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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Rock and Roll Memories and Singing the Blues...

Blues Image, circa 1970...
On Christmas Day 1973, when I was still convinced Santa was the white-bearded fat guy with the red suit, I woke up to find a collection of LPs under the tree, that included five Rolling Stones albums; Hot Rocks 1964-1971, Beggars Banquet (their "White Album"), Let It Bleed, Goats Head Soap and Get Yer Ya-Yas Out; as well as another from an obscure club band, named Blues Image.

Why Santa brought me the third and final album of the one-hit wonder band, I haven't the faintest. Maybe, the record store salesman was a fan (Remember record stores?) or a teenage elf (who preferred electric guitars and drums to singing, Baby, It's Cold Outside) with some influence on Ole St. Nick.

Regardless, the Rolling Stones everybody knows about and those were, in my opinion, some of their best albums by far.  I'm still partial to their earlier music.

But, the band, whose only song to crack the top 50, Ride Captain Ride (Which reached the U.S. Billboard's #4 in 1970 and, to be honest, wasn't even that good), really intrigued me.

Despite Ride Captain, which didn't appear on the album I got, Red, White & Blues Image, these guys were good.  They were a talented mix of seasoned musicians, who started in Tampa, and by the late 60's were the featured and popular band at a club in North Miami Beach, named Thee Image, in their honor, that hosted many rock legends including Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Cream and many others.  They moved to Los Angeles, were signed by Atco Records in 1969 and recorded three longplay albums.  

Menacing... 
I wore out Red, White & Blues!  I wore out all the albums but Blues was different.  The cover of the somber-looking six-member band covered in spider webs (Joe Lala, Manuel Bertematti, Malcolm Jones, Skip Konte, Dennis Correll and Kent Henry, sans Mike Pinera, the band's founder who had joined Iron Butterfly) and photo of a cocaine spoon necklace, which I didn't know was a cocaine spoon until later on in life, fascinated me (Not that a fierce-eyed goat's head in a cauldron full of red steaming soup in the Stone's album didn't but... ).

I loved that Blues' album.  I remember playing it as loud as I could in the background, as I told a friend from school on the phone that it was a band that I played in!  (Don't judge me, I was a kid!)  Yet, I had all but forgotten it when I lost it to my brother, who took my entire vinyl record collection with him to Yale Graduate School of Drama and then moved to NYC, where he left it at an ex-girlfriend's storage cage, never to be seen again!

Blues Image broke up shortly after recording Red, White & Blues and the members went off to play in various bands, including: Iron Butterfly; Three Dog Night; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Alice Cooper; and Steppenwolf.  

In any case, listening to the Sirius XM's Classic Vinyl channel on our ride home from South Carolina, where we went to spend New Year's Eve with friends, I heard the name Blues Image and it brought back memories of my childhood in the first-floor apartment on Williams St. in Port Chester, New York, where I would play Red, White & Blues on our large console record player that took up half the wall in the living room until I scratched it!

In fact, I almost missed our exit because I was daydreaming of those times; riding bike around the neighborhood, learning to play stick-ball and hanging out with friends.

Needles to say, as soon as we got back to Miami, I started looking for the long-ago archived album in the annals of my mind.  And, after a dead-end on I-Tunes and only partial success on You Tube, I found it on Amazon (As part of a 2-album combo with Blues Image's first album, Blues Image) and ordered it.

It arrived in the mail last weekend and I have been playing it nonstop on my car CD player ever since; even remembering the lyrics to Behind Every Man There's a Woman, Gas Lamp and Clay, Good Life and most of the songs, which I haven't heard in probably forty years!  All this to the chagrin of my 10-year-old son who was apparently not impressed, and after listening to a few of the songs stared asking, "Can we put something else on?"

Later, as we rode in the car, he asked me for the CD cover and, after studying it briefly, started counting down the songs, as in, "Great, there's only five more songs left..."  Followed by, "Yay, there's only three more songs left..." And, finally, "Why is the last song song long?," noticing the seven minutes forty-five seconds finale, There Ain't No Rules in California, which is my favorite song on the album.

