Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A dark house with a bowl of candy on the lighted front porch. At a church party, as before. Their watchdog, in.

I run through the contrasts: I'm on my stoop, every light in the house glowing, two huge bowls of great chocolate candy on my lap. As before.

I sour at incomplete hospitality ... the in-your-face remembrance of Reformation Day ... the unwillingness to engage the culture.

Within hours, the candy runs out, theirs and mine.

I fill up again with bags from the cupboard.

Kids head to the empty bowl. One knocks a mum but immediately rights it.

They don't see me. I call to them. They don't hear me but move themselves on.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The first thing you know, you own things - a car, for instance.

Now your whole life is messed up with a lot more stuff.

You get license fees and number plates and gas and oil and taxes and insurance and identification cards and letters and bills and flat tires and dents and traffic tickets and motorcycle cops and courtrooms and lawyers and fines - and a million and one other things!

And what happens?

You're not the free and happy guy you used to be.

You've gotta have money to pay for all those things.

So you go after what the other fella's got.

And there you are - you're a heelot yourself.
The Colonel, Meet John Doe.
In "Another kind of dark night" at Commonweal blog, Fr. Komonchak proposes ...
So the World Series is over, and we enter into the dark desert of a world without baseball.

Has anyone considered the possibility that what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) might actually be caused, not by the decline in the hours of daylight in winter, but by the absence of baseball?
There's that ... and how your favorite team did.

From the comments: the religious power of baseball? I got that a long time ago.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I don't know either of these fellas and I don't generally do this.

But Sullivan nails the religion part of this interview from last fall, and speaks directly to my heart when he says:
"Because if you just have doctrine, and you do not feel Jesus in your actual life, if you do not feel it in the practice of faith, if you just cling to doctrines and certitudes, you become what Jesus criticized, which was the Pharisees ...

if you mistake doctrine for faith, you are confusing two things."
Jim was saying that to us ... to me ... on Thursday night.

Sullivan hasn't any sympathy for fundamentalism or evangelicalism that puts Paul ahead of Jesus and seeks certainty:
"There’s something about the certainty and intolerance of some contemporary Christian fundamentalists that I think that should be alien to the spirit of Jesus, and alien to the spirit of humility."
Sullivan refers to VCII as "the Second Council" - a novelty to my ears.

If you can overlook each party taking turns playing the victim and get past the insults, it's interesting listening. Sullivan plugs John Courtney Murray ... a name you don't hear anymore ...

Hewitt's charge of "sophistry" is simply gratuitous: just bad form for a Presbyterian to whisper that at a Catholic.

Program Transcript

You probably think I'm trying to slip this in before October is out, but ...

There's a nice snippet at page 22 on doxologies. And I'm no liturgist because I can't say I ever noticed the distinctions ...

The devotion Wills describes uses the Lesser Doxology:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
The Greater Doxology, the Gloria, follows the Kyrie in due seasons in the Ordinary.

And the Trinitarian doxology follows the canon:
Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.
In looking these texts up, I got really jealous of the elaborate structure of Eastern rites. But I'd get lost there.

I wonder whether we will consider these doxologies when we discuss the Creeds, as Wills says these formulations ...
"descend from fourth-century affirmations of the faith against Arian and other heresies that denied the equality of the Persons of the Trinity." (24).
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Remember when the first two were this close?

It doesn't take long before she's going for his crayon, to which his naive reaction: "Look, Mommy, she's helping me color!"

Yeah, right.

Here's one where she's less happy.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Big sports news day ...and what a night to be in Boston, Jeff ...
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This isn't news ...

"Orthodox, Catholics recognize pope's primacy, disagree on authority" - Catholic News Service, 10/26/07:
"Both sides agree" there was an order of precedence among the ancient bishops' seats of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and that the order "was recognized by all in the era of the undivided church," it said.

"Further, they agree that Rome, as the church that 'presides in love,' according to the phrase of St. Ignatius of Antioch, occupied the first place in the 'taxis' (order) and that the bishop of Rome was, therefore, the 'protos' (first) among the patriarchs," it said.

"They disagree, however, on the interpretation of the historical evidence from this era regarding the prerogatives of the bishop of Rome as 'protos,' a matter that was already understood in different ways in the first millennium," when the East and West were still united, the document said.

