Search This Blog

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Blogger - Adrienne's Catholic Corner

Drop by and say "Howdy"

to Adrienne at her Catholic Corner. Her blog is delightful. She lives in Northern Idaho, and is involved with teaching RCIA and Confirmation Classes. I loved this post of hers regards the cat with persistence.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mohamedans, Teddy Bears, and Dogs

Well, I under-
stand from the blogo-
sphere some Muslims are upset because somewhere someone has named a Teddy Bear after Mohamed.

These people don't know when they're well off. In some quarters this calls for taking up jihad. These are the same people who often name their sons after Mohamed. This same kid might grow up to be a nice person, or he might grow up to have the distinction of putting a bomb vest on himself and detonating it to allegedly honor the same.

[Update: Click here to check out this hysterical ebay listing someone just sent me.]

I would think if a person REALLY set out to tick off the Muslims, he'd be much more creative - this might run to naming a dog after Mohamed. Think of the apoplexy your Muslim neighbor might have with the following:

Mohamed, get DOWN off the couch, DOWN I say.

Mohamed, roll over.

Mohamed, fetch my slippers, the paper, and a beer from the fridge for me.

Mohamed, stay.

Mohamed, stop slobbering.

Mohamed, lie down.

Mohamed, don't whiz on the carpet.

Mohamed, beg.

Mohamed, let's go walkies.

Mohamed, stop trying to procreate with the furniture.

Mohamed, stop licking your b---s.


(Saw this guy making the rounds over at


One of Life's Mysteries - Strong Altar Wine

I don't know what the altar wine is like at your church, but at mine we use Cribari. This "stuff" and I use the word with caution, is high in alcohol volume - well up over 20%. MOST table wines have an alcohol content of 9%-11%. It's not just this brand either, over the years we've used other brands, but the alcohol volume is particularly high. I've been filling cruets for about 33 years now -- and I'm jiggered if I know why the alcohol content is so high, comparatively speaking. Is it so strong to guarantee any germs being killed off? Why so? Inquiring minds wanna know.

(My private speculation is it's so strong to keep the altar servers from even *thinking* of swiping any.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gang Way World, Get Off of My Runway

A virtual gold star for anyone who knows where the blog title comes from.

If you know what's good for you, stay off the road, I've gotta use it. And I hope the bosses called in sick tonight, because I am not in the mood for their B.S.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Of Penance Services, Sharks, and Liturgists

Last night after Mass, as I was walking with the venerable Msgr. S. out to the parking lot, the conversation fell upon the subject of the modern Penance service. I remarked that I hate going to those things, and refuse to go to them any longer, on the grounds that when I committed the sin in the first place, I didn't need anybody's help to commit the sin, so I should be big enough, all by my lonesome to go to Confession on my own.

Father has remarked in the past that he hates those services too - as sometimes things really serious can come up, and something where the "line is expected to keep moving at a rapid clip" isn't what's always what's best for the penitent by a long shot.

We are both in agreement about modern liturgists:

What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist.

If a liturgist falls into the sea and is surrounded by sharks, why doesn't he have to worry about being eaten? Professional courtesy.

oh, and:

If a liturgist is riding in a bus, and the bus goes over a cliff, what's sad about this scenario? There was room for 59 other liturgists.

Rodger on the Lessons and Carols


(A kudos to anyone who can sight read this well enough to know what it is without playing it.)

Our choir, for the first time ever, is going to have a joint "Lessons and Carols" service on Saturday, Dec. 15 with the added strength of an adjacent parish. It will start at 3 p.m., followed by a little reception, then Sat. vigil Mass - so if you're in Old Town in San Diego, drop by. [Capisce, Digi & AA?]

I've often had "Lessons and Carols envy" for these delightful services put on by our Anglican friends. I hope it goes well. I was unaware of such things until about 15-20 years ago when I ran across a Video tape of a "Lessons and Carols Service" by King's Choir, Cambridge. The video had the 9 lessons and Carols, and also had a nice segment about the school where choir boys are trained.

The English have a traditional song "Once in Royal David's City" that is quite unknown to the average American - (odd, because there are other British Carols well known in these parts, but not that one.) Is that song often done in English *Catholic* churches too?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy 38th Birthday to Philip

Freeze right there, buster

Philip, over at Carpe Canem, didn't mention on his blog that his 38th birthday was Sat, the 24th. He did let it slip, though, over in Nova's comment box. He seems a little non-
plussed at having turned the ripe old age of 38.

Honey, 38 is nothing. Your get up and go hasn't got up and left. Who said you had to use base 10 anyway when counting your birthdays? In hexcidecimal, you're only 24.

Now that I know, next year I'll have enough time to go down to Tijuana and have this rendered in black velvet - "they" can also make sure Sienna is one of the players, and for good measure Jesus and Elvis can be added too. I can get it for either 7 bucks or 348 bucks, depending how sharp a trader I am.

Hope your birthday was aces!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Get it Right this Year

Okay, listen up: I'm only going to go over this with you once more. It's early. There's plenty of time to get the right elf crew on this. For the last time: A PONY. A brown and white pony. I don't need no stinkin' butt ugly dolls coming my way from a certain relative, who shall go nameless.

If you have to contract the work out, use a reliable supplier this year. In other words, don't use dad's mom, like you did last year.

A PONY. (ONE) Brown and White. Not White. Not Brown. Brown and White. And a cowgirl outfit to go along with that pony would be keen too. And make sure there's lots of fringe on the outfit. I gotta hot date lined up for New Year's Eve.

