Monday, December 20, 2004

Retreat Information


So here's where I'll be from January 2nd - February 7th.

Gonzaga Eastern Point Retreat House
37 Niles Pond Road
Gloucester, MA 01930-4499


If you fancy sending something, please do - cards, letters, a file to saw through the bars on the windows.



Sunday, December 19, 2004

Yeah, so this is my spiritual guru. He makes me hold this sign because I have "self-esteem" issues or something. Actually, ask me where I got's a good story. I made Bill here hold it in order that he, too, feel beautiful. Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 16, 2004

An Athlete?

Happy Holidays!

My friends, I have something most unnerving to share with you: I have what is known as "the athlete's foot."

While wholly dissimilar from "the diabetes" and having nothing to do at all with "the cancer" the athlete's foot is a common affliction among, well, athletes. True to its name, I have literally athlete's foot: it's on my left foot and not my right; were I to have it on both, I suppose I'd have to call it "the athelete's feet" which lacks entirely the nice ring of "the athlete's foot." This is such an amazing find, really, and just fitting with the end of my first semester as a Jesuit: I've discovered I have "feelingS," I like to cook, and I've gone to the gym where I seem to be on good footing in my quest to be an athlete.

Now, if my use of "the" preceeding the afflictions listed above is unnerving, you have Wilfred Brimley (Quaker Oats fellow) to blame for it. As I referenced several months ago, not only did he change the pronunciation of the word, I believe he added the definite article (the) to it. Damn you Wilfred Brimley!

Though some of you thought I was joking about teaching kindergarten, I am deadly serious. Last Friday I met Debbie, the teacher and we really hit it off. On Monday we went in to tour the school and I fell in "love" (New feeling!!) with the class. They certainly seem to be a receptive group, and I am already planning a curriculum and a syllabus to accompany my catechetical exploits.

Note: I walked into a classroom without knowing which one it was and, by scent alone, was able to identify the year. Spoiled food = 6th grade. You really ought to try the scent test. While I wouldn't recommend randomly approaching a child at the mall and taking a mighty whiff of him or her, I would suggest savoring the aroma of one of your children or their friends. A biologist could write a dissertation on the three levels of stank one can find in Junior High.

On an academic note: I'm reading Theresa of Avila's "Interior Castle." In an attempt to make it more contemporary, I've converted the "castle" into a "Condo" and replaced God, the fountain of all goodness and holiness, with Martha Stewart. God might make you feel good, but only Martha can roosh a lampshade, bake you a cookie, and shiv you with a homemade knife while your back is turned to her in the shower.

Ryan's childhood memory: When I was little, I remember reading about St Nicholas and his generosity. I also recall reading that good children could put out their shoe and that they'd find something in it in the morning. With great excitement and nervous anticipation (I was seven or so) did I put out my shoe. The next morning, after a fitful night of slumber, I arose and clambered to see what the jolly saint had left for me and I found...........lint. Ever since then, I have had no expectation for Christmas.

Now, since doing something nice for me helps to ensure you a free ticket to heaven (think indulgence) I'd like to offer my Christmas list here. I know my family will probably do something special for me this year, like burn my books instead of a yule log, or give me a cross or a holy card (yeah, like I don't get enough of that already) so I'll let EVERYONE know what I want. I can't have money (send small un-marked bills) but I can drink (yellow tail merlot is both delicious and inexpensive). I can't travel too freely (yet) but I can eat (pop-tarts are delicious). I can't use my cologne to be coquetish (but I can always use Axe deodorant, the gel, please) but I can dress nicely (yeah for the GAP).

I have little hope that anyone in my immediate family will hearken to my anguished cry for help...they will just continue ignoring me as they have done for 25 years. I still find it ironic that I had to join a religious order (in case you forgot, I'm at Jesuit camp) AND move to Michigan (looks better in the rear-view mirror) in order for them to FINALLY buy me a birthday cake.

I'm off to do something holy, like pray or meditate. I hope you're all doing well. Mike and Brian, I expect you at the party on the 26th with your whistles for our entertainment. Later this week, I'll post the address to the retreat house where I'll be living so that those of you who care (Meaning:everyone except my family) will be able to send me cards or baskets of fruit or Pez or a puzzle while I spend 30 days praying and retreating.



(AKA Raul el gato rojo. "Ryan the Red Cat")

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Fiesta at "La Casa Duns"

Hi all,

Since this blog was started in order to communicate with family and friends, I figure I should use it for that purpose. On December 26th, the Duns family will be hosting an After-Christmas party...intended to consume the alcohol left over from Christmas day, of course. So if you'll be in the Cleveland area, shoot me an email and I can provide more information or, if you so choose, just show up at the house sometime that evening.

Now, someone might say, isn't it rude to invite people over to your mother's house? My reply: Yes, and I don't care. Insofar as my family doesn't like me any more (they moved my books) and therefore are indicating that they don't want me in their house, I figure I'm an unwanted guest. Thus, I am within my rights as a rude interloper to invite OTHER people over, too. If hospitality were limited to only those that the host family desired to invite, then my brother would politic in such a way as to invite maybe three members of my mom's family...and I can't be sure that my grandmother would even be one of them. So, in short, ya'll are invited.

