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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Shuffle! (Meme)

Mark, over at Rise and Pray, was tagged with a random play list meme. Grab your iPod or your Windows/Mac player -- select all songs and hit shuffle -- what are the 1st 10 songs that come up -- no cheating! Even if it's silly stuff. -- My silly one was the 1st selection. (Okay, I list 11, but it's because I prefer odd numbers!)

Click the little musical note next to the song title to hear 30 second sample from Barnes and Noble. You don't have to add this feature, but it's fun. I've added notes too for overkill. :-D The first cut is a sample from the UK Amazon site - B&N didn't have it and the US site's interface is braindead. (You people in the UK spend the EARTH for CDs, BTW )

1. [I Love You] Elizabeth [Taylor] - Keith Cromwell - Whoop-Dee-Doo!

Well, what can I say about Whoop-Dee-Doo! -- it was the revue creation of the late Howard Crabtree - wickedly funny. A guilty pleasure. I didn't get to see it, but the pictures of the costumes I can find were something else. Had Liberace still been around, he'd have said "Wow. These are over the top!"

The lyrics are irresistible: [My mother would have laughed herself silly.] See the combox for lyrics.

2. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite - Beatles - Sgt. Pepper Album

Of all the Beatles songs I have loaded, I was delighted this one came (other than, oh, say "Why don't we do it in the Road" from the White Album.) I remember being enchanted with the sound effects of Mr. Kite as a youngster when the Album first came out. Years later, I was watching some documentary type program, and one of the recording engineers said that they wanted that caliope effect. The fellow found an old tape used from a Merry Go Round -- he randomly cut the tape and spliced it back together - voila. Magic. Pure Magic. I can also remember one of the Beatles saying that the inspiration for the show came almost verbatim from an old circus poster he had seen in a curio shop. The Beatles don't seem to have allowed for music samples of their CDs.

3. (I've Got) Beginner's Luck - Fred Astaire - Starring Fred Astaire

This song was written by George and Ira Gershwin for the film Shall We Dance. Fred sings it to -- who else? but Ginger, while he was wooing her aboard ship. George died later that same year when Damsel in Distress (another movie musical with George Burns and Gracie Allen -- and a horribly miscast young Joan Fontaine) was in production. This double CD is out of print, but well worth it if you can find it.

4. A Fine Romance - Ella Fitzgerald - American Songbook Series: Jerome Kern

Ella does a great job with this oft recorded "standard."

5. Battle Hymn of the Republic - Armed Forces Chorus; US Marine Chamber Orchestra - Mourning in America

This was beautifully sung at the Reagan funeral, which was held at the National Cathedral [Episcopal] in Washington. I've always had a love of this song, and it always pains me when the few times we get to sing it in church (usually at 4th of July and times like that,) the cantor junks it up by calling it "Mine eyes have seen the glory." I always want to scream "NOOOO!!!!! Stop being so damned PC!!!" But what can I do? I don't want to make a scene as I'm processing out. The CD also contains a very beautifully sung "Jerusalem" not the song most Americans are familiar with - but the English tune Jerusalem - but the words are not the Blake ones re: "dark Satanic Mills" but start out "Oh, love of God, how strong and true." Frankly, I wish this song were sung in Catholic churches - but I've yet to hear it in one. If your church does it - count yourself lucky. [And luckier still if you have a red-blooded cantor.] (No sound samples, but the link is to the Reagan Library which has exclusive CD/DVDs available. I really enjoy mine.

6. Everybody loves to take a bow - Benay Venuta - [OBC]‡ Hazel Flagg

I had heard of this musical from reading Carol Burnett's autobiography, One More Time, about her youth and early career. She'd cut short her time at UCLA to try and break onto the boards on Broadway - her and 3 zillion other kids bitten by the bug. You couldn't get an agent, until you'd done a show, and you couldn't get a show unless you had an agent. She and her friends LITERALLY "put on a show" just like Mickey and Judy - and one of the songs she sang that got her noticed was the comic Laura de Maupassant from this musical. This woman has never forgotten her working class roots, and the book is a great read. I was delighted when I got ahold of the CD, because I hadn't heard any of the numbers before - I got a real charge out of "Everybody loves to take a bow." I used a bit of it when I put together a little Windows "Moviemaker" film for the first time back in spring. Teresa (our church's former 5:15 server) and her friends had done some Shakespeare in the Park last year, and she was delighted when I used a snipped of this song for the "credits."

7. Everything's Coming up Roses - Ethel Merman - [OBC] Gypsy

Nobody sings this song like Ethel. She OWNS it. Oddly enough the "Curtain up! Light the Lights! You've got nothing to hit but the heights!" bit from this song I first heard when I was five or so -- as one of the tags for the Bugs Bunny Cartoon show. Gypsy is my all time favorite musical. Perfect Book by Arthur Laurents. Perfect Score by Jule Styne. Perfect lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. What on earth is there not to like?

8. Opening Doors - cast - [OBC] Merrily We Roll Along

I love this Sondheim creation. Apparently never worked well on stage (dudes, your cast was too young for the audience to "get it") -- this Musical works its way backward in time and so does the music. The score is like peeling an onion.

9. If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake - Ethel Merman (w/Ray Bolger) - There's no business like Show Business: The collection

Ah, Miss Merman favored twice. I'd first heard of this song quite some years back when I read, Richard Nixon's autobiography RN. He mentioned that it was a popular song of the day when he was first campaigning against Helen Gahagan for his first term in the US Senate. I thought the title intriguing, and was never able to find a recording of it. Once some years back I asked the Sainted Father S. if he knew the song. He DID and was able to sing a little bit of it for me that he remembered, he was a very young man when it came out, he was still in seminary. Early this year I finally scored it when I noticed this CD had come out. Father was delighted when I played it for him - and it's quite a fun song.

10. It's a Most Unusual Day - Michael Feinstein - The M.G.M. Album

Mikey can sing the phone book and I'd buy a copy. If I get around to putting together a playlist of "feel good" songs, this one's going to be on it. I've never been disappointed in any of Mikey's recordings. Once by pure serendipity I happened to be over at the local Borders Bookstore in Mission Valley - and I saw a sign out -- who should be appearing THERE that very day - not an hour later -- at that very store -- but Mikey. He had a new CD come out, and he played about six requested songs on a grand piano right there. Wow. I always HEAR about stuff like this happening after the fact. My theatre partner in crime, Christine, from Michigan and I always joke about this. I'm in love with Mikey's work and Chrstine is in love with Mandy Patinkin's work. We each think the other is crazy. Sorta.

11. Put on Your Sunday Clothes - Carol Channing, et al - [OBC] Hello Dolly

I can't listen to this song and NOT feel good. From an era when musicals were musicals and not about falling chandeliers, helicopters, or people having to spend 5 hours in a makeup chair trying to look like a freakin' cat. The inimitable Carol Channing and cast. FORGET THE MOVIE. IT'S C*R*A*P. I want to burn every copy of it. If I am ever Empress I will see to it that every copy gets thrown straight into the next California Wildfire or cast from the surface of the earth like the palm tree in Mister Roberts. If your local high school or college is playing it, take a look. And if you're lucky you can find professional productions too. I was delighted to finally see it on stage, rather than the crummy movie.

