Saturday, May 31, 2008

Too Many Emotions: Part of the Saturday Soundtrack Series

A few days ago learned that my second oldest son proposed to his girlfriend. (I discovered today that I have a reader in Paso Robles. Son, if that is you, I'd love to hear from you.)

Yesterday my third son told me that he is going to marry a girl in our parish. Knowing the family, I think he could do worse.

Both of these events reminded me of listening to my mother's cassette tape of Fiddler on the Roof over and over again when I was a little boy. At the time I didn't understand the feelings in the words of Sunrise, Sunset. Now I do.

If I didn't need to make a buck

I came across a fascinating Master's degree program that is being offered "distance" by the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukranian Catholic University. It is three semesters in length and only costs US$3,000. I'd love to do it but what would I do with it?

Friday, May 30, 2008

I Rode This Thing

In my entire life I have only done one thing more frightening than the NOE helicopter rides I experienced in the Army. That thing was 8 years ago when I rode the Big Shot on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. If you have never been to the Stratosphere, let me tell you, it is a trip. You look down on skyscrapers. You look down on helicopters. You are so high up that the people don't look like ants, they look like dust mites. Then you go outside on top of the building and get strapped into this thing that looks like it was designed to hurl WMDs at the invading Martians.

What brings this to mind? I had to do some research on the decline of manufacturing in Mountain View, CA and came across the website of the company that built the Big Shot. You need to CLICK HERE and watch the movie of Sue Murphy talking about her experience of the Big Shot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This Day in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Well, we are all feeling well for the first time in a while. No sniffles,no puking, no fever. Bless the Lord! His mercy endures forever!

Plumber had to come today. I tried and tried with scary chemicals and a drum auger to clear a shower drain but I failed. So the boys and I took it as an excuse for a field trip.

We went to Big Basin State Park and went for a hike. We ID'd some more birds to check off in our field guide, and saw some really cool trees. There was a cross section of tree that had the rings labeled with various events such as the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, Columbus's first voyage, The Norman Invasion, Rise of the Mongol Empire, and others great happenings in history. Right at the very center of the the tree it said, "Reign of Emperor Justinian - This Tree Sprouted".

One of the living trees we saw was a several centuries old hollow tree called a "chimeny tree". It had survived several forest fires but the heart would was completely burnt out. It was about 200 feet tall and from the outside it looked like any other tree. But but when one steps into the hollow area in the base of the tree and looks up one sees straight up the inside of the tree and into the blue sky.

After our hike we went to Felton to our fave grocery store for a late lunch and to the Orthodox Bookstore to buy Ascencion and Pentecost presents for my goddaughters. We used to go to the bookstore at Conciliar Press in Ben Lomond, just a couple of miles up the road, but they have scaled back their retail operation. Kind of sad. That bookstore was where I first learned about Holy Orthodoxy.

After that we went to the covered bridge park and to the boarding stables. Basil had a horrifying fall head first from about 5 and a half or 6ft off the ground. As he was falling I really thought he was going to die. But he lived, and as far as I can tell no bones were broken. His face is pretty bruised up though. One hug and a sign of the cross and he was right back at it. Though he did say tonight that his head was hurting.

We came home via Hwy 17 to get a look at the Lexington Resevoir. I've never seen it so low; and it is only May! I predict water rationing in the south bay by the end of June.

Well, my summer session (6 semester units in 6 weeks) started on yesterday so I should better stop this blogging stuff and get to work on school stuff.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'll Have to Remember This

Once in a while I am in a discussion (usually for school) when someone uses the word "progressive" to describe their leftist policy fantasies. Usually usually respond by saying, "I see nothing progressive about resurrecting the failed policies of Dracon, Robbespierre, and Mao." But I just read this in the Wall Street Journal and it is so much better.

It seems to have escaped the authors' notice that the most formidable totalitarian movement of the 20th century – communism – was, by its own lights, "progressive." It seems to have escaped their notice that the essence of a totalitarian system is the denial of liberty (often in the name of progress). It seems to have escaped their notice that "progress" is a word that signifies nothing. Exactly what is one progressing to?

