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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Even to the curmudgeons amongst you

Show of hands: How many of you buy the candy you'd most like to get stuck with? Let me know if it's less than 100%.

I first heard this poem in about 1969 or thereabouts. It's still good!

By Victor Buono in his book It Could Be Verse

Lord, My soul is ripped with riot
incited by my wicked diet.
"We Are What We Eat," said a wise old man!
and, Lord, if that's true, I'm a garbage can.

I want to rise on Judgment Day, that's plain!
but at my present weight, I'll need a crane.
So grant me strength, that I may not fall
into the clutches of cholesterol.

May my flesh with carrot-curls be dated,
that my soul may be poly unsaturated
And show me the light, that I may bear witness
to the President's Council on Physical Fitness.

And at oleomargarine I'll never mutter,
for the road to Hell is spread with butter.
And cream is cursed; and cake is awful;
and Satan is hiding in every waffle.

Mephistopheles lurks in provolone;
the Devil is in each slice of baloney,
Beelzebub is a chocolate drop,
and Lucifer is a lollipop.

Give me this day my daily slice
but, cut it thin and toast it twice.
I beg upon my dimpled knees,
deliver me from jujubees.

And when my days of trial are done,
and my war with malted milk is won,
Let me stand with Heavenly throng,
In a shining robe--size 30 long.

I can do it Lord, If You'll show to me,
the virtues of lettuce and celery.
If You'll teach me the evil of mayonnaise,
of pasta a la Milannaise
potatoes a la Lyonnaise
and crisp-fried chicken from the South.

Lord, if you love me, shut my mouth.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fine Old Customs

It seems to me a certain party who gave a fine sermon last night, was all too familiar with the old custom of Halloween pranks. It was noted that in the past the "yuth" didn't receive the prepackaged treats given to children now. They did get homemade treats. Some of the "yuth," boys in particular, used the night for pranks. Some fairly harmless, some, shall we say, more ... involved. This might have ranged from tying tin cans on the back of cars as they were stopped at a stoplight, to adorning a rooftop with a farm implement. Adventures for the real risk takers may have run the gamut from knocking over a row of mailboxes to full out outhouse tipping. I expect if outhouses were still in numerous supply today, there are a few communities who'd scarce have one standing by the dawn's early light.

Father mentioned how many of the halloween customs, such as the jack-o-lantern derived from the Irish immigrants. Upon further questions after Mass regards his intimate association with pranks, he allowed that he had fallen in with a gang of "yuth" or two in the past. Further queries boxed him into taking the fifth amendment. I think at this remove he is safe from being put in juvenile hall.

Father gave a fine sermon on All Saints, and All Souls. He particularly wanted us to remember that we shouldn't associate purgatory with hopelessness, but that it was actually a very hopeful place, because it gave us a chance to cleanse ourselves before heaven.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Evelyn Waugh would be 104....

He's "no longer with us" on earth in the physical sense, but I hope he has found a heavenly reward. Today is his birthday.

Here is another favorite passage of mine from Brideshead Revisited. Charles Ryder, the protagonist, is talking about his early faith, or lack thereof. It is about the 1st inkling we get that the book is really a more about the Catholic faith, and the many degrees of embracing the faith that are to be found.

"Sebastian always heard his mass, which was ill-attended. Brideshead was not an old-established centre of Catholicism. Lady Marchmain had introduced a few Catholic servants, but the majority of them, and all the cottages, prayed, if anywhere, among the Flyte tombs in the little grey church at the gates.

Sebastian's faith was an enigma to me at that time, but not one which I felt particularly concerned to solve. I had no religion. I was taken to church weekly as a child, and at school attended chapel daily, but, as though in compensation, from the time I went to my public school I was excused church in the holidays. The masters who taught me Divinity told me that biblical texts were highly untrustworthy. They never suggested I should try to pray. My father did not go to church except on family occasions and then with derision. My mother, I think, was devout. It once seemed odd to me that she should have thought it her duty to leave my father and me and go off with an ambulance, to Serbia, to die of exhaustion in the snow in Bosnia. But later I recognized some such spirit in myself. Later, too, I have come to accept claims which then, in 1923, I never troubled to examine, and to accept the supernatural as the real. I was aware of no such needs that summer at Brideshead.

Often, almost daily, since I had known Sebastian, some chance word in his conversation had reminded me that he was a Catholic, but I took it as a foible, like his teddy-bear. We never discussed the matter until on the second Sunday at Brideshead, when Father Phipps had left us and we sat in the colonnade with the papers, he surprised me by saying: 'Oh dear, it's very difficult being a Catholic.'
(Photo of Waugh taken in 1940 by Carl Van Vechten)


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Of Harvest Moon and Dancing Cows

As I came home from the grocery store tonight - I was struck by the awesome sight of the moon backlighing the smoke from the fires. Not a sight I'd want to see again, just because of what the county went through, but a fascinating sight all the same. At this time there are still 45, 000 people still evacuated from the fires. Please keep the firefighters, and all those in distress in your prayers.

Today was the first day back to work at our company for the full crew. We were all relieved in the office to get out of our homes and away from cabin fever. Why it should be so satisfying to win a game of computer chess and cause a cow to dance I couldn't say. But it is.

Friday, October 26, 2007

79 is the new 59 - Happy Birthday to Msgr. S.

Father was ordained on May 5 of 1954. Father's birthday is on the 26th. He graduated from the major seminary in San Diego county, when we still had one. He later got his PhD in Philosophy from the Angelicum. He's such a smart guy he was able to shave a year off the time it normally takes to get a doctorate - and this was when you had to take all your classes in Latin and do all your tests in same and defend your dissertation in Real Time Latin. He's entitled to one of those fancy schmansy 4 cornered academic birettas with the piping, and he could wear a ring like a bishop just for the heck of it, if he wanted to. But he's not that kinda guy. [Ha-ha, if it was ME, I'd have gone to all the graduations at USD and worn it, just because the bishop doesn't have one of those 4 cornered jobs.]

Years ago, when Father's mother was still living, the ever sociable Mrs. S. let me in on Father's B'Day, which had hitherto been a semi-state secret. Bless her. I recently wrangled a nice copy of a photo of Father taken after his 1st solemn high Mass. Tempted as I am to post what Father calls his "little Lord Fauntleroy picture" I shall refrain, lest one of Father's confreres runs across this blog and taunts him with it. No sense in getting the snot beat out of me. It's kind of hard to ask someone for absolution when he's choking you to death. All I can say is that he DOES look like LLF and no one is smiling. It does look like they've buried a Cardinal or other similarly exalted personage.

Given that Father has said Mass pretty much every day since he's been ordained, I estimate that makes about 19,500 Masses. Adjusting for binations and days off sick, I bet it still works out to at least once a day. Given that saying Mass is the most wonderful thing a priest can do, I'm glad he's done it all those times. I honestly don't know why a priest would NOT want to say Mass at least once a day.

I've also refrained from posting a pic. of him in Gaudete or Laetare vestments. He hates it. The women in the parish love it. The men sympathize. That particular color on him makes us think of a nice Easter Bunny. Father does not relish the compliment. I particularly like those two Sundays. Think about it. How often does a priest get to bust out that color? Twice a year, and it took him 50 years of priesthood to get to 100 times. It's like spotting a prothonatory warbler. [Father's a good singer too, BTW.]

