Friday, February 28, 2003

Just one more time...........
Has anyone seen my Greetings from Asbury Park towel? It looks like this:

but it's a towel. Why would someone take an old lady's Bruce Springsteen towel?

Caught the last ten minutes of Springsteen on CBS. Now back to our regularly scheduled Ferris Buehler marathon.........
Karen Hall’s “Ooky” Detector is A-OK!
It’s not too often that I direct Martha’s attention in the supermarket queue away from People Magazine and tell her to see what’s in the new Vogue or what Bat Boy is up to. But, like Karen, Joan Lunden’s anticipated motherhood by surrogate sets off my “ooky” detector.

The announcement was that, at age 52, she was about to be the proud mother of twins. Nothing wrong with that, I say, as a proud 46 year-old mother of a toddler. Except that Joan isn't carrying her twins. She is paying someone to do that.

But did I mention, Joan already has children -- three grown daughters. She wants children with her current husband. That's nothing I can throw stones at either. But something about this entire story is setting off my "ooky" detector.

I can’t answer all of Karen’s questions about the Church’s teachings on fertility treatments (I always refer the shrill indignant callers to a priest. “Just what is it about the Catholic Church and in vitro?” is enough of a tip-off that it’s more than I can handle. And enough that I can warn the fathers to brace themselves....) but I do find the Catechism quite helpful. Especially in its reminder that no one has a right to a child. And that for some people, childlesness may be their cross to bear. But many people don’t wish to hear that.

And articles and TV appearances by celebs such as Ms. Lunden just innoculate society at large against the evil that is involved in so many fertility procedures by giving it a cute gloss. How many People readers will question what could be so wrong with someone being so full of love and desire for a child that she would do anything to have one? Or two? Slow, gentle exposure to evil, under the guise of the sweet and lovely is very insidious.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

How's the Weather in Your Neck of the Woods Infinite?
The Curt Jester presents the ultimate Weather Pixies............
Hi-ho, Hi-ho....
Off to work I go. I think we're doing a Lenten mailing. At this point, I'd be happy to go in to work to sort paper clips and rubber bands.

The boys are both sick. That figures, since I spent yesterday in meticulous planning of the schoolwork that their pater should be leading them in today. I don't know how much he'll accomplish. Eddie was whimpering most of the night plus he had bad dreams which caused us to be up watching Cartoon Network at 4:00am.

Martha is not so sure she wishes to continue on the track team. I don't want to 'take sides,' but I can't say that I blame her. Practice until 6:00pm 5 nights a week plus Saturday mornings and a schedule of 20 meets seems a little intense to me. I've probably already stated here that in these post Title IX days, girls have a lot more sports opportunities but they sure don't look like they are enjoying it. When Embot was on the track team I always came home from meets rather depressed by the look of grim determination on the girls' faces.

At dinner last night, Rick had a look on his face not unlike Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People when she found out Conrad quit the swim team. Not a pleasant dinner - I'm still a bit dyspeptic. Then he was offended when I asked why all the fuss over heaving an 8(?)lb. sphere of metal.

All in all, the rectory will provide a bit of sanctuary for me today.
The Boss Knows Whereof He Speaks
The Smoking Gun has amusing excerpts from riders to celebrity performance contracts. What caught my eye was #7 from Bruce Springsteen’s last tour.....

7. A K9 sweep of the immediate stage area may be requested from 2 hours prior to performance in order to lessen concern for crank bomb threats.
Police escort to and from the venue shall be made available upon request by the ARTIST.

Perhaps this is just SOP, but I also know that a crank bomb threat can really foul up an evening musicale. I took my sister to see Springsteen in 1975, at the lovely Uptown Theater in Milwaukee. About three songs into the show we were asked to evacuate because a bomb threat had been called in to the theater. Most of the crowd hit the local bars. I was stuck with a sixteen year-old with no fake id. It was a long couple of hours hanging around. I think we went to the Red Barn for a root beer and then loitered on the sidewalk until we were readmitted to the theater. Of course, because we were loitering while others were boozing, we negotiated better seats when the door reopened. Ah, the memories.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Thanks to Catholic Light for the link to the story on the mother of six who left the kids home alone for a 17 day excursion through Italy with her paramour.
I was sure that I had heard about this on the TV but didn’t see it in print anywhere. I was starting to think it was a hallucinatory product of a bad dream brought about by obsessing over finding someone to watch Eddie while I was at work on Saturday morning and Rick wanted to attend Martha’s track practice. Chuck is old enough to babysit, but he doesn’t command the same respect from his little brother as he would from other children and I am not comfortable with the thought of leaving them alone together for an extended period of time (i.e. more than fifteen minutes) I am still reeling from the bike accident that took off the end of Eddie’s finger last spring while I was at work. Rick was gone for about 15 minutes. Fran (age 21) was in charge, but with no car she had to call 9-1-1. Fran had all the blood cleaned up and Rick was at the hospital with Eddie by the time I left work and returned home ASAP.


When Jennifer Farrell learned her six children had been taken into police custody and placed with relatives and in foster homes while she was vacationing, she decided to stay in Italy for two more weeks to finish her trip.

he concluded that the children were in good care, said her boyfriend Hank DePetro.
"She said, 'The kids are being taken care of, they're already out of the home, so there's nothing I can do,' " said Mr. DePetro, 60, who invited Mrs. Farrell to accompany him on the 17-day trip.
In what's been dubbed the "Home Alone" case, Mrs. Farrell, 33, faces the prospect of neglect charges after leaving her six children, ages 14 to 6, at their Greeley, Colo., home while she toured Italy with her boyfriend. She returned to Colorado on Thursday.

Possible Signs of ‘Chemical’ Threat
Why I may never watch The American Experience - Pill episode.

It could lead to many sensitive people suffering from watery eyes, twitching, choking, having trouble breathing or losing coordination.

All manner of media will be used to sell you on the wonders of The Pill, The Patch and The Shot. And whatever atrocity is next cooked up in the lab.

Don’t let Mom watch that PBS show. If she does, be prepared for the moment she starts foaming at the mouth.

Slink away quietly and move rapidly to the nearest exit. Unless you want to be subjected to Mom’s ranting.

If Mother should watch “The Pill”.....
To limit the amount of ranting you are exposed to, think about shielding, distance and time.

* Shielding: If you have a thick shield between yourself and Mom’s voice, more of the sound will be absorbed, and you will be exposed to less irritation.
* Distance: The farther away you are away from Mom and the fallout the lower your exposure.
* Time: Minimizing time spent exposed to Mom will also reduce your risk.

Oh, Happy Day
With thanks to my friend Kit who called to tell me the good news.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a federal racketeering law was improperly used to punish aggressive anti-abortion protesters, a major victory for people who regularly block clinic doors.

The court's 8-1 ruling applies to protests of all sorts, not just at clinics.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, writing for the majority, said that when protesters do not "obtain" property, they cannot be punished for civil disobedience with the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, an anti-racketeering law.

The court's ruling is a victory for Operation Rescue, anti-abortion leader Joseph Scheidler and others who were ordered to pay damages to abortion clinics and barred from interfering with their businesses for 10 years.

Rehnquist said that their political activity did not qualify as extortion.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled school stuff.
Could Someone Ban the VH1 Celebrity Wedding Shows?
Is there anyone left who knows that there are times when ‘spectacle’ is not a compliment? I can only wish I’ve heard my last designer emote on the challenges of making the perfect dress for the bride who is 8 months pregnant.

A Roman Catholic bishop in the Philippines has banned heavily pregnant brides from having public weddings.

Note: said Bishop has not forbidden marriage, just public spectacles!

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

This or That
1. Holland or Netherlands? Holland
2. Emu or Ostrich? Emu
3. Biff or Happy? Happy
4. Quincy or Braintree? Braintree, it just sounds smarter
5. Cassius Clay or Muhammad Ali? Cassius Clay
6. Instanbul or Constantinople? Constantinople
7. Pig or Swine? Swine
8. Barf or Puke? neither, if I can help it
9. Potatoes or Spuds? spuds, if we must
10. Squeeze Box or Accordion? accordian
More on Kook Magnets
Does anyone remember the (not particularly funny in modern context) joke about the man who carried a bomb on an airplane because he figured it improved the odds that there would be no other bombers on the plane? I'm wondering why there haven't been too many kooks at work lately. Maybe I am the kook. Hired, not just for my organizational skills and smooth phone voice, but to skew the odds against two kooks being in the rectory office at any one time. There was the matter of the letter I wrote once. Not really to the pastor, but to a pastoral associate (and I do stand by the contentions stated in said letter) and copied to the pastor. I can only hope my letter was bland and short enough that it has long since passed out of the pastor's memory. (As for the pastoral associate, she called me on the phone and opened a can of verbal whup-a** all over me. I took the bait and it turned into one of the nastiest phone conversations I have ever had. Worse, if only in length, than the words I had with the pollster from NARAL who called me and during dinner at that!) We have a pleasant enough working relationship - I'm wondering if she knows that I am the same person that she had the cat fight with over the phone.
American Experience - The Pill
Did anyone watch this last night? I was a little too irritable when I came home from work last night and had no wish to watch something that would keep me up late feeling irate. I’m not sure I can even look too long at the link on the PBS site - it has a "teachers’ " guide and interviews with women talking about how the Pill changed their attitudes and their lives. There is also a forum to share one’s thoughts on birth control in America. I don’t know if they are ready for me. Plus, I think the chicken is just this side of over-cooked. Time to pack it in.
Shaquille Gotford, please phone home
Today was one of those days when I had to bucket the phone in order to achieve any schooling. Caller ID enables me to avoid chatty calls, sales calls, calls for the girls from friends who do not keep regular hours...... Perhaps it is the phase of the moon, we were all a bit prickly and Pavlovian. We all jumped and someone would go running to look at the Caller ID every time the phone rang. When I could take no more I took the phone off the hook. What damage could occur in the hour remaining until lunch?

