Friday, November 30, 2007

A worthy addition to the martyrs' relics trade? -

"Book bound in skin of executed Jesuit to be auctioned in England", Catholic News Service, 11/28/07:
The macabre, 17th-century book tells the story of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot and is covered in the hide of Father Henry Garnet.

The priest, at the time the head of the Jesuits in England, was executed May 3, 1606, outside St. Paul's Cathedral in London for his alleged role in a Catholic plot to detonate 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath the British Parliament, an act that would have killed the Protestant King James I and other government leaders.

"It may not even sell. It is quite macabre and not to everyone's taste."

The book was made by Robert Barker, the king's printer, just months after Father Garnet's execution for his alleged involvement in a plot instigated after the king reneged on his promises to end the persecution of Catholics.

Father Garnet had been acquainted with the plotters and had heard their confessions but he always insisted he strongly opposed their designs and tried to stop them. He was convicted of treason and was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

Father Garnet is not among the English martyrs of the Protestant Reformation who have been canonized or beatified.
That last fact is most interesting.
You anointed Jesus Christ, your only Son, with the oil of gladness,
as the eternal priest and universal king.

As priest he offered his life on the altar of the cross and redeemed the human race by this one perfect sacrifice of peace.

As king he claims dominion over all creation, that he may present to you, his almighty Father,
an eternal and universal kingdom:

a kingdom of truth and life,
a kingdom of holiness and grace,
a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.
Preface, Christ the King

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It might have seemed to him as if I had ants in my pants. Whatever it was about me that caught his attention, he openly invited impressions of John's christology and then immediately zeroed in on me: Teresa, do you have something?!

He had no idea what I would say because, well, I've never said it before, to him, to anyone, except to myself ... and to God.

"I had a strange thought on 2.22," I began too confidently, really proud of myself for finding unique evidence for a famous Johannine theme.

I read 2.22 aloud to everyone from the NAB:
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.
I explained, "There's a vague identification going on here between the living words spoken by Jesus and the written word in the scripture. And the disciples catch that correspondence - they come to believe in both, Jesus' spoken word as much as the written word."

So, the implication for the christology is Jesus' words are en par with the Hebrew scripture. And the implication for us is that Jesus' words are trustworthy.

Frankly, I thought I took it a little too far, overstating matters somewhat. So, I really wanted him to correct me, tell me to drop it back a little. But he didn't and he went into his usual Logos presentation, including my favorite Isaiah 55:10-11 and many, many verses from Wisdom and Sirach about God's word at creation.

In conclusion, we considered the I AM declarations so special to John.

And Jim said the statements are structured as invitations, as if to say, "I AM the resurrection and the life ... for you; I AM the true vine ... for you." He read an excerpt from Barrett's commentary which I wasn't able to follow because he didn't hand out a copy. So I just ordered the commentary right now and ought to have it by Tuesday. Something on chapter 14, Christ's reply to Philip's request, "Show us the Father," the inter-relationship and the invitation to partake of that. I hope to get a handle on it when I go over the material myself.

He had me read 1:12-13 because I had shared that with him during the week, from Wills's book on the rosary. It's really a great verse.

The couple next to me had their Bible open to John's first epistle. A remarkably common mistake.

I could tell immediately when she read a few words from her text: we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you ... That first person plural pronoun "we" tipped me off and, as discreetly as possible, I helped them flip back to the Fourth Gospel.

He ended by confessing that he loves John's gospel, really loves John's gospel.

That's no secret, really. I mean he did his school work on it.

Yet, every time he teaches it .. and I've seen him teach it several times ... his entire attitude changes ... he's less uptight, more confident ... he knows this text ... Still, he looked downright happy tonight ... and it was humbling to hear him say how much he loves it - to know it so well and to love it.

All of Hebrews for next week!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Waiting to pick up Kenny, then, outside the rel. ed. trailer, I was intrigued to hear a stronger signal than usual from 89.7 FM.
Drive time just hasn't been the same since WAWZ went mostly praise muzak, 'though the new car's CD changer eased the pain a bit. My friend says satellite radio has a myriad of orthodox Bible teachers, but I haven't a prayer of hooking up...
So, in flipping, the first words I heard from Pastor Chris McCarrick were regarding weekly communion at the mid-week service. I approved the frequency but questioned the day. Wednesday is the new Sunday?!

Then I checked myself, remembering Catholic daily communion. And the biblical advice to partake of it whenever the faithful gather, in 1 Cor. 11?1

McCarrick was preaching somewhat loosely from the Sermon on the Mount.