The document said that just as there is an order within the Trinity -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- there is "an order among local churches which, however, does not imply inequality in their ecclesial nature."
I might actually get out to see this ... the only time I've been in Pollak Theater was to pick up my graduation gown ... (ten years ago!):

"Beatles characters live during 'Day in the Life'" - Examiner, 10/25/07:
The one-night musical event will take place Nov. 10 at the Pollak Theatre on the campus of Monmouth University, West Long Branch.

"A Day in the Life" blends the stories of characters who are mentioned in songs written by the Beatles into a unique musical journey

"It's a Beatles opera," Hahn explained. "The lyrics of the songs become the dialogue and the story is told through song, like in operas."
It sounds really dumb, but I could be wrong.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Over to Lakewood in the driving rain, we speculated how the Breeders' Cup might be getting on in such weather.

The horses are worth so much ... and so much is at stake ... would you risk running it?

Well it ran with payout and price. Close a military base, hike up gambling?

Not really a wholesome outing for the kiddies ...

Thrilling races, sad ending" - Asbury Park Press, 10/28/07:
[O]ne of his rivals, George Washington, suffered a massive injury and was euthanized.

[T]he attention of the spectators fixed on veterinarians' efforts to aid George Washington.

Rumson's James Scatuorchio notched a victory when English Channel, the 5-year-old gelding he owns, took the $3 million Turf on Saturday.

"I don't know if you can script it any better," Scatuorchio said of the victory at his home track. "That's the stuff you dream about."

"I thought it was going to be a disaster having the Cup here, because there's not a lot of hotels, but we booked rooms for $79 eight months ago. We lucked out. The people at the hotel said they didn't know at the time that this weekend was going to be a big deal and now their other rooms are going for $300 a night,"

$12,726,622 was wagered by bettors at Monmouth Park on Saturday, plus another $99,177,063 bet at off-track sites.

"Without a doubt, the biggest winners from the Breeders' Cup were the residents of New Jersey," Dowd said.
I've always wondered about the exception made during the campaign season.

This year, I've noticed the difference:

"Too late to keep twp. free of campaign signs" - Examiner, 10/25/07:
Something's missing from street corners this election season.

Democratic candidate William Nurko, a former mayor and committeeman, decided not to use campaign signs this year.

Nurko said that [...] he read about Old Tappan in Bergen County that [...] "during election season you won't find a single political sign littering the yards or fields in the borough."

"All this in an effort to keep [Old Tappan's] rural character - much [like] my desire and goal for Millstone Township," Nurko said.

[T]he RCEC and Kinsey "respectfully declined" Nurko's request to run their campaign without signs.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The proposal to invite a newcomer, a known novice in Scripture study, was postponed because of the scheduled subject matter. What might her reaction be to the concluding chapters?

I should have spoke up; I'll have my say here: I was scandalized by the consensus.

Because of my personal devotion to the material?

Because the decision implied a lack of confidence, even doubt about the possibility of reaching this person with Word and Spirit?

At the very least, it betrayed the spirit of the early reformers, the drive to make available the Scripture to all.

The Morning Star of the Reformation would be grieved.

Invite her ... prepare ... and pray!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Millstone's most dangerous roadways", Examiner, 10/25/07:
a number of dangerous intersections, including the one at Stillhouse Road and County Route 524, ... a June accident that claimed the life of a passenger in Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith's sport utility vehicle.

to discuss the five-road intersection at Scooters Corner [...] some motorists do not know what to do where Paint Island Spring, Stagecoach and Millstone roads intersect.
Millstone Road is a shortcut for motorists between 195 and the NJTP, frequented by uninitiated out-of-towners.

Visibility could be improved if the bushes on the south side of Stagecoach just before the intersection were cut back. It also might be better if 571 stuck with 526 a little longer, rather than go through Scooters Corner.
improvements to Millstone Road from Baird Road to Route 33 continue

for work on Baird Road from Millstone Road to Stillhouse Road

Repairs to the stretch of Baird Road from Stillhouse Road to Woodville Road will commence once the county makes repairs to its bridge on Baird Road near the new middle school

the section of Baird Road in front of the new middle school has deteriorated since use of the road intensified when the new school opened in September.
I so can't believe that Baird Road in front of the new middle school wasn't built up and widened prior to the school's opening. I was so looking forward to a better road there. The bridge is essentially one lane, especially given the bewilderingly high volume of delivery and construction vehicles there.
the county should replace the four-way stop sign at the Sweetmans Lane/Woodville Road intersection with a traffic signal.
This change will not be welcome. The thing about four-way stops in NJ is that most people seem to think that, so long as they let someone else go ahead of them, they are free to go next! Most people here have no patience for four-way stops.
Pat Butch, who owns Bright Meadows Farm on Prodelin Way, said she would like the speed limit on Prodelin Way lowered from 50 mph to 35 mph.

