Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Makes Me Laugh

I can't help it, I laugh every time I see this one ... your tire's all flat and junk ...

Age Appropriate Virtues: 13 To 15 Years Old

A resource that I refer back to periodically is a book called Character Building: A Guide for Parents and Teachers by David Isaacs. It outlines the general virtues that parents should be developing in their children at various ages.

I don't have any kids this old yet, but if anyone would like to share their experiences, feel free to let us know what we're in for.

From 13 to 15 Years Old
  • Modesty
  • Moderation
  • Simplicity
  • Sociability
  • Friendship
  • Respect
  • Patriotism
From age of thirteen to fifteen, it seems desirable, in view of the young person's greater awareness of his own intimacy, to insist especially on virtues linked with temperance, in the first place. The purpose behind this is to help him keep goodness in sight and not let his passions get out of control.

If we emphasized fortitude earlier on, we now come to harnessing that virtue to protect what is everyone's precious possession - his intimacy. By this I mean soul, sentiments, thoughts - not just physical intimacy. The virtues of modesty and moderation involve recognizing the value of what one possesses, so as then to make better use of it - in accordance with standards which are right and true.

What kinds of motivation can we offer children at this stage? I thing we have to give them reasons. We ourselves generally learned to behave by imitating our educators, but nowadays our children are not inclined to imitate us. They ask for reasons. ...[I]n connection with giving information to young people, I would dare to offer a recipe: information should be given by the three C's - clearly, concisely, and then changing the subject.

Apart from those virtues connected with temperance, it is good also to emphasize others which have to do with the person's privacy and with is relationships with others. That is why I stress sociability, friendship, respect, and patriotism. These four virtues presuppose being interested in one's own privacy and in the good of other people in a practical way. And it is here that the parents can make their biggest contribution. I refer to the guidance they give their children about how to channel their concern for others into practical acts of service. We should realize that the adolescent by his very nature is idealistic and also needs to have new experiences. If we parents fail to help him, then it is likely that outside influences will misguide him.

Simplicity, because an adolescent needs it if he is to act in accordance with his ideals and to be accepted for what he is.

Roller Ditching Grandpa

Grandpa Nod hit a rock in the road and ditched on his roller blades.

Two years ago he hit a pothole and softened his landing with his face - out cold. This time it's a triple fractured humerus where he jammed the ball of his arm into the shoulder socket.

Doctor says that unless the rotator cuff is damaged, they won't do surgery. He'll have to keep it in a sling for a couple of weeks, and then do some - light - exercises in order to regain his mobility.

Grandpa Nod grew up playing hockey on frozen ponds, skating, and all that, and yes, he wears all the required safety gear. In general the exercise is good for him, but he's had a couple of unlucky accidents. Knowing him, this won't stop his skating once his arm heals.

We're thinking body armor for his birthday ...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Better Ingredients Make ...

... better beer. It's coming.

Golden Naked Oats

[Rebel Brewer] Huskless oat crystal malt. Exotic ingredient for subtle sweet satin nutty difference. Adds a shaving cream like foam and a distinctive creamy mouthfeel to any beer. One of the true "secret" ingredients used by many craft brewers and award winning Homebrewers.

Use up to 15% (or more if you are really into oats)
Avg. Lovibond: 15
Origin: UK

[F&J] Chocolate Malt shares many of the characteristics of Black Malt but because it is roasted for a slightly shorter period of time and end temperatures are not so high, colour is 200° EBC lighter.

This also means that some of the harsher flavours of Black Malt are not so pronounced. It retains a smoky flavour but is far less bitter. Its main uses are in darker beers and it is used in a well known stout, together with roasted barley to produce a more mellow less bitter taste.

CaraMalt is a very low colour Crystal Malt which has an almost completely glassy endosperm. It contains a greater degree of sweetness and stronger caramel flavour than Crystal Malt and the harsher nutty roasted flavours are not present.

It greatly improves body, foam retention and beer stability whilst adding little colour. It has therefore, become very popular in the production of lagers where it is used to assist in enhancing flavour and character. It has also become a common constituent for this reason, in low alcohol lagers.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Virtues: Annoying Things To Persevere With

A resource that I refer back to periodically is a book called Character Building: A Guide for Parents and Teachers by David Isaacs. It outlines the general virtues that parents should be developing in their children at various ages.

It seems to me that the transition for parents is just as difficult as it is for children. Teaching and motivating children and this age takes more patience, more explanation, and a different approach. Saying "because I asked you to" doesn't cut it anymore. Children become more aware and are looking to their parents' example as much as their words. Although they are paying more attention to the world around them, their awareness doesn't penetrate very deeply beyond themselves. This is the perfect time for the "object lesson" -- but you still have to spell it out.

