April 2004 Archives

100 trivial tidbits, part one

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i don't even remember the first ten tidbits, which have disappeared into the blogspot abyss, so i'm taking the liberty of starting over. rather than view this as the absolute height of vanity, i prefer to think of it as a pseudo-jungian exercise in self-reflection. if you buy that, i've got some property in west texas for sale; let's talk.

100. i like chocolate.
99. i don't like vegetables.
98. i'll eat carrots or celery, but only if slathered in ranch dressing. the veggies, not me.
97. i prefer mickey d's over booger king.
96. i'm a true meat 'n potatoes kinda gal.
95. i prefer baked to mashed.
94. i love TEXAS.
93. i'm only five feet one and 3/4 inches tall.
92. i have what's known as a "chihuahua complex".
91. i have a chihuahua. her name is chi chi.
90. i'm married to my college sweetheart.
89. i met him in an "honors ethics and moral issues" class.
88. i considered shooting him once, but i didn't.
87. i was a high school english teacher.
86. my favorite subject in high school was theatre.
85. my favorite subject in college was philosophy.
84. my favorite subject to teach was shakespeare.
83. i would re-name the elizabethan period "the dark ages" iffin i could.
82. i think people who drop "under God" from the pledge should be smacked.
81. florence king is one of my favorite authors.
80. i'm working on my own misanthropy.

yeah, baby

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A major television chain, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, will bar its ABC-affiliated stations from airing a planned "Nightline" tribute to fallen U.S. troops in Iraq, saying the program is a political statement disguised as news...Sinclair said the "Nightline" segment "appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq"...The network initially said the 30-minute telecast would be limited acknowledging only the 523 U.S. troops killed in combat since the start of the war in March 2003. But on Thursday, ABC said it would expand the program to 40 minutes to include another 200 or more Americans who died as a result of accidents, friendly fire or suicide. continue reading

smockmomma's letter to ABC News
ABC News' plans to devote tonight's entire "Nightline" segment to Ted Koppel reading the names of fallen American service persons as their photographs are shown is in extremely poor taste. This is yellow journalism at it's worst and most blatant. ABC has stooped to using death for (ratings) profit -- indeed an egregious violation of journalistic integrity.

ABC is a unit of the Walt Disney Co.
Sinclair Broadcast Group


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As of 7:41 p.m. tonight, April 28th, Zteen is now officially an EAGLE SCOUT!!!!!

His Board of Review was signed off. He is finished.

Paperwork still has to be routed through National, but his dates have been checked and signed off in Council. Nothing more can stand in his way.

His daddy and I gave him his Eagle Ring tonight.

I only cried a little bit.

I am very, very, VERY proud of him.

no kidding! what a refreshing tagline.
please support decent films.

Another Holy Priest


I tried to link to Msgr. Reilly's talk in my response. Alas, it didn't "take." So below is the original excerpt and then the link to the rest of the talk.

>>But the war is over. You're not in the front lines; get that out of your head. We lost the war; you are behind enemy lines. When you're behind enemy lines, in occupied territory, you have to fight differently.

If you go there and say, 'Babies are being killed, we've got to get them out!' they're going to take you away. You are not going to the clinics to save the physical life of the baby; you're going there for the conversion of the abortionist, the mother, the people going in.

A lot of pro-lifers who go to clinics are like Peter, ready to take out a sword and lop off a few ears. Jesus said, put away the sword. He shows us we must be there with the long-suffering and patience of Christ<<<

My hero

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I have yet another holy crush on a priest. White martyrdom at it's best.

13th book of 2004 finished!

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Finally finished The Human Stain last night, sitting out on the porch with a Mike's hard lemonade in hand. Think the alcohol helped?

This is the first Philip Roth book I've ever read, so I probably should not judge him on one book alone. At the moment I'm still up in the air on whether I liked the book or not. I think I feel about Roth as an author the same way I feel about Quentin Tarantino as a director. Talent, talent, talent, talent. But the subject matter--uuuggghh. If that talent were put in the service of the good, the true, and the beautiful-WOW! Put in service of the low and vulgar, YICK.

I don't think The Human Stain at its bottom line story level is vulgar, or uninteresting or not worthy of examination. It is just that Roth has heaped on far more nastiness than was necessary to make his point. It's not that he uses Clinton-Lewinsky as part of his story--it is his need to write about it in the most "trying to be shocking", vulgar way. I know I'm not saying this right. I hope you get the drift.

Roth throws in info about characters that is just nasty--and that is not integral to the plot or understanding the character. An example is the writer who is the "voice" of the novel--Nathan Zuckerman. I understand explaining his prostate cancer--his reason for being where he was to "meet" Coleman Silk (the protagonist of the book). But did we really have to have the 3 pages of the discussion of his incontinence and the wet pad???? Nope. I get that we needed to know he was impotent--and therefore drawn to the (Viagra driven) potency of Coleman. But the other was put in there simply as a "Boy, I bet this'll gross out the yahoos" filip.

