This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form without prior authorization. Flovent for cats Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as lung function tests, eye exams, bone density tests, cortisol levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Immediate and delayed hypersensitivity reaction(including very rare anaphylactic reaction). Advair instructions This website is funded and developed by GSK.

Diary of a Worm’s Life in a Home “Growing Power” Box and Garden

Rain Garden
August 2010

Tomatoes & Basil
from Front Lawn
Garden 2010

Back Yard
Garden 08/02/09

Click below to read any post in full.

Furlough Days - Friday, August 30, 2013

Furlough Days

An easy essay inspired by Peter Maurin

Today I went to the city dump
to drop off some garden waste that does not make good compost,
and to pick up some free wood chips to be used for compost and mulch.

When I got there it was closed and I could not figure out why.
Finally I saw a sign on the gate that said it is a ‘furlough day’.

A furlough day is one that city workers have off but received no pay
and we city residents receive no services of the city dump.

If furlough days are no pay and no service days why have them?
City officials say they are to keep our taxes down.

Who gets the savings of furlough days?
Certainly not the workers at the city dump who have less money.
Most of us pay the same amount of taxes for city government or more that we have traditionally paid,
even when there are less and less city services provided by the city.

Well officials say taxes would go up more if it was not for ‘furlough’ days.
Actually the gas and other cost of going to the dump again, which I will need to do,
would have saved me more than my part of this furlough day tax savings.

The very rich always remind us that they pay the most taxes, city, state and Federal.
If that is true, which I believe it to be, the rich save the most by furlough days.

But I doubt if you will ever see the very rich in the city dump yard.
With their tax savings, workers lost savings and my extra cost to return to dump,
The very rich can afford to hire someone to go to the city dump.


back to top

Art of Dying - Thursday, August 29, 2013

Art of Dying music group

“Just as one man must learn the art of killing in the training for violence, so one must learn the art of dying in the training for nonviolence.”
(M.K. Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p.126)

A friend told me that his wife reading my posting last night I had a nightmare and thought I was depressed. Maybe so but I like to think of it as “walking in the shadow of death”, something Dr. Martin Luther King suffered from in his later life. The story goes that his aides had to push hard to get him out of bed in the morning but went he got up and got going he was dynamite. I can related to the part of getting out of bed in the morning but it is not depression, in my opinion, so much as just the fear of waking up and seeing all the good and all the evil around us.

When university students in the ROTC programs are trained at Marquette they are trained in the art of killing. If we are to overcome the teaching of killing with nonviolence we must, as Gandhi says, be trained in the art of dying. I know I talk too much about death, dying and the shadow of death but it is perhaps only because I am a newcomer. Not so long ago in my life when something bad happened to me or others I reacted, spoke out with anger against it. Now I am slowly learning how to respond to evil with nonviolence, accepting the suffering and still resisting and speaking truth to power. I am not too good doing it yet.

Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement used to attend daily mass in a church whenever it was possible. When I first moved into this neighborhood, some years ago, I tried to attend daily mass at the Croatian Catholic church a few blocks away. The mass is at 7:45 in the morning. But after a while, as I became more aware of death in my life, I lost the discipline of waking early for Mass. A few times a friend has asked me to attend daily mass at 12 noon with him at Gesu church on the Marquette University campus. But the discipline of daily mass has alluded me.

As we were protesting ROTC on the campus of Marquette the other day I noticed that across the street by Gesu the sidewalk were full of young students going back and forth. Although, students on our side of the street did not take many of our flyers with words of Pope, Holy Father, on it saying “Faith and Violence are Incompatible “ I thought today if I witnessed for about 20 minutes a few days a week at the time students were flowing down the street in between persons I would reach lots of students with our message that Faith and Violence are Incompatible and afterward go to noon mass at Gesu. Witness and Prayer, it is a good combination to make change? It helps practice the art of dying.


back to top

I had a Nightmare! - Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On the 50th anniversary of Dr. Luther King’s speech of “I had a dream”, we had a protest of teaching of war and violence on a Jesuit Catholic campus that professes faith. After the “rally and trial” event when our message of Marquette University Teaches Killing really got notice Marquette today went back to turning on the “Ignore Button” to us. As Elie Wiesel, a prisoner of concentration camps, says “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. When we were attacked we respond and grow stronger in our resolve. This is what happened in the civil rights movement and with Dr. King. He writes from the Birmingham jail: ”they did not know what to do. When they finally reached for clubs, dogs and guns, they found the world was watching, and then the power of nonviolent protest became manifest.” Today hundreds of Marquette students walked by us as if we and our banners were not visible. What to do you do when ignored. It is a nightmare!

At the event today two Catholic Workers, who I feel close to, said things to me privately that I had only heard in the false allegations of Marquette University officials about my behavior on campus. It was like words in a nightmare.

When I got home I turned the TV on to relax and found myself watching the President of the United States giving a speech from the same spot Martin Luther King Jr. and using King to justify some of his policies that have lessen opportunities for minorities and created a more violent world, where we are about to go to war in Syria. As some of the black African American leaders on the Tavis Smiley and on TV today said about the President that King, while showing respect to the President would have scolded him on his policies of justice and peace, which has increased poverty, particularly on minorities and has killed many persons in the world. I saw later tonight a clip of President Carter’s speech where he pointed out the living nightmare that over 835, 000 African American males are in prison today, five times the amount when he left office. Watching the President’s speech, denying reality, was a living nightmare.

