Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I listened to the first ten minutes of this last Thursday and need to listen to the rest. Although I thought the little I heard was blasphemous. And I don't use that term lightly.

Now, she claims that her apostasy came about by reading the Bible.

And thinking that, she could probably still hold the Catholic Church responsible, in that they didn't teach her how to read the Bible and retain her Christian faith at the same time.

Because we tend to come at it with this idealized view, this high esteem for the sacred text. Then we're scandalized by what we read. She had a problem with Jesus being "not nice". Read a favorite Salinger quotation here.

Sure, she knew about the moneychangers' tables getting overturned. They had it coming. But, isn't he rude to immediate family in John 2 and Mark 3? Of course, we bring alot of ourselves to the text we read. Scripture is a mirror sometimes, a view into our own souls.

I don't want to blame her, but she's lazy if she stops where she is. That's all I'm saying. And arrogant if she thinks that she's the only one who's come to this crossroads or that she's taken the inevitable turning.

Monday, October 30, 2006

"I cut it myself!"

"I cut myself!"

Just a scrape, really, not even any blood.

Still, after only three moves with the knife, he was done and I finished it up for him.

Kenny's turned out quite nice, actually, but daddy touched it up some.

More pictures here at flickr.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Standing on the promises."

That's what Fr. Mike said on Sunday during his homily. That we're standing on the promises.

Someone should tell him that Catholics don't talk that way.

'course, they would have to shout it to him over the loud refrains of "This Little Light of Mine."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

"Commission looks for balance in English liturgical translations" - CNS, 10/27/06.

I thought the translation work was a done deal.
"Provided the Latin is rendered faithfully, we are keen to keep terminology the people are familiar with."

[Cardinal Pell] described some of the phrases as "too grammatical" in the sense that they sound like they are the result of an advanced grammar lesson rather than a faithful translation into a living language.
Alright, I'll hold off longer on buying new missals.

I hope this diddling hasn't, as someone suggested, anything in common with Titanic deck chairs.

I mean, I hope that the frantic tweaking reflects not ditch efforts to rescue the Novus Ordo from an inevitable going-the-way-of-the-dodo. For all I know, it's a ruse, to signal ... or even accelerate ... that demise. So someone can declare afterwards, "Fixing it proved unworkable, so we scrapped the entire enterprise in favor of the 'time-tested' model."

Friday, October 27, 2006

Metzger's textual commentary turned me on to a non-controversial variant in Rev. 4:11.

And going over the study questions, the leader read the verse from the NIV:
"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."
I asked her to read it again, to be sure that I heard her correctly. Yes, the translators flipped the last two verbs, from how the standard text reads, "are and were created," to the more logical "were created and are." The inversion isn't noted at all.

I've known for some time that the NIV uses an "eclectic" Greek text as the basis for its NT translation. A growing number of modern English Bibles do the same. I can't understand why, but the critical text seems to have been all but abandoned.

However, I have a copy of the NIV's "eclectic" text, supposedly, so I checked it. The font is a little more ornate than I am used to, but I can make it out well enough. It is good to be comfortable with a variety of typefaces, you know. Recreationally, I used to work through old books printed in German blackletter in college, just to improve my recognition of the letters. For the most part, you just have to distinguish "f" from "s".

Anyway, the NIV's eclectic text conforms to the standard text on Rev. 4:11! So, why doesn't the English translation follow the word order of the Greek? Or at least, footnote the deviation. Don't know.

Of course, this is an unimportant discrepancy because the verbs function as virtual synonyms in the verse, as the NAB's translation makes clear:

because of your will they came to be and were created.

But I'm just struck by how, time and again, the NAB manages to capture the nuance of the Greek in tricky places where other English translations fall down.

Consider the ESV:

by your will they existed and were created.

leaves the reader asking, "How can things exist before they are created?!"

From the NAB rendition, we see that there is a way to remain faithful to the Greek and spare the reader confusion. The NIV gives up on the former and the ESV disregards the latter.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reading through Jeremiah 50 and 51, the unexamined hermeneutic classified passages not specific to pre-exilic and exilic times to our times. Explicit mention of "Babylon" or "Medes" cemented the verse in the historical past, leaving all other verses for us to puzzle out.

It was mechanical and not perceptively prayerful. We were reminded that biblical prophecy simply "works this way." And I wondered, "Is God a God of confusion?!"

But then, I do something similar, to a lesser degree. In the first instance, of course, all of Jeremiah's words apply to his immediate situation one way or another. I may not know precisely how but I trust that they do.