For a treat, here's a youtube video of Put on Your Sunday Clothes. A Catholic High School, St. Francis de Sales in Toledo, Ohio had done it in '98. The kids hit a few clunker notes here and there, but they're all heart and have the right spirit -- well worth a look, the choreography is pretty good for high school too, the costumes and sets are nice and God bless the big cast and especially all the boys -- whomever the drama teacher is there - they've got a swell program - or did when the put on that show. It's a little longish, at just under 6 minutes, so if you have dialup - use to download, and use with a flash player.

If you play, drop me a note in the combox I'd love to see your picks.

OBC stands for "Original Broadway Cast." A stage show's recording is a CAST recording, and not a "soundtrack." [Listen up you illiterates out there!] It may seem persnickety to the uninitiated, but if you order the "Soundtrack" to Chicago, West Side Story, Sound of Music and a whole host of other musicals you'll end up with something that may be quite different than the "Cast Recording."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Has Anyone Seen Stretch Boyle?

Perhaps encouraged by the conversion of Tony Blair he has retired to a monastery in Greece to pray for the conversion of the entire Labour Government? [If so, he can throw in a few prayers for the US Democrat PArty to do likewise. Someone send up a flare!]

Friday, December 28, 2007

St. John, the Evangelist

Oops! Meant to get this in a bit earlier Technically, it's still the 27th in Hawaii, so pretend I'm posting this one from Hawaii. There's something to love about all the Evangelists -- but John 6 goes to the core of the faith: "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life within you." Wow. In my book that's the #1 reason for being Catholic. Not only is John in many ways the most theologically developed of all the Evangelists, he's got his own special way of arranging his gospel. I've always enjoyed Scott Hahn's take on John's "4th cup- The Sacrament of the Eucharist."

Some of my other favorites from John include the prologue and the Wedding Feast of Cana. It's His first miracle. I've often wondered about the hidden family life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph before His public ministry. What marvelous and wonderful things Mary knew about the Son that made her know that Jesus could solve the problem of there being no more wine? I like the little details John gives - at the end of the gospel, for instance, when the apostles are fishing, and Jesus tells them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat.

John: Hey, James, remember that time when Jesus told us to cast our nets off the other side that day?

James: Yeah

John: Was it 163, or 153 fish we caught that day?
James: 153 -- and two tires

John: I'll edit out the tires, thanks!

A few years back when Teresa was still serving Mass and in high school, Father read that bit of the gospel and we happened to glance at each other just as he said that. We BOTH had to look away. Afterwards I said: I bet you were thinking the same thing I was. Her: YUP -- one hundred and fifty THREE Me: Right, not "oh, around 150...but one hundred fifty THREE." I don't normally read minds, but that time I did. [The only other time I read "someone's" mind, was when my spaniel and I read each other's only happened once!]

Had us in hysterics. Her mom thought we were nuts.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What? Fisticuffs!

It's been a while since I gave one of these out

You can't make this up - Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests throw down. The full story tells of fists, rods, and brooms being used in the melee. Irritatingly, the report doesn't say which side won the ruckus. Couldn't they have just solved the dispute by playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors?" Jeez, how many years have they been sharing this church? It makes it sound like they couldn't run a lemonade stand!

"Fair use" quote:

"Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.Following the Christmas celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born. "

You'd think they'd be able to keep cool. ♪

Click for full story and photo. Click HA Award tag below for previous "winners" of this award.

The 3 Wise Guys

Who knew they were "gangsta?"
I'd be worried if I was Herod, the home boys got his number.

Manny, Moe, and Jack

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas and the Passage of Time

One of the things I've noticed that becomes more precious as the years pass is time itself. I'm 51 now, and I started going to this parish in Old Town in San Diego when I was 16, and started assisting in various ways since I was 18. I taught CCD for about 7 years, in college I had the opportunity to serve Mass virtually every day for 3 years running, either a morning Mass or afternoon Mass, back in the day when we had two daily Masses and two priests in residence.

(The Sainted Fr. S. and myself after Mass - Christmas 2007)

I've assisted most 5:15 Sunday Masses since college in one way or another, for about the last 32-33 years. I've also taught a number of youngsters how to serve Mass. I've grown older, along with the priest, who has been here as 5:15 Sunday "supply" for about as long as I have been here. The Sainted Fr. S. and I have aged together. I can well remember when he regularly played handball (he's a retired university professor too) and his mother used to visit for about a month to six weeks every year. Father will be 80 next October, I know that certainly the bulk of my years assisting Father are more behind me than in front of me.

Usually people are either thinking about what they're going to do in the days, weeks, months ahead ... or what they're doing, but sometimes you can catch yourself appreciating the "right now." Tonight at Mass was one of those times, all the more special because there are relatively few of them left. We're in a tourist area, and many churches don't have an afternoon/evening Christmas day Mass. Fr. has always especially liked doing an evening Christmas Mass and I've liked assisting at it - it's a gift to us. With a lot of people "on travel" I was a little busier than usual. Both servers in different parts of the country with family, ditto the head usher and the usual cantor. But we had a favorite cantor of mine fill in, and our ever dependable organist was on hand. I came a tick earlier than usual, arriving about 4:45 -- 1/2 hour ahead.

We're very fortunate to be able to leave the church open in the daytime. We figure we get enough in and out traffic not to have to worry much about vandals, as there's almost always someone in there for "a little visit to the Blessed Sacrament" or some tourists, respectfully looking around or sitting for a bit.

I wanted to line up my ushers early, so I drafted one fellow, visiting from Ohio to be "head usher" tonight. I figured anyone showing up earlier than I do to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament was a safe bet. He was visiting his daughter in nursing school out here. It's my treat every Sunday to select people to bring up the gifts. Quite often I ask families or couples, but on this particular day (as I not also infrequently do) I selected two single people who came in and were seated alone, who were fairly close to the little table set in the aisle. Being single myself, I've often noticed how often the single people almost NEVER seem to get picked for this in most parishes. They are often delighted to be asked, and it's a pleasure to bring a little bit of joy like that to someone not expecting it. I did "triple duty" tonight server/lector/EM. It's not often I do all three at the same Mass, but it was a real treat for me -- especially as I don't know how much longer Fr. S. and I will be a "team." Everything went fine - it's a pleasure to assist Fr. S. -- a Novus Ordo Mass always reverently done, Father tending not to miss so much as a comma, always ever careful to do the Mass "just so" with the same gestures, intonation -- always focused on being the "vessel" in the sense of God acting through him to confect the sacrament rather than a "it's all about me" kind of guy.

After Mass we were both given some special treats by a women who comes to every 5:15 Sunday Mass, as long as she is not out of town for a conference. We both well remember her mother, who died 3 years ago. Quite elderly she'd often sit in the back, with her walker, her family having managed to negotiate our front step. In my mind's eye, I can still see her mother sitting in the back - and my parent's too, and Father's mother - all gone now. We remain. But for how much longer? I suppose someone will eventually take our places as all must die. I hope whomever inherits the jobs loves it as much as we do now.

