Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I heard this story on the news when it aired last week ...

German village turns off street lights - NPR/BBC News, 12/23/08.

I can see a lot of potential for abuse.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Last week's news but I'm catching up ...

Controversial COAH plan gains approval - Examiner, 12/24/08:
Although no public comment was permitted, there was plenty of shouting from the audience as the Millstone Township Planning Board unanimously voted to approve a controversial affordable housing plan Dec. 16.

The plan prepared by Township Planner Richard Coppola would put 85 of the township's 169-unit COAH obligation on a 32.8-acre parcel along Route 33 and Bergen Mills Road, and would require the development of a sewage treatment plant, which many residents in the area oppose.

Kurzman said that Abilheira's alternative plan may have meant building the equivalent of another middle school.
Oh, and we all know what a bad thing that was! Whew.

You get a good sense of the opposition from this letter to the editor:
When I drive down Route 9 or Route 18, I say to myself, "Thank god [sic] I do not have to deal with this anymore."

Before anyone knew it, they were sitting three lights deep in traffic on Route 9 south for 25 minutes, trying to drive a half of a mile past Best Buy and Wegman's at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday to get home to their once peaceful abode, wondering, "Where did it all go wrong?"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More of yesterday's news ... but it's new to me, as I'm just getting around to reading the local paper ...

Millstone mining co. plans new truck route - Examiner, 12/24/08:
Campo trucks presently go down Baird Road to Millstone Road to Sweetmans Lane east to Woodville Road and Route 33.

In 1999, her company's trucks would go down Baird Road to Conover Road to get to Route 33, but was told by the county that the trucks could not go over the 12-ton limit bridge on Baird Road if they traveled more than 25 miles per hour.

Campo has now asked if the trucks could continue down Perrineville Road to Route 33.

She estimated between 80-150 trucks would take the route to the landfill each day.

Grbelja suggested the trucks go over the Perrineville Lake Bridge when it reopens next month and onto Perrineville Road, but Shafai said the bridge has a 15-ton limit.

Resident Scott Boland, who does not live along any of the proposed routes, said he hopes people who live along the potential routes address the issue, as it would bring "really heavy trucks" into the area.

When asked why the trucks do not take the most direct route, down Baird Road to Woodville Road, to access Route 33, Shafai said the township wants the trucks off its roads and onto county roads as quickly as possible as the latter have fewer residents living on them.
I think Prodelin Way is referred to as Perrineville Road in the article.

We already have "really heavy trucks" in the area; it shocks me sometimes how many trucks, especially during the summer.

Woodville is a county route and Baird to Woodville is the most direct way, but if the trucks can't cross the wee bridge to get to Conover, than they can't get to Woodville that way either. I'm not sure why the spokesperson gave the answer she did rather than mention the weight limit on the bridge.

Get the mayor recommending the soon-to-be-repaired "Perrineville Lake Bridge," as she's dubbed it (the county calls it 'M-49'). We just got Baird Road resurfaced and trucks intend to break it up again?!

Their current route is fine with me and their proposed route is fine. I'm glad the soon-to-be-reopened bridge has the weight limit it does because it doesn't make sense to bring the trucks into town at all. And the roads around the lake are just as windy and twisty as anything on Millstone Road.

How will we get to town? - Teresa's Two Cents, 12/29/07.

Bridge Detour - Teresa's Two Cents, 6/6/08.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

James Stewart and Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life'? It's a Miserable Life! - NY Times, 12/19/08:
Lots of people love this movie of course. But I’m convinced it’s for the wrong reasons.
I love it for the right reasons, I assure you ...
Here’s the thing about Pottersville that struck me when I was 15: It looks like much more fun than stultifying Bedford Falls — the women are hot, the music swings, and the fun times go on all night. If anything, Pottersville captures just the type of excitement George had long been seeking.
And how ironic that he didn't want it once he actually experienced it.
I checked my theory with Frank J. Clark, the district attorney for Erie County upstate, where, as far as I can tell, the fictional Bedford Falls is set. He thought it over, and then agreed: George would still face prosecution and possible prison time.
It's actually likely Seneca Falls, so Finger Lakes, not Great Lakes, region. We swam at Bedford Beach as kids before it dried up.

I don't see how he can be prosecuted when the sheriff tears up the arrest warrant. He might not be much, but he's still sheriff of Macomb County, and Bob Yule fell on his knife Bedford Falls and that's his contribution to the collection.
Not only is Pottersville cooler and more fun than Bedford Falls, it also would have had a much, much stronger future. Think about it: In one scene George helps bring manufacturing to Bedford Falls. But since the era of “It’s a Wonderful Life” manufacturing in upstate New York has suffered terribly.

On the other hand, Pottersville, with its nightclubs and gambling halls, would almost certainly be in much better financial shape today. It might well be thriving.

I checked my theory with the oft-quoted Mitchell L. Moss, a professor of urban policy at New York University, and he agreed, pointing out that, of all the upstate counties, the only one that has seen growth in recent years has been Saratoga.

“The reason is that it is a resort, and it has built an economy around that,” he said. “Meanwhile the great industrial cities have declined terrifically. Look at Connecticut: where is the growth? It’s in casinos; they are constantly expanding.”
I don't want an economy based on sin entertainment. Whenever I return to upstate NY for a visit, I'm shocked by how much gambling has seeped into everyday life there.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Alright, alright, Christmas haul ... I'll just mention the books:
  • The UBS Greek New Testament: A Reader's Edition by Barclay M. Newman
  • Against the Protestant Gnostics by Philip J. Lee
  • Rereading Paul Together: Protestant and Catholic Perspectives on Justification by David E., Aune
  • Finding Common Ground: How to Communicate With Those Outside the Christian Community While We Still Can by Tim Downs
  • Blessed Are the Hungry: Meditations on the Lord's Supper by Peter J. Leithart
  • Letter & Spirit, Vol. 2: The Authority of Mystery: The Word of God and the People of God by Scott Hahn
  • Honey from the Rock: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism by Lawrence Kushner
Does each one have a story? Just about. I can't explain the first two, but Fr. Fitzmyer has an article in the third one.

The fourth one is by a CCC guy whom I heard speak in Philadelphia twenty years ago exactly. I still have the cassette tapes of his four addresses delivered that weekend. I started reading this book because it's the thinnest and I just wonder whether a daughter he mentions in the Intro is the same as he told us about that weekend. He writes fiction now. His website.

The fifth one I haven't received yet. A strange thing happened - this book was an Amazon gift from a family secret Santa but Amazon sent the Kushner book instead (listed last above). I contacted Amazon and they are sending the correct one. The next book in the list has an article by Pablo Gadenz and ... I just noticed ... a lead-off one from Fr. Dulles. So I might read this book after finishing Downs's book.

And the last one was sent me in error, as I said. It wasn't even on my wish list. It seems to me that I almost bought a commentary on the Torah by Kushner ... or maybe I did buy one! ... but Kabbalah isn't of interest to me.
Jeff got one good picture of her last night, on her second birthday (and third Christmas) that he posted at Flickr. She just wasn't in the mood for pictures.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Flickr Photo Set: Christmas Morning 2008.

Since I'm home already, you can guess he didn't last long.

But we drove over to St. Greg's for a midnight service and arrived just as the choir was starting, as usual, at 11:30. I sat us almost directly behind the choir in an effort to keep him awake. On the way over, he asked me to tell him all the lies associated with Christmas.
"Which 'Christmas,' the religious Christmas or the Santa Christmas?"

Dumb question.

"Oh, you know, Jesus probably wasn't born in December or in the year 0, that sort of thing." I told him that I didn't know any lies about the Santa Christmas. I mean, really, where does it end?

