Monday, July 30, 2007

From a number of places ... and no place ...

The female priest was newly-minted. We were studying The Book of Ruth. Naomi tells Ruth to go to the threshing floor and sleep at Boaz's feet.

This is where the priestess popped out with:

"In seminary, I learned that when feet is mentioned in the Bible it means genitalia."

I was stunned.

I asked if she was serious.

She said, "Yes."

I said, "So you are telling me that Naomi instructed Ruth to go and lay at the genitalia of Boaz?"

She said, "Yes."

I recall saying something along the lines of "You mean God wants women to use sex to get what we need?"

She said, "Well, this falls under the category of doing what you need to."

Again, more astonishment on my part. I thought this such a violation. I asked her what St. Paul meant when he said in the New Testament, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News."

She ended class.

We became Catholics.
For you see, they were already prudes.

Cf. NAB Ruth 3:4, note 1: "Confident of the virtue of Ruth and Boaz, Naomi advises this unusual expedient to her daughter-in-law for the purpose of introducing her claim."
Have you ever been dumped by a landscaper? It's demoralizing, let me tell you. What did I do wrong?

Two years ago, Jeff wanted a break from weekly lawn mowing. Our neighbor gave us the name of her regular crew and he agreed to cut our grass right after hers on Thursdays for a special rate.

Last year, the guys just showed up one early Spring day and cut the grass. I hadn't called to schedule them. Their rate went up $5 over the previous year, no big deal. It seemed like a win-win situation. They came just about every week all summer long and I was never late with a payment.

This Spring, I expected the crew to just "show up" again. After all, I was a good customer. The neighbors' lawn got cut by a different company but that didn't affect me. Or did it? The grass got taller and taller and still no crew. I called in late April to check.

The landscaper beat around the bush, explained that since my neighbor went with another company, he thought I would too. The price of gas is just too high. He would have to raise his price five more dollars. I said yes to all his excuses so long as he understood that our lawn sprinklers are not running this summer due to our home improvement project. We may need a monthly instead of a weekly cutting. He said that actually fit his schedule better.

He came once on Saturday morning. We didn't like that. He came another time on Sunday morning. We really didn't like that. But I never complained to him about it.

I tried to get him to come this past week and he didn't even return my phone call. I called again later in the week, no return call. I called today and he was blunt: Can you get someone else?

Yup, business is good when you can turn it away. I'm expecting an estimate from a service in Monroe sometime this week. Fortunately the summer is mostly over. We might need one or two more cuttings before October. Or Jeff could do it. Or I could call my neighbor and see how she likes her new landscaping crew.

The whole purpose was to avoid the Parkway South on a summer Saturday.

Leaving the party in Cliffwood, I turned onto Laurel Ave. from route 35. Passing Middletown, which isn't exactly visible from the road, I mentioned to my young passengers that I used to work there. Heh, the idea of Mommy ever working seemed fantastic to me too!

Then I thought to myself, "Let's make this real" and I turned down Crawfords Corner Road. I had the guts to pull into the long driveway, 'though my conscience felt a twinge of distress at the prospect of trespassing.

I found pleasure in the straightness of a line of parking lot lights, on the diagonal. I waited for the geese to pass. And we sat for a minute or two between the two ponds, between the great water tower and the humongous building. Even Tim acknowledged that the building was very big.

It's been eight years since I've been inside. God knows what Lucent did to the interior. When I left, they were knocking down office walls and putting up cubes everywhere, even in the service dining room! Imagine!

But I remember the pleasant sound of the flagstone in the atrium under my low heels as I shuffled along, signing in visitors. I remember watching summer storms roll in from the sixth floor through the wall of windows. And, in the mornings, walking past the library on a floor above, to see men asleep on their newspapers in the privacy of the reading carrels.

Good times, mostly good times.

"Developer to raze Bell Labs Holmdel facility, birthplace of the cellphone", Engadget, 7/5/06

tags technorati :
"Well Said." -- Julie D. at Happy Catholic:
From my quote journal.

Pride consists in a man making his personality the only test, instead of making truth the test. It is not pride to wish to do well, or even to look well, according to a real test. It is pride to think that a thing looks ill, because it does not look like something characteristic of oneself.

G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Deo gratias. Penni's staying.

And there was much rejoicing.

I delayed referencing Penni's bombshell "quandary" post until she'd made a decision.

Being a Catholic in Jersey is hard, I'm with her on that. We ooze traditionalism here like I've never seen afore.

As for the sacramentals that troubled her, she writes,
I may not be into a lot of the devotions that my fellow Catholics are but now realize that some of what I feel is over-the-top is not meant for me but that I am no less Catholic for it.
The spiritual life isn't "one size fits all".
"Yeah, I'm a princess. What's it to ya?"

As I waited to turn onto 537 East from the Wawa near Six Flags, I glanced into my sideview mirror and saw a boy in the car behind mine casually raising his middle finger at every driver who passed in the other direction.

The boy wasn't smiling. His mother seated directly in front of him wasn't smiling or even talking. It's likely she didn't know what he was doing. It's possible that the other drivers failed to notice his "flip-off," especially if his windows were tinted.

I felt as if I were the only one who saw him at that moment.

And I wondered what pleasure he could possibly be deriving from his action. I chalked it up to pure boredom and thought him a poster child for year-round school.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wristbands ... a sign of summer fun.
More pictures here
Today is one of the boys' birthdays, so Jeff forwarded this appropriate NYT article to me, bylined in Cranford, of all places:

"Cake, but No Presents, Please", 7/22/07:
[A] number of families are experimenting with gift-free birthday parties, suggesting that guests donate money or specified items to the charity of the child’s choice instead.

