Sunday, January 30, 2005

National Family Planning in Delaware

My friend and chiropractor Dr. Andrew Riddle tells me that the
Couple to Couple League of Delaware for Natural Family Planning has a web site at last. Check it out. This is darned encouraging because NFP has had a tough time in Delaware. Andrew and his wife Cathi were the only NFP teachers for awhile, and had to come up to New Castle County now and then just to give the most populated regions of the state any NFP instruction.

Thanks to Maria Garrido for making the web site happen!

And speaking of reproductive practices that are in harmony with Catholic teaching, have you ever wanted to try and find a medical doctor who is convinced that contraception is wrong and who touts only NFP in his or her practice? Check out One More Soul which not only informs but lets you search your area for an NFP-only doctor, teacher or center.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Oscar time in Hollywood

Read Barbara Nicolosi's comments on the Oscar nominations to see an interesting take on the sin against the Holy Spirit. Makes me even more anxious to see Finding Neverland.

My friend Leslie Goldstein recommends that I see Vera Drake because she thinks it is remarkably even-handed and not as pro-abortion as I might think. I find myself not able to completely dismiss Leslie's opinion and not fully able to embrace Barbara's. But I won't see the movie. Leslie does not understand how completely tragic I find the thought of Vera Drake. I knew someone like her in real life, a caseworker at Woods-Haven Kruse juvenile correctional institute. She was a kind, soft-spoken, compassionate woman without arrogance or brashness. Probably the oldest of the caseworkers. She arranged an abortion for one of the girls in my building and thought that she was doing a truly good thing. The black staff thought that she had pressured Celeste into killing her baby and gave Miss H. so much grief that she left shortly afterwards. The photographs of Imelda Staunton as Vera Drake remind me of Miss H. No, I won't be seeing that movie.

Claiming the clay

"When it grew dark, a wealthy man from Arimathea arrived, whose name was Joseph. He too was one of Jesus' disciples and had gone to Pilate to request the body of Jesus. Pilate then issued an order for its release. So taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in fresh linen, and laid it in his own new tomb which had been cut out of rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away." - St. Matthew
I was thinking about an inmate in Delaware Correctional Institute whose death was announced in the News Journal a couple of days ago. Does his family have to request his body, or does the state notify a next of kin?

If Joseph of Arimathea had not requested the body of Jesus, how would it have been disposed of?

The time between the death of Jesus and the Resurrection must have been a time of shock and taking care of details. The intervening Sabbath was probably a mercy for his family, friends and disciples.

40,000 books for Pious Ladies Bookmobile to browse!

My used book business, Pious Ladies Bookmobile, is doing a brisk business this January. We are taking down our storefront on eBay due to the sharp increase in fees that eBay recently announced. So Debbie and I are slowly moving all of our stock to Abebooks. You can't browse our Abebooks store easily because I haven't categorized our 1000+ books for easy browsing. But we get our customers from searches anyway -- I myself never do browsing in bookstores, I only search.

My son Mike is rearranging the books at home so that everything is alphabetized by title regardless of type of book -- my original way of cataloguing, alphabetical by subject, may be good for a library but it was terrible for a book business. Now when an order comes in I can look in one place for it instead of about 12...

Even so, we probably have 300 books that we have yet to catalog and list. The hunt is more fun than the selling. But are we out of our minds, planning on going to the Hockessin Library book sale on Saturday? This year they have the contents of several estates to sell and they are holding the sale at the Hockessin Fire Hall instead of at the library as usual.

They are promising 40,000 books in stock! For a three day sale! On Saturday the books will be $5.00 a bag. We are sure to go crazy and bring back far more than we should. But what's a bibliophile to do?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Of crockpots, Internet, and electrical circuits...

5:30 today, had to be at Outreach by 6:00. Nobody was home. Couldn't stand the thought of coming home to no dinner, or coming home to the sounds of my adult children asking "any dinner tonite?"

I had lots of ingredients but my imagination could not think of anything new to make with what I had, and I was tired of the old stuff.

So I went on to Google, keyed in three words - chicken, potatoes and crockpot. Bingo bango! The first of the 169,000 hits proved to be a simple recipe for which I had all ingredients. 15 minutes prep time, turned the crockpot on to high, ahhhhh, smoootthhh.

