Monday, February 29, 2016

More Passion exhibits

Intricate filigree display of the Way of the Cross
Here are a few more photos showing various items from exhibits held during Lent and Holy Week in Malta. Most of these are displayed every year in various churches and halls, and new items are introduced regularly.
Chalices and candlesticks made from pasta, sprayed in gold.
Holy cards showing various crucifixes
Crowning of thorns made from colorized salt

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Miniature Good Friday processions

Good Friday processions are held in various parishes in Malta, with statues that represent various scenes from the way of the cross. You will see scenes from these processions at a later post, but 6 years ago, I found an exceptional exhibition showing a miniature procession with little figures that depict the entire procession which includes all the people participating, including the clergy, marching bands playing funeral marches, and of course the statues themselves. Enjoy these photos I took at this exhibition, which was set up in the President's Palace, in Attard, Malta. (more tomorrow)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

More Malta exhibits

Continuing my posts on the Holy Week celebrations in my homeland of Malta, here are a few more decorative plates, made from salt, semolina, rice and other edible ingredients, all colorized and placed strategically to create a real painting related to the Passion and Death of Jesus. These were displayed in the towns of Zebbug and Cospicua, Malta, soon to be displayed within a few weeks again. These photos were taken during my trip to Malta in 2010.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Malta's Passion exhibits

Over the next few weeks, I will post some of the photos that describe the innumerable exhibits that dominate Lent and Holy Week in Malta. Over the next week, you will see various displays, miniature statues of the passion of Christ, and decorated plates related to Holy Thursday and the commemoration of the Last Supper. Many of these plates are made from colored salt, rice, beans, pasta, semolina, sugar and other dried edibles, which are eventually given to orphanages and nursing homes - so nothing is wasted or thrown away after the exhibits are closed. 
Most of these decorative plates are hand made, intricately positioned so as to paint and design these artworks, simply by placing salt and the other ingredients on a tray, with the eventual result looking like a real painting. Added to the display are loaves of bread, fruit, statues of the apostles and other decorative details. Please do click on each photo to get a better resolution and admire the intricacy of such crafts and artistic work. I took these photos during Holy Week in 2010.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

What Jesus saw from the cross

Jams Tissot "What Jesus saw from the Cross"
As we approach Holy Week and the passion, crucifixion and death of Jesus, let us meditate for one moment on the hours Jesus spent on the cross. He uttered 7 words while dying, 7 words that have been reflected and meditated upon and preached by various preachers, especially during the Good Friday service. We always look at the cross with two others next to Jesus, the good and bad thief, all of which are usually pictured or painted on a hill, known as Golgotha. Very few artists however have looked at this scene from a different perspective. James Tissot did precisely this when he painted the scene entitled "What Jesus saw from the cross." Besides local folks, soldiers and accusers, one can see the tomb in the background, the sponge and vinegar which would be offered to Jesus when he said "I Thirst." More prominently, in the foreground, one sees Mary Magdalene just beneath the cross, while the apostle John, the Blessed Mother and two other women look inconsolably at the dying Christ. It is a painting filled with symbolism, worth meditating upon, especially during this Lenten season. (click once to enlarge)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The earliest Crucifixion image

Ivory depiction of the Crucifixion of Christ (British Museum 420 AD)
This is one of the earliest known depictions of the Crucifixion in Christian art. It was made in Rome about AD 420-30, at a time when the Roman empire in Western Europe was fragmenting. The panel is one of four, originally mounted on the sides of a small ivory casket, each carved with a scene from Christ’s Passion. This panel is exhibited at the British Museum in London. In this image the Crucifixion is combined with another scene of death: the suicide of the disciple Judas after he has betrayed Jesus. The stiff, clothed body of Judas pulls down the branch of a tree, and a spilled sack of coins lies at his feet. In contrast the exposed limbs of Christ still appear vigorous, and he gazes at the viewer, triumphant in death. A plaque over Christ’s head is inscribed REX IUD (King of the Jews). The Virgin Mary and John the Baptist stand to the left of the cross, while on the right Longinus steps from beneath the arm of the cross, just before he pierces Jesus’ side with a lance.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Head of Christ

The Head of Christ (1940), painted by Warner Sallman was reproduced 500 million times, appearing in Church Bulletins, posters, T-Shirts, in wallet-sized copies distributed to servicemen during World War II. Sallman also painted “Christ our pilot” and “Christ at heart’s door” The Head of Christ originated as a charcoal sketch entitled The Son of Man done in 1924 and sold to be the cover of the Covenant Companion, the denominational magazine for the Evangelical Covenant Church. Sallman did several variations of the painting over the years, and the first oil version was done in 1935.

