Monthly Archives: August 2006

Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

It’s a sonnet, of course, one of my favorites, another that I can recite from memory, although it’s been a while, so you may have to give me a minute to remember it all. But it’s another one that’s beautiful and yet also delicious mouth candy.

I love how the “sink and rise and sink and rise and sink” is almost like cheating, kinda repeating for lack of anything else to fill the line. But then it’s also just sorta going along with the old saw about going down for the third time. But by far my favorite part is the somewhat timidly hesitant, yet ultimately emphatic last line. Just so.

Great Find

We go back to the beach to search more for my glasss. It’s rained pretty hard overnight, so it’s a fairly desperate, long-shot kinda search. We look for about half an hour before I decide to just about give up. I walk and search a bit north, far further north than I figure they are, far from where I thought I last had them.

And I find them.

Great Loss

Dawn leaves to go for a walk on the beach. She invites me to go with her, but I’m feeling drunk and lazy and decline. Just a few minutes later I change my mind and go running after her. I get to the beach and think I see her just a little ways north. I hurry to catch up, but then when I get closer I realize that I’m following someone else. So I turn back south.

It’s getting darker as it gets later. It’s not exactly dark, but it’s not especially bright anymore either. I take off my glasses, and I can see a little bit better. I hang them from the neck of my t-shirt.

I finally find Dawn, who’s walking back from her stroll to the south. We walk a little, then I go chasing after a little crab. A few minutes later I realize that I’ve lost my glasses.

We spend quite a while looking for them, as it gets darker and darker. As it does actually get dark. We can’t find them.

Tour de Corolla

We rent bikes, Dawn and Erin and I do, from the rental place about a mile up the road. Then we ride them further north to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Takes about thirty-five minutes to ride to the lighthouse, a bit longer than I was calculating. And it’s hotter and sweatier work than I planned as well.

They’re strong, sturdy bikes. Lead sleds, Dave Corkran would’ve called them. There’s no gears, just the one speed. For a lot of the way we ride just on the edge of the roadway; other times there’s a path on the west side.

We rest on the front porch of the gift shop at the lighthouse for a while, Erin and Dawn in the rocking chairs on the porch. I go in and marvel over the models of ships that they have. The biggest most beautiful one is of a cutter, but it’s six-hundred dollars. The affordable one they’ve got for a hundred bucks is really just a cheap toy. An expensive cheap toy.

Up atop the lighthouse we try to spot a plane or planes taking Rob and Carol and John and Steve on a tour of the Outer Banks. Erin gets a text message from Steve just as they’re arriving, and we see the plane. I do giant waving and the pilot dips his wings. Great fun.

We take it slower on the ride back, stopping for a beer on the way. Erin is nice and lets me finish her beer as well. The bartender gives us a tip as to the ride back, telling us to take the private road through the country club. Dawn and Erin just want the straightest way back, but I take that scenic route. There’s one hill where I have to get off and push, but it’s a much more pleasant ride back. They get home maybe five, ten minutes before I do.

Feels so good just to fall back into the pool.

Gone Fishin’

Today is Monday and fishing day for the boys. Last year we went trolling way the hell out in Pamlico Sound. Too fast, too loud. So this year we’re not going nearly as far or as fast. And turns out we don’t especially catch much either. But that’s okay.

And Erin joins us, so it’s not exactly just the boys. But since she seems to be a more avid (and better) fisher than most of us, it’s all okay by us.

We get to the boat rental place right around nine, and we’ve arrived before any proprieters or employees. Pete soon rides up on his bike though. We fill out forms and sign waivers and whatnot, and Pete then wades out to retrieve our boat. He brings it in and then shows us (mostly Rob) how to drive the thing. Plus how to switch gas tanks if we use up all of the one. We’re all aboard so Rob putters us out maybe a mile, to just under the bridge, and we cast off.

We mostly use shrimp as bait, although there are some blood worms as well. We have a pool for who catches the first fish and the most fish. We go home with no fish, as it turns out. Mostly Erin catches crabs, so I think she wins the pool, although I don’t think she ends up getting anyone’s money.

I mostly wear a life jacket and am the only one who does. I consider myself a pretty good swimmer, but I figure in any boating accident I’m going to get like bumped on the head and fall overboard unconscious, so I want the life jacket for when I’m out cold and unable to swim. It never does happen, and I look like an old woman wearing the stupid thing. Ah well.

We see some dolphins, which is pretty cool. Rob gets pretty good video. We’re all slathered up with sunblock, so nobody gets ridiculously burnt. We take home four crabs, at least one of them of legal size.

Elizabeth II

After Mass we head just a little east, over the bridge to Roanoke Island, then just a quick jaunt north to Manteo NC. We park close by the marina there, and I’m immediately captivated by a sailboat at the dock getting ready to cast off. And then there are boats and boats and more boats, so much eye candy to view. And then best of all is a short walk over the bridge to Roanoke Island Festival Park, where is docked the Elizabeth II. And she is glorious.

What she is, also, is a replica of a sixteenth century English merchant ship, like one that would have sailed across the Atlantic and landed at Roanoke Island in 1585. This Elizabeth was built here in Manteo beginning in 1982. She was launched in 1983 and formally presented to the state of North Carolina in 1984.

