Monday, September 30, 2013

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Pre-Government-Shutdown Edition)

Today, all federal government employees shall eat, drink, and be about their business in preparing for what may or may not happen. This seems like a good time to listen to Neil Cavuto of the Fox Business Channel, and one of the smartest guys in the room that is cable news channels, cut through the malarkey on what happens tomorrow for all Americans, including those that are about to get exactly what they asked for.

Meanwhile, elsewhere (outside the Beltway, and) on planet Earth:

A man in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who murdered his attorney, gets a new one. You have to wonder what happens next. (SarcasmBecauseBeatingIsIllegal)

Speaking of getting a life sentence, the best place for one seems to be Norway, where they believe that the key to rehabilitation is making prison more humane than life on the outside. Or something. (FREEdom of Speech)

Meanwhile, down in Louisiana, they're teaching fourth-graders about the aforementioned seamy underbelly of life in their own unique way. And to think this state was predominantly Catholic at one time, or maybe still is. Oy! (Fox News Nation)

In another report on getting schooled, we learn what may be the ruination of the English language, and it's not text messaging. (Gizmodo)

Just two states over, in the heart of Dixie that is Alabama, we find another development in the field of education, where they still prefer a good old-fashioned ... (Fox News Insider)

In the field of medicine, doctors in China found a way to replace a man's nose that had been damaged by infection, by simply growing it somewhere else -- temporarily, we hope. (ABC News)

Next, we turn to the world of fashion. Having trouble buying shoes? Some children in the world go to bed without any. Now maybe both of you can walk a little easier. (The Daily Beast)

Finally, in yet another development in haute couture, we discover what may be the most versatile clothing you can possibly have in your closet. Because it doesn't change color, however, you may need one for each day of the week. But let the accompanying video do some of the explaining, before reading further. (Gajitz)

And that's all the news that fits, although we may or may not have some new developments by tomorrow. As the week goes on, and as we prepare a guide for what the government shutdown means to you Americans who only THINK you won't miss much, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning,
Michael of the Army of the Lord,

Stiffen thou the hand upon the still sword, Michael,
Folded and shut upon the sheathed sword, Michael,
Under the fullness of the white robes falling,
Gird us with the secret of the sword.

When the world cracked because of a sneer in heaven,
Leaving out for all time a scar upon the sky,
Thou didst rise up against the Horror in the highest,
Dragging down the highest that looked down on the Most High:
Rending from the seventh heaven the hell of exaltation
Down the seven heavens till the dark seas burn:
Thou that in thunder threwest down the Dragon
Knowest in what silence the Serpent can return.

Down through the universe the vast night falling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning!)
Far down the universe the deep calms calling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Sword!)
Bid us not forget in the baths of all forgetfulness,
In the sigh long drawn from the frenzy and the fretfulness
In the huge holy sempiternal silence
In the beginning was the Word.

When from the deeps of dying God astounded
Angels and devils who do all but die
Seeing Him fallen where thou couldst not follow,
Seeing Him mounted where thou couldst not fly,
Hand on the hilt, thou hast halted all thy legions
Waiting the Tetelestai and the acclaim,
Swords that salute Him dead and everlasting
God beyond God and greater than His Name.

Round us and over us the cold thoughts creeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the battle-cry!)
Round us and under us the thronged world sleeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Charge!)
Guard us the Word; the trysting and the trusting
Edge upon the honour and the blade unrusting
Fine as the hair and tauter than the harpstring
Ready as when it rang upon the targe.

He that giveth peace unto us; not as the world giveth:
He that giveth law unto us; not as the scribes:
Shall he be softened for the softening of the cities
Patient in usury; delicate in bribes?
They that come to quiet us, saying the sword is broken,
Break man with famine, fetter them with gold,
Sell them as sheep; and He shall know the selling
For He was more than murdered. He was sold.

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Mustering,
Michael of the marching on the mountains of the Lord,
Marshal the world and purge of rot and riot
Rule through the world till all the world be quiet:
Only establish when the world is broken
What is unbroken is the word.

(G K Chesterton, 1929)

Friday, September 27, 2013

FAMW: Why Can’t You Use Phones on Planes?