In 1940 he was asked to reproduce that painting by the students of North Park Theological Seminary. This reproduction was seen by representatives of the Gospel Trumpet Company, who created a new company called Kriebel and Bates to market Sallman's work. For the next thirty years Kriebel and Bates marketed over 100 Warner Sallman works. When Kriebel and Bates dissolved, the copyrights to these works were acquired by Warner Press. The Baptist Bookstore initially popularized the painting, distributing various sized lithographic images for sale throughout the southern United States. The Salvation Army and the YMCA, as members of the USO, handed out pocket-sized versions of the painting to American servicemen heading overseas during World War II. After the war, groups in Oklahoma and Indiana conducted campaigns to distribute the image into private and public spaces.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Stations of the Cross

The customary 14 Stations of the Cross
In every Catholic Church, you will notice usually hanging on the side walls 14 images, pictures or sculptures related to the Passion of Christ. These are the 14 steps Jesus went through before his death on Calvary. Also known as the Way of the Cross, or Via Crucis, this devotion is very popular during the season of Lent, as people meditate on the Passion and Death of Christ. This practice started during the 14th century by the Franciscan Monks, and St. Leonard of Port Maurice preached frequently about this devotion in the 18th century. Finally Pope Clement XII in 1735 gave the final guidelines, fixing the number of Stations at 14, commemorating the events related in the Gospel and from early tradition. Usually the Stations are erected on the walls of the Church, 7 on each side, but they may be placed outdoors too, as one can see in Church gardens and Retreat Houses. Most of the time, the Stations are prayed in the Church, with the people staying in their places, and genuflecting between each Station, as the leader and the altar servers move from one Station to another.

The customary 14 Stations are as follows:
1. Jesus is condemned to death          
2. Jesus accepts His Cross              
3. Jesus falls the first time.              
4. Jesus meets his mother Mary.          
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross  
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.          
7. Jesus falls the second time.              
8. Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time.
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments.
11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
12. Jesus dies on the Cross.
13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross.
14. Jesus is laid to rest in a tomb.

In 1975, Pope Paul VI approved a new series of Stations that are based on the Gospel. They start with the Last Supper and end with the Resurrection. The Pope leads the Stations every Good Friday in the Colosseo in Rome, while many pilgrims to the Holy Land pray the Stations right along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows), the same street on which Jesus was led to be crucified. 
Our parish holds the Stations of the Cross on Fridays of Lent. On March 4, the middle-school children will present the Living Stations, a dramatization of the Passion of Christ. On March 22, we will do the Stations around town, visiting 14 landmarks in Bend, praying also for the people who work in those places.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Grunewald's Crucifixion - the Body

During this last meditation on Grünewald’s depiction of the crucifixion of Christ, we focus today on the body of Jesus, wrapped in a loincloth. Most of the crucified were nailed naked to intensify the shame. Here we see the body lacerated by the previous flogging, leaving many marks which bled profusely. Some splinters are still stuck to his body. Even the cloth is ripped, showing that the flogging soldiers showed no mercy at all, and lashed him all over his body. To the casual observer, Grünewald’s Crucifixion evokes empathy in the face of another’s torment. Through the eyes of faith the Christian disciple is led a step further. For in pondering this image we can be moved through beauty to enter into the redemptive meaning of Christ’s suffering. For through this visual homily, Grünewald, the painter, encourages us along the Lenten journey to persevere in our own daily patterns of dying and rising to new life.
This painting was commissioned for the Antoinite monastery at Isenheim, painted between 1510 and 1515 and was intended to give support to patients in the monastic hospital. Christ appears hideous, his skin swollen and torn as a result of the flagellation and torture that He endured. Even the horizontal beam of the cross looks tired as it sags with the weight of Christ’s body adding to the mood of the moment. This was understandably a powerful image in a hospital that specialized in caring for those suffering from skin complaints. In this painting, we are hemmed in by the immensities of darkness, alone with pain, forced to face the truth. The Old Testament often talks of a “suffering servant”, and obviously Grünewald's Crucifixion comes to mind when we think of this metaphor. Gothic art had reached an electrifying greatness in this particular heart-wrenching painting.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Grunewald's Crucifixion - Hands and Feet

