March 2004 Archives

they all give me the vapors

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the dweeb factor

air america is supposed to be the "new" liberal radio station. first of all, wasn't air america a mel gibson movie? and secondly, we already have liberal radio. it's called NPR. the liberal line up includes al franken, janeane garofalo and chuck d. that's all liberal radio has to offer?

Something to think about


Courtesy of the Bruderhof Daily Dig:

Thy Will Be Done
Edith Stein

"Thy will be done," in its full extent, must be the guideline for the Christian life. It must regulate the day from morning to evening, the course of the year, and the entire of life. Only then will it be the sole concern of the Christian. All other concerns the Lord takes over. This one alone, however, remains ours as long as we live. And, sooner or later, we begin to realize this. In the childhood of the spiritual life, when we have just begun to allow ourselves to be directed by God, we feel his guiding hand quite firmly and surely. But it doesn’t always stay that way. Whoever belongs to Christ must go the whole way with him. He must mature to adulthood: he must one day or other walk the way of the cross to Gethsemane and Golgotha.

I just finished my 9th book of 2004--The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. I loved it, but was confused by the ending. I was OK through the burning man jaunte through elsewhen--I could not figure out how they were going to explain that burning man that kept appearing, so the explanation was great. And I loved his coming to understand how pointless his revenge had been and what he deserved because of it. But the final trip back to Nomad? That part I couldn't figure. Will he become a prophet? A teacher? A holy man? Or will he stay locked in his contemplation? I know there's probably not an ANSWER for these questions, but what did you think?

Anyway, the rest of the book was a trip! So cool how the rich became less "technologically" adept because it became status to actually have the old means of transportation around. Great thoughts on how the ability to jaunte would change EVERYTHING. We forget how tied together things are.

I don't even really know why I HAD this book--I had gotten it at 1/2 Price
Books for Zteen, probably. My allergies have been wreaking havoc on my sleeping ability, so I was wandering the house and happened upon the book--just after the character Gully Foyle was an answer to last week's Friday Five. I read it in 2 days. It is interesting. I've never considered myself a Sci-Fi fan--about the only SF I have read is the Ender series by Orson Scott Card, and I think that series is genius. Maybe I'll have to try a little more SF?

parenting question

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GK, our four year old, would rather work herself up into a complete lather than ask for help. many times her father or i will hear her crying or even screaming in frustration because she cannot __fill in the blank__. rather than ask dad to tie her shoe or mom to turn her shirt right-side out for her, she'll try to do it herself until she's so frustrated she can barely speak. even our two older children will get frustrated and lament, "why can't you just ask for help?"

at first i was proud thinking she's such a go-getter, so independent. i know she isn't shy -- she isn't refusing to ask for help because she's painfully shy or afraid to ask. but now i'm wondering if there might not be another reason for her reluctance to seek help. this is such a foreign concept for me. i'm typically independent; still, i do not have a problem seeking or receiving help. any thoughts?


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i got her, too. cool, moe.


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Flannery O'Connor
Flannery O'Connor wrote your book. Not much escapes
your notice.

Which Author's Fiction are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


experience vs. memory

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MamaT and i went to see eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, an event i will not soon forget. my review of this flawless film is posted over at popcorn critics. anyway, the movie refuses to stop making my brain tick. i mean, the movie was over four hours ago and i cannot stop thinking about it's main theme. which brings me to the following questions i've lifted from the book of questions, just for fun, for our fair readers:

if you could spend a year in complete and perfect happiness but afterward would remember nothing of the experience, would you do it?

which is more important: actual experiences or the memories that remain when the experiences are over?

These are my Easter shoes....

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.....except that my shoes are lime green.


I'm actually only posting this picture to drive the men in our reading audience crazy!

I cannot believe I did this!

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I found my Easter skirt and sweater ON SALE at Foley's the other night. I was proud of myself for finding something nice, feminine, and kinda flirty, all at a reasonable price. (That's my style--PRACTICAL.)

Then today? I bought a pair of GREEN (actually--"limon") dress slides to wear with it. Even though they were on sale, I feel so frivolous buying them!

'Member that winter shoe funk Elinor and I went through a few months ago? Well, I'm busted out of it now! These shoes are pretty and so totally NOT ME!!!!!

Cha cha cha!

OK, here's the thing....

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.....I just finished watching the DVD One Hour Photo starring Robin Williams.


I don't think I'll ever be able to drop off photos at the quick develop place again.


which southern sign er'ya?

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round cheer, we ain't too keen on astra'logical signs 'n such, but we kin appreciate a good suthren sign! thanks to alicia of fructus ventris, we have this t'offer:

OKRA (Dec 22 - Jan 20)
Are tough on the outside but tender on the inside. Okra's have tremendous influence. An older Okra can look back over his life and see the seeds of his influence everywhere. You can do something good each day if you try.

CHITLINS (Jan 21 - Feb 19)
Chitlins come from humble backgrounds. A Chitlin, however, will make something of himself if he is motivated and has lots of seasoning. In dealing with Chitlins, be careful they may surprise you. They can erupt like Vesuvius. Chitlins are best with Catfish and Okra.