So, he came 'round to speaking on communion while commenting on Matt. 5:23-24. Then he condemned "practicing righteousness."2 And then the almost obligatory apostate Catholic remarks in passing reference to Matthew 6:7-8: "Couldn't wait to get through the rosary as a kid." The ultimate in self-absorption - doesn't move me, so must be something wrong with it3. How happily he must have found a verse to use against it!

What really concerned me about his demeanor, and I know he's a local guy so he might not be particularly polished in his presentation and making allowances for whatever "grow'd up Catholic" daemons he may be dealing with, he displayed a remarkable lack of reverence for scripture.

Sure, he worked forward from a point of entry without jumping back and forth but he didn't treat each verse, simply picked out the "highlights." I guess I have to grant more allowances for being on the radio ... but if at the mid-week service, the pastor doesn't get in-depth into the word with his people, when is it happening? In Sunday School? In home bible studies?

Sometimes I hear on the radio from a church I become interested in visiting. Rev. McCarrick's preaching didn't generate that interest in me. Still, I'll try to talk myself into becoming interested.

1 I haven't read this entirely, but it seems to approximate my point, if not exactly and not from a wholly Catholic perspective ... it seems close enough.

2 But, "practice makes perfect." Lewis on the cardinal virtues.

3 the catch-22 of total depravity.
According to the parish bulletin, the diocese is set to begin its annual evangelization training again in January. Fr. Mike has offered to pay the program's expense for anyone who wants to participate and serve in the parish on an evangelization team.

I completed that training in 2006. I was on a parish evangelization team more than ten years ago for a couple of years. Most of the parishes in the diocese have abandoned their evangelization teams. The one I was on never did anything except attend training sessions and conduct a parish census. We never went door-to-door. In fact, I've only ever done that once, in Philadelphia. I liked it.

I wonder what Fr. Mike sees the evangelization team doing.

It'd be nice if he saw them actually evangelizing, instead of welcoming, visiting, serving. I guess "evangelizing" is too nebulous a concept for many, especially Catholics. It's much easier for Catholics to welcome, visit and serve ... than to turn somebody on to Jesus.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Still not comfortable in a swing ...

I have pictures here and Jeff has pictures here.

Tenth avenue freeze out! Again!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A young, large family arrived late and either littered the dryer sheet or merely kicked it up in passing. However it happened, it caught my eye, the dryer sheet resting on the rug in the side aisle, and someone littered it there. Unintentionally, of course.

But I was pleased to see it, to think my husband isn't the only one losing dryer sheets out the legs of his pants. 'Though those days are over. And you'd think he was the only one in the world whose wife failed to account always for each sheet per dryer load. Most often I found them in the bedclothes ... while stripping the bed!

As I say, those days are over.

I've reverted to using liquid fabric softener. I stopped because the young kids seemed allergic - they broke out in itchy rashes all over - and it tended to streak blue in the clothes. But the LG dryer doesn't allow fabric softener sheets and the washer does a good job of diluting the blue so it doesn't stain.
They walk eastward in the morning and westward in the evening, usually at dawn and dusk, making decent pictures impossible.

I had to snap the pictures through the screen because to step outside would have scared them off.

They exited the property on the utility easement side and I watched them wait to cross the street. There's some water, maybe a creek, behind the houses on the other side of the street.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Parents want schools to give kids a break" - Asbury Park Press, 11/24/07:
Concerned parents say new curriculum mandates and higher-stakes testing have virtually eliminated a free period of unstructured play for kids in elementary and middle schools.

"There are curriculum standards that need to be met," Belluscio said. "Because we have those standards, it is increasingly more of a challenge for the districts to fit everything in the day.
My guess is that the advancement of technology, computers in particular, is responsible for the students' "fuller day without play."

Tim's schedule last year left very little time for recess each day and his afternoon performance suffered. I expressed my concern to his teacher when she complained about his après-déjeuner attitude and she agreed a little activity would help him settle down.

I just assume that my kids take recess after lunch each fair day but maybe I should make sure of it.
It's probably a wash either way, money-wise:

"State open, but many take day off", Asbury Park Press, 11/24/07:
It was the first day-after-Thanksgiving Friday in years that state workers did not enjoy a paid, bonus holiday, compliments of the governors, who traditionally have inked executive orders closing state offices and making it a four-day weekend.

But not this year, though many state workers took Friday off nevertheless.

Not since 1961 have state workers had to work on Thanksgiving Friday, moving the governor's office to receive more than 5,000 complaints, some angrily contending that the workers were entitled to the time off.
Jeff noticed that the Apple store was closed on his most recent mall trip.

He might get himself a new iPod.

"Apple's revamped stores put emphasis on service" - Asbury Park Press, 11/24/07.

