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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


More news from Eliza's parents, once again leading us to prayer.

Summary, from recent posts on Eliza's blog: She's recovering from surgery to insert a shunt to correct her hydrocephalus. There's some question as to whether the fluid in her head caused or contributed to her neurological deficits. Do her parents entertain hope for a recovery, for stability, or steel themselves as they wait for a delayed regression?

We are once again in a place of uncertainty. Two weeks ago, before the discovery of the hydrocephalus, one thing was finally certain: Eliza was getting worse, and rapidly at that. Two weeks ago, what the doctors had feared all along was in fact coming true: Eliza was dying. Everyone assumed this was due to the continuation of a fast-moving degenerative brain disease. With the discovery of Eliza's hydrocephalus, however, everything is once again up in the air. Will Eliza continue to get worse, as predicted originally? Was the degeneration not as bad as the doctors thought, or in fact, never present at all? If so, might Eliza stay the same or even improve? No one can guess, and only time will tell. The doctors say it's not surprising that we haven't seen positive signs yet. As usual, though, it's hard to be patient.

"Then Job answered the Lord and said: 'Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you. I lay my hand on my mouth.'" "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted."

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares
for you."

I Swear I answered honestly...

Thanks to Required Reiding:

You Are 18% Evil

You are good. So good, that you make evil people squirm.

Just remember, you may need to turn to the dark side to get what you want!

Hurricane Season Starts June 1

Dave Barry, profesional South Florida resident since the mid-80's, wants us to be prepared.

A tip for the hurricane season: Try to have some kind of a clue

When a hurricane is approaching South Florida, we get a LOT of advance warning. Usually for the entire week leading up to its arrival, the newspaper prints large headlines that say HURRICANE COMING, along with many stories reminding people to stock up on water, gas and food. All the radio stations announce roughly every 25 seconds that a hurricane is coming and people will need water, gas and food. On TV, Bryan spends hour after hour pointing at the oncoming radar blob and rasping, in the voice of an ailing seal, about the need to stock up on water, gas and food.
So what happens, EVERY SINGLE TIME? I'll tell you! Immediately after the hurricane passes, lines begin to form all over South Florida -- lines of people, thousands of them, who are in desperate need of -- water, gas and food! WHERE HAVE THESE PEOPLE BEEN? Did the hurricane winds just carry them here from Madagascar? Can they not function on their own for 24 hours without having to get into a line? How can they not even have WATER?? Were they not aware that, as the hurricane approached, they could have gotten all the water they needed MERELY BY TURNING ON THE FREAKING WATER FAUCET???
That's what I mean by ``have some kind of clue.''
I'd add to the other Helpful Tips in his column this one:  If Jim Cantore shows up in your neighborhood, LEAVE!
Big Hurricane Preparedness meetings this week and next--don't worry, though--we're still all over PanFlu.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kneeling as Mortal Sin

Imagine telling these people not to kneel during Mass:

Photo taken on the day the previous priest retired. One can certainly see why they are upset...

There's been lots of discussion in St. Blog's this week after this article appeared in the LA Times. (requires registration, so I'll post just a bit here.)

Among the many issues are:

  • uniformity of posture during Mass--when is this important vs. mandatory?
  • obedience to Bishops & Priests
  • authority to designate an action as mortal sin (Pope? Bishop? Local Ordinary?)
  • incomplete implementation of the GIRM in the US while the Sacramentaries are being revised
  • what is licit vs. required vs. forbidden, etc.

A bit from A Ban on Kneeling? Some Catholics Won't Stand for It (emphasis added)

Kneeling "is clearly rebellion, grave disobedience and mortal sin," Father Martin Tran, pastor at St. Mary's by the Sea, told his flock in a recent church bulletin.

Brief digression: Sadly, there is no official website given for St. Mary's in the Diocese of Orange's Website. There are unofficial websites, mostly disgruntled former parishioners.

a. Mad about no more Latin.

b. Upset about liturgical changes.

So, no chance to verify the Bulletin reference. Church listing shows an administrator, not pastor...hmmm...