The gift-free party does have its detractors, most eloquent among them Judith Martin, who writes the Miss Manners syndicated column.

“People seem to forget that you can’t spend other people’s money, even for a good cause,” Ms. Martin said in a phone interview. “Do you really want the birthday child to grow up hating philanthropy because it’s done him out of his birthday presents?”
Faye Dunaway's Mommie Dearest comes to mind. Of course, this happens all the time with funeral memorials, "in lieu of flowers ..."

The really annoying part of birthday parties, in my opinion, is those darned goodie bags. Like, when did that tradition start?! That's the primary source of "swarms of random plastic objects destined to clutter every square foot of [...] living space," not once a year, but approximately twice a month!

I can't see a gift-free party going over too well 'round here. How about just paring down the guest list? Or, as the article suggests, setting a price limit or encouraging guests to pool resources into fewer, more substantial gifts?

In a couple of weeks they'll have their own party. Their circle of friends is still small at this point and, well, not everyone can attend anyway.

Jeff's timeliness with NYT's pieces is perfect, like this other one from late December.
Memories evoked by this obituary in the Batavia Daily News:

A member of the choir? There was no choir. He was a cantor and sang at every Mass I remember.

A pastime in small-town, small-sized congregations, we kids spent our pew presence speculating about everyone else. The only thing that mattered: who was Catholic and who was "just visiting". The weekly debate was settled ultimately, at the end of the hour, by who approached for Communion.

There was no doubt about his wife1, Italian and all. She came down every time.

But then, it wasn't long before the norm was to carry the ciborium to the choir loft, virtually out of our prying eyesight. In this way, the communion hymn was barely interrupted because, well, Heaven forbid there be silence during the reception of the Eucharist!

Undeterred, I would crane my neck to see who in the loft received. And don't you think I didn't!

Assuming he was not "too far off" as an Anglican, they married at a time when conversion was more or less compulsory. But even converts had shortcomings in our eyes. Sure, we lauded their making the right choice. But we also recognized that they hadn't the grace of birth.

Cf. OACS Alumni Web Site

1 My sole memory of Rose was when she substitute-taught my French class. We all knew she was a natural polyglot because of her personal history. She was appalled, appalled! at our pronunciation. Our regular teacher taught for the Regents (I got a 98!), so pronunciation ranked low. No wonder no one could understand me during my summer in Québec! Çe ne fait rien!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Eliza: Thee go, Jess. The fair's come to have so many sideshows, freaks, dancing...

Mattie: Dancing? What does thee know about dancing?

Jess: She knows a thing or two.

Mattie: Did Mama ever dance? - Friendly Persuasion

"Then you may take me to the fair

If you do all the things you promise

In fact, my heart would break

should you not take me to the fair."
- Guenevere, Camelot

Another Wristband Day, this time at the county fair.

All of our friends bailed for different reasons and we ourselves arrived later than planned. The main parking lot was full but there were plenty of spaces in the overflow lot behind the Human Services building, serviced by a free shuttle.

I had misgivings about riding a shuttle bus even that short distance, less than a mile. But we boarded fine, the trip was quick and brought us directly to the admission booths.

Just about every ride had long lines but the kids got on a few things before they caved to hunger pangs. The fireworks played overhead as they ate their fair fare.

More rides immediately after eating? That didn't seem like a good idea
but Daddy suggested the twirling Tea Cups - a ride with no line. All three tumbled in, Rubba Dub Dub. The inattentive operator let the ride run longer than any mother would recommend and more than a few faces grew pale and troubled. I signaled "Time!" to her but she was talking with a friend. The ride ended and Chris threw up.

He doesn't like throwing up. What kid does? He was very disturbed by it.

I removed his shirt and used it to wipe his pants. His brothers (selfishly, I thought) wanted to ride other things. I agreed to take Chris and Ella back to the car while Jeff took the older ones on a couple more things.

I covered Chris with his sister's blanket. Little kids have a "thing" about not being naked in public. During childhood could be planted the seeds that give us grown-ups our nightmares. Or some might attribute it to the Fall.

He sat so well on the bus even after the interior lights dimmed that I found myself thinking of him as a little man. And when it came time to disembark, I kept him in front of me, according to my habit. I am unable to let the kids follow out of fear they won't.

The driver was at the base of the stairs and an assistant held our stroller ready.

Chris grasped his blanket tight with his right hand and so, neglected to grab the handrail. I yelled, "Grab the railing!" as he tumbled headfirst down the short, steep flight. The driver picked him up from the ground. Chris cried and we got ourselves together for the dark walk to the car. I found some warm clothes for him in his diaper bag and could see in the parking lot lights that his upper lip was swollen.

A park ranger pulled into the parking lot and I approached him asking for a first-aid squad. He radioed for one. In the meantime, Jeff and the boys got off the bus and I explained to him what happened. By this time, the swelling was significantly down. The EMTs said that nothing was broken. That's a relief. By tomorrow there may be quite a bruise on his face.

A few days ago I had considered having Chris's picture taken professionally this coming week because the boys' camp pictures will be in soon, as will Ella's from a session a few weeks ago. I'll have to see how he looks next week.
Flirting with that "shotgun/railroad car" look found in all the best homes. ;-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The world-famous Jenkinson's.

The older boys played hooky from camp in the afternoon to enjoy Wristband Day down the Shore with a slew of friends from school.

More pictures from the day at flickr.
Had a "d'oh!" moment here this morning.

My Bluetooth keyboard started repeating characters like this:
ooooh pleeeeease
And correcting the repeats was difficult because the delete keys were in on it.

I thought to myself, "Construction dust has finally choked my keyboard."

