According to an ABC News blog which I read April 20, many people are under the impression that the two Chechen boys who are believed to have killed people in Boston are from Czechoslovakia. This is discouraging for many reasons, especially because there isn’t even a place technically called Czechoslovakia any more, and because the real Chechnya is 2,000 miles away in Russia.

As someone who commented on the news blog said, it’s as sad as people who think kangaroos live in Austria or that New Mexico is a foreign country. Oh well.

* * * * *

I stopped off at Maritime Farms in the South End last Friday evening to buy a highly necessary supply of ice cream. Before going inside I stood for a minute to listen to the many little peep-peep frogs singing their spring chorus across the street beyond the railroad track. Overhead, although I couldn’t see them through the clouds, I could hear geese flying north. In the dooryard of a house nearby I could see a man burning metal, with beautiful orange sparks dancing on his driveway like silent firecrackers. Over at the store itself, they had the door propped open to let in the slightly warm air. What a fine evening.

* * * * *

A friend (I still have several) showed me a pen last week. Printed on it was a notice. “This pen was taken from the Warren town office. Your tax dollars will be used to replace it.” Only if you live in Warren, though.

By the way, Warren is a place between here and California. I have been to it a few times, and once lived by the river in the village for five months. I am told that everybody who lives in Warren now is required to have a concealed weapon permit. Surprising, then, that people still manage to steal pens in such a heavily armed town.

* * * * *

My favorite headline of the month comes from the dear old Courier itself, in the April 11 edition. “Disaster declaration declared in Knox County…” Well I declare, too.

* * * * *

That black cat I told you about the other week has been up here again in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street. I think it is trying to tell me something. It keeps scratching things in the dust that has accumulated in the southwest corner. Then on Saturday it started arranging bits of broken twigs in some sort of linear order, before it was scared off by a couple of the Seagulls of the Apocalypse swooping in off the harbor and flapping the twigs away with their wings. I swear the cat is trying to tell me something.

* * * * *

I see that deposed British prime minister Margaret Thatcher is dead at last, and was buried last week. Most extraordinarily, I hear that many people in dear old blighty celebrated her passing by downloading the Munchkins’ song from the "Wizard of Oz," called “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead.” They also held parties in the street (the Brits not the Munchkins) carrying placards with the name of the song, and singing it in public. There was an attempt to make it the most downloaded song in Britain the week before the funeral, but I think it only made it to number two.

There was also a great fuss in the old country about whether the BBC would play the song on the air the Sunday before the funeral, if it had reached number one. Remarkable stuff, isn’t it?

* * * * *

For some reason I have been more or less entrusted with leading a discussion group that meets between the two Sunday morning services at St. Bildad’s by the Sea. This week I decided to ask the big question of the week, namely does God love the Boston bombers?

I suppose the answer lies along the lines of whether we think that God is just some big guy in the sky whose ideas are pretty much the same as ours. Happily, nobody in the group this week had any problem with the proposition that God probably does love the bombers. Of course, there is another dimension to the question.

There is a scene in the comic movie “O Brother Where Art Thou?” in which the three escaped convicts stumble across a mass baptism taking place down by the river. One of the three decides this is his golden opportunity to set things right, so he goes down into the water and comes up with a sense of having been saved. It falls to one of his colleagues to point out to him later that while God might have forgiven him for robbing the Piggly Wiggly store, the state of Mississippi had not.

Likewise, although Pope John Paul II publicly forgave the man who shot him all those years ago, I think the gunman still spent some time as a compulsory guest of the people. And while one can speculate in a similar way that God loved Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden, obviously there was no way these particular gentlemen were going to escape common human justice.

And so it seems that God’s ways are not our ways, despite the inept ravings of many religionists who have radio shows, etc. We are forced to admit that God is annoyingly different from us. This is why it is necessary to disagree with people who believe their own anger, frustration, pride, bitterness, prejudices, self-righteousness etc., reflect the way God feels. They are missing something important, I think. Obviously we still have to try and love them (sigh, oh sigh) but it can be rather difficult.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at davidgrima@ymail.com or by scratching things in the dust.