Friday, November 23, 2007

You Are Thanksgiving

You are a bit of a homebody who enjoys being in the company of people you love.
It doesn't take a lot to make you happy. You're enjoying life as it is.
You have many blessings in your life, and you are grateful for each one.
You believe that life is about what you *do* have. You feel like you have enough of the good stuff.

What makes you celebrate: Family, friends, and the changing of the seasons.

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The host of the party

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Spend so much energy preparing that it's a full time job

Caught up in the moment, I suppose!

The viewing choices yesterday were really two of the same kind:

Once Upon a Forest and An Inconvenient Truth.

We opted for the former because, in Jeff's words, it was "more animated."

The other key difference is that the humans get it in the end.
"Our squads are all going to Disney," Lori Cuffari, a cheer coordinator, said.
"Cheerleaders ready to 'rah' in Disney", Examiner, 11/21/07.
Something tells me this spending freeze is just the tip of the iceberg:

"Millstone schools hit with spending freeze", Examiner, 11/21/07:
"When the books closed on June 30, there was only $160,000 left," Donahue said.

Donahue called the surplus "dangerously low" and said that the district thought it had between $300,000 and $500,000.
Looks as if that new business administrator can't get in there fast enough.
I'd like to get into the liturgical music discussion that's now ... or rather has been ... in progress ... but, alas, I've arrived too late.

That is to say, I can't come up to speed quickly enough to contribute anything to the discussion besides statements on my personal aesthetics ... themselves broad or, better said, not especially discerning.

I like just about anything where music is concerned!

But this Commonweal article caught my eye, particularly one comment thread offered in lighthearted jest.

Even an extremely serious, vital, sacred topic as liturgical music has its softer side:
I think I may agree with the Pope on this one.

After all, if I am not mistaken, we both seek to "see God more clearly, love God more dearly, and follow God more nearly, day by day."
- Joe Pettit
Is there any news more disturbing than a credit watch alert from Equifax on Black Friday?!

Nevermind the reason I even have credit watch, one year complimentary.

I retrieve my long forgotten login and password with remarkable ease online. It's so easy it makes me uneasy. The accounts in question are, in fact, the same account. The percentage increase is calculated at 2,484%.

I suppose such an increase would blow most people's credit limit. But I keep this card around $50 a month.

Equifax gives me only the card's bank name. Not the account number and no other transaction information except the reporting date, yesterday.

I connect to the bank's online account system and check recent activity for both accounts. Nothing recent, nothing due. I call the bank, nothing pending. Of course I can't remember this charge, are you kidding?! I'm told this sort of thing happens occasionally. The customer service representative acts as if it's Equifax's error.

So I call Equifax and discover that this bank reports much later than other banks. "This may be a charge that you've already paid, in fact!" Hmmm. I check previous statements and find that this charge was incurred more than six weeks ago! No wonder I don't remember it!

No, seriously, it was our weeklong hotel stay early last month when our hardwood floors were being finished. It's a legitimate charge long paid, but not a very timely alert.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow ...

Baptized by fire, our new kitchen met the challenge of its first Thanksgiving. Gone at last are the paper plates and plastic utensils as Jeff lugged box after storage box from the cellar and into the dishwashers.

I used the remainder of the flour yesterday to make banana bread with the kids. So I had to use corn starch in the gravy. To my surprise, it turned out ok! Everything was good, really really good.

And michele made my day with this post on Thanksgiving bragging rights (or should I say 'rites') -

"Florida teacher chips away at Plymouth Rock Thanksgiving myth" - USA Today, 11/20/07:
"I became rather famous at the time for saying that by the time the Pilgrims came to Plymouth, St. Augustine was up for urban renewal."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I have said that he was almost wholly logical; but not quite. He had been a Presbyterian and was now an Atheist. He spent Sunday, as he spent most of his time on weekdays, working in his garden. But one curious trait from his Presbyterian youth survived. He always, on Sundays, gardened in a different, and slightly more respectable, suit. An Ulster Scot may come to disbelieve in God, but not to wear his weekday clothes on the Sabbath.

Having said that he was an Atheist, I hasten to add that he was a "Rationalist" of the old, high and dry nineteenth-century type. For Atheism has come down in the world since those days, and mixed itself with politics and learned to dabble in dirt. The anonymous donor who now sends me anti-God magazines hopes, no doubt, to hurt the Christian in me; he really hurts the ex-Atheist. I am ashamed that my old mates and (which matters much more) Kirk's old mates should have sunk to what they are now. It was different then; even McCabe wrote like a man. At the time I knew him, the fuel of Kirk's Atheism was chiefly of the anthropological and pessimistic kind. He was great on The Golden Bough and Schopenhauer.
C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, 139

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

To Tim, dressed as an Indian, "Where are the cowboys?!"