Continuing our meditation on the crucifixion by Mathias Grünewald, we focus today on the hands and feet of Jesus, pierced mercilessly by atrocious nails. One can see the contortions of the muscles in one of his hands. Those were the same hands that helped his father in the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, the same hands that helped his other Mary in daily domestic chores. Those were the same hands that changed the water into wine, that healed many sick people, that raised Lazarus and others. Those were the hands that fed the five thousand men, that changed the bread and wine into His own Body and Blood. And now those same hands are being tortured. These same hands were shown to Thomas after the Resurrection, and later on blessed the apostles before Jesus ascended into heaven.
The feet of Jesus too are depicted in a most gruesome way. They too were nailed to the wood of the cross, pierced most probably through the navicular or cuneiform bones. These were the same feet that trod the hills of Galilee, that climbed the Mount of the Beatitudes, Mount Tabor and finally the Mount of Olives. These were the same feet that walked on water. The same feet that as a little child ran and jumped and played with his friends.  These were the feet that climbed the hill of Calvary, that fell three times on the way there. Grünewald paints the feet as if resting temporarily on a horizontal piece of wood, so that the crucified can rest his feet and still be able to breathe, prolonging the painful death.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Mathias Grunewald’s Crucifixion - part 1

The late Father Benedict Groeschel writes that the one crucifixion painting that moved him the most is the one painted by Mathias Grünewald. I went searching for it and as you can see, he was absolutely right. If we can only comprehend what the crucifixion looked like, this is it. For the next 3 days I will share a brief reflection on this moving painting, focusing on various sections of it. The painting actually forms part of the central panel of the Isenheim altarpiece, painted between 1510 and 1515.

Like a preacher at Good Friday, Grünewald left nothing undone to bring home to us the horrors of this scene of suffering: Christ's dying body is distorted by the torture of the cross; the thorns of the scourges stick in the festering wounds which cover the whole figure. The dark red blood forms a glaring contrast to the sickly green of the flesh. By His features and the impressive gesture of His hands, the Man of Sorrows speaks to us of the meaning of His Calvary. His suffering is reflected in the traditional group of Mary, in the garb of a widow, fainting in the arms of St John the Evangelist, to whose care the Lord has commended her, and in the smaller figure of St Mary Magdalene with her vessel of ointments, wringing her hands in sorrow. On the other side of the Cross, there stands the powerful figure of St John the Baptist with the ancient symbol of the lamb carrying the cross and pouring out its blood into the chalice of the Holy Communion.                                                                                                                    (to be continued)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Passion Flower

Known also as the passion flowers or passion vines, Passiflora is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, the namesakes of the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:
The Blue Passion Flower (Passiflora Caerulea) shows most elements of the Christian symbolism
The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the lance that pierced Jesus’ side.
The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (excluding St. Peter and Judas Iscariot)
The flower's radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns.
The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents the chalice or the Holy Grail.
The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
The blue and white colors of many species' flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
I took the above photo in Malta, where the Passion flowers grow profusely, especially in the spring.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


The Forgiving Father by Sister Rigoberta, OSF
Jesus encourages us today to forgive one another. And He goes even further in His challenge to us: "If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

I offer you today this prayer of forgiveness:
O God, forgive us for the faults which make us difficult to live with.
If we behave as if we were the only people for whom life is difficult;
If we behave as if we were far harder worked than anyone else;
If we behave as if we were the only people who were ever disappointed, or the only people who ever got a raw deal; If we are far too self-centered and far too full of self-pity:
Forgive us, 0 God.
If we are too impatient to finish the work we have begun; If we are too impatient to listen to someone who wants to talk to us, or to give someone a helping hand; If we think that other people are fools, and make no attempt to conceal our contempt for them:
Forgive us, 0 God.
If we too often rub people the wrong way;
If we spoil a good case by trying to ram it down someone's throat;
If we do things that get on people's nerves, and go on doing them, even when we are asked not to:
Forgive us, 0 God.
Help us to take the selfishness and the ugliness out of life and to do better in the days to come.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Prayer before Christ Crucified

All you who are crying, come to Him, because He is crying too.
All you who are suffering, come to Him, because he can heal you.
All you who are afraid, come to Him, because He always has a smile waiting for you.
All you who are hungry, come to Him, because He’ll feed you the Living Bread.
All you who are in darkness, come to Him, because He will guide you with His Light.
All you who are lost, search for His guiding hand, and you will never get lost from now on.
All you who feel persecuted, come to Him because He had his share of persecution too.
All you who are lonely, come close to Him, because He too was very lonely on the Cross.
All you who feel being punished unfairly, just look at Him. He died for you, unfairly.
All you who are dying, come to Him, and you will live forever.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Pope in Mexico

During his homily at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Pope Francis shared this reflection:
Simply looking at you, O Mother,
to have eyes only for you,
looking upon you without saying anything,
telling you everything, wordlessly and reverently.
Do not perturb the air before you;
only cradle my stolen solitude
with your loving Motherly eyes,
in the nest of your pure ground.
Hours tumble by, and with much commotion,
the wastage of life and death sinks its teeth into foolish men.
Having eyes for you, O Mother, simply contemplating you
with a heart quietened by your tenderness
that silence of yours, chaste as the lilies.

