Friday, April 20, 2018

TORN BETWEEN TWO LOVERS?



Prey not again?
Once again the Archdiocese of Great Falls -
Billings Montana has made it onto the front
page and nightly news. This time it's NOT
because of filing for, then attempting to exit
bankruptcy due to the massive settlements
with EIGHTY SIX victims of sexual abuse
by diocesan priests over a forty year period.
No, this time the buzz is about a Great Falls
priest's Facebook post denouncing a couple
who are sponsors of this year's "Mayfair"
fundraiser for the Billings Central Catholic
High School. Oh... and need I add that all of
the fuss is about a GAY couple in question?!
From whence it came?
Father Ryan Erlenbush is apparently disturbed
by the idea of a married gay couple playing a
key role in raising over half a million dollars
for Catholic education. Thus he aggressively
suggested that any/all of his followers boycott
said fundraiser given it was tainted by a queer
association. Subsequently the Catholic School
leadership and the couple's four fellow chairs
issued statements of support and inclusion for
all forms of diversity. In theory that should be
enough. However given prior experience, I've
no doubt that this brouhaha is far from over.
Is gay bashing en MASS again in session?
School daze?
So... I did some research. Father Ryan Erlenbush
graduated Billings Central Catholic High School
in 2001. Thus his high school years overlapped
two years with half of the couple he questions -
Travis Heringer. As a male who if fully aware of
what makes guys who like guys tick, such a close
association between the two dramatically different
types could be the cause of all the fuss. Consider
Father Erlenbush (shown left.) Then please take a
glance (below right) at his fellow alumni - Travis
Heringer. Beyond being gorgeous, Travis is smart
and rich. Could a long dormant sophomoric crush
be the root of this evil? Or is it all a coincidence?

Safety in numbers?
To be clear, I've no proof of the above theory.
However I can affirm that I have been hit on
by many a gay priest in sheep's clothing over
the years. Research shows that 15 to 50% of
American priests are closet queers. Thus even
the low end number is shocking given 3.8%
of the U.S. total male population is gay. Now,
let's connect the theoretical dots. Conflicted
gay boy secretly lusts after handsome older
student. After spending more than seventeen
years atoning for his sins, the boy discovers
that the object of his affection is married and
being lauded by his holy Catholic church.
What's not to love?
For the record I don't know Travis Heringer
nor his husband Dan Sutter (shown at left).
My research indicates that they're beloved
by family, friends, and community. Add
that both are committed to giving back via
service in various organizations. A Billings
native, Travis' family runs a successful oil
enterprise. Dan is a marketing consultant.
They have a lovely home, many friends,
and chronicle their life via Instagram. All
which makes them exactly the kind of folks
you want running a mega fundraiser. So tell
us Father Erlenbush - what's NOT to love?
Church or state?
Again, I've no proof that Father Erlinbush has
a catechismical axe to grind simply because
of a man who got away. However based on
my personal experience with another of his
priestly peers - it's safe to assume that some
hidden agenda is fueling this supposed man
of God's ridicule. Having been there, done
that - the only thing that's certain is that deep
within Bishop Michael Warfel's Great Falls -
Billings Diocese it's ALL about them... and
not those who they're blessed to serve. Thus
this excuse for a priest feels free and able to
vilify good people for being who they are.
Blind leading the blind?
Boys will be boys. Here in Lewistown the end
result of young Father Sam Spiering's errors in
judgement was a mass exodus from his parish.
Given Father Ryan Erlenbush is "young," one
hopes that he can grow up to become a man of
God. Sadly it seems that Ryan is following in
Sam's versus Christ's footsteps. All of which
indicates that something is rotten in the Diocese
of Great Falls - Billings. Otherwise why would
anybody allow such purposeful prejudice to go
on and on? Especially when piously executed
in the name of God. Maybe it's time you faced
your truth Ryan - thou doest protest too much!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

UPON REFLECTION


Behind the scenes
It's often been said that one can't
look back. And nothing insures
that one's back is covered better
than a mirror. First and foremost
they show things as they are. In
any application shedding light
on the situation. Since inception
mirrors have shown us the way.
To the point where most interior
designers feel no room is...