The article from which it is taken isn't about progressive politics. It is about government NewSpeak in the Department of Homeland Security. (I hate that name. It makes me feel like there are cameras watching, like I need to be careful about what books I buy, like I live in east Germany in the 1960s. It really give me the creeps.)

A Very Enjoyable Story

Watch this to the end and hear the story about going to Bamboo Island abord the yacht of the wife of the dictator.

Decisions Decsions

I have a few years before Basil will go to school (After kindergarten with Anselm we have decided that we are not a good home school family.) which means i have a few years before I go back to work. So, what to do in those career-less years? Well, I'll be finished with a BA in December (after 7 schools, 5 majors, and almost 400 semester units, yes that is enough for three degrees) and am thinking about graduate school. I've narrowed it down to three programs:

A. 36 unit Master of Public Administration (same degree as my wife but from a less prestigious school) for $14,400

B. 30 unit Master of arts program in h
umanities for $12,000

C. 43 unit Master of Library and Information Science for $13,459

In addition to those three programs, which are all "distance" programs offered by various state universities, there is a 48 unit Master of Urban Planning program that is only offered "in-residence" by San Jose State University. This is the program I really want to do, but I can not figure out how to do it. Just the getting to and from class would take more than two hours each day. Why or why can't this program be a distance program, too? And I am so good at Sim City!!!

May Their Memories Be Eternal

I visit cemeteries often. About once a month I go and pray for my parents. Usually, I look for the graves of Orthodox Christians and pray the Trisagion for them. There aren't many Orthodox in the cemeteries I visit. But there are always war dead. I always pray for them, too. The things they did and saw and had to do were horrible. God, be merciful to them.

I think we all know this picture. At each changing of the guard the commander of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns salutes his fallen comrades from the two World Wars and the Korean War. (The crypt that once housed the body from the Vietnam war is now vacant.)

In Philadelphia is a less famous but no less important Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In the stone below are carved these words: "Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washington's army who died to give you liberty."

Just a reminder

“This true faith of the Orthodox Church, which I now voluntarily confess and truly hold, that same I will firmly maintain and confess, whole and unchanged, even until my last breath, God helping me…. In witness to this, my true and pure-hearted confession, I kiss the Word and Cross of my Savior, Amen.”

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Just One More Reason to Hate the Great Schism

I used to beg my parents to send me to boarding school. I really wanted to go to one of those old "brick and ivy" schools in New England but I knew my parents wouldn't go for that because of the distance (we lived in Tampa). So I tried persistently to get them to send me to Admiral Farragut Academy, also known as Old Fairy Guts. They said no to that, too. Now I am a parent and understand their reluctance to send me to boarding school. But I just came across a really cool school's website and it very much made me wish the Latins would be a bit more willing to admit that Pius IX was wrong, and that the Orthodox would be a bit more forgiving. Are there any schools like this (and you should really watch the promo movie.) that are run by Orthodox?

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Word from the Fathers

"But those who cleave asunder, and separate the unity of the Church, [shall] receive from God the same punishment as Jeroboam did." St Irenaeus of Lyons in Against Heresies, Book IV, Chapter 26:2

Rumor of even more schism in North American Church has reached our ears and has brought darkness and sorrow over our hearts. Let us pray to St. Irenaeus that the little bit of unity the Orthodox Church in America has left will not be destroyed, that he will guide us in the Orthodox Faith, and that our King's request of his Father concerning us, which is that we may be as one, will be fulfilled in our lifetime.

"Thou hast shown thyself, O God inspired Irenaeus as a guide to the Orthodox Faith, a teacher of true worship and purity, O star of the universe and companion of Bishops, O wise one. Through thy light thou hast enlightened all, O harp of the Spirit. Therefore, intercede with Christ God to save our souls." Troparion (Tone 4)

This Day's Good and Bad ( according to the eyes of the flesh)

The Good: The repair of the broken tooth is covered (mostly) by insurance! HOORAY!!!

The Bad: I've lost my hearing again.

The Good: Anselm Samuel really enjoyed his lesson on heraldry. He mad a cool personal coat of arms that in heraldry-code identified him as a third son and a Christian. He also correctly identified the badges and stars of various orders of knighthood and pointed out similar looking devices that are not emblems of knighthood because they are awarded by republics.