Butch told the committee that another accident on her road last week downed a telephone pole and left smoking wires in the trees. According to Butch, drivers speed "like crazy" on the road ...

Butch said there is a problem with drivers hitting the curve in the road at 50 mph and not being able to negotiate it.
The problem with Prodelin is that the speed limit is not posted anywhere on the road! Rather, those new HAMT signs are plainly visible near Pat's farm, perhaps confusing drivers into thinking the speed limit is 25 mph. Drivers will pass anyone doing 40 and under on that road, I know from experience. Post some speed limit signs.
the redesign at Exit 8 in Hightstown would bring motorists off the turnpike and directly on to Route 133 instead of on to Route 33.

a realignment of Milford Road so that it would no longer connect to Route 33 where it meets with Route 133.
Must wait and see how this works out but Milford Road to Route 133 is my preferred way to reach studies in Plainsboro and Princeton. I appreciate that Exit 8 to Route 33 leads nowhere ... but that's just so fitting I can't see messing with it.
We looked at the following Pauline verses about Jesus ... forgive the translation used, the English Standard Version, I'm pressed for time:

1 Cor. 8:6 - "yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist."

Eph. 4:4-6 - "There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

Eph. 1:17 - "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,"

1 Tim. 2:5 - "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,"

Phil. 2:5-10 - "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,"

1 Cor. 15:28- "When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all."

Titus 2:13 - "waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,"

Rom. 9:5 - "To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen."

Rom. 10:9 - "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Rom. 1:3-4concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

And Jim pointed out the subordinate and mediating role of Jesus in these passages, and that Jesus doesn't need to be God to mediate the Father's presence to us.

And that the title "Lord" doesn't imply divinity.

Yet, at the same time, Eph. 4:4-6 doesn't necessarily mention Jesus at all, prompting the question from Claire as to whether the New Testament ever uses kyrios of God the Father.

Since Eph. 4:4-6 could go either way, I cited 1 Tim. 6:15 where the title "King of kings and Lord of lords" is used of God the Father. The title is used again in Rev. 17, in reverse order, of Jesus.

On the 1 Tim. 2:5 passage, a reading of the verse that follows was requested and provided - "who gave himself as a ransom for all" - and I asked whether Jesus wouldn't need to be God to ransom all. Jim thought it was worth considering.

I made some use of White's KJ Only Controversy booklet for its list of christological verses and I was taken aback to read that, while White enthusiastically endorses what he calls "modern translations" (i.e., the NIV) even over more traditional ones like the King James1, he cannot recommend the modern NAB, claiming that it provides "poor translations" of Romans 9:5 and Titus 2:13. (The NAB mimics the KJV in those instances.)

But White is bringing his christology to the text, in expecting how those verses ought to be translated, in desiring that all passages that treat the relationship of the Son Jesus to the Father God be clear and unambiguous on the nature of Christ, on Christ's divinity.

We spent the most time on the Philippians hymn, not only because it's the longest pericope of the bunch but also for its use of kenosis, a feature shared with St. John's Prologue.

Using my parallel enabled me to survey Phil. 2.6 in the more obscure translations: JB reads "His state being divine." Jim chuckled at the heavy-handedness of the JB translation here. We also laughed at "robbery" in the RNT, though I suspected it matched the KJV (and it does).

But we picked up on morphe in 2.6 and Jim said the word is used elsewhere only in Mark 16.12, Mark's version of the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13ff). One might expect ikon instead of morphe, I thought, because we talked about the creation account in Genesis 1, the LXX's use of ikon in 1.26.

I wish I could have remembered Fr. Haight's name because I wanted to ask Jim whether we weren't treading too close. But one has to be patient ... and listen very, very carefully - two things I'm not really good at.

