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.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

In case there's a change in the weather, part 2

After the wedding, we came home and I took a nice long nap. The cat, having Izzy to herself, came over, yelled at him a bit, and then led him towards the back door. Izzy opened the door, and Caligula looked out at the damp, overcast, wet yard. This would not do at all.

Expressing her disapproval loudly, she then led Izzy towards the front door, which he obligingly opened. Sadly and shockingly, the front door opened on exactly the same weather as the back door. Who could have imagined that?!

More yelling, and disapproval. Izzy then picked her up, set her on the front porch and shut the door. After a bit more complaining, she took advantage of the chance to eat some wet grass.

She's now sitting on a pile of pillows, turned away from me, as if she knows I'm blogging about her. She'll soon enough disapprove of the delay in her dinner time, then of several other things before we leave for Mass in the AM.

In case there's a change in the weather, part 1

Izzy rode to New Orleans last weekend to see our goddaughter "Idabeck" (middle) perform as a mouse and a baker in the Nutcracker with the N.O. Ballet.

At dinner one evening, IdaBeck was describing an outfit.

IdaBeck: The top is pink and the skirt is brown.
Izzy: (sung) The dashboard's genuine leather.*

All the grown-ups gaffawed, and Idabeck, figuring out that she'd done something to amuse the adults, joined in the laughter.

*All together now:
"With isinglass curtains y' can roll right down,
in case there's a change in the weather."

Yes sir, that's my baby

Originally uploaded by Dogwood Dell

Taken by Dogwood (thanks!) at this morning's wedding.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Eerie timing

A couple of days ago, while looking at the paper, Izzy and I decided to go to the movies tonight to see Charlie Wilson's War. The main reason for picking today (Thursday, 12/27) is that I would be free of the pager.

So, already distressed by the assassination of Frmr Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto today, we headed off to see a movie that explains how the US came to arm the mujaheddin (unwittingly arming the future Taliban) , changing the future of the entire area, even as we finally helped someone defeat our perennial enemy, the Soviet Union. I cannot help but wonder if some of today's events were also set in motion back in the early 1980's, but also cannot imagine another way that things could have possibly worked out.

In eerie timing, the movie actually includes references to the death of Bhutto's father.

Overall, I'd recommend it. Direction by Mike Nichols, Aaron Sorkin screenplay & dialogue, convincing lead by Tom Hanks, good support from Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts, and nice jobs done by a couple of Barry Levinson regulars: Ned Beatty and Peter Gerety (I'm a big fan of Homicide: Life on the Street, as anyone who has been with me to Baltimore would recall.)

For those of a certain age, helicopter battle scenes don't seem right without a soundtrack, usually Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. This movie did an interesting take, showing battle and attack scenes in Afghan villages and mountainsides played to Handel's "And He Shall Purify."

Lyrics, simplified:
And He shall purify the sons of Levi that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (from Malachi 3:3)

Watching these villagers defeat an enemy, clearing the way for "holy warriors" was all the more eerie with that oratorio playing over and over.

Nothing in movies happens by accident. It will be interesting to hear why that piece of music was chosen. Because, movie music choices have reasons. I don't think the rest of today can or will ever be adequately explained.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Blog, part 6: Reindeer

So, after three weeks, I'm finally posting pics of the reindeer graveyard in the front yard.

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer


Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner,...

Dead Tree, still in situ.

Dead Tree

Before shots, for those who've only seen the HCC at night.

HCC photo



Christmas Blog, part 5: Kid stuff

Bicycles seen on the street today: 1.
Kids living on this block: not too many.

Site to remember for next year:

Status says Mission Complete. If you got nothing so far, you ain't gettin' nothin'.

Finally, not so much related to little kids, but to being progeny, ourselves. Izzy's Christmas compilation just played one his absolute faves. Phil Madeira's "3 Horse Shoes" CD has a great song, which I think Izzy has taken as a personal anthem. Others might relate to the sentiment, as well.

Christmas This Year

Every December, like moths to a flame
we used to drive North
every year just the same.
But we're sick of the traffic
and we're staying right her

Packages, sweaters,
ski-boots, and gloves.
Packed to the gills 'til the
car door won't shut.
By the time we've gassed up, we've got
no Yuletide cheer, so WE AIN'T DOMING

Okay, I admit it, it ain't just the drive,
but by the time we get back
here we''re barely alive.
'Cause sometimes vacations can
summon old tears,

Don't worry. We'll call you.
We'll put the kids on.
Whatever it takes to
strengthen our bonds.
And in that sweet moment,
we'll wish we were there,

Tell Santa to forward
the gifts to our house.
And maybe once in a decade
you oughtta drive South.
Just give us some notice,
God knows we'll be here,

Now don't be offended
and don't be upset.
I never intended to make you regret
those wonderful moments
so special and dear.

From a review of the CD by Steve Stockman, Rhythms of Redemption:
The songs are about meeting God in everyday mysterious ways. If American writer Frederick Buechner wrote songs, these would be they. God in the down to earth. Miracles, love and prayer without cliche. Not defined as contemporary Christian music but more Christian than most of what is described as that.

Christmas Blog, part 4: Stuff from the Radio

Christmas is usually a slow news day. NPR, addition to summarizing B16's message and telling us that greetings were given in 60 (or so) languages, added the following to Carl Kassell's top of the hour news summary:

  • Tourists flocked to Bethlehem.
  • All 5000 hotel rooms in Bethlehem were full.
Glad to see someone there has read/heard St. Luke's account.

