Thursday, March 31, 2005


I haven't heard anything from my two oldest sons since I sent the certified letters 3 weeks ago. Their mother signed for the letters but I don't know if she gave them to my sons. I just called the sheriff, and he is going to send a deputy out to their place in the country to make sure they are doing okay.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Presanctified Liturgy of St. Gregory

Okay, for the record, the Presanctified Liturgy is my favorite of the three liturgies I have done. That "let my prayer arise in Thy sight as incense" song is too beautiful for human ears. (To listen to an MP3 of it click here.) And the fact that it is sung while we all have our facees on the floor and are in a cloud of incense makes it even better. That is Heaven.

We didn't go to Holy Trinity in San Francisco tonight. Instead, we went to St. Nicholas in Saratoga. The abbot from the ROCOR monastery in Seattle (The home of my fave restaurant: The Brooklyn) was there. After the liturgy and after the putluck (Athanasia made Carolina cole slaw. YUM!) the abbot showed us PowerPoint slideshow about the construction of some new buildings. Well, let me take that back... It is a long story that involves the theft of $140,000 by a contractor (he is in prison now), at least one bona fide miracle, the abbot being assaulted, clergy from ROCOR, the Antiochian Archdiocese, and the OCA all working together, God speaking to nuns in Santa Rosa, a whole bunch of non-Orthodox donating time and materials to the building project, and John Ratzenberger donating land to a bunch of monks who were about to lose their dwelling. The new buildings are really just a small part of the story.

Now, as for the pot-luck: WOW! Primo dolmathes, and someone made this very yummy Indian dish out of cubed potatoes and garbonza beans.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


A friend of mine has not been in church for a while. I called him to see if he is sick only to hear the worst news: He is excommunicated and says he is not ashamed for what he has done. If he who's conversion to Orthodoxy was accompanied by miracles and who's faith seemed unshakeable can be decived by heretics and a prideful heart, am I safe?

Contacting Congress

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. Proverbs 12:10

Today I called my congressional delegation about the Schaivo case. All three of them, Mike Honda (D), Barbara Boxer (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D) are in favor of letting Mrs. Schaivo starve to death. Their staffs each had slightly different reposnses to my request. To each of them I said, "I think (name of legislator) should do something to save Teri Schaivo's life. It is wrong for the government to stand by and let her starve."

Dianne Fienstein's staff member said in a friendly voice: "Okay, thanks for calling. I'll pass that along to the senator."
Barbara Boxer's staff member tried to argue with me that the courts had made their decision and there was nothing the Congress can do. I didn't argue back, what would be the point? But as every fifth grader knows, Congress has the power to reverse the decision of any United States court.
Representative Honda's Staff member was friendly until I said my short little line. Then I could hear the change in the tone of his voice. He went from friendly to icy cold. He said "Okay. I'll tell Congressman Honda."

So as as Terri Scaivo starves to death all I can do is pray for her. And for us. We have wicked people governing us. Wicked people are being merciful to Terri Schaivo. God keep us from their tender mercies.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Wow! What a day!

Woke up at 7. Grabbed some bagels and coffee. (Note: I really hate it that the peanut butter most often used at bagle shops is Skippy. There are plenty of good peanut butters on the market. Adams and Maranatha come to mind. Unlike Skippy, shey have no hydrogenated oils. In fact, they are nothing but pure peanuts. ) Dropped Athanasia off at her office in Scott's Valley. (Today was her last day filling in there. The new manager starts tomorrow) From there the little boy and I drove through Felton and Santa Cruz and up the coast to Pigeon Point Lighthouse and looked at wild flowers. I know that there are people who disagree with me but California has the prettiest official flower of all of the 50 States. We just walked among the flowers watching the big black bumble bees and the tiny green humming birds fly from blossom to blossom.

From there the little boy and I drove south on the coast to Waddell Beach. The creek that empties into the ocean there was swollen from the recent rains. It was a good opportunity to teach the boy about salty nd fresh water. First I had him taste the ocean. Then we walked 50 feet up streem and tasted the creek. He thought it was neat and wanted to do it again. There were only 5 surfers, 2 runners, and a couple with a boy a liitle older than my Anselm. It was really strange. That beach is usually packed with people.