Fr. is a native of Chicago, and is about the most down-to-earth man you'd want to meet. He taught at the University of San Diego since the late 50s and just retired a few years ago. One alum who always took the time to come back and visit is a Saudi Prince he had taught years ago. Father taught close to 3 generations of students. I.E. there were cases of him teaching a man and then that man's son or daughter - and in theory could have taught man A's grandchild.

Father says a Monday through Friday 6:30a.m. Mass at Holy Family in San Diego. And on Sunday he supplies the ICC 5:15 Mass in Old Town. Not to leave out Saturday, he says Mass at home. I've assisted him at Mass one way or another for a little over 30 years. He's taught me so much. I think I finally taught him not to buy software or hardware versions of x.0 anything. He already knew not to draw on an inside straight.

I took this picture of him last month, and I think I've finally caught him with his best, and usual, expression.

Since this blog is, AFAIK under the radar, and I'm not "broadcasting it" around church [at least no one at Mass has said "Yo, I caught your blog"] I will not "name names" as he knows who he is. And Fr. S., if you read this, you might want to give me a shout out back. You could always style yourself "Bill, of the Amazing Wolverine Tribe" and I think I'd figure it out.

Prince of Peace Abbey Update as of 102507_1530

You can see the hybrid map of Camp Pendle-
ton and the adjacent areas of northern Oceanside and the area to the west of Benet Hill, where Prince of Peace Abbey is. I have enhanced the image here. The map was updated roughly 3:30 p.m. Thursday, 10/25/07.

The red area is a fire area on the grounds of Camp Pendleton which are being fought. The area in question is roughly a mile from Prince of Peace Abbey. The yellow diagonal line is roughly the boundary between Camp Pendleton, and the City of Oceanside (which is to the south). I've done a rough outline in light blue of the Prince of Peace Abbey, which abuts the base.

Here is a google earth overhead - taken most likely early 2006.

Last year I took a bit of video outside the Abbey - most of the buildings are of concrete block construction, and ceramic tile roofing. The clip is 13 seconds long.

The Abbey is built with mostly Concrete block and ceramic tile. The military is on the fire. Keep them in your prayers.

(The still at the top is of the outside of the church, taken 9/18/06. There are some times and situtation where building churches out of concrete blocks and ceramic tile makes sense. This is one of them!)

Update: Last fire map late Thursday night local time shows current fire area farther north in Pendelton area - i.e. further away by a "grid" or two, away from PoP Abbey.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Fire Status, San Diego, Ct. 102507_11:16a.m.

Here is the latest news on the general conditions of the fires:

10-25-07 10:00 a.m. Evacuation Notice Lifted for Escondido.
All areas within the City of Escondido previously evacuated have been re-opened to residents.

Evacuation Notice Lifted for County’s Portion of 4S Ranch
The County of San Diego has lifted the evacuation order its portion of 4S Ranch. All of 4S Ranch is now re-opened to residents.

10-25-07 9:38 a.m. CAL FIRE provides the following update:

The Harris Fire is 81,000 and 10% contained. Full containment is estimated for October 31. Currently there are 93 engines, 16 crews, 4 helicopters (2 of which are helitankers) 3 airtankers, 2 dozers, 12 water tenders (1,611 firefighters). Fire behavior remains active in old and extremely dry fuels. The winds have returned to a normal diurnal flow (from the west). Major wind reversals in this area have caused firefighter fatalities during past incidents. There are heavy fuels and steep terrain on the northern edge of the fire. Active structure protection continues in Lyons Valley.

The Witch Fire is 197,990 acres and 20% contained. There have been 22 injuries to firefighters and it up to $5.3 million in suppression costs. Currently there 325 engines, 45 fire crews, 45 water tenders, 22 dozers (2,619 firefighters). Winds in the fire area are still variable with coastal influence returning to valleys as normal weather pattern. Warm, dry and unstable conditions still exist at the higher elevations and the eastern areas of the fire.

The Rice Fire is 9,000 acres and 30% contained with full containment expected on the 28th. Cost to date for suppressing this fire is $1,283,133. Currently there are 112 engines, 19 fire crews, 13 water tenders, 11 dozers (1,095 firefighters). Firefighters made good progress with perimeter control and structure protection. Evacuation orders still in effect for Fallbrook and outlying areas.

The Poomacha Fire is 35,000 acres and 20% contained. Cost to date for suppressing this fire is $950,000. There have been 12 injuries to firefighters. Currently we have 75 engines, 25 fire crews, 1 helicopter, 1 helitanker, 9 airtankers, 10 dozers, (859 firefighters). Firing operations were conducted but were hampered by wind shifts. Firing will continue today. Interior burning was most active within the eastern portion of the incident. Burning trees and rolling material continue to be a safety hazard to resources. Re-entry plans are being developed for displaced residents.

For latest updates see: San Diego County Emergency page -- Satellite maps available, as well as a list of known structures *in unincorportated areas of the county* lost/heavily damaged in the fires.

The seems to have the best frequent local updates.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Who Controls The Past, Controls The Future

There are too many born every minute

In Spain there was a man baptized in the Catholic church as an infant who has rejected the church. Well, that's his right. But does he wish to disassociate himself from the church by simply filing an official notification as the church provides for? No. He takes it upon himself, with the help of idiots in the Spanish court system, to require the Catholic church to destroy his baptismal record and expunge it from the church records. This is altering a historical fact. It is frightening that any government in a supposed democracy would viciously suppress the truth. You can read the full details on Paul's blog entry Thoughts of a Regular Guy: Who Controls The Past, Controls The Future.

One person who commented on his blog suggested that perhaps the church should comply by pasting the court order right to remove the record of the man's baptismal entry right over the baptismal record. There's something to be said for fighting fire with fire.

Apparently, Orwell's Animal Farm is not required reading in the Spanish schools. I do not know if reading that was ever a standard part of the Spanish secondary school curriculum. And I wonder if in the English speaking world this once commonly assigned work is still regularly read by students. The left has so destroyed and infected anything which smacks of development of ideals of western values. A chief value used to be "the objective truth." I wonder if the imbeciles who made this decision realize the extent to which they look like perfect jackasses. Some jackasses, of course, being more equal than others.

Perhaps it might be fun to find out more details of who, exactly, in the Spanish court system made this inane and dangerous decision. It might be fun to flood them with Spanish translation editions of Animal Farm.

How about it? Is reading Animal Farm still a commonly required assignment?

Check out Digihairshirt's Blog

For in-
formation on the fires in Orange County
- and please keep them in your prayers.
Her link is here.

Twilight Sky; San Diego, 5:55 PM 102307

Here is a photo I took early this evening. Sunset's about 6:35 -- This is taken from my front sidewalk, looking WEST, towards the ocean, about 8 miles away. This is NOT a Marine layer tinged with red from the sunset. It is, however, the smoke from the fires backlit by rays from the sun.

I had to get out to the store to grab some more drinks, etc. I got a scratchy throat just in the half hour I was out and about. "They" were estimating earlier today that some of these fires won't be entirely out until Nov. 1.

Some good news: So far - Eastlake, Spring Valley, Bonita, and Jamul - no homes lost today. (One of my friends and her family live in Eastlake area.)