(That's right! Mrs. Claus must have helped out out big time!)

And please. No more black and white checked leggings. They are so "last year." Dior wouldn't be caught dead in them.

(Gee, Karen, tell us how you really feel!)

Too bad when you're older, you're expected to "make nice." Life was a lot simpler and less PC then.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

One of my favorite US holidays is Thanks-
giving because everyone, other than the most curmud-
geonly of atheists celebrate it in the spirit it was intended. Most know the story of how the pilgrims in New England did undergo great hardship that first winter, the Native Indians helped them, and a great feast was celebrated and thanks were given to Almighty God. This day can be said to be the most ecumenical day of our civic year, in that it does not matter if one is Catholic, Jew, Protestant, Muslim, or other religion, it's celebrated in the original spirit - thanks are still given to the blessing bestowed on all of us and our nation. All Americans should know that contrary to the PC crowd which try and suppress expressions of religious celebration, the founding Fathers knew what kind of nation we ought to be, and G. Washington proclaimed this New England custom a national holiday - to wit:

Thanksgiving Proclamation

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington


A blessed and Happy Thanksgiving to you and Yours.



Northampton Konkrete Kids 41, Catasauqua Rough Riders 7

I didn't get to see this one, but I was there in spirit. Hurray for the K-Kids! 6,000 plus were at the game in eastern Penna. In other words, a considerable portion of both towns. They've been playing for 85 years now, 80 games on Thanksgiving day itself. It's one of the oldest high school rivalries in the country. (We watch a lot of football on Thanksgiving too!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Those Crazy Canucks!!!

And I say it with all fond-
God, I really needed a laugh today, and Angela Messenger provided one for me. Don't fail to miss her Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart.

We Canadians and Americans (yes, we're going to irritate you Canucks by claiming possession of the word "Americans") sometimes have our sibling squabbles --

US: "Will you guys quit sending those arctic blasts our way?"
Canada: "Stop stealing our best hockey players, you couldn't get a home grown one to save your souls."

US: "Well, at least stop sending all those guys in sheets from coming over your borders."
Canada: "We will if you stop sending the illegal Alien Mexicans - the Yukon can only support so many paper flower and orange vendors."

US: "How come you get so upset when Europeans can't tell your accents from ours?*"
Canada: "Because even we run out of red thread sewing our flag on our backpacks, we just want to hitch a ride in Switzerland, and not get dumped on because you people have a scorched earth policy, cut us a break, eh?"

But on this eve of Thanksgiving, I am remembering and being grateful to our
Friendly Neighbors to the North.

Canada, I am one American who does not forget that when the US embassy in Iran was over run in late 1979 in all the confusion you hid a large number of US diplomats and citizens in your embassy compound. We had a hostage crisis for 444 days, but your actions at that time were truly noble. You risked your own necks in giving those you were able to hide false Canadian identity papers, and managed to keep them from the Iranians.

You weren't a bit more clairvoyant than we were as to what was going to happen to our diplomatic personnel, and you went out of your way to help us, endangering yourselves.

All friendly back and forth all-in-good-fun-
snipping aside, I thank you for helping us then. I thank you for standing against terrorism with us now.

AND THANK YOU for opening up your homes and putting up thousands of our citizens along with citizens from many nations on September 11 and the days immediately following.


*(The reason it DID work was because if even we ourselves can't tell each other apart unless we're really "listening" and our British friends have a hard enough time discerning our accents - the Iranians didn't stand a chance. Neener-neener, we were right you DO sound like us! Or do we sound like you ;-D )

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday, Fr. Ray Blake

Last month when I was looking at Fr. Blake's archives, I came across a post where Father Blake lamented that his birthdate (so he thought) fell on a bad day - the death of Catholic England, when Mary Ist died (Nov. 17, 1588) and was succeeded by her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth the first. Father noted that he usually kept this day as a fast day, and also said that there was other unhappy news of that day because the Bolshevik party was also created on that day in 1903. I'm happy to report that the good Father can have his birthday back.

I've always been fascinated by various calendar systems, and it occurred to me then that Father forgot to take into account the fact that Mary I's death date was by the JULIAN calendar and Father's Birthday is dated on the GREGORIAN calendar, England changing to the Gregorian calendar in the 1750s. He also doesn't have to worry about his birthday coinciding with the birth date of Bolshevism -- the Russkies were still on the Julian calendar until 1918.

I'm sorry I was having one of those "but other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play" weeks last week, otherwise I'd have mentioned it on Saturday, and he could have had a piece of cake and reclaimed his birthday as a happy occasion. He deserves it, because he's an all around good guy. Remember that next year, okay Father? Instead of playing songs in minor keys, think of this one.

On a more serious note, Fr. Blake has a fine sensitivity in remembering those around the world who are persecuted and sometimes killed for practicing their faith. He frequently mentions them in his blog.

This past Sunday night, I was speaking with our two young altar servers after Mass, and was telling them that at times when it is hard for them to remain focused on the sermon (our priest gives rather long sermons, and not always ones that a 10 year old can follow) to please say a prayer for people who live in countries where people can be killed for going to Mass. This was news to them.

I'm afraid that in our western societies nowadays children (and often adults) don't stop to thank God they live in a place where they can worship God in peace. Is there a good prayer a young person can say specifically to pray for the persecuted? If Father Blake has one, or anyone else for that matter, I'd appreciated it. I'd sure like to pass it along. If Father would like to come up with one, I'd be grateful.

