Sticky Top Post

Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Government Report Card

Note sent out after we received our report form a preparedness exercise done last Fall:

The SNS AAR (basically our report card from the exercise last fall) was mixed, with lots of amber, amber + and amber - scores, with one red + and one green - (what does that MEAN!!!??) Anywho, thought I'd quote a line:

"During the exercise, the Safety Manager did an excellent job. The Safety Manager briefed staff on safety measures in the site and handled all injects appropriately." Yours truly was the Safety Manager.

We still got an over all "amber" score for the section, based on, it appears, NOT doing things that they specifically WOULD NOT LET us do. Go fig...

Anywho, it's my first official federal gov't performance eval. Only one way to go from here. 8-/

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Being Spontaneous

We did something very atypical for us--spontaneously went away for the weekend. I had wanted to go to Charleston for a nice stroll & b-day dinner. My brother (B3) called and we were offered a hotel room on points. Izzy got a sub for lectoring, and I left messages for the folks covering Sunday music. We took off, getting to miss much of the family Father's Day party and having a great evening to boot.

Whilst in the Holy City, we went to 5:15 Saturday Mass at the Cathedral. They've added doing the Our Father in Latin, based on some recent suggestions/writings from Pope Benedict. Wonder if that will make it to our Parish??

Interesting Purgatory Reference: How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants

Another "post so you don't lose it" article: this one on explaining purgatory to Protestants:

I think it has lots of good info, but may be too argumentative (and perhaps a bit too long) for general recommendation. However, it has some good explanations of the development of the theology of purgatory.

It quotes Cardinal Ratzinger (how does one refer to the author of the writings of our Pope that were done prior to His election?), and major Protestant icons C. S. Lewis and J. Vernon McGee.

Best line: Purgatory is the bootcamp of heaven.

Death of Romanian Orthodox Nun from Exorcism/Crucifixion

Almost too gruesome to share, but this was the most tasteful, yet complete coverage of this event I could find.

Never know when questions about the topic of exorcism will come up.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Kenneth Taylor

Thoughts on Kenneth Taylor's Passing last week:

When I was 11, a Columbia Bible College professors' family (previously missionaries to the Philippines) moved in 3 doors down from us here in Columbia. This was early 70's, and their daughter closest to my age was quick to tell anyone that they had been neighbors of the Taylors while living in Wheaton. This gave her amazing cache' in the circles in which we moved.

Despite concerns of some regarding about translations vs. paraphrases, I know that I certainly benefited from the Living Bible. My copy from 1973 has tons of underlining, highlighting, and comments written about faith, truth, character, etc. in the changing penmanship of my adolescence. It was just SO COOL to be able to read the Bible at length, and so I did.

I also received a good foundation in Bible stories from Dr. Taylor, whose "The Bible in Picture for Little Eyes" is simple, but not at all condescending (nor sparing!) in its presentations of Bible history and teaching. Many of the images I "see" when reading various passages of scripture are the paintings I first saw as my parents read to me from this book.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Names for New Niece

So, my brother and his wife are having another girl (their 5th child) and Bro3 wants "pigtail names." He's set on Molly or Lucy and we're all making suggestions for middle names. [For reasons unexplainable without a day or two of typing, this child is currently being referred to as "Uncle Jimmy" by many of the children.]

My first idea: Molybdenum Josephine (Molly Jo) wasn't as gratefully received as I might have hoped. Sent along the following list, including suggestions from the San Diego branch of the family.

Molly Christine
Molly Claire
Molly Elizabeth
Molly Grace
Molly Rebecca
Molly Roberta

Lucy Anne
Lucy Claire
Lucy Marie
Lucy Miranda
Lucy Rose

Later Amendment: The name chosen was Molly Rae. Molly for Mary, her maternal grandmother, and Rae for her paternal Grandma's middle name Dorraine.

Music Report from the B Team

So, I agreed to help do Vigil Mass music with a pianist I wasn't that familiar with. Unfortunately, I was the only vocalist, so all mistakes became my mistakes. (Last Christmas time, on the Sunday with the ice storm, I did music solo, unaccompanied. There weren't any timing problems between me & me, although I'm sure that the songs were done in the "key of me" (alto) , rather than in the key in which they were written.) A bit different this time.

Note below sent to the guy with whom I regularly sing:

So you don't have to ask, things could have gone better this afternoon in music, but not without lots more practice. D. and I had two hour-long practices, but with a few changes in the music for the 2nd one. I did a few things wrong, not the least of which was skipping an entire verse of the Gloria!! We used the one from Mass of Creation that starts "Give GLOry to GOD in the HIGHest... After singing that part, instead of going into "Lord God, Heavenly King..." my eyes skipped down the page to "Lord Jesus Christ, only Son..." D. did a great job of realizing where I had skipped to (important since the music wasn't exactly the same as the 1st verse) and we were back on track for the 3rd verse ("For You alone are the Holy One...")

