Saturday, May 20, 2017

To Following Readers: IMPORTANT

Edward G. O. Radler Rice



Please email Bear your mailing address and any special instructions regarding the autograph of your copy of Judging Angels. Thank you. (If you have already supplied this information, Bear must have lost it in the current confusion.)

Thanks to everyone who already has their copy in hand. Bear hopes his friends are enjoying it (and looks forward to their reviews, hint, hint). You have an advantage over non-Woodland Creatures because you know not to expect:
  1. Dan Brown.
  2. The Exorcist.
  3. "A heartwarming tale of a mysterious stranger who shows up in a small town and changes the inhabitants' lives forever." (Something like Pope Francis' "favorite movie" Babette's Feast.)
  4. Anything set in the 4th Century.
  5. An old priest finds a relic of unimaginable power that may determine the fate of the universe in the final cosmic conflict between Heaven and Hell.
  6. Fifteen-year-old Angela is the least popular girl in her high school when the dreamy new boy with glowing red eyes asks her to the prom.
  7. A wagon train of Amish brides is ambushed by Indians, but beneath their nine-patch quilts is hidden a shipment of the latest Browning Automatic Rifles. (This sort of Christian historical romance can miss a few details.)
  8. Mostly anything the Bear says about it.
  9. How Muslims saved Western Civilization and will renew it in our century.
  10. The Humble Wisdom of Pope Francis.
Or anything else that comes to mind when people think of "Christian / Catholic Fantasy."

The Bear is pleased to report that the Kindle Version of Judging Angels is hanging in at #8 today in Amazon's weirdly-titled "Hot Christian Fantasy" category against all the giveaway books. He just wonders what all those teenage girls and Amish women are going to think when they read the first page. Girls, just skip toward the end of Chapter 28: A Fine Romance With No Kisses, right before Chapter 29: Hotel Blocks Cops, Tots Chopped.

Find the now-infamous "Elevator Scene." (Make your own jokes if you must, but Bear doesn't wanna hear 'em.)

Sorry, but it's not really that sort of "Hot Christian Fantasy."

While everyone is waiting for their autographed trade paperbacks, check out the many inspiring books EWTN is featuring on their book blog. (Of course, Judging Angels is not there. EWTN hates Bears. And possibly elevators. The Bear wishes to state, however, that rumors that EWTN harvests Bear bile for Chinese traditional medicine have not been conclusively proven.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Jorge Bergoglio - an Interview With the Bear

Bears have been at this for a very long time.

Some may wonder how the Bear, of all bloggers, scored an interview with  Jorge Bergoglio. Argentina has Bears, although they are a rather miserable species. So here it is. An interview with Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina.

Bear - You may be familiar with normal journalistic practices, where the journalist records nothing, takes no notes, and makes up a lot of stuff. Bears do things differently. By the way, welcome to the Interview Cavern.

Jorge - Thank you. Who are you? Why am I strapped to this chair? Why do you care about me?

Bear - Just a Bear, as you see. The Bear's right paw is resting on lever connected to a mechanism beneath the trap door upon which sits your chair. We call it the... Bear Chair. Yeah, I know. We're working on that.

Jorge - I agree. I do not feel as frightened as I probably should.

Bear - The point is, every time you lie to the Bear, he will pull this lever, and a random number of cogs will slip. When the cog wheel makes one complete revolution, the trap door will open and the chair - with you in it- will drop.

Jorge - This all seems exceedingly complicated for Bears, if I may say so.

Bear - We had help from the Raccoons, who are surprisingly clever at complicated dramatic schemes.

Jorge - But how will you know if I am lying? How will I know when the chair is about to drop? Where does it drop to?

Bear - [Pulls handle.]

Jorge - Wait! I didn't even answer a question!

Bear - An honest man would never have asked. You never know when the trap door will be triggered. But if you tell the truth, then you you have no worries. Bears have the best noses in the animal kingdom. They can smell a female in heat 100 miles away and make a beeline. That's true. And Bears can smell lies. That is also true.

Jorge - Too much information, mi amigo. Listen. Let me out of this chair and I'll tell you - no - give you - anything you want.

Bear - [Pulls handle.] Bribing the Bear. Not getting off to a good start, Jorge. Who knows how many pulls you got left. First question. You're in a desert walking along in the sand when - Oh. Hang on a sec. Wrong questions. Okay. A man gets tired of his wife -

Jorge - Is this the test now?

Bear - Yes. A man gets tired of his wife, who is mature, yet faithful, and divorces her. He marries a younger, more attractive woman and they form a breeding pair. Are they committing adultery?

Jorge - [Looks at Bear's paw on handle] - Si.

Bear - Should they be admitted to Holy Communion as long as they maintain their marital breeding relationship?

Jorge - A very complicated question. While yes, they are committing adultery, this is not the only consideration. Rules are always lubricated with Mercy, much as I am sure your complicated raccoon-devised Bear Chair is lubricated. Therefore, we meet people on the moral periphery of life with arms outstretched, not like museum mummies afraid to dance, afraid to cry afraid of everything. Therefore they may receive a little bread and wine. It does not harm, eh?

Bear - Strangely put, but I do not smell untruthfulness. Is that "little bread and wine" really and truly the Precious Body and Blood of Christ?

Jorge - "Really and truly?" What is the connection between "reality" and "truth?" As you say, a tree falls in the forest but there is no, why, no bear to hear it? Does it make a sound? "Reality" is the fundamental ontological category of which we can say so very much, yet so very little. It presupposes a unified nature of all that is, but that is unproven. "Truth," on one hand, is the multivalent appreciation of the validity for all times and places of certain propositions. It presumes a moral intellect to perceive the truth. But on the other hand, truth is contingent upon experiences and felt needs of each person as we - meaning the Church - accompany them on their journey. When one travels - have you traveled much, Bear?

Bear - You might say Bear has gotten around.

Jorge - One travels, and the landscape remains the same. Yet, one returns over the very same road, always journeying, and we are always accompanying them in mercy. And while the landscape has remained the same, can you say you are on the very same road? Truth is dialogue between the pilgrim and that which is. Whatever it is.

Bear - I'll be damned. I got nothing here. [Moves left paw to previously unseen pull handle by Bear's left ankle.]

Jorge - What is this? You did not explain that handle.

Bear - It's special. Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only means of our redemption through his sacrifice?

Jorge - To be fair, that is two questions.

Bear - Bear will concede the objection. Jesus Christ, his only - come on, you know all this. So what do you say?

Jorge - We are all children, even when we stumble. Jesus himself said children may be caused to stumble, did he not? Is God the Father, or is he only partly the Father? Father to Catholics, but nothing to Lutherans? Maybe even an enemy? If God is not the Father to Muslims, then he must be divided in his nature. Father to a billion and a half Catholics, and yet what is he to the majority that is not Catholic? Father to some humans, yet not Father to the very same humans because they are named Mohammed (peace be upon him) instead of John? Are we not all made in the image of God?

Bear - [Paw on lever twitches.]

Jorge - I believe everything you say and that we all and each participate in that child-ship with our loving Father. Jesus is undeniably our brother. How then can we not have the same Father?

Bear - You're a tough one. Holy Trinity?

Jorge - A coruscating ballet of light and love that is beyond our understanding, but who may accurately be described in terms that are appropriate to the faith traditions dominate in various geographical regions and racial-societal identities.

Bear - What is today's mission of the Church?

Jorge - To accompany those on the periphery such as migrants. To bring chairs to the table when others, who already have their places, say "no!" The gospel - God himself - is understood in different ways in different times. There have been very scholarly periods in Church history, when the intellect has dominated mercy. But we live in different times, when we are called to act! The French have a word for it. Propagande par le fait. The mission of the Church is not to preach at people. Does that fill an empty stomach? Fill the ache of two people trapped in a marriage that has long since died? No!

Bear - Bear thinks that will do it for today. He would like to thank you for participating and being so honest. He did not detect a single lie.

Jorge - So, you will now release me?

-- Ten minutes later --

Bear - [Smoking cigarette outside entrance of Interview Cavern. Another Bear approaches and asks how the interview went.] Jorge's a very honest fellow. Bear was quite impressed. Turn him loose? No. [Sigh.] Bear had to pull the Jesuit Handle. Go? I don't know what's underneath the Interview- Hey, can we get some better names for our stuff? I mean, "Interview Cavern?" "Bear Chair?" It's embarrassing. Anyway, in that instant the trap door was open, Bear would swear he heard laughter. Bear thinks it was - Badgers.