Though told by the pastor and the archdiocese to stand during certain parts of the liturgy, a third of the congregation still gets on its knees every Sunday.

"Kneeling is an act of adoration," said Judith M. Clark, 68, one of at least 55 parishioners who have received letters from church leaders urging them to get off their knees or quit St. Mary's and the Diocese of Orange. "You almost automatically kneel because you're so used to it. Now the priest says we should stand, but we all just ignore him."

...Since at least the 7th century, Catholics have been kneeling after the Agnus Dei, the point during Mass when the priest holds up the chalice and consecrated bread and says, "Behold the lamb of God." But four years ago, the Vatican revised its instructions, allowing bishops to decide at some points in the Mass whether their flocks should get on their knees. "The faithful kneel"; unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise," says Rome's book of instructions. Since then, some churches have been built without kneelers.

...One flashpoint involves the Agnus Dei. Traditionalists say the faithful must then fall to their knees in awe for several minutes, believing that the bread and wine are literally the body and blood of Christ. Lesa Truxaw, the Orange Diocese director of worship, said Bishop Tod D. Brown banned kneeling because standing "reflects our human dignity. It's not that we think we're equal to God, but we recognize that we are made in the image and likeness of God."

Orange County parishioners are still allowed to kneel at other points in the Mass, including the Eucharistic prayers. Kneeling is optional as worshippers receive communion.

...The controversy at St. Mary's by the Sea began to intensify late last year after [Bp.] Brown appointed [Fr.] Tran to lead the 1,500-family parish. Tran took over following the retirement of the church's longtime pastor, who had offered a popular traditional Latin Mass.

Tran's Mass [actually, the Novus Ordo, not something this priest invented] reverted to the more modern English form practiced in most American churches, and hundreds of parishioners signed a petition in protest. Then, to pull the church into the modern era, the priest told members, they were not to kneel after the Agnus Dei.

Many refused to comply.

... Mary Tripoli, 54, a former member of the parish council, was dismissed for her insistence on kneeling: "Standing may be reverence, but kneeling is adoration. It's the one thing that means Catholicism throughout the world. It's what sets us apart."

At least two altar boys, the parish altar servers coordinator and three members of the parish council have been dismissed from their duties for kneeling at the wrong time, according to parishioners.

...Tran responded in the church bulletin [to protests] with a series of strident weekly statements condemning what he called "despising the authority of the local bishop" by refusing his orders to stand, and calling the disobedience a mortal sin, considered the worst kind of offense, usually reserved for acts such as murder.

Tran sent letters to 55 kneeling parishioners "inviting" them to leave the parish and the diocese for, among other things, "creating misleading confusion, division and chaos in the parish by intentional disobedience and opposition to the current liturgical norms."

Father Joe Fenton, spokesman for the Diocese of Orange, said the diocese supports Tran's view that disobeying the anti-kneeling edict is a mortal sin. "That's Father Tran's interpretation, and he's the pastor," he said. "We stand behind Father Tran."

Recipients of Tran's banishment letter said they have declined his "invitation" to depart.

...During a recent Saturday afternoon Mass, dozens of worshippers defiantly knelt after the Agnus Dei. One who didn't was Winifred Mentzer, 84. "I've been standing lately," she later said, "because I'm all the way up front, and I know that the priest is watching. But I'm kneeling in my heart."

Doubtless this will go one for awhile. On the one hand, I'm inclined to say "when in Rome..." and say folks should go along with the teaching of their Bishops. On the other hand, Thomas Howard's Evangelical is Not Enough has resonated with so many of us who understood intuitively that what we do with our bodies during worship matters.

I'll be watching this one with the perspective of someone whose family was given "the left foot of fellowship" from a Baptist church in the early 1970's.

Coming Soon: The Anime' Code

Saw a link to this article (in The Times Online) somewhere today, whilst re-acquainting myself with the Net after 5 days in a cabin:

Japan is proud home of Christ's tomb

In a paddy-lined valley in the far north of Japan is a municipal signpost inscribed: “Tomb of Christ: next left.”