True, they wore white bonnets at their baptisms. It offended me then. Seriously.

Tim was an Indian. Whew.

Odds were good, then, that Kenny'd be dressed as a Puritan Pilgrim. And he was.

It disturbed me so much to see him dressed that way.

May God forbid!
The only seats open were in the packed cry room, last row.

The commotion of young families drowned out the sermon. Just as well: Father was on some tack about kids disappointing their parents. Like I care.

The gospel was Luke 21. In a pretty normal speaking voice, I informed Kenny that the scripture describes the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem by the Romans. I explained why the Temple cannot be rebuilt, reminding him of Daddy's photograph hanging in our living room of that shiny domed mosque. I said that just as those in Jerusalem during the destruction thought the world was coming to an end, the reading reminds us that the world will end when Christ returns. And we recall that final return as we prepare to remember his first coming, as we celebrate Christmas.

Kenny knew about Advent. He knew about Ordinary Time. He knew about the colors associated with each liturgical season. He knew about the church calendar and, starting with Advent, ran through the seasons 'til after Pentecost. I suppose it isn't hard but I was still somewhat impressed.

"Pilgrimage will change the way you read the Bible" - Fr. Peter J. Daly, Catholic News Service:
If you ever get the chance to make the same trip, go. It will change the way you read the Bible.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This conservative review of The Golden Compass appeared in the diocesan newspaper this past week.

Excerpts from this Catholic League press release also appeared in the single-page Entertainment section of the paper.

The editor of The Monitor, whose blog is here, wrote an opinion that raises some great points and shares personal experience ...
"My son likes books of this genre - having read JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis, not to mention the Harry Potter series - and he checked out of the library the books by Philip Pullman on which the movie is based. ...

Nicole Kidman, a Catholic and a star in the movie, has said she doesn't believe the movie is anti-Catholic; but one can reasonably ask if she knows her faith enough to even spot anti-Catholicism? One has to know the meaning of the term Magisterium before being offended by its misuse."
Rest assured that Ratzinger's lifework has fostered universal familiarity with the term 'Magisterium' among the Faithful, extending even to Ms. Kidman.

Still, convince me that spotting anti-Catholicism is a purpose for knowing the faith.

Two weeks back, the school held a Scholastic book fair. Next to the Narnia and the Harry Potter books were placed companion books to The Golden Compass film.

I flipped through the book, stopping at a violent still: a gun muzzle aimed at close range at the neck of another person. I didn't want my child buying that book and, for a K-8 school, I wondered how appropriate it would be in general.

The book was removed from the shelves not once but twice, for it always found its way back sometime after I left - the third time I spotted it far from its original placement. Mind you, the movie isn't even out yet - are they anticipating demand or manifesting it?

But the book of the film genre that Scholastic specializes in is practically worthless. And I try to have a policy at home that we don't buy books based on TV shows or movies. I make some exceptions, of course, because there are genuine crossovers. But certainly a picture book of film stills would not make the cut.

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This came by Friday's alumni newsletter ...

Just cuz you don't know them doesn't mean you can't pray.

Not knowing them ain't stoppin' me:
Monday, November 12, 2007
by Dan Fischer

A Batavia family of four perished instantly when their mini-van crashed into a tractor-trailer on Route 63 in East Bethany.

The tragic accident occurred around 11 yesterday morning just south of the Little Canada Road.

Pronounced dead at the scene was 35-year-old Peter Boyce, of 693 E. Main Street, his 33-year-old wife Connie, 9-year-old son Alexander and 5- year-old son Bradley.

Investigators said the entire family was killed instantly.

The Boyce’s were northbound on Route 63 in their 2001 Chevrolet mini-van when it crossed into the southbound lane and hit the tractor-trailer. The truck driver, 47-year-old Brian Hack of Welland, Ontario, swerved to his right to try and avoid the crash, but it was too late. The truck, laden with two aluminum coils, went over a guardrail and ran down a 30-foot embankment. Hack suffered only minor injuries.

Connie Boyce worked for Cornell Cooperative Extension, the two boys were students at John Kennedy School in Batavia; Alexander was in the 3rd grade, Bradley was in kindergarten.
All I Want For Christmas ...

Not Missing Any Teeth ...

Jeff's weekends have been consumed hanging closets.

He started small, in Ella's room - a simple reach-in - and moved up to grand, seen here, our master bedroom. In between, he did the entryway closet and the boys' closet, both essentially reach-ins with some twists1.

There's still a closet under the stairs but I need a better idea of how the space will be used before Jeff designs anything. I suppose the closet in his study also needs some shelves.

