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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr - RIP

I was both saddened, but yet heartened to hear the news of Buckley's death this morning. Sad, because this great American icon of the modern American Conservative movement will no longer be giving us his rapier wit and keen insight, but also happy he finally goes to his eternal reward. Most of the obits I have seen on line have glossed over the fact that Mr. Buckley was a very good and practicing Catholic.

Twice in the course of my lifetime I had gotten to meet him, albeit briefly - once after a speech at USD in the 70s and once in the late 1980s at UCSD. One was struck by how genuinely nice he was to "meet and greet" - very tall imposing figure, with a very firm secure handshake and a radiating smile. On the last occasion, it was Easter week, and as I had been making pysanky (eastern European decorated eggs which require more than a little work) I had also made one for him and presented it to him. He was delighted. He had a smile for everyone and not just "the important people."

If Catholics were and are irritated by the antics of the Kennedy family I was always glad of the fact that Buckley was a shining example that one could be both an intellectual and a fervent catholic.

I couldn't tell you precisely when I became aware of Mr. Buckley, sometime between the ages of 9 and 11 I'd say, because by the time of the great dust up he had with Gore Vidal I already knew who he was. [Buckley threatened to punch out Gore for calling him a crypto fascist at the 68 Democrat convention.) I was not quite 12 at that point. By 13 I loved to watch Firing Line and was a reader of his columns and books.

In high school and college (and thereafter) I read each of his books as they came out. I didn't always agree with him, but in the main felt he was right. He was a stick in the eye to those who tried to paint conservatives as fusty old, not-very-bright coupon clippers. His influential presence paved the way for Ronald Reagan. [I became impressed with Reagan, BTW, when I thought he bested Buckley in their debate re: the Panama Canal issue.]

Over the years, Mr. Buckley wrote about his faith. In NEARER MY GOD he movingly recounted his prep school year spent in England, just before the war. His father had sent him and two of his sisters over there because allegedly Buckley, pere, could not "understand a single word any of his children uttered," and he wanted them to spend some time where they would be taught "to open their mouths." Buckley related that he much later became aware of how serious his then pregnant mother's condition was (she was in her 40s and having child #10) -- but he knew at the time it was not going to be easy, and he only learned later his father feared his mother might die. He spent that school year at Beaumont, and came under the care of Fr. Sharkey, a Jesuit, if IIRC. He said he really fell in love with the Mass and devotions there, and it had a great influence on his life having to rely mainly on God to get him through that time. He relates how kind the good headmaster was to him. His parents had wrangled permission for him and his sisters to see the Grand National. As young Bill was setting off, Fr. Sharkey had slipped him some money for a bet on a long shot. Well, as luck would have it, in the excitement Bill forgot to place the bet, and the long shot came in! He felt terrible, but was most impressed how Father did not reproach or scold him.

The photo above is one which appeared a little over 30 years ago in TIME. Mr. Buckley was being interviewed in NYC on a radio show. He'd brought his beloved King Charles Spaniel, Rowley, to the studio with him. (There was also a studio audience present.) During the taping you could hear Buckley whisper "shut up" and give a little thump. Rowley had started to bark a bit. Then Rowley decided enough was enough, so he jumped up in Buckley's lap and gave him an appropriate slurp. As the article said "The interviewer and audience got more than they expected." Buckley also held out hope that dogs would get to heaven, but acknowledged that the typical 1st grade nun has the best response: "In heaven you will have all you need to make you happy, and if it takes your doggie being there, then that will be." As he put it: it allows for the possibility, because we are promised all we need ... but also leaves open the possibility that maybe you WILL have all you need without Rover. I guess he finally got to know!

These observations of mine are a little long, and a little personal, but I have to say he greatly enhanced my life! He was a rock for my political conservatism, and a great boost to the faith.

May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Earthquake Tips for my British Readers

I see the news online that some of you folks may have felt a bit of a rollercoaster ride early Wednesday with a 5.1 quake. I must say around here 5.1 wouldn't do a lot of damage, as a general rule in southern California, simply because the houses are designed for a little bit of "give" and if a structure was built after a certain time, little if any brickwork is allowed to be used.


Do yourselves this favor, it could save your life: IF you are IN a building when an earthquake hits, DO NOT IMMEDIATELY RUN OUTSIDE LIKE AN IDIOT. Your biggest chance of getting hurt is by falling brickwork when the quake is going on. Ditto, if you are outside, STAY OUTSIDE, and away from power lines. Wait until it stops and then wait a bit more before moving out if you are in or vice versa. If you really feel the need to take cover: Go stand in an *INTERIOR* doorframe, the level of support is better there structurally.

The quake you folks had could even be a foreshock to an even bigger shock. In my own experience, (besides little earthquakes that go virtually unnoticed all the time) the "big one" hit followed by smaller ones over the next week or two....but in theory that's not always the case.

If your house is shaking like hell feel free to dive under a table. And as with any emergency pre-preparations, it's never a bad idea to have flashlights, batteries, bottled water and tinned food, TP - and those space blankets are great just in case. If a REALLY big one hit, the government can't necessarily get to everyone at once. Around here a 5.1 is certainly an "attention getter" but not so much of a big deal, simply because of the construction codes. (For instance a 5.5 here would still be classed as "moderate.")