After twenty minutes of listening to the choir, he said he wanted to go home, after walking around the church once. So, we did that and left. On the way home, he asked whether Santa might have arrived already. I said not until he's gone to sleep. He said that we have so many presents under the tree already and, "when Santa comes, he'll bring even more!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

every year we rejoice
as we look forward to this feast of our salvation.
May we welcome Christ as our Redeemer,
and meet him with confidence when he comes to be
our judge.

Opening Prayer, Christmas Vigil

as we keep tonight the vigil of Christmas,
may we celebrate this eucharist
with greater joy than ever
since it marks the beginning of our redemption.

Prayer over the gifts, Christmas Vigil
Making the "This is the reason I married you" dinner:

I picked up most of the ingredients fresh on Tuesday and was tempted to also buy the noodles. Only to be on the lazy safe side. Because I haven't used the twelve-year-old pasta maker1 since the remodel, that is, in my new kitchen.

Would it still work?!

Moreover, I had used up all the flour making Christmas cookies.

Well, I got more flour last night and decided to give it a go. And the pasta maker works great, just like always. And the noodles came out great, cooked up tender and smooth.

Even though he didn't come right out and say, "This is the reason I married you," I know he was thinking it. :-)

1 Cusinart Deluxe Pasta Maker

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crown of thorns and all ...

Church Members Dress Like Jesus to Protest Secularization of Christmas - FoxNews.com, 12/23/08.

Jeff said they ought to be politely told to put on a headscarf ...
Works for me ...

An Amillennial Eschatology Chart - Jollyblogger, 12/8/08.
Can a Christian Deny the Virgin Birth? - Albert Mohler, 12/23/08.

If Dr. Mohler had left off all the cheap potshots leveled against liberals, his post would be one word: "No."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Five found guilty of plotting to kill Fort Dix soldiers - CNN.com, 12/22/08:
The defendants were acquitted of attempted murder charges but face life in prison.

The jury found one member of the group conducted surveillance at Fort Dix and Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and the U.S. Coast Guard facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the U.S. attorney's office said in a written statement.
A crazy, crazy scheme.

Making Christmas Cookies.

I made a double batch of dough from a recipe at Cooks, online. I cut butter into the frosting recipe because I'm used to doing it that way. And added too much milk as a result, so only the bowl of green frosting didn't dribble off the cookie.

A bottle of green food coloring was in a box labeled "Red Food Coloring," so I was surprised when I poured it in. I didn't have red at all, so I had to use the yellow. Chris helped me pour the yellow in, too much. It was a "Gumball Yellow," if you know that shade, that turned mustard yellow after some refrigeration. We had vials of NEON food coloring / egg dye that didn't seem appropriate!

Tim wasn't very interested in working with dough. He rolled and cut out one batch and had had enough. We coaxed him back out for frosting ... and tasting. Kenny got quite good at rolling his dough but tended to use too much flour. Typical. The fact that I have very little flour worked in our favor, to a degree. But since I want to make lasagna for Christmas, I need more flour ... and fresh ricotta, fresh mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce and fresh italian bread ... about the only ingredients I have are the eggs and meat!

It's probably obvious that the boys just got their hair cut. Boys' hair is so easy. As easy as their clothing.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meaning you have to be among Forbes Top 10 to shop there, I'm sure ...

Red Bank store on Forbes Top 10 list - Asbury Park Press, 12/21/08.

Tim wants a science kit ... I'll see what they have after Christmas.
Vote due on curbing control of jobs - Asbury Park Press, 12/21/08:
Republicans say the new code can revamp the county's so-called spoils system, which historically has allowed the controlling political party to hand out government jobs to campaign supporters.

Democrats have questioned the motives for launching the initiative and say it's interfering with their transition plans.

At stake are approximately three-dozen patronage positions reserved for department heads and directors. Except for those with multiyear appointments, the current holders of those well-paying jobs have uncertain immediate futures, and Republican Freeholder Lillian G. Burry said she is unable to assure employees that they won't be replaced by Democratic loyalists in the new year.
Even my husband is disgusted by this.
Family of church shooting victim clings to hope - Asbury Park Press, 12/21/08:
Silvy Perincheril gave James a place to stay after she decided to leave her abusive husband and move to New Jersey to pursue a nursing career, according to relatives.

The close-knit community and interwoven family connections are common to the Knanaya, who largely hail from the state of Kerala on the southern coast of India. They practice endogamy — or marrying within the same social group — to preserve ancient bloodlines they say trace back to 72 families that traveled from the Middle East to India around A.D. 345 to do missionary work.

Rev. Lahayil said Knanayan churches worldwide — from Australia to the Middle East — have added special prayers to every service for Perincheril's recovery. Parishioners at the Clifton church were planning a full day of fasting and prayers for her survival on Saturday.
And I'm reminded that my friend Michelle is headed to India today for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Imagine making the bed with these two tumbling and rolling on it!

Yet, I managed to work around them without any trouble at all.

And we had fun, everyone.

Chris even helped a little.
On the way to the barber shop, we drove through Roosevelt.

This shrine is behind the public school.

Tim asked me several times to confirm FDR's middle name because he said his teacher doesn't know it:
"She just calls him 'Franklin D. Roosevelt.'"
Hmm, is she younger than I?!

Well, it was colder than a dead president out there so we didn't linger. But before leaving, Tim said he was sure that he saw a bees' nest inside the hole at the nape of the neck.

Of course he did.

Borough website.

Roosevelt, NJ: Visions of Utopia, 1983 documentary (Wiki)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This one got under my skin ...

The Hidden-Purpose Driven Presidency - First Things, 12/18/08:
... what, then, to make of his decision to have Rick Warren pray at his inauguration?

... does it really indicate a willingness to meet social conservatives halfway?

One must also ask a question about Rev. Rick Warren: Why did he accept?

... prudence suggests that this would have been a very good time for a little Christian witness.
In other words, Warren should skip it. Eh.

Who knows, maybe they're friends? Maybe they hit it off during the Saddleback Church forum.

Warren cannot retreat from his calling as a minster to those with serious misunderstandings on moral issues. No, advocating degrees of separation among Christians - right? among Christians - isn't the way to go.

Neither is it seemly to question one's decision -Egan's case regards a senator, not a president-elect - to respond affirmatively to a request from the president-elect.

And, like Bush quoting Mother Teresa after speaking at Bob Jones, no one is likely to mistake presidential symbols for substance.

Please don't think that I care for Warren, because I do not. Simply put, the more I read the original, the more it comes across as someone's final column before the year-end holidays. It has a catchy title.
Letters: Christmas Cards - NPR, "All Things Considered," 12/18/08:
Because more and more, even devout Christians have been replacing Jesus, Mary and Joseph with themselves.

When choosing your Christmas cards this year, think more Jesus and less you. Or, more Virgin Mary, and less Virgin Islands.

- the omnipresent, omniscient Fr. Martin, SJ
Not a faux pas we've been tempted to make. But came close with last year's offering, a picture of the house. Forgivable, right, considering the renovation?

Well, it was a terrible picture. I mail my cards out late so they don't sit on anyone's mantel too long.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The title says it all ... so don't read the title and just click through ...

Barack Obama Defeats Barack Hussein Obama - The Onion, 12/17/08.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

She said she was cleaning out her library and believes she must have picked this up when she was in seminary and wouldn't I be interested?

I joked, "Who's the latest listed?" and she speculated someone from the 60's.1

I was happy to take it and, as we all sat down to a pot luck, I placed it face-down on the table, explaining to her that I didn't want to put it on the floor and I didn't want to offend anyone.