Fran came home from work ten minutes early because of her concern that all calls home were going to voice mail. She reconnected the phone in time to take a call from the school that Martha had a migraine and needed to be brought home. Ooops.

I just got done checking the voice mail. 3 hang ups, 2 calls for Fran, 2 calls of a highly suspect(Mr. Collector, Mr. Bill Collector?) and what sounded like a bill collector calling for Mr. Shaquille Gotford. Because this is a confidential matter, these callers never wish to discuss with us that we know no Shaquille - not now, not ever. Women also call here looking for Shaquille. We’ve had our number for over four years, but Shaquille’s calls have been coming in for about six months. Will everyone please start checking their area codes....I know who lives here and SHAQUILLE ISN’T HERE!

Note to self: Learn how to set phone so it goes to voice mail after one ring.
Let's Take the Day Off

What's Your Movie Dream Car?

by Auto Glass America

Thanks again, to Michelle.
Feeling Empowered!!!
And much relieved. I sloshed the teeniest bit of my iced tea - lemon, no sugar - on the iMac keyboard yesterday morning. The effect was less than positive. By the time I got home from work last night it was still not working and I went to bed facing the prospects of A) telling Em that I ruined her keyboard; B) doing all my computing on the PowerBook. The PowerBook keyboard is a bit constrictive and it's really slow. I wind up five words ahead of what shows up on the screen. My typing teacher would have said I shouldn't be watching what I'm typing, but I like to. I'm many years out of school and if I want to watch as I type, by jingo, I'll do it.

So I gave the iMac a try. It works. My prayers were answered. (I don't usually pray for tangible objects, except the washer and vacuum, but this is my lifeline to the world. And it doesn't quite belong to me.)

Note to Embot: I'll be more careful in the future. Promise.

Monday, February 24, 2003

More Pseudonym Thoughts
Belle A. Donna, Belle Reve, Belle Poitrine, Edna Krabappel, Stella Kowalski, Blanche duBois.......too many choices
I appear to be back...
More on Kook Magnets.
If the voice at the door says "I wanna come in." - it's Eddie
If the voice at the door says "Mother," oh so sweetly and stretched out to five syllables - it's Fran looking for a loan (from me, not the Church)
If the voice at the door says "Candygram" - it's Rick and I must admit him so he can continue his 'land shark' impersonation in the hallway.
I seem to have disappeared........
Everything after 2/20 is gone. Oh, the confusion.

Kook Magnets...
Father Jim Tucker writes quite charitably about churches as ‘kook magnets.’
He quotes his secretary,"Father, before I started working in the rectory, I had no idea how much nonsense that priests have to deal with on a daily basis."
No kidding. That is a massive understatement.
If the Church has a preferential option for the poor and marginalized, it seems to me that we have to extend that option to the neurotics, psychotics, and angry people, too... even though it would be nice if they wouldn't call and write and ring the doorbell so much.
There are times when I am supposed to answer the door through the little speaker in hopes of keeping out the truly dangerous. The problem is that I have yet to have someone announce him or her self as unstable and out of touch with reality. Of course, there are just the irritable parishioners with an ax to grind. But I know them by name and buzz them in anyway. And try to placate them so that they can’t dump all their ‘issues’ directly on the fathers.
The Chanel won't kill me.
And I'll be glad to boycott the saurkraut. (Too bad it's a Wisconsin product and not really from Germany.)
I'll drive away in the peeling POS today, thinking "I chose not to buy a Mercedes."
Perhaps an important life lesson?
It’s a doggy-dog world out there kids. Maybe getting your feelings hurt in a somewhat artificial environment is good practice for real life. One California school district does not agree.

School board members and Principal Bill Black say that competition makes for an unhealthy educational environment.

"If they are not number one, it could get their feelings hurt if they are self-motivating and high-achieving students," Black said.

"Ideally the valedictorian program should recognize the most successful students or student, but at this point we're wondering if it's recognizing the most successful strategist," said Tom DeSantis, Hemet Unified School District board member.

I doubt if my mother was a great strategist, but things were different back in the forties.
One last Grammy comment....
Am I overly touchy, or did the use of pyrotechnics during Nelly's performance appear to be in bad taste? (I won't even go into the repetitive chanting about removing one's garments....gag me) They appeared to be real pyrotechnics, not simultated like the water the Dixie Chicks were standing in/on.
Quod est tuum praenomen?
Meum praenomen est Ellyn. Still.
The Philosopher formerly known as (his secret is safe with me) has adopted the pseudonym of "Athanasius." I respect that.
Perhaps it is imprudent and/or prideful to have my real name spread all over the internet. So far no negative ramifications. And I have been reunited with an old college roommate. What is really keeping me from adopting a pseudonym is the inability to conjure up a really good one. All that goes through my mind are the lame ones we joke about (Pearl Ring, Sandy Beach) or those of the Bart Simpson variety (Ben Dover). So I guess I will stay with Ellyn, the meek and mild. (Hey, that’s what my father used to call me. I think he may have been trying some sarcasm there....)

Sunday, February 23, 2003

A Little Distraction from the Grammy abyss....thanks to Michelle
Not too bad at the moment, with Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor. But this is just a ploy to lull us into complacency.....

You're a Romantic Hero. Your instinct is to
help those you care about, and usually that's a
good thing! Sometimes, though, you might find
yourself being a little posessive or

What Sort of Romantic Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Back to the edge of the abyss......
10 minutes into the Grammy show.
I wish I had tried harder at rope climbing in grade school. I might be employable.
Gwen Stefani still wears too much make-up.
Then an ad about ‘protection’ against HIV/AIDS.
No good old-fashioned wholesome Soy Bomb.
Why am I watching this?

“Do I believe the total perversion that I am witnessing? ...........The children on that program should all be gassed.............I would like very much to know what the Founding Fathers would say if they could see these children being debauched to further the cause of Clearasil............... I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss.” Ignatius Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Breeding Baby Bobos?
Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers, by Alissa Quart.
In this breathless, occasionally raspy treatise about the over-commercialization of adolescence, Alissa Quart piggybacks, Prada knapsack–like, onto a couple of hot trends in the American book business. The first is the rich-kids-say-the-darnedest-things school of journalism, which involves reporters in their 30’s and 40’s visiting the strange and faraway Narnia of affluent teenland, quoting their subjects by first name only while they say "like" and "you know" a lot—as if this unearths particularly raw, authentic societal truths. The second is the rattling crusade against corporate control and globalization......
Must look into this.
The Onion Can’t Be This Funny......
it must be The Atlantic Monthly!
Sex Week at Yale
In which academics ponder "webcam girls," hermaphrodites, demonic-male chimps, the history of the vibrator, and "sex with four professors"

This is one night I won’t be losing sleep over not being able to send any of our spawn to Yale.

One of my first thoughts on reading this was that before Yale (my beloved alma mater) had a Sex Week it ought to institute a gala Grammar and Spelling Week. In addition to "abstainance" (unless it was a deliberate mistake in order to imply that "Yale puts the stain in abstinence") there was that intriguing "faculty panel on sex in college with four professors," whose syntax makes it sound more illicit than it was probably intended to be.
Have we seen this on Oprah already?
from The Onion.....
"From what she eats for breakfast to the way she cleans her home, today's woman lives in a state of near-constant empowerment," said Barbara Klein, professor of women's studies at Oberlin College and director of the study. "As recently as 15 years ago, a woman could only feel empowered by advancing in a male-dominated work world, asserting her own sexual wants and needs, or pushing for a stronger voice in politics. Today, a woman can empower herself through actions as seemingly inconsequential as driving her children to soccer practice or watching the Oxygen network."
Empowerment..........if it disappears from the language tomorrow, it won’t be a moment too soon.
Lest I think I am better than Mike Tyson....
Mr. Tyson admits to still having personal demons. Moi aussi, Mike.
But I don't think that facial tattoo will help.
This week.......
I must renew my driver's license in person. The last time I did it over the phone. But I really need a license with my current address (I moved four years ago and am still saying, "I just moved." when writing checks). I want to get a haircut, too. It's just way too long and tangly. So, as the family would say, it's angry lesbian time. But maybe I'll keep it a little longer just for the license picture. Then I'd like to get it cut like Catherine Zeta-Jones' bob in Chicago - I'm sitting here getting my inspiration from VH1. But I'm not kidding myself. I won't look like Ms. Zeta-Jones. I'll look like an angry lesbian.
Good news: The DMV is closed on Monday so I won't even think about this again for another 36 hours.
Thank you for letting me share.
From the Big Book of British Smiles
British dentists have been warned that they face criminal prosecution under EU law if they use tooth-whitening treatments to give their patients hollywood smiles.

