Transformational Mission Trips

[Here’s a piece I wrote about Chop Point School, as it appeared in the Brunswick Times Record on March 8th.]

GUEST COLUMN
BY MICHAEL PAJAK

In late winter each year, the 11th and 12thAHNO4440 grade students of Chop Point School in Woolwich embark on a journey that is transformational for each of them and holds the promise of positively impacting the lives of the children who live at the city dump in Managua, Nicaragua.

Yes, that’s right, the children who live at the city dump. Continue reading “Transformational Mission Trips”

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Studs Terkel & Jerry Garcia

Chicago History Museum/AP
Chicago History Museum/AP

Growing up in Chicago and her suburbs in the 1960s/70s provided for a very media-rich upbringing, although I was unaware at the time just how muscular it was. When we weren’t out exploring alleyways, finding mud holes to disrupt, or playing motorcycle gang wars on our banana-seated bicycles, I could be found lying on the living room floor with either one of two daily newspapers splayed out in front of me like some kind of map to the world, with local radio playing in the background. TV was likely on simultaneously, and I can still absorb and identify up to five stimuli at the same time. Continue reading “Studs Terkel & Jerry Garcia”

You’re a Socialist-American? Please Explain…

Bernie Che Shirt

I predict this coming summer will find more residents of Mid Coast Maine, where I live, wearing Bernie Sanders t-shirts than the current favorite, Che Guevara model. The women will still sport the obligatory side-crew cuts and the men ponytails, but the go-to-T-shirt will change for the first time in decades!

It’s also logical to assume that, had Che not been executed in 1967 at the age of thirty-nine, he might very well be making campaign appearances on Mr. Sanders’ behalf today, even in his late eighties. They might at least be spotted fighting over the breakfast tab at a diner.

Continue reading “You’re a Socialist-American? Please Explain…”

Lenten Poem – Fixed in His Freedom

I admit to not being a very good Catholic. I just don’t practice enough. But I do love the Church. Even if I don’t get there very often any more, I am comforted by Her presence.

Lent is upon us, so I’ve got that going for me! Wandering around and fasting in the wilderness, followed by the promise of a rebirth of faith and life. The original Hope & Change!

I didn’t write this poem so much as it summoned itself through my pencil… Continue reading “Lenten Poem – Fixed in His Freedom”

Super Bowl L – As in “Life”

Unless you’re a football policy wonk who prefers a defensive matchup to a game featuring long pass completions and breakaway runs for daylight, Super Bowl “L” was a big Loser. With the Denver Broncos offense gaining fewer yards than any Super Bowl victor in recent memory, and the petulant Cam Newton showing up just long enough to pout his way out of his post-game press conference, the Big Game seemed to be the first in NFL history played with no quarterbacks.

The night, however, was a big success for pro-life football fans. One need look no further than NARAL’s own Twitter feed to see how a simple game of football, that modern descendent of the gladiator battles of old, had the old GRRs (Grannie’s for Reproductive Rights) typing away furiously, using all 140 characters available to express their outrage at the baby-friendly, anti-feminazi messages being projected into living rooms the world over.

Continue reading “Super Bowl L – As in “Life””

The Legend of The Books

TLOTB_KINDLE_COVER2
The Legend of The Books

My first foray into e-publishing is a novel-in-verse that my close friend I.C. Shaw and I co-authored a few years back, The Legend of The Books.

“In former days when legends still gave shine…” Thus the tone is set for The Legend of The Books, a novel in verse that hearkens back to epic poems of the days of old.

Replete with war and ruin, death and debauchery, jugglers and clowns, adventure and intrigue, The Legend of The Books arrives with a promise to return poetry to its rightful place in human history as a source of enjoyment and recreation for the masses. In homage to the works of Homer and The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Legend of The Books is as much Literary Ballad as it is Epic Poetry. Best read aloud around a roaring campfire with flagons of rum, The Legend of The Books recalls the oral and ancient tradition of storytelling.

Continue reading “The Legend of The Books”

The Seven

tlotb_cover_basketNever one to scare easily, I have always sought out those things which normal people seem to eschew out of fear, whether rationally or irrationally. From my first encounters with Grimm’s Fairy Tales to that first nightmare about bees that sent me running to mother’s bed, not out of fear, but to warn her, I’ve enjoyed fear.

This quality later manifested itself in cross-country hitchhiking and rock climbing, to the modern, middle-aged-man equivalents of eagerly driving to the corner store in a driving blizzard just to get some milk and PBR, or admitting that I am pro-life and Republican in 2016 just to get a reaction. Fear is one of those experiences that always makes me feel more alive.

There is, however, one thing that has always scared me more than my logical mind can rationalize. One thing exists that can freeze me in my tracks just by thinking about it; one experience haunts me when I sleep, and when awake: a simple poem. Continue reading “The Seven”