Click the link below to read all
of the latest C+V HOME blog -
www.cvhomemt.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

ROUGH & READY


Beam me up Scotty
Ever wished that you had a magic carpet?
Or better yet, a tele-transporter like the one
on Star Trek? There are times when I wish
I could instantly go to wherever I fancy.
And given I'm not Samantha on Bewitched,
nor a billionaire with a private jet, that's but
fantasy at best. Don't get me wrong. There's
nothing this sedentary soul appreciates more
than staying close to home. However living
in rural central Montana is quite different
than residing a block south of Central Park
in midtown Manhattan. Now popping over
to Barneys takes a full day and two flights!
Home alone
Don't assume that I miss living in the big city.
To the contrary I rarely long for the hustle and
bustle and hassle of a metropolitan existence.
However I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that I
frequently long for a brief interlude in what is
better known as "civilization." As I've written
before, within our own home we live as we
always have. Thus we're more than comfortable
in our own sphere of influence. Our challenges
start once we leave said four walls and venture
out into the wild west. Once out and about one
realizes that our preconceived notions are far
from the interests of our friends and neighbors.
Sun stroke
Part of my angst is that it's all too easy to feel
"out of it." Especially when one is far removed
from their former reality. Yesterday I happened
across a picture of the recently opened Louis
Vuitton store on the Place Vendome in Paris.
Designed by Peter Marino it features a massive
sculpture on it's facade - a modern homage to
France's sun king - Louis XIV. Incredibly chic,
all I wanted was to pop across the pond for a
weekend to see it. However nowadays, such
a journey requires more time, money and effort
than I can quickly summon. Hence for now my
quick fix is to bask out under the big sky sun.
White supremacy
It's not that we're snobs. But only that we come
from a very different place. However like most
anybody - the longer that one does without - the
sooner their standards devolve to the common
denominator. Last week we took a ride to Great
Falls. Once Montana's premiere metropolis, it's
now a somewhat downtrodden affair. Yet even
in it's compromised state it still offers creature
comforts we can't get locally. We had lunch at
Feather Your Nest - a new "bistro" in an antique
store. While the food was good, the exception
to the rule were their white table linens! They
alone made us feel we were suddenly HOME.
Almost but not quite there...
Being civilized is not rocket science. Yet few
if any locals see the need to make things nice.
Last Friday our family dined at the local Elk's
club. It's dining room looks out on one of the
loveliest views imaginable. Our meals were
delicious. The drinks divine. The company
great. However having it dished out on a bare
table and a paper placemat was unappetizing.
Our experience was akin to dining at a truck
stop. A sad fact that seems so unnecessary. Is
it too hard to dim the lights, set a proper table,
and ask that gentlemen take off their baseball
caps?! Maybe we should just stay home.
Fantasy island
If I sound conflicted - you got the message.
Central Montana is a rough and tumble place.
But that doesn't mean you can't have it all.
Whenever I wonder what I'm doing here,
I take a trip to the Bair Family Museum in
Martinsdale, Montana. Situated in what is
truly the middle of nowhere is a world class
collection of paintings, fine furniture, english
silver, and the like. Amassed over fifty years
by the daughters of a self-made sheep rancher.
They lived elegantly in this wide open land.
Yet had no problem stopping their Cadillac,
shooting a deer, and throwing it in the trunk.
Urbane cowboy
Slowly but surely I'm adjusting to life under the
big sky. However don't assume that I'm going to
forget where I came from. Nor compromise my
standards. Somehow such a dichotomy works in
my favor. If nothing else the dramatic differences
between here and there make the finer things in
life all the more enjoyable. And while I may not
share many things with my friends and neighbors,
most of us get a thrill looking out at the mountains
that surround us. You see, the finest thing here in
central Montana is the place itself. Which only
affirms that I'm right where I belong. So while at
times things may get rough, I'm more than ready!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