In a ditch effort, I rebooted but in my haste, I neglected to save "scratchpad-type Word documents" like the RSVP list for the boys' upcoming birthday party. D'OH!

You know, when the computer crashes, these things get saved automatically. Why can't the computer save 'em as a courtesy despite how I answer?

During the boot-up sequence, the computer couldn't "discover" the keyboard.

I replaced the keyboard batteries and that did the trick. Then I reconstructed the RSVP sheet from (my) memory ("memory" - what a hoot!).

Fortunately, most of the responses are email, so I just flipped through them.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The front bedroom is mostly done and there's 100 sq. feet of wood still in boxes. That's enough for another bedroom, easy.

Was the size estimate really done so poorly? I trust the "wood guys" the least of the lot. 'Though HVAC is a close second.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Oh, my arms are sore and tired.

I bought samples of paints for a number of rooms - my husband hates wallpaper - last week, and we put them up today. Just 2' X 2' squares, two coats, in about five rooms of two colors each and I can barely move my arms now to type! It's pathetic.

We'll have to "live with" the colors for a while, see 'em in the morning, mid-day and at night. For his new office, we've already pretty much decided that the cappuccino color, the lighter of the two, is too dark, so I'll pick up a "Just Beige" sample ASAP.

In the master bath, we'll probably go with "Wheatfield" - since our tile is "Autumn Harvest" or some such - but we may use the "Cream" in the entry from the garage.

I like the "Peach Cloud" in my laundry room for Ella's bedroom but I've already decided that she must have pink. Probably "Pink Powderpuff", number 001.

Jeff likes the "Malibu Peach" in the laundry room but it reminds me of a "Florida House" ... not that there's anything wrong with that but we don't live in FL.

Nah, I have to stop typing. It just hurts too much. Hopefully my arms will feel better tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I should have followed up this heroic story sooner:

"Oakfield Residents React To Heroic Tale Of Survival",, 7/3/07:
By early Tuesday evening, everyone heard about Oakfield native Steven Cianfrini's heroic tale of survival more than 6,000 miles away in Iraq.

"It's absolutely incredible. And I wouldn't expect anything less from someone from Oakfield," said Heather Gayton.1
Nor would I. That's small-town bravado.

1 Funny thing, I don't know Ms. Gayton, though she serves as eucharistic minister at my hometown parish!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The surprise arrival of my Fall '07 catalogue means that I haven't been dropped from their mailing list, 'though it's been ages since I've ordered any titles. There's still time to redeem myself with a modest purchase ...

I don't ordinarily indulge in window-shopping but, in some spare time recently, I looked through the catalogue with a "what if" mindset. (Like, "what if" the market closes above 14,000 and I can afford to celebrate a little).

A lot of fuss has been made over the Saint John's Bible, the first hand-illuminated Bible since the invention of the printing press. It's a neat idea. I don't care for the artist's style. I can't afford any of the volumes. The university must be in bad financial straits to be setting their prices as they are.

So, Saint John's Bible aside, what else is good?

Well, Stephen Finlan's book, Options on Atonement in Christian Thought looks appealing. He's local, Fordham and SHU. He also edited a book, Theosis: Deification in Christian Theology that I might try to find.

Christ Within Me: Prayers and Meditation from the Anglo-Saxon Tradition may excite and sooth the Anglophile in me. There's a Genesis commentary by a Benedictine in the Berit Olam series that I'll get for Michele's study this fall.

LitPress has updated their famous Collegeville commentary series with a new bank of experts but still sells the old pamphlets at a slight discount. I bought the entire, old set a long, long time ago ... one of the few commentaries I feel comfortable marking up with highlighters and study notes ...

Now, with the issuance of BXVI's MP, I might need to acquire Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary from that wonderful "The New Dictionary of ..." series. Humph, I bought The New Dictionary of Theology a while back because one of my teachers had an article in it ... gosh, I should remember the entry but cannot ...

The Aramaic Bible: The Targums looks interesting ... and, at about $80 per volume, expensive for the set. I actually know nothing about the work.

And finally, a commentary (with text and translation) on The Didache. This is a cheap and brief book, so I might be able to manage its contents. I haven't considered the Didache since graduate school.

Speaking of school, I really recommend a text we used my second semester, Loewe's The College Student's Introduction to Christology. Loewe really explains the ideas of the progressive theologians on the eve of the Vatican II era. Yeah, it's an undergraduate text but how many people have a degree in Religious Studies? Anyway, I'm glad to see that LitPress continues to make the book available to today's students.

Look at their selection for yourself. No PDF of their catalogue is online but searching on titles and authors works well.
"The hopeful depend on a world without end
Whatever the hopeless may say."

Rush - "Manhattan Project"
We used to pray that more, "world without end."

"in saecula saeculorum" ... has a nice ring to it. Whether or not it's eschatologically accurate1 is a matter of interpretation, I suppose.

What one means by "world".

But it concludes the Gloria Patri that opens the Tridentine Ordo:
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.2 Amen

1aion ("for ever and ever") in Revelation (14 occurrences - KJV).
2in saecula saeculorum ("for ever and ever"), in Revelation 1:6 (Jerome's Vulgate).
Michael Barber posts Crossan's thoughts on the Pope's MP but I found Crossan's piece on the CDF release of greater interest.

You have to read his brief thing in its entirety.

I disagree that insecurity is a factor in the issuance but his other remarks are provoking:
When leaders—be they Presidents or Popes—reach insecurity and uncertainty they often assert ascendancy and primacy.

[T]hat final sentence sounds to me like a warning, like an expectation of non-compliance: “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:2).

That vocation is to lead by serving from below rather than by ruling from above.

