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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Memorial Day                   Monday, May 26 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterThe old curmudgeon

I actually used that title for a column that ran in the community newspapers that I edited from 1989-96. "Curmudgeon" means "grouch," but it has usually been used in American newspaper history to denote a kindly only slightly grouchy older man railing at the failings of everyone and -thing around him. America's favorite curmudgeon for the past generation is Andy Rooney of the CBS magazine show, 60 Minutes.

My grouches were usually lengthier and usually discussed more serious topics, my favorite of which were the public schools in our circulation area (San Jose, Calif.) and other aspects and institutions of the liberal establishment. I enjoyed griping about everything that didn't measure up to either my expectations or its own promises, and the public schools my children attended failed on both fronts. Newspapers in general have little power to effect anything, and community newspapers are even less significant as voices of protest or even, if you wanted to put the most positive spin possible about the vocation of curmudgeoning, prophecy. But at least editors have a platform on which to stand and deliver their homilies to an unworthy community, whether anything cares or hears. It's one of the appeals of the journalistic vocation, and it's especially rewarding for editors past age 50, who feel that no matter how many failures they see in their pasts, they have learned a thing or two worth imparting to today's public.

Part of this comes from the fact that the older generation is not generally appreciated and in fact is disdained and "dissed" at every turn. Being old is embarrassing to those of us past 50 and even more so to our children, grandchildren, and their peers. We long for the cultures in which elders were sought out for advice and wisdom, but it isn't happening in our time. Like Hollywood, where any newcomer over age 27 is considered over the hill and can't possibly have anything to contribute, our culture in general just looks upon anyone eligible for Denny's senior discount as irrelevant.

So without starting out to do so, I've given you an example of the type of thing the Old Curmudgeon used to write and how it sounded. It's grousing about whatever, not very kindly. I had to shelve the Old Curmudgeon, however, when I came to Orthodoxy. The writings of the fathers are of one voice in saying that grouching is not an acceptable facade for Christians, and neither can being unkind, especially to your enemies, whether real or figments or your own creative imagining, be encouraged.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 Don't try this at home


George Phillips of Meridian Mississippi was going up to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. George opened the back door to go turn off the light but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things. He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" and he said no. Then they said that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be along when available.

George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again. "Hello. I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now cause I've just shot them all." Then he hung up.

Within five minutes three police cars, an Armed Response unit, and an ambulance showed up at the Phillips residence. Of course, the police caught the burglars red-handed. One of the Policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!" George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!" (True Story).

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for today

Do not pursue what is illusory—property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade and can be confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life—don't be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is after all, all the same: the bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing.

— Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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