And now, for that bowl of mushroom soup I've been saving, along with some favorite carols as this day winds to a close.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to All

Special good wishes to all for a blessed year to follow.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

For fans of the movie: A Christmas Story

From the memes that went around, I noted many of us like the movie A Christmas Story. Some of you may not be aware that the movie was based on the book written by Jean Shepherd "In God We Trust - All Others Pay Cash." Shepherd wrote many humorous books and magazine articles in his day, and he was also a long time radio jockey. You might have fun checking out this website Flick Lives, and in particular enjoy listening to some of the archives from his shows. The Real Audio downloads work quite well for "real time" even with dial-up. For the rest of you...."Never mind."

A Favorite Winter Poem

This poem by Robert Frost is a favorite of mine since age 16. It's my favorite "winter poem." The last stanza strikes me as very Catholic. We can never be too comfortable with our faith, can we?

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

"Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thanks Be To God, it only Gets Lighter From Here on Out

Except for you poor schlubs "down under." ) The one thing I Hate, HAte, HATe, HATE about winter is it gets so DARK. At my latitude as you can see from the picture, Sunrise was about 6:46, sunset 4:46. It only will get better. I think I finally have a clue why my English ancestors left blighty sometime between 1850 and arrived here sometime before 1860. I hazard a guess that given that my great-granddad was a miner, and his father...presumably HIS immigrant granddad was also a miner. Given the latitude up there, they would have gone down the mines before sunrise and come up after sunset this time a year. I think they must have moved here just to see some chance of seeing a bit of daylight in the winter months.

Update 5:43 a.m., Saturday 22:

What's with this 39 degrees stuff? Jeez, a little precipitation, 7 degrees lower, and there could be white stuff on the ground! About 40 years ago it snowed out in El Cajon. It's not unusual to get snow in our mountains in north county if conditions are "just so" but not in town. Supposed to go up to 67 degrees though later today. No wonder half the county is trying to give their colds to the other half of the county. Let's just say, that in my time here I have seen people wear long bermuda shorts and a sleeveless shell skiing vest. No one bats an eye. Though even today might be too cold for those shorts.

Update noon 12/22/07:

There now, that's better. For anyone wishing to visit San Diego, our best month is often April, IMO. The daytime and nighttime temps are pleasant, the nighttime temps don't require much of anything other than a light zip up jacket. If you wait just a little later you'll get "May Gray/June Gloom" phenomenon. Temps are fine, but the marine layer hangs around too long and doesn't really burn off until almost afternoon then rolls in again along the coast at 5ish. July and August see crowded "everything." September and October can be fire season. Nice, but......

What the heck are yous drinking for Eggnog in the UK?

I noted in the Christmas memes that went around most Americans seem to like eggnog, while most in the UK gave it a "not only no, but HELL, NO" rating. Someone referred to a "bright yellow concoction." All I can think is that someone, somewhere got something very, very wrong! If your eggnog is brighter than the yellow depicted here...then yes, something is wrong. If it even tastes of egg, then yes, something is wrong.

Friday, December 21, 2007

We don't get many skies like this

but we did yesterday afternoon. Usually, here when there are dark clouds, it often doesn't rain ... and you can say "anywhere else but here, and this would be a rain cloud for sure." When we DO get some real rain clouds, they're not usually accompanied by a lot of little white alto clouds. That's a REAL rain cloud splashed across the bottom of the photo and for a little while a significant portion of the sky was filled with row on row of little clouds. For those of you who've been praying for us to get some rain after all the fires in October, I thank you. December has had a pretty good sprinkling. There's actually bright green stuff growing on my lawn. The light is almost the purest in December after a rain.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Book Meme

Ma Beck tagged Mac (and all who drive on the left side of the road) and I begged Mac to tag me, so she did. This one made the rounds in the summer of 2006 and it looks like it's on a come back.

(A few of my bookshelves.
Click on photo for enlargement)

1. One book that changed your life.

Witness by Whittaker Chambers. It's his autobiography. He was born at the beginning of the 20th century in Philadelphia and was the pivotal figure in Alger Hiss-Wittaker Chambers cold war drama. As a youth he'd become dissaffected by modern society and like many of his generation attached himself to the communist party. He was vetted to go underground and came to know many agents, both homegrown and foreign, who infiltrated the highest levels of the US government. I came to know of him initially by reading William F. Buckley, Jr. Chambers eventually left the party and revealed the inner workings of the communist party in the US. If you want to know ideologically about the Cold War, and even its affect on American politics and global politics until today, for that matter, this book is *the* seminal tour de force. It details his ensnarment into the party, and his ultimate break from it and the reasons why. I give this one a good read about every other year or so. At heart, I'd always been an anti-communist, and this book taught me a lot of the American political left/right dynamic important in the 20th century. It's also somewhat of a spy thriller a fascinating look at one man's journey through the competing philosophies of the 20th century. Ideologically engaging, for all its length it's difficult to put down. This book also ideologically pushed Ronald Reagan from New Deal Democrat to Conservative.

2. One book that you've read more than once.

Odd question, as virtually most books I've liked I've read more than once. A perennial favorite for light reading is Life With Father. Its vignettes of family life in the Clarence Day family in the last quarter of the 19th century make you feel like you missed something by not knowing them personally. Father and Mother are larger than life and vividly portrayed. Stylistically the prose is elegant but unfussy.

3. One book that you'd want on a desert island.

If I was never going to get off that island: The bible. If I was going to get off the Island: Brideshead Revisited. Unforgettable characters, one for every type of Catholic and heathen alike.

4. One book that made you laugh.

Groucho and Me. It was the start of my love affair for all things theatrical. A friend of mine when I was 14 was a real Grouchophile. I read that book, his others, then about Vaudeville, and then books about theatre as as a whole. (Oh, and it was through reading Groucho's books that I came to Pepys. Odd what leads you from book to book(s)!)

5. One book that made you cry.

None. Ever. Promise. Though there have been books that have made me angry at the injustices of man to man - for instance the Diary of Anne Frank and Robert Conquest's books about the Great Terror in the Soviet Union when the kulaks et al were being liquidated. The Icon and the Axe by Billingsly was also very powerful.

6. One book that you wish had been written.

The Infallible Guide to Picking Winning Lottery Numbers if you've been Really, Really, Really Good -- by Jesus Christ. [Hang on a second while I move out of this easy chair and into an underground concrete bunker somewhere, I think I hear thunder and lightening in the distance, and I think we may be under bombardment by asteroids.]

7. One book that you wish had never been written.

The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil. A more pretentious load of horsebleep I have never suffered through. I call it "The Book without Qualities." It was my last quarter in college, and for reasons it would now require a small fortune in psychiatric bills to conjure, I took a course in Austro-Hungarian-Middle European geopolitics from roughly Congress of Vienna through the early 20th century. The book was required reading. A few minutes ago when I looked up the sordid details in the wiki article about the book I was pleasantly pleased to find out that he and his family suffered grave poverty when he was writing his "masterwork." If he suffered even a hundreth what I did reading the damn thing, then I am well satisfied. Schadenfreude. It's what's for dinner.