On the entrance, we were together on How Great Thou Art, until a man in the congregation began singing REALLY LOUDLY, first a bit faster than I was singing, then a bit slower, then faster... D. started following his rhythm(s) at one point... I had to smile, remembering an older man in our congregation in Mesquite, TX who was always 4-5 notes behind in every song, making as loud a joyful noise as he could.

The Psalm & Alleluia went well. The congregation (around 35 folks) really joined in for the (new to me) offertory song "Those who see light," for which I had worked with D. to improvise a different ending (inspired by the way you end City of God.)

Mass parts were familiar, so easy. They smiled [with familiarity?] and sang "Seek Ye First" for Communion. We hadn't clarified cues at the start of the verses or timing for the chorus for the closing song, which was the Prayer of St. Francis (Make me a channel of Your peace.")

All-in-all, not the work of a "team of professionals." However, we sounded pretty good in practice (several folks waiting for confession told us so.) I think I would do it again, so long as I had the same music in front of me that she did, so I knew exactly what intros she was doing, etc. I'd also want to practice a couple more times so that we could do a better job of sensing each other's timing.

Control freak? Hope not. I just don't want mistakes to distract from worship.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Red Tide

Received this from Izzy this evening. I cannot believe my luck to be married to someone who writes this well.

There is a red tide in San Diego. This is my first time to see it, and it only took 2500 miles and 45 hrs. 20 min. of travel to get here.

Some of you know that I was making the trek for my brother's graduation this coming Sunday from UCSD. A few of you even know that I turned the trip into a Iron Butt Association 50CC Quest (coast to coast on a motorcycle in less than 50 hours). This is why, when I left Columbia for San Diego, my first stop was Savannah, GA; I had to start from a coastal city.

I started where I-16 starts (a BP station in downtown Savannah) at just before 4:00 AM on Monday morning. I finished at the first gas station I could find after I ran out of I-8 (a Union 76 at the corner of Rosecrans and Nimitz in San Diego) at 10:15 PM local time on Tuesday night. I had stopped for a seven hour break in west Texas, and then only slept for six hours here before getting up yesterday in a house full of relatives.

There is, of course, my brother's nuclear family of four, including a bright, blonde beach bunny who shed her first name when she shed middle school and became Liz for ninth grade this year. She writes notes to her friends in Tolkein's elvish and is mortified that we're all showing up at her school's annual awards ceremony tomorrow night. The other child in the house is a couple of years younger and much more male. He has an oral report on hemophilia today and then he's done for the summer. We've been doing tricks with ferrous fuids and powerful magnets. My sister-in-law's parents got here a few hours before I did, and yesterday just before noon yesterday, we picked up my mother from the bus station -- she's riding home to Oregon with the other grandparents, who live in Bellingham, WA.

My brother, his wife, their two kids, her parents, my mother, and me -- eight of us in a house made for four, and the four oldest having all just travelled great distances to be here. We've been laughing a lot and telling a lot of stories. Most of them I will not remember. Much of yesterday is lost in a haze of happy fatigue. And most of us were headed to bed early last night when my brother called home.

He was on his way back from his last undergrad final exam (epistemology) when he saw the waves glowing. Red tides aften come with bioluminescence, the breakers creating long curls of vivid green light on a dark ocean surface. Debbie, his wife,
told him that we were all tuckered out and retiring. I had a toothbrush in my mouth. My niece and nephew were gathering their pj's. We all froze when we heard Debbie's side of the conversation. She declined the view. When she hung up, I took the phone and called Dave back. He came back, parked his two-seater for the night, and then four of us piled into the family minivan.

So it was that last night, long after I should have been in bed, I found myself on a dark beach under a clear sky with my brother, my niece, and my nephew, playing with the lights. The same little critters that light up the distant crash and curl wash up onto the beach and are mixed up in the sand and the salt sea. When we step, the sand around our feet lights up in a green flash. When we stomp, a large area around our feet does the same trick, but muted under the sand. Splash, and the water flashes green. Throw a stick or a rock, and the splash shows green spatter in the darkness.

But there are sublter effects, too. Bend over and drag your hand across the sand. There is a quick green streak where your hand moves, but don't look away. Where the green skid was, there are late, individual flashes, like cameras going off in a stadium crowd. And if you then wash the sand off your hands in the incoming waves, the critters cling to your hands and then make hundreds of little greek sparkles all over your palms and fingers for the space of about three seconds.