I'm going on four months at Jesuit camp. So I guess I must share with you some troubling news...I have recently learned that I have something called emotionS. I'm familiar with emotion - anger, bitterness, irritation, rage, etc. - and recently I have had the troubling and unsettling experience of something called "sympathy" and "peace." At first, I attributed such turbulence to gas, but as I sat with it and reflected upon the experience, I found that they are somewhat "natural" and that I should not be afraid of them. Nonetheless, I'm still new to all of this "feeling" stuff and can only vow to take it one day at a time.

For those of you who worry, I will NEVER exhaust the deep wells of rage that are so much a part of my rosy demeanor. John, KD and the KR at 108 will always bring on some fury.

Well, that's enough for today. At some point in the not-too-distant future I'll write about my family so that you might understand why I'm deranged.



Saturday, December 04, 2004

After Dinner Thoughts

Since I've been a derelict blogger these past few weeks, I thought it'd be nice to post TWICE in one day.


The routine of the novitiate is well established at this point, just in time for us to leave in four weeks for the 30-Day retreat. For those of you who don't know (and do care) this is the 30-day retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. It's a fun-filled month of prayer and reflection where you pretty well figure out how terrible a sinner you really are and that God still likes you. Oddly enough, that's a big revelation for a lot of people! For me, it's the opposite. I know God likes me, but I figure God'll need a full month to realize that I really do like him.

Next semester I will be returning to the classroom in order to instruct children in religion. When I was a young'n this involved making cards for everyone and his brother, singing practice for mass, and learning/saying that we love Jesus.


I will terrorize these children and mold them into my own image and likeness. There will be no rainbows, no "Jesus Loves Me" fingerpainting, no cutesy-wootsy songs about Noah's Ark. None of it, I tell you! We will learn conciliar history, the principles of exegesis, the philosophical underpinnings of transubstantiation, and most certainly we shall spend an ample amount of time on the transcendental Thomism of Karl Rahner. I'll be damned if my kindergarten students will leave my class without *some* modicum of knowledge. I'll whip them into shape for the first grade, so help me I will.

Apart from all of this, Jesuit camp is going well. As I told a lot of people at the Oireachtas, entering the Jesuits was sort of like pledging a fraternity (complete with the beer) though with more prayer. If we did arts and crafts, we'd be pretty well the Boy Scouts.

Here's an observation for everyone. Have you ever noticed that students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades smell funny? I noticed it a lot this weekend. NOt that I went about sniffing kids, but being around them for them for three days...well, it was hard not to notice. I suppose one could say that 6th graders smell rotten, like old brocoli or spoiled carrots. They are just getting to the point of needing to use deodorant (the dreaded D word) but they don't realize it/aren't cognizant of the fact that BUYING the stick/can of it does *NOT* accomplish the same thing as USING it. 7th graders smell sort of like puke - they know they are stinky, they do use deodorant, but they've foresaken the SH-word -- shower. By the time they get to the 8th grade, all bets are off and the kids smell like they just emerged from a morgue. Rotten, Puke, Death. The stages of Junior High odors.

And another thing. THis weekend, I had the most unfortunate experience of sitting at the side of the stage where the dancers congregated. Now, don't get me wrong: I love talking to the kids. But there is nothing worse than having to play the accordion for 8 hours and having Suzie-Q cut the cheese right before she ascends the stage, leaving you to inhale the toxic fumes from her taco salad eaten the night before. Really. I totally understand nervousness, but it was pretty gross sitting there all day. Not even the boys had such flatulence...I was mortified. Scandalized.

Some might think these last two paragraphs a bit odd. They are. Keep in mind, however, that I have a sister named Hagan (Hagan is like Ryan-lite for those of you who know me and don't know her; or, if Ryan is version 4.0, she's version 1.5) and have become very attentive to people of her age...usually to try to gauge whether she has any chance of emerging from our family as a "normal." My posts tonight will be certain to get a rise out of her, perhaps enough of a rise that she'll go to my transplated library and find a nice book to read.

Speaking of which.

My brother moved my books. ALL of them. Colin, who won't pick up a book to read it, actually moved an entire bookshelf/the books it contained in order that the room that he BARELY occupies be enlarged by about four square feet. I'm just shocked that he didn't burn them for fuel. My lovely categorical system for organizing my texts is now in a shambles and I just can't WAIT to get home on Christmas to see what hellishness he's wrecked upon the rest of the house.

Now that I'm in my Christmas cheer, I'll be home from December 25th-29th. If you'd like to take me out for a cup of coffee or a steak dinner, that'd be lovely. Since my family apparently doesn't like my books, and my books were an enormous part of my life, I take it they don't like my life, ergo they do not like me; thus, I am forced to find a new place to stay for the holiday. If I can't use my frequent flier miles to go to a Ramada inn (or, with my luck, the Flea-Bag Inn on Brookpark with the hourly rates) or some other high-class place, I'll stay at my grandmother's house. She still loves me....she has to, as I'm her ticket to heaven. There's an Irish custom that the mother of a priest gets to go to heaven for free (this Irish custom was the precursor to Monopoly and the "get out of jail free" card). I rescind this offer to my mother and extend it to my grandmother, because she would NEVER have let my books been moved. So there.