Would a table of Presbyterians be put off their appetite by a book of popes?

Now, I've browsed the book a bit since the meal. I haven't delved into the text, the individual biographies, yet,3 but the images are remarkable. Some are drawn from other histories of popes but many are taken from art: the Sistine Chapel and other Roman churches.

So, my initial reaction to the breadth of material is that a tradition clearly deemed the remembering of this lineage as important. I mean, perhaps my gift-giver thought the book would embarrass me or even cause me to question4 the tradition and practice. But, I'm afraid, at least initially, it's had the opposite effect: I respect it more for its trouble.

1 It's actually 1959, so John XXIII.
2 It was all I could do not to flip it open at table when the luncheon conversation turned stale. Oh, but the food was great. Presbyterians can cook, I've said many times.
3 But the writing seems top-notch.
4 Change of heart can come about reading an author within one's tradition - when all the holes hit square between the eyes - just as easily as reading an author outside. I usually encourage people to read scholars within their tradition.
Joining three senior women in the Same Day Surgery Waiting Room this morning, my daughter's antics got them talking about their children's children, usw.
"My granddaughter has named her daughter the most unusual thing. She spells it X-A-R-I-S."
Oooh, aaaah, unusual.

I butted in to remark that that's a Greek word meaning "grace" and it's a beautiful name.

Not to be denied her one-upmanship, the great-granny retorted,
"But who knows that sort of thing?!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Timmy's chain, counting down to "Vacation."

At least it's red and green.

I tallied the remaining links the other day and noted that there are too few: he'd run through them well before the 23rd.

He is, thankfully, an untidy packrat, not bothering to discard removed links in any meaningful way.

So, I stole in with a glue bottle, under the unlikely pretense of making his bed, and replaced three links, to see him through.

He was none the wiser.

Yet another thing I gotta keep tabs on ...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tonight's IM:
Jake the Snark says: (10:49:28 PM)
when the depression gets bad and we need to downsize

Jake the Snark says: (10:49:29 PM)

Teresa S. says: (10:49:43 PM)
across from Skip's
Um, wow, I hadn't heard about this ...

My-T Acres barns engulfed in flames, The Batavian, 12/4/08.

Video footage - The Batavian, 12/6/08.

via Dave George and OACS Alumni.
Listening to The Housemartins.
Parents may allow kids to get vaccines linked to abortion - Catholic News Service, 12/12/08:
The human cell lines used to cultivate the production of many vaccines used today come from tissue derived from two human fetuses aborted in 1964 and 1970.

Because the abortions occurred so long ago, Bishop Sgreccia said a parent's consent to use vaccines associated with those cell lines does not reflect any form of cooperation with the evil of the original abortions.

There is no risk of causing scandal either, he said, because using such vaccines in no way encourages more abortions.

While parents are not obliged to vaccinate their child, they do have a duty to protect their child's health, he said.

Some governments and schools, however, do mandate that children be inoculated in efforts to stop the spread of certain infectious diseases, he said.

For this reason, national health systems must "change course" and substitute controversial vaccines for alternatives so Catholics will no longer be forced to act against their consciences, he said.

Bishop Sgreccia said effective vaccines that are not derived from human embryos or fetuses are being produced and are on the market, but that they are not always available in every country.
On Charlie Rose ... An interview with Avery Dulles

Watch the whole thing.
I just love old movies ... with happy endings ...

via Fr. Z.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm crying ...

Cardinal Avery Dulles, Theologian, is Dead at 90 - New York Times, 12/12/08:
A conservative theologian in an era of liturgical reforms and rising secularism, Cardinal Dulles wrote 27 books and 800 articles, mostly on theology; advised the Vatican and America’s bishops, and staunchly defended the pope and his church against demands for change on abortion, artificial birth control, priestly celibacy, the ordination of women and other issues.

His task as a theologian, the Cardinal often said, was to honor diversity and dissent but ultimately to articulate the traditions of the church and to preserve Catholic unity.
Our Lady of Guadalupe - Ora Pro Nobis.

Today's Readings

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The story on NPR lately has been NPR, cutting programs, like Day To Day.

I listen to Day To Day if I'm in the car at that time, but it's mostly stuff gleaned from somewhere else. It isn't irreplaceable stuff. Maybe NPR will fill the hour with classical music.

TV became an around-the-clock medium during my lifetime; I wonder whether it ... along with radio ... will return to spending some wee hours off the air.

Listening to the hourly news this evening, it could have been that Simon & Garfunkel song ... (someone beat me to it).

Christmas at Allaire Flickr photo set.

On Sunday afternoon, I took Timmy and Chris over to Wall for a couple of hours to tour the Historic Village at Allaire. The cold wind was strong so I'm glad I didn't plan to spend too much time outdoors. And it is mostly outdoors, even the Bakery didn't offer any indoor seating. You'd think you'd get some accommodation for your $2 cookie!

We sat about 30 minutes in the rear pew of the Allaire Chapel for a reenactment of a mid-1800's Christmas service. There were carols and hymns and a spirited version of the 12 Days of Christmas. Whenever my kids asked to leave, I reminded them of the strong, cold wind outside and isn't it nicer in here? They agreed but grudgingly.

The man who had the role of Episcopal minister reminded us how observance of Christmas was illegal in the US until just before the Civil War, even later in NJ. But Mr. Allaire gave his workers the day off and provided entertainment in the form of square dancing and some sort of feast. There was a man dressed as an Episcopal bishop seated up front, off to the side, with his miter and crozier. His observer status struck me as odd because I've never met a Catholic bishop who could refrain from running whatever show he's at.

Between the tickets and the cookies and the cotton candy, I was short on cash towards the end but the boys wanted to ride the Christmas train. There was a final departure at 4pm and only five tickets left for sale. I didn't have enough money for three but she gave them to us anyway. Santa rode the train with us but I couldn't get a picture because the boys had me holding the uneaten cookies and cotton candy, plus we were all in one seat because no one wanted to sit outside.

The train made three loops which was one loop too many for me. But, how often does a boy get to ride a real, 100-year old steam engine? Less and less often these days.
"Doing Fine in Buffalo" - NPR, 12/10/08:
I live in Buffalo, NY. Buffalo has been rated as one of the best places to ride out a recession.
'Cuz Buffalo has been in recession for 40 years.

"Recession? What recession?"

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Always looking for an excuse to duck into a church ...

I guess you could say we double-dipped seeing Santa tonight.

The town's tree lighting was at the firehouse at 6pm. We left there after seeing Santa an hour later and drove past the UPC. Kenny noticed the lights on and I told him they were holding a book and gift sale this weekend. He wanted to check it out so, even though I bought something there on Friday, I took them inside.

There were a few families inside, decorating the church. The congregation doesn't have many families1 so, for all I know, most of the members were on hand. Reverend Pike came over and greeted us right away. We picked out and paid for four books, totaling $20. The lady who made the sale said, "I don't know how much these books cost, so I might be cheating you" and I said that so long as the proceeds go to the church, it doesn't matter to me.

Then she whispered that Santa was due to arrive at any moment and wouldn't we like to stay? I felt a twinge of guilt seeing how we just saw Santa across town but as they seemed small of number, why not supplement the modest turnout? It gave me more time to visually snoop around while the boys sat in a pew reading their books.

The pipe organ fills the wall at the head of the church. The pulpit is front and center with a piano off stage left. The kitchen is in a room behind there and a dining room seems situated in a mirror image. Unless the rooms adjoin, that could be. An almost-to-the-ceiling Christmas tree was up front to our left, decorated in white, gold and silver.