And "only" some 2000 acres burned in the Harris fire today in the south end of the county. [It was hellish on Sunday and Monday.] The fires up in North County are still bad.

One out of three homes in the county have been evacuated overall. (Some have been let back to their homes/area.)

CBS News 8 has some Excellent Resources/Maps here.

San Diego- Register Your Cell Phone for reverse 911 alerts

If you live in the City of San Diego, you may register your cell phone to receive emergency reverse 911 calls. The link is here.

Good frequently updated information online is here.

Also: San Diego County Emergency Homepage.

Fresh bulletin: May be new concerns for JULIAN AREA. (5:05 PDT -- Voluntary evacuations as of this time.)

At least 50 homes/structures have been destroyed in Fallbrook area.

Update: 11:30p.m. - Julian evacuation now mandatory in the last hour. 75% had taken heed during the voluntary evac. Also they want people out of the Cuyamaca area, and Wynola area.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire Update Some Bad News, Some Better News

According to recent report, fire up in Fallbrook area (Rice fire) has burned 6100+ acres. Area isn't getting any air support yet - Palomar Mountain and La Jolla Indian Reservation area also in trouble - these fires will likely join. Right now, "they" are concentrating on the more populated areas. There are some more tankers on the way - but it's already 1p.m. and it gets dark about 6:30 now. A good friend of mine and his daughter and her family lives up in Escondido in a evacuated zone - and in the south parts of Chula Vista are threatened, another friend and her family live out that way - I don't yet know if they've had to evacuate. There has been some air support. There are a few helicopters out down there - it can drop 10 tons of water a time on a drop.

A fairly decent map which someone is updating is pretty good. Link is here. The map can be expanded.

In the county all told some 350,000 (yes that's the right amount of zeros) homes have been evacuated.

On a better note, some areas are allowing people back in - Del Mar Heights area, plus some of Poway and the Scripps Ranch area.

So far at very least 1200 homes and structures lost in the county (and they don't think they have an accurate count) - 240,000 acres have burned - it's at least as big as the Cedar fire 4 years ago.

The area shelters are fairly well provided for with individuals and corporations stepping it up with food/toiletries etc.

National Guard is deployed in evacuated areas, and other than a report of two teens looting in Ramona (who got nailed right away) there haven't been reports of looting.
The US Navy Seahawks are also assisting with water drops. Thank God for them, they have more capacity than the contracted aircraft.

Today is supposed to be make or break - the winds are supposed to die down some time tomorrow - they are still really fickle and unpredictable. All schools in San Diego unified school district will be closed through end of week.

Yesterday, one of the local reporters was reporting in the wee hours of the morning that his home had been evacuated. Some hours later he'd found out his home had burned down. He was positively heroic in keeping his chin up. "We'll rebuild, we'll get through this. It's only THINGS." They'd managed to grab the most important "things" and pack up the cars with people and pets - but most people were glad to get themselves and their animals and the most important items out. This time around communication and notification was much better - the "Reverse 911" system working fairly well. I.E. 911 calls YOU to tell you it's time to pack up and get out.

I've been through fire scares before - and when you really analyze it pretty much "everything" can be replaced - so what you end up grabbing are you, family, pets and PHOTOS, and important papers. So for all of you who can, but haven't: Scan your important photos in your computer! And keep a backup in a safe deposit box somewhere. The rest is G.R.A.V.Y.

Monday, October 22, 2007

FIRE! Keep us in your prayers

There are currently 7 counties in California in a state of emergency due to fires fueled by Santa Ana winds. The fires started Sunday and there are 7 major fires in San Diego County alone, thousands have been under mandatory evacuation yesterday and early this morning new fires have kicked up and there are thousands of acres burning. At mass yesterday, we could smell the fires from miles away. And it's very acrid now.

As I write this at 4:30, in some areas there are wind gusts up to 45 mph. Generally if there is a Santa Ana, at night the winds die down, but this is not the case. Breaking fire updates for San Diego County here. Please pray for the safety of those having to evacuate and the firefighters.

Update: At almost 1PM today, roughly 100,000 acres are in the fire area, and approximately 250,000 (yes that's right 1/4 million) people in the county were advised to evacuate to other areas - the winds were I am in town aren't much but it there are gusts up to 60MPH - Click here to see a rough map of the area. I've highlighted in red SOME of the areas where the fires are hopscotching though. Solana Beach has just gotten voluntary advisory notices to evacuate. We are supposed to have Santa Ana winds at least until Wednesday. There are more fires south of San Diego - just at the bottom edge of the map you can see UCSD in the lower left, and Miramar Airstation towards the bottom center. Some of these areas are very heavily populated. One hospital in the North County has been evacuated, the staff there on top of things and started evacuating patients early this morning to other hospitals. There were at least 7 firefighters critically injured so far, by early this morning.. A few minutes ago we have had the good news that the Navy can now safely go in to use some of their choppers on the large fires in the southern part of the county. [Off this map[ Where fires have been also burning since yesterday - closer to the border - but at least 20,000 acres down there by Dulzura and Potrero There are also some fire areas north of this map.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sex Ed in the early 1970s

Less is More

Jackie, over at Catholic mom of 10, talks about some of the sex education materials used by some of the Catholic schools in the UK and wonders if they are too detailed or graphic. I have to say I am proud, on this issue, to belong to the:

"Thank God, they pretty much left us alone" generation. i.e. the basic plumbing was covered in biology classes in a clinical way. The few pages of line drawings in our biology textbooks were the only ones guaranteed to be well thumbed and read by the entire class - even the goof offs. Everyone got an "A" on that test.

The guys got a lecture or two in gym class, the girls got a lecture or two in THEIR gym class covering the consequences of STDs. The girls and (for all I know) boys got a graphic "mother gives birth" video which made us realize: "girls, if a guy puts tab "A" in slot "B" - be prepared for something the size a watermelon coming out of you. The very thought of which, when viewed through the prism of mid-teenage years, made most of us shudder for weeks afterwards, if some boy asked us out. That was natural "birth control" for most of us. We'd long absorbed through osmosis the fact that we had, in fact, not come out of a crackerjack box - but we were stunned at what mom went through.

Turtleneck sweaters were popular for a reason. For the "girls gone wild" headed for "hell in a hand basket" they covered up 1,647 hickies the next week at school. If worn by a girl while on a date, the girl was signaling to the guy that'd he'd be lucky to get a good night kiss. Like "Run, Hillary, Run" bumper stickers which could be attached to either the front or back bumper of a car, the turtleneck sweater was used by both "kinds" of girl. Upon reflection, I expect the "wolves" amongst the boys viewed any girl who wore a turtleneck sweater DURING the school week as "hot to trot" material. I can't say for sure, having never hung out in a boy's locker room. I can, however, confirm that in the girl's locker room we traded information on which boys were likely occasion of sin material, by being known patrons of drive in movies - and we also knew which boys were destined for the priesthood. Equally to be avoided if one wanted to be kissed by sweet sixteen.

Other than that we were blissfully free to speculate whilst hanging out on street corners. We knew enough that black patent leather shoes didn't really reflect up - and good catholic girls usually avoided protestant boys, whom we *knew* all thought that catholic girls were "hot to trot." They were too often right. Bad catholic boys trolled for protestant girls and probably catholic girls who wore turtleneck sweaters during the school week.