In Another’s words: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?’” (Luke 6:46).
This is absolutely inspiring ... go read it.
Since this list went up, I've been sampling heretofore unfamiliar blogs, unfamiliar because they are conservative and, well, that's a good enough reason, isn't it?

Concurrently, I've been mulling my experience of Protestant evangelism and the ensuing interaction of Catholics and Protestants, conservatives all, in the blogosphere.

The result, time after time on Protestant blogs, is that Catholic comments are uniformly discounted in short order. Try as I may, I can no longer rationalize their rapid dismissal as pure prejudice, despite how easy and self-satisfying that conclusion may have been to me in the past. To the contrary, the collective write-off must needs be based upon something objective because its occurrence is simply too consistent, across the board, to be otherwise.

Of course, Protestants admit that some Catholics might be Christians; they are obliged to give a fair hearing. And they do, yet their discernment process is so quick. How's that?

In spite of platitudes about Christians not judging, and pragmatism as well as some theologies that say mortals can't tell who's really a Christian, Protestants ... it is Protestants, 'though I find myself getting in the game and you'd be surprised ... make calls ( 1 John 4:1 ) and even "call out".

So, what's the basis?

Gone are the questions that used to confound Catholics, "Are you born-again? Are you saved?" Catholics have long learned the appropriate answers to these.

Then what's the latest litmus test for Catholics among Protestants these days? Scripture, of course, one's understanding of it and attitude towards it.

Last summer, Fick & Oz recommended a fresh read of John's First Epistle. Last night, I came across another pastor with this to say about 1 John:
The book of 1 John was written so that someone, through self-examination, could determine whether or not they were a Christian.

1 John is a book which is easy for men to use in a prideful way to preach moralism and thereby bound people up in legalism. 1 John was intended to help us discern who has been made righteous in Christ and who is still lost.
This might be a legitimate use of the Letter today, but I don't believe St. John wrote his Catholic Epistle with that purpose. John's assumption was that the community addressed by his polemical and pastoral Letter was comprised of true Christians.

(Actually, a Catholic sees in the strong ecclesiology of 1 John mention of the sad divisions of Christianity into denominationalism, so the Catholic is equally eager for the Protestant to read 1 John in hopes that they will see themselves as the secessionists!)

These men who use 1 John in this way are evangelists and pastors. It is their job, their calling, to discern spiritual progress in the lives of others. They are what Catholics call "spiritual directors," and their vocation gives them a degree of authority and charism.

But what of everyone else in the blogosphere who engages in "testing the spirits" of other professing Christians? Well, there's no stopping it, so just be aware that it's happening and it's based on your comments about Scripture and what the Good Book teaches about God, man and salvation (but not the Church).

Myself, I simply trust God that professing Christians in the blogosphere attend local churches with their own pastors who are teaching them biblical truth and that it isn't my place to usurp the pastor's position. And I would appreciate the favor being returned in kind.

But, let me add that Catholics do judge Protestants, in a different way: much less consciously, much less intentionally, because "testing the spirits" isn't considered a part of the Christian layman's duty. Not by their attitude towards Scripture, which is often impeccable, do Catholics judge, but on their feelings for the Christian Church, not the Body of Christ, per se, but the Church as a visible structure: whether they think the Church necessary, etc.

And, of course, vehement hostility, above and beyond charges of doctrinal error - after all, they are Protestant for some reason - directed towards the Roman Catholic Church - hate-filled charges that the RCC is evil through & through, that the pope is the antichrist, that Catholics aren't Christian, these are all clear indications to the Catholic that the individual asserting these things can't possibly be "in Christ" (1 John 4:20). And these ones, more than the rest, really need and deserve our prayers, for the Lord's sake.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jeff had a cold shower this morning.

Not because he needed one, he simply had no choice in the matter. That's because some monkeys, in the form of HVAC professionals, left off the hot water heater's burner yesterday.

I've said this before: it's like having your car worked on and not being told what they did. Except it's your house, not your car.

They could have diddled with any number of things in the course of their time here.

I've had drywallers and spacklers and painters - all three - unplug my fridge, my washer/dryer, my oven - all three! - and not plug them in again. And you don't know until you try to use the appliance.

All they gotta do is say something ... but they don't remember to say anything because, if they remembered that much, they might actually remember to take care of it themselves.

But, no, they are rogues and charlatans, even by Jersey tradesmen's standards. And monkeys. Don't forget, they are monkeys.
I don't like water in my basement. I don't think I'm unique in that. The noise of water dripping or splashing or pouring onto the basement floor is one of the worst households sounds involving inanimate objects.

So, when I pointed out to the general contractor this morning how the HVAC monkeys, and they are monkeys, stuck a clear plastic tube carrying water straight into an overflow opening in a waste line, I was surprised that he had nothing to say about it. I told him the tube might come loose and leak onto the floor. He reached up and removed the tube, then put it back directly in and dismissed my concern.

But, yet, I went downstairs just a little while ago to hear water dumping on the basement floor and to see the tube hanging loose.

This new unit replaced an existing unit, one that magically outlived all professional predictions. The old line ran outside, through a hole in the wall. The new upstairs unit, for the upstairs "zone," runs its line outside. Why run the downstairs one differently from how it was before and how the other one is?

If you ask me, they didn't finish the job. 'Though they weren't back today. They wanted to get things "up and running" yesterday, tell their boss as much, and still duck out by 3:00, after a smoke in my backyard.

MacDonald Heating and Air Conditioning of Red Bank ... I don't recommend them.
"Humans Hardwired For Faith" - The Onion - America's Finest News Source, 7/16/07
I had a number of reactions to this interview of novelist Anne Rice that were too involved and too off-topic to post as a comment at the original blog. The purpose of the original post was to give example of an objective investigation into the claims of the Christian faith resulting in belief and to challenge nonbelievers to fully investigate the faith.

