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Like for so many, the Notre Dame is for me an icon of medieval brilliance. The cathedral has been a symbol of Catholicism, a thorn in the eyes of the revolutionary anti-christ, and was brought back to glory by Napoleon. After many tries, this time Lucifer finally got it. Christianity has been under fire through the centuries, and the attacks have spread in Europe and the US. But the Notre Dame in Paris remained a favored place for many believers to celebrate Mass, especially at Christmas, during the Holy Week and Easter, the Ascension of the Holy Mary, and All Saints Day. Lucifer must be jeering, rubbing his hot fingers, that his Judas put the fire to it, just in time.
Was it arson or just construction sloppiness, leaving some burning cigarette or some hot construction tool behind? What about French first-responder efficiency, as it took reportedly two hours for the fire trucks to arrive? Macron said it was an accident and I assume he said so following the judgment of his Sécurité. But was it? Imagine the national and western furor if it were not. Just for that reason, the authorities might not admit that. Now they want to rebuild it in five years as opposed to the hundred years it took in the twelfth/thirteenth centuries.
Some reporters and TV anchors were mocking that France, as a Catholic country, has become more and more secular. Why rebuild it then, say the anchors? Only for tourism? But are the French really that ‘secular’? In the middle ages (like in other parts of the world, where they built majestic temples e.g., India, and mosques – Persia, Arabia, North Africa), peoples and their builders and artists dedicated their life to these magnificent constructions because of their religious faith. So did the French. Through the centuries, they build their structures because they believed. Today, not all ‘Catholics’ may attend mass, go for ‘confession,’ or take the Communion. But that does not mean they don’t believe in God and His Ten Commandments.
I was born in a fierce Protestant Dutch family and turned into a Catholic boy at the age of 9. I turned away from Catholicism because of its rigidity. Although I adore the old Catholic liturgy, its Gregorian Music and rituals because of their mysticism, and consider cathedrals like the one in Chartres magnificent places for quiet meditation, I preferred my Protestant religious freedom. Maybe the Catholic emphasis on rules, regulations, and compliance, combined with the unnatural celibacy of its priests and its resulting dire consequences, drives French believers, like elsewhere in Europe, away from the Church. But that is no reason to term the French atheists or non-believers. They may still consider themselves Christians, adhering as best they can to those Ten Commandments, instead of going to church, and having to listen to lengthy and insufferable sermons. They still want to be able to have access to the Notre Dame if they want to. That’s why they want to rebuild it.
This week we reminisce Jesus’ suffering at the Cross thanks to the Judasses among us, and his Redemption at Easter, while his sad mother, our Holy Mary, had to witness the cruelty of his tormentors. Mothers, whose sons died in war, terror or accidents will relate to her. The Notre Dame carries her name and always will. In the name of the Holy Mary, I will contribute to its restoration as it is a bulwark of our Christianity, despite all the nonsense of the anti-Christ bullies the world over.
When studying in Paris for a year in the early sixties, the Notre Dame bestowed many blessings on me, among others my fluency in French, for which I am eternally grateful and the reason why I want to contribute. After that, I returned to Paris many times for business and pleasure with my wife and kids, often strolling around the Ile de la Cité, dominated by the Notre Dame. I may not witness the completion of its restoration, but then, many of its original builders did not see its completion either.
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The Hullahoo Bar is noisy with THE FRIENDS arguing loudly about America’s hugging frenzy.
“I hear one woman got pregnant from a Biden hug,” alleges Frank.
“Impossible,” counters Melissa. “She hadn’t washed her hair.”
“Why can’t we hug anymore?” Ted wonders. “All that’s left in today’s sex craze is hugging your pillow.”
“Ridiculous,” cries Fred. “When I went to my first prom, we hugged. At my second prom, we kissed. At my third, we did it in my car. At my fourth, we had a baby and still love each other.”
“Romance is out the door,” Cindy complains. “I feel it in the office. The guys look at me as if I’m enemy number one.”
“Can you imagine,” says Tom. “I like a girl in the office and what do I do not to get fired? How about saying, ‘Hey, I’m sentimental about you. May I please give you a hug?'”
“You might try having a coffee with her in the cafeteria and, while she is sipping her latte, text her the question first,” Céline suggests.
“What if she leaks my text to my boss, saying I sexually harassed her?” Tom asks.
“Tell him the Biden doctrine,” Céline advises. “It was never your intention to hug her sexually, only to empower her.”
“Empowering her for what?” Cindy scoffs. “A pretext for impregnating her?”
