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God geralt

The other day, me and my nine year-old were having an interesting conversation at the dinner table.  We have a lot of interesting conversations; mainly because he’s so interesting.

In our discussion, he was describing how he noticed that certain people just know how to do things and do them well.  Things like advanced math, science, music.

“They’re called geniuses,” I said. I continued and shared with him a story about a young boy who has no real exposure to classical music.  Neither one of his parents played and instrument;  nor did any of his grandparents.  However, this elementary school kid walked into a music one day, picked up an instrument, and began playing as if he played as if he was an accomplished musician.  He later went on to write several symphonies.

“How?” my son asked.

“I don’t know,” I added.  “However, Uncle Clay and I came up with a theory one night in college.

“No civilization lasts forever,” I explained.  “Eventually, no matter how advanced, they seem to crumble.  The genius, Uncle Clay and I hypothesized is a fail-safe to rebuilt society after in falls.”

I gave him a few examples…

“The Roman civilization was extremely advanced,” I said.  “We make things out of cement today, but it’s not the same cement the Romans used.  We have to use rebar when we build with cement, so it holds shape and form.  However, the Coliseum in Rome is still standing today without the use of any steel re-enforcing bars.   Historians even believed they had the understandings of Nanotechnology.

“The Roman Empire fell in 476.  But soon, the Arab world rose.  Why? …  Because of the genius. we hypothesized….

“From the Dark Ages came Western Civilization.  Why?  Because of the genius….

“Civilizations rise and fall.  After they fall, it’s the genius that steps in and saves the human race, over and over again….

“That night, Uncle Clay and I came to a conclusion:  For the genius to exist, it has to be programmed into our collective DNA.”

“What DNA?” he asked.

“You know how you program a computer? Well, your DNA is a computer program just for you.  But here’s where it gets cool….

“You and your most distant relative share 99.6% of DNA.  There’s only a 0.4% difference between your DNA — your personal “computer program” — and the person on the planet who is the most-different from you.”

To my surprise, he was still listening.  So, I continued.

“We thought, for the genius to exist, there has to be some kind of genetic memory.  Today, with epigenetics, scientists have recently discovered that genetic memory truly exist!

“So, we were right!

“However, we further theorized, for the genius to be part of our Human genome, for a genius to have evolved, there had to be some kind of knowledge of the future that all civilizations would eventually come to a destructive end….

“And, there’s only one thing that has knowledge of the future…”

“What?” he enthusiastically asked.  At least I want to believe he was enthusiastic.

“Well, it’s not what, but Who?”

“God!?” he replied.

“Yes, God! And that’s the story about the night Uncle Clay and I proved that God exists.”

“Cool,” he calmly added.  “Can I watch EvanTube HD?”

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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Saint Brother André Bessette had an extraordinary devotion to Saint Joseph.

The eighth of 12 children, Brother André was adopted at 12.  According to Franciscan Media, he had various trades: farmhand, shoemaker, baker, blacksmith.  He was also a factory worker in the United States.

At 25, André applied for entrance into the Congregation of Holy Cross — and the rest, as they say, is history.

      

John Paul II participated in the solemn rite of beatification for Brother André on May 23, 1982 in St. Peter’s Square.  On October 17, 2010, Brother André was canonized in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI. [1]

My first visit to Brother André’s  St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal was life changing.

Built in the Italian Renaissance style, the basilica is set on top of Mount Royal as a model of Christian charity.  It’s shining copper dome — second-largest of its kind in the world, smaller only than St. Peter’s in Rome  — cannot be hidden from the eyes of all people below.  In the nave of L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph, one entire wall is dedicated to crutches miraculously left behind by cured pilgrims for all to see.

However life-changing that experience was, nothing changed my life more than a simple prayer that I found on Pinterest attributed to Brother André.

“When you invoke St. Joseph,” Brother André said, “you don’t have to say much. Say…

If you were in my place, Saint Joseph
What would you do?
Well, pray for this on my behalf.”