Then, in the second instance, I recognize passages that speak to me, Jeremiah 50:20, for example:

'In those days and at that time,' declares the LORD, 'search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.'

I look forward to that time because I put myself among God's people, among those to whom God's words are addressed. And, taken literally, I confess that I trust that the prophecy will be fulfilled, 'though I don't see it taking place in a discernible way just yet.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Back-to-back field trips. It wasn't supposed to be this way.

I couldn't stomach the bus this time, getting noticeably motion sick yesterday. There wasn't room for me anyway. I wasn't an official chaperone and I had Chris with me. See the pictures.

What a drive over there, to Hazlet!

I had Jeff look up the directions last night just in case I lost the bus. The driver had mentioned Tennent Rd., 79, Church St., Bethany Rd., and Middle Rd., so I fed those parameters to Jeff. And as he described the Google maps results to me, fragmented, ancient memories of that segment of Monmouth Cnty came back to me in odd ways:
Lemme see, there's a China Buffet in the shopping plaza there ...

... St. John Vianney High School is near there ...

... isn't that exit 117?

... the Holmdel Post Office and a fire station ...

... oh, I remember it being so congested, narrow streets, under construction!

... and North Beers St. ... I went to Dr. Penney's Holmdel office once after Tim was born ...

... I went out the "back-way" from the Holmdel building, past the post office and picked up Bethany to 35, to the China Buffet once ....
Jeff said, looking at the map, "Yes, that's Telegraph Hill Road." And the memories flooded back, in dribs and drabs. But it's been almost eight years since I worked in Holmdel.

Green Meadows was crowded! A popular place, I guess. Don't know why. I mean, it was ok. Timmy liked it very much. Chris had a good time. I guess the thing is that we live in the country, so visiting a farm isn't so novel. It's more for the "city kids" over there in eastern Monmouth County. Actually, schools in South Amboy and Plainfield (Cook Elementary School) made the trip, if you can believe it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Our county parks are the best, I think.

The first grade field trip was to the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center in Howell. Not far away. I chaperoned and rode the bus.

It was a guided tour which began with a lecture on Jersey wildlife. Since I was able to answer the guide's questions and anticipate his remarks, my son thought that I was a mind reader. No, but I am able to follow a presentation on nature geared towards an audience of six-year-olds!

Kenny was especially impressed when, after showing us a box turtle kept in one animal-handling container, I guessed accurately that the second container held a snake! A kingsnake, in fact, whatever that is.

Actually, Kenny has quite a reputation of his own among his classmates. A few times, the presenter wanted a show-of-hands in answer to his questions and one student announced that he watches how Kenny votes and then does the same! I was surprised myself with his answers. Sure, I live with him and he says some incredible things but I just figured he would be shy in public. Well, he watches the Science Channel every chance he gets, so some of it is obviously sinking in.

His teacher embarrassed me during the nature hike segment of the tour by asking me where Kenny gets his interest in science.

"Does he get that from you?" she asked, quite naively.

"No, no, of course not. He must get it from his father."

My areas of interest and specialty fall well outside the traditional educational curriculum, that's for sure.

Kenny was the "line leader" at school this week, an assignment that carried over to the field trip. His teacher commented on that to me and I said, "Well, one way or another, he would be at the head of the line!" I half-expected to see him warmly grab the hand of the field guide as we walked through the woods; he was a grandfatherly fellow.

The place was deserted ... but completely!

We lunched in the empty Visitor Center. I picked up a brochure on the park, unintentionally inspiring most of the kids to do likewise. One girl picked up literature for a park in Middletown and I thought, "Boy, is her mother going to be confused when she comes home with that! 'Where did you go today?!'"

Kenny's teacher was not pleased that the children helped themselves to pamphlets "intended for grown-ups."

Yet, on the bus ride back to school, they all sat there and read the material, discussed the maps and pictures and thoroughly relived the trip. Even she had to admit that it wasn't a bad idea! Imagine that!

And since they don't allow group singing on school buses anymore ... for safety reasons ... how can the driver concentrate with all that racket?! ... the kids needed something to occupy them.

I tell ya, I couldn't be a kid today. Growing up, we kids rode in the back of my father's pick-up truck for miles along state highways, we climbed trees (hanging upside down from the branches!), we played ball in the street and stayed out all hours. My parents would be in prison today.
I had flipped through Kenny's CCD textbook when he first brought it home a month ago and made mental notes of upcoming lessons.