(Some of us still get excited about quakes, but for a different reason.)

Oh, and in your cases, I'd stay THE HELL out of Westminster Cathedral for a while if I could help it. Now you have a built in excuse for not going.

Stay safe, and I hope everyone is okay.

Nice going, God, the weather was freaking PERFECT today!

Last week it was rainy and dismal most of the week. Yesterday was looking good, but today, TODAY, the Almighty outdid Himself. It would have been a perfect SUMMER day in many places -- including here. Upper 70s low humidity - it's seldom humid except for a couple of weeks in summer, a little chilly at night still ... but the grass has been growing even where grass doesn't normally grow. (Feb. is the BEST month for things to be green out here) and it smelled of SPRING, SPRING, SPRING! ♫ I know spring doesn't come allegedly until March 21, but that's all wrong. I count it as spring on March 1.

The birdies have been singing all afternoon, and have been busy making other birdies. I don't usually brag about San Diego weather, but this time I will. So sorry for all you folks still shoveling the muck out of your driveways that the snow ploughs deposited.

And this year, by Act of Congress the clocks in the U.S. "spring forward" on March 9th. I will be dancing in the streets. Thank you Ben Franklin (you genius!) and Congress. God knows it's one of the few things you ba$tard$ have done for me personally.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Middle Name Meme, II

Last week Ebeth tagged me with a Middle name meme. I'd done it a few weeks before, but as I have always used my confirmation name, Therese, as a 2nd middle name, I can do it again. [Hey, it's on my SSN and my passport, and all my "important stuff" and I always sign my name Karen A.T. H..... so I'm counting it!]

I won't post the rules 'cuz I'm not going to tag anyone on this one. It's basically spell out your middle name and give a fact about yourself starting with that letter. If you'd like to do the meme, consider yourself tagged.

Theatre - I love the theatre, and never come late. Yes, I have always spelt it that way, because I'm a semi-snob about it. Musical theatre is best. Other than ALW's Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, I can't stand ALW. Overblown "spectacle" is what has been RUINING musical theatre these last 25 years. No, dearies, it's not about the damn set. I like straight plays too. Usually light comedy, but serious Shakespeare is "on." I fear too many times secondary schools ruin Shakespeare because instead of taking them to see the play or making the students act it out, they just read it and report on it. Better to study a few Shakespeare plays and have them gone over inside out, than a lot of mere surface reading.

Hell-on-wheels - sort of. I'm not an aggressive driver, because I want to avoid accidents. HOWEVER I'm an impatient driver, which means I think people who pull up to a four way stop sign, have an unobstructed view, and pause long enough to film a documentary should have their licenses removed and their heads shoved right up....oh, wait.... "GO, DAMMIT" is something I sayshout to relieve stress. It beats ramming them from behind. Damned if I know why it takes some people so long to process information that should be intuitively obvious to the most casual of observers.

Education - I've always appreciated the opportunities I have had. Both my parents were born in the depression era and came from poor/working class families. Mom started work at 16 because she was "expected to" [the girls were, and my mom and one of my aunts certainly had the smarts to go to college if the family had had money.] Dad hated his home life and wanted to leave for "the big wide world" ASAP - he'd hero worshiped his uncles who'd fought in WWII, which had ended when he was 13 - so he joined the relatively new Air Force when he was a few days past his 17th birthday.

They made sure I was able to get a good education. They sent me to Catholic schools, and were very supportive of anything I wanted educationally. Just as important, they tended not to NAG me about homework or be picky about my grades. I was a naturally good student in things that interested me, and as for the subjects I wasn't particularly good at, they didn't insist that I slave away at something for which I didn't have the aptitude. For instance, they knew fairly early that "civil engineering is not in this girl's future" so they turned a blind eye towards "C"s in algebra. My high school GPA was an A- even with the occasional "defect" or two. I have a BA in European History from the University of California, at San Diego - and a BS in Computer Science. About 8-9 years ago just for fun I took enough course credits at a local Community College to have enough for an AA degree in theatre - both the acting side and the tech side. I really fell in love with lighting design. And sometimes I take classes just for fun, though not in the past couple years due to work scheduling. I did squeeze in an Art History course for two semesters.

Religious - Enough said. When I was growing up, it seemed everyone practiced SOMETHING. If you weren't a Catholic, why then a Lutheran, or Baptist or Methodist, or Jew...SOMETHING. It was better when everybody was a *something* rather than a used-to-be or a "you mean Jesus is considered God" type.

Entertaining - I hope. I try to be. It's trickier on a blog, because when I write things I hope they are funny (at least when I mean them to be) but you can't hear people laughing hundreds or thousands of miles away whilst they are sitting at their computers. (Yeah, I know about webcams but don't go there with me.) If I can make someone laugh that is a real rush for me.

Sensitive - I used to be overly sensitive as a child, and have gradually built up a resistance to people who would seek to hurt me. I don't let them bother me, and DO fight back - something I didn't have the strength to do when I was very young. I was never a "picked on" child -- having moved around a lot I learned very quickly to make new friends. I am still extremely sensitive when other people are in pain - and I tend to be more deeply affected by new events happening on the other side of the globe than most people I know. I thought it was stupendous, for instance, when the structure of the Soviet Union collapsed. Most people around me had an attitude more like "oh, that's nice." Maddening. I am very passionate about my beliefs.