For purient material we scoured the south sea islands and Africa sections which were neatly contained between the pristine covers of National Geographic. In my junior year(age 16), one of our daring classmates, Gena Statutory, got hold of the then much talked about Burt Reynolds "spread." What a rip off, Burt was coyly lying on his side in the buff, with his left hand strategically placed. Glad it wasn't my two bucks. He may as well have had a catcher's mitt on for all we saw. Most of us marched out of the girl's washroom more than a little miffed, without even bothering to smoke a verboten ciggie. Burt, you STILL owe me.

To sum up: Yes, we knew you didn't get pregnant from kissing, for which we were grateful, but at least the adults in our lives left us blessedly alone to our devices. Otherwise, they'd have "ruined" it for us by talking about it any more than they absolutely had to. I'm not sure whatever happened to Gina. My guess is she either ended up having 5 kids by 5 different guys, or became a Carmelite nun.

Bless us Father, for we have sinned. Sorta.

What were the odds, I ask you...what were the odds?

Sometimes you can hear God laughing if you listen closely enough. Just now, I was looking ahead to the readings for this Sunday - and I was reminded of an incident which took place in 1998. That year, our hometown team the San Diego Padres, were National League Champions and were facing the New York Yankees American League Champions in the World Series Baseball Championship. The Yankees franchise has been to "the big show" many times, but this was only the Padres second trip in club history.

As luck would have it, a game was to be played right when I was due to be lector for Sunday 5:15 Mass. Much as I love baseball (and having had full season tickets at the time for some 25+ years at that point) I stuck to my Sunday schedule and didn't try and get someone to pinch hit for me. It was an "away" game - or else I would have bribed someone to fill in for me, having gotten tickets for the home games. The game was due to start at 5 - and the organist was also wishing there was some wonderful but impossible way we could be two places at once.

The priest who always does that Mass, Msgr. S., is and was noted for having rather long sermons. [Those university professors always give you "the whole nine yards" - to a prof. used to lecturing college students for 50 minutes a pop, 23-24 minutes is "short."] The organist mentioned to me that for this "special occasion" she was going to multitask. As no one but her and her husband would be in the choir loft that night, she had intended to listen to the radio broadcast of the game just before Mass and then "multitask" during Father's sermon. Ain't modern technology and those little ear thingies grand? [When you've assisted at the same priest's Mass for over (then) 20 years, you may have, oh, on occasion, heard the same sermon now and again...albeit with a new twist here and there. So neither one of us felt too guilty.]

Since I was going to be busy setting out everything for Mass, I wouldn't have the luxury the organist was going to in hearing the 1st 20 minutes of the game. I hastily suggested that perhaps, after I entered the church in procession, after the opening hymn - if there was any score, for the organist to please hold up "right hand" and extend #of fingers for any runs our home team had scored and "left hand" mitt fingers (or fist for duck egg) for the Yankee's runs. Then arms up or arms down for "top or bottom half of inning" -- followed by fingers held up to tell which inning we were in. (If this sounds complicated it wasn't, particularly.)

Well, we had processed in, and from my position at the side of the sanctuary I discretely glanced up at the organist and was distressed to see that the home team was already down by more than 3 runs, and it was only in the bottom of the 2nd! We had decided, that perhaps discretion was the better part of valor, and did not let the good Father in on what we were doing. What he didn't know, wouldn't hurt us. [The pope could have been in the choir loft too, but Father being Father, there was no way the organist would have been spotted giving these signals with Father's less-than-perfect vision. The pope himself could have given the signals, Father still wouldn't have seen him, truth be told.]

This particular Sunday, I hadn't bothered to quickly scan the readings as was my normal wont. Years ago the then pastor and I decided I did MUCH better at the readings if in my case I only briefly skimmed them for any odd place names. I've always read very well on cold reading, but as I also tend to speak fast, I have to "rein it in" for proper pacing in a Mass setting and if I am "too recently familiar" then I'd be tempted to go faster than one ought. But THIS particular Sunday I didn't even have time for the quick scan and just set out the lectionary, open to the right place, but unscanned by me.

I've set up this long winded exposition, so that you can fully appreciate my mirth when I looked down to read:

"Reading 1
Ex 17:8-13

In those days, Amalek came and waged war against Israel.
Moses, therefore, said to Joshua,
Pick out certain men,
and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle.
I will be standing on top of the hill
with the staff of God in my hand."
So Joshua did as Moses told him:
he engaged Amalek in battle
after Moses had climbed to the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur.
As long as Moses kept his hands raised up,
Israel had the better of the fight,
but when he let his hands rest,
Amalek had the better of the fight.
Moses’hands, however, grew tired;
so they put a rock in place for him to sit on.
Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands,
one on one side and one on the other,
so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people
with the edge of the sword."

I can only thank God Almighty that it was only years of experience in the art of "public composure" and my ability to get classmates to break up in class while remaining angelic faced were the only things that got me through that reading.

At the end of Mass, after we bowed, and I turned to precede the good Father out, I whispered "Yankees X(#), Padres Y(#)" -- he gave me a quizzical "how in heck do you know" look, and after he was back in the sacristy the organist and I let him in on the secret. He laughed too.

And if you're at the 5:15 Mass this Sunday in Old Town in San Diego, there just might be a small hint of a smile playing on my lips after that first reading. It will be our little secret.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Salute to Saint Luke

there is something special about all the gospels, and I think I love them each in their own unique way - my favorite aspect of this evangelist is that he has so much unique material - of the 3 synoptic gospels his is the longest and approximately 40+ percent of it is not found in Mark or Matthew. Luke has about a number of parables and miracles not found in the other two, plus his stories surrounding the birth of Christ are exquisite. Luke, bless him, gives "the ladies" and other social outcasts their due. His slant on the gospel plus his Acts of the Apostles gives him a special place in my heart. There's a lot of joy of life in Luke's works.

And a very happy birthday today too to my friend Kathy P.!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"If was the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster I would...."

Say a Mass of thanksgiving really quickly before the Pope came to his senses!

Around the blogosphere a few of us are championing the cause of Fr. Blake for bishop. Philip, over at carpe canem came up with a nice logo, but due to his English ways he needs a high priced American consultant to put the finishing touches on the campaign - bumper stickers for one:

How about this one:

Or this one:

Or perhaps:

Let's not forget large signage:

For Father Ray's sake, for a variety of reasons, I will forego using cheap Chinese labor in the call center:

You can read his proposed manifesto here.

Frankly, Fr. Blake, if you are reading this, hell NO, you can't have Venice. That's the problem with you guys anyway. You go off to Venice and are never seen from again, eating too much pasta fazoo and having an entirely too good of a time at the opera, despite the fact that the streets are full of water. And sorry, Philip's instincts were good. The red star stays. I've reconsidered after remembering your post regards your Trotskyist days. If you start bucking for cardinal though, I'm going to propose you to clean out the Augean stables starting with Los Angeles.

For those of you who missed why we think Fr. Blake is such a mensch, check it out here. Why don't you duffers in the Vatican get off your keisters before you stick that poor diocese with some lunkhead?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Joys of Autumn

Beat 'em Bust 'em that's our custom! Hey, Hey, get rowdy! Hey, Hey, get rowdy!

White Stone Name Seeker has tagged me on this one. I was hoping someone would ask.

When does autumn begin for you?

