.......for those of you who wanted to know. I used the email links found here.
MamaT: September 2004 Archives
.....well, everything except the swimsuit edition, which I consign to the bottom of the trash bin the moment it arrives. I even immediately bag the trash and take it out, because I think it is THAT awful.
The rest of the 51 weeks of the year, I thoroughly enjoy the magazine. I think it has showcased some of the best writing of ANY kind ANYwhere.
The latest issue marks SI's 50th anniversary. While reading through an article called "Playing With the Prose: A quick trip through some of the best writing from 50 years of SI--in 60 words or less" I came across two gems:
The first is by Thomas McGuane, from an article titled "Making the Cut" which ran in February 25, 1991:
Texas is . . . a place where Birkenstocks, oat bran, foreign films and Saabs spontaneously catch fire and then smolder grimly in an alien climate.
Yep, that's the Texas I know. Things have changed a LOT over the past 20 years, but the Texas I grew up in was the Texas where macaroni and cheese is a vegetable, and fiber is something you make ropes out of.
But the very best excerpt comes from Jeff MacGregor, in an article titled "Snakes Alive!" that ran July 27, 1998:
Everybody tells you rattlesnake meat tastes just like chicken. Maybe, but only if the chicken in question had a neck tattoo, took hostages and died in a police shootout.
Bwaaa haaaa haaaaa haaaa! Having attended the Sweetwater (Texas, of course) Rattlesnake Roundup, and having actually eaten rattlesnake on a stick, I agree!
Hey! I actually got a response:
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the recent photo television commercial for CVS/pharmacy.
We appreciate the time that you have taken to express your thoughts on our company. At CVS, customer input plays an important role in influencing how we run our business. Therefore, I have advised the Advertising Director of your comments. She will be reviewing them with her staff at their next meeting.
Again, we appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to inform us of your concerns and have given us the opportunity to address them. CVS has a commitment to service. Each customer is valued, and we thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Not a form letter. Wow. Not that I expect anything to happen, but it was nice that they responded.
Well, if you're Aunt Tewwy to a toddler it's not JUST pajamas!
It's also 8 strands of Mardi Gras beads and a Barbie tiara.
Just so you know.
And I'm not kidding.
The commercials for this are telling: People poking food in their faces while watching like zombies.
Zteen and I thought it was a joke commercial the first time we saw it. It was only when there was no laugh track at the end that we realized it was REAL!
.....their In Defense of Men banner and charge into battle. This time with CVS drug stores. The first time I saw the commercial I thought surely it would be pulled soon, but it has not been. I saw it again this week.
Here's the story on the commercial: You see a woman taking pictures of herself, then having them developed at the CVS photo lab.
Cut to the next scene. Husband opens refrigerator, only to find that every single item of food has a picture on it. And not just any pictures: pictures of pigs, of her shaking her finger at him, of her with her cheeks puffed out.
Now, I ask you to think. What would have been the response had the roles been reversed? What if it had been the HUSBAND leaving "you're too fat" notes on the food to his WIFE????
We know the answer to that.
It's just another example of media infantilization of the American male. Sigh.
I'm off to write an email to CVS. I'll let you know if I get a response.
.....how one line out of a prayer can all of a sudden hit you like a sledgehammer? I know what Smock would say about that experience: it's the Holy Spirit working trying to actually TEACH me something.
I love the form of the general confession that we use in our parish:
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against You
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry
and we humbly repent.
For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in Your will,
and walk in Your ways;
to the glory of Your Name. Amen.
This prayer is precious to me. It has always (along with the prayer before communion in Rite One of the Anglican use: "We do not presume to come to this, Thy table, oh Lord.....") been something that seemed like a many faceted diamond--shining light in the dark corners of my heart first one way, then another. It is something that I shall gladly pray for the rest of my life, and never get over having something new to think about....
Anyway, today the line that hit me was: "That we may delight in your will..."