From 8 to 12 years old
  • Fortitude
  • Perseverance
  • Industriousness
  • Patience
  • Responsibility
  • Justice
  • Generosity
As we will see, we now come to four virtues connected with the cardinal virtue of fortitude; two connected with justice and one with the theological virtue of charity.

Children at these ages undergo a series of biological changes with the arrival of puberty, and it is very desirable for them to develop their will, so as to strengthen their character. They now begin to take more personal decisions but they need criteria in order to know whether their efforts are going in the right direction. We complement the virtues connected with fortitude by including some virtues directly concerned with other people - responsibility, justice and generosity.

Anyway, it is logical for children of this age to focus more on what they are doing, on the action itself, than on the person at the receiving end of the action. They are not yet very aware of their own intimacy. This is a stage when we should try to get children to keep at things not out of obedience, but rather for the satisfaction of managing to overcome some obstacle. This is the age for challenging targets (but reasonable targets). Just as the small child is very aware of the rules of the game when playing with his companions and in general in relationships with others, it is surely good to stimulate children to develop virtues out of a sense of duty towards their companions, for example, but without forgetting to enthuse them with a worthwhile ideal. In this way they will get the satisfaction that comes from making an effort to overcome themselves.

All these virtues call for the use of the will. When we come to the descriptions of the virtues we will see that they have to do with 'putting up with annoying things', with 'continually making an effort to give to others', to 'attain what they set out to achieve', to 'resist evil influences', etc. To do all these tings they need to set their sights high and not to be content with mean ideals.

This is a crucial time for 'aiming high'. By this I mean raising children's sights up towards God and getting these human virtues to build up their developing faith.
Next time we will touch upon:

From 13 to 15 years old
  • Modesty
  • Moderation
  • Simplicity
  • Sociability
  • Friendship
  • Respect
  • Patriotism

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #54

This Week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents Elements of Catholic Living: Prayer, Music, Virtues.


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, April 24, 2010

Blynken Soccer

Today was a three ring circus; it would have been five, but we kept the toddlers home. We had three overlapping soccer games, so we called in the auxiliaries.

The girls are new to soccer this year, and I really thought that Blynken would like it the least. Today was her team's third game, and up to now they have been getting creamed.

But to my delight, Blynken has had the best attitude of any of the kids. After a spectacular 12-4 loss, she came off the field beaming, "I had a lot of fun, Dad."

For today's game, she asked her coach if she could play goalie for the first half so she didn't have to run as much. And lo and behold! the other team didn't score at all for the first half. She's never done this before, but apparently takes direction well and was aggressive to the ball. The game ended in a 2-2 tie which is fantastic for her team.

Maybe it was a fluke, and we haven't seen how she deals with getting scored on, but maybe we have a budding goalie on our hands. In any case she gets an A+ for playing that Blynken soccer with a good attitude.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pontifical High Mass

Pontifical Solemn Mass at the Basillica of the National Shrine tomorrow.
Q outlines it here; Msgr. Pope explains.

I'm sorry to have to miss it; somebody let me know how it goes.

North Dakota: Home Of The Whirl-A-Whip

For some unknown reason, North Dakota is the only state in the Union that hasn't visited us here at WBN. We don't know why; since they've never been here, we can hardly have offended them.

So if ND won't come to WBN, then WBN must go to ND -- at least virtually. The North Dakota Tourism web site lists a number of things to do in North Dakota, many of them featuring the fantastic landscape.

My personal favorite is the Hidden Gems page on which they feature the Whirl-A-Whip famous ice cream: one tub of ice cream, 40 flavors.

Other hidden gems:

Natural Gems

  • Sheyenne National Grasslands, southwest of Fargo
  • Denbigh Experimental Forest
  • Killdeer Game Management Area, east of Killdeer
  • Nature Conservancy Property at Davis Ranch
  • Mushroom Rock Formations, Petrified Forest, North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Huff Hills, south of Mandan
  • Pembina Gorge, west of Walhalla
  • Icelandic State Park
  • Little Missouri State Park
  • White Butte - Highest point in North Dakota-Amidon, ND
Cultural & Heritage Gems
  • St. Mary's Catholic Church, Hague
  • Fairview Lift Bridge and railroad tunnel, Cartwright
  • Stone Butte Ranch, south of Elgin
  • Fort Ransom
  • Scandinavian Heritage Park, Minot
  • Pipestem Creek
  • Crow Flies High overlook
  • Chief Looking's Village overlook
  • Mystical Horizons, near Carbury
Attraction Gems
  • Lewis & Clark Riverboat, Bismarck
  • Pioneer Trails Museum, Bowman
  • Paul Broste Rock Museum
  • Whirl-a-Whip, Stanley
  • McHenry Train
  • Dory's Antique Car Museum, Marmarth
  • Five Nations Art Depot
  • Prairie Fire Pottery
  • Hotel Donaldson, Fargo
  • Sundog Glass Design, Park River

So how about it -- anybody out there in North Dakota? Tell us about it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hang On To Your Hat

It was one of those days. I went on a little roller coaster ride.