Other Bear - Badgers? That's... [Other Bear shudders.] Hey, can you tell me something? Where do they go if they lie enough and you pull the lever?

Bear - [Laughs.] There's no cogwheel of random doom. The lever isn't connected to anything. We don't care about liars. We give them a nice meal and a plane ticket home. It's the true believers in all that crap he was blathering about that are killing us. Still...

Other Bear - Yeah. Bear knows. Badgers.

Bear - [Heaves deep sigh.] They got it comin' to 'em. That's what Bear keeps telling himself. Besides. He's not absolutely sure they were Badgers.

Other Bear - Yeah. Probably not. Not Badgers. You probably heard... Bear doesn't know. But not... you know. How's it going on getting that other Jorge, you know, the Pope, in your chair? Not the click bait one.

Bear - Oh, Bear crossed him off the list months ago. Do we really need to buy a one-way ticket to prove what he is? Besides. The last place we want him is on a plane with a freaking microphone in his hand.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Death Penalty Is Now a Mortal Sin SUCKA!


Yeah, in your face. It's official.

The death penalty is a mortal sin. Yep. No ifs and or buts. Oh, did I mention the death penalty was a mortal sin? So knock off that murderous bunk and get over it.

Right here in "America," the official magazine of the smartest Churchmen in the world - our POPE is a Jesuit, after all - it says this:

"Pope Francis: the death penalty is a 'mortal sin' and 'inadmissible.'" 

It's not even just a mortal sin but it's legally inadmissible!

Guess Bear was right all along huh? Because POPE FRANCIS said it. Infallibility baby.

Sit on a death penalty jury and vote for the death penalty? Going to Hell. Or you would be, if there was a Hell to go to that people actually went to.

Warden? You're definitely going to Hell.

Guys who push the buttons that that start the lethal injection process? Hell.

Legislators who vote for the death penalty? Hell. Voters who voted for them? Hell.

Judge? Hell. Bailiff? Hell. Court reporter? Maybe Hell - can't be sure.

You know who's not going to Hell? The guys all the people who are going to Hell executed!

Bear? Death Penalty Defense. NOT going to Hell. Prosecutors? You are so going to Hell. Deepest pit.

This will be the argument from now on. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you vote to send my client to the death chamber, you're sentencing yourself to Hell. It's official. But get this. First of all, you're for slavery. So that's strike number one. Then you're committing the mortal sin of death penalty which is so Hell.

"Oh, what was that? Objection, Hell Boy? Judge, did you really sustain that? A Higher Court just sentenced you to Hell. Contempt? Me? That's Hell, too. Sorry, Don't say I didn't tell you. Lucky LaRue the Ice Pick Nursery Killer and I are going to be eating pizza in Heaven, laughing at every last one of you in Hell. And it's going to be deep dish pizza, Chicago, style. As much as we want.

"What are you going to be eating? Hot gravel and washing it down with battery acid. Not as good as pizza, huh? That's why they call it Hell. Mortal sin."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Contest! Win an Autographed Copy of Bear's Novel!

First public answer wins. The contest last 24 hours. No previous winners please. Identify the above-pictured individual and briefly explain his relevance. That's all! Winner gets a free, autographed copy of the Bear's Book, send nailing addres to:


That didn't take long. Congratulations!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Someone Had to Say It

The Hound said it. 

Cormac McCarthy was an awful writer.

The Hound and the Bear is a majority in any company. For charity's sake, let's say he was talentless, and no one had the heart to tell him. Critics lavish praise upon him because they lavish praise on anyone that irritate ordinary people.

Bear thinks he was a stylist. He made his own rules because he could, not because he had discovered a better punctuation or grammar. Stylists are fine if, as nature intended, they blow up and we are done with them. When their literary ashes, mixed with dead leaves and bits of bird nests are mucked out of the gutter and preserved for all time like your little darling's kindergarten pictures, then nature as been defeated.

Whenever nature has been defeated, you know what happens.

Mother Nature releases her favorites: the dogged hound and the eviscerating Bear. Here's the Bear's own contribution, although it has been a long time, and it was shunted directly down the incinerator chute in his 450 gm brain.


He could see the highway from where he was both ways. He was on a berm a good high one with a good view. It ran before three cabins each cabin in which was a woman who loved him. He could feel the bubo on the back of his neck like an alka seltzer boil blooming in the sun which was a quarter past. Noon he thought. Maybe a quarter til. He gazed at the sun until he was blind. He would have to shoot the Negroes by sound.

Where he was they could not see him either. The Negroes not the girls who loved him.

It had gotten that bad in what two weeks ago was the good part of town where the only Negro you saw wore a uniform of some sort and not a police one.

The bubo was joined by another right on the end of his nose so he would not get a clear shot anyway. Why did he drink those gin fizz. The size of a golf ball the white kind he could hear the thwack carry from the country club a quarter mile to his left.

In one of the cabins was Consuela bare legs splayed behind her cello. In the next Mitzi a math whiz drawing doodles with long yellow fingers and stubby bits of chalk she hoped would save the world but he knew different. He had to leave the knife of screeching fingernails bleeding him dry from the great vein in his neck.

Gin fizz had egg in them. He was allergic to eggs. Peanut butter too. But he ate the peanut butter sandwiches and drank the gin fizzes with eggs in them anyway. Why. He used the touch readout to consult the Stupidometer he could not see with blistered retinas. He figured as much. The now needle with no color made of iron was buried so far in stupid not a molecule of the gin fizz he had laid down his carbine to pick up could fit between the fixings.

Why drink another gin fizz.

Why not.

Why another bubo on his buttock the right one at least.

Why not. It all made sense at last the gin fizzes the bubos the women the country club and the Negroes. He did not dislike them but it was their mutual nature to lay down with never a getting up. Sunday morning at Bedside Baptist forever.

It could be worse.

No it couldn't.

Because it made no difference although the prettiest of the girls she might have been 17 he told himself that because she was rich and had a rich daddy somewhere far from Negroes and Mexicans in Trumpland. If only he could get them all and the unborn baby but she was a pretty little thing and pretty did not last. Hell three bubos would last longer, outlast them all.

The Americans

Remember the Nice Blogger Who Wrote About
the Americans Sometimes?

Back when life was simpler - i.e. Benedict XVI was Pope, if he still isn't (see?) - we official Catholic bloggers got to gather around the campfire in the clearing and chat about just about anything. One blogger friend, now retired from the game, used to occasionally write about television shows.

The Americans was one of the shows she followed on her blog.

The pilot of this drama about Soviet spies in '80s America hooked us with an extended cut of Fleetwood Mac's pounding TUSK as the score to a chase. It promised to be another excellent television drama in the tradition of Breaking Bad.

Up until the current season, it mostly lived up to that promise, although Bear thinks we could have done with less of Keri Russell and a whole lot less of a certain U.S. Special Forces officer in an alley, an episode that scarred poor Bear for life. He is still afraid of the dark.

The Americans is a good show. But it is neither the same show nor as good as the show promised in the pilot.

Lotus 1-2-3

But while the Bear has kept up with it, this, the penultimate season, has managed to make being a Soviet "illegal" - a fake American and real spy - look as exciting as running a travel agency. (They manage to do that, too.) The episodes have been excruciatingly boring.

Critics love it. Who knows? Maybe the kind of people who write reviews for Slate and HuffPost really know good television, and aren't just getting together in their Che tees and rooting for the Russians once a week.

But the FBI agent who has lived across the street from the spies through five seasons is just comic relief as he blunders through each episode without a clue. By now, no matter how The Americans finally ends, Agent Beeman collaring his friends across the street will seem to come from way out of left field. Whatever tension there is, it does not include the smallest worry our comrades will get caught before the series finale, if then.

Another hilarious character is Keri Russell's current sex-for-info wheat expert in Topeka who is so much like Owen Wilson's perfect ex-boyfriend in Meet the Parents both the Bear and Red Death burst out laughing every time he is on screen doing Tai Chi or making organic soup or saving the world's grain. But the best comic highlight comes when, after Elizabeth's success with her noble and sensitive hunk, Phillip must admit he got dumped by his source.

His time with the affectless Miss Lotus 1-2-3 may have been the only time he actually thought of Mother Russia.

