Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time Warp

Everyone is always trying to "get ahead". In this case, stories are published before they happen.

These are the kind of things you see when you stay up late on the "Inter-tubes". Although it is most hilarious to see on real-time election sites where they have declared a winner with 0% of the vote reporting.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #46

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: Heartbreak In Two Parts.

On one hand, a self-professed atheist who says she grew up in a fundamentalist cult and survived sexual abuse details her abortion taking RU-486, via Twitter in an attempt to "demystify" abortion for other women.

On the other hand, a faithful Catholic's experience shows the grim reality of the abortion drug RU-486, but also the grace and healing that comes from knowing God and acknowledging the humanity of each and every person. This is both heart-wrenching and grace-filled at the same time.


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two Approaches To Abortion With RU-486

You knew it was coming. You hoped it wasn't, but in a society as debauched as ours, it is hardly surprising.
[ABCNews] Angie Jackson says nothing is off-limits on Twitter, not even the details of her abortion [to] chronicle her experience taking RU-486, commonly known as the abortion pill, in an attempt to "demystify" abortion for other women.

Already the mother of a 4-year-old son with special needs, Jackson, who lives in Tampa, Fla., with her boyfriend, said that after a difficult and life-threatening first pregnancy her doctors advised her to not get pregnant again.

"I had made a decision when my son was born to try to not get pregnant again, and if that failed I'd planned that I would get an abortion if I needed one," Jackson said.

"It's not that bad. It's not killing a child." she says in her YouTube post.
I'm not sure what is mystifying about the abortion drug, unless it's the idea that it's either safe, painless, or doesn't kill a child. One has to be willfully ignorant to gloss over the basic science and purpose of RU-486.
Jackson adds, "I'm not trying to ignite a culture war, I'm just offering one person's personal experience and true story."
Here is where the story starts to unravel. Jackson's Twitter handle is "AntiTheistAngie" -- not atheist, anti-theist. She signs off her posts, "Hope everyone has a Godless day". People who are "not trying to ignite a culture war" don't throw grenades. I don't believe in little green men, but I don't spend much time and energy trying to debunk those who do.

It would be easy to be simply incensed, but I am actually moved to pity. How does a person get that far removed from reality; the conscience that dulled? According to the article, Jackson is a self-professed atheist who says she grew up in a fundamentalist cult and survived sexual abuse. Any one of those things would have long lasting and damaging effects; she has the trifecta. Jackson's stated goal is to "demystify" (and even encourage) abortion in other women, which is the real tragedy.

As long as we are "demystifying", here is a gripping counterpoint from Catholic blogger and one of our favorites, the Mom, at Shoved To Them. Her experience shows the grim reality of the abortion drug RU-486, but also the grace and healing that comes from knowing God and acknowledging the humanity of each and every person. This is both heart-wrenching and grace-filled at the same time.
I wanted to write about my own experience taking Mifeprex, the abortion drug known as RU-486. Our baby had died at some point during the previous week.

[...] Really, I just wanted them to give me the drugs and let me go home. I didn't want to spend 24 hours on the maternity ward listening to the cries of other people's healthy babies and wait for my own heartbreak to begin. I have been in labor a few times and thought it was reasonable to think that I would know when to come to the hospital. I was told I could bleed to death. I stayed.

Labor began for me about 3 hours after I took the first dosage. It was administered both orally and vaginally. Within the first hour, I understood why I couldn't have gone home. I began to pass blood clots. They came in steady succession as if on a string. They ranged in size from the size of a chicken's egg to as large as my fist. Every time I moved another clot would become loose and come out. I thought I was hemorrhaging; I thought I was going to bleed to death. It was horrific. I forgot why I was there for a while and just sat on the bed crying and shaking in fear that my 4 living children would grow up without me. I have no idea how much blood came out of my body. I stopped counting clots at 20. After 20, it just didn't seem to matter any more. I asked the nurse if my experience was normal and she assured me that this was what an RU-486 abortion looked like and that I was fine.