Monday, November 19, 2007



There has been a shocking abuse of 3 pro-life young men who were trying to organize a prolife group on at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, Ca. They were roughed up by police, jailed, abused, one had a recorder stolen.

Please follow the link and publicize it on your blog. DON'T let these so-called "officers of the law" abuse their privileges and hide in the dark. Call. Protest. Write. Spread the word. I called the campus police number myself and said I would publicize this to the hilt. I remained polite, but firm and gave my name. I suggest you do the same. Especially those of us in SoCal. Let them KNOW they can not get away with abusing our first amendment rights. Those who did this should not be in law enforcement ANYWHERE.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Modern Technology has its Victories!

Adele, at Journey to Therese reported the wonder-
ful news that her daughter Therese now has hearing aids and the toddler is now transformed. Adele and her husband in the past year have adopted Therese from a Chinese orphanage. They have 3 other young children, one a newborn. If you've not run across her blog before, it's a real joy to read. I was fascinated going through all her posts a few months back on the lengthy adoption process they had with Therese - they'd only recently found out about her serious hearing deficiency and earlier this week the child received them.

So often modern technology can be used for bad things, which I won't go into here. But it's wonderful to see that a lot of times technology can change someone's life for the better.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ladies: Great Anglo-American Tag Team Co-operation

Are the guys reading this?

It said "ladies" so let's let them think it's "girl talk."

Guys, it is. Really.

Are we alone now? Let's give them a moment to leave. Are they gone? Okay. Yeah, they're gone.


Jackie, great way to start the ball rolling on Operation Pyotr - you and my mom were right. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Stephanie, Mac, and newhousenewjob - you all contributed to keeping the ball in play by rachetting up the food angle. We all know how successful the recent newhousenewjobnewman operation was. We even got a man to unwittingly add to the cover by chiming in. Swissmiss your timing was PERFECT coming in like that. Talk about the hit by the safety to keep the prey from getting away. The Minnesota Vikings could take lessons. [For you UK gals in US football the safety is the last defensive man, in this case gal, on the field that can stop the opposition from running away downfield.]

Okay, you ladies stay to the edges of the field and keep him on the field while I go in for the tie down. I think I have enough rope, but I may need a little help with the pigging string.

You're all invited. It will be a compromise Mass. TLM said FACING the people. The groom and I will be asking Fr. Ray Blake, Fr. Stephanos and my own priest, Msgr. S., to be the troika for same. People who want to turn around away from the priests can so they don't have to look at the priests during the Nuptial Mass - but those who want to look, can. The groom has to face me at the vows part though, otherwise you guys will take bets at the reception as to how long it will last. And the hor d'oeuvres will be those whiskey ball thingies that were used as bait to cut the groom from the herd in the first place.

And "they" said the Anglo-Alliance was dead. FDR and Churchill couldn't have done better.


Oh, and for those of you who came late to the party, the relevant threads are:

(In rough order)
#1 My post re: the Whiskey Holiday Balls , also now known as "Operation Pyotr"
#2 Fr. Blake's celibacy post
#3 Fr. Tim's post about TLM and focus.

So far the object of my cyber affection is co-operating very nicely. I don't think he quite knows what hit him yet. He's still in that bemused state. They're so cute when they're like that.

And don't miss this movie clip referenced in post #1. It's a dilly. (Those of you with dial-up will want to use on that one.)


It also looks like Fr. Erik is on board. He'll be arranging the perimeter security at the reception so the gate crashers don't make off with the booze. He also has the mission of riding shotgun in the limo afterwards. The latter is a somewhat covert dual mission, as it's best the bridegroom not be unduly alarmed. As you can see by his post here, he has an excellent sense of what sort of rock and roll pieces should be played at the reception.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Praying for others as opposed to praying for yourself

Is it just me? I have always found it very difficult to pray for my own needs and have always found it much easier to pray for others. I wonder why this is so. Is it a fear of maybe not trusting in the Lord? Or being afraid of being "disappointed" or subconscious fear that maybe my little problems comparatively speaking are too trival to bother the Almighty with? I don't pray for things like "give me the winning lottery numbers" - the one thing I can seem to pray for for myself is for God to give me strength to get through whatever it is I need to get through, and that seems to usually be given in the end, but I almost fear to pray for anything else. Do other people feel this way? Is it common or uncommon?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Turkey Day minus Eight

On some farms all across America right now....

The panic starts to set in....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Appealing movies with Military Themes / Backgrounds

My mom and dad and I always were partial to movies which were placed in a war or military setting. Some of these movies are serious, some frivolous, some a combination of both - but here were some favorites:

Stalag 17: Starring William Holden - first a stage play on Broadway, then translated to screen and directed by Billy Wilder. It's set in a German prisoner of War camp for US non-coms. Otto Preminger plays the commandant. This film has the best mixture of serious plot, with broad touches of humor. The Germans have placed an informer in the camp. The ever cynical Bill Holden gets to the bottom of it - but not first without being himself accused and beaten up. Watching Holden figure out who the guilty party really is -- and then trying to figure out how to trap and punish the same is riveting. It's one of those movies where every time you watch it you see something you didn't notice before.

The clip above is a little under 3 minutes long. It's the "Mouse Race" scene - one of the lighter moments.