I was at get together tonight with some friends of the past. When they started talking about religion and politics I could not help but speak of some my views on the present that had changed from days of old. I felt that my views, even ones well researched, were offensive to them and something they did not want to hear. I could feel Pat, my wife’s, embarrassment, but did not know want to do when they started talking about how great the President was, about racial and peace issues but tell my ‘opinion of truth.’ I felt so out of place and again was in a nightmare.

This morning I came across on the internet a new draft of the mission statement of Marquette University. In light of our Pope’s recent statement that “Faith and Violence are incompatible” this statement was one full of hypocrisy. I knew the author and used to be friends with her and her family. She had requested comments and I was tempted to send her an email. I resisted. Tonight at the meal with old friends I saw this person and again did not say anything except exchange pleasantries. This too was a nightmare.

One thing I did today that was not a nightmare was worked in my gardens for awhile. Maybe I should do more of that during the day and leave the nightmares to the nights.


back to top

Building A Racist Fortress - Tuesday, August 27, 2013

North Central Milwaukee in Black
85% plus is African American

In Easter of 2007 I wrote an essay called The Sweet Waters of Discrimination in Milwaukee which talked about the structural discrimination in Milwaukee. I had some nice comments about the essay but it really did not change much. Now six years later with all the violence and killing happening in Milwaukee the “chickens have come home to roost”. With the recent spike of violence the last two months in Milwaukee, which now even the police chief admits, there is the same old talk of more police, parents raising kids better, improving schools, new gun laws and more. However, I find little mention of the fact that our beloved Milwaukee has institutionalized racism and poverty. As the various M.A.P.S showed Milwaukee, the most segregated city in the USA in the last two censuses, has allowed isolated areas to develop for poor African Americans in North Central Milwaukee and for Hispanics on the south side.

Last night the police chief bragged about the thousands of arrest the police have made this summer but did not mention that the same persons, after jail and prison, will be released into the same crime areas with less opportunity of finding a good job or education. Earlier this month I wrote a letter to the newspaper saying how we have already identified the root cause of crime like poverty, lack of education and lack of family support that go unaddressed. I wrote the letter one day, the next day it was approved and the next day printed in the “Letter to the Editors”. Yet nothing is being done to create am environment in North Central Milwaukee which it is “easier to be good”. It is easy to blame someone, family or schools for the problem rather than identify it for what it is, ‘racism’ and take the necessary actions and spend the necessary monies to do something about it.

Institutions like the Catholic Church or the city government can talk about what it would take to get at the causes of crime and poverty. Than the Church closes down Churches in North Central Milwaukee and transfers the money to some trust fund that will preserve it, not use it, for future church funding. The mayor and police chief talk about the “criminals” they are bringing to ‘justice’ which just means legal action, as they know it.

In the meanwhile, while we wait, for violence to subsidize we keep building a racist fortress around North Central Milwaukee


back to top

Institutional Hypocrisy! - Monday, August 26, 2013

When we see hypocrisy in our self or other individuals it is easy to point out and call attention to, if we wish. However, when we see hypocrisy in institutions, Catholic Church, US Government or Marquette University how do we point it out? We do not want to use words like ‘racism’ or militarism’ but perhaps that is what we are dealing with.

In moral theology I was taught there is individual sin and institutional sin. We might want to condemn President Obama for authorizing a ‘kill list’ every Tuesday but since he is the President of the institution of the United States of America, and certainly if we have Democratic leanings, we tend to let it go. If a teacher at Marquette University would teach that abortion is moral the teacher would soon be dismissed since the teaching goes against “institutional values.” But if a teacher in Department of Military Science for the Army teaches reflexive killing, killing without conscience we tend to be silent about it, after all it is the United States Army.

Marquette is a Jesuit Catholic University yet the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius of Loyola, renounced his military rank and taught that Jesuits should be followers of the Way of Jesus, who promoted nonviolence in the Gospels. Yet the military at Marquette is allowed to teach the priority of military values over Gospel values.

When Jesus confronted the institutions of the Pharisees, a Jewish religious institution that Jesus was probably part of, he called them hypocrites, play actors or fakes, “who pretend to hold beliefs, or whose actions are not consistent with their claimed beliefs.” In Marquette new draft of a mission statement which I saw today there was much hypocrisy, especially since they allow teaching of killing and military values over conscience on campus.

Ever since I was a student in a Jesuit High school here in Milwaukee I have been concerned about what we preach as Christians, followers of the Way of Jesus and what we do in everyday life. As I grow older I saw that the hypocrisy of individuals is often protected by hypocrisy of institution. For the first three hundred years of the Christian church it was morally wrong for a Christian to be a soldier. Than the Roman Emperor, Constantine made Christianity the religious of the Roman Empire and suddenly it was okay to join the military. The institution of the Catholic Church for many years endorsed slavery. When slavery was condemned by many the Church changed its teaching.
The saying is that you cannot change anyone but yourself but one can create an environment where it is easier for an individual to be good. However, when it comes to an “institution” how to you change it, by tearing it down and building a new one?

Don Helder Camara the Archbishop of Brazil said “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” Here is a true Christian who when he confronted the hypocrisy of his times was called a ‘communist.’ Maybe the way to change institutional hypocrisy is just to call it as it is and let the blows and insults of the institution come at you.


back to top

Using Faith To Promote Violence - Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stonehenge at Notre Dame

This weekend a friend and I had the privilege of attending a peace group of Notre Dame Alumni gathered together on the Notre Dame campus. On my web site I often refer to Notre Dame as the only other Catholic University in the USA, besides Marquette University, to host three Department of Defense military training schools, Army, Navy/Marine and Air Force on campus.