It feels good to write again - I've had sarcastic constipation and it seems the Oireachtas was the just the laxative I needed. I hope this is a sign for great regularity in the future.



**Oh, my dessert kind of sucked tonight. I made a "cookie pizza" and tried my damnedest to tint the white-chocolate fudge sauce a deep red in order to make it look like pizza sauce. I could only color it a deep pink, so the "cookie pizza" looked like I dumped a bottle of Pepto-Bismal on it and then sprinkled it with M&M's. Ah well, I did try. I think I get to make a bread pudding for a luncheon on Friday, so that'll be good, I hope.**

Missionary Experience

Hello Everyone!

I'm sorry that I've been away for a bit - the Oireachtas was a huge ordeal that really occupied a whole lot of my time and energy. Now that I'm back and things have settled down, I reckon I'll have more time to write.

So, let's have a quick re-cap of the weekend. It began with me waking up last Friday at 3:50 in the morning, leaving Loyola House at 4:15 in order to get to the airport by 5:00 am. Boarding the plane seemed a new and foreign experience...I sat in an area of the plane designated as "coach." It's a wild terrain, much different from the First-Class I'm used to flying on Continental. Surprisingly, I didn't find the savages back there to be too difficult to sit with; then again, the flight was only 35 minutes. Yes, I will have to fly with these people again very soon. It's nice to see how the "common folk" live.

Actually, the only benefit to sitting in the First Class section of any airline is that one gets on faster and gets a nice cup of coffee. Sometimes the snacks are better, too, though I suppose that honey roasted peanuts are the same whereever one goes.

Now for my report on the Oireachtas.

It was tough.

The first day wasn't too bad. I had rather large competitions and coupled with general fatigue and rustiness, I was wicked nervous. Recall that my day-to-day dealings are with facial hair, testosterone, and quibbling over why, in a house full of men, we ought to concern ourselves with lowering the toilet seat. From this milieu, you can imagine my discombobulation upon entering into the wilds of wigs, glitter, estrogen, and the lives of about 4,000 children/wannabe Barbie dolls. With some of these kids, it's like looking at mini-Chers.

Sadly, I've no real scandal to report about the weekend. I must admit that I was rather's hard to re-enter a wholly different world like Irish dancing without more time and, to be sure, three days IS NOT enough time to re-integrate oneself into the culture. Good thing, too. I don't know that I want to go back...I like my new life of peace and quiet and something called prayer.

Novice life is just oodles of fun. I'm sure I'll have more to report on it later this week.

Anyway, I'm sorry that I've been lax in updating this site. I'll try harder, really I will. Maybe I'll get some pics up, too.

Oh yeah, I'm going on TWO MONTHS of going to the gym. I'm getting buff. Maybe I'll be the first Jesuit-Chippendale's dancer....oh, if only I were called to such heights and glories.



*sorry to cut short - I have to go and make dessert for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I seem to have fallen into something of a rut in terms of oozing sarcasm, this will be a relatively short post.

So we've come to the big Oireachtas weekend. I'm pretty scared...three months is a long time to have gone without playing a feis and jumping into the biggest weekend of the year is pretty nerve-wracking. I'm really nervous!

I'd write more, but I should probably go and practice. With luck, I'll have many more emotions to report about AFTER the posts of late have lacked that chock-full-o-rage sentiment that is so endearing to so many. I hadn't thought I'd changed much since entrance day, but perhaps I have: I've lost my bitterness and anger. Sad, terribly was so charming.

Slainte to all!


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Still here!

Hi all,

Sorry I've not written in a few days. I've had an incessant cough that has pretty well sapped my energy. Besides, I've been practicing for the Big O that begins TWO WEEKS from today.

On the whole, there's not much to report. I just saw a picture taken of me just over a year ago and I'm absolutely horrified by how much hair I've lost. It's really pathetic. I'm thinking that I'm going to try to regrow it using ancient and forbidden Jesuit hair-regrowth tricks. I reckon it's like using the Force, but even more powerful. If it works, I'll start clinics where we teach the technique and then I'll have infomercials featuring me and my testimonial. I'll try to post the old picture later today.

Well, that's about it. I have a few more treble jigs to learn today and four more slip jigs. Perhaps a reel or two....that should do it, I guess.

Hope all is well with everyone and, for many of you, I can't wait to see you at the Oireachtas!


Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

As you'll see below, I've posted several recent pictures.

Not much to report about. I've been practicing quite a little bit for the big O (Oireachtas = Or-rock-tis). Apart from music practice, the day-to-day life here is pretty much the same: I go out and work with the elderly, eat, go to the gym, eat, pray every now and again, go to Mass, eat, etc. Pretty humdrum, I'd say.

So I celebrated my 25th birthday. The only good thing I can say about being 25 is that I'm now allowed to rent cars from Hertz and Enterprise. Prety lame, but at least it's a benchmark.

It's pretty sad that I have nothing witty or biting to say (some might add that I"ve never really had anything witty or biting to say in the first place). I'm in sort of a holding pattern, which is good.