He did score a bootleg copy of that program though. And that is the story of Philip's life. That and guilt over killing some innocent wheat farmer based on bad information from Center. He is not a happy spy, and neither he nor Center trust each other. Elizabeth, on the other hand is a true believer. (Oddly, even Elizabeth sounds less like a communist than the average American leftist of today. Writers would recognize how ridiculous it would sound to have characters actually talk like that.)

Real commies would not be impressed by our special snowflakes.

The Greatest Non-Entertaining Television Drama

Don't get me wrong. The Americans does the whole Serious Drama Thing very well. The exception is the entertainment option. This season had one episode where an inordinate amount of time was spent showing grim Russians digging a deep hole. We drink coffee. We dig. We drink more coffee. And then, we put coffee down, pick up shovel - mama's shovel from beet collective we brought from Soviet Union with us - and dig more.

It really made the Bear appreciate just how boring being a spy could be, by, well you can finish that one.

Now, you can praise it as a taut slow-burn drama, an accurate Polaroid of the 80s, or, for a few seasons, anyway, an artistic study of the nude female-ish form. But entertaining? Look, Bear is BEAR. If there is anyone who would like a Russian spy drama, it would be the national animal of Russia. (And let us not forget the deep debt he owes for last year's rescue from Istanbul by SPETSNAZ.)

Let's put it this way. If a forest fire were this slow-burn, Smokey would turn over and go back into hibernation.

So imagine the Bear's surprise when he actually enjoyed the late-season episode, Dark Room.

The Dramatic Payoff

After nearly a season of setup, we finally get some dramatic payoff. There is nothing wrong with setup. But occasionally, one conflict or another has to erupt. or at least move from potential to manifest, whatever form that may take. People doing stuff is not drama, even with Keri Russell's game face or Matthew Rhys with lava bubbling beneath the surface because he already knows being a Soviet spy sucks, and there is no way this ends well for the people he loves.

Here's an example. Their Viet Cong kid in one of their other families makes a mysterious bus ride to an I-Hop. He gets caught, then explains it away with a lame story. Twenty minutes of just some random screw-up by a high school spy? Or setting up the ultimate downfall of spy fake mom and dad? Who knows?

Love makes an not-entirely unexpected but welcome return in this episode. It is sweet - and completely ruined by the knowledge that "Center" now wants the couple to keep their sexual partners on the hook indefinitely. Operational necessity, or is Center peeling Philip away from Elizabeth  as the weak sister.

But most of all, characters are being forced to realize their work has put them into a "dark room." The episode was very thematic. Relations with their new-old handler could not be chillier. There are reasons to doubt the truth of what they are being told. Having sex with other people all the time and living at least four lives, by Bear's count, is getting old and beginning to interfere with their fake marriage. Complicating matters is Elizabeth sort of falling for idealistic bearded Mr. Tai Chi.

Daughter Paige has her parents' spy genes. This episode holds a mirror to Philip and Elizabeth in a shocking conclusion with their daughter. A conflict over several seasons has been whether to bring the girl into the family business. Philip is against the idea, Elizabeth is for it, Gabriel (the kindly old handler who returned to Russia for reasons unknown) is against it. Paige is a competent teenage mess, but naively imagines her parents are on remarkably heroic missions that must remain unsung.

Bear supposes when you have unlimited time, the temptation is to write setup-setup-setup with multiple plot lines and character arcs in far-flung settings while putting off all your big payoffs.

For awhile, the Bear was thinking that the modern network prestige television series - Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Americans - had become the ideal vehicle for drama. It had the production values of film, but instead of 90 - 120 minutes, Breaking Bad's "running length" was one day, 23 hours and 23 minutes!

A canvas that big leaves a lot of room for character development, complex plots and details by the truckload. But if you look back (or think back) you realize the best of them are not immune to forgotten plot lines, characters who do not earn their screen time, and the round-and-round of obsessing over the same issues. It's easy to lose focus, I bet, especially if you can do no wrong in the eyes of critics.

We sometimes forget series writers are making it up as they go along over years. The Bear does not believe that the network prestige dramas will replace film or novel as the best vehicles for drama. Its very advantages work against them.

And if you have watched all five seasons of The Americans, congratulations. You have spent two days and four hours according to the website from where you may learn such things.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Rap Hit Def Bear Label: "Mercy Coprophagia" UPDATE

Here is a whole piece. 


Buona sera.

Fomenter of copraphagia.

Rosary counter.

Self-absorbed Promethean Neo-Pelagian.

Museum mummy.

Children afraid to dance, to cry, afraid of everything!


Buona sera.

Fomenter of copraphagia.

Rosary counter.

Self-absorbed Promethean Neo-Pelagian.

Museum mummy.

Children afraid to dance, to cry, afraid of everything!

Little monsters.

Fundamentalist. Fundamentalist! Funda-men-talist!

Creed-reciting parrot-Christians. (Caw!)

Christian bats who prefer the shadows to light.

Rigid. Rigid. Rigid! Ri-gi-dah!

Like lukewarm who are not aware they are naked. (Mixed metaphor, caw!)

They face the people of God with a switch in their hand.

Uh, turn off his mic - turn off his mic - turn off his mic...

(Credit to The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults which has many, many more insults.)

New rap hit on Def Bear label. "Mercy Coprophagia." (Test sample only.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Church Must Tackle Rigidity

Rigidity in the Church is a huge problem, second only to convincing Pope Francis to come out of hiding.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Tragedy of Jorge Bergoglio

The Tragedy of Pope Francis

The Bear sees Pope Francis as a tragic figure.

Not just in the way of a man given a great opportunity whose personality defects ruin it for him.

Not even in the way of a man who, in ignorance and arrogance, makes an effective start in tearing down a great institution.

Truth: the Ultimate Weapon

The Bear sees Pope Francis as tragic mainly because the Bear believes that, in his heart, Francis is convinced he is doing the right thing. No one sets out to be the bad guy. But, even more than that, his weapon is the truth, not lies. The truth is the ultimate weapon. That is his real danger.

Lies can be attacked, beaten. The truth, on the other hand, cannot. One must make complicated counterattacks doomed in advance by a thousand qualifications. But of course, we must respect the Holy Father. But of course, we give our intellectual assent to his magisterium. But of course, mercy is one of the chief elements of the Catholic Faith. 

By the time the orthodox defender of the Faith gets to the first "but," both he and his audience are bored and confused. It is a brilliant strategy.

And, of course, it takes a brave Catholic to challenge the Pope of Rome. Most don't have the guts for it. Loyalty to the Pope, absurdly, is placed at the pinnacle of virtue; it is the mark of a good Catholic, greater than all other virtues, and more important even than adherence to the words of Christ.

"Look at My Humility, My Beloved Descamisados!"

Francis came wearing a deceptively slick persona of humility and mercy. It is not easy to fool the more perceptive for long, however. It did not take much time for him to reveal his arrogance and cruelty and disregard for the Catholic Faith.

No sooner had he boasted of his own humility than his actions revealed the Peronist fraud upon the gullible descamisados - "Why, see? I'm just like you!"

No sooner had he spoken of his own mercy than a long, long enemies list slipped from his white garments: bat Christians and capitalists. Jorge Bergoglio was the outsider who finally got to be the ultimate insider.

How did the cardinals elector not see the danger in putting such a man in charge of the Church? The Bear believes that many did, and elected him anyway, because his weaknesses made him a ready tool for their designs. The rest were empty chairs and fools.

The Real Francis Could Have Made a Great Pope

The Bear happens to believe that the Church could use a more merciful tone. The Bear thinks churchman are, for the most part, insufferably arrogant. A genuine Pope Francis, who was really humble, who was really merciful, could have been a wonderful pope. He could have benefited the Church and enriched the lives of Catholics everywhere.

The Bear confesses he is not even much of a traditionalist. Give him morality that is logically in line with what has been believed everywhere at all times, and ritual approaching the competence of a high school chapter of Servants of the Misty Dawn, and the Bear will happy snooze through Father's ridiculous sermons on interfaith every week. 

Instead, Pope Francis is  just another shabby little South American Marxist, seething with resentment over his failed country that must have somehow been sabotaged by those rotten northerners who have gotten rich at his expense. Steal the Malvinas, will they?

Now, Francis has his big chance to show everyone. The Bear wishes it really were more complicated,  more dramatic, more evil, than that. He is a small man who has been given what he sees as unlimited power to solve every problem in the world, from the anguish of divorced and remarried Catholics to the desperation of boat people.

And in his ridiculous, arrogant, tin pot way, that is what he has set out to do.