In other, non-holiday radio stuff, I've heard several times an ad for some service or other. The ad ends: This offer is not available in all states, including South Carolina.

Doesn't that sound like "not available in any states"? Shouldn't they say it's not available in "some" states?

I'm certainly glad to see that people are aware that SC has been re-admitted to the Union, but if the service isn't available in SC, why run the ad on a station that only reaches the middle of SC? Are there enough people transiting the state who will chance upon this ad, thing "aha, this could be solution to my own particular problem!" and then recall the company and contact info once they reach their home in one of the states (if any) where the offer applies?

Christmas Blog, part 3: Cradle Catholics

We went to the later, less crowded Christmas Eve Mass last night. Due to a mix-up in arrangements, our Padre had discovered late Saturday that no one was planning to provide music for this particular Mass. Izzy was already scheduled to read, and now our 9 AM Mass duo got asked to do music.

So, Christmas Eve involved a bit of running around.

  • music practice
  • food shopping for spinach salad and Christmas breakfast ingredients
  • assembling salad & dressing
  • over to Mom's
  • socialize-eat-take pics with loaner camera
  • drive to church
  • warm-up (with an "audience")
  • Mass
  • drive back to Mom's
  • eat-socialize-sing-more pics
  • clean up after 31 people with Mom while Izzy and Pops troubleshoot and install a wireless network
  • home after one AM, without ever going to Midnight Mass.
All of that above is to say that I was a distracted at times yesterday. It's often hard to be a full, conscious, active participant in Mass when there has been and will be lots of activity outside of Mass on a particular day.

So, to remind me of the helpless baby that Christ allowed Himself to become, God sent one to our 7:30 PM Mass. Great vocal cords on that kid. Perhaps there should always be noisy babies at Christmas Eve Mass --- we are, after all, celebrating the birth of a baby.

There was also a young lady (around 8 or 9?) seated across that Chapel from the micro-choir. Obviously a cradle Catholic, but I don't believe from this Parish, she felt (IMHO) a need to be sure that everyone knew that she knew all of the vocal and spoken responses, prayers, etc. Loudly. Flatly. Starting just a bit behind, finishing up ahead of the rest of us, almost triumphantly. See, I know what to do even better than you do.

Her mom was somewhere in the back...

Between the baby and the little-red-haired-girl, I think few people noticed any mistakes the musicians might have made. Again, there should always be lots of children and a bit of chaos at Christmas Eve Mass.

We were given a noisy baby, who grew into a young man Who impressed adults with His knowledge and understanding of God. He died, in part for that same understanding, when it threatened a system that was supposed to point people to God, but which had become more self-sustaining, rather than anticipatory.

Here's to many opportunities over the next 12 days to remember the wonder, revel in the chaos, and anticipate the next coming.

Christmas Blog, part 2: Shoes

First, some background: Izzy first met my parents when he accompanied me home for Christmas Break back in the Reagan administration. One afternoon, Izzy and Dad found themselves seated at the kitchen table, trying to read the paper despite noise and chaos levels approaching apocalyptic. Dad looked up from a sales insert and said to Izzy: Hey, they've got bras half off at Riches. Wanna go?
I looked through today's sales inserts just a while ago, noting to Izzy that while bras seemed to be half-off, men's underwear was generally only 25% off. Something seems terribly unfair here.

Turning a page, I commented to Izzy:

"They've got knee-high boots 70% off at Penney's. Doesn't that make them 'shoes'?"

His reply: That's your Christmas blog entry, right there.


Christmas Blog, part 1: Bad Santas

We're here listening to Izzy's iPod montage of Christmas music, and I discovered this bit of video news.

Pull quote from a seven year old witness: "I thought they were funny at first, but then it got out of hand and I started to get scared."

Christmas Fun: Google maruading santas and marauding santas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

More on Mattheus' Impact on 17 year olds

I was riding an escalator last night and heard a couple of kids behind me mentioning that one of the was "turning the big one-eight" today.

Grandma, to the older one: Have you registered to vote yet?

Almost no longer 17 year old: Yes, we did that a few weeks ago. You
can register as long as you'll be 18 by the election.

Other 17 year old: Yea, we read about it in the paper.

Me (not out loud): I'm so proud of my baby brother.

Re-read the post via the way-back machine:
Leonardo's Notebook By Mattheus Mei: The First Wave.....

Cute photo, which is the whole purpose of the Internet, right?

I'm putting up pics on Flickr this evening, having finally gotten around to editing and labeling shots I took at the St. Nicholas Festival. More on that once the pics are up (it'll be my last set that I set to auto-upload before heading off to sleep. Oversharing??)

Here's one with an excited bday girls who has just gotten the bday loot that Uncle Izzy and Aunt Lizzie bought her at the Air & Space Museum. Folks call her a mini-me. It's loads of fun being an Aunt.

Little Miss B turns 11

For those who care, I have an itty bitty loaner camera for family Christmas pics. I'm glad I've played with other point & shoots. Expect a few more kid shots next week.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Seasonal Predictability

Update at the bottom...

Somethings you can count on. Every year, just before Easter, someone discovers or uncovers or invents some bit of evidence that totally undermines everything that has been believed about Christianity since 33 AD or so.

We've all forgotten it by Mother's Day, of course.

Christmas usually goes ignored in the heresy, undermining department. So, I was mildly surprised to follow a link from Drudge to this story at the UK Daily Telegraph:

Archbishop says nativity "a legend"

The Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that the Christmas story of the Three Wise Men was nothing but a 'legend'.