As easy as this question sounds, it's not easy for me. Fall used to start for me right after Labor Day, when school opened, even though we still technically had a good 2 and a half weeks of summer. I didn't realize my birthday was still in summer until I was a good 14 or 15 when it suddenly sank in one day when I was looking at the calendar. Before I was 14 I spent my formative years in the Northeast. Penna, NH, and Virginia. Fall is a lot more subtle in southern California where I live in San Diego. I don't get the glorious technicolor of the leaves changing as I did in the northeast. And when I do see the few trees that change around here, I stare at them in appreciation. September can often be one of our hottest months, but suddenly about the 1st or 2nd week of October, a subtle shift happens, where yes, in fact you do need more than a sheet at night, and you've stopped using the fan, by and large. Daytime temps still get very pleasantly warm - it will get up to about 75F today (I don't do celsius, sorry) but down to 52F at night. It's the time where you have to worry about some people catching an early cold at work, due to the sudden shift in temps.)
Sunsets are often spectacular here in October. When the fogs start to roll in, the fall will be well and truly be here.

What is your favorite aspect of autumn?

Football season. I like pro football, but there's something about a good high school or college game that really permeates the soul. In my last two years of high school I attended nearly every school game. Also the baseball playoff season is marching to its finale. Mentally I consider September to be a fall month. It's fun to see the high school boys in particular sporting their letterman's jackets. I notice it's become the custom for the girls to not infrequently wear their sports letters on sweaters too. The "U" above is my high school sports letter. [I got mine for track and basketball.] I went to the University of San Diego High School - class of '74.

One game I always check up on is the annual Thanksgiving football game between Northampton high school and Catasauqua high school in Pennsylvania. This is one of the oldest high school continuous rivalries in the country still played on Thanksgiving Day. I still check the paper the next day to see who won. [Many relatives of mine played or rooted for Northampton -- the Konkrete Kids.]

It's fun to see that high school kids still put on their homecoming games and make floats and do all the traditional things. When my dad was still alive he and I always attended the local college games. I'm a sucker for marching bands and the music they play. I don't care if playing "Inna Goddavita" or "MacArthur Park" on the xylophone is a nutty idea. It still sounds wonderful to me. Another not to be missed is the annual Army vs. Navy game.

What is your favorite autumn memory?

I think when I was 11 or 12 I remember a Girl Scout trip we made to a cider mill. It would have been late October, early November. We'd had a very early snow in New Hampshire that year. There was still a bit of snow on the ground, and we went into the cider house, and they wrapped up the apples in sheeting and burlap. As the old fashioned press was employed, we held our cups up to catch the drippings of the freshly squeezed juice. It was the best cider I ever had or ever will have. So perfectly cold and fresh. The air was so sharp and biting, our noses chilled and our lungs filled with the ether of the mud beneath our boots - all very primal smells.

As a toss up, when I was a freshman in college, I'd gone out for the women's rowing team. One fine October day we'd been out on Mission Bay, and as the sun began to set we finished our workout. We pulled our 8 shells out of the water, and as we were working on the underside of the boats to dry them off, the sky turned a spectacular fantasy of red, orange, pink, yellow and gray while the sun backlit the clouds and cast a bedazzling cornucopia of shimmering light on the water. Wordless, we all stopped working and just stood there in amazement - no one spoke, as it would have ruined the chimera. We all stood there for a good five minutes in dead awe and silence. The light faded then we all silently finished the task at hand - no one remarked on the break in our labor, or what caused it - to break the skein would have been almost a sacrilege.

What do you like to drink in autumn?

Apple cider. Hands down. Preferably some I've gone up to Julian to fetch. [Julian is a small town in our back country that sits just above the 5 thousand foot level. They get a bit of snow in the winter if conditions are "just so."]

What is autumn weather like where you live?

Usually warm in the day, it can be quite cool at night. I try to avoid putting on the heat until mid. November at least, but sometimes I can't quite make it until then and have to give in a little early.

What color is autumn?

Where I live: too green!

What does autumn smell like?


Christmas shopping in autumn?

Given that winter doesn't technically come until Dec. 21st, you'd be in a heap of trouble if you waited that long! I don't start until after Thanksgiving though. And the hell with buying wrapping and stuff just after Christmas when it's on sale. I don't want that stuff kicking around my house all year, only not to be able to find it the next year when I need the stuff. Now that both parents are dead and as I have no immediate family, shopping isn't that big of a chore. I just get a few gifts for a few friends and aunts and uncles and don't really worry much about it.

If you could go anywhere in autumn where would you go?

The northeast. Just for a week anyway!

Do you have a favorite autumn chore?

NO! ;-D Other than shopping for Thanksgiving dinner or very occasionally carving a pumpkin. Don't know if you can really call those "chores" though.

What is your least favorite thing about autumn?

The dark. God, I hate when it gets dark early. Just put me on suicide watch when we "fall back" with the clocks. It gets dark early and I don't feel like doing ZIP. That's why I make myself get out and do things. I guess I try to attend theatre a little more in the fall -- just because I should or I'll get cabin fever. Some time ago I recall reading that during WWII for a time the British went on DOUBLE SUMMER TIME. My God - the clocks moved TWO glorious hours forward. [Well, yes, but there was all that bombing, the WAR, you know, Karen....but GOD the LIGHT, the LIGHT.] Maybe the only solution is to move to Australia for the winter.

What is your favorite autumn holiday?

Thanksgiving. No presents to buy. Just be thankful for what you've got. Everyone can celebrate, it doesn't matter whether you are a Hindu, just off the boat, or a Mayflower descendant. Your ancestors got the hell out of wherever they came from just so you could enjoy this day. Now shut up and pass the pumpkin pie, watch some football on TV and just be grateful that God smiled on your lucky backside to put you on this planet right here and right now. And kids, if uncle Ned asks you to pull his finger: humor him.

What is your favorite kind of pie?

Apple. And there also better be some pumpkin pie around in the fall too.

Do you have a favorite autumn book?

It's not really a fall book, per se. But Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN hits the spot. Everything is dying around you (well, unless you are in San Diego, and if it's a late fire season, everything may be BURNING around you) - but there's nothing like OUR TOWN to make you really try and look at things as they are and appreciate the extraordinary ordinary in life while you have it.

How about a favorite autumn poem?

October Gave a Party
I blogged about that for my first post in October, which you can see here.

[Right on cue -- just as I was finishing this post - a weatherbug alert came up for my area:

Event Start: 1:17AM PDT, Tuesday Oct 16, 2007
Event End: 9:00AM PDT, Tuesday Oct 16, 2007

Did I call that or WHAT?]

I was hoping somone would tag me to do this meme because it looked like a lot of fun - if you see this and want to do it, by all means, consider yourself TAGGED!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Okay, I've got to read all of KINGS from start to finish

I'm about to leave for Mass shortly, so I thought it would be useful to take a look at today's readings. [I'm the lector.] I have to say I do not read the Old Testament in my personal life with as much frequency as I read the New Testament. I noted the story in 2 Kings 5 today, about Naaman being cured of leprosy. I was curious about "the refused gifts" aspect of the story and decided it a good idea to look at the whole story in context.