It’s a prayer I recite often throughout my day. I have never felt such inner peace since giving this simple prayer a try.

Try it!  Ite ad Joseph. Your life may change as well.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Hope

(Source: Pixabay.com|jill111

Recently, the governor of my home state, New York, signed the Reproductive Health Act, the most progressive abortion bill in the history of the United States.

Like Governor Cuomo, I am Catholic.

Unlike Governor Cuomo, I was never an altar boy.   So, maybe he has one up on me there?  I also never attended Catholic school.  However, I did attend CCD classes throughout my primary and secondary school years.

As a Catholic, I applaud the governor for supporting the Child Victims Act, which the Church long-opposed until there was the inclusion of employees of public institutions. (Although, nowhere in the bill did I see the inclusion of dirt bag politicians – just saying.)

I think we all can agree, we need to pursue and punish the monsters who sexually abuse children and post-pubescent teens,  regardless of race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation and/or political affiliation.

However, as a Pro-Life Catholic, I break with the governor on the Reproductive Health Act.  So, the rest of blog post might disappoint you.  Sorry.

With the signing of RHA, I reached out to my Bishop, His Eminence Edward B Scharfenberger for answers.

Unlike many of my fellow Catholics, I did not ask if he was going to excommunicate Andrew Cuomo from the Church.

Excommunication is a heavy burden for any Bishop to bear.  And though I understand that excommunication is not supposed to be a punitive act; it’s hardly ever received that way.  Further, historically, it usually causes more harm than good, and most often leads to schism — which is never positive.

I simply asked the Bishop in regard to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing of RHA:

“What do you have to do as a Catholic to not receive Holy Eucharist in the Catholic Church?”

To my surprise,  I immediately received a response from the Diocese of Albany.  It read:

“The Bishop discussed this…. The governor does not present himself for Eucharist.”

And there, I saw my first sliver of hope.

I am aware of plenty of Catholics who openly snub Church teachings, yet religiously receive Holy Communion every week.  Sadly, some of them are priests.

However, Andrew Cuomo does not!

As I understand it, Governor Cuomo, who is divorced, has stopped presenting himself for Holy Communion since he began co-habitating with his girlfriend.

For Christian Catholics, the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian life.  Not receiving It is a BIG deal!

In Cor 10:16-17, Saint Paul tells us that we just don’t participate in the Eucharist, we are in communion in the blood of Christ. “…nonne communicatio sanguinis?” as it is written in the Latin Vulgateκοινωνία or koinonia in Greek.

Early Church Father and Orator,  St. John Chrysostom (c. 349 – 407) commenting on Paul’s words made this very clear when he said:

The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the Body of Christ?Wherefore said he not, the participation? Because he intended to express something more and to point out how close was the union: in that we communicate not only by participating and partaking, but also by being united. For as that body is united to Christ, so also are we united to Him by this bread.(Homily 24 on First Corinthians: 4)

The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present—body and blood, soul and divinity—under the appearances of bread and wine.

St. Paul also teaches us in 1 Cor 11:27 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.”

The Catholic Church maintains that teaching.

It’s not that we’re mean or are trying to deny non-Catholics something extraordinary. It’s actually done out of love.

No one, but God can read the intentions in one’s heart. The only way for the Church to understand that one fully accepts Her teachings on the Eucharist is if you have professed your Faith to Her, first by entering the Church through the sacrament of Baptism, followed by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation.  As we grow in our Faith, we confirm our Baptism as young adults through the sacrament of Confirmation.

So, this practice of restricting the Blessed Sacrament is a spiritual protection, in a sense; kind of like not letting a person who is not a board certified surgeon operate on another person.

Simply, this person may have a perfect understanding of the body systems, but they haven’t proven their understanding.

The Church just didn’t come to this practice in the recent past, as some believe.

The practice of a closed communion goes back to the days of the early Church — to the near roots of Her foundation.

St. Justin Martyr, a second century Christian, wrote “And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the person who believes that the things which we teach are true….” [1]

So, why would Andrew Cuomo NOT present himself for Holy Communion if so many others do?