Short Promoted Comment

Jeanne writes of Judging Angels:

Well, I finished it on Sunday afternoon, having bought it on Saturday morning. It does keep you on your toes, doesn't it ! And I enjoyed it very much. Fun while you're reading, thought-provoking afterwards.

I really am not sorry I once landed on your site, Bear. And it was no coincidence: we once gave our daughter (now 18) a very nice brown Steiff teddy we called « Corbinien », for obvious reasons. Other bears in the family include Edward, Winston, Diogène, Archibald, Oscar and Nestor Prosper de Bear. They are more interested in honey and whisky than in salmon, unfortunately…

Thanks again for a very good read. And please be assured of my prayers for your brother ; I lost my own brother (14 years older than I) to cancer last autumn. So in a way, I know…

Looking forward to the sequel


Thank you so much, Jeanne. Bear is happy you enjoyed it. And reading it in less than 24 hours is pretty impressive, as it comes in at 500 printed pages!

But this old moth-eaten show-Bear fears he will not fit into such impressive ursine company.

If you enjoyed it, the Bear asks a personal favor. If you can leave a 4 or 5 star review at Amazon, please do. It does not have to be a masterpiece, just a few short, plain words. Reviews and ratings are incredibly important to authors, especially a first-timer with an oddball mix of C.S. Lewis and Raymond Chandler.

If anyone does not like it (not everyone likes everything) consider, instead, sending the Bear a quick note so he can make the sequel better.

Again, Jeanne, thanks for the first piece of real fan mail. It is very exciting for Bear. Bear guesses that makes you his... Number 1 Fan? First official book-fan, anyway.

If anyone wants to kidnap Bear, don't worry about tying him down. Just stock up on honey and salmon and he'll be your guest for as long as you want. (Be sure there are plenty of windows in his room for, um, ventilation, if you know what the Bear means. Bear has been told by humans he does not smell very good, which he does not understand since Bears have the best noses in the animal kingdom.)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Kitty Foyle

The Bear finally got around to watching Gingrrr's Oscar-winning performance in the 1940 dumb-girl-learns-lesson weepie, Kitty Foyle. He must admit the story is not exactly timeless. America was still very class-conscious and a woman's life still revolved around The Man. (No comment.)

Yet Gingrrr delivers an honest and understated performance far removed from defying gravity on white Art Deco sets with Fred Astaire nearly a decade earlier. She even does a scene as a fifteen-year-old, which recalls her unfortunate turn in Monkey Business with Cary Grant. Was it better than Bette Davis in The Letter or Joan Fontaine in Rebecca (the other two nominees for Best Actress)? The Bear thinks so, although she probably got a buff from being in a serious socially-aware picture. Does it set the Best Actress bar or erase the memory of her in dance classics like Swing Time?


There is a reason Gingrrr is remembered for dancing, and not for drama. (Not that she wasn't a wonderful actress - the reason she is so delightful with Astaire is she is acting all the while she's dancing.)

She did define the "Kitty Foyle" style for America.

(Tell the truth. Does the Bear sound gay when he writes about Gingrrr?)

Um... I'm sorry, Bear, but kinda. And stop stalking me.

The writer was none other infamous Commie, Dalton Trumbo. (Hey, if you wanted just another human opinion you would be reading something else.) In the wartime Tender Comrade, Gingrrr walked off the set over what she viewed as the pink filter over Rosie the Riveter. In her autobiography she cites the line "Share and share alike: it's the American way!" as an example of Trumbo's unapologetic Marxist-Leninist agitprop.

She and her mama were real-life two-fisted (four?) Commie-fighters in Hollywood.

The Bear has forgotten what the other thing was. Anyway, there's another new article after this one.

Like Two She-Bears on 42 Little Kids... and the Pope

Pope Francis Reacts to Release of Bear's Novel

First, so has Judging Angels been officially released upon the world. The Bear feels oddly unconcerned, which seems, well, odd. Old habits of the legal profession are urging him to leave the phone number of the bar nearest the courthouse with the bailiff and retire to wait upon the verdict. (Another tradition destroyed by cell phones.)

Yes, that is the secret of why lawyers don't usually show much reaction at the verdict. They're barely conscious, retaining just enough sobriety to ask the court to "pool the jory."

Wait a second. Where has the Bear been the last 24 hours?

(There's another reason. An experienced trial lawyer knows the instant the jury comes out whether his man has been found guilty or innocent. Jurors will not look at someone they have just found guilty.)

Many thanks to the Bear's publisher, who, after spotting a Bear sipping Coca-Cola in Schwab's Drug Store, intuited he might be able to write something. They survived all of Mr. Perfectionist Bear's revisions, too, and are already busy getting news releases published.

More on your Pope

Now, about Pope Francis. The Bear is not finished with his thoughts on the uniqueness if one Jorge Bergoglio, or the unprecedented damage he is doing to the Church, or the many reactions Catholics may have to him.

Once again, the Bear respectfully differs with those who see Francis in terms of other popes throughout history. History ain't what it used to be. For all we know, we may have ushered in the era of "courtesy canonizations." We live in really, really strange times. Just look at our politics. There is a difference not only in quantity, but in quality of public discourse. There has always been yellow journalism. Now we all bleed yellow ink.

The Bear said "the many reactions Catholics may have to him," because there seems to be a continuum. One need look no further than the opinions on the internet.

  1. Pope Francis is the respected successor to St. Peter, and, as such, is due slightly more veneration than was Emperor Hirohito in his day.
  2. Pope Francis may have a wobble in his orbit, but his ordinary magisterium remains just as worthy of respect and assent as any pope's. That's the LAW.  (Query: if the answer is that we need pay attention only as far as he is right, i.e. in line with other popes, then do we have to memorize Denziger, and how do we know those popes were right? Seems a bit over-engineered for a bunch of Galilean fishermen, if you ask the Bear.)
  3. Pope Francis can do no damage to the Church short of infallibly declaring some abomination before the Lord an Article of Faith, which is not going to happen.
  4. Look, you don't have to pay attention to everything the old fellow says. Only the big stuff. (Like homosexuality and divorce?) The Church will be protected by God.
  5. Whatever you think about Pope Francis - and let's admit he's a few steps short of a tango - he remains THE POPE. Whom one must NEVER criticize. (Paging Michael Voris.)
  6. Entertain your private doubts, if you must, but you're in danger of heresy, and in any case must never, ever criticize him for fear of starting up the Know Nothings again.
  7. Rome, we have a problem. Prudence and good taste dictate, however, that we do not speak of il Papa's delicate condition.
  8. We have never quite seen anything like Jorge Bergoglio's disconnect with the deposit of the Faith nor his willingness to perform end runs around around the Church itself via incessant media exposure. The man is a menace.
  9. No REAL pope would spout half the nonsense he does. Pope Benedict is still at the wheel and Bergoglio is flat out an antipope.
  10. No REAL CHURCH would ever elect someone as evil as Jorge Bergoglio, so he is Exhibit A in the case for sedevacantism.
  11. Jorge Bergoglio is nothing less than Damien in his old age. He is evil. In fact, he is at the very least the FALSE PROPHET. In other words, a cosmic player in the end times.
  12. We had a good run, but the warranty has expired on the Church. Time to become one of those Protestants that get salmon and honey while the praise band is warming up. (Do not tempt Bear.)
The Bear submits that everyone reading this blog is somewhere along this continuum. 

Report your number, should you feel brave.

There is another position to take, one that may be closest to that of the Bear. Life is short. There is not much excuse for getting any of the Really Big Questions wrong. We could do worse by whistling past the pontificate of the eccentric gentleman from Argentina and keeping our fingers crossed that someone with less ambition to change the Church than Martin Luther gets to be pope next time. (Outh-say Mera-kay is a no-no.)

In other words, we're pretty sure committing adultery is really wrong, and you must still be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion, and Sodom did not get God's Lifestyle Seal of Approval for 3123 B.C. Some things are best left to God while we muddle along the best we can in our day-to-day lives even if it appears that the wheels are coming off the Barque of Peter. (Yeah, the Bear said that on purpose.)

In terms of logic, the sedevacantists would seem to have the best case, as their position neatly solves most apparent problems. (Factually may be another matter, but in any case, that's a plump horse of another color.)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bear's Novel Released

Finally, the Bear's novel, Judging Angels, is available for purchase! It's a BIG, Bearish tale that begins with a series of crimes that put the criminal justice system on TILT. Does our hero George Able find a Christmas Miracle? Or does his second chance require a pact signed in blood? Whatever the case, the deal comes with one beautiful young redhead who is in love and lethal and clueless about her origins. A fractured family must put aside its problems to mount a rescue.