I don't love rooms with not enough electrical circuits. Being especially ambitious, I loaded up the dishwasher so everything would be clean by the time my delicious dinner came out -- didn't want to face any mess in the kitchen when I came home either.

So while I am at Outreach, the fuse blows, the crockpot turns off, so does the dishwasher, and I come home to hard potatoes.

Still, the internet DID have the quick solution!

I often think that with the internet we share a little more in the life of the Blessed Trinity. Lightning quick access to information, communication with people all over the world that is almost instantaneous, is this a tiny, miniscule, itty-bitty in some small way fraction of what it is like to access all of reality and every soul in one swell foop?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

"Million Dollar Baby" - spoilers, warning

I kept reading reviews of "Million Dollar Baby" that alluded to its plot twist that makes it totally different from the "Rocky"esque movie you were expecting. Barbara Nicolosi provided a link today (courtesy of Amy Wellborn) to a review of this movie that gives away the plot. So don't go further unless you want the plot revealed.

Okayt, you've been warned. Apparently, here's another movie like "The Sea Inside" that deals with disability in a " better off dead" vein. Read this excellent review of " Million Dollar Baby" from an author who is himself disabled... and doesn't want anyone to " put him down". Read "Dangerous Times", by Steve Drake.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

the power of the (entertainment) press

Lisa Schwarzbaum used to be my favorite Entertainment Weekly movie reviewer. She rarely indulges in the sneering "I'm too cool to be moved by positive emotion" attitude that most of the EW writers wear like a badge of honor, an attitude they cribbed from the surrounding culture even as their donning of it keeps it strong, vital, and in vogue. But lately she has been pedaling politics under the guise of reviewing movies.

She begins her review of The Sea Inside with a paean to a particularly controversial (and repugnant) social trend with no irony whatsoever, as if of course all honorable people see it this way:
In Spain, Ramón Sampedro was the national hero of a real-life saga about the right to die. The bedridden, quadriplegic former ship's mechanic, embodied with exquisite care by Javier Bardem in The Sea Inside, tussled with the courts, the church, and his own family for nearly 30 years before getting his wish to end his own life in 1998. (He had the event filmed and it was broadcast on Spanish TV.)
She goes on to review the film and Javier Bardem's performance as if there were nothing worthy of discussion in the fact that western civilization's centuries-long condemnation of suicide is being dismantled piece by piece in the courts and the legislatures of the nations. Nothing to discuss? Tussles with the courts, the church and his own family? A national hero?

Not to everybody, in Spain in 1998 and in the United States in 2004. I am afraid I have lost faith in Lisa Schwarzbaum's ability to write objectively about serious matters. Her review is pretty much an endorsement of assisted suicide, point-blank, and if that's the function of a movie reviewer... well, I'm going to take a second look at Dalton Ross' lack of seriousness, even with its ever-mocking tone.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Science Fiction & Comic Books - renewing the culture from within

In the planning stages, but very quickly to be a done deal I hope: Mark Rogers and I will travel to ConSecration March 11-13, the first convention of the long-running Christian SF-Fandom list, where Mark will lead a panel discussion on "Sex, Violence and the Christian Writer." The title is mine, it's an area I've been exploring in various discussions for years. Mark is a perfect person to speak on this topic, as his Blood in the Lamb trilogy is not only an excellent re-telling of Christ's story but in Mark's imagined sword-n-sorcery universe, it's got his trademark sex and violence. Why is he so graphic, I asked him long ago? Hopefully the panel discussion will shed light on the issue. Hope to have other authors at ConSecration join us.

Barbara Nicolosi published this in her blog today, an announcement of an upcoming comic book line with G-rated to R-rated titles. One of the titles appropriate for all ages is The Imaginaries, and one of the writer is Ben Avery, an Act One graduate. Here's the description of Imaginaries:

(written by Mike S. Miller and Ben Avery, art by Mike S. Miller and Greg Titus)

A child's faith is a powerful thing. It gives life to his imagination, and that imagination can even take on a life of its own. But what happens to the imaginary friends, the childhood superheroes, the playmates and stuffed animals when the children who gave them life no longer believe in them? They go to the IMAGINED NATION. Join SUPERHERO G as he explores this strange new world, full of the imaginings of billions of children around the world. Follow him as he meets strange and wonderful characters, the kind only a child could believe in, and discovers a new purpose for his existence unbound by the imaginings of his creator, and free to become more than even he has ever imagined before."

