Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category.

The Art of Dying

Ars Moriendi, or “The Art of Dying,” was an immensely popular and influential medieval text aimed at equipping the faithful for death and dying. It appeared by order of the Council of Constance sometime between 1414 and 1418, and although its author is anonymous, some scholars speculate that it was a Dominican friar.

It is no surprise that the Church would focus on death-related themes at this time: one of the central pastoral preoccupations of the late medieval Church was preparing souls for death, which included saving them from damnation and shortening their stay in purgatory. To suppose that this focus on death was primarily driven by the effects of the bubonic plague is probably an oversimplification; it seems, rather, to be a foundational characteristic of medieval piety, resulting from a flourishing belief in the reality of life after death and the salvific efficacy of the sacraments. Hence, securing the ministrations of a priest in the final hours of death was a chief concern. But the impact of the bubonic plague, including the loss of clergy who would assist the dying, heightened the need for additional forms of guidance—thus arose the Ars Moriendi, a standard for deathbed pastoral practice intended for the use of dying persons and their loved ones assisting them.

The span of centuries notwithstanding, some modern-day bioethicists have looked to the medieval Ars Moriendi for inspiration in discussing contemporary approaches to death and dying. They recognize that patients nearing the end of life today often are overwhelmed by the complexity of health care and miss the opportunity to prepare well for death. A modern-day Ars Moriendi, then, would serve as a corrective to the prevailing over-medicalized, technologically driven death. Whereas bioethicists generally have sought to use the medieval text as inspiration for an approach that accommodates a wide variety of belief systems, religious and secular, it seems vital that the expressed religious intent be preserved in such a work; in fact, certain insights from the medieval text may provide a helpful addition to contemporary pastoral approaches at the end of life.

Just a cursory look at the medieval Ars Moriendi may suffice to draw out some of these insights. As the text emphasizes, dying persons are commonly faced with temptations that threaten to rob them of salvation, including the temptation against faith, the temptation of despair, and the temptation of pride that leads to complacency. When faced with these temptations, such persons must realize the importance of dying in the faith of Christ and in union with the Church to attain salvation, which is true happiness. This includes the reception of the sacraments, repeated professions of faith, self-examinations, and prayer.

For sure, the sacraments are the primary means by which the faithful can attain salvation; nevertheless, one can resist the graces offered in the sacraments, and so these other practices are important to help dispose one to receive the sacraments efficaciously. In this way, simply ensuring the visitation of a priest and the reception of the sacraments does not suffice. While efforts must be made to console dying persons that death itself is not to be feared, in light of Christ’s salvific act, it is better to stir them from complacency than to allow them to drift away from God for the sake of comfort.

These insights from the medieval Ars Moriendi may be key in reclaiming an art of dying for the twenty-first century. They give cause for concern that the typical approach for Catholics nearing the end of life today presumes that the reception of the sacraments all but guarantees salvation; typically, little emphasis is placed on the need for regular self-examination, professions of faith, and overcoming common temptations against the love of God. Instead, the focus is on consoling the dying person and loved ones, not necessarily for the sake of overcoming fear of death to remove a barrier to salvation, but out of deference to social sensibilities. Based on these concerns, it seems we truly are in need of a modern-day Ars Moriendi. The medieval text makes clear that the reality of judgment after death and hope for the salvation of souls should take priority over everything else, including attempts to better navigate the complexities and limitations of medical management at the end of life.

This piece was originally written by Br. Columba Thomas, O.P.

Reclaiming an Art of Dying for the Twenty-First Century,” by Dominicans of the Province of St. Joseph, Word on Fire, July 9, 2019

Also see
Memento mori
Readaeer Life Size Replica Realistic Human Skull Head Bone Model
– “The Christian Art of Dying: Learning from Jesus,” by Allen Verhey
– “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” by Atul Gawande


Insights – The Necessity of Thinking About Death – Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble


Tags: , , , , ,

“Chinatown” Bus Stats and the Lying NTSB

Chuckles Schumer, our bud, with a few other hacks.

In 1997, Chinese-born entrepreneurs began regularly scheduled long-distance bus services that picked up passengers on the street. Tickets were priced so low that it was hard to figure how the operators could be breaking even, much less making a profit. Faced with declining market share, Greyhound and Peter Pan imitated the Chinatown model by teaming up to create a new venture called BoltBus. Then Coach USA got into the game with Megabus. Today, “curbside” buses—lines that begin and end their routes at the sidewalk as opposed to a traditional station—make up the fastest growing form of intercity travel in the U.S.