From there we drove to the little town of Bonny Doon and did some wine tasting at the Bonny Doon Winery. Just me. Not the boy. (Wooo Hoooo!!! This is our third of 4 in a row wine days! I love Annunciation!) They make the best Muscat I've ever tasted.

Then we drove the backroads from Bonny Doon to Scotts Valley and pick up my sweetie about 1:30 pm. Well, by that time we were all hungy so we zipped back down to Santa Cruz and went to our fave Greek place. No, not Prophet Elias Church. Though my brothers and sister there have a killer annual festival, I'm talking about Vasili's Taverna. The best - I mean the BEST dolmathes in California! I couldn't have any today because it its Great Lent, but they also have amazingly faubulous souvlaki - Opa! - which my "I'm pregnant and the priest says I get to eat anything I want to eat during Lent" wife enjoyed.

Since we were in San Francisco for services on Thursday and Friday for the Annunciation services we decided not to drive all the way up there again tonight. Instead we went to the Vigil for the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas at the Church of St. Nicholas in Saratoga. (If you haven't heard Archpriest Basil's voice you have missed out on one the best liturgical singers in the OCA. In my opinion he is every bit as good as Father Paul Lazor of St. Vlad's.) Also, it was good to see my old friend John from San Francisco who now is the choir director in Saratoga.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Vigil of the Annunciation

I've been Orthodox for 2 years and tonight was my first opportunity to go to the festal vigil of the Annunciation. I loved it!

Deep Thoughts

I've been listening to a CD of the Orthodox funeral service. In one of the hymns is this line: "Where is that joy which is un-mixed with sorrow?" That is exactly the feeling I have watching the boy grow up. The little baby who's feet I held in one hand for hours in the hospital (they were cold and needed to be warmed) is gone. Now I have a little boy who runs and jumps and yells, who makes messes, and can count to 12, who can tell me me that Muscat grapes are "my very best favorite". But thankfully, he still says "kankyou". I think I might cry the first time I hear him say "thank you". Of course, I'm glad he is growing bigger, stronger, smarter, kinder. But where is that joy which is un-mixed with sorrow?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

What I've learned so far during Lent, and other things.

What I have learned during Lent:
1) Peanut butter and honey tastes better on sourdough bread than on any other bread. The tangy-ness of the bread is a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the honey. The toughness of the crust is a beautful contrast to the creamy-ness of the peanut butter.
2) I am not worthy to be in the same Church as the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste.

In other news:
I had my anthropology final tonight. I am curious to see my grades in a couple of weeks.
I sold my books back to the bookstore. Got about $100 back on 4 books. That was good.
We got our box of vegetables from Two Small Farms. Lots of yummy things: Radishes, heritage carrots, spring garlic, green onions, kale, mixed greens. If you are not currently subscribing to a local farm and supporting community agriculture, please, consider it. The U.S.D.A. will provide you with a contact in your area.

Below is a recipe I made from the escarole that came in last weeks veggie box. It is very yummy, and if your bishop allows oil from non-olive sources Lenten, too!

Wilted Escarole
2 medium escarole (Not the root but the leafy part. The root is called chicory.) - rinsed, dried, and chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice (It took three fresh lemons to produce this much juice.)
20 dark pitted olives (I like kalamata)
3 tablespoons capers non pareil, just barely chopped
fresh ground black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
3 Table spoons canola oil

Heat oil in jarge pan over high heat. Add escarole. Stir until escarole just egins to wilt. Stir in lemon juice. Add all other ingredients and stir for another 30 seconds. Eat.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The last few days

Friday- Liturgy of Pre-Sanctified Gifts

Saturday - Athanasia and I made dinner for my parents and took to them. It was a nice time. They are both doing better in the health dept. Neither is well, but they are both better than they were.

Sunday- Litrugy in the morning. Lunch with my wife's sister and her husband. He is a recently unemployed corporate defense lawyer. Do you know anyone looking for an anti-anti-trust attorney with a lot of software industry litigation experience?

Today (the big boy's true birthday.) - Bought oil for the car, put one of my shoes in for a repair, deposited the big boys birthday money in the bank. After that we went to Santa Cruz. Played in the sand. Looked for sand crabs. It was cold and rainy. Didn't get in the water. We played played ski-ball and bought saltwater taffy from Marinis on the Boardwalk. Afer we came home I did a little work in the office, then went to school. Tonight was the last regular class sesssion before finals. There was a very short lecture about Canadian Eskimos and the demise of their traditional way of life.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Last night: Canon Part 4

Last night I went to St. Stephen's in Campbell but I had to leave early. I had left the house with it being in kind of a nutty state and didn't feel good about being in church with my wife being at home dealing with problems. I shouldn't have left home the first place. But after standing in church for about 15 minutes saying prayers abot how I really suck, I realized I should be home helping my wife.