Notre Dame is an a large Catholic University. It is its own unincorporated community north of South Bend, Indiana. The campus is on 1250 acres and includes a lake, golf course and a Basilica. It is a breathtaking beautiful campus. It is probably the greatest symbol of a Catholic University in the United States with a student population that is 85% Catholic. But as Father McCarthy, a former teacher of nonviolence on campus at our weekend gather pointed out, at the heart of the university lurks a deep evil that override the majesty and beauty of the university. One symbol of this evil is a monument to wars, Clarke Memorial Fountain, more commonly known as Stonehenge. It claims to be a monument to men and woman who served in World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars but some would say it is a monument to war, violence and killing. (See picture on side)

However, a symbol of the mix of militarism and faith is the inscription above one of the doors leading into Sacred Heart Basilica on campus. It says “God, Country and Notre Dame—In Glory Everlasting.” (See composite of pictures below) Father McCarthy called the statement blasphemy and it seems to be the opposite of what Pope Francis declaring recently “Faith and Violence are Incompatible.”. The phrase on the Basilica is a dangerous and sinful mix, in my opinion, of Government and Military Values over Faith and Conscience.

This is the tragedy of our times, using Faith to promote nationalism and violence.


back to top

Faith and Violence are Incompatible - Wednesday, August 21, 2013

“Faith and Violence are Incompatible”
Pope Francis

For years we have been trying to get the message across to Marquette University, a Catholic Jesuit school, To be Faithful to the Gospel and Not to Teach War and Violence any longer. Today I received from an Russian Orthodox friend in Holland the same message from the Pope in the Vatican. Now will Marquette University listen? I doubt it but it sure feels good to have our Holy Father deliver the same message. I do not think Marquette will try to marginalize him and make false allegations against him.

Vatican City, August 19, 2013 (

Here is the translation of Pope Francis’ address before Angelus on Sunday, 8/18/13, to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“Dear brothers and sisters, Hello!

In today’s liturgy we listen to these words from the Letter to the Hebrews: “Persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfector of faith” (Hebrews 12:1–2). This is a statement that we should highlight in a special way in this Year of Faith. We too, during this whole year of faith, should keep our gaze fixed on Jesus because faith, which is our “yes” to the filial relation to God, comes from him, it comes from Jesus. He is the only mediator of this relationship between us and our Father who is in heaven. Jesus is the Son and we are sons in him.

But the Word of God this Sunday contains words of Jesus that put us into crisis and need to be explained so that they are not misunderstood. Jesus says to the disciples: “Did you think that I came to bring peace to the earth? No, I say to you, I came to bring division” (Luke 12:51). What does this mean? It means that the faith is not something decorative, ornamental; living the faith is not decorating life with a little religion, as if life were a pie and faith like the whipped cream that you use to decorate it. No, faith is not this. Faith entails choosing God as the basic criterion for life, and God is not empty, God is not neutral, God is always positive, God is love, and love is positive! After Jesus has come into the world we cannot act as if we do not know God, as if God were something abstract, empty, a mere name; no, God has a particular face, he has a name: God is mercy, God is fidelity, he is life that is given to all of us. This is why Jesus says: I came to bring division; not that Jesus wishes to divide men against each other. On the contrary, Jesus is our peace, he is our reconciliation! But this peace is not the peace of a grave, it is not neutrality, Jesus does not bring neutrality, this peace is not a compromise at all costs. Following Jesus means rejecting evil, egoism, and choosing the good, truth, justice, even when that requires sacrifice and renunciation of our own interests. And, yes, this divides; we know that it divides us even from the closest bonds. But remember: it is not Jesus who divides! He posits the criterion: living for ourselves or living for God and for others; be served or serve; obey ourselves or obey God. This is the way that Jesus is a “sign of contradiction” (Luke 2:34).

So, these words of the Gospel do not authorize in any way the use of force in spreading the faith. It is precisely the contrary: the true force of the Christian is the force of truth and of love, which means rejecting all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible! Faith and violence are incompatible! But faith and strength go together. The Christian is not violent, but he strong. And with what strength? That of meekness, the force of meekness, the force of love.

‘’Dear friends, even among Jesus’ relatives there were some that at a certain point did not share his way of living and preaching, which the Gospel tells us (cf. Mark 3:20–21). But his Mother always followed him faithfully, keeping the gaze of her heart fixed upon Jesus, the Son of the Most High, and his mystery. And in the end, thanks to Mary’s faith, Jesus’ relatives will become part of the first Christian community (cf. Acts 1:14). Let us ask Mary to help us too to keep our gaze carefully fixed upon Jesus and to follow him always, even when it costs us.
I wish everyone a good Sunday, and a good lunch! Goodbye!”’‘


back to top

Blue Moon - Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tonight we had a Blue Moon, which means it was the third full moon in a season with four, a rare happening. Thus we get the colloquial phrase meaning a rare event, as in the phrase “once in a blue moon. It does not mean the moon is blue. The term has nothing to do with the actual color of the moon. A literal “blue moon” (the moon appearing with a tinge of blue) may occur in certain atmospheric conditions, e.g. volcanic eruptions and exceptionally large fires can leave particles in the atmosphere. Perhaps out West, like in Idaho where there are exceptionally large fires the blue moon has a tint of blue. Here is was the regular old moon color.

However, the setting sun was very red last night and tonight. The sun was red not the surrounding sunset. I do not know what this is called. Maybe we had a red hot sun with a blue moon. Now in a white sky, that would mean an all American sunset, red, white and blue.