And my preference is to be critical of the interviewer even more, but I'll simply express my belief that he ought listen to Ms. Rice's remarks, not only her words about the catholic Faith but also about a writer's technique of substantiating assertions with evidence or reason, about maintaining a little objectivity.

Clearly, Ms. Rice cannot go back to the church of her youth because, as she acknowledges, the cultural Catholic church she left has disappeared from contemporary American life. She doesn't sound disappointed about that and she shouldn't be.

I agree with Rice's assessment of the Bible, that it is powerful - "the dogma is the drama" - but I disagree with her on the state of modern biblical scholarship. I'm not sure who she's reading, but she doesn't mention a single Catholic biblical scholar. Not Brown, not Luke Timothy Johnson, not Robert Karris, not Daniel Harrington, not Donald Senior, not Raymond Collins, not Eugene LaVerdiere. Are these guys the problem? Certainly not.

Her description of the gift of faith, the transcendent way in which faith comes to us, is, I think, an experience to which we can all readily relate. And she talks about "preparing the ground" for that faith to come. I can imagine Horton having a hard time with that notion - the idea that we can do anything to make ourselves more receptive - but, the part we play is only recognizable in hindsight, in the light of faith. He probably had a problem with her claim that she was a seeker and that most people are searching for God.

At 28 minutes, 24 seconds into the 30-minute program, Horton poses a question to Rice in a rather jumbled way and I've transcribed his words as best as possible after numerous hearings:
"You would distinguish the Apocrypha from, uh, for instance, the apocryphal writings included in the Roman Catholic New Testament, you would distinguish that from the Gnostic Gospels that are being used today as practically equivalent source material to the New Testament ..."
His question is significant because there are Christians who believe that Catholics have "extra books" in their New Testaments. I don't believe that Horton thinks this, I think he merely misspoke. But, unfortunately for the listener who does think this, Horton's words have confirmed their misunderstanding. Horton really ought to retract or clarify his intention for the sake of his listeners.

Among the "Related Articles" to the Rice interview at The White Horse Inn, is "The Author's Note," taken from her recent novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, hosted at "".

"Alpha For Catholics!" ... good grief ... the Protestant's trouble with Catholicism is that it isn't Protestantism.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A thirty-minute witnessing how-to spot on TBN this evening with Kirk Cameron.

Step One - Inquire whether your dialogue partner considers themselves to be "a good person."

According to Proverbs 20:6, they will, because "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness" (KJV).

Yet, is the verse teaching a divine truth about humanity, that men think themselves good when they are really not?

Look at the verse in context, even as it is punctuated in the King James:
"Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?"

Consider another literal translation (NASB):
"Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?"
Or a popular paraphrase (NLT):
"Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?"

It's clear that King Solomon is merely expressing frustration at being disappointed, at being let down by another person.

He is not, by divine inspiration, making an ontological declaration about the sinful human condition. And it's wrong to see in this verse a prediction of how moderns will answer the question, "Are you a good person?"

There are biblical verses that speak of one's blindness to personal sin but not this one. It's just Solomon feeling sorry for himself. Something his King never does ...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Text message went to Fairport driver's cell seconds before deadly crash, WHEC-TV, Rochester, NY - 7/13/07:
Phone records show that at 10:05:02 p.m., a text message was sent from the cell phone of Bailey Goodman.

At 10:06:29, a response text message went to Goodman's phone. Then at 10:07:07, just 38 seconds later, the first 911 call of the crash came in.

The state DMV also says there is no state law that prohibits a person from text messaging while driving.
Teens probably pass around cell phones as readily as they share clothing. I doubt the driver was also text messaging ...

Driving on a junior license, after 9pm with too many passengers, speeding, strikes against them already.

I would have thought that NYS's ban on hand-held cell phone use would include text messaging but "driver inattention" should cover it. Do they want to impose stiffer penalties for the nature of inattention? Yelling at the kids in the back seat ... fiddling with the GPS ... lighting a cigarette?

I don't do much text messaging. I have one friend who sends me the occasional text message. But I needed a mailing address in order to send out an invitation to the kids' birthday party and, after leaving two unanswered voice messages, I learned from a mutual friend that the woman only text messages. She doesn't check voice mail or use email.

So, I sat down in the big green chair in my living room and composed a wordy - by text msg standards - request for her address. And it was hard to do! Now, granted, I've already admitted to not living, eating and breathing this stuff. Thing is, I'm a great QWERTY typist ... when my keyboard isn't clogged with drywall dust. Nonetheless, my efforts garnered a reply.

Well, look, they didn't have to be doing anything wrong. Our highways (and byways) are dangerous. The fact they were "livin' on the edge" makes it easier for us to understand the accident, 'though their youthful choices oughtn't be "capital crimes". I don't want to sound like a Luddite, but technology feels like two steps forward and one step back sometimes.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I've been waiting for some "spin" I could stomach and found some from ... Cardinal Kasper ...

"Irenic Reading" - Commonweal blog:
"Every dialogue presupposes clarity about the different positions. Our Protestant partners are the ones who have recently spoken about an ecumenism of profiles. If this declaration now explains the Catholic profile and expresses what, in a Catholic view, unfortunately still divides us, this does not hinder dialogue, but promotes it." - Cardinal Kasper
And from the comments:
  • I don't think it's necessary to say "we're right and you're wrong" to have clarity.

  • Isn't reiterating something just as hurtful as saying it the first time? Just because it's "nothing new" doesn't mean it's not offensive.