In our relationship she is the Martha, I am the Mary. That is not intended as a criticism. Her Martha-ness keeps our house running. When I got home the chaos was gone. All was orderly. I wasn't needed there, after all.

But, it turns out that Godmother wasn't at church either. So there we were, 4 Orthodox Christians on Clean Thursday and none of us in church!. UGHHH! This was a problem. (Cue the Mission Impossible music). So, I quickly printed three copies of last night's portion of the Great Canon, Athanasia lit the candles, and Godmother came over for prayer. I read the Eirmos. Athanasia read the Troparia. Godmother read everything else. The "big boy" played with purple and gold Lenten book mark from the Bible. It was very very good!

After prayer Athanasia read out loud to me and the little boy. What did she read? The Water-babies by Charles Kingsley. I must tell you, this is one of the best childrens books ever written. It also contains very excellent examples of polemic. Kingsly was a master rhetoritician who in fun, nearly lyrical language mocks science for thinking it knows.

Tonight is the presanctified liturgy of St. Gregory the Great. Because I haven't been to Confession in a while I won't be able to approach the Mystery, but it will be good to merely be in the same room with the Lord, and watch as others Commune.

It has been a rainy day. The "big boy" and I have been playing indoor baseball. If he holds the bat still I can make the ball bounce off of it.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Soda Bread

Yes, we made Irish soda bread today. (Thanks to Huw's suggestion of substituting a soy product for a dairy product.) The "big" boy and I assembled all the ingredients, put an Icon of St. Patrick on the table, offered thanks to God for sending St. Patrick to our ancestors and for letting us make the bread in his honor. ("Why did you do that, Daddy?" "Because, if it had not been for Patrick, we might not be Christians today.") We measured, mixed, kneaded, and baked. The big boy helped at every stage. He is very good ad "dumping out" the ingredients into the mixing bowl. We cut a cross on the top of the dough just before putting it in the oven. We kissed it, of course. How sappy can you get??!! When my wife reads this she'll probably think I'm nuts. It tastes pretty good. Below is the recipe modified from Julia Child's recipe found in the book Baking With Julia.

4 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking flour
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 cups vanilla soy milk (substitution)
handfull of raisins (not in the original recipe)

Preheat oven to 375 F
Grease a pie pan (I like using canola oil for this) and set it aside until later.

Put flour, soda, and salt in to a large mixing bowl and stir with a fork to thouroughly blend the dry ingredients. Add soy milk and stir with much gusto until the dough comes together in to a moist ballish kind of thing. It will not look tidy like pie dough but will definately look like dough. Stir in the raisins. Dump the dough on to a lightly floured table and knead vigoursly for 1 minute, but do not overwork he dough. Pat the ball of dough in to a think hocky puck with a diameter of about 6 inches. Place the dough in the center of your pie pan. (It won't touch the sides. Don't worry about that.) Cut a cross in the top: Two 4" long x 1/2" deep strokes of the knife should do the trick. Pop it into the preheated oven for about 50 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool to just above room temperature before slicing. It is very good for dunking and as a platform for spreadables. Goes good with black coffee.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

St. Patrick's Day

Having St. Patrick's Day fall during Great Lent is kind of a bummer. No corned beef. No soda bread. No whisky. But here is what I did this year: For my two oldest sons I put together a book containing the Confession of St. Patrick. I found some cool looking "celtic" fonts and some Icons of St. Patrick with the help of google. I put it all in Word. Printed it out cut the pages down to size with scissors. Glued them to green constuction paper, and bound them with green yarn. The final result looked better than I thought it would. Today, it was mailed to them with a tin of McCann's Irish Oatmeal. (they are too young for whisky, beer, or Waterford.) I haven't figured out what to do with my wife and youngest son. Any suggestions?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Lent Has Begun

O Lord and Master of my life take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; for Thou art blessed unto the ages of ages.