I have noticed recently that honoring soldiers for war is being used more and more by businesses selling products. Veterans who participate in war seem to hold a particular place in the hearts of Americans, even when the military veteran has denounced the war which he or she served or suffered from severe brain disorders, like PTSD. By glorifying the warrior we have a felt obligation to glorify the war. The horrors of the war, like the death of Pakistan children by drone attacks, become remote and we do not feel the pain and sorrow of the families of these victims like we feel the pride and honor of the soldiers who fight and kill in our name.

We fight to keep our country free but yet often we support on the side of the military, like in Egypt, who overthrew the democratically elected President. Acts like this, like the “killer drone” strikes, do not make political or moral sense. Usually they anger more people to see the USA as supporters of killing and repression. Why we do these acts of war, using our brave soldiers, only makes sense to me, as ways to increase power and money for the USA, not freedom or democracy. It is easy to see how power and money dominate our American society but hard to do anything about it. Money, Pride and Power seem to dominate our culture.

These three motivations are the opposite of what we read in the Gospel in the Sermon on the Mound. In these teachings of Jesus it is the poor, powerless and humble that is glorified.

I read today that Gandhi read from the Sermon of the Mound each day for forty years. Gandhi, it is said read each day from the Hindu sacred scriptures of the Bhagavad Gita. Unlike any other religious scripture, the Bhagavad Gita broadcasts its message in the centre of the battlefield. Gandhi interprets the battle as “an allegory in which the battlefield is the soul struggling against evil.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, was a soldier who renounced militarism but still used war allegories. In his meditation on the two Kingdoms, Lucifier, the leader of one Kingdom offers pride, power and wealth as his prizes for joining him in battle. The other leader is Jesus who offers just the opposite, humility, powerlessness and poverty. This is the paradox of our society and of the teaching of Jesus, like in the Sermon on the Mound like it is between glorification of war and the veteran and honoring the weak, poor and marginalized, be they veterans or not. The chances of Americans in great numbers following the Way of Jesus over the Ways of the Devil are slim. But it is a ‘blue moon.”


back to top

Finding Silly - Monday, August 19, 2013

Cousins Dancing

We returned tonight from a wedding of our niece out East in the Boston area. Pat’s family is, for the most part, still living around the small town she grew up in at Ashland, MA. When our children were young and when our grandchildren were young we used to visit regularly. Now for the most part it is for funerals and weddings.

This visit was for the joyful occasion of a wedding, the second daughter of Pat’s younger brother who died from a heart attack at 39. This wedding was different, held in a converted armory with no traditional wedding cake. But it was full of great joy and lots of dancing.

Pat’s nephew’s son, Matthew, and I become great friends as happens when we visit each other, which has not been too often. He is alive and full of imagination, something that I find delightful and can relate to. Our other grand niece and nephew are now older in high school and college but retain some of the imagination of younger days. It was fun to watch my grandniece, 19, dance with my grandnephew, 5, dance after dance.

Slow dances are gone and I do not dance fast. Pat used to but with bad knees has taken her to watching. There is something about dancing that is like poetry in action. Dancing is something a young child, a teen and a grandmother can all share, sometimes dancing together. I do not have much sense of rhythm be it in music or dance. I am not sure why since my imagination likes dancing and singing.

Being around Matthew this weekend and all the young adults lifted my spirits. Outside of eating, talking and partying and watching some TV, we did not do much this weekend. That is okay since doing too much can stifle the imagination. Imagination comes from being not doing.

Jesus said that unless you become like a child you cannot enter heaven. With the visit of my godson, 5, his big brother, 6, the week before and with Matthew, 5, this last weekend I certainly understand what he is talking about. To find silly in a small event, like a young child or an old man can do, gives imagination a free reign.


back to top

Living with Paradoxes - Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The other day when I was returning home I drove by the nearby cemetery where our son, Peter’s, ashes are in a cremation niche. There is a block of niches on one side of a mausoleum and another block of niches on the other side. Both are built into a hill, sometimes called Jesuit hill, since many Jesuit priest and brothers from the Wisconsin Province are buried there. In fact the niches on the other side are all Jesuits, many whom I knew as teachers and friends in the Jesuits. It is paradox that Peter’s remains are at the bottom of Jesuit hill since Peter and I would have many a discussion about God and religion. I remember that Peter looked on life as a paradox so he might appreciate the placement of his urn. My wife and I have purchased the two niches next to Peter’s so our other son will need to worry about a burial place.

Peter was right; life is full of paradoxes, some good and some not so good. Marquette University, a very expensive school, offering scholarships and aide for the poor is a good paradox but when that education money is tied into violating the Gospel values, like teaching war and killing in an ROTC scholarship that is not so good. St. Catherine, a mostly white Catholic parish, has a school serving African American non-Catholic youth. Yet the same Church is storing away in trust fund money it received that was intended for use in North Central Milwaukee. The paradox of the garden is that the seed must die in the soil in order to grow in the light. Some say I talk too much yet others will say I am a good listener.

One of the differences, in my opinion, between a good paradox and a bad one is that in a good paradox the means and end are both good. In a bad paradox like the General in Vietnam who said “We must destroy this village the save” the means, destroying the village, does not justify the end, saving the village. Peace can be obtained through military strength and superiority is a paradox and myth that many Americans accept. It is just like saying in the garden I will use some ‘nasty’ soil to grow some wonderful vegetables. This is a paradox that just does not work.

