Tag Archives: Pope Francis


Do you know what I recently discovered?  Lent has started and Easter is less than 40 days away.  Also, March 1st was the start of “meteorological spring,” which should mean that spring is just around the corner. Then someone said that Mueller should be releasing his report soon.  Looks like if any of these things actually show up, it’s going to be a bombastic spring. But all three of these items (spring, Easter, and Mueller) seem to be in jeopardy, if you ask me—if you really want to know.

Cartoon used by permission: Darkow, Columbia Missourian, Cagle Cartoons

I suppose, as a spiritual being, I should really be getting myself prepared for Easter (I haven’t even thought about giving up a thing for Lent—except maybe news coverage about Trump), but I can’t concentrate because the weather is kicking my ass.  According to Joel Achenbach from The Washington Post, spring is going to be delayed because we’ve entered a polar vortex (“the very cold air mass that normally circulates in the Arctic”), and it has broken “into pieces, with a fragment hurtling south and creating dangerously cold conditions in the Lower 48 states.”  I didn’t need Achenbach to tell me that the world seemed to be coming to an end via the weather, all I had to do was look at the weather map.  Snow where no snow has rarely gone, temps going as low as minus 60 degrees in states other than Alaska, floods and tornadoes wiping out entire communities, and rains coming down so frequently that this year is considered the wettest year on record.  It’s beginning to feel like these are the days of Noah.

Although I’m praising God that I don’t live in Minnesota and the Dakotas (recorded 30 – 60 below zero temps last month), California (mudslides), Seattle (record snow), Tennessee (flooding), Alabama and Georgia (tornadoes from Hell), I am really sick and tired of being sick and tired of rain in Virginia.  It has been raining almost nonstop for over a month, and everything is covered in mildew—including my body.  I got so ill from the weather that I became a walking, hacking, sneezing mucus factory.

Cartoon used by permission: John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune, PA

About 2 ½ months ago, it started to rain, and in the midst of all that rain, I woke up with an upper respiratory infection that felt like bricks had been piled on top of my head while I was being water-boarded. No matter what I did, I couldn’t rid myself of the symptoms.  No antibiotics helped.  After 20 boxes of tissues, my nose was stripped raw of its skin leaving it too tender to even touch and looking like I had the beginnings of vitiligo on my skinned bulbous.  Scores of chickens were sacrificed at the altar of soup cauldrons to make chicken soup—Jewish penicillin—and I combed the Earth looking for effective cough meds like a junkie looking for her next fix.  My husband was banished to the guest room to escape my incessant hacking cough, and my friends started making the sign of the cross whenever I came into their presence.  Somewhere in the middle of my snot and sneeze tour, I went deaf (WTF!!).  When I dragged myself into the ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), he came at me with a suction tube on one side of my head and a miniature ice cream scoop on the other. The nurse told me (after reviving me from my fainting spell at the horror of it all), that she and the doc had scoped out a candle factory’s supply of wax in the left ear and sucked out six months’ worth of mucus in the right ear—restoring my hearing within minutes.  In the midst of this torture, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow and proclaimed an early spring which has turned out to be a big fat lie, and if I ever get my strength back, I shall hunt him down and open up a can of whup ass on him that he’ll never forget. (Nasty-ass rodent!)

Cartoon used by permission: Darkow, Columbia Missourian, Cagle Cartoons

Having nothing better to do in my snotty state of mind (how much snot can a 70-year-old woman expectorate? Turns out that the answer is: 2 tons!), I started meditating on liars—inspired by Punxsutawney Phil.

According to, a lie is: a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood. Something intended or serving to convey a false impression….  Well, clearly my nurse practitioner had lied when she told me the antibiotics and the little translucent cough pills would do the trick and clear my symptoms right up.  In reality, she had no idea her advice would work, but she charged me $234.19 and sent me on my way, anyhow.  I started watching the Cohen testimonies from my sick bed and realized that I was watching a professional liar trying to shed himself of a professional liar who is now our President, while those that still follow him continue to lie to themselves that “Trumpee, Trumpee, he’s our man, if he can’t save us, no one can!”