BOLL WEEVIL (Feb 20 - March 20)
You have an overwhelming curiosity. You're unsatisfied with the surface of things, and you feel the need to bore deep into the interior of everything. Needless to say, you are very intense and driven as if you had some inner hunger. You love to stay busy and tend to work too much. Nobody in their right mind is going to marry you, so don't worry about it.

MOON PIE (March 21 - April 20)
You're the type that spends a lot of time on the front porch. A cinch to recognize the physical appearance of Moon Pies. Big, round, and sweet are the key words here. You always have a big smile and are happy. This might be the year to think about aerobics. Maybe not. Regardless, everybody loves a Moon Pie.

pop on over


for several new posts by st. blog's parishioners
(click the bucket to visit popcorn critics)

Something interesting

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Check out: A Dusty, Sunny Corner if'n you want to read along with one of the priests from Catholic Ragemonkey. First book: Meditations Before Mass by Romano Guardini. I've read the book--it's a winner. So, go, check it out. Read along....


congrats to fellow bloggers from the edge of the precipice, kenny and elizabeth.
their precious bundle finally arrived!
Claire Susannah
March 26 2004 A.D.
8 lbs. 1 oz.

'member the Christian blog study?


michelle has posted preliminary findings of her Christian blog survey. stop by (her march 25th post) iffin you're curious.

Isn't it funny.....

| | Comments (1) the same theme keeps turning up time and again during our spiritual readings, when we're dealing with an issue we need to change in our lives? Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, I pick up to read this Lent is cracking me right between the eyes about forgiveness. I am beginning to believe God is trying to tell me something! [Just kidding here, by the way. Actually I KNOW He is trying to tell me something!]

Part of my reading this Lent has been the daily readings in In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez. It had been recommended to me by several different people, but I had put off trying it. Finally, just before Lent, I had to go to St. Anthony's book and church supplies store, and there it was--staring me in the face. So, I gave in and bought the Lent and Eastertide volume. It has been a purchase that I've not regretted.

But here's one paragraph that I have bookmarked, and I feel compelled to go back and read every day:

Although you might see something bad, do not instantly judge your neighbour, advises St. Bernard, but, rather, excuse him interiorly. Excuse the intention if you are unable to excuse the action. Consider it as if done in ignorance, or unawares, or through weakness. If the matter is so weighty that you cannot possibly overlook it, then try to believe the following and say to yourself: the temptation must have been very strong!

What a wonderful goal. Not to say that an offense has not happened--that is objectively impossible sometimes. But at least to attribute it to the most charitable possible motive. Not to rush to the assumption that it was meant evilly and hurtfully.

And you know, isn't this really the truth? I can count on less than 10 fingers the times in my life that someone literally set out to hurt me, in particular, in specific. Sure, I've been hurt by people's actions and decisions, by their words and assumptions. But in 99% of those cases, the hurt was not aimed at me in particular. It was a situation where something was said in haste, or in carelessness, in tiredness or in frustration. If I were a lawyer, I couldn't in any way consider it premeditated.

St. Bernard, thank you for the words that I needed to read this Lent. Oh, and St. Bernard? Pray for me, and my stiff-necked, unforgiving attitude.

Friday Five, Mamas!

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No new Friday Five today, so I picked one from this time last year:

1. If you had the chance to meet someone you've never met, from the past or present, who would it be?

2. If you had to live in a different century, past or future, which would it be?

3. If you had to move anywhere else on Earth, where would it be?

4. If you had to be a fictional character, who would it be?

5. If you had to live with having someone else's face as your own for the rest of your life, whose would it be?

I'll answer in comments boxes along with ya'll.

Here's another piece of Collier art


This is Mary at Cana. This is beautiful.


miss knapp, of from the anchor hold, caused a little buzz by posting this beautiful and stirring rendition of the annunciation.


if i'm not mistaken, history was not seen as particularly linear until the nineteenth or twentieth century. in fact, Mary, Christ, the disciples, etc. were most often seen as "ever present" throughout the ages. this is why we see Christ calling a matthew who is wearing contemporary clothes in carravaggio's the calling of saint matthew or a dandy lazarus in the famous fifteenth century panel saint lazarus between mary and martha, just to name two.

i am deeply intrigued by this painting. modern depictions of Mary have been something i have been interested in for some time; in fact, hub and i have commissioned a modern artist to do a contemporary Madonna and Child for our home. we poured over several books, and i never came across this one. miss knapp thinks it's by john carroll collier. i cannot find anything about this piece. if anyone can verify the title and or the artist, i'd be much obliged.

SHAME ON ME: i just found out that this artist, indeed mr. collier, came to our parish and discussed this very painting. that's what i get for missing our lenten lectures. here is an article about his work on a 9/11 memorial and a website devoted to his work. make sure to view his rendition of the pieta. oh yeah, and best of all, he resides in TEXAS. yeeHAW.


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on the front page of my star telegram today:


do the words arrogant and insolent come to mind?

Book club update

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Today I did something with a book that I read for my book club that I have never done in more than 4 years of reading for it. I put the book in the give-away bag!

I posted our reading list earlier this year, so most of you know what we're set to read. This month's book was Moo, by Jane Smiley. I gave you a few brief thoughts about my take on the book before I went to book club.

Well, the meeting was interesting. We all agreed that the book could be very funny. But in the end, there just wasn't any "there" there. Nothing that would ever make even one of us pick up the book again to read. Nothing of substance. Nothing to take home and think about. Nothing that wasn't tied up in snarkiness and smartypants-ness.