She’s a square-rigged ship, I’m excited to note, but she’s no ship of the line or even a frigate. As I’m talking to our guide aboard her, I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with the yard on the mizzen mast. No, it’s not stowed, says he, as I’m guessing. It’s always like this, rigged fore and aft. It’s for a lateen, and that makes this ship a bark.

Later we tour the encampment on the island, and they’ve got something of a workshop going. There’s a foot-driven lathe made out of a pole lashed to a tree. And there’s a working forge, where the blacksmith makes us a nail right before our amazed eyes. Just before we leave I finally figure out what this one strange bench with contraption is all about. It’s a shaving horse! I grab the drawknife off the workbench and sit on the shaving horse, chucking a random piece of wood in the vise and locking it down with the foot pedals.

Back over the bridge we have lunch in Manteo at the Full Moon Cafe. It’s like utterly Arctic inside, so we sit outside. A badass-looking biker couple arrive to join us outside. I hear the badass biker dude lean over and tell his badass biker chick, “It’s really a cute cafe inside.”

We take a brochure and plan maybe to take a cruise on the Downeast Rover, but the not-unreasonable twenty-five bucks each fare is cash only. We could swing putting it on the credit card, but we’re a little strapped for cash this week, so we make a plan to take this cruise for sure next year.

Finally we drive just a little further up the island to the Elizabethan Gardens.

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Normally at the beach Dawn and I go to the nine a.m. Mass at Holy Redeemer by the Sea in Kitty Hawk. But we’re heading further south this morning to Manteo, so we hit the eight a.m. Mass at Holy Trinity by the Sea in Nags Head. And it turns out to be a lot more charming than Holy Redeemer, just a small building, more a chapel than the big ugly modern Holy Redeemer. And with attendance measured in dozens rather than hundreds, parking is a whole lot easier as well.

Music isn’t so great though. I’ve heard it said that Catholics can’t sing, and we sure do exemplify that today. But other than that it’s a great Mass. Leading us is Fr. Glenn Willis, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales from Silver Spring and who tells us that this is his thirtieth year vacationing in the Outer Banks and helping out in this parish while he’s here. He explains to us that today’s readings are all about making choices.

The first reading is from Joshua, where Joshua gathers together all the tribes of Israel. It’s from the last chapter of the Book of Joshua. Seems like Joshua’s saying goodbye maybe. And Joshua tells them that they have to decide whom to serve, either the old gods or the new gods of the Amorites, or the Lord. Smart people, they decide on the Lord.The second reading is that rather famous exhortation from St. Paul, from Ephesians. Father Willis tells us to concentrate less on the that famous third line, “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands,” and more on the too-often-overlooked second line, where St. Paul tells us that we should all “be subordinate to one another.”

The Responsorial Psalm is yet again “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord,” from Psalm Thirty-Four. Third week in a row for this one. I’m starting to get the feeling that they think this one’s really important. And continuing as well is the Gospel from St. John. Remember last week we discussed how Jesus was being deliberately shocking. This week he goes so far as to ask, “Does this shock you?”

Well, yeah. Kinda. Now that you ask.

Some of the disciples say, “This is hard.” They ask, “[W]ho can accept it?” And in fact many of them don’t accept it. They up and leave and go back to their former ways of life. It’s all about choosing whether to listen and follow, and they choose a different way.

Happy Birthday, Papa!

Edward Francis Wojtkowiak was born this day in 1908.

I see at least from the 1910 census that he lived at 1257 Hamilton Street on April 26, 1910. He may have been born there on Hamilton Street, but I’m not sure. Says that his father’s name was Peter, mother’s was Rose. Peter & Rose had been married fourteen years. Says Rose (and, one assumes, Peter as well) had eight children, six still living: Michael, John, Roman, Leo-something, Julia, and Edward. Seems like Peter and Rose were born back in the old country, although it just says “Ger Polish O,” whatever that means. The kids all born in Ohio. Says year of immigration for Peter and Rose was 1896, about the same time as their marriage, seems to me.

I’m named after him, clearly, although I was dubbed Edward John rather than Edward Francis. I later took Francis as my confirmation name though.

Papa was a grocer and a butcher. Got his start working at Kroger, is my understanding. Got kidnapped once with the payroll. Later had his own store at 1111 Ketcham, where I knew him best. When I was a kid, though, Papa worked for Spangler, a tobacco and candy distributer. All I knew is that my grandfather worked for the candy store. That’s the ultimate in cool for a kid.

Papa died on August 4, 1994. Happy birthday, Papa. We love you and miss you.

On the Road

We’re up early, around six, as we start our vacation today. First step is of course the long drive to the Outer Banks. Dawn’s plan is to leave at seven, but for some reason I’m under the impression that we’re shooting for eight. So somehow neither of us is satisfied when we leave at seven-thirty. And I never am able the whole way to get any sleep while Dawn’s driving. Somehow the Jetta isn’t as comfortable for sleeping as the Taurus was, although it’s sure nicer with the CD player.

We meet up with Dad and Main and crowd quite by accident at our usual McDonald’s on the way at about eight-thirty. We don’t especially join the caravan, however. We plan on seeing them again for lunch at the Border Station, but when I call Main when we arrive, they’re long past, on their way to Grandy’s. So then we tell them we’ll just see them at the Roadside in Duck, but then they’re still there at Grandy’s when we stop.

