Bite My Wingtips!

Mordér el cordován


Morder el cordobán: Whenever I here this Cuban phrase, it causes me to spray my cafe cubano through my nose. The English translation would be “Bite the Bullet”, but “bite the wingtips” is so much more colorful.

The Cuban vernacular is rich with such terms. Some terms have no direct translation such as “Cara de Guante” (baseball glove face?). This term would be meaningless without the following picture:


Cara de Guante

 Some Cuban phrases carry more weight than their English translations: “Sin Vergüenza” when used as a noun is a challenge to someone’s honor: Dem is Fightin’ Words. “You have no shame”, on the other hand is a very weak-kneed, limp-wristed retort (much like our nation’s foreign policy). Again, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Sin Vergüenza

Sin Vergüenza

And some Spanish phrases have been adopted into the American vernacular unedited such as, “¿Quién es  más macho?”

¿Qué? ¿Hombre?

¿Qué? ¿Hombre?


¡Que Hombre!

But, I digress. The title of this commentary was inspired by an article I read in the online Christian Science Monitor about the Netherlands (Holland? The Low Countries?, Hitler’s Left Turn Lane?). It seems that the Dutch government has had enough of its freeloading, pot & hash smoking citizens sucking off the government teat (in Cubano: ‘me tiene la teta hinchado’) and will now start requiring their lazy citizens to volunteer to perform tasks in order to collect their welfare checks (mandatory volunteering? Oxymoronic, isn’t it?). Dutch king Wilhelm-Alexander said: “The classical welfare state is slowly but surely evolving into a participation society,” the Dutch king told the nation last fall. “Everyone who is able will be asked to take responsibility for their own lives and immediate surroundings.” THE HORROR (imagine Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now” when you say this), having to WORK in order to collect your welfare check. This almost sounds like… like… like… Capitalism! THE HORROR! All the dead socialist icons and heroes must be spinning in their graves (counter-clockwise of course). According to the article, this trend seems to be catching on throughout Europe. It appears that the Dutch (and most of Europe) will have to learn to BITE THE BULLET (morder el cordobán).

I think it was Margaret Thatcher who said that socialism works only so long as someone else pays for it. It would appear that the Dutch government is running out of people to ‘stiff’ with the bill. It would also appear that this is a lesson that our government should pay close attention to; especially our mom-jeans wearing President, if he weren’t so much of a p _ _ _ _ _ _. **

** (short curly hairs normally found in the immediate vicinity of genitalia)**




Person of the Year (Part II)


Man of the Year

Man of the Year

Pope Francis’ latest apostolic letter “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel) has caused a stir among conservatives because of its perceived attacks on capitalism. Some commentators have labeled him a socialist, Marxist, communist, or even worse, a Democrat. Liberals have latched on to Pope Francis’ call for an abandonment of “trickle-down theories” (No. 54) as a call for wealth re-distribution(…”tax the rich ’til they’re rich no more!” as the late, great Alvin Lee would sing). This call for the defense and dignity of the working man is not new; it has been part of Catholic teaching since the time of the Industrial Revolution. In his encyclical, Rerum Novarum (On Capital and Labor-1891), Pope Leo XIII wrote against the unjust treatment and exploitation of workers in the pursuit of profit, power, and competition. He also strongly opposed socialist attempts to inflame the “poor man’s envy of the rich” (No. 4) in support of their theories of wealth re-distribution and the elimination of private property.  The Church has always supported a person’s right to profit from his labor and has endorsed capitalist economies based on justice and charity.

Although this one paragraph has been the focus of much discussion, it is not the main topic of Evangelii Gaudium. The overall purpose of this letter is to encourage Catholics to bear witness to the message contained in the Gospel; not by standing on street corners pummeling everyone with chapter and verse but by our daily example.

By living the Gospel message in our day to day existence, in the office, in the field or workplace, we give greater testimony about who we are, what we believe and stand for, than mere words or symbols. Pope Francis urges us to avoid our technological isolation: to lift up our gaze from our Iphones, Ipads, and I-whatevers and engage the world and, if the message contained in the Gospel has any meaning to us, the “Joy of the Gospel” will shine through and our actions will definitely speak louder than our words (or texts).

For a more in-depth analysis of Evangelii Gaudium, click here.

For an article on “The Economics of Star Trek”, click here.

For a video commentary on our shift from a market-based economy to a market-based society, click here.