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Nat Hentoff, academic freedom and Alberto Gonzalez

I follow Nat Hentoff because he is a liberal who is unashamedly pro-life and has taken heat from all sides for his refusal to toe anybody's line of politically correctness. His recent columns in the Village Voice deal with two very different topics, 1)

academic freedom in Columbia University's Middle East studies department and 2)
Alberto Gonzalez' unfitness to be confirmed as Attorney General due to his involvement with legitimizing torture and his support of the Patriot Act.

I would like to hear the other side of the story about Gonzalez. Is it true that he systematically tries to find ways to allow the US to circumvent the Geneva Conventions on prisoners of war, interrogation, etc?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Tsunami numbers incomprehensible

"Then Came The Rain"

"After the devastation wreaked by the seas, a deluge from the skies deepened the misery for tsunami-stricken areas Saturday, triggering flash floods in Sri Lanka that sent evacuees fleeing and increasing the threat of deadly disease as survivors shivered in relief centers. The death toll was likely to hit 150,000... The rains pummeling the corpse-littered city were creating the conditions for cholera and other waterborne diseases to spread. Boxes of aid at Banda Aceh's airport soaked up water, making it difficult for workers loading cartons of water, crackers and noodles onto delivery vehicles.

More amazing stories of survival emerged."

This is all happening Right Now.


The only prayer life I know is my own. The only marriage I know is my own. The only woman I know well is myself.

Out in "the real world" I can imagine prayer lives, marriages, and womanness that are models of order and decorum. Priests who pray their Office at the same time each day, with a regularity and a serenity that far eclipses my disorderly fits and starts. Sisters whose Hour of Adoration is like clockwork, never forgotten, never neglected, never half-hearted, an Hour that daily grounds them beautifully to Christ and his mother and the Father and the whole family/communion of saints.

Surely in "the real world" nobody is as scatter-shot as I in my approach to God, so careless, so mercurial, so untidy in body/mind/spirit, so contemptible in my daily faithlessness and selfishness. "I, the Worst of All."

But the real world is right here. And my life and that of my children and husband, friends and co-workers, is as Real as it gets.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of life. I am sorry for my sins. I am grateful for your mercy. The words cannot express the profound truth of both my sorrow and my gratitude. I rejoice in You, my God. Christ with me, Christ around me, Christ healing me. Deo gratias, Deo gratias, Deo gratias!

busting my butt in March & April

I am going to attend Lunaconwith Mark E. Rogers this year, and maybe
on my own. Lunacon takes place March 18-20, ConSecration is the preceding weekend, March 11-13. April 1-3 I plan to be in Austin with sister Marguerite visiting other sister Sue Marie. That's a LOT of traveling for me. Sr. Kathryn advises me to respond to invitations of the Lord as I discern them, and getting more involved with the business part of the media industry (writing, films, music)so far seems like an invitation. Also it feels like more to take on in a life where I do believe that I have, as Debfriend noted, made a practice of taking on too much. High blood pressure, overweight, arthritis, herniated disk, fallen out of both exercise and chiropractic work in December -- am I taking a path that is opening up or am I falling into a crevice? Truthfully, it feels right to proceed, but with caution.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year! Here is a link provided by the author of the "awaiting another death" blog to a poem on abortion written by Ovid before the time of Christ. Translated as
What Good is it that Girls Need Never Go to War?
, this poem is worth a read. If I get the energy, I will try to find a second translation of it. Also I should send the link to whomever it was I blogged last week who is collecting poems about abortion. I want a different translation because this one sounds just too much completely modern and on the mark. Annette Gieseke and Nik Gross, both of whom teach Ancient Greek and Roman Studies in my Department at the University of Delaware, would probably just point out how relevant the ancients were and are to our own times.