June 2004 Archives

Here's the difference

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.....between MamaT, Smock and SpecialK:

SpecialK is out buying old copies of Mother Earth News so she can plant her organic garden and grow her own vegetables.

MamaT is looking for zucchini bread and tomato sauce recipes (including looking through Martha Stewart magazines), hoping that she will be the beneficiary of SpecialK's overflow.

Smockmomma is watching movies and ignoring the vegetable issue altogether.

Yep, that's us in a nutshell.

.......he would pay 1/2 Price Books a small sum every month to bar me from the store. He would come out ahead.

Zteen and I worked at the church this afternoon/evening, finishing up the clean up from the Friday night bash. It's not QUITE done--I have to go sort out all the silverware tomorrow after the McBaby goes home. I was just too tired to dry approximately ONE BILLION (think Carl Sagan's voice there) pieces of silverware. So we left it to drain, and I'll finish it later. The great song of the procrastinator!

Anyway, as a reward, I took Zteen to 1/2 Price Books, but HE didn't buy ANYTHING!!!!! I bought $45 worth of stuff.

Now, to be fair, about $16 of that was made up of kiddo "Bible story books" that we keep in a basket in the narthex of the church so that the little ones can look at Bible stories if they get restless in Mass. We haven't replaced any of our books in a while, and needless to say, they get a little "abused" after awhile.

But the other money was all for me! Yikes!

Let's see. I bought: The four books in The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott (The Jewel in the Crown, et al).

A book of Orson Scott Card short stories called Cruel Miracles. I was taken in by the blurb on the back, where Card says "I believe that speculative fiction--science fiction in particular--is the last American refuge of religious literature....Real religious literature, I think, explores the nature of the universe and discovers the purpose behind it. When we find that purpose, we have found God, because in all religions at all times, regardless of the outward descriptions of God or gods, deity serves the same role: He (or she or they) is the purposer, the planner...." Interesting.

And finally, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Why? Don't know. Just always wanted to read it. But it will land far down on the stack at this point.

I also found a video--The Wonderful Adventure of Pooh, or something like that, that I have been looking for! It has Sebastian Cabot as the narrator, and is very charming. We wore out a set of the videos when Zteen was Zkiddo, and I have wanted a replacement ever since. So now they are found, and with my luck, McBaby won't like them at all. But I so hope she does! I want to sing "I'm Just a Little Black Raincloud" again!

Plus, I saw SpecialK at the store. She was buying gardening books and magazines--proving once again that she is the earth mother organic type......

Report on 10th anniversary

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Mass was absolutely gorgeous! Decent turnout--though not as large as we had thought it might be. Guest preacher was good.

But the ending of Mass was spectacular. The post-communion hymn was this:

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest heaven;
The one eternal God, Whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

[MamaT note: if those words don't give you something to meditate on, nothing will!]

Then, the choir sang Benjamin Britten's Festival Te Deum in C. Our choir was supplemented by voices from another parish and did a bang up job on this. It raised the hairs on my arms.

Then we ended with the prayer that means the very most to me out of my entire Anglican heritage, the Great Thanksgiving. I have this taped into my meditation notebook and pray it more or less regularly:

Almighty God, father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men. We bless thee
for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost,
be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

Our great organist then played Karg-Elert's Nun Danket alle Gott. What an ending!!!!

Big doin's tonight!

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Tonight at St. Mary's we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the erection of our parish as an Anglican Use parish under the Pastoral Provision of the Catholic Church. On June 12th, 1994 the entire parish was received into the Catholic Church. On June 29th, 1994, Fr. Hawkins was ordained as a Catholic priest. We've picked the closest Friday night for the celebration.

Mass will be a 7 p.m. I heard the choir practicing their special music last night--the Te Deum. It sounded like angels singing! We have a guest preacher, an ex-Anglican now-Dominican from New York. I know I SHOULD remember his name, but hours of party preparation have left me too tired to remember.

After mass, a sit down dinner for 181 people! Yikes! The parish hall is crammed with tables. Pray that the air conditioner stays healthy.

This is a wonderful milestone for us.