The holidays will soon be upon us, and those now making preparations for air travel should be aware of any turbulence they might encounter, as (possibly) seen in this CollegeHumor presentation. With the additional likelihood of certain momentary expletives, be prepared to hit the mute button at 1:54, 2:17, 2:20, and 2:35 (or thereabouts). Hey, it's college humor, right? Besides, we were looking for deep philosophical discussion with a twist, and were a little desperate for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Improv Everywhere “Conduct Us - An Orchestra in the Middle of New York”

Those madcap miscreants at Improv Everywhere were up to their old tricks again yesterday, as a Carnegie Hall orchestra (more like a chamber orchestra from what can be seen) was set up in the middle of New York City, with an empty podium place in front of the musicians with a sign that read, “Conduct Us.” Those who accepted the challenge were given the opportunity to conduct this world-class (chamber?) orchestra. The orchestra responded to the conductors, altering their tempo and performance accordingly.

Why don't these things ever happen to me?

Monday, September 23, 2013

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Edition)

(That's right. Today is the feast day for "Padre Pio." Now then ...)

I was in Cincinnati when this happened. My agency is located just west of the White House, just a few miles away from the incident in question, and we didn't get an internal memorandum on this until about three days later.

Meanwhile, see for yourself why Jon Stewart and The Daily Show are quickly becoming the news analysis program of choice in America. When it comes to the "lamestream media," they really are that stupid. But let's give them credit; at least Wolf Blitzer didn't blame it on right-wing extremists in the first hour of coverage before finding out it was really ... oops, nothing to see here, move along, move along.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

Last week, we reported on the homeless man in Boston who found a bag of cash and travelers checks, and turned it into the police. They gave him a commendation. We thought they should give him a job. Now it seems others have given him the next best thing, as a fundraising drive has suddenly sprung up for him. (NBC News)

Meanwhile, in another innovation in fundraising, an engineering professor from California has racked up quite a few airline miles through the purchase of ... (Gizmodo)

A 61-year-old Texas man stumbled into an emergency room with severe gastrointestinal issues. He was too drunk to drive, even in Texas, although it wasn't from drinking, but from a unique approach to home-brewing. (NPR)

Speaking of drinking, does anyone really drink holy water? Pilgrims at various sites of miracles could find they need one if they drink up for one. Is there nothing sacred, we have to ask? (GetReligion)

They say everyone needs a hobby, and a refugee to the States from Vietnam has discovered one, which is currently on display at art galleries. Even in the age of computers, the world still needs pencils. (Twisted Sifter)

Finally, if you want to see how much the face of Europe has changed over the years, take a look at this bonus video, showing a time-lapse of national boundaries over the last millennium. (LiveLeak)

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix “Radioactive”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.

Lindsey Stirling is an American violinist and performance artist, part of the recurring phenomenon of "crossover" classical musicians. She appears in this rendition of Radioactive with Pentatonix, one of the new wave of a cappella ensembles, that hails from Arlington, Texas.

Monday, September 16, 2013

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Saints Cornelius and Cyprian Edition)

This writer is reporting to you from his temporary location just north of "the Queen City of the West," otherwise known as Cincinnati.

Here's a few of the things we picked up from elsewhere on planet Earth:

As a young man in love, your heart may have skipped a beat, but what if it stopped for 45 minutes, like it did for this guy near Columbus, Ohio? (WCMH-TV)

Meanwhile, in Boston (of all places), a homeless man found a backpack filled with nearly $42,000 in cash at a shopping mall, and turned it over to the police. They gave him a citation. They should have given him a job. (Reuters)

Speaking of things that Kant possibly happen, two men in a city in southern Russia got into an argument over the work of the 18th century philosopher, who hailed from what is now the city of Kaliningrad. That's when things got ugly. (Reuters)

At least Immanuel's name was easy to spell. On the other hand, a woman in Hawai'i with a 35-letter surname has persuaded authorities to change their ID card and driving license formats so it would fit. (To make matters worse, in Malay-Polynesian languages, adjoining vowel sounds are pronounced separately.) (Sky News)

Finally, in an account that makes yours truly relieved that he never had to raise a daughter, read about the lengths one man went to (or, should we say, the lack thereof) to keep his daughter from dressing like a skank. (Twitchy)

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on (and as we head on home), stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Worst Four Years of My Life (and Why I Celebrate Them)

Lisa Hendley asked for advice at the Patheos Catholic Channel (where all the kewl Catholic bloggers hang out, duh!) on whether to go to one's high school reunion. She didn't get much advice in the combox, but she's about to get some here.