I can only hope it’s because he respects the Gospel truth when it comes to receiving the Holy Eucharist — and maybe, just maybe, he knows in his heart of hearts that he’s in the wrong?  And that gives me hope.

Now, don’t misunderstand me.  Signing the Reproduction Health Act is not an act of Christian charity, by any means.

There are 198 world nations.  Fifty-nine out of the 198 allow abortions.  However, only seven of these 59 countries allow elective abortions after 20 weeks: Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

Of these seven countries, the Netherlands and Singapore allow abortions after 20 weeks, but ban it after 24 weeks.

Astounding, isn’t it?  Almost unbelievable.  But, you can fact check it all here.

Sadly, since the signing of RHA in New York on January 22, 2019, other states, such as Virginia, have become bold enough to submitted similar bills.

Will the Almighty judge Governor Cuomo for opening this kind of  legislative Pandora’s Box?  I don’t know?

All I know is that the lack of compassion for our neighbor is at an all-time high.  Not surprisingly, it comes at a time in our nation when the respect for Life is at an all-time low.

However, calling for the excommunication of Andrew Cuomo, and people like him, is not the answer.

In doing so, we turn the Bishop into nothing more than a modern-day Caiaphas.  Likewise, we appear, on the world stage, looking more like the misguided standing alongside the Sanhedrin, crying out, “Crucify Him!” before Pontius Pilot, than who we really are: Christians.

Feeding into anger and frustration, we, in a sense, risk becoming the like our enemies, who Christ calls us to Love.

We have to take this fight to the battlefield where we have the most weapon power.  That’s why, since January 22, we now start our dinner grace with a pre-amble prayer.

We pray nightly for the Governor of New York; but above all, we also pray for our brother in Christ, Andrew Cuomo.

In doing so, I like to believe, that we keep hope alive — even if it’s just a sliver of hope.

James Dobkowski

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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spirit111

I haven’t seen my college roommate since I moved my family back East. Nine years has past since then.

Of course, we still communicate through text from time-to-time.  His response time is awful … just saying. However, a few weeks ago, we actually chatted on the phone.  It’s been awhile.

It was nice just hearing his voice.

We picked up our conversation like we did when we shared a room together in college. Instead of discussing plans for the weekend, we lamented about not seeing each other. More so, we lamented about not seeing each other’s kids.

He has girls, who are full-grown; I have two boys, who are much younger.  (He was always a few steps ahead of me.)

We talked about getting together soon, but both probably recognized that a reunion wouldn’t happen — at least not anytime soon.

The conversation had to end because we both had to run.

Likewise, I received a text recently at 6:59 am from someone I knew since forever. We exchanged texts about our days working in Yakutat, Alaska for Sitka Sound Seafoods.

His last text was “Drop me a line. 2 minutes”.

We talked for 2 1/2 … hours!

Our conversation went from our days Alaska to our antics high school; from Charlie Daniels to Yosef Islam to Father McDonald back to Yosef Islam/Cat Stevens.  That lead us to Quebec City and the 1444 1/2 Bar — and on and on and on.

The conversation only ended because I had to feed my 9 year-old breakfast.

Both times, as I hung up, it occurred to me…

Having a good friend, especially one who lives a long-distance away, is much like having a relationship with God.

As with God, we probably should talk more often than we do.  However, when we do, it’s as we were at each other’s side.

And, as you know, God is always at your side.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more. Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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I’m a big fan of NBC’s The Blacklist.

I’m also a big fan of James Spader and have been since he played Dr. Daniel Jackson in the movie Stargate.

With that said, it didn’t take much effort for me to binge every episode of the NBC thriller this summer as I tried to follow all the bread crumbs, laid out by Jon Bokenkamp, that guided viewers over the past five years, to the surprising Season 5 Finale.

So, the question on every Blacklist fan’s mind in the off-season was — and still is: Who is Raymond Reddington if he’s not … Raymond Reddington?