My beloved son Peter dying at such a young age is a paradox. I do not understand it but accept it as something that gives new life. One thing I know that “walking in shadow of death” since his death has made me a much more compassionate person and more aware of living in the moment. So we live with paradoxes and relish in the good ones and endure and suffer with the bad ones. We do not need to understand a paradox but just live with it.


back to top

Hot About Catholic Church Versus Gospel - Tuesday, August 13, 2013

‘Ghost Peppers’ are Green and
World Hottest peppers (Not) are red

A friend from Milwaukee in Tucson told me by phone today it was 105 degrees there. I told him it was 70 degrees here. We are having a very ‘cool’ summer and this might explain why our ‘ghost peppers’ the second hottest peppers in the world are not turning red or yellow. To get all the heat they pack they might need heat. The hot peppers next to them, which the garden store tag says is the ‘Hottest Pepper in the World’ (they are not) are turning red.

I am growing the ‘ghost peppers’ because my good friend, Joe, likes really hot peppers and told me about them. He also warned me not to touch them without gloves. Looking at them today I must have brush my hand on their leaves or on a ghost pepper for when I came in the house my eyes started to burn. I probably put my hand to my face or somehow got some of the hottest of the peppers in my eyes. Hours later I still feel the effect in my eyes although many washings of my hands and eyes made them bearable.

I have been thinking a lot these days about the connection of two issues, militarization of education and the racism of the Catholic Church in Milwaukee versus the Gospel of Jesus teachings. Also I have been thinking about the homily last Sunday about the new “American Dream” has changed to one of greed, having more and more money.

Today a friend told me how the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is using one of its Catholic School building for Right Step Inc., a Choice Military School in Milwaukee. I could not believe this at first. What other reason, except for money, would the Archdiocese bless a parish school building to be used as Military School? Sadly it turned out to be true just like the Catholic Archdiocese is giving its blessings to the use of money from closing Blessed Trinity Catholic parish to a trust fund which will preserve the capitol and just use the interest. (Church used to condemn ‘usury’.).

The brush with the ‘ghost peppers’ made my eyes burn and the Archdiocese ‘love of money’ over teaching violence or aiding the poor and marginalized makes my soul hot. We are constantly been told that “we the people” are the Church but the truth is we have little to say about using this property as a military school or giving money “intended for mission of Jesus to poor and marginalized” to a trust fund to be kept safe.

When will we, Catholic Church, ever learn and stop these sins of greed and violence? Am I the only one ‘hot’ about this contradiction of Catholic Church and the Gospel?


back to top

Blowin’ in the Wind - Monday, August 12, 2013

We have not had a Hot Summer so far and the cool summer continues. I think big tomatoes need heat to ripen so they are slow to do so this year. At Marquette University we hope to start the New Year with a loud cry for a campus free of teaching war and killing. Will the President of Marquette University hear us?
If there is enough of us and we are loud in action and words he may hear us.

The failure of the local church to postpone an advisory resolution to put away in a trust most of the 1.2 million it inherited offers us hope that they and the Archdiocese can hear the cry of the poor and do as Jesus would, use the money for poor and marginalized in North Central Milwaukee. All we can do is pray, hope and act but God willingly that may be enough. Maybe if we turn up the heat, like Mother Nature might do, we can ripen, like the tomatoes, and explode with nonviolence to make a difference on these two but one issues, humanity dignity of individual recognized by institutions.

At the prayer at our St. Vincent De Paul conference meeting tonight we were reminded in the Gospel reading of how we must get ready for God coming in our lives and not be like the land owner who stocked up supplies for tough times only to die. In both these issues, Marquette Teaching Killing and Church using money to store it up rather than for poor and marginalized I am reminded of the homily yesterday by my Jesuit friend, Tom, at Mass. He told us how the American dream was to provide shelter, food and education for your family but not is getting as much money and wealth as possible. Marquette with its three contracts with the Department of Defense for military training and the Catholic Church with its trust funds seem to doing just that, building wealth rather than sharing wealth and excess with those most in need.

Where is the passion for peace and justice these days? As I was attending a prayer vigil for yet another homicide victim this morning I felt the cool breeze on my face. Maybe the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. Can you feel it?


back to top

Living the One Gospel - Sunday, August 11, 2013

Living the Gospel, Feeding
the Children of Haiti

At our liturgy this morning in church, during the time when we go around greeting each other with a handshake of peace, a middle aged African-American male came up to me and said: “I just want to thank you for all you do for the community.” I was a little lost for words and all I said was “Thank You” as I shook his hand. In the back of my mind I was wondering if he meant our efforts to close ROTC at Marquette or our efforts to get 1.2 million dollars inherited by St. Catherine parish from closing of three Catholic Churches in North Central Milwaukee to those most in need in the area. But I did not ask and later started thinking did it make much difference? The two issues are made from the same fabric of conscience, living the values of the Gospel. In both we ask, the leadership of Catholic Church or of Marquette University, to be faithful to the Gospel. In the Church issue it is being faithful to Gospel teaching of giving ‘preferential option’ to the poor and marginalized when considering the use of the money. In the Marquette University issue we are asking Marquette it is being faithful to the Gospel by making its values of love of enemy, protection of all human life and following ones conscience in not teaching how to kill and killing without conscience.

Mahatma Gandhi was a great admirer of the Gospels and of Jesus. He allegedly said he would be a Christian, follower of Jesus, except Christians were not following the way of Jesus. He loved the Beatitudes, the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon of the Mound that focus on love and humility rather than force and making demands.