Traffic is terrible the last few miles to the Outer Banks, worst we’ve ever seen. And then there are no tables to be had at the Roadside, so Dawn and I head back to Kitty Hawk to hit the Wal-Mart for supplies. Then, finally, we make it to the house, Poet’s Loft.


After getting home from ballet class last week, Dawn and I walked up the block to Kevin’s house, to coordinate with him on taking care of our cats while we’re at the beach. Jonathan and Alana were on their stoop next door to Kevin, and we chatted with them for a few minutes. My first thought was that Alana looked pregnant, but I wasn’t going to say anything. Luckily, when I asked her how she was doing, she handily answered, “Pregnant.”

She’s about four months along. Jonathan saw me counting on my fingers and knew exactly what I was doing. He announced that the due date is February 9. Sonogram is scheduled in a couple weeks, so maybe they’ll know the sex after that.

And chatting with Alana, I told her the story of how I once witnessed childbirth. Always a good time telling that story. One of these days I’m really going to have to type it up and relate it here in this space.


The IAU decides to re-define planet, and Pluto gets the boot.

I learned the planets in first grade, faithfully memorizing them in order of distance from the Sun. So that’s like thirty-five years ago. I’m too old to un-learn Pluto.

I mean, I understand that the actual science is more important than the romantic or nostalgic aspects. The IAU is the controlling legal authority here in these matters.

But still, Pluto’ll always be my Pluto.

ASH Kickers v. Parc Vista Ballers

I meet up after work with Kevin on the five-hundred block of Twelfth Street, on our way to ESPNZone for a drink before the kickball game. We were planning to meet at the Zone itself, but I happened to be walking by as he was parking his car. He goes to put change in the meter, but it’s after six-thirty so parking’s free. But then he totally has to give the change to the homeless guys begging for change, since he had told them he couldn’t give anything to them for having to feed the meter.

Kevin orders sliders to go with our beers. I’m surprised to learn when they arrive that sliders are apparently little burgers, like White Castle or Little Tavern. I have three of them anyway, but I feel bad for the poor little cows.

We make our way to the field, arriving right at seven-thirty. To our chagrin we find out that game time was seven-fifteen, not seven-thirty. But luckily the game before ours ran late, so we’re only just about to get started. Would’ve hated to forfeit because I was late.

The Parc Vista Ballers are in red shirts this season; last season they were in yellow. I remember this because I hung out with Kate last season on the night she reffed their game. And now I remember also that I was totally charmed by a particular young woman on their team. She, at first seemingly such a delicate thing, a rather pre-Raphaelite creature, kicked an infield fly that was easily caught by a defender, and she quietly but emphatically whispered a long, drawn out “fuuuuck” as she made her way back to her team.

We lose badly. The only good thing is that it’s the Ballers’ first win of the season. So good for them.

Commitee Meeting

The Adult Formation Committee meets in the East Conference Room. Up now is also the new name of the conference room, the Msgr. John K. Cartwright Conference Room. Okay, gotta try and remember that. The Cartwright Conference Room.

I’m never going to be able to remember that.

We have an astonishing crowd for the meeting. Thirteen of us! Amazing.

Among other things we discuss, we want to try to find some way of organizing ourselves online. Carl is specifically tasked with checking out alternatives, but I end up searching as well.

I create a St. Matt’s AFC space in a Yahoo group and a MySpace group, as well as creating wikis at PBWiki, Jot, Central Desktop, and Wet Paint. And Carl creates a Blogger/BlogSpot blog as well. And after comparing all of them, seems to me that good old Yahoo is going to be the best bet. (The Jot wiki would totally be the way to go, but the free version is limited to five users and ten pages.)

I just noticed this

I was looking for an email that I thought I had sent out of my Yahoo account. Couldn’t find it, but I did notice something else.

Hey, did I make a typo in my signature? I did! I mis-spelled the yahoo domain, spelling it yhaoo.

What the hell? How long have I been sending that out?

A little research shows that I changed my signature somewhere between 22 Jan 2002 and 04 Feb 2002 from this:


to this:


Four and a half years it’s been! Hey, you people I’ve been emailing! Why haven’t you said anything, for pete’s sake?


Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Again with the early Mass, and again with a priest whose name I don’t catch. He’s a severe, jowly looking guy, and I fear him immediately. Then he lets us off the hook, skipping the Confiteor, going straight to the Kyrie. Whew. I’m liking him more and more already.

Then for his homily he’s really terrific and engaging, and so then he’s thoroughly won me over. Not scary at all, I decide.

The readings are pretty much a continuation of last week, with the Bread of Life motif going on. (The Gospel reading is a direct continuation, from last week’s verses forty-one through fifty-one and today’s fifty-one through fifty-eight.) (And the Responsorial Psalm is the very same exact on as last week, only minus verses eight and nine.)

 The reading from the Book of Wisdom anthropomorphizes wisdom as a woman, here setting a banquet for the simple:

To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding.

Apparently, casting Wisdom as a woman is (or was) a common literary device. And in this instance it works really well, I think, with the Gospel reading from St. John, with wisdom, with words, becoming our nourishment, and St. John famously begins his Gospel with the logos, with the word, with “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word was God.”