Dr. Rowan Williams has claimed there was little evidence that the Magi even existed and there was certainly nothing to prove there were three of them or that they were kings.

Dr. Williams argued that the traditional Christmas story was nothing but a 'legend.' He said the only reference to the wise men from the East was in Matthew's gospel and the details were very vague. Dr. Williams said: "Matthew's gospel says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that's all we're really told. It works quite well as legend."

The Archbishop went on to dispel other details of the Christmas story, adding that there were probably no asses or oxen in the stable.

He argued that Christmas cards which showed the Virgin Mary cradling the baby Jesus, flanked by shepherds and wise men, were misleading. As for the scenes that depicted snow falling in Bethlehem, the Archbishop said the chance of this was "very unlikely".

In a final blow to the traditional nativity story, Dr Williams concluded that Jesus was probably not born in December at all. He said: "Christmas was when it was because it fitted well with the winter festival."
Comment: G and others have linked to a Mark Shea essay (book chapter?) on the Christmas timing question.

His comments came during an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live with Simon Mayo yesterday. Later on in the show, the Archbishop was challenged by fellow guest Ricky Gervais, the comedian, about the credibility of the Christmas story. ...

Yes, Ricky Gervais, the guy from the original series "The Office." The Christmas special episode was wonderfully grim.

More Daily Telegraph Links:

Transcript: Archbishop's interview with Simon Mayo
Damian Thompson: Another of Rowan Williams' own goals

Granted -- the headline makes it appear that the AB of C disbelieves more than the article says, but I'd expect not one whit less of hyperbole from the British press.

The commentariat makes good points that the Scriptures don't say three wise men, nor kings, etc. Nothing puts the Magi in the stable. No one seems to be noticing (in the few comments I read) that Tradition (big T) may pass along to us things that don't get recorded until much later.
I just wonder what the AB of C believes about other bits of this legendary story. Virgin Birth, no room at the inn, announcement to shepherds, etc.?

I'm sure that, following this story, there will be outraged comments some places, triumphant links in others, and much of the Anglican Communion will continue to be embarrassed by the rest of the communion.

Merry Legendous!

Update: I've started actually reading the full transcript and have discovered a few answers.

Virgin Birth: Yep, since "that's something I'm committed to as part of what I've inherited."

No room at the Inn:
Simon Mayo: ...the baby Jesus in a manger; historically and factually true?
ABC: I should think so; the Gospel tells us he was born outside the main house, probably because it was overcrowded because it was pilgrimage time or census time; whatever; yes; he's born in poor circumstances, slightly out of the ordinary.

Wise Men: Well Matthew's gospel doesn't tell us that there were three of them, doesn't tell us they were kings, doesn't tell us where they came from, it says they're astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire. That's all we're really told so, yes, 'the three kings with the one from Africa' - that's legend; it works quite well as legend.

Lesson: The full interview isn't nearly as inflammatory as the abbreviated version. Still, I think someone comfortable in academia whould know that the term "legend" shouldn't be used about anythng related to scripture outside densely ivy-covered walls.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Familiar Faces

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Raleigh -- I think this might be only the 2nd time for me. We're here for the college graduation of my eldest niece from NC State. Go Pack, I guess....

I arrived too late for the family dinner, so no Italian. I just a few minutes ago turned on the news, and (this will mean something mainly to Izzy), there were Debra Morgan and Pam Saulsby telling me about local goings-on and Greg Fischel telling me how cold it's going to be tomorrow (very!), with sports by Bob Holiday.

I began the process of leaving the Triangle five years ago. It's nice to see familiar faces -- even if only on a screen. It's not unlike moving back to SC after being away for 23 years and having the same two Senators (Thurmond and Hollings) and Mr. Knozit still doing the weather. We likes us our stability down here, we does.

Just heard another bit of news that will sadden the hearts of true Dukies, baby: Dickie V had surgery today on his vocal chords and won't be able to announce games until at least February, babeee. Who is going to tell me about the Dipsy-doo Dunk-a-roo's done by the All-Windex Team?

We'll see you in February, Dickie, baby.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Tweaking

Izzy has commented, appropriately, that something at Flickr is making the badge (the randomly changing picture collection) take forever to load lately. This means that other sidebar elements, including the blogroll, are taking forever and ever to load.

Fix: Got rid of the badge. I've put up links to several photo collections, and may occasionally post really spiffy photos on the sidebar or at the top.

Speaking of "at the top," I decided to add a banner pic. It's one we cobbled together from shots taken on a balcony in Little Switzerland in October of 2006. We were using the low-res digital that we'd gotten free with the IMac in 1999 (I believe that's the correct year), but we were pleased enough to be able to record the lovely views.

I've also added, tongue thoroughly in cheek, a "Seasons Greetings" pic.

Other changes include trying to enhance readability for those whose eyes are aging like mine. Yes, this means I'm not doing work typing this afternoon. What were the chances of that happening?

Mr. and Mrs. Michelin hope you and yours are having a wonderful Advent.

Friday, December 14, 2007

How many movies...?

This question came up at a work outing for Mexican this afternoon. One member of our group was talking about the first time she saw King Lear. I started to share about the first time I saw Lear performed (Shakespeare Festival of Dallas), but couldn't bring to mind the name of the remarkable actor who had played Lear.

Me: He reminds me of Gregory Hines, but I think it was the guy who was on the Electric Company. Hmmm, maybe more of a cross between Morgan Freeman and the guy from the Electric Company.

Co-Worker 1 (my age minus 8 years): Morgan Freeman was on the Electric Company.