There is a fundamental violation of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ that allows a Catholic Church to ignore the poor and marginalized in the of use of gift money and Marquette University to teach war and killing. The Gospel teaches us to put people, especially people in need first over any kind of trust fund to save the money for a long time using only the interest (usury that was condemned by Catholic Church at one time). The Gospel teachings us to put people, their basic human rights first over any kind of violence, shooting or bombing a human being. The Gospel is hard to live but in both cases, Catholic Church and Marquette, the actions of teaching war or not giving the money to those in need are clear institutional violations and abuses of the Gospel. Both Struggles are about living the Gospel.


back to top

All Shall Be Well - Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tristan and Charlemagne
playing in sandbox at children’s

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” ― Julian of Norwich

This quote from this English mystic of the 14th century has come to my mind recently. The senseless gun violence on the streets of Milwaukee, our president’s killer drone attacks on people of Yemen and the renewed violence in Iraq are all good reasons to despair. It is the hope and faith that “all shall be well” that can keep us going at times.

Children seem to have a natural instinct that “all shall be well”. They can be sad, even crying and all of sudden be smiling and laughing. I believe it is, in part, because they live in the moment and when the moment changes from one of sadness to one of joy they can also change. Also children have great imaginations. Their imagination can transform them easily into another moment of experience. My godson and his brother, five and six, reminded me of this the last few days.

When I took them to the Betty Brim Children’s Museum they had an opportunity to allow their natural instincts and imagination take over, be it riding Harley Davidson Motorcycle, working in an imaginative car repair shot or playing in a sandbox. Older children might be somewhat bored at this museum and parents, mostly mothers, enjoy the joy in their child’s face. Some of this was also true at the Urban Ecology center when looking at a snake or going down a slide looking like a river falls, can bring great joy when the imagination is active. Formal education seems to be one of the big foes of imagination. The older a child gets and “knows better” the lest the imagination is prominent.

Writing, to be sustaining and absorptive, needs to use imagination. Praying with imagination of the sense as St. Ignatius urges us to do in the Spiritual Exercises can have a lasting effect on our mind, body and soul. When we touch, hear,see, taste and smell something, although it be only in the senses of our imaginations, it becomes real and alive in our memories.

I have noticed that when a child or I am tired the imagination decreases. There seems to be some type of energy active for use of the imagination. So be like a child, rested, live in the moment and use imagination and “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”


back to top

Action To Change - Friday, August 09, 2013

Tonight Pat and I had dinner with three other former Jesuit seminarians and their wives. The dinner at a restaurant was okay but the conversations were great. The occasion for the get together was friends from England were visiting. The memories were from the period of 1968 till about 1972 where the lives of us four men intersected. We all left the Jesuit, Society of Jesus, during that period but built some long term ties from those times together and our common commitment to civil rights and peacemaking activities.

Relationships built in times of struggle for human rights seemed to have some long lasting ties. Our conversations were enjoyable but now as powerful as our actions together.

This morning we had three prayer vigils for young African American male homicide victim in North Central Milwaukee. Tonight I got an email from the local newspaper that they will print my letter to the editor Crime related to environment which I wrote last night and put on this posting site. The newspaper did skip my link to M.A.P.S., the maps of segregation, poverty and criminalization in North Central Milwaukee. Will any words, prayers or actions stop this move to isolate and marginalize this area? Maybe the letter to the editor will spark someone to take action on this concern to stop the violence in these neighborhoods. For only in nonviolent action can we change.


back to top

Why More Gun Violence? - Thursday, August 08, 2013

There have been over 20 shootings the last week or so in Milwaukee in the last week with a number of homicides. The majority of the gun violence has been in North Central Milwaukee. The mayor and police chief are talking about more police in the area or stricter punishment for persons caught with an illegal gun. While that might be all well and good they are missing the most basic cause of crime which I tried to address in this Letter to the Editor of the newspaper.

Dear Editor,
The recent discussion on gun violence seems to be missing an important element, what the government and institutions can do to create an “environment which it is easier to be good.” Although persons are held responsible for acts of crime the environment can make a major difference. Take for example North Central Milwaukee which has the highest rates of gun violence. It is also the most segregated, (African Americans,) area in the most segregated city in the U.S.A.; it is one of poorest areas in the fourth poorest city in U.S.A.; it is home of the most African American male state prisoners (Incarcerated and Released) in Wisconsin, a state having the highest black male incarceration rate in the nation. Institutions like the Catholic Archdiocese have greatly reduced its presence in the neighborhood.

Near the end of his term Governor Thompson had a commission study the causes of the increasing number of prisoners and prisons. They reported prisoners and prisons “are bound to grow as long as the root cause of crime—poverty, lack of education and lack of family support—go unaddressed.” “When will we ever learn?” in North Central Milwaukee. See M.A.P.S for more details.

Bob Graf


back to top

Be Like Children - Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Tristan, Pat & Charlemagne
at story hour tonight

I was feeling a little low this morning even after doing some driving for a friend. But then it was off to a spot half way to Madison to pick up my godson, 5 years old, and his big brother, 6 years old. You cannot stay low with these two high spirited boys. Among other stops I took them to the Urban Ecology Center, always a hit with children that age with its slide and snakes.

Now the two boys are finally sleeping, my wife is reading in bed and all is quiet here in the kitchen except for the TV Brewers baseball game in the background. The darkness that is always with me is still there but my hopes and spirits are still good thanks to the two boys.

Their good and fun relationship as brothers reminds me of my two grandsons when they were young and my two sons who were also close in age and also close in relationship when they were young.

My sibling close to my age was my sister, two years younger than me. A sister and brother relationship is not the same as two brothers or two sisters but it was a good relationship when we were young. The death of my sister in 1995 was one I really felt deeply. Until the death of my own son, nearly three years ago, this was the death that left me a great sense of lost. Although she had lived out east with her husband for many years, there was something between us that had a sense of the eternal.