On the one hand, it seems like ridiculous micro-managment and bad science.
On the other hand, I wish there were similar laws around here. There are so many blindingly white teeth that normal teeth feel literally green in their presence.
Tim Drake is back.
Good stuff - check it out!
Everything the kids learned about hell........
they sure didn't get in CCD. The Lady in the Pew
shows me it's not just a local problem.
Short lived........then I take a nap.

What Natural Disaster are you? Take the quiz!

Thanks to Chris another northern Illinois tornado.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

re: post below. I will also wash the wall. Or at least give it a spritz of Pine-Sol.
Snap Out of It
I knew the answer would come to me. Sitting here typing and watching “Moonstruck” (with one hand close to the remote because it is on Oxygen and one never knows when they’ll sneak in an ad for that grotesque sex show with the vulgar crone)along comes the answer to the streaky wall that looks so dreadful in the late afternoon light - OPERA POSTER! I have a great Turandot poster that is brightening up the laundry room door. We must find a frame and move it up to the family room. Very bright and invigorating. (I tried a Google image search, but couldn’t find it. Trust me - it’s bright!)

The reason we have a blank wall space is because I had to move the map of some English county (Hampshire?) to the living room to cover the marks in the wall left by the rearrangement of my shelves. The conspiracy theorist in me believes that the large shelf was moved out of the dining room, and the little shelves moved in, to discourage me from using the large shelf to hang Latin prayers. ‘They’ may have won this one - but they’ll be surprised when the Stations of the Cross tableaux reappears during Lent. I’ve already done the mental rearrangement.
Davey’s Daddy has a blog, too. Honk and Chirp. I love it!
AARGH or Our Tax Dollars at Work
Sleepy Mommy Pansy Moss relates a distressing tale of of receiving an offer of governmental parenting help quite obviously based on her surname. This included the amazing offer of a ‘home visit.’ How tacky. Nobody wants people barging in on them when they have a newborn - unless it is an understanding friend, toting a casserole and ready to entertain some bored toddlers.

She turned them down. (And it sounds as though she was much more polite than I would have been. I’m afraid I would have been a bit testy at that point.)
So she received an insulting brochure instead:

I received a pamphlet in the mail in case I changed my mind. It said their rep will answer questions like:
"What do I do when all these kids make me stressed, and I have a baby"
"Proper baby care and nutrition"
"Changing and feeding a baby"

For crying out loud. Who can escape a hospital or birthing center without this info? I spent my second and third hospitalizations after childbirth trying to avoid the incessant invitations to this class and that class. In fact, that was one of the reasons I was willing to have drive-thru births for 4 & 5 and deliver #6 at home.

The worst part of Pansy’s story is that she has a bi-racial friend with a very Gaelic surname who did not receive the same offer of ‘services.’ Is there some cold comfort in thinking that a hundred years ago the Irish would have been the ones singled out for ‘help?’ I don’t know.

PS - So, what do I do when all these kids still make me stressed? And the baby is nine years old? I don’t think the county health department has the answers. And I don’t want them looking around my home - even 9 years post partum!
to Donna Lewis whose link on the left keeps morphing with an every changing assortment of question marks and other symbols. The accent circumflex on the a seems to be upsetting things. So I’ll try it without. Maybe plain Quenta Narwenion will work. I don’t see this happening on other blogs. (Just another example of the world-wide conspiracy against me.)

Having sewn the slipcover back on the couch - my own creation of patched together tablecloths and not as bizarre as it might sound - I’m feeling brave enough to look at the computer. Things may be better - I removed the “Which Revolution Are You?” quiz which I posted around the time that the blog went kerflooey.

Next time: my secrets for sewing pillows out of dinner napkins. The perfect way to match your tablecloth couch!

We watch the Grammy show.....
to hear some music and see some first class personalities behave like, hmmm, ‘personalities’. If they all behaved well it wouldn’t be much fun. But we don’t tune in to get political advice.

A senior CBS executive warned that microphones might be unplugged if any performance turned political. He said: "There is a time for political commentary. This is not one of them."

I like Coldplay.......don’t want to know that they are jerks, too.
Coldplay's lead singer, Chris Martin, said from the stage of the Brit Awards in London on Thursday: "We are all going to die when George Bush has his way - but at least we are going to go out with a bang."

let some Luddite Witnesses come to the door, press their literature upon me and get me out of the morass I am in. I spent half of my time at work this morning trying to get the copier to cooperate. This involves assuming positions that just aren’t proper in any office situation, let alone a rectory, momentarily having my head wedged between the copier and the filing cabinet and almost getting my hand caught inside of the machine which would have been most dreadful since I was the only one ‘home.’ One priest was celebrating a funeral and another was in the parish center giving a talk. I would have had to sit there until someone with a key let himself in, because I couldn’t reach the door release button while caught in the machine. The new copier has a lot more of those little triangular “ACHTUNG” stickers with the little electrical symbols. I believe those stickers. I’m not going to try prove them wrong by sticking my little fingers in where they don’t belong. Then I found out the copying I was doing was redundant-having been done and distributed last night!

Now I am told the blog still looks funny. It looks OK to me. Em says it might be a matter of what kind of browser being used. I am mortified. My house may be disheveled. My car may be peeling. But at least I had a tidy blog. Had......

I shall walk away now and go back to putting the slipcover on the living room couch. That should work.
I thought the most horrifying part of a hotel stay was keeping the little ones away from the windows. Or the time the kids knocked the phone of the hook in their room and security came pounding on the door at 3:00am to find out what the trouble was.

But this.....
Condoms will soon join Bibles as a regular feature in thousands of New York hotels, motels and inns, if two Brooklyn Democratic state senators get their way.

Abraham Puchall, manager Herald Square Hotel on 31st Street, said, "In today's day and age people bring their own. And if they don't, you're assuming they want one and people are going to be insulted."

I’d be taken away in a strait-jacket.
If he’d only had Armorbearers
I’m saddened to see Fr. Rob Johansen silenced (from blogging) by his bishop. His obedience exemplary. I’m thinking of one priest in particular - in the Archdiocese of Chicago - who could stand to take a few lessons in obedience. In all the excitement of Rev. Al Sharpton being invited to preach at Mass, I missed that Fr. Pfleger also brought in windbags Harry Belafonte and Cornel West to round out the fun.

Friday, February 21, 2003

I won’t wear the ugly pink dress....
if I get another chance at Jeopardy. Rick says go with the sailor dress. Right now I’m praying I just get called in for the test. My brain is (more or less) as sharp as last time - and I won’t queer it all by wearing that dress that nobody likes.

This is the only thing I do better than my sister. To actually make it onto Jeopardy would even the playing field forever.
Is this looking better?
Or am I hallucinating?
Em, IM me or give me a call. Let me know what you think.
And stay out of nightclubs. Please.
We worry.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

If you think the blog is a mess.....
you should see my reality. Spring is coming. The angle of the sun has changed. I see some strange streaks on the wall and a vague handprint. Funny, I didn't see them yesterday. In today's light they look like some sort of spatter evidence at a crime scene. Suits my mood.

This is the second Thursday in a row that Martha has been late for school. Meaning I miss Mass and go straight to my Bible study in a state of irritation. I fought my inclination to go back to bed and decided to soldier on.

Fran needed to be driven to the dentist to have another wisdom tooth removed. (the good news: we have another tooth to dissect) Before we left, the dog escaped and managed to roll around in some fetid pond water (two days ago it would have been fetid ice!). She's been bathed, but still smells like wet, fetid dog.

Someone used my 'good' dish towels to mop up the muddy footprints.
The boys need to bathe but all the bath towels were used on the dog.
Rick is at Martha's first track meet of the season.
I'm taking the boys to McDonald's for dinner. By then the sun should be down and I'll be able to face my home without the harsh glare.

But, my, that dog does smell. Some sensitive family members have nominated What's that smell? as our family motto. Chuck was encouraged to see his choice - Sic semper tyrannis - as Fr. Jim Tucker's Latin phrase of the week. But tonight, my vote goes with What's that smell?
Note to Embot
The page looks OK to me. Are you seeing something that I am overlooking?
Don't know what is wrong with webpage... for some reason, it's all messed up. It will correct its self in six days when yesterdays posts have gone through to archive, but till then I'll see what I can do!