I'm off to the mall to buy a batery for my watch. I hope all of you are well and that you have a safe and happy Halloween. And, please God, don't give out cheap candy like Smarteez or Peppermints - go and buy candy bars! No bags of pennies, either...or apples with razor blades...they're out of season, anyway.



The Jesuits are thinking of updating their habit to be "with the times." This is a prototype. Like it? Posted by Hello

Eric Sundrup and I after a trip to the Holocaust museum. Posted by Hello

A recent picture of our motley crew.  Posted by Hello

Relaxing at Omena. Now, imagine me with an accordion and 4,000 Irish dancers and you'll have the Oireachtas. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


That's right all:

I'm Back.

For the last two months, I've gone through the whole mourning cycle of my feis life. Today, however, my passion for Irish dancing was resurrected when I was informed that the Jesuits would allow me to play at the Mid-American Oireachtas this Thanksgiving. YEAH! I get to fly to Chicago at 6:09 am on Friday, the 26th and fly home at 11:00 pm on Sunday night...and I couldn't be happier.

So what does this entail? I have to practice my sets, dust off the old metronome, and prepare myself for all of the glitter, synthetic hair, and sock-glue one can possibly imagine. I'd like to make some glib comments or some witty observations, but I'm too happy even for sarcasm. It's just very exciting to have this opportunity to tap into what has, sadly, become normalcy for me: the insanity of Irish dancing.

So in addition to getting buff at the gym, I'll now be trying to sharpen my musical skills. I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I've not learned a new reel or jig in quite a few months, but I think that what I have to offer will be acceptable. If it's not, I'll be playing the Adult Oireachtas (read: a holocaust to the pagan gods) next year. Alas, alas.



Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Hi All,

I've had several requests for my address at Loyola House, so here it is:

Ryan Duns
Loyola House
2599 Harvard Road
Berkley, MI 48072-1512

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Three Times a Pattern, Four Times a Streak

Yo yo yo,

Yes, so I've achieved something remarkable with my life: I've established a going-to-the-gym streak! Four times in a row, and tomorrow will make for the fifth visit to the mecca of muscle. Going to the gym is sort of like going to church: you hate the thought of it on the way, you really hate it during the middle of it, but when it's all over, you're glad you went.

Tomorrow will established another streak: four times I'll go to the gym freezing my ballz off because I WILL NOT go into the locker room. I must have been attacked by a tribe of crazy old naked men at some point in my life (probably the estranged husbands of the Amazons) and now have this real hang-up about going into a locker room. Luckily, I have repressed that memory (along with, I'm sure, MANY other terrible memories) and shall continue blithely along this path of life.

Nursing home update: they are still old. This is, I reckon, one of those jobs that you can't really do much to change their situation in a sense - they are old and they will, like it or not, continue to get older. Nonetheless, the residents are fun to play with (cards) and talk to about current day-to-day realities (the advent of talkies, the gramaphone, the dictophone, the jitterbug, and as we're in Detroit, the Model-T). On a more serious note, I must confess to having an emotion (rare, too rare for me) akin to empathy or sympathy or, perhaps, it's just gas...but it must be awfully difficult to go from leading a relatively independent life for 80+ years, raising a family, playing bridge and then, all of a sudden, go to living in a nursing home where you color placemats as an activity and only have your meals to look forward to as entertainment (and, with some institutional meals, they are decidedly *Not* entertaining).

Now for my Irish dancing friends, I have other great big news. On Friday night, I, Ryan Duns, the boy who wasn't allowed to take Irish dancing because I'm a horrifying clutz, went to a ceili and danced in a county set where I was, by far, the best dancer. The Best. Michael Flatley. I was the Lord of the Special Dance. Torrey might be the one who earns the accolades for dancing, but I must aver that I'm an as-yet unknown dancing talent, a veritable dynamo.

Perhaps I'm a closet adult dancer and should have my "coming out" party at next year's Cleveland Feis or, better, at the 2005 Oireachtas where I can wear a kilt and mortify friends and family alike. If you think I'm joking, Torrey and Mom, just try me. I've got nothing else to lose, not even my pride.

So that's about it. I turn 25 on Tuesday. That's getting up there in years. If I feel old, I have to feel bad for my parents because they are, in turn, even older. Feel free to post a birthday greeting in a comment box, especially if I haven't heard from you and you've been lurking on my blog.

OOh, Jamblaya update. This stuff is great. I made it for both carnivores and a version for the veg-heads who hate to eat baby animals. If you want the recipe, I'll sell it to you. Just write me.....proceeds will go to the "Terry O'Malley's Aunt Jambalaya Fund." With all the monies earned, I'd hope to buy him a coffee and a bagel. So donate now.

I'm outta here!


AKA: Raul el Gato Rojo (Ryan the Red Cat)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Quick Update

Hi All!

Not much of note to report. We began our hospital experiments this week, and I am stationed at a local nursing home. It's really nice, actually, though on my first day I learned what may turn out to be an immutable truth: old men have dirty, dirty, dirty minds. Really dirty. I'm not going into detail here, but be sure to ask me about it sometime.