I'm working a project with a limited budget and limited time frame. I added up all the materials, hardware, and software that I would need to pull it off and discovered that I would be 213% over budget.

After begging, pleading special circumstances, and wrangling with vendors, I got the whole shebang down to 40% of my allotted budget. I thought: I'm going to be a hero; they're going to name a park after me.

When I pitched my plan to the big boss, he shot me down in under 30 seconds, saying we couldn't spend that much money on an overhead project. I went from flying high to down in flames in nothing flat. Wha?... I thought I had a budget here ...

So I did what anyone would do. I laughed.

That's business sometimes: it's got some hard edges and sudden drops. I'm not worried; it'll all work out, but it looks like there is going to be some wild ride before we're done.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Staring At The Sun

For those of you who dig astronomy and space and stuff, NASA has published its first images from the Solar Observatory.

So stare at the sun - safely in this case, via National Geographic.

The Virtues: Drop Dead And Other Age Appropriate Things

We don't know ahead of time when we will die, when the Lord will call us to account. Mrs. Nod has actually forbidden me from dying on pain of death. (I tried to reason with her about that one, but no luck.)

A 50-year old father at our Catholic school up and died suddenly this week. He leaves behind a grieving widow and at least two boys. Wynken and the other 5th - 8th graders attended the funeral Mass at the parish today. Wynken said that he was a bit sad about it and recalled two other funerals that he has attended: one was for a (former) classmate earlier this year (very sad), the other was for his great-grandmother when he was 5 years old. I told him it was OK to be sad, but that we had the hope of the Resurrection.

I remember when his great-grandmother (on his mother's side) died. We attended with Mrs. Nod's family, and we had to travel to West Virginia where Grandma was born and her husband was buried. My nephew who is 8 months younger than Wynken was there and during the wake the boys got into a heated argument.

It seems that his parents had told him that Grandma had "fallen asleep" and wouldn't wake up again, whereas I had gently but firmly told Wynken that Grandma had died, and answered any questions he had at the time. (I honestly don't remember what they were.)

I've always made it a policy to answer any direct questions my kids ask as simply and honestly as I can at an age appropriate level. I might not volunteer every bit of information I have, depending on their maturity, but I've never lied to my kids.

That, of course, is the tricky part: age-appropriate information. How do you determine what to tell your kids and when? Obviously this is going to vary from kid to kid and family to family, but there should be some general guidelines that you can follow. Also this week I've had to field questions about why people get divorced, and I've tap-danced around questions related to how babies come into the world. (On one occasion in mixed kid company I replied, "Oh, the usual way.")

A resource that I refer back to periodically is a book called Character Building: A Guide for Parents and Teachers by David Isaacs. It outlines the general virtues that parents should be developing in their children at various ages.

Up to 7 years old
  • Obedience
  • Sincerity
  • Order
"Until they are seven, children scarcely have the use of reason and therefore the best they can do is obey their educators and try to fulfill this duty with affection ... In any event, at all ages the merit lies in obeying whoever is in charge - provided that one is not asked to do something wrong. Obedience is produced by parents making reasonable demands. They will have to be very demanding - but only on a very limited number of points, giving very clear, precise instructions.

"Children could obey because they are afraid or because there is no way out. These are very lowgrade motives. They should be encouraged to obey out of love, to help their parents: this is the first step towards developing the virtue of generosity.

"At the same time we should develop in them the virtue of sincerity, because this requirement to do certain things (to obey) gradually has to be turned into a requirement to think ( a form of guidance), and this guidance by parents only makes sense if it is based on the child's real situation. Sincerity has also a lot to do with modesty and we will come back to this virtue at the teenage stage.

"We also include the virtue of order - for a number of reasons: 1) if it is not developed early on, it is much more difficult to develop it later; 2) it is a virtue necessary for people to get on well together; 3) it is good for mothers' peace of mind: and that, quite seriously, is something important.

Next time we'll cover:

From 8 to 12 years old

  • Fortitude
  • Perseverance
  • Industriousness
  • Patience
  • Responsibility
  • Justice
  • Generosity

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dear Dorothy

More good tunes from Spirit Juice and Catholic Underground.

Enjoy this from Greg Walton.

April 09, 2010Greg Walton gave an incredible performance at Catholic Underground Chicago of his classic hit "Dear Dorothy". Greg performed that night as two man group with drummer Bill Bleistine.

Indulging Is Easy

The Church makes it so easy to be forgiven; she has the keys to open up the treasures of Heaven.

The other day I mentioned how I got 3-4 indulgences in one weekend. I wondered how many other things had indulgences attached to them and what the conditions were.