Co-Worker 2 (my age plus 1 year): How many movies has Morgan Freeman been in and you had to use the Electric Company to identify him?

Me: I don't get out much.

Since that conversation, I've added one to the number of movies I've seen in my lifetime. I've also started a new list, containing one item, of movies about which I've given cell phone feedback to the film maker immediately afterwards. Yoga Girl brought over a crowd, including a substitute Gashwin, for a viewing of Din. I was a bit confused at bits of it, but it turns out I was trying to make sense of parts of the film where the film maker was intentionally creating and increasing ambiguity. Overall, not a bad way to spend an evening.

PS for those to whom it matters: The cat is back in the living room, sniffing mightily, and seems a bit distressed about all of the scents we allowed into the house. I'm sure you're shocked!

PPS for Izzy, who was there: Turns out, memory had failed me a bit. Morgan Freeman played Othello in the Shakespeare Festival. I want to say "brilliantly and dangerously!", but I'm now wondering if I actually saw that play--gotta be, though--how else would I have associated Shakespeare with the Electric Company? I know for sure that we saw Earle Hyman, the innocuous Grandpa Huxtable on the Cosby Show, play Lear in a role that showed me the power of Shakespeare.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Catching Up

This has been a very busy week -- that's nothing new. However, there's been a bit of a family crisis going on. The last time something this big happened (OK, there's never really been anything this big), we caught up with the news via our bag phone. Now it's local calls and visits to homes and reading the papers. Dying of curiosity? Send me a personal email.

In the domain of the utterly mundane, but still distressing, our landlord's crack-fiend gang o'helpers (gotta be --nothing else makes sense) came over to trim the hedges. We'd mentioned a dead tree in the backyard -- it's still standing. However, the hedges mostly are not. The front of our house looks like a reindeer cemetery, where the gravediggers under-estimated the heights of Dasher, Dancer, etc. Their 6-10 inch high horns are sticking out where the holly and azalea bushes used to be. Pics when I remember to try Izzy's camera or get mine back from the camera hospital.

Just finished watching the Des Moines Register Republican Debate on CSPAN2.

  • Number one observation -- the moderator really didn't like Ambassador Keyes.
  • Number two: When did Keyes enter the race? Where has he been?
  • Number three: 30 second and 15 second questions are attempts to trap people into giving sound bite answers. If I'm actually watching CSPAN2, do you think I'm the type of voter who wants sound bites? Let them talk, already! It's OK if the debate goes three or four hours -- what else could you possibly have to broadcast on CSPAN2?!!?
(That rant was totally decaffeinated, by the way.)

I went in for lab work this morning so we would have the results available for my physical on Friday. I realized later that tomorrow marks one year since I got my official diagnosis of diabetes. It's been a year of big changes, and I'm grateful for those who supported and encourage me, especially in the early stressed-out days.

Izzy and I are very much looking forward to our time at the beach the week of New Years. I'm hoping that we don't look too far in advance, passing up the next 11 or so days of preparation for Christmastide.

Continued prayers for Baldman and Waldie as Tricia's family adjusts to the loss of David.

Traveling safety prayers for Gashwin.

S&S: There was a fax at the parish this evening stamped "This event has been approved." I guess you're good to go on the whole wedding thing.

Night all.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hauerwas on the Immaculate Conception

From a sermon he preached for Reformation Sunday in 1995. After commenting on people's tendency to identify minimum levels of belief (doctrinal acquiescence) required to fit a particular group's theology, he writes:

In contrast, Catholics do not begin with the question of “How much do we need to believe?” but with the attitude “Look at all the wonderful stuff we get to believe!” Isn’t it wonderful to know that Mary was immaculately conceived in order to be the faithful servant of God’s new creation in Jesus Christ! She therefore becomes the firstborn of God’s new creation, our mother, the first member of God’s new community we call church. Isn’t it wonderful that God continued to act in the world through the appearances of Mary at Guadalupe! Mary must know something because she seems to always appear to peasants and, in particular, to peasant women who have the ability to see her. Most of us would not have the ability to see Mary because we’d be far too embarrassed by our vision.
A couple more bits on Catholic unity (amid diversity and disagreement) on a day celebrating or commemorating division:
For example, I often point out that at least Catholics have the magisterial office of the Bishop of Rome to remind them that disunity is a sin. You should not overlook the significance that in several important documents of late, John Paul II has confessed the Catholic sin for the Reformation. Where are the Protestants capable of doing likewise? We Protestants feel no sin for the disunity of the Reformation. We would not know how to confess our sin for the continuing disunity of the Reformation. We would not know how to do that because we have no experience of unity.

The magisterial office–we Protestants often forget–is not a matter of constraining or limiting diversity in the name of unity. The office of the Bishop of Rome is to ensure that when Christians move from Durham, North Carolina to Syracuse, New York, they have some confidence when they go to church that they will be worshipping the same God. Because Catholics have an office of unity, they do not need to restrain the gifts of the Spirit. As I oftentimes point out, it is extraordinary that Catholicism is able to keep the Irish and the Italians in the same church. What an achievement! Perhaps equally amazing is their ability to keep within the same church Jesuits, Dominicans, and Franciscans.

I think Catholics are able to do that because they know that their unity does not depend upon everyone agreeing. Indeed, they can celebrate their disagreements because they understand that our unity is founded upon the cross and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth that makes the Eucharist possible. They do not presume, therefore, that unity requires that we all read Scripture the same way.
I was fortunate to hear Stanley Hauerwas speak in a Presbyterian church whilst we were on the road to Rome. In my fading memories, it seems that some of what he, and Will Willimon, had to say helped cement the importance of unity (embodied at least partially in a magisterium) for the preservation of the "little o" orthodox church.