Spirit Willing - Brain Weak
Must do my Bible study homework now. I intended to do it last night but chose to watch The Twilight Zone on UPN instead. Tsk, tsk.
By the way, Bill Mumy has aged really well.
Somebody spoke and I went into a dream.......
Karen Hall mentions chickens as another first line of defense against terror attacks.
Instead of thinking of imminent peril, I am suddenly transported back to fourth grade when I managed to persuade my parents to let me keep some chickens.
The farming unit in social studies was so fascinating, I had to have chickens.
My father was still talking about it when I visited him the week-end before his death.
Chickens - 5 cents apieces. Chicken wire and other supplies - about twenty dollars (that was a substantial outlay in 1964 considering the goofiness of the venture.)
The memories? Priceless. Well, there was the moment when Cleo the dachsund got loose and bit one of the chicks in half.
But otherwise it was fun. The roosters made attempts at crowing in the morning.
They would all ‘fly the coop’ and be chased about the neighborhood. We learned to clip their wings.
(If you are thinking of keeping chickens as a line of defense, do learn to clip those wings.)
And I certainly hope your neighbors are as understanding as ours were.
The lady up the street (the children call her my nemesis, but I think she is just ‘unhappy’)
would take umbrage with chickens in my yard. If she finds my family offensive, chickens could be just too.......

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Thanks to Embot
Again. You really saved my as* derriere with the blog today.
I’ll write a note of commendation to your class instructor. Just pretend it’s a coincidence that we have the last name.

About the internet canonization thing - Daddy explained it to all interested parties at dinner, that now I’m a ‘saint’, sort of like being a Kentucky Colonel. Compared to a military colonel.
(No offense intended to any Kentucky Colonels. Or genuine Saints.)
Pollyanna-ish Moments Dashed Again

Jesse Jackson was on the news Monday morning in the wake of the nightclub stampede. Not surprising - the Rev. Mr. Jackson shows up everywhere. I was touched by the absolutely pastoral tone of his comments. Just talking about Jesus and grief and comfort - all sweet and nice.
In fact, I chided myself for expecting him to be full of bluster and demands for retribution. Perhaps I had been to harsh in my estimation of him. He is a clergyman and comfort naturally should be his first priority. Not until Tuesday did he call, in a rather tempered tone, for an investigation of what had happened. Yeah, right.

But community activist Derrick Mosley said Jackson's calls for an investigation need to be heeded with some skepticism. He said Jackson is ignoring the fact that his friend, co-owner Dwain Kyles, and club owner Calvin Hollins, disregarded warnings as well as city orders to keep closed the second story of the club, where the chaos began in the wee hours of the Presidents Day holiday. The fact is safety codes were not enforced and it’s the job of inspectors and officials to do just that,” Jackson said in calling for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to ensure a "credible response" to the incident.

“We are 10 blocks from the police department, less than that from the mayor’s house. … [Police] knew people were here,” he said.

Jackson did not respond to Fox News' requests for an interview but so far stands out as one of the few deflecting accusations against the owners, whom Chicago officials described as law-breakers.


Just yesterday I made a snarky comment about The Raving Atheist.

This morning I see The Raving Atheist is much, much kinder to me.

Mea Culpa.

My bad.

And many thanks, dear Atheist. You’ll be in my prayers.

(PS - You aren’t really my sister, are you?)

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Don't care if LFHS alum Vince Vaughn is a guest. Fran knows someone who knows him.

I'm sooo impressed. Too bad I wouldn't recognize him if he showed up at my front door.

He's not my local brush with greatness, anyway.

I was the 2nd grade CCD teacher of novelist Dave Eggers little brother. That is my brush with greatness.
Karen Marie Knapp’s

If you could canonize anyone....
Mentions a fellow cheese-head (I say that with all due respect), Fr. Solanus Casey!

He’s turned up on several sites over the past couple of days.
Karen sums up his early life and obstacles quite succinctly:

Bernie Casey, mono-lingual Irish-American farm kid, wants to be a priest.

Oh, he wants to be a priest.

So, after working his way through high school with a series of odd jobs, he leaves the farm and goes to the

Big City (=Milwaukee) to go to the seminary to be a priest.

But, he's got one Really Big Problem --- Milwaukee, unlike his farm town, is a German-speaking city with a

German-speaking Catholic Church, German-speaking bishop, and German-speaking seminary!

The Porter of St. Bonaventure’s is a good biography. Can’t remember the author - and I’ve lent the book out so I can’t look at it right now.

I formulated my own little Fr. Solanus tour while I was up north visiting my sister in Hudson, WI.

Saw the original St. Patrick’s Church (his home parish), drove past the prison in Stillwater, MN where he was once a guard.

(Parts of the prison looked to be old enough that he may well have walked there.)

I just love his story. There is such a powerful lesson to be learned about perseverence and acceptance of going where God is calling you.

this-or-that Tuesday
February 18, 2003: Potpourri

  • 1. Black or white? little of both
  • 2. Plaid or stripes? stripes
  • 3. Paperback or hardcover books?any books I can get my hands one
  • 4. Color or B&W printer? Color
  • 5. Golden oldies or the newest tunes?little of both
  • 6. Ice cream: in a cone or a dish?dish, always a dish
  • 7. Bath or shower?Shower - under 3 minutes
  • 8. Are you outgoing or shy?sometimes I’m absolutely obnoxious; others I’m just a shrinking violet
  • 9. Answer the phone when it rings, or screen calls?SCREEN!
  • 10. VCR or TiVO?VCR for now, TiVO in my dreams
Google, Froogle, Bloogle?

I’m Feeling Lucky.........I Think.

Internet search company Google Inc. has agreed to acquire Pyra Labs, the handful of Web developers who helped jump-start

the personal publishing phenomenon known as blogging, Pyra's founder said on Sunday.

For Google, which has become a household name for searching the Web, the move marks the privately held company's latest

push beyond search and into publishing. Last fall, it launched Google News. Two years ago Google acquired's Usenet,

a massive archive of Web-based discussion groups.

I think I shall change my name to Blanche DuBois......
Another thing homeschoolers needn’t worry about!
It's safe to say that most people in Hull agree on at least one thing:
Joanna Frazier and Sharisse Kanet are accomplished, talented students.

From there, things dissolve into the sort of standoff that is increasingly polarizing parents, guidance counselors, and principals here and elsewhere: the valedictorian wars.
The once-easy task of ranking grade point averages and having the top senior deliver the coveted high school commencement
speech is being confounded by outside pressures and heated competition among ambitious teenagers or their equally driven parents.

Hull, the South Shore peninsula town of just three schools and dozens of opinions, finds itself mired in a particularly contentious version of that debate.
Late yesterday, the mother of Kanet, who is spending her senior year enrolled at Wesleyan University in Connecticut,
sued the Hull School Committee for barring her daughter from becoming valedictorian for the class of 2003.
The civil suit was filed in Brockton Superior Court.

Here’s the deal. You give me the #1 Mom mug for Mother’s Day and I’ll make you #1 student. (Just kidding......)

Think of the children...
There are now worries that Botox injections cause wrinkles to form in alternative non-paralyzed facial areas. Plus:

Last week, there were reports that film producers were turning down actors who used Botox because of its effects on facial expression.

What about babies with Botoxed mothers? (OK, fathers, too.)
Do they miss out on the necessary feedback that they get during interactions with their parents?
I’m basing this hypothesis on news anchors who appear too facially paralyzed to show any emotion whatsoever.
I’ve seen more expressive animatronics.
I feel a lot of anger here
I checked out The Raving Atheist after a mention of it at And Then?
The so familiar. Reading the posts (fascinating in their own way) I couldn’t help but hear them in my sister’s voice. With that certain edge of defensive anger.

Still praying for my sister. And wondering if a mention in the Atheists list of Godidiot Blogs will become a mark of honor.
Friends Kids?
Chuck was just complaining that Tom & Jerry Kids is a dumb cartoon. Along with Flintstones Kids and Muppet Babies. So we just had the most scathingly brilliant idea..........TV shows based on popular TV show characters as children. ER Babies, Frasier Kids? Think of the possibilities!
Fun......for the students......
I think Presidents' Day is a bogus generic holiday. (I'm prejudiced - my late uncle Washington was born on February 22 and somewhere along the line he was screwed out of having his own holiday.) So we plodded along with our schoolwork yesterday hoping not to be interrupted by neighbor kids with the day off. It is much easier for homeschoolers to take a day off when everyone else is in school than it is to school when everyone else is on break. The one 'fun' Presidents' Day activity we did was having the boys take the Fandex flip-guide to the Presidents and quiz me. It was a good learning experience, and not just in the sense that the boys learned how much I don't know and that a lot of the Presidents had funny middle names.

We had separate Lincoln's birthday lessons. And by golly, we'll be talking about Washington's birthday, too.

For the curious, my uncle Washington was so named because he was born on February 22 and the family already had a George.