Thanks be to God for the vision of the parishioners brave enough to take the step to Rome long before I ever got there. To them I owe a debt of gratitude I can never repay.

Thanks be to God for Pope John Paul II and his Pastoral Provision.

Thanks be to God for our Bishop, Joseph P. Delaney, who welcomed a small parish who wanted to be a part of the Church. Other bishops have not been so welcoming or understanding. In a time when I find it easier to bash bishops than to praise them, I am thankful today that our bishop saw St. Mary's as something to be welcomed, not something to be feared or squashed.

Thanks be to God for Fr. Allan Hawkins, who saw what needed to be done and did it, at the risk of his worldly security, retirement and benefits. He put his faith into action, when others have chosen to wait until some mythical "appropriate time." A true father in the faith to me and my whole family.

And finally, thanks be to God for the current parishioners of St. Mary's who continue the road to the final Promised Land together. A rag-tag parade of pilgrims squabbling, laughing, weeping and working together until we reach the place where we can finally rest in peace, joy and happiness.


I had forgotten.....

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......how lovely it is to swing in a swing. I remembered that this afternoon.

McBaby and I spent the morning over at my Mom's. We had lunch with her as well, and then headed home for naptime. After a pretty decent nap, and a little bit of toy-box-dumping-out, Aunt Tewwy decided it was time to head for the beloved "outside, Aunt Tewwy, outside!"

Now get this. We live directly across the street from a Catholic church. Not the parish we go to, mind you. We go to a small parish about 7 minutes up the street. But the parish we look at has a school and a wonderful, and usually completely deserted, playground. It's like having our own personal big playground with tons of SAND TO DIG. That's the key point. As long as there is dirt to dig, the McBaby cares not what else is available.

By late afternoon, a large section of the playground is completely shaded. Today's high temperature was about 85 or so. Light breeze blowing. Beautiful blue sky, with those clouds that look like kiddos have made them out of cotton balls glued on construction paper. Spectacular.

Usually I just sit on a bench and pray a decade or two or three of the Rosary while I watch McBaby fill up her bucket and dump it out. Over and over and over. But today I thought, "Hey, nobody's looking. Who'll care if a chubby middleaged lady swings on these swings. It's not like anyone will really SEE me here on our cul-de-sac."

So I hopped on the swing and took off. Hooray! McBaby dug, Aunt Tewwy swang. It was joyous. The teenaged boy down the street drove by in his pickup truck, honked and waved. I waved back.

I'll do it again.

So, if you're ever in our neck of the woods, and drive past and see a toddler digging and a crazy lady swinging, stop by and say hi. It'll be McBaby and I!

The archdiocese of Boston actually called the church where Sin. John
Kerry was going to Mass on Easter and reassured the pastor it was OK to
give Kerry Communion because Archbishop Seán Patrick O'Malley has not
yet taken a stand. Thus Kerry received the Eucharist.

Your help is needed to stop this sacrilege. Please go to Catholic-
to see what is at stake.

According to Canon Law, a bishop not only has the right but the duty to
stop a grave sinner from committing sacrilege and scandal. It is
obvious Kerry has "gravely harmed public morals" (Canon 1369) by
repeatedly and publicly defying Church doctrine on abortion.

Sign a petition urging Archbishop O'Malley to instruct his priests and teach the faithful the truth.

And also:

St. John Fisher

On the scaffold he said to the people assembled:

Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christs holy Catholick Church, and I thanke God hitherto my stomack hath served me verie well thervnto, so that yet I have not feared death: Wherfore I do desire you all to help and assist me with your praiers, that at the verie point and instant of deaths stroake, I maie in that verie moment stand stedfast without faintinge in any one point of the Catholick faith free from any feare; and I beseech almightie God of his infinite goodnes to save the king and this Realme, and that it maie please him to hold his holy hand ouer yt, and send the king good Counsell.

He then knelt, said the Te Deum, In te domine speravi, and submitted to the axe.

Sts. Thomas and John, pray for us.

For today:

St. Thomas More

Give me the grace, Good Lord

To set the world at naught. To set the mind firmly on You and not to hang upon the words of men's mouths.

