“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

February 14, 2011

patrickmadrid.com is the new home for this blog

At the urging of a priest friend of mine, Father Bud, I first launched this little blog back on November 8th, 2008, and had no idea whether my musings here would be of any interest to anyone other than myself. In the two years since it launched, I've been gladdened and grateful to discover that a number of you have found it interesting and useful. Thank you! Thank you for reading and subscribing to this blog, thank you for your excellent and thought-provoking comments, even when they took issue with something I said here. I appreciate all of you very much.

And as a small way of showing my appreciation (not to mention as a way to keep up with the times), I've had had a completely new patrickmadrid.com site designed, which now includes everything under one roof: the blog, info on my books, a new forum, seminar info, pictures, etc. I really hope you will like it. If you do, please be sure to do two things: 1) book mark it, and 2) subscribe to my blog feed using the sign-up box just below the nav bar on the right side.

This will be my last post here on this blogger platform. I hope you'll all migrate over to the new blog and continue reading and commenting. My sincere thanks to all of you -- and to Father Bud!

February 8, 2011

An all-new PatrickMadrid.com coming soon

I'm happy to report that the completely new and improved patrickmadrid.com website, which we've been working on assiduously for the past month, is nearly ready to go live — hopefully, within the next couple of days. I think you'll like the new look and feel of this version of the site. There's quite a bit more for you now, including past articles I've written, a picture gallery, a new and much-improved discussion forum, a slew of audio and video digital downloads, my speaking event calendar, and more. Best of all, everything will now be under one roof: This blog, for example, will no longer be located on a separate site but will be contained within patrickmadrid.com. Which means that very soon you'll need to update your feed from this site to the new one. We'll make that as easy as possible with a sign-up box on the new site. I'm planning to leave this version of the blog up and available for awhile to give my visitors and feed subscribers ample time to get the new feed installed on their readers (Google, Feedburner, etc.).

Assuming that the new site will go live in the next few days, I most likely won't be posting any additional blog posts here, but will be adding them to the new site. I'm looking forward to unveiling it! And once it’s up and running, please do feel free to send me any constructive criticism, requests, or suggestions you might have regarding how we can make it as user-friendly and helpful to you as possible. I very much appreciate your feedback. Thanks, and God bless you all!   

February 4, 2011

I can totally picture my grandson, Blaise, doing this

And for that matter, I can totally picture my son, Jon (Blaise's dad), doing his part, like the dad in this commercial.

February 3, 2011

Behold how much the world has changed in just 15 years

“What is the Internet, anyway?” a clueless Bryant Gumbel asks his equally clueless co-hosts on the “Today” show, way back in 1994. I can't blame him, though. When I first heard of the Internet, about that same time, I couldn't make sense out of it either. Karl Keating had been reading up on it in some BBS-related techie magazine he subscribed to and was trying to explain it to me over lunch one day.
I remember him saying that he thought the Internet could potentially become a big thing, as long as enough people started using it. In fact, he had the foresight to be the first to register the domain name (“what's
 that?” I remember asking him) catholic.com. That was back in late 1993 or early 1994. You know, back in the days when very few people could decipher what @ stood for in a mysterious term such as violence@nbc.ge.com. 

February 2, 2011

Letting go of someone I never knew

I had an oddly poignant experience on Twitter yesterday — I know, the last place you’d ever expect to encounter something poignant.

I was going through the list of people I follow and was removing those who are just trying to sell something, as well as  all the self-proclaimed “marketing gurus,” “life coaches,” and political pundits. Just part of the necessary pruning and cleaning one occasionally must do in the world of social media platforms. Nothing new there.

But in the midst of this utterly banal chore, I came to the Twitter profile of Ginger, a Catholic woman whose profile picture I only vaguely remembered seeing before and whose posts I hadn't seen in quite awhile. Opening her profile, I saw that her last several posts were from mid 2009 and were about her rapid decline from lung cancer. In one, she expressed how hard it was for her to deal with the shock of having just been diagnosed by her physician as “terminal.” A few posts later, her comment stream just . . . ended.

Nothing more. 

I Googled her name and saw that she died that summer, not long after her last post, mourned, no doubt, by many grief-stricken family and friends. She was only 41.

This brought back the sad memory of another Catholic woman I knew quite well and very much admired — a vibrant and vital young wife and mother of just 44 — who also died of lung cancer in September of that same year. A pang of melancholy rose up in me at that still-painful remembrance.

Gazing at Ginger’s picture, the mouse cursor poised over the “unfollow” button in her profile, I was moved by the realization that, even though she had died some time ago and I would therefore never see any further posts from her, still . . . by pressing “unfollow,” I would be, in a certain sense, letting go of her. It seemed strange that it should occur to me that way — after all, I never knew her personally. I was only aware of her existence through Twitter — a dim and superficial awareness of someone, to be sure. But still, there had been the slightest of connections there, albeit nothing more than pixels on a screen.

In that moment, an image from the movie Titanic arose in my mind; the one in which Rose is lying on a piece of floating debris holding on with one hand to the now dead Jack, almost entirely submerged in the frigid water. As she lets go of his hand, he sinks slowly into oblivion. True, those two were illicit lovers. In Ginger's case, well, she was someone I had ever even met or spoken to before, much less known personally. 

And yet, for a few brief, uncanny moments, my mind was pervaded by that poignant image of Rose letting go of Jack’s hand. 

I pressed “unfollow,” and in so doing said a kind of electronic “goodbye” to a sister in Christ I never knew, except through the medium of an ephemeral, tenuous, and  insignificant collection of pixels on my computer screen. And then, I said a prayer for the repose of her soul.

How strange, it seems to me, and how perfectly fitting at the same time, that the Lord makes use of even something as casual and (seemingly) inconsequential as Twitter to remind the members of His Body of their connection to each other.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.