Read the rest here - skip the squabbling comments.

Armchair social critics

So, whilst conveying myself about town this AM, I heard lots of folks discussing Wednesday evening's tragedy in Omaha, when a young man decided to "go out in style" and killed 8 innocent people plus himself at a mall.

Callers to the AM radio show to which I was listening were focused on his recent loss of his job at McDonald's, and breakup with his girlfriend. The commentariat overwhelmingly seemed to believe that the lack of competitiveness in kid sports, "participation trophies" for soccer, not to omit mentioning Nintendo and other things "not done the way we did when we were little" caused this young man to be weak. Apparently, he couldn't handle one little, teeny loss and this caused him to snap and then to kill people. Some art teacher who praised his lousy macaroni picture is likely responsible for these deaths.

I'd heard, as had anyone watching the news late Wednesday, that this young man had been living with another family who had taken him in because he 'seemed like a sad puppy that no one wanted.' His face was not that of someone experiencing his first couple of disappointments. It came out today that he had been a ward of the state for several years due to mental health issues.

In no way does this young man's past excuse his present, obviously premeditated, actions. It just says, as did the tragedy at Virginia Tech, that we cannot assume that "if people would just do things the way I remember that they did them back when I was doing them" we'd have no more bad outcomes.

Besides, how does this sort of armchair psychoanalysis explain Charles Whitman? 40+ years ago we were competitive, had prayers and corporal punishment in schools, learned Latin, and diagrammed sentences. And still had sin.

Six to eight weeks

Not bad if you're looking at a prison sentence, but nearly unbearable when it's the time estimate to get your camera repaired.

The extended warranty covers water damage, and, we hope to see tomorrow, a loaner camera.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Update early AM eastern time, Monday, December 3:

David died a few hours ago (Sunday, December 2). Tricia has a brief, heart-felt post tonight.

I met David Reid once, only briefly, at Baldman and Waldie's Christmas Party (if memory serves.) We've prayed for him for years, since his initial cancer diagnosis. It looks as if the answer to our prayers included a few more years for David and Tricia, years that appear to be coming to an end.

When I first read Tricia's post explaining that everything had changed, I found myself unable to tear myself away from re-reading her words. I'm sure I'm not the only person who, in some way, relives those moments of recognized finality when hearing the stories of others who are learning that death is imminent or present (here and here).

As I went to sleep that night, I heard these words from Mark Heard, from The Pain that Plagues Creation:

As this planet falls around the sun trapping us in the orbit
Creation groans in unison like a race of frightened orphans

The darkness of this raging storm is covering up our portals
But a yearning for the light is borne in the heart of every mortal

Day to day we ache
With the pain that plagues Creation
Night to night we lie awake
And await its restoration

Heaven knows our lonely ways, heaven knows our sorrows
And Heaven knows things that we don't know and the joy of eternal tomorrows

But through this glass we dimly see this world as it was made
Oh and the good we know must surely flow
From the heart of a kind Creator

Day to day we ache
With the pain that plagues Creation
Night to night we lie awake
And await its restoration

So hold on in this restless age and do not fear your shadow
Your alternating tears and praise are prayers that surely will matter

Day to day we ache
With the pain that plagues Creation
Night to night we lie awake
And await its restoration

For comfort in all your alternating tears and praise, we pray to the Lord
Lord, hear our prayer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tweaking the template

Had to be done. I was tired of having to post only small pics from Flickr.

I wanted sufficient space for this pic, staged/taken by Izzy, who may still be giggling about it.

Izzy calls the photo "Prohibitive Jesus."
Note: (Items in the photo were fewer than 5 feet apart, so were "practically already together.")

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday Round-up

So, on the day after Thanksgiving, Izzy and I went to the Mall and bought a tie.

This mall:


This tie. We're not so crazy as to go to a shopping mall on Black Friday (!)

We're having a great visit with Gashwin. This post is a brief one whilst more pics upload to Flickr.

Gotta say, somebody's wedding music sounded pretty good in rehearsal.....

I was doing a final check of email, when I saw this headline/link on Drudge:
Pope to purge Vatican of modern music...

Look for another busy week for St. Blog's Parish.

More sometime soon, I hope, on Richard Robert's resignation as President of Oral Roberts University. Immediate impression -- it means little and will not help the school recover from his years of mis-management and fraudulent "theology" unless he also steps down as head of the OR Evangelistic Association and surrenders his position on the ORU Board of Regents.

But that's more than I can write about at this hour. Off to Charm City tomorrow to see the renovated Cathedral.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lines that will have to tide us over

Kelly: Were Jim's parents first cousins who were also bad at ping pong?

Lawyer: So, you were under [Jan] the entire time?
Michael Scott: That's what she said.
(best when re-read by the court reporter)

Michael Scott: I throw myself at (on?) the mercy of the deposition.

[Visual] Dwight returning a ping pong volley with one hand while texting with the other.

Michael Scott: You expect to get screwed by your company, but you never expect to get screwed by your girlfriend.

Here's hoping the strike ends soon.

Campaign ads are Hard, Caucusing is Easy

From a link at Drudge, comes this ad designed to get Hillary supporters out to the Iowa Caucuses. Nice use of self-deprecation, esp Bill & the Cheeseburger, and Hill singing the National Anthem.