Deep Thoughts.....with the Flower Fairy
Deeper than usual. Bridget is not as introspective as she used to be.
There was the time when her father was so ill and she had dreadful migraines and an assortment of other problems that would keep her up nights ‘thinking.’
She doesn’t ‘think’ as much as she used to.......

On her way to work yesterday morning, I heard her make an off-hand remark that I found to be tremendously heartening.
She mentioned the horrible nightclub disaster that happened in Chicago early Monday morning.
And what a dreaful way to die......and in such an inauspicious location. “When I die, I hope I’m not dressed like a hootchie.”
To those of you who don’t know her (you can chime in here Em, if the comments ever work.....) these may sound like flippant words,
but I was heartened by her relative profundity. First, she said when I die.
After all the late nights talking about death, she is admitting its inevitability.
And I take the hootchie comment to mean that she hopes she is in a proper location (physically and spiritually) when death does come.
My bible study group had a discussion along the same lines just last week.
We do not know when our time will come, so we should be prepared.
It was good to know that the same thoughts are rattling around Bridget’s head, as tangled as they may be in her calcified basal ganglia......
And maybe she'll decide to go through her closet. Let's get rid of any hootchie clothes. And not in the charity bag, please.
Why enable someone else?

Monday, February 17, 2003

To School or not to School?
Happy Presidents' Day to one and all.
Martha is home for the day, so I am assuming most schools around here will not be in session.
(Though Emily doesn't have school today, the school she works at is in session, having done their patriotic bit on Lincoln's Birthday.
Ah, the joys of Illinois!) I suppose I will try to cram in as much school work as possible before the neighborhood fellows start ringing
the doorbell. On a holiday, the little "School Time" sign that I hang on the front door is of little efficacy. They must think it is an oversight; something I didn't bring in the day before.

Time for Mass. I'm looking forward to driving straight to church and avoiding the nerve churning traffic near the high school.
On an average day, my first five minutes of prayer are thanksgiving that I didn't have an accident or succumb to frothing demented road rage.....
Must do this later. Can’t concentrate on questions now.

Blogger Personality test link from Kathy
I doubt it......and it sure doesn’t make me another Luther.

Hey, don't be ashamed! Some of the world's most profound thinking has been done on the can.
If you were a room in a house, what room would you be?

Maybe this is just wish fulfillment.
The matriarch of a large family in a small house sees very little of the bathroom (unless we count cleaning time, which I won’t since I’m not too vigilant about that either.........)
But this reminds me............if we don’t do a full day of school and the big people are at work, the bathroom walls may be dehumidified enough that I could finish my little shell painting project that I started on the bathroom wall about six months ago.

Thanks to Michelle for the ego boost.
I found a Million Dollar Mt. Sinai’s nursery, 24 years ago today!

Happy Birthday, Em!
Hope your big fat Swiss-Irish-Chinese Birthday party was fun. I sure wish you could have been home longer. Don’t get too wild tonight.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Might this not just attract a different type of teen?

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Give her credit for honesty.
A Dutch artist is to marry herself to show people how much she loves the different sides of her character.
Strange as this may seem, she doesn’t appear to be that different from some of the brides that we deal with at church.
"I want to celebrate with others how much I'm in love with myself."

After working in the rectory for almost 18 months, I have become fairly calm with the emergency calls from the hospital,
the calls from the funeral home, the calls from the recently bereaved, the ‘slightly out of touch with reality’ visitors at the door.
Brides still leave me a little worse for the wear.
Just for comparison, I found it much more rewarding to spend ninety minutes this morning convincing the copier that it wasn't
jammed than I would have found convincing a bride that she needs to be somehow tacitly connected with our parish to get married at our Church. The beauty of our Church in a beautiful town with excellent proximity to some fabulous banquet facilities makes our parish
desirable by those who may never have noticed us before.
(My favorite, of late, was asking a young gentleman on the phone if he was a registered parishioner, to which he replied,
"Yes, you're the church on the corner of x and y Rds., right?" Hmmm.)
Not all, but many, do earn the name “Bridezilla.”

Thanks to Karen Hall for the link.
Would you like to move your party to Chicago?
I heard on the radio this morning that Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys are doing two shows at
the OldTown School of Folk Music tomorrow.
Well, it was an idea.
If it were my birthday, I'd march everyone to the BBV (big blue van) and force them to 'enjoy' with me.
But it's not my party, so dinner at Grandma's will be just fine. Hope you can stay until Monday - we worry about you driving so much.
An Auspicious Anniversary
I vaguely recall in the early hours of this day leaving a comment somewhere about not having had a decent night’s sleep in 24 years.
Hyperbole, I know, but it certainly feels that way.
Monday being the Embot’s 24th birthday, tonight would be the 24th anniversary of the last good night’s sleep I had.
Tomorrow night will be the anniversary of a night of useless sleep followed by a frantic drive to Milwaukee’s Mt. Sinai hospital.
It all unravels from there.

So, how are we celebrating this unique night? A nap on the couch while waiting to use the computer (naps are fab - I get better quality sleep).
Now sitting at computer worrying about Fran and Bridget who are out with friends, Martha who went to Chili’s for dinner with a girlfriend
and should have been home 5 minutes ago and Em, who was supposed to drive home this afternoon to begin celebrating,
but is waiting out snowy weather in Champaign and coming back tomorrow.
At least the boys are here - I can only hope they remembered to brush their teeth while I was sawing wood on the couch.
I must dig out the quote from Teresa Bloomingdale who said - allow me to paraphrase - that women reach a certain age and wonder
why they can’t sleep. It should be obvious, after so many interruptions, they have forgotten how.

Friday, February 14, 2003

One More Guilty Pleasure
My husband is fond of watching the Chicago Bears on TV with the sound turned off.
He turns on the radio for a more concise, less blathery commentary.
Applying this technique has made watchable one of the most exquisitely beautiful and excruciatingly stupid movie that I have ever seen:
What Dreams May Come.

What ruins this film is the idiotic plot which builds up layer upon layer of bad theology/philosophy etc.
until it is as thick as the lacquer on a magnificent Chinese lacquered box. I couldn’t resist watching one more time.
I had a little extra time this morning because Martha was ill, so I crawled back into bed and turned the movie on.
And it was the eye-candy that I had remembered. Listening to whatever I liked on my CD player, I could watch the images float by,
trying to remember the various artists’ styles that were being evoked.
Not having to listen to the soul-mate/schmoulmate heaven/hell life/death/reincarnation twaddle was priceless.
Just about any music should work: Faure, Mozart, Coldplay, Nick Drake, Vivaldi.........anything you like.
As long as one doesn’t have to listen to the dialogue, it is a beautiful movie.

(Of course, while I’m on a roll, maybe it is not really beautiful, though it is extraordinarily eye pleasing.
If we are to say that the truly beautiful should also incorporate the good and the true, well then, the beauty in this movie is shot to hell.
Literally. But it is true eye-candy. Not nourishing for the soul, but sweet and stimulating. JUST DON’T LISTEN TO THE DIALOGUE!)
Friday Afternoon

In my school days, Friday afternoon was when the teachers cut out right after school and headed for the bar at Barth's at the Bridge.
I just couldn't understand what there was about the job of education that drove these people to smoke and caffeinate themselves like
crazy in the teacher's lounge during the week and then head to Barth's to drown their sorrows on Friday night.
Today may have given me an inkling - our second annual discussion of romantic myths in conjunction with St. Valentine's Day.
It's not Cupid and Psycho! I wish I smoked. I wish there was a bar where all the homeschooling mothers gathered on Friday night.
Cupid and Psycho?
From this week’s Dover Sampler

One featured sample is a page from The Art of Hand Shadows. We have this book. It’s a lot of fun - in a nice, lo-tech way.

Every cloud has a silver lining.....
Martha has a minor ear infection. (I miss the sweet smell of babies, but there is a lovely compensation in having articulate beings who can say, "Mother, I think I may have an ear infection.")
We had to take a chunk of time to run to the doc in Deerfield. Rick was expecting calls and couldn't leave so I put him in charge of educational pursuits. My reward was about an hour (total)driving Rick's car with the CD player while listening to Al Green and chatting with Martha. I read two chapters of a new book (more about that tomorrow - good stuff on motherhood and fear) while in the waiting room.
Robert Gotcher has some interesting points on homeschooling and parental humility.
Having been on the receiving end of comments that made feel like the world’s worst mother when I did not homeschool,
I try to be cautious with my words when talking to other parents.
Likewise, I still get some flak from various quarters now that we are homeschooling, so I am a bit reticent when it comes to admitting where my children go to school.
Unless I am feeling particularly comfortable with people or they are on the verge of thinking the children are in some sort of correctional facility,
I hope the topic does not come up.
I don’t mind being supportive or instructive to parents already considering homeschooling, but otherwise, in most situations,
I would agree with what Mr. Gotcher says, “Those of us who home school need to shut up about it. ’’

Or start a blog.
It’s not too late.......
to torture the adolescents in your home with a lovely display of Mardi Gras Decorations. The farther you live from traditional Mardi Gras celebrating areas, the more humiliating these decorations become. I may have to order some new garland; the harsh Chicago winds of this winter have really taken their toll.
Sex Thirst? And all this time I thought it was about chocolate and flowers. Especially chocolate.