  • Fr. Tom Reese is quoted as stating that BXVI seems anxious to lay out precise definitions of terms in advance of dialogue or further theological lessons ...
At least the CDF didn't release the document on "The Twelfth".

A blog quoting Ian Paisley is cited among the comments, but I can't find anything recent - since March - on Paisley's EIPS site.
Yesterday's is the best segment to watch:

Worried what Santa'll think?

He should not be walking around in there, much less barefoot. Usually we're pretty good about wearing shoes or slippers in the house now that there's bare plywood in the kitchen and the great room. They placed strips of the torn out carpet as temporary runners down the hallways, ingenious.

So, yeah, tore out the gas fireplace yesterday. It hadn't worked since Chris was a newborn. It's a fairly large space so the contractor decided to go a size or two larger on the replacement unit. May as well fill the space, I said. I was on my way to the tile store anyway for some grout and a saddle (threshold) for the main bathroom floor re-do slated for late this coming week. I took a sample of the old tile (which I hated, yuck) in an effort to find something a shade darker.

I'm kinda bound by the 8x8 tile size in this replacement project. I immediately found a beautiful stone sample in a walnut color and I begged the showroom staff to let me borrow it overnight to show Jeff.

Stone is expensive, in this case almost $10/sq. foot, but we don't need a lot of it, just around the fireplace. There's more work to install stone because it must be sealed. I don't know whether our tile guy is willing to spend the time necessary to install stone for us. You'd think if we were willing to pay him for his extra time ... but he's not a particularly amiable fellow. And I don't know whether the heat of the fireplace would adversely affect the stone. I don't know whether the fireplace exterior is hot to the touch, etc.

But to have a taste of natural stone in the house seemed like a nice idea ...

Friday, July 13, 2007

I'm not saying that I "get" Thank You for Smoking.

I was uncomfortable watching it, at least the parts that I saw. I didn't see it start to finish.

So, maybe the fact that I was uncomfortable means that I didn't get it. My mind was busy working, trying to figure it out.

But the "song over the credits" was a reward to me: "Greenback Dollar".

Gosh, that's an ol' favorite of mine, and my dad's. I was singing along, clapping my hands while Chris jump-danced like an excited two-year-old encouraging me, "Go, Mommy, go!" I do like American folk music.

Now, who popularized the "closing credits song"?

Was it Harrison with "Cheer Down" for LW2 or somebody before him?
Just sounds better in German:
Laß dich nicht das Böse überwinden, sondern überwinde das Böse mit Gutem. Romans 12:21

"Olympian coach picks Millstone for new school", Examiner, 7/12/07:
A gymnastics academy run by a world-renowned coach and staffed by top competitors will soon open in the township.

Resident Matt Deiner said he was "blown away" by the applicant's credentials. He said his youngest son is a state champion in gymnastics.

"This is a great opportunity for Millstone," Deiner said. "It's not mass market, it's unique."

Deiner said a class of this caliber, with only eight students, is like an Ivy League education for gymnasts.

"Imagine an Olympic champion coming from Millstone."

"Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up Thine own life's means!"
Macbeth, 2. 4
"Millstone family makes Irish eyes smile" - Examiner, 7/12/07
"There are wars in Ireland about religion, and I hope Peadar learns how different religions can get along," Tighe Blazier Jr., 12, said.

Peadar did show them a picture on his MySpace page of two men who were on a hunger strike and were being put in jail.

Peadar, a Catholic, said they were going to jail "because they were Catholic."
A twelve-year-old's perspective, of course.

Can Americans teach the Irish how to get along? Maybe we aren't as deadly in our dealings as we used to be, but I can't imagine a kid from the thick of it can learn anything from us ivory towers.
Stills of a church interior at Amy Welborn's blog.

The icons are a little too "fresh," too newly written for my tastes. Even though they are based on more ancient originals.

If you like Byzantine ... have a peek.

I remember Conyers, I think. But that was when Marlboro was happening ...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Red Sky at Night

Seven Presidents at closing time.

More pictures at flickr.

I guess I'm just amazed at how they've grown since last summer. How they measure up against the waves.

Kenny made a point of getting on a swing at the playground because he said he wanted to get over his fear. He also got wiped out by a wave but he was fine about it.

Chris kept a more-than-healthy distance from the water and by the end, Jeff was holding him. Tim did perfectly: getting wet, having fun and keeping himself safe.
But, Atticus, he’s gone and drowned his dinner in syrup, and now he’s pouring it all over…



Come out here. I want to talk to you. That boy is your cump'ny. If he wants to eat up that tablecloth, you’ll let him, ya hear? And if you can’t act fit to eat like folks, you can just sit here and eat in the kitchen.

Monday, July 09, 2007

This one was funny, just watched it.

Caught some MMT arm sweeps at the finale, goo goo g'joob.
Someone once said,
"The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."
That quip might have got its start in the field of computer science but has since spread to the other sciences as well.

Like medical science. Like pediatrics. Like childrens' growth & development charts.

Falling way short on the US growth charts at your pediatrician's office? Not to worry. Try an international standard from the World Health Organization.

Rather than compare your nursing infant against formula-fed, inner-city children from the 1970's, compare her with (presumably) breastfed babies from developing nations around the world!

Pardon my sarcasm.

Truth be told, my postmodernism enables me to "deal" with not knowing precisely where she falls. It's enough to know that she's below normal.

But, good news - blood work came back normal and she gained almost 1/2 lb in two weeks.

tags technorati :

Sunday, July 08, 2007

"Have you lived here long?" "Seven years."

"Was the house new then?" "No, it's fifteen years old now."

"It looks new." "We just had it re-sided."