THAT NOT SO FUNNY FEELING


Command performance
We all have one thing in common. It's what
I call an "oh shit" moment. Pardon my merde
but there is nothing worse that coming to the
conclusion that one is beyond compromised.
And helpless to do anything to alter said fate.
Faced with insurmountable odds, most of us
get a swarmy smirk on our faces. Obviously
not funny - one can't help but see the humor
in an adverse situation. So... much like James
Comey being called out by President Trump
at a Blue Room reception - we grin and bear
our enemies as we wipe their evidence off
our shoes. Losing our dignity in the process.
Short handed
Faced with insurmountable odds, we in theory
have no other option but to rise above it. Well,
at least if one has a shred of dignity or aplomb.
Unfortunately our President opts to take a very
different tact. When faced by the opposition he
aggressively comes out fighting. Whether right
or wrong such hand-to-hand fisticuffs hurts all
involved. Like any bully, he leverages his bully
pulpit to maximize his impact. Barraging every
target in his way. And in the process, dragging
the rest of us down into the mud with himself.
Hence like most egomaniacs - it's all about him.
In his mind the winner takes all and we LOSE.
Indecent exposure
Like all of you - I too have suffered through
times of inopportune revelation. Call them
surprises, mistakes, assaults, or nightmares -
the process of being exposed against one's
will is if nothing else a sobering experience.
Yet on the surface our President appears to
be unable to face the bare facts. Thus like a
fairy tale emperor, he ignores the impact that
truth has on his false pretenses. And sadly,
Donald is not alone. As proven by the litany
of powerful men who are now being publicly
forced to atone for prior sins. Hmm... could
it be that money can't buy everything?
Down or out?
Due to the error of our leader's ways - the United
States of America - i.e. "we the people" - are now
confronted daily by a constant barrage of "oh shit"
moments. And while some would like to blame
Russia - the truth is that we did this to ourselves.
We've allowed others to expose our democracy
to negative influences by empowering individuals
who are compromised at best. Thus our collective
success, freedom, and happiness relies on the not
so good intentions of questionable individuals who
have anything but our interests at heart. The fact
of which is if nothing else an "oh shit" moment.
Leaving the rest of us to clean up THEIR mess...

Monday, April 16, 2018

FUTURE TENSE


Spring vacation?
I know what you've been doing. Well... at
least I think I do. It's funny how readership
for this blog is cyclical. At times everyone
seems to be doing the roue'. Then all of a
sudden it's as if you disappeared en masse.
Recently readership has been lighter than
usual. I'm chalking some of that up to two
things. First, it's spring. And even here in
Montana gardeners like Frank are finally
able to get out and about. Second, all of the
recent attention on Facebook caused them
to change their "algorithms." Meaning that
fewer "friends" get a daily roue' reminder.
Exercise in futility?
An obvious lack of engagement aside, I know
that all too soon most of those distracted will
re-engage. A fact that frankly is very gratifying.
I honestly can't thank you enough for reading
and thus validating my daily spew.  As I have
said many times before, writing a daily cyber
missive such as this is if nothing else a record
of my before and after. And if one tracks back
through the last five years of this blog you can
immediately understand how I have got from
here to there. In addition you'll discover that
two thousand days later - little seems to have
truly changed. But is that a good or bad thing?
Rear view mirror?
Periodically I recycle posts long lost that are
still relevant. Often they need some tweaking
as time marches on. However over all, much
of my thinking, muses, opines, and arguments
remain relevant. While external factors such
a job, location, or related circumstances have
changed dramatically over the years, I've been
consistent in my outlook. A fact that is either
oddly reassuring or subtly terrifying. Am I so
sedentary that nothing ever happens? Or have
I been building an ever changing life upon a
firm foundation? Have I been right all along
or was I consistently in a delusional haze?!
Up in smoke?
I don't know about you but I occasionally need
affirmation that all is OK. One can easily be
distracted by silly things. Until recently I was
NEVER politically oriented. Nowadays it's all
too easy to focus on everything that's wrong
with our leadership in Washington. However
in truth, on the short term most of it has little
to no impact. The issue is... what does this all
mean long term. Looking back we've all been
through a lot since I started writing this blog.
And overall, things are much better than they
were. The question is... where will we all be
five or ten years from now? In heaven or hell?
From bad to worse?
Rarely do we focus on the future. However
I worry about what the future holds for my
grandchildren and their future offspring. For
now Mr. Trump's shenanigans have little to
no effect. And yet ultimately the work of his
cabinet could impact the destiny of those we
love. Slowly and incrementally they've been
chipping away at individual rights in favor
of corporate greed.  While we'll probably not
see much negative impact of his agenda in
our lifetime, future generations will. Causing
them to wonder what were we thinking. And
more important... why we did nothing...

Sunday, April 15, 2018

7th Day Surprise - Snow Away


APRIL SHOWERS?

Late this week central Montana
was hit with eight inches of snow.

Hence all of the Washington talk of showers aside
we've yet to see any April rainfall.

Meanwhile much of the country experienced
summer-like weather this weekend.
Yet the forecast is for much cooler temperatures tomorrow.

Hot or cold, April showers or snow-
Here's hoping we see May's flowers
are on their way!

Spring it on!