YMCA Update: I've gone twice!

I like the Y. That's the hipster lingo shortening the already short acronym of YMCA. I am dismayed to say that I am a terrible weakling, but that also gives me hope: I can't get any weaker, and I can only get stronger.

Immutable truth of the Y: Old men like to be naked. It's disgusting. I walked into what appeared to be a geriatric orgy or pow-wow on Friday....and it was just shower time. Totally not my bag. I understand now something of martyrdom.

Okay, I need to go and make my lunch so that I can avoid the mystery-meat extravaganza that awaits us at the nursing home. Yesterday we had difficulty ascertaining whether it was a "meat that smelled like tuna" or a "tuna that looked like meat" sandwich. Tapioca or Rice pudding? Urine specimin or a shot of apple juice? Such are but a few of the many mysteries we plunge ourselves into during this experiment.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Sad Tidings

Well, my friends, I have something most terrible to confess.

It's worse than me giving up Teen Titans (Happy Barthog Day, DREW!!)

It's worse than me leaving the Jesuits.

It's worse than my deciding to be Amish

I got a membership at the YMCA.

Yeah, so I've realized that I am probably the only person under the sun who could qualify for worker's compensation due to injuries sustained while playing the accordion. I am such a huge loser, to be sure, but damn it I'm in a lot of pain! The muscles in my back are absolutely useless so I'm either going to suffer arthritis in my old age (which isn't far off) or I can seek to remedy the situation by going to the gym. I'm choosing the latter option.

So tomorrow I'm going to the YMCA. I'd better be greeted by a sailor, a garbage man, a cop, and an Injun and there had better be singing. Lots of singing.

Let's there anything fun to talk about?

No. I'm so sad about this...I'm actually going to do something physical. This is such a terrible nightmare come true. It's like being sentenced to an Oireachtas of adult dancing (that's a code for my Irish dancing friends. If you don't know about Irish dancing, then you're missing out on something so funny that it makes people "in the know" wet themselves with laughter.)

Ooooh, one good thing. My uncle, Terry O'Malley, will be sending me a recipe he got from his Aunt Jambalaya. The recipe is named after his relation - Jambalaya - and is a delicious dish to be sure. We're going to make it for the candidate's weekend so that the "Prospective fresh meat" (AKA Candidates) have a taste of our hospitality.

I do have to admit some shock: Hagan Duns, the younger, female, and vastly inferior version of ME has yet to start her own blog. I don't get it. She's always a few miles behind me in EVERYTHING but this is ridiculous. I have it on good authority that she's been sneaking up into my old room and sitting in my comfy chair, trying to have deep and profound theological "thoughts" like I used to do. Sadly, Hagan, you'll never catch up to me. At 12, your life is over. You should give up and become a physicist or a doctor -- you'll never be a theologian, a job with a lot of skill required.


Friday, October 01, 2004

More bits

Greetings everyone!

First off, Kudos to Mrs. Koczera for sending us some non-fair trade coffee. The blood, sweat, and tears of children that go into each and every batch of Dunkin Donut's coffee gives it that capitalist flavor we all know and love so well.

After almost a month, I have finally had a meal here that I didn't quite fancy: quail. There were all these quail carcasses lying upon a bed of stuffing. There legs were spread wide open to the heavens (I felt like a FOWL Gynocologist) and, if I didn't know better, I'd have thought I was in Pet Cemetery. It was pretty scary. Besides, unless you eat the bones of these things, there's not much to them in terms of substance. Thank God for Little Cesar's Pizza.

Apart from that and the crusade I recently called against the Moonies, all is going rather well. I've undergone tremendous growth, too: the Eucharist is not the same thing as Euchre, the card game. I believe in God (there's a thought).

Okay, now let me get something off my chest. There are about 25 people at mass every day. The way we do Communion, we pass the plate around (like an hors dourves tray) and there's usually some left overs at the end of the line. You know, several pieces of the Host. From my standpoint, if you have to consume the extra Host, does that count for more grace, as sort of an act of theologically super-sizing Jesus? Should I be jealous when I only get ONE and the glutton-for-gluten next to me consumes like eight pieces of JC? First Wendy's with the Biggie Size, then McDonald's with Super Size and Extra Value meals, now it's the Church....I'm so confused. I wonder how many carbs each Host has...

Now, one final thought. I have begun my master work in Moral Theology. It'll be about sex (of course) and entitled: The Rhythm Method of Theology. It'll be a whole book about doing theology with sexual allusions. Could be a hot time, no?

Cheers all!


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A little sesiun at Tom Blake's house on Friday. Kudos to Tom and Mary Bryan!! Posted by Hello

Part of the band. There's that bishop in the polo shirt. See, who'd have thought? That's Br. Boynton on the fiddle.  Posted by Hello

Hooray for Detroit!

Introducing the First Year Class from the Detroit Province!!
Back Row: Adam DeLeon, Denis Weber, Ryan Duns, Jon Dawe, Drew Marquard
Front Row: Kevin Koehler and John Petit Posted by Hello


Hello again!

So, I'm back from our Big Big Trip to Midland, Ontario.