As Ain't No Rules came on, I tell him, "This is a jam, buddy; an old rock-and-roll jam."

He answered back nonchalantly, "I'm not feeling it!"

I was so bummed.  This is my rock-and-roller.  The kid who is constantly fighting with his sisters to put the classic rock station on the radio when we're in the car.  What happened? Then again, he just got the PlayStation 4 Star Wars Battlefront bundle and hasn't been the same since.

I love reminiscing and the Red, White & Blues Image album certainly brought back memories. But as I thought about the episode in the car with my son, I realized that, as wonderful as memories can be, the most wonderful and important memories are the ones we make today...          
  

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Tools of Ignorance, Hail Mary and My Son...

Donning the tools of ignorance...
For a catcher, there's probably nothing more gratifying than seeing a fast runner get on base and start taking a lead off first, knowing very well he will soon try to steal second.

The catcher's adrenaline starts pumping, after signaling the next pitch.  He sets up behind the plate on the the balls of his feet spread wide apart and squatting in an upright position so that the thighs are taking the brunt of his weight and he can jump out of his crouch quickly.

Then, when the hurler lifts his leg to throw the pitch and he sees the runner taking off, through the corner of his eye, he leans forward slightly while continuing to focus on the incoming baseball, and pounces towards it as the ball crosses the plate; hopping across home in one fluid motion, as he brings the mitt back towards his ear, grabs the ball and releases it over the pitcher's head.  

Almost simultaneously, the shortstop charges towards second from his usual spot, in the hole between second and third base, to cover the bag and arrives a split second before the ball, catches it and tags the runner as he slides and the umpire raises his arm to signal, "OUT!" 


I loved that feeling from the first time I ever caught in a game at the age of ten.  I threw out two runners in my first game and the thrill continued throughout my playing days until the twilight of my career on a men's baseball team into my early forties, when my prowess for throwing runners out, after a rotator cuff injury, started to wane.

Probably my biggest highlight catching was the day I caught Johnny Cangelosi, who later became a high school teammate and Major League Baseball player, who stole 50 bases his rookie season with the Chicago White Sox, which was a first-year record at the time, trying to steal second when I was about thirteen or fourteen.

I was an average hitter at best but I prided myself on my defense; calling a good game, framing pitches just right to get a called strike, even if the ball was slightly off the plate,  blocking balls in the dirt, blocking home on plays at the plate and of course, the ultimate glory for any catcher, throwing runners out.

Yet, what most average fans don't realize is the hard work it takes to get to the point of being able to catch a runner stealing; the endless throws to second, third and first base during practice, the bone chips (in my case) in the elbow that made every throw an agonizing experience, the leg fatigue after catching ten straight hitters in batting practice and then having to run with the rest of the team, the foul tips to the hands, arms, inner thighs and soft part of the knee, which the shin guards fail to protect, the bats to the head, balls in the dirt that hit "the family jewels," as our high school coach called them, square on, which make a grown man cry, as the Rolling Stones would sing, and the brain jarring collisions at home plate that knock the wind right out of you.  

I remember two such collisions with players who were later teammates in high school vividly.  Both completely laid me flat on my back.  I was able to hang on to the ball with one but dropped the other.  It was probably the only time I recall ever dropping a ball on a play at the plate.    


There's nothing glamorous about catching.  It's a taxing position that not everyone wants to play.  In fact, they call the catcher's gear, "The tools of ignorance," referring to the ignorant who want to play it!  


Johnny Bench blocking the plate... 
The great Johnny Bench, who is probably the best all-around catcher who ever played the game, once said, "A catcher and his body are like the outlaw and his horse.  He's got to ride that nag till it drops."  

Yet, it's a position where you learn more discipline, courage, insight of the game and leadership skills than any other.

I remember a drill in high school that our coach called, "Hail Marys."