To be content to be solitary. Not to long for worldly pleasures. Little by little utterly to cast off the world and rid my mind of all its business.

Not to long to hear of earthly things, but that the hearing of worldly fancies may be displeasing to me.

Gladly to be thinking of God, piteously to call for His help. To lean into the comfort of God. Busily to labor to love Him.

To know my own vileness and wretchedness. To humble myself under the mighty hand of God. To bewail my sins and, for the purging of them, patiently to suffer adversity.

Gladly to bear my purgatory here. To be joyful in tribulations. To walk the narrow way that leads to life.

To have the last thing in remembrance. To have ever before my eyes my death that is ever at hand. To make death no stranger to me. To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of Hell. To pray for pardon before the judge comes.

To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me. For His benefits unceasingly to give Him thanks.

To buy the time again that I have lost. To abstain from vain conversations. To shun foolish mirth and gladness. To cut off unnecessary recreations.

Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all, to set the loss at naught, for the winning of Christ.

To think my worst enemies my best friends, for the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred.

These minds are more to be desired of every man than all the treasures of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it gathered and laid together all in one heap.


----written by St. Thomas More while imprisoned in the Tower

19th book of 2004 finished!

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Finished The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley last night. Reading time has been limited lately, so this took longer than it should. While the story was sweet enough, I thought the fantasy was very heavy handed. Maybe that's just a Victorian thing. I did, however, like Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid. Especially when Tom thought he was going to get a sweet treat and got a rock dropped into his mouth instead, since that was what he had been doing to the anemones (I think) to torment them.

Picked up 2 interesting books at the used book store the other day (although both the books I bought were inexpensive NEW books): The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, which I have never read before, and one of my favorites from my childhood, Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. (And yes, I also loved Freckles, but they didn't have it!)

saw a great foreign flick


that's actually already been reviewed by mark windsor over at popcorn critics. it's a russian film entitled "the cuckoo." to call it beautiful is an understatement. it's not a family flick but it's a good grown-up movie. if you make it through the beginning with it's very lean dialogue, you might really like this movie. and, if subtitles turn you on, do yourself a big favor and see it.

sun tips from the avonmomma

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Think of an 8 oz. bottle of sunscreen as having 8 single servings. 1 oz. is the amount you need to properly protect your body.

Apply sunscreen ahead of time -- 15 to 20 minutes before hitting the beach. It takes about that long for it to be fully absorbed into the skin.

Sunscreen has a time limit of about 2 hours. In one study, people who waited just a half hour longer to reapply it had a five times greater chance of getting sunburned!

Most-often missed spots -- backs of legs, skin at edges of the bathing suit, the hairline, tops of feet and ears.

A white cotton T-shirt provides an SPF of about 5, while a black T-shirt has an SPF of about 20. (And is HOTTER, too, but hey...I'm just reporting the facts.)

Protect your eyes, especially if they're blue or green, with dark lenses that have UV protection.

Moms beware -- 90% of chronic skin damage happens before the age of 19, so make sure your children are properly protected.

Don't forget to wear a hand lotion with SPF protection because even hands resting on a steering wheel are being exposed to damaging UV rays.

Don't buy into the tanning bed myth. Tanning beds are not safer than sun exposure. UVB and UVA rays are UVB and UVA rays regardless of how you are exposed to them. UV damage is UV damage, period.

John Leo's column....


......on the Supreme Court's decision regarding the Pledge of Allegiance case is worth a read: John Leo: More dancing in the dark

If'n you don't want to read the whole thing, here is the last paragraph:

The battle behind the “under God” issue pits true pluralists against intolerant secularists who are willing to accept religion, but only if it is defanged and totally privatized. The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago pointed out how odd it is to claim a respect for religion while simultaneously insisting that people keep it to themselves. Stephen Carter of Yale memorably referred to this belief as “God as a hobby” -- many secular thinkers have no problem with religion as long as it is as marginal and private as woodworking or bird-watching. But if religious people act on their beliefs, you begin to hear that somehow believers are “forcing” something on somebody else. Such phrases have popped up in the presidential campaign, along with the religion-is-private theme song: “Religion is something between an individual and his God.” Actually, it isn’t. Most religions demand that believers exert themselves to shape a better society, not just sit and worship in some corner. The opponents of religion have made great headway in convincing Americans that it should not enter the public arena. But the struggle will continue. It is far from over.