To gain any indulgence you must be a Catholic in a state of grace. You must be a Catholic in order to be under the Church’s jurisdiction, and you must be in a state of grace because apart from God’s grace none of your actions are fundamentally pleasing to God (meritorious). You also must have at least the habitual intention of gaining an indulgence by the act performed.

To gain a partial indulgence, you must perform with a contrite heart the act to which the indulgence is attached.

To gain a plenary indulgence you must perform the act with a contrite heart, plus you must go to confession (one confession may suffice for several plenary indulgences), receive Holy Communion, and pray for the pope’s intentions. (An Our Father and a Hail Mary said for the pope’s intentions are sufficient, although you are free to substitute other prayers of your own choice.) The final condition is that you must be free from all attachment to sin, including venial sin.

If you attempt to receive a plenary indulgence, but are unable to meet the last condition, a partial indulgence is received instead.

Below are indulgences listed in the Handbook of Indulgences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing, 1991). Note that there is an indulgence for Bible reading. So, rather than discouraging Bible reading, the Catholic Church promotes it by giving indulgences for it! (This was the case long before Vatican II.)

• An act of spiritual communion, expressed in any devout formula whatsoever, is endowed with a partial indulgence.

• A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly spend time in mental prayer.

• A plenary indulgence is granted when the rosary is recited in a church or oratory or when it is recited in a family, a religious community, or a pious association. A partial indulgence is granted for its recitation in all other circumstances.

• A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who read sacred Scripture with the veneration due God’s word and as a form of spiritual reading. The indulgence will be a plenary one when such reading is done for at least one-half hour [provided the other conditions are met].

• A partial indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly sign themselves with the cross while saying the customary formula: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

In summary, the practice of indulgences neither takes away nor adds to the work of Christ. It is his work, through his body the Church, raising up children in his own likeness. "The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to become holy with the help of God’s grace is not alone. ‘The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person’" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1474 [Indulgentarium Doctrina 5]).

Stay On Target

..some philosophers have abandoned the search for truth in itself and made their sole aim the attainment of a subjective certainty or a pragmatic sense of utility. This in turn has obscured the true dignity of reason, which is no longer equipped to know the truth and to seek the absolute.

-Fides et Ratio

h/t Joe - Defend Us in Battle

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grammar Noir

I missed National Grammar Day again this year (March 4).

But no matter; like a good book, Grammar Day is something you can take up any time. Jenn at Of Cabbages and Kings has a brilliant grammar noir.

What, you didn't know there was such a thing as grammar noir? I'll bet there are lots of things you don't know.

The phone rang— I made an em-dash for it. A man was on the line. He said he had colon problems. I told him I was an editor, not a proctologist. He said that was swell, and he'd be right over.

He showed up at the office with a preposition for me. I said, is that a pen in your pocket, or are you happy to see me? He opened his coat to reveal his piece. A powerful little number but bulky. I asked him to put it slowly on the table so we could get down to work.

He hesitated, asking me for a quote first. I gave him two, telling him he'd need both for later.

Then he said he was ready to show me the colon. I saw right away he had a nice asterisk, but had to force myself to look beyond his dangling participle. It was totally out of whack, and I didn't want to embarrass him this soon in the meeting.

Well, it turns out he was wrong. The colon was listing, all right, but it looked like the rest had been hit by a semi-.

I explained the clause of his troubles twice. He wasn't getting it. "Do I need to draw you a diagram?" I asked.

I didn't want to compound his frustration; he was a client, after all. I was just wondering how we could find unity on this, when we reached a conjunction. That's when he hit me with the complement. "You're the definite article," he said, drawing me close.

Suddenly, our ellipse met... something I never would have predicated. It was like a spell.

And that's when the grammar police burst through the door. Turns out, my client was wanted in three states for adverb abuse.

Quickly, suddenly, nervously, desperately, he pulled his piece on them. And that was all the evidence they needed.

Soon we were in a court down at the capital. It was an upper case. Things were tense, as we worried about our past, present and future.

Then the judge read the sentence.

The collective had spoken and there was agreement. Guilty as charged!

I tried to explain it was just bad comma, but I could see we were at an end mark. They threw the book at him. The sentence. It had us in fragments. We both suffixed terribly. In fact, we still suffix.

Because we were -ment to be together. And that's all that matters.


Here are some other examples of the noir:

Baltimore writer and editor John McIntyre of the "You Don't Say" blog has composed a grammar noir series featuring many of our favorite language lovers.

Part I, 2010

Part II, 2010

Part III, 2010

Part IV, 2010

Last year's grammar noir

Me And The Homebrews: Lineup

On this edition of Me and the Homebrews, WBN looks wistfully at an empty keg. Once you parse out multiple growlers worth of beer to various Homebrew partners, there isn't much left in a 5 gallon keg.