1 Angled shoe rack in the entryway closet and a corner - 90° turn - in the boys' closet.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Peking Pavilion (review)" - Asbury Park Press, 11/18/07:
Peking Pavilion is mere months into its new life in its newly rebuilt home in Manalapan, but it's cheek-to-jowl at this modern-day Chinese-American restaurant

Folks are willing to wait — at least an hour — to be seated in the hard-edged dining spaces accented in glass, stone and tile

some enjoying the pan-fried noodles are doing so after "two-and-a-half years of restless craving."

This may not be hyperbole. After the Peking Pavilion suffered a fire a couple years back, rebuilding seemed to take forever.

[T]he Kuo family has resurrected the staples of Peking Pavilion's wildly popular repertoire and added some new dishes. The result, for the most part, is not authentic Chinese food, not focused regional cuisine, but a melange that's uniquely their own. Much of what you eat here is simply delicious, pleasing in a big-bang way.

That luxed-up egg roll, spiked with shards of filet mignon, is oil-free and filled with freshly shredded sprouts and vegetables.
I joined Elizabeth there for lunch a week ago Friday and had an egg roll with my soup.
Not a bad deal ...

"Cheering all the way to nationals", Asbury Park Press, 11/18/07:
10 Jersey Shore Novice teams each earned the right to move on to nationals, ...

the Millstone Eagles (first place, Junior Midget Small),

the Millstone Eagles (second place, Junior Pee Wee Large),

the Millstone Eagles (first place, Pee Wee Small),

performed well enough to punch their tickets to Walt Disney World.

After serving as an assistant coach on the Millstone Junior Pee Wee squad that took fifth place in the 2004 national competition, Kathie Chandonnet, now head coach of the Junior Midget Small Eagles, is very happy to be making a return trip to Disney.
I usually see the girls in church the next morning, hair still done up. But not this morning, and Father made no mention of the competition.
This made CNN tonight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two favorite quotes ...
In dealing with the arrogant asserter of doubt, it is not the right method to tell him to stop doubting.

It is rather the right method to tell him to go on doubting, to doubt a little more, to doubt every day newer and wilder things in the universe, until at last, by some strange enlightenment, he may begin to doubt himself.
Chesterton, Introduction to the Book of Job

I know that many people are, or call themselves, "atheists" simply because they are repelled and offended by statements about God made in imaginary and metaphorical terms which they are not able to interpret and comprehend.

They refuse these concepts of God, not because they despise God, but perhaps because they demand a notion of Him more perfect than they generally find: and because ordinary, figurative concepts of God could not satisfy them, they refuse to listen to philosophy, on the ground that it is nothing but a web of meaningless words spun together for the justification of the same old hopeless falsehoods.

What a relief it was for me, now, to discover not only that no idea of ours, let alone any image, could adequately represent God, but also that we should not allow ourselves to be satisfied with any such knowledge of Him.
Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bleck, my Facebook profile.

The high school alumni website is moving to Facebook. Facebook offers users many helps. The need to spell anything doesn't exist at Facebook. Every Facebook form uses drop-downs. I embraced and feared the coddling.

I joined the groups. Yes, the alumni groups. I'm, like, the only member without a future "Class of" year.

Profile pictures of other group members disturb me. These folks graduated the same h.s.?! I stopped browsing profiles out of concern I'd see something inappropriate. Not a few feature dark glass bottles or shiny aluminum cans.

The picture above is me, taken perhaps when I still had a future "Class of" year?

Well, no.

It was captured with Jeff's Logitech digital camera (Fotoman Pixtura, seen here, scroll down) in the mid-90's. Postgrad. Jeff tells me now that he thinks we were at a gas station, probably traveling to Florida in the "Go-Kart", his affectionate nickname for my first car.

It has a young, raunchy, "just starting out" innocence, so I went with it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A dry run is necessary whether we host or not, especially after a kitchen remodel.

And Jeff roasted a small turkey today.

Everything turned out very well but we still aren't quite settled enough to host.

Disappointing, but that's how it is.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kenny told me later that he preferred our walking tour to the musical performance. I don't doubt it. We had better than an hour to spare with little open.

We found visitor parking at a Norwood entrance and walked around the front of the mansion, significantly out of our way, for full effect. Appreciating architectural designs slightly more now than when a student, I marveled through a front door at the ballroom! Indescribable. How wrong to use the building for school administration and faculty offices!

He caught glimpse enough of the terrace 'round back to want a closer look. I told him I had class on the terrace once. I pointed out the lack of symmetry among the structures and, even in the dark, the visual effect it gives. He liked the many water fountains that, though they were off but full, obviously spilled their sides by design.