I have purchased, rather than borrowing from the library, every book we have read in club. It's been a great way to add to my library! And, I suppose, it's not a bad track record to toss one book out of so many.

But made me sad. So many of the other books have been such joy. What a downer this one was.

I know Smiley has won the Pulitzer Prize--for A Thousand Acres, I think. Does anyone have an opinion about the rest of her work? Or should I just write her off altogether?

A new thing

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Upon request from our extensive fan base-----Oh, ok, upon request of ONE dedicated reader, we have set up an email account at yahoo for the Mamas.

Now those of you who want to send us fan letters and are too shy to do so in the comments boxes can email us at:

summamamas AT yahoo DOT com

My dearest hubby the geek boy says I should write it like that. Ya'll do what you must.

Remember, it's pretty hard to keep a secret with one mama from the other mamas--we all have access to the account. Besides, we stick together like pantyhose and polyester skirts right out of the dryer. So don't be saying mean things about one Mama to another Mama. The email account isn't THAT private! We're just warnin' you!

saint athanasius, of course!

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saint athanasius: spiritual heavyweight

our saintly salmagundi is hosting a grudge match betwixt Saint Athanasius and Saint John Chrysostom. be sure to visit and vote!

An interesting article

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....about the Rowland case in Salt Lake City--you know, the one where the mother refused a c-section because she didn't want the scars? Anyway, here's the link: When Choice Becomes Tyranny.

It's interesting, because the author says he is a pro-CHOICE law professor.

Here's an excerpt worth reading:

The willingness of pro-choice groups to embrace Rowland reflects their extreme view of abortion as an absolute right in our constitutional system. But in our system, there are no absolute rights; our constitution is based on a balancing of interests.

Even the oldest and most fundamental rights like free speech or religion must yield in some cases to compelling state interests.

Yet, when it comes to reproductive rights, NOW and other groups reject even the most basic limitations --- leaving reproductive rights so sacrosanct that even the most depraved acts by a mother cannot limit her "right to choose."

And here's another:

The decision of NOW and other groups to defend Rowland is only the latest evidence of how far these organizations have moved to the extreme. This month, NOW, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood opposed a parental notice law in Florida as a threat to the right to abortion — even though most pro-choice voters support parental notice. Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, has declared the charges against Rowland an "assault on motherhood." But the case is no more an assault on motherhood than an embezzlement case is an assault against capitalism.

Even referring to "the twins" or the "babies" has drawn the ire of these groups. Indeed, Paltrow has vehemently objected to any effort "to personify the fetus."

Personify the fetus? Wait a moment, while I go throw up my lunch.

Ah, Smock, you got a good one!

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But here is a link, and a tiny image, of perhaps my favorite painting in all the world, also by Caravaggio:

The Calling of Saint Matthew

which art movement are you?
this quiz was made by Caitlin

i so identify with poor saint thomas. thanks to mr. otto de whozit, fellow baroquian, i've gotten the most coolmoe link to the most awesome painting this side of the seventeenth century: click the pic to have your mind blown!

If there is one thing I am NOT....

| is decoratively pretty! I cannot possibly be rococo!

which art movement are you?

this quiz was made by Caitlin

I ADORE this phrase!!!!!

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It isn't a poem
Non curo. Si metrum non habet, non est poema.
"I don't care. If it doesn't rhyme, it isn't
a poem."
You are a type A personality. You like bright
things, you don't call in sick to work, and you
have devastating opinions about art.

Which Weird Latin Phrase Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Bwaaa haaaa haaaa haaaa! I've been known to tell people that everything in art after 1910 is c***, just for hyperbolic effect----I suppose THAT'S a pretty devastating opinion about art! Me? Type A? Well, maybe Type A+++++++++, and you can ask the Smockmomma about that.

You are the Mexican Cross: This ceramic cross is
hand crafted and painted in Mexico. Its bright
colors make it appropriate for the kitchen or a
child's bedroom, reminding us of the joy of the

What Kind of Cross are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

This fits me to a "T"--not much of a pun intended!

something went terribly wrong

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with this quiz, for it gave me the same results as mr. riddle of flos carmeli who (at the very least) blogs much more holy than i.

You are the Cross of St. Benedict: This cross is
inscribed with several prayers for holiness and
peace including, -May the holy cross be my
light! May the dragon never be my guide- and -
Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your
vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the
poison yourself!-

What Kind of Cross are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

oh, mrs. vonhuben!

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first of all, i'm glad to be back after a four day hiatus. isn't it funny how tired you can get while on vacation? all i want to do is jump in bed and veg. but as fellow parents know, being gone from the keep for four days means there's quite a bit of ... um, damage recovery to do.
but, that's okay today because while perusing the ether, i discovered something that's got me so excited, i'm ready to (as demurely as possible) bust a gut! mind you, i only know one other person who shares my enthusiasm for arrested development, hence the title of this post, but i'm sharing in case you're feeling adventurous. there's an arrested development marathon tonight! and if you enjoy cerebral humor, tune in or (if like me you're busier than a one arm paper hanger) tivo!