Unfortunately, I think this must be my "cynical Monday" because I can't quite agree that the fight is far from over. I think the fight is pretty much all over but the shoutin'. I hope that I'm wrong......

From the Bruderhof today


Seek not to understand so that you may believe, but believe so that you may understand.

----Augustine of Hippo

Happy Father's Day!

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"One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters."

---George Herbert


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My dad is almost impossible to shop for, so over the years we have pared down the list of things to buy for birthday and Father's Day to easy things--subscriptions to conservative publications supplemented by homemade treats.

I make a screamingly good pound type cake called a Westerner cake that is his all-time favorite sweet treat. But I had just made him one of those for his birthday in May. So I was casting about for something else to make. Then I hit upon it! Flan! He LOVES flan.

So, off to the internet to search out flan recipes. I copied out several, but decided in the interest of "fool-proof-ness" (since this was my first attempt) I would use a version that sounded the easiest. I found the recipe on the Nestle baking website.

I made one mistake in the baking process. I didn't add HOT water to make the water bath, so the baking time took WAY longer to bake--because the oven had to heat up all that water first. I won't make that mistake next time.

Anyway, it was EASY, EASY, EASY. Very elegant. And absolutely delicious!

Here's the recipe:

Vanilla Flan

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat sugar in small, heavy-duty saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes or until dissolved and caramel colored. [MamaT note: I may have been conservative in my heat--it took lots longer than this to caramelize my sugar.] Quickly pour onto bottom of deep-dish 9-inch pie plate; swirl around bottom and sides to coat.

Combine evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla extract in medium bowl. [MamaT note: I just used my wire whisk to do this. This is a totally low-tech recipe!] Pour into prepared pie plate. Place pie plate in large roasting pan; fill roasting pan with warm water to about 1-inch depth.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Remove flan from water. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

To serve: run sharp knife around edge of pie plate. Invert serving plate over pie plate. Turn over; shake gently to release. Caramelized sugar forms sauce.


Mine released perfectly. Zteen said: "Mom, this is absolutely one of the best things you have ever made." It'd be good for a dinner party, because you HAVE to make it ahead, so you don't have to think about dessert on party day. And finally, I like that this is one large flan rather than the individual ramekins. You can cut this into pretty thin pieces because it was EXTREMELY rich. If I had divided it into 6 individual servings, I could not have finished a serving by myself. This way you can cut small and go back for seconds if you have room.

Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Oh, I see!

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This just in from Keith Olbermann's latest column:

Janet Jackson tells a London tabloid that the whole reaction to the Super Bowl disaster was not a wardrobe malfunction, but a societal one.

"I was used just to take the attention off what was really going on in the world..." made a victim of a, "plot by conservative forces."

Imagine that.

kerry makes me wanna puke


if you agree, check out mr. hiss' post over at otto-da-fe entitled "Kerry's Sanhedrin Approach" -- that mr. hiss hits the nail on the head every time. yee-HAW, buddy.

just a little reminder

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Vote 4 Life
of course, a vote for smockmomma is a vote for life! but just in case i don't make the ballot in your neck of the woods this november, this informative pro-life website is the place to go if you want to view your reps' voting records.

smockmomma recommends

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a flawless glenn close in stepford wives.

be sure to check out the official movie site at stepfordwivesmovie.com.

Mattel gearing up to launch Barbie clothing line in 2004 - Jun. 14, 2004

Barbie clothes for grownups. So you can look like the tramp JUST LIKE BARBIE!!! Woo hoo.

I'm off to mourn the obvious death of adulthood....

Thank goodness!

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Two new video titles have made it into rotation for the McBaby. (I'm going to have to start calling her McToddler soon, her 2nd birthday is coming up in July!)

While we are still watching at least 15 minutes of Booty every day, now we are sometimes watching Mahsters (Monsters Inc.) and Kitties (The Aristocats).

