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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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

And so it ends

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

And we had such hopes for this season... Glad this one was quiet.

"Be Adequite"

This one's for Pritcher.

Apparently Lindsay Lohan was really moved by the recent death of Robert Altman. However, someone needed to look over her shoulder before she sent, and then made public, a condolence letter to Altman's family.

Snippets (full text available here)

He left us with a legend that all of us have the ability to do.

The fighting, the anger, the drama is tedious.

Please just take each moment day by day and consider yourself lucky to breathe and feel at all and smile. Be thankful.

Life comes once, doesn't 'keep coming back' and we all take such advantage of what we have.

When we shouldn't..... ' (sic)

Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourselves' (12st book) - everytime there's a triumph in the world a million souls hafta be trampled on.-altman Its true. But treasure each triumph as they come.



So much for "Be all you can be." Insert your favorite lament about the state of education, collapse of society from texting devices, etc.

More great lines

Feigning disbelief at something Izzy said yesterday, I remarked: "I don't want to have to call you a liar, but..."

To which he immediately replied: "Good, 'cuz I don't need one over here."

It's so great when your spouse can make you laugh after so many years.

Fish Prayer

Came home after donating blood this evening and found Izzy giggling uncontrollably on the couch. He was re-reading a comment he posted this AM on Waldie's blog, expressing his condolences for the loss of their pet fish. He wrote his comment early in the AM and apparently hadn't remembered how profound (and profoundly silly) he'd been in his little composition.

Here it is for posterity:

Domine Deus iustissime, te rogamus ut huic pisculo pacem sempiternam dones. Ne in baculi formam compressatur nec cum iure ullo quocumque edatur. Octopodibus iniustis et digitis liberorum viscosis vitet. Requiescat non in cloaco sordido sed in pace tua. In nomine filii tui, cui pisces placuisse videntur, amen.

Most just Lord God, we ask that You grant unto this little fishy eternal peace. May he not be pressed into a stick nor eaten with any sort of sauce. May he avoid wicked octopodes and the sticky fingers of children. May he rest not in a nasty sewer but in Your peace. In the name of Your Son, who seems to have liked fish, amen.

Sorry about the fish, guys.

(12/5: Typo fixed, based on comments from those who know Latin far better than I.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

"The King of Glory Comes," the bloggers start griping

or, kwitcher bellyachin'!

Not the largest crowd, but a small group of folks over at Open Book are complaining about having "The King of Glory" sung at Mass yesterday. For those with short memories, or reading this in archives many years hence, it was Christ the King Sunday.

Real comments:

    • It's not supposed to sound like folk music. It's supposed to sound like Christian lyrics to an Israeli dance tune.
    • Actually - that IS what "folk music" is. But, this particular song just feels poorly contrived. Kind of like someone drawing a picture of an elephant without ever having seen one, only going on a handful of descriptions of others.
    • ... what I can't stand about King of Glory and its ilk is that it sounds like Frankenfolk - folk music cooked up in a music lab, seemingly alive but devoid of any connection to any true vivifying principle. Folk music without the folk.
    • However, its lyrics do seem to have a fundamental problem. Sorry. Many songs have problems with directionality: to whom are we singing? ... In The King of Glory, we are sort of role-playing the parts of Jews of the time of Christ. I'm not sure we should do that ...
For heaven's sake,'ve got computers, take a second and look up the song! It is Messianic lyrics written to an Israeli folk tune. We are singing to one another in praise of the God's works, an ancient tradition (think the Song of Miriam, sung after the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea.) If we cannot sing the words of others in other times, there go the Psalms. Maybe ancient chant, Palestrina, etc.

What on earth is a vivifying principle, if not honoring and using ancient words, concepts and forms to write new songs to praise God?

There were also folks saying that the Colbert dance number now disqualified the song. I think this is more wishful thinking than scruples.

Response I posted:

Hey folks, sometimes, when the volunteer musician's repertoire is limited, it's The King of Glory or ignore the feast day musically. Not saying that it's the way it oughta be, but it might be the way it is.

The King of Glory Comes has always reminded me of one of the Psalm of Ascents, sung by the excited crowds as they journeyed to the temple in Jerusalem. Fr. Jabusch says he based the song on a Israeli folk song he learned while studying in Israel. IMHO, it fits into the Psalm tradition, as we do a call and response among ourselves describing the God Whom we are assembling to worship.

I think Colbert's little dance number shouldn't automatically disqualify this song, any more than the gorgeous music used while Michael Corleone exacts his revenge in The Godfather disqualifies it from use elsewhere.

Maybe I'm tired of the musical version of Monday morning quarterbacking. Opinions?

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 6 (last)

Finished up this weekend with usual Sunday activities (Mass, breakfast, nap...)