But Roth IS a powerful writer, and the book DOES have a lot to say about political correctness, the drive for individual freedom and its costs, the relationships between men and women, and what it means to be part of a family (or race). Just how independent CAN we make ourselves, and at what cost?

To understand the excerpts, you have to understand that Coleman Silk, the protagonist, was a "get it done" dean of a small college, who literally turned the institution around. He is a revered classics professor. He was married for 40 years to a Jewish woman. He is black, but passing as white--and had been for his whole career. He was drummed out of the college by a false charge of racism--by asking if some missing students were "real or are they spooks", meaning, of course, ghosts. Unfortunately for him, the students in question were black, and use his words as an opportunity to get back at the university. Silk's long career at the college is ruined. He spirals into rage, into an affair with a MUCH younger woman who is a janitor at the college, and finally dies in a car accident.

Roth tries to draw a strong connection between Silk's favorite Greek tragedy--The Iliad and Silk's life. "Let's tell about the anger of Achilles, and the tragedy that led from it." Ditto Silk's life.....

Roth is no fan of political correctness. Here's something on Silk's railroading at the college:

People in Athena know perfectly well that this is not the case and yet, as in the spooks incident, they willingly act as if they don't. Simply to make the accusation is to prove it. To hear the allegation is to believe it. No motive for the perpetrator is necessary, no logic or rationale is required. Only a label is required. The label is the motive. The label is the evidence. The label is the logic. Why did Coleman Silk do this? Because he is an x, because he a y, because he is both.....

That's good stuff. And it's hilarious that the college, named after Athena, is the place where the stupidity happens.

Coleman Silk had four children, three whom he got along with, one with whom he fought. It is this fourth child that suffers most at Coleman's funeral:

Mark Silk apparently had imagined that he was going to have his father around to hate forever. To hate and hate and hate and hate, and then perhaps, in his own good time, after the scenes of accusation had reached their crescendo and he had flogged Coleman to within an inch of his life with his knot of filial grievance, to forgive. He thought Coleman was going to stay here till the whole play could be performed, as though he and Coleman had been set down not in life but on the southern hillside of the Athenian acropolis, in an outdoor theater sacred to Dionysus, where, before the eyes of ten thousand spectators, the dramatic unities were once rigorously observed and the great cathartic cycle was enacted annually. The human desire for a beginning, a middle, and an end--and an end appropriate in magnitude to that beginning and middle--is realized nowhere so thoroughly as in the plays that Coleman taught at Athena College. But outside the classical tragedy of the fifth century B.C., the expectation of completion, let alone of a just and perfect consummation, is a foolish illusion for an adult to hold.

Anyway, it'll take me some time to think through this one. I think I will definitely read something else Roth has written, just to form a more complete judgement.

What a funny website!

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And another thing I've decided:

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I've decided that at least until the fall I'm giving up television, except on Saturday nights when my mom and I watch the decorating shows together. (That's really more of a social event, because we spend at least as much time talking and critiquing as we do watching!)

I have been suffering some sort of general malaise lately, and I think part of it comes from sliding into the too much TV habit. Even with my beloved HGTV, too much is still just too much. And since we really can't afford to do much to the house/yard right now (and I have another crown to get started at the dentist tomorrow--yuck), I think watching all the decorating and fixing up is starting to make me dissatisfied with the house and the stuff I've got. And until I've shaped up what I already own, what's the point of lusting after MORE?

So, until September it is bye-bye TV for me. There are books to read, a new screened in patio to sit on, yardwork to do, afghans to crochet, walks to take, Spanish to learn (via our new Powerglide course) and things to tole paint. It's not that I lack stuff to do, it's just that I am weak and slide into the path of least resistance--which for me is TV. I'm sure that I'll read through some baseball and basketball games--this is my resolution alone, not my hubby's or Zteen's--but I won't be intentionally turning on the television 'til Fall!

Wish me luck.

Now, how's THIS for an idea?

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Since I am more than a month ahead on my reading for my book club, I decided to go on over to the library and see what damage I could do there. I had gotten a list of "must read Southern writers" from SOMEWHERE, and took it to the library. Never knowing when to stop, I checked out EIGHT books. Like I am going to get to read 8 books in three weeks. Oh well, I always feel like I have to check out extra in case I hate some of the stuff I got (which never turns out to be true).

So, here's the idea. What if I just take my nightstand out of my bedroom and substitute a pile of books instead???? Don't you think that would look tres chic? In my case it would probably look messy, but then I wouldn't have this giant stack on top of the table that looks like it might tip at any moment!