Energy - what I lack right now that I could use! Say some prayers to get me through this week and I'll be okay. Thanks!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Annual Liturgist Convention Meets

What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?

You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How about You?

This week I'm in need of extra smiles -- this one always puts a smile on my face.

They don't make them like they used to. Mickey and Judy from Babes in Arms. Enjoy. 5:50 length - dialup use

Monday, February 18, 2008

For On the Side of the Angels-Cole Porter Tribute

Because Paul asked....and Cole Porter is a particular favorite.

Cole Porter was a Yalie ... he's also famous for writing the "Yale Bulldog" and "Bingo, Eli Yale" Yale school "fight" song - still done at football games. Go Bulldog! He had suffered a riding accident in the 1930s, and became crippled by it. Apparently, he never complained about it either - something to admire. He also, unlike many of his fellow songwriters, came from a very wealthy family - didn't need to work a day in his life but did.

They Wuz Robbed - Washington and Lincoln

When I was a girl, Lincoln and Washington had separate Holidays which were marked on their Birthdays in February. Lincoln's birthday was Feb. 12, and Washington's Feb. 22. Now allegedly we "celebrate" so-called "President's Day" which according to some pinheads "in-charge-of--holidays" ALL presidents. I will personally rot and bun in hell before I "honor" Clinnochio and his blue stained dress legacy. The wikipedia article acknowledges that though the 3rd Monday in February is supposed to honor Washington, that this has morphed into a day honoring all presidents. "Nonetheless, while Washington's Birthday was originally established to honor George Washington, the term Presidents Day was informally coined in a deliberate attempt to use the holiday to honor multiple presidents, and is virtually always used that way today."

I want it back the OLD way, with these deserving two each having their own holidays. Martin Luther King, God rest his soul did much to advance the cause of civil rights in this country. HOWEVER, he does not deserve a day all to himself, while the two greatest presidents who ever lived have to "share" a day with the likes of Clinocchio.

I don't know who these dweebs are (okay, it was the morons in congress) BUT I WANT MY DAYS BACK.

One of my favorite books about Washington is Washington's Crossing, and about Lincoln there are too many books to mention. If it wasn't for those two guys we wouldn't even HAVE a country, PERIOD.

Fr. Sean from Valle Adurni

Is back and posting again! I caught a comment of his over at south-ashford-
priest, so for the heck of it I checked to see if his blog is up again. And IT IS!!!..

Fr. Sean was taking hiatus from blogdom and is apparently back in business again. He teaches in the seminary at Wonersh in England along with Fr. John Boyle and Fr. Tim Finegan. Go over and say "hi!" and wish him encouragement.

It was through reading Fr. Sean's blog that I moved over from blogging a bit on the Daily Telegraph to blogspot. Fr. Sean had put up some really neat videos re: the papal Coronation of John XXIII which had initially attracted my attention. Good to have him back.

(If you have dial up and/or want to know the run order sequence email me at my address on my profile and I can give you a list in the right running order that you can download via

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Moses get Together

Of all the happenings in the New Testament, today's gospel one of my favorite stories because it is so puzzling. Why in the heck would Jesus be taking time out of his busy day to have a chat with Moses and Elijah? I also pity St. Andrew a little. Suppose you had an older brother, you saw your boss-to-be first and told your brother about Him....who does the Boss like best? Big brother.

Consider the scene after the resurrection and the apostles are kicking around old memories about Jesus.

James: Hey, and then there was the time Moses and Elijah appeared. Man, Peter, you should have seen the look on your face, I thought you were going to run in six different directions at once!

Peter: Yeah, well you weren't looking in the pink of health either, and you tried to hide behind John and me.

James: How could I hide "behind you" guys... you were dumbstruck, lying prostrate, thinking you'd seen a ghost.

Peter: WE DID! Two, in fact.... we left you enough room in the ditch to pile right on top of us, what are you bitching about?

Andrew: How come *I* never heard about that?

Peter: He told us not to tell anyone "the vision we'd seen" until later.

Andrew: So what did Moses and Elijah and Jesus talk about?

Peter: How the heck do we know? It was in ancient Hebrew from centuries ago, do I LOOK like I would understand that stuff? Well, actually, I think I DO know, but I'm not telling because then centuries from now people will be wondering and it's always nice to have a secret that no one knows about except me, James and John.

Andrew: You're not even going to tell your own flesh and blood?

Peter: Hell, no.

Andrew: Still, how come *I* never got to go along to any of the really cool inner circle stuff?

Peter: I told you when we were growing up, you're just not that cool. Hey, pop wanted it that way!

Andrew: Isn't that a line from the Godfather?

Peter: Yeah, so? Mom and dad liked me best too.

Andrew: No kidding. I wanted a bicycle. You got a bike. All I got were Lincoln logs. With termites.

Peter: Isn't that a line from the Smother's Brothers?

Andrew: Yeah, so bite me!