The American experience of high school is an artificial construct of sorts, one where less than five percent of the class -- the captain of the football team, the homecoming queen, their circle of friends, you know the drill -- can say it was the best years of their lives, while the other ninety-five-plus percent settle in for mediocrity and awkward growth spurts, hoping to eek out a meaningful existence in joining the chess club or the debate team, until graduation finally puts them out of their misery. As my Very Close and Personal Friend Father Paul Scalia explains:

When I was in high school, the students fell into many different groups: preps, jocks, cheerleaders, punks, deadheads, druggies, geeks, and all the rest. Just about everyone received an unofficial but virtually unchangeable assignment to a particular group. When I work in high schools today, I discover little difference ...

And on that promising note, I rolled into Cincinnati a few days ago, for one reason only, and I've been waiting ten years for it.

Last night, I attended my 40-year high school reunion. I've gone to the 10-year, the 20-year, and the 30-year, with each one better than the last. It only stood to reason that the next one would be the best time I'd had in a long time. This is more than I could have said about the four years themselves way back when. But first ...

McNicholas High School is a co-educational Catholic institution in Mount Washington, a comfortable middle-class neighborhood on the east side of Cincinnati, about ten minutes from downtown. Originally a convent school operated by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Medaille, the former Saint Joseph's Academy was transformed in 1951, into a daring new concept -- a Catholic high school where boys and girls would be learning in classrooms together, heedless of all manner of wickedness that would invariably follow. (Hey, we won the Big War, didn't we? Anything was possible.)

"McNick" is also what is known as an "interparochial" school, as nineteen parishes within its vicinity send students there for less than the full tuition, in return for providing subsidies thereto. All other things being equal, one's parish of origin was generally a factor in one's place on the social food chain. To those who went to the parish school across the street, Guardian Angels, it was merely an extension of the previous eight years. To those farther east on or near the main drag that was Beechmont Avenue (State Route 125), it was a more or less painless transition. To those farther out into the next county, or to areas to the northeast and southeast, "Rocket High" was another world.

Milford was ten miles to the northeast. It may as well have been ten thousand. Even as it was larger than some of the towns farther out, Milford was the proverbial "hick town" of choice. Even my nickname among some of the guys was "Milford" (although most of you good straight-up guys always called me "Alex"). Some who were bussed in from the hinterlands fit in very nicely, but only to the extent that they dissociated themselves from their origins, and built a new social realm around the more urbane, sophisticated among the huddled masses. I never realized that life itself could have endless possibilities, unrestrained by whether you were pretty enough or popular enough, until I got the hell out of there.

So why would I go to my high school reunion? Why celebrate someone else's Glory Days? What was it that changed?

We changed.

For pity's sake, we were all just kids forty years ago. None of us had any idea who we really were, the only difference being that nature had been kinder to some earlier on than to others, and so had the means at their disposal to hide their uncertainty so well. Those whom I know now, and have the privilege of calling my friends, are who they really were all along, but who no more realized it at the time than I did.

This was not realized all at once. At the 10-year reunion, most of us stuck to our predestined territories. In other words, the Milford kids had our own table for most of the evening. These divisions became less pronounced by the 20-year reunion, and were non-existent by the 30-year.

I didn't live along the main axis of that universe that was Beechmont Avenue. Mine was a world of Scout campouts on weekends, garage bands in the summer, and breaking out of a strict home where one was kept away from danger, and any of the fun that went with it. (In retrospect, I was also probably suffering from severe clinical depression.) I lived between the two worlds -- one, the hopelessly middle-class adventure where the world was at your feet and Daddy bought you a new car the minute you turned sixteen; the other, the insulated life of small town America. I crossed that line to go to school, and was ushered back to the other side before anything could happen that I would presumedly regret later.

But every ten years, I learn about that side of my world that I only thought I knew ...

I met the husband of the Mardi Gras pageant queen (or whatever they called it), a man who wanted to meet me for years, after learning of how their little boy reminded her of me.

I listened to a former basketball star, as he shared with me the tragedy of losing his son in a terrible accident as that son's wife was with child, only to experience the joy of seeing his son alive again in the eyes of the newborn babe.