The version I found, here, has annoying teensey ads that show up on-screen during viewing, but they can be easily closed.

From Breibart TV:

It opens with Clinton huffing on a treadmill envisioning a double cheeseburger. Can you say typecasting?

The point? "Exercising is hard," an announcer intones.

Cut to former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and his wife Christy, both Clinton backers, doing the twist. Again the announcer: "Dancing is hard."

Cut to Hillary Rodham Clinton's now famous off-key rendition of the "The Star-Spangled Banner." Cue the announcer: "Singing is hard."

"Caucusing is easy."

Two teens appear on screen to explain that any one of voting age by next year's general election can caucus. Others explain the simplicity of it all: Remember the date, find the proper precinct site, arrive on time, assemble in one corner and count off.

Caucusing, they all say, is easy.

Cut back to Bill Clinton. Not to give it away, but he proves that exercising is indeed hard.

Note the appeals to key Iowa/Democrat constituencies.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

World Diabetes Day

It's apparently been World Diabetes Day all day long. I can't say I celebrated. Here's what I might have done had I known all day.

Best take care of that now.

Different Approaches to Pollsters

Last Saturday afternoon, the phone rang and I saw it was a New York area code. Feeling charitable, I answered and found myself talking to a volunteer for the Giuliani campaign who had asked for me by name.

Could he ask me a few questions?

Who are you most in favor of at this point among the Republican candidates for president?
--Mike Huckabee.
(Izzy's head swivels -- so, you like that guy, hmmm? )

Who are you least likely to vote for among Republican candidates for President?
--Giuliani. I'm strongly against his positions on abortion.
There was another question where I said that "social issues" were most likely to sway my votes, vs. "security" (a term that I think is designed to make voters more likely to think of Rudy & 9-11.)

So, less than five minutes later, the phone rings. It's the same area code. Izzy answers, since he knows they'll be asking for him.
Could he ask Izzy a few questions?
--Wait, whose campaign are you with?

Rudy Giuliani.
--Not a chance in hell!

So, that's two no votes for Rudy. I don't think Izzy's answer will be reflected on any USA Today pie charts.

In case you're curious, neiher of us is a registered Republican.

Deja vu

So, I'm here in the hotel and I fear I'm coming unstuck in time.

First there was the Seinfeld re-run, where I was reminded that "Yada, Yada, Yada" was in the same episode as when we discovered Jerry was an anti-Dentite.

I was ready to return from the 1990's, so after the re-run, I switched to a news channel for background noise while typing the Bulletin. At one point I looked up and there was OJ Simpson in a courtroom conferring with his attorney. Holy 1994, Batman!

I went downstairs for more teabags, and came back to see a guy with a one-syllable first name, surname Peterson, denying any involvement in the disappearance of his wife, whose name rhymes with Laci. I hope there was no mysterious early morning fishing trip.


Now they are running a story about people truly unstuck, persons with Alzheimer's who have forgotten their spouses and developed a love/fondness/affinity for someone else in their same institution. This was the story in the lovely, heartbreaking film we saw last summer, Away From Her. The same tragedy is now happening to Sandra Day O'Connor, whose husband has forgotten her. The love of the forgotten spouse is truly an example of "for better or for worse," and one of which we hope to be worthy if ever called upon to live through "the long goodbye."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our time isn't working

Just received email about an elevator in our building, which included this bit of info telling me that the elevator in question

Is temporally OUT OF ORDER.........General Services is working on this issue........Thanks you for you patients.
Good thing there are no longer actual patients in this building who might need to get anywhere in or on time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sense of Humor

... or Humour, as it were. Following a link from a link from a link from a link from a link, I came to a BBC article on Sri Lanka time, parts of which had (have?) been 30 minutes off of Indian Time, making trade difficult.

Arthur C. Clarke, he of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame, was interviewed for and pictured in the article. What I wanted to blog for posterity was what Sir Clarke was wearing:

"I invented the satellite and I I got was this lousy T-shirt."


Friday, November 09, 2007

Opening Night

We're at home watching the taped Thursday NBC comedy line-up (a bit overdone on the whole "green" thing, people) and I've had the ACC game tracker on. It's frozen with 30 seconds to go, but I think the score is unlikely to change very much at this point.

Duke - 121
NC Central - 56

Great way to start a long weekend!

I also re-looked at Gashwin's pics of the Lateran cathedral, on this the feast day marking its dedication.

Our photos are here. Besides the lovely Cloisters,


my favorite bit of statuary from the Lateran was the statue of St. Bartholomew, holding his own filleted skin.

St. Bartholomew

Fish eye view

St. Francis (w/bird) waving to his friends at the Lateran.

Now to finish planning the Sunday AM music.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Extended Family Congratulations!

My very favorite (only!) brother-from-another-mother, reports his Dad had won his long-shot election yesterday. I think having a "family" member in a sandwich board did the trick. Very sexy, guy.

Congrats to my sorta Dad-from-a-distance.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Starting off well

Duke acquitted themselves last weekend in exhibition play, this time in NC. Looks like we'll do just fine without Josh McRoberts' nearly-always-angry self. Maybe we'll even have a decent bench this year.

Gerald Henderson in the Duke 134, Shaw 55 blow-out.

Coach K & Greg Paulus.
(Photos from

The season starts 11/9 with NC Central. Not sure if I'll be watching on TV or the internet -- but I'm hoping to be watching.

Sad news on the suffrage front

We won't get the chance to vote for or against Colbert. I was considering using him as my "none of the above" choice.