Cartoon used by permission: Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune MN, CagleCartoons

When the Cohen testimonies made me sick at heart, I turned to the coverage of the Vatican’s cover-up through the years about the pedophilia priests in their midst, and immediately erased Pope Francis from my Christmas card list. (Seriously, Francis, I thought you were going to be different than all the other popes, but all you’ve done is talk, talk, talk.  For Christ’s sake:  call the police and throw all those sick pervs in jail.  How hard can that be?)

Cartoon used by permission: Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune MN, CagleCartoons

My disappointment in the current Pope really made me really sick at heart, and I thought I couldn’t get any sicker until I watched the four-hour HBO documentary and Oprah’s follow-up interview on Michael Jackson’s alleged years-long serial pedophilia against two of his victims and scores of other children from ages 5 to 14 or so.  This was after I had grooved to a dance mix of “Thriller,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (suddenly those lyrics take on a whole new meaning!) to try and cheer me up from the stories about pedophilia in the Catholic church. Yuck! Being a Michael Jackson fan, how the hell did I miss this?  If these stories are true, M.J. was one sick fuck. 

Cartoon used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star, Tucson, AZ

At that point, I turned off the television, crawled under the covers in despair with another bowl of chicken soup and my tissue box and made a declaration that I planned to stay there.  I mean what’s the point of trying to get well when humans are such horrid creatures. (Physical sickness causes me to feel really sorry for myself and very agitated with the world at large.  If you look at me the wrong way, I’ll fling my snot at you.  Be glad I don’t have any magic powers or you’d all be turned into fried frog legs.  God may have had his Noah’s flood, but I’d come at the Earth with a zapping power that would fricassee everybody’s ass who got on my nerves.)

Then I was reminded that Easter was coming soon.  I love Easter!  It’s my favorite high holiday. It is connected to spring, and it reminds me that winter won’t last forever, bad people won’t get away with murdering the hearts of the innocents ad infinitum, and that I need redemption and salvation just as much as those that I’m judging.  As I poked my head from underneath the covers, I began to recite this anonymous prayer I found on the Google machine to ease my aching body and soul:

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.  No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life. For I remember it is Easter morn and life and love and peace are all new born.”—Anonymous

The problem is—with me, as with many others—will we recognize Easter when it shows up?

Cartoon used by permission: Aislin, The Montreal Gazette


I’m discovering that I have no idea when the madness—physical, political, sociological, or meteorological—will end.  I just know I’m tired of being sick and tired. (To my horror, I just got in a CNN News bulletin on my phone:  FLU SEASON MAY NOT HAVE PEAKED, AND THERE’S ANOTHER WAVE OF SEVERE INFECTIONS UNDERWAY, CDC SAYS.)   What to do…what to do?  Shall I take the chance and come out from underneath my covers and reenter the world?  Shall I look to the sky in anticipation for spring while hoping and praying for the resurrection of Easter to sweep away the dross of winter from our human hearts—from here to the Vatican on down through the Michael Jackson fans who are threatening violence against the survivors of M.J.’s alleged sexual abuse?  I think so, because if I’ve learned anything, hope does spring eternal and winter never lasts.

Cartoon used by permission: Dave Granlund,


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Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on March 9, 2019 in Uncategorized


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Do you know what I discovered today?  Pope Francis is in the house, and heads are about to explode! He is due to address Congress tomorrow, and apparently he has slipped in the polls (he dropped from being “liked” by Americans from 76% in 2014 to 59% because he has pissed off people on both the Right and the Left—but mainly on the right).  We are such fickle-ass people.

Well, I really “heart” this pope, and I’m not quite sure why.  I’m not Catholic, but there is something magnetic about him.  Maybe it is because I love Jesus, he loves Jesus, and we’re both just trying to do our God proud by the way we walk the talk—to the best of our ability, which is fallible at best, no matter what people tell you about the Pope’s infallibility.

Pope Francis Meme

Apparently, Pope Francis has stepped on the toes of quite a few people in America.  Conservatives are passing kidney stones because they feel the Pope has meddled in climate change, income inequality, and immigration issues—areas they think he clearly does not belong (“keep your hands off our Ayn Rand idolatry, leave climate issues to the scientists [except when we don’t agree with the scientists], and shut up about those damn illegal aliens—those bottom feeders who don’t talk ‘American’ and who are stealing our jobs!”).  Apparently, he does belong in our sex lives, and the Conservatives would be more than happy for the Pope to walk softly and carry a big stick while he is in America against the topics of homosexuality, abortion, gay marriage, and women’s leadership in the church.