I had never seen The Aristocats before I brought it home from Target. Pretty cute--but definitely a lesser movie than Booty or Puppies. Phil Harris is the voice of the Alley Cat, Eva Gabor is the voice of the white pampered kitty the Duchess. It reminds me of a cat version of Lady and the Tramp--with the refined lady winning over the scalawag boy and taming him to domesticity.

Oh, wait. Isn't that the story of LIFE???????

Another Wednesday passes....

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......and another Wednesday when I don't make it to TSO's spanning the globe listing....


Democratic leaders in the Senate, including Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschale and Senators Charles Schumer (NY), Barbara Boxer (CA) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) have promised homosexual leaders they will kill the amendment. Their action would allow one liberal, activist Federal judge to overturn all marriage laws and make homosexual marriage legal in all 50 states.

click here if you'd like to write to your senators.

mr. keilholtz, over t'his ranty pages, remarks on two phrases he thought he'd never have to say:
"amalia, stir that with a spoon, not with the tiger" and "don't put the hedgehog in your mouth."

of course, as any parent can attest, it is not unusual to find strange phrases, and sometimes just strange noises, dribbling, falling, or streaking out of your mouth and into posterity. the title of this particular post is probably the ickiest thing i've ever had to say to one of my chitlins -- and for the sake of saving his/her face, i'll not admit to whom the phrase was spoken. i just thank our merciful Lord that it didn't have to be said in front of company.

personally, i have an incredibly low threshold for "loud" -- being an only child does that to you, i guess. you would't believe the number of times i've told the children "no more happy! you're laughing too loud." it sound more awful than it really is because we've sort of turned it into a family joke. come bedtime it's "no more happy now, it's bedtime. you can laugh again tomorrow." at least it sounds better than this one that slipped out once, "hey! we're talking to God here -- you can't laugh when you're talking to God." which we immediately had to admit was not true. ah, but what's a parent to do?

ever since i had to tell my son to "get out of that shark cage now" i've been promising myself that i'd start making a list of these little sayings, but i never have gotten around to it. it's a shame, too.

the world's oldest woman?

fashionably late as usual


...but if you need ANY professional printing done, visit mr. culbreath. pretty please.

i'd been having problems with allergies, like everyone else in the metroplex, for about a week. then, at high Mass on Sunday, we were asked to sit in the front pew (two of our daughters were the "flower girls" for the Corpus Christi procession). i don't usually like to sit in the front pew at high Mass because it's right on top of the incense. don't get me wrong, i really like the incense, but i don't like being right there because sometimes it can irritate my throat. speaking of being irritated, i get irritated with people who bemoan incense in the Mass. this is not my intent. if i were truly allergic, i'd go to a Mass completely sans incense.

i started losing my voice Sunday afternoon, and considering the situation Sunday morning, i didn't think too much about it. by Monday morning my voice was coming and going; Monday afternoon it wasn't much more than a whisper; by last night i couldn't swallow without pain, so i have a doctor's appointment this afternoon. but, that's not the point.

why is it that when someone whispers, "the universal you" feels inclined to whisper, too?

it was a teaching tool taught to me by my second favorite teacher in the whole wide world. if the class ever gets too loud, whisper to them. they'll quiet down so they can hear you. it's like leaning in to hear a secret. i didn't believe her until i tried it on my hooligans, er my freshman english class. it worked. it worked every time.

if someone calls our home and i'm nursing the wee-est one, i'll answer the phone with a hushed hello? more often than not, the person on the other end will whisper is the baby sleeping? ...pause.... why am i whispering?

since i've been losing my voice, my children have been whispering to me. even the one year old. they shout their normal decibels all around the house, but they'll adopt a whisper when speaking directly to me. it's more than a respectful hush we tend to reserve for those who are ill. it's really rather sweet and i'm not complaining.

i still wonder we hush ourselves around a whisperer. maybe it's supposed to be a secret.

Friday night at The Ballpark....



