June 2007 Archives

rest in peace

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please pray for the repose of the soul of
lorraine stout blansett
who died this morning in the presence of her husband, my daddy.
"mother" was a giving soul who had a weakness for taking in strays ...
and by the grace of God, for awhile, i was one of them.
this world is emptier without her.

hey, where'd they go?

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as luck would have it, both mamas are dealing with ailing mommas right now. please keep mamaT, her mama, me (that'd be the smock), and my momma in your prayers. we love y'all and hope to be back a'for too long. pax.

Thumbs up, with a warning

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Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Picture, and one of Christianity Today's "Most Redeeming Movies of 2006" as well as their "Critics' Choice Movies for 2006", this comes with a recommendation from me as well.

But it comes with a warning: You must be of strong stomach to watch this one. Violent, sad, eye-opening. God searches for even the most prodigal of his sons, and Tsotsi is prodigal indeed. He's a thug in South Africa--and the first 30 minutes of the movie make you believe that he is irredeemable. But he steals a car (after shooting the woman driver) only to find that he is not alone. There is a baby in the back seat.

See Steven Greydanus' review here.

Quote for today

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The best time to plan a book is while you're doing the dishes.

---------Agatha Christie

Well, drat! I'm going to be folding laundry and cleaning the refrigerator. I guess my book planning will have to wait until later!

Quote 3


A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz.

~Humphrey Bogart

Especially when it's Decker Dollar Hot Dog night at the game.

And even when my poor hapless Texas Rangers lose 10 to 0 in one of the sorriest performances I've ever seen. Sitting with my two best boys on a lovely June night. The only thing that would be better is if the Rangers could pitch. Or hit. Or field.

Quote 2

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“More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse.”

-------------Doug Larson



"We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary."

-- Pope Benedict XVI, Inaugural Homily

Booking through Thursday

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Almost everyone can name at least one author that you would love just ONE more book from. Either because they’re dead, not being published any more, not writing more, not producing new work for whatever reason . . . or they’ve aged and aren’t writing to their old standards any more . . . For whatever reason, there just hasn’t been anything new (or worth reading) of theirs and isn’t likely to be.

If you could have just ONE more book from an author you love . . . a book that would be as good any of their best (while we’re dreaming) . . . something that would round out a series, or finish their last work, or just be something NEW . . . Who would the author be, and why? Jane Austen? Shakespeare? Laurie Colwin? Kurt Vonnegut?

I'll have to think about this one. Right off the bat I'd say Harper Lee (of To Kill a Mockingbird fame) and Jane Austen. Oh, and Richard Russo could speed up his production a little bit. And Jon Hassler could be healed from his Parkinson's to make his life and writing easier.

I suspect that I will think that Angela Thirkell, Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie could have each written just one more book, though they were all prolific. Is it possible to have too many of them? I think not.

You Are 0% Massachusetts
You Yankees lover! You probably think Starbucks coffee tastes better than Dunkin Donuts.

However, in my defense, let me say that I despise the Yankees with every fiber of my being.

Thank you.

Project 365 - Day 40

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Clown II

Help! I'm surrounded by a bunch of clowns!

Project 365 - Day 39

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Clown I

Books 24 - 30 of 2007 finished!

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And I'm trying this entry again after my computer ate it yesterday!

#24: Grand Opening by Jon Hassler. Anyone who's read here long knows that I'm a huge fan of Jon Hassler. I wrote him the only fan letter I've ever written. And he responded! Anyway, Grand Opening is the story of a family who moves to a small town in the middle of World War II and opens a grocery store. Hassler said, in his book Good People, that he wrote Grand Opening in direct opposition to his lived experience of growing up in a small town, which was pretty much idyllic. He thought it could not possibly be that way for other people, so he focused on the down side of the small town experience in this book. As for all of his books, even the negative looks at things are tinged with small graces. He does do something that is rare for him--he created an almost completely evil person in this one. Wallace Flint is a character who does something despicable. We recognize him as evil, and do not hesitate to call him that, but Hassler has made him complex. We understand the driving motivations for him. His resentments. His jealousies. We can't condone what he does, or give him sympathy, but we see him as a complete person--wounded, injured, but bad. Recommended, absolutely.

#25: Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. This is the story, from the 1940s to the 1980s of Elmwood Springs, Missouri. It revolves around Neighbor Dorothy, who has a kitchen table radio show (shows which actually existed throughout the Midwest at the time). It looks at the lives of her husband Doc, the town pharmacist, and her son and daughter. All kinds of eccentric characters are thrown in--most notably the traveling evangelists. It is small town life as we would like to think it is--not reality. Much more saccharine than Hassler's look at small town life, it's still worth a read at the pool or beach, or when you're lying under an air conditioner vent with a glass of iced tea in your hand.