For the uninitiated, our growler size is .53 gallons. Some research has shown that beer really does benefit from a few extra weeks of conditioning. However, since it takes 6 weeks to make an average batch, it's really hard to wait to tap.

Brilliantly, there is a solution: make more than one. That way, while you're enjoying one, the next one is conditioning away in cool obscurity, getting smoother and filing off those rough edges and flavors.

To this end, here is a partial future line-up from Northern Brewer: Irish Draught Ale with Specialty Grains and Patersbier. Half the challenge of the Patersbier is to show that you can make a decent beer (read: Ale) from pilsner malt that doesn't taste horrible like Budweiser.

Irish Draught Ale: Like Irish stouts, Irish ales are sociable session beers with a low alcohol content but substantial body. This beer pours with a deep red color and tan head over a caramel-like malt character with roasty and fruity notes. As a bow to Ireland's meadmaking past, clover honey lightens the body and boosts the gravity of this recipe, while a small dose of oats adds creaminess to the mouthfeel and a hint of grain to the flavor.

Patersbier: Stan Hieronymus (author of Brew Like a Monk) and Kristen England (BJCP Continuing Education Director) bring you this very special kit. "Brouwerij'ed" on the left side of the Belgian town Malle solely for consumption by the reverent Cistercian brothers. This ale is not served or sold to the public, making it one of the rarest beers in the world. Made only from pilsner malt, hops, and yeast, the complexity that results from these simple ingredients is staggering: perfumey floral hops, ripe pear fruit, sour apple, spicy cloves, candied citrus and a slight biscuit character on the drying finish ... a monks' session beer.

One of our goals going forward is to work on the beer's mouthfeel and body. Aside from taking the plunge into partial-mash or all grain brewing, there are a limited number of things that can be influenced from extract brewing. One of them is the addition of of a non-fermentable carbohydrate like maltodextrin which adds viscosity to the wort.

Maltodextrin is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid, and is one of the deadlier poisons known to man. Oh wait -- that's Iocane powder.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Novena For The Holy Father

Knights of Columbus are asked to pray a novena for Pope Benedict, beginning on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11, and concluding on Monday, April 19, the fifth anniversary of the Holy Father’s election.

CNS photo/Paul Haring


Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world. Amen.

V/ Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.
R/ May the Lord preserve him, give him a long life, make him blessed upon the earth, and not hand him over to the power of his enemies.

V/ May your hand be upon your holy servant.
R/ And upon your son, whom you have anointed.

Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory Be...

In Solidarity With Our Holy Father
Adapted from Manual of Prayers
16000 4-10

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #53

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: Indulge Me -- how to get 4 indulgences in a weekend and a fabulous anniversary to boot.

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, April 17, 2010

Bull Run Mountains Conservancy and Beverley Mill

Today Wynken hiked the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy with his Boy Scout Troop. They are practicing for a much longer hike, but you have to start somewhere.
BRMC is a beautiful 800 acre preserve just outside of Haymarket, VA and at the foothills of the Bull Run Mountains. They have a series of marked trails that are not too tough for beginners, although a couple of sections are rather steep.

Nearby there are the ruins of the old stone Beverley Mill, c. 1742, (originally Chapman's Mill) burned down during the Civil War. You can clearly see the mill from Rte. 66 highway. The tops and edges of the stone formations are covered by what appears to be thick tin plates to keep the ruins from toppling; the interior is fortified with modern steel beams for visitor safety.

After a 5 mile mountain hike, 3 soccer games, and a school fundraiser today I'm a little tired.

If You Were Wondering

If you were wondering what llamas were doing in suburbia, then we were thinking the same thing...

Lousy camera phone picture at twilight, I know ...

A Step Too Far?

I saw this while walking to lunch and it just looked so ridiculous that I had to take a picture.

It looks as if step stools are now being provided to read the handicapped sign.
If that's the case, then that's a step too far in our enabling culture.

More likely a workman simply forgot his step stool -- but that wouldn't be interesting would it?

Friday, April 16, 2010

WBN Nominated For Cannonball Catholic Blog Awards

WBN is humbled and honored by fellow blogger aka the Mom at Shoved To Them for the nomination to the 2010 Cannonball Catholic Blog Awards for the Best Potpourri of Popery.

We have an eclectic mix of stuff here at WBN-- it's a lot like life: funny, then serious, and with a case of the munchies. And yes, oh so Catholic. Nominations close on May 10 upon The Crescat's return. So nominate your favorite Catholic blogs, and don't forget to vote for us here at WBN for Best Potpourri of Popery and for Shoved To Them for Best Under Appreciated Blog.

I'm going to take a page from Acts of the Apostasy (
Best Hifreakinlarious Blog) last year and fake a life threatening illness -- sympathy vote for the win!