Peter: Keep that up and I'll let the rest of the apostles know how often you wet the bed when you were little!

Andrew: Yeah, well at least I didn't have a crush on Sarah the butcher's daughter.

Peter: I did NOT have a crush on her.

Andrew: Did too.

Peter: Did not. BTW, you were adopted!

Andrew: Was not.

Peter: Was too. You don't even look like us.

Andrew: Do too.

Peter: Do not. The police brought you to our house one day and told us to keep you, unless you were bad, then we could send you back to the police. The police are your mother and father.

Andrew: Isn't that a line from Bill Cosby?

Peter: Yeah, so bite me!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

American Exceptionalism

There has been recent talk in the Catholic blogosphere re: the role of making allowances for other types of justice systems to have a place. I found an article today on the American Thinker today - and I think it cuts to the heart of what many feel re: the public law and connection between God, particularly in those states with a Judeo-Christian foundation. The entire article may be found here.

A pull quote I find interesting and relevant is from John Adams:

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."


Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday to Fr. John Boyle

Every good wish to him and may God bless him with many more.

Go over and wish him a happy one.

Valentine's Day Songs

I thought I'd put together some songs for Valentine's Day. Some a little more obscure than others.

Be Careful, it's my Heart

This one from Holiday Inn was expected to be the top song from that classic movie. It wasn't, but White Christmas was. I still think this was one of Astaire's best numbers. It's 5 min. 17 secs. - if you have dial-up you may want to use

2. Ask Me Again ♫ - this Gershwin song was "lost" but found.

3. Thou Swell ♫ - sung by Natalie Cole - originally from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

4. Love I Hear ♫ - from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

5. Do you love Me? ♫ - from Fiddler on the Roof - you'd think a guy would know after 25 years.

6. Time Heals Everything ♫ - Bernadette Peters sings this one from Mack and Mabel.

7. Inka-Dinka-Doo ♫ - Jimmy Durante, what's not to like. My grand mother loved it, it should be good enough for you!

8. Something Sort of Grandish ♫ - David Wayne, from Finian's Rainbow

9. That's Amore ♫ - A pizza pie hits you right in the eye.

And for the 10th: The Trolley Song

From Meet Me In St. Louis

Thursday, February 14, 2008

So? Wassa problem?

WICK, N.J. -- Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. has convicted "The Sopranos" of spreading what he says are stereotypes about Italian-Americans.

During a visit to Rutgers University on Wednesday, Alito complained that the hit HBO television drama not only associated Italian-Americans with the Mafia, but New Jerseyans, as well.

"You have a trifecta _ gangsters, Italian-Americans, New Jersey _ wedded in the popular American imagination," Alito said at an event sponsored by the Italian studies program at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey."

He sez dis like it's a bad thing or somethin'.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tara's Back!

Hurrah. I'm glad she's decided not to squirrel away. Turns out blogging was what was helping keep her "in touch." Go on over and say "Howdy, welcome back!" [I'm glad Anathema didn't sit too long on her!]

I think a little celebration music ♫ is in order.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

She Loves Me

Valentine's Day is coming up, and it occurs to me that many of my blog readers are unaware of a delightful musical called "She Loves Me."

The plot was based on a Hungarian novel called "The Parfumerie" and it has been reconstituted as everything from a straight play to movies. In 1963 the team of Harnick and Bock fashioned a jewel box of a musical. The two main characters, unbeknownst to each other, had found each other through a lonely hearts column and have been corresponding some time before the woman comes to be employed by the same shop as the man. Predictable enough, in real life they don't like each other!

It is a musical comedy which reveals itself with warmth, charm, comedy and romance. The score is superb, but much less well known because it's "big production competition" that Tony Year was "Hello Dolly." If you want a different sort of treat for this week, check and see if it's playing locally. This is one of those shows if someone was putting it on in his garage I'd go see it. It is suitable for all ages. Check your local theatre listings, you may be in luck.

Here is a sampling:

Three Letters ♫

Tonight at Eight ♫

I Don't Know His Name ♫

Will He Like Me ♫

There's a full synopsis here.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Middle Name Meme

Mac tagged me! [What can I say, I used to be fleet of foot.] I was impressed as all get out that her middle name is "Ursula" and she was able to come up with two "U"s.]

Here are the rules:

1. You have to post the rules before you give your answers. [Is this a "duh news alert?" - kh]

2. You must list one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother's maiden name). [Thank you mom and dad for coming up with "Ann" rather than "Chrysanthemum."]

3. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged.)
[Blogdom catches a break on that at large. To make up for it, I'll try and pick people who I think are likely to have long middle names. I hope Fr. Erik's mom and dad gave him the middle name of "Schnickelfritz" because if anyone's likely to have a longer name it's going to be a Kraut.]

(My answers were sorta lengthy, yours don't have to be, though it might make it more fun reading. Macs were a sentence or two each.)

For better or for worse:

A - Athletic. What I used to be. When you're young you have youth and skill, now it's all age and craftiness. I was never the "best" at any sport, but in choosing up sides of say, 10 a side I was usually #2 or #3 picked. I certainly never understood the kids who got less than a "B" in Physical Education in school. To avoid an "F" - suit up and show up, don't cut class. To avoid a "D" - don't throw soap around in the locker room. To get a "C" - show up, go through the motions. "B" look like you're having fun and a good time. "A" show some skill.