One early lesson presented the Gospel story of Jesus encountering Zacchaeus in Jericho. I decided to have Kenny bring in a photograph of a knarly tree in Jericho taken during our tour in '99.

Walking Kenny to his room, I approached his teacher and asked whether she would be talking about Jericho this evening.

"Um, no, I don't think so."

"Are you covering chapter 4 tonight?"

"Yes ... but I haven't even read it over yet, so I really don't know what I'll be talking about!"

And there's some reason that I can't homeschool my kid? Somehow this lady with one year's experience who comes in cold after a month of once-a-week instruction is better than me?!

I gave her the photograph and said, "This may help the kids understand that the places described in the Bible actually exist in the real world." I left it at that, to her discretion.

After class, she returned the photo and said that she mentioned it but was too quick to say, "That Gospel story was only a small piece of the lesson." Yeah, so? It's actually a very well-known story, en par with The Woman at the Well and the kids ought to learn it.

My husband said that I did the right thing in trying to make biblical places "real" to the kids. He thinks that too many people believe the stories in the Bible to be fairy tales.

He ought to know.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Another reference to a posting at my high school alumni web site.

And I don't know this alum at all but he's in my younger brother's graduating class. Maybe I'll ask Greg about him.

Anyway, I found this bit interesting:
I received a phone call from my best friend who I worked with for the previous 6 years in Buffalo at Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church. He is a pastor and I did all of the music for a young adult service.

He had moved to Birmingham and was asked to start a modern, progressive church. He asked me to consider moving to lead worship in Birmingham.

I moved to Birmingham. I am leading worship for Elevation.

The church bought Big Mountain Coffee and we run the business Monday - Saturday as a regular secular coffeehouse, but on Sundays, it's where we meet.

It's nice to come to church in jeans and a t-shirt and not stand out. We're basically marketing to anyone who is interested in their faith, but not interested in the church. We had our first official service in August, and its growing fast!
"Interested in faith but not interested in church." That really stuck in my craw. What gives?

At the church's web site, you'll see their style combines "the best of a coffeehouse ... great coffee, comfortable chairs, open conversations, casual atmosphere " with "... the best of a church ... real worship, biblical life lessons, lasting relationships, acceptance."

These guys aren't much younger than I and yet, and yet, and yet, it's as if they haven't graduated college.

I don't know how "Wesleyan" differs from "Methodist" but maybe they were historically more involved in the abolitionist movement. I'm just guessing. I'll have to pull out my copy of Mead's Handbook of Denominations for more information.

Although my lifelong UMC friend always took great pride in the lore that her childhood home was a station along the Underground Railroad. I can't substantiate that claim. Most of the routes seem to go through OH.
A friend in my swim class this morning recommended this show to me. She said I would really like it. I'm not so sure, but I'll try to catch an episode.

She characterized monastic life for me a little, based on what she saw in the show. The silence, the isolation, the work, the prayer.

"They pray like eight times a day!" she exclaimed, "Beginning at 4 in the morning!"

I'm like, "Yeah ... and ... what's your point?"

She thought it was a very selfish lifestyle.

"Rabbis and clergy, they are in the community, serving people. These guys are off, separate and apart, not helping anyone."

I said, "It takes all kinds. They pray for the world. I feel better knowing that they spend their day praying ... for us."

That's lots of things you could call it: lonely, irresponsible, dull, a waste of a human life. But selfish? That doesn't come immediately to my mind.
Normal, but on the high side.

The nurse told me, "No fruit juices, no vegetables, watch your carbs, avoid sugary foods and increase your water intake."

"No vegetables?" I asked. "That's right, no vegetables."

What does that leave? I haven't touched fruit juices in months. I like them but I know that they are too sweet. I eat meat but not very much.

Jeff says it's like Atkins. I guess so. Jeff remembers it being "high normal" last time too. I don't.

I'd like to have the raw numbers, hour by hour, along with the acceptable ranges. I guess I could call and get that data.
Jeff asked me to take his car in for service, including four new tires. The earliest appointment was today, so after my swim class, I drove over to Red Bank.

When I made the appointment, they said that the service would take two hours, so I didn't opt for a loaner car.

After they got it in the shop, they came out with a bunch of other stuff that needed doing. It was all stuff that we already suspected, so it was simply a matter of whether they could do it in the allotted time. They said that they could, so I told 'em to go for it.

The tires are expensive, you know that. My car needs four new tires too, actually.