The Bad: Anselm Samuel says he hates writing and reading and only wants to learn by watching "Magic School Bus" videos and "Peep and the Big Wide World" videos.

The Good: The director of Stanford's "Big HR" told my wife's boss that my wife is very talented and very valuable and Stanford needs to not lose my wife.

The Bad: My wife did not get a job at Stanford that she had hoped she would get and which would have given her a about 15% raise.

Mid-life crisis? HA! I say again, HA! I laugh in your face!

Golly! Wouldn't you think that my family has had enough sickness this year? Apparantly our cup still has some room in it because three of us have colds. Cyndi and I each have pussy green goo coming out of our eyes. (WOW! Never experienced that before. Yuck!) Thankfully, Basil is spared that disgusting symptom. Basil was the first to get sick on Monday. I started feeling poorly on Tuesday. Cyndi on Wednesday. I think Basil and I are over the worst of it. But the cough and stuffy nose linger. The headache was miserable.

I bring this up not so much to make you all feel sorry for us (Did i mention that I broke a tooth, too?) but to write a little about getting older. (My health makes me think a lot about getting older.)

I'll be 40 next February. I always thought I would like being 40. Seriously. Even when I was 14 my favorite outfit was grey flannel slacks, a white shirt, a navy blazer, and a conservative tie. When I was 20 used to think of 40 as my dream age. I figured by 40 I'd be established in a career, have 2 grown sons, a house (full of American Empire furniture, Art Deco accents, and with my yet to be bought collection of Wedgwood jasperware plates on one wall.) 1/2 paid for, and vacations in places such as Venice, London, Barcelona, New York, Hong Kong, etc., have one or two books published, have a couple of graduate degrees. And I thought I would always be hale and hearty. That was my fantasy when I was 20. I was a slightly odd 20 year old.

Now I am 39, and what I am noticing is that I am a very long way away from that fantasy 40-year old I thought I would be. Iam actually farther away from that 40 year old now than I was when I was 20. I have achieved none of the stuff I thought I would, and none of it seems likely. Well, I do have two grown sons. I love them very much and am very proud of them but they do not talk to me. (God hates divorce for a reason, you know?) I suppose that isn't just a zero, but is a negative value, huh?

But I have three things that I never expected, and those three things more than make up for all the things that 20-year old wanted but never got. (And of course, I realize about 1/4 of 20 year olds who were alive with me when I was 20 are dead now. It is probable that they never got what they wanted either.)

The first thing is the Orthodox Christian faith. It is not possible for me to describe how happy it makes me to have all the different threads that I thought were true tied up in one beautiful rope. The second thing is a wife I can trust and who loves me. As late as 32 I had doubts about ever having that. The third thing is two little boys to watch grow up. This last is almost more fun than a man can handle. Some of the things they say and do just about make me burst open with happiness. I have vast amounts of beauty and love in my life, and that seems to be better than the things I wanted when I was 20.

But I'd still rather not have pussy green slime coming out of my eye. And a an American Empire highboy could certaily be put to good use.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All Is Not One. Non-A Is Not Equal To A.

ABC News reports the following:

"Despite his call for the U.S. to win the "hearts and minds of the Islamic world," Sen. John McCain recruited the support of an evangelical minister who describes Islam as "anti-Christ" and Mohammed as "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil."" (Read whole story here.)

The Orthodox Church teaches the following:
Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is antichrist (1 John 2:22),
Anyone who says Jesus is merely a man is antichrist (1 John 4:3)

Islam teaches the following:
1.God (Allah in Arabic) is a monad, there are no Father and Son. (Quaran 4:171)
2.Islam teaches that Jesus (Isa in Arabic) is a created being, created exactly like Adam, thus a mere human being. (Quaran 3:5-9)

Therefore, Mohammad and all Muslims are antichrist.

I hate to be pedantic, but, come on ABC. This is a simple syllogism. Orthodox Christians, indeed, all people who believe the New Testament, have to reach the same conclusion about Islam and Muslims: They are antichrist. This should not be a surprise. The surprise would be finding a Christian who says otherwise.

Paisley, "McCain's spiritual advisor" did say some other things that I am not so sure about, such as America being founded, in-part, to defeat Islam. I don't know what his source is for that, and it is something I have never read or heard before, so I am doubtful.