My favorite sport to play was always softball. back in the mid to late 80s we had a team at work called "Artificial Intelligence." The company had a great rec center and playing fields and there were dozens of teams. Ours sucked, but the parties afterwards were great. Our particular league was mixed men/women "informal" but so help me God, one night I just about killed some a$$hole for managing to play us into a TRIPLE PLAY on account of his piss poor running skills. I would have iced him too, but I was afraid at the time I'd lose my security clearance for doing it and I was afraid if I did it I wouldn't feel sorry for it. His lack of knowledge that any American FiVE YEAR OLD would have of the necessity to have to run if a ground ball is hit and you are on 1st base was INCREDIBLE. It's a miracle this particular co-worker could find his butt with both hands, a mirror, and a flashlight. It's been a good 20 years since that happened. I'm still pissed. My best day? Summer league when I was 13. I intentionally let myself get hit by a pitch. [The trick? Move everything except the part of you that's gonna get hit.] Stole 2nd base. Stole 3rd. Stole Home. Miraculously, for some reason, both mom and dad were there. They saw my finest moment.

N - New Hampshire - I got to live in that state from the summer of 1967 until the summer of 69. My dad had taken a job transfer there. Dad was "always moving up the company ladder" when I was a young girl. He had the New England sales territory as a regional sales manager for Royal Crown cola, and though his office was in Bahston, he had to cover all the territory and we lived in NH 'cuz it wasn't that far from Bahston, and the taxes were cheaper. I got my introduction to the French language there, and a life long aversion to a certain French Canadian nun who was my 6th and 7th grade teacher. Universally, teachers liked me ALL BUT THIS ONE. It's "involved."

I can well remember how short the summers were and how long the winters. The best "sport" of all would be to awaken about 6:30-7:00, look outside and see masses of snow dropped over night and still falling - it was ABSOLUTE heaven to turn on the radio and eagerly await the report of school closings. Once they called school because it was too "cold" - below zero fahrenheit by some odd degrees. So what did we do? Went ice skating. Outdoors. I also learned some "new vocabulary" from dad, in rather inventive ways. NH, then, as I'm sure it has now, has armies of snow ploughs. I'd have the day "off" -- and dad might have to do the 40 miles into Bahston... Dad would shovel out that drive way ... go in for a quick shower and a change and VOILA!!!!! the ever efficient snow plough would have deposited another couple feet high of that icey hardened muck. IIRC "Those sum'BITCHES DID IT AGAIN!" was his favorite refrain. Years later, we all saw Smokey and the Bandit. "Sumbitch" was Jackie Gleason's tag -- we all just ROLLED, recalling dad's favorite.

40 years ago, I followed my first political campaign, Nashua (where we lived) is traditionally the FIRST stop on anyone's campaign trail, I can remember following the primaries -- Nixon was pretty much a "go" for the republicans, though not without a bit of a fight -- and I remember the awful day I woke up to be told Bobby Kennedy had been shot after a late night win in the California primary.

N - Night owl - I've never been a "morning person." My usual response to "Good morning" is "Morning" on the grounds that I, personally, have not collected enough data for a good statistical sampling. I will also not know if it HAD been a "good morning" until the day is finished. Some of those people who got killed on 9/11 probably thought it was a "good morning" that day too. Okay, tart. Cynical, but I've never bought the "early to bed, early to rise" stuff. Seems to me "late to bed and late to rise" works out similar. So help me if I am ever in charge of planning a war we will strike about 2 in the afternoon when everyone else is full from lunch. I bet a 40 man team from the Delaware National Guard could take over all of France in about an hour if it was timed right. For one thing, no one would be expecting it.

My dad was always an early bird. Up and at 'em by 5:30 and out the door not a whole lot later. I didn't get that gene. I was the only 2-3 year old I knew who watched Eliot Ness and the Untouchables. Mom and I were late night viewers. Years later, I asked her "hey, mom, most people insist on putting their little kids to bed as soon as the street lights come on, just out of curiosity, why didn't you?" Her answer was perfectly sensible: "If I had put you to bed then, you'd have been up at 4 bouncing off the walls and I'd have had to tie you down" -- no kidding. She was never worth approaching before she'd had at least two cups of coffee. Best not to make any "sudden moves" until then.

I tag: Fr. Erik, Archangel's Advocate, and Swiss Miss.

Friday, February 8, 2008


on those who break other people's blog links by deleting their entire blog!

Look, people. For those of you who think "wheeeeeeeeee .... I'm going to be self effacing and disappear from blogdom..........." yes, and NO.

See, there's this's called "google cache." Webbots crawl through web pages and save snapshots of stuff. Even if you think "hey the page is GONE!!!" IT. ISN'T.

BUT, to anyone who has linked to a post of yours they thought interesting for their own edification or the edification of others: YOU HAVE NOW BROKEN THE LINKS.
You might have posted some really interesting links that others may want in the future, or had a really good explanation of something.

