year ago.

"Social media and texting require a smart phone," said Jack Gold, an analyst with J. Gold Associates. "You can't do that on dumb phone. And because people are so dependent on those things, that's why people have moved to these smart devices."

Stenzel, the AT&T executive, said it will be only a matter of time before people stop calling them smart phones altogether.

"There won't be anything else, because it will be what everyone wants and needs," he said. "If you don't have a smart phone, you won't be in the mainstream."

E-mail Ryan Kim at rkim@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page DC - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

I feel I should sub-title this post "Ben Got An iPhone for Xmas"

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Bankruptcy | Why Does My Attorney Want The Bankruptcy Judge To Reject The Car Reaffirmation That I Want? (And Why Won’t My Attorney Sign It?) | Bankruptcy Law Network

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Why Does My Attorney Want The Bankruptcy Judge To Reject The Car Reaffirmation That I Want? (And Why Won’t My Attorney Sign It?)

By Karen Oakes, Southern Oregon Bankruptcy Attorney on Dec 27, 2009 in Bankruptcy Cases & Legislation, Bankruptcy Practice and Procedure, Benefits of Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, General Bankruptcy Information, Your Bankruptcy Attorney & You

Most clients get a displeased shocked look when I tell them that I won’t sign a reaffirmation agreement for their car during their Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.  A reaffirmation agreement is, in effect, a new contract where the debtor (my client) agrees with the creditor (not my c lient) that the debtor will be financially responsible for the debt after their bankruptcy case is over.   My colleague Wayne Novick of Ohio recent explained reaffirmations in a series of blogs – including one entitled, “Reaffirmations: Cars Trucks Things with Wheels”.   If there is no reaffirmation agreement, the personal liability is gone but the vehicle still secures the debt. Before 2005,  if the debtor continued to pay the debt, the creditor just took the money.   Post-2005 and the adoption of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, most of the time, car creditors have threatened to come and get the vehicle if there is no reaffirmation agreement, even if the debtor continues to make timely payments.   However, if the debtor signs the reaffirmation and it is approved by the bankruptcy judge, if the debtor stops paying the debt, months or years later, the creditor can then sue the debtor.   This is why most attorneys do not sign reaffirmations–it puts our clients back into personal liability for debt and creates a risk of being sued.

Judges across the country, faced with the dilemna of folks needing their cars–which generally have no equity–and these reaffirmation agreements–which are generally bad for the debtors, but very good for the creditors, have refused to approve the reaffirmation agreements.   In Missouri, one of the judges outlined what he felt were the requirements for him to sign a reaffirmation agreement, according to my colleague, Rachel Foley.   In Oregon, there is the case of  In re Bower, 07-60126-fra7 (Bankr.Or. 7/26/2007) (Bankr.Or., 2007), where the judge refused to approve the reaffirmation because it did not help the debtor’s fresh start.   Recently, another district court judge in Delaware ruled that when the bankruptcy judge rejected the reaffirmation agreement that if the creditor repossessed the car when there had been timely payments, that the repossession was unlawful (Ford Motor Credit v. Baker, 400 B.R. 136 (2009)).

The attorney does not want the judge to approve the reaffirmation–having it rejected is a good thing, as explained further by California consumer bankruptcy attorney, Cathy Moran.   The debtor gets to keep the car as long as they pay for it and the creditor gets paid.   When the creditor stops getting paid, the creditor has the right to repossess the car, but NOT sue the debtor.

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Excellent article on why keeping your car in bantuptcy might not be the smart thing to do

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Madonna of Sorrows, pray for us!

In memory of Darrell Goddard, husband and father. RIP

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