The Father in his homily tells us that Jesus was being deliberately provocative in telling the elders that they would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood, purposefully invoking the taboo against cannibalism to drive home his point that this was a whole new completely changed world that he was causing to come to be.

The recessional hymn is God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending, another hymn sung to the tune of Rustington. We had God Has Spoken By His Prophets back on the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. And apparently there’s another as well, See, the Conqueror mounts in triumph. Don’t know if that’s also in our Worship hymnal. Very quick research tells me that Rustington was written by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, who also wrote the music to the lovely Blake’s Jerusalem.

Becky’s Birthday Bash

Saturday morning. You know the drill. Eggs. Yoga. Whole Foods. Safeway. Home.

Then lunch and work on the house.

Except tonight we’ve got Becky coming over. It’s her birthday next week, Tuesday I think, and we’re having her to dinner. We’re making pizza. So we straighten and clean and make things presentable, instead of building like anything new. Then when Becky arrives we set down to some cooking.

It’s funny what people like on their pizza. I do mushrooms and black olives, Dawn black and green olives, and Becky green peppers. I don’t object to green peppers, actually, but we don’t usually do them on pizza. Dawn hates them, and hates them on pizza, I guess is why. I don’t like the green olives on my pizza. I figure black olives are canned, and therefore cooked, whereas green olives are bottled, as in preserved, in vinegar. Maybe they’re cooked beforehand, I don’t know. I think cucumbers are somehow cooked on their way to becoming pickles. But anyway, I love green olives, but only cold, either alone or in a martini. Don’t like ’em cooked.

Dawn also makes this cobbler thingy for dessert. Blueberry. No blueberries to be found in the produce department at Safeway, so we go with frozen. Or maybe there were some organic ones at some outrageous price. But frozen are fine for cooking. The cobble part of the cobbler comes from oats, which we find that we do not have when we go to look for them. Dawn saves me the trip back to Safeway when she decides that an instant oatmeal package will suffice.

We take a walk to and around Lincoln Park between pizza and dessert. I’m feeling quite fat and lazy, and have no desire to walk, but I’m glad that we do and feel all the better for it. And I’m also just generally pleased that we live so close to such a good size park. (Some quick calculations, measuring with Google Earth: A length of .16 miles and a width = .07 miles give us an area of .0112 square miles. At 640 acres per square mile, that’s a little over seven acres.)

We drive Becky home and then come back to all them dishes.

Wow, Joe

Somebody else apparently way smarter than I am? Joe Lieberman.

Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, running as an independent, gets 53 percent of likely voters, with 41 percent for Democratic primary winner Ned Lamont and 4 percent for Republican Alan Schlesinger, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Most incredible to me, and disheartening as well, is that among likely Republican voters, the Senator leads the actual Republican nominee by a vast margin, 75% to 10%. Heck, even Mr. Lamont gets more support than Mayor Schlesinger, with 13%.

“Sen. Lieberman’s support among Republicans is nothing short of amazing. It more than offsets what he has lost among Democrats. As long as Lieberman maintains this kind of support among Republicans, while holding onto a significant number of Democratic votes, the veteran Senator will be hard to beat,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D.

Long time until November though. But I sure had figured that support for Senator Lieberman’s independent bid would fade quite soon after the primary. Wrong, dummy!

Meanwhile, President Bush refuses to endorse Mayor Schlesinger. And looks like the NRSC is stiffing their candidate in Connecticut as well, giving him absolutely no money at all.

Breaking News: NSA Wiretapping Violates FISA

News just popped up on AP wire a few minutes ago. Findlaw doesn’t have anything about it yet. But the actual opinion and judgement/injunction are handily already up on Eastern District of Michigan website.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants, its agents, employees, representatives, and any other persons or entities in active concert or participation with Defendants, are permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly utilizing the Terrorist Surveillance Program (hereinafter “TSP”) in any way, including, but not limited to, conducting warrantless wiretaps of telephone and internet communications, in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (hereinafter “FISA”) and Title III;

The opinion is forty-three pages. Will take a while to digest, but you know what I’ll be reading this weekend. Hoo boy!

Late Update: Looks like the injunction will be stayed pending appeal, although I’m not so sure on the details. Seems like ACLU has agreed to government’s request to delay enforcement, but then also government is set to argue on Sept. 7 for such a stay. And but also any appeal will go to the Sixth Circuit.

Even Later Update: So instead of Judge Taylor’s opinion, I took home to read a printout of a policy address by Senator John Edwards at the National Press Club in June.

Later Late Update: But I didn’t have time to read it.

Later Latest Last Update: And apparently Judge Taylor’s opinion is getting no respect anywhere. Here’s Prof. Laurence Tribe defending it:

It’s altogether too easy to make disparaging remarks about the quality of the Taylor opinion, which seems almost to have been written more to poke a finger in the President’s eye than to please the legal commentariat or even, alas, to impress an appellate panel …

Had I been in her place, I never would have reached the difficult First and Fourth Amendment issues that she disposed of so summarily when a powerful, and indeed all but impregnable, statutory path to decision at least appeared to be available under the FISA. I also would have been less ready to find standing on the part of the complainants without much more meticulous analysis than Judge Taylor undertook; I would obviously have grappled with the “special needs” exception if I had reached the Fourth Amendment claim; and I can’t imagine not addressing the 2002 decision by the FSIA [sic?] Court of Review. 