As the "drop dead" time for my departure approached, I left the waiting area to ascertain how much longer they would need to finish up the job. They said, "20 minutes."

"That puts you over the time estimate that you gave me."

"Sorry, it is what it is."

I called my kids' school to say that I would be 15-30 minutes late in picking them up.

I got into the car at 2:50 (pickup time at school is 3PM) and got to school by 3:20, hit every light "green" and absolutely no traffic. And I didn't break the speed limit, well, except for a little stretch on Kozlowski between the county fairgrounds and Route 33, but, heck, I don't even know for sure what the speed limit is along there. I mean, it's posted as a "construction zone" but I haven't seen any construction there in months! And you certainly can't tell nothing from how fast the other cars are going!

Anyway, no one knew the difference except me ... and my stomach ... because I hadn't eaten anything all day!
Kenny's field trip was cancelled Friday morning due to the weather. He was so disappointed. I was scheduled to chaperone.

The field trip is rescheduled for tomorrow, "rain or shine". Looks like "shine", cold shine.
"Jury selection to begin in Seton Hall fire trial" - Asbury Park Press, 10/23/06

The mother of one of the students was my department head's secretary when I worked in the Holmdel building. The family attended St. Jerome's, my "sometimes" church for holy hours and Friday stations.

Of course my Baptist friend and coworker thought this all reflected poorly on a Catholic institution especially when I told him that dorm students learn to ignore fire alarms. He commuted and never lived in the dorms. He thought it incredible that residents would hesitate to leave a cozy dorm bed in the middle of January. I'm not saying that happened in this case, although early reports suggested that some students failed to evacuate promptly.

I just remember from my own experience that I rarely rushed outside in the middle of the night, in the middle of January, in the middle of Amherst.
The handful of microwave and satellite transmitters atop the huge, windowless, square brick building that sits at the 537 entrance to the Freehold Raceway Mall nearly always prompts questions from my children.

It is the Freehold POP and, until recently, had a barren brick signpost that used to bear the AT&T logo.

A number of years ago, a Verizon logo was set up, I guess when the AT&T logo came down.

Last week, I noticed a man putting up the new at&t logo (lower-case letters, blue & white sphere, no longer the 2-D "death star") on the empty brick signpost. I was a little thrilled about it, in a nostalgic way. I don't see the RBOC's sign coming down, 'though.

One of my favorite scenes in Redford's Three Days of the Condor is when he enters a telco switching substation and taps into a phone line with a butt set. The sound of those mechanical switches! Those were the days.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A graduate of my high school posted her experience of the October snow at our alumni web site:
"after a few minutes snowballs were flying. My heart melted. Is there anything more precious for a mommy to see than her three year old getting whacked with a snowball by his father?

after awhile the driveway was cleared of tree limbs, but the snow blower blew apart in 3 different places after about 5 feet of snow blowing. Of course, that didn't matter so much, because two trees had fallen across the road, one on either side of the driveway. We weren't going anywhere.

I almost cried with delight when our power came back on, 10 hours short of an entire week without electricity.

God is good. We gave up a few creature comforts but rediscovered the many blessings we usually take for granted. And I can never be thankful enough for all of those blessings. Praise Him!"
Her conclusion lets on how religious we all are up there.

Here's my original posting on the snow storm. And, yes, my friend Michelle did get out to Vegas before the storm! Sorry to see her go but happy that she won't suffer another cold winter in Upstate NY.

Reminded me of the week we went without water.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The potential was always there and I knew it, in a worst-case scenario sort of way. But I didn't think of it in terms of being "only a matter of time" even though, apparently, it was.

The high winds knocked out the electricity, as is often the case (see where I liken this inconvenience to living in a third-world country), about twenty minutes before I arrived home with the kids from school. The automatic garage doors would not open, not even manually.

The front door was bolted from the inside as usual.

No ground-floor windows were open or even unlocked. The back door was secure with two locks ... I have a key for neither ... and my attempts to push it in were unsuccessful. The screen porch sliding glass door was secure with a 2 X 4 placed in the track of the movable door.

My husband, at work, suggested that I ought to be able to lift the garage door. I walked to a neighbor's house where I saw two cars parked, assuming one car was the husband's car. It was and he offered to give me a hand. He wasn't successful. He, too, walked around the house looking for weaknesses but didn't find any. So we returned to waiting in the car on the driveway and periodically (every minute!) checking whether the garage door would open.