Follow the winding path up into the forest and there, sure enough, is a simple mound with a large wooden cross labelled as the grave of Jesus. Nearby is a tomb commemorating Isukiri, Christ’s brother, adorned with a plastic poinsettia Christmas wreath.

For two millennia the farming village of Shingo claims to have protected a tradition that Jesus spent most of his life in Japan. The village is the home of Sajiro Sawaguchi, a man in his eighties who claims to be a direct descendant of Jesus and whose family has always owned the land in which it is said that Christ is buried.

Mr. Sawaguchi emerged as Jesus’s heir only in 1935, ...

Pre-Priory of Sion even...

...when a priest in Ibaraki discovered a document in ancient Japanese purporting to be Christ’s will. This document supposedly identifies Shingo as the location of the tombs of Jesus and Isukiri. The claim is widely believed. About 40,000 Japanese visit the site every year. Two years ago it was presented with a plaque by Jerusalem, and next Sunday it will host the annual Christ festival of traditional Japanese dance.

According to the account in the Christ Museum next to the tombs, Christ arrived in Japan at the age of 21 and learnt Japanese...

Proof of His divinity... Japanese is difficult

...before returning to Judaea 12 years later to engage in his mission and preach about the “holy land of Japan.” The official Shingo history is that Jesus’s place on the Cross was “casually” taken by his brother, leaving Christ free to return to Japan. On his return he fell in love with Miyuko, a local girl, and lived happily with his family among the rice fields until dying aged 106.

Gota wonder when we'll find this "Lost Gospel." It might explain how His brother's body got back to Japan for burial after crucifixion in Judea.

Norihide Nagano, the straight-faced curator of the tombs, says that the theory that the grave does contain the remains of Jesus is supported by several pieces of evidence. There is the local tradition, dating back hundreds of years, of drawing a charcoal cross on babies’ heads; and ancient kimonos made in the area incorporated a Star of David.

Also, Japanese eat lost of fish--including on Fridays.

The upkeep of the site is paid for out of the profits of a local yoghurt factory, and Mr. Nagano agrees that The Da Vinci Code will probably boost Shingo’s coffers. The village shop is already doing a roaring trade in Christ-branded saké. “Did you enjoy the museum?” asks Mr Nagano. “If you did, I recommend you go to Ishikawa district. They have the tomb of Moses there.”

Just what was it that PT Barnum said?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I <3 my German Shepherd

I found more about the I (heart) my German Shepherd / Pope Benedict XVI bumper sticker I saw Monday night. From the Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club site, clicking on the sticker takes you to a spot where you can order them via PayPal. At 3 3/4" high and 15" long, there's no hiding your feelings.

Cafe Press has more stickers, including one with B16's picture and the words The Cafeteria is Closed! Might be a bit snarky, but it's cool to see such enthusiasm for our Pope.

To answer Izzy's question, yes, there are also B16 steins.

Soldiers: Old and New

They are running a commercial this week encouraging people to remember & honor our veterans -- especially as Memorial Day approaches.  There are poignant moments, lovely photography, and a great message....
So what I keep noticing is the flute theme that runs throughout.  It's from the Marshall Tucker Band's "Can't You See" [can't you see, what that woman, been doin' to me.]
Not sure how it fits, but the flute sounds good. 
I talked to Mom this evening and learned that one of my nephews, B2S1, a 19 year old who had been drifting a bit since leaving high school at 16, is enlisting in the Army.  It was his decision and his initiative.  He was raised by my Marine brother, so I think the military influence has been there all along. 
Talk about mixed emotions--pride, relief and fear.  Our weekly prayers of the faithful for "the men and women in our armed services, especially those serving in Afghanistan and Iraq" will be echoed more intensely in my heart.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What's with all the boxes?

So, my hotel has WiFi in the conference center only, so I'm using dial-up in the room. I thought I'd save myself some time tonight and compose some blog entries offline and then post via email.

Something in the pasting process (what do I know about 1's & 0's?) turned all the single and double quote and dashes into boxes and altered a few other bits of punctuation. So, instead of creating and sending 5 emails, I've now spent a bit of time editing with all the "speed" I've "missed" using high speed at home & work. What fun! 8-P

Couple of y'all read this via RSS feed, and won't see the corrections I've just made. Please do drop by and at least read Izzy's description of the Special Needs Prom as it should have appeared.