Casablanca: Round up the Usual Suspects. Of all the gin-joints in the world....

The Great Escape: Based on true story of Mass escape from German prisoner of War camp. International cast. A true classic and fine performances.

Patton: The opening speech alone is a favorite. You can see it here. (Longish at 6 minutes, you can use to download if you have dial-up.) This movie covers from when Patton took over command of US forces in Africa, and covers through the end of WWII. A real tour de force. Patton's ego's bigger than all of Texas and Alaska combined ... but what's not to like about a prima donna who admits it?

The Longest Day: All about D-Day - multinational cast with some fine performances all around. I especially enjoyed the light relief moment when the English Chaplain loses his Mass kit when his team landed off course in waist deep water. They managed to find it. Everyone from Hank Fonda, Richard Burton, Peter Lawford and a similar cornucopia of talent....

The D.I. - With Jack Webb as a Marine Drill Instructor at Parris Island. He's got 79 "headaches" the biggest one a quitter whose brothers and father were honored vets. Turns out his mom doesn't want a little boy either - but expects her youngest son to finally come through. You can see the opening 5 minutes here.

From Here to Eternity: About the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The beach romance scene is often parodied. Not for the youngest kids, but teens and up can enjoy it.

Tora! Tora! Tora! -- here's what you do if you want to get your country nuked. About Pearl Harbor - some historic film footage used.

Mr. Roberts: XO Hank Fonda vs. tyrant Capt. played by James Cagney. Fonda plays Roberts, who is the chief reason why his ship has such a great record keeping the front line troops supplied with material goods. Roberts is not happy being out of the action, and continually tries to get the Captain to release him for combat duty. The Captain, knows Roberts does the work most likely to get the Captain an increase in rank, so he refuses a transfer. The captain denies port liberty to the men, and Roberts is blackmailed to get liberty for the men by shutting about about wanting a transfer. He is not to comply. On VE day, he HAS it though, having "missed the war" and he fears he'll never get to fight. He throws the captain's prized palm tree overboard, and it comes out that Roberts, far from "playing ball" with the old man, has sacrificed so the men could have liberty. The whole crew has a "Captain's name signing contest" to forge the captain's approval for transfer. Roberts gets his wish - and his destiny. Jack Lennon is in it too. Hero worships Doug - but is personally afraid of the captain. The scene where the laundry blows up is not to be missed. If you can find the original book, it's wonderful. You can see about 7 minutes of the "liberty" scene here.

Operation Petticoat: Cary Grant, Tony Curtis. Cary takes over a recently repaired submarine and Tony is a playboy wheeler dealer assigned to him. Tony's motto is "Where there's confusion, there's a profit to be made." The guys, while in port are hosting Navy Nurses for a holiday meal, while they are surfaced. They are strafed and have to clear the decks and get out of there - they have to take the nurses - and the expected hilarity ensues. Terrifically fun movie - and you can show it to 10 year olds too. Lord knows the Hollywood of today wouldn't know how to keep it "family."

Father Goose: Cary Grant is shang-hied into being a Pacific Coast watcher in a danger zone. He gets sent to rescue another coast watcher; but ends up with the stranded Leslie Caron, and her 7 boarding school children. Predictably "Goody Two shoes" falls in love with "The Filthy Beast." Great fun all the same. This was one of my favorites growing up. And I can remember mom walking me "uptown" to see it at one of the fine old long-gone movie palaces in Allentown shortly after it opened.

Kelly's Heroes: Screwball comedy - some Germans got a stash of gold, and these renegades are going to get some of it. Donald Sutherland and Don Rickles and a cast of zillions.

Von Ryan's Express: Men released from an Italian prisoner of War camp end up commandeering a German train and have to make it through Germany and into Switzerland. One of the best scenes is the Anglican chaplain having to fake being a German officer. Multinational cast.

Bridge on the River Kwai: Pride, baby, pride. Show of hands here: How many of you know the parody song sung to the theme song? It involves "Comet" and "Vomit." Do 10 year olds change much?

Yanks: About US troops in the UK before D-Day. Three romances, with different outcomes. Very enjoyable to see the interaction of cultures. A few brief scenes not suitable for younger children.

Mrs. Miniver: About the effects of WWII on an English family. Done during the early years of WWII. It shows the English at their stiff upper lift best. Was a book first.

Enchantment: David Niven. Teresa Wright. An orphan girl comes to live with an English family, and a budding romance between Niven and Wright is shortcut by conniving sister. Wright marries another, but the Niven (now a retired general) has his American great niece come to visit him during WWII. Wright's Canadian grandson meets the niece - and these two fall in love. Lots of flashbacks. Very endearing. One of Niven's best performances - as a young officer, and as an old general.

Hope and Glory -- I think this is terrific. About the British home front during WWII - a more recent vintage, but superb performances. A few scenes are not appropriate for younger children. War scene through the eyes of a young boy and his family. My mother and I particularly enjoyed Alec Guiness as the curmudgeonly grandfather.

Canterville Ghost: Charles Laughton as a 17th century ghost. Lady of the manor played by youngster Margaret O'Brien ... Americans (including Robert Taylor) are billeted in an English manor, inhabited by a Ghost - who is not allowed his final rest because he was a coward in keeping up the family honor. A "kinsman" must avenge and the family before the Ghost can rest. Turns out Robert Taylor is a distant relative, as evidenced by the family birthmark - and the young Lady and her ghost relative are counting on Cuffy not to be a coward. At first he fails in battle, but later redeems himself. Quite fun.

