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 drain-catch...so 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 my...er, 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