Isn't it fun when you click on a link and it just doesn't go there? Right. That's how other people feel too. Oh, people can get to the cached pages, if they remember some key phrases or two. So please, do yourself a favor, if you want to leave blogdom for Lent or whatever ... just turn the comments off, okay? That way if and when you return to blogdom you won't end up with people ticked off that you messed up links before. Grrrr.

[Now the occasional post or comment where something got too out of hand etc. is one thing ... but even those ARE STILL THERE.]



Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thank You, Military Chaplains!


(Mass aboard the USS Ronald Reagan - photo in public domain taken by by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Dominique M. Lasco - Feb/2006)

And then:

(NY 69th Regiment, taken some time during the US Civil War)

It strikes me how even 140 some odd years apart, the composure on the faces of the congregants is about the same. There seem to be some Confederate soldiers (prisoners I expect) in the foreground. There are also some ladies present, I expect wives of the commanding officers. But if anyone knows more about this latter photo, please tell me. I expect it might be a Matthew Brady.

Bloggers of the World

Hey, Mac tagged me! [Karen faints dead away, rotfl...]

This one's a bloggers of the world tag. Mac wasn't quite sure how many were to be tagged, but the idea is to name X amount of blogs around the world that you enjoy reading.

I name Angela Messenger in the frozen tundra. I've always enjoyed moose, but I don't know that I'd want one in my back yard. I'm still laughing at her "Canadian Weather" post.

I tag digihairshirt on the west coast, just in order to remind everyone there's someone else on the left coast as crazy as I am.

I'm also tagging Adrienne, who lives in Post Falls, Idaho - so remote it can't even be called "fly over country." I gather UPS has to deliver sunshine this time of year.

Ma Beck is the keeper of the flame for the US Midwest. I've technically been "in" Chicago dozens of times, but never past O'Hare - Ma Beck makes me feels like I've finally been there by reading her blog.

I'm going to co-award Swiss Miss the upper midwest crown, because Minnesoooooda is such a liberal state it should be in Canada.

The Carolina Cannonball gets the nod for the south, great pictures.

Kit at By the Brook holds the fort for the Northeast.

I also tag Marie from Australia who writes a View from The Pews, I love her spirituality.

I'm going to cheat a little here and name Father Blake for eastern Europe because, I didn't think it possible for a westerner to possess such a Slavic Soul.

I would tag Mac as a representative of the south of England, but then she'd tag me back, then I'd have to tag her back and everyone would want to kill us. So I won't tag her. I like her even if she does harbor a cat. We single blonds have to stick together. I'm still laughing about her brassiere thread from this past summer.

I DO tag The White Stone Name Seeker (as far as I know she's in the south of England) - never a dull moment.

And for the North of England, Jackie - who proves there really are 26 hours in a day if you plan well.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ronaldus Magnus

Happy 97th.

It will be a long time before we see his like again.

Blog Readers

Fr. Blake and a few others have posted where there blog readers come from. It looked fun, so I thought I'd do the same. Usually my US readership hovers around 70% give or take a little UK up to about 25% down to %15 percent, depending on time of day, then Canada, then the occasional Aussie visitor, the rest are hit or miss.

Meme For Lent

Esther at Hawai'i Catholic Mom tagged me on this one:

1. What’s been your best Lenten-effort-idea ever?

Making a point of it to be nice to someone I didn't particularly like every day.

2. And your worst?

One Lent for whatever reason, about half the Fridays I had totally blown it and forgotten IT'S FRIDAY, NO MEAT. The Church should have never changed that rule, although I have to say I was angered in my late teens to find out that didn't apply to the church universal, i.e. a bunch of rich Mexicans could chow down on steak but some dirt-poor hillbilly in Appalachia was going to hell for eating a hot dog. Okay, I know this last was a bit of an exaggeration, but still the injustice rankles.

3. What Lenten advice would you share?

Just try to make it through the best you can and don't quit if you blow it here and there.

4. And what will feature this year?

For reasons I won't go into here, involuntary suffering whether I want to or not. I will try and thank God for all the blessings He has bestowed on me.

I tag anyone who'd like to do the meme.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's California Primary Day

Just STAB ME IN THE EYES AND GET IT OVER WITH. Based on the fact that McCain is a flat out liar and he was caught up in the Keating Five Scandal (and that's ALL we'll hear about if he wraps up enough delegate votes) I will hold my nose and vote for Mitt Romney and pray for a Coup D'Etat next January. I'm also mad at that ba$tard McCain for screwing things up with his campaign finance reform BS which forced the smaller less well known candidates to spend all their money up front, and did not let the nature forces of shake out "shake out" over time. I. Will. Not. Reward. Him. In. The. Primary. For. That.

McPain Campaign Song ♫

General election? Don't know - if McCain gets the nomination, and Hiterly does in her party, I might be forced to vote for McCain to kept the witch-with-a-capital-B and her band of scum from getting near the White House.

For the last 33 years I've voted in very single election (save two*)- primary, local dog catcher, on years, off years. AND NEVER have I gone to the polls with such disgust and outright contempt. The media has "anointed" McCain, and he's one of the least conservative senators - I'll have to vote Romney to drive them crazy.