The Patriot: Okay, you British readers can skip this one. Loosely based on US Marion Francis and British Dragoon Tavistock. Mel Gibson's family drawn into Revolutionary War. Dad was a hero of the French and Indian War - but we don't find out until later why. Many good performances. Story line a little pat and idealistic. But it "works for me."

The Crossing: Excellent movie regards George Washington's crossing the Delaware with his troops to fight the Battle of Trenton. The US forces were at its lowest ebb. And attacked the German held garrison town and won a great victory - prompting the colonies to stay with the fight, rather than throw it in. Great performances, and shows Washington as a forceful character. Too often Americans think of Washington as that weakly looking gentleman on the dollar bill - but this movie probably gives a true to life performance of what the real man was like. Exceedingly tall and fit, and an expert horseman who exhibited leadership and had a disregard for personal safety time and again.

Secret of Santa Vittoria: The Italians have a stash of millions of bottles of wine. The Germans are approaching. They hide it. Anthony Quinn is the mayor - who, infuriatingly won't give up the secret of where the wine is hidden. Even as the Germans are pulling out and the commander threatens to kill him. The German commander threatens him in front of the whole gathered village: "Isn't anyone going to tell me? Not even the priest? You'd rather see him DIE? -- What kind of people ARE you?" They leave in disgust - the secret being kept. There's a tense moment with all in town looking at Quinn - he at them -- then Quinn mocks the commander "What kind of people are you?" Everyone breaks up into laughter.

Gone with the Wind: Not a war movie per se, but set in that backdrop. How can any red-blooded woman fail to go weak in the knees at what Rhett Butler says to Scarlett before he kisses her for the first time? How could the stomach not sink at the famous pull back shot of the wounded in the Atlanta train yard? Who doesn't get a lump in the throat at the dying boy dictating a letter to his mother in the hospital? Who doesn't hear the heartbreak when all the names are announced at those lost at Gettysburg? Who can't feel for Melly and Ashley when he makes his way up the driveway after the war? Who doesn't see the poignancy of the old soldier slinging the young soldier over his shoulders and carrying him as if carrying a child in the retreat?
Who can fail to admire Melanie Wilkes for picking up a sword in her weakened state, to come to the aid of Scarlett, not realizing at first it was Scarlett who killed the marauding stray Union soldier and not the other way around? You can see 8 minutes of Rhett and Scarlett getting out of Atlanta - followed by THE movie kiss of all time here. Sharp eyed viewers will catch the fact that though Rhett threw his hat on the ground before the kiss, it was conveniently on the fence post after the kiss. Maybe the horse kicked it up there. First "continuity" flub I ever caught at age 10. It was a big deal to be taken to a theatre re-release with a friend and I and our moms.

Gallipoli: Australian, starring Mel Gibson and it has a great cast. Austrailian boys join up with the ANZAC forces in Turkey. Very compelling in its directness and vivid performances. The first time I saw this I suddenly realized that at least one of the main characters was bound to come to a tragic end - the question was which one? Or both? Also a good mix of a drama with many funny and toucing moments.

Trivia question: In which movie above was Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind parodied?

These are my personal top films in this category. I know there are other movies, many of recent vintage, that others may like -- feel free to add your favorites.

Trivia answer: The movie was Stalag 17. Two downed airmen get thrown in the jug, and one of them does imitations. In this case: "Now see here, Scarlett, I give you kisses for lunch, and kisses for dinner, but now I find you've been eating out."

Thank You Veterans

Today is Vet-
erans Day in the US.
This is the day we thank all who have served in the Armed Forces [For my UK readers, we have a Memorial Day in May that is closer to your Remembrance Day.]

I'd like to honor my close relatives who served in the military:

Edward H. Horn: US Air Force reg/. Navy Reserve (Korea)

Andrew Shelak, Sr.: US Army (WWI)

Andrew Shelak, Jr.: US Army (Korea)
John Shelak, Sr.: US Marine Corp (WWII)
John Sawka, Sr.: US Navy (WWII)
Joseph Michur: US Army (WWII)
Rowland Kreglow: US Marine Corp (Korea)
Leonard Chowansky: US Army (Korea)

John Shelak, Jr.: US Army (Vietnam)
James Shelak: US Army (Vietnam)
John Sawka, Jr. US Army (Vietnam)
Andrew Sawka: US Marine Corp (Vietnam)

There were also more Andrews, Johns, and Joes in the family + two other cousins with the same first and last names, plus a couple of Michaels. When talking each other sometimes we had to be really specific about which "John, Andy or Joe" you meant! Growing up I always assumed "everybody's" dad or uncle or cousin had served. And with a lot of my friends, that was so. [Being born in the 50s pretty much guaranteed that that would be the case a lot of the time.] But I find that's not the case as much any more.

90th Psalm Douay-Rheims

1 The praise of a canticle for David. He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob. 2 He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust. 3 For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word. 4 He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust. 5 His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.

6 Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 But thou shalt consider with thy eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou, O Lord, art my hope: thou hast made the most High thy refuge. 10 There shall no evil come to thee: nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.

11 For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon. 14 Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name. 15 He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.

16 I will fill him with length of days; and I will shew him my salvation.

(The picture is of Washington Praying at Valley Forge.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy 232rd Birthday, United States Marine Corp

Most of these Marines would be in their late 40s or early 50s now, but I took a photo of them in the prime of their young manhood. The occasion was the visit of Queen Elizabeth's visit to San Diego in the early 1980s.