As for the threat posed by Islam, it is evident in history, the Quaran (the book allegedly revealed to Mohamed), the Hadditha (the sayings of Mohamed), and current events. Islam is murderous. About that Paisley is correct. But, honestly, I don't know the best course of action. But I do know that the course of action the Orthodox Church takes should be different from the course of action the various worldly powers take. It is not the Church's business to kill Muslims, though any state that wants to remain free ought to do exactly that. But why even have a two pronged approach? Why should the Church and the worldly powers both act against Islam?

Well, the worldly powers, the states of the world, have a duty to self-defense and defense of their people. Islam is a military and political agenda as much as it is a religion. As a military and political agenda it is a threat to all non-Muslim powers. But that military and political struggle is not the Church's job should not be forefront in any Christian's mind, unless that particular Christian is an officer of a state trying to protect itself from Islam.

The Church, as a rescue operation, the Ark of God's Salvation, is charged with fishing for men. Our vocation is saving men from the abyss of wrong belief and enmity with God, and bringing them onto the dry land of right belief and peace with God. It is not our job as Christians to oppose Islam, per se. It is our job, as we work with our bishops, to live and preach Christ. Which means, it is our job to say Islam, Buddhism, and Unitarianism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Materialist-Atheism and every other religion are anti-Christ. All is not one. Non-A is not equal to A. We say that because it is true. And we invite people, always in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, to be baptized into Christ, who is the Truth.

As for McCain, well I don't know if I can vote for him. I don't think he is quite pro-life enough for me. I need to find out more about his position on stem-cell research. (I've never voted for a pro-abort. I never shall.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Personal Relationship with Jesus

Fr. Stephen has something very much worth reading on his blog. Here is how it starts.

A priest friend sent me an article from Franklin Graham’s website, describing a revival in the Ukraine. Like others who have gone to Eastern Europe to preach the gospel, there is frequently a mistaken assessment of the Orthodox Church. Graham’s article recognized a holiness present in the Church’s there, but described it as “Old Testament,” and generally likened the Church to “religion” and not the same thing as “personal relationship.”

But you should read the whole article called The Orthodox Church And Personal Salvation.

My Wife

Have I mentioned that last Saturday the President of the Jesuit University of San Francisco bade my wife "welcome into the community of scholars" as a Master of Public Administration? This picture was take outside the library about 5 minutes after the ceremony. The little boy is Anselm Samuel.
Speakers at the ceremony included Willie Brown and Charlotte Mailliard Swig Schulz. There were other speakers but these were the two best.

My Vine

“The Sun, with all the planets revolving around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the Universe to do.” - Galileo Galilei

Three years ago I planted a grape vine. It did remarkably well. Until snails ate all the leaves in a single night. It recovered, but was not healthy. Then I had to dig it up and put it in a pot, well, half a wine cask, actually. Then, when I moved to my current apartment I tried to lift the cask but almost gave up the ghost in the attempt. It must have been 500 lbs of cask, dirt, water, and vine. So I did the only think I could do. I grabbed hold of the vine near the dirt and pulled, freeing the vine but leaving more than half the roots in the cask.

In February 2007 I put it in the ground outside my new apartment - scrunched into a tiny space betwen blue star rosemary and some other ornamental plants - (No, I didn't ask the landlord.) and hoped, and watered. In May there were leaves. I waited all summer to see grapes but there were none. Then the leaves fell off and the vine might as well have been dead. But it wasn't.

A few weeks ago leaves began to appear again. And as of today there are fourteen of these...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I saw this on Iconic Books (see sidebar). The boys and I watched it several times.

Hmmmm! I'll have a slice of Stinking Bishop, please.

Would you look at this? I had no idea there was a cheese school located so close to where I live. As soon as I have some free time I think I'll have to enroll. Maybe, they even teach their students to make < stinking bishop?