Of course, my spouse thinks it is just a commercial scam to separate men from their money.

The student wing of Pakistan's fundamentalist Islamic party, Jamaat-i-Islami, has condemned Valentine's Day as a day of shame and lust.

"This is a shameful day. The people in the West are just fulfilling and satisfying their sex thirst on this day,"

Khalid Waqas Chamkani, a leader of the Islami Jamaat Talaba in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, said this week.

link courtesy of Fr. Jim Tucker.
Anyone see the new Johnny Cash video, Hurt? I wouldn’t even go in to the blatant crucifxion imagery - not sure where he is trying to go with that. Will have to give it a more careful analysis.
What caught my eye was the close resemblance to the Caravaggio still life in a few shots. The still life that makes me nuts because it is hanging slightly off the edge of the table. Did Caravaggio do this to torment the obsessive-compulsive? I saw other Carravagesque (if that’s the right word - I don’t feel motivated to look it up right now) influences, too. I’ve never been a particular fan of Mr. Cash, though I was suitably impressed when a friend of mine said he shopped at the same supermarket that she did in Franklin, Tennessee.
But this video has caught my attention. It’s a cover of some death metal song, right?
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Too bad pater wants to purge the home of anything French. Guess that means no Chanel No. 5 for Valentine’s Day. If my collection of Eiffel Towers should suddenly disappear, I know who the prime suspect will be.

My Inner Veggie by way of Alicia
In a bold move that will both aggravate and appease, the (New York) City Council approved legislation Wednesday that bans the use of cell phones at public performances.

The ban includes cell phone use at concerts, movies, plays, lectures, dance performances, museums, libraries and galleries. Talking on a cell phone, dialing, listening, or even having one ring during a performance would constitute a violation — and a $50 fine.

I wouldn’t want to encourage anyone to think that church is a performance, but I think there should be a punishment for phones in church, too. And double the fine for the phones that play “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” or “Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead.”
I tried.
To have my Car-o-Scope cast. First item: pick the car you are currently driving. They don’t have a GM 1988 POS van. I’ll have to try Chevy Van G20 - I think that’s what I used to drive. What is this? They have Borgward. I haven’t seen a Borgward since my father sold his in 1964.

I’m thinking of taking the quiz and saying I drive a Jaguar. If it comes back saying I should be driving a GM 1988 POS, then I will be at peace.......

(Thanks to Kathy for sending me to Disputations for this. I was looking for a way to avoid the work I should be doing.....)

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Just a thought....
If I hear one more thing about buying duct tape and plastic drop cloths I am going to puke.
Our parish had a wonderful holy hour this evening. That's where the worried people should have been. The homily was wonderful. The time spent before the Blessed Sacrament was wonderful.
I would say efficacious. In a parish of about 2600 families there were about 50-75 people in attendance. The 'usual suspects.'

Duct tape is a lame, stop-gap placebo. (still great for wart removal and vacuum cleaner repair!)
And the boys thought ‘cunctator’ would never turn up again!
I took the vocab test I found linked on Eve Tushnet’s site. This is because there are a bunch of other things I need to do. Taking little tests is a lovely way to procrastinate. I got 169 out of 200. I guess that’s OK. But I thought I would do better. Maybe too much time playing with the computer is leading to gradual mental deterioration. Or is it the annoying video game I hear to my left that is keeping me from truly high performance?

the author says: If you can match or beat my score (165), there is a very good chance that you would qualify for one of the 'higher IQ' societies at the 99th percentile, and at least a fair chance that you would qualify for one at 99.9th percentile. I’m sure the family will feel so much better knowing that their towels are laundered by someone qualified for a 'higher IQ society.' That must also explain why I am the only person here who is qualified to actually put a roll of toilet paper on the holder.

Center for Blogger Addiction Disorder at 1-800-GETALIFE
I really need to leave the house in about seven minutes. (Eight if I skip the socks and just jump into my boots.) But Jeff Miller has done it again......
I’m laughing (uncomfortably, perhaps) but heartily.

By the way, I’ve decided that Netscape crashes are God’s way of telling me I’ve been blogging too long.
The lawsuit......
for one million dollars brought by the Dr. Evil of the northwoods against my sister, has been dismissed. I wish I could remember the exact wording as my sister read it to me over the phone, something about the reasoning being so flawed that it wasn't worth the court's time to comment. Hilarious.
If you can’t duc’ it, ........never mind
I am not spending the day stocking up on duct tape and plastic. I have an adequate supply to keep the vacuum cleaner working and that will have to do.
The official advice is to stock up on duct tape and heavy plastic sheeting cut to size to cover any vents or gaps in the hideout. A shorter version of the advice has even been published for children.

“You should have duct tape, plastic sheeting and scissors. Have an adult turn off air-conditioners, vents and fans,” it says. “Find an interior room, hopefully a room that does not have windows. Seal around doors and windows with duct tape and plastic sheeting. Take your battery-powered radio with you, so you know when it’s all clear.”

Yes, we have an 2 interior rooms with no windows. A full bath and a powder room. Let’s seal 8 people (at least 8 people, there are usually members of someone’s entourage lurking about), the dog, gerbil and a Beta fish in a tiny space. The dynamics at work in that situation would be nearly as toxic as whatever might be floating outside.

My more scientific-minded husband is doubtful that one can use duct tape and plastic sheets to create adequate protection. And if the sealing job is good enough, then you have a suffocation situation. (This is where the children would bring in a Bean-o joke).

This advice should have a placebo effect on some people. Preparedness making them feel like they are “doing something.” But I fear it would be as effective as this advice...In the 1950s, Operation Alert sought to persuade Americans that diving under a park bench with a newspaper on your head would be ample protection in an all-out thermonuclear war launched by the Soviet Union.

The preparedness kits suggest include extra prescription drugs (try getting your insurance to pay for that), insect repellent ( I’m not sure why - I thought we were sealing ourselves in our powder rooms), and the one area where I am in compliance: flat shoes for women.

The only thing I didn’t see in the article was condoms. Lots of condoms.
How does the government think people will be entertaining themselves in these sealed rooms? Or do they already know that most of these measures are so useless that ‘protection’ wouldn’t really be an issue?

My Father Had a Friend with a Wooden Leg Named Blatz....
I needed to cheer myself up after reading this horrifying link about a young girl who lost a leg to cancer and has been driven from her school by the harrassment of fellow students. (Thanks for bumming me out, Bill White. No, actually it just reinforces my resolve to keep my boys out of the school pack mentality.) How low can the cruelty bar go? I don’t think kids were especially nice when I was in high school. I remember how I hated having to pass by the corridor intersection where the jocks would sit at lunch hour and “rate” each girl who walked by. And the girls could do really bitchy things. I probably did some bitchy things. But tormenting a kid with one leg? I know that didn’t happen. I wrote last week about my invoking the name of John Z., my classmate who died. The kids at Cedarburg High School may not have been fabulous humanitarians, but there were lines that were not crossed. Now those lines, as dubious as they may have been, have disappeared from the schools.

The Kerry Blue Terrier is Nice
but still no weiner (dog.) Go here for more info about the Westminster Kennel Club show and to vote for your favorite breed. The dachsunds are only at 8%.
This is one to e-mail to my sister.....
A southwest Missouri man can have Jesus Christ as his attorney, but only one licensed to practice Missouri law will be allowed to speak for him during trial on charges he tampered with a judge.

Defendant Richard John Adams, who described himself as a patriot and a Christian, told the Ozark County judge presiding over his case that under that ruling, he was "being restricted to the devil."

Adams, of Branson, said he refers to lawyers as "devils" because he believes the Missouri Bar Association "created the Federal Reserve through their unconstitutional statutes and case laws."

Adams formerly associated himself with a militia and Christian Identity movement but has since said he's not a member of any group.

She can relate. On top of some very unpleasant cases that she is prosecuting and trying to cope with the details of the house she is building (like the dirt trucked in to fill around the foundation went $12,000 over budget - that’s 22 trucks of dirt!) she is being sued for a million dollars (or so) by a sovereign militia nut for some sort of prosecutorial malfeasance. These are days that I don’t envy her ‘exciting’ life.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

More Pro-Swiss Propaganda
Don’t tell me he came from Huben.......
Tests on the teeth of the man, whose rich grave near Stonehenge amazed archaeologists last year, show he was originally from an Alpine region, probably Switzerland.

The media dubbed him "The King of Stonehenge", however, the presence of 16 flint arrowheads and two sandstone wristguards led archaeologists to call him "The Amesbury Archer".

The archer was obviously an important man, and because he lived at the same time that the stones at Stonehenge were first being erected, archaeologists believe that he may have been involved in its creation.

