Friday, July 29, 2011

"Dialogue and Mutual Understanding"

or not...
When a young person attending this week’s UN Youth Conference stood to ask a question and identified himself with a pro-life NGO, the moderator of the side event informed him that the panel was not interested in hearing his perspective. Such disinterest in discussion with youth characterized the closing meeting for the UN’s International Year of Youth, themed “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.”

Priceless. From C-Fam.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My new baby

The latest addition to my Asiatic lily garden: Lilium Monte Negro. (Mine has no bloom at present, so I have to substitute some photos found online...) It is known as the 'reddest of the red lilies'. I love lilies, all lilies. Absolutely. Love. Them. When I die, I hope to have all of these in my garden in heaven. (I know there are gardens in heaven because the Mormons told me so.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Black Cordelias

It sounds like an indie rock band doesn't it? But it's another cool Catholic blog that I stumbled over recently. And they love Flannery too. Fr. J's essays on her short stories are brilliant (and he claims not to be a literary expert. Most English faculties should be so lucky to have someone like that on staff). Another item for my increasingly lengthy must-visit blog list.


It sounds like a disease, doesn't it? And in a way, it is. This post is over three years old, but if you hate the church ditty "Gather Us In" as much as I do, you will appreciate the humour in this analysis. Here's just a taste:
The only new thing about the light in church is that light is currently provided by electricity, a relatively new development. Perhaps that’s what this song is about: it’s really a hymn to Thomas Edison. It makes sense. After all, Edison is mentioned by name exactly the same number of times as God.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why is the western world in unsustainable debt?

The Steyn explains in simple terms. You truly wonder what part of that lefties can't understand.
The problem is structural: Not enough people do not enough work for not enough of their lives. Developed nations have 30-year-old students and 50-year old retirees, and then wonder why the shrunken rump of a "working" population in between can't make the math add up.
This is why Steyn is, as Rhino would say, "Be-awesome."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Calling Elastigirl!

Andrea at PWPL makes a great observation about motherhood: it will take you places you do not expect. Brad Bird expressed a similar thought about this state of life in the character Helen Parr of The Incredibles. As Mr. Bird says somewhere in the DVD's special features, "motherhood stretches you" - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

The comment I left on Andrea's post was that motherhood has taken me aboard the world's first nuclear powered submarine. It has also taken me to several versions of The Nutcracker, one monster truck rally,  every train museum within 200 km of Ottawa, and nearer to God. Some of those things I hope I would have experienced anyway, but some are things I would never have done if not for my children. How much I would have missed! Even the monster truck rally taught me something: I never want to go to one of those again.

My brief stay aboard the world's first nuclear sub taught me that mothers and submariners have a great deal in common. I've been trying to live by these rules ever since.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kitchen Dreams, Bathroom Nightmares

I have lived in my house for over a decade, and only recently substituted a curtain for the towel which was nailed over the bathroom window in the basement.

These ladies probably would've gotten around to that a little sooner.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dumb, dumber and lyin' cheatin' teachers

Amazing story out of Atlanta. 

The report stated that many teachers lived under a “culture of fear, intimidation, and retaliation” where instructors were rewarded for cheating and often humiliated or terminated for refusing to cheat. One principal commanded a teacher whose students’ scores were low to crawl under a table in front of other teachers as punishment. Teachers who objected were told that “the door swings both ways” and “Walmart is hiring.” One teacher said that Atlanta’s public-schools system was “run like the mob.” [...] 

To these condescendingly anti-intellectual idealists, school is a place where children come to live and explore and create and be inspired and touch and smell and dance and feel and have their self-worth validated—it is most definitely NOT a place where they should learn to read and write and add and subtract. And what dizzy bastard came up the demented notion that school is a place where children are administered tests?

Just wow.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Flannery Quotation of the Day

"When I ask myself how I know I believe, I have no satisfactory answer at all, no assurance at all, no feeling at all. I can only say with Peter, Lord I believe, help my unbelief. And all I can say about my love of God, is, Lord help me in my lack of it. I distrust pious phrases, particularly when they issue from my mouth. I try militantly never to be affected by the pious language of the faithful but it is always coming out when you least expect it. In contrast to the pious language of the faithful, the liturgy is beautifully flat."


Kitchen dreams

As usual, I'm half a decade behind the trend-setters, but lately, I've been thinking that I might do the casual, eclectic, unfitted (or freestanding) kitchen thing when Mr. P and I do our reno. Not only would it be easier and quicker than a custom built-in (we could install it almost entirely ourselves), but it would cost a lot less (music to Mr. P's ears). Another plus: I won't have to give up some old, well-loved pieces that I feared we wouldn't have room for (like a heavy oak work table that Mr. P. and I refinished in our newlywed days, and our Art Deco china cabinet). Double Plus: if I feel like it, I can rearrange my kitchen! Not every housewife can say that.