Our daughter's body was delivered four and a half hours after the first contraction. She was the size of my hand. She was smooth and shiny and pink with perfect fingers and toes. Heartbreakingly small and achingly perfect. Our midwife wiped her clean and laid her on a blanket before handing her to me. I have never seen such agony as I saw on my husband's face when he heard her whisper, "It's a girl." His face looked like it folded in on itself. Our baby was really and truly dead. Somehow it didn't seem real until we held her in our hands and looked at her through our tears.

It wasn't over yet. I still had to deliver the placenta. It took another two hours for it to let go and come out of me. The doctor who was supervising kept coming by to check and ask "Is it out yet?" in a strangely cold voice. I later learned from my midwife that she performed abortions herself and was deeply disturbed by our pain. She told our midwife to get us out of the hospital as quickly as possible because we were upsetting the staff, and that she didn't understand why we were crying over something which was little more than a tumor in medical terms.

I can not imagine being 14, at home, trying to hide this from my mother, and having this experience. My brain can't even get to that place of fear. A child, scared and alone, passing blood clot after blood clot, thinking you're bleeding to death, but afraid to tell in case you aren't. And then, delivering that impossibly small body. Perfect, lifeless, and undeniably human. What does a little girl do when her body hurts that much, and her mind fears that much, and her baby lies dead in her hand? How is this okay?

I am not sure what the answers are, but I do know that women deserve better than to be treated this way. Our bodies and our minds deserve better protection. People can chant and scream about the rights of women, but I know that women and girls have a right to something better than this. They have a right to something better than abortion.
Like she said: Women Deserve Better.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Can't Stop The Jingle

My alternate career would have been as a commercial focus group tester. I don't have a degree in Media or Marketing. I know nothing about Business or Economics. I don't even watch much television as a rule, because I am highly impressionable. What I do have is an uncanny inability to forget a truly obnoxious jingle.

The most annoying commercial from back in the day is one for the Purdue Oven Stuffer Roaster: Pick, pick, pick. I still hate it -- but it's hard to forget the jingle.

The original Outback Steakhouse radio spot was awesome back in the 1990's:

Koala climb high to the tippy-tippy top,
Hungry for a taste that he just can't stop.

Kangaroo can survive in the desert--How 'bout you?
Just like the boomerang comes back -- you will too.

Outback. Outback Steakhouse. Steakhouse from the land down under.

Today's obnoxious commercial is just right for Lent: the McDonalds Filet-o-fish.

And the #1 worst commercial of all time -- so bad I wouldn't use their product if you paid me to -- the Woo Hoo song used by Vonage.

Don't thank me; it will now be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Only In Women's Hockey ...

... will you see a girl with mascara and eyeshadow on under her hockey mask. A girl's gotta look good while competing for a gold medal at the Olympics!

That must be some seriously waterproof makeup.

Feeling Iconic

Every once in a while the threads in the closet just don't thrill.

So I up and bought a couple of bold shirts for a change of pace. It sure got some notice when I was out and about. People loved it or didn't, but I saw heads turning on a swivel.

I paired it up on the streets of DC with my Trilby or alternately a cab driver hat. It has a slight retro look that is fairly iconic.

I found it pretty cool, and a great way to shake off the blah that has been hanging about with our winter snow-in.

Now only if it were spring.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hospital Magnet

We just can't get away from those guys in white lab coats.

Sibling #3 got hit by a car while riding his bicycle on the snow covered streets. His brakes failed and he slid into the intersection and got nailed. One helicopter ride and three broken ribs later, he ended up in the hospital. Fortunately, there don't seem to be any worse injuries. He should be released tomorrow. Prayers appreciated.

The main thing to look out for with broken ribs is complications. Broken ribs usually mean shallow breathing due to pain. If the lungs don't expand all the way it can lead to a collapsed lung, pneumonia, or other upper respiratory infection.

Strangely enough, you should sleep on the side with the broken rib, so the other side can expand all the way.

Tales From The Cold: Aftershock

The DC region still hasn't really recovered from the blizzard of 2010. We don't get snow measured in feet here normally, and we don't deal with it well regardless of amount.

For whatever reason, the traffic this morning was abysmal and there was nowhere to park at the Metro garage as half the top deck still has ice mounds on it. I parked a mile away at a shopping center and hoofed it back to the train nearly getting myself run over in the process since the sidewalks are unavailable.