Many important things happened there, thereby scuttling plans for my scathing expose on the Amish. Do not be fear, however - I shall return to their insidious practices in the near future. Point to ponder: The Amish have a vast sour cream fortune derived from the sale of YODER'S Sour Cream. Yes, Yoder's. Now answer me this, oh Cheshire Cat: Do they have some magic hermetic sealing fairy that comes by and both pasteurizes and seals their product? No, I didn't think so. They have ELECTRICITY. Hypocrites, all of them. And where does this money go? I'll tell you: Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Norelco Razors, and I have it on good authority that they are the majority owners of Slim Jim beef jerky. Leave it to the Amish.

Now, to other pressing issues. We had a very fun evening on Saturday, especially after we saw the schismatic Saint Pius X seminarians. They were cassocks (dresses) and they look mean. I mean, I love sarcasm and these guys scared the hell out of me. They walked by some freshly planted flowers and they withered. Damn cold, these gents. And they wear DRESSES. Insane.

Also insane: the bishop from up there came to dinner without dressing like a bishop and then, after several of us began playing music (Boynton on the fiddle, Dawe on the guitar, DeLeon and Koehler on spoons, Marquard on the jug, and Duns on the box) he came over and began crooning like he was William Hong or Rueben Studdard. Actually, he was quite good EXCEPT for the fact that he wanted to sing Danny Boy. Really, what a dumb request. I don't even KNOW that damn tune. It's anathema as far as I'm concerned. He wanted to sing something else at some point, and I guess I refused to play it. Not only did I not know he was the bishop (as I said, he wasn't dressed as such and I figured he was some schlep who came to the hall to get a free dinner like the rest of us) I really didn't care because I was drunk.

Fun Trivia Game: What is red and orange and chunky and reminds Ryan that he is a major ass?

Answer: throwing up two bottles of red wine mixed with shrimp, carrots, and some beef dish we had for dinner.

Great weekend, Boyz (kudos to DeLeon for that one).


Monday, September 27, 2004

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Trip to Midland

While I think of it:

I'll be in Midland, Ontario (that's in Canada, for those of you who are geographically retarded), for the weekend. Not that I post so often that you'd miss me, but in case you're curious, you now know.

Next week, I must remember to relay the findings of my investigative report into the nocturnal drinking habits of the Amish. An image as a foretaste of what is to come:

Boots, Bonnets, Buggies, and a Mennonite Lust fueled by tons of Good Ol' PBR - Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Nothing but the finest, Jedediah.


Fair Trade Coffee

Hello again!

Today, I'd like to raise our social consciences by discussing fair trade coffee. We here at the novitate drink FTC (snazzy acronym), and I'd like to give my review:

it tastes like my grandmother's basement smells.

It has a dank, musty body with hints of mildew and a smattering of PineSol.

In short, it's rather wretched.

I have a feeling that there is a colony of Colombians who are living in a lavish hacienda who are LAUGHING at the great charade of FTC. They say (in Spanish), "Holy Frijole, Senor! Those Americans are so stupid. We can sell them sheeeeet coffee and tell them that it's going to help poor people, and they'll buy it!"

My advice: Bring out the caffeine signal and bring back Juan Valdez. The fallen hero of morning pick-me-ups, I have faith that he will be the Messiah of the coffee industry who'll bring us good tasting, socially conscious coffee.

In this, I have my hope. To the heavens I turn my eyes and the prayers for this day of reckoning fall silently from my lips.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Hello all,

I've received several emails and posts indicating that my readership may have ballooned into the double-digits. This is great. And yet, now that I know that there're more readers out there I'm beginning to have performance anxiety. I just can't get my wittiness up....alas, there is no Viagra type drug for this; there is but the unfathomable depths of rage and fury and sarcasm that flows beneath my oh-so-sanguine demeanor. It'll have to do for now.

I was wrong about this week's topic in religious life class. Chastity will be discussed later with Sister Theresa (ain't got nun, aint gonna to get nun). This week we are plumbing the topic of OBEDIENCE (in Ryan world, this translates as COMPROMISE). While there are many beautiful and lovely arguments for obedience, I don't want to relay them to you because it would mean that I would have either to acknowledge and/or appropriate them. Thus, I defer to my own wisdom: Where there is my will, there is God's way. (Actually, "Where there is God's will, there is my way" may also be of my own creation. If it is and you say it, I'd like a dime each time. Just mail me the check after it's accumulated for a bit).

Let's see....I can't think of much else to talk about. There are men and women far better than me to give insightful and pointed critiques of current events; I've neither the time, nor the interest in engaging such topics. I just stick to being inane....insane...inane (it's better).

Peace out, home fries,


AKA Ryan

Monday, September 20, 2004

Too Early, again

Good morning Folks!

I write as though to a large audience, but I reckon there are, oh, about 7 people who read this. So I'm probably writing this for my own therapeutic purposes but, who knows? Perhaps someone will discover my inane ramblings and offer me a book deal. Or a sitcom. Or a place on Hollywood Squares.

So tomorrow marks the one-month mark of being in the Jesuits. I don't feel any holier. I think that's good, though. It's a big lifestyle change, to be sure: it's hard not to think, come each weekend, about which feis I'd be at and with whom I'd be spending my weekend.