Delight? Are you kidding me? My life is too busy for delight. And besides, look at all the irritations and problems I've got in my life. What about that? And aren't we just a little too old, and WAY too cynical, for delight????
It's that lack of faith thing, I think. I can't trust God's providence enough to slow down and take a little time for delight in the work he has given me to do. His will that I be the mom of a great son? Yawn. His wondrous will that I be the wife of a great guy? Yeah, yeah. Out of the way, I got stuff to worry about here. His gracious will that I have meaningful work to put my hands to? Focus on the drudgery. His loving will that I learn that I can't do it all and need to let other people do what He's calling them to do? Hey, don't you know I can do everything? Just watch me, I'm a martyr.
It stopped me cold.
I want to delight in His will--whatever His will is for me. In good times. In bad times. It all comes back to that self-abandonment thing, don't you suppose? That to have the delight, I have to first accept that I am not the one who is ultimately calling the shots here. That there are lessons that I've got to learn.
I want to rest content in whatever happens to me. A woman in our church was studying for the ministry (obviously before I was Catholic). She had been assigned to her first congregation, and it meant moving far away from all her friends and family. I asked her if she were nervous (for there is no one who is a bigger homebody at heart than I am). She said something that I have remembered all these years. "Yes, I'm nervous. But I want to be as a feather blown on the breath of God. Where he sends me, what he sends me, I want to take in stride, knowing it is right."
I want that, too.
And a double helping of the delight, please......
Had me flashing back--remembering every detail of what it was like to stand on the cool stone floors of the church I grew up in, next to my mother and younger brother, singing this hymn. We must have sung it 12 times a year--obviously a favorite of our priest!
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.
To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.
Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render; O help us to see
’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee.
Sung in our parish to the tune St. Denio.
We also sang "Morning Has Broken" at mass. It is probably my least favorite thing we ever sing since, being a child of my times, I always associate it more strongly with Cat Stevens than I do with church. My fault, but it just is. And with him recently being in the news--well, it was distracting. I was sitting with a friend, since PapaC was serving and Zteen was serving at the 6 p.m. mass. She leaned over to me and laughed: "This reminds me of Cat Stevens. BEFORE he wanted to blow us all up."
The BlogBirthday Party appears to have gotten, well, let's just say a little "out of hand."
Open the virtual champagne. Year Two begins today!
Mr. Luse is the 2000th commenter on the Summa Mama 'blog! Congratulations, sir. Your prize will be in the mail. Or something. ;-)
So much of this is similar to my growing up in Abilene, TX........
.....I absolutely despise most magazines aimed at Christian Women. Especially the couple that I have seen aimed at Catholic Women.
While I am not a particular fan of the "woman's magazine" in general (I'm dying to read Spin Sisters by Myrna Bluth, but no one will ever bring it BACK to the library!) I do enjoy Woman's Day and Family Circle. While they still have way too many "Your Child Could Be In Danger From ________ (fill in with danger du jour), at least they have some decent recipes and a minimum of sex articles.
So you'd think I'd like a Catholic women's magazine--one that focused on issues of family, faith, etc. Nope. Can't abide them. Every single woman writing in those magazines apparently has perfect children who say their prayers on cue. They live in immaculate houses. They spend time with their husbands praying and discussing their feelings. They bake bread from scratch, or grind their own wheat, or know the best kinds of non-white-sugar-sweetners that you can buy at the health food store. And they never, ever, EVER watch any of that nasty old television. In fact, they've taken their televisions out of their living rooms and have turned them into planters.
Inadequate. Makes me feel completely inadequate. And not in a way that makes me want to "improve myself." The kind that makes me kick the magazine into the trash and watch Fear Factor on TV.
I told a friend once that if I ever wrote an article for a Catholic magazine, it would have to start with these words: I live in a house covered in white dog hair. Catchy opening, huh? But at least maybe some other woman, struggling to make it through a day would nod and think, "Yeah. Me too."