When Santa entered, my kids did not hesitate to join the other children up front. He talked with them for quite a while and they answered his questions. As he visited with other children, I noticed Kenny and Timmy getting up on the platform behind Santa and even approaching the pulpit which had a large book open on it. I had told them not to go up there but since other kids were doing it, they couldn't resist.

Santa had them sing a couple Christmas songs and pose for a photo by the tree. Then he was off and we left too, to be surprised by the falling of light and fluffy snow. I'll see whether we might fit one of their Christmas Eve services into our schedule this year. I think Presbyterians have very cozy Christmas Eve traditions - perhaps we'll see.

1 At the rear of the church are small cubby holes marked for each family ... this is common in small churches ... and in several I noticed a box of church envelopes ... from the same company that produces ours.

cf. St. Nicholas
In my mind, Claus von Bulow will be always Jeremy Irons ...

Sunny von Bulow dies after 28 years in coma - CNN, 12/6/08:
Von Bulow was subject of one of the nation's most sensational criminal cases during the 1980s.

On the morning of December 22, 1980, family members found Martha von Bulow unconscious in the bathroom of the family's posh Newport, Rhode Island, home. She never regained consciousness.

Prosecutors accused Claus von Bulow of twice attempting to kill his wife by injecting her with insulin.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sleevefacers Become The Album Cover - National Public Radio, 12/1/08:
British DJ Carl Morris was just "horsing around," when he held up a Paul McCartney record to his face, grafting the famous Beatle's head to his body.

Since then, he's perfected the art of "sleevefacing" or melding one's body with an album cover. His little experiment has flourished into a Web site and book that includes photos of people sleevefacing across the world.
cf. Sleeveface update - NPR, 12/3/08.

I can guess what McCartney cover he means as I bought this album when it was released. I could probably still sing most of the songs by heart. I remember McCartney performing "Waterfalls" (mp3 from vinyl) in SNL. It's a decent song and I struggled diligently as a kid to love the rest of this album that I'd spent my hard-earned money on.

But there's little here that's genuinely any good.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Couple say rosary, prayers helped them survive ordeal at Mumbai hotel - Catholic News Service, 12/4/08:
From under the bed, the couple could hear terrorists move down the hallway, pound on each door and use an explosive that sounded like a grenade. "They would blow the door open and start shooting everyone inside," Stadelmann said.

Beyond the explosions and the gunmen going door-to-door, the greatest danger to the couple was the fire, he said. "There were 1,000 rooms in the hotel, so I figured our chances were pretty good. But, the fire was really something. A fire will find you."

When help arrived, it was a team of six Indian Army special forces soldiers dressed in black uniforms with black bandanas on their heads, he said. "They had everything, guns, knives and radios. They were the real deal."

Stadelmann said those rosaries and the prayers of his friends and family back home were the reason they lived through the ordeal.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Conservatives expected to split Episcopal Church - New York Times, 12/3/08:
"Why is England still considered the center of the universe?”

“It’s certainly going to be deplored by one part of the Communion and hailed by another,” Professor Steinmetz said.

"There are so many possibilities and geopolitical differences, it’s really hard to predict where this will go.”
I don't know where Bishop Ed Little is in all this.

via First Things.
Picture this ...

Jeff holding his iPhone running Shazam inches from his laptop and within 15 or 20 seconds, it identifies obscure songs,1 like "I Don't Know How to Love Him,"2 "Common People," "Spill the Wine" and "Just Can't Get Enough":
"What's really amazing is it stores a sample of the song, sends it over to China where someone listens to it, identifies it and sends the answer back."
There's no humor like tech humor.

1 Can't be too obscure with Wiki entries.
2 A long-time favorite of mine!

cf. iPhone Shazam Commercial - YouTube.
Kenny had me watch this episode ...

via Crunchy Con

I suppose I'd mostly disagree with this comment:
"Yes, Apple people/NPR people/Quakers/Unitarian-Universalists/humanities & social science grad students/vegans=the Venn diagram pretty much is one circle."
Unless it's a progression over time, and I'm already past the first two ... or two and a half.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A while back I asked a question1 and might have just now gotten an answer ...
Although Tobit in the Revised Standard Version of 1957 was translated from the short version of the manuscripts Alexandrinus and Vaticanus, the New Revised Standard Version of 1991 presents the longer version of Sinaiticus, supplemented by the Vetus Latina.

So the revision of the New American Bible will be the first Catholic Bible with the text of Tobit governed by these Semitic texts from Qumran.

- Fitzmyer, more than ten years ago.

1 "My concern with the RSV is, being an older translation, whether it is sufficiently based upon the latest editions of original language texts."
All day Saturday, this was the scene in our kitchen. The stove stopped working on Friday evening while making dinner. I finished the cooking in the microwave. The stovetop still worked. Jeff was on the web instantly, following reset procedures, to no avail. The dealership wasn't open on Saturday, so Jeff rolled up his sleeves, got some printed directions and took the thing apart.

In the end, it was a simple matter of the selector having fallen apart behind the scenes. Not knowing this in advance, he admitted to taking just a bit more off than needed. And to ordering a $30 part online, also not needed as he was able to put the selector back together himself.

So by last night, I was cooking with it again. He claimed to have saved us $400 in a service call and repair. The thing is a few months out of warranty but I just wouldn't expect a stove like this to fall apart in just over a year. I'm very glad he got it repaired but I see now he had some help!

tags technorati :
When I moved to my laptop about two months ago now, I didn't realize that the junk mail filter was more aggressive. Even though lots of junk still gets through, I just noticed tonight - how often do you think to go through your junk mail folder? - that haloscan comments were going there along with photos I had emailed myself with my phone.

Like this picture ...

Taken at the Manasquan Reservoir more than a month ago. I took the boys there this past Saturday after tennis, all three of them. And I thought about snapping a photo of them with my cell phone, if I could get them to stand still, but then I was like, "Why, I haven't any luck lately emailing myself the pictures afterward."

Yet another mystery solved. Yup.

Chris loved the education center or whatever its called there. It's a cool place - I hope the county can afford to keep it open. Every time we visit, the boys find something different, something more "advanced" to appreciate about the natural environment of Monmouth County.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ya think? ...

Vatican newspaper: Beatles' music better than today's pop songs - Catholic News Service, 11/24/08:
The Beatles' songs have demonstrated "remarkable staying power, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians," it said.

The newspaper also recalled that the Beatles were recording with rudimentary tools compared to those used by the high-tech recording industry today. Even so, "a listening experience like that offered by the Beatles is truly rare," it said.

As for John Lennon's famous quip in 1966 that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, the Vatican newspaper dismissed it as youthful bragging.

"The phrase that provoked profound indignation, especially in the United States, after so many years sounds merely like the boast of a working-class English youth faced with unexpected success," it said.
Does this mean we can start singing it in church?
FOCA's effects seen as dire, but chance of it passing considered slim - Catholic News Service, 11/26/08:
Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, has concerns about people outside Catholic health care "saying Catholic health care institutions are going to close" should FOCA become law, she told CNS.

She said CHA has always opposed FOCA and will continue to do so. But "even if this bad legislation were to pass, we would not be forced to participate (in providing abortions) and we will fight for that," she said.

Catholic health care institutions will not dismantle their systems or compromise their principles, she said. "We have many examples in this country of how to respond to unjust laws and we have learned from them. We will protect Catholic health care in this country without compromising our position on abortion."

First, however, Sister Carol said, "we must focus on protecting mothers and their unborn children."

"The first thing we are called to do is redouble our efforts to be sure pregnant women do not see abortion as their only option," she said in a statement released Nov. 24. Easily accessible and high quality obstetrical care, assistance with food stamps, housing, education and child care, can help women feel they have options other than abortion, she said.