OK, time to list the books in the pile. Here's what's on my stack now:

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
The Long Home by William Gay
Somehow Form a Family by Tony Earley
Last Days of the Dog-Men by Brad Watson
All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
Ava's Man by Rick Bragg
The Half-Mammals of Dixie by George Singleton
A Parchment of Leaves by Silas House
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Brain Storm by Richard Dooling
Precious Bane by Mary Webb (yes, because you recommended it, Smock)
A Miracle for St. Cecilia's by Katherine Valentine
The Dying of the Light by Michael Dibdin

and then, of course, my Conversations with God and Abandonment to Divine Providence, which I read a little at a time.

Why am I congenitally unable to have a single book on my nightstand?

OK, so I'm right in the middle...

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.....of The Human Stain by Phillip Roth. This book is taking me FOREVER to read. I've not made up my mind yet about whether I like it or not--my suspicion is that it will end up in a neither/nor, kinda/kinda not situation.

Look, I'm a relatively fast reader. But I read for an hour in this book, and find that I'm 20 pages down the road. What is up with that? How can this book be taking so long? And I know, I know, I know, he's an "award winning author." Sheesh. Does he have to go on and on and on about Monica Lewinsky....and doesn't he think all that will really date the book as we get further from the Clinton years? And is our problem REALLY that we just need to grow up and get over sex--and live and let live???

Hmmmmm. More comments when I finish. If I ever finish.

A brand new blog...

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by one of the Mamas' frequent commenters!

Belesarius queritat hic

Hi, Craig! Good luck!!!!

cuz a picture's worth a thousand lives

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London's Herald Sun reports.


pray now: arinze for pope

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BOSTON, MA (4-23-04) - Today at a press conference in the Vatican, Cardinal Francis Arinze was asked if a priest should refuse communion to a politician who is unambiguously pro-abortion. He responded, "Yes. If the person should not receive it, then it should not be given. Objectively, the answer is there." There has been a controversy in the United States on whether Catholic presidential candidate John Kerry should receive communion.

YCV President Ray Flynn made the following statement regarding Cardinal Arinze's remarks:

"Cardinal Francis Arinze is a thoughtful and well-respected Catholic Church leader whose opinion is widely valued. The Cardinal's comments today at the Vatican reflect the view of many Catholics in the United States.

"I have known and worked with him for many years. His statement will certainly be taken seriously by faithful Catholics."

Ambassador Flynn is the national president of Your Catholic Voice, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 1993 to 1997 and former mayor of Boston.

that's my show

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tvguide.jpg on the cover of tv guide!

can't get much more kitsch than that, now kinya? i love this show. it's a guilty pleasure, yes, but it's a pleasure nonetheless! i love this show! and while i thought mrs. vonhuben and i were the only fans, i was so wrong. apparently, there is a tasty little following. according to tim goodman of the san fran chronicle:

If the television gods have anything to do with it, "Arrested Development" will be the new "Seinfeld." Now, that's not a title to blithely toss around. But rarely has there been a comedy so fully developed, so presently overlooked, as to be exactly the kind of gem where, in two years and a billion magazine covers and countless paeans to its inherent brilliance, we'll all look back in amazement at the series' first tragically ignored season and think, wow, how did we miss that?

click here for the whole kit n' caboodle.

the smock5 senses

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the official friday5 site is down for april, so i'm gonna take a stab at it m'self. yes, it's strictly amateur hour here at the summa mamas today. and i'm in a silly mood t'boot. alas, humour me, s'il vous plaît.

1. if you could be a color, which one would you be?
2. if you could be a scent, which one would you be?
3. if you could be a flavor, which one would you be?
4. if you could be a sound, which one would you be?
5. if you could be a texture, which one would you be?


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i'm a little under the weather. prayers will be appreciated and reciprocated.

pop on over

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Twelfth book of 2004 finished!

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Finished Life of Pi by Yann Martel last night. It is our book club book for NEXT month--May--so in at least one area of my life, I am AHEAD! Believe it or don't.

The book is about, let's see, a teenaged Indian boy, son of a zookeeper. He is Hindu, Muslim and Catholic. (Yes, that's what he says.) His parents decide to emigrate from India and move to Canada. They sell the zoo off, pack up some of the animals and take a ship from India. Just a few days out of port, the ship is sunk (by what we never know), and all hands are lost, including Pi's whole family. Pi Patel, the boy, makes his way to a lifeboat, along with a (yep, this is the story) a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and the other major presence of the book: Richard Parker. Oh, and Richard Parker just happens to be a 450 pound Bengal tiger.

Or maybe not.

The book is fascinating, and reminds me in many ways of reading Charles Williams. You find yourself buying into the most outrageous stories, or gasping for air thinking "What? What? What on earth is he *talking* about?" Only to have the images flash back into your mind time and again later.

This is THE most different book I have read in a long, long time. I usually have no patience for genres like "magical realism" but another reviewer caught it just right. This isn't magical realism, it is mystic realism--like C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Charles Williams....

I'm glad I read it. And I will read it again.