The blizzard was a lot like an earthquake for our region. Like most large earthquakes, there are always aftershocks. Now there is more snow in the forecast. (Rumble, rumble) It's only 3 inches this time; normally that would be paralyzing for us, but after the blizzard nobody is panicked over it. It's all what you're accustomed to, I guess.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nib Endoscopy 2

Nib is my smart, cute, funny little two year old girl. She's also a pint sized munchkin.

Her growth chart is abysmal, with height and weight starting to fall off the bottom of the curve. So she's headed in to the specialist for an endoscopy to see if there are any upper-GI or digestive issues.

Update: Nib had her endoscopy, which means they stuck a fiber-optic camera down her throat, had a look around, and took a biopsy while they were in her stomach.

The good news is that they didn't find any obstruction, her bloodwork came back negative for celiac disease, crones disease, allergies, and vitamin D deficiency.

The bad news is they didn't find anything at all, so we don't know anything more than when we started. We are now going with the high-calorie food-o-lympics complete with record book.

Never a dull moment around here.

Wynken Post-Op Post

Just a short update on Wynken's surgery that we scheduled back in January that took place last Friday.

He had his adenoids (think: nose tonsils) removed successfully but it was a little trying on Mrs. Nod. Wynken's surgery was scheduled for a 1:00 PM start time, but he had to fast from midnight onward the night before. By the time he was done, his blood sugar was at rock bottom: ugliness ensued.

The combination of low blood sugar, anxiety, and anesthesia disorientation led to a post-op screaming fit -- pushing and kicking the nurses, trying to rip out the IV, and general hysteria. Apparently, this is not that uncommon with middle-schoolers post-op (according to the nurses). By contrast, my 4 year old, Nub, only cried for 5 minutes after his hernia surgery.

After he came home and was pumped fresh with Tylenol + Codeine, he chilled and passed out. Sympathetic reactions from the surgery gave him a sore throat and some of the darkest rings around the eyes that I have seen this side of a knuckle sandwich.

Wynken is now recovering well; in fact, he'll be going back to school tomorrow but is prohibited from doing any sports for 2 weeks. Whew!

Tales From The Cold: New Signs

There are some new signs atop the Vienna Metro: snow dumping.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dunkelweizen Act 2

Making beer is as much about taste as it is about sustenance. Beer, properly made without fillers, is like drinking a loaf of bread. It is the yield of the grain, the staff of life. What can be more basic than wheat beer?

On this edition of Me and the Homebrews, WBN chronicles the making of a Dunkelweizen, or dark wheat, beer.


So, we decided to have a second go at the Dunkelweizen, since our first attempt was abysmal. We chose not to do the full boil of 5 gallons, and instead did 1.5 gallons on the electric range -- much faster -- and added the full amount of hops. We paid strict attention and took a triple measurement. Our O.G. was 1044 vs. a recommended 1049: a little off, but not too bad.

Reading the recipe, we realized we might have added the wheat extract at the same time as the barley extract last time. This time we added the barley fermentables at 60 minutes, and the wheat fermentables at 15 minutes like we should have.

From the blizzard it was obvious the best cooling method was pouring the hot wort into 3 gallons of chilled water and then direct immersion in the snow.

Our Wyeast, although two months past its "prime", activated just fine after 24 hours in the smack pack. Here are one billion yeast cells converting the sugars in the wort into real beer as seen by the active CO2 emission in the fermentation lock.

Next week we will rack the beer, since not doing it the last time contributed to significant off flavors.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Blynken Birthday

Happy birthday to my very own American Girl, Blynken. I hope you had a ball this weekend -- in fact, I know you did! I love you!

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #45

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents The Next Generation Is Made Up Of Kids.


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Rear Guard

You know an animal is fearsome when you are afraid in your car. Doubly so when it is the size of a large house cat.

Two skunks were crossing the road: one made it, the other didn't -- or hadn't by the time I came whizzing by. The one that made it scrambled to the side of the road and leaped to attention - backwards and with tail up. I instinctively swerved away from an imminent spray. Even if it gets on your car, it'll stink up your garage and everything within 50 feet.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pole Position

These giant "telephone" poles south of the Manassas Battlefields, mentioned before, have now disappeared. There were matching poles on the other side of the road as well. I now think they were there temporarily while they worked on the power lines to prevent a dropped line from falling in the roadway.