“See, that’s exactly what this Me Too movement is all about,” Frank says. “They weaponize the natural drive of human love to stop procreation.”
“How would the world survive with only Me Too women left on earth?” Ted asks, raising his arms in desperation.
“Easy,” Melissa says. “There are enough plentiful sperm banks to make babies. Me Too’s favored vibrator and babylube make up for the fun.”
“And what would the male babies do?” enquires Fred.
“Do like the priests,” Melissa says. “Celibacy and feed the sperm banks. Use sex dolls. What do you think they’re doing now?”
“That’s preposterous,” yells Frank. “Worse than Orwellian!”
“It would solve today’s sex craze,” Cindy agrees. “No more Biden or Trump jokes. No more Weinstein predators. And Kamala Harris wants to make prostitution legal.”
“Do you think that’s where the US is going?” Tom asks.
“That’s where the world is going,” Cindy says, prophesizing.
Nobody feels like finishing their drinks anymore.
“What if we go back to ‘Love makes the world go round,’ Cindy?” suggests Frank after the depressing silence.
Mary laughs. “Without love, the birdies would not sing this spring.”
“Damn Me Too!” Ted hollers, hammering on the counter. “Love cannot be killed or swept aside.”
“‘Cause we hear in our heartbeat a beautiful sound,'” follows Mary, her eyes lighting up.
“Cheers to love, Mary!” Frank shouts, raising his glass, and everybody does.
(with due credit to Deon Jackson and Jennifer Lopez).
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Mars Man is back at Lu Kung Si’s office in the Empire State Building for an interview with the Governor of China’s Province America. Mars visits Lu on behalf of Mars City TV which is interested in hearing Lu’s views about China’s Plans to invade Mars to make it a Chinese Province as well. The interview is relayed through Omaha TV with charming anchor Kathryn. Lu speaks first.
“You know, Mars, that Planet Earth’s Napoleon in his days already said that China was a sleeping giant and that Planet Earth should worry when it awoke. You see what happened to what was previously called the USA. You ask what China’s Plans are for Mars? Tell your audience they would never have it any better: daily access to Peking Duck and Chinese food, the main staple of America’s carry outs, even long before it became a Chinese province.”
“May I remind you Lu that Mars people have different bodies than you have. We live underground, have worm farms, plant farms, eat olms, salamanders, and wild bats, a delicacy as good as Peking Duck. We do not keep messy flee-infested poultry. Chinese could not live on Mars.”
“China would build structures above ground, Mars, acclimatized to Planet Earth conditions, bringing in our own food and drinks.”
“Unlike Planet Earth, we manage our climate and would make sure that storms, heat and cold would wipe you off our surface. My wife Kathryn cannot come with me. I have to come here but I have the ability to change into a human body, and that’s a secret you cannot steal.”
“I must remind you not to speak in adversarial terms, Mars. China does not steal. We acquire technology through partnerships, ‘Made in China.’ Find me one box in Province America without that label. We make things together and in exchange, we use our label. Walmart likes it, so does QVC and so many others, and so do we. Those that do not go out of business.”
“Lu, on Mars, we do not use cheap malnourished Chinese labor to make a profit on what we sell. You have no future on Mars. So spare yourself the trouble and stay away.”
“You don’t understand China, Mars. China aims to rule the universe and Mars will be one of our provinces in space from where we dominate Planet Earth.”
“Mars will import redundant flatulence from the failed New Green Deal and make your landing impossible.”
“Don’t fool yourself, Mars. We acquired NASA and the Russian Space Station. We put our footprint on the Moon. Mars will be next. Venus and Jupiter will follow.”
“The inhabitants of these planets will eat you alive, Lu. Contrary to Marsians, they like Chinese food. It’s a suicidal move.”
“China has 1.5 billion people and that’s too many. We must ship the overload off to space, starting with the Tibetans and Urghs, and unruly residents of Province America. Those deplorables as defined by comrade Hillary Clinton, including racists, sexists, homophobics, xenophobics, Islamophobics. Like the Brits did with sending their criminal crop to Australia. Only true collaborators of China are allowed to remain on Planet Earth.”
“How will China get to Mars?”
“Before you leave, we will X-ray your body to re-engineer it and replicate it for our own use.”
“X-rays do not work on my body, Lu. Besides, if you try that I will turn you into a Mars bar with devastating power. When somebody eats that bar, that person will also turn into a Mars bar, and so on. That might be a better policy to deal with your population problem.”