The student union was open and, sticking his hand in the icy water or no, we were cold. We entered and visited an eerily empty second floor lounge and computer cluster. We spent considerable time investigating student meeting rooms. We took the elevator down to the student bookstore and, curiously, the shopkeeper was just locking up, two hours late!

"We open again tomorrow at noon!" she announced with great cheer. But we were genuinely only browsing. He couldn't believe that a bookstore would carry so many clothes and coffee cups. "Yes," I agreed, "they stock the course textbooks waaay in the back so as not to frighten the freshmen!"

It's, um, it's a remarkably small campus, for a university. I had no trouble finding my way, after ten years away. I thought new buildings had been erected since our time there, but I didn't see any.

During the show, Kenny stuggled to stay awake. He fiddled with the built-in desk and I teased him that he'd have to be more discreet if, as a student, he tries to sleep through class. A few of the numbers, like Golden Slumbers didn't help!

After the show, we walked, yes, walked, very dangerous considering that traffic on Cedar, to the university library in the Guggenheim mansion. It was, of course, closed by this time. I knew that, but frankly couldn't believe it. I always found the library rather creepy: poorly lit, too secluded, no handy parking.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat at our favorite Chinese place where business is so slow the proprietor has to overcharge us. And the next morning, Kenny announced to Jeff that he saw George Washington's house!

After all, I wasn't precise which president had stayed there.

"Greenhut loaned the mansion to President Woodrow Wilson during the campaign of 1916 as the presidential summer home. Thereafter it was known as the Summer White House." - "History of Wilson Hall" - Monmouth University
How obvious it all is now, but until I spotted the middle-aged man wearing that tie, I didn't consider that I would be among fans.

But then I began to see signs here, there and everywhere: the Rubber Soul t-shirt, and (slightly more obscure) a hippie wearing an om.

The singing was superb. The musical arrangements, less so. The production, alright. The acting, deplorable.

The worst performance was turned in by that all-knowing narrator/stage manager/Troy McClure impersonator, the maître d'hôtel. He shook his sorry head hopelessly at restaurant patrons ruining their lives with bad relationships. He's the patronizing one!

The singing saved the show. The soulful Oh! Darling1 reached an intensity that I felt Paul intended but contemporary convention prohibited. Alluded to at the very outset, I waited the entire show to hear She's Leaving Home. Bye, bye!

Perceiving how the audience enjoyed the better known songs, I began to wonder whether not all were familiar.

There were one or two2 that made me think, "Oh, haven't heard that in a long time."

And since Eleanor Rigby was a character in the show, they refrained from singing the final verse of her musical epitaph, you know, the stanza that describes her passing and burial. I'm glad, really; kept it a family show. Many youngsters Kenny's age attended, to the apparent consternation of the childless adults; the directive "get a babysitter" was personally overheard at least once.

But, ruder words were uttered during intermission by a gentleman who obviously didn't know better, in front of his pre-teen daughters. He remarked to his buddy with his wife that the program didn't have enough pretty young things in skimpy clothes to suit his tastes.

He ejaculated, "Pardon my language, but what the fuck?!" Indeed.

I began to suspect that he might be from Freehold. One doesn't generally encounter such crassness in eastern Monmouth county, on a fancy college campus. Moments later, when he acknowledged the show's producer by name, I knew he was from Freehold! Likely, he never saw more of a college campus in his day than the gridiron.

Eh, he didn't ruin my night but I wasn't interested in socializing with him afterwards either. In fact, the finale couldn't come soon enough. I thought they would end with the beginning, I Want To Hold Your Hand, but as it dragged on for another couple of numbers, I conceded these too merited inclusion.

All for a worthy cause.

1 I should just watch all the Beatles videos at YouTube.
2 If I Fell, Golden Slumbers, Paperback Writer.

References: "I might actually get out to see this ...", October 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

SIMON: You can be replaced you know, chicky baby.

GEORGE: I don't care.

SIMON: And that pose is out too, Sunny Jim. The new thing is to care passionately, and be right wing. Anyway, if you don't cooperate you won't meet Susan..

GEORGE: And who's this Susan when she's at home?

SIMON: Only Susan Campey, our resident teenager. You'll have to love her. She's your symbol.

GEORGE: Oh, you mean that posh bird who gets everything wrong?

SIMON: I beg your pardon?

GEORGE: Oh, yes, the lads frequently gather round the T.V. set to watch her for a giggle. Once we even all sat down and wrote these letters saying how gear she was and all that rubbish.

SIMON: She's a trend setter. It's her profession!

GEORGE: She's a drag. A well-known drag. We turn the sound down on her and say rude things.

SIMON: Get him out of here!!

GEORGE: Have I said something amiss?