Next time we do the Infancy Narratives.

1 This article, "Why Should You Read Only the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible?" brought me to the brink of physical illness.

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My friend is now blogging American politics from a Christian perspective at beliefnet's Casting Stones blog with the likes of Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis and Rod Dreher.

I think she gets paid by the comment, and her daughter needs braces ... so go read and leave her some feedback - be sure to tell her Moonshadow sent you!

I've attended the Bible study she leads at her church since Timmy was born ... yes, it's been that long, Michele! and just so you know, Dear: it feels much, much longer.

Ride the tide 'til we decide ... in '08.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The fellas in the kitchen on Saturday morning.

I did my best to stay out of it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jeff is cleaning out his West Long Branch office because nobody renewed the lease. One thing he won't miss is the track traffic.

But he told me - and he'd have to tell me because I don't follow horse racing - about the Breeders Cup at Monmouth Park this weekend.

I remember the Park being popular with coworkers; some would spend their lunch hour there. When I later worked in Holmdel, everyone knew the West Long Branch location for one thing: its proximity to the racetrack. Surely I missed not being able to take my lunch at the track?

No, no, only been there once, for a company picnic. The horses and jockeys were pretty to look at, the races were exciting but not enough of a draw to get me back.

"Spotlight Is on a Track in New York's Shadow," NYT, 10/22/07:
Without the benefit of slot machines, which tracks in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia have, the New Jersey racing industry has seen better days.
There's just always been a horse track around (Batavia Downs, River Downs, Monmouth Park, Freehold Raceway).

Lost sentimental value: we worked there my first year in NJ. Now it's a convenient rendezvous on the way to Seven Presidents for family summer evenings at the beach. Teasing the kids that there's no "East" Long Branch, NJ! We'll have to find a beach near his new Shore office.

See also: "Monmouth Park readies for Breeders' Cup," Asbury Park Press, 10/18/07

Monday, October 22, 2007

So low, I didn't know ... with Hillary and Giuliani a "no-show" ...

"A Lower Profile for the Al Smith Dinner", NYT, 10/18/07
I listened to this while driving from Voorhees to Lakewood last Monday and it fits my impression of him perfectly:

Flying High with Chuck Yeager, Day to Day, NPR, 10/15/07:
When Wilber tried to get Yeager to talk about flying, he ended up talking about religion — and how he doesn't need it in the cockpit.

"It's really difficult for fanatic churchgoers to understand God can't help me. I'm the only one who can help me," he said. "Are you going to give up and go make a smoking hole or are you going to save yourself? If you [want to] make a smoking hole, you pray all the way down."
... sounds a little like James Stewart as Charles Lindbergh ...
He said he didn't accept the X-1 sound barrier flights for the glory.

"Duty. See? I have to use that word because you don't understand what the hell duty is.

When I was picked to fly the X-1, it was my duty to fly it and I did," he said.
Must I choose? Can't I like both?! ...

From "Tantum Ergo" to "They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love" - What Happened? by Reverend Robert C. Pasley,, 4/99.


1 The godmother's mantilla prompted some light research into the goings-on in this neighboring diocese.

I've covered my head for religious purposes in public only once: while inside the Orthodox Church at Jacob's well in Shechem. I was the only one in our party to do so. Of course, Jeff covered his head at the Western Wall along with the rest of the guys.
Picture using phone's camera, at Bubbling Brook Rocky Brook Park, late yesterday, sun glare/shadow.

She samples the breeze with her tongue and wraps her right ring finger around her pinky.

Not at all comfortable in a swing but likes the outdoors.
The bookshelf for the 200's is so unpopulated that the few selections stand upright, sufficiently fanned out, increasing their appeal.

I took this one down as the boring conversation progressed from library procedure to costume parade - "just like last year's Halloween" - and the illustrations took me back to the Jerusalem mosques. The book is just like those.

Tim looked over my shoulder and said, "Chinese." Um, Eastern but not Chinese. Very pretty, so very, very pretty.

"Captivating," everyone agreed.

I could see filling the Religion shelf with these books by Demi. There's one on Jesus, Mary, Gandhi, Mother Teresa ... Saint Nicholas.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Now, with confirmation dates set by Trenton can first communion dates be also set.

That means Sat., 5/3 in the afternoon for Kenny.