We stopped by to drop off leftover turkey for Mom, then headed to see "The Queen." Well acted, esp by Helen Mirren, and well edited. The scenes of "Diana the hunted" were intense, and her destiny seemed inevitable. The film did a good job of evoking the questions and memories of that week between Diana's death and her funeral. Mirren is QE2 -- appearance, mannerisms, intelligence, etc.

There's a great prediction made by QE2 to Tony Blair about how, just as the public clamored against her family in their slow reaction to Diana's death, they would someday clamor against him. "It will come, Mr. Blair, and without warning." Seems fairly prescient given current events, or maybe this was just the voice of wisdom speaking to her 10th PM.

Great weekend ending for the monarchy/history buff.

Great leftovers from Luigi's. Hope everyone else is rested.

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 5

By now you're thinking, wow, Izzy & Lizzie were sure busy! Could they have possibly done anything else fun, interesting or different?

Yes, it turns out they could. Izzy, who knows I love history and patriotic stuff and ceremony and Italian food, had planned a great day.

We left Varnville midafternoon and rode through the Savannah River Site (warning, DO NOT stop your vehicle!--per the umpteen signs) towards Augusta. Izzy had been on a ride recently that stopped at the Redcliffe Plantation state historic site (home of SC Governor James Hammond) and saw that there would be candlelight tours this weekend. We toured the house and some of the grounds of this showplace, built in 1859, at what the owner could not have imagined would be the end of his era.

After the plantation, the tour continued over in Augusta. There were three more homes; we had time for two.

We visited the boyhood home of Thomas "Tommy" Woodrow Wilson (the one before his family moved to Columbia, SC.)

Afterwards, we headed over to Meadow Garden, the home of George Walton, youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. This was interesting in that there was one home with a second, larger one built onto the right side.

By sheer luck, since the tour involved two states and driving between various sites, we wound up touring all three places with the same couple from Monroe, GA. We knew lots about each other by the end of the tours. We also knew which questions to ask, which may have rattled some of the DAR volunteers.

We headed back to a place Izzy had heard great reviews of -- Luigi's. It's always nice to hear Italian being spoken in an Italian restaurant.

Headed home on the highway--brrrr! According to this handy NWS chart, the air moving past us in excess of 60 MPH would have chilled the 40 degree ambient temperature to a perceived temp of 25 or below. Thanks goodness for layers.
240 miles--not bad for me, a walk in the park for Izzy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 4

Up early Saturday. Bundled up against the cold and rode to Varnville, SC for the Patriot Guard Mission. The ride down took about 2 hours and we arrived in Hampton, SC about an hour before we needed to appear at the staging area.

Izzy & I took a stroll through Historic Downtown Hampton. Their town square nativity scene was already up--blond Mary & Baby Jesus included. I've read lots of articles about towns being faced with lawsuits over Nativity Scenes in their squares, but had not seen one in the center of a small town in years.

After a couple of coffee shop drinks, we rode a couple of miles and met 22 other bikers for our "Mission Briefing." Lots of these folks (mostly guys) are veterans, and all are very determined that those who have served this country be respected and honored at the ends of their lives.
We heard a bit about the soldier who had died, said the pledge of allegiance and rode to the church where the memorial service was scheduled.

We arrived, assembled flags, and formed up to create a flag line for mourners and family to walk through on their way into the church. The closest we came to a uniform were the Harley vests covered with POW/MIA, Vietnam service and Patriot Guard patches.

While we waited for the arrival of the family, a woman drove up, rolled her window down and asked "Patriot Guard?" When told that yes, that's what this group was, she told us that her husband was deployed to Iraq and he and his buddies had said lots of great things about this group. Folks got a bit choked up when telling her to thank her husband for his service. There were several other moments in the flag line and in the service (I went inside) that evoked tears.

It's not often you get a chance to do something good and meaningful for a complete stranger, and I'm glad we had this opportunity.

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 3


Up late (yay!), then out to shop (yikes!) for 10th bday gift for niece. There was nearly no one at the closest K-Mart, even on "Black Friday." Picked up EZ-Bake Oven refill packages, and some girlie-girl cosmetic bags. Out to Irmo Town Park for the party.

(Note to Dogwood: I picked up some of the mess-proof paints for the youngest of B3's kids. Turns out, they were a great hit for all the pre-teen kids there at the party. Thanks for the tip.)

Back to our little town for Thai food. Learned the proprietress (who is in Vegas this week) is getting married in January.

Home to watch "The Notebook", which Izzy had borrowed from my Mom. Very improbable, very sweet. Gotta love the jagged cliffs and rocks on SC beaches...

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 2

"Report" posted below. I put a few family pics on Flickr.