What’s not to love?

Okay, so maybe there’s not a lot for Hezbollah to love in Resolution 1701.

Nasrallah was quick to agree to it as means of cease-fire, Hezbollah’s agreement to stop fighting, of course, being as necessary as Israel’s. Heck, probably more necessary than Prime Minister Siniora’s, now that I think about it. But Hezbollah’s agreement to me looks more and more like a merely cynical move, in light of their more recent threats to refuse withdrawal and disarmament.

Sort of like how the underpinning of society itself is simply cooperation, likewise the first necessary thing for any contract (as also in treaty or cease-fire agreement) is good faith, something that I surely have not been fully appreciating as to be so lacking all around among the parties involved. And Hezbollah especially, as they’re the first to look to violating the terms of 1701, terms to which they agreed only days ago.

But then that takes me back to why they should abide by it in the first place (again, other than the simple fact that they said that they would). I noted t’other day that the agreement of all states to effect disarming non-governmental bodies, i.e., Hezbollah, in 1701 was a nifty piece of maneuvering. Nifty, yes, but not good from Hezbollah’s point of view. So why should they allow it?

And say Syria and Iran may also make all nice and say they agree to stop arming Hezbollah, and but then just ignore the ban and continue to supply them with missiles.

But I assume that the administration is way ahead of me. Well, I hope they are. Oh, they must be. I mark Secretary Rice as being way smarter than I am. But then I also see that she is constrained by her own ideology as well as that of the administration’s constituency. (Oh, and John Bolton’s utter nuttiness.) But anyway I assume that the U.S. is thinking like five steps ahead of poor me.

Although maybe that’s not a good thing either. Maybe we’re counting on Iran and Syria to violate 1701, and that could be just the casus belli that we need. But I suppose that we really don’t have the resources to take on another war or two. We’re overextended in Iraq as it is.

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

We leave a couple minutes early and stop at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill for the 8:00 a.m. Mass. I’ve seen Senator Rick Santorum heading into this Mass before, on other days, but no sign of him today. See, he goes on just any old day. Good for him. I’m here today actually only because we’re required to go somewhere today, it being a holy day of obligation, as we say.

Sadly, there’s no singing, except for the Alleluia. The start of the Mass is announced by bells ringing, something I’ve only otherwise seen & heard in Italy.

Crazy first reading from Revelations. I don’t even begin to know how to put together all the imagery, the woman wailing in pain as she gives birth to the child about to be devoured by the seven-headed dragon. Except that we’re all about the Blessed Virgin today, so maybe she’s supposed to be the woman. Except, check, right, this is Revelations, and it’s all just crazy.

The Gospel is the Magnificat. Of course!

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

The Assumption itself is a dogma, and it describes the conceit whereby the Mother of God did not die but rather was assumed into heaven. (Hmm. We were just talking on Sunday about Elijah and something similar.) Looking to the OED, assume comes from the Latin ad sumere, meaning to take to oneself, as in God taking her to himself. So that’s assume in that sense, rather than the we don’t know any better so we just assume it to be so sense, you jokesters.

I think it’s a lovely concept, probably somehow logically necessary even, in like divine argument or something. How could the mother of God die, I guess is the question, and that needs to be answered by, well, she didn’t. Like how could the mother of God be born with original sin? Again, she wasn’t. That’s the Immaculate Conception.

But it’s also something of an article of faith, more than merely a concept or a logical necessity. It’s a belief that to deny, according to His Holiness Pope Benedict XIV, would be impious and blasphemous. (That’s fourteenth, note. Not the current sixteenth.) And then it was formally constituted to be a dogma of the Church by His Holiness Pope Pius XII in 1950:

[W]e pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.


Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.



The Security Council decides four things and requests four things, but only authorizes one thing, apparently. And three calls on‘s and three calls upon‘s really make up six calls, by my count.

But seriously, who could fail to adore 1701, what with something for just about everyone in it?

After recalling such and such, the usual preamble, sort of the Security Council’s way of beginning, kinda like, Dear World, How ya been? Listen, the reason I’m writing is …

First things first. Listen, Hezbollah. You started this. Yeah, that’s right. We’re talking to you.

Then a little dance, first leaning on Hezbollah for the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers. but then also, let’s be fair here, calling for urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel,

A quick shout out to Lebanon itself. Let’s get this done quickly. But this is neither the time nor the place to even get into the Shebaa farms here. (Goodness, whose idea was it to mention that mess?)

Okay, fifteen-thousand Lebanese troops and then somesuch number of international (later specified as another fifteen-thousand for UNIFIL).

Let’s work on a long-term solution. This is making everybody everywhere a little nervous.

So, therefore: stop fighting.

Wiggle room for Israel here, as the Council calls for a halt to all Hezbollah attacks and a halt to Israel’s offensive military operations.

Lebanon, why don’t you try a little harder. Blue line, meaning Lebanon, try a little harder. Let’s all help Lebanon try a little harder. Maybe a little money to help Lebanon try a little harder.

The United Nations will do A, B, and C. Fifteen-thousand troops for UNIFIL.