Either that, or somebody stole six 50-foot poles when nobody was looking...

Whole Lotta Batteries

Went to the jewlers to have a watch battery replaced. I guess they've done this once or twice before -- those jars are chock full of old watch batteries.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Loon Divebombs IRS

Some loon with an airplane crashed into an IRS building. You can't kill a bureaucracy like that. Even Russian Tsar Nicholas II couldn't shut down the Duma in 1917 and he was the king!

[0218crash3] Associated Press

[WSJ] Smoke billows from a building after a small private plane crashed there.

AUSTIN, Texas—A pilot slammed his small plane into a seven-story building that housed the local office of the Internal Revenue Service Thursday, apparently killing himself and one agency employee, in what federal officials described as a deliberate suicide attack amid a long-running tax dispute.

Investigators are looking into whether the pilot, 53-year-old Andrew Joseph Stack, also set his house on fire before taking off in his single-engine Piper Dakota around 9:40 a.m. local time.

And the difference between a homicidal criminal and a terrorist is?

Whuzzat Of The Day

I went to the watch repair shop to get a new battery for my wristwatch.

The entire interior of the shop is covered with clocks. The lady behind the counter says to come back in half an hour and it will be done.

I reflexively looked at my now bare wrist and said, "What time is it?"

Stable Population

Another "thinking video" from PRI.
h/t Orwell's Picnic

Woman With Knife Cancels Abortion

I'd like to think the best about this situation, and not that it was a ploy to get less jail time.
[DNT] Mechelle Hall dabbed tears from her eyes Tuesday as she pleaded guilty to second-degree assault for brandishing a knife and threatening a woman who urged her not to get an abortion.

“Thank you for being there,” [Hall] said. “If they weren’t there, I probably would have gone through with it and regretted it for the rest of my life. It probably would have gone the other way. I’m sincerely sorry for doing that to her.”
It seems that if women felt they had better options, there just might be less abortions.

Ash Wednesday

Remember, O man, thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.

In The Place Where You Are

Riding Metro is a microcosm of our area; I was idly wondering if you could guess where any given person on the train lived based on which direction they were headed, which stop they got on/off, age, gender, race.

And then I realized there's a statistic for that -- it's called demographics. Duh.

Pacific Is.0.1%0.1%0.1%0.2%
Hispanic (b)14.8%14.1%8.6%15.4%

(b) Hispanics may be of any race, so also are included in applicable race categories.
Source: (2008)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Right, What's A Trilby?

I think it's time for a new hat.

I have faithfully worn some kind of baseball cap for 20+ years and I simply love them: a nice low-profile adjustable cap with a curved brim. You can wear them straight, backward, cocked up or pulled low (wearing it sideways makes you look like an idiot). They require no special care and are generally cheap and replaceable.

But they don't look good with a suit or anything other than extremely casual wear.

[AoM] Yet hats are due for a full resurgence. Hats are both functional and stylish. They can cover a bad hair day, keep your head warm, and shade your eyes from the sun. They can also be worn to cover a receding hairline, which interestingly enough is why Frank Sinatra, an iconic hat wearer, start wearing one in the first place. They give you touch of class and sophistication, impart personality, and add an interesting and unique accent to your outfits. And hats are a sure-fire way to boost your confidence. A cool hat can quickly become your signature piece and give you extra swagger.

Of course men today still wear hats, but they are most often confined to ratty baseball caps, hippie beanie caps, or the thankfully almost extinct trucker hat. There is nothing wrong with these kinds of headpieces per se, but there are other hat options out there. So mix up your lids with various options:

[AoM] You’ve got a chin like: Paul Dano

Pick a hat that will draw attention upwards, away from the chin.

Crown: Low height

Taper: Significant

Hat Band: Narrow

Brim: Flat, or very shallow snap

Tilt: Level, with significant side tilt.

Recommended Hat: Porkpie, Trilby, Fedora with short crown and brim

So, I thought I might try a Trilby. How about a classic jaquard plaid gray trilby to go with my charcoal wool coat? This is also sometimes called a stingy fedora because it has a shorter brim.