I can't miss mentioning a close second: Simone de Beauvoir's Memoires d'une jeune Fille Rangee. (Memories of a Dutiful Daughter) In many ways it's a fascinating read, but one that was instrumental in a lot of nascient feminazi claptrap. Simone honey, equal pay for equal work and women being treated as if they had a brain in their heads is all great stuff. For that, right on, sistah. *BUT* you went off the rails with most of the leftist atheistic conclusions to which you came and screwed up forevermore men holding open doors for women without them having a seizure as to whether or not they would get their heads bitten off for doing so. Thanks a lot, b*tch!

8. One book that you're currently reading.

Lighter reading: Broadway Ancedotes by Peter Hay. I've been under so much stress about all I can manage is light reading. The one serious book I'm rereading right now is Raymond Brown's Introduction to the New Testament.

9. One book you've been meaning to read.

City of God by St. Augustine. You'd think I'd have read the thing by now. But noooooooo.... Can't tell if I start/stop because everytime I pick it up it's too reminiscent of the present or what. Ya think?

Tagging all bibliophiles out there who haven't done this one, or want to do it again. If you haven't got a blog of your own, feel free to use my com box. And if you do decide to do this meme, drop me a line in the combox I don't want to miss your picks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Top Ten Posts Meme

Swiss Miss over at St. Monica's Kneeler indirectly tagged me to post my favorite 10 posts that I did this year. (Fat chance of me keeping to 10.)

In no particular order:

1. God Almighty, Please Forgive Me - I finally let loose on that "thing" hanging in the sacristy.

2. Ladies: Great Anglo-American Tag Team Co-operation - I got "engaged." Special Thanks to Mrs. Jackie Parkes, and Mac for kicking it off. Special thanks to Peterkins for not killing me.

3. Happy 108th Birthday - A Tribute to my Grandmother (and Grandpop too.)

4. 79 is the New 58 - Happy Birthday, Msgr. S. -- The Sainted Msgr. gets his due.

5. If I was the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster I Would - AKA "I Brake for Blake"
Thanks to Philip over at Carpe Canem and Fr. Blake himself for the inspiration.

6. Chutzpah - Karen lets it fly on incompetent idiots running this diocese

7. How do you Envision Heaven - I got serious here

8. Our Lady and My Dad

9. Brideshead Revisited, My Favorite Passage - Jesu Christi, in principo, nunc, et semper aeterna. (I'm too lazy to look up the Latin to see if I spelled everything right.)

10. A Favorite - Jesus Christ gives a poor dog a bone.

11. igPay atinLay ocksRay! - Pig latin is bitchen. (Like I can stick to 10 of anything.)

12. Favorite Movies with Religious Themes - This one gets hit almost every day.

13. Favorite Musicals (at least of the moment) - I had fun picking out the sound clips on this one. Thoroughly self indulgent. 'cuz.

14. Damn Yankees - Son of Redux -- Karen splains what makes good theatre costumes, and links a lot of photos. Not that anyone cared specially, but I figure it's for posterity.

15. Sex Ed in the Early 1970s - Or "Why Burt Reynolds still owes Karen."

I think Ma Beck tagged everyone who drives on the left side of the Road. (Mac, c'mon already....) I will tag all those who drive on the right side of the road. Oh, and I also tag those of you who don't drive at all!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sheer Lunacy

Precisely why I fly under the radar:

December 16, 2007

And then there was the STRAWBERRY INCIDENT.

I am sorry this picture wasn't clearer. Sorta. The batteries were almost dead. The camera was accidentally set to "Scene" -- most likely by the intervention of the Holy Spirit. I have a LOT to say about this one. But if you want to know the dish, you will have to write me privately. By all means, feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to read them.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

5:15 Gaudete Sunday pre-Mass *ritual* - ICC, San Diego

I suppose every church has their unwritten customs. For the past 30 plus years, I have been privileged to be an active participant in the following pre-Gaudete/Latare Sunday "ritual."


The Sainted Msgr. S. hustles in to the sacristy, having prayed on his drive over we will somehow have forgotten this is a "Pink" Sunday. In vain he tries to convince himself it is a "dusky Rose" vestment -- but deep in his heart, he knows this particular vestment is closer to pink. Father comes from a place near Chicago where in his youth, there would have been a guaranteed fist fight should he have appeared in that color in real life.

He puts down his bag and hangs his purple vestment (having brought it, in hopes that the pastor's dog ate the "Rose" ;-D vestment) and his heart sinks as he sees the "Rose" vestment laid out elegantly on the vesting bench. Normally, because he brings his own chasuble, he doesn't get the full vesting bench treatment, there not being enough time - but Gaudete and Laetare Sundays are two exceptions. He eyes the garment suspiciously, as one would a $100 bill bearing the likeness of Malcolm X, rather than Benjamin Franklin. The exchange begins:

The Sainted Msgr. S: Is that thing clean?! I'm not wearing it if it's not clean and it smells!

Karen: Of COURSE it's clean -- why would we give you anything else?

TSMS: [stalks over to the bench, picks it up by the collar, and inhales deeply] Harrump! [much to his disappointment it's clean]

Karen: Offer it up. [triumphant smile, and exchange with all other witnesses, including servers. If male, servers are thinking "ha-ha Father has to wear pink" -- if female, servers are thinking "Father looks just like my stuffed Easter bunny when he has that on. He is soooo cute."]


Today is Catherine's turn to witness this "ritual" for the first time as it's her turn to serve. Our other server, Francis, has participated in this before, him being in the sacristy prior to Mass many times before, as his sister, who went off to college, used to serve Mass, and his dad is head usher. Francis's mom will likely also be around to watch the ritual.

A few years back I emailed this exchange to Father's younger brother who lives in a distant state. He said "That's JUST like him!" I've grayed out Father's face in the above photo, because I promised him I wouldn't post him in his Gaudete togs. The photo was taken last year in the sacristy. As you can see, by hand on heart - he is gathering strength.

After Mass, all the ladies will compliment him on how nice he looks. All the men will give him that "better you than me" look of male bonding and have the grace not to say anything. Truth be told it compliments his skin tone beautifully. The garment itself is almost like a watered silk consistency. The true color all over is the color of the collar, the flash makes this garment seem a little lighter in shade than it is in real life.

I said before it isn't often a priest even gets to wear the Rose vestments, so I've always used them mentally to mark the passage of time. Father's been a priest now for almost 54 years. So out of the close to 20,000 Masses he's said in the course of his lifetime, this is "only" the 105th time he's gotten to wear this color. I consider myself very privileged to have been around for a little more than 60 of these Sundays.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Oh Goody Goody Gumdrops!

The UPS man A*R*R*I*V*E*D. I've always meant to get Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows. It's a follow on movie to The Trouble with Angels. It's wonderful 60s kitch. I have TWA on DVD already, but this new one was something I only captured on VHS tape, and an incomplete mitt commercial interruptions copy at that. I've mentioned each of these movies before.