I met the guitar player for a rock-and-roll band at school dances, who never knew that I played as well, as we compared notes on our experiences, how easily responsibilities take us away from our inner muse, and to look for the chance to discover it again.

I was astonished to learn that the genius behind the “Sore-Loserman” bumper sticker campaign, in the wake of the hotly contested 2000 presidential election, was one of my own, a successful entrepreneur who refused to sit back while the country he loved went into chaos, without speaking Truth to Power (not to mention CNN). To this day he maintains that he influenced history. He's probably right, which only proves what one man can do.

I learned the truth behind the jokes about Milford, that the city kids envied us every time enough snow fell to keep us away from class, even as they were still in session. (Uh-huh. Sure.)

Finally, at least two people have told me that I was "the smartest kid in the class." Obviously not smart enough to win a scholarship, though, probably because Ritalin wasn't invented yet, but that's another story.

When we left that twisted fairytale land that was high school, the thin veneer of adolescence was lifted, and we saw the world as it was all along. We shed our labels, we shed our baggage, and with that, any illusions that the fleeting and superficial could dictate our places in life. We went on to make our own places in life. We have seen ourselves through our children; for some of us, even our grandchildren.

We finally "get it." We have discovered an ultimate truth: high school is not real life.

So then, what can I say to those for whom high school was the worst years of their lives?

One word: Go.

That's right, go to that damn reunion! If you were the one who got beat up in the locker room and thrown in the shower with your clothes on, or taunted by the other girls for wearing last year's fashions bought at J C Penney's, and you got the hell out of Dodge City the day after you graduated and never looked back, walk into that rented hotel convention room with your head held high. You'll see the captain of that football team, and the rest of the once-totally-buffed varsity-lettered prodigies, looking twenty pounds heavier. You will see the perfect little princesses who married their teenage heartthrobs (if only the ones that didn't turn out to be jerks and dump them) talking about shuffling kids to soccer practice and complaining about their husbands.

They'll greet you like you were their long-lost buddy, and why shouldn't they? They'll have the same tales to tell as you, the same trials and tribulations. All the face time they got in the yearbooks, all the accolades from fawning faculty and athletic boosters, did not spare them from the pitfalls of the human condition. You all may have come from different directions, but you all arrived at the same place.

That's when you know that everything you learned in high school, everything portrayed in those bad after-school television specials, and those obnoxious Annette Funicello movies, was wrong. Those with whom you shared a locker, and most of your adolescence (if only despite themselves), were the best friends you never thought you had.

And so, here's a Tip of the Black Hat to mine. (Somebody cue the piano.)

“Cheer, cheer, for old Rocket High!
Banded together, that is our cry.
Never leave it just for one.
Banded together, we get things done.

“Green and white are our colors true.
We have no time to be sad or blue.
For our days at M-H-S are numbered among the best.


Friday, September 13, 2013

FAMW: Hiatus

For this week, a road trip to Cincinnati is in order, so that yours truly can attend his high school reunion. No, it won't be anything like this scene from the prom with Kevin Bacon in Footloose. In fact, I'm not sure our own senior prom was anything like this. But a boy can dream, and this boy will have to suffice, for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Patriots Without Permission

Here we feature a biker's view of America's 911 ride in 2011, from the site of the Flight 93 crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The music is by James Horner (first piece) and Bear McCreary (second piece).

For this year's Two Million Bikers' Rally, the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police estimated that over one million motorcycle riders came through the Nation's capital today. Having been denied a permit by the United States Park Police (which has jurisdiction over national park territory, including the National Mall), the DC Police (many of whom were bikers themselves) were pleased to cooperate with the hundreds upon hundreds of riders who just happened to be passing through their city, all at the same time, observing all traffic regulations, and making a statement about themselves, and the republic for which they stand. On the way they passed through towns and hamlets that opened their hearts, and cleared the main drags, to welcome them.

Let them ride on this day every year. Let their numbers increase with every year. “We don’t need no stinkin’ permit!”

God bless America.

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Nine-Eleven Plus Twelve

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.

Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser, aired this commercial shortly after the tragedy of twelve years ago (some of which yours truly saw with his own eyes). They only showed it once, so as not to benefit financially from it.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 09, 2013

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (International-Buy-A-Priest-A-Beer-Day Edition)

Today we commemorate Saint Hopswald of Aleyard, the first man to take his priest out for a beer. Nothing else is known about this saint, including whether he actually existed, or is actually the recent concoction of a bunch of young ├╝ber-trad Catholics out for a cheap laugh.