Monday, February 15, 2010

If We Were Amenable

The television is not on that much in our house, but when it is, it is almost always on the WETA Kids station so the Nodlings can watch Martha Speaks, an animated show about a dog who can talk because she ate alphabet soup.

SO ... when I randomly turned the television on late the other night, there was a kids show on about the history of Mexico. At first I was a bit perturbed because it was showing the Aztecs and their demon mother goddess which I thought was a bit much for children (although they did not show the human sacrifice these gods required).

But it quickly moved on to the story of Juan Diego and the miraculous appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe (again they did not mention she ended the human sacrifice of infants in Mexico). I was surprised that they would deign to show religion and specifically Christianity in a positive light on television and a kids' show. Perhaps because it was under the aegis of "Mexican history and culture" it was allowable.

Now imagine if our own culture was so amenable.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In Spite Of Valentine, A Feast

Mrs. Nod and I just aren't that into Valentine's Day. We're not against it, we just don't pay much attention to it. Hallmark will just have to do without us today.

However that didn't keep us from having a fabulous dinner -- we just included all the rest of our family in it. We haven't seen much of each other due to the Blizzard of 2010, so we had a mini-party. For brunch we had awesome Swedish pancakes, eggs, Danish, coffee, juice, fruit, muffins, bacon, and sausage.

For dinner we indulged in T-bone steak, green beans and almond slivers in garlic butter, julienne parsnips and mushrooms, and red potatoes and onions sauteed in olive oil and paired with a nice Shiraz and crescent rolls. All this topped off with chocolate and pistachio gelato.

Yeah, now that's the stuff.

Happy Saints Cyril and Methodius Day - Feb 14

Saints Cyril and Methodius (Greek: Κύριλλος καὶ Μεθόδιος, Old Church Slavonic: Кѷриллъ и Меѳодїи[more]) were two Greek brothers born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century. They became missionaries of Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Great Moravia and Pannonia.

In 863, they began the task of translating the Bible into the language now known as Old Church Slavonic and travelled to Great Moravia to promote it. They enjoyed considerable success in this endeavour. However, they came into conflict with German ecclesiastics who opposed their efforts to create a specifically Slavic liturgy.

For the purpose of this mission, they devised the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet to be used for Slavonic manuscripts. The Glagolitic alphabet was suited to match the specific features of the Slavic language and its descendant alphabet, the Cyrillic Alphabet, is still used by many languages today.[8] [Wikipedia]

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #44

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents Tales From The Cold: Blizzard 2010.


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Laser Fried Mosquito

This is randomly cool. Now you can shoot down mosquitoes with a laser printer and a few other parts. Now if we could only do the same thing for liturgical dance squads.

[NYT] Nathan Myhrvold, [...] has assembled commonly available technology — parts used in printers, digital cameras and projectors — to make rapid lasers to shoot down mosquitoes in mid-flight. If bed nets are the low-tech solution to combat the deadly disease — caused by a parasite transmitted when certain mosquitoes bite people — the laser is a high-tech one.

He estimates that the devices could potentially cost as little $50, [and] that normally the lasers could shoot down anywhere between 50 to 100 mosquitoes per second.


I just shoveled snow for 3 hours and the plow just came through and cleared my neighbor's driveway -- who hasn't shoveled anything in the last 4 days -- and plugged up my driveway and now it's worse than when I started and I'm rambling here but the Metro wasn't running all the way out to where I live so I had to take a vacation day because my boss won't let me telecommute like I've been doing the last 4 days because the Government isn't officially closed today and I need those vacation days because I'm saving up to travel for my sister's wedding in July where hopefully it will be warm but it isn't warm here and did I mention ... I HATE SNOW!!

Yes, I was able to get through all that without any meaningful punctuation. Grrr!

Family, Become What You Are

A timely reminder for a culture that is easily confused.

Family, Become What You Are

17. The family finds in the plan of God the Creator and Redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do. The role that God calls the family to perform in history derives from what the family is; its role represents the dynamic and existential development of what it is. Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored, and that specifies both its dignity and its responsibility: family, become what you are.