I’m surprised they didn’t find a chocolate bar and a Swiss Army knife, too.
Like it or not, the short u must be addressed......
NUN would be promoting religion, FUN would promote hedonism, BUN would promote obesity..........
A school board in Canada has banned the word "gun" from all spelling tests in its district after the parents of a first-grader complained about the word appearing on a spelling list distributed by her teacher, reports the Ottawa Citizen.

According to the report, 7-year-old Chloe Sousa, a student in the Lombardy, Ontario, Public School, came home with a list of spelling words last week that included "gun." Her parents, Amanda and Mark Sousa, who consider themselves pacifists, were shocked that the offending word was on the list.
OK, I’ll wear the faux Chanel......
as long as the wedding party wears clothes.
I thought these people were vulgar and crazy........Wisconsin nudist wedding in February. But they are going to Jamaica, so they are just vulgar.

Educated 21st Century Catholic Woman Succumbs to Magical Thinking
The weather looks really bad. Bridget won't drive. If she won't drive, I won't drive.
I'll phone in my report.
Fran just walked in. "Chance of flurries my a**." Fran knows.
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We're working on this.
Please try back later.

The story of my day. We try to think but nothing happens. Took a late lunch break to run to Wal-Mart.
Was tempted to nominate myself for Teacher of the Year at the service desk. But what kind of teacher yells, "I can't take anymore. Work on the computer. Your father is in charge. I'm going to Wal-Mart?"

I should start a notebook to track the boys twitchiness and 'learning difficulties' in relation to the weather......It must be the change in the weather. It may be a blessing that I was unable to find a copy of Song of Bernadette to watch this afternoon. (Yes, I know where to buy one........ but I'm cheap) We just wouldn't have made it. Today's attention span was appropriate for the 3 minute story about Lourdes that we read. Does this movie qualify as a 'chick-flick?' I'm afraid that's the response I got while discussing it with the boys......

Fun stunt: Walk into Blockbuster and ask them if they have The Song of Bernadette. Marvel at the blank look on the clerk's face.
Value Added
is the only term from Bill White’s very useful BS Bingo that won’t come up at my meeting tonight. As head of my parish’s Respect Life Committee, I must attend the quarterly Human Concerns Commission Meeting. (I think it’s Human, maybe Humane.......)
How can the heads of so many groups that do so many good things (I’m not talking about myself here - I mean like the Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry, Support for our Sharing Parish etc.) get together to talk for two hours or more with nothing to show for it? This is the only remotely crucial meeting of the year - I must be there to get dibs on a ‘good’ Sunday during Lent for our annual diaper/formula/baby clothes drive for a local crisis pregnancy center. I’ll make a deal with myself. The third time someone says ‘empower,’ I’ll announce I have another engagement to get to and excuse myself. (They don’t have to know that the previous engagement is a plan to put on my flannel gown, pop corn and watch Judging Amy.....)

Now the weather looks really nasty - think horizontal snow. Now I really don’t want to go. Besides, tomorrow night is our monthly Holy Hour plus the Respect Life Committee meeting. I start to feel guilty when I’m gone two nights in a row. No make that three. I worked last night. So, three nights in a row at church. Not exactly like I’m sitting at the bar up at The Lantern.....but crappy mother material nonetheless.
Hey Kids...
I’ve gone straight to IN. In the March Vanity Fair’s In & Out Column. (p. 230 for those of you who would like to skip the endless pages of angst ridden models in overpriced underthings.)
Out - Movie reviewer for Playboy
In - Blogger

So, does this qualify me as a failed journalist?

Monday, February 10, 2003

Thank you Em! I needed the maintenance. (When you're home next week-end, would you mind Hoovering my boudoir? Just kidding........)

Will talk to you soon.
Working tonight - you know where to find me.

How about a little good news/bad news?
First, the good news: Your father is reassured that his one adrenal gland is working just fine.
Now, the bad: It was Fran commandeering your black lacquer entertainment center and moving it to the basement that caused the adrenaline surge. Things got a little testy here. Fran moved all those derelict Macintosh components off of the cabinet and on to the garage floor..... They're OK, now.
Dad, Fran and the Mac junk.

I fixed some of the links you had. The Valentine's Day Picture wouldn't work because that link was for the whole web page. What you need to do is click on the picture, and then hold down the mouse till the little menu pops up. Then you go to copy, or copy the link. It should end with a .gif or .jpg or something like that. I also think that sometimes quizilla doesn't work right, that is why the links weren't working... Let me know if you need something...

Love, Embot
So bad - so many ways
The local Fox morning news show just had spot for a feature on romantic Valentine ideas.....

  • couple in bed - didn't look married to me (I had a friend who used to model for Better Homes and Gardens - they would diligently put a fake wedding ring on her finger in any picture that implied family, marriage, motherhood etc.)
  • black satin sheets. Ick. Slippery. And they look like they had been stolen by someone on a Graceland tour.
  • rose petals strewn on bed. The Princess is in the flower business. She has brought home bulk petals. They stay 'nice' for a very limited time. I can't imagine anything more gross than being in a slippery bed with crumpled decaying plant matter.
Big dogs, little dogs
Don't forget the dog show tonight on USA. This is the biggie - the Westminster Kennel Club.
I'll be at work tonight, but I'll be at the show in spirit.
The kids can watch with Cody and tell her how lucky she is that we don't drag her around to degrading expositions. (We tried that with the Irish Princess - once - and she could articulate her angst in English. Imagine what it does to a dog who can't talk.)
Oh, well, for once the kids can watch the dog show without me feeling like I've given them a big catalog and then said, "But you'll never get anything." We have a dog. Now we can enjoy the dog show.
interesting new blog. irregular musings of an eclectic nature It’s by the ‘maintenance guy for the Ratzinger Fan Club.’ What does he do the rest of the time. Set up chairs for meetings, work on the boiler, clean up ‘spills?’ Couldn’t help that - when I hear the term maintenance I see the man in the green suit pushing a very large broom, always at the ready in case a student should vomit. I’m sure members of the Ratzinger Fan Club do not deface their desks or vomit on the floor. Or get the tether ball tangled up......

Sunday, February 09, 2003

I will not pass notes during Mass.
I will not pass notes during Mass.
I will not pass notes during Mass.
I will not pass notes during Mass.
I will not pass notes during Mass.
I am sorry. I was just trying to be discreet. I went to church this morning with every intention of following John Wesley's rules for singing in church. (One problem - The Rev. Mr. Wesley didn't have to sing some of the twaddle placed before us....)
During the offertory, Rick gave me a look of puzzlement. The song was so, well, awful. I just couldn't sing it. Can't remember the name. All that comes to mind is that it must have set some sort of record for use of the word "I" in reference to God. (Not to mention a wienie tune) A song like this might be alright performed by some type of Raffi-esque minstrel who would introduce it saying, "Hey, kids, pretend God is singing this to you." From my amateur theological perspective, having a bunch of people of mediocre catechetical background singing as though they were God, is well, uncomfortable.
So, I confiscated Eddie's ever-present pen (which he totes to church to work on the children's bulletins........The church provides them. I copy them, I fold them - all 300+ copies. What the heck, at least the kid isn't writing on his arm)and scribbled "ixnay on the vox dei" as a quick explanation for the look of nausea on my face. He didn't get it. Maybe this "song really sucks" (oooh I hate that word) would have been better, but I was in Church. He looks at me like I had written Klaatu Barada Nikto.
Next time I'll offer it up and save the commentary for the ride home.
Oh, and I forgot the bulletin in the pew. Let's hope the usher didn't 'recycle' it back into the stack at the door.......

Our Frances never worked at Hooters
I think. Tonight's Malcolm in the Middle was most enjoyable. The pregnant Lois finds herself deep in a fantasy of how wonderful life would have been if her four children had been girls. (As a woman whose first four children are girls, I knew this would be hysterical........girls are not necessarily sugar and spice, unless you count capsaicin as one of all things nice. Which we do - when we're cooking.) We so often joke about the resemblance to our own family - except that Rick doesn't need his body shaved and our Frances is a girl - who never went to military school, though it had crossed our minds. The only thing that would make it closer to home would be if Lois and Hal decided to homeschool the kids. A total 'Krelboyne' household - of course, Stevie and some of the other gang from school would have to stop in for tutoring and to lend 'socialization.'
More returns.......
Jeff Miller is back!!!! Now as the "The Curt Jester".

My glee is tempered by the news of his mother's death today. I am sure I am not alone in offering him condolences and assurances of prayer.

This is a very disturbing death-with-beauty-and-dignity etc. story. I’ve never liked doctors who tinker with births so as to not mess up their schedules. And now we have ‘euthanists’ who prefer to be accomodated....But she made her decision clear by telling her family she had decided it would happen on Monday 13 January at 2pm and that she would drink the fatal mixture, rather than having the alternative of an injection. The doctor wanted it to be a Monday. He only carried out a euthanasia about once in two years and always found it emotionally draining. Mondays were the easiest days to take off.