Hail Marys were where we assumed the missionary position in full gear, holding our catcher's mitt between our legs with our free hand tightly tucked behind it, our torsos curved in a C-form and our chin firmly pressed against our chest.  

As we sat there in the quiet of our minds, waiting for our coach to throw baseballs as hard as he could against the ground in front of us, which would ricocheted against our tense bodies, we would start to pray the Hail Mary, in anticipation of the incoming round instrument of torture that we heard hissing as it approached.

Sometimes the ball would catch bone, marking the stitches on our forearms immediately. Sometimes it would catch the same spot a couple of times and we would see it swell up right before our eyes.  Occasionally, the coach would miss the ground and the ball would go straight into the soft spot on the knee I just mentioned, or wrist, or thigh.  

It was the most arduous and intimidating drill I ever experienced.  We would do it regularly during pre-season; over and over.  One turn each catcher then repeat.

Our coach was a retired minor league catcher and probably enjoyed watching us squeal and squirm. I'm sure there was a sense pay back for all the times he endured the drill in his playing days.  

It was meant to teach us, not only the fundamentals of getting in front of a ball in the dirt, but possibly more importantly about overcoming fear, overcoming pain, mental fortitude and discipline.  Intentional or not, it was actually very spiritual, fitting for its name, "Hail Marys."

It reminds me of the Super Spartan Race I ran with my wife several years ago.  It was almost 9 miles long and there was a point in the race, where I found myself running in the woods by myself with no other competitor in sight.  All I heard were my feet pounding on the ground.  It was hard and painful, especially after having gone through more than six miles of obstacles and running at that point, but very peaceful.  I began to pray the Rosary (i.e., Hail Marys!) and all the pain and noise subsided.  It became deeply spiritual.    
   
St. Paul refers to the spirituality of exercise when he writes, "Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." 

Throwing to second... 
In a talk I heard recently, Bishop Robert Barron said something that resonated with me and reminded me of my high school coach, "A good coach is not there to make his players feel good.  He's there to make them better players."

Unfortunately, in today's world, we are so obsessed with making people feel good about themselves (i.e. everyone gets a participation trophy or, as in the movie, Parental Guidance, they don't even keep score!) that we're undermining coaches.

It's like my son, who tells me one day after a game, which they won but won ugly and the coach made them run when the game was over, "He's trying to kill us!" 

"No," I said.  "He's trying to make you better!"  

In the military, they break cadets down in boot camp so as to make them soldiers.  Soldiers who are disciplined, stouthearted and willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

Let's face it, we are all tempted to take the road of least resistance.  Left to our own devices, we choose the easy way.

But, life, much like playing the position of catcher in baseball, is not about feeling good but about working through it, even when we don't feel good, because it's the right thing to do; and/or because others depend on us to do it.

It's working out our salvation with fear and trembling, as St. Paul states; chugging through it at times but enduring and overcoming and, hopefully, in due time, achieving that wreath we all seek whether perishable in this lifetime or imperishable in the next, which should be our ultimate goal.   

In any case, my 10-year-old son now wants to be a catcher.  We got him a catchers' gear for Christmas and he's starting to work on developing his raw skills.  He has good hands but has a long way to go.

I'll be honest, the reason I wanted him to play baseball in the first place was to learn to be a team player; to work with others closely, to depend on each other, to have that camaraderie that you can only experience from sharing time together, struggling through difficulties and enjoying the thrill of success as a unit; the pain and the glory.  Learning that, for the good of the team, it's not about "me" but "we"; a lesson that has served me well in life and in my career in management and one I want him to fully embrace.  

Now, he's taking a next step.  He will have to learn dedication and resilience, selflessness, bravery in spite of fear at times and leadership; skills that will serve him well as a catcher and, most of all, as a man.  

Maybe one day, he might find himself behind the plate with a fast runner taking a lead off first.  And, if he works hard and is fortunate to be blessed with decent skills, he can pounce out of his crouch when the runner takes off and throw a laser to second base and see the umpire raise his arm to signal, "OUT."  