OK, so it would have been better if my darlin' Rangers had actually won, but sitting in the stands on a beautiful Friday night between my two favorite men in the entire world can never be considered a bad night. Munching on hot dogs and nachos, swigging diet Coke (PapaC's diabetes has pretty much put the kibosh on beer), dancing the Cotton Eyed Joe during the seventh inning stretch, lots of home runs so the fireworks went off (only solos, so we lost!).........as close to perfect as you can get without a win!

I love baseball. Even if the pitchers do take WAY too long on the mound.

18th Book of 2004 finished!


Taking a break from Raskolnikov, et al, for the weekend, I read V. S. Naipaul's The Mystic Masseur. What an enjoyable short book it was!

The novel traces the ascent of Ganesh Ramsumair, an Indian Hindu in Trinidad. He fails at being a schoolteacher. Goes home to his father's funeral. Meets Ramlogan, the shopkeeper, and eventually marries Ramlogan's daughter Leela. Ganesh retires to the country to think and to write. He eventually makes his place in the world by becoming what Trinidad needs at the time: a mystic. He eventually becomes a politician (slightly leftist), until he is finally co-opted by the colonial government and become part of the system.

The book is filled with the patois of Trinidad, and it is easy to like the characters. They are drawn with a minimum of brushstrokes, but they are completely compelling. The story is funny, but the ultimate outcome is more than a little sad.

Some of the reviews I read referred to his "Dickensian" cast of characters--and I can see that. In some cases they are almost caricatures rather than characters. But the humor is still so gentle that even the rascals are lovable.

Short, short novel. If you have a spare weekend and want to read something completely different, this might be worth your while.

Here are a couple of things I liked from the book:

'Leela,' Ganesh said, 'the boy want to know how much book it have here.'

'Let me see,' Leela said, and hitched up the broom to her waistband. She started to count off the fingers of her left hand. 'Four hundred Everyman, two hundred Penguin--six hundred. Six hundred, and one hundred Reader's Library, make seven hundred. I think with all the other book it have about fifteen hundred good book here.'

The taxi-driver whistled, and Ganesh smiled.

'They is all yours, pundit?' I asked.

'Is my only vice,' Ganesh said. 'Only vice. I don't smoke. I don't drink. But I must have my books. And, mark you, every week I going to San Fernando to buy more, you know. How much book I buy last week, Leela?'

'Only three, man,' she said. 'But they was big books, big big books. Six to seven inches altogether.'

'Seven inches,' Ganesh said.

'Yes, seven inches,' Leela said.

I supposed Leela was Ganesh's wife because she went on to say, with mock irritation, 'That is all he good for. You know how much I does tell him not to read all the time. But you can't stop him from reading. Night and day he reading.'

Gotta love a man who buys books by the inch!

And then later in the book, three women, Leela (Ganesh's wife), Suruj Mooma (the wife of Ganesh's good friend), and The Great Belcher (Ganesh's aunt) are all talking while they are cooking:

Leela told Suruj Mooma and The Great Belcher, 'Is just what I are expecting from that husband of mine. Sometimes these man and them does behave as if they lose their senses.'

Suruj Mooma stirred the cauldron of dal with a ladle a yard long. 'Ah, my dear. But what we go do without them?'

Just what I think.

Kids, obesity and advertising

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Interesting column today on banning food advertising on kids' programming: Jacob Sullum: Teletubbies

Here are 3 good paragraphs:

In his book "Food Fight," Yale obesity expert Kelly Brownell -- who, like Kunkel, wants to eliminate advertising to children -- says, "It is easy to blame parents." No, it's not. It is easy to blame big corporations. Blaming parents means expecting them to take an active role in monitoring their kids' diets.

As New York University nutritionist Marion Nestle, another ad banner, suggests in her book "Food Politics," that is not a popular message. "Most parents of my acquaintance tell me they are constantly arguing with their children over food choices," she writes. "Many prefer to reserve family arguments about setting limits for dealing with aspects of behavior that they consider more important."

Please. If parents don't have the wherewithal to say no when their kids ask for something they saw on TV, their problems go far beyond the risk of chubby offspring.