(Roz Russell takes no prisoners in this 30 second clip from TWA)

The TWA is almost a *must* for Catholic girls it holds up well with age. Also just arrived is a copy of same for one of our servers, Catherine. Her mom hasn't seen it either, and C has just had her 11th birthday earlier this week. Francis, our other server was delighted with his copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys, which I gave him for his 11th. He'd been scoping out the school library's copy. C & F were born 2 days apart, C being the "older woman."

I'm going to go with Archangel Advocate's suggestion for the original Angels in the Outfield for a Christmas present for Francis...and if Catherine likes this movie, I'll get her the sequel too.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mein Gott - 70s fashion felonies

Do. Not. Miss. This Link. This picture is just a sample of what's on Diana's blog. Some modern archaeologist found a 70s JC Penny Catalogue. I can attest to the fact that these "garments" were out there. NOT for the faint of heart. It's all true. I was *there.*

St. Fiacre's Garden: *LOVE* those GROOOOOVY 70's!

or "How to get your a$$ kicked six times between now and Sunday"

I'm not even going to pretend this one has anything to do with religion. I have to admit it would be no end of fun to send something from this catalogue to a relative who insists everyone do a family gift exchange!

(Somehow "they" missed the all baby blue male dinner jacket ensemble. Mostly seen on hip 16 year old prom trotters.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

He was a credit to his Gender!

I've lifted the line from Linda Ronstadt's "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me." Have been having a bitch of a week, on top of which I've come down with that cold "everyone's" been passing around. Yesterday, I absolutely had to get down to Home Depot [a mega store for hardware] for a few items. I must have looked like the Dawn of the Living Dead as I schlepped through the parking lot. I smiled a tad at a male employee a bit older than me as our paths crossed. Rather than just return the smile and say "hello" or "welcome" [not unusual in the US] he said "Hello dear, nice to see you!" [the "dear" was above and beyond the call of duty] and gave me a big smile. I'd felt the pits all day, but that little bit of kindness went a long way on an otherwise crummy day. Now that's what I call "customer service."

(Sorry, meant to post this last night, but I fell asleep in the armchair! I zoned out trying to come up with a suitable pic. Still fighting this stupid cold, and I've still got to go downtown today. Ugh.)

Monday, December 10, 2007

God Almighty, Please forgive Me

Welcome to my Daymare

I wasn't going to do it, but I'm in a b*tch of a mood, and I can't resist the thought of having a winning entry for the Carolina Cannonball's Ugly Vestment Contest stashed away in a deep dark corner of a closet in my parish's own sacristy. I got the entry in just under the wire. Click the photo for full impact.

Given how deep in the sacristy this "garment" has been tucked away, it is safe to say some loving, but misguided hands made it for the pastor at some point in his life. He is an only child, and his mother is long dead -- I'm hoping he doesn't have any crazy cousins. He can't have commissioned or picked out this chasuble himself. Every other one in the sacristy shows good workmanship and fine taste.

I expect, perhaps at one time he felt compelled to wear it once (probably said something like "gee, because you made this chasuble for me, how would you like me to say Mass for you in your very own home?") But frankly, I 'd be surprised if it's seen the light of day since. The colors have not been photoshopped in any way. The stole is a solid yellow with a green cross on each end. It has a charming? red zipper on it's left shoulder along the seam. The cloth is about the consistency of a heavy cotton table cloth. Not polyester, but don't hold that against me.

The pastor is a big bruiser who could probably knock out the teeth of anyone should he have been "forced" to wear it at some point. I'm just sorry his dog hasn't grabbed it off the hanger and made off with it to some far distant exile.

CC will be organizing a poll on her blog about Dec. 14th or so. I do hope you'll go vote for my entry if you think it "worthy" enough. There's something really kitschy in the offing, and that thought alone pushed me over the edge.

Almighty God, forgive me, for I have sinned without number.

Update: Carolina Cannonball has her poll on line on her front page -- this one is number 38 "Daymare", for some generous reason she put it under "Men's vestments" -- apparently there isn't a "transgendered" category. To peek at the whole shebang of men's vestments look here. My dial-up chokes on loading them all up, but believe me, I think mine easily fits in the top three of "all world bad."

As they say in Cook County - vote early, vote often. And remember, this "thing" wasn't even found on line but in my own sacristy. So help me if the church ever catches on fire, it will be the first thing I throw in.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Adoration. It's where it's At

Besides bene-
my favorite devo-
tion has always been to just sit with the Blessed Sacrament. Friday night, I went to the vigil Mass for the feast of the Immaculate Conception at my "sometimes church" - St. Therese. It's not too far from my house. I go there for Holy Days of Obligation when I don't have an assigned Mass at my normal parish. St. Therese was built at the end of an era, and the beginning of the next. It's a "modern" parish church, but with lots of very pretty stained glass windows and you don't have to do a hunt-and-search for the tabernacle. Not centered, but just to the left still in the main sanctuary, and it's nice to be able to sit right in front of it while at Mass. Hate the lighting in the church over all, too much track style lighting in visible evidence, and the sanctuary isn't as "warm" as I'd like it to be. Walls too blank, save drapings in the correct liturgical color, and a big crucifix. They also had a huge advent wreath. If it's me, I'm putting cool paintings in there.

The pastor seems rather nice, a shade chummy, but still in the range of where it's not going to bother most people, including, overall, me. [Just don't do those weird introductions at the beginning of Mass "Today we celebrate...." - I KNOW Father, that's why I'm here. ] He got "snaps" for doing Eucharistic Prayer #4. The cantor did a superb and really moving Ave Maria post communion. They have both piano and organ, and a good musician. I don't know what people have against the piano at Mass - I like it for some things, and I think it was just the perfect accompaniment for the Ave.

The thing I like most about St. Therese is they have a little side room attached to the church where they have perpetual adoration 24/7. I usually find a lot of solace in taking advantage of this. There's always at least one person there. Quite frequently more. There's room for about 9 people or so. After Mass one boy, about 8 came in all on his own, and prayed on his knees right in front of the monstrance. So sweet. A mother brought in a different boy later, and they knelt right in front too. I could hear her whisper to him to be still and quiet. The boy whispered back "Is that Jesus in there?" [pointing every so gently at the monstrance] Mom assured him it was and they prayed for a bit. I was in there for close to an hour, the bulk of the time there were 3 men with me. One the "assigned guy" who had "relieved" another. Another fellow came in and prayed a rosary. It's nice to know that there are men out there who carry a rosary with them. I don't think people carry a rosary with them as often as they used to - and it's a pity, but it's nice to see people still do it.

It's always so peaceful in there. Time seems to stop, and generally people are so still and quiet in someone inhales deeply it sounds loud. From the descriptions of heaven in Revelations, heaven seems like a noisy busy busy place...almost like a cross between a holy airport, with comings and goings and arrivals and a musical jam session with angels and choirs carrying on. My hope is that my part of the garden is beside those restful waters from Psalm 23. At adoration I can sometimes "lose myself" pretty good in the Real Presence. I want to be able to lose myself entirely in God's will. Forever. I hope that's what heaven's like.