What we did on our Thanksgiving Break, part 1

Wednesday evening:

To the dollar-fifty movies to see "Little Miss Sunshine." Stars Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Proust, Nietzche, and a VW Microbus.
We laughed out loud, quite a few times. Not sure to whom to recommend it: profane, dysfunctional, sweet, etc. The lead child actress was wonderfully cast. The father's motivational course was cringingly fun to watch--esp with the overhead blocking most of his "9 Points."
It's a movie that reminds you of lots of other movies that you've seen, but which combines all those elements into something really new. LOL humor with no Borat guilt.

FWIW: Who knew how much MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This" owed to Rick James' "Super Freak"?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Patriot Ride this Saturday

Note: most links (besides those for the Patriot Guard ride) may be pretty disturbing.

Izzy and I are going to join a Patriot Guard ride/honor guard in Varnville this Saturday. The family of SPC Harry Winkler (US Army) requested an honor guard for his memorial service in the town where he grew up.

The Patriot Guard "missions" started as a way to shield families of fallen soldiers and veterans from the idiotic rantings of the members and adherents of Fred Phelps' "church." The "theology" behind their criticism and picketing is a bit hard to follow, but basically seems to be:
  • God hates homosexuals. (Their language isn't as polite.)
  • There are homosexuals living in America.
  • Therefore God hates America.
  • From that, it stands to reason that God hates any soldier who has ever fought in the defense of the United States.
  • It's a short step to then say that God would rejoice at the death of any American.

Who wouldn't want this at their father/brother/uncle's funeral?

I may have missed the subtleties, but I'm also Catholic and therefore even more hated by God. Worse yet, as I type this, I'm wearing pants (kept me warm on the bike ride earlier) and thus am probably even more despicable.

I went to Westboro Baptist Church's website to see if Phelps' crowd was planning to picket this Saturday's service; they are otherwise engaged. They will be picketing the funerals of two of the girls who died in the Alabama bus crash. No, I'm not kidding; the deaths of these children are a reason to celebrate their view of a god (little g) who would smite the innocent simply because of where they lived. (They are also pretty happy about Katrina deaths, miners in WV, etc.)

I have no answers as to why these children died, nor could I begin to understand wars or the courage it takes to volunteer for service. We pray for their spirits, their families and ourselves as a nation as we grieve.

We will also stand physically against those who take the name of the Lord in vain to spread their hatred.

Thanksgiving, part 2

Great lunch at the Dell home. Izzy and I sang along with the Veggie Tales video; Dogwood and I tried out the amazing, mess-free fingerpaints. (Note: gotta get some for the next family gathering!)

Menu (Mrs. Dell is amazing!)

Turkey, ham, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy (turkey and mushroom), green bean casserole, carrots in OJ, baked sweet potatoes, baked butter squash rings, candied wild rice (sweetened cranberries are the candied part), Apple/orange/cranberry relish, cranberry sauce (canned), stove top stuffing, biscuits, rolls, apple pie, mincemeat pie, chocolate cake, dried fruit & nuts, and a cheese tray. Beverages: white wine, cider, tea (both), coke & diet coke.

We'll be bringing exercycles and insulin next time...maybe stretchy pants. Thanks so much for the invite! You guys are great.

Family visit part 2 at Mama MyFoo's home. Got to see 4 (of 5 sibs) and 15 (of 23) N&Ns. We'll see lots of them again tomorrow at a niece's 10th bday party, and a nephew's 7th bday a week form Sunday.

We're home now and Izzy is making/returning calls to the O'Cayce diaspora.

Nice, restful TG, all in all. We'll be praying 11 to 1 or so tomorrow for Gashwin's Dad's surgery.

Thanksgiving, part 1

There's lots to be thankful for, and I try to remember and be thankful more than once a year.

For today, especially, I am soooo grateful for Izzy. Loving, compassionate, a lover of God, an example of faith, a great sense of humor, brilliant intellect, fun, cute, so much more -- what's not to love?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


(credit Izzy for the "expletive")

Well, the presure to maintain a perfect season is gone. You cannot keep dropping the ball, turning over (19 times!), and failing to convert possessions into points and expect to beat such a physical team.

Dickie V stopped calling our guys Diaper Dandies when Marquette got 11 unanswered points.

Final score:

Duke: 62
Marquette: 73

We'll be back for the next one. Boy, howdy, we miss JJ and Shelden.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My boys be playin' good--mostly

Watching the Duke-Marquette game on the big screen set-up Izzy rigged. He taped the Duke-Air Force game last night so we could entertain the YACS (people might have left early if I started screaming at the TV...) and we watched it when I got home from work.

In this game, we need to hustle a bit; we're getting a bit sloppy--I'll post this and get back to offering pointers on plays, turnovers, etc. 19-16 (our favor) with 9:44 to go in the 1st half.