Tuesday Mornin Fun

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Play Guess the Dictator and/or Television Sit-Com Character

It guessed I "was" Gabe Kotter's wife!!

a lady's place

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in a recent post the lady in the pew mentioned the female's conference held this weekend at boston college entitled envisioning the church women want. now, my first reaction was who gives a rat's rip what kinda church you want? our pew lady's article didn't focus on female angst, per se, but it got my blood perking. and then wouldn't you know, mrs. vonhuben posted about jewish female angst toward tradition and after reading that article, my blood was full boil.

whatever happened to the good old days when women knew their place? well, when women at least knew that their place was not at the altar (unless they were cleaning it), not center-stage, if you will. and, as ms. clark so keenly points out, that is precisely what most of the hullabaloo about "female __fill in the blank with any church-related positions__" is all about. it's all about the "but, what about me" of feminism.

don't mistake me, i don't fancy that all women should be forever barefoot and pregnant -- well, actually i do, but that's a post for another mood swing. for now let me just make it clear that i don't have any pie-in-the-sky illusions about "the good old days" for women. i had a grandmother -- one that didn't mind telling it like it was either. i support fair treatment under the law, even equal pay for equal work. these were good ideals, still are. but somehow my mother's generation didn't know where to stop. not unlike a snowball rolling downhill, these women who bought the feminist notion got what they wanted, including good stuff like the vote, the jobs, and the pay, and the ick stuff like more cancer, stress, and divorce -- and still they didn't know when to slam on the brakes. and my generation is paying for it. this bizarre and frightening momentum built up during the ERA/feminist movements of yesteryear is still bounding down the hill, gathering momentum and knocking down a lot of innocent and unsuspecting women in its path. by the way, when did feminism start believing it’s own publicity and swallow the dung that women are a second class? and do you really believe that being a woman means being inferior? this woman doesn't.

i'm convinced that the evil one got hold of the movement somewhere along the line, and it was at that point that "the right to work outside the home" became "you're a goober if you don't." it was at that point that "we're as good as men" became "we're only good if we become pseudo-men." it was at that point that femininity became a forbiddance and wishes became rights. it's when i am woman, hear me roar became i am feminist, hear me whine. and satan doubled up with laughter as desire for fairness became hunger for power, a need for equal treatment became lust for control, feminism reared its ugly horned head, all hell broke lose, and then ...

women wanted to be priests. they wanted to take the Holy Sacrament of Orders instituted by Christ Himself and twist and manipulate it into something to suit their agenda. just what is that agenda, ladies -- and i use the term loosely -- that you seek with such vigor, such verve, such venom?

when did feminists decide that being a woman wasn’t enough? and, if they thought being a woman was enough, why did they start seeking male roles? who decided that nuns just weren’t good enough? why did these females start demanding that their female offspring be allowed to serve at the altar alongside their sons? who decided that jenny wasn’t worthy if she wasn’t next to johnny at the altar? don't kid yourself. the one who decided it was a bitter misandristic female.

what really bludgeons the hearts of our daughters, not to mention their futures, is the evil backlash against men in general, and young boys -- our own brothers and nephews and cousins and sons -- in particular. it isn't just about being "as good as men" anymore. oh no, it's about being better, being superior. as the article on the female seder (where women celebrated and young boys served them) proves, it's about putting males down and taking delight in humiliating the opposite sex. as one young boy said, "My mom and sister tease me when I go out there." it was wrong when it was done to our grandmothers, so why don't we see it for the evil it is when our girlfriends do it to their own sons? and do we really want our daughters with boys whose self-images have been belittled from day one? this mother doesn't.

if females getting their feet-washed or females serving at the altar or females becoming preists is about fairness or equality, i'll kiss your alb. it is all about self-serving pride and arrogance which is wicked and foul.

why do we let little girls serve at the altar anyway? do we want to unfairly plant the dangerous seeds of desire within our little girls' hearts? this mother doesn't.

Zteen is 18 today!

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The old Mama is not reacting well to this. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were driving to Hendricks Hospital in Abilene, excited that we were about to meet him? Wasn't it just yesterday that he learned to walk? Wasn't it just yesterday that he had his first day at school? Wasn't it just yesterday that he broke his arm? Wasn't it just yesterday that he held my hand while he was crossing the street? Wasn't it? Wasn't it?

Happy Birthday, dearest son, heart of my heart. You will never know how much your mama loves you--until you have a little one of your own. I love you.