Still I did not work in the ‘shadow of death’ until my son died. Now more than ever I need youth around, especially young children around like my godson and his brother. Jesus said we need to be like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. Now I understand why.


back to top

Hiroshima Holocaust and Ghettos Today? - Tuesday, August 06, 2013

1811 German Coast Uprising,
United State’s largest slave revolt.

I grew up hearing about the horrors of Hiroshima, the Holocaust and the Jewish Ghettos. These were terrible nightmares that I did not have any compatible experience to relate to. I grew up in a working class family and attended a Catholic grade school in near North Central Milwaukee. As a young adult I remember fighting to keep our neighborhoods healthy and thriving.

I was gone for a number of years from Milwaukee, community organizing out East and building a business in Madison. When I returned I found we had lost the battle to save the neighborhood. Our Catholic church was closed and the neighborhood around it was in complete disrepair. I noticed the racial makeup of the neighborhood had drastically changed for mostly white to mostly African American but did not associate that with racism at the time. Over the years since I have been back and especially after the closing of our Catholic Church in North Central Milwaukee, I began to see what had happened in North Central Milwaukee as an act of “institutional racism”.

We have and are creating a new ‘ghetto’, this time of African Americas in North Central Milwaukee, the most segregated neighborhood in the most segregated city in USA, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the four poorest city, and the home residence of most African American Male State Prisoners (Incarcerated and Released)in Wisconsin, a state having the highest black male incarceration rate in the nation. (See M.A.P.S. and Wisconsin’s Mass Incarceration of African American Male: Workforce Challenges for 2013).

I could add more statistics about high unemployment and the poor quality of education in these neighborhoods but my point is not to blame area residents but to make the claim that what we are seeing in North Central Milwaukee is “institutional racism”.

We cannot change individuals but we can create, as Peter Maurin said, “an environment in which it is easier to be good”. Milwaukee institutions, businesses, Catholic Church, government, recreational facilities, bus service, schools, jobs and even street signs have decreased as the area turned from white to black.

“Institutional racism”, as learned in the 60’s with Marquette University is a system of inequality based on race. It is not the same as direct racism, like calling blacks degrading names, but a structure that has been created, consciously or unconsciously, to discriminate against a race like blacks. The civil rights struggles in the 60′s for open housing were successful in passing an open housing ordinance but did not change the institutional discrimination which has led to North Central Milwaukee now being over 85% African-American and the lowest income area. Simply saying it as it is, we have created a new ‘ghetto’ in North Central Milwaukee. By not recognizing our “institutional racism” the area is becoming more marginalized and isolated.

This morning we had two prayer vigils for homicide visits. Both did not have local contacts who we could invite to join us in prayer and both did not get much media attention in a weekend full of shootings. The first one was for a young African American male, 27 years old, who has been shot in North Central Milwaukee. While we prayed for him the thought occurred to me that the environment created in this neighborhood was like a nose waiting for a victim.

This afternoon I helped an African American woman trapped in pain for years from an unknown source. Her husband has a troubled past, and although now seems to have his life together, cannot find employment. They are looking for a place to live; now she is a care facility. Today while I was there her case worker from one agency and a health aide from another agency were present. However, both for different reasons could not find her and her husband a place to live independently. My wife found a one bedroom apartment last night on the web and tomorrow they will check it out. Did environment play a role in their situation?

In my mind, the closing of 14 Catholic Churches in North Central Milwaukee and moving the million dollars plus from our recently closed Church to one at the edge of the North Central Milwaukee that is partnering with a wealthy church outside the area, is an example of “institutional racism”. Marquette University opens up the institution to African Americans only after mass protest and acts of civil disobedience in the 60’s. But maybe that is what it will take to break down this “institutional racism”. However, the big difference here is that very few, if any, in major institutions, would admit to institutional racism. How to expose it nonviolently? Racism, especially institutional racism, is a word the powers that be in institutions do not want to hear. Maybe Hiroshima, Holocaust and Ghettos are still with us today.


back to top

Call It As It Is! - Monday, August 05, 2013


In a society run on fear many are afraid to call things as they are. The Catholic Archdiocese withdrawal of Catholic churches from neighborhoods when African American moved in is seldom called ‘racist’. When we brought out our banner saying “Marquette Teaches Killing” people were upset, although it was a true statement. When a security guard lies in the courtroom, as happened in my trial for trespassing at Marquette, few want to call it what it is, perjury.

Maybe people are worried about being ‘politically correct’ but I do not think so. I think many people fear controversy and conflict. Calling things as they are can be controversial and most like to avoid controversy. Conflict can be creative but when feared it is to be avoided. We, in my opinion, have become a nation of followers, followers of the media, party, people in power. No one wants to be out of step with where they believe others expect them to be.

Categorization, stigmatization and labeling of people become norm. Living with fear takes words like ‘racist’, liar and killer out of our vocabulary makes it harder to call it as it is.


back to top

No Choice! - Sunday, August 04, 2013

Last night I had to stop writing my posting because my mind and body were so tired that I could no longer write. Tonight I start earlier to finish the story from last night.

When I found my 93 year priest friend last night he had completely forgotten about the event, Lanterns of Peace, that he had asked me to take him to. The rest of us attended the event, without him, and had a moment of reflection to remember the thousands of lives lost to the use of this terrible weapon. I could not help but think of the three new nuclear bomb plants our President and country are building in Tennessee, Kansas City and New Mexico. How can these weapons of mass destruction be built in this age when we talk about nuclear disarmament?