There's a Sat. morning retreat on 2/9. I'd like to attend the retreat with him, just to experience the material. Maybe I have to anyway, I'll find out.

5/3 is his friend's birthday and, like most kids, she wants her party "day of".

I told her mom of the conflict and she may move the party out a day. If she were on her game, her daughter would be with Kenny. I'm not sure why she isn't. They're too young? Yeah, I get that, that's for sure.

But we don't wait until we're "ready" to go through these things. Just gotta get it done; the "ready" comes after.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Announced in this week's alumni newsletter:
"They held up their end and tonight the 5-2 football team, which were co- champs of the GR League, take on Bishop Kearney in the first round of the Class C Sectionals.

I am pretty sure this is O-A's first ever athletic contest against Kearney, a private school from Rochester.

For those of you who live in the Rochester area, the game will be broadcast on WYSL. It will also be on It is also being carried by WBTA in Batavia.
"The Hornets are the defending Class DD champions but have lost two of their last three. The Kings have won four straight."

I had to use Firefox instead of Safari and download/install the WMP into Quicktime but I listened to the game!

Home field advantage notwithstanding, the announcer was for Bishop Kearney all the way, but when Oakfield scored first, early in the game, the announcer almost came over.

But then, point after unanswered point, it became clear who would advance and who would stay home, final score: 15-48.
Jake the Snake says: (12:45:46 PM)
weather issues in ny/nj have travel screwed up

Jake the Snake says: (12:45:50 PM)
may be later than expected

Teresa S. says: (1:51:09 PM)
i understand that

Jake the Snake says: (1:51:27 PM)
we were on the plane!

Jake the Snake says: (1:51:32 PM)
but they deplaned us

Jake the Snake says: (1:51:40 PM)
back in the terminal

Teresa S. says: (1:51:41 PM)
that's good, actually, right

Teresa S. says: (1:51:49 PM)
better than being on the plane for hours

Jake the Snake says: (1:51:50 PM)
next wheels up time will be 4:30

Jake the Snake says: (1:52:05 PM)
better than the plane, right

Jake the Snake says: (1:52:17 PM)
halifax is nice

Teresa S. says: (1:52:26 PM)
yeah, marian said so

Jake the Snake says: (1:52:38 PM)
and we had a great meeting1

Teresa S. says: (1:52:45 PM)
good to hear

Jake the Snake says: (1:53:51 PM)
oh halifax yes its very nice you need to go to the five fisherman when you're there and don't forget to see the maritime museum. of course it is a lot like boston too so if you like boston you should like halifax. did i tell you that my brother owns a vacation home in Halifax

Teresa S. says: (1:55:12 PM)
i just kept thinking that you were in boston

Teresa S. says: (1:55:17 PM)
but then, i'm thinking about your trip

Teresa S. says: (1:55:20 PM)
at the end of the month

Jake the Snake says: (1:55:12 PM)
hope you and the fellas and the ellas are doing good

Teresa S. says: (1:55:33 PM)
oh, good lord, fellas and the ellas

Teresa S. says: (1:55:35 PM)
that's a good one

Jake the Snake says: (1:55:48 PM)
i made that up myself

Jake the Snake says: (1:57:18 PM)
everything ok on the home front

Teresa S. says: (1:57:35 PM)
sure, everything's ok

Jake the Snake says: (2:02:10 PM)
uh oh flight is canceled

Teresa S. says: (2:02:18 PM)
that's too bad

Teresa S. says: (2:02:26 PM)
rent a car

Teresa S. says: (2:02:42 PM)
you're not alone, right

Teresa S. says: (2:02:46 PM)
other people traveling as well?

Jake the Snake says: (2:02:54 PM)

Jake the Snake says: (2:09:01 PM)
trying to find another flight

The remainder of the conversation occurs in email, as Jake is no longer online with MSN:

Teresa S. says: (4:32:46 PM)
please send your new flight no. when you get one so i can track.

Jake the Snake says: (5:59:01 PM)
Let me know if it shows us in Allentown, PA? We just landed here because we ran out of fuel and could not keep circling Newark.

Jake the Snake says: (6:09:01 PM)
Hopefully just a gas and go.2 I think our tires are still ok.