I said if I got nominated I'd hang it right next to my Super Catholic T-Shirt!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Embarrassing Episode Of Little Miss Muffet

I was reading a book of poetry to the girls -- Blynken, Nod-girl, and Nib -- and came upon this creative re-imagining of a popular nursery rhyme by Guy Wetmore Carryl (1873-1904).

It tickled my fancy, I hope you enjoy it too.

The Embarrassing Episode Of Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet discovered a tuffet,
(Which never occurred to the rest of us)
And, as 'twas a June day, and just about noonday,
She wanted to eat - like the rest of us:

Her diet was whey, and I hasten to say
It is wholesome and people grow fat on it.
The spot being lonely, the lady not only
Discovered the tuffet, but sat on it.

A rivulet gabbled beside her and babbled,
As rivulets always are thought to do,
And dragon flies sported around and cavorted,
As poets say dragon flies ought to do;

When, glancing aside for a moment, she spied
A horrible sight that brought fear to her,
A hideous spider was sitting beside her,
And most unavoidably near to her!

Albeit unsightly, this creature politely, said:
"Madam, I earnestly vow to you,
I'm penitent that I did not bring my hat.
I should otherwise certainly bow to you."
Thought anxious to please, he was so ill at ease
That he lost all his sense of propriety,
And grew so inept that he clumsily stept
In her plate - which is barred in Society.

This curious error completed her terror;
She shuddered, and growing much paler, not
Only left tuffet, but dealt him a buffet
Which doubled him up in a sailor knot.
It should be explained that at this he was pained:
He cried: "I have vexed you, no doubt of it!
Your fists's like a truncheon." "You're still in my luncheon,"
Was all that she answered. "Get out of it!"

And the Moral is this: Be it madam or miss
To whom you have something to say,
You are only absurd when you get in the curd
But you're rude when you get in the whey.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Peel Me A Grape

Some days are tougher than others; at the end of the day you just want something easy. Time to decompress.

I'm getting hungry -- peel me a grape.

Peel me a grape crush me some ice
Skin me a peach save the fuzz for my pillow
Talk to me nice talk to me nice
You've got to wine and dine me

Don't try to fool me bejewel me
Either amuse me or lose me
I'm getting hungry peel me a grape

Pop me a cork french me a fry
Crack me a nut bring a bowl full of bon-bons
Chill me some wine keep standing by
Just entertain me champagne me
Show me you love me kid glove me
Best way to cheer me cashmere me
I'm getting hungry peel me grape

Here's how to be an agreeable chap
Love me and leave me in luxury's lap
Hop when I holler skip when I snap
When I say 'do it' jump to it

Send out for scotch call me a cab
Cut me a rose make my tea with the petals
Just hang around pick up the tab
Never out think me just mink me
Polar bear rug me don't bug me
New thunderbird me you heard me
I'm getting hungry peel me a grape

Pope Says Drink Beer

What, you didn't hear that?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Grotto Me This

This year Mrs. Nod and I celebrate 14 years of marriage.

We have a tradition of trading off planning our anniversary and this year was Mrs. Nod's turn. Instead of a big fancy dinner, she chose time away from home and a spiritual theme. This was our first trip away from home without any children since we started having them. Oooh! Aaah! The novelty!

This was an overnighter and mini-retreat for the two of us - just time to spend alone and at our own pace, nothing formal.She chose the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, MD. The weather was fine and the place is beautiful and peaceful. There is a garden walk up to the Grotto that features the Stations of the Cross on one side, and the Mysteries of the Rosary on the way back.

Halfway up is a small chapel, the Corpus Christi Chapel, that is "just big enough to change your mind in" where the Eucharist is reserved in the Tabernacle. Kneeling in front, you are about four feet from His Presence. There is a sign there, saying "You are now alone with Our Lord ... don't you have anything to say to him?".

The Grotto is a replica of the original one in Lourdes, France where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, saint and incorruptible.

There is actually an indulgence of 500 days attached with visiting the Grotto as long as you go to Mass, Confession, pray for the Pope, and say a Hail Mary and invocation. 500 days! And we visited there twice. Yeah, baby, that's 1000 days off Purgatory for free -- I think I may need it.

We visited on the Feast of Divine Mercy, which is our (liturgical) anniversary. We were finishing up the Divine Mercy novena, so we hit Mass at St. Anthony's at the bottom of the hill and Confession at the Grotto. An indulgence trifecta! Woot!
The next day we also visited the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, which is practically down the street in Emmitsburg. I'm not sure of the architecture type (neo-classical?), but the interior was designed by Italian and German artists.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's remains are entombed behind a marble slab in a side chapel in the Basilica. They have a reliquary that you can reverence and a novena to pray for intentions. The stained glass windows above her tomb show her order, the Daughters of Charity, performing the 7 works of mercy. (Click for larger image).

The very top of the dome features a fresco of the holy family. You have to crane your neck for a good look. I got a better look by taking a hi-res photo and looking at that.