I love "my other religion." I love Dickie V, baby.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Concert Notes

8:44 PM (11/18)
Here at Cafe Ishi for Jason's show--opener is Dave Turner (, pianist, very Elton-John influenced.

Lines: (From Damn, She's Aged) (from here, if the link works)

There's a little white cross by the side of the highway
A wreath of flowers where he crashed and burned
Flyin' through the night, D.W.I.
They told him to quit, but he never would learn.

Saw his widow at the Walmart
Where she's been workin'
In polyester hell at minimum wage
It's only been a year
Since the night that she lost him
Damn, she's aged. ...

Saw his momma at the store
Buyin' cigarettes and beer
With crumpled dollar bills and pocket change
Even had to take some pennies
From the take-a-penny cup
Damn -- she's aged.


(Didn't catch the song title)

I'm drunk again, and I don't know Jesus.

More later--Jason's up.
9:44 PM

From Model Waif

I wish I was the choice of a new generation
I'd get to be what ev'ryone's drinkin'
I wish I was the Kinsey Report
I'd get to be what ev'ryone's thinkin'


Mercy is the only think worth anything
but it's never worked for me


I can feel the ocean pulling inward,
I'm sinking on sand.
It makes me think about Peter
Sinking on the waves, and not believing he grabs for your hand.
I go to a movie.
I can feel the tears on my neck stinging, because I just shaved.
Someone gets killed.
Someone else gets shot up real bad,
and in the end someone gets saved.

Just read the lyrics for Lion Song. I'll be off somewhere else when he sings it... sitting in this chair, but transported. Pretty great when music can do that...

12:18 PM, 11/19
Last edit. We're back home now--great show, even for a small crowd.

A line from one of Dave's songs has me thinking about lyrics--I'll post if/when I get them arranged to mean something.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Alert of Cosmic Significance--Confirmed

Have you sent your gift? Maybe send them what you'd been planning to send for Britney and K-Fed's 3rd anniversary.
Related: Izzy is disappointed he didn't coin the new moniker "Fed-Ex."

Alert of Cosmic Significance

You may now resume your regularly scheduled Saturdays.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Attention Upstate People: Jason Harrod Show

Izzy and I are headed to Spartanburg this Saturday, November 18, to hear Jason Harrod at Cafe Ishi. Jason is an indy accoustic folkie singer songwriter; think guitar and harmonica, alt country meets jazz meets a little blue-eyed soul meets blue grass meets kickin' it .

We've not been to the cafe before, but we've never been disappointed at one of Jason's shows. He's got a great voice, does some great original music, and I've got to come up with a word other than great. Just head to myspace and listen to "Carolina," "When I Get Home," etc. Then come to the show to hear "Lions Song," "Siobhan," "Tidewater" and "My Mad Girlfriend."

If you're around the GSP area Saturday night, why not join us?

(Truth in advertising: Izzy and I were in a small group Bible Study with Jason for several years. He's actually seen Caligula, our cat.)

PS for 11/17: I've moved this post to the top for today--more visible.

Saint Day: Elizabeth of Hungary

Today, November 17, is my patron saint's feast Day. Elizabeth of Hungary died November 17, 1231 at the age of 24.

Mini-Bio from Catholic Forum:

Princess, the daughter of King Andrew of Hungary. Great-aunt of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal. She married Prince Louis of Thuringa at age 13. Built a hospital at the foot of the mountain on which her castle stood; tended to the sick herself. Her family and courtiers opposed this, but she insisted she could only follow Christ's teachings, not theirs. Once when she was taking food to the poor and sick, Prince Louis stopped her and looked under her mantle to see what she was carrying; the food had been miraculously changed to roses. Upon Louis' death, Elizabeth sold all that she had, and worked to support her four children. Her gifts of bread to the poor, and of a large gift of grain to a famine stricken Germany, led to her patronage of bakers and related fields.

I chose her for her example of charity, and service, including nursing work, while married. She's a patroness of nursing, along with Catherine of Siena.

UltraC might be interested in this--I just learnt that Eliz was a third order Fransiscan. Cool.

From New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia

On Good Friday, 1228, in the Franciscan house at Eisenach, Elizabeth formally renounced the world; then going to Master Conrad at Marburg, she and her maids received from him the dress of the Third Order of St. Francis, thus being among the first tertiaries of Germany. In the summer of 1228 she built the Franciscan hospital at Marburg and on its completion devoted herself entirely to the care of the sick, especially to those afflicted with the most loathsome diseases. Conrad of Marburg still imposed many self-mortifications and spiritual renunciations, while at the same time he even took from Elizabeth her devoted domestics. Constant in her devotion to God, Elizabeth's strength was consumed by her charitable labours, and she passed away at the age of twenty-four, a time when life to most human beings is just opening.