It's always fun to try and guess why certain bits of the story are left out. I expect "the powers that be" decided perhaps it wasn't particularly useful to mention that Elisha nailed his servant Gehazi (and Gehazi's descendants!) with leprosy for going after Naaman asking for some of the gifts he'd offered. Like Elisha's not going to notice Gehazi has suddenly acquired a couple of new festal garments or the fact that his servant has the latest Playstation.

Bad idea to mess around with a prophet!

Update: Msgr. gave the context of the 1st reading. Bless his heart. Great sermon too tying the gratitude aspects of the 1st reading with the gospel. Father also said that we should be grateful for our faith, parents, country, "GOOD" politicians, those in our armed forces, teachers, doctors too - but most of all the Holy Spirit. [I notice he was careful to stress the word "good" in the phrase "good politicians" - thereby cutting the bad ones from the herd.]

Gee, my favorite candy too.

how did "they" guess?!

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Very popular, one of you is not enough.

Grabbed this one from catholicfire.


Double Header

I'd like to be able to say I saved the planet, cap- tured Osama bin Laden, and ended heartbreak of psoriasis. But I didn't although I did go to the theatre twice today. One perk of being single is that if you have a hankering to do something at a given time you just go and do it.

Karen: Would you like to go to the theatre twice today?
Karen: Splendid idea.

Here's a link to a Tony Broadcast of a bit of "Forget about the Boy" from "Thoroughly Modern Millie" to give you an idea of what the first was like. And suffice to say the Neil Simon's "Rumors" had enough laughs to go around for a pack of hyenas. It's a safe bet that if you go to a play and there are a lot of doors, it's going to be a funny play. TMM is running playing at a local equity house, and Rumors is ending its run at Grossmont Community College. Extremely well cast - I'd been to see it last week and came back for seconds this week.

I was delighted to run into some high school kids next to me who'd taken in the later performance. Seems their school will be putting on a production of NOISES OFF -- and I had been wishing some venue was going to be doing it locally. Two of the kids I met are playing leads and another will be stage manager. They even said that I'd better come back to say "hi" to them after the show. Such nice kids we have in our area. Too bad sometimes the "bad" kids get all the attention. Much as I love Carol Burnett, burn the movie version, the editing and direction destroyed the required sight lines - go see a live production. I don't care if someone is putting it on in his garage, just go.

There's nothing like live theatre for entertainment. I always had a laugh at Robin Williams interview on The Actor's Studio some years back: "You have a strange urge to put on other people's clothes and pretend to be them. Normally they'd lock you up, but somehow, the theatre calls."

The linked clip from TMM is 3 minutes and 42 seconds.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Nimble Tread of the Feet of Fred Astaire

whenever I need a smile

You're all the World to Me

this number from Royal Wedding never fails to do the trick. (Yes, it's in the public domain-no need for the net police.) Brownie points for you if you know the real life name of Fred's love interest in this film. Ditto for the patron saint of actors, and the patron saint of dancers. Enjoy.

This clip is 4 minutes 48 seconds in length. For slower connections, right click and copy url, then paste to to save and watch at leisure with flash player. (You can get a free one here.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

There's something decadent

about just kicking it

on a Wednesday afternoon. Everyone else in town is at work in the salt mine or slaving under the lashes of the schoolmasters, and you are taking a "ditch day." In this case "the bosses" decided it would be a bit of a morale lift to kick it this afternoon for an office picnic. The weather was perfect - just the tonic as the days are getting shorter. What say we to busting out the burgers, dogs, potato salad, "beverages" and a little "friendly" game of touch football?

Forgot to bring my camera to work this morning - it's amazing enough I get myself to work in one piece. No matter, this google earth pic is just about exactly what we experienced - even the lack of crowds. At the top of this picture is the Pacific Ocean, and this oasis of a park the park is the SW corner of Mission Bay Park. The inlet is the Mission Bay Channel. Mission Bay Park is the largest man-made aquatic park in the country, consisting of 4,235 acres, approximately 46% land and 54% water.

Maybe it's me, but there's something slightly intoxicating about the smell of clothing, hair and skin imbued with smoke from the grill, sunshine and just a little sand and grit. It's the Chanel of nature.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I don't even know if it's really a conundrum

Orthometer: Partisan joke (so sue me)

Don't miss Fr. Erik's conundrum regards the Hildabeast.

To add to this one:

One day while Bill Clinton was president, he was walking along a cliff and pitched over the side and was precariously clutching to an outcropping. Three Boy Scouts were nearby and heard his cries for help and rescued him

Clinton said: Boys, you've saved my life, as president, there are a lot of things I can do to thank you. You each get a wish.

Boy scout #1 says: My dad was in the Navy, I'd love it if you could give me a presidential appointment to the Naval Academy when I'm old enough to go off to college. Clinton says: Yes, of course. Consider it done.

Boy scout #2 says: My dad was in the Army - can I have your appointment to West Point? Clinton: Done.

Boy scout #3 says: My wish is to be buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Clinton was astonished that one so young would be thinking about death. He said to the boy: Son, you have your whole life ahead of you, why would you be thinking a thought like that now?

The boy said: Because when my father finds out I saved your life he's going to kill me!

Sunday, October 7, 2007


it has come to my attention that the San Diego Union Tribune notes in an October 6th article that Bishop Brom will be asking clergymen and all lay Catholics in the diocese to make a special donation to cover the nearly $200 MILLION dollars to be paid out to the alleged 144 victims from the priest abuse scandal in this diocese. He wants each priest to donate a month's salary. And for retired priests to kick in too. Pardon me all to hell and begone, but this smacks of blackmail. What's he going to do to the priests who aren't rolling in dough to begin with who don't want to kick in? Currently a pastor grosses $1,535 a month, and an associate a little less. Peanuts. And their boss wants 1/12th of it.

You can see the bishop's letter here. My first thought was of the 1st cut on the Aerosmith's Greatest Hits album.

Mind you, this was the guy that caved in and said yes to everything, rather than fight some rather questionable allegations in some instances. He also decided it was a brilliant idea to declare the diocese bankrupt. This blog does not in any way mean to imply that there weren't victims who deserve to be compensated. But I am saying that this bishop has shown monumental ineptitude. Other dioceses, like Pittsburgh, settled for 80k per victim. Here it was $1.3 million per victim. DUE TO INCOMPETENCE. He wants to heal this diocese? He can start by RESIGNING. Then "we'll talk."

Until then: BUPKIS

Warning! Playing with Google Earth

is highly addictive to the n-th degree

This is my parish from a 521 ft. bird's eye view.
My parish takes up the lower portion of this city block in the Old Town Area of San Diego. I've noticed google earth can sometimes skew things a bit...what's labeled "SerraaHall" is actually a small Mexican walk up restaurant.

The parish buildings are all under those red roofings.

The church itself was finished in about 1917, it's the building at the left that the two big palm trees are casting shadows on. The sacristy is behind (newsflash there) and it is connected by a walkway to the rectory, which was built in the mid 1930s. Just to the right of the rectory, is the large social hall, which has two levels. The large upper level, includes a kitchen and a stage area and storage, plus a good sized hall. And there is a small lower level which contains our gift shop and some office space and smaller rooms. The hall was completed in the fall of 1977 as I recall. It replaced the much smaller Gregory hall, of late and happy memory. The top right building is a garage & apartment.