Four Weeks Ago

Four weeks ago I wrote here on this site that something wonderful was happening but that I couldnt tell you about it at that time. Now I can. My wife is pregnant with a child. Due mid-October.

Friday, March 11, 2005


In my prior life as a protestant I sinned a lot. I mean really huge gross horrific sins. My sins were so great that even the pagan culure around us would have been appaled by some of them. But I enjoyed them. I committed them boldy. After all, Martin Luther said, "Sin boldly" , and besides that as a Calvinist, I believed that my behavior did not matter at all, that God had decided long before He created anything, who was going to Hell and who was going to Heaven.

But now I am Orthodox. Now I see my past sins and loathe them. I want to be free of even the memory of them. But even though I hate them they are aways near me, inside my mind, waiting to atack me. When I am awake they try to sneak in, but I take refuge in the Theotokos, the Trisagion, and in the Jesus Prayer. When the memories of evil deeds plague my dreams I can not pray for I am asleep, but rising quickly I can pray in the morning. (I understand why monks rise at midnight to pray.) So, in those ways I push back against the wickedness. But the fight does not seem to let up. They are always lurking, waiting for an idle minute when they can come charging back into my mind. Lately, I have wondered if I am alone in this struggle, this war against the memories of sins long ago absolved. I've asked myself, "Am I the only one?"

But just now on Huw's blog (Thanks, Huw.) I saw in his "Patristic Roulette" feature these words by St. Anthony the Great:

"Guard yourself, that your mind be not fouled with the memory of former sins, and that the memory of them be not renewed within you."

He didn't say the fight would get easier, but at least now I know others have fought, and are fighting this battle, too.

St. Anthony, you who overcame, pray for us that we will overcome, too.

Two things

Now is the crunch time for school. Much much homework.

Today, however, was spent getting ready for the little boy's birthday party, which will be tomorrow if the Lord tarries. We made a pound of butter to go on the scones. (The little boy's godmother helped churn it.) We made the cupcakes today, too. Tomorrow morning Athanasia will make the scones and frost the cupcakes. We have two gallons of orange juice and 6 bottles of champagne at the ready. I love scones. I don't know what all we are having, but I did see a great number of berries in the refrigerator. Athanasia is kind of doing this party.

Huw posted these words of the Venerable Seraphim of Platina on his blog:

"Weak and forgetful, even in the midst of the Great Fast we live as though Jerusalem did not exist for us. We fall in love with the world, our Babylon; we are seduced by the frivolous pastimes of this "strange land" and neglect the services and discipline of the Church which remind us of our true home. Worse yet, we love our very captors - for our sins hold us captive more surely than any human master - and in their service we pass in idleness the precious days of Lent when we should be preparing to meet the rising sun of the New Jerusalem - the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"There is still time; we must remember our true home and weep over the sins which have exiled us from it. Let us take to heart the words of St. John of the Ladder: Exile is separation from everything in order to keep the mind inseparable from God. Exile loves and produces continual weeping. Exiled from Paradise, we must become exiles from this world if we hope to return. "

These words go with the Psalm below.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Dashing babies agains the rocks

At the last few church services I've been to this has been sung:

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."

Lent is nigh.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

J.I. Packer, F.F. Bruce, R.C. Sproul and one Really Big Question

The Anglican, J.I. Packer was one of my heros back when I was a protestant. My dad gave me a copy of his book "Knowing God" back in 1982. I ate it up. I became a huge fan. I loved it when his essays would appear in the pages of Christianity Today. Whenever a copy of the magazine would arrive I would look first to see it Packer had anything in it.

It was Packer who introduced me to the The Westminster Confession of Faith and its majestic-sounding words regarding the Bible:

"The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. (Chapter 1, para 4)"

I don't think I'd heard about Sola Scriptura at that point, I was only 13, but I had been reading about the baptists' "Battle for the Bible". Anyway, I agreed with it and it became a part of me, and I professed with confidence until 2001.

In 2001, after Scott Hahn and Peter Kreeft had broadsided me and done an unbelieveable amount of damage to my Protestant understanding of the Bible and the Church, I looked to J.I. Packer again. And I found lots of really great stuff about the inspiration and reliability of the Bible. But nothing that answered this question: "How do we know we have the right books in the Bible?"