Meanwhile, (closer to the present and) elsewhere on planet Earth:

There's panic in the streets of DC, as the city government decides to crack down on those who take matters into their own hands, and imposes as 24-hour waiting period before citizens can purchase ... (

In another area of life in the naked city, if a pin falls in a disco on a Saturday night, does anybody hear it, even when it's quiet? No, because ... (Gajitz)

There is talk of reviving dinosaurs through DNA samples from fossilized remains -- yeah, just like in "Jurassic Park," whatever -- but there's at least one they may have to take off the list. (National Post)

Meanwhile, in a completely unrelated story, our Pope Francis is losing popularity with at least one man, who plans to sue him and the Church for ruining his marriage. How could this have happened, you ask? Maybe this will ring a bell. (World News Daily)

They say that diplomacy is the ability to tell someone to go to hell, in a way that makes them look forward to the trip. And so, we look to the British, who take the prize for saying just what they mean -- sort of. (Telegraph)

Finally, a story of hope from a "big box" store with a heart, one that treats its employees well, is making a fortune, and is buying up half the world's supply of ... cashews? (Neatorama)

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on (and as we get ready to pack for the trip to Ohio), stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Motet: Auxilium Meum

My help comes from God,
    because he does not reject his people
        or desert his inheritors.
Let all rejoice who hope in him,
    for they shall exult in eternity
        and be joyful for ever.

Pierre Passereau (1509-1547)

Saturday, September 07, 2013

“My country, ‘tis of y’all ...”

It was George Bernard Shaw (or Oscar Wilde, depending on who you ask) who once said that “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” This may be true enough even among Americans. Our regional accents are the result of more than two centuries of settlement and immigration, where the primary influences were of one people or another from the "old country," whichever country that was for them, and in whichever part of America they settled.

If we want someone else to repeat something we didn't quite make out, we would say "Come again?" or "I'm sorry?" or "Say what???" In the southwestern part of Ohio where I grew up, along the edge of the "German triangle" (the corners more or less being Saint Louis, Chicago, and Cincinnati), the response of "Bitte?" became "Please?" I don't believe I ever heard it anywhere else. I lost that quirk of speech within a few years of moving to DC. Saying "eye-ther" instead of "eee-ther," and/or "nye-ther" instead of "nee-ther" took a bit longer. I still remember when I was but a little “schnickelfritz” (a term of endearment that somewhat literally translates as "mischievous boy," but is equivalent to "little rascal") and hearing some of my Dad's aunts or uncles speaking with a slight guttural sound to their voice. This would have been common to the French accent as spoken by their grandparents, who mostly came from the Rhineland region of Alsace-Lorraine. When I addressed him, I'd call him "Dad" with a slight "y" tone to the vowel, to sound just a little like "Dayud," whereas my East-Coast-born-and-bred son just calls me plain old "Dad" (when he isn't accidentally calling me "Dude").

Even now, whenever I return to "Cincinnatuh," I start speaking like a native within a couple of days. And yet, even in an era of constant migration, where the suburban flight has peaked, and people are moving back into the cities (as in an article and illustration from Business Insider), New Englanders still speak of having to "pahk the ka" before going into the store. And way down South, they still make "shoo-fly pie" and say "y'all," except in urbane, sophisticated oases like Atlanta.

What a country! Let's hope we can still get along without screwing things up.

Friday, September 06, 2013

FAMW: “You’ve Got Mail!”

Iranian-Dutch filmmaker Bahram Sadeghi accidentally deleted an email message and couldn't get it back, so he decided to call up an organization with a reputation for email storage: the US National Security Agency. When he couldn't get an NSA employee to admit to collecting email and Internet data, he let her know that he was born in Iran, so maybe he's a person of interest to the NSA. Could she check for his email now? What happened next was a 5-minute cat-and-mouse game with two NSA employees. Your undisclosed federal tax dollars are hard at work, for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: The Lumineers “Ho Hey”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.