Teresa S. says: (6:12:26 PM)
departs ABE 6:55, but no updated arrival time at EWR

Jake the Snake says: (6:18:21 PM)
I think I'm driving to Newark now.

Teresa S. says: (6:22:00 PM)
arrival time updated to 7:37

Jake the Snake says: (6:34:52 PM)
Maybe I'll be home around 9:30 or so.

Jake the Snake says: (6:35:12 PM)
We will see.

They convinced the flight crew to take them to the terminal, rented a car and drove to Newark. The flight he was on departed ahead of schedule and landed on time. Either way, he would have been home around 9:30.

1 I'll let you figure out who he met with in Halifax.
2 Cars allusion?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lots of room for work, but little for play - Examiner, 10/18/07
The athletic fields at the new middle school may not be ready for use until 2010.

Regarding recreation at another school in the district, resident Colette Visser asked the board when the elementary school could expect its new playground equipment.

"They're playing in the parking lot," she said. "That's unacceptable."

Donahue said the district has received notice that delivery of the equipment would be delayed.

"They just keep saying it's back-ordered," she said. "That's not acceptable."
And yet, somehow, it's accepted. It just is.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Timmy borrowed this Spiderman comic from his school library.

The library inherited the book from the Voorhees location.

I sat down with all three boys to read the comic, starting on the page Kenny selected. In fact, the book is creased to this page and simply pops open on it.

Here's what I almost read to them:
I never get over all the doo-dads you got. My dad doesn't have this much crap laying around.

Bummer. So ... uh ... I bet that Watson girl gets all hot and bothered down here, huh?"
I skipped around in the book looking for a page here or there that I could read to them. It was frustrating for them ... and me ... to start reading and then have to stop.

So, a clear challenge to my libertine views of censorship.

The pictures alone aren't much of a problem, and Timmy can pore over the book to his heart's content. There's some brawls depicted. The villian blows up Peter's school.

I might feel differently if this were a recognized "great work of literature." But even as comic books go - and please correct me on this because I'm not a connoisseur - this isn't a classic. And they have comic books; they have the Star Wars set.

The note goes to the teacher with the book that I don't want my son borrowing this sort of book in the future. If only the school had a knowledgeable librarian. A "warm body" isn't adequate.
When they finished the floors, we tossed the couch because, well, it was in the way anyway.

Then, the local furniture store had a decent Columbus Day sale and an even better post-Columbus Day sale, so we furnished our kitchen and family room.

They delivered today and it's nice to sit in something besides a wooden rocking chair.

I thought our contractor might be a little happy for us, happy at the signs that the project is nearing completion.

Instead, he said all-too-business-like, "Uh, please don't get any more furniture in the place. The building inspectors don't like to see that you're living in the new space."

Understandable. I actually wondered about that.

I mean, do we have a CO now or not? Yet, we're livin' here.

But I almost told my contractor, "Well, you were supposed to be done two months ago, so excuse us for wanting to move forward."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Carpets installed in master bedroom and study.

"Navajo" in foreground and "Sable" in back.

Several months ago, I thought we'd be back in our bedroom soon, but the painters didn't come by until September.

They still have touch-up work in places.

When our new bed arrives, we'll move back in.

Until then, the boys enjoy turning on the lights and ceiling fans and running figure 8's from room to room, through the pocket doors.

Monday, October 15, 2007

If anything, I expected the results of the DNA test but the GI specialist didn't even seem aware the test had been ordered by her colleague in hemotology.

I requested a script for a sweat test. May as well get this thing settled. She almost seemed relieved that I brought it up and readily wrote it out. She suggested I take it at Monmouth Medical Center because it's closer.

Sure, it's a bit closer.

The generally well-spoken woman stumbled uncharacteristically over her own words, "They do a better job with this sort of thing over there ... because ... they see more of it. They see it more often." Only time will tell what she meant by that, if anything.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Got around to celebrating Chris's birthday this evening. That sounds awful, doesn't it? Are our lives truly that busy?

It's not that: we were out of our home five days so they could stain and finish the floors.

I ordered the cake with the best intentions but then had to change the date after my contractor told me his plan.

"Change" - most people don't do change. Delete-Add is more reliable than Change. I should have done a delete-add on the cake because when I tried to pick it up on the new date, the bakery department had nothing.