For those of you who receive Deal Hudson's e-letter, this will be a repeat. But I thought it worth a repeat:

You may have seen the recent report of a new novelty item being sold
at Urban Outfitters, a hip clothing chain. It's a magnet of Jesus on
the cross, complete with other magnetic "outfits" that you can dress
him up in. There's a ballet tutu, a devil's costume, a hula skirt...
even a sign you can place over his head that reads "Hang in there,

When some of their outraged customers complained, the brain trust
over at Urban Outfitters responded that they weren't selling the
product to offend anyone but merely to "reflect a diversity of
opinion among its customer base."

Really? Then I suppose we can expect to see a Mohammed magnet
(complete with multiple wives and an explosive suicide-belt) or the
cross-dressing Moses magnet... But of course, that will never happen,
because the folks at Urban Outfitters wouldn't dream of offending
Muslims and Jews with such repugnant items. The plain fact is,
Christianity is the only religion that remains a fair target for the
mockery and denigration of the secular liberal elite.

Which brings us to Augusta, Georgia...

Another recent example of liberal anti-Christian bigotry popped up
at a St. Patrick's Day parade, of all places. Organizers of the
Irish-American Heritage Society's parade in Augusta refused to allow
a local youth group to carry crosses in Wednesday's parade, saying
the parade "cannot be a platform for anyone's views, standpoints on
politics, religion, [or] race."

The youth group's minister complained, pointing out the obvious
irony -- the holiday is SAINT Patrick's day, the celebration of a
saint and bishop in the Catholic Church. It is, by its very nature, a
Christian religious holiday. To say that carrying crosses in the
parade would be an inappropriate platform for a particular religion
would be like banning hymns at Christmas because it would be
endorsing a particular religious viewpoint.

Unfortunately, the parade organizers were immune to the obvious. In
the end, the teens were told they'd only be allowed to carry

It's amazing, when you think about it. The vast majority of
Americans today openly confess some form of Christianity. We
currently have a film about the Passion of Christ that will surely
become one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. And yet
Christianity is still the target of relentless ridicule by liberal

These people are hopelessly out of touch.

I am off to the Urban Outfitters website, if there is one, to see what I can scout up. I'll amend the entry if I can find anything.


Here is the web page for their contacts:

I searched their online catalog, but couldn't find the magnet. I did find some Jesus gift wrapping paper (?) and some Jesus t-shirts, some of which I thought were funny for teens ("Jesus surfs without a board", "Jesus is my homeboy", and a shirt with a picture of Christ with the crown of thorns with the caption "The Boss") in that sort of "in your face evangelization" style. Then there were a couple that I didn't like/didn't "get". Didn't like "biker Jesus" and didn't get "My other Jesus is a Camaro". Nothing about the magnet on the website......

Friday Five, Mamas!

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If you...

1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?

2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?

3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be?

4. ...ran a school, what would you teach?

5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?

Answers in comment box, per usual.

St. Joseph, pray for us!



O holy protector of the Holy Family, protect us children of the Lord Jesus Christ; keep far from us the errors and evils which corrupt the world; assist us from heaven in our struggles against the powers of darkness. And as you once protected the Divine Child from the cruel edict of Herod, now defend the church and keep it safe from all dangers and threats; spread over all of us your holy patronage so that by following your example and aided by your spiritual guidance, we may all aspire to a virtuous life, look to a holy death and secure for ourselves the blessing of eternal happiness in Heaven.


We don't take Time Magazine....

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But I would like to read the article (cover story, no less) that this refers to:

Rich Lowry: Stay-at-home moms get their due

Tax policy and the SAHM has long been a hot button issue for me. Even before I quit working and came home (I was a working mom for the first 7 years of Zteen's life, so I know the drill) I argued for IRAs and child care credits for those who chose to stay home.

Didn't I tell you polygamy would be next?


It would almost be fun, if it weren't so sad, to watch all this play out:

Maggie Gallagher: The road to polygamy

P.S. As the Smock would say, I have a huge girl crush on Maggie Gallagher.

Come and listen to a story....

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...about the prince who married another prince! How very special! And I'm SO happy to know there's a follow up book as well.

Oh my. That the librarian actually had the gall to say "what's not ok for one family might be ok for another." Wonder if she takes the same "tolerance" tone when it comes to explicitly Christian books????? Whadda you want to bet? - Parents angered by book about gay princes - Mar 18, 2004

Which poet am I?

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Well, of course:

You are William Shakespeare! The bard himself is
known for his brilliant dramas and comedies,
although his true identity remains a matter of
contention. Shakespeare is a master of evoking
timeless mysteries and is seen as the epitome
of elizabethan style (at least by modern

Which famous poet are you? (pictures and many outcomes)
brought to you by Quizilla

Happy St. Paddy's Day to you all!

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St. Patrick's Breastplate

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Love Martha or Hate Martha....

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These Free Martha buttons are funny!

A new study is being done to see whether delivery of hormonal contraceptives can be delivered without a doctor's prescription: Las Vegas SUN: Wash. Lets Women Get the Pill From Store

Yep. Bop on into Walgreen's and get your Pills and your toothpaste! Don't worry about any nasty doctor's appointments or fees. Yikes!

This morning while I was casing the freezer, trying to decide what to defrost for supper tonight, I caught myself reading the nutritional information and other stuff printed on the back of a box of Blue Bunny Fudge Lights. The first thing I had never noticed on a food package before was a listing of "Possible allergens", in this case milk. Do we now have to label every food product for all possible allergens? Will everything that has milk in it have to bear a warning label? I don't remember ever seeing this before, except for things that contained, or MIGHT contain, nuts.