I went to a local evangelical protestant bookstore, told the girl behind the counter what question I needed answered and she directed me to The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce. (I'd read some of his commentaries so I knew he was a heavy-weight.) But Bruce did not answer the question. In fact, he lead me to belive that Kreeft and Hahn were right! My protestant identity was on the ropes. Sola Scriptura was laid out on the canvass and the referee was counting to ten. I but before the ref could call the fight I thought I would read some R.C. Sproul. Spoul is kinda famous for defending the Solas of the Reformation so I figured he must have an answer to this question. And there, in part 1 of "The Essential Truths of the Christian Faith" I saw them... The 9 words that would forever drive me from Protestantism: "The canon is a fallible collection of infallible books."

Now I must admit that in one of Kreeft's or Hahn's books I came across this quote that was attributed to Sproul. But I figured it must have been attributed in error. Why? Because I hoped it was an error. But then I saw it for myself, and when I read Sproul's whole argument (The essence of the argument is this: The collection can't be infallible because that would mean the church is infallible, and we know that can't be true.) I realized that I could no longer be a protestant. I could no longer believe in Sola Scriptura. I did not share with the protestants their low view of the Church.

So, at that point I knew what I did not belive (e.g. sola scriptura). And I knew what I believed (e.g. that the Bible is true.) But I didn't know where the Church was. But thanks be to God, for by His providence there was a Collection of Schaff's Books in the PBCC library. In those books I met St. Ireneus of Lyons, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Cyprian of Carthage, and many other Church Fathers (and a few heretics!). And those Saints lead me down the road that eventully delivered me into the arms of the Church which not only recognizes , discovers, or catalogues Holy Scriptures but which truely wrote the Holy Scriptures.


Ellie on Manilla Drive posted this list of kids' definitions of love. This registers very high on the Cute Meter.


I have a priest friend who does not have an aspergillum. So I went shopping today to buy one for him. STICKER SHOCK!!!! Everyting I found was priced between $200 and $500!!! So I made one for him instead.
Here is how I did it.

-Seven 20-inch long slender, pliable branches from olive, juniper, and walnut trees. (If you have the trees this is free.)
-One spool of 26 guage drawn copper wire. $2.00 (I looked for gold or silver, but I could only find plated. I don't like using plated stuff for church. Feels phoney to me.)

-Kitchen knife
-Needle-nose pliers

Total time from start to finish (includes climbing trees to cut branches and going to store to buy wire): 3 hours

1. strip the bark off of all of the branches.
2. Split the branches in 1/2 from one end, going down about 8 inches.
3. Then spit into 4ths, then 8ths. 16ths is ideal, but it is difficult unless your knife is very sharrp. My knife wasn't so after ruining a lot of sticks I settled for 8ths.
4.Bundle the sticks together so all the split ends are at ond end of the bundle.
5. Wrap one loop around the whole ends of the bundle (about 1.5 inches from the very end.) and tie it off.
6. Cut the wire and tuck the ends into the bundle so that they can not bee seen.
7. Below the loop begin weaving the wire in and out of the sticks. This creates a wedge so that as the sticks dry they won't fall out.
8. Begin wrapping wire around the bottom of the sticks. Continue wrapping until you have a good copper handle.
9. At the top of the handle (e.g. the end of the handle closest to the split ends of the sticks) do some more wedging.
10. Tie the wire tightly and tuck the end into the bundle.

Now everytime your priest splashes Holy Water on someone, you get to be part of the action.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

A House Blessing

I know, I know. This is way after Theophany, but life gets busy and next thing you know its the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and your house still hasn't been blessed. So, Fr. David and a whole bunch of other people from the parish came down to our apartment and began the blessing, then we processed through the courtyard around the pool to the "big boy's" godmother's apartment and finished the service there.

Just before the start of the service I grabbed three of my tenants and had them come in and help pray. They are one-ness pentecostals. (a strange mixture of sabellianism and montanism). They ducked out during the procession but at least they got to see a little bit of real Christianity.
During the procession another tenant popped out of her apartment and watched. Later, we talked and I answered some questions for her.

For the party after the blessing we ate a ton of meat. (After all, this is our last day for it until Pascha.) We had rice pilaf with roasted duck, pork loin and plums in a reduced balsamic rosemary sauce, champagne, many deserts, watermelon Italian sodas, grilled sausages with cranberry mustard & spicey chutney, and a bunch of other stuff.