Planes & Automobiles (not yet trains)

For Gashwin, who follows aeronautical stories.

From Yahoo: Lt. governor of S.C. hurt in plane crash

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer was injured Tuesday afternoon when the small plane he was piloting crashed shortly after takeoff and caught fire. Bauer, 37, was in good condition with injuries to his arm and leg, spokesman Dave Lucas said. Bauer and a passenger were conscious when rescuers found them, said Senate Clerk Jeff Gossett. The passenger, John M. Leonhardt Sr., 73, was slightly injured, said Leonhardt's wife, Azalia.

The crash happened around 6:15 p.m., shortly after Bauer's plane took off from a dirt airstrip and clipped some trees, WAGI radio reported. The airstrip is near Blacksburg, near the North Carolina border. Aerial news footage showed the twisted wreckage of the plane on fire not far from the runway.

Bauer was the pilot, Azalia Leonhardt said. Her husband, also a pilot, frequently flew with the lieutenant governor and the Mooney M20E fixed-wing single-engine plane had a new engine. "The plane had problems taking off," she said.
Why interest in this story (besides his office?)
Bauer drew attention earlier this year when the Associated Press found he had been stopped at least twice for speeding -- once in December of 2005 and once in February -- but was let off without a ticket.
Speeding? Kinda understated for >100 mph, doncha think?

Driving to the Beach

I found more "cool people radio." Perhaps I was a bit hopped up on the 32 oz fountain Diet Coke that I'd bought as a chaser to the 12 oz can of same, perhaps it was relief at finally having my presentation completed, but I really enjoyed my drive to Myrtle Beach last PM (5/22.)


--Hitting the scan button and catching the 1st notes of "Sweet Home Alabama." It's one of the few times I "turn it up."

--Following that song with sets including "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Running on Empty," more by Queen, Blondie, and the full, album-length version of "Money for Nothing."

--I had my 1st sighting of the bumper sticker:

I (heart) my German Shepherd
Pope Benedict XVI

Hardly any bikes on the road last PM. Most of the Harleys have left, and the sports bikes will be arriving over the next couple of days. If you live in SC, you know that we have two bike weeks in May, a white one and a black one. Somewhere, there's a reconciliation of the nostalgic love for the South (cf. Sweet Home) and the surprise/embarrassment at returning to a place that still has so far to go in improving race relations.

A place where we still take off on Confederate Memorial Day.

The Liturgy of the Familiar

I had three very different musical experiences Sunday--all made better by knowing conventions, patterns, and traditions.

Sunday AM, sudden onset of illness meant that Ann and I did the music accapella (sp?) This is one of those times when you are glad you've sung with someone for awhile--we were able to match volume, timing & phrasing, picking initial notes, etc. We were joined at the last minute by someone from a different choir in our Parish; I think he might have gotten lost a couple of times with our "doc-o-rized" versions of Mass parts.

Sunday afternoon, Mom & I went to our local big Catholic church for a choral concert. A friend of hers, who sings in the local choral society, got us tix. We heard sacred texts in settings by Randall Thompson (Texts for Isaiah), Igor Stravinsky (The Symphony of Psalms in Latin) and then the Fauré requiem. I'd sung the Requiem a few years ago for a Good Friday service. I watched Mom reading the translations of the texts and I wonder when she'll ask more questions about "freeing the souls of the faithful from the punishment in the inferno." We don't talk so much about faith differences right now...

Fauré's version of the Requiem has a shortened version of the Dies Ire in the Libera Me verse. At the beginning of the verse, as the choir sang:

*Libera me, Domine,
de morte aeterna,
in die illa tremenda,
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra,
dum verneris judicare
saeculum per ignem.
Lightning flashed and thunder shook outside of the church. As they began:
**Tremens factus sum ego, et timeo
dum discussio venerit,
atque venture ira.
Dies illa, dies irae,
calamitatis et miseriae,
dies magna et amara valde.
Fire trucks and what sounded like ambulances went by the church. Even before the theme was repeated, I found myself thinking:
***Requiem aeternam
dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
My evening ended as Izzy and I went to a house concert featuring an old friend and a new acquaintance: their duet project is Little Windows. They beautifully blended traditional Irish music with "old time" (pre-bluegrass) folk and mountain music, evoking tears in English and Gaelic. On old, unfamiliar hymns, the audience sang along, in 4 & 5 part harmony, to songs they'd just heard for the first time. The conventions, the liturgy, as it were, carried us along. What a great experience!