I  even found an article that affirmed some of the reasons my heart (and/or "design aesthetic") has been tugged in this direction. 
Kitchens should be an expression of individuality and comfort, not places of sameness, repetition and rigid geometry." [...]
Most people who take out a fitted kitchen complain that they have too many cupboards filled with useless items that they would rather get rid of".
And how! I used to think I didn't have enough storage space. Now I think I've got too much, and it's all crappy (hard to reach etc.). I'd rather have a few good shelves and drawers holding a few frequently used items and have some space to breathe in my kitchen, than be suffocated by cabinets. When you have wall to wall, floor to ceiling storage, it eventually fills up with appliances and pots you never use, eight million yogurt containers (some without matching lids), and stuff like Tupperware jello ring moulds.

Time to get rid of the monolithic, ultra-dark, mid-70s cookie cutter cabinets and go for a light spacious open airy comfy country look.

 Cuz I think this:

looks better than this:

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's a slow slow summer day

When the one and only email you receive in a day is spam, and it's an ad for "Max Gentleman Enlargement Pills". And I have to ask, "Why?" I'm a girl, with "lady" in my email address. I mean, I could see getting targeted by this stuff if I was a guy, and had a name like Dick Small or Peter Short or Pyu Nee Wang, or (most unlikely of all) Anthony Wiener; or if I had an unhappy-sounding guy email address, like or something like that... OK, I'll stop already. Time to go chill with a Mike's Hard Lime (no entendre intended).

 If they knew me they would target me with spam subject headings like this: Don't Know What to Make for Supper?; Easy Ways to Keep Your Garden Weed-Free; or Guaranteed Kitchen Renovation--NOW!

"such as morron this Mark Styne is"

Hilarious comments by "okay" over at SDA, in response to the coverage by Steyn, Shaidle, Kitty et al, of the Toronto mosqueteria story.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Know Thyself...and then do something about it

A great article from Simcha Fisher, for any of us using our summer leisure (ha) for some thoughtful reflection:

So how do we resemble God? We have free will. And that’s what’s at stake here, when we’re struggling with either vanity or self-loathing: Now that we’ve seen ourselves, what do we choose to do next?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Flannery Quotation of the Day/Week/Month

“To his mind, an opportunity to insult a successful ape came from the hand of Providence.”

Short Story: "Enoch and the Gorilla

Jesus was probably gay

And probably, so was Judas, and probably he hanged himself  because of bullying. Got gay history? If not, you can always move to (where else?) California. My  latest  Mercator post.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Church bulletin bloopers

Via Matthew Archibold over at NCR. I've seen some of these before, but there are a few new ones too. 

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: Jesus Walks on the Water.
The sermon tonight: Searching for Jesus.
Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say ‘Hell’ to someone who doesn’t care much about you .
Don’t let worry kill you off - let the Church help .
Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs .
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow..
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM . The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church.
Please use large double door at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new campaign slogan last Sunday:
” I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.

This all goes to show how important grammar and syntax are. I'll never forget this line from an obituary in my local paper:

I just know that Uncle Horace is in heaven right now, handing out peppermints to the angels, that he always carried in his pockets.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Another gem add to my must-read list. Simcha Fisher. Dare I say she's the female version of Mark Shea? But only in common sense, humour and writing with the mind of the church. Oh, and they both wear pants. (Thanks, Deborah Gyapong, for the blog post about her!)

Here's just a snippet:

Some Catholics think that pretty much any time a man sins against chastity, it’s a woman’s fault.  And so we have the ludicrous “pants are for harlots” argument.  We have women who think that dressing dowdily is a virtue.  We have men working themselves into a righteous froth over a woman in shorts, for instance, as if it’s her fault that he has a thing for legs.
Here’s the problem:  first, dressing with utter, lust-proof modesty is literally impossible.  There will always be some man somewhere who manages to lust, no matter what you’re wearing (just ask a hijab-wearing rape victim).
Second, an extreme “better safe than sorry” argument can lead to foolish and dangerous attitudes toward women. There is nothing pious about treating women like some kind of pestilent instrument of spiritual warfare, designed to infect innocent men with lustful thoughts by her mere presence.  At some point, the woman’s responsibility does end, and the man’s begins.  This point varies widely from culture to culture, age to age, region to region—and man to man.Women are designed by God to be attractive to men, because this attraction leads to all sorts of good things:  protective behavior, fidelity, hard work, and babies, not to mention happiness. Our goal isn’t to reject the notion that women are attractive to men, but to channel it in a way that benefits everyone.
So, yes, modest dress is an onus that is put mostly on women —just as self-control is an onus that is put mostly on men.  This difference is not because life is unfair or inherently sexist, but because men and women are made differently.  Men and women both have the responsibility to contribute to the decency of the world—in their own ways.  There’s no sense in pretending there is no difference between them.  Just as importantly, there is no sense in pretending the tension will disappear if either men or women just tried harder to be good. 

Flannery Quotation of the Day/Week/Month

“She would of been a good woman,” the Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

Short story: "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

Oh no! Run for your lives! It's an epidemic!

I hope none of our readers accidentally touches any dirty doorknobs at McDonald's and catches the Cantwalk Virus! It's causing an obesity epidemic! It's an epidemic! An EPIDEMIC, I tell you!

Run for your lives! (Or at least push yourself away from the table a bit sooner.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God. 

— John Gillespie Magee, Jr