Happy Saint's Day to any other Lizzies out there!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I've had several opportunities to present on Pan Flu and Emergency preparedness lately to groups of nurses. So far I've been to Myrtle Beach, Pawley's Island and Charleston in 6 weeks.

It's nice to get good feedback about the presentations, but I got something really neat today: A school nurse came up to me today and said "You've inspired me!" (Really, I think she said it with an exclamation point.)

What a great thing to hear. Somebody be sure to remember this for my obit.

Turkey Prep

Just sent off an email with directions for cooking a turkey--a turkey which will be cooked by a friend in our Cayce casita on Monday before a group from church arrives for a potluck dinner. I absolutely love and would swear by (were I so inclined) the Reynolds turkey bags. Cooking a bird in the bag, plus stuffing the inside of the bird with peeled potatoes and quartered onions (which steam the insides), makes for one moist, tender bird.

Or so I'm told.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Largely a Waste of Time

From the Myrtle Beach paper (I was looking for a flu story):

S.C. gov. considers asking his 14 Cabinet members to resign

JIM DAVENPORT, Associated Press
Gov. Mark Sanford told his 14 Cabinet members Tuesday he considered asking them all to resign to "reshuffle the cards" as he begins his second term in office.
That would be "some tangible way to remind everybody that we're starting fresh all over again," Sanford said at his monthly meeting with the people who run some of the state's biggest agencies.
Not anything new or unexpected.  This is common in 2nd terms.
What's blog-worthy?
Sanford's Cabinet meetings are not easy, either. The meetings involve brief rundowns of developments in each agency - from the Department of Social Services to the Corrections Department - and it is rare that Sanford doesn't pick apart something they say.
On Tuesday, it was Department of Public Safety Director Jim Schweitzer's new outreach program aimed at cutting highway fatalities and accidents. The program, Schweitzer explained, uses state troopers, other agency employees and family members of wreck victims to persuade people to buckle up, slow down and stop driving drunk.
"Isn't it just largely a waste of time," Sanford asked.
"No," Schweitzer said. Reaching out to people increases awareness, he said.
Schweitzer said the state has one of the nation's highest DUI fatality rates and people "around those who are drunk can change their behavior."
Sanford said the problem was the state's DUI law. Schweitzer agreed and said a tougher DUI law was his priority, too.
Trying to persuade folks to not drive drunk = largely a waste of time. 
Good for Schweitzer.  Bad for us.  Nope, I did not vote for the guy. .

Monday, November 13, 2006

Father & Son

I mentioned B1's son who opted to wear his Dad's jersey number in PeeWee football. Got this composite today.

Nifty. And don't we feel old?

My Office, the Gulag

They've started taking down the movie set next to the building where I work.

It looked odd when a fence was erected in front of one of the old state hospital buildings--danger signs, barbed wire, 10 feet high--and only 75 feet or so in lenth, and unattached to anythng. Absolutely fobidding entrance to anyone who didn't opt to walk around it.

They also did a good job "set dresssing" with leaves and trash.

You can see the fence coming down in the shot below. Also if you're ever on our campus, this sign does you not one bit of good. The twisty rutted roads and shuttered buildings make the actual mental hospital nearly impossible to find.

No Kevin Bacon sightings for me...


Example 1: Read on the side of a box in the grocery store (a product obviously aimed at allergy sufferers.)

    • No Wheat
    • No Dairy
    • No Eggs
    • No Soy
    • No Peanuts
    • No Tree Nuts
    • No Fish
    • No Shellfish
    • Made without corn, potato, sulfites, casein, sesame.
    • No artificial ingredients.

What's in the box? Snickerdoodles!

Sadly, since one cookie contains nearly all the carbs I'm allowed for an entire meal, I didn't pick up the entirely inoffensive treats.

And I wondered: are fish or shellfish traditionally found in Snickerdoodles?

Example 2: I picked up some test strips (a product obviously made for diabetics) at the drug-store. They swiped my store card to give me my discount on a couple of sundries, and the register tape I got contained a coupon for savings on boxes of candy. Candy? What are you people thinking?

How's about a break on the $50 co-pays instead...? That would be some great marketing. Better than fish-free snickerdoodles

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Should a church look like a church?

The Curt Jester posts on a seeker-friendly protestant church that meets in a theater, includes Hip-Hop in the worship service, etc.

Because Pews Don't Have Drink Holders

The Rev. Dan Smith uses an extremely unorthodox way to preach the Christian gospels. (sic) He wants to attract young people turned off by conventional churches.

[Cleveland's] NewsChannel5's Ted Henry reported Smith will do almost anything to convince those turned off by religion that being spiritual can be cool. He wants to attract the unchurched.