Translations from the concert program (apologies for any mistakes)

*Deliver me, Lord, from eternal death, on that dreadful day, when the heavens and earth shall move, when You come to judge the world through fire.

**I am made to tremble and fear, at the destruction that shall come, and also at Your coming wrath. That day, day of wrath, calamity and misery, great and exceedingly bitter day.

***Rest eternal, grant them, Lord, and may perpetual light shine on them.

Pure Joy

It's been a hectic couple of weeks for Izzy & me. In the middle of all the exhaustion, especially Izzy's as he did all that teachers have to accomplish at the ends of semesters. But just over a week ago, in the midst of tests, papers, projects, etc., Izzy and I got to spend a few hours of pure joy. Izzy wrote about the evening to a friend, and here he is in his own words:

From the time I got up on Sunday [5/7] until last night [5/13], I had a total of 26 hours sleep, put in on the order of 75 hours inside the bricks, and quite a few at the dining room table or in front of the Mac. Our church's student center & rectory had two fires on the same night (cf. I got home last night at around 10:15, having been at school from 7 AM to 9:30 PM. But those last few hours were soooo worth it.

I'm a co-sponsor for our school's InterAct club, and one of their yearly projects is the Special Needs Prom. The IA kids got out of classes after lunch and started decorating the commons in a tropical theme. I was able to join them 7th period, when I had no students for once (my AP kids were taking their exam). We broke up around 4:30 -- the kids went home to change, and I went to grade a few Family Tree projects. We all gathered again at 6:30 so we could greet our guests, who were to arrive at 7.

Four Downs kids arrived in a horse-drawn carriage and took over the dance floor. They got this one huge kid (over three hundred pounds in a six & 1/2 foot frame, with a permanent shy smile on his face) out there with them; his father said, "I've *never* seen him move like that."

One of the special needs girls took a chair across the room to sit by herself. I went to find one of her teachers to ask if she a normal self-calming thing for her, or if I should send one of our InterAct kids over. By the time I spotted one of the self-contained teachers, a freshman in our club had gone over, invited her to dance, and led her back to the floor. (She went back to her spot after the dance; her teacher talked to her and she only said she was tired; my wife talked to her and it turned out she was mad at her boyfriend who was talking with other boys instead of giving her all his attention. How's THAT for normal teen-aged drama?)

A wheelchair-bound girl with severe CP was a little freaked by the noise & lights, so her father held her in his lap for a while. She calmed down and he held her on the floor for a long slow dance.

Parents, teachers (some of whom we never get to interact with because they're self-contained), administrators, siblings from 2 yrs old to 20-something, "normal" kids and "special" kids -- everyone electric-sliding, macarena-ing, YMCA-ing, eating food supplied by the Italian restaurant across the street, and having a great time. It was a great night. I slept happy.

If you'd been there, you'd have been hard pressed not to cry--as I have been doing while re-reading Izzy's descrption.

Latin Teacher Job Opening

A belated, final entry in last week's bad education/bad writing trilogy, part1 & part 2.

I caught the end of an interview last week with a local high school teacher who was saying, on-camera, that he thought that slavery had been a good thing for blacks, and that black students were generally inferior in mental capacities.

No Confederate battle flag in the background, but there might as well have been.

This guy, a PhD, teaches (OK, taught) Latin at the High School closest to our house. The issue first arose in a discussion of slavery in ancient Rome (germane to the class) which the teacher then turned to a discussion of differences between John C. Calhoun and Andrew Jackson over states' rights (perhaps more germane to history class--big topic in SC.) The teacher is then reported to have made comments that slavery may have benefited those enslaved. (If germane, should/could have been presented as "some folks believe this, others believer that, how would you react?")