All in all, it was a very sweet way to spend your anniversary with the one you love: good job, hon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Signs and Symbols: Pelicans

Of all the great imagery we have for Christ and his sacrifice for his bride, the Church, none springs to mind as little as the Pelican.

Lambs, crosses, bread and wine, the ichthys fish -- all these are very common images. But a number of other images have also been used throughout the centuries to represent Christ including birds, such as the mythic Phoenix and the pelican.

In the case of the pelican, the belief was that the bird would wound herself to feed her young with her own blood. This self-sacrifice naturally called to mind His death on the cross and so became a symbol for Christ.
This weekend, Mrs. Nod and I went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native born saint in America. I found this etching of a pelican in the window pane of the entry door to the Basilica.

Things that are otherwise mysterious gain a new light when the proper signs and symbols are explained.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #52

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: Sing, Drink, and Be Catholic.

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.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quasimodo Sunday

Any party that lasts for 8 days must be a fairly big deal.

The practice of observing an eight day period, or octave, of celebration for major liturgical feasts has its roots in the Feast of Tabernacles in the Old Testament (Leviticus 23:36) and with Constantine I circa 300 A.D with the dedication festivities of the basilicas at Jerusalem and Tyre.

There have been many octaves celebrated in the Catholic Church, but since the 1955 decree by Pope Pius XII the Roman calendar only observes 3: Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.
[Wikipedia] The term Octave of Easter may refer either to the eight day period (Octave) from Easter Sunday until the Sunday following Easter, inclusive; or it may refer only to that Sunday after Easter, the Octave Day of Easter (sometimes known as Low Sunday). That Sunday is also known historically as St. Thomas Sunday , [Divine Mercy Sunday], and Quasimodo Sunday.

The name Quasimodo came from the Latin text of the traditional Introit for this day, which begins "Quasi modo geniti infantes..." ("As newborn babies...", from the First Epistle of Peter (I_Peter 2:2). [1] Literally, quasi modo means "as if in [this] manner".
(And yes, the Hunchback of Notre Dame takes his name from this day.)

The Global Chant Database lists several other arrangements for the Introit for Quasimodo Sunday.

The full Introit line is translated, "[L]ike newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation."

Creative Fidelity

This is refreshing; it looks like LA is going to get the pastor they need. Attempts to view the Catholic Church, including morality and social justice, through a primarily political lens leads to bad digestion.
[LA Times] In its most faithful expression, Catholic life and teaching transcends secular polarization, allowing for a wide variety of leanings among its members within the Vatican's boundaries of orthodoxy. [...]

Recently elected to lead the U.S. bishops' efforts on behalf of immigrants, [Abp.] Gomez is a strong supporter of migrant rights. And his ascent is unlikely to give comfort to conservative activists who've called for a "Catholic Tea Party" movement and the dismantling of the church's national body, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. On the other hand, L.A. Catholics dismayed by Masses where Rome's rubrics seem to be viewed more as advice than as rules may see welcome changes in services. And on hot-button moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage, church members can expect a robust defense of the faith's 2,000-year-old teaching. In tone, however, Gomez is likely to be far less strident than the handful of conservative bishops whose interventions have dominated the church's national headlines of late. [...]

[R]ome's choice is no cookie-cutter ideologue. Instead, he embodies the pontiff's vision of a "creative fidelity," with his first allegiance being to the church's prime purpose: the spiritual sustenance of its own and, by extension, the world outside its walls.

Homebrew Musings

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.

We got new CO2 and hooked it up, since we are too impatient to wait. Our dunkelweizen actually turned out well enough and everyone is enjoying its wheat-y goodness. Ironically, several of the Homebrews decided that the beer tasted better with less carbonation, i.e., flatter. Excessive carbonation gives it a slightly bitter presentation, although there is nothing wrong with the head.

Perhaps we'll try putting primer in the keg and letting it naturally carbonate; natural fermentation usually lends a softer mouthfeel.

A co-worker sent me a link to the Samuel Adams Longshot homebrew contest. I have some mixed feelings about its founder, Jim Koch, due to his involvement in a serious anti-Catholic incident in 2002, although he did apologize for it. There is no denying that the beer is quality tasty beer, especially the Imperial series.

The Sam Adams video on homebrewing is also worth checking out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Prayer Of Intention

Some things just require prayer; special intention.

Divine Mercy Chaplet

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.

2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).

4. Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

[source EWTN]

Dental Dilemmas

I survived another trip to the dentist.

They said what I wanted to hear: "Nice teeth, no problems, see you next time." So I paid my money and left. Just like that.

There are some people who say I'm afraid of the dentist. It isn't true. I have a complete phobia regarding the dentist. That's different.

And actually, the dentist is kinda nice, so it isn't the dentist I have a problem with -- it's drills.