Christmas Meme

My first set of wheels

How cool. Esther tagged me. And Angela Messen-
ger indirectly tagged me too. Gotta play.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? When I was younger, wrapping paper. Gift bags didn't "exist" then. Now that I'm older, lazier, and never could wrap something decently to save my soul anyway: gift bags. It doesn't have zip to do with saving the planet by recycling. I've been known to wrap gifts in Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil. My bestest friends "understand." If' it's "really important" I've been known to have someone that doesn't have two left thumbs wrap it.

2. Real tree or artificial? Real or nada.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually been a late putter upper, from way back. The earliest would be a week before ... BUT there are times when it's only the night before or two days before. Right after college I got my first apartment in San Diego. My mom and dad were living in Oregon at the time and they came down to visit me the day before Christmas. I'd "waited" so we could put it up together. Christmas Eve about 9 p.m. my mom and I went down to a place near the Sports Arena, where they had a few scraggly trees left. The guy deadpanned and said: "Looking for something special?" We died laughing. Ever afterwards that's what we always said when going out to get the tree.

4. When do you take the tree down? Some times it stays up until right after Jan 6. sometimes, depending how dry it get, and then factoring in the trash schedule, it may go sooner.

5. Do you like eggnog? Adore it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? For Christmas: Probably the pair of skis I received when I was 13. Best gift of all time was not at Christmas and completely unexpected. It was an encyclopedia set called "Our Wonderful World." 24 volumes. And I read them cover to cover. Except for volume 14. Which had some articles on spiders. With pictures. Of. BIG. ones. That volume is still pristine. If there's something I don't know about, it was probably covered in volume 14. I got this set when I was nine. Mom had bought it from a door to door salesman. The articles were from a variety of sources, magazines, books etc. and were arranged topically. It was aimed at about a high school reading level, which I had then, or quickly picked up. For instance -- say you looked up, oh, "Greek theater" - you got that...and next articles might be on Greek literature, history etc. etc. Then ... hey, Roman stuff.... etc. It also came with a 10 volume set of books that could be used by about aged 8 to about 18. There was a book on art/music -- a lot of famous paintings with an article about the painting/art work and the artist. I could recognize and tell you, for instance, why Gainsborough's Blue Boy was famous, what techniques were used, why the painting was done and so forth. Other volumes had "fun activities for kids" anything from basic star gazing to making a bird house. Others had biographies of famous people, written in a way captivating to the young. I had them about the year Churchill had died, because I remember reading about him in one of those books about then. I don't think they make this set of books anymore. Pity. For me, at a young age, it had it all over encyclopedias that just stayed on the shelf and never got read. It was probably the beginning of me being more or less an autodidact. I picked up a tremendous amount of general knowledge from these books. I'd like to meet and kiss the salesman who sold them, because he changed my life.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes, my favorite figures were bought when I was about 9 or 10 when we lived in Virginia. We were in someplace that sold fairly inexpensive things (a Woolworths for all I can remember) and the figures were nicely molded and brightly, but beautifully painted. HOW we wished we had bought more than just the few basics. We had an angel, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Crib, Camel, Shepard and a sheep....but wish we'd gotten the who shebang. We NEVER ran across any we liked as much. The figures I see now are all either such muted tones or badly made, unless they're really expensive. *sigh* No. They don't make 'em like they used to.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Dad was always the hardest. All dads are fabulous actors. Especially when their kids are little. You'd get a something really cool and dad would get stuck with a can of his favorite Simonized wax. [Well....not that bad, but I bet dads will know what I mean.]

9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I believe it was the butt ugly doll (I'm pretty sure I received it for Christmas) I'm seen running over with my tricycle which I posted about previously. She had it coming. Trust me. That dame is on the far right here. No jury would convict.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Both. There was a year or two I hand watercolored some and sent to friends/family.

11. Favorite Christmas Movie? I HAVE to watch Holiday Inn. Next favorite is a toss up between A Christmas Story and Meet Me in St. Louis. Meet Me in St. Louis contains one of only two songs that are guaranteed to make me cry my behind off. "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The reason it makes me cry is because when I was young, we moved quite a bit with my dad's job transfers. I really did come to like something about every place we lived in and was always able to make friends easily - but oh, how the moment of parting friends ripped me up inside. Today's kids who have access to things like instant email and the ability to send photos don't know what it was like to have to correspond sporadically. What a blessing it would have been to get a photo, a letter, etc. "just like that." A phone call was a rare treat. Anyway, the song rips me up because in it, the dad announced he was moving the family from St. Louis. The young Margaret O'Brien has just whacked the HELL out of all her snowmen, and says that they'll never have friends like in St. Louis etc. Judy Garland sings the song to comfort her. There's somewhere deep within me where that took a toll. The other song? Stars and Stripes Forever. I'm a wreck on 4th of July if I'm in a crowd and they play that - the part where the piccolo comes in kills me. And last night at the vigil for the Immaculate Conception I choked up on the refrain to Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above. I've been missing my mother terribly and it reminded me of all those rosaries and holy hours and stations and benedictions we used to go to when I was growing up. We went almost every week. It blind sided me. So I guess that makes three song, though whether or not there will be a repeat performance of crying I can't say.

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? About 2nd week December.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Nope. Not even the crap exchanged at office Christmas parties.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Homemade mushroom soup. Tollhouse cookies. Fudge. Homemade.

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored. And if you have a dog -- NO TINSEL.

16. Favorite Christmas song? Angels We Have Heard on High - let 'er RIP on the Gloria.... Secular: Sleigh ride (preferably rendered by the Boston Pops.) (I may be stoned for saying this - but I've never liked Silent Night. Ever. -- Angela may kill me.)

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Almost always home.

18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers? Yes, and the 7 Dwarfs, should it come to that.

19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Always after Mass, from an early age. When I was little I'd be allowed to open one SMALL one Christmas eve...usually some mittens or something to wear to Mass the next day.....

21. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Crowds at the mall, which I try and avoid. I try and do most of what little shopping I have to do on-line.

22. Best thing about this time of year? Other than the birth of the baby Jesus, that people try to be nicer. ( I agree with Esther.)

I tag Adrienne, Mulier-Fortis, On the Side of the Angels, White Stone Name Seeker, Digihairshirt, and if those blogless guys Stephen F. and Dr. Peter H. Wright (if he's still speaking to me!) can feel free to do the meme in my com box. And if I didn't tag ya, it's because you've already done it, or I wanted to leave somebody for those other folks to tag.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's just what I wanted! ....sorta

Help me out here. Especially you guys. I like to indulge our 5:15 Sunday Mass servers with little gifts at their birthdays and Christmas. We have one boy and one girl who take turns alternating at that Mass. Both turn 11 this coming week. Our little buzzsaw, Catherine, presents no problem for me -- knowing that type intimately having been one myself. I checked with her mother, and she's not seen The Trouble With Angels nor the sequel, Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows. So that should cover her.

But Francis....ah....I haven't any immediate family and it's a long time since my male cousins were 11.... I get a general feel for things, but I would *love* to nail the right gifts for him. Something with a max price range of about twenty bucks per gift. Less is good...a tad more is okay, if it's not in the "xboxy not happening" category. He *loves* baseball. Loves to read, is quite a good pianist for his age, and good at the arts. I got a note back from his sister, whom I'd written to see if he'd had "The Dangerous Book for Boys," and he hadn't been given it last year, So I'm pretty sure that will be one of the gifts.