Something to think about

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Via the Bruderhof Daily Dig:

Calvary Love
by Amy Carmichael

If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting "Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?" then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I find myself taking lapses for granted, "Oh, that's what they always do," "Oh, of course she talks like that, he acts like that," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not feel far more for the grieved Savior than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, "Just what I expected" if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, "You do not understand," or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other's highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying "Peace, peace," where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant word "Let love be without dissimulation" and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have "a heart at leisure from itself," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel injured when another lays to my charge things that I know not, forgetting that my sinless Savior trod this path to the end, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel bitter toward those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success, so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does, is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (to myself, for myself), then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, making myself the first necessity to a soul instead of leading it to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my interest in the work of others is cool; if I think in terms of my own special work; if the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.

the inevitable lunacy begins

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Straight Couples Kicked Out Of Gay-Friendly Hotel In Key West

The group, most of whom are from San Diego, was already settled in their rooms Wednesday when the manager told the straight couples they would have to leave, citing a policy of not allowing heterosexuals on the property, Pirih said.

The couples were kicked out the same day six same-sex couples sued in Key West in an attempt to overturn state laws banning gay marriage.


A readers website

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This is a good idea.

Snipped from site-

The "3 Rs" of BookCrossing...

Read a good book (you already know how to do that)

Register it here (along with your journal comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book

Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in a coffee shop, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here and records journal entries for that book. And if you make Release Notes on the book, others can Go Hunting for it and try to find it!

End snip-

Bad as it may be...


we still may have it worse.

The folks at Catholiceducation.org link to the UK's Cosmo and their new "spirituality" column. The term is to be used loosely. (Pun intended)

Call it bad but at least the UK readership is on the hunt for someting to placate their rabid hedonism with something other than rabid hedonism. The Carnal Counselor and The Bedside Horoscope are the closest we get to spiritual columns in the US edition.

My inner twelve-year old says "blech!"

Now some preachin' to the choir about s.e.x. from a gal who even lived in Texas for a spell-

The Christian View of Sex: a Time for Apologetics, Not Apologies -- Janet Smith

Just for the record....

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.....I think Thomas Sowell is a genius. Loved his book Is Reality Optional? (How could you NOT love a book with that title?) Took Forbes magazine for years, simply because it published his columns.

Anyway, every once in a while, he publishes a column that contains his "Random Thoughts." Some of them are priceless:

Adolescence is a relatively recent thing in human history — a period of years between the constraints of childhood and the responsibilities of adulthood. This irresponsible period of adolescence is artificially extended by long years of education, much of it wasted on frivolities. Tenure extends adolescence even further for teachers and professors.

Many disastrous mistakes, in both public and private life, are not due to people thinking stupidly but to their not bothering to think at all. If you don't stop and think, then it doesn't matter whether you are a genius or a moron.

He is one person I would really love to meet in real life.

I missed doing this yesteryday...


.......since on tax day I was doing, what else?, tax returns! (No not mine. Indeed, I have already SPENT my small refund!)

But in honor of all of us former and current tax accountants, tax preparers, IRS agents, tax lawyers, enrolled agents, etc, etc, etc, I post my favorite painting of all time, The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio.

Let's all remember that we are called. Even those of us stuck in the most worldly of occupations!


Stay Tuned

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My son has started blogging.

Not just CoolMoe -- Smackdaddycoolmoe!!!

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Color this mama surprised after walking into the TRAP that was a dual baby shower. And take a guess who wove the web?

Bless their hearts-

Have ta brag a bit on how well MamaT and Smock put this together. I had thought I was going to another friend's shower and she thought she was coming to mine. That is until I asked her if she was suprised. She gave me one of those head tilted,frozen thought, are you an alien kinda looks. So right when I'm thinking why is she looking at me so funny. Smock yelled "Surprise!"...clever grrrrls.

The vittles (I don't think I have ever typed that word) thanks to Terry, were so very yummy and the games, kudos to Micki, were a hoot !!!!!

My highlights...

* Seeing all the beautiful people there. I think we thoroughly enjoyed each other's company that night.
* Standing in amazement of Terry and her ability to pick out baby food by sight alone!!!!!
* Thinking that my Mother-in-law was going to have to wear bloomers all night.

Scariest moment...

*Thinking (with a bag on my head) These ladies REALLY don't expect me to strip do they????

Merci buckets my precious friends...you did a lovely thing for all of us.

recent freaky realization

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i'm a "middlemom" now. i'm not sure whether i'm lugubrious or liberated; i'll have to mull this over before i can say for sure.

but speaking of "lugubrious" ... i like that word. it's got that same je ne sais quoi that the word "lachrymose" has. such beautiful words for downright funky feelings.

i'm beginning to wonder if this whole girl scout-planned parenthood compost heap isn't actually a conspiracy akin to "the little amazons" -- a training camp for future misandristic lesbians -- on the oblongs. you must admit that the girl scouts and planned murder--er, infertility, er parenthood? you've got to be kidding...the girl scouts and pp make awfully strange bedfellows. bedgals. bedgirls? bedladies. bedwomen, er bedwymyn? bedbugs?

wanna see if the girl scouts in your neck of the woods are supporting pp?

moloch must be grinning from horn to horn.

there's a new mug

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at A is for Apparel, the official apologia groupie shop. it features peony's new favorite quote from mr. luse of apologia: Don't uh me. When you uh me I know you're hiding something.