As usual, the kids were hungry (starving!) and needed to use the bathroom. I found myself in the latter category as well. This is just how we are at the end of the day, anxious to get home and recoup.

The public school bus rode through the neighborhood, dropping off the kids across the street. The concerned nine-year-old walked over to see what she could do for us, and I tried again and the door opened to the delight of my children and her pleasure.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Usually, I find studying Scripture with "first timers" refreshing but today it was frustrating. Maybe I was just crabby, coming off the grueling three-hour glucose test that consumed my morning.

The text was Exodus 16-18, with the problematic passage being 16:34, in which Aaron places the urn or jar of reserved manna "in front of the commandments"1 to remind later generations of God's providence in the wilderness.

But, of course, the commandments are given in Exodus 20. I mean, we haven't even read about them yet in our serial progression through the book.

A couple of novices balked at the imperfect chronology, that the tablets do not yet exist in Exodus 16 for Aaron to place the jar next to. Tangentially, observance of the Sabbath was also raised as an apparent anachronism.

As to the Sabbath, our teacher suggested that the giving of the law was in some respects a gradual process, a conditioning - circumcision being a case in point - that culminates in the Sinai experience. So a few of the commandments do not come out of left field but are already guidelines and observances with which Israel is familiar.

I just thought, my goodness, if the uneven chronology of the Bible sticks in your craw, "there are greater things in heaven and earth ..." ... I mean, you ain't seen nothing yet!

1 See footnote 7.

Monday, October 16, 2006

At the supermarket today, the two-year-old selected a single leaf of baby spinach from the bin and walked along with me through the store carrying it.

I thought to myself, "Watch out, kid, that could kill you!"

And wondered whether any well-meaning mother or grandmother would warn me to take it away from him.

Or call DYFS on me for endangering the welfare of a child.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The first reading this morning was very beautiful:
I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
and I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
Yet all good things together came to me in her company,
and countless riches at her hands.
Wisdom 7:7-11

Lord, grant that I may always allow myself to be guided by You,
always follow Your plans,
and perfectly accomplish Your Holy Will.

Grant that in all things,
great and small, today and all the days of my life,
I may do whatever You require of me.
Help me respond to the slightest prompting of Your Grace,
so that I may be Your trustworthy instrument for Your honor.

May Your Will be done in time and in eternity -- by me, in me, and through me. Amen.

St. Teresa of Avila
"Catholic filmmaker finds suspicion about her faith among evangelicals" - CNS, 10/11/06
she found some hostility about her religious faith during the making of the film from an unexpected source: a high-profile evangelical minister.

"For him to joke like that, I was pretty alarmed."

Ewing said she was also disturbed by the comic-book tracts published by Jack Chick Publications

"There were like 30 of them that described the pope as the anti-Christ," she said. "I was struck by that.
This lady ought to get out more.

I cringe whenever I come across Haggard's name in my monthly Christianity Today magazine.

And just on Thursday morning, it was suggested yet again by the lay leader of the study that the Pope could be the anti-Christ. I'm all agog. (I didn't say "magog")

When she said it, I was too busy undog-earing pages to reply but I ought to send her what Boring says on it1.

Anyway, sounds as if Ms. Ewing didn't know whom she was dealing with in Haggard and, likewise, he didn't know her and her crew.

1 "Although widely held by Protestant interpreters after the Reformation and into the twentieth century, no critical New Testament scholar today advocates this [historicist] view." -- Eugene Boring in his volume on Revelation in the Interpretation series (WJKP), regarding the Beast.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

"Surprise storm leaves WNY reeling" - Buffalo News, 10/14/06.

Can't say that I ever remember trick-or-treating in snow!
390,000 homes lost electricity
Do that many people live in WNY?!
"I knew it snowed a lot in Buffalo, but I wouldn't have dreamed something like this could happen in the middle of October," said Charles Wagner, a Chicago businessman waiting for a flight home from his first ever trip to Buffalo.

"Will I come back?" Wagner asked. "Not anytime soon, and only in the summer."
"Record snowstorm blankets Buffalo area" - CNN, 10/13/06
On Thursday, 8.6 inches of snow fell -- the snowiest October day in Buffalo in the 137-year history of the weather service.

The record lasted for all of one day, as a foot of snow fell early Friday. The old record was 6 inches, set on October 31, 1917.
Mikki dear, did you get out? I hope so. I hope that you're in sunny Vegas by now!
You don't have to die to keep the John Doe idea alive!