There is a very nice thread about the US Marine Corp here, regards the founding of the USMC and their traditions. I'd like to acknowledge three members of my family who have served in the Marines: Uncles John Shelak (a veteran of Guadalcanal), now deceased, and Rowland Kreglow (one of the frozen Chosin), and my cousin Andrew Sawka (Vietnam era.)

As most of you who have had service members who have fought in battles know: these people tend to be very quiet about their service days, unless talking among themselves, or if a younger family member directly asks. I was in my 20s before I realized that my Godfather, my uncle Rowland, had been a frozen Chosin. I happened to be looking closely at one of his hands and noticed an extra "knuckle" around the base of his thumb. I asked him about it. It was shrapnel he still carried from that engagement. I'd known for years that he'd been a Marine, during the Korean War and served all up and down the Korean Peninsula - but didn't realize he had a Purple Heart from his service there. My uncle said the shrapnel in his hand didn't give him trouble - I expect he's opted to keep it in there out of wordless tribute to doubtless fallen comrades. It was not a question I dared ask. In talking later with my cousin Michael about it, he told me his dad never talked about the service, unless pressed.

On this day, I think the prayer to St. Michael is most appropriate:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits
who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

Although the custom of saying this prayer after the low Masses seems to have gone away after Vatican II, I am happy to say that when I have had occasion to attend Mass on a military base, this prayer was said.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mulier Fortis: Healthy Living

Mulier Fortis: Healthy Living

Don't miss Mac's
very funny post regards tips on staying healthy. I think she might have missed a few notes regards keeping track of food intake:

1. BROKEN cookies (biscuits to you nice British folk) have NO calories. They escape in the process of breaking.

2. Ethnic food has NO calories. This especially applies to Italian food, homemade bread, pierogies and halupkies.

3. ANYTHING eaten in a dark kitchen past 1 a.m. - WHILE standing up -- has NO Calories.

4. Sara Lee Cheesecake? NO CALORIES. Particularly not if not yet thawed out.

5. Popcorn? NO CALORIES ...

6. Anything eaten on Thanksgiving Day? NO CALORIES! It's on the 22nd this year - you Brits are invited to partake in this "gimme" as it was your pilgrims who originally discovered this phenomenon. And because I'm such a nice person (usually) I'm designating that anyone who reads this post, even the French, although God knows they shoot people over size 2, also get a "gimme." How they eat all that fois gras, cheese and beef whatever and remain rail thin is one of God's mysteries - not unlike Zulu warriors with perfect teeth who never have gone near a dentist.

7. Don't have your glasses on or your contact lenses in? You can't see the calories, means you don't eat them.

8. Cold pizza? NO CALORIES.....especially if it has mushrooms, pepperonies and anchovies - followed by a beer chaser. Doubly true if finishing a pizza from the night before.

9. Holiday Rum balls? ABSOLUTELY NO CALORIES. Fattening as hell, but you burn off the equivalent of calories just making the damn things - so it's a virtual wash. In the holiday spirit, I share the recipe for "Hard Liquor balls" put out by the nice people who compiled George Washington's Mount Vernon Cookbook. Basic. Simple. Addictive as all get out.

Important: IT IS VITAL TO KEEP ONE HAND ABSOLUTELY DRY ONCE YOU'VE ADDED THE DARK CORN SYRUP. Otherwise you will make one unGodly mess. You need the "dry hand" to handle adding the whiskey, etc. I promise. No foolin'. It's early to be consuming Whiskey balls, but the hell with it. It's dark early...these are MEDICINAL. And because it was from the source it's from: NO CALORIES.


1 box Vanilla wafers
. CRUSHED. Leave them in the bag and pound 'em with a rolling pin or your hand or whatever's handy, then put in mixing bowl. I use Nabisco. Do I LOOK like I know the size? It's that standard size box. Do I LOOK like Betty Crocker ? Don't use cheap house brand vanilla wafers. They taste like hell. TRUST me.
3 tablespoons cocoa.
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup. I use Karo, or Caro, or however the heck it's spelled.
If you're one of those "nut people" add about 1.5 cups of chopped pecans. Otherwise SKIP it. I SKIP it.
Now, mix the heck out of this stuff, USING ONLY ONE HAND. Once you are SURE you have made a mess, and this stuff will NEVER come off your hand. Start adding liquor. I far and away prefer whiskey, whiskey being "the real deal" and rum fit for such drinks as chi-chis and things that have an umbrella. It's for a HOLIDAY, so keep it traditional. How much? UNTIL IT "FEELS" right. i.e. not too watery at all. But enough to hold this admixture together. Now with one hand, make a roundish ball, somewhat smaller than a ping-pong ball. Next, on a plate that you have already laid out with powdered sugar, roll this sucker in the powdered sugar. Miraculously, the powdered sugar makes this mess behave in your hand and you may put on a plate. Add your liquor gradually. If you guess, guess "light" you can always add more if needed, but you can't extract it. Duh. The beauty of these things are, that if your guests get ANY they can consider themselves lucky. IF you and a friend make them, I guarantee you they will be lucky to see any laid out on the table. As a matter of fact, plan on making TWO batches. One a private stash for you and your helper, if any...the other for the guests. They are best chilled for a bit.