Monday, May 19, 2008


Senator Obama spoke to a crowd of 65,000 in Oregon. I repeat, 65 THOUSAND! He isn't even trying to be sneaky about his socialism. He isn't even trying to hide his hatred of infants. He isn't even trying to disguise his loathing of America. Yet 65,000 of my countrymen, Oregonians, rally to support him. Our Republic is lost.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What Goes Over A Kid's Head: Saturday Saoundtrack

This is such is bizarre song. And the weirdest kookiest part about it is that I remember riding around in the car with my mother in the summer of 1976 singing along when it would come on the radio. It was the bicentennial of the United States and everything was red, white and blue, even the fire hydrants in my town were red, white an blue. Fireworks were everywhere. So it kind of makes sense that I thought the song was about fireworks. I had no idea what it was really about. Here it is, Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band, the greatest One Hit Wonder of all time. (Do you remember their variety show on CBS? I do. It was only on for a few weeks but it was the show that introduced me to the genius political satire ofMark Russell.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

This and that at the end of a very good day.

We have been so busy around here that today seemed like a vacation. We started out by sleeping it to about 8. Then we hopped in the car to go to the Lawrence Hall of Science. But traffic was so bad that an hour into the trip we had only made it as far north as San Mateo. So we turned around and went to the YMCA for a swim. Then we went to a salad bar for lunch. Then to see Prince Caspian. It was such a good day it really did seem like a vacation. You might be thinking, "How can that seem like a vacation?" Well, it would be hard to tell you what the last 4 months have been like. But I will try.

Not one night in the last 4 months have Cyndi or I had more than 6 hours sleep. Many of my nights were no longer than 4 hours. Our schedules were like that until the 14th when we were both finished with the semester. In fact, our schedules have been so nuts that, this evening, when I asked my wife what she would like to do for our anniversary - wait. What I actually said was, "Isn't our anniversary coming up soon?"
She looked at me with shock, horror, regrret, and dissapointment and said, "Oh, Honey! It was last week. I am so sorry!"
"Are you sure? Isn't it in a couple of weeks?"
"No. It was the day after Mother's Day." Neither of us could forget Mother's Day. This year, for the first time, neither of us has a mother.
I asked, "How long have we been married? 8 years?"
"No, I think only 7."
"Are you sure? He's six", I said pointing at Anselm. "We must have been married 8 years."
"Matt, he was conceived before we had been married a month."
"It's hard to remember. I guess your're right. I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry, too."

In other news: My wife will be made a Master of Public Administration tomorrow. Yes, the faculty at the Jesuit University of San Francisco are making her dress up and walk across a stage. (Actually shell walk across the sanctuary of St. Ignatius Church, which seems a little queer to us, considering that it is a place only clergy are supposed to go. Neither of us would even think about walking into the equivalent part of a an Orthodox temple. But it is their church not ours.) Did I mention that her grades are perfect? Yes, really. She has a 4.0 GPA If she decides to go on for a Ph.D. she will have no trouble getting a fellowship to pay for it. But she says she is through with school. We are all very excited. I had her academic regalia - consisting of black Masters robe (Oxford M.A. style, as is customary in America), green and gold (colors of the school) lined hood (the colors of the school) with peacock blue velvet trim around the edges - pressed a few days ago. Its hanging on the back of the door. Camera is ready. Keg of beer and keg of root beer are in the back of the car. My sister-in-law says she is ready to host the reception tomorrow. We are all set to go! I am so proud of her that I don't even know how to begin telling you. It has been a very hard two years for her. New baby, three new jobs, and full-time school. She is amazing.

In case you are wondering, Prince Caspian is a very good movie. They had to change some things from the book, but overall, it works. And I must say, the werewolf, speaking Lewis's exact words, is very scary. And the Trees! Oh My! They were everything we wished the trees in Peter Jackson's LOTR had been.

The heat seems to be making Basil sick.

Prayer request: My brother-in-law has some frightening symptoms. Tests so far have been inconclusive. More tests are scheduled. His name is Daniel.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Baby, It's (not) Cold Outside

Daddy, When is Nativity?
Burl Ives from the dead CD sends
Holly jollies but no snow
And the icon candle sweats
Sweet honey in the Vesuvian wilting

Dad, when will it be cold again?
From the box with flahing lights
Rudolph is invoked
Santa hovers in his jet-copter
Above the lava in the living room

Daddy, how many weeks till St. Nicholas Day?
Leftover paschal eggs swirl
Peanut butter and chocolate drip from the cabinet
While the CD Player reminds us
It's a Marshmallow World

Dad, do we have to wait to decorate the house?
Popsicles melt before boys can eat them
The music insists holly deck halls fa la la
Martha and the Vandellas would sing a different song
No boar's heads need apply

Who needs democracy....

when you have philosopher-kings?