But over the past two years, the government has forced 27 bus companies based in Chinatown to close. The regulatory clampdown was fueled by a government study that found curbside carriers were disproportionately killing their passengers. Released by the National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency, the study concluded that curbside bus companies were “seven times” more likely to be involved in an accident with at least one fatality than conventional bus operators. That finding was reported by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Businessweek, USA Today, the New York Daily News, WNYC, and Reuters, among others. Although the study did not single out Chinatown bus companies the headline in Businessweek read, “Chinatown Buses Death Rate Said Seven Times That of Others.”

The study is bogus. Not only is the “seven times” finding incorrect, the entire report is a mangle of inaccurate charts and numbers that tell us virtually nothing meaningful about bus safety. There’s no evidence that curbside or Chinatown buses are any less safe than any other kind of bus.

Government Assault on the Chinatown Bus Industry Fueled By Bogus Federal Study

“Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.”
Michael Munger


Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Live Like a Prince on a Pauper’s Budget – Minimalist Living

First, a PES video:

On to minimalist living!

A new movement is gaining steam in America: overseas retirement. Kiplinger, a personal finance and business forecast site, recently put out a list of eight great places to retire abroad. The attractions of these places are impressive. Bracketing off the one entry from Spain, the most expensive of the seven places was $2,700 per month per couple for comfortable, high-class living, and many were much less than that. That’s not to mention the other benefits: temperate weather, culture, history, beaches in some places and mountains in others, and even special state-backed perks for U.S. retirees.

Continue reading ‘Live Like a Prince on a Pauper’s Budget – Minimalist Living’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Collinsville, IL

Collinsville, Illinois, Police Officer Michael Reichert will leave the lights on for you. (Google map)

Meet Officer Michael Reichert: Professional Liar, Pride of the Collinsville PD

As if turned out, Huff wasn’t the only out-of-state driver to fall prey to Reichert, and the bit of notoriety his video caused brought out others who, like Huff, fell victim to what Huff’s attorney, Dan Kiss, called “pirates in police uniforms.”

Much as courts embrace the War on Drugs in terms of saving society from the ravages of this blight, compelling judges to endorse pretext stops and imbue cute doggies with magical powers to justify warrantless searches, few take notice of the banality of cops like Reichert and towns like Collinsville just feeding off the drug trough. No hotbed of gangs or crazed hippy addicts, but a sleepy town that makes a living off unsuspecting travelers.

Until Terrance Huff made a video. But for his videos, you couldn’t get a room at the Collinsville Red Roof Inn.

Cheap Rooms in Collinsville

Tags: , , ,

“Land of Dreams”

A new YouTube video – “Land of Dreams” – featuring Rosanne Cash and other musicians, shows different tourist experiences in the United States.

From Discover America.


Tags: ,

Trip to Pantai Kerachut

Some of the photos from the trip to Pantai Kerachut …

Setting sail …

Pantai Kerachut beach

Daniel Goon, Sydny, Peter, NYC, and …

Pantai Kerachut Recreational Forest – Virtual Malaysia

Breakfast at the Bayview, February 3rd, 2007

Photo taken on February 3rd, 2007… in the morning at breakfast at the Bayview… we are all wearing our Penang Free School shirt … “as a sign of solidarity”….

MOAR, February 2, 2007, Penang, Malaysia

MOAR, Old Frees, class of 1967, February 2, 2007, Penang, Malaysia

Penang Free School – Wikipedia


Chen Chee Hong and Penang Hill

I met Chee Hong at our MOAR (Mother Of All Reunions) after 40 odd years and again up No. 3 point on the Penang Hill climb during CNY. A retired teacher now, he spends his time helping out at the No. 3 & No. 5 hill stations. He says on most days he climbs up there in the afternoons.
Here are pictures of Chen Chee Hong making coffee for all climbers up at No 3 on the track to Penang Hill and the beautiful view from there. The tea and coffee, even beehoon and mee for climbers are all free. Climbers donate to the coffers. So if you are ever up there in the afternoon, do look out for Chee Hong. Donations are welcome when you climb.
Post by SK


. . . . . . . . .

When in Penang, Malaysia

Dear Fran: In Penang, please try the KAYU Nasi Kandar restaurant at Penang Road for delicious Indian-Muslim curries, bread, etc. … For very good Chinese cooking, please try the restaurant located at the OFA (Old Frees’ Association) … or at the Chinese Recreation Club (CRC – No. 3, Jalan Padang Victoria, 10400 Georgetown, Penang, 604-2299157) … For the numerous delicious out-door hawker food, I have no idea because my cousins drove and I simply ate!

Peter and Soo Kar Wong

I am back in New York…
Post by Peter
Also check out the Penang Pages by kenyneo and the Tourism Penang pages: Hawker fareMalaysian foodChinese foodIndian food