Digihairshirt reminds me of something important:
You forgot my own scientific finding that ANYTHING EATEN FOR CHARITY HAS NO CALORIES.

Church pot luck dinners? Zip. Girl Scout cookies? Nada. School candy sales? Nichevo. [Let's not forget the Yiddish: BUPKIS" - kh]

I believe it was St. Bedworth the Chunky who wrote in the 6th century:

"Verily I say unto you, o brethren, that Our Lord in His Divine Mercy doth eraseth all Matter and Vapors from such food when eaten in Charity and Love, or with a Prepared Sauce of pigeon breasts. Now, please pass the Confits . . ."

Update 2:


As long as you drink a diet soda with it, you can eat whatever you like calorie-free.

Mac McLernon:

Any food eaten off someone else's plate has no calories... the calories stick to the plate."

Update 3:


"any food eaten on vacation (holiday) has no calories. Or any food you graciously choke down to not offend your mother-in-law has no calories :)"

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Happy 108th Birthday

Paraska (Theresa) Roman
Nov. 5, 1899 - Feb. 18, 1991

If my grandmother had lived she'd have been 108 on Nov. 5, 2007. The best thing my mother ever gave me was my faith. She got it from her mother. My grammy emmigrated from Vysnapolanka, Slovakia and landed in the port of New York Sept 6, 1920. The name of the village translates to "high field." She had made the trip alone, and continued on to her sister and brother-in-law in Cleveland, Ohio. I once found the town of her birth on a detailed map. It sits in the Tatra Mountains almost directly north of the town of Presov - it is within a few miles of the present Slovak/Polish border.

Her father visited the US once after she immigrated, but she never saw her mother or most of her siblings again. I had looked up her immigration record at - it's free, and you can do a screen capture, if you have relatives that came through that port. I see that she traveled on the ship Imperator, and had paid for her own passage. The ship was later known as the Berengaria. It's a curiously odd sensation seeing the family history confirmed in official records, and because of this record I know the address to which she went. I am glad to note she had no plans on overthrowing the US government. I do remember asking her years ago if she had any apprehension, or long wait at Ellis Island. She told me "no, I was in and out of there before I knew it."

The picture above is her passport picture. I was told the blouse was white, the vest red and the scarf bright blue. She told me when she was growing up when the had material the girls in the town all got a similar skirt made. She met my grandfather, Andrew Shelak, in Cleveland and they married and later moved to Pennsylvania, where they raised 7 children. My maternal Grandfather was born in what is now Tarnov Krasno, Poland. They were both born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and were of Ukrainian heritage (with some Polish and Slovak thrown in the admixture.)

Below is a picture of her in her early 80s - she'd made a casual afternoon lunch for Easter. Easter was and always has been our favorite holiday. As great a holiday as Christmas is, it was and is a far distant 2nd best to Easter. She made the most wonderful foods - my favorite, being homemade bread, which can be seen in abundance here.

Easter, April, 1981

When I was very small, after my grandfather had died when I was 5, I sometimes got to sleep with my grandmother. She'd had had a hip operation shortly after he died in April of 1962, and that spring and summer we lived with her briefly while she recovered. I still consider that one of the best times of my life. Before bedtime, she would slowly say the Our Father in Ukrainian, and I would repeat it with her. My grandparents were eastern rite Catholics. My grandmother always kept a church calendar, and observed the stricter fast rules. I used to love looking at the calendar for Eastern Rite saints. Her nickname derived from "St. Paraskevia."

I can remember how much pleasure it gave her to comb my hair - though I didn't always appreciate the 100 strokes at the time. She did indulge my liking for the wild rabbits in that she didn't shoo them away when I was around - though they did plague her vegetable patch. In the evenings we'd watch television together. Her favorite was Jimmy Durante. She always enjoyed his sign off line: "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are." I've always been partial to his Inka-Dinka-Do♫ number myself. I defy anyone to remain in a bad mood after hearing it. Whenever we went for a ride in the car, she always called the "the machine." Years later, when I took Russian, I was delighted to find that they call a car "a machine."

The picture below is one of the few I have with both grandparents and me. The occasion was my youngest uncle Joe's 8th grade graduation. It was taken in the spring of 1960.

The sun was in my eyes!

Although we grandchildren didn't always obey our own parents, it would have been unthinkable for us, nor would it ever have occurred to any one of us to leave any request of our grandparents unheeded! I still miss her very much to this day. I miss my grandfather too - he had the most firm but gentle touch of any man I've known. I wish I'd gotten to know him better, but I suppose I am lucky in that some of my cousins never got to know him at all. I am very proud that they were my grandparents.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Guy Fawkes Day - Sorta

I hope none of my English Catholic readers takes offense - I wanted to acknowledge your National Holiday and say how much I enjoy having you all as visitors. I gather the anti-popery that sometimes comes with some people celebrating this occasion is tough to swallow - but, hopefully, in most circles that taint is off and people can just mark the day with thanks that they are a free nation. And it is in that spirit that I wish you all a Happy 5th!

I was reading Daniel Hannan's blog in the Daily Telegraph, the full thread of which you can see here. One commentator, Mark K., I think had a fascinating observation which I quote:


Here is food for thought, to show how this country has become more tolerant.

If the persecutions to which Catholics had been subjected for several centuries had been re-applied to Muslims today, this would be the result:

2005 Foiled Al-Qaeda plot to blow up parliament.

2006 on - Muslims forced to renounce faith, mosques closed down.