Oath of Office

I, [name], do solemnly swear, (or affirm,) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Zach, my good friend of many years has taken the Oath and, in a few days, will be reporting soon to the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, where he will study Engineering, Military Indoctrination, Naval History, Navigation, Seamanship, Damage Control, Naval Leadership, Administration, Military Law, Naval Warfare, and Electronics. (He has a degree in electrical engineering so this last part should be easy for him.) In addition to academics, the physical training program, which consists of running augmented by calisthenics and aquatic training, is extremely fast paced and begins almost immediately upon arrival. If he makes it through the meat grinder of OCS he will put on the gold bars of an ensign and become a leader in the most powerful navy on the seas. God protect him and give him wisdom, patience, and strength.

You'll Know Them by the Company They Keep

Today while driving across the Stanford campus I was behind a car with these three bumperstickers. I thought to myself, "Hmmmm. Homosexual marriage, abortion, and Obama. That really tells anyone paying attention all they need to know." And yes, the car was a Subaru Outback.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Not Saturday, So Sue Me.

In the past few weeks I've missed a some of my acclaimed Saturday Saturday Soundtrack postings. So I figure a little weekday fun is on order. Growing up in the 70s it was impossible to not know this singers music: She was the girlfriend of the governor. Aside from that she has 65 hit singles, 33 Albums (15 of them gold or platinum), 11 Grammys, a record-breaking 6 Rolling Stone Magazine covers, and a 3 octave voice with amazing vibrato control.

Though my favorite Linda Ronstadt songs are on the What's New and Lush Life albums (She does the best version of Skylark ever! What? Are you saying she doesn't? Maybe we should step outside.), those albums are post Saturday Night Fever (which might be the most depressing movie ever) and thus can not be included in the Saturday Soundtrack. So, here it is... another iconic song from my childhood:

When Will I be Loved from the Heart Like A Wheel album (1974).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Relevant Worship

Christianity Today has an interesting article on protestants adopting liturgical forms of worship. Below is what I think is the heart of the article, but the whole thing is worth reading.
This is one reason I thank God for the liturgy. The liturgy does not target any age or cultural subgroup. It does not even target this century. (It does not imagine, as we moderns and postmoderns are tempted to do, that this is the best of all possible ages, the most significant era of history.) Instead, the liturgy draws us into worship that transcends our time and place. Its earliest forms took shape in ancient Israel, and its subsequent development occurred in a variety of cultures and subcultures—Greco-Roman, North African, German, Frankish, Anglo-Saxon, and so on. It has been prayed meaningfully by bakers, housewives, tailors, teachers, philosophers, priests, monks, kings, and slaves. As such, it has not been shaped to meet a particular group's needs. It seeks only to enable people—people in general—to see God. Read the whole thing here.

I think, other than the fact that this is the way God wants us to worship him (Even the pagan wisemen knew this.) the thing I love about the Divine Liturgy is that it is the same liturgy that is served in the poorest palm brach covered parish in Borneo and the grandest Cathedrals of Russia, to say nothing of the heavenly throne room of God. The poorest and the richest, the pure together with the vile, the strong and the weak, get to worship God the same way. This is grace: All are invited to serve and love God in the Liturgy. Oh heck, here is one more quote from the article...
"The liturgy, from beginning to end, is not about meeting our needs. The liturgy is about God. It's not even about God-as-the-fulfiller-of-our-need-for-spiritual-meaning. It's about God as he is himself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is not about our blessedness but his. The liturgy immediately signals that our needs are not nearly as relevant as we imagine. There is something infinitely more worthy of our attention—something, someone, who lies outside the self."

Babies are Punishments?

Sen. Obama said...

"Look, I got two daughters - nine years old and six years old. I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."

Wow!!!! That is astounding...and evil. And besides that, I think he meant "I have two daughters". If he got two daughters I am interested in knowing where and from whom he got them.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Would a Commie by Another Name Still Smell as Vile?