Everyone will make sure that nobody is selling arms to anybody in Lebanon. (How did that slip through? That’s a nifty piece of work, Dr. Rice.)

Oh, and by the way, 242 and 338. (Oh, that’s how. Even niftier.)

And, as always, their version of Yours truly, the Council decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

— — — —

In all seriousness, a pretty good job. A surprising effort from this administration.

If it holds.

Although I’m praying that it does, for the greater good of the poor and suffering in the region, if not also to show that diplomacy and the UN can actually succeed.

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

All about nourishment today. All about the Eucharist.

In the first reading, Elijah says enough is enough. He sits beneath a tree and prays for death. Then he lies down and sleeps. An angel awakens him and gives him food and drink and sends him on his way.

The response in the Responsorial Psalm is Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. More nourishment, although oddly, that line seems to come from the Lectionary, whereas the NAB has as Learn to savor how good the Lord is. (Just for completion’s sake, I’ll add here that the King James has it O taste and see that the LORD is good.)

The Gospel is from St. John. You can tell right away since it starts with a jarring The Jews murmured about Jesus … (St. John was writing for non-Jews, is why his Gospel is so un-PC, is my understanding.) But anyway, Christ tells us about spiritual nourishment:

I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.

Interestingly, Elijah in fact did not die. In 2 Kings he flies up to heaven in a whirlwind. Apparently some think he will return, and that’ll signal the end times. Yikes. But he’s an interesting one, that Elijah. I know mostly nothing about him. But remember last week when he appeared with Christ and Moses, and Peter thought each of them should get a tent. He’s evidently a big deal, this Elijah.

(More things I don’t know are broom trees and hearth cakes, Elijah falling asleep under a broom tree and the angel giving him a hearth cake to eat. I imagine a tree made up of old-fashioned brooms all sticking up where branches would be. The OED tells me that it’s the other way around, that brooms originally were made from twigs from the broom tree tied together, whence the broom gets its name. And a hearth cake isn’t a cake made out of a hearth; it’s a cake baked on a hearth. Duh, Ed.)

St. Paul has other things on his mind, and once again seems to speak to qualities that I’ve been unfortunately lacking lately. [B]e kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, he tells us. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice

And here I’ve been so bitter and unforgiving so very recently.

Lord, help me to act according to your will, to leave my smallness and petty-mindedness behind.

The End of Sanding

Not the end of sanding everything ever, but the end at least of sanding the repairs to the walls after the new electrical circuits. I had tried to get away with only two applications of joint compound over the mesh tape, but it just wouldn’t do. So I did a third coat.

And underneath Dawn’s window in the bedroom we did some repair as well. There had always been this one spot, since we moved in, that was just, well, soft. Like it was just drywall tape with nothing behind it or something. We were always afraid to press it or probe too hard for fear of busting through.

Well, what with the other repairs, Dawn went ahead and broke out all the bad stuff under the window. I was a little disappointed that she just went ahead and did it without me. I was curious as to what was exactly going on in there. As it turned out, all I saw was when she was done and it was a big old hole.

But after all the coats and now all the sanding, it’s all done and ready for Dawn to paint. We go to Home Depot and get little pints of paint and primer. Also at Home Depot I buy another package of 3/8″ dowels for the balusters. I’ve got nineteen balusters, so I need thirty-eight dowels, of course. So one package of twenty-seven just ain’t gonna cover it.

And while Dawn is painting I take a trip up to the roof to check for leaking. There’s a spot by the window, near where I patched, that looks like maybe some water damage. We’re not sure if it’s new or not. Maybe it’s been there since we moved in and we never noticed, although you’d think we’d notice something like that. It’s not wet or crumbling or anything, just kinda rough. It’s funny that we aren’t sure if it’s new or old.

I can’t see anywhere that there’s any way for any leakage, nothing new caused by the construction next door, the likely culprit we were thinking. While on the roof though I lean the ladder on the new third story and climb almost to that roof. I can clearly see the top of the Capitol and the Washington Monument from up there. It’s a little dangerous how I’m standing on the top rung of the ladder, though, propped as it is against the wall but also on the slight slope of the roof. I’m glad when I get down. And for once I don’t bang the ladder against the electrical wires. I’ve never been zapped, but best not to push my luck.

Welcome. Big Changes.

Making the switch to hosting and self-publishing.

I started this blog this year on Yahoo 360, thinking I would try posting at least once a day, not thinking that I’d actually do it. But it seemed to take off. Don’t know how long it’ll last, mind you, but it’s humming along.

At first I had the blog hidden. Big secret. Then I mentioned it in casual conversation, and Dawn was surprised and frankly not pleased that I had a blog and wasn’t letting her read it. I explained that nobody could read it. Oh, that was okay then.

But then I let her read it. And she didn’t hate me or think it sucked. She was quite nice about it. So that was a big confidence booster.

So then I went public with it, on Blogger. And Paul started reading too. And some other folks, family members sometimes, Gordon every so often. Random folks around the world, according to the stat meters that I hooked up, but not like regular die-hard readers or anything.

Mostly just Paul would add comments. A few flame wars with and between Paul and Rob, with my own nasty remarks sometimes added. But I hope that’s all over.