Red Morgan, as the woman calls herself, seems essential to their efforts. Yet troubling clues convince George's estranged wife Alice that there is only one obstacle to Red's fantasy of her and George's white wedding in Vegas: Alice herself.

The Bear has tried to pack a lot of interesting things into the story, but they are really there to keep the reader's interest during an exploration of common issues faced by everyone, but especially Catholics - and most especially lapsed Catholics - today.

  • How does the Church's apparent waffling on divorce affect a man tempted by a bad marriage and a beautiful new love?
  • What is the right way to deal with near occasions of sin - and the very, very, wrong way?
  • Why is the sin of pride so insidious?
  • What effect do the sins of parents have on their children?
  • Why are some smart people tempted to drift away from the Catholic Church?
  • How can two similar men choose different responses to changes in the Church?
  • How can seemingly weak priests occasionally surprise you?
  • And most of all, how far will each of the characters go to rescue Sandy, the youngest of the family who has been kidnapped by evil incarnate?

This a book where characters have grown-up discussions with one another. And sometimes kill people. Chapter by chapter, the temptations are ratcheted up, and the choices  become narrower.

And in this C.S. Lewis meets Raymond Chandler oddball there are - to paraphrase a line from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum - plenty of dames, guns and schemes, for those of you who have absolutely no interest in pirates - erm, theology.

The Bear hopes you enjoy. Just set aside all expectations... all of them except the fact that this novel was written by Your Bear, with his Bearish sense of humor.

By the way, it bears little resemblance to the early version sent out to readers. Thanks to some constructive criticism and a major revision, the Bear is proud to release this novel, the first in the Rubricatae Chronicles. Yes, if you enjoy it, God willing, there will be plenty more of some of the most original writing out there.

There are a few instances of bad language, and a some Bearish scenes involving bloodshed, although, for the most part, the Bear toned that down.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bears to Church: "We Got This"

Planet of the Heretics

"You bloody fools. Ah, damn you!"

That's it. Bears are taking over. Resistance is... yummy. For a preview, check out the Bear's favorite website.

Why does the Bear feel like Charleton Heston on the beach at the end of Planet of the Apes?

Ann Barnhardt's inaugural podcast was pretty gosh-darn good, and not just because she cites the Bear. She gets the high stakes we are playing for.

The Terrible Truth Everyone is Afraid to Acknowledge

IF we can have a pope who spouts the bull... erm... crap that Francis does; who is elected and reigns unchallenged; diminishing, no changing, the Faith in fact by exceptions and distractions; who one day dies; and 95% of the Catholic Church declares he was a saint among us, who was humble, and truly cared for those on "the peripheries;" whose abominable encyclicals remain on the shelf next to those of great, faithful popes of the past, THEN


There is a PROBLEM with the papacy itself.

And if a problem with the papacy, then a PROBLEM with the Church itself.

And if a problem with the Church itself, there is no logical reason to believe anything the Church has ever declared to be the truth. The Bear means, if you catch your spouse cheating, why should you believe him or her the next time there is reason to suspect adultery? A promise has turned out to be a broken thing. There are things you can do after breaking a promise, but un-breaking it is not one of them.

But God made this promise, right? So it is impossible that Pope Francis is Damien in his old age, right?

Anyway, Bear forgot. Adultery's no big deal anymore. The Bear would think of a better example if he did not run such a slipshod ephemeris.


Now, are you awake? Are  you shocked? Is there a flaw in the Bear's logic? A divinely guided institution is less like a machine than a diamond. A machine can have worn out parts and still function, although perhaps not as well.

A diamond is whole or not. Period. You can't admit a flaw to its integrity or it is essentially changed.

"But we've had bad popes before."

You know, the Bear does not believe that is even worth the electrons it would take to argue, but here goes. Those popes may have been immoral, and they may have been mistaken, but they did not start tearing down the Faith starting at Genesis 2:24. Also, a Medieval pope did not have the ability to wage unceasing warfare against the Faith on a one-to-on basis.

Worst argument ever. It would be fine if Jorge Bergoglio was just a "bad pope." He is far, far worse than that. He is an enemy of the Church. Possibly a major cosmic player, but let's not get carried away. It's like having a Bear rampage through your house and saying, "Oh, we've had pests before."

We really need a new theology of the papacy to logically cover the facts that (a) Francis is Pope, and (b) he is actively destroying the Catholic Church and the ancient Faith. Good luck with that one. You know, though, if you're going to make all these claims about your pope and your Church, you had better be able to explain Jorge Bergoglio. Submitting a dubia did not accomplish anything. And that is charitable.

The solution is... Yeah, Bear's got it here in his pocket...
Oh, wait, Bear doesn't wear pants. He doesn't have a pocket. Uh...

So what is the solution? The Bear's earlier shocking example cannot be simply dismissed unless we are to fall into fideism. Logically, it remains a viable option that can be forensically presented with a reasonable degree of confidence, if one were not Catholic. Right now the Bear would hate to have to enter into a debate with a Protestant about the Glorious Shining Truths of the Unchanging Catholic Church.

"Divorce? We Catholics don't believe all that crap anymore. Can we talk about something relevant, like migrants?"

But do not fear. The Bear is not going to adopt that logical and defendable position today.

But he's got to tell you, we are being so abused by our churchmen, by our theologians, by our thinkers, and by 99% of the Catholic media, and especially by the ultramontanist faction. Why does some STUPID BEAR who can't even shop at a normal menswear store have to sit here with comfort-honey smeared all over his muzzle trying to figure out this crap with his 450 gm. brain?

The Bear isn't going to adopt that logical and defendable position he outlined before, you know, the one that we've been duped all along. That exercise is not the take-away.

He will adopt some other logical and defendable position.

Except he does not know what the Hell it is, and it is apparent none of our gelded darlings who manage what we believe are going to tell him. Freaking do-it-yourself Catholicism by blog. The Bear is sick and tired of it.

Pope Corbinian

Tell you what. If everything's up for grabs anyway, the Bear declares himself Pope Corbinian. Is that any more ridiculous than Pope Francis turned out to be? Would the Bear be a worse pope? Could he? Heck, the world would love him more than Francis. "A Bear! That is so adorable!"

So, great. First act: everything Jorge Bergoglio ever wrote is collected and burned. Second act: every act of Jorge Bergoglio's papacy is abrogated. Third act: Jorge Bergoglio is excommunicated with bell, book and candle and he is banished to the Vatican dungeons in chains.

The absence of microphones will prove fatal within days.

Pope Corbinian. Governing the Church from this ephemeris since April 26, 2017. Because, in all seriousness, the universe is not big enough for the contradictions inherent in there being a Catholic Church and Jorge Bergoglio being its pope.

Happy days are here again.

Pope TED

Everybody loves to hate TED talks. It is an official entry on the "Stuff White People Like" website. Comedian Sam Hyde was spot on when he gave a ridiculously self-congratulatory TED talk on "the 2070 Paradigm Shift" a few years ago, while dressed like a Greek hoplite.

With his "Neo-Earth Good Government League" he should have been the warm-up act for Francis' TED talk.

 Among the gems (this is Sam Hyde):

What inspires me, is teaching African refugees how to program Javascript. What inspires me is finding out how to use MagLev trains to get resources to the moon. These are the challenges that tomorrow's going to face.

It should be no surprise that Pope Francis popped up on a TED to talk about the "Future You."

The Bear finds that phrase ominous, since, actuarially, the future Bear will shortly be fertilizing the daisy patch. But, of course, the future is full of hope for Pope Francis. But what kind of hope?

As the Bear read the bland comments, he recalled the brilliant po-mo generator that assembles jargon into academic essays that have fooled at least one journal. It would not be hard to create a "Francis Generator" that did a quick paste job using solidarity, refugees, migrants, youth, arms dealers, dialogue, and those evil northern bastards who stole everything from the south, etc.

This talk could have been generated by the Bear's hypothetical program. And it is just as hard to write a sensible story about. You can skim it for yourself. It isn't that long. It is devoid of any genuine Catholic insights. The theological virtue of Hope is reduced to an expectation for a better tomorrow - here on earth. Pope Francis actually calls for a revolution. A worldly revolution, of course, that would put in power progressives like himself.

It makes an uncomfortable read, because you realize that this is not someone who is all that interested in souls, or Heaven, or any of that stuff. Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope to advance the agenda of the Prince of This World. His gospel is the anti-gospel of the Prince of This World.