But I am WRACKING my brain about that second gift for him. If this was the "pre-PC days" I would have just gotten him a small Swiss army pocket knife and been done with it - as that's what boys of 11 most wanted, by my observation, when I was 11. Can't do that anymore without there being a federal case out of it or "film at 11."
It used to be fairly standard for all males to "pack" one. (Some time back after Mass one night the discussion came around to "things confiscated at airports" and I mentioned how men of my dad's age always carried a pocket knife. The Sainted Msgr. S. promptly whipped a fairly substantial pocket knife out of his pocket and said "yup! from the time I was around 10-12 I had one."

If you're a guy, what did you get about age 11 (that wasn't overly expensive) that you REALLY enjoyed? What *specific* Books? Games? Objects? If you have sons around that age now, what do they really like? (Moms and others with male 11 year old relatives who scored a hit with a present recently feel free to add to this too.)

In Catherine's case, both movies have a nice religious angle to fun stories. Even with the movie lists I came up with I'm trying to think of if there's one that has a religious angle to it that an 11 year old boy might really enjoy... IF "the mouse" got their act together and re-released ALMOST ANGELS *(about the Vienna Choir Boys - quite fun and I think this particular boy would enjoy it.) I'd get him that - but for some reason, they haven't, AFAIK.

Last year I got them books about saints who had their same first names, and their "Saint Medals."

A virtual "gold star" to any blogger who can guess where the picture came from. My British bloggers will probably have a leg up on this one.

(*If you go to a certain well know video website you can *cough*cough* see most of this film ... comes in rather handy....)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Stupidity: Why the US Congress Never Disappoints

In a well meant, but misguided attempt to curb child porn, Congress wants to fine your butt $300,000 smackeroos if you don't configure your wifi right. I guess since Gore's gone to pasture, none of them know how the internet works.

Next week they'll attempt to make sure that if cows fly at the opera, OSHA will be notified in plenty of time to be on hand to make sure no coloraturas slip and fall.

Blue Vestments. Evil Wimmin Porters. Chaucer! Rabelais! Balzac!

Fr. Z. of What does the Prayer Really Say has an interesting "annual rant" (his words) about the use of the color blue for Advent in some Latin Rite churches. Not to focus so much on the blue vestment angle here, but Father Z. made this remark in the body of his "rant:"

"However, if blue is ever approved I will probably resent the fact that widespread abuse led to that approval! That how the liberals got Communion in the hand and altar girls and the domination of the vernacular over Latin, etc., etc., etc."


What I'd like to know from Fr. Z. (and others so like-minded) is when he's going to go on a tear re: those evil wimmen acting as porters? When exactly did the pope sign off on this with the right jot and tittle? They're helping to collect and count the money and sometimes lock up the church -- clearly they're getting ideas above their stations.

If altar girls are going to be railed against, to be consistent, why not attack the moms who serve as "stealth porters?" Who do these wimmen think they are? Oh, sure, TODAY they say they only want to help count the money -- just you watch, before anyone can blink they'll be taking a cut from the collection and absconding with Father's car off to some Protestant church basement jumble, Haddassah Bridge Tournament, or Indian casino.

Father can't be seen taking the bus to his Wednesday afternoon game with his golf bag in tow. What will his confreres say when he finally shows up at the links? "Hah---there ya go, Charlie -- I see your wimmin porters made off with the Ford Explorer again... yer hen-pecked over there in St. Elijah's." Imagine the humiliation! They'll stick him with buying a round at the 19th hole for sure. "Dude, it's not like you're DRIVING or something...."

The wimmen will be appropriating the key to the Knights of Columbus liquor cabinet, and drinking up all Rum and Coke. And we all know how Old Man Pruet gets when the sauce runs out. He'll have a stroke if he finds out those wimmin got into it. They oughtta stick to those female drinks like mai-tais anyway.

Look out for their sons too....I bet they rebuckle their knickerbockers BELOW the knee. Rebels! Everyone of them!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Why Americans Laugh when the Pope Wears a Red Hat

Knew I could find the right picture. Philip over at Carpe Canem probably thought I was kidding when I mentioned the pope's saturno makes most Americans think of a kid's cowboy hat gone wrong.

(Should we tell him or not? Nah....)

Geez, a blind man could spot it in a New York minute.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

That Dog Won't Hunt

Did some people ever make it out of the sixties? Drudgereport, called my attention to this item from Newsday, normally not something I'd go near with a 27 foot broken barge pole, but it's good for a laugh. Like today.

"Hillary should play her gender card to the hilt: Sen. Hillary Clinton has a trust problem. Polls in Iowa and New Hampshire show that voters give her very low marks for being trustworthy and honest. The media and her opponents have built and reinforced the charge.

But they're blaming the victim. Clinton is running for president in a sexist culture that persists in seeing strong, capable women as suspect.

It's not that voters and her opponents think Clinton's experienced and competent, and they don't like or trust her. It's that they think she's experienced and competent and that's why they don't like or trust her."

Oh please, Robin. I guess you are the only person on earth who doesn't remember:

* Hillary doing dirt in the White House Travel Office.
* Hillary and her minions hiring Craig Livingstone to rifle through over 1000 confidential FBI reports.
* Hillary hiding subpoenaed files.
* Hillary and Billy boy having hecklers arrested and thrown in jail at a "Taste of Chicago" event.
* Hillary and her ability to trade cattle futures and not have margin calls like other people.
* Hillary and her attempt at taking over the health care system in this country - trying to dictate the cost of goods and service, trying to dictate how many people could go in to which specialty, etc. ad infinitum.
* Hillary wanting to keep the Health Care Meetings secret, even though it was deemed she was NOT by any hallucination a "public employee."
* Hillary and her hubby shorting stocks which should have been put in a blind trust prior to his taking office.
* Hillary and Bill in the Castle Grande Deal -- sticking it to the "little people."
* Hillary and Bill sticking it to the "little people" in Whitewater.

* Hillary and Bill seem to know more than an average number of people who turn up dead who cross their paths. How many people did you know who died under mysterious circumstances? These people know knew dozens.

* Vince Foster, anyone? Anyone?

And this is just off the top of my head.

Nah, none of this matters in whack job Robin's world. Poor ickle Hillary, playing in a man's world. Boo freakin' hoo. She might have to answer some tough questions. Clue for you, Robin. I know people with donkeys tatooed on their backsides from birth. They HATE her too, and not because she's a woman - it's because she's a dishonest, corrupt, soul sucking, cattle rustling, thieving, conniving, backstabbing, piece of coprolite.

She could have an operation in Sweden tomorrow, and it ain't gonna change a thing.

Monday, December 3, 2007

8 Facts/Habits Meme, Encore

Adrienne, over at Adrienne's Catholic Corner, tagged me for this meme. 8 facts/habits - I'd done this one back in the summer, but since Adrienne tagged me, I suppose I can come up with another set.