She spent an hour on Friday evening, poking and prodding albeit professionally. I was flattered by her genuine interest and had a hope she'd find something.

I answered constant questions on a wide range of personal facts, from what my husband does for a living to how long I nursed the others to where the older boys attend summer camp.

"Oh, that's a pricey camp, isn't it?" she asked as I was making out her check.

Handing her payment to her, I made eye contact and said, "Perhaps, but it's one of the few places anymore where you get your money's worth."

She found nothing, to my disappointment. No recommendations, but I wonder whether she grasped my point. At least we got to talk some about Israel.
The release of the "summer blockbuster" on 07/07/07:

- wasn't it just last summer we sat breathless on 06/06/06? -
The pope said Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite, should be made available in every parish where groups of the faithful desire it.

The pope said the new Mass rite would certainly remain the church's predominant form of worship. Use of the old missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language, and "neither of these is found very often," he said.

"I am speaking from experience, since I, too, lived through that period with all its hopes and confusion," he said.

Unlike the 1984 indult offered by Pope John Paul II, the new decree did not explicitly state that those requesting permission for the Tridentine Mass must accept the legitimacy of the new Mass. Vatican sources said such acceptance would be presumed, however.

"The total exclusion of the new rite would not, in fact, be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness," he said.

On the question of the old Mass, he urged the bishops: "Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows."
The norms take effect Sept. 14, Triumph of the Cross:

-- The current Roman Missal, published after the Second Vatican Council, continues to be the "ordinary" form for celebrations of Mass in the Latin-rite church. The 1962 missal is now considered the "extraordinary" form of the Mass.

UPDATE: I find this comment, posted by Fr. Joseph A. Komonchak, at Commonweal's blog very curious:
And the Latin of this motu proprio is not very good itself. It's clearly "translation-Latin: like most Vatican documents, this was first conceived and written in another language and then translated, poorly, into Latin.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Kenny's standardized test scores from the spring arrived in the mail yesterday from his school. Everything was average or above but he struggled the most at computation with whole numbers.

I don't know whether the segment was timed but he's probably slow because he still counts on his fingers. With numbers greater than twenty, you really can't afford to count on your fingers.

I think his teacher was trying to get the class away from the counting-on-their-fingers method - teach something in one grade and unlearn/learn something else in another! - but, well, you can see the problem.
It's open again, my favorite Chinese restaurant, after the fire.

Kenny noticed cars parked out front a few weeks ago. Jeff had noticed too. I suggested he bring something home last night.

It's good food, really good, gourmet Chinese.

At a gourmet price, as Jeff pointed out.

Yeah, it is, but the portions are two meals. And it "keeps" and reheats alright, unlike other joints' take-out that you can't stand the sight of the next day.

Say what you want, it's an indulgence, whatever, but those lo mein noodles were cooked just right ...
A meme from MzEllen:
The rules? Simple, pose 5 random questions for 5 different bloggers who answer them and come up w/ 5 new random questions for 5 more lucky people….and so the cycle of the meme continues on and on!
1. If time and money were not an issue, what 5 national parks would you spend time in?

Tough question but, off the top of my head:I have been to none of these places, it goes without saying.

2. What sport do you most want to try?


3. What one “thing” (inanimate object) would you find hardest to give up?

My desktop computer.

4. What is your favorite beverage? Why?

Mountain Dew. Loads of sugar and caffeine. But I'm trying to switch to a healthier choice, Perrier (in the glass bottle!).

5. Describe your favorite pair of shoes. Why are they your favorite?

I wear only one pair of shoes, so they had better be favorite!

My Black Eccos because I wore my first pair on a tour in the Holy Land eight years ago and they were comfortable. Since then, I've replaced them twice - they last for years! - at the outlet store which saves me 30%.

I'm not the type to tag others but it's a slow Sat. so, if you feel inclined ...

Michele, Susan, Matt, Chris and Annabel/Jennifer ...

The Questions:
  1. If you could, name the one thing about your daily routine you'd change?
  2. What single skill, craft or ability would you most like to learn/acquire?
  3. What's the highlight of your life right now?
  4. Describe a perfect day-trip or long-weekend vacation.
  5. What upcoming event in your life are you looking forward to?
"Best. Stamps. Ever."
- Comic Book Guy

I bought one of these for each of them.

Of course I did. And the plastic wrap has a sticker that reads, "PACKAGE NOT SUITABLE FOR PHILATELIC ARCHIVING".

Well, what is?

I'm not a collector. At least not consciously. I'm more of an "accumulator" or "stockpiler". Stuff just kinda grows.

But the USPS's "disclaimer" piqued my interest and a few Googles later, I'm about ready to plunk down $20 plus shipping for 100 Melinex® 516 protective sleeves, if only I could determine the right size.

It's no sillier than preserving comic books, right? Right?

Friday, July 06, 2007

I'd better write this out because no one is gonna write it for me:

Monday at CHOP in Voorhees. I spend enough time with the GI/Nutritionist doctor for her to use "precipitous" twice:
"So, your labor and delivery was precipitous?"

"Yeah, it was a real avalanche!"

"Her slowing weight gain was precipitous?"

"No, her slow weight gain was steady, but it was noticed suddenly."
She orders blood work that's drawn immediately. Selecting the tests from a list with as much apparent concern as a supermodel chooses lunch a la carte, "I'd like to see her electrolytes, her zinc, well, a complete workup." On the other end, the phlebotomist draws vial after vial and switches arms towards the end.

My phone rings with Jeff's tone, a nice bit of traditional Indian dance music, but I can't take the call because I am one of three people holding Ella still. A nurse quips on Jeff's behalf, "But you said you'd be done a second ago!" (Had to be there.) And I'm like, "Wish you were here, honey."