OK, so I can maybe go along with labelling potential allergens, though I think it will rapidly spin out of control since there is probably NO ingredient in ANYTHING that SOMEONE out there isn't allergic to. Won't this end up being just a rehash of the ingredients listings?

But further down on the box I found ANOTHER warning:

Notice: This product, when extremely cold, may stick to warm lips or tongue. Allow to warm slightly before eating.

This made me sigh loudly and rest my head against the refrigerator. What have we come to as a society when we have to warn people that ice cream is cold?

you read that raht

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A father watched his daughter playing in the garden.
He smiled as he reflected on how sweet and innocent
his little girl was. Suddenly she stopped and
stared at the ground. He went over to her and noticed
she was looking at two spiders mating.

"Daddy, what are those two spiders doing?" she

"They're mating," her father replied.

"What do you call the spider on top, Daddy?" she asked.

"That's a Daddy Longlegs." Her father answered.

"So, the other one is Mommy Longlegs?" the little girl asked.

"No," her father replied. "Both of them are Daddy Longlegs."

The little girl thought for a moment, then took her foot
and stomped them flat and said "Well, it might be okay
in California, New York, or Massachusetts,
but we're not having any of that crap in Texas."


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i'm embarking on a little study and i'd like to get your help. i plan on waxing philosophical, in the "tso's spam" tradition, about the fact that we're being nickled and dimed to death by bogus fees.
i am making a compilation of fees and other superfluous charges that show up on bills. i got the idea a few weeks ago when i had to mosey on over to the county sub-courthouse to pay for my car's registration sticker. most of the charges and fees sounded pretty, well, for lack of a better term, normal, but one poked me right smack dab in the eye. i had to pay an extra thirty cents for a "reflectorization fee." my first thought was shyuh, whatever, but after a little research i've found that, although "reflectorization" is not in the dictionary, it is a term used by the gubbament, namely the department of transportation, to describe the retroreflective surface of signs. uh huh. in layman's terms it's called the shiny stuff on signs, and as a nation we're paying a fortune for it.

anyway, in order to further my project, please share any bogus fees (even if they're just bogus-sounding fees) with me in the comment boxes. your generous help will be appreciated -- and, for your trouble, i'll even waive the retrouniversal multi-blogoshpere responsorializationer fee.

Orson Scott Card reviews TPOTC

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Civilization Watch - February 29, 2004 - The Passion of the Christ -- Three Reviews and a Letter - The Ornery American

Thanks to Christopher at Against the Grain for the heads up. I love Orson Scott Card's Ender series, and to find out he writes a column at The Ornery American website was a bonus.

Book #8 of 2004 finished!

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Stayed up too late last night (but, hey, I HAD slept ALL afternoon!) finishing my book for Wednesday night's book club meeting. Moo by Jane Smiley.

Parts of the book were screamingly funny. And, I think, a fairly accurate skewering of academia. I laughed so hard at the budget cutback scenarios, and the populist "talk tough" governor of the state who kept cutting the budget.

In addition, the governor held out the hope that he would reinstate funds reverted earlier in the fall, and also allow the university budget to grow slightly in FY 90. He suggested, however, that "The people of the state are watching those pinheads, and they had better watch their step." When asked if he meant "eggheads," a common term for university intellectuals, Governor Early said, "Pinheads, eggheads, knuckleheads, what's the difference?"

Written from a very secular, very liberal perspective. Smiley does, however, send up everyone--liberals and conservatives alike. You can tell where her heart lies, though, because while those liberals are satirized, there is a touch of understanding behind the mockery of their foibles. That touch of understanding doesn't reach the conservative or "religious" types that are skewered. The only Christians in the book are, of course, treated as idiots and fools.

At its heart the book seemed sad to me. Everything, everything, everything is shallow--the pursuit of tenure, fame, grants, money, love. There is only a glimmer of hope in love.

I don't think the book club has ever read a book even remotely like this one. It should be interesting to see how the discussion goes......


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please offer a quick prayer for Terry, as she seems to be coming down with something icky.

friday five, mamas!

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1. What was the last song you heard?

2. What were the last two movies you saw?

3. What were the last three things you purchased?

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?

God is good.....

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It never ceases to surprise me how often God sends someone into my path to tell me what I needed to hear at the most opportune moment.

It seems my life has been full of too many cares and too little joy lately. We are beginning a stewardship campaign at church, and as the treasurer of the parish, I must sit on that committee. It will be a lot of work, and it is a worrisome thing, because the future of our parish may depend on how well we do this stewardship thing. We had a meeting last night--actually a very productive one--but I would rather have been at home! Who wouldn't?

Anyway, as we were walking out of the meeting, another committee member and I were discussing why we think it is absolutely essential for our parish to continue to exist--and I made the offhand remark, "Where would we be with no St. Mary's? Where would the whole city be with no outlet for beautiful worship?"

Smockmomma's husband came up behind me and said, "In God's hands. Right where we are all the time."

Yep. That's what I needed to be reminded of! I have work to do. I hope we succeed brilliantly. But whatever happens, we are in God's hands. Now. And always.