1. Fact - the first pet I ever had was a beagle called Mr. Mike. In this picture, he was barking, I was crying, and for some stupid reason or other my mom decided to take this picture rather than rescue me from the kisses of this puppy. As you can see below, I quickly secummed to his charms. I have never harbored a cat. They're okay - for *other* people.

2. Habit - When flying, I always ask for Ginger Ale. I don't know why. I might have picked up the habit on my first flight when I was 6 or so. Perhaps subconsciously I feel if I *don't* have a Ginger Ale, the plane will crash. So if I'm on a plane, and order Pepsi, which I hate, and you're sitting next to me - start saying your prayers - you may want to alert nearby passengers, depending whether or not they grabbed ALL the space in the overhead bins. You're still "safe" if I order a mixed drink with Ginger Ale.

3. Fact - My favorite president in my lifetime was Ronaldus Magnus. When I was young, I rather admired what I read about Theodore Roosevelt. I wondered "where are the larger-than-life American visionaries now?" Ronnie was *the man* as far as I'm concerned. I got to see him twice. Once the eve before he was elected president the first time. His last campaign stop was in the Fashion Valley parking lot in San Diego, a little to the east of where the trolley stop is now. The second time was at a rally at the San Diego Sports Arena prior to his second term.

4. Habit - In coin flips heads/tails - I always pick tails. Just. Because. Other. People. Always. Seem. To. Pick. Heads.

5. Fact - I've never made a cup of coffee in my life, and don't intend to! I like coffee ice cream, and coffee toffee, just not coffee. I've been known to drink a cold caramel coffee frappe, or whatever it's called, a few times a year. Given this is close to liquid caramel ice cream, I don't think it really counts as "coffee."

6. Habit - I never feel like making dinner myself after Sunday Mass. I order Chinese on my way home and pick it up.

7. Fact - I finally learned to play bridge last year from a 20 minute tutorial, whomever wrote it was a genius. I've only played against the computer so far. Bridge IS the king of card games. I've tacked on a funny bridge story* at the end of this, for you bridge fans.

8. Habit - If I'm in a church which is not my own parish, I always sit as close to the tabernacle as possible, unless some pinhead designed it so the tabernacle is somewhere you'd have to send out a search party to find. I haven't been caught out at those churches often, but sometimes when visiting a friend or relative, they have the misfortune of having had that foisted on their parish.

Generally, I end up sitting in the front row. Usually you can find "splendid isolation" up there and as a rule of thumb I refuse to hold anyone's hand at the Our Father - unless some 5 year old wants me to, in which case I do, because 5 year olds can get their feelings easily hurt. 35 year olds can too, but they should know better!

9. Fact - I prefer odds to evens, and I don't have the energy or time right now to see tag 8 given people and leave them notes (that's the longest part of the "Tag" to complete, writing is easy) So if you haven't done this meme and want to, consider yourself tagged. Oh, and Marie down in Australia, if you happen to read this, I'd have formally tagged you because I don't think you've done this one yet.

Sit NICE, or you don't get ANY!

*Murder, Mayhem, and Contract Bridge The quips just keep on coming in Jack Olsen's The Mad World of Bridge (1960). Bridge is "not so much a game as it is a psychosis." "In the 1930s, America's Bridge players spent an estimated $5 million a year on Bridge instruction, or roughly enough money to pay for 500,000 hours of psychotherapy."

But when Olsen wrote of Whist, "Take this simple game, add a dummy, the concept of no-trump, bidding, and an occasional felonious assault, and you have Contract Bridge," there was a smidgen of truth behind it.
In a chapter called "Murder at the Bridge Table," Olsen detailed the many documented accounts of felonious assaults at Bridge tables all over America in the '20s and '30s.

Most of these accounts are of husbands and wives bashing each other after particularly tragic misplays. ("Nothing spectacular. Just a typical evening of Bridge as it is played in many homes.") But there were also a number of deaths (and critics claim that television causes violence!).

The most infamous case occurred in 1929 in Kansas City when Myrtle Bennett accidentally shot her husband, John, following an argument over a Bridge game. The Bennetts were entertaining their neighbors, the Hoffmans, when the game took a turn for the worse. John misplayed the hand, leading Myrtle to remark on his apparent lack of intelligence. John slapped her, then announced he was leaving. He went to their bedroom to pack. The Hoffmans tried to calm the Bennetts down, but Myrtle and John continued to argue and eventually Myrtle pulled a gun. John ran into the bathroom to hide, but as he was closing the door, Myrtle fired twice. The bullets ripped through the door, mortally wounding John.

Ely Culbertson, the first great popularizer of Contract Bridge, called the affair "a lesson in the importance of precise bidding valuation." Myrtle Bennett was eventually acquitted, and the hand that led to the shooting was eventually published in newspapers nationwide, along with commentary from Bridge experts. Culbertson contributed an analysis called "How Bennett Could Have Saved His Life."

After the hubbub had died down, it was discovered that the newspapers had been hoaxed. The published hand was a fraud. Neither the Hoffmans nor Myrtle Bennett could remember a single card that had been played that night. There's a lesson in this.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Chasuble by St. Therese of Lisieux

While doing the previous post, I came across this photo of a chasuble painted by St. Therese. The chasuble garment itself was made from an old dress of Madame Martins. It appears to be a heavy brocade type fabric. It is dark green in color. St. Therese painted the Holy Face and the vines and roses. The book, Therese and Lisieux, didn't say who sewed the garment. You can see an enlarged version of the photo here.

The two roses at the bottom represent Mr. and Mrs. Martin. The two bigger roses above them the two eldest sisters, Marie and Pauline (also in the convent with Therese) the rose directly below the face is Celine - the last sister to enter the Carmel, after their father had died. Therese is the rose to the left of the face, and Leonie's rose is to the right. She became a visitation nun.

The other four buds represent the four other children the Martins had, who did not live past early childhood. Helene was a little younger than Leonie, and Helene died about aged and a half. Melanie Therese was the child born before St. Therese, and she died about aged one or two. Two infant boys, who did not live very long were born after Helene, Joseph, and Joseph Jean. All the children had the first name of Marie, including the boys.

Some of you may or may not know that initially, for the first 10 months of the marriage, the Martin parents lived as brother and sister, not consummating the marriage. The book, had this to say:

"Louis approached marriage with very specific views: he wanted to live with his wife as brother and sister. He even copied a passage from a theology book, which confirmed his way. [That's some theology book! - kh] Zelie, for her part, wanted to have many children; but she finally accepted her husband's point of view.

There was no selfishness in the young household. No sooner had they set up house, when they took charge of a little five year old boy, whose father had just died, leaving his wife with eleven children.
After ten months of life together, the strong intervention of a confessor led the Martins to change their minds. From that time, nine births followed in succession from 1869 to 1873."

I say "Hurray, for that good confessor!" [And boo-hiss to Mr. Martin if he didn't tell his intended before the wedding. When did he spring that one on her? The wedding night? I'm going to have to plough through Zelie's diary to see if she mentioned it there. Let me also guess a situation like that wouldn't be easy to handle in a keep the line moving "Penance Service."]
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