October 2007 Archives

I'm just sayin' one thing.....

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.....after watching the Kevin Costner/William Hurt film Mr. Brooks.

Demi Moore CAN NOT act.

That is all.

.....otherwise known as, "Hey I'm So Far Behind I Have My Choice of Lots of Questions!"

I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

I abandon books all the time. As I grow older, and my childhood dream of reading every single book in the entire world recedes further and further into the distance, I find that I have less patience for books than I once had. Don't get me wrong. I love lots of different kinds of books, and a book doesn't have to grab me by the arm and rush me through the revolving door immediately to be worth my time.


I can pick up a book and know that it is simply not the right book for me at the time within the first 30 pages or so.

And it has more to do with me than it has to do with the book.

Times have been a little tough around the MamaT household. Nothing major wrong. Just a whole host of little problems/concerns/nits to pick that have conspired to destroy my peace and normally stable personality. Because of that, the books I am choosing to read are lighter--there's a lot more Georgette Heyer and a lot less Flannery O'Connor.

I actually had Flannery's Everything That Rises Must Converge on my Fall Reading List. I read the first story in the book. It was genius. Complete genius. But it made me want to dive under my covers and cry my eyes out or, more likely, drown my sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerry's.

So, that book is abandoned. For now.

And that's the key. A book rarely stays abandoned forever in my world. I can only think of ONE book that I have thrown away without finishing in the last 10 years. And that was One Hundred Years of Solitude. I had simply had it up to here with magical realism and could read no more. Even now I feel guilty about the abandonment, and the book'll probably wend its way back onto my "to read" shelves.

.....the McKid and MamaT recommend their newest book from the Children's Book of the Month club:


When Dionsaurs Came With Everything
Written by Elise Broach, Illustrated by David Small

Friday is errand day.

My mom goes on boring errands, and I have to go with her.

And this Friday seemed like every other Friday . . . until we got to the bakery. A sign above the doughnuts read: "Buy a Dozen. Get a Dinosaur."

I couldn't believe my eyes. Neither could my mom. "They must mean a toy," she said.

But when I took the box of doughnuts, the lady behind the counter said, "Hold on, little guy. Don't forget your dinosaur."


"MOM!" I yelled. It was a triceratops.

And the silliness goes on from there. It's a picture book, but it has really tickled the McKid's imagination. Worth a look for a Christmas present for a young dinosaur lover.


now here's a delicious tidbit. according to spinner.com, metallica has the fifth most outrageous concert rider:


apparently bacon is so important to the crew that this directive is repeated three times throughout their contract.

i wonder if i could make a similar contract with mamaT. how does one go about getting this sort of thing done?

sexy new movies


three movies that smockdaddy and i have seen recently involve -- to one degree or another -- deep moral questioning and the human struggle for redemption. have the "powers that be" in film finally discovered that morality is sexy?

3:10 to Yuma. In Arizona in the late 1800's, infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans (Christian Bale), struggling to survive on his drought-plagued ranch, volunteers to deliver him alive to the "3:10 to Yuma", a train that will take the killer to trial. On the trail, Evans and Wade, each from very different worlds, begin to earn each other's respect. But with Wade's outfit on their trail – and dangers at every turn – the mission soon becomes a violent, impossible journey toward each man's destiny. smock says: christian bale is one of my "top 10 faves" and he totally rocks this role and makes your heart hurt (well, iffin you're a girl) for his struggle to prove himself to his son and to provide for his family. even whats-his-face (that would be crowe) turns out to be believable in a "sketti westrun" sort of way. it's a shame it didn't last longer on the big screen cuz it's definately worth full price admission. rent it asap. it's a man's man movie that even the ladies can enjoy.

Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is an in-house “fixer” at one of the largest corporate law firms in New York. A former criminal prosecutor, Clayton takes care of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen's dirtiest work at the behest of the firm's co-founder Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack). Though burned out and hardly content with his job as a fixer, his divorce, a failed business venture and mounting debt have left Clayton inextricably tied to the firm. At U/North, meanwhile, the career of litigator Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton) rests on the multi-million dollar settlement of a class action suit that Clayton's firm is leading to a seemingly successful conclusion. But when Kenner Bach's brilliant and guilt-ridden attorney Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) sabotages the U/North case, Clayton faces the biggest challenge of his career and his life. smock says: this movie is the quintessential "thinking man's" film. everyone who kvetched about this flick is (what's the word?) ignorant