SIMON: Get him out of here. He's knocking the programme's image!!

A Hard Day's Night

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

How perfect ... I haven't anything to do tomorrow ...

Mall ready to debut new stores and renovations", Examiner, 11/8/07:
Nov. 8 will mark the opening of the mall's expansion and renovation project that has added a "Main Street" type outdoor addition and seen upgrades completed within the mall at Route 9, Route 33 and Route 537.
Just in time for Christmas shopping.
Jeff has a couple of nice pictures up.

Yeah, we need curtains. I get that.
"400,000 Anglicans Ask to Join the Catholic Church En Masse - Homosexuality is the Flash Point", Thomistic muses the following:
This can't make "progressive" Catholic prelates [names names] happy!
Will we even notice?! This corresponds effectively to the addition of a diocese, 400,000 people with 100 churches. OK, maybe a diocese in Jersey, but still.

And what kind of influence does a diocese have, really?

I say, "Bring 'em on in" and we'll sort 'em out later. They don't scare me.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The kids took turns with the GPS ... as we drove home from the doctor's office after their flu shots one recent evening.

It was already dark and, therefore, they used the screen to detect what was nearby ... what can't be seen in the dark ... what's seen only on the lighted screen in their hands.

"Here's a restaurant coming up on the left!"

"We'll be crossing a river very soon!"

"Oh, there's a huge lake way over there!"

Kenny fumbled upon the small collection of MP3s on the disk. At random, he started playing Cat Stevens' cover of the Sam Cooke classic, "Another Saturday Night." Both versions are really groovy. I can't say which one I like better.

And I recalled another cover by Stevens that we used to sing on retreat, "Morning Has Broken,". That was my [somewhat incomplete] introduction to Cat Stevens, all hush-hush.

But now I see that's the range possible in one person, in every person.

Don't miss this one.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's about the music really.

Readings? Yeah, sure, of course. Preaching? No, hardly, not at all. He can stuff his anecdotes. Seminaries need to improve their homiletics training.

So, the music. The hymns first and foremost. Then the major prayers, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. Thank God we don't sing the Pater Noster anymore, sheesh. I've yet to encounter a satisfying melody to match the English.

But, you know, and I don't care if the cantor isn't Catholic, not really. I mean, he does alright. Sometimes he's formal where he should be casual and casual where he should be formal. He just doesn't have the rhythm down. But my childhood church had a Methodist at the organ every service, so there's nothing new ...

And he works from our OCP hymnal for the most part. Every once in a while, "Oh, this one isn't in the music issue but it's real simple ..."

But, if you don't know, we say "Alleluia," not "Hallelujah." There's no "h" sound. It's also long A on "Amen," unless we're singing it. Then it's short.

And his Gospel Acclamation bugs the hell out of me.

Here's some for Ordinary Time ... he's using the first one. That bit is fine though it would be nice if he followed the Lectionary.

It's the sung Alleluias before and after that are distressing. The text is basically: Halle, Halle, Hallelujah; Halle, Halle, Hallelujah, etc. AND WE DON'T PRONOUNCE alleluia THIS WAY.

I feel like I'm saying "Holly, Holly, Holly" like some Druid or pagan Celt. Not that there's anything wrong with that ... I have great affinity for that ancient culture.

So, I do my own pronunciation. I say "Alle, alle, alle" and feel better about it.

And can you believe that he didn't sing the final verse to Amazing Grace today?!

Either he doesn't get it ... or he doesn't think we'll get it. But it's listed in the "Second Coming" section of the hymnal, so let's sing the eschatological verse! Instead he repeated other verses. I hit my forehead with the heel of my hand and covered my face with my hands and hung my head ... there in church. I hope no one saw. What a pathetic reaction.

But we sang all the verses of Soon And Very Soon ... it's so simple Kenny's singing it around the house. No, no, not so soon, Kenny, please!

I showed him the picture we took of a tree in Jericho.

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This news service article appeared in my diocesan paper this week even though it's from last summer?! ...

Pope says Revelation should be read as Christ's victory over evil, 8/23/06.

And anyone with any familiarity with Revelation at all with find nothing earth-shattering about Benedict's encouraging interpretation. Nevertheless, read his remarks.

And see this point:
by tradition St. John the Apostle, have long inspired end-of-the-world scenarios
There isn't much debate among scholars that the Evangelist didn't write the apocalyptic prophecy.

But on that matter of authorship, in reading chapter 21 last week, I noted a complete absence of accommodation for the Judas tradition on the seer's vision.

There's no explanation, like we find in Acts 1.26, of who makes up the Twelve. And chapter 21 talks about names, names written on stone foundations. Whose names? Matthias?

Not a fair question, in one sense, I know. It's too literal.