Someone already died for that once! The first John Doe. And He's kept that idea alive for nearly two thousand years.

It was He who kept it alive in them — and He'll go on keeping it alive for ever and always!

That's why those bells are ringing, John!

Ann Mitchell - Christmas Eve at midnight, Meet John Doe

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Forgot my Bible this morning. Don't know how that happened. Actually I do know how. I needed two trips between house and car and made only one before my husband shut the door.

I noticed what was missing as I loaded up my arms with the rest of it after parking in the church lot.

I stole into the sanctuary and swiped a pew Bible.

Its moderate wear - a few ripped and several dog-eared pages - distracted me. My Bibles aren't that way. Moreover, I am plenty experienced in the art of book repair, if only I had had a roll of Scotch Magic Tape.

In lieu of that, I undog-eared as many pages as I could. Apologies to the poor sap who regularly sits there for removing the shortcuts to favorite passages.

But I can't imagine anyone sitting there, not regularly. I tried it myself, in the balcony, extreme stage left. After the study, as I returned the pew Bible, I hung out, just to listen.

The focus of worship, I don't want to call it a "stage," was cluttered with metal sheet music stands, a drum kit, a grand piano carefully covered, amps and footlights. I could not focus there. But I am accustomed to focusing there, at an altar, a crucifix, a tabernacle. There was none of that, of course.

I'm not saying that no One was there. I wouldn't say that. I don't believe that. But without anyone there, I mean, leading worship, the space seemed empty. Calling to mind The Presence took effort.

I visited only once, on a Sat. evening. The service was geared towards younger people, replete with video and rock music. I tried to enjoy it but it was simply too loud. "Axis Denied: Willow Creek ends 'church-within-church' for 20-somethings" - CT, 9/22/06.

In the darkened, silent, sacred space, I knelt, mostly out of curiosity, to ascertain whether sufficient room for kneeling existed.

Kneeling there was comfortable enough. But I was afraid that someone would enter and catch me. I got up. And then left, wondering whether two hours spent in there might have been better than two hours at the Bible study. I'm thinking that it would have been.
New York residents' first thought: Is this another 9/11?" - Seattle Times, 10/12/06.

Someone interviewed on NBC 4 New York's 11 o'clock news actually said, "It's a day [9/11/01] that we are all trying very hard to forget."

Oh, really?! Forget 9/11?! Gee whiz, I hope not.

What's up with the "Never Forget" slogan on bumper stickers and t-shirts and billboards?

Gosh, we're such walking contradictions sometimes on the most crucial things.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Kenny's second CCD lesson this afternoon was on the Blessed Trinity. He learned how to make the sign of the cross. Not that I haven't tried to show him many, many times before. Personally, it's a dear gesture. It's also hard for kids to get. Even in the fourth grade, I had students who struggled to form it properly.

And he drew a symbol of the Trinity. Not the complicated and beautiful Triquetra1, but the simple design of three complete, interlocking circles (see inset).

His first words to me after leaving the education trailer was "We don't have class on Halloween!" So important.

Actually, it is.

When I taught on Sunday mornings between church services, whenever Halloween fell on a Sunday, the kids would ask whether we had class. I was like, "Yeah, of course, it's just Halloween. It's not like the prom or anything where you need all day to get ready, right?" Obviously I was such an uninteresting teacher that they sought any excuse "to be excused".

As the children were leaving the trailer, I was rather stunned to see a middle school boy wearing a black T-shirt with what looked like a pentagram on it. I mean, really, did he have nothing else to wear to religious ed. class?!

1 this is absurd . I haven't read it all but I will. Am I for once glad that the NAB falls below the radar on this? You'd think they were speaking of the TNIV!

Jeff put this up on flickr with this comment:

Late Sunday afternoon, a hot air balloon decided to drop into the neighborhood.

Yup, that's our house. They landed somewhere nearby, down the street or something.

Monday, October 09, 2006

We combined Chris's annual checkup with flu shot immunizations this morning.

Chris received the new Hep. A vaccine (see the current US Immunization schedule). I don't know whether the older children will eventually need it. Probably. As I said in a previous post, my nephew in Ohio had to get it this year.

Afterwards, we went apple and pumpkin picking at Eastmont Orchards in Colts Neck.

There are closer places to go but I like the set-up they have there.

It was very crowded, as I expected. Of course, I left my camera in the car ... d'oh!

We found a low tree that all three boys could pick from. We filled up five plastic bags in 15 minutes. Then we walked over to the pumpkin patch and found two large ones and several gourds. They like the funny shaped gourds very much.