She said CHA has been in touch with Obama's transition team, as they were with Sen. John McCain's aides when they were planning a possible transition.

"We've found (Obama's staff) more than willing to discuss our perspective," she said. "They recognize we play a fairly significant role in health care and are a large part of the social safety net."
Um, not good ...

Bishop says Texas Catholic hospitals performed direct sterilizations - Catholic News Service, 11/26/08:
Bishop Corrada's statement follows an investigation by his diocese after a national Catholic newspaper reported claims last July that thousands of sterilizations, and possibly some abortions, took place in 23 Texas Catholic hospitals from 2000 to 2003.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Searches for Fr. John Zeitler have brought a couple of surfers here recently because I have one post in which I mention him.

I didn't really expect that Fr. John was still around but, out of curiosity, I searched on his name myself. And found that, not only is he still around, but he's "Priest of the Month" for Nov. 2008. And, he's a monsignor now, of course.

Earlier this year, he received the Baker Award. Here's the announcement in OLPH's bulletin:

Click to enlarge

And, no, that isn't a picture of Fr. Zeitler above.

You can see him here:

The entire PDF file is cached here but here are some pertinent excerpts:
In May, 1958, his boyhood friend, Joe Bissonette, was ordained a Catholic Priest. John recalls, “That was the year I said to Joe, ‘I’m not happy in law school.’ And he said, ‘Why don’t you try the seminary? Give the priesthood a try. You and I, we always thought alike.’”

Fr. John’s first assignment was on the Missionary Apostolate at St. Joseph’s Parish in Bliss, N.Y. for one year.

He did, however, find his services were needed at Notre Dame High School in Batavia. For the next ten years, he taught Chemistry, Spanish, German, and English as well as completed his Masters Degree at Canisius College. In all, he spent 13 years at Notre Dame teaching and coaching baseball and golf.

In 1984, Fr. John went to the University of Buffalo Newman Center, located on the North Campus where he stayed until 1990. It was while Fr. John was serving at U.B. that his lifelong friend, Fr. Joseph Bissonette was murdered.

Looking back, he reflects, “My life as a priest has been more than I had bargained for. By the Grace of God, I was always led to the right place. I am pleased to have served so many people over the years in His name. In following God’s will, I feel I have completed my life and have honored my father and mother as well. I feel blessed that the Holy Spirit has guided me in every phase of my priesthood. As Jesus said, ‘Many are called but few are chosen.’, yet the decision that counts is the one made that leads to happiness and a sense of fulfillment. And I was happy the first moment I made the decision to enter the seminary.”
I remember he knew German which I believe was spoken at his home, growing up. And my mother told me he was pastor briefly at St. Cecilia's when I was an infant but I wasn't aware that he had taught at ND. 'Though he was gone before I was out of middle school anyway.

Thanksgiving 2008 Flickr photo set.

The boys were there, too, 'though you wouldn't know from the pictures in the photo set. They kept to themselves, for the most part, playing Playstation II video games.
CBA recalls "gregarious and thoughtful man" - Examiner, 11/26/08:
CBA Director of Advancement Garry Koch said he knew O'Gara for a many years and sees him as "a representation of what CBA is today."

"He was a man who followed his Christian beliefs and was a gregarious and thoughtful man."

O'Gara was famous for his warm Irish laugh and engaging manner.

"He had the stereotypical Irish personality and wit," Koch said. "He made you feel special as he was such a positive person."
Horse found wandering loses his fight for life - Examiner, 11/26/08:
"I was shocked at the condition of the horse," she said.

The animal was emaciated and his hipbones stuck out like coat racks.

Gaboff did not think he could have wandered very far, and speculated that he may have been dumped in the area.

Post said he was covered in manure on his left side, with open sores on his protruding bones.

"Poor old man, at least he had seven days of being warm, dry, with a full belly and lots of affection," Post said.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The annual SBL conference is done. Jim said, via an email, the days there were "enjoyable." michele posted a link to a GNT reading guide for 2009 which I'd like to make my New Year's resolution, an impossible one.

I have the Readers GNT that was reverse-translated from the NIV (and the TNIV? I need to look again at the introduction for the second edition). I wonder whether I should get the Readers UBS GNT that Lee's reading guide (and notes) uses. I just wish they'd settle on a text basis for the GNT!

And, at Singing In the Reign, I read that Pablo Gadenz was at SBL with those bloggers. I remember reading in the diocesan newspaper that Gadenz had finished his studies.1 Well, shoot, he and I attended the same parish in Eatontown during the early 90's. His father and I worked for the same company, but not the same department, etc.

I can say only good things about him and his family: wicked-smart people, disarmingly kind, fervent believers and faithful Catholics. But then, so was everyone at that parish. It was a great place for me to spend ten years.

It seems to me I once had a link to his dissertation ...

1 "in June 2008 defended his doctoral dissertation on Rom 9-11 at the Pontifical Gregorian University."
Tim was causing strife with his brothers this morning, so I took him to the daily with me. Without telling him where we were going.

Oh, he was furious when we turned onto Stillhouse:
I don't like going to church twice a week!

But CCD was cancelled last night, so we're making up for it.
He actually bought it! LOL. He's so easily duped.

I knew he would like the two main differences: way fewer people and much shorter duration. Spot on - he did!

I told him where we sat was up to him. He gestured to the cry room. Uh, no. He ran up to the choir loft, our weekend cloister, but I beckoned him back. No, somewhere in the main sanctuary.

So he walked and walked and walked down to just outside the sacristy, in front of a statue of the BVM. I just told him that, in order to sit so close, in view of everyone, he would need to behave. My warning made zero impression.

The celebrant whispered a "good morning" to us on his way to the sacristy. I was fumbling with my weekday book, a hefty single volume edition, so unwieldy. My kids like to pull all the ribbons out of place. I suppose I can't blame them. I always seem to have too many ribbons; I must not be marking everything.

Now, when I was a kid, I enjoyed watching the movements and gestures carried out during the Liturgy of the Eucharist and, sitting so close, Tim's attention was captivated a bit. At one point, 'though, he reached around me while I was kneeling and removed my cell phone from my pocket. He brandished it about, threatening to take pictures, as I lunged to get it back. He handed it over after I made a bribe of "hospitality" afterwards, a.k.a. Dunkin' Donuts.

For the sake of my mental health, I've blocked the rest of his antics from memory, except for his unexplained disappearance at the beginning of communion ... and his sudden reappearance, bolting down the center aisle from the vestibule to my side.

I can still hear the sound of his penny loafers on the carpet, trotting up behind me. My mother had a habit of burying her face in her hands after communion. I'm beginning to have an idea of why ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How a bill doesn't become a law - National Catholic Reporter, 11/28/08 (emphasis mine):
Still, Obama’s victory does change the equation: It actually makes it less likely that FOCA will receive genuine congressional consideration. If John McCain had won, FOCA would have been a much livelier issue because the Arizona senator was perceived as a threat to Roe.

“With Roe v. Wade [in place] there is no practical need for the legislation, there is no crisis,” a Senate aide intimately familiar with the bill told me last week. “And Roe v. Wade is going nowhere soon,” he said.

There are genuine abortion-related issues worthy of debate right now -- [...] FOCA, however, is not among them. In fact, it’s not even close.
Monday's Voices In the Family on NPR ... "Gratitude"
The difference between girls and boys:
Jillian held her applesauce cup in her hand, looked down at it and sat very still.

I noticed and asked her whether she needed help opening her applesauce. She said yes. I opened it and gave her a spoon.

Tyler opened his applesauce cup with his teeth ... and I complimented him.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm Mrs. Delaney, Mr. Doe . . . and God bless you, my boy.