From a story on WorldNetDaily:
In an federally funded exercise to prepare emergency responders for a terrorist attack, a Michigan county concocted a scenario in which public-school children were threated by a fictitious radical group that believes everyone should be homeschooled.
The made-up group was called Wackos Against Schools and Education.
The exercise in Muskegon, Mich., yesterday simulated a situation in which a bomb on board a bus full of children knocks the vehicle on its side and fills the passenger compartment with smoke.
Dan Stout, director of Muskegon County Emergency Services, told WorldNetDaily the choice of the fictitious group certainly was not meant to offend homeschoolers.
"I don't think there was any particular objective other than to just have a name," he said.
Right, Dan. Mmmmhmmmm.
I wanted to make sure that Lauren's link got highlighted more.
...to tell you how STUPID I think this is:
The 23rd of this month, Thursday to be exact, will be the Summa Mamas First BlogBirthday!!!!
Can you believe it? When we started, I figured that we would keep it up for, oh, 15 minutes or so. A year later, here we still are!
AND another big milestone--in less than 20 comments, we will pass the 2000th comment on the blog! Now that is something.
A Conspiracy of Cordiality
What we call “church” is too often a gathering of strangers who see the church as yet another “helping institution” to gratify further their individual desires. One of the reasons some church members are so mean-spirited with their pastor, particularly when the pastor urges them to look at God, is that they feel deceived by such pastoral invitations to look beyond themselves. They have come to church for “strokes,” to have their personal needs met. What we call church is often a conspiracy of cordiality. Pastors learn to pacify rather than preach to their Ananiases and Sapphiras. We say we do it out of “love.” Usually, we do it as a means of keeping everyone as distant from everyone else as possible. You don’t get into my life and I will not get into yours.
Detachment From Things
The importance of detachment from things, the importance of poverty, is that we are supposed to be free from things that we might prefer to people. Wherever things have become more important than people, we are in trouble. That is the crux of the whole matter.
Courtesy of the Bruderhof's Daily Dig
During times of stress, I read either kiddie lit, mysteries, or horror. The planning for Eagle Court of Honor has sucked up all available time, and these last few days have been frantic. Fortunately, the COH is Saturday at 3 p.m. and after that, my life should be my own again!
Book #31: The Chronicles of Chrestomanci: Vol I by Diana Wynne Jones. Had never read any Wynne-Jones, though she had been recommended to me by several folks. This book contains two stories--both of which I enjoyed, though I thought the second one was better. She also writes of a world where magic exists--folks with abilities alongside folks who do not have them. The Chrestomanci is sort of the magical "enforcer"--the guy who is supposed to oversee the use of magic and insure that the magical folk don't enslave the non-magical. Time is very convoluted. The worlds people exist on are convoluted. In every way a much more indepth writing than the Harry Potter series. These are definitely Young Adult books, not juvenile fiction. I enjoyed the book a lot, but if you are the Anti Harry Potter type, you shouldn't pick up this book. I warned you.
Book #32: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Received 2 Booker Judges' Special Recommendations and was voted one of the International Books of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, if that means something to you. Supposedly a mystery, it is only hiding in that category. It is really a story of Precious Ramotswe, of Botswana, who sets up her detective agency with the money her father left her. It is a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it. McCall Smith has done for me what few authors have done lately--come up with a character that I forget is actually fictional while I'm reading the book.
Book #33: The Wide Window, Book the Third by Lemony Snicket. Okay, so I'm late for the Lemony Snicket party, but Zteen is too old for them (I thought) and McBaby is too young. I picked up two of the books (#3 and #4, since #1 and #2 were checked out) because a quiz I took not long ago asked whether I preferred Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket.
Anyway, these books are hysterical (I'm halfway through Book #4). It is making PapaC mad, because I'm snorting and laughing while reading in bed and he can't sleep. And I'm driving Zteen nuts because I keep walking down to his room to read "just one paragraph."