Payment is cash or check but they wanted me to write my driver's license number on my check and I declined for personal privacy reasons, so I paid cash.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

He was embarrassed when we sang "Happy Birthday To You!" And got some cake in his hair. More pictures at flickr.

As usual, Jeff's pictures are probably better than mine. I'll let you know when his are up at flickr. Here's how he looked last year (Chris, not Jeff).

My, how they grow!
We signed our lives away, when was it, last Wednesday? for only the second or third time in our joint history. The deal this time is an addition to our home. Two years ago, the architect estimated $150 / sq foot. It's up to $250+ thanks to natural disasters (read "Hurricane Katrina").

It's a lot. It's a big deal. There will be too much to do and too many decisions. I'm already at the point where my body gives out by 9PM after sitting around all day. It's only going to get worse over the next two months. I suppose skipping my vitamins for weeks on end isn't healthy. I'm in limbo a little waiting to hear the results of my first sugar test. I say "first" because of past experiences. I hope it's "first and only" but that's not likely.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

... for the success of the mission of the Holy League to hold back Muslim forces from overrunning Western Europe.

Following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council the feast was re-named Our Lady of the Rosary.

The feast is still celebrated on the anniversary of the battle on October 7th.

Across my five weekly/bi-weekly Bible studies this fall is the relationship between the Egyptian plagues in Exodus and the eschatological ones in Revelation. We all know that the series are related but to study them simultaneously makes such a clear impact on understanding and appreciation.

And I asked of my study group on Tuesday, why didn't Pharaoh's magicians use their powers to reverse Moses' divinely-orchestrated plagues? Instead, they shoot themselves in the foot by imitating the plagues, increasing the number of frogs (Exodus 8:7), already too many! Or turning water into blood, already all turned to blood ... (see a previous post on apparent inconsistencies in the sacred text - read the comments).

The sacred author mocks the Egyptian magicians for such dimwitted exercise of their abilities.

Our homework directed us to look at Psalm 105:27-38 which offers a highly-stylized picture of seven of the ten plagues, an idealized list perhaps (be sure to read footnote #5).

And a study partner observed that God's direct role is articulated more explicitly in the psalm than in the Exodus account, 'though nobody would contest that God was at work in the historical happenings. The part that God's word played in the event is very clear, the efficacy of His word being a recurrent theme in the Psalms, an important piece of the Psalmist's theology. A keen insight.
"Harrisburg Catholics unite in prayer for Amish community" - Catholic News Service, 10/06/06
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CNS) -- In a demonstration of support for the local Amish community, Catholics in the Harrisburg Diocese filled St. Catherine of Siena Church in Quarryville and the Cardinal Keeler Center in Harrisburg Oct. 5 for prayer three days after the shootings at the Amish schoolhouse.

The Mass at St. Catherine's and the prayer service at the Keeler Center took place the same day the Amish community buried four of the girls shot in the schoolhouse. St. Catherine of Siena Church is located just seven miles from the scene of the tragedy. The Oct. 5 Mass was celebrated by Harrisburg Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and concelebrated by several diocesan priests. It drew an overflow crowd.

"As a Catholic community of faith, we pray for our beloved Amish neighbors, our brothers and sisters in the Christian faith. We pray for the children who have died, so precious in the sight of the Lord," Bishop Rhoades said, praying also for the girls who remained hospitalized, for the victims' families, and for Roberts and his family.

Friday, October 06, 2006

TCM appeared over the weekend.

I caught the last ten minutes or so of The Fountainhead last night.

Now, she wrote the screenplay, supposedly, so why do I have the impression that the movie doesn't do the book justice?

I'm not a snob who thinks that no movie does its book justice because there are some. And some movies are even better than the book (insert title of just about any Tom Clancy book-turned-movie here). Or, at least different. And the difference here locks the movie into its late 40's era with patriotic, cold war propaganda.

Of course Rand saw the ugliness of communism, so I'm not suggesting that anti-communism wasn't a part of her philosophy. But even though communism is still a serious threat, the Red Menace isn't so much foremost in my mind. Pictures critical of it don't speak significantly to me. I just don't remember the book being as political as the movie. Oh, dear, did Rand herself sacrifice artistic integrity for Hollywood's propagandistic purposes?!