But folks who spend their time defending the glorious Lost Cause don't tend to do balanced presentations of opinions (my opinion, with which you may disagree.)

Back to facts: Here are quotes from an on-camera interview with our local CBS affiliate: (if video link doesn't work, see the story here.)

That truth, at least according to McCuen, is that black people are inferior to whites.

"Intellectually, yes they are," said McCuen. "This has been confirmed over and over, and this is a generalization. Again, there are some blacks who are more intelligent than individual whites. But as a rule, that is true. I-Q tests prove it over, and over and over."
Don't get me started on statistics. I am not convinced that IQ tests yield a result that identifies who is and is not intelligent. They identify people who do well on what the tests measure. They identify people who use their minds in the ways most highly valued by the designers of the tests--but these modes are not the sine qua non of intelligences. Additionally, IQ scores do not identify inferiority anymore than they define superiority.

More from the story, which the station reported got >200K hits and comments, esp. after Drudge picked it up.
News19's J.R. Berry asked McCuen, "Do you think slavery in America was a good thing? "Yes," said McCuen. "In America there was a rational assessment saying listen, if we give these people freedom right as they are and you have to go back to see how they were, you can't assume they were like us.

J.R. asked, "How were they?" "They were coming out of the jungles," said McCuen. "They had been enslaving each other for centuries in Africa, and in terms of being used to rule of law, they knew none of that."
I'll skip further analysis---you can Google "American Renaissance" and "McCuen" and read more that this guy wrote "From Occupied South Carolina." Lots of folks are suggesting that the school should have done a bit of Googling before hiring this guy three years ago."

Late update from when I first drafted this blog--the school has located a new Latin teacher.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Click Here to Get a No Obligation Quote

...arrived today, followed by what I guess must be the no-obligation quote.
on toluene may bellicose ! flowery  it bloodstain the inviable  ! bandgap it's anarch  may quaff try sodium  ! almond but divorcee  may dry it valve  try al see ate  not hafnium ! bladderwort  some pong but triad  it's partridge on peek  see sophism but grandpa  or meadowland not velours  , comic not pinhead  the pectoral and military  but groupoid not immunoelectrophoresis  a cheyenne in euthanasia  , cleft but nnw  it cubic but malady  see artillery may at  some postpone and fortunate  and silverware a cowboy  not place not vocabulary 
I'm really hoping that Pritcher can help me decipher this this one, having read more really bad writing recently than have I.   ;-)

We have undertook... the subject line of an email I received today from "Bruno" who may be with an overseas institution of higher learning (eddress included "cracow."  Hard to tell for sure, though, since the phone # is a Jacksonville, FL area code.)
Anywho, Bruno presented me with some advanced educational opportunities (wish Izzy had seen these before embarking on the SC alternative teaching certification process.)
Bruno apparently likes the spacebar.
U N I V E R S I T Y  D I P L O M A S

Do you want for a prosperous future, increased money earning power, and
the respect of all?
Well, don't we all....?
We can assist with Dip lomas from pre stigious non-acc redited univers
ities based on your present
knowledge and life experience.
I'm not sure I want a Dip loma in how my life has been going lately.  Are there also post stigious univers ities?
No required tests, classes, books, or interviews.
Sounds good so far.
CALL +1 904 212 0093

Bac helors, mas ters, M B A, and doc torate (PhD) dip lomas available
in the field of your choice -
that's right, you can become a Doctor and receive all the benefits and
admiration that comes with it!
Admiration?  How do I sign up?
CALL +1 904 212 0093

No one is turned down.

Confidentiality assured


+1 904 212 0093

Contact us NOW to receive your dip loma within days, and start
improving your life!
Hope these come with convincing transcripts...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fire at our Church

We had two fires yesterday evening and now have a great deal of work ahead to make the Center usable again. I've posted a blog for the Parish--seemed the easiest way to do quick updates.