"I have some people who haven't been to church in 10 to 15 years or forever, saying man that this is cool," Smith said.

Another interesting element is where the church -- Momentum Christian Church -- is located.

The congregation meets at the Cinemark movie theater on Canal Road.

"A lot of time when you walk into a church it feels kind of solemn, but when you walk into a theater, it feels like something exciting is about to happen... Smith said.

I walk into a theater and notice the sticky floors, but I digress.

Another member said, "We've been here ever since it started. It's different. It's not like being at church." ...

Dan Smith's videos infuse religion and rap music and they have been played on VH1 and CNN. They are a big hit for everyone except reserved believers. [Ouch!]

...Some might consider this approach a bold church experiment because of everything -- a movie house, video games, Hip Hop, comedy, plus the teachings of Christ. But Smith thinks it is his life's passion to bring what he has to offer to both the unchurched and the disillusioned.

My reply, in which I addressed on something I'd not found time for yet in this space:

I read the blog-post title and immediately flashed to the Baptist churches of my childhood, the Bible Church and Presbyterian Church of my younger and recent adulthood, etc.

On the backs of pews you find teeeny, tiny cup holders for communion cups -- emptied, of course--it's risky to use them before communion is received.)

As regards do-the-"liturgy"-yourselves churches: I was at a Presbyterian women's retreat recently that ended with communion at the Sunday morning worship service. As a Catholic Convert, I didn't receive, but noticed that I was more and more uncomfortable with the informality of the Communion ritual--informality that included jokes.

I remarked on this to my husband, who reminded me that if there is no Magisterium, no "big T" Tradition, no understanding that we are handling the Body and Blood of Christ, what does it matter if you inject humor?

Or hip hop? Or ad lib?

BTW: Why should church be the only place we go where we don't want to be reminded of where we are? I want my doctor's office, grocery store, post office, library, the Department of Motor Vehicles, even a movie theater to look like what they are. Church should "look like" church.

Anyone else out there feel like that?

PS: This guy (Dan Smith or whiteboy DJ) is the one responsible for the video: Baby Got Book. Worth a view or two.

Tough Losses

Izzy & I went to a football game today (not this one) and saw my nephew play in the championship game of the 11 to 13 year old league of the a local rec league.

Nephew (son of B1) has played in this league 2 years, and each year chose to wear a jersey number that his dad wore about in the same league 30 years ago. Is that sweet or what? Shouldn't one avoid using the word "sweet" when talking about football players.

The Patriots, our nephew's team, succumbed to what the announcer referred to as "the mighty Saints defense." 24 to 7, but hey, we got 7. The Saints had some really big kids, but "our" kids never stopped hustling.

Nephew & his Dad (Auntie Liz needs more practice on the little camera.)

And now I see the result of the other game. Bummer.

But now I know the title of the post.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yard Signs

Driving this evening to see my nephew, I looked at the scads and scads of campaign signs along the road sides and came up with a plan for getting these cleaned up after Election Day.

Just as the outcome of an Olympic event can still be altered (after the event has ended) by the results of blood or urine testing, the outcomes of elections could also be alterable.

I propose: Percentages of victory (or of votes received) will be reduced by a number equal to the number of days it takes to remove all of a candidate's yard signs from public roads and right-of-ways.

This might motivate a candidate's supporters to take down a few signs. If supporters of the front-runners put out too many signs, the 3rd party candidates, who could afford less advertising, might stand a chance of winning.

I'm not sure what it would mean for a sign on northbound I-77 near Charlotte which has proclaimed the 1st name of our current Lieutenant Governor since before the 2002 election.

Now to wait for the '08 signs to appear in the neighborhood. McCain/Lieberman vs. Clinton/Obama?

What's it all about, Alfie?

Link from a post by Gashwin took me to this great observation by Christopher Hitchen of the Times UK Online:

IN EVERY election cycle there is a dispute among pundits and between candidates as to precisely what the election is “about”. The results can then be analysed according to how they provide a verdict on this topic, or topics.

There is usually more than one “about” about, and sometimes the “abouts” are related. In the past US presidential contest [2004] there was general agreement that the dispute between the candidates was “about” Iraq, but also “about” the relative military qualifications, in the late 1960s, of the two contenders. For a while, though this requires an effort of memory, it was also “about” the right of homosexual couples to marry.

The present US midterm election campaign, however, is principally “about” the fact that federal law mandates a vote in November, and thus that there have to be candidates, issues, spending contests and all the rest of it.

For THIS we get four weeks of political ads?

Hitchens' description of the George Allen race (Freudian??) shows how far afield from serious the "about" can be:
Now he is in the deepest of trouble because — let me see if I have this right — he isn't “really” from the South, wears cowboy boots though there are no cowboys in Virginia, made a cryptic remark to a questioner from the Indian sub-continent and reacted oddly to the news of his mother’s hidden Jewish parentage.