To start off, I don’t believe Spader’s character is a twin of the skeletonal remains identified by Tom as the real Raymond Reddington.  That’s too simple.    Even though identical twins have different finger prints, they share the same exact DNA.  Genetically speaking, they’re clones.

So, that story line is out.

I also don’t think the present Raymond Reddington is biologically KGB agent Katarina Rostova, if you will excuse the dead naming (if that applies here); Raymond’s former wife and Elizabeth’s biological mother.

As many in the blogosphere hypothesized,  Katarina was surgically transformed, becoming the new Raymond Reddington, since the real Raymond Reddington was quite literally a bag of old bones.

For the longest time, I believed this storyline.  I became even more convinced during my summer binge.

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The first solid clue came after again watching the episode Cape May from Season 3.

I had a sense, while watching Katarina and Raymond interact, that Reddington wasn’t just reflecting on a past relationship; s/he was actually reliving a personal memory.

Her suicide was a metaphor for the end of her life as Katarina; a diversion to convince others to buy into the deception; or both.  Could her auburn hair be the real reason Reddington’s closest allies call him “Red”?  I questioned.

However, I wasn’t fully convinced.

I thought it all may have been just a “red” herring, pun intended, until Reddington’s arch-rival, Alexander Kirk a.k.a. Constantin Rostova entered my Summer of The Blacklist Binge.

For almost a full season, the two men rivaled. Finally, Constantin was one the verge of victory.

Seconds before he was about to kill Raymond with a lethal injection, “Red” leaned over and whispered something that only Kirk could hear; something so profound it stopped Constantin dead in his tracks — ending the rivalry.

At the time, I believed it could only be the words: “It is me … Katarina.”

From that moment, I was convinced that this was the only possible conclusion to define this character identity crisis — until the start Season Six!

There was something with the way Raymond spoke that revealed a secret that went beyond the surface.

Raymond Reddington was hiding something — something deep inside.

My suspicion grew more certain after watching Episode Three: The Pharmacist.

Though the plot focused mostly on Reddington’s court case and his secret immunity agreement, the subplot offered some interesting bread crumbs to follow.

If you saw the episode, you may remember when Samar and Amir brought an unusual piece of evidence, a next-gen inoculation gun, to one of the Amir’s techies, an underground biohacker?  (The dude with computer chips in his hands and on his forehead.)

Biohackers “hack” their own code — their own genetic code.

By biohacking yourself, they believe, you can actually transform your body so that you feel more energized, be more productive and, overall, feel like the best possible version of yourself. [1]

Remember what Raymond said to Elizabeth at the U.N. — esecially the part about being the best possible version of oneself!

To steal a line from The Prestige the movie with one of the best twist ending:

Every mystery, like every magic trick consists of three parts, or acts. The first part of the magic trick is called the pledge, the magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course…it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.

The Pledge was the appearance of a man, Raymond Reddington, to start the series.  The Turn was his disappearance, at least genetically, at the end of Season 5.

Now, you’re looking for the secret, right?  But, you won’t find it, unless you know where to look.

Remember, in a trick, making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back.

In this case, you have to bring back Raymond Reddington.

How do you you that?

Well, the biohacker may have given a major the clue.

It was so ordinary, you might have missed it; mainly because it is only ordinary  to scientists.  To everybody else, it’s extraordinary.

It was the term: CRISPR

CRISPR is an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat.   What it is or where it came from is quite interesting — but too complicated to discuss in this piece.   (If you want to know more, WATCH THIS.)

Simply, its a palindromic repeat of the bases that make up DNA.

One particular palindromic cluster of repeating DNA called CRISPR-Cas 9 — something discovered in ordinary yogurt — is now being used to genetically redesigned many things, including the human genome.

Still following the breadcrumbs?

Remember, making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. 

However, here, we have to go beyond appearance — or, as you learned in high school biology, one’s phenotype.  We go beyond the surface, and go directly into Raymond’s genotype.

In short, Reddington had his DNA altered, so he couldn’t be identified — and the bones in the bag became a genetic body double.