But, in another sense, is the author unaware of the Judas tradition? Does s/he simply assume it? Does Paul know it, or is it merely irrelevant to his point?

And the Didache ... who are these twelve behind its teaching? They certainly don't all have New Testament letters associated with them, like some Christian equivalent to the Minor Prophets.

Catholic News Service cover story this week:

"Kerry finds his voice on religion, three years after the campaign", 11/2/07:
Kerry acknowledged that the Democratic Party is still less comfortable than the GOP with the idea of candidates talking about their religion.

Kerry said he was wrong not to talk more about his Catholic faith during the campaign.

Kerry said he was surprised at how the controversy over whether he was "Catholic enough" became important during the race.

He himself went back and reread religious texts, particularly the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, in anticipation of faith-themed discussions.

Kerry talked about being raised Catholic, largely due to the efforts of his Protestant mother (his father was Catholic), about serving as an altar boy, and being, as an adolescent, "unbelievably engaged in my religion."

As a young Navy officer in Vietnam during the war, Kerry said his religious faith became more of a "necessary and immediate relationship" with God, joking that it was in the nature of "protect me and I'll be good."
My mind associates McGreevey and Kerry so closely ... I'm not sure which is more disparaged by that confused identification.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

This piece from the summer - and I did blog about Kasper's comments - explains the distinction, in the mind of the post-VCII Catholic, between evangelization and ecumenism.

There's some defense of Kasper, as well, completely unnecessary:
For Kasper, ecumenism is not founded on the desire to convert others to Catholicism.

Ecumenism and evangelization are not the same, and we must make that distinction.

While evangelization may certainly accompany ecumenism and even guide and follow it, evangelization is not coextensive with ecumenism, and the Cardinal is clear on this.

The basis of evangelization is desire to convert others–conversion to Christ, conversion to his Church, conversion to God.

The basis of ecumenism, however, is something else.

Ecumenism has as its basis the desire for unity and as its practice the removal of obstacles to that unity. It seeks not to convert those who are already converted to Christ.

Ecumenism seeks to understand, not to convert.
About the author: I considered Michael's now-defunct blog to be, um, "enlightened." He's off getting smarter presently.

And working at a real job, too, probably.

"Remember when the Canadian dollar was worth, like, 75¢?"


"Come on, sure ya do, when we were kids. Now it's like 95¢!"

Most of his stuff was prepaid, but his assistant did his Halifax expense account in US dollars by mistake. You think anyone will notice?
I caved in to my curiosity and called my younger brother, the Chief.

He said their housing development, Rolling Hills Ranch in Chula Vista, was evacuated Monday morning. They had both vehicles packed and ready.

The fire, the "Harris fire," came as close as 500 yards but by Tuesday evening, they were back home.

Doug thinks that, along with the diligent efforts of firefighters, the neighborhood landscaping, including the golf course in his backyard, and fire resistant construction contributed to preserving their home.

UPDATE: here's some photos of the fire. Here's some decent video.

And I guess the evacuation was last Monday, even though my brother simply said, "Monday." I'm just supposed to know that it was last Monday.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Deja vu, right?

No, no, the house is done, trust me.

Final inspection will be Wednesday, but just to approve outdoor stuff like stairs at the back door.

We start moving back into bedrooms tomorrow.

But they used one of Jeff's construction project pictures.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The entrance hymn was the litany from the Easter Vigil ... which I love very much. It is apt to borrow the litany from the vigil for a day we remember those in heaven, especially as the readings turn eschatological, at liturgical year end.

The first reading was the 144,000 from Revelation. The second reading was from 1 John 3: that we are children of God now but what we will be has not been revealed, we just know we'll be like Him for we will see Him as He is. The Gospel was the Beatitudes from St. Matthew.

The night before, in between trick-or-treaters, I reviewed scripture for the Friday morning study1. With the imagery of Rev. 21 fresh, the Preface to the eucharistic prayer reads, "Today we keep the festival of your holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother."

1 This footnote may co-opt the entire post but I'm feeling put out:
The study opens with a brief devotion but the study leader has been derelict at designating someone each week.

There was no volunteer this morning, so I offered to read a Scripture from Thursday's liturgy, 1 John 3:1-3. The passage had made a profound impact on me at Mass and, though not necessary, tied into the lesson appropriately.

The study leader demurred, concerned at what I might say? But, my conscience was clear, so I paid her no heed. I read the passage.

She didn't catch anything I read and even prevented the others from hearing! She was hung up on the meaning of the holiday ... which I had no desire to discuss. Their pained interest was patronizing. I shan't volunteer again.

And I have to sit there and smile as they say which Catholics they'll invite.