I don't understand why children would find them funny. I think any parent reading them to a kid would be laughing out loud while the kid looked on in puzzlement. In a way, they are funny in the way Hank the Cowdog is funny--funny because we, as adults, see behind the words to the absurdity of the situation. I'm not sure kids see the same things. But maybe they are funny on two different levels--in a way like the best of the Disney comedies used to be funny.
Anyway, here's a little excerpt from Book #4 of the Lemony Snicket series, which I am right in the middle of:
The children could tell, from Phil's statement about everything and everybody having a good side, that he was an optimist. "Optimist" is a word which here refers to a person, such as Phil, who thinks hopeful and pleasant thoughts about nearly everything. For instance, if an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say, in a pleasant and hopeful voice, "Well, this isn't too bad. I don't have my left arm anymore, but at least nobody will ever ask me whether I am right-handed or left-handed," but most of us would say something more along the lines of "Aaaaah! My arm! My arm!"
Love it, love it. However, just to warn you, I think "Get Fuzzy" is the funniest comic in the paper, so judge by that whether you share my tastes.
.....some things should come with a warning so that you don't snort Diet Coke up your nose. Charitable? Probably not. Funny? Absolutely. See Dyspeptic Mutterings (link to the right) for the whole thing:
Alas, because of that Methodism, I don't have any Sister Margaret Flagrum Mean Nun Stories™ to tell you, though I certainly know a few Catholics who claim to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder from The Dark Days Before Vatican II. You know--brutal wrinkled women just off the boat from Slobovia, their teeth filed to points, making the children memorize the Baltimore Catechism and lashing with their six foot rosary belts those poor urchins unable to regurgitate the Canons of the Council of Trent on demand.
Or something like that. Anyway, such stories seem to be the psychological background for Why The Tabernacle Now Belongs In The Maintenance Locker, or Why Middle Aged Women In Spandex Simply Must Flounce About the Altar Like Charo On Crystal Meth During The Singing of The Responsorial Psalm.
It does sometimes seem to me, as another convert, that there is just way too much jumping on the "mean nun bandwagon" by kids who went to Catholic school. It cheapens the actual abuse allegations, and defames a group of women who, on the whole, gave over their whole lives for the education of a bunch of snotty nosed kids.
This is actually supposed to be said as part of a novena for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, but I think it's appropriate under the circumstances:
Jesus, Who because of Your burning love for us willed to be crucified and to shed Your Most Precious Blood for the redemption and salvation of our souls, look down upon us and grant the petition we ask for ...
We trust completely in Your Mercy. Cleanse us from sin by Your Grace, sanctify our work, give us and all those who are dear to us our daily bread, lighten the burden of our sufferings, bless our families, and grant to the nations, so sorely afflicted, Your Peace, which is the only true peace, so that by obeying Your Commandments we may come at last to the glory of Heaven.
And a little quote from the Doctor of the Eucharist:
"How many in these times say: would that I could gaze upon His form, His figure, His garment, His shoes! Lo! Thou seest Him, touchest Him, eatest Him. He gives Himself to thee, not merely to look upon, but even to touch, to eat, and to receive within... "
So much for the theory of "diversity" (is it possible to use that word any more without putting those little quotation marks around it?) within the NEA. Oh, I forgot! They meant THEIR definition of "diversity." Ex-gays are offensive to NEA delegates! They might as well be the Ku Klux Klan! (Can't they ever think of another analogy?)
For the most part, the Mamas have stayed away from political commentary, but I just have to post this sentence I just read:
While Sen. Kerry has skipped a majority of Senate votes this year, he made a point of coming back to vote against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act — also known as Laci and Connor’s Law.
.....on behalf of Smockmomma's sister, Charlene. She is a four year survivor of breast cancer, but recently had to have knee surgery. She is not healing the way she should from her surgery. As a result, they fear that her cancer may have returned, this time as bone cancer. They have run tests, but the results will not be in until Monday of next week.