Far-fetched?  China has already gene-edited people with CRISPR.

So, the Human DNA in the bag of bones might very well be on file as that of Raymond Reddington.  However, it’s not really him; its a genetic “fall guy”, if you will.

Now, here’s the third act of Reddington’s trick, the hardest part, the part called “The Prestige” where Raymond Reddington is made to reappear.

How?

While on trial, Reddington’s DNA will be examined, and “Red,” played by James Spader, will be exposed as an imposter.

The reveal will have him played as a patsy for the real Reddington.  In his usual eloquence, he will give a speech which convinces all involved that he stole Reddington’s identity and finances for the purpose of doing good in the world.

Finally, he will also convince the world that the real Reddington died years ago and, I suspect, the he will give an explanation on why the former government agent turned high-profile criminal and how Reddington and Katarina possibly died.

The Task Force will be disbanded; Elizabeth will be heart broken; Samar cured — probably by a CRISPR treatment; and this “Red” will be released in the last episode .

All will sadly feel very contrived and deus ex machina as the series approaches the end.

But remember, the third part of the trick hasn’t been fulfilled; the part called “The Prestige”.

Like Keyser Söze, Red’s true identity will be revealed as he walks away from the last six years.  He is Raymond Reddington after all.

We’ll discover that Liz was a double-agent, now self-identified as Masha, who was involved from the very beginning; from the very first day.

Her involvement with Reddington, her biological father, was all part of an elaborate plan to seek revenge against all those who played a part in the death of Masha’s mother, Raymond’s immortal beloved, Katarina — and no one (not even Dembe) will be the wiser.

For the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

And that’s how I predict The Blacklist is going to end.  And if it doesn’t end this way, it should!

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Goatee 2

Shortly after my high school senior pictures, I grew a mustache.

It remained a permanent feature on my face until college when a group of us sharing a summer home in Chico, California collectively decided to shave.

Truthfully, I had little say in the matter.

It just so happened that I arrived home and found all my housemates clean-shaven.  Apparently, a pact was made when I was at work.

So, I chose to voluntarily shave.

Better to comply, I thought, than risk losing a part of my upper lip to one or more razor- wielding pranksters, after falling asleep.

Oddly enough, I haven’t grown a permanent mustache or beard since.

Sure, I’d elect not to shave, from time-to-time, during an elongated vacation.  However, I would make sure I was clean-shaven before going back to work.  Several times, I thought about keeping my vacation whiskers, but my boys would often strongly suggest that I didn’t.

This Christmas, however, I went back to work with a full goatee for the first time since my summer of fun!

As in the past, before returning to work, I asked my boys if I should shave or keep my Christmas goatee.

“Keep it,” my five year-old surprisingly suggested.

“Really?”  Why?”  I hesitantly asked.

“Just keep it,” he added with a mischievous smile.

Though suspicious, I kept it.

The Sunday before returning to work, we went to Church like we do every Sunday.  During the homily, my little man sat on my lap — as he does every Sunday during the homily.  As he leaned back, he rested his head against my chin, as he always does.

Suddenly, he started to rub the back of his head against my freshly grown bristles, causing me to smile.

“Is that why you wanted me to keep my goatee?” I whispered.

He smiled and nodded, yes.

And that’s the story behind the legendary Christmas goatee.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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It’s January 6th. The Solemnity of the Epiphany. The adoration of the Christ Child by the Magi.

Many Christians across the globe exchange gifts on this day — the 12th day of Christmas.

The Magi, as you may know, were the wise men who brought gifts to the Babe in the manager.

Of all the traditions that go with this day, my favorite is quite personal; it’s the reading of O Henry’s classic “The Gift of the Magi”.  I first remember reading “The Gift of the Magi” in 6th grade.

No story had so impacted me before, as did O. Henry’s tale of Jim and Della Young — and I am forever grateful.

This year, start a new tradition or enjoy the classic tale once again.

CLICK HERE to READ “The Gift of the Magi”.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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