“Don’t try April Fools Pranks on me, Mars. I can arrest you for disrespect of a senior Chinese official. I insist you follow me to our health room.”
Lu rises, but his face and body crumble with a painful scream. All that’s left on his desk is a Mars bar.
When Mars Man leaves Lu’s office, he pushes the icon ‘Utilities’ on his smartphone to restore Lu to his human condition. He needs him for further interviews but knows that Lu will think twice before trying to take his body next time.
It’s bar time again for THE FRIENDS. Fred, Frank, Tom, and Ted settle down at their usual spots in the Hullahoo Bar. Cindy, Mary, Melissa, and Celine are joining them, all talking about the unending dog fights in Washington politics.
“Gee, man,” sighs Ted. “The Report is out. No collusion, no proof of obstruction. What a relief.”
“And that after two years of trying to prove the opposite,” Melissa says. “That guy Schiff stands with his pants down, and so does the so-called mainstream media. Now they can put the Roseanne Barr show back on.”
“Hah,” Mary scoffs. “And Jeanine Pirro’s, too. Why the heck did Fox drop her? They’re becoming like CNN.”
“Why waste your time looking at Roseanne or Jeanine?” Cindy says, sipping her white wine. “Just watch Congress. Same show, cheaper too.”
“Or those late-night comics,” Frank says. “All Trump haters. So boring. Puts you to sleep but at least gives you time to make love instead.”
“Doesn’t matter what side you are on,” Tom says. “When one side gets President, the other side tears him down.”
“The American way,” Celine affirms. “Like in the cowboy movies. The new sheriff must keep order, so the bad guys go after him.”
“It has gotten a lot worse with Social Media,” Mary proffers. “Everybody is yelling from their basements hitting away on their computers or smartphones, saying things they would never say if they sat in front of those who they are yelling at.”
“My brother, who votes Republican, tells me he’s sleeping in a different room because his wife is dreaming aloud, screaming ‘I hate Trump,'” Melissa says.
“Any Republican here, hands up?” shouts Frank.
No hands show.
“Any Democrat here?” shouts Fred.
No hands show.
“Come on!” Tom says. “You’re all Independents?”
Melissa raises her thumb one inch and says, “You’re all afraid of the Green Police hearing you!”
“Oh, yeah,” Cindy says, laughing. “That media darling with the too red lips and double name everybody had difficulty pronouncing, so they made her into an acronym.”
“Is that so, there’s a Green Police already?” Mary asks, looking worried.
“It’s part of the fine print of the New Green Deal,” Melissa says. “That’s what you’d get if you vote socialism.”
“Why can’t these people leave us alone?” Ted wonders aloud. “Why’s everybody always fighting each other? Dogs fight, cats fight, birds fight, roosters fight, deer fight, ants fight, humans fight, why can’t we have peace? Don’t we all have a good time now?”
“Because peace is boring, buddy,” Fred says. “A peace book does not sell, a killer book does. Same with movies. Welcome to Planet Earth.”
“Same with those politicians. Always fighting while saying ‘my friend,'” Tom says. “I remember Joe Biden boasting he’d take Trump outside the gym to beat him up. I’m afraid six-foot-two Trump heavyweight would take him by the scruff of his neck and hang him on the coat rack.”
“It’s the bully mindset in us humans,” Celine philosophizes. “There are always those who want to control others, regardless. AOC wants to be the boss, you heard that?”
“We need stronger anti-bullying laws,” suggests Mary.
“Hah, works like gun laws,” sneers Frank. “You’ll soon see that not all anti-bullying laws are equal. They won’t apply to people like AOC.”
“She and Bernie want a seventy percent tax rate,” Tom says, looking scared. “They never learn. Bernie may not remember he had to take his own toilet paper to a restroom in Moskou on his honeymoon because the city ran out of tax money and no taxpayer had any money left.”
“How come all these brilliant Millenials just from school yearn for socialism when capitalism is there for everyone to see it works?” Fred wonders. “Do they know what socialism means? Free goods without freedom and soon misery for all.”
“I’m afraid that’s where we’re heading,” Cindy says. “They have to learn the hard way. Looking at Venezuela on TV is not hard enough. They have to live through it to find out how bad it is.”
“At least the Report puts an end to the collusion hoax,” remarks Melissa. “Did anybody ever ask why a freedom-loving billionaire businessman would ask a communist dictator help him get elected president of a democratic US of A?”
“Fair point, Melissa,” says Frank. “Ask Bernie that question. You get a free beer from me. Cheers everyone!”