Thank you, Smockhubby, for reminding me of that. You'll never know how much it meant.


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Pettiness and Politics
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I must say that among educated people, politics occupies far too great a proportion of time. All the periodicals, all the newspapers are saturated with politics, although many of the objects they are discussing are very transient and short-term. Of course, many people do occupy themselves with higher themes…But in general, modern humankind is characterized by the loss of the ability to answer the principal problems of life and death. People are prepared to stuff their heads with anything, and to talk of any subject, but only to block off the contemplation of this subject. This is the reason for the increasing pettiness of our society, the concentration on the small and irrelevant.

Today's thought via the Bruderhof.

congrats to our sweet alicia, of fructus ventris, and our dear mr. miller, also known as the curt jester, for chapping the hides down t'uh the commonweal for being too ... catholic?

This is like a Netflix for books!

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Check out this website:

I think it's an interesting idea, but I have a couple of questions:

1. Why would you choose this over the free public library? I suppose you can pick your books sitting in your jammies and don't have to make it over to the library in person. If I were still working outside my home would that have been enough to entice me to sign up for this service? Hmmmmm.

2. Why call it Booksfree, when at the lowest subscription level it costs $7.99 per month. And could you not buy the latest books cheaper than that at 1/2 Price Books and simply give them away if you didn't want to keep them? It seems that there are many copies of the latest stuff at 1/2 Price, but again, you do have to actually GO there and pick it up.

Hmmmmm. Most of the avid readers I know love to haunt book stores and libraries--fondling the books, reading the covers, etc.

Now, if you were elderly or homebound I think this would be GREAT. But are there enough other people to make it work?

Share the love, man!

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40% Of The Internet Loves Me!
I am loved by 40% of the population, including:
12468 people who love happy people
10727 people who love people who like cake
8659 people who love people who wear sweaters
In return, I love 99% of the population, including:
8797 writers
13621 women
2107 quiz makers
show the love at

Link via Ellyn at Oblique House. She got it from Michelle at And Then?

Quiz results moved to extended entry because the pictures were messing up our sidebar!

Why am I not surprised???

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Quiz results moved to extended entry because the picture was messing up our sidebar!

What are you doing to "celebrate"?

Wednesday, March 10th is officially a "National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers." Read the article here and weep: Joel Mowbray: Holiday for Abortionists--Seriously

Here's a couple of paragraphs:

The abortionist appreciation “holiday,” according to the web site of the umbrella group that founded it, Refuse and Resist, entails such as activities as “local appreciation day events,” and asking people to use their “imagination, creativity and dedication to help create a climate” where abortionists “can hold their heads high.”

The Refuse and Resist web site also encourages people to give gifts to their friendly local abortion providers.

So what do you get someone after a long day of collapsing the skulls of unborn children so their tiny bodies fall lifeless out of the uterus? A “breakfast basket of fruit or muffins” is recommended.

Chick lit and food porn


Most interesting article from Christianity Today's Books and Culture newsletter, about the "Chick Lit" phenomenon (think Bridget Jones' Diary, et al) can be found HERE.

Here's a paragraph:

So what do women want to be?

They don't want to be fat, although they'd like to be muscular. They don't want to be skeletally thin, although life tends to be better toward that end of the spectrum. They don't want to be obsessed with designer shoes, although they'd like to have a pair or two in the closet for special occasions. They don't want to be their mothers, although they'd like to get married and have children while being as little like their parents as possible. Missing any model of what a grown woman can be, these novels are stuck with a list of negatives. The result is a pathetic attempt to give women a positive self-image by chronicling (in vivid detail) everything society wants them to be and then scolding, "No, no, no." As a result, chick lit is about as life-affirming as a penal code—the entertainment equivalent of evangelizing by telling prospective converts all the things God doesn't want them to do any more.

BabyK is finally here!

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after three strapping lads, SpecialK finally delivered a precious little lass! Sophia Claire 9 lbs. 2 oz. 7:29am March 8th

congratulations and blessings to the whole "special" clan from aunt micki and aunt tewwy

Book #7 of 2004 finished!


Finished the last 40 pages of The Cross, the third and final book in the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy and closed the book with a satisfied snap. I thought this was the weakest of the three books, and the ending seemed--well, you hate to say "rushed" when you've just finished reading 1000 pages about medieval Norway--but it was not as satisfying as I expected. But good. Still very, very good.

I suppose the thing I was the most disappointed by was that I never thought Kristin ever realized or acknowledged, as deeply as she should have, just how very manly and good Simon had been to both her and to Erlend all her life. And I thought the most touching scene in the whole book was his death--how he intended to tell her, finally, just how much he had always loved her, but then he did not. Instead he told her that she should make peace with her husband, for her own sake and for the sake of her sons.

Take that you overwrought Bronte girls. No "I'm dying so I'll wreck the lives of everyone around me" scene here.

