Dash Cam Approval

Do you have a dash cam – a dashboard camera?  I would argue that you should.  They record video and audio footage of the road in front of you when you are driving and also anything else – such as conversations with a police office who pulls you over.  Many people have them in case of an accident or perhaps a bad encounter with an officer.  I had a bad encounter upon being pulled over in NY for talking on my phone while driving (Mass. is one of the last states that allows you to do it without a hand-held device).  I am used to Worcester and Marlborough police – very professional and courteous – and felt rather threatened during the encounter.  When I returned home I happened upon a deal for this dash cam and bought it (and then was disappointed to see I had to buy a separate memory card, but whatever).  Now I use it every time I drive.  Apparently in Russia everyone has them because there is so much crime (go to YouTube if you don’t believe me about how ubiquitous they are there).   The wiki article mentions that in some countries they are illegal.

The other day I blessed a house of a friend who is a police officer.  I had to ask him – what do he and other public safety officers think about dash cams?  He thinks they are great and they benefit both the driver and the police by recording whatever happens.  I have to admit I had a small amount of disquietude about having one  - I am very pro-police and I didn’t want it to look like I had it for that reason.  His answer reassured me.

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March 7th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Leap Day Thoughts

Happy leap day – February 29!  Here in New England it was a rare “warm” – 55-60 degrees in many places – February day.  Two thoughts about leap day/leap year:

-I was born in late February – I just celebrated my birthday – and ever since I can remember, when people find out my birthdate they most always say something like “you were almost a leap year baby!”.  The problem with this is I was born in an odd, not even, year – it could not have been a leap year.  Of course, if it had been a leap year, I would have indeed been a leap year baby whatever date I was born. I would have been a leap day baby if the day was right.

-How does the Orthodox Church calendar handle the leap day?  The main saint who is celebrated is St. John Cassian - more about him here.  Interestingly, when it is not a leap year his feast moves to February 28.  This has never made sense to me – if you are born on Feb. 29 you would, I imagine, celebrate your birthday during non-leap years on March 1, which is one exact year after  Feb. 29.  The wiki site has the other saints commemorated on this day, but there is nothing about how or if readings shift.  During the course of the calendar year, the entire New Testament, except for Revelation, is read.  Some days will have the same readings – very often martyrs have the same passage read, for example.  I would think the readings today are repeated from another day.

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February 29th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Less Is More

Friday’s assignment – Black Friday’s assignment – in our blogging exercise is “less is more”.  I am psyched to write about this because I had the best Black Friday of my life, and my friends and I had more fun than anyone else in the Worcester area.  We continued a tradition, or perhaps established one is the better phrasing, since this is the second year of doing this – we played rugby at high noon at Crompton Park in Worcester.  The twist this year was there was snow on the ground.  It was quite cold, but last year was colder and the ground was wet – miserable stuff.  We were fortified with hot chocolate and other beverages.  After the game we went over to The Nines on Milbury St. for chili and fellowship.  Below is a picture of me running with the ball.  How does this fit into the less is more theme?  Well, we did spend money at the bar, but rather than shopping and going crazy we had a great time together.

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November 29th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Day 32: Blogger’s Choice #3

Once again we have free rein (correct usage, although “free reign” is so entrenched in our language that it too is considered correct) to choose our own topic.  Today I want to go with some random observations I have been making lately.  As I have written here, we enjoy the Advent season in our house and don’t go crazy with gifts, etc., and I feel this gives me some clarity in cutting through the craziness of the season.  I am looking forward to our church Christmas pageant Sunday as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.  This is all despite the extreme cold we have had lately and some auto troubles, particularly a dead car battery the other day.  Here goes:

-The poem is called A Visit From St. Nicholas, not Twas The Night Before Christmas.  Let’s get this right.  The wiki article is interesting – I had no idea there was a controversy over authorship.

-We have had a lot of snow recently which is not always the case for December.  I am appalled at some of the driving I have seen.  Massachusetts people like to pride themselves on their ability to deal with the weather and their driving skills – talk to any Mass. person who has lived elsewhere and see what they think of drivers there.  So, what has happened?  Did we forget how to drive?

-I was driving the other day when one of the local high schools let out and noticed a crossing guard for high school students at an intersection that had crossing signals and a short distance between sidewalks.  Do we really need a crossing guard for high school students, especially when there is a signal?  We are a long ways away from the days of the pioneers.

-Now that Oldies 103 is gone, we listen to a station out of Rhode Island for Christmas music.  It is nice hearing the classics, but it really seems like their playlist is on repeat every hour.  On a recent trip to see my father in the Merrimack Valley area, we lost the signal and found a station that is NH based (I think).  It was refreshing to hear different Christmas tunes.  Of course, in the MP3 and streaming era it is hard to complain about this stuff – we can always make our own playlists.

 

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December 20th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Elevators And The Sabbath Revisited

I feel that I may be violating the spirit of the 40 Days Of Blogging exercise by reposting something from several years ago, but when I saw that the Sabbath was today’s topic I could not resist:

A few years ago I was at the Jewish Home in Worcester visiting someone and took the stairs at the same time as a young man who turned out to be a devout Jew.  We had a great discussion about riding elevators on the Sabbath – it was an issue he struggled with but ultimately he decided he would ride the elevator if someone else was getting on (his job there had him constantly going up and down to different floors).  I thought of him yesterday when I encountered this sign at Children’s Hospital in Boston – they have embraced the idea of a “Sabbath Elevator”, which in a very small way brings a little comfort to some of the people who work and/or have children who are patients there:

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November 23rd, 2013 by Fr. Greg

An Ecumenical Embrace

As an Orthodox Christian of Orthodox and Roman Catholic background it fills me with great pride, happiness, and love to see this picture of the Patriarchs of Rome and Constantinople together.  They follow in the footsteps of Bishop Flanagan and Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory as well as our hierarchs Metropolitan Methodios, Cardinal Sean and Bishop McManus.

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March 20th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Those Rings

The other day I visited old friend Bill K. at Olympic Wine & Spirits on Grafton St. in Worcester.  This place used to be called Renaissance Wine & Spirits before Bill and his family bought it.  I went there once some years ago to buy a bottle of wine and was startled to hear someone say “I can’t believe there is a (expletive deleted) priest in a liquor store”.  Good grief.  So, it was nice to go there and see a friendly face.  In talking with Bill I remembered a story from The Sporting News or SI back in the day.  The International Olympic Committee was going after a diner in New York that used the name Olympic and the logo of the five interlocked rings.  The IOC was going after this place – no doubt Greek-owned – for using the logo and theoretically profiting off of it.  This was likely in the pre-internet era, and I can’t find any reference to it.  Bill has a good grasp of the law on this one – you can use the rings as long as they are not in the same order and position as the famous Olympics version.  Check out the website that I linked to above – the rings emerge as bubbles from a martini glass that stands in for the y in the word Olympic.  Great job Bill!

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February 11th, 2013 by Fr. Greg