The Bear will pull one comment for analysis, though.

If there is one parable that is the most abused, it is the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Your Pope makes it sound like it is being declaimed by Lenin while the Internationale plays in the background.

The story of the Good Samaritan is the story of today’s humanity. People's paths are riddled with suffering, as everything is centered around money, and things, instead of people. And often there is this habit, by people who call themselves "respectable," of not taking care of the others,

So far, so not too awful. There are many who put caring for another person far down on the list. Especially rich bastards, but, still, this isn't so bad. But then here's the sting.

thus leaving behind thousands of human beings, or entire populations, on the side of the road. Fortunately, there are also those who are creating a new world by taking care of the other, even out of their own pockets.

"Thousands of human beings." "Entire populations, on the side of the road." But, hey, those who support my immigration policy are "creating a new world." Heaven on earth. You would think his Bible had "The Parable of Redistributing Wealth to Entire Populations By the Side of the Road." If his papacy lasts long enough, yours will, too.

The Bear will let you judge for yourself whether Pope TED has a clue about what the Parable of the Good Samaritan means. But here's a hint: forbid any Marxist interpretation and he would be left stammering.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Where's That Story?

The Bear reconsidered. If the original blogger thinks it should be dropped, the Bear should respect her wishes, rather than perpetuate a story that - really - was not his. We are a community, and... well, that's all. (Re: Arkansas condemned.)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview of the Bear on his Novel JUDGING ANGELS

Please examine the elements of the
cover carefully. They are each there for
a reason. Do not say you were duped by
the Bear into thinking you were
buying a Pooh book.
Q: When will Judging Angels be published, and who is the publisher?
A: If they made wristwatches big enough to fit on the wrists of Bears, the Bear would be looking at his. Hope and Life Press.
Q: Once and for all, who really wrote Judging Angels?
A: The same intelligence, wit and style behind this ephemeris is behind Judging Angels.
Q: What genre is Judging Angels?
A: All of the above. [Audience light flashes: "Laugh."] It has been marketed as a "psychological thriller," and "urban fantasy." But it also has elements of crime, mystery, police procedural, soft science fiction, adventure, and even romance. Perhaps it is best to say that a family and the criminal justice system meet something very difficult to digest. The "secret ingredient" is theological, however. Whatever loud explosions and bright lights are going off to distract readers, the heart of Judging Angels is God. Think of it as a cross between C.S. Lewis and Raymond Chandler.
Q: How would that work?
A: Dames and guns, see, but in the service of the Church and souls.
Q: That seems like it would be hard to make work.
A: Yeah? Well, not for a Bear, see? And not for any characters who are "not from around here" as they prefer to say, wink wink. Mostly it's dark, but it is well-lubricated by mordant humor. The purpose is to throw some ordinary people into the midst of various temptations and see what happens. And laugh at them. Here's a hint: [Bear shakes head sadly]. While the details might be fanciful, the principles are frighteningly realistic. Let's just say, you'll probably put the book down thinking about getting into Confession.
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: There are consequences to every decision. Don't come looking for cheap grace or the kind folks of Bedford Falls to come and bail out poor old George Bailey. There is a reason there needs to be a lot of humor. It deals with serious things like exactly how everyone is going to Hell. That's what's really scary, not a throat getting slit or something. (Hypothetical example... if that means what the Bear thinks; but it happens to people!)
Q: How does it compare with The Brothers Karamazov?
A: A lot more laughs. Um, Bear forgets. How many people got shot in that book?
Q: The Godfather?
A: Um, how many people got shot in that one?
Q: Obviously, you're joking, right?
A: Yeah. Joking.
Q: What audiences is Judging Angels suitable for?
A: That's a good question. A Hell of lot fewer than the Bear thought before this interview. Just kidding, just kidding. It is not as bad as the Book of Judges, to put things in perspective. It deals with things like maybe shooting people, and near occasions of sin. Oh, also strangling people. And maybe a pitchfork. That's it... okay: knife. I'm not going to give everything up. Some of the violence is what we call "off scene." Nothing explicit. Bear took all that out. Actually, some stuff was taken out, and 'explicit' is hard to define, but the Bear will say there is nothing tasteless. No Bear attacks. Although that's a great idea. It may not be too late for that. Maybe fraternizing with supernatural beings of uncertain origin, like redheads. [Audience light flashes: "Laugh."]
Q: Anything besides violence?
A: There are dark themes such as suicide, and human mating rituals, but this is published by a very respectable publishing house, after all. Tough to write about human behavior while keeping it all innocent. Even Goldilocks was a felon. The Bear writes what he knows about, except no salmon, and no honey. It has some language C.S. Lewis probably didn't use too much, but you've probably heard worse in the Marine Corps. Besides, the Bear thinks one character is responsible for nearly all of it. And it isn't the Marine. Sin and damnation is grownup stuff. It's not for pre-teens.
Q: Do you have a favorite character?
A: Sure. The one on the cover. Seriously, the Bear thinks most of them would be best as a meal. Two she-bears eating everyone wouldn't be a bad ending. The 15-year-old has the best lines and the worst parents ever, so you got to kind of like him. There's a six-year-old who is pretty harmless. In this book.
Q: Can you tell us anything about the plot?
A: Sure. The easiest-to-kidnap member of the family gets kidnapped, and everybody nearly sets aside their various issues to try to rescue her. (Watch the trailer) But that is the least important thing going on, which is the big joke that everybody but the main characters get. Oh, I forgot something. Tarot readings.
Q: What about them?
A: There are some, but done by the bad guys. Let's just say, they don't help. Oh.
Q: What?
A: That made me think of something else. Maybe someone else gets shot... at... urm... But there is a strong anti-violence message. The message is violence is bad, and stuff. It doesn't solve anything. Also a strong gun responsibility message. Guns are bad, but if you have to use them, do so safely. And effectively. Also, there is a strong softball bat responsibility message, and same goes for that wicked-looking thing in your grandpa's toolshed whose name you don't know. Look, bad guys do bad things. The author was a death penalty defense lawyer, for Pete's sake! And a Bear, who has, let's call them issues with firearms and humans, okay? And redheads. One redhead, he means. His driver, bodyguard, factotum and lawfully wedded wife under the Munich Bear Exception, Red Death.
Q: Aren't you afraid of controversy coming out with a Catholic novel like you've described?
A: Oh, so you haven't read the Bear's ephemeris! No. Nobody is going to order Judging Angels thinking it was Pilgrim's Progress for Catholics. The Bear believes you have to take risks, and Catholic fiction should not live on its own National Forest Reserve. You would have to reach to find something to be offended at, unless you're a Baptist, but even so, the Bear has always considered Judging Angels a mainstream novel with characters dealing with human problems that have eternal consequences. The Bear certainly hopes no one would have to be Catholic to enjoy this book, or find value in it. It will resonate most strongly with Catholics, though. And Bears. And guys who like redheads and guns. With everyone, really.
Q: Thank you for making yourself available for this exclusive interview.
A: You're very good. It was almost like interviewing myself.
[Audience light flashes: "Applause."]

The comments reflect the opinions and humor of the Bear, and his for-human-purposes persona "Tim Capps", and not necessarily those of the publisher.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bear's Prediction: Francis Will Leave Little Legacy

A rhumba of rattlesnakes. (Yes, that is what it is called.)
The Vatican may be a rhumba of rattlesnakes, but too few of them are motivated by aberrant ideology to risk a repeat of Sampson's after-dinner show for the Philistines.

Bear predicts there will be the usual polite language when Bergoglio go-goes, but inside, most prelates are going to be saying, "Boy, did we elect the wrong guy. How could we have been so stupid? Let's get back to normal ASAP before the Bear hops a tramp salmon freighter and cleans house, but good."

The Bear does not think the institutional Church enjoys turmoil. Nor does it wish to court schism, however small the risk. And, who knows? Perhaps there are 10 righteous men in Sodom-on-the-Tiber.

The next pope will be a reliable Italian. This whole darts-at-a-map thing has not worked out very well. His job will be to settle the hens down after that fox Bergoglio is gone. The era of the magisterium of the sound byte will be over. Everybody has seen what a disaster it has been.

Nobody likes to be made fun of incessantly.

There will be the usual suspects agitating, but the Bear repeats, institutions do not enjoy chaos. The mainstream plus the faithful will out-vote the cardinals of questionable orthodoxy.