I tell my son, "Baseball is all about repetition.  It's about doing something over and over until you get it right."  And, the same can be said about almost anything worth doing in life...     



Friday, December 8, 2017

Preserved for the Good of the World...


"We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Ominipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful."

-- Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854...

 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Truth, Reality and Human Nature...

He who seeks finds...
"Being born in a time or place that is far from the truth doesn't disprove the existence of truth.  When it comes to believing in a religion or any other basic truth about reality (like the shape of the earth), we all think that we're right and that those who disagree with us are wrong.  Even people who ignore religion think they're right that religion should be ignored.  They also think that those people who tell them they should convert are wrong.  This isn't a sign of arrogance; it's a sign of genuine desire to find the truth....  The loving thing to do is not leave someone in ignorance, but to help him find the truth."

Trent Horn, in Why We're Catholic.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The CD and Man Who Set My Faith On Fire...

Dr. Scott Hahn and me in 2013... 
Those that know me know that I am passionate about my faith.  I study it.  I defend it.  I believe it wholeheartedly and I live it to the best of my abilities (Sometimes better than other).

But, one of the pivotal sparks in my fervor for the faith, aside from attending a men's retreat that changed my perspective on life, was listening to a CD I got soon after the retreat of the conversion of a well-respected Protestant Minister, named Dr. Scott Hahn.

Hahn's journey was a painful and humiliating odyssey, where everything he had ever known and believed in from the time he turned his life over to Christ, was pulled out from under him and everything he thought was corrupt and defiled ended up making too much sense to ignore.

He calls it a conversion in stages; from a detective story, to a horror story and finally a love story.

His passion for the Bible, his incessant search for Truth and earnest scholarly approach led him, most unwillingly, into the arms of the Catholic Church; a church that since his days at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary he ardently opposed, to the point of calling it the anti-Christ.

It was at Gordon-Conwell that he first started questioning his Presbyterian convictions.  A highly regarded professor from a well known seminary nearby was teaching that we are not saved by faith alone, one of the pillars of the Protestant Reformation called Sola Fide, in the strict sense that most non-Catholic Christians understand it.  And, because of this teaching, the professor was being forced out of the school.

Hahn delved into the controversy; reading, studying and debating with many professors and fellow students until coming to the unexpected conclusion that the ousted professor was right.  It was a watershed moment for Hahn and he never recovered, no matter how hard he tried to shake it off and how many friends and family, including his wife, tried to dissuade him from coming home to Rome.

Eventually, several years later, questions arose about the second plank upon which the Protestant Reform stands on; scripture alone, or Sola Scriptura, and that's where the paradigm shift, already developing in his mind and heart took hold.  Yet despite this, he continued to resist (mostly out of respect for his wife who was having a difficult time with his conversion, being the daughter of a Protestant Minister, the sister of a Protestant Minister and having married a Protestant Minister!); that is until he stepped foot into a Catholic Church and heard Mass for the first time.  The rest as they say is history.   

I remember the first time I heard of Scott Hahn.  It was on this CD while driving with my wife and kids on a road trip to North Carolina.

His delivery, sincerity and profundity were so captivating and endearing that it stirred within me a burning appetite to learn my faith; even as I realized how little I actually knew!

Shortly afterwards, I began reading some of Dr. Hahn's books; Reasons to BelieveThe Lamb's SupperRome Sweet Home, and my personal favorite, First Comes Love, as well as some of the book recommendations on the CD; most notably, Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating (where I discovered Catholic Answers, an apologetic apostolate that I listen to daily on podcast till this day).

Hahn, is now considered among the best contemporary biblical scholars and theologians in the United States and one of the most coveted Catholic speakers in the country.  He is a professor and scholar, who taught future priests at St. Vincent Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he held the Pope Benedict XVI's Chair of Biblical Theology for years, as well as students at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, where he has been teaching since 1990.  As if that weren't enough, he is the founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and author of over twenty books.