Until recently I was not very interested in Obama. I thought he delivered a very artful speech to a group that wasn't ready to embrace him. I was astounded by the Obamalatry of many of his followers. I thought it was interesting that the Democrats are about to nominate an African-American (I always thought the Republicans would do it first.) But I didn't hold him in any great disregard.

But in he last couple of weeks I learned about the Rezko affair. It seems a lot like Hillary's cattle futures to me.

And I learned that Obama chose his church for political reasons. (Really. I'm not making that up.) I'm sure some people were angry of the strange things his pastor said, but that, it seems to me, to be kind of off-limits. After all, there are a lot of people who don't like the religious ideas my bishop holds. So,I am prepared to cut Obama some slack on his theology. But when I found out that he picked his church to further his political aspirations, well, that told me something about his character.

But what has me kind of freaked is Michelle Obama's Bolshevism. If he really changes things, and if he follows her policies we will all be wading in blood. She actually said "We have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done...Barak Obama is the only person in this race who understands that. That before we can work on the problems we have, we have to fix our souls...Barak will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual...we can change the world!" I am not making that up. She said it. It is as though she said "Put your trust in Barak Obama in whom there is Salvation" But we know that anytime a politician claims god-like powers that blood follows.

Let's look at what her words mean...

"We have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done" means "you are going to have to give up your liberty and property for the greater good."

"That before we can work on the problems we have, we have to fix our souls" means "Only greedy evil people with diseased souls care about liberty and property, but we have these camps..."

"Barak Obama is the only person in this race who understands that" means "Barak is smarter than everyone else."

"Barak will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual" means "Barak requires total commitment. He is a totalitarian."

"we can change the world" means "I'm saying "we" so you'll feel good, but as Gandalf said, only one hand can wear the ring. And when he has power, Barak will succeed where Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot failed."

Vote for Barak and liberty will be gone. Vote for Barak and it won't be long before churches are blown up, because idols don't like the Living God. Barak will tell you what you can believe, what you can own, what you can do with your life. He wants to cure your soul.

I do not yet know who I am going to vote for in November. But I know it will not be Comrade Obama.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Anselm's Favorite Supper

When I made this meal tonight I didn't expect the boys to like it very much. In fact, I didn't think I would like it very much. You see, I've never been a big fan of turnips. But we received them from our farm yesterday, and I figured I should do something with them. So I made the recipe you see below and boy! it was G-O-O-D Good! Anselm even said it was his favorite supper ever.

I let the boys do all the chopping and showed Anselm how to use the flat of his knife to peel and crush garlic "like a real chef". In case you are wondering, yes it is a little scary to put an 8 inch chefs knife into the hand of a two year old, but they have to learn sometime, don't they?

The recipe I was using (from In Praise of Sardines called for red pepper flakes but I didn't have any. So I used a little fresh ground black pepper. Also, it called for grated Pecorino Romano. I didn't have any of that either. So I used a mixture of Parmeggiano-Reggianno and a generic Romano. Anselm really liked the fact that orecchiette means little ears.

6 oz orecchiette
1 bunch baby turnips
2 cloves garlic
3 tbs mixed grated Romano and Parmeggiano Reggiano
a little salt
a little black pepper.
3 tbs olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Once it begins to boil add 1 Tbs salt per quart of water.
Cut the greens off the turnips leave 1/4 inch still attached to the turnips.
Scrub turnips to remove dirt.
Rinse the greens.
Cut the roots of the turnips and quarter the turnips.
Cut the stms off the leaves. Cut stems into 1 inch long pieces. Do not cut up the leaves.
put turnips into boiling water. Cook until tender. Remove turnips from water and set them aside. (I use tongs for this.) Next cook the stems. Then cook the leaves. Each time removing from the water and setting aside.
Now put the orecchiette to the water. It will take about 10 minutes to cook.
(I drank a very nice bottle of Peroni and helped the boys peel and mince the garlic while the pasta was cooking.)
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the pepper and garlic. When the garlic begins to turn golden add the turnips and greens and sautee until they are hot again. Now ad the orecchiette to the pan. stir it up good. splash a little raw oil on it. Splash a little of the pasta water on it. (you didn't dump it out did you?) divide onto three plates (Mom is at her office so there were only three eaters tonight.) top with the grated cheese. Enjoy.