The Bear does not think Bergoglio was voted in over a desire to extend Holy Communion to divorced and remarried persons. The Bear thinks he was elected to be the outsider that would fix things. Perhaps he even ran for pope on that platform. "I'm from Argentina. And if there's one thing that Argentina is known for it is fixing problems with institutions."

Bergoglio is a little man. He has done what many little men have done when given a big office. He has strutted around like Generalissimo Peron while telling us descamisados how humble he is. The last thing the next pope will want to hear is, "...carrying on the reform of the Church begun by Pope Francis..."

There is a contrary scenario, however. While the institution does not enjoy turmoil, it enjoys popularity. If Bergoglio is perceived to be a populist who made the Church relevant again, we might get someone similar in style. Even so, the Bear still has to believe orthodoxy is going to count at the next conclave.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Can Francis Destroy the Church?

Bears have a saying: "A bee on the end of your nose is big." Meaning, when we're focused closely on something, it is easy for things to look bigger than they are.

The quick answer to Can Francis Destroy the Church is probably not. This moves us to the second question: Can Francis Destroy the Papacy. That's a closer question.

The tools the Bear has are practical ones developed over centuries to smoke out liars. One of the most important of these is simple the assessment of credibility. It's a seat-of-your-pants skill we all use. It may seem like bootstrapping, because, after all, determining credibility is supposed to be the result of inquiry in court. Yet most people can size up someone pretty quickly and surprisingly accurately. Credibility is the short-cut to knowing if a witness is telling the truth in particulars.

Once you decide someone is not worthy of your belief, his credibility is shot, and you don't need to worry about whether the streetlight was out at the time he said he clearly saw the nighttime murder across the street. Liars lie, buh-bye.

The Bear alludes to the greatest engine for determining the truth known to mankind - cross examination. Exposing bad testimony in particular answers is fine, and a good cross is darned near unbeatable (except by a truthful witness not playing games).

Ah, just the name is charged with drama and tinged with more than a little fear. Cross examination is seldom fun for the witness. Especially when he is being cross examined by a Bear.

You might catch a witness in an outright falsehood. That would certainly put a ding in his believability. You might learn that he is legally blind without his glasses, which were sitting broken on top of his TV as he peered out the window, or he was in Las Vegas when the crime was committed back in Peoria.

Or, you might just observe the witness and listen to the little fibs and accumulation of backtracks. Then, maybe you learn he's a convicted felon who is the best friend of the alternate suspect. A pattern builds up over time and one can can conclude this:

"This person is simply not the truth-telling sort of man I'm going to pay much attention to in this important matter." There is no recovering in the eyes of the jury from losing credibility.

The Pope of Rome is unique among all people in that his job is to speak the truth, and only the truth, but, moreover, he is preserved from error by a whole lot of complicated rules that we can forget about for our purposes. Unless someone cares to explain why it's okay for the Pope to avoid the truth on important matters such as communion for the divorced and remarried as long as he doesn't have his lucky rabbit's foot in his pocket, the Bear does not draw nice distinctions in the age of the magisterium of the sound byte.

So when a sentient Catholic must concede the obvious - Pope Francis is not telling the truth - it matters. Big time. After all, if the Pope can spend his entire papacy running around contradicting Jesus and shoveling untold millions of souls into Hell (maybe), what good is he? And if the signature office of the Catholic Church is worse than useless, what else did those devious medieval clerics dupe us about?

If Pope Francis had not already said Martin Luther was right, the Bear might suspect he was. As it is, the opposite of whatever our Pope says is a veritable rock of the faith.

So, is it time to stock up on Jack Chick tracts and hit the hallelujah highway? This is really another way of coming at a favorite theme of the Bear: cognitive dissonance. Catholics are being required to believe two opposite things at the same time. The Bear doesn't know about you, but that gives the Bear a headache. A headache and a craving for human flesh.

So what's the answer? Stay tuned, but feel free to try your hand.


The Bear has been busy. He will be glad to be able to return to regular blogging.

Editing goes back-and-forth like a tennis match. Bear gets an edited manuscript, marks it up and sends it back, then awaits the return volley. The Bear has just submitted his final edit. In other words, as far as the Bear is concerned, Judging Angels is finished.

Bear will get it back one last time. When he's happy with it (and he should be, by now) that's it. You may fire when ready, Gridley.

Since this is a series, the Bear has been thinking about a name for that. All the ones he wanted were already taken. (Dante Chronicles - taken.) There are "The Red Files," or "The Rubricatae Files." There is also "The Return of the Firstborn," or "The Firstborn Chronicles."

Comments welcome.

More than a few folks volunteered to be readers, but did not get back to the Bear. The Bear wants you to know that's fine. It's a long book, and things are much less rough now than they were then. Not everyone likes urban fantasy. Whatever the reason, the Bear says heavy attrition is expected and  he does not take it personally.

The Bear would hate for old friends to feel they could not post  because of some reason or another.     

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Checkers Lives!

We had thought old Reynard the Fox had inflicted a death blow upon our brave rooster, Checkers. He  did valiantly fight the fox, giving his hens time to escape to safety. However, with some TLC from his girls, he survived. His crow, however, will never be the same. It is now a drawn-out croak, instead of a ringing challenge to darkness and foxes.


Croak with pride, thou Auroura's falcon,
who purpleth the sky with thine enemies' blood,
thou dost not show thy wounds, but singeth.
Chicken thou never wert.

Revolutionaries or Thieves?

When we hear the account of the crucifixion of Jesus, some might be surprised to learn that Jesus was crucified between two "revolutionaries," instead of the traditional thieves.

Let's look at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's New American Bible (Revised Edition), the Vulgate, the Douay Rheims Bible, and the original Greek.

NABRE (and Lectionary):
"Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left." New American Bible. (2011). (Revised Edition., Mt 27:38). Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Vulgate (the Latin word latrones means brigands, robbers, highwaymen):
"Tunc crucifixi sunt cum eo duo latrones: unus a dextris, et unus a sinistris." Biblia Sacra juxta Vulgatam Clementinam. (2005). (Ed. electronica., Mt 27:38). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Douay Rheims Bible (a translation of St. Jerome's Vulgate):
"Then were crucified with him two thieves: one on the right hand and one on the left." The Holy Bible, Translated from the Latin Vulgate. (2009). (Mt 27:38). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Other translations have "bandits" (Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition) or "robbers" (New Revised Standard Version).

The original Greek is λῃσταί, or lestai. It comes from a root meaning "booty." The Greek word in the original Gospel manuscript simply meant "robber." It is probably closer to our word "brigand," as in one of a band of robbers, not a lone mugger. "Thief," is not the best translation, however, because a thief can be a shoplifter or embezzler. Brigands often killed people. It is quite possible that the criminals crucified next to Jesus were murderers. (In St. Luke's Gospel, one of them -- described as "criminals" -- even admits that they were being justly punished for their crimes, hardly the words of a martyred freedom fighter.)

Some provincial funerary inscriptions from Roman times record that the dead were killed by latrones, i.e. brigands. Starting in the 1950's, leftist scholars began arguing that these well-to-do Romans had been killed by "revolutionaries," anti-imperialist freedom fighters.

Since the Roman province of Judea was a hotbed of rebellion, the NABRE translators decided that these latrones, λῃσταί (lestai) -- brigands -- must have been Jewish zealots who were rebelling against the Romans. They departed from the traditional translation and came up with the eccentric "revolutionaries."

They may have been freedom fighters, or just murderous brigands, or some combination. But the actual Greek does not compel a translation to "revolutionaries." Indeed, there are other Greek words that could have been used had St. Matthew intended to convey that idea.

The NABRE is usually a close and reliable translation from the original languages. The Bear believes in this particular instance, however, translators read something into the text that is not there.

As for why the USCCB would want to put Jesus between two revolutionaries on Calvary, your guess is as good as the Bear's.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


The Bear knows some have expressed interest in contributing to this august journal, known as SCB.

It's easy. Keep it topical, short and interesting. If you can squeeze a chuckle out of it, so much the better. Just email it to the Bear. Don't pretend to be the Bear. No guarantees, A rejection may only mean that the Bear is working  on a similar piece.

You would be credited with your own name, or any woodland creature pseudonym you wish.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pope Lets Down Bloggers Once Again

The whole idea of blogging is that somebody does something and the blogger offers insightful commentary. But Pope Francis is so mind-numbingly stupid there's just nothing to add.