Anyway, I'm still damn bald. I totally dig this look. In a way, I think I do it my own form of Ryan justice - a lethal hybrid of Kojak and Christopher Lowell. It's like being on COPS-lite where instead of "putting a cap in a perpetrator's ass" we do decorative things like arts and crafts.

So my agenda for today:

Religious Life class. Today's topic is "Chastity: For some a choice, for others the sad realization that you're ugly and no one will ever want to sleep with you...ever." I think I fall into the latter category, though with my new hairdo I think I look dead sexy and oh-so-virile.

After Religious Life, we go to Institutes class. Though there's a resononace with the word "prostitutes" there is little similarity between the two: in this class we learn about the Jesuits. Well, maybe some similarity...

Right now, as I type this, Eric Sundrup - the famed and revered BEADLE of our novitiate (say his name three times and he seems to appear sort of like Beadlejuice) is reading my blog. I'm touched to have a person of his stature read my humble blog.

Yeah, so that's it. My ramblings are done for today....



Saturday, September 18, 2004

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Hello Everyone,

As some of you might have noticed, I've been going bald. Yes, bald. Who'd have thought? It only started about SEVEN years ago and it's been getting progressively worse.

Now, my allopecia (that's the fancy way of saying that I am on the pilgrimage to look like a cue-ball) has been the source of much pain in my life. Thus, I have shaved my head.

Yep, shaved it.


Damn near bald.

I should have a number tatooed on my arm and sent to Auschwitz or Dachau.

Actually, it doesn't look too bad. If I get a chance, I'll take a picture of it and post it for all to behold.

I think my response to "Why did you shave your head?" will be: To be in solidarity with the poor and to save money. I can now wash my entire body with Dial body wash. That is, of course, if I utilize the mesh shower-scrubber.

Now, for my observation about life outside for the normal people (read: laity or non-Jesuits). I should like to think that if I left the SJ's, I would start a bar that had a social-justice theme. In Catholic social teaching, there is what is known as the "Preferential Option for the Poor." I think I'd have a similar theme: "Justice for the Pour" where you would be assured of getting a perfect draft of Guinness each time you came in. Just a thought...

A second thought: Remember Wilfred Brimley? The Quaker Oats guy, the grandfather on "Our House" and the current spokesperson for some Diabetes service. Do you know that he has single-handedly changed the English language? For eons we've said "Diabeteeeez" (Like Wheaties) and now, thanks to the old coot himself, we say "Diabetis" (short 'i' sound). What gives? Who gave him the right to destroy our language? He now joins Snoop Dog (Faschizle on my Nizzle...that's just a corruption of the language) and people from Minnesota as harbingers of dialectical disaster.



Friday, September 10, 2004

Dr Shea (Dr Strange)

Wow, two posts in one day.

I had dinner with Dr. Shea tonight. Dr. Shea, or Dr. Mengela as I like to refer to him, is a funny sort of fellow. He sat for an entire meal playing with a ladybug. He talked to it, petted it, and I began to get a strange feeling that there was someone at our dinner table who wasn't keeping chastity too well...I guess it's okay as it is a LADYbug.

But this isn't the first thing to raise questions. Just the other day he was running around catching flying ants. Who does that? Then he put them in empty soda bottles and froze them. Then he mailed them to an equally deranged friend. Thank God I studied Religion and not biology.

John Shea, you should not have told me that you read my blog. Now I must make fun of you.

Forgive me.



Hello Everyone,

In her inimitable fashion, Anne has asked yet another good question: What (or who??) is this Manualia that you do?

First, Manualia is not a small Hispanic child. Manualia does not come to our house to do dishes, clean in the corners, or set mouse traps. How sad, how sad.

Manualia is a Latin word for "Physical Labor." Physical. Labor. Ryan. Hard to imagine.

My "Saturday morning manualia" involves being the librarian. I work with books. Of course I'm building my arm muscles by lifting huge tomes and moving them from shelf to shelf. But for those of you with over-active imaginations, just imagine me standing shirtless in the midst of a field, the morning sun reflecting off of my rippling muscles, so shiny as to demand sunglasses. I lean on my pitchfork and call off to Pa to bring some slop for the hogs....Yeah, this is a really hard image to maintain.

So that's manualia. Some guys vacuum, some clean cars, Ryan organizes books.

As for my evening tonight: Mass, a social hour, and then dinner of six-bean casserole (meaning in special Ryan code: Pizza and beer right after dinner), and then I'm going to edit Brian Lehane's thesis. He's written a very interesting paper on the pedagogical method for teaching Just War Theory. I have a Master's in Religion, folks, I may as well use it.

Okay, fun puzzle -- Name this sound: Schlliiiiiiick, splat, Argh!!

Any guesses?

Answer: Ryan running out of the shower to turn off his alarm after he failed to realize he'd hit the snooze button rather than turning it off. Not wanting to wake the damned house, he charged out of the shower, and with the grace of Bob Duns on Ice, slid across the floor and fell on his soapy rear. My pride is still wounded, but little else.