Liberals appreciate the grace and compassion he is showing toward gays and lesbians, people who have had abortions, and the economically disadvantaged, but the smart ones know that he has not (and never will) change church doctrine one iota where it comes to women in the priesthood, sanctioning gay marriage, and supporting abortion—even for women who have been raped or when the mother’s life hangs in the balance).

There is even a growing contingency in the nutty tongues-speaking wing of the Church who think Pope Francis is the Anti-Christ and will be ushering in the “New World Order” on September 25th (let’s all watch for it—not!)  Of course, these same people thought President Obama was the Anti-Christ, so it seems the Bible literalists will have to draw straws and see who wins the Anti-Christ crown.  (If you Google “Pope Francis Anti-Christ,” you’ll get 425,000 links in under 40 seconds.  If you Google “New World Order,” you will discover that Wikipedia describes it as “a conspiracy theory by Christians referring to the emergence of a totalitarian one world government.” If you Google “Obama Anti-Christ, Muslim, foreigner,” your computer will explode along with your head from all the vile hatred and lies against our poor President.)

Pope GOP and DEMS John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Cartoon Used by Permission: John Cole, The Scranton-Times Tribune

I wish I could gain an audience with His Holiness.  If I could I would drag along a few people for a private audience with the Pope to help clear up some things.  I know the White House staff has chosen a diverse audience to hear Pope Francis which has pissed off mainly the Conservatives, but I’d drag a rather eclectic group of people into the Pope’s presence (both conservative and liberal) who aren’t on that invite list just so that he could see how truly gnarly we are as a country and how much we really need his prayers.

Trump and Mammon Taylor Jones Politicalcartoons com

Cartoon Used by Permission: Taylor Jones, (Cagle)

The first candidate would be Donald Trump, and I’d have him restate his bogus claim that he is a true believer (done to capture the unthinking Evangelical vote), and if he’s ever asked forgiveness as a “true believer” (a foundational Christian tenet).

“I am not sure I have [asked for forgiveness—insert mine]. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. . . . I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”—The Donald, a.k.a. “A God Unto Himself”

I already know what His Holiness would say to Mr. Trump:

Popes ans to The Donald

Then His Holiness would probably tell The Donald to give away all his money to the poor as Jesus required of the rich man in the Bible and set up affordable housing for all those who can’t afford to live in NYC even though they work there (he could do this and still have money left over), and truly follow in Christ’s ways.  Can’t you hear the agonizing screams from Trump all the way from here to Calcutta in response to His Holiness’ directive?

My next candidate would be all the people who deal in racism in our country (too many to name here, but, Fox News, Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, you know who you are).  I’d roll them all up into one giant stinky, sewage-smelling ball and have them present themselves to the Pope as the sheer evil they are while their rhetoric calls forth the demon Bigotry to reassert its stronghold in our country again.

Bigotry Bill Day Cagle Cartoons

Cartoon Used by Permission: Bill Day,

I don’t think Pope Francis would let them utter a word in their defense because he’s seen it all before in other parts of the globe.  He’d simply nod his head with considerable sadness and say:

Pope and Racists

Then he would probably tell the lot of them to “go and sin no more,” and perhaps command them to take a vow of silence for a year or so.  And maybe he’d make them do penance as helpers in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, inner-city community centers, and prisons all over the country until their hearts were broken for the down-trodden and the disadvantaged and they’d forgotten all their racist rhetoric.

I’d also bring along that great atheist liberal, Bill Maher, who I have a love-hate relationship with.  In the interest of full disclosure, I watch his show every week—he makes me think and he is right about a lot of things, but sometimes he makes me throw up in my mouth over some of his comments about God.   (When he’s good, he’s very, very good, but when he’s on his anti-Christian rag, he’s a royal pain in the ass, and he is so smug and arrogant about it.)  I’d encourage him to make his atheist case that he thinks is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, because the truth is, the Pope can handle it and so can God.  And the truth is (unfortunately), some of his observations are accurate, and the church needs to hear them, repent of them, and move on from them.