Pretty exhausted now. Athanasia and the boy have been in bed for 1 hour. I'm going to do the last of the dishes, have the last slice of pork loin and then get ready for bed myself.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Last Bacon

Today has been a very good day so far. Woke up just a few minutes before 8. Athanasia was heading out the door. I don't know what time she woke up. Must have been early.

I was up late last night reading Bros. Karamozov. I think a person has to know about 17th & 18th century French philosophy, the Orthodox Church, the Bible, and pre-communist Russian history to really understand this book. I am sure that I am missing half of what is being said. Nevertheless, I've been in tears twice with this book(once for pity on one of the characters, once because I saw myself in another character and didn't like what I saw), and I'm only on page 77.

The little boy and I cleaned up the lampada. It hadn't been cleaned since Christmas of 2003. It was looking kind of scuzzy. Then we did morning prayers.
Then we ate the last of the bacon. It will be the last bacon until Pascha.

Tomorrow is the Sunday of the Last Judgement, the last day for eating meat until the priest blesses the "fleshmeats" on Pascha so, technically, we could have bacon for breakfast tomorrow, except, we are going to Communion (if we can make it to Confession tonight.) so there won't be any breakfast tomorrow. With the bacon we had eggs, yogurt, almonds, a clementine, and coffee. I gave a hadfull of almonds to the squirrel when he came inside.

The little boy was curious when I made the sign of the cross over the squirrel and told him to enjoy his breakfast and stay outside. (The squirrel likes to come in to the house). "Why did you do that?"
"We bless the squirrel because it is God's creation."
"You gave it peace"
"Yep, and told it to stay outside."
"You love the squirrel?"
"Yes, but not as much as I love you."

Now the little boy is out looking for snails and worms after last night's rain. I'm about to start in on a mountain of homework.

Today is the 4th anniversary of the day I met my wife face-to-face. (Well, sort of. We think we knew each other 6 weeks before we married. But we also think we met on March 5th. It doesn't quite add up.) I had tried to meet her before, but she said the place I wanted to meet was too far away from where she lived. (For the record, she was about 40 miles closer to the proposed meeting site than I was.) So our meeting was delayed about a week. As soon as she walked into the little coffee house by the beach I was in love. In the few years since we met there, the little cafe has gentrefied but it is still a nice place.

Friday, March 04, 2005

I See Stupid People (well, just one stupid congresswoman)

Rep. Maloni: My question was the statement by 2042, the entire system will be bankrupt. It will not be bankrupt, I agree the trust fund will be gone, but there will still be the money coming in from the payroll taxes -- enough to pay, by all accounts, three-quarters of the benefits. Is that true or not?

Chairman Greenspan: It's true in dollar terms, but I suspect it may not be true in real terms. And the reason I'm saying that: if we cannot get full funding and the savings required to build up the capital stock in time for 2042's production of goods and services, yes, the individuals may have the cash, but the cash will not buy as much as they think it would be. The real problem has got to be real resources, and this issue of whether or not the OASI goes bankrupt or not bankrupt is an interesting legal and political question, but it really doesn't get at the economics of the retirement of individuals, the 30 million additional individuals.

Rep. Maloni: That's true, but the point is, in 2042, the entire system is not bankrupt.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Bishop Benjamin

Yesterday I skipped school and went to vespers. It was served by Bishop Benjamin of Berkeley. After the service (about 30 minutes long) he answered questions. I think must know EVERYTHING about liturgical development, not just in the Orthodox Church but in the Syrian, the Armenian, Coptic and western churches, too. I only had one small question: How are we supposed to do evangelism. He had a very long answer that boils down to this: Be filled with the Holy Spirit and when people ask you where you go to church ask them to "come and see".

It was interesting to hear that he was raised in the Plymouth Bretheren. You can't get much deeper into the iconoclast heresy than that. (The church he attended didn't even have a cross on the wall.) He makes, besides myself, the 3rd person I've met who's conversion to Orthodoxy involved an overwhelming experience during his first visit to an Orthodox temple.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Today I am mailing more letters to my two oldest sons, soon to be 16 and 17. I haven't heard from them since last spring. Their mother doesn't have a phone. The sherriff of their county went out to their place in the country and checked on them for me. He said they were okay. But I haven't talked to them in such a long time. I write to them every week. I never hear a word back. Maybe they don't get the letters. Today, I'll send them via certified and ask for a return receipt.