And in looking at her, we will hear anew what she says to us once more, “What, my most precious little one, saddens your heart?” Mary tells us that she has “the honor” of being our mother, assuring us that those who suffer do not weep in vain. These ones are a silent prayer rising to heaven, always finding a place in Mary’s mantle. In her and with her, God has made himself our brother and companion along the journey; he carries our crosses with us so as not to leave us overwhelmed by our sufferings.

Am I not your mother? Am I not here? Do not let trials and pains overwhelm you, she tells us. Today, she sends us out anew; today, she comes to tell us again: be my ambassador, the one I send to build many new shrines, accompany many lives, wipe away many tears. Simply be my ambassador by walking along the paths of your neighborhood, of your community, of your parish; we can build shrines by sharing the joy of knowing that we are not alone, that Mary accompanies us. Be my ambassador, she says to us, giving food to the hungry, drink to those who thirst, a refuge to those in need, clothe the naked and visit the sick. Come to the aid of your neighbor, forgive whoever has offended you, console the grieving, be patient with others, and above all beseech and pray to God.  Am I not your mother? Am I not here with you? Mary says this to us again. Go and build my shrine, help me to lift up the lives of my sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Saint Valentine

Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was especially known for marrying young Christian couples in secret, for fear of being caught. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270. Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to his memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly, Porta Valentini. The greatest part of his relics are now in the church of St. Praxedes. His name is celebrated as that of an illustrious martyr in the Roman Missal of St. Gregory. Other historians hold that St. Valentine was a temple priest jailed for defiance during the reign of Claudius. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom. He is regarded as the patron saint of lovers, couples and spouses.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lent.....doing less

Lent is also time to do a little less.....
- Less complaining about how terrible everything is around you.
- Less wasting time, idling doing nothing when you can do so much with your precious time.
- Less browsing aimlessly at worthless websites.
- Less expecting others to do things for you, while you can do so much for others yourself.
- Less finding excuses why you cannot participate in religious events.
- Less worrying about the future or regretting your mistakes of the past.
- Less finding excuses why you cannot go to confessions.
- Less procrastinating and avoiding work that is expected of you.
- Less texting, while you can talk face to face with others, especially family members.
- Less keeping off physical exercise and refusing to focus on your health and well-being.
- Less clutter in your life, your room, your house, your soul.
- Less blaming others and being irresponsible.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lent....doing more

Lent is a time to do a little more and a little less.....
- More of tolerating others, especially members of your family at home.
- More of showing kindness and respect to family members, because as we often say, charity begins at home.
- More patience with the elderly and with children, especially if they appear too demanding at times.
- More spending time in prayer, and you don’t have to be in a church to do this, even your room, your home.
- More spiritual reading, or even selections from the Bible.
- More browsing through spiritual websites. My blog helps set the tone for the entire day, especially during Lent, when most post are of a religious nature - just two minutes at the most.
- More time spent in silence and quiet, whenever and wherever you can find it.
- More attempts to attend daily Mass, even if at least once a week, or every other week.
- More talking positively about others and to others.
- More volunteering and giving some of your time and talent to help others.
- More affirming those around you and speak highly of everyone.
(To be continued tomorrow)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Our Lady of Lourdes

The famous grotto in Lourdes, France
In the year 2002, I was privileged to visit Lourdes for the first and only time, so far. I was spending an extended few weeks in Malta and was asked to accompany a group of Maltese pilgrims as their chaplain for a week. What impressed me the most was the holiness of the entire place, and even though the sanctuary and its grounds extended to a few square miles, once you entered the gates, it was like entering a church - everyone was reverent, respectful of each other, and of course there was a mystical aura of prayer all around. I was also privileged to lead one decade of the Rosary in Maltese while pilgrims walked aux flambeaux around the promenade, leading to the sanctuary.
The Basilica at Lourdes
The Marian Apparitions at Lourdes were reported in 1858 by Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old miller's daughter from the town of Lourdes in southern France. From February 11 to July 16, 1858, she reported 18 apparitions of "a Lady," and despite initial skepticism from the Catholic Church, these claims were eventually declared to be worthy of belief after a canonical investigation, and the apparitions were approved by Pope Pius IX in 1862. So far 69 miracles have been scientifically approved, and between 6 to 8 million pilgrims visit Lourdes every year.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Repent and Believe

The Lenten season starts today with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. As people gather in churches, they will hear two different phrases as they receive their ashes.
"Repent and Believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
"Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return."