#26: Scales of Justice by Ngaio Marsh. Lord Lacklander, on his deathbed, gives his memoirs to Colonel Catarette, leaving behind an explosive secret. A secret so explosive that it leads to the murder of Colonel Catarette himself--found dead on the banks of the river Chyne, ostensibly after catching the long-sought-after fish the "Big 'Un". Inspector Roderick Alleyn of Scotland Yard is called in to solve the case. Not as engaging as Agatha Christie--because I don't care for her characters in the same way. At least not yet.

#27: Death of a Fool by Ngaio Marsh. Another Roderick Alleyn mystery. This time the murder occurs during the annual Winter Solstice performance of The Dance of the Five Sons. The dance is a traditional folk dance that has been performed by groups from local families for the past 200 years. Only this time, the "Old Guiser" -- lead dancer and paterfamilias--turns up dead after the dance. How was he killed when EVERYONE was watching? Inspector Alleyn and his sidekick Fox find out. I nearly had this one figured out. I got most of the puzzle pieces, but hadn't put 'em together quite correctly.

#28: Love Among the Ruins by Angela Thirkell. Another trip to Barsetshire, this time in the years immediately following the 2nd World War. The peace is almost harder to bear than the war was, and shortages are rampant. Plus, there's been a fruit basket turnover in the social order. The story largely revolves around the lives and loves of the Dean sisters (Susan the Red Cross librarian and Jessica the actress) and the Belton brothers (Charles a new schoolmaster and Freddy a navy man) and how they intertwine. Pig shows, birthday parties, conservative rallies, gossip gone wrong, all the brouhaha of a Thirkell universe. For this one, it helps to have read others. The cast is too extensive and there are far too many names to keep up with. But if you've read other Thirkell, this is another enjoyable one.

#29: Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons. The story of Maggie Barnes and her family as told by her daughter Hattie. Maggie is that woman known in her small North Carolina town as "that Barnes woman with all the problems." Her problem is mental illness--bipolar disorder in particular. A very clear-eyed look, in my opinion, of the costs of living with such a person, both to the person herself and to her family. The story has a twist--thanks to medication, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychiatric intervention, Maggie becomes well. The interesting thing is to see how that change affects her family. Gibbons has a gift for writing things so realistically that you lose track of the fact that you are reading a novel and assume that you are reading an autobiographical tale instead. Very good. (This is also my June selection for the Southern Reading Challenge over at Maggie Reads.)

#30: Nemesis by Agatha Christie. An unusual mystery, in that it takes off from characters met in another book, A Carribbean Mystery. I had to go back and reread part of that book to put myself in mind of the characters. Interesting--Miss Marple (how I love Miss Marple!) is sent on a journey to find out something and obtain justice for someone. The trick is that when she starts she doesn't know exactly what she is supposed to be doing or for whom she is looking. Of course, she figures it out, in her own flighty, but effective way. I figured out the how, but not the "who" did it until right at the end. Enjoyable.



I just finished a post on the books I've read this month, and the computer glitched and swallowed it!

I'll rewrite, but it'll be later. Much to do today.


Absolutely true for me


The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with ONLY a loaf of bread are three billion to one.

--Erma Bombeck

Another book list

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The Best Novels You've Never Read: Sixty-one critics reveal their favorite underrated book of the past ten years.

And I've read exactly ONE of them.



The obedience of faith requires that we do our work. We must go on day after day, simply and humbly, not waiting for chills and thrills. Grace, not revelation, is our daily bread. Grace is enough. Receiving that, in the portion given according to the lovingkindness of our God, we must act responsibly in the situation in which He puts us, as the disciples had to do when left behind at Christ's ascension. No doubt they felt bewildered and abandoned and would like to have risen with Him through the clouds. When the angels suddenly stood beside them and asked why they were gazing into the sky, they "came down to earth," as it were, went back to Jerusalem to the lodging where they belonged and carried on with their prayers.

-----------Elisabeth Elliot

Here are today's questions:

Do you read e-Books?
If so, how? On your computer, or a PDA?
Or are you a paper purist? Why?

I don't read e-books. I don't like to read for an extended period while sitting at my computer. I don't have a PDA to read the books on. I also find reading on a screen more tiring than a book. I also like the tactile nature of books--riffling through the pages, etc. So, I guess you'd say I'm a paper purist.



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