Muslims mass-murder Christians in Egypt and the Pope says this:

We pray for the victims of the attack carried out unfortunately today, this morning, in Cairo, in a Coptic church. I am close to my dear Brother, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and to the Coptic Church and to all the dear Egyptian nation I express my profound condolence; I pray for the deceased and the wounded, I am close to the families and to the whole community. May the Lord convert the heart of all those persons that sow terror, violence and death, and also the heart of those that produce and traffic arms.

Sorry, Bear got nothing.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bear Francis Cartoon

Insist on genuine AMORIS LAETITIA explosives to get that Adultery Express Lane done on schedule!

Friday, April 7, 2017

So, If Adulterers Can Receive Communion...

ACCEPTING THE FOLLOWING AS TRUE for the sake of this experiment...

If adulterers can receive Holy Communion, then who must not?

  • Murderers
  • Child abusers
  • Active Homosexuals (just kidding, but of course!)
  • Um...

The list seems pretty short to the Bear. Who really needs the sacrament of confession? If it all comes down to the interior forum of your conscience anyway, and Francis has set a pretty low bar of adultery, why should a Bear or anyone bother with going to confession? (It was not very much used anyway, if you compare the confession line to the communion line.)

There is a line in The Caine Mutiny where Fred MacMurray says the ship was "designed by geniuses to run by idiots." With no offense to the Petrine Office, the Bear thinks the Church is pretty much the same. It does not take a lot of talent to avoid totally screwing up everything. The dumbest pope in history could fake his way through a decade or so. "Where is il papa?" "Oh, he's around here someplace, praying, I think."

Most of us have had the experience of finding the end of a loose thread and pulling. And pulling. It just never stops. At the level where most Catholics live, do you really believe most of them are not going to find the logic of "if adulterers, then..." compelling? Where does that logic stop? You cannot ignorantly or wickedly fool around with complex equipment with many interacting parts, or even a sweater.

The question of communion for adulterers was answered long ago. Now, Francis has not just messed up our theology of Holy Matrimony, he has attacked at least two other sacraments, as well: the Holy Eucharist and Confession. The Bear says "at least" because the more Francis throws well-established truths into what he views as the dustbin of history, the more challenged the credibility of the Church itself becomes.

Francis may or may not realize he is sawing off the limb upon which he sits. The Bear believes he doesn't care. The Bear thinks he wakes up every morning saying, "What good is being Pope if I can't change everything?" He won't be around for the drop.

"If adulterers can receive Holy Communion on the whim of a pope, what good is a pope, anyway?" Let's just make it official and become Lutherans.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Judging Angels Ready

[UPDATE OUT IN APRIL] It won't be long now. Judging Angels is all set up for printing and looks fantastic. The Bear could not be more pleased by the early reviews. Now the Bear must walk through the valley of the shadow of edits and submit his final comments, pleas, and rawrs. Bears can work pretty quickly. The Bear will try to get a publishing date and details about how you can get your own autographed copies through this ephemeris.

If you believe you have a free copy coming to you, please remind the Bear by email to . Please put "FREE COPY" in the subject and remind the Bear of the circumstances, plus your mailing address.

The sequel is rolling along nicely, too, anywhere from a quarter to a third finished. The Bear will toss out some chapter titles when he gets some more. Of course, it will be hard to beat "Hotel Blocks Cops, Tots Chopped," but the Bear will do his ursine best.

New characters, and the domestic drama becomes a full-fledged conspiracy with favorite old characters take on roles of cosmic significance.

Soon, Woodland Creatures! Thank you for your encouragement.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Wicker Man Midwestern Edition

Awake Woodland Creatures, Awake and sing the ancient lays,
Dance the ancient dances, hunt the sacred eggs of fertility laid by
magical rabbits!  Awake, awake, for Ostara has come to brighten the Woodlands.

11 Days of Compassion as we roll into Ostara. The Bear doesn't know about your parish, but in his parish, Ostara is a very busy time to make sure you're seen at all the right events so people will think highly of you. This looks very complicated, however. Perhaps we could substitute Eleven Days of Random Bear Mauling. It would be simple, cheap, fun for the Bear, and exhilarating for survivors.

Perhaps you'll feel like doing a little mauling yourself after reading our Ostara events.
  • Compassionate Community Teen Photo Exhibit
  • Compassionate Community Photo Exhibit
  • Unity in Community Fast ("in your tradition")
  • Read "12 Steps to a Compassionate Life" by St. Karen Armstrong (not sure about the "St.")
  • All Species Puppet Workshop (WTF?)
  • Peace Coalition Monthly Vigil, Theme "What Does Compassion Look like?" (Like Pope Francis, dummies!)
  • Non-Violent Direct Action Principles and Practice, "when traditional advocacy and protest fail." (Um, once traditional advocacy and protest fail, doesn't sound like there's much left besides throwing bricks at Trump supporters.)
  • All People's Walk (sponsored by United Nations Association Southern Illinois Chapter, etc. (Guys, it's more fun if you at least jog. For the Bear that is.)
  • The Sultan and the Saint, SIU Law School Auditorium a docudrama about Muslim-Christian Peacemaking. Sponsor Dr. Zahoor & Sumera Makhdoom. (It will either be full of crap or the shortest movie ever.)
  • Potluck and Healing of the Nations Prayer Service, Epiphany Lutheran Church
  • Family-Style Story Time - children's books and activities exploring compassion and getting along. (Kids would like the Bear better, and might actually learn something useful)
  • Bystander Training for Teens - how to safely respond to conflict and stand up for others (get those cell phones out kiddies)
  • SIU Law School, "Upstanders: Are You One?" Dr. Ralph Anderson interfaith dialogue program includes a panel discussion on being "Upstanders" with representatives from oppressed groups: Jews (seriously?) African Americans, Muslims, and LGBTQ. View WEAPONS OF THE SPIRIT video. (Wait, no Bears? Lucky for us we don't need any help.)
  • Transpoetic Playgound: Sexual Assault, at Gaia House. Spoken word performances on the theme (for the poetry-challenged)
  • Intro to nonviolent communications. "Nonviolent Communications shows us a way of being very honest, without any criticism, insults or putdowns, and with any intellectual diagnosis implying wrongness blah blah blah." (Sure it does. We've seen what the left actually does, so not interested in watching them stroke each other.) RAWR.
  • Preventing Ideologically Inspired Targeted Violence, i.e. against marginalized populations. (Note: "WE do not have an ideology, we're just right, so this doesn't apply to us.")
  • Random Tokens of Kindness.(Make junk out of clay to deter people from ever being kind to weirdoes again.)
  • Immigrants in our Community (Bear will be there with video, ICE on speed dial)
  • All Peoples Walk (DISCRIMINATION!)
  • Restorative Practices (peace-keeping, communications and conflict resolu... (What? Bear dozed off. But he may have discovered a great way to fall asleep.)
  • FISH FRY! The Bear enjoys this one the best, and it is at least recognizably Catholic! ("I still don't understand. If I BOUGHT all of the fish, you have to GIVE ME all of the fish.")
  • Feed Your Neighbor 5k Run.( Sometimes the Bear is still hungry after the FISH FRY and he is, after all, a neighbor. Hi neighbor. No, just keep running.)
  • All Species Puppet Workshop Puppet Hike. Sponsors; Beloved Puppetistas. Bear promises only to eat the puppets. Wait. There's what inside them?
  • The Bear (1988) - (they thought they were going to screen The Crash, but this is better.)
  • Race Unity Fishbowl and Interactive Dialogue. (Bear will be there with his fishing pole.)
  • Hymns of Love and Kindness - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (Man, have the Mormons lowered their standards or what?)
  • The Quran - The Environment for Developing and Maintaining Compassion. Fatih-based presentation o the Quran's recurring theme of Compassion. Sponsor: Carbondale Muslim Center. (Make up your own joke.)
  • Face 2 Face: a dialogue of compassion. (Bear stuns other person with earsplitting roar and when the victim wakes up his head will be covered with catsup, Everybody laughs.)
  • Compassionate Response: Mental Health First Aid (Ounce of prevention and all that - don't put any of this crap in the Bear's bulletin and he won't need mental first aid.) 
  • Step Into My Shoes - Improv for Understanding ("That Bear's hogged the stage for 45 minutes and we can't understand anything he says." / "Are you going to tell him to leave?" / "RAWR RAWR rawr. Rawr? RAWR!" / "I think he wants us to laugh." / "But how do you know this isn't the wrong time?")

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