Accordingly, the family must go back to the "beginning" of God's creative act, if it is to attain self-knowledge and self-realization in accordance with the inner truth not only of what it is but also of what it does in history. And since in God's plan it has been established as an "intimate community of life and love,"(44) the family has the mission to become more and more what it is, that is to say, a community of life and love, in an effort that will find fulfillment, as will everything created and redeemed, in the Kingdom of God. Looking at it in such a way as to reach its very roots, we must say that the essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love. Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God's love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church His bride.

Every particular task of the family is an expressive and concrete actuation of that fundamental mission. We must therefore go deeper into the unique riches of the family's mission and probe its contents, which are both manifold and unified.

Thus, with love as its point of departure and making constant reference to it, the recent Synod emphasized four general tasks for the family:

1) forming a community of persons;

2) serving life;

3) participating in the development of society;

4) sharing in the life and mission of the Church.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Manly Advice For Funerals

The Art of Manliness has a primer on funeral etiquette.

“Always go to the funeral” is an excellent motto for a man to adopt. Yes, going to funerals isn’t fun. They can be boring, somber, inconvenient and emotional affairs. You may feel awkward. But fun is the yardstick that boys use to make decisions. When you become a man, you do things because they’re right and good, and because your desire to serve others supersedes your own comfort.

It may be tempting to rationalize that the person is dead and won’t know if you’re there or not. But funerals are not for the dead, they are for the living.
Weddings and funerals are the places where there is generally a TON of expectations, customs, ceremonies, and loads of unspoken do's and don'ts. It is also a place where poor manners and self-absorption make a terrible and lasting impression.

Always show up on time and dress appropriately; this shows respect. As Christians we do not have contempt for our bodies in death because we know we will be reunited with them at the Resurrection. Our "real" selves are body+soul together, not just one or the other.
CCC 2300 The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in faith and hope of the Resurrection. The burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy;91 it honors the children of God, who are temples of the Holy Spirit.
There is even some some Catholic specific advice. Remember, funerals are as much for the living and the dead.
For a Catholic family, consider getting the family a mass card in lieu of flowers. You don’t have to be Catholic to get a mass card. You make a donation to the Church, and in turn, the Church promises to say prayers or a mass on behalf of the soul of the deceased. The mass card says when the mass will take place, and you can give the card to the deceased family. For fellow Catholics, purchasing a mass card is a gesture of faith, compassion, and solidarity. For non-Catholics, sending a mass card shows your understanding, respect, and thoughtfulness.
There is no time when it is not appropriate to act like a man. If you've never had the experience of a funeral or didn't know what to do when you got there, consider this your training opportunity.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How To Write An Incendiary Post

This tickled my funny bone. This shows the structure of the typical incendiary post from Coyote Crossing. h/t Joel

This sentence contains the thesis of the blog post, a trite and obvious statement cast as a dazzling and controversial insight.

This sentence claims that there are many people who do not agree with the thesis of the blog post as expressed in the previous sentence. This sentence speculates as to the mental and ethical character of the people mentioned in the previous sentence. This sentence contains a link to the most egregiously ill-argued, intemperate, hateful and ridiculous example of such people the author could find. This sentence is a three-word refutation of the post linked in the previous sentence, the first of which three words is “Um.” This sentence implies that the linked post is in fact typical of those who disagree with the thesis of the blog post. This sentence contains expressions of outrage and disbelief largely expressed in Internet acronyms. This sentence contains a link to an Internet video featuring a cat playing a piano.

Even the comments are written in the same way.

This comment takes issue with the first sentence of the blog post and goes on for quite a while making it clear that the commenter didn’t read any further.
Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tales From The Cold: Snowbound Tiki

Because I can, that's why.
I took this picture outside my house during the Blizzard of 2010 Part II.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stories From The Cold: Paraliturgy

This is the Diocese of Arlington's inclement weather policy:
All baptized Catholics are obliged to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. However, there are particular circumstances or conditions that may excuse a Catholic from this obligation. If there is severe weather conditions that make attending Mass dangerous to your safety or that of others, you are excused from the obligation.
Some people in the area made it to Mass, others of us live at the bottom of a hill in a no-clout neighborhood. It didn't matter that the main roads were as clean as a whistle - we couldn't get there from here. Blynken remarked, "This is the first time we've never gone to Mass -- ever."