Here in the 1st state to exit the Union, we have someone who drives too fast vs. someone supporting cock-fighting; a millionaire son of a state icon pretending to have created his own success vs. someone who quite literally has been asleep on the job; etc.

And the locals didn't even let the Governor vote! (Their error ... he was able to vote later on.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Flu Shots

Izzy sends this URL for locating places to get flu shots in the Carolinas:

G & other DC-based ex-patriates--try the American Lung Ass'n site.

Patient-Friendly Info on Flu Shots

From the CDC: People who should get the flu shot include [lots of high risk people] AND

anyone else who wants to reduce their chance of getting influenza.
I don't think I've ever had true influenza, but i watched Izzy's 2-week bout with it and don't think I ever what to have it.

Dinner Envy

Those of you who have eaten Izzy's cooking will want to read his description of last Friday's dinner (hosted by Izzy at the House of Chez Casa for a group of BSG viewers.)

Posted as a reply over at Yalie Girl's blog, where she is happy to report on her down home dinner.

who didn't even get the promised Red Cross food on Saturday....How wrongly am I living?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cognitive Misers

"Cognitive Misers" is a term Heather in France DC has been hearing in her classes. I think the old term was "sheep." This type of person is very frustrating to those passionate about government, politics, societal change, etc.

On Halloween, she posted about her appropriately strong response to a PBS documentary on churches in the midwest that were under IRS investigation for supporting political candidates. In her commentary (which she calls a political-religions rant 8-)), she expresses her frustration with:

"cognitive misers" ... these people who take every shortcut available to get to their goal, trying their darndest, it seems, to not actually have to learn anything and arrive at an answer. Basically, they don't use their brains, or waste their time thinking about things they can get easy answers to someplace else. I can see how these people exist, but I weep that they constitute about 70% of the public. (I really do.)
and with:

...preachers who are using the pulpit as a ground to recruit those who have similar political ideologies. The message is framed on moral grounds: God and the Bible speak out against homosexuals, abortion is wrong because it is taking a life - there are commandments against that ... etc.
But that isn't the worst part. The worst part is, that the people keep coming back. They have no pre-existing frame in their head, no ulterior message that says: STOP. We live in the United States of America. We live in a country where we are free from religious and political oppression (supposedly). We treasure the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, freedom to basically do whatever our little hearts desire without tumbling into anarchy. We live in a place with the separation of church and state. But these people don't know or remember that. Or they are just too lazy to care.
I posted a reply, which may put me in a bit of a minority, and thought I'd re-post it here (mainly so I'd have it for later reference.) I fear it proves my idealistic days are past.

Heather "rants":

I feel like our country was founded on the separation of church and state. In so many ways, the founders did basically everything in their power to keep the government from influencing religion and vice versa.

Might wanna re-read a bit. The Puritans (Massachusetts) and the Quakers (Pennsylvania) and perhaps even the Catholics (Maryland) tried to set-up what they perceived would be a perfect society where they were free from the persecution they had experienced for practicing their religions, and where everyone would be "free" to practice the new unofficial state religion (Puritanism, etc.)

The "Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion" clause is followed by the "nor prohibit the free exercise thereof" clause. We usually forget that part.

Churches who actively support candidates (or support slates based on issue-centered voter's guides) would say that they are completely within their rights (if the "free exercise" clause is honored) to support candidates whose policies or ideals that support the type of society that the churches would like to see created or maintained.

I personally see little difference between placing a Right to Life Voter's Guide in a vestibule and a church (usually this happens in black churches) giving the pulpit over to a (usually Democratic) political candidate at 11 AM on a Sunday morning. The IRS may enforce a distinction, but there is no effective societal difference.

We treasure the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, freedom to basically do whatever our little hearts desire without tumbling into anarchy.

I don't know if you really believe that ... less of an outcome than anarchy should provide the STOP message on one's behavior.

As a representative democracy, the people choose leaders whose views most closely match their own.

  • The Church teaches us that abortion is evil. Is She then wrong if Her priests and ministers campaign to enact legal limitations on this behavior?
  • The Church teaches us that all life is sacred from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death? Is She then wrong to encourage Her members to work for the abolition of practices destructive to life, be they embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia or the death penalty?
  • The Church teaches us that marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Bride; is She then wrong to encourage Her members to work to maintain this understanding, at least in the genders of marriage partners?

I'd say She is within Her rights, under the "free exercise" clause.

The true beauty of the system in the US is that others with a different understanding are also free to work to enact their views of a perfect, free society.