Needless to say, Charlene could use all the prayers she can get--and I know all of you are praying folks. So please mobilize and pray for a good outcome for Charlene. And if the outcome cannot be what *we* would consider good, then pray that she, and her family, will be able to withstand the coming trials with grace, courage and faith.
An article about the rise of the female terrorist. Here's just a little something to make your blood run cold:
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with our men, supporting them, helping them, and backing them up. We educate their sons and we prepare ourselves. May Allah know of the honesty of our intentions and of our good deeds, and [may He] choose us and make us Shahids for His sake, as we charge forward and do not retreat and as Allah is pleased with us.
"We will stand covered by our veils and wrapped in our robes, weapons in hand, our children in our laps, with the Koran and the Sunna of the Prophet of Allah directing and guiding us. The blood of our husbands and the body parts of our children are the sacrifice by means of which we draw closer to Allah, so that through us, Allah will cause the Shahada for His sake to succeed.
I've never bought into the "women are kinder and gentler" theory. The meanest people I ever worked for were uniformly women. When I read articles that have that old cant "if women just ran the world there'd be universal peace and harmony" it makes me gag. We have, for too long, assumed that any woman involved in terroristic activities was "forced into it" by a husband or boyfriend. Oh, please. Certainly it has been the case at times. But not uniformly and certainly not going forward from here.
Thanks to Peony over at Two Sleepy Mommies (link to the right) for the heads up on this. I think I'll sign Zteen up, so that he'll get something in his inbox other than video gaming newsletters and spam.
....courtesy of the Bruderhof Daily Dig:
Christian piety has all too often meant withdrawal from the world and from men – it has led to a sort of transcendent egoism and an unwillingness to share suffering. It has lacked human warmth. But the world has risen in protest against this form of piety, this arrogance, this indifference to the world’s sorrow. And only the living faith of the reborn can withstand this protest. Care for the needs of another human being, even bodily care: that is the essence of true piety. Bread for myself is a material question; but bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.
Who woulda thunk it?!? 30 books so far this year? Wow.
Anyway, finished reading a collection of short stories by Tim Gautreaux: Same Place, Same Things.
Three guesses (and the first two don't count) as to where he is from. Louisiana, of course. All his stories are set in southern Louisiana, and I think they are quite good. He has caught the cadence of speech in Louisiana, without resorting to weirdo spellings and artificial "cutesy" stuff. If you've ever heard Louisiana talk, you'll hear it in your "mind's ear" when you read these stories.
The stories are about the working poor--and sometimes non-working poor. Not a well-to-do man in the bunch. These are about folks who work hard enough to have a good time on the weekend--with enough to smoke, enough to drink.
My favorite stories in the bunch were "Little Frogs in a Ditch", "The Bug Man", and "Floyd's Girl." But every story in the book had a part that I marked--and that's a rare thing for me.
Here's a paragraph from "Floyd's Girl":
Floyd's daughter (Lizette) has been kidnapped by Floyd's ex-wife's new boyfriend, to be taken to Texas to live with her mother. Lizette's grandmother thinks the following:
She looked past him toward the rattling tractor, remembring the Texas man. A fear crept up through Mrs. Boudreaux's stomach as she saw the dark-haired Lizette ruined by outlanders, dragged off to the dry plains of Texas she imagined from cowboy movies. She wondered if her mother would take her to Mass or to the Stations of the Cross during Lent. She knew Texans had some kind of God, but they didn't take him too seriously, didn't celebrate him with feast days and days of penance, didn't even kneel down in their churches on Sunday.
And then Floyd, Lizette's father thinks:
He saw his daughter growing up on the windy prairie in a hard-bitten town full of sunwrinkled geezers, tomato barbecue, Pearl beer, and country music. There was nothing wrong with West Texas, but there was something wrong with a child living there who doesn't belong, who will be haunted for the rest of her days by memories of the ample laps of aunts, daily thunderheads rolling above flat parishes of rice and cane, the musical rattle of French, her prayers, the head-turning squawk of her uncle's accordion, the scrape and complaint of her father's fiddle as he serenades the backyard on weekends. Vibrations of the soul lost for what?