The four of us walked along in the darkness, tired from school and travel, telling bad jokes, talking about why even numbered Star Trek movies don't suck, and kicking waves while the sea curled green. My nephew, Nathan, who has seen a red tide once before, tells me that the beach is going to start to stink as the magical dinoflagellates begin to die and decay. He doesn't know yet that decay and ruin await us all, and I myself manage to forget for a while in the presence of magical creatures both single-celled and bipedal. We walked a while longer, watching the stars twinkle on our hands while other stars twinkled above. Then we came home and jostled for position in the line for our showers. It's good to be here.

[1] a quick search on red tides and bioluminescence turned up a couple of good links: and I'd try to find you an online video clip, but the house is waking up; my mother is talking with her grandson, and I don't want to miss out.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

50CC, Day4

Heard from Isidore around 3:30 this morning.  He'd arrived @ the coast, gotten his time-stamped gas receipt, gotten "witnessed" by a police officer, and driven up the coast to brother's home. 
Total "official" trip time around 45 hours.
I expect I'll hear from him again sometime late tonight when he emerges from his cocoon.
"Dad, I need to get into my room!" 
"SHHHH!  Uncle Izzy is in a coma."  
"But it's been three weeks...!" 

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Test Email Post

Gotta find the full names of those kids featured on some company's wireless commercial: something like Sunsplash Honeysuckle Smith.

50CC, Day 3

Isidore left a voice mail for me last night at 1:33 AM (called the office so he wouldn't put me into a panic trying to answer the home phone so late.)

He was in Big Spring, TX, which means he had traveled 1322 miles (per the AAA on-line TripTik) between 4 AM and ~1 AM.
Speed calculates to 62 mph, right at what AAA says to estimate.

Pretty amazing.

This leaves around 1071 miles to I-5, taking ~17 hours at a steady riding pace. If he left at 8 AM local time (late for him...), he should arrive around 11 PM PDT (2 AM here.) That leaves 4 hours cushion in which a nap might be taken. I doubt he'll do so--probalby concerned about getting into town in time to find a police officer to witness his presence in the jurisdiction.

Total trip length will be at least 5300 miles...not bad for a couple of weeks. Longest trip yet is Dallas to Bellingham to Victoria to Bellingham to Dallas--3 weeks, 6000 miles (also traveling for a speial event--wedding--in the same brother's life.)

So, the cat and I wait to hear from him. She's upset about having been cooped up all day even though she wouldn't have ventured out during the thunderstorm, anyway.

I picked up a few movies. The list may say something about me (I picked ones that said "Free with Membership") or about how many theatrical releases I miss.

Looking forward to the missed movie festival.

Monday, June 06, 2005

50CC, Day 2

Isidore left Savannah at 4 AM, called @ 9 PM just west of Fort Worth. He was planning on another coupla hundred will be stopping somewhere between Abilene and Odessa.

I can stop worrying around midnight.

Redneck golf (or here, official rules, or extreme version) and Veggie Tales with the Young Adult Group this evening. First time to witness a house blessing.

Saw lots of discussion and news traffic about the TX governor doing a Parental Consent bill signing in the gym of an evangelical church. I had this exchange with a friend who directed me to
Amy Welborn's blog on the topic:

In response to his question "Texas Politics?", I wrote:

I'm also wondering about how the ceremony took 1 1/2 hours.

I checked out how this was playing to the home folks...

"Texans have made a decision about marriage and if there is some other state that has a more lenient view than Texas then maybe that's a better place for them to live." - Gov. Rick Perry

You can't get much more Texan than that.

Quote 2:
"A nurturing home with a loving mother and loving father is the best way to guide our children down the proper path," said Perry

Agreed. I haven't looked at TX welfare reform rules, but the old system did all it could to separate families in order for moms & kids to get public assistance.

(This was what I had observed as a Public Health Nurse there, working with mom's getting $158/month assistance...and no chance to get that if the BabyDaddy was in the picture. What a brilliant way to guarantee generational poverty (!!)... irrespective of my opinions on how these young women GOT these infants, a pro-life culture should welcome/care for these infants and work to strengthen these families.)

I was more amazed to read, after a bit of surfing on TX sites, that Councilman Al Lipscomb (hasn't changed since the eighties) had been voted out of office in Dallas after umpteen years (current election, earlier trouble). My memory is that he held court every afternoon at the La Madeleine on Mockingbird Lane (saved $$ on an office?) Wonder if Dallas politics will be any less contentious now?? Folks might miss the heyday of Lipscomb, Diane Ragsdale, and "All the way with Elsie Fay" Higgins. Sadly, I cannot even name any of the members of our local council--just not as exciting.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

50CC, Day 1

Isidore left this afternoon for a coastal city from which to leave early tomorrow morning for a city on the opposite coast. His goal is to make it in under 50 hours. Barring mechanical difficulties, I think he'll make it.