BTW: I know scads of Evangelicals, many of whom are also NASCAR fans. They aren't all sheep or "cognitive misers."

Finally, Heather asks:

Please tell me there are other people out there who believe there is a separation [between church and state.]

Go forth and do.

Dining a la Food Court

It's my last night in Pawley's Island (A Swell Sand Yip or Swell Daisy Nap or Spin a Swell Day or Lewd Nasal Yips), home of the famous Pawley's Island Hammock (Palace Man's Moldy Whisk). I've actually seen little of the town other than Highway 17 between my hotel (cheaper) and the conference site (less cheap.)

Conference travel is like that: little time for activities outside of the meeting rooms, banquet site, etc. When not in meetings, I was prepping for the pan flu outbreak exercise we conducted today. It went quite well, thanks for asking.

I did drive quite a few miles after Mass Wednesday evening to join a group at a fish restaurant in Murrell's Inlet--having been told the establishment was smoke-free. Sadly, when I arrived, the group had opted to eat on the (smoking allowed and taking place) glassed-in patio. 20 miles back and trying to find food in the dark and in a non-bar in the off-season isn't easy--thank God for Quizno's.

This isn't meant as a feel-sorry-for-me post, but allergies do really limit the places/ways I get to socialize with colleagues. After-work gatherings happen at the Saucer--no Lizzie. They like lunch at the Armadillo Oil Company--no Lizzie.

Lunch @ the No-Name Deli--Lizzie is there.

I figure it will take about a year after this ban (if enacted) takes effect before the air, walls and seats in these places are sufficiently clear of allergens and Lizzie gets to go more places.

In the meantime, Izzy made pasta al fagioli and putanesca tonight for a small group of BSG viewers at the House of Chez Casa. He'll dine on leftovers (if any exist!) for lunch tomorrow, while I get to eat a Red Cross supplied lunch at the flu shot clinic. (I'm part of the evaluation team.)

Who wouldn't want this job (smile)?


BTW: there's a great Italian place two towns over that can get a bit smoky (like Yesterday's or California Dreaming, where the term "non-smoking section" is optimistic.) I opted not to try and drive back after having a Benadryl-influenced dinner. I'll wait until I have a driver/charming & delightful dinner companion.

More McPaper Reality

After reading the Chinese death penalty article in the USA Today, I came across a nearly full-page ad: Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics. (PDF posted here.)

Created by Catholic Answers, it's apparently been around since 2004, at least. The Guide addresses big faith & morals issues (defined as the non-negotiables": abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual marriage.) I didn't realize that it wasn't developed just this year until I looked for text online; these same issues keep coming up. Gotta be something about ginning up the party base: property tax reform and social safety nets just don't get the faithful to the polls.


1. The Guide does allow for voting for the lesser of two evils. This is good.
2. It recognizes that the views of a mayoral condidate on cloning might not be relevant to that ofice, but it then encourages voters to recognize that tomorrow's Senator is today's alderman candidate.
3. Cans o'worms open up via a vis heterodoxy vs. heresy for disagreement on the last non-negotiable item. The Guide doesn't distinguish between establishing civil protections for property (an issue near & dear to the Republican heart) and re-defining the married state.
4. It helps me not one whit in deciding between the reckless, irresponsible guy and the cock-fighting lobbyist guy.

I know our Padre decided not to incite division in the Parish by putting these out. Truly a pastoral decision.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Reality in the McPaper

So, I'm looking through the USA Today and I see this picture (not reproduced here; it's hard to take.) The caption read: A woman is lead away to execution immediately after being sentenced to death in China. 2001.)

Bits of the article:

BEIJING — China's move to give a top court final say on all death sentences should slow the furious pace of executions here, even though many non-violent offenses remain capital crimes, legal experts say.

Chinese legal scholars and lawyers welcomed this week's announcement by the government that the country's Supreme People's Court will review all capital punishment cases.

The change is “an important procedural step to prevent wrongful convictions,” said China's top judge, Xiao Yang, according to the state-run Xinhua news service.

China was responsible for 81% of the world's known executions — 1,770 out of 2,184 — last year, according to Amnesty International. Amnesty said the actual number of executions in China could be several times higher. In the USA, 60 people were executed in 2005.

The reviews by the high court “should reduce the total number of executions by one-quarter or even a third,” says Chen Weidong, a criminal law expert at People's University in Beijing.

Human rights groups and Chinese legal scholars have criticized the Chinese government for excessive use of the death penalty and for carrying out some executions after sham trials.

Sixty-eight offenses — including non-violent crimes such as tax evasion, drug smuggling and corruption — carry the death penalty.


In response to the criticism, the government has introduced a series of reforms as part of a policy it calls “kill fewer, kill carefully.”

Fewer. Carefully. Sound like "safe, legal and rare"?