Gee, whiz—I'm all mixed up—I don't get it. Look, all those swell people think I'm gonna jump off a building or something. I never had any such idea. Gosh! A fella'd have to be a mighty fine example himself to go around telling other people how to—Say, look, what happened the other night was on account of Miss Mitchell, here. She wrote the stuff.

Don't you see what a wonderful thing this can be? But we need you, John.

In a small town, Meet John Doe.
What Happy People Don't Do - New York Times, 11/19/08 ... watch much TV.
Stephen Colbert on Fresh Air about "A Colbert Christmas:"
"... singing "Can I Interest You in Chanukah?" from the new Stephen Colbert Christmas special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All which premieres on Comedy Central this Sunday. Was it hard to convince Jon Stewart to actually sing?"

"It was remarkably not. He's not known as a crooner, and he's made it clear that he doesn't think he can sing. But he sounds pretty good there. I think he's been hiding his light under a bushel."
The comments say it's Clapton and Richards. I guess. I just can't get over his voice, it's awesome.

Yeah, he flubs a verse, so what? It's his song. Yer Blues
cf. Mother Superior, Jump the Gun (White Album, 40th anniversary) - Commonweal blog.
Cool ... I think ...

"Millstone church gets green light to expand" - Examiner, 11/20/08:
The Planning Board at its Nov. 12 meeting unanimously approved the creation of two lots and a private road on the church's parcel, which is currently a nursery.

Pape said that Mayor Nancy Grbelja had earlier raised concerns about the proposed driveway going between two houses on Stillhouse Road. He [...] met with homeowners Ed Herrschaft and Jose Marquez and reached an accord. Each family would gain a minimum of 14,000 square feet of property and the church would create landscaping to buffer the houses from the project. Pape added that both families were exceptionally reasonable in their requests and polite to the church.

Another neighbor, Jason Reese, was not happy with the church's plan. He moved to 86 Stillhouse Road six months ago and said the church never approached him regarding the development.

"I was always taught that the church should embrace the community," he said, asking Father Michael Lang why he didn't come over to speak about the project. Lang said that Reese did not come to him when putting up a new garage.

Reese said, "I think that was very inappropriate, Father."
I'm a little taken aback by that remark, too. Maybe this gifted property is something of a mixed blessing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What I missed Thursday night.

Well, I don't know.  Nobody has had the courtesy to send me an email with so much as the homework assignment for next time.  After Thanksgiving, I'll ask around.

In the meantime, I bought a couple of commentaries, the one by Raymond F. Collins and the best one ever written (so they say), the latter is probably too hard for me.  There's a watered-down one available but I've waded through other volumes in the NIGTC series before.

It can only get easier, right?  RIGHT?!

The county library doesn't carry any NT commentaries, only Anchor Bible OT volumes.  I might skip over to the library at my alma mater if I have time before next session.

WRT to the text, I studied up to chapter 5 which, for me, is pretty diligent.
This week's diocesan newspaper announced that Fr. Rich LaVerghetta had been "upped" to monsignor.  He was long-time pastor of St. Greg's until a couple of years ago.  Now he's at Joan of Arc in Marlton.  


Jeff says Fr. Rich must have been a good earner to get upped. Spoken like a Roman centurion (Matt. 8:9).

There were a few other men so honored but I can't find the article online anywhere.
It was always a favorite, but Pulp Fiction brought it back to prime time. When Chris heard it in my mix of CDs, he flipped out.

He couldn't wait to share the song with his older brothers:
"Kenny, Timmy - listen to this song! It's called Son of a Creature Man!"1
It's funny how boys' minds work -- the gorier, the better.

I don't normally listen to WNYC but caught this Soundcheck program on Friday, "The Soul of British Soul" on Dusty Springfield.  It's ok.

1 'Cuz, of course, our "preachers" don't have sons, generally!
Odds against them didn't stop them, they were fools that way. All the good in this world came from fools with faith like that. You can't quit now. Not you.

They aren't all Taylors and Paines, their kind just throw big shadows. You didn't just have faith in Paine or any other man. It was bigger than that.

You had plain, decent, everyday common rightness. This country could use some of that. So could the whole cock-eyed world. A lot of it.

Clarissa Saunders, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington script
During their tennis lesson this morning, I read the first chapter of Ruth. Nice story so far.

The introduction class was Thursday morning during which we typically walk through the biblical timeline from Genesis to our book of interest. Don't have to go too far to reach Ruth this way. So, to kill the two hours, we went into greater depth. And last year's study of Genesis (thank you, Janet) was still surprisingly fresh. Not everyone was as familiar, so I looked like some kind of Bible genius, at least until we got to Exodus. Even our study leader admitted to being rusty on Exodus and she made a mental note that it might be time to study it again.

Study really makes a difference with these historical narrative books.

I'm amazed at how often the ladies can't guess the order of the Pentateuch. I mean, no, they shouldn't be guessing, they ought to know it by heart. Fundamentalist Protestantism is going soft, I tells ya.

Last week I picked up the Anchor Bible commentary on Ruth at the public library. I also looked on my bookshelves to see that Block's commentary on Judges comes coupled with Ruth. Two ought to be enough, considering the perspectives.

My first question, 'though, is why during famine did the family head for Moab rather than Egypt? I mean, like, Moab is in the opposite direction. No doubt, someone will tell me it's historical. Maybe, but it also means something, yes?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eating pizza at the usual place while Kenny did fencing, Tim spotted this picture over the doorway to the main dining room.
"What's Obi-Wan Kenobi doing holding a sign of the cross?" he asked.1
I should have said to him, "You mean Old Ben Kenobi?" but instead I just told him it was Padre Pio.

Who, despite his canonization, hasn't become known as "St. Padre Pio." That's not a problem Teresa of Calcutta will have, I don't think. Because who can pronounce Pietrelcina?! Oh, I don't know ... lots of casual Italian spoken in that restaurant tonight, maybe everyone could. But no one made the mistake of addressing me in Italian.

I'll show Timmy the statue of Padre Pio at the entrance of St. Joe's this weekend.

1 Wouldn't have been out of character.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I was supposed to go out tonight to my usual every other Thursday thing but Jeff forgot to come home on time. Because it was last week too. We doubled up this week because of Thanksgiving next week. We might meet on Ascension Thursday, All Saints or Immaculate Conception1 but never on Holy Thursday or Thanksgiving.

I gave three explicit reminders during the week, including this morning when Jeff said he couldn't drop Christopher at school for me. I said that was ok as long as he came home in time for me to go out in the evening.

As I plan to do a number of Advent things, including one of Wednesday evenings, he'll make it up to me. Since Advent is shorter than Lent ... it's less of a commitment for me.

So, to console myself since all my housework was done and caught up, I plopped down on the couch to watch some TV. And came across Clerks. Well, I needed a laugh so ok. 'Though I happened to pick up the film at nearly the beginning which has some pretty stilted dialogue to the degree that I began to suspect Randal was reading it off the newspaper he was holding. I can't find that clip at YouTube 'though other scenes are there. And I noticed he was wearing an AT&T logo'd shirt. I remember he worked in the mailroom of Holmdel; saw him a couple of times pushing the mail cart around the building just after the movie played in Red Bank.

But, I had to stop watching eventually. Not because of the rough language but because I identified with Dante too much: I'm not even supposed to BE here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Maybe they waited until after the election to print this as Palin is AofG:

I'm Not One of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians" - The Onion, 11/19/08:
But believe me, we're not all that way. The people in my church, for the most part, are perfectly ordinary Americans like you and me. They believe in the simple old-fashioned traditions—Christmas, Easter, the slow and deliberate takeover of more and more county school boards to get the political power necessary to ban evolution from textbooks statewide. That sort of thing.
It's only mildly funny, imo.

via BHT (enjoy it while it lasts).
Well, yeah, so since I uploaded photos from the trip at Flickr, uh, obviously they made it home last night eventually. I don't have any idea what time, but maybe almost 2AM.