Kelly swings for the fences....

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....and hits a home run! Go see her latest posting at:

The Lady in the Pew

She's touched on one of my biggest gripes about the current church--the focus on US, not on GOD.

Just before Easter, there was an article in our paper that really made me see red. I was so ANGRY! It was about a group of women who were protesting because they weren't eligible to have their feet washed on Maundy Thursday--that was something that was being reserved for men.

Now, I'm not prepared to argue with any of you the decision whether or not women should get their feet washed, because that misses the point of what made me angry.

What makes me angry, and sad, is that the focus was on who's getting to be the "star"--who's getting her feet washed. NOT on where it ought to be: Whose feet are YOU washing? We've succeeded in making it all about honor for US, not about the SERVICE we are supposed to be performing for others.

I can do nothing more than quote, yet again:

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

Did you catch anywhere in that where Jesus was telling his disciples to fight among themselves about who should be honored? Me neither.

It's about service, people. Service, and carrying the cross. Not public honor, glory, recognition or appreciation. It is a constant dying to self and trying to do better in becoming the servant of all.

It ain't easy, and it's not always a boatload of fun, fun, fun. It's only essential.



at Popcorn Critics. go take a look-see.

Eleventh book of 2004 finished!

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Finished, a couple of days ago, in fact! This month's book club book: On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Loomis. (Who was also featured in this month's Cooking Light magazine, by the way.

Susan Loomis started out in France 20 years ago, as an apprentice at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine. She fell in love with France then, and that love culminated in her moving to France permanently in 1994. She and her husband bought an old house, on Rue Tatin (hence the name of the book), and refurbished it. She tells the story of the move, of the decision to buy, of the remodeling, of putting her son in French schools, and lots of other stuff. At the end of each chapter, there are recipes for dishes mentioned within the chapter.

Since the end of the book, Rue Tatin has apparently morphed into a cooking school.

I enjoyed the book, as a look into a life in another culture. But I learned a couple of interesting things about myself. While I like to VISIT lots of places and see things and taste things, etc, etc, etc, I am AT HEART the biggest of homebodies. The idea of picking up and moving to another country is as foreign to me as going into space. I know other people long to do it, and others yet who have actually DONE it. And perhaps, if I were forced to do it, I would enjoy the change. But I cannot imagine myself leaving my tiny extended family and going far away. I suspect that had I been a Puritan, I would still be clinging to the docks in England, wailing "Oh, come on, if we just talk about it a little longer, I'm sure we can work something out!" Good thing I didn't marry a military man. Probably I'd have gotten used to it--maybe even began to enjoy it. But I can't see it now.

Second, I'm no foodie. While I loved reading Loomis' thoughts about the people she met, the way things worked in France, and all that, I was untouched by the description of foods. Now, don't get me wrong, I'd probably love to eat it all! But the love affair with the different tastes, textures, etc? Nope, not me. I'm a good, plain cook. But I'm not into it as a hobby or an avocation. And I'm not nearly adventurous enough. Does that make sense? I just can't get rapturous about stuffed sardines. It really pointed out how differently people think about food and its procurement and preparation. Erik would identify with the food part of the book. I felt like an outsider.

We shall not cease from exploration. . .

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And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T.S. Eliot

My daughter is a saint! I praise God!

What a wonderful day.

smock snippet

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in my kitchen this morning with my four-year-old daughter and a friend of the family (whom hub and i met in college):

smockmomma (sm): liar liar pants on fire...
gk: mommy, that's a bad word. you said a bad word.
sm: which?
gk: liar.
sm: well, uncle christian wasn't telling the truth, honey.
gk: what is "the truth?"
sm: quid est veritas? quid est veritas, claudia?
uncle christian: she takes calculus for a whole semester and doesn't understand a thing, sees the passion three times and she's speaking latin.

She was BEAUTIFUL. Her mama, SpecialK, was beautiful. All went well. Most well indeed!

Lots of family there for SpecialK, and that led to the funniest moment of Easter Sunday. One of SpecialK's sisters-in-law came up to me. "I know you! You're Terry! I recognized you by your shoes! I saw them on your website!"

So there. Think I'm weird for posting the picture if you must, but it was the cause of a very sweet moment yesterday!

Great hymn from yesterday


An unexpected surprise, one of my favorite hymns was one of the communion hymns yesterday. J. F. Powers, a Catholic novelist, had this as the only music at his funeral. I like it just that much, too.

Now the Green Blade Riseth
J.M.C. Crum

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in darkness many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love whom men had slain,
Thinking that never He would wake again,
Laid in the earth, like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

Forth He came at Easter like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts, that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

Since we didn't do a Friday Five

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We'll do the Monday Quiz from TSO's Video Meliora

Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says:

Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first?