'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford' delves into the private life and public exploits of America's most notorious outlaw. As the charismatic and unpredictable Jesse James (Brad Pitt) plans his next great robbery, he wages war on his enemies, who are trying to collect the reward money – and the glory – riding on his capture. But the greatest threat to his life may ultimately come from those he trusts the most. smock says: a very long but beautiful documentary. very long.

here is an article, is religion the problem?, about a debate betwixt dinesh d'souza and Christopher Hitchens, a leading athiest.

you can read the article and watch a clip of the debate if you like. i'm not into this kind of thing because it usually just makes me wanna puke.

anyway . . . d'souza writes: for Christians it is not the death of Christ but the resurrection that is the central doctrine. as a catholic, it is my understanding that it is the death of Christ that makes our salvation a possibility. it is the death of Christ as the ultimate Sacrificial Lamb, not His resurrection into glory, that gives us hope.

am i wrong?

you know you're a grown up when. . .


it just dawned on me that all of the plants that i have inside of my home are from funerals.

it just gets more and more twisted out there, folks.

middle school offers birth control

yes, i speak in bumper stickers. smockdaddy is fond of poking fun on the fact that i am a veritible font of "bumper sticker wisdom." i don't know when this started for me, but i think i come by it naturally as both my beloved grandmother and my father were full of catchy little phrases for bigger ideas. some of my more verbose friends may think of these little sayings are akin to "chicken soup" pop psychology, and they may be right. however, sometimes i think that these little tidbits can carry a big message.

some of my grandmother's favorites:
you are your neighbor's bible.
when God starts blessin', the devil starts messin'.
well done is better than well said.

most of my daddy's aren't publishable. but a couple are...
get all you can and can all you get.
don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.
i may not be good lookin', but i'm lookin' good!

meet the freegans...

who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?

in my quest to find out just how far some crunchies will go in the pursuit of green godliness, i stumbled across the freegans. what is a freegan? well, according to the website freegan.info freegans are "people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources." basically, a freegan is someone who claims to be anti-consumerist while consuming the foods and waste you've discarded. the smock has three words: yuck. ick. and, ewwww.

some strategies for this lifestyle?
- dumpster diving
- trainhopping and bumming rides
- tresspassing on private property and squatting
- "voluntary unemployment"

it would be really easy to totally lambast these people as freakazoids of the highest degree, but to be fair, some of what these uber-crunchers say rings true. and while i sympathize with those who want to be more, er, conservative in their consumption (yes, recycle! yes, re-use! and yes, renew!), i simply cannot wrap my brain around the fact that choosing to be a jobless, homeless freeloader is a good thing.

and of course, the smock totally objects to the "holier-than-thou" attitude some of these green-beanies have adopted. case in point: “if a person chooses to live an ethical lifestyle it’s not enough to be vegan, they need to absent themselves from capitalism,” said adam weissman, 29, who started freegan.info. so, the smock asks, is freeganism only virtuous if it's voluntary? the rest of the dumpster diving squatters are just opportunistic parasites sucking off the working classes they despise? this sort of reasoning leaves me completely nonplussed. and, honestly, if you don't need all the crap corporations are trying to shove down your throat, why are you stealing that crap outta my trash and shoving it down your throat?

and here's a disturbing thought that i couldn't find an answer to in my research on freegans: what about their children? what sort of protection do they have from all of the food-borne illnesses of crap food and all of the diseases associated with such unsanitary living conditions? i'd love to know.

on the lighter side of the dumpster, one woman's go at being freegan-lite for a month can be found here: freegan ride; a lengthy, thought-provoking article can be found here: marginal utility: elitist dumpster divers; and another interesting take here: wisdom at the bottom of a dumpster, where the author points out:

freegans are most likely to vote for democrats who keep promising free stuff. free health care, free housing, free college tuition. free, free, free.

freegans won't vote for conservatives, because conservatives keep insisting, stubbornly, foolishly, that free stuff isn't really free and somebody has to pay and that somebody is you. who wants to hear such nonsense?

crunchies take note

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a new sign has popped up down to the whole foods market -- one reading "local." what a refreshing new salve for our consumerist conscience. not only do we get to pay $4 for a $2 head of lettuce, we get to bask in the virtue of "local" correctness, thus doing our important part to save the planet from the evils of global warming.