So in the last week or so I’ve fired up web hosting with GoDaddy for, and I’ve been playing with moving the blog there. I had a rather disastrous attempt at trying to just publish the Blogger blog,, there. So then I’ve downloaded WordPress, and I’ve been playing with that for a week or so.

And so here it is. My blog at I’ll be trying to use WordPress as a sort of CMS as well. We’ll see how that goes.


Our car, the 2002 VW Jetta Wagon, whom Dawn calls Mary, is getting close to 50,000 miles. We’re going to the beach at the end of the month, so we figure we’d better get the 50K service. So instead of our usual morning walk, we head off in the car like suburbanites, to Wes Greenway’s Alexandria Volkswagen.

A shuttle takes us from the dealer to Pentagon City Metro. Oddly enough the shuttle is some sort of Chrysler minivan, not a VW at all. Although I guess VW makes the Toureg SUV, but not a minivan, so what else would they use? The back only holds four people, and some guy is already inside when we climb aboad, so Dawn and I don’t sit together. She reads her book on the way, which I can’t do in a car. Or minivan.

I go after work to pick it up, but the train and then the wait for the shuttle take me way past making it to ballet class. But the new wiper blades sure are spiffy.

There’s a spider making a web between the outside driver’s side mirror and the door body proper. I notice this as I’m speeding along, the spider hunkered down against the wind, what must be an enormous wind to such a tiny little guy. I feel bad for him, so I pull over and scoop him up with the receipt from the dealer. Then I deposit him into a bush.

Hope he’s happy there.

ASH Kickers v. Off in Public

Second kickball game of the new season. I go home first to get the car, since I promised Tiffany that I’d give her a ride home after the game. She has a soccer game in Columbia MD at nine p.m. She was fine when the game was scheduled for eleven, but they’ve moved it up to nine.

Who plays soccer at eleven at night?

We have a good crowd, although Elisa is on vacation and Kate can’t make the game because she’s off at orientation or training in PG County. Clare joins us though, which is a treat, although she doesn’t play.

By game time Off in Public only has six players. They promise that more people are on the way, so we give them some more time. Eventually they end up with twenty-one players. And they win, darn them, after we were so nice. Ungrateful wretches.

Actually, they’re fairly nice enough, most of them. We ourselves suffer a bit from a lack of enthusiasm, without the cheerfully boisterous enthusiasm of Kate perhaps. And then there’s that one unwise throw from third to first, unsuccessful even, for not even the third out, with a runner on third.

As promised, I take Tiffany home, and I do not attend the festivites at Irish Times. Kevin does, however, the great trooper, even though he is among only five ASH Kickers in attendance there, and only one of them female.


To no surprise, Ned Lamont defeats Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary in Connecticut. Oh, how I do so utterly dislike Joe Lieberman. He went to high school with Sarah, my mother-in-law, is about his only redeeming feature. I am ecstatic that he loses today.

Let us remember Senator Lieberman’s odiously sanctimonious speech on the Senate floor, on September 3, 1998, telling us of his “deep disappointment and personal anger” at President Clinton, and speaking of “the moral consequences for our country.” I have to admit that I’d never heard of him before, that this was my introduction to the man. Not a good first impression. As if the impeachment really had anything to do with anything other than naked partisan politics. Senator Lieberman, however, was the greatest enabler among the Democrats.

I should like so much to hear the Senator speak now of his deep disappointment and personal anger over the mendacious way this current President has comported himself. I should like to hear him speak of the moral consequences for our country due to holding hundreds of men for years without charge or trial, subjecting them to degrading treatment and brutal interrogation.

This incident of course factored into Vice-President Gore’s decision to pick Senator Lieberman as his running mate, in that such a choice would help distance himself from President Clinton. And I suppose it did that. We simply note here then without further comment that President Clinton carried Florida in 1996.

Let us also remember Senator Lieberman’s debate with Dick Cheney on October 5, 2000, in Danville KY, gently letting Mr. Cheney get away with claiming that he had amassed his wealth by his own hard work, that “the government had absolutely nothing to do with it.” The best comeback that Senator Lieberman could think of: to claim that he himself might be persuaded then to go to work in the private sector.

As if Mr. Cheney’s employment at Halliburton was not dependent on his having been Secretary of Defense. As if Halliburton did not make vast sums from government contracts. As if Senator Lieberman were unaware of any of this.

And then, in that same election in 2000, Senator Lieberman simultaneously ran for both Vice-President and his Senate seat, likely ensuring then that, in the event that Gore/Lieberman had won, the Republicans would have controlled the Senate, Senator Lieberman then giving up his seat.

It’s the same as the Senator working on an independent run for Senate in Connecticut, hedging his bets, even before the Democratic primary. Senator Lieberman has consistently chosen himself over his party. And of course that’s his prerogative. And then it’s the prerogative of the Democratic voters to choose party over Senator Lieberman.

Greater than all of the other minor points, of course, is the Senator’s continued hawkish support for the war in Iraq. And, along with that, Senator-Elect Lamont’s opposition to same. And, therefore, the agreement of a majority of the voters in the primary today. And that’s called democracy.