I'd been thinking about doing this for rapid notification of the Parish for prayer requests--had played with but not liked Yahoo's blog feature. I took the easy (& familiar) route this AM and am pretty pleased.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mint Juleps

Izzy's back from his forays to find mint leaves, worthy bourbon and a replacement mallet.  Only one reason for these items:
It's Derby Day!
Izzy uses a julep recipe he found at the end of  Walker Percy's Book Signposts in a Strange Land.  No cheap julep syrup for us...
POSTSCRIPT: Reader, just in case you don't want to knock it back straight and would rather monkey around with perfectly good Bourbon, here's my favorite recipe, "Cud'n Walker's Uncle Will's Favorite Mint Julep Receipt."

You need excellent Bourbon whiskey; rye or Scotch will not do.  Put half an inch of sugar in the bottom of the glass and merely dampen it with water.  Next, very quickly--and here is the trick in the procedure--crush your ice, actually powder it, preferably with a wooden mallet, so quickly that it remains dry, and, slipping two sprigs of fresh mint against the inside of the glass, cram the ice in right to the brim, packing it with your hand.   Finally, fill the glass, which apparently has no room left for anything else, with Bourbon, the older the better, and grate a bit of nutmeg on the top.  The glass will frost immediately.  Then settle back in your chair for half an hour of cumulative bliss.
In a little bit, he'll set to powdering ice, crushing leaves, etc.  We'll turn on the pre-race festivities and set to sipping.  ;-)

Hip-Hop Mass

Whilst perusing the Herald-Sun, looking for a link to the Best Places to live story I'd heard on the radio, I came across this Headline:
Turns out it's an Episcopal priest from NYC, and that it might be a one-time thing, lest some St. Blogs folks go apopleptic...
DURHAM -- Not many people would guess that rapper Tupac Shakur could serve as inspiration for a priest, but that's exactly the case for the Rev. Timothy Holder of Trinity Episcopal Church of Morrisania in the South Bronx.
"The Tupac song 'Dear Mama' made me a better human being and a better priest," said Holder, who is the founder of what he calls "hip hop Mass," a service that incorporates the standards of religious practice with the culture of hip-hop.
Holder is bringing his brand of Mass to the Triangle and will be leading the congregation at St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 403 E. Main St., in prayer at 11 a.m. today [5/5/06] 
The service will feature the newly released "Hip Hop Prayer Book," and performances will include a band, rappers, and local step and breakdancers. An MTV crew will also be on hand filming the offbeat Mass.  
The "Hip Hop Prayer Book," which will be used in today's Mass, includes daily prayers, psalms and a variety of services "designed with the enlivening power of hip-hop in mind," Holder said.
In the [prayer] book, famous texts have been adapted to today's vernacular. For example, the modified version of Psalm 23 reads: [full text from here]:
23rd Psalm
(Adapted by Ryan Kearse)
The Lord is all that, I need for nothing.
He allows me to chill.
He keeps me from being heated
and allows me to breathe easy.
He guides my life so that
I can represent and give
shouts out in his Name.
And even though I walk through
the Hood of death,
I don't back down
for you have my back.
The fact that you have me covered
allows me to chill.
He provides me with back-up
in front of my player-haters
and I know that I am a baller
and life will be phat.
I fall back in the Lord's crib
for the rest of my life.
More info here:  
Definitons, if needed, here:
Not sure just what else to say...

Houston? Say it ain't so!

Having been swamped with work and other things in the past two weeks, I've wondered what it would take to get me back to the blog.
If you scroll down the page, you'll the that the 3rd best city in the US for business and careers (per Forbes Magazine) is Houston, TX.  Houston?  A city with no zoning?  A city that is best described as metastasizing?
Gotta remember that this is not the list of nicest places to live....
In other news, both Durham and Raleigh are in the Top Ten this year.  They've been split apart as separate MSA's.  This has got to be good news to the folks in Durham who've been described by so many in the media as poor, divided, etc.
Last Thursday, a lunch companion and I discovered that we had both spent a number of years in Texas.  Once we'd determined that I had lived in Dallas and she'd lived in Houston, I won the contest by being the first to say "I'm so sorry" to the other. (It's a long-standing Dallas/Houston thing.)
I guess she gets the last laugh this week.