From a link from Drudge:

NEW YORK (AP) - Stephen Colbert has dropped his bid for the White House.

His announcement came after the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council voted last week to keep the host of "The Colbert Report" off the state's primary ballot. The vote was 13-3.

Colbert poses as a conservative talk-show host on the Comedy Central show.

"Although I lost by the slimmest margin in presidential election history—only 10 votes—I have chosen not to put the country through another agonizing Supreme Court battle," Colbert said Monday in a statement. "It is time for this nation to heal."

Colbert had said he would run only in his native South Carolina, a key primary state. He said he planned to run as a Democrat and a Republican—so he could lose twice. Colbert, 43, later declined to file with the GOP, which has a much higher filing fee ($35,000) than the Democrats ($2,500).

"I want to say to my supporters, this is not over," Colbert said. "While I may accept the decision of the Council, the fight goes on! The dream endures! ... And I am going off the air until I can talk about this without weeping."

In reality, "The Colbert Report" was going off the air because of a strike by Hollywood writers that began Monday. Many talk shows were expected to be shown in repeats during the strike.

I'm sure Dogwood and my kid brother will be blogging their laments later on.

Guy Fawlkes Day

Just got an email from a colleague reminding me of this celebration.

I'm never quite sure, this far removed from the events, if those who celebrate bonfire night now are (1) happy that the king & Parliament were spared, (2) happy that Fawlkes and his co-conspirators made an attempt to bring avenge the wrongs done to Catholicism, or (3) happy in general from the grog-n-mead.

Wikipedia has traditional rhymes that were sung in honor or in memory of Fawlkes. I'll post both sets of verses, since the 2nd has definite "Catholic Content" and says a lot about the feelings of the English following Mary Tudor, Phillip II of Spain and the Armda, only a generation before.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we'll say ol' Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah hoorah!

It's not exactly Shakespeare...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween in the Neighborhood

There is a family two streets over from us whose house we each pass at least twice a day, weekdays and Sundays. These are folks who enjoy decorating -- Christmas and Halloween are times when they go way over the top.

Neighborhood Halloween Decor

Neighborhood Halloween Decor

Neighborhood Halloween Decor

And that's OK. I met the dad and mom this afternoon, plus two teenagers, when I stopped to take pics of this amazing yard. They came out of the house - -they've begun doing this due to some bad publicity about their decorations. (neighbors' comments)

What is so objectionable?

Neighborhood Halloween Decor

"The noose" (which is what this particular instrument of execution is called in all media now.) I'll admit that when they first put it up, it creeped me out -- not because of any racial overtones (a la Jena, LA), but because, as a recent convert to the anti-death penalty side, it just seemed barbaric.

However, as a Halloween decoration, creepy or not, it fits with the boiling pot, medieval rack, tombstones, automated skeleton arising from his coffin, etc. It's creepy, scary and would be a cool place to trick-or-treat or for teens to host a Halloween party.

Neighborhood Halloween Decor

The family spends 3 months getting ready for Halloween, and then spends generously on candy for those kids brave enough to walk up to their door. The kids were really excited showing me some of what they had built -- the fence took ages last year.

Neighborhood Halloween Decor

The neighbors, in this very racially mixed area, seem fine with the decorations. There have been no vandalism nor protests. Yes, it's creepy, but that's OK for Halloween. Izzy and I used to do "scary Halloween" back when we had a yard we could suddenly darken. Lots of blood, a mock chain saw, scary music, witches billowing in trees, etc. Lots and lots of shrieks when Izzy answered the door in a hood, holding a candle under his face -- and we amply rewarded the kids brave enough to get to the door.

I hope they had a great turn-out. We stayed here and handed out candy until 10:15 or so, when the last family came by. Steady business, but enough leftover candy to keep Izzy's students in treats for a couple of weeks, at least.

Our front yard - view from the street

Toddler's Eye View
Toddler's eye view of our porch - we had a few tears, as well

More from our house and the neighbors' house in the Flickr set.

Stating the obvious

Heading home today, I heard William Bennett talking to Sean Hannity:

(as best I can recall)

You've got to remember that if the Supreme Court repeals Roe v. Wade, it goes back to the states. And the states are all over the map.
OK, yep, that's where they are.

Trick or Treat

So, I'm way behind on all I'd like to write about...

Here's what I spent my evening on.





(ghosts hanging from an upside down umbrella)



BTW: Our "Support the Rabid" bracelets arrived today.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Director's Cut

Dunder Mifflin: Limitless paper in a paperless world.

I hate it! I hate it. I don't hate it, I just don't like it. At all. And it's terrible.

Break me off a piece of that Fancy Feast.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's 10:55

... and I've just finished prep for the last of the "Three Big Things" I've had added to my plate for tomorrow. I seem to have morphed from rabies czarina to the go-to girl for all things red, sore and oozy (sorry for any unfortunate pics this brings to mind.) Wash your hands, people.

Good news:

The San Diego branch of the family seems fine. The fires came within 3 miles of their house, but seem to be headed the other way now.

Odd things I've overheard in the past few days:

From the radio, giving a great example of euphemistic writing:

On December 2, 1859, Mr. John Brown died during an important civic event being held in his honor, when the platform upon which he was standing gave way suddenly.

In the drug store, not really getting the irony:

Child, to man stocking shelves with tiny candy bars: Are you gonna celebrate the devil's birthday?

Same child, not perceiving that she had the man's full attention: Are you gonna celebrate the devil's birthday? Are you gonna celebrate the devil's birthday? Are you gonna celebrate the devil's birthday?