Bill Maher Meme

Papa Francis would probably listen to Bill, smile, and tell him that he is loved—speaking to him as one does to a precocious teenager who thinks they know it all, but you know that they just need to grow up and open their eyes to see things from a different angle while being enveloped in your unconditional love as they keep on exploring, doubting, and asking questions without feeling condemned.  Besides, if I know anything about this Pope, he can handle the truth.

Pope and Athiests

Then Pope Francis would probably ask Bill Maher to try and give up the F-word for Lent.  It would probably cut Bill’s HBO program down by 15 minutes—enough to add another guest on the panel of his irreverent, but intellectually stimulating show.

As for my personal audience with the Pope, I’m sure I’d whine about my own disillusionment with the church and its involvement with right-wing politics until I got on his ever-loving nerves.   I’d give him a copy of my book (Fleeing Oz), and tell him how it is a humorous template for “how not to do church” and something he should read.  He would probably gently cut me off (not out of rudeness but to save my own sanity and his, and to stop my self-serving book pitch).  He’d remind me of the true vision of what church should be and charge me to be a good Christian by going back into the fray and doing my part to make Christ’s vision of the church happen in my little corner of the world.

Pope says to the Church



I am discovering that there are some things I agree with the Pope on (income inequality, immigration, climate change, and poverty issues) and many things I do not (his opposition to same-sex marriage, women priests, married priests, divorce, birth control and abortion in extenuating circumstances).  But I think the reason I’m drawn to him is because of his love for humanity, his humility, his compassion, and his acts of forgiveness.  And I love his kindness.  I like that he is trying to emulate the life of Christ, and even though we don’t agree on some things, at least we can met on the human ground of love, humility, compassion, and forgiveness.  Just think how much better the world would be if we all could start there.  Maybe he will help us.  Welcome to America, Pope Francis!

FB II Pope Francis

Cartoon by Stuart Carlson:



“If one has the answers to all the questions – that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.”—Pope Francis

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”—Pope Francis

“We have observed that, in society and the world in which we live, selfishness has increased more than love for others, and that men of good will must work, each with his own strengths and expertise, to ensure that love for others increases until it is equal and possibly exceeds love for oneself.”—Pope Francis

“This is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff. I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”—Pope Francis

“I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else – God is in this person’s life. You can – you must – try to seek God in every human life.”—Pope Francis



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Pope vs Ideologues Pat Bagley,

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley,



Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Santa Baby: Do You Feel What I Feel?

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I have issues with Santa—have had them ever since I became cognizant of his existence.  In fact, I hate him!  As I was editing my first Christmas remembrance in my book, Monsters’ Throwdown (due to be released next week just in time for Christmas), it brought back painful memories of my attempts to get white Santa’s attention to stop by my poorer-than-dirt ghetto house and leave me a present or two as a poor-black-child.  I wrote letters, I said prayers, and I set out cookies and milk, but still no Santa (now that I am an adult, I have a strong suspicion that the rats who were as big as cats ate Santa’s snacks).  Once I started encountering Jews and discovered they got no visits from Santa either—whether they had been good as could be or not—I knew that fat white dude in the red suit made us all feel pretty much like pond scum by not showing up with presents for us.

Santa Sign David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by permission:  David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

As I got older, I realized Santa’s lack of shimmying down certain chimneys had more to do with economic inequality on my part and religious preference in the lives of my Jewish neighbors; although later I would discover that a few of my Jewish friends had Christmas trees along with their Menorahs, and Santa had made a deal with their parents to drop by on Christmas Eve just like he did at the homes of some of the Christians.  Talk about having one’s mind blown.

I pretty much forgot about the likes of Santa until I had my own children.  We moved to Israel when my older child was two months old and our younger child was born there.  I was having enough trouble helping them understand the difference between Israel’s “Kippi Ben Kippod” from “Rechov Sumsum (an Israeli coproduction of Sesame Street)” and America’s Big Bird from Sesame Street. Teaching my children about a Santa who didn’t bring the other neighborhood children presents wasn’t worth it.  Plus, it never occurred to me to teach them about the fantasy of Santa given my history with the dude, although our neighbors did help us find a fir tree from a kibbutz in Galilee so that we would feel more at home on Christmas Day since they knew it was a religious holiday for us.   By American standards, it was probably one of the ugliest trees one could possibly imagine—decorated with strings of popcorn, cranberries, and ringlets of colored paper.  But to us it was magnificent because it was provided by our Israeli neighbors who all came down to our apartment to “ooh and ah” at it.  All of my neighbors went out of their way to wish us “Merry Christmas” and we wished them Happy Chanukah at the appropriate time during all the years I lived there.  (Did I ever mention how my Israeli neighbors were the salt of the Earth and always made me feel very welcomed as an ex-pat?)