I used to think that Cooper was perfect in the role of Roark but he really came across as weak in the courtroom scene like never before. He was Meet Joe Doe weak, not High Noon strong:
Like dogs, if you can't eat something, you bury it! Why, this is the one worthwhile thing that's come along. People are finally finding out that the guy next door isn't a bad egg. That's simple, isn't it? And yet you talk about killing it! The John Doe idea may be the answer, though! It may be the one thing capable of saving this cockeyed world! Yet you sit back there on your fat hulks and tell me you'll kill it if you can't use it! Well, you go ahead and try! You couldn't do it in a million years ... Because it's bigger than whether I'm a fake! It's bigger than your ambitions!
But for the life of me, I can't think who else could have playing Roark.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

George, there's a rumor 'round town that you've closed your doors. Is that true? Oh, well, I'm very glad to hear that...

Potter to George Bailey, after the run
on the Bailey Building & Loan
-- It's a Wonderful Life

To quell a rumor I had not heard, the note said the school will not close in January.

I hate being right about these things.

I hate the school being such a source of concern.

I really don't need this extra aggravation.

Who in their right mind would pay for this worry?
The Catholic Carnival is up.

#88: "Tapestry of Posts"

Monday, October 02, 2006

The cell phone saga continues ...

Jeff predicted that my new phone would be delivered at 7 this evening. Instead, a delivery attempt was made at 10:30 this morning while me and the boys were at the park.

To boot, the Verizon Port Center called to inform me that my port request had been cancelled. They wanted to confirm the cancel request.

I returned their call and said that I did not initiate the cancel port request and that I still want my number ported from Cingular. They got in touch with Cingular and claim to have straightened everything out. We'll see.

Provisioning is such a kludge.

We always assigned our worst programmers to it.

I have mental images of ASCII files of pipe-separated, binary fields with no key getting sent to and fro. Somewhere in that mess is a single-line record with my mobile number and my life story ... which hopefully doesn't include my social security number!! This all goes beyond having an employee discount for seven years.

After five, I drove over to the indicated FedEx facility to pick up my phone rather than wait until morning.

I was only vaguely familiar with the area having delivered a hot meal to a convalescent there once. Sure, I looked it up on Google maps but the hard copy didn't print legibly. Besides, once I knew the general vicinity, I could reference maps in my car if I got stuck.

While waiting for a green arrow from Windsor Road to Old Trenton Road, a FedEx truck pulled up behind me.

"Oh, I bet he's going to the depot," I thought. "I wish he was in front of me so I could just follow him!" All I could do was watch him in my rearview mirror.

The intended route took me along the southwest corner of the county park and the FedEx driver ducked into the park!

"Oh, he knows a short-cut," I thought but following after him didn't seem necessary.

Maybe the traffic was lighter than usual due to the holiday, but for whatever reason, I managed to keep ahead of him when he emerged from the other park entrance on Hughes.

I drove past Youngs by mistake. Watching the FedEx truck in my rearview mirror turn in confirmed my error.

I turned around in a driveway, maybe Mary's house (Hi, Mary, it's been a while, eh?). Usually Hughes at rush hour is busy, but I pulled in and out in one motion without waiting.

I caught up with my FedEx truck lead and had him right where I wanted him, in front of me! And from there I just followed him into the facility on industrial drive and got my phone. It's charging right now.

So, it was almost a no-brainer, if only I could have gotten on the right side of that FedEx truck from the start!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My kids call it "Fighting Children," the Flash animation of Alan Becker. (Caution: cartoon gun violence).

Whenever I am on the computer, they come to me and ask, "Can we do 'Fighting Children?'"

But, are they children?

TTTT, I think my kids like the sound effects best of all. And the four-year-old believes that he's controlling the action when he runs the mouse cursor over the images.
United 93 came via Netflix last week. I found the low-key, slow pace, at least early on, appropriate.

I mean, I found the early chaos understated, as all terrible things must be, because the full-impact overwhelms.

I mistook Jeremy Glick for Todd Beamer for nearly all of the movie, tsk, tsk. It wasn't until Beamer mentioned his two boys that I figured it out. Jeff's acquaintance was the man who ducked into the bathroom and called 911 before the counter-offensive.

Insofar as we haven't any true idea of the majority of the dialogue, I found it similar to watching The Perfect Storm.

Subtitles on the Muslim prayers would have been helpful in providing some insight into Islamic spirituality. I mean, I wonder what they were (likely) praying, whether the prayers were improvised (spontaneous), memorized or mantra-like.

And the ending, which failed to depict clearly who was doing what, met my expectations.