And then here is the paragraph, at Kristin's death, that resonated so strongly with me [the mark she is seeing is the mark left behind of an "M" for the Virgin Mary from her wedding ring, worn all these many years]:

And the last clear thought that formed in her brain was that she should die ere this mark had time to vanish--and she was glad. It seemed to her to be a mystery that she could not fathom, but which she knew most surely none the less, that God had held her fast in a covenant made for her without her knowledge by a love poured out upon her rickly--and in despite of her self-will, in despite of her heavy, earthbound spirit, somewhat of this love had become part of her, had wrought in her like sunlight in the earth, had brought forth increase which not even the hottest flames of fleshly love nor its wildest bursts of wrath could lay waste wholly. A handmaiden of God had she been--a wayward, unruly servant, oftenest an eye-servant in her prayers and faithless in her heart, slothful and neglectful, impatient under correction, but little constant in her deeds--yet had he held her fast in his service, and under the glittering golden ring a mark had been set secretly upon her, showing that she was His handmaid, owned by the Lord and King who was now coming, borne by the priest's annointed hands to give her freedom and salvation--

Oh, so excellent!

who knew?

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we have an awful lot of smart people hanging out around st. blog's, so i'm hoping someone might help me out. hub and i were discussing the passion and we wandered into some fairly deep metaphysical questions. one in particular is puzzling us both: when did the evil one figure out exactly who Jesus shall be?

From the Didache

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.....via the Bruderhof:

Early Christian Advice
The Didache

My child, flee from all evil and from everything resembling it. Do not get angry, for anger leads to murder. My child, do not grumble, for this leads to blasphemy; be gentle-minded, for those of a gentle mind shall possess the earth. Be patient and have a loving heart. Do not be one who stretches out his hands to receive but closes them when it comes to giving. If you have earned something by the work of your hands, pass it on as a ransom for your sins. Do not turn away from those who are in need, but share all things in common with your brother. Your heart shall not cling to the high and mighty, but turn to the good and humble folk. Accept as good whatever happens to you or affects you, knowing that nothing happens without God.

Today is Eagle Project Day!

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Today Zack and all the sweet people who have volunteered to help are doing his Eagle Project. The weather is beautiful (Thank you God for that!) and we think all the ducks are in a row. If you have a spare moment, please send up a little prayer that all will go well, no one will get hurt in any way, and that it comes out as beautiful as we hope it will.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Cor ad cor......

| | Comments (1) the title of our parish's Friday night program during Lent. We start with Stations of the Cross at 6:30, followed by a meatless potluck supper at 7:00 and a speaker at 8:00. Benediction follows at 8:30 or so. The speakers are asked to speak on something that speaks to their hearts--not a technical presentation. We've had some really great speakers (and some not so great) over the past 3 or 4 years.

Tonight's speaker was Dr. Thomas Howard, who is in town doing a stint as a visiting fellow at the College of St. Thomas More. Dr. Howard is one of my heroes. One of the real reasons I am Catholic today. Starting with his book Evangelical is Not Enough and then moving on to his other works (all recommended by THIS summa mama), he convinced me of the truth of the faith. And more than that, he convinced me of the sheer BEAUTY of the faith.

Tonight he spoke on the following poem. Enjoy!

by John Donne

LET man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th' intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl'd by it.
Hence is't, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul's form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul's, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg'd and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God's partner here, and furnish'd thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom'd us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They're present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look'st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang'st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I'll turn my face.

was theyuh evuh inny doubt?

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  • My #1 result for the selector, What Civil War General are you like?, is Gen. Robert E. Lee (Confederate): Most famous military leader in U.S. history. Kept the Confederates hopes alive from 1862 when he commanded the Army of Northern Virginia to 1865. or Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest (Confederate): Forrest was a true military genius, who had no formal education but once survived an encounter in which 30 Yankees all tried to kill him.

    charged acrost thisun ove' yonder ta' and then?

  • nice rant


    by lauren over at *fiat lux* posted under mel gibson's pieta.

    Friday Five Mamas!

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    What was...

    1. ...your first grade teacher's name?

    2. ...your favorite Saturday morning cartoon?

    3. ...the name of your very first best friend?

    4. ...your favorite breakfast cereal?

    5. ...your favorite thing to do after school?

    Answers, per usual, in the comments box!

    Bwaaaa haaaaa haaaa haaaa!

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    Moloch Now

    The Summas want to get listed on the enemies list!

    .....because this made me laugh out loud.

    One of the search strings that someone found the Summas with this month was:

    10 ways to luse a husband movies

    Hmmmmm. Bill, how do you suppose you luse a husband????

    I love it when this happens!

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    Tonight when we were eating dinner, Zteen looked up and said, "Mom, this is delicious. This is my favorite thing you cook!"

    Yee haw!

    AND it is easy. AND it is relatively low in WW points. AND if you cook it for company they think it is special. All that in one easy package. And if teenagers love it, anyone should love it. I know, I know, some of you wouldn't be caught dead using Lipton Onion Soup Mix, but I'm no purist, and getting a meal on the table on a weeknight FAST is a big deal around here.

    Peerless Poultry

    6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 6oz can of orange juice concentrate, thawed
    1 pkg of dry onion soup mix

    Mix oj and onion soup mix together, making sure there are no lumps from the soup mix. Spray a glass baking dish with PAM. Pour 1/2 the oj/onion mix on the bottom of the pan. Lay the chicken breasts on top. Pour the other 1/2 of the oj/onion mix on top of the chicken. Cover with foil.

    Bake at 400 degrees for one hour.

    I serve this over brown rice. Tonight we had steamed cauliflower for the side dish, but I think it would be prettier to have something green or yellow, like broccoli or squash.