How can this be, the wide chasm between what we talk about, nuclear disarmament, and what we do, building new nuclear bomb plants? This lack of connection between what we say and what we do, sadly, is too common in our society. Marquette University says its prizes values of respect of life and following one’s conscience yet continues to teach war and killing, killing without conscience. The Catholic Church teaches the preferential and evangelical option for the poor and marginalized yet takes money from the neighborhoods most in need.

These disconnect between what we say and what we do, including my own word and actions, has since high school bothered me. I cannot accept it yet do not always have a way to change it. All I can do is try to change it or see why I am wrong and there is a connection. However, what others would like me to do, and I cannot do, is just give up and do nothing. I can accept defeat but not giving up.

Some call be stubborn for resisting what others accept as okay, some call me crazy of persistence resistance to what I believe is contrary to my values, some call it stupidity and some say it is courageous. A nun, religious sister, when I was in fourth grade and our class was preparing for confirmation said the fact that I had been confirmed at the time of baptism, according to Melkite Eastern rite made me special. I do not know about this or any of the categories above. I just say it is what I need to do.

At time this attempt to bring what we say and we do can prove to be a curse and at times a blessing. Curse or blessing I do not know. All I know that for peace of heart, mind and soul I need to do, as far as possible, what I believe and say. I have no choice.


back to top

Lanterns of Peace - Saturday, August 03, 2013

Lanterns of Peace -Milwaukee


back to top

Cream City - Friday, August 02, 2013

Carolee after eating a cream puff
at the Wisconsin State Fair

One of the great traditions of going to the Wisconsin State Fair is enjoying a State Fair cream puff. They are a little messy to eat but all so good with so much cream. People sometimes think Milwaukee got its nickname of ‘cream city’ from all the milk, cream and cheese produced in Wisconsin. Others say the name ‘cream city’ came from all the major breweries that used to call Milwaukee home. You probably could say the name comes from the Frozen custard Milwaukee is famous for. However, historians tell us the name ‘cream city’ came from the cream color of the bricks to build houses.

This last reason for the nickname ‘cream city’ for Milwaukee is not romantic as the other three, cheese, beer and frozen custard although it is more accurate. But in the cultural imagination Milwaukee is famous for frozen custard, home of breweries and cheese and cream products. Once after a prolonged bout with an illness when I could not eat without getting sick I saw my regular doctor and he asked me how I lost so much weight. I told him it was the “cream city diet” that I had used. He asked me what the diet was? I told him it consisted of eating and drinking mostly beer, custard and cheese. He laughed but there was some truth to my statement. Fozen custard and cheese are ‘comfort foods’ for me which I could eat without getting too sick during my prolonged illness. Actually beer is a comfort drink for some like for me when I come in the house hot and sweaty after working in the garden in the summer.

The latest addition to the many frozen custard stands in Milwaukee is one near the State Fair grounds called ‘Cream City Custard’. All these foods and drink, frozen custard, cheese and cream as well as beer are comfort foods and drink but they can all make us fat, as I and many others in Milwaukee can testify to. The name Cream City might have been given to Milwaukee by the color the brink used in construction but for many of us, frozen custard, cream and cheese and beer is why Milwaukee is Cream City


back to top

Cows on Campus - Thursday, August 01, 2013

Domestic Cows on the Road in

Surrounded by family I begin a new month, August. Family is around because my oldest grandson is showing cows in the Wisconsin State Fair. Tomorrow the cow will be judged and Saturday his showmanship with the cow will be judged. Thus begins the new month. It ends with all three of my grandchildren showing cows at the Shawano County Fair at the end of the month. Living across the road from a family dairy farm and being in a 4-H club leads to showing cows at county and state fairs.

My personal interest in cows goes through India, home of the ‘wild cows’ that can roam free wherever they want and the domestic cows on farms. In India the main product produced by cows, at least with Hindu’s and followers of Gandhi, is not milk or other dairy products but cow manure or poop. Manure is used primarily as fertilizer, and after worms eat it, it becomes an even better organic fertilizer; manure is also used at times to produce methane gas as fuel for generators and of course, for milk and yogurt. Cow poop and manure has many other uses, like for medicine, tiles or applying to concrete floors. Gandhi wrote a lot about ‘Mother Cow’, a sacred animal because it enriches life in so many ways.

Speaking of cow poop our friend who is living with us temporarily did sifting of compost soil from the worm box to produce castings, worm poop or some would say ‘black gold.’ It is one of the riches natural, organic fertilizers in the world. When put in a ‘paint bag’ in a bucket or rain barrel it produced something call ‘tea’, a healthy water fertilizer for plants.

Darwin was fascinated with worms who every seven years renew the soil of the earth. Worms are from the age of dinosaurs but survive not because they are the fittest but because of their adaptability. Our Milwaukee museum is now featuring a special exhibit called the “Scoop on Poop” which shows the many ways poop is part of human life and evolution.

From the nature of cows, worms and of nonviolence we have the Diary of the Worm and the name of this web page. Cows, worms and nonviolence have in common the fact they can turn waste into powerful items. The power of cows, lowly worms and nonviolence can outlast any form of violent power and thrive in the right environment. Maybe to turn Marquette University from a school teaching war and killing to a university teaching nonviolence and peace we need to have some cows on campus and use their manure to feed to worms to produce castings to grow peaceful gardens of flowers and plants around campus.


back to top

back to top


Page last modified on July 08, 2013

Legal Information |  Designed and built by Wiki Gnome  | Hosted by Fluid Hosting  | Icons courtesy of famfamfam