You should have seen the clerk's face when she found no cake for us. She was as white as flour. She worked the phones to get a baker in to make our cake while we waited. I was laughing ... mostly from pleasure that she took her job seriously but also from the knowledge ... that I eventually shared with her ... that it was no big deal.

I said, "Look, we're flexible. It's just a family party and his birthday was last week already. What's another day? Besides, his father's birthday is also tomorrow, so I planned to combine the two parties. Do me a favor, write on the cake: Happy Birthday, Christopher and Daddy!"

One for the history books!

More pictures at Jeff's excellent flickr account. I love the tagline, "What's your name?" "Three!"

Friday, October 12, 2007

I was impressed with Jeff's ingenuity: hooking up the TV in the laundry room so the boys could watch it.

It's not live TV because there isn't a cable jack nearby. It's recorded TiVo shows from two weeks' ago, the last time we had live TV1. And only one outlet in the laundry room is hot so Jeff had to unplug my (new) dryer.

The bean bag chairs for the boys arrived during our hotel stay and we stashed the shipping boxes in the garage for more than a week. Again, good thinking because the tile floor can be cold and hard in a room that used to be a part of the garage!

We didn't get the chairs personalized, fortunately, because Tim and Chris fight over the green! The Cars movie has so influenced them: Kenny is Mr. The King, Timmy is Lightening McQueen and Chris is Chick Hicks.

A neighbor girl came over today and I pulled out Ella's pink chair for her ... and Tim fought over that!

1 We keep getting a warning that the guide information is running out and that TiVo must connect for an update. The plan is to move the TV in place on Monday.

We've been so tempted to buy a tiny flat screen TV and put it in the kitchen!
The school directory came home today. There's no graduating class this year. This was expected as there was no seventh grade last year. Why, who would transfer in?!

I'm not sure how the school administration will gloss over such a fairly significant - a first! - if negative, occurrence.

Next year won't be much better, with only two students currently in seventh grade. In fact, the entire upper school, grades 4 through 7, has about a dozen students.

Are those kids getting their teachers' best? I hope so. How can they not?
Do you know the feeling of coming home after a morning out and seeing empty appliance boxes flattened in your driveway? Boxes that have sat for months in your garage awaiting installation. Huge boxes that formerly contained the fridge, the stove, the washer, the dryer.

It was a very nice surprise, I tell you.

And Jeff was home to help them move stuff in. I think four guys in total supplied the manual labor.

I have about a days' worth of reading to learn how to use these appliances! The kids have figured out the fridge already!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We reviewed Peter's speeches in Acts for faith statements about Jesus. These speeches are presumed to record the essence of the apostolic preaching about Jesus.

In the former address, I shared finding a hint of "the more" about Jesus in the belief articulated in 2:24, that "it was impossible for death1 to keep its hold on him," i.e., Jesus. A fleeting revelation of Jesus' eternal life.

We became pressed for time, so discussion of the latter address deteriorated into Jim telling us the key phrase: "the author of life."2

Next time, we'll look at a number of Pauline verses, including the Philippians hymn, and Jim recommended using the Catholic Comparative New Testament which I have here someplace3, if only I can lay my hands on it. Apparently, punctuation is of interest in these Pauline verses, so this side-by-side comparison will make those differences clear.

Speaking of the Catholic Comparative New Testament, just how difficult was it to come up with seven eight4 English translations of the New Testament that Catholics may reference?! I mean, shoot, I've never even heard of the Christian Community Bible!

1 Some ancient sources read "destruction" (αδην) in place of "death" (Θανατου) to complement verse 27 and 31 (Metzger, 259).

2 Not capitalized in the NIV (or the NAB)! How curious! I suppose it isn't really creation language as much as it's salvation language.

3 The home remodel has been particularly hard on my books!

4 My mistake, the Greek is not included among the versions.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Let there be ... lights!

I'm like a moth tonight, glazing at the newly installed lights in our kitchen, laundry room, garage entryway and exterior.

Even without bulbs in the over-the-sink chandelier,1 it's such a treat to be able to see after dark in the kitchen especially with night arriving earlier and earlier each day.

Inadequate household lighting was a regular frustration before the remodel project, an annoyance I wanted to eradicate. Little did I know that the solution involved spending several months without any lights at all in key rooms like the kitchen.