    Not to be a commercial, but....

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    ....this is an issue that Fr A and I have discussed on several occasions--how to invest as a Catholic. I received a card in the mail from these folks today. It is certainly something to think about: Ave Maria Mutual Funds: Smart Investing and Catholic Values

    In thinking about the California decision about insurance, and Alicia's comments on an insurance company not wanting to tailor a plan to fit a Catholic entity, I'm just wondering why no Catholic health insurance company exists--one that would tailor its coverage to the mandates of the Church. Perhaps, as Alicia suggested, offering NO prescription drug coverage, but with a lower premium because of that, etc.

    Is there a Catholic health insurance company?

    Interesting book review

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    New blog to check out


    Quoth the Maven

    Screenwriter in Hollywood. Christian. Worth a look!

    And finally! All things Texan #20



    Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

    O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church, who from this place reveal your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection, hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.

    Mother of Mercy, Teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who come to meet us sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love. We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities and our sorrows. Grant peace, justice and prosperity to our peoples; for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our Lady and Mother. We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in His Church; hold us always with your loving hand.

    Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all the Bishops, that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life, of love and humble service of God and souls. Contemplate this immense harvest, and intercede with the Lord that He may instill a hunger for holiness in the whole people of God, and grant abundant vocations of priests and religious, strong in the faith and zealous dispensers of God’s mysteries.

    Grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings, with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God. Blessed Virgin Mary, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children.

    Our hope, look upon us with compassion, teach us to go continually to Jesus and, if we fall, help us to rise again, to return to Him, by means of the confession of our faults and sins in the Sacrament of Penance, which gives peace to the soul.

    We beg you to grant us a great love for all the holy Sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your Son left us on earth.

    Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which come to us from your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns for ever and ever.

    His Holiness John Paul II
    Basilica, Mexico City, January 1979

    All things Texan #19

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    They don't call it Texas Swing for nothing. Even Willie Nelson knows that here in Texas, Bob Wills is still the king.

    All things Texan #18

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    Who wants to live in a little ole tiny state? Or a state that is square? THIS is what a state ought to look like!

    All things Texan #17



    The best in manly footwear. I knew I had won over my Yankee boy when he went out and bought him a pair of boots. He SWORE he'd never wear 'em. Hah!

    All things Texan #16

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    And for heaven's sake, don't pronounce it ro-day-oh!

    All things Texan #15

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    The ride of choice. Who cares what gas mileage it gets?

    All things Texan #14

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    Ahem. Seven no hitters. 'Nuff said.





    Every single thing that Texans eat is a heart attack on a plate. Oh well. Yeah, yeah, yeah, sushi is making some inroads with the young professional crowd. But most of the rest of us just think it's bait.

    All things Texan #9

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    There is simply no more Texan musician than the incomparable Willie Nelson.

    All things Texan #8



    Not just any old cow, bud. A LONGHORN.

    All things Texan #7



    This is a pumpjack. Folks who drive by oil fields sometimes complain about the smell. My daddy taught me one important thing: It only smells bad if it don't belong to you. If it's yours, it smells like money!

    All things Texan #6



    Mesquite trees are trash trees to a lot of folks, but they look like home to this West Texas girl!

    All things Texan #5

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    Stand up straight and take off your hat, son. This is the Alamo.

    All things Texan #4



    The finest university in the great state. I know, I know, there are two other universities you have heard more about, but that's just because we don't want everyone to know how GREAT TTU is.

    Besides, when the Texas Tech Lady Raiders won the women's national basketball championship, they had shirts made that said: Texas Tech: Where the men are men, and the women are CHAMPIONS!

    (Besides, both smock and I have degrees from TTU. Guns up!)

    All things Texan #3



    Horny toads (no rude remarks, please!). Yes, they really DO shoot blood out of their eyes. This was considered to be legendary in the scientific community for years, but they have now proved that it is FACT. Don't ask me where they got the money to do the study. They coulda just asked some kids I grew up with.

    All things Texan #2



    One of the weird animals. Native habitat really is "dead by the side of the road."

    But they are COOL!

    All things Texan #1



    Every single child in Texas has, at one time or another, been dumped in the middle of a patch of bluebonnets to have his picture taken.

    ....I've had the country western station blaring away in my car as I ran my errands. Yee haw! And the sexiest song on the radio? Trace Adkins' One Hot Mama. How can a stay at home mom resist a song with a verse like this:

    Well, I know sometimes you think that all you really are,
    Is the woman with the kids an' the groceries in the car.
    An' you worry about your hips an' you worry about your age.
    Meanwhile I'm tryin' to catch the breath you take away.
    Oh, an' believe me, you still do.
    Baby, all I see, when I look at you,

    Is one hot mama....

    LOVE IT!!!!! And take that all you rock and roll, rap and other artists! When was the last time any of YOU sang about YOUR wives?

    Today is Texas Independence Day

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    On this date in 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

    now thats a spicy meatball!
    (thanks to lizzie for the swell pic.)

    Notice to our readers

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    No, the Summa Mamas have NOT become the official I Love Renee Zellweger fan site. However, Smock must get this obsession out of her system before she explodes.

    We appreciate your patience during this outbreak of Renee-love.

    Bwaaaa haaaaa haaaaa haaaaaa!




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