Then one year we came back to the States for Christmas vacation and my older child was sitting on my mother-in-law’s lap while her grandmother was reading my child a story about Santa Claus.  “Who is this?” asked my mother-in-law as she pointed to a picture of Santa.  The more my baby looked at the picture in total confusion, the angrier my mother-in-law became in demanding a definitive Santa recognition.   Finally, my three-year-old broke out into a heartbroken sob out of fear and confusion because she felt she was making her grandmother, whom she was seeing for the first time, very angry about her failure to identify a fat man in a red suit with an enormous beard.  As I ran to rescue my baby from this stupid emotional quagmire, my mother-in-law turned beet-red and went ballistic:  “I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO FIND THE WORDS TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH THIS DISTURBS ME THAT YOU’VE NOT TAUGHT THIS CHILD ABOUT SANTA CLAUS!”  As I ran from the room cradling my frightened baby, I shouted:  “Ask her who Pippi Ben Kippod is—then maybe she’ll pass your stupid fantasy-man test.”  When we returned to my beloved Israel, I got an envelope from my mother-in-law containing only an Ann Lander’s column titled:  “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!”  (Did I ever tell you that I suspect my mother-in-law always hated me, and her words had the ability to make people feel like crap—no matter what the age?)

Santa Judgmental

My grandson (the child of the daughter that my now dead MIL terrorized about the recognition of Santa), went to see Santa the other day.  Apparently, it did not go well.  He refused to sit on the dude’s lap and pretty much lost it when he was coerced into coming within 20 feet of the fat man in the red suit.  Later that evening during our phone call, I asked him why he didn’t want to get next to Santa and tell him what he wanted for Christmas.  My five-year-old grandson astutely said:  “I didn’t like him—I didn’t like the way he made me feel—he made me feel all waggy and crunchy inside.  Anyway, Santa don’t bring me presents, Mommy, Daddy, Mama-Mama, Mema, and Grandpa brings me presents on Christmas!”  (Did I ever tell you that children have the ability to make us feel very clear-headed by their assessment of life, if we carefully listen?)  I’m sure my mother-in-law was turning over in her grave when she heard him say what he did about dear ol’ St. Nick.

As I was pondering whether the dislike of Santa could be passed down through a person’s DNA, I heard about three news stories concerning words:

Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin Uncovering War on Christmas—“Americans saying happy holiday tantamount to disowning Jesus—ram Merry Christmas down their throats in the name of Jesus!”

Pope Francis releases his “The Joy of the Gospel” and chastises the world “not to forsake the poor”—his words are challenging and riveting

Nelson Mandela dies at 95—his collective words and actions humble us and make us want to do better with our lives

Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin’s caustic words (they both have criticized our new Pope for being a socialist and a Marxist) made me feel all “waggy and crunchy” inside and made me want to cry, but the words by Pope Francis and the legacy of words left behind by Nelson Mandela made me feel so good, that all I could do was go out into the street and wish everyone I saw, “Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, and Merry Christmas with all my heart!”  When I saw the joy in the eyes of the people I had greeted, I knew that I had touched them with the true spirit of Christmas, and I felt really good, because I could tell I had made them feel good with my generosity of heart as well.

Pope Nativity Scene Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Used by permission:  Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

I am discovering that Maya Angelou was correct: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


“I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.”—Dick Gregory

“Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Claus. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?”Jon Bon Jovi

“Our family was too strange and weird for even Santa Claus to come visit… Santa, who was jolly – but, let’s face it, he was also very judgmental.”—Julia Sweeney

“You know, in a way, ‘Dear Santa Claus’ is rather stuffy… Perhaps something a little more intimate would be better… Something just a shade more friendly….How about ‘Dear Fatty’?”Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960



Your heart of forgiveness, your words of grace, and your brotherly love will be greatly missed.  You made us all feel that we could live better lives if we tried.

Mandela Meme



Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


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