Look, I have mixed emotions about advertising. I know it works. When Zteen was little, we watched NO television at all Sunday night through Friday afternoon. The TV was available on Saturday all day and on Sunday afternoon. Not much of it got watched, because that was when we were busy doing things as a family.

The moment we turned off the TV, we also turned off the "I Wants." By the 2nd Christmas after the TV turnoff, Zteen (then Zkid, I guess!) couldn't think of a single thing to want for Christmas. It took him WEEKS and WEEKS to finally decide he wanted a basketball. The same the next Christmas, and the same the Christmas after that. It was truly amazing.

So I know that watching Froot Loops commercials leads a kid to want them. What I don't get is parents who don't have the gumption to either feed the kid Froot Loops without wringing their hands or to tell the kids "Sorry, we aren't buyin' 'em!"

We adults are spoiled. Everything is supposed to be made easy for us. Even telling our own kids NO.

Ray Charles, R.I.P.

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A musical great died this morning, at 73. A six decade musical career just wasn't long enough.


Think I'll go listen to my "best of" CD, and sing along with "Hit the Road, Jack", "Busted", "Georgia On My Mind" and one of the greatest versions of "America the Beautiful."

Just so ya'll know!

SummaMamas is a radioactive squirrel!!

From Go-Quiz.com

Thanks to Bec at Pencil in Your Hand for the link to the site. (Her link is on the right!)

Interesting concept

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Online catechism classes: CatechismClass.com

Don't know anything about this group, though the method seems sound. I like the idea of basing it around the lectionary. Anyway, worth a look!


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I hate quotations. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Study Reveals Condoms are Carcinogenic
BERLIN, May 31, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Most condoms contain a potent carcinogen, N-Nitrosamine, a German research facility revealed Friday. Of 32 types tested, 29 contained the cancer-causing chemical at highly elevated levels, up to three times what could be found in food, the study showed.

Study scientists, who conducted the research at The Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, said "N-Nitrosamine is one of the most carcinogenic substances," as reported by the Reuters news service. "There is a pressing need for manufacturers to tackle this problem," the scientists recommended.

The chemical's purpose is to increase the elasticity of latex rubber, and is released when a condom comes in contact with body fluids.

source: LifeSite (click here for this article's page)

Go. Right Now. Read The Lady in the Pew.


Our field trip yesterday

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Yesterday afternoon, PapaC, Zteen and I went to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. The building itself is spectacular, as you can see above. I was much less impressed by the art and "art" included in the building.

I'm sorry, but much of modern art leaves me cold. Some of it I consider graphic design rather than art--but then I can't exactly put my finger on what my definition of art actually is.

What I know is that I don't think a green wooden box sitting in the middle of the floor is art. I don't think a fluorescent light mounted diagonally on the wall is art. I for sure do not think that a 12 inch square of light projected on a wall is art.

I think that some of the color field canvases are attractive--but no more attractive than an Amish quilt from Pennsylvania. And attractive in the same sort of way. So how come these giant canvases are hanging in a spectacular building in Fort Worth, and some Amish quiltmaker is selling her stuff on Ebay for $200? Now, I'm NOT arguing that the quilt is art. Maybe what I'm arguing is that the canvases are NOT art. I'm not sure.

Why is Roy Lichtenstein art but Stan Lee not art? Because Roy had a better agent? His pictures are bigger? He lives in NYC? (I don't really know where he lives, but you get the picture.) Or are they BOTH art?

And what is the deal with Andy Warhol. If that Campbell's soup can is really art, then isn't the artist the graphic designer who designed the can? Why is a giant reproduction of it ART?

I did think it was interesting that in the group of canvases by Warhol called "8 Myths" (Wicked Witch of the West, Dracula, Santa Claus, etc.) he included a picture of HIMSELF.

I do not think anything that you just FOUND qualifies as art--no sunflower stalks, no crushed car bumpers.

I do not think that random things glued together--including a feather, a string of Christmas lights and the packing stuff from inside a box--are art. But then that's just me.

And take the photography--there were some lovely photographs on display--but no lovelier than the stuff I have seen being sold at art festivals across North Texas. So how come what is hanging in the Modern "art" while the stuff in a booth on Main Street is "craft" and selling for $45?