(And I'm even a West Texas girl!)
And then in "Little Frogs in a Ditch" there is this exchange between Lenny (who is selling fake homing pigeons) and his grandfather who has kicked him out for being a cheat:
"What am I supposed to tell the priest?" He put his hands in his lap.
His grandfather squatted down next to him. "Remember what Sister Florita told you one time in catechism class? If you close your eyes before you go to confession, your sins will make a noise."
Lenny closed his eyes. "A noise."
"They'll cry out like little frogs in a ditch at sundown."
"Sure," Lenny said with a laugh, his eyeballs shifting under the closed lids. "Well, I don't hear nothing." He opened his eyes and looked at the old man. "What's the point of me confessing if I don't hear nothing?"
His grandfather stood up with a groan. "Keep listening," he said.
We're reading his second collection of stories, Welding With Children later this year in book club. I can't wait.
Hope most of you get to take a day to rest and barbecue and eat ice cream. This Mama sure is!
Interesting note from Deal Hudson's weekly letter about a second Catholic movie that is available now:
And because you know how much I love Catholic films, I can't pass up
the opportunity to let you know about another movie release you'll
want in your collection... to my mind, it's one of the greatest
Catholic films of all time.
I'm referring to Criterion's recently re-released Diary of a Country
Priest, a 1950s adaptation of George Bernanos's novel of the same
name. If you're not familiar with the film, it tells the story of a
small-town French priest, a man who struggles with his own doubts and
inability to leave any lasting impact on the town in which he lives.
It's a masterpiece, a film that manages to create a spiritual impact
that I've only ever seen equaled in Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of
Arc and, more recently, Gibson's own Passion.
Unfortunately, this gem of a movie didn't age well, and all the
versions I had seen until now showed the effects of time in both the
picture and sound quality. But thanks to Criterion's digitally
remastered version, the stark black-and-white visuals have been
returned to their original stunning beauty, and the sound itself is
We read the book in book club a couple of years ago, and I absolutely loved it. One of the members referred to a movie version of it--but we could never find it to buy or rent. Now maybe we can!
Happy birthday to the greatest Mom and Mam-mom on the planet. We love you!
Is this really coming soon to a neighborhood near you, Halloween 2004?:
Well, note this on one of the pages:
Due to overwhelming demand, our child ho costume is currently sold out. However, we are currently accepting preorders which will be delivered in time for Halloween 2004.
The heads up was from Dale over at Dyspeptic Mutterings. (Link to the right.)
Off to go bang my head.
......is an earworm!
We have hit the "Wanna watch Bob and Larry" stage in our household.
Don't get me wrong.
I LIKE the Veggie-tales and find them charming.
I even LIKE the songs. I just wish they didn't get stuck in my head. From the theme song, through the silly songs and on into the songs in the story, every single one of them sticks in my head and just plays and plays and plays. It's the same for Zteen as well.
How many times in the past week have we passed each other in the hall humming:
"Uh oh, what we gonna do?
The King likes Daniel
More than me and you.
Uh oh, what we gonna do?
We gotta get him out of here........"
I was going to post the picture you can find at this link:
Mehmet Yilmaz snorts milk up his nose and squirts it out of his eye in a bid to set a new world record in Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2004. Yilmaz squirted the milk 2 meters 79.5 centimeters, surpassing the exisitng world record of 2 meters 61 centimeters. Organizers said the record must still be verified. (AP Photo/Osman Orsal)
A few questions about this:
1. How do you learn that you have the ability to squirt milk out of your eyes?????
2. After you figure it out, and you are OVER the age of 12, why do you ever do it again ON PURPOSE?
3. There was an EXISTING world record for squirting milk out of your eyes for this yahoo to break????
A paragraph from the essay to think about:
John Wesley warned upwardly mobile Methodists:
I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of religion to continue long. For religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all its branches.