Drills make holes. Holes in teeth are bad. Ergo, drills and teeth together are bad. It's my life's goal to die with all the teeth in my mouth. It really doesn't matter if the dentist is trying to help me with that - the irrational part of me is having none of it. That's why it's called irrational.

Let's examine:
  1. I don't like high vibrations anywhere near me, especially near the head; drills do that
  2. As a child, I read the book Superfudge in which the kid gets his front teeth knocked out; that made an impression on me
  3. As a child, I got hit in the teeth on two separate occasions: once by a door, once by a baseball, that slightly loosened my teeth
  4. My father warned me that if I didn't take care of my teeth they would fall out of my head; bad imagery
  5. Dental pics and aggressive flossing hurt when they are applied carelessly and poke tender gums; hey, can you buy a guy a drink before you go all the way with that?
  6. Dental X-rays hurt because the film edges poke me in all the wrong places in my mouth
  7. I don't react well to sedatives and similar medications; I don't deal well with not being able to control my body
  8. I have a very vivid imagination which assails me when the dentist is trying to fill cavities because I know too much
  9. The polish the hygienist uses always leaves sand in my mouth which takes multiple rinses to get out
  10. Dental insurance programs are universally crappy
  11. Dentists are just a little too happy to find "interesting" things in your mouth -- and it'll cost you.
So, sure I love the dentist -- just keep your medieval torture implements, syringes of happy juice, and leering grin to yourself.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dragon Van

I saw this VW Bus at Wynken's soccer practice. When I see a dragon that large I'm not sure whether to laugh or go into attack mode with some holy water.

Maybe they have a serious case of D&D overdose. Either way, this has got to be embarrassing for the kids.

Unreasonably Good

I admit to being a little bit of a foodie. I don't have the skills of a sous chef, and probably not quite the palate, but I do have the appetite.

At the risk of stating a tautology, good food is yummy. When you find a flavor you connect with, you just want to have it again and again.

For Easter dinner, I made this recipe for Lamb Stew from Wegmans. Why not ham? Because we're celebrating the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, not of the Ham.

Anyway, I highly recommend you try it. The broth this thing makes is unreasonably good; I was drinking gravy from the bowl, it was that good. I used some Rosemary Olive Oil bread to soak up every last drop. It's got chicken stock, lamb drippings, rosemary, tomatoes, basil, garlic, red wine, bay leaves, and something called Herbes de Provence. I don't even know what the heck that stuff is, but it does contain lavender and savory. Braising the lamb meant that it ended up fork tender -- delectable.

Oh, man, oh man was that good. I brought the leftovers into work for lunch, and one of my office mates threatened to beat me if I didn't bring in more to share.

That, to me, is the highest praise. When food is good, people ask for the recipe; when it is unreasonably good, people are correspondingly unreasonable about getting it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #51

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: A WBN Holy Week.


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.

If You Know What I Mean

I make some of the worst jokes sometimes. They're not even funny, but they do amuse me. Most of them are language driven - some things just sound funny, even though they are not themselves funny.

It's not that they are offensive, they're just not funny -- except in my head. I know what I mean.

I went to Wegmans a couple of months ago, and the teenage girl checkout clerk was Turkish (obviously second generation). I mentioned I used to live there once and she asked if I spoke Turkish.

"Badly", was the answer. "I use it as a convenient language my kids don't understand. They think that hadi, gidelim is a girl in the Prosthetics Department." -- and she laughed!

Now, this is only slightly amusing if you're an English speaker listening to Turkish and have an overactive word association imagination. It means "Come on, let's go", but if you say it quickly and listen with an English ear, it sounds like "Heidi, get a limb".

The Greeks also have a saying: Christos Anesti! (Christ is risen!) Alithos Anesti! (He is risen indeed!).

So, in that same spirit I offer you my Easter greeting: "Halitosis is nasty!"

(If you know what I mean.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Today I went to the church and prayed the stations of the cross. It is the worst feeling in the world to go there and see an empty tabernacle. It's just ... wrong.

Forced myself to watch the Passion of the Christ again. It always leaves me speechless.

Good Friday, indeed. Not "fun Friday".

We wait. We hope. We pray.

Flemish Sour

I had one of these Flemish Sour beers once -- once. Hoo boy! Serious pucker factor.

Johnny Fincioen of the Global Beer Network explains about this odd style.

This beer, brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge takes the mother brew and beautifully blends it with fresh sweet beer. The nose has a vinegar bite leading the drinker to believe that the beer will be VERY sour. However the beer hits the pallet sweet, which causes a true explosion of flavour Some will tell you the brew is sweet while others will tell you its sour. This beverage is the perfect match with sweet and sour dishes (Asian Food), Mexican Food, Desert or even as a salad dressing.

Refermented in the Bottle & Keg: living beer. Belgian Old Brown Ale 5.5% Alc. by Vol.


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