The evening flight was delayed an hour and then Jeff discovered a flat tire, along with a flat spare. A couple of weeks ago I renewed his lapsed AAA membership so after onsite security couldn't inflate the flat sufficiently, Jeff was able to contact roadside assistance for more air.

It was wicked-cold last night, 29 degrees, and I couldn't imagine them out there waiting for help. Much less could I imagine me rousing the kids out of deep sleep at 11:30 to trek up there and fetch them. So I'm glad they made it home. Of course, by the time they hit the highway, the car lanes of the Turnpike were closed.

Jeff said driving 45 mph on a spare in the truck lanes after midnight is a harrowing experience. I'm not sure whether the TA closes car lanes as a matter of course or due to ongoing roadwork.

All this just reminds me that I need to put blankets in the car again for winter driving.

Judging from the pictures, it looked like a good time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Has anyone else noticed that the mass readings sidebar widget has displayed incorrect scripture references the last few days? I left a message at CatholicContent.com to that effect. All the links work correctly but the display is just wrong.

The widget's calendar didn't go TLM on us, did it? (that's a joke, I think.)

So many Catholic blogs feature this widget ... all wrong right now.

UPDATE: CatholicContent replied to say that the source of the readings is a religious community that tends to observe optional memorials more often than does the USCCB. True enough.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This is my All Saints / All Souls post, I guess ...

Tim's project involved collecting fall leaves according to a few different and simple specifications: shape, color and texture.

I had been dying for a reason to tour the newly-opened Perrineville Lake Park, the latest county park property to be developed preserved.

But, instead, Tim wanted to conduct the nature walk through the Old Tennent Churchyard. I can't exactly say I've been dying to visit the cemetery - as I've never set foot there - but I supposed there would be a variety of trees with an occasion to stress good graveyard etiquette.

I grew up with the public cemetery practically in my backyard and I cut through it on the walk to church which had its own chain-link fence-enclosed cemetery. I never entered that one, as it belonged to the church. I had too much respect.

Old Tennent Churchyard is expansive enough to drive through, there are several paved loops and we encountered one or two other cars and the rare grounds truck. A white Lady of Lourdes statue frankly caught me off-guard as I thought the site exclusively Presbyterian. There were plenty of Irish and Italian names in that section which doesn't necessarily tell you much.

Kenny spotted some Hebrew lettering on a mausoleum which he mistook for Greek and I was able ... a little too proudly, I'm afraid ... to tell him it was the decalogue ... which is easy to recognize when one knows little else.

I stopped the car at interesting-looking trees, Timmy and I stepped out, plucked a leaf or two from the trees and got back in. I was in no position to walk, actually, especially with all the kids.

Near the tombstone of a young man in his 20's was a plastic case in the ground, filled with sand and toy construction vehicles. The headstone said something about building and excavating. I told Timmy that the grave had a memory of the dead man's life profession but all Timmy wanted to do was break through the plastic to remove the toys, as the man "wasn't using them anymore." The kid's utilitarianism scares even me at times.

I said the most he could do was call his other brothers over and show them the memento we'd found. I like it when folks have that flair, to put something so meaningful and permanent at a grave, especially for a young person who hasn't really defined himself fully.

I'd say it was a worthwhile outing and the completed collection of fall leaves was stunning. I know of a couple of other graveyards nearby, so I guess I can take the kids again sometime.
As I was without Christopher and his 9:15 preschool start time this morning, I was able to visit my parish for the daily.

I do enjoy the readings at the end of the church year, I've said before, and I was pleased that, after all this study, the opening of Revelation sounded so familiar, 'though the lector, Jean, couldn't pronounce Ephesus. A small matter, as even without my missal - as if Ella allowed me a free hand! - I knew the text well enough.

I was delighted, as the priest prepared the altar, for Ella to call out in the midst of the liturgical silence "CUP!" with her cute, feminine, two-year-old's voice. That's right, "cup." I'm trying to get her to recognize the image of Jesus on the cross; I use my holy cards like flash cards with her at times. Perhaps we were seated back too far from the front for her to see the apse.

I was relieved to see another baby there today, however that baby was young enough to keep quiet. Mine kept calling things out, things unrelated to the proceedings. And, for that reason, even without Christopher's preschool start time, we can't be too regular.
"Lost" Beatle track could finally be heard - CNN, 11/16/08:
Almost everything recorded by the Beatles from their early days in Liverpool and Hamburg to their break-up in 1970 has been released to meet insatiable public appetite for anything to do with the legendary Liverpool quartet.

In the 40 years since its recording, "Carnival of Light" has acquired near mythical status among Beatles fans
Not sure I've ever heard of it, but I'm starting to forget things that I used to know about the Beatles. Not available in time for Christmas this year, I'd say.

There's was some Beatles trivia that came up recently ... I can't remember what it was or if I knew it.

Then there was another instance of trivia, related to learning that Sarah Palin's birthday is 2/11/64 ... this sounded to me like a significant date in Beatles' history ... and it is, their first live US performance ... though I thought it was their appearance on Ed Sullivan.

I'll have to ask Jeff what that other thing was, the thing I've forgotten. I just vaguely remember him chiding me about not being a "true Beatles fan" who would know such stuff. Oh, I've a modest knowledge of the band, nothing more.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I wonder if the pot heads from Webster who listened to him in college read him now ...

Ted Nugent: Obama's victory is sad vote for state of dependency - Waco Tribune-Herald, 11/16/08.

So glad newspapers won't survive this recession/depression ... can't we stir up successionist1 secessionist sentiment in the Lone Star State somehow? Sheesh.

via BHT

1 that might help, too.
"In truth, had I known while writing the original bulletin that my words would be read beyond my parish, I would have given much greater care to my formulation of the problem posed by voting for a pro-abortion politician.

These columns are written every week for our little bulletin and are almost always written in haste against the deadline of getting the pages printed at the end of a busy week. Last week’s column was no exception to this rule and was not meant to be a careful or systematic treatment of even one part of a complex issue."

- Father Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina
Well, my parish priest writes a weekly note in the bulletin too ... and it isn't nearly ever as well-put as this. I hope his parishioners know how blessed they are.

It was probably wrong for the Greenville paper to pick it up ... obviously desperate for a story.

via First Things
No wonder nobody was in church last night ...

Pop Warner Regional Champions - Asbury Park Press, 11/16/08:
[C]heerleading squads anxiously waited on Saturday evening at the 2008 Pop Warner Regional Championships, held at Sovereign Bank Arena, to hear which divisions would advance to nationals.

The Pop Warner National Championships will take place from Dec. 8 to 12 at Disney World, in Orlando, Fla.

"She has for years, and she's been dreaming about going to Disney," she said.

The following is a list of local squads advancing to National Championships:

Junior Pee Wee Small Novice Division: first place, Hazlet Hawks; second place, Millstone Eagles.
Thing is, probably all these girls can afford to go to Disney with their families.

Nevermind, congratulations all!
A sad one ... requiem in pace.

Christian Brothers Academy teacher killed in crash - Asbury Park Press, 11/16/08:
Michael Wheeler, of Long Branch, a 30-year-old math teacher and junior varsity basketball coach at CBA, was killed in an accident Friday night when he lost control of his sport-utility vehicle while driving the wrong way on Route 18. The vehicle crashed through a guardrail and rolled down an embankment.