The Lumineers are a folk rock band, a focal point in the roots music revival. They started with guitarist-vocalist Wesley Schultz and percussionist Jeremiah Fraites writing and performing together in New Jersey in 2005, and from there, they picked up celloist/vocalist Neyla Pekarek, pianist Stelth Ulvang, and bassist Ben Wahamaki, and ended up in Colorado. This is one of the early releases, already a fixture on alternative music channels.

Monday, September 02, 2013

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Labor Day Edition)

This month's lineup features Iranian officials who deemed a woman too sexy to hold office, a certain big-city mayor (take a wild guess!) who's bent on banning e-cigarettes, even though they've helped plenty of people kick cancer sticks.

But for this month's top dishonors we head to the ritzy Bay Area city of Palo Alto. Renting a one-bedroom apartment will run you about $2,500 a month, and the city council has recently criminalized the much cheaper option of sleeping in your car. Tough economic times get a lot tougher for car dwellers who don't just have to worry about finding jobs and housing, but also avoiding arrest and hard time (up to a year in jail!).

Not to worry, says Palo Alto Mayor Gregory Scharff. The new ordinance merely provides police with a much-needed "tool" to punish those who do awful things like urinate and defecate on people's yards. (As if such offenses aren't already against the law!)

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.” So it is written in the Book of Ecclesiastes (Chapter 1, Verse 9), and so it is how we can believe that the ancient Romans knew about ... nanotechnology. (I'll bet they didn't have cellphones, though.) (Smithsonian Magazine)

And speaking of cellphones, did you ever want to keep one on the chain with your car keys? Sure you have. Just don't expect to do a lot of texting with it, even though you could, in a pinch. Or something. (Gajitz)

In other technology news, you might have to get an implant one of these days to replace the farecard for the subway, but until then, this little decoder ring might do the trick, and it won't be found in your box of Cracker Jacks. (Gizmodo)

In a completely unrelated story, breaking up is hard to do, especially if you're dumped by the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. If you think this couldn't happen in the West, remember what happened to the wives of Henry VIII. (Fox News)

It happened to Thomas Edison, and it happened to Albert Einstein. A school put a child in the special ed program, and sometime after they let him out, he managed to learn to count on his fingers and toes, and win a Nobel Prize. Not a bad sequence of events. (The Libertarian Republic)

Finally, most of us have heard about the ultimate skank-fest put on by Miley Cyrus at an MTV award special. (Sure, honey, you're all grown up now. We get it. We totally get it, okay???) But don't blame her, blame the culture, and listen to this perfectly good (ahem!) explanation on HuffPost Live. (Huffington Post)

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

(H/T to ReasonTV for source material of opening commentary.)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Divine Office of the Kitchen

Lord of the pots and pipkins,
  since I have no time to be
A saint by doing lovely things
  and vigilling with Thee,
By watching in the twilight dawn,
  and storming Heaven's gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals,
  and washing up the plates!

Lord of the pots and pipkins, please,
  I offer Thee my souls,
The tiresomeness of tea leaves,
  and the sticky porridge bowls!
Remind me of the things I need,
  not just to save the stairs,
But so that I may perfectly
  lay tables into prayers.

Accept my roughened hands
  because I made them so for Thee!
Pretend my dishmop is a bow, which heavenly harmony
Makes on a fiddle frying pan; it is so hard to clean,
And, ah, so horrid! Hear, dear Lord, the music that I mean!

Although I must have Martha's hands, I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots, I try Thy sandals, Lord, to find.
I think of how they trod our earth, what time I scrub the floor.
Accept this meditation when I haven't time for more!

Vespers and Compline come to pass by washing supper things,
And, mostly I am very tired; and all the heart that sings
About the morning's work, is gone, before me into bed.
Lend me, dear Lord, Thy Tireless Heart to work in me instead!

My matins are said overnight to praise and bless Thy Name
Beforehand for tomorrow's work, which will be just the same;
So that it seems I go to bed still in my working dress,
Lord make Thy Cinderella soon a heavenly Princess.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy Love and light it with Thy Peace!
Forgive the worrying, and make the grumbling words to cease.
Lord, who laid Breakfast on the shore, forgive the world which saith
"Can any good thing come to God out of poor Nazareth?"

+ + +

(The origin of this poem is undetermined as this is being published. It was read at the conclusion of the homily today, as given by the Reverend Franklyn Martin McAfee, DD, at the Church of Saint John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia. For what it is worth, "pipkins" is another word for "pans.")