We now have a fairly small parking lot, to the right of the hall and garage, but the "old timers" (I'm talking about folks in their late 70s and older) told me the church used to own the whole city block. Pity we didn't keep it, because we could have made a fortune in car park fees and had no church debt EVER. The large lot is state or city owned now. At least the parking is free.

Close to the edge of the street behind the restaurant and to the right of where the rectory is, we had a few tiny bungalows where we used to teach CCD when I was in college in the 70s. We had a blast tearing them down, more fun than an old fashioned car bash. Sledgehammers are fun! [In pre PC days high schools used to often have an annual car bash fund raiser. I say this for the benefit of my UK and other overseas readers. I don't know if high schools do this or not any more, I expect the nanny police worry about flying glass and things like that.]

In the early 90s the church was really made a lot more earthquake sound. And they did a terrific job with the latest and greatest engineering techniques without the diocesan wreckovation committee ruining us. Because now, when you have building committees in to do needed major repair/maintenance the diocese wants to see what it can do about screwing up your "worship space." A few diocesan dweebs showed their faces about the time we were having to renovate the church, but they were met with lit torches and a few hand grenades and the only casualties were the dweebs from the diocesan wreckovation committee, who were forced on their own swords. Yours truly lobbed the first hand grenade. I think Sherman might have received a better reception in Atlanta.

Astute readers will note I haven't used the name of my parish. I don't mind if anybody from the parish stumbles across my blog in the blogosphere, but I'm flying under the radar, for now, anyway. Eagle eyed readers, can see the name of the parish in the picture. I will say the parish is named after the patron saint of the United States. Hush now. Don't give the game away. Otherwise the pastor might say: "Why don't you write about this, that or the other." Let him get his own blog!

And if you think it might be fun to post a pic of what your parish looks like from bird's eye view, consider yourself tagged and this post a meme.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

How do you Envision Heaven

Father Ray Blake of St. Mary Magdalene in Brighton asked us to share thoughts about what we think heaven will be like.

On the most serious level, I'd have to say that I try not to dwell on the physical aspects of heaven too much, because whatever I envision is likely to be wrong. If I am in heaven, then I'll have likely have been in purgatory. Having been there, my soul being purified, when I reach heaven I will have no enmity or pride and I will be able to do God's will 100% and as St. Therese said "love is all." [If I make it straight in the door with out any pits stops, I'll be amazed.]

I expect that God will want me to assist with the salvation of those on earth in being "a friend of the court" as the saints in heaven do today. Having yielded 100% to the will of God, I trust in God that I will be totally happy. After the final judgment of all (and before) I trust in God that I will have the eternal and uninterrupted feeling of peace that comes from being in a state of grace after having received Holy Communion and resting in front of the tabernacle. But this time without earthly cares or worries, or physical pain.

I pray God that my loved ones be also there. But I have utter faith that whatever heaven is like I trust it will be better than I ever could imagine.

I have often wondered why we would need a body after death, but as Jesus said there is a bodily resurrection, who am I to question? Perhaps it is that we are all masterworks, as "God doesn't make junk." And the Artist, having created does not destroy the work. The work may be transformed, but it is not destroyed. God loves physical matter, otherwise we'd have not been created. On a personal note, I hope there's no more cellulite. :-D On the "pet issue" I'd just like to ask God: "Is it okay if you bring them back just so we can see them and they can see us? You don't have to let them see the 'beatific vision' - but you made them too... just saying...." But I still trust Sister 1st grade on this one: "You will have ALL you need in heaven to make you happy."

I am glad God gave us all free will, but I have to say it bothers me that God made angels, and some of them, who were given all they needed, rejected God's eternal peace, love and happiness - and Hell was initially created for them. I guess God gave them a choice too. And it frightens me that creatures who were given all that on a platter threw it away. God came down to earth to die for me, and I don't want to throw eternal salvation and happiness away.

On another note, I have always accepted the Trinity, but I never knew why it was necessary for there to be God, the Holy Spirit. My priest had and gave the simplest and best answer: "God didn't decide to be - God just IS."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Uber Cool Nerd Gods don't bow to Mere Nerd Gods

It's a rule says I'm an Uber Cool Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

I expect I scored low on the "dumb / dork / awkward" portion was because I have had a date in the last 10 years and do not have a dead spider collection, or wear super man underwear.

I confess I did take the test to see if I would score higher than Fr. Erik on the nerd quiz.

Tough Nut to Crack

A favorite Moment from Life With Father

It transpired that Mr. Clarence Day, Sr. had not been baptized. This revelation came after an inquisitive visitor had been asking about the Day family's religion. Mrs. Day was shocked, as she had assumed that "every decent person is baptized." She wondered if she had ever been really married and took her problem to her Episcopal priest. That Sunday, as anyone could predict the good Dr. Lloyd preached a hellfire and brimstone sermon of the necessity of being baptized. Mr. Day, one of those self-made men of the 1880s, took exception, muttering in church "what is he up to?" The following conversation ensued after services:

"Clare, you know I didn't ask Dr. Lloyd to do that."
"You must have said something!"
"Well, I had to find out from him if we were really married."
"I AM married, and I am not baptized, and as far as I'm concerned the whole congregation can know it."
"They certainly know it now."
"That suits me, I don't go to church to be preached as as though I were some lost sheep."
"Clare, you don't seem to understand what the church is for!"
"Vinnie, if there is one thing the church should leave alone it's a man's soul."

Mother wins. Eventually....

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

St. Therese and Tom

a spaniel after my own heart

So many people have posted wonderful things about St. Therese - I thought I might do a little twist on Therese for the dog lovers among us. As many of us know from reading Story of a Soul, Therese was given a dog.

I'd known she had a dog named Tom, but I never knew what kind of dog he was until I went on a pilgrimage to Lisieux with my mother in the spring of 1990. I was delighted from seeing various pictures that Tom was a spaniel too - not unlike my own dog. To everyone else Therese sends roses, to me she sends spaniels.

This photo of Tom is in a book called "Therese and Lisieux" by Pierre Descouvemont and Helmuth Nils Loose. It has many photos of places she frequented, people she knew and artifacts she owned and family pictures not found elsewhere. I highly recommend it for St. Therese fans.

In one of the Therese books, I read that when she was in the convent and was on the "turn" that day to let a workman in, Tom happened to be passing by the convent. Tom ran to Therese and put his head under her skirts and was overjoyed. Therese was somewhat overcome herself and did shed some tears. Our families may understand us "leaving the world" but our dogs don't! I found that little vignette very touching when I came across it, because as a child I loved my pets too and I wondered how Therese handled leaving her dog.

This second picture is a blown up portion of a little day book she kept to note important dates. It notes that Tom has come to live with them. In the entry below, Therese records that she had her period. I didn't crop this part out, because sometimes people try to disassociate saints from the physical world - and it's useful to remember that they had to deal with everyday life just as we do. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. [I'm still not sure if some of my nuns in grade school ever had need of the restroom, but I'll take it on faith that they did!]

Monday, October 1, 2007

Faccio la Mamma nails me...

for having made her learn how to do links. ;-D She tagged me with this meme.

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?

Novus Ordo. Given that I'm lector at the 5:15 Sunday Mass at our parish, it's kind of hard to conquer that time/space continuum thing. [If I ever figure it out, you'll be the first to know after the Star Trek people.] Having been old enough to have experienced the Latin Mass myself pre-Vatican II, I can see why people can be drawn to that particular aesthetic, but as my "default" Mass it's not my preference.