This is time of penance and repentance, a time to get closer to our ideals as Christians, to get closer to our God who will soon suffer and die for us. Let us utilize this special spiritual time of the year to show that we are truly remorseful of our sinfulness and are ready to change our lives.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sunrise, Sunset

God reaching out from heaven, January 4, 2002
 After sharing with you a beautiful sunrise yesterday, I add three more from my home of Malta, taken over the years. The first one is the most memorable, because it was taken on January 4, 2002, the day my father passed away. It shows a peaceful sunset with clouds, as if God was reaching out from heaven to bring my father to his eternal home. The other two show sunrises in my home town of St Julian's during two of my recent visits in 2010 and 2014.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Morning Beauty and Evening Gratitude

Last Friday I experienced two positive extremes. In the morning I witnessed a beautiful sunrise, made even more prettier with the framing I used to take this photo, near our new parish church, just before the children started to arrive for school. Sunrises are always spectacular here in Eastern Oregon, and with my camera always at hand, I’m always on the lookout for the sun to rise, and when a few clouds are around, the day greets everyone with a message of beauty, joy and happiness.
Then in the evening as I walked through downtown Bend during the First Friday art walk, I noticed a girl on the other side of the street with a sign that says simply “What are you grateful for?” Many people slowed down and yelled something positive and encouraging. Two other girls were singing a playing a guitar besides her, possibly a team effort to attract people. What am I grateful for: well, fruit and my flute, my health and my home here in Bend, strawberries and sandals, watercolors and snowy winters, my faith and my family, soups and stews (especially the ones I make,) photography and calligraphy, IPods and IPads, and much much more.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Carnival in Malta

In many countries, the celebration of Carnival is held this weekend, a few days before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Malta also celebrates this festive weekend with colorful floats parading through the streets of the capital city Valletta, although other towns and villages have started their own version of Carnival, otherwise called Mardi Gras. Brazil, Venice, Italy and New Orleans have their own identity as millions of people dress up in colorful and intriguing costumes. 
These are a few of the colorful floats from Malta, made form paper-mache and some of the dancers, young and old, who take part in competitive events through these crazy 5 days, leading to a 40 day period of penance and eventually Holy Week. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Graduation Speech - part 2

Continuing Anna Quindlen's Graduation speech:
Work in a soup kitchen.  Be a big brother or sister.  All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough. It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of the azaleas, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kids eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. 

It is so easy to exist instead of live. I learned to live many years ago.  Something really, really bad happened to me, something that changed my life in ways that, if I had my druthers, it would never have been changed at all.  And what I learned from it is what, today, seems to be the hardest lesson of all.  I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and to try to give some of it back because I believed in it completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned.  By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field.  Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face.  Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived.

Well, you can learn all those things, out there, if you get a real life, a full life, a professional life, yes, but another life, too, a life of love and laughs and a connection to other human beings.  Just keep your eyes and ears open. Here you could learn in the classroom.  There the classroom is everywhere.  The exam comes at the very end. No man ever said on his deathbed, "I wish I had spent more time at the office." I found one of my best teachers on the boardwalk at Coney Island maybe 15 years ago.  It was December, and I was doing a story about how the homeless survive in the winter months.  He and I sat on the edge of the wooden supports, dangling our feet over the side, and he told me about his schedule, panhandling the boulevard when the summer crowds were gone, sleeping in a church when the temperature went below freezing, hiding from the police amidst the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Cyclone and some of the other seasonal rides.

But he told me that most of the time he stayed on the boardwalk, facing the water, just the way we were sitting now even when it got cold and he had to wear his newspapers after he read them.  And I asked him why.  Why didn't he go to one of the shelters?  Why didn't he check himself into the hospital for detox?  And he just stared out at the ocean and said, "Look at the view, young lady.  Look at the view." And every day, in some little way, I try to do what he said.  I try to look at the view.  And that's the last thing I have to tell you today, words of wisdom from a man with not a dime in his pocket, no place to go, nowhere to be.    Look at the view.  You'll never be disappointed. Thank you.