Since we haven't a kitchen table yet, the kids do their homework at the island counter every night. But we don't have counter-height stools yet either, so they sit up on their knees in regular height chairs!

Jeff ordered the missing furniture this evening and all will be delivered next Wednesday. Slowly, slowly, slowly.

1 "chandolere" where we bought it ... I controlled my editor's impulse to correct their spelling.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I heard the first half of Stephen Colbert's interview on Fresh Air as I picked up my kids from school. Listening to him do a reading from his book, I wondered how he keeps it straight. I mean, isn't the danger of playing a part losing one's true self in one's character?

We are composites. Where our convictions are concerned, not many of us are pure breeds. And the conservative/liberal debate doesn't really line up directly with good v.s evil. I say, it isn't pure like that.

But the process of writing in a way contrary to one's personal positions must be cramping.

Like Lewis said in the Preface to The Screwtape Letters:
"... though it was easy to twist one's mind into the diabolical attitude, it was not fun, or not for long.

The strain produced a sort of spiritual cramp."

Monday, October 08, 2007



And, disregard the walls: it's an amateur faux.
View the entire set at flickr.

I don't necessarily consider it a bad thing that the K of C in my parish is struggling to maintain its status.

When I joined the parish many years ago, the K of C was the only organization in existence. Having been rather active in my previous parish, it was an adjustment to resign myself to joining nothing, doing nothing. In the end, I adjusted very well.

So that even though the new pastor in these past three years has introduced the usual suite of volunteer organizations to the parish, I'm not involved ... at all.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I let him wear one of mine as a necklace during Mass. The kids like to handle them but there's the constant risk of breakage. And he did break the brown one, the one he was wearing, losing a small metal ring. I may be able to have it repaired but I can't do it myself even with needle-nose pliers.

I hoped he would flaunt it in front of pastor who inexplicably says, "the Virgin Mary" during the Eucharistic Prayer instead of "Mary, the virgin Mother of God." A deviation I'm extremely curious about.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Mazel tov, Mark!

"in the end I and eight others were ordained deacons."
The webmaster of the high school alumni site has proposed that we move over to Myspace or Facebook.

I am not interested in that at all.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Jeff sent me this, datelined Christopher's birthday:

"Skin Deep: Is the 'Mom Job' Really Necessary?" - NYT, 10/4/07:
Aimed at mothers, it usually involves a trifecta: a breast lift with or without breast implants, a tummy tuck and some liposuction.

On the blog StrollerDerby, Karen Murphy, a mother of four, lambasted mommy surgery.

“Those badges of motherhood have turned into badges of shame and, if you’re the one caught without a tummy tuck, then you won’t get invited to the party,” she wrote.
I never ate there before it burned down, so I can't really compare.

My friend and I agreed that it seems like a Manhattan restaurant ... to which her husband quipped, "Then it's obviously been a long time since you've eaten in Manhattan!" True for both of us, me especially. The high ceiling does it.

The service was exceptional ... I believe we had two waiters ... 'though, only one bill in the end!

The row of balcony tables behind clear glass were vacant at this noon meal but my friend had seen mutual friends dining there on a previous occasion.

Simply a good time!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Birthday on the Go!

Eating strawberry ice cream at Cree-Mee Freeze!

I rescheduled his cake from Wegmans within hours of ordering to a week later, knowing we would be in the middle of our hotel stay.

He'll celebrate with Daddy this year!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A sign of the times.

The roll-off is full. Can't put white goods in a dumpster anyway. I need to schedule a pickup with FCI. $30 per piece.

Update: someone made off with the stove!

A few days ago they asked after it. Jeff warned them about appliances found curbside: people rarely discard functioning stoves and dishwashers!
"I'm fixin' a hole ..."

All have known about the water problem from the upstairs bath since Day One.

We articulated to our contractor our desire that the water not leak through the new subfloor, through the newly painted ceiling and drip onto the newly laid red oak floor.

Despite our consultation, the contractor did little, simply caulking the shower. Consequently, wood had to be replaced before the floor could be finished because several pieces were water damaged.

Looking into the hole in the ceiling, it's clear that the upstairs shower must be replaced entirely.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Which stain would you pick?

If I can remember, left to right: Fruitwood, Red Mahogany, Golden Oak, Provencal, Cherry, Ipswich, Gunstock, Sedona Red.