Once there, he'll be staying with brother and brother's family. (This after recuperating from the ride for a day or so...) Brother is getting some sort of rocket-scientist/genius degree, Momola is down from the rainly northwest, and it will be nice for Izzy to get to visit with sis-in-law and N&N.

My summer plans are much less extreme--might get the spare room tidied up.

More on Izzy's progress as I hear it.


Got a couple of chances to help out today.

A friend needed a ride to (1) collect her car downtown (left last PM due to non-functioning headlights,) (2) drive said car to a repair shop on one side of town, (3) drive friend to car rental place on opposite side of town (but back closer to where we live, near airport.) Happy to do so. This is the kind of favor you expect to do.

Waited quite a while at the rental place, which promises rides to the airport, but this relies (1) on the ONE Sunday employee not locking himself out of the van and (2) on efficient use of time by said employee such that persons dropping off vehicles can get to the airport on time...

Anyhow, one guy there (flying home to NYC) was obviously NOT going to make it to the airport anytime close to his flight. He'd been there plenty early, but... He was also becoming a bit upset...

After being sure that friend's processing had begun, I offered NYC guy a ride to the airport. He was quite surprised, but accepted my offer. I was quite pleased to have had the opportunity to demonstrate southern hospitality, stop the decline of Western Civilization, etc. Also glad I listened to promptings to offer a favor to a complete stranger.

A good reminder to keep my eyes open for more opportunities.

Friday, June 03, 2005

95 New Theses

Followed a link from Amy Welborn's blog and found a new set of 95 theses here:

Scroll down to "Chapter V: 95 Theses or Articles of Faith for a Christianity for the Third Millennium"

This guy is Not A Fan of B-16 (or of much that is orthodox, for that matter...)

It's interesting to find entire new sets of heretics now that we've converted..

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

"Just, Jesus"

When looking at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping's guidance on writing bad church music, I saw this post (same page, further down):

"Lord, we just, we just thank you for this food and we, we ask you to bless it and to bless our fellowship here today..."

The most obvious fact which presents itself when Baptists or Free-Churchers insist on "spontaneous" (as opposed to memorized) prayer is that their "spontaneous" prayers are always the freakin' same, except that not everyone can take part and it comes out choppy.

But I recently had the occasion to hear a "extemporaneous" dinner prayer, and I was struck by a bigger, more interesting question: Many Protestants aren't keen on blessing much in particular, like the aforementioned Baptists and Free-Churchers. But we all know they bless food.

So why stop there? Why to they only bless food?Is there any good theological reason that they see a huge difference between blessing food before you use it as opposed to, say, a car or a church before you use it? Or do they just not realize what they're doing when they bless food, that they are blessing physical objects as such?

Or would it just be too painful to sit through a extemporaneous church dedication?

I'll admit that I have Hated listening to (OK, I have squirmed with embarrassment at) the "Lord/Just" prayer style.

Lord, we just want to, just, Lord, we just want to thank you, Lord God, and we just, Lord, want to say that we, just, Lord, want to give You thanks, Father God, because we just, Lord, want, Lord God, to .....

I think this one came from the Ch'rismatics, and hit the Evangelicals through Campus Ministries.
All in all, I think I prefer the "whostolemyhonda" style of prayer to the Lord/Just style...

Make your own bad church music

Got this link from G and shared with other musician friends: From the Shrine of the Holy Whapping

(Link is a bit temperamental, so I'll post the posting here as well.)

Make Your Own Bad Church Music

(1) Pick an innane gerund.
Capitalize it. (ex: sending --> The Sending)

(2) Fish around for a theological concept you don't really understand. It won't matter that you don't really understand it, because we'll be ignoring its precise meaning, anyway.(ex: The Great Commission)

(3) For the tune, take a folk song from a Catholic country, but insure you pick one of the few folk songs that are not actually religious. Irish drinking songs work best. (But, I'll use "Row your boat")

(4) Slow the melody and boost all the notes an octave, to ensure that no man would ever want to--or be able to--sing your new song.

(5) Make the afore-mentioned gerund sound like it is the very reason God has created us. Do not mention God any more directly than that. Instead, capitalize words such as "Justice," "Peace," etc. Refer to Heaven in the form of banal promises.

(6) Add exclamation marks.

Made for the Sending
Out to all the world!
Peace and Justice,
Rest for men,
Out to all the world!

Ooops -- one more change: the awkward excising of masculine pronouns.

Made for the Sending
Out to all the world!
Peace and Justice,
Rest for them,
Out to all the world!