Wherefore art thou, Ronaldus Magnus?

(*the two elections were once at age 20 over the summer there was a special election for "Blacks Beach Swim Suit Optional" and a few other things, registered San Diego, living in Sacto for summer - and once about 10 years ago in a "dogcatcher" type election where they decided to do "Mail only" I refused to do that on the general principle that people should have the right to hike themselves down to a polling place.)

Oh Joy! (really!) - Another Book Meme

Mac, at mulier-fortis tagged me on this one, because she knows I really enjoy book memes!

1. What book have you read in the last six months that has really stayed with you? Why?

Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer. Most Americans are familiar with the Washington's Crossing portrait, but in the schools there is little time for in depth study given in the typical High School survey course. They are told this victory by Washington and his troops in a raid on Trenton was "pivotal" because the army was at its low ebb, but generally, the details stop there. Fischer has a very engaging style painting a portrait of a vibrant Washington, as opposed to the mental picture most US kids have of "a dead white man who means nothingj\ and whose face is on the dollar bill." Background is given to Washington's life and his place in history as well as the tactical problems he faced. It covers the time from when the British retreated from Boston, through the travails and disaster of trying to defend New York City and the Hudson - and covers the low ebb with retreating from same in the winter of 1776. The whole cause of freedom could have easily fallen apart had not Washington taken the bold move that he did. Further the author goes in how right from the start the army was a "ground up" deal, requiring more democratic co-operation to get things done than a traditional European army. One little detail of note: if you watch WWII movies of D-Day landings and the like the officers and men in charge had white markings on the back of their helmets, because officers were supposed to take command and "lead from the front." The practice started when Washington had his officers put white markings on the backs of their campaign hats. The tradition was followed up until well through WWII.

This book does not read as a dry history but a terrific narrative PLUS all the details a history geek would want to know. "What was the route march like? Where would that march be today? What exact troops were engaged? What's the deal with the ice and him standing in the boat? Yeah, right." The footnotes are every bit as interesting as the text, and as one who has a history degree I can tell you that is a rare occurence! For a sample of the 1st chapter you can see here.

2. What is one of your favourite childhood books?

(like I can stick to just one - the following stand out)
Sinbad and Me by Kin Platt, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and his sister Ernestine Carey, and Life with Father, Life with Mother and God and My Father by Clarence Day. All these books can be enjoyed by adults and children. The first is a good mystery story wrapped up with pirates, ghosts, numismatics, and classic American Architecture. The 2nd is about a young Irish/American family and their life in early 20th century Brooklyn. The 3rd is the family life of a family which had 12 children - dad was one of the foremost industrial engineers of his day and a pioneer in the field of Time and Motion Study. The 4th is an American classic about the family life of a late 19th century US stock brokers. Reading the latter two books makes you wish you'd known their families. I still regularly read all four books to this day.

Also big were Story of a Soul which I first read when I was about 11 and The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Von Trapp. Also perennieal reads for me. The former I've discussed before, and the latter I first read when I was nine - it was the first book I ever read aimed at adults. SOM had just come out and there was new interest in the book it was loosely based on. I really loved it, and still often give it a read. I'm going to cheat a little and also throw in Tom Brown's School Days, which I ran across in the public library when I was 14, even then already somewhat of an Anglophile. For some reason, I liked the idea of these kids having to study all that difficult Greek and Latin, and STILL do the similar school boy tricks done today to make the work as easy as possible. I loved the fact that new boys were made to stand on tables and sing - else drink beer with sslt! [Oh, one would see a zillion pound lawsuit today.] Unforgettable characters. I like it for the details of daily life. Some time later I came across the "Flashman" series but that wasn't until college.

Oh, and Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. Upper middle class quirky kid has a dossier on her classmates and people she observes. What happens when your classmates grab your notebook and read it! Unforgettable Characters and observations.

3. Do you have a favourite book of the Bible?

It depends on my mood. My favorites are the 4 gospels - I like all 4 for different reasons. John for his developed theology, Luke for his mentioning the "outcasts and unimportan people" including women, Samaritans, children, etc. Matthew and Mark for their narrations. Ditto "Acts" for "the rest of the story."
In the Old Testament I'm rather partial to the story in Tobit. Any book where a dog is mentioned positively, especially in that culture gets a gold star. I'm also partial to Psalms and if I'm in a quirky mood it's always fun to open Proverbs at random! I have to say I also like Genesis and Exodus - what fun to make up imaginary conversations among those figures!

4. What is one book you could read again and again?

Hey, that sounds like a question from the other meme! I stilck with Witness by Wittaker Chambers and Story of a Soul by St. Therese.

5. Is there a book you would suggest for Lenten reading? What is it and why?

Imitation of Christ. But for reasons I'd prefer not to go into here, I'm not reading it this year, but will go with the gospels for their message of hope.

Bonus question: If you were going to publish a book what would it be? Who would you want to write the jacket cover blurb expounding on your talent?