Monday, May 05, 2008

No posting for a while

End of the semester is on the 10th. Much work to do between now and then. For the record, I detest APA and MLA (Ewwww yuck! The MLA!!! Barf!!!)and see no reason to ever use anything other than Chicago-Style citations. Chicago was good enough for our grandfathers. It is good enough for us. Besides that excellent reason for sticking with Chicago-Style, Chicago-Style citations are exact, concise,and easily understood by everyone who reads them, which can not truthfully be said of APA and MLA. They are superior to both MLA and APA in every respect.

I hve three short papers (5-8 pages) due on the tenth. On the 16th (One professor gave the class an extension.) I have a 10-15 page paper due. Rule of thumb for my academic writing: 1 page = 7 hours research + 4 hours of actually writing and editing. I am not a natural scholar. I wish I was one of those people who could just whip a paper out in no time and get an A. According to my mother, my brother Mark was like that. Alas, I am not.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Saturday Soundtrack: Son ofa Preacherman

I offer no details (this isn't Confession) but this song is a bit biographical (from the girl's point of view) of me and my older brothers. I don't know what it is about the sons of preachers that gives them the strange talent. Perhaps, it is that they have watched their fathers move people with words for years and years, and that skill is absorbed. It certainly isn't genetic, I and one of my brothers are adopted. Oh to be fair, I have never heard stories about my oldest brother, but I have seen pictures of him with many many girls. I suspect that as a teenager he wasn't much different from his younger brothers. Anyway here is the video. It is interesting to me how the girl views the situation. Of course, there is that whole Sons of Eli thing. I did get that lecture from my Dad once.

There are other versions of this song but this is the one I heard as a boy.

My Life is So Good!!!

For the last 70 minutes I've been drinking coffee and listening to AFR while working on a paper for school ("The Promotion and Retarding of Community in the Interaction Between the Legal Profession and the Nation-State") while my boys were sleeping. But my boys just woke up. They are playing in the bedroom. It is the happiest sound in the world. Well, I better turn off the computer and go play with them.

Friday, May 02, 2008

My Two Little Boys

40 Years Too Late

The peak salmon catch in California was in the 1940s. In the the 1970s it went into steep decline. Droughts, gold mining, logging, overfishing, hydro-power, and agriculture destroyed the giant populations of this noble fish. Today, salmon fishing on the west coast was banned. I hope it isn't too late.

Salmon fishing was banned along the West Coast for the first time in 160 years Thursday, a decision that is expected to have a devastating economic impact on fishermen, dozens of businesses, tourism and boating.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez immediately declared a commercial fishery disaster, opening the door for Congress to appropriate money for anyone who will be economically harmed.

The closure of commercial and recreational fishing for chinook salmon in the ocean off California and most of Oregon was announced by the National Marine Fishery Service.

It followed the recommendation last month of the Pacific Fishery Management Council after the catastrophic disappearance of California's fabled fall run of the pink fish popularly known as king salmon. (read the whole story here)

The Best Thing to Do with Paskha

So, we had all this paskha to give to people on Holy Pascha. But it didn't set up right. It just turned into glop in the baskets. But we had several still in the refrigerator at home. Given a few extra days they set up nicely. But what to do with them all? We can't eat them all so I gave one to the old woman who lives next door. She has had a rough time of it lately. She was bit by a cat and wound up in the hospital for a week. Her youngest son is crazy (his dog talks to him about the end of the world and hidden planets) and pretty much all she has in her life is ESPN. When we gave her the paskha she was totally overwhelmed with happiness and started to cry. It is the best thing I've experienced this Bright Week.

About paskha molds. We have one but don't use it. We tried it one year and it mutilated the paskha. Now we use terra cotta pots. Martha Stewart, in her book "Entertaining" (the best cookbook I have ever used.) recommends a cone seive. I wonder what other things people have used in lieu of a traditional treen paskha mold. Do you use anything unusual?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I need a rest

So, am I the only Orthodox tired of meat, cheese, eggs, milk, and fish? And don't even get me started on alcohol, a drop of which I haven't had since Sunday morning - I've had enough of that to last a month or two. Just the thought of cheese makes me groan. I don't know about you, but I'm going back to a Lenten diet for a few days. It is much easier and I feel better.