Most of all, I do not think that a row of 28 plastic bottles with blue dyed water in them (forming a wave--oooh, ahhh!) are art. They might be a kindergarten musical instrument, though.

There were a few things I thought were lovely--a sculpture of a crooked ladder disappearing into the sky. A metal book with wings. A painting called The Ark by Melissa Miller, which captured all the tension of the breaking storm and the nervousness of the animals.

Most of the time I walk through the museum feeling like the whole thing is some cosmic inside joke, played on rubes like me who are just too declasse to "get it." Maybe I need a good book on modern art. But I think a lot of it is just a giant in-joke.

Anyway, take a look at the website for the Modern. It has about 215 of their collection pieces in the online catalog. The pictures rarely do justice to what the things look like in person. But at least you can see what I'm talking about.

Requies in Pacem

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the first president i voted for, and
the first public figure i truly admired.
may God bless his soul.

this poor ungrateful worm

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just remembered how much she loves the Holy Spirit. our devotions during this whitsun week focus on our most precious paraclete, The Paraclete, the Holy Ghost. my paraclete? how incredible that i have my own advocate. he stands up for me? how embarrassing, how shameful, that my own spirit has become so cool towards Him and his affections -- and yet He interceeds on my behalf! what grace! my own sins that drive Him away, enkindle His compassion and makes Him long even more to return! how can this be? i truly thank God that He mercifully leans into my heart, so that His gentle pressing reminds me of the weight of His unfailing glory.

Give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, whereby we may have the knowledge of our God! Enlighten the eyes of our heart, that we may know what is the hope of our calling, and what the riches of the glorious inheritance prepared for the saints!
[Eph. i, 17, 18]

....than the McBaby clomping around in my high heeled sandals pushing her plastic grocery cart. We have hardwood floors, so it is quite the experience.

And all McBaby wants to cook in her play microwave is ketchup. I don't think that bodes well for her future husband.

The modus operandi of the Russian novelist is:

Never say in 50 words what it is possible to say in 500 (or even 5000) words!


This cracks me up!

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For the month of May, the top search string that got people to us was:

Sweet Mamas

Not sure how the sassy Smockmomma will take that one!

pop on over



to Popcorn Critics for smockmomma's review of TROY.

A great paragraph

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....from the Frederica Matthewes-Green article on NRO today. She talks about the follies of having hyphenated their last names 30 years ago after their "hippie wedding." (Her words, not mine!)

But she ends up with:

The hyphenated name wasn't a noble experiment, it was just a sign of the times, good for a few laughs, a few scrapbook pages of mangled address labels. It wasn't the important thing. So if you're planning a wedding right now my advice is: don't plan a wedding. Plan a marriage instead. Make it wonderful, and when it isn't wonderful, make it last.

I like it! We are, as a culture, far too ready to throw in the hat at the earliest sign of trouble. Too many soap operas. Too many hours of Oprah. Too many movies. Too many romance novels. When the going gets tough, too many of us just check out.

In 25 years of marriage, PapaC and I have had our share of good times and certainly our share of bad ones. And yeah, sometimes the bad times lasted for more than a few days. Heck more than a few weeks or months!! Many people we know went through similar things--very few are still married. Why? I dunno. I don't think we're "gifted" at marriage. We just won't budge. It was forever. Period.

I suppose it comes from both of us having mothers who told us the following:

"Who ever told you life was gonna be fair?"

"Who ever told you you would have fun every day?"

"Where do you go to give up? NOWHERE. There isn't anywhere. So just buck up."

We were lucky. We knew from early on this wasn't any old rose garden. I never expected a handsome prince to come and rescue me from anything. We both expected to have to work our way through the world. So the fact that marriage was sometimes hard wasn't a real surprise to us.

Maybe it is to a lot of folks.

christian porn

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how often is the smock this ambiguious? i'm not sure what to think of this site. it's either a wonderfully radical idea or it's just another protestant snow-covered dunghill.
i want to think it's a good idea but i can't help but think martin luther is somehow responsible for such a site, but for what it's worth...




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