The family had a champagne party with her the night before and Tina made a speech. She was proud of the speech, noting in her diary that the champagne had helped her speak well. The doctor arrived on time the next day. Her children and grandchildren were beside the bed. The doctor asked her formally if she wanted to go ahead. Sometimes patients change their mind at this stage, but not Tina.

The youngest daughter handed her the cup. She drank it without hesitation, but as was her habit with tea and coffee, left some dregs. The doctor, knowing of cases where this was enough to make the dose less than fatal and necessitating a lethal injection - often with traumatic effect on the family - asked her to drink up. It took about 15 minutes to work, as the doctor had said.

Good News...
Check out Kathy's Gospel M*I*N*E*F*I*E*L*D.
The mayor's reassurance to go ahead with our regular plans.....that is because of the high terror alert. Not because Rev. Al Sharpton is in town.
Can't wait to read the post-mortem in tomorrow's Trib.

I think Cardinal George's difficulties with Fr. Michael Pfleger are much more complicated than any of us can possibly surmise. Cardinal George appears to be acting with prudence and discernment. And Fr. Pfleger is acting like an adolescent begging to have the 'can of whup-ass' opened. The parental jargon that comes to mind: envelope pushing! (Do I bring too much of my personal experience to this? Probably. But I know 'attitude' when I see it.)

One other thought. If this is the time of increased responsibility of the laity......where are the parishioners of St. Sabina's while all this is going on? Is there not one parishioner disposed to protest?
Something fun in the e-mail
Dover Sampler.
A weekly sampling of Dover publications materials.

Speaking of the e-mail........the curse of obscene spam has finally caught up with us, so I look through everything in the morning. I may be turning paranoid - I started to trash a business e-mail to the spouse from Dome Technologies - the return address dome@dometech, well, I didn't read it as 'dome.' The price of constant vigilance: a suspicious mind.
Mayor Daley.....
in his inimitable way of reassuring the populace, told all Chicagoans to "be alert but go ahead with your regular plans." Not that I need his encouragement to shower, listen to Breakfast with the Beatles and go to Mass. But I may invoke his order when I decide to take a nap. Post-It note above Mom on couch: Mayor Daley says to proceed with my let me sleep.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Google yourself regularly
It’s not just for fun any more. The truth (and more) is out there.
I do get such a charge out of seeing the Google searches that send people to me. (The top so far are A) Victorian hand-tooled tin tinsel and B) World Famous Love Acts. The Love Acts I can understand, it’s the tinsel afficianados who worry me.)

So once all this information about you is out there in Googleland, is there anything you can do about it? Like so much in life, that depends on who you are. Google indexes more than 3 billion Web pages, 400 million images, and 800 million newsgroup postings (including an archive of embryonic Internet chatter it purchased from an outfit called, but it is willing to remove certain information, under certain circumstances.

If you desperately want that picture of a bleary-eyed you in an ill-fitting toga to disappear from Google, and the search engine found the photo on a Web site you control, then all you have to do is take the picture down. But in the more likely event that Google found the offending information on someone else's Web site, you are on your own. Google will not remove information from its index unless the Webmaster in question requests it. So say you flee an abusive relationship, move to a new state, and decide to run in a 10K road race, only to realize later that your home address got posted next to your time on the running club's Web site. If you want that information removed, you have to appeal to the good graces of the running club Webmaster, not Google.

No, really, I'm working here.......
Right now the pan from the ribs is soaking. So I have time for at least one more quiz. Thanks to Alicia
I mean I'm trapped here with a bunch of people whose idea of a fun Saturday night is watching Happy Gilmore.........

You're a Margarita!!  Yariba Yariba, underlay underlay!!  A margarita consists of tequila, triple sec and lemon or lime juice with a salt rimmed glass which just about sums you up!  You
""Which cocktail are you?""

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My friends call me an angel........that's nice! Good thing they didn't poll the family!!!

You are are ethereal and light. You
always think the best of everyone. All your
friends call you an angel.

What Element Are You?
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At last!
Another ray of sunshine........

It’s a dreary Saturday. So much laundry. Other little chores. But thanks to Michelle I’m sitting here taking quizzes instead. And this is more fun.

My deepest secret?
It was funny.
Too bad I can’t post it here.
My children read this.
Gee whiz, tell Mommy to stop babying you so much
and get out of the house once in a while. You
are the typical nerd. Congratulations, the
other kids walk all over you and make fun of
you, but you'll show them someday when you
develop the latest line of anti-depressants
that they will need when they are 35.

What kind of typical high school character from a movie are you?
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This really bothers me..........
Not to mention the fact that knowing I’m be graded on cooperation makes me feel super-special uncooperative.

LEBANON, Pa. (AP) — Come fall, Gino Vargas and other parents of schoolchildren in this city could be getting report cards of their own: The school system's superintendent is proposing that parents be graded on how involved they are in their children's education.

Under the proposal, parents in the 4,200-student district about 80 miles west of Philadelphia would be evaluated in areas such as attendance at parent-teacher conferences, whether they return things they have to sign and whether their children come to school healthy and properly dressed. Teachers would check "yes" or "no" and send the forms home with student report cards.

And, even possible home visits.
That would be the end of me.
Not the kids. Me. Although I think most kids don’t want school officials visiting their home.
The closest I ever came to a home visit was when my geometry teacher/tennis coach took a bunch of us to see Billy Jean King and a bunch of other women playing in a tournament. When he dropped us off at my house, my parents and their friends decided he needed to come in for a nerve soothing cocktail. He accepted. He needed it.
Em, don't tell your father........
he's already looking at me funny!
I always thought I was quite liberal. I guess I'm so liberal that I fell off the left and turned up on the right........

Far-Right Conservative
Where do you fall on the liberal - conservative political spectrum? (United States)

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Thanks to Michelle.

Friday, February 07, 2003

And we should be surprised when a students pick up a few good ideas when given paralegal work study jobs.........

A high school senior says he earned an A+, not an A, and has sued to get the grade changed to bolster his chance at becoming valedictorian.

Brian Delekta, who finished 11th grade in 2002 ranked at the top of his class, says he should have received an A+ for a St. Clair County intermediate school district work-experience class in which he worked as a paralegal in his mother's law office.

To the reader who asked for a larger image of Picot's Cupid and Psyche. I can only find one. Frankly, my postcard isn't a whole lot bigger......well, postcard size........
He’ll be b-a-a-a-c-h
Jeff Miller, that is. I sure hope so. I miss him already. (Some weeks humor is helpful and some - like this one - it is essential.)
Sleepy Mommy Peony Moss left a link to the St. Sabina (Chicago) website. Proof indeed of the cult of personality built around Fr. Michael Pfleger. (And I’m using personality in my favorite scatalogical sense) Technically, I suppose, the Armorbearers call is the same as mine. I pray and fast, with special intention for the priests of my parish. I would take a bullet for them. But mostly I screen the calls, keep things flowing in a well-organized fashion and try to keep the ‘Bridezillas’ under control. The other loyal rectory workers most likely feel the same. No one has formed a secret society to carry out this mission.

The Armorbearers Ministry consists of a group of God-called men who are responsible for protecting the anointing and the pastoral mantle that rests upon Reverend Michael L. Pfleger. This is accomplished through consistent prayer, fasting and personal assistance. The Armorbearers share an individual and collective desire to lay down their lives for the life of another, namely Pastor Pfleger. These men assist Pastor Pfleger on Sundays and also travel with him extensively throughout the year. The Armorbearers are also responsible for receiving and accommodating all guests of Pastor Pfleger, whether speaking or visiting. The term, "armorbearer" first appears in the bible in the Book of Judges, however, the characteristics, attributes and role of the God-called Armorbearer is described specifically in 1 Samuel with young King David as the primary role model. Substantial emphasis is placed on being "called" by God to this ministry due to the seriousness of the role of Armorbearer. The new member is expected to successfully complete a supervised three-month observation period along with a curriculum-based teaching series designed to prepare the new member for effective service.
Oh, and their meetings are closed.
They sound a little bit like the entourage that follows Louis Farrakhan around.
May I Remind You, I am the Mother of an Irish Princess!

You are Irish
You are a Dubliner.

What's your Inner European?
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Thanks to Fr. Jim Tucker.
Somebody tell me that this is just made up....
Sorry Fr. Tucker. Speaking from Chicagoland where there is little need for the National Enquirer because the news in the Trib and Sun-Times are amply bizarre, it’s probably real.

Especially knowing the history of Fr. Pfleger, a man of many good attributes, who now has a bit of cult-of-personality built around himself. And Rev. Al Sharpton? It takes a personality to know a personality.

St. Isidore Foundation

I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.
-- Michelangelo, quoted in Vasari's Lives of the Artists

Meet the Family...
Collect the Action Figures

Yes, three jade ribbons. 15 Years!
(not all the same child)
If you need to ask, you may not wish to know.

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