2007 New national holiday where a replica of Mecca and an effigy of Mohammed or an imam are burned in public.

2020-2050 Religious police to raid suspected Muslim homes and imprison any family harbouring imams.

2078 Laws against Muslims generally relaxed, but a hoax "Islamist Al Qaeda plot" whipped up by government leads to rioting in the streets and resurgence of anti-Islamic feeling. Test Act bars any Muslim from holding public office

2101 Act of Settlement Mark Two - no heir to the throne allowed to marry a Muslim.

2229 Repeal of Test Act - Muslims no longer barred from public office.

2250 Muslim Council of Britain re-established.

P.S. The brains behind the Gunpowder Plot was a very English gentleman, Robert Catesby."

Food for thought for sure!

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

This picture of our St. Joseph window is a little fuzzy - I didn't have a tripod after Mass tonight. I really like our church's windows - but the drawback to winter (and I'm sorry, in my mind it's now WINTER when the clocks go back to standard time) is that I don't get to enjoy the stained glass windows during Mass - it being freakin' DARK by about the time we start the Sunday evening Mass. The silver lining is that all the heathens outside get to see them. Maybe they'll be "drawn in." Especially if I remember not to call them heathens.

Most of our main eight windows are in this Tiffany glass style. The one major exception is of the one of Our Lady of Lourdes, which you can see here. But even she is framed the same way as the others. The Tiffany glass looks very old fashioned now, but it was the height of fashion when it went in. I've grown very fond of them.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thanks for nothing, Harry!

When I was in college, I was reading a book about the Tudors, and was surprised to learn that Henry VIII did in fact have two sons born of Catherine of Aragon. Both were sickly and died in infancy. How different the history of England would be (and America, for that matter) had at least one of these youngsters been robust. Same goes for his elder brother Arthur.

Though England didn't have Salic law as did France (i.e. women could inhert the throne in England) Henry was a worry wart that the crown was still not totally secure given all the civil wars in the past century. Then after all the machinations brought about when Henry did produce a male by Jane Seymour, Edward VI, HE turned out sickly too. Didn't even reach his majority and had a regency. Who lived? The girls. Upon whom did the throne devolve upon? Mary I then Elizabeth I. Neither died with an heir ... so who did the throne fall to? A great grandson of Henry VII ... where it would have eventually gone anyway had Henry just minded his own beeswax.

If you have teenage kids though, they may well have something in common with Henry, sartorially speaking. Henry had his jacket dagged. Your kids might have the knees in their jeans dagged.

Damn, DAmn, DAMn, DAMN

"They" change the clocks back to standard time this weekend. I Hate, HAte, HATe, HATE it!! Did I say I hate it?

What does Rex Harrison say about it?*

That's what I thought.

A friend is making it up to me. Treating me to the the-a-tah tonight. We're going to see HUMBLE BOY in Carlsbad at the New Village Arts Theatre. It's like in ARTHUR where Dudley Moore throws a fit in the office: "Arthur, behave yourself, later on we'll go get ice-cream."

* (2 bars or less - fair use!)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

All Saints and St. Therese and St. Thomas

Next to the Blessed Mother, my favorite female Saint is St. Therese of Lisieux. A church nearby me has her as their patron. I went to the latest of the three morning Masses over there and it turned out to be largely attended by the children of the school attached to the parochial school. Father was very charming with them, asking them questions throughout his sermon: how do people get to be saints, etc. The older kids did the readings and petitions, and there was a nice children's choir. The adults and father were very much bemused that when the recessional hymn was announced, about thirty or so of the youngest children broke out with a hearty "YEAAAA!!!" As the grownups soon learned, that particular hymn features some rhythmic clapping. I must say they were all very well behaved during the Mass.

My favorite male saint is St. Thomas More. Of the two of them I have an easier time of imitating Thomas all around. Usually, when people visit churches, you can find something to like about them. The church pictured below, gives lie to that general truism.

St. Peter ad Vincula in London

It's still the active parish church used by C of E Beefeaters at the Tower of London. A more clinically cold church I've never been in. It holds the remains, sans heads of St. Thomas, and Henry VIII's beheaded wives. Many others including the remains of St. John Fisher lie buried beneath the floor - flung into a common pit. This is not a place I'd like to be locked alone in at night. Talk about feeling as if you have had the breath sucked out of you.

Halloween coal

My local Albertson's gets a lump of coal for their Halloween pumpkins. If they are going to mess up the holiday stuff displayed in their "seasonal" aisle, by putting out Christmas items too early, then I guess I can give them a virtual lump of Halloween coal. They've entirely skipped Thanksgiving. And I'm of the firm mind you should wait until ONE holiday is over before you start putting out the seasonal items for the next.

Note the Santa Claus hats on the bears AND the left over Halloween costumes. So help me. Can you smack the display person without it being a sin? Photo taken Oct 31. "They" did it again!

These Dogs are on a Mission

I'd found this picture some time back on the internet, and it's just too good not to share it. I'm not sure quite what you'd give these guys. An Irish setter we had once grabbed an entire (uncooked) pot roast from the kitchen table when my mom's back was turned. My mom was torn between laughing and killing the dog. Our Heinz 57 loved anything you fed her, including tomatoes, but her favorite was turkey. And my springer spaniel loved anything that came from my hand. No chocolate for you guys. They look very serious. I expect if they showed up at Fr. Blake's, he might bless them and send them away with St. Francis medals.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...