problem is, according to new research, seems iffin you run all the numbers to calculate a product's carbon impact, you have to go past "food miles" and figure in how much fertilizer, transported water, electricity and other energy is used to produce this stuff. apparently these "local" goods can produce up to four times the carbon emissions. so most friendly neighborhood "localvores" are gonna hafta start doing a lot of math to keep their self-righteous glow on.

to add insult to injury, a british environmentalist recently calculated that walking to the store contributes even more to global warming than driving a car. walking burns calories which need to be replaced by eating, and since producing food is more carbon-intensive than the gas most people use to drive their car to the market, it can actually be more environmentally destructive to walk than drive.

of course, all of this just seems to underscore the smock's cynical view that, regardless of what we do to make ourselves feel better -- dare i say virtuous -- about our consumption, our assaults against "global warming" are, in the end, symbolic at best.

anyone care to share?

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what do you tell an eleven year old son who says, "if we're catholics and we think we're right, but muslims think they're right, how do you know who is wrong? how does anybody know who is right or wrong?"

Happy Feast Day, St. Therese!


Everything is a grace, everything is the direct effect of our father's love — difficulties, contradictions, humiliations, all the soul's miseries, her burdens, her needs — everything, because through them, she learns humility, realizes her weakness — Everything is a grace because everything is God's gift. Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events — to the heart that loves, all is well.

------------------------St. Therese of the Child Jesus

OK, so it might be a "little way", but it sure isn't an "easy way"! This quote alone would take me the rest of my life (and then some) to achieve.

Yesterday's hymns


This is the hymn we started with. I love this hymn, because I love the scripture that it comes from. After my first confession, reading Psalm 103 was my penance. And what a lovely penance to receive!

This song was also used in Godspell, using a radically different tune.

O bless the Lord, my soul!
His grace to thee proclaim!
And all that is within me join
To bless His holy Name!

O bless the Lord, my soul!
His mercies bear in mind!
Forget not all His benefits!
The Lord to thee is kind.

He will not always chide;
He will with patience wait;
His wrath is ever slow to rise,
And ready to abate.

He pardons all thy sins;
Prolongs thy feeble breath;
He healeth thine infirmities,
And ransoms thee from death.

He clothes thee with His love;
Upholds thee with His truth;
And like the eagle He renews
The vigor of thy youth.

Then bless His holy Name,
Whose grace hath made thee whole,
Whose lovingkindness crowns thy days!
O bless the Lord, my soul!

Sung at SMV to St. Thomas. Sung in my office to a completely different tune!

Offertory was a blast from my past. Anyone of my age who grew up Episcopalian sang this as one of a small rotation of songs in Vacation Bible School. Every kid knew this one, and we marched along in place during the chorus.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!


Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.


Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.


What the saints established that I hold for true.
What the saints believèd, that I believe too.
Long as earth endureth, men the faith will hold,
Kingdoms, nations, empires, in destruction rolled.


Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.


Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honor unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages men and angels sing.


Sung to St. Gertrude. But you know that. Don't you?

Communion hymn was by Charles Wesley. Any Sunday is a good Sunday when it has a Wesley hymn in it!

Glory, love, and praise, and honor
for our food
now bestowed
render we the Donor.
Bounteous God, we now confess thee:
God who thus
blessest us,
meet it is to bless thee.

Thankful for our every blessing,
let us sing
Christ the Spring,
never, never ceasing.
Source of all our gifts and graces,
Christ we own;
Christ alone
calls for all our praises.

He dispels our sin and sadness,
life imparts,
cheers our hearts,
fills with food and gladness.
Who himself for all has given,
us he feeds,
us he leads
to a feast in heaven.

Sung to Benifold, but I can't find a MIDI for it. Sorry!

And finally, a song with one of the nicest tunes. The opening sounds like bells ringing.

O praise ye the Lord!
Praise him in the height;
rejoice in his word,
ye angels of light;
ye heavens, adore him
by whom ye were made,
and worship before him,
in brightness arrayed.

O praise ye the Lord!
Praise him upon earth,
in tuneful accord,
ye sons of new birth;
praise him who hath brought you
his grace from above,
praise him who hath taught you
to sing of his love.

O praise ye the Lord!
All things that give sound;
each jubilant chord
reecho around;
loud organs, his glory
forth tell in deep tone,
and sweet harp, the story
of what he hath done.

O praise ye the Lord!
Thanksgiving and song
to him be outpoured
all ages along!
For love in creation,
for heaven restored,
for grace of salvation,
O praise ye the Lord!

Sung to Laudate Dominum. It can also be sung to Hanover, but I like the other version better.



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