According to the Eatontown Police Department, a witness called in a report of a vehicle driving erratically and then entering the exit ramp of Route 18 northbound at Wayside Road. Wheeler continued to travel in a southbound direction in the northbound lanes of Route 18 for about a half mile before crashing about 8:52 p.m., police said.

Wheeler's death comes just six days after the school's president, Brother Andrew O'Gara, died on Nov. 8.
From CBA's website:
Michael Robert Wheeler, 30, of Tinton Falls, died Friday, Nov. 14 at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune Township, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He was born in Neptune Township. He was a graduate of St. Jerome's School, West Long Branch, Class of 1992, Christian Brothers Academy, Class of 1996, and Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Class of 2002. ... He was a communicant of St. Jerome's R.C. Church, West Long Branch.
Visiting hours and funeral arrangements are also listed there.

Now that I think of it, Fr. Mike seemed very, very down this morning.

Saturday's Asbury Park Press article.

Map of the area.

Yeah, Route 18 can be confusing over there by Wayside Road but, for a local guy, not likely? OK, sure, the rain was bad Friday night but, still, what exactly happened?
The first reading this weekend, Proverbs 31 -
When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.
I was just reading my friend's blog ... I think of her whenever talk turns to "the Proverbs 31 wife," as she bears it out.
pollcode.com free polls
How do you handle being shortchanged?
Huh? I don't even count my change.
Politely ask for proper change.
Demand correct change.
Just don't ever shop there again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

In these trying economic times, not knowing the hard price of anything in advance adds anxiety to cash transactions in NJ mom-and-pops.

There's too often the sense that prices are set out of thin air, as menus are posted without them. Even at places I frequent, there's no consistency: one day a soda is two fifteen and the next day, it's one ninety-five.1 The applicability of sales tax is hit-or-miss.2

The corner pizza shop is often the most guilty of ballpark pricing.

Moreover, there's an unwritten code of courtesy that the customer does not count change, at least not beyond a mere glance. Of course, the checker would never count change back to you ... it's counted as it's taken from the drawer. Why count it again?

A customer would only quibble if too much change has been received.

Just last week, the WaWa clerk shortchanged me 75 cents because her drawer had no quarters. She had asked her shift manager for a roll of quarters but she went ahead and handed me my change without them. I was a little shocked that her ADD was so acute. And I was shocked at my blasé acceptance.

I confessed to Jeff that I don't push back or barter with clerks on price. He said I should.

So, the next day, I pulled up to a Citgo on 33 that I had used only a couple of times before. As the attendant started pumping, I noticed the digit display price was erroneous, showing "03FF." I got the attendant's attention, scurrying out of my car to do so, and demanded to know whether the pump was working accurately. He said I would know for sure at the end of the sale, on the printed receipt, but I said that's already too late. Since gas was at $2.50 a gallon then, I did a little math myself as the tank was filling and determined the ppg was accurate. But God knows what they could be doing at the pump and most people are in too much of a hurry.

So, I suppose my question to my Christian readers (three or four of you) is whether one should speak up when being overcharged or shortchanged or whether one should accept it without complaint.

I tend to feel worse when I speak up, especially when I'm wrong.

1 I'm willing to concede that the lower price may apply to "frequent customers;" sometimes I'm so recognized and sometimes I ain't.

2 I visited a book fair with the kids at their school this afternoon. The art teacher was adding up our purchase on a calculator. She said proudly, "I'm using the 'tip' feature on this calculator to figure sales tax!" No wonder she overcharged me $5!
From Hamilton, NJ this year ...

8-ton tree arrives for NY Rockefeller Center debut - Associated Press, 11/15/08.
Nation goes blue, county stays red, Examiner, 11/13/08:
More than 70 percent of Monmouth County's registered voters turned out for the Nov. 4 election, with most voting for Republican candidates.

a slim majority of Monmouth County voters (51 percent) voted for Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin
Let me be the first ...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

This bookmark is a hangover from last year and occasionally, I click it by mistake.

Up until today, it's displayed a countdown page marked in days. But today, it allowed me to create an elf - something Jeff and the kids did last year, but I didn't.

I just grabbed the most recent image of my face for the paste-in ... a snapshot I took during an iChat session with Jeff Thursday night. I'm not looking at the camera straight on, as I guess I lean a bit right when using my laptop.

Incidentally, Ella loves having video conferences with Daddy. Chris is content to just watch his own image.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And I missed this lecture ...

Joy: the under-appreciated value - The Monitor, 11/13/08.
Uh, mostly no. Just the underlined bits are alright.

You Are Checkers

You are very logical and rational. You are able to understand what is and isn't a factor.

You're able to compartmentalize and focus on the essentials.

You appreciate simplicity. You can see the layers of complexity and beauty in anything.

You are also playful and good natured. You don't take life too seriously!

Jeff said she got nowhere with the school superintendent so she went to the newspapers. It doesn't come across as a fluff piece, IMO. I'd be mad too ...

The first on and last off the school bus - Examiner, 11/13/08:
Natalie Kelly has to wake her third-grader up at 6:25 a.m. each weekday to be out the door by 7 a.m. to catch the school bus.

Kelly's third-grader and neighbor Julie Lee's third-grader typically board the school bus at 7:10-7:15 a.m. each morning, but must be outside waiting along Rocky Brook Road at least 10 minutes in advance as per school district guidelines.

The elementary school-aged children wait for the bus during daybreak and often leave their homes when it's still dark out, which is a concern for their families.

Kelly also noted that if her third-grader misses the school bus, the family has to wait 45 minutes before dropping her off at the school. The actual distance from Rocky Brook Road to the elementary school on Millstone Road is 5.4 miles.

"Truthfully, I have been driving her," Kelly said, adding that the busing concerns have resulted in four of the seven elementary school children on Rocky Brook Road being driven to school by their parents instead of taking the bus.
I prefer the consistent school start and end times at my sons' schools to the annual shuffling that Millstone has done. Lots of Millstone parents drive their children to school because it's just five miles away, takes ten minutes. Why should they spend an hour on the bus each day?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We finished up the last three chapters of Isaiah this morning but I haven't done the homework in two weeks so I'm eight chapters behind. That's too bad because I felt that I was getting a handle on Isaiah and the effort required to keep up.

Anyway, one of the ladies quickly shared on Isaiah 64:6 (verse 5 in NAB) as she had read in a book by a Willow Creek pastor that the Hebrew expression has been euphemized in our English translations.1 So what else is new?

I have heard the literal expression before but, after the benefit of reading the better part of Second Isaiah, I pondered it more.

It's offensive, isn't it, that a natural female process would carry a negative connotation, even being equated with sin? But think of it another way: it signals a failure to conceive, a missed opportunity to create, a missed blessing almost certainly. And given all the imagery of birth and mothering - yes, I said "mothering" - in Isaiah (46:3 comes to mind), this verse can't simply be inspired misogyny.

And the other thing this verse isn't is a commentary on our "righteous deeds" in the estimation of a holy God. If the deeds aren't at least potentially righteous, then why even describe them as such before undercutting them? There must be such a thing as "righteous deeds" in order for particular instances to be disqualified ... by go-it-alone, human autonomy.

Plenty of verses speak of our inadequacy, so let's not try to make this one say more than it really does.

1 The HCSB has the literal word in a footnote.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From the comments at Commonweal:
I wonder if the name “Barak” could be the Arabic cognate of the Hebrew “Baruch”. It is an interesting thought that with a little Latinization Barak could become Benedict.

Obama is way ahead of you ...

Thanks for the confirmation. Is this an instance of nomen omen?!