The Diocese goes on to say:
If you are unable to attend Mass, the Church recommends making a spiritual Communion and spending some time in prayer.
So, that is what we did. Yay, Internet.

Wynken read the first reading from his new Bible, Blynken did the Psalm, Nod-girl insisted she was big enough to read the second reading (and did surprisingly well for a first grader), and dear old Dad read the Gospel.

The toddlers ran around like it was circus time. Oh, well, you can't win 'em all.

We even got a nice video homily from the Inter-tubes, and then we talked about the readings, and I checked their understanding. Then we listened to the readings again online. Not a bad para-liturgy.

Then Grandpa Nod called to say that the Caps just won their 14th game in a row. I told him about our para-liturgy and he said over there they were praying to St. Capitals and Holy Ovechkin. He was kidding.

I think.

Stories From The Cold: Blizzard 2010

While Mrs. Nod and I worked on shoveling out 30 inches of snow from the driveway, I sent Wynken and Blynken out back to clear away the heat pump. After warning them to be careful of the nearby outside basement steps, I returned to my grueling task.

Not five minutes go by when Wynken comes rushing up and says "Blynken fell down the basement steps and now she's stuck!". I rushed to the back and sure enough, she fell down the well of the stairs into the drift, arms and legs akimbo. Not only that, she lost her boot in the process.

She handled it well and didn't panic; thankfully she didn't get hurt - just stuck. I scooped her up in my arms and carried her back into the garage and set her down safe and sound.

She says, "Thanks, Daddy."

I said, "Don't you know, I'll always come for you?"

'Cause, you know, that's what Daddies do.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #43

This week WBN presents Sunday Snippets: Superbowl Edition.


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Saints Go Marching In

I think that about says it all. It's all about the 4th quarter points. I feel bad for Peyton and the Colts, but it's hard not to admire the Saints for their hard luck story and Cinderella comeback.

New Orleans Saints 31 - Indianapolis Colts 17

- Add to iGoogle
Feb 7 1 2 3 4 T
Saints 0 6 10 15 31 «
Colts 10 0 7 0 17

Friday, February 5, 2010

L'Angelus Rocks

It's bright, it's fresh. Mmm, that's good: Ca c'est bon.

L'Angelus opened up Season 2 of Catholic Underground Chicago with a topnotch performance that blew the audience away. They combine the best of Louisiana's music traditions: cajun fiddle tunes for the dance crowd, saxophone driven swamp-pop, and New Orleans influenced R&B.

In Deep

It's still snowing like the Dickens out there. Last time we got plastered was ... well two weeks ago. But before that, we haven't seen this much snow since 2003.

I've done a couple of passes on the driveway at two hour intervals and we had 2-3 inches each time. Mrs. Nod is taking a turn and she's got 3-4 inches to push around. So we've already cleared upwards of 10 inches and we have 10-20 more that will drop overnight. It's really coming down at a good clip. Mrs. Nod just finished and there is already another quarter inch on the driveway.

Wheeee! Snow, snow everywhere!

Salute To The Shopping Cart

You don't know how much you miss it until you can't find one in a snowstorm. By that we mean a shopping cart, of course.

Tonight there was not a spare shopping cart to be found. Every single one was in use and the store was full. Lines all the way to the back of the store.

On the day before we get socked in by 1-2 feet of snow everybody heads to the grocery store to get milk, bread, and toilet paper. Heck, if we were going to get 1-2 inches that would happen.

Now it's bunker mentality: they actually said prepare yourself to be homebound for up to 5 days. Really? Come on! Even the blizzard of '87 wasn't that bad. People just walked to the store. Sure, it was inconvenient, but you didn't need a shopping cart because you couldn't carry that much home.

If I were to stock up for being home for 5 days the way that these people were doing tonight, it would look like I was preparing for Armageddon. Even my "quick trips for a few items" to the grocery store involve a lot of stuff. That's just how it is when you've got 7 mouths to feed. Even in good weather I'd be buying 3-4 gallons of milk at a whack. People always assume I'm buying for a party; in a way it is, if you consider living in a big family a party. Boom. Instant party; just add Nods. Our regular family brunch is bigger than most kids' birthday parties.