The unchangeable Latin parts of the Mass would not bug me. But the changeable parts, I fear DO require diligence on the part of the Mass goer. I'd never be one to sit praying my beads during the Mass. Personally, I think that's all wrong, and it would behoove me to take the time and follow along in "real time." And I'd be lying if I said "Ad Orientem" didn't irritate me. There's a reason Jesus said Mass around a table. I don't understand the whole argument about the priest "not turning his back on God." Kind of hard to when he's got God Almighty in his own hands in front of him. While I feel for priests who may be a little "shy?" to face the people - my guess is "being looked at" goes with the territory.

As long as the priest doesn't "perform" I'm good. Mine doesn't. I do think people who are moved by the Latin Mass have been persecuted by more than a few bishops long enough. I have heard that St. John the Evangelist in San Diego will afford people who are Latin Mass fans the opportunity of regular attendance at a TLM Mass - which is more opportunity than certain bishops, who shall go nameless gave "the people." Beats a cemetery chapel, I dare say. [Can you tell I'm a real big fan of the San Diego bishop? He's not on my Christmas card list, and I'm not on his, but I doubt either one of us loses sleep over it.] In one of my earliest posts on the Daily Telegraph, I wrote about it a bit more, some people may find my priest's own experience with the Latin Mass interesting.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?

I don't. But if I wanted to, about 15 minutes, with traffic lights, assuming someone also didn't put his head up his backside while driving on interstate 8.

3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?

Catholic. Period. Any person "not in the know" regards Catholics being the patent holders of the term "Christian" gets a quick lesson.

4. Are you a comment junkie?

Sometimes - especially to encourage.

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?

Yes, in case I'm asked a question, or if the topic is a hot one and interesting discussion ensues.

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?

Never any negative anon. comments. I figure if you're going to throw down a gauntlet, it's CS to try and do it from behind a tree. I can see an anon. comment in certain rare instances. For instance, sometimes one of the priests is expounding on a moral point, and for clarification someone may want to post as "Jill of the Amazing Wolverine Tribe" that would be understood. I'm with Fr. Blake though. If you decide to be "anon" for heaven's sakes don't just be "anon" because you and 20 other people may decide to be "anon" and you'd need a scorecard to keep the players straight. Give the poor blogger and readers a break and give yourself a moniker.

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?

Oh, I have a wish list, but I don't want to jinx it. There is one person, in particular, that I did wish blogged. And that would be Dr. Peter Wright. I always find his comments interesting, I have a feeling I'd find his blog interesting, should he choose to do one.

8. Which blog is the first one you check?

Mine! Then depending how the mood strikes I either go top to bottom on my blog roll or bottom to top. SOMETIMES when I don't have a lot of time, I go to Mac's blog, to use her blog roll, so I can position my cursor over the names of the blogs we have in common, and I can quickly see who's posted something new. For a while there I wanted to throw Fr. Blake into Fr. Owl and Fr. Owl into Fr. Boyle and Fr. Boyle into Fr. Stephanos and Fr. Stephanos into Fr. Nova and then Fr. Nova into Fr. Blake and Fr. Blake into Tiscali, on general principle, because none of the 5 of them had posted much if anything for a while in September and Fr. Hermaneutic and Fr. Mildew were having to carry most of the "priest blogs" that I regularly follow. I enjoy OTSOTA blog a lot too, but his takes forever and a day to load. And I love Philip's blog. I'd put Mac's feature on my blog re: the "quick check" thing, but then I don't want my blog to take forever to load - it's bad enough when I put a youtube vid up.

If someone had/has a hot issue going, I usually check that one first.

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?

Fr. Stephanos a long, long time ago but only in passim and if he remembers it I'd be stunned. [Back in the early 90s I had time to attend evening vespers a lot - work in the early evenings has conspired against me lo these many years since then.] I *almost* introduced myself to him after Abbot Claude's funeral, but he came out to the burial plot to retrieve the holy water and take it back to the church, and I couldn't easily break off then from my friend Michele to hail Fr. S. 20 yards away - I figured I might run in to him at the reception which followed, but didn't.

10. What are you reading?

Bill Bryson's "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid"
Steven Suskind's "Second Act Trouble" (Behind the Scenes at Broadway's Big Musical Bombs) -- nothing fascinates like a train wreck.

I could lie and say I'm reading something really profound, like I finally have almost made it through City of God, but I'm not in the mood for a lightening strike or to fib and pick up a copy of some oeuvre by John Chrysostom. That's "winter reading" and I'm not there yet.

Bonus Question! Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?

They're not on my radar screen. I get the feeling though that if someone yelled "incoming" I wouldn't bother to duck. [In the same way as it's uncool to dive under a table and become unglued if an earthquake hits. The best thing to do to maintain a SoCal sang froid is to turn to one's dining partner and say: "I think that was about a 5.1, what do you think?"]

And now, like faccio - the greatest challenge; to find five people who haven't yet done the meme!

1. Fr. Stephanos

2. Fr. Mildew

3. Loved Sinner

4. Shoved to Them

5. Swiss Miss

If I missed any of you getting tagged on this one before, "oops" in advance. And if you want to do this meme and haven't done so yet, consider yourself tagged.

October Gave A Party

the leaves by hundreds came

Philip over at Carpe Canem notes that as a child he used to be more attuned to the seasons changing and his grandmother's custom of decorating the house with seasonal flowers. I expect he's right in that children can often look with wonderment at natural phenomenon in a more intense way than adults do. Adults are "use" to the changes, so often times we "forget" to really LOOK.

I took this picture in Northampton, Pa in late October a number of years back. I expect I can find better examples elsewhere - but this is a picture I like because you can see scarlet, red, orange, yellow and green all on the same tree.

I can't say I enjoy it getting darker now that fall is here, but I do miss gathering the fall leaves and putting them in a bowl of water to enjoy as I did when I was young. We don't have much of a fall here in southern California - the changes of season being much more subtle - i.e. drought, fire, monsoon, mudslide, earthquake, then drought again. When I was about 8, we were given a small book of poems to memorize. I do not know if children today learn this poem, but outside of Mother Goose Rhymes, this is the first poem I remember learning:

October’s Party
by George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came.
The Chestnuts, Oaks and Maples,
And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses maple
In scarlet looked their best.

All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then in the rustic hollow
At hide-and-seek they played;
The party closed at sundown
And everybody stayed.

Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

St. Jerome - Patron St. of Librarians

and grumpy people

I didn't want to let the day pass without acknowledging St. Jerome. St. Jerome gave us what was to become the Latin Vulgate. I've often been partial to him, because unlike a lot of saints, Jerome wasn't known for suffering fools gladly. He was a great scholar, and wasn't afraid of women with brains, as evidenced by his friendship with St. Paula. I think I'd have liked St. Jerome in real life, and I hope he'd have liked me too. I'm partial to the doctors of the church. I love St. Therese of Lisieux, but I don't think I could have bitched up a storm with her, like I could have with St. Jerome.

The picture's by Colantonio. St. Jerome is pulling a thorn from the lion's paw. They look like they understand each other.

Happy Birthday to my friend Christine, whose birthday falls on St. Jerome's feast day. She's a librarian too.
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