Thursday, September 09, 2004

Answering Questions

Anne asked a very good question: what are my living arrangements like?

Let me tell you. I have my own room, also known as a CELL, where I have a bed, a desk, a sink, a cross, a bookshelf, my clothes, a nightstand, and two lamps. It's quite cozy - plenty of room for me and the ol'Holy Spirit.

I share a toilet and shower (bucket and hose) with another guy. He's nice, except that he's like an abominable snowman and sheds in the shower, so most mornings I wake up only to find his leavings in the I collect each strand of fallen hair, dry it carefully, and apply a liberal dose of Elmer's Glue to it and affix it to my own head. It's not quite a weave, but I'm looking pretty stylish.

Now, we share one pair of underwear between us. I wear them on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and he has Tuesday, THursday, and Saturday. We wash them on Sunday. Supposedly good behavior merits us our own toothbrush AND two pairs of boxers. One can only hope.

Meals are wonderful. Tonight, we had "Chairman Meow" Stir-Fry. It's made of cats, which is no departure from traditional Chinese cuisine.

Sometimes, when I get really hungry, I eat paper. Stationary dyed with indigo has a light, piquant aftertaste to it. It's quite refreshing after a meal of gruel.

If you're taking any of this seriously, may God have mercy on your soul.



Awake Again...

Good morning!

In a house with 26 guys, who'd have thought that I'd be the one to bring in the paper and make the coffee? I even made rice-krispie treats last night...oh God, I'm turning into a domestic dynamo.

So, let's see what's new. Things are going very well, though the workload has gone from "0 to 60" in just days. We've loads-of-fun Vatican II documents to read, books on the history of the Jesuits, Spanish language classes, classes on the Constitutions of the Jesuits, morning prayer, daily Eucharist, and I think there's stuff I'm forgetting.

Let me say this, though: despite the work that needs to be done, it's certainly less difficult that going to school and it is inordinately more fun. There's something to be said for slogging through "Gaudium et Spes" with 13 other guys, none of whom likes it! Not that we talk about Church documents at meals (we decidedly do not), but there's a sense of solidarity that grows when you realize that you and 13 others are struggling with the same material. As a caveat: it's not that the material is difficult, just boring.

Yeah, so that's about it. I received a nice email from Eric Abercrombie, the current ambassador from the great state of West Virginia. His graduate program seems to be a bit more demanding that JCU's. BUt, great consolation is taken in that his wife is with child and they are expecting the birth of "Little Rahner Abercrombie" in December. We can only hope that he has, his father's....eyes. That's for you, Enyak.



Tuesday, September 07, 2004

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Morning Folks!

It's now 6:42 in the morning. Yes, 6:42. I haven't seen this side of 7:00 in a long, long time...not since I was in high school, I think. To give some perspective on the gravity of this situation, consider this: as of just a month ago, I'd be going to bed and hour or two before this.

Why, Ryan, are you up so early?

Because I'm going to Mass. At 7:00 IN THE MORNING. And then I'll have breakfast (though I'm enjoying my tea right now). I'd rather *celebrate* the Eucharist rather than sit there, numbed by sleep.

Yeah, so what else. Today is sort of the first day of the real novitiate. These last two weeks I've had considerable downtime to relax and get to know the other novices. Today, however, begins the regular ordo where we have classes (religious life at 8:30, a course on the history of the Jesuits, a course on the Constitutions of the Jesuits, Spanish, etc.) every day. It'll be nice to get into a regular routine, but this routine involves being up before 7:00 every morning in order to attend Mass (Tuesday and Thursday) or morning prayer (MWF). Weekends we do sleep later.

This is not, all in all, a bad way of life (as of yet!). We have a great cook who comes to prepare our meals, and with 22 novices living in the house, there's always someone to talk with. We all went out to Manresa - one of the retreat houses - yesterday for a picnic and afterwards some guys played cards and six of us went out for "ice cream" er, ah, beer. Having only $75.00 a month to spend certainly curtails your spending habits, so I'm learning to savor the taste even of Bud. BUD. Yick.

Anyway, that's about it for now. I don't have any profound or original thoughts, sad to say. But this will give you all some strange inkling as to what it is I do during the day. As I get more acquainted with life at Jesuit camp, I'll post it, too.


Monday, September 06, 2004

Open for Comment!

I didn't realize this blog was set for comments by registered users only. It's been changed; any demented soul who wants to pester Ryan can now do so with impunity.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

This weeks team. Monkey in a Coma rules!

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

Prejesuit Ryan

The First Year Class. Posted by Hello

Three Cheers for the Blog!

Hello Everyone!

I'm trying this post as an experiment. Instead of having to write a number of emails every day (who would ever of thought that I was popular) Anne Hall thought that this would be a good way for us to stay connected. We can have sort of a whole forum dedicated to discussing all of the oh-so-interesting things that I do here in Detroit...

So, let the games begin! As I go along, I'm sure I'll post some pictures. Later today I'll try to post our "class picture" from entrance day.



Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

No excuses

Here you go, your very own blog. Now you won't wear out your fingers on repeated emails to the multitudes. Let everyone know how you're doing, but save the good stuff for me.

Flute playing priest finds YouTube fame