The CD, which is considered the most widely distributed Catholic CD ever, and became the precursor to the book on his conversion that he wrote with his wife Kimberly, Rome Sweet Home, has influenced thousands of former Protestants and marginal Catholics, like me, to embrace the Church fully.  It even prompted many of his classmates at Gordon-Conwell, who had themselves become Protestant Ministers, including Marcus Grodi, Steve Woods and his best friend in seminary, Gerry Matatics, who tried to keep Hahn from converting and ended up converting himself, into the Catholic Church.

I've had the privileged to hear Dr. Hahn speak on a couple of occasions, including one at the Archdiocese of Miami Men's Conference at St. Mark's Catholic Church in Southwest Ranches where the picture above was taken.  His wealth, depth and love of the faith always shine through in his talks, which is why he remains so popular.

Although, my desire to learn my faith was also spurned by an old friend who challenged it, and have since broadened my horizons with the works of St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Peter Kreeft, Fulton Sheen, Bishop Robert Barron and several others, I will always have an affinity for Dr. Hahn.

I came across "the CD" on You Tube recently and, since this year marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I thought I would share it (Below).  Also, if you want to read more details on his conversion, you can find it here...


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Jesus and the Power to Bind and Loose...


"Priests have received a power which God has given neither to angels nor to archangels.  It was said to them: 'Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed.' Temporal rulers have indeed the power of binding ; but they can only bind the body.  Priests, in contrast, can bind with a bond which pertains to the soul itself and transcends the very heavens.  Did [God] not give them all the powers in heaven?... What greater power is there than this?  The Father has given all judgement to the Son.  And now I see the Son placing all this power in the hands of men. They are raised to this dignity as if they were already gathered up to heaven."
- St. John Chrysostom (349-407), Bishop of Constantinople was one of the most prolific early Christian writers in history, second only to St. Augustine of Hippo in number of surviving writings preserved. Known as a great preacher and public speaker, St. John is said to have memorized the Bible by heart.  He lived as a hermit for many years and practiced extreme asceticism.  Because of his self-restraint, he suffered health issues throughout his life, especially in the latter part of it.  Considered as one of the prominent among the Early Church Fathers, he is also recognized as a Doctor of the Church by the Roman Catholic Church.  St. John is also honored as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox and Anglican churches.  His Feast Day is September 13th...    



Saturday, November 4, 2017

Halloween, Harvey Weinstein and Playboy Magazine...

I often tell my daughters, "If you dress like a piece of meat, you're going to be treated like a piece of meat."

Still, when the culture is constantly bombarding girls with the message that they have to dress sexy to get a guy's attention and everything from TV commercials to prime time television shows to movies and magazines apparently are on the same page in decimating that message, and selling self-expression more than self-respect, not to mention, social media, where friends are trying to outdo one another about how good they look and how much fun their lives are as a result, it's hard for some to decipher what's appropriate and what's not.

It's worse when they have a parent trying to relive their youth by dressing in skimpy fashion, which, fortunately, is not our case since I started wearing boxer shorts instead of speedos and polos instead of tight sleeveless muscle shirts when I hit the big 5-0! (Despite my wife's insistence, no more guns displayed at our house!)

In any case, it never seems to amaze me how many girls and young (and sometimes not-so-young) women objectify themselves every year during Halloween by dressing like porn stars; whether a sexy nurse, vampire, playboy bunny, pirate or anything else imaginable.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me because of what I just mentioned but it still leaves me shaking my head.

When I was in my 20's and out in the "meat market," it was fantastic but then came Monday morning, did they expect the same respect at the office?

Hugh Hefner...
Which brings me to Harvey Weinstein and Hugh Hefner; two men cut from the same mold, users of women for carnal pleasure without conscience or consideration for their souls, and both byproducts of the sexual revolution culture, which Hefner actively helped usher in.

Playboy Magazine's centerfolds became every man's fantasy of the ideal woman.  And, by making it mainstream, with Playboy came the burgeoning and wide acceptance of the pornography industry, which is said to make more money today than the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL combined and, in the process, is wreaking havoc on the family and the moral fabric of society as a whole. 

