Good Cop, Bad Cop

Mary Valle:  Fr. Marcel Guarnizo, the priest who denied Barbara Johnson (also known as the “lesbian Barbara Johnson”) communion at her mother’s funeral, has been put on administrative leave for having “engaged in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry.”

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Heart in the Snow

By Mary Valle

My last semester in college, I spent a lot of time taking phone calls from my brother Michael.  He was nearing the end of his working life and about to go on disability due to HIV. He’d call me, in Massachusetts,  from his office in Beverly Hills and I’d hog a communal phone which was shared by four or five other people. I came to dread the phone calls but I felt it was important to be there, breathing quietly, sometimes listening, sometimes not. He didn’t talk about anything, really. Movies he’d seen or things he wanted to buy.  “What do you see out your window?” he’d ask me. “Snow,” I’d say. “A Saab driving by. Some Finnish kid who lives in the woods scuttling off to his lean-to.” And he’d tell me about the sunshine and palm trees and diamonds and facelifts he saw out of his window. My heart hurt. I thought: I should be there even though I knew California was already finished for me. And that I didn’t want to be there, really. The last thing on earth I wanted to do was go back and I was in a state of ongoing panic due to not having the faintest idea what to do with myself when I graduated. So I listened and twirled the communal phone cord into knots.

Neither one of us had a “real” valentine that year. I cut a heart out of pink construction paper, trudged out into several feet of snow, and taped it to a tree. Then I took a Polaroid of it and mailed it to him. I have the photo now, tucked away amongst his other things. Someday I will give it to my daughter.
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I Love You, I Do.

We asked our Near and Dear to tell us something about today, the day when we celebrate love–or loss or absence or grief or joy or chocolate or the color red.  Valentine’s Day is one of those not-so-holy (or so-holiday) holidays we bump into on the annual calendar, on our way to spring, rebirth and Easter rising.  We didn’t really know what we’d get for our asking.

It’s an odd and fascinating assortment of reflections and observations from some of our favorite loves–our regular contributors, family and friends.  Happy Valentine’s Day!  We love you, we do!


“Month of Valentines” by Stacy Doris

“#MyGrownUpValentine” by Ashley Baxstrom with image by Angela Zito

“A Buddhist Valentine” by S. Brent Plate

“My Friend” by Jacob Glatstein, translated from the Yiddish by Peter Manseau

“A Valentine Offering” by Genevieve Yue

“My Wish this Valentine’s Day” by George González

“A Simple Dinner” by Anthea Butler

“St. Valentine’s Fallen Face” by David Metcalfe

“Heart in the Snow” by Mary Valle

“A Red Bagel” by Adam Becker

“The Gospel of Sacred Candy Hearts” by Amy Levin

“Be Mine” by Jeremy Walton


image: “Heart to Heart” by Angela Zito Continue Reading →

Merry Christmas to Me!

Mary Valle:  All I really want for Christmas is to watch “The Exorcist” with Fr. Gabriele Amorth.  I also want to thank him profusely for pointing out a few things that actually are kind of true. Who hasn’t been in a yoga class and “breathing” into some pose and thought “This shit is EVIL!” I know I sure have. Yoga is great, don’t get me wrong. But come on. It’s kinda evil. Who expected us to get into stretch-jersey bellbottoms and point our asses skyward in public en masse, before our current era? Excuse me, the current year of Our Lord? Yoga is optional, you might say. Is it, now. Is it really? Uh-huh. Didn’t think so. “Try doing it in a cassock!” said Fr. Amorth, in an interview I didn’t have with him. “That **** is *****.”

And Harry Potter! As someone who has listened to the entire series and is now making her way through the movies with a younger associate, it’s kinda evil too. Not Harry, of course. But Voldemort and all his friends and associates. Evil as they come, Fr. Armorth. In fact, Valdemort is so evil a lot of the characters won’t even say his name. Take that, Satan/Lucifer/Beezebub/etc.! Where do you stand on Twilight, sir? I think you might find it is also….evil, if you don’t like magical powers or supernatural creatures or immortal stalkers who prey on teenage girls. Oh wait. Continue Reading →

Daily Links: Apocalypse Edition

Click right over to Mary Valle’s latest at Killing the Buddha on “A Kinder, Gentler Apocalypse.”  Of the May 21 fake-out she writes:

Apparently God was playing more of his “I’m gonna pretend to high-five you, then pull my hand away at the last minute and say ‘Psych!’” games with all of us.

Look out Jews.  Here comes Chrislam!

Mother Jones lists some of the better entries in the #HermanCainPizzaJams flourish that occupied twitter earlier this week.  Our favorites are of course:

“Give Pizza Chance” –Daudig

“Cheese Crust is Just Alright by Me” –JElvisWeinstein

“Cheesus Chrust Superstar” –AriVABeerGuy Continue Reading →

99 Muslim Comic Sunday

Mary Valle: The 99, a comic series created by Naif Al-Mutawa, has gained popularity in the rest of the world but run into some suspicion here in the US. It’s about 99 superheroes who each embody one of the 99 Islamic attributes of God, but isn’t explicitly Islamic. Also: take note! 50 of the 99 are female. That’s over half. And! The female superheroines are modestly dressed, which isn’t a bummer, actually! I’ll let this story from i09 speak for girl and women comic fans everywhere.

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Abbey Sweet Abbey

Mary Valle: Via Elizabeth Castelli, here’s a look at a mostly-gutted, vacant and ready-for-finishin’ disused Anglican convent. Apparently this gem of a building is to be turned into “luxury condos” — which is good because it will keep the abbey standing, but is bad because, you know. Condos. Nothing against condos. I think I’d rather just call them apartments. The word “condo” just makes me think of divorced dads and widows and/or slightly sordid vacation rentals in sunny or snowy locations. The word “condo” just makes me think that, even though they are apparently keeping the original staircase, it’s going to be all wall-to-wall and mirrored closet doors and barstools. And what will become of the ailing nuns’ chapel?

Clearly, I should purchase this property and make it into my dream home — fully restored as an abbey. Continue Reading →