Oh, but the howls we hear from the right. Morton Kondracke actually claimed that “the future of civility in American politics” is on the line in this particular primary election. David Brooks calls this exercise in democracy a “liberal inquisition.” (Similar to my ears to Byron York’s description of the 2004 presidential election, the very name of his book, the “vast left-wing conspiracy” to “bring down a president.”) And Kondracke and Brooks are ostensibly the more moderate among those on the right. I can’t imagine, and God help me I surely don’t want to know, what the nutty Savages and Limbaughs have been saying.

My Brother Hits the Big Time

Rob is fast on the story of the of the doctored photo of smoke over Beirut, picking it up from Little Green Footballs. He quickly puts together a nifty animated GIF showing cloned areas. LGF links back to Rob and the GIF, and Rob’s traffic goes through the roof. Where normally Rob will see tens of hits per day, maybe thirty or forty, he now starts getting tens of thousands.

Congrats to Rob!

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

The Transfiguration is something of a newer concept to me. It’s something of a newer addition to the Rosary as well, so I don’t feel so out of it, so all alone on this one. What happens basically is that Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on the mountain. While there Jesus is transfigured, his face and clothes shine bright, and with him, also shining, are Moses and Elijah. God’s voice is heard, saying, “This is my beloved Son.” After everything calms down, Jesus tells the guys to keep quiet about it.

According to the notes on the passages themselves at the USCCB NAB, the incident does a couple of things. They say:

The account of the transfiguration confirms that Jesus is the Son of God and points to fulfillment of the prediction that he will come in his Father’s glory at the end of the age. It has been explained by some as a resurrection appearance retrojected into the time of Jesus’ ministry, but that is not probable since the account lacks many of the usual elements of the resurrection-appearance narratives. It draws upon motifs from the Old Testament and noncanonical Jewish apocalyptic literature that express the presence of the heavenly and the divine, e.g., brilliant light, white garments, and the overshadowing cloud.

On that note, those Old Testament motifs, our first reading is from Daniel.

As I watched:

Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
His clothing was bright as snow,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
his throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;

There’s them motifs. And then I especially like the repetition of fire, first the flames of fire, then the wheels of burning fire, then the surging stream of fire. And then sort of along those same lines, Psalm 97 for the Responsorial Psalm has the line, The mountains melt like wax before the Lord.

The Gospel is the description from St. Mark, about the same as in the other Synoptic Gospels. St. Mark however has God’s voice saying This is my beloved Son. Listen to him. same as St. Luke, whereas St. Matthew has it This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I like the addition of the with whom I am well pleased, as that echoes the Baptism of the Lord, another Luminous Mystery.

We have a guest priest, whose name I don’t catch, who celebrates Mass and gives the homily. He points out how once again Peter screws up, this time deciding to build tents for Jesus and Moses and Elijah. As St. Mark puts it, He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. But, not to be so hard on St. Peter, I do like the second reading, the Epistle, from St. Peter himself today, rather than St. Paul. It’s his description, from 2 Peter 1:16-19, of these very events, where he tells us, We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.

Musee des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

(painting: Bruegel, Pieter, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, c. 1558, Oil on canvas, mounted on wood, 73.5 x 112 cm, Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels)

A poem about a painting! How wonderful!

Although the poem is not strictly about the painting, of course. The painting is but an example of the feeling that the poem is trying to convey. That life is big, huge, gigantic and that things balance out somehow. That we can somehow continue, when so much suffering surrounds us.

This is a good thing. This is not good.

But what else can we do? How else are we to respond to suffering, to rockets and bombs falling today across the world on innocents? How am I to face one more day walking by the women who sit outside the homeless center, one whose own face she constantly rubs raw, the other in a wheelchair and who has enormous swollen legs?

So we can blot it out, when we need to.

And the poem rhymes, by the way. You may not notice, but it does. You may not notice because the rhyme scheme is like abca dedb fgfg e hh ijkkij. I can’t offhand think of another poem with that same scheme. Heh.

When I’d been thinking about featuring poetry in this space, this was one on the top of the list, along with Yeats’s Irish Airman, or anything Wilfred Owen but especially Dulce et Decorum Est, or what will probably be next, In Tenebris II by Thomas Hardy.

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Born this day, in 1962, minutes after his brother Andrew. I met Paul via Crown Books and Bruce Springsteen, in 1984. I know that Joe and Gordon were somehow involved, where Paul was connected somehow to Joe and I was connected to Gordon. I don’t really remember how, exactly, anymore. Doesn’t so much matter.

Paul and I went camping together in the summer of 1998, to the Great Smoky Mountains, in Tennesse and North Carolina. We drove out to Skyline Drive, down that to the Blue Ridge Parkway, all the way down to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We stayed a couple night at Cosby campground in Tennesee, then another couple nights in Balsam Mountain in North Carolina. Paul was a great companion to have, being the expert birder that he is. He most famously spotted a magnificent hawk while we were driving this puke-y windy road.

Paul kept pages and pages of a journal on that trip, and I have a copy of those pages somewhere. And there were some pictures taken as well. (The above picture was not taken on that trip, obviously. I need to find a picture from the park and post it here, in lieu of the one above that I stole borrowed from his brother’s website.) I think maybe some blog entries, or maybe a separate blog, would be a good way to feature that trip. We’ll see.

I love Paul dearly and don’t see him nearly enough. He lives in Nashville now, having moved out there for a job. Someday maybe he’ll move back east.