Weinstein and Hefner, like many powerful men in other industries, preyed on women who wanted fame, fortune and glory or were vulnerable because of necessity.

In the mid-to-late 1960's, there was a waging cultural war in society; the country was at war in Vietnam, the American Civil Rights Movement in full swing, the woman's movement, which started as a stance for justice in the workplace and was later hijacked by an aggressive pro-sexual freedom movement (See the writings for former Cosmopolitan Magazine reporter, Sue Ellen Browder) was in motion and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut making "The Pill" legal in marriages.     

Amidst the turmoil and controversy over the pill, in 1968, Pope Paul VI released his much maligned encyclical Humanae Vitae, condemning artificial birth control and prophetically stating what its widespread use would lead to; moral decay.

The Pope wrote, "Let them consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.  Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings -- and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation -- need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law.  Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires..."   HV:17 

By separating marital sex from it's primary function of procreation, and thus, making sex "free" with no strings attached among consenting adults and "as long as nobody gets hurt," which we know is a lie because someone always gets hurt, infidelity increased dramatically, divorce rates skyrocketed, the porn industry took a hold of the culture, which it has yet to let go, making women objects to be used by men, and leading to the legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973 (Because, if contraception fails, what do you do with all the unwanted pregnancies from infidelity?), and eventually paving the way to the redefinition of marriage between a man and a woman (Because once marital relations are about pleasure and no longer about fertility and the raising of kids, shouldn't anyone get married?). 

The ruling, cushioned in the context of an aggressive women's movement and the explosion of  pornography spearheaded in part by Playboy, opened the door for the sexual revolution where "make love not war" became the anthem and we are still feeling the effects today.

Harvey Weinstein...
"Free" love is not so free when women are getting raped and abused by powerful men and the list of implicated men from the Weinstein fallout continues to grow everyday, the legacy that Hefner left in his wake.

Sure, women were victimized before the sexual revolution but it worsened exponentially with the legalization of the pill, when women became easy targets with no consequences involved.

Interestingly, all Christian denomination condemned artificial birth control until 1930, when the Episcopal Church succumbed to cultural pressures, allowing it within marriage (see the Lambeth Conference).  Soon afterwards, most Protestant denominations followed suit.  The only one left standing, and is still standing, is the Catholic Church, which is one of the reasons (asides from its teachings on abortion, cohabitation and marriage) that it remains in the crosshairs of today's progressive movement.     

Anyhow, now the damage is done.  To reverse this degenerative spiral we're on as a culture is going to take a monumental effort.

In an Twitter exchange with a loved one, she suggested where it needs to start, "It gets flushed out with our sons."

Fundamentally, there's something to be said about raising boys to be honorable and righteous, which may be, at least, a partial solution for sexually abusive men.  But, I think it's a two-way street.  I truly believe promiscuity is something to discourage not encourage.

In fact, I want to raise my children to be chaste until their wedding day because without self-dominion, there can never be control over actions towards others.

I know it sounds old-fashioned and may seem improbable in today's sex-crazed society but I still like to think it isn't and I know young people and even celebrities, who are embracing chastity.  It's a matter of understanding and reinforcing the true meaning of love, which lasts forever, as opposed to an imitation, which is driven by libido and is fleeting.  

Despite what they may teach in public schools, teens are more than uncontrolled hormones waiting to explode and human beings are not like animals, driven solely by desires and instincts.  Men and women have minds, which can be used for reason, logic and self-restraint, as well as hearts that long for authenticity and true love (which is a longing for happiness that can only be filled by God).

While lustful boys can become lustful men, and I am going to teach my son about respecting women, it must begin with women respecting themselves.

Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, "When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her.  The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women."

Just as I'm hoping to teach my son to hold women in the highest esteem, I'm also hoping to teach my daughters that they are not pieces of meat and shouldn't degrade themselves by dressing like one for Halloween, or any other day for that matter, reinforcing an image that was long ago established for men's pleasures...