I'm sure the blood work results are available but she hasn't called me with any information.

So, weekly weigh-ins, more rest and fluids for Mom and a consult with a lactation specialist. She's coming tonight if she doesn't get drowned in Shore traffic.

The canvas.

So I've been working with a designer at Garden State Tile in Wall Farmingdale ...

And we came up with a rather simple layout: no solid surfaces (i.e., marble, natural stone), only a smattering of glass tile accents. Oh, and smoothed pebbles for the shower floor ... but otherwise nothing complicated or extravagant.

Yet, the "tile guy" balked.

For one, he didn't like the pebbles. How's he gonna ensure complete drainage with uneven pieces?! As if we've never had a leaky shower in this house, cripes!

The glass accent pieces randomly placed in the floor, shower wall and jacuzzi riser mean he's got to cut tile. Well, shoot, he's gotta cut tile anyway because invariably the final piece in a row will not fit exactly.

He seems to just want a job where he doesn't have to think too hard while he's working. That's nice but ... that's the job across the hall where we are replacing the floor and baseboard tile. Did I mention leaky showers?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What a Fourth of July story! -

"Western New York Pilot Rescued In Iraq", WGRZ, 7/5/07:
Warrant Officer Second Steven Cianfrini and copilot Mark Burrows were shot down by insurgents about 30 miles south of Baghdad, in the area that has come to be known as the "Triangle of Death."

They survived a crash landing in which the helicopter flipped over. Still under fire, Cianfrini and Burrows ran for a nearby canal, and submerged themselves up to their mouths.

Cianfrini had only been in Iraq for two months when this happened. He still has 13 months to go in his tour of duty, according to his father, who said the United States should re-evaluate the mission in Iraq, though he supports the troops.

Steven detailed all of the dramatic events through text messages to his father, Oakfield Mayor and attorney Ray Cianfrini [who] shared the entire text of their initial conversation, which you can read below.

Dad says;
How bad was it?

Steve says;
I have to tell you... we should be dead... we were engaged four times... 3 out of 4 times was heavy machine gun on my side of aircraft I was the only one to see it cuz other pilot was flying.

Dad says;
The good Lord is looking after you. Say an extra prayer tonight. ... You were blessed on this one, Steve.

Steve says;
I know... some higher being was looking over us.

Dad says;
Say an extra prayer tonight. We love you. STAY SAFE! Wait to hear from you again.

HT: David George and Alumni Web Site
"Michigan bar mints its own currency", Day to Day on NPR, 7/5/07:
The owners of the Meanwhile Bar in Grand Rapids, Mich., have created a currency to help raise money for the bar's opening later this summer. For $10, you get $12 in Meanwhile Money. The system is entirely legal, and it isn't new: Historians say local currencies date back to the 1800s.
It's novel, it's cute but ya know, it adds a layer of abstraction intended, I think, to obfuscate patrons.
"U.S. nun who started Holocaust seminars gets award from Yad Vashem", Catholic News Service, 7/3/07:
A Catholic nun from Pennsylvania is the first non-Jew and non-Israeli to receive Yad Vashem's Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education.

A native of Greensburg, Pa., Sister Gemma has been living in Israel since 1975, and she approached Yad Vashem with her idea in 1987 in response to Pope John Paul II's call to recognize the significance of the Holocaust.

"(Sister) Gemma is one of the gentlest souls I have ever met," Ephraim Kaye said. "She has tremendous humility, modesty and intelligence."
Good work, if you can get it. But, the pictures tell the story. Ironically, commentary has no place.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I suppose I've always wanted one of these Simpsons avatars.

This is me, according to Kenny, especially when my right "seein' eye" is acting up.
It's striking how similar her conclusions are but then, the authors' perspectives are rather similar.

I have Williams's book and I bought it knowing what it would be. I bought it anyway.

Book Reviews:

Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, reviewed by Sr. Mona Castelazo:
[Mother Angelica] views life from a dualistic, rather than an incarnational perspective, describing the self as miserable, small, soiled and sinful. God's image only applies to the soul ...

Rather than seeing Christians in communion, Mother Angelica generally presents others as occasions for practicing virtue. She preaches a theology of ascent and achievement, emphasizing the accumulation of virtue to attain a measurable degree of glory in heaven.

The book does provide engaging, nostalgic material, similar to parts of "Late Nite Catechism."
Authors provide prayers and lessons, from didactic to personal, Catholic News Service, 6/18/07.

Spiritual Progress: Becoming the Christian You Want To Be, reviewed by Sr. Mona Castelazo:
His book reflects ... the religious instruction predating the Second Vatican Council, which emphasized intellectual belief and external performance.

It covers most aspects of traditional Catholic teaching, including holiness, God's will, prayer, the imitation of Christ, sacraments, Mary, faith, humility, sin, the world, the flesh, the devil and apostolic action.

The tone is paternalistic and the rhetoric uninspiring.

Father Williams advocates a theology of ascent, of climbing the spiritual ladder through performance to become "the Christian you want to be."

The book presents God as primarily transcendent rather than in-dwelling or incarnational.

Life is seen as a dramatic, dualistic struggle between good and evil. However, for educational purposes, the book might well be studied as an excellent compendium of pre-Vatican II viewpoints and practices.
"Two books offer contrasting spiritual guidelines",, 2/9/2007.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

"Security guard indicted for arson at Millstone Middle School", Asbury Park Press, 6/29/07
Timothy Myers was hired to protect the Millstone Township's middle school construction site from being vandalized.

Instead, the 22-year-old security guard set three fires there, according to authorities.
Previous post: School guard charged for setting fires, 12/15/06