What is the last thing you watched on TV?

What is on the walls of the room you are in?

What is the last movie you saw?

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?

Tell me something about you that I don't know.

I'll answer in the comment boxes with any who care to respond.

my sweet saint gemma



of course, Easter trumps a memorial, but i cannot let this day pass without sharing that april 11th is the memorial of my beloved saint, saint gemma galgani. i credit saint francis of assissi and my precious, though somewhat obscure, saint gemma galgani as the saints that worked most tirelessly to draw me into the Church. both saints bore the stigmata...which, in hindsight, reveals much about the pain of my conversion.

The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!

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Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. (John 20:15-6)

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Just a quick note from the Old Mama



Baruch 4:32-4:35

But he who knows all things knows her,
he found her by his understanding.
He who prepared the earth for all time
filled it with four-footed creatures;
He who sends forth the light, and it goes,
called it, and it obeyed him in fear;
the stars shone in their watches, and were glad;
he called them, and they said, "Here we are!"
They shone with gladness for him who made them.
This is our God;
no other can be compared to him!

May we all shine with gladness, on this night of all nights! Blessings to you, dear ones!

crucify Him

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Greetings from the land of Pink and Lace

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Thanks to everyone for your prayers and well wishes. Our 'lil bambina is here. She is too beautiful. I think we are now finally over the shock of entering girldom. As I kept saying to everyone when they would ask if I wanted a boy or a girl..."Well, if the baby's a girl the dinner table will be a bit nicer." I never ask people that question. I guess mostly because I am really not interested in their answer...what's the point when you're not in control of the outcome.

My husband IS different with an infant girl. I can't really explain how, but now in the house there is an air of pink and lace to add to the dinosaurs and grasshoppers. It will be interesting to see our family unfold into this brand new person. Right now, I am just constantly adjusting my expectations. LOL, actually I think until Easter I have three expectations....no one dies....people eat and we all sleep at some point -- that last one will have to go too.

Much love and thanks to Micki and Terry...for their Summa love and prayers.

have a blessed Maundy Thursday



as most of you know, all of the summa mamas attend an anglican use (of the roman rite) parish. kind john, over at the inn, posts about one of our sister parishes, right here in TEXAS.

ever wonder?



are the trials during Lent more abundant because, while we try to remain faithful to Lenten promises or tasks or the like, we come under stronger attack from the evil one, or is it that Our Lord, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, purposefully exercises (exorcises?) our spiritual muscles when we are most likely to look to His Passion for strength?

and, on the subject of His Passion, i was blessed to be able to see The Passion of the Christ again last night. it was a much more prayerful viewing for me this time and i caught several things i missed the last go-round. if you've not seen the movie, i still highly recommend it.

UPDATE: third time's a charm. saw the Passion again. if it's still playing in your neck of the woods, run, don't walk, to the theatre.

I am the biggest Martha on the planet, and there is much work for me to set my hands to during the next few days. With a meeting tonight and the remainder of Holy Week to attend to as directress of the Altar Guild, it behooves me to get my act together and stop blogging for a few days.

I wish for you, for me, for us all, a Holy Week that leaves us in awe of and in love with a God so great he would give us His Son, and a Son so in love with us that he would become the very payment for our sins.

I'll leave you with a favorite picture and some lovely words:


Jesus, knowing the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded......When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you."

10th book of 2004 finished.....

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.....last night while I was waiting to see if my congested head would just go ahead and explode or not. It didn't, so I finished The Children of Men by P.D. James. PDJ usually writes mystery novels (my book club read her Original Sin earlier this year), but The Children of Men is not a mystery. It belongs to my beloved genre: apocalyptic fiction.

It is the year 2021, 25 years after the last child was born in the world. The Omegas, that last generation of children are now 25 and into adulthood. All males, worldwide, are apparently sterile. There is no future. PDJ's take on what that would mean is fascinating and, I think, spot-on. Despair rules. Mass suicides occur. People sink into a lethargy of personal comfort seeking. A "dog eat dog" penal colony is set up on the Isle of Man. Even though sex is consequenceless (is that a word?), it almost dies out--because other than as a gymnastic exercise (PDJ's take), it just isn't worth it.

Rapid depopulation brings a tyrant to power in England, though the government is still theoretically representative. People have to move in to population centers where powere and services can be maintained. No one wants to do the dirty work--so Sojourners, workers from poorer countries--are brought in to do the scut work. Then they're sent back to their home countries when they are too old to be productive.

The plot line revolves around Theo Faron, Oxford professor, who is the cousin of the Warden of Englan, Xan. He is living in a shell of passivity--only awaiting the end. Until Julian, a former student, makes contact with him and tries to involve him with her little band of revolutionaries. How that happens and how the world might be saved is the thrust of the book.