The shopping cart is my friend. It lets me know when it's time to stop buying things, because nothing else will fit in my overflowing basket. Ah. Here's one now. Let the games begin.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Weather In Parts Yonder

Since we're about to get blasted with our second two-foot snowfall in as many months, I thought it might be good to check out the weather in other parts ...

Taco Bell Founder Founders

A moment of silence for the best fast food tacos this side of a crack pipe.
[NYT] Glen W. Bell Jr., whose idea in 1951 to sell crispy-shell tacos from the window of his hamburger stand became the foundation of Taco Bell, the restaurant chain that turned Mexican fare into fast food for millions of Americans, died at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. He was 86.
I'm convinced that Taco Bell hot sauce is spiked with some kind of addictive agent. That or since "fat is the primary carrier of flavor", their tacos are really refried beef lard. Either way, once I start eating them, I can't stop.

Mr. Bell lived to be 86 ... I wonder if he actually ever ate his own product?

Gargoyle Code Arrives

The U.S. mail still runs fairly well, despite its drawbacks. The latest delight in my mailbox were half a dozen copies of The Gargoyle Code by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

And they are autographed: To my number one fan and his awesome family ... ok, maybe not, but they are signed, which I find extremely cool. You rock, Fr. L.!

The book is written as a series of letters from a senior Tempter to his protege in Screwtape fashion and is specifically set up for Lent. The index tells you which letter to read from Shrove Tuesday to Easter Sunday.

I'm looking forward to both reading it and writing a review in this space. It's not too late for you to get in on the action either, get yours today!

Help Push Gargoyle Code

My Screwtape Letters-type book, The Gargoyle Code began its life here on this blog. As readers will know it is structured as a Lent book. The letters begin on Shrove Tuesday and take you through to Easter Day.

I am therefore having a big push to get as many copies out there as possible. Here's how you can help:

  1. If you have a blog, a parish paper, a diocesan paper or any print outlet, and would like a review copy please email me and we will send you one. I just ask that you really do have such an outlet for a review and that you publish the review before the beginning of Lent.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On Groundhog Day

Lose the groundhog, keep the guy with the cool mustache and top hat!

Punxsutawney Phil, right, is held by Ben Hughes after emerging ...
Tue Feb 2, 7:56 AM ET
21 of 28

Punxsutawney Phil, right, is held by Ben Hughes after emerging from his burrow on Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., to see his shadow and forecast six more weeks of winter weather Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Smart Money

Washington D.C. is the kind of town where the local news IS the national news.

Like it or not, the Federal Government is a major player -- in most cases, the only game in town. You either work for the Government or a contractor who supports it. If you happen to be one of those who don't, your neighbor does.

The DC area also tends to be fairly recession resistant (not quite recession-proof) because the Government isn't going anywhere any time soon and spends oodles of money every year.

So to keep and hold a job, you have to be aware of what the trends in Government are. Ten or fifteen years ago, it was fairly easy to get a job with one of the Beltway Bandits (Washington-speak for Federal contractors). The trend was to reduce the size of Government by outsourcing it to contractors. And to some degree that worked.

It was very, very common to go into any Government agency and find that 90% of the jobs were filled by contractors. Only the top management positions were reserved for actual Government employees, since those were the "decision making" positions. So unless you felt compelled to be "in charge", the smart money was on being a Federal contractor.

But just like anything, the pendulum swings. The current administration has begun to absorb those contractor positions back into the Federal bureaucracy. Whether that is due to a general distrust of contractors, or more simply a shift in philosophy on the role of government, or more ominously a tactic to pad the rolls with unionized government employees friendly to Democrats is an open question.
[James Carafano] Today, the Pentagon is busy eliminating 33,000 private-sector workers and replacing them with federal (union) workers. The primary reason for this initiative is a general distrust of contractors. There is little evidence to suggest that the move will either save money or improve operations. Indeed, in most cases the government is just "poaching" the employees from contractors, further gutting the industrial base.
Anecdotally, I have seen half a dozen contractor jobs at my site become "federalized" in the last year alone. So the trend is very real as far as I can tell. In the current "down" economy, everyone is scrambling for the safe jobs; right now that means the Federal Government.

That's where the "smart money" is, if you're the betting kind. I'm not, so I'll stay pat.


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