Man: Am I what?

Mother, to children who appeared to have consumed quantities of candy before this shopping excursion: Are WE gonna celebrate the devil's birthday?

Inquisitive child and her sibling, emphatically: Nuh-uh!

Mother: What ARE we gonna do on October 31st?

Children: We're gonna dress up and go to church!

Mother: That's right -- we're gonna celebrate Hallelujah night. We're not gonna do no devil stuff on Halloween; we're having a Hallelujah night party.

Kids: And we get candy!

Me, not aloud... So, your kids are dressing up and going somewhere to get candy. How is this NOT trick-or-treating? Looks like it's (1) more candy with (2) less exercise.

I wonder who should protest the Trunk-or-Treat or similar parties, in the same way that conservatives get so upset about Winter Festivals held in place of Christmas Pageants....hmmm.

Halloween Note:

A few years back, our previous Presby church used to hold Reformation day parties, marking the date when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses (pronounce that word correctly, SLED man!) to the church door in Wittenberg. Izzy and I entered the costume contest, dressed in academic robes (a la Medieval clergy), and carrying between us a galvanized metal tub. Empty. When asked what we were supposed to be, we stated that we were the Reformation. Pointing to the tub, we'd say "See, no baby, no bathwater." We won the contest.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Just talking a brief break in the middle of a very busy day.

About two hours ago, as I was talking to a reporter AND the other line of my phone was ringing AND my cell phone was vibrating, I realized I was wondering:

Why am I getting so many calls today?!?

Then I remembered that I was, actually, the consultant ON-CALL, and that perhaps this was why all the calls were coming my way. Simple really, when you think about it.

My thoughts, exactly

Gashwin posted an email I sent him about a liturgical tempest. The "Sherry said" and "Jeffrey said" parts come from comments made to this post.

G may have closed comments there -- depends on what is said (some folks are being less than charitable on some of these issues.) Feel free to opine here if comments are closed there.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blogroll Updated

That's one small inertia-overcoming step for Lizzie...

Newish Additions:
1. Leonardo's Notebook, penned by my brother from another mother, who finally left Myspace.
2. Tricia Dishes, the adventures of Baldman's Mom by the muddy, muggy Mississippi.
3. Neonuma, literature and arts from a longtime e-buddy of Izzy's.
4. Razing the Bar, the musically hip and literate musings of Andy Whitman, Suburbanite.

Andy, like Ultracrepidarian, is someone that Izzy seems to have known since time immemorial. Unlike Ultra C, Izzy has been lucky enough to get to spend time with Andy & his beloved. We've gotta get us a trip planned to Canada to remedy the deficit.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Roamin' Catholics: Strolling around the Holy City

Post title is Izzy's suggestion.

Fun with silhouettes and backgrounds. Viewed from Calhoun Park.

I worked a flu shot clinic in Charleston on Friday. Izzy had a half-day of teaching, and wanted to do some serious backroads riding after school. As I was leaving Thursday night, he suggested that I consider not heading back here after the clinic -- he'd ride towards the Low Country and we'd meet for dinner in Charleston.

I threw a nice frock and shawl into the overnight bag. Sadly, not the nice shoes, but that turned out to be fortuitous.

After the clinic, I went back to the hotel where I'd spend the night before, and changed into said frock. Discovered lack of fine dining shoes. Oh dear, I'm stuck with the sneakers I'd worn to observe/document the clinic. Decided (1) not to stress and (2) not to go shoe shopping, despite being next door to an outlet mall. (What was wrong with me?)

Izzy arrived, I donned my helmet, and rode with him downtown. It's usually easier to find bike parking than to find car parking. Yes, rode in the nice frock.

Dinner at Bocci's. Lovely, perfectly proportioned, and even better now that restaurants are non-smoking.

Dinner @ Bocci's
Grilled beef tenderloin with rosemary, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomato demi with herbed risotto and sautéed spinach.

Artichoke Gorgonzola Appetizer
Artichoke hearts stuffed with gorgonzola cheese, lightly fried, atop a bed of mixed greens with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette

After dinner, we headed up to a gelateria we'd heard about. Paolo is from Italy (his other store is in Atlanta) and typically makes only eight flavors of gelato each day (marvel at the full list). We were glad to see his business busy (it was Citadel Parents' Weekend), and Planet Smoothie less so. It's nice when people appreciate small businesses and good quality.

Cute gelato patron.

Door handle.

Paolo's Gelato - Raspberry
Raspberry, under incandescent lights. Hard to adjust the color, but Izzy reports it tasted very good.

I hadn't expected to have anything to eat there. I looked in the case and saw lots of forbidden foods. I mentioned to Paolo that I had been so pleased to find sugar-free, soy-based gelato in Italy. He pointed me to a sign--turns out this particular concoction IS available -- you just have to be willing to overcome its intended audience.

Yes, I ate some. Not bad.

We strolled back towards Broad, window-shopping and enjoying the lovely weather. All told, I walked about three miles yesterday, two of them after dinner. Good thing I hadn't gone out and spent $$ on new shoes.


Guard Kitty
Bookstore's guard kitty, wishing we would go away.

Diamonds on the top of her shoes
Click to see the price. Those must be "diamonds on the [tops] of her shoes."

Window Shopping on King Street
Lovely frock -- where to wear it?

Tellis Pharmacy
Landmark shot.

Broad Street Steeple, B&W
St. Michael's, at the "Four Corners of Law" on Broad Street.

Home late last night, pictures up this evening.