A WHOLE BOOK?! Actually, I did have a pretty good idea for a book last summer. I don't want to go too much into the concept, because I haven't seen it done before. But let's just say it would involve all 50 states, a lot of time and legwork, but it would be a fun read, and if I did it right Ken Burns could do a mini-series. Where's that cut of "Dream On" from Aerosmith? Blurb.....Bill Bryson. 'Cuz, if he liked it I will have "arrived." It would be both informative, and kitschy Americana in a good way. A while back I had an off Broadway revue in mind re: some characters in Broadway and Times Square. I have a better hope of getting the book done instead of the revue! Nothing earth shattering but something you could put butts in seats for with a reasonably small cast, a la Forever Plaid. I'd need to come up with a recurring "hook" there to hold it all together, and that's as far as I've gotten mentally! If my friend Stephen Farrow liked it I'd be happy, even if it never got produced!

I tag whomever wants to do this meme and has time!

(I am tempted to add more links in to this post, but I woke up sicker than a dog with a dry throat and a slight fever. Thanks for nothing, St. Blaise --- okay, that's mean ... perhaps if I hadn't had the blessing I'd even be sicker with the plague or some such.)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Photo which the Blogger Had Rejected

....turned out to be not half bad.

I had been meaning all Advent to take a picture of the singular Chi-Rho symbol early in advent and post it, saying that despite all the flashy 80 foot Santas and elves on the majority of lawns, there were still a few pockets of sanity. Right on a hillside fairly near to where I live, a resident has put up this simple display each year for as long as I can remember. This year when I'd remember to bring my camera it rained like heck or there were high winds and the lights weren't on. The only photo I got was one I thought I mussed up. So I never did that blog. Now the more I look at it, I realize it was one of those serendipity moments, that I couldn't have actually planned it that well. The ACLU must really hate it that it overlooks a major freeway and a few hundred thousand cars pass it every day -- and they can't do ZIP about it, as it sits on private property.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Out and About

Nice doggie .... staaaaaaaaaay ..... and when papa comes back he'll take you for a treat.

This well behaved labradorable was outside O'Connor's religious supply and bookstore. He made up for the fact, that once again, O'Connor's is absolutely useless, except for holy cards, rosaries and medals, and the odd cruet or two. Oh, 25 years ago or so, they had book stock worth looking at, but not anymore. This doggie parked out back made up for it.

I hate shopping with a purple passion. HOWEVER, the only two kinds of stores I enjoy are bookstores and CD/DVDs stores. The grocery store is tolerable, but other than that I'm not really "contributing to the economy." Then I went perusing a few used bookstores to see if I could find a nice clean hardbound of something I wanted, rather than just a paperback. Much more successful.

Those of you who followed my San Diego Fire saga last October might remember me mentioning we only get 9 or so inches of rain a year. Unfortunately, it tends to come mostly in a six week period. One sure way to cure a drought is to take your car to the car wash. These two dorks did this today (perhaps we should thank them?) thereby providing the city and county of San Diego with a public service. Guys, perhaps next time you can do this in the summer when we really need the rain...and not wait until it has actually started to drizzle? Just a thought.


How to Restore Bells at Mass - or "Playing Hardball"

Over the years, I've heard that in some parishes (and a few I've visited) some hippy priest at some time decided bells weren't needed. Most irritating. Yes, I know the use started because centuries ago Mass attendees were milling in the big cathedrals while the priests couldn't see them and Giovanni and Maria would be playing footsie over by the candles so finally someone said "You know it would be a really good idea if we rang some bells so Giovanni and Maria would pay attention right here." So they did, and they rang for centuries. The custom is still alive and well and unaltered in many parishes -- but in some the hippies have been at it.


Even when you creeps don't ring the bells thinking you are cool and hip by not doing so, there are quite more than a few of us who think, "why aren't they ringing the bells, what, have we got some hippy freak celebrating Mass ... doesn't he know any better? Did he go to a mail-order degree seminary?" MOST DISTRACTING.

Digihairshirt, has come up with a unique way to see if something can be done in her parish. In some quarters this is called: PLAYING HARDBALL. JUST GO HERE. JUST DO IT.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to ring-a-dem-bells yourself.

Friday, February 1, 2008

T.G.I.F. - Put a song in your heart

And a smile on your face - it's FRIDAY!!!!!

Put on a Happy Face ♫ - Bye, Bye, Birdie, Dick Van Dyke

Pick yourself Up ♫ - Fred Astaire, who else? (forget languid versions of this one)

n a Wonderful Day Like Today ♫ - The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd - Cyril Ritchard

For those of you under a rain cloud:

Singing in the Rain ♫ - from same, Gene Kelley

And for those of you who wish it WERE spring:

It Might As Well Be Spring - State Fair
(Shirley Jones, Danny Thomas Show)

Update: For Kit who is in upstate New York "in the middle of a crappy ice-storm" I'll add her request of:

June is Bustin' out all Over ♫ - from Carousel

And now that she's brought up some chimeras from my youth that I thought I had long repressed, for good measure, I better add:

Spring, Spring, Spring ♫ - sung by Michael Feinstein. I especially like this particular CD.

(video clip under 3 minutes - dialup use keep vid - fast download on song clips)


Mahoney - Green With Envy

He really would have preferred this for the new downtown Hell-A Cathedral. The North Koreans outbid him. Kim Jong Mentally Ill wanted it for his pleasure palace.
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