It's an extended allegory, to me, of the contraceptive mentality come to full force, though I am almost certain that is not whay James had in mind. But it is most enlightening to think through the changes wrought when a population does not replace itself. And how much our basic outlook depends on being followed by another generation, whether they're our own children or not.

PDJ does not sugarcoat her characters' lack of belief in God. For the most part, people are frank unbelievers. It is interesting to note, however, that the possible hope for the future comes directly from two unabashed Christians. I won't tell that part, in case you want to read it. Here's a snippet about beliefe:

She smiled, understanding the question. "Believe in God? No, it's too late for me. I believe in Julian's strength and courage and in my own skill. But if He gets us through this maybe I'll change my mind, see if I can't get something going with Him."

"I don't think He bargains."

"Oh yes He does. I may not be religious but I know my Bible. My mother saw to that. He bargains all right. But He's supposed to be just. If He wants belief He'd better provide some evidence."

"That He exists?"

"That He cares."

Anyway, worth the read, if you share my tastes.

This is appropriate....


.....at the beginning of Holy Week:

The Donkey
G. K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked,
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things;

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me--I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet--
There was a shout about my ears
And palms before my feet.

Oh, I do so love Mr. Chesterton.

Sunday nights....

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.....and paying bills COULD be a real bummer, EXCEPT for the fact that from 8-10 p.m. KSCS 96.3 FM radio has a show called HONKY TONK TEXAS, that is so awesome it makes even bill paying almost bearable.

It drives Zteen crazy--he has to keep coming in to tell me, "Mom, could you turn down the radio JUST A LITTLE!"

Oops! Sorry. But when they play "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers" by Ray Wylie Hubbard and "London Homesick Blues" sung by Jerry Jeff BACK TO BACK it is almost more than I can stand! DH and I crank up the sound, and shout along. Yee Haw!

Then to follow it up with the songwriter's version of "Pancho and Lefty", a Lyle Lovett song, a new Rodney Crowell song, a Stevie Ray Vaughn song, Merle Haggard singing "The Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line" (which dearest hubby and I HAD to dance to--much to the chagrin of Zteen), "Miles and Miles of Texas" (which is playing now--thank you Asleep at the Wheel--and I don't know how people listen to swing without jumping up to dance!), and probably the GREATEST country song ever written: George Jones singing "He Stopped Lovin' Her Today." Awesome! It's the best 2 hours of music on the radio.

CORRECTION: Waylon Jennings sings "The Only Daddy That Will Walk the Line", not Merle Haggard. Thanks to Erik for making me look. (Though we can claim Merle if'n we *want* to--just because there's not a honky tonk in Texas that doesn't play "Mama Tried"!)

I'll leave you with the lyrics of the Jack Ingram song they're cranking now--a GREAT bluesy song.....

Barbie Doll
J. Ingram/T. Snider

I see you looking and I know what you think
You’re getting braver with every drink but
I am telling you something you need to know

She may look like a sweet young thing
Talking to him but she ain’t hearing a thing
If you were smart you’d turn around and let her go

That girls’ a Barbie doll
A Barbie doll
She’s real good-looking but she’s got no heart at all

She puts on her makeup and drives to the bar in her
Boyfriend’s old man’s brand-new car
She’s got no idea what she does or why

She does whatever she wants I guess
Whatever comes first or whatever looks best
Nobody I know has ever seen her cry


You should have seen her last Saturday night
She had a friend of mine treating her right
She was hanging on him until she found a better deal

You should have seen how cold she got
My buddy asked why and she said why not
Nobody I know swears she’s even real


Sorry, ya'll. I gotta go dance in the kitchen with my sweetie.



food 4 thought

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"the debt of gratitude we owe our mother and father goes forward, not backward. what we owe our parents is the bill presented to us by our children."
~nancy friday, writer

We are currently studying Galatians in our adult Bible study class on Sunday mornings. St. Paul is so confusing to me sometimes! I have to read everything about 10 times before I get what he's saying. Sometimes I even have to read it out loud to myself, so that I can HEAR what he's saying.

So, today at adoration, I was reading through Galatians AGAIN. You know how it is, when you have read the same thing a gazillion times, but the next time you read it it just stops your heart? Well, that's what happened to me today. See if it does the same for you:

Galatians 4:4-7:

But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir.

Wow. Just wow. I'm the biggest crybaby on the planet (ask the other Mamas). Tears just shot out of my eyes (and believe me, it must have looked beyond weird when they did that). Talk about your unmerited and undeserved graces!

Friday Five, Mamas!

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No new Friday Five today, so I picked one from two years ago:

1. What are the first things that you do in the morning to start your day?

2. What are the last things that you do at night before going to bed?

3. What daily routine have you recently added to your day?

4. What routine do you wish you could get rid of?

5. What's the one thing that makes you feel like something is missing if you don't do it some point within your day?

I'll answer in the comments boxes, but later today, since I've got errands to run this morning!



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