Monday, September 30, 2013

A Tiddlywinks Response

ASM826 has left a comment that makes him appear to think that my church was founded and controlled purely by old men who never let women do anything.   Awwww…poor things.   Women are so unable to make their own informed decisions that they sign up for and remain in a church that has made its teachings clear for 2,000 years.  I feel sorry for them.  I assume force is involved.

On my part – and I’m female – I studied Church teachings (i.e what the Church teaches, not what others say she teaches) and history for years and made an informed decision that I have never regretted.  It was the first place where I met men who truly valued me simply because I exist and am made in the image and likeness of God.  It was the first place to challenge me in study, debate, and Socratic thinking as well as prayer.   

The Church had certain core founders.  We don’t know the ages of many of them - there just isn't enough information on them.  But the birth and death of Jesus can be ball-parked pretty well from historical information within the Gospels.  So the founder and head of all Christianity, the One to whom the Catholic Church looks as its founder, was roughly in His early 30s when He was crucified.  John the Evangelist’s age at that time seems to have been mid- to late-teens.  Paul of Taursus is pegged at about 30 years of age at conversion.  Even in an era of shorter life spans, not so old.  And just for grins, jump forward a couple thousand years to the 1960s and Vatican II.  One Karol Wojtyla was an advisor.  He would have been 42ish.  He’s better known as Blessed John Paul II.  Another fellow named Joseph Ratzinger was a theological consultant at that council while in his mid-30s.  He’s better known as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.  Maybe it’s my own age, but men in their 20s, 30s, 40s don’t seem like old men to me.

Yes, bishops do tend to be older - it's called experience, and administration requires experience.  But the Church has never been an old man's cabal.

Ignore the Catholic Church’s veneration of Mary, and look at a few other ladies of the Church.  The Church, with its support for institutionalized learning, has produced women physicians like Dorotea Bucca in the 15th century.   It has produced philosophers like Elena Piscopia in the 17th century, and mathematicians like Maria Agnes in 18th century.  Of the 35  Doctors of the Church – so named because of their contribution to Catholic theology and doctrine - four are women:  Hildegard of Bingen, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Therese of Lisieux.  Thousands of women are venerated as saints.  Abbesses are the equivalent of bishops in their jurisdiction over property and territory and the Middle Ages produced abbesses of great authority: a newly appointed bishop was sometimes required to go to a particular abbess in order to receive the signs of his office.  He didn’t get to do no bishopin’ until Mother Superior said so.  And holy women like Catherine of Siena and Mother Teresa have bent more than one pope to their will.  Since the beginning, when Jesus performed his first miracle at Cana at the behest of Mary, women have had a voice in the Church, sometimes a big one. 

But I think at the core of the comment are a combination of some common mistakes and the "I want" culture we live in.  It's the view of the priesthood as a position of power, not as something tied to the structures of spirituality.  The spiritual is as real a structure as is the physical and the priesthood is at core governed by this, not by the false concepts of power and control.  Marriage is also at core governed by this. You can say you are married all you want, but if the requirements of that sacrament have not been met, then no marriage exists.  The Church of England has been sued by a gay couple for refusing to marry them, the money quote as to why the lawsuit being "We didn't get what we wanted."  In one sense it doesn't matter - no ceremony can can make the sacrament of marriage exist where it simply does not.

The other mistake is that we live in a culture that denigrates women by demanding that they not be who they are.  It denigrates women by denying both their physical and spiritual differences from men.  This seems to come as a shock to people, but women are both physically and spiritually different from men. That doesn't mean better or worse for one or the other - it just means that we are different.   And it is sad that so many people are so caught up with the demand that women be priests that they completely ignore the fact that a woman can do something that no priest can do - she can bring new human life into the world.  It is the sign of a sick, anti-woman society that ours thinks that being life bringers is "less" than doing some other thing.

In the end, unless someone is being held captive, they are free to go to another church, with other beliefs.  It won't change reality - they still aren't a tiddlywink - but at least the action acknowledges free will. 

The Blizzard of '96

I can't remember why the budget battle of '95 spilled into '96.  Heck, I can't remember last week sometimes.  But the government did close, and financially it was a bit scary.  I was a single parent without child support and when government employees get furloughed they can't go find another job as stop-gap.  No one will hire someone who might disappear in a day.

But eventually we received word that we were to report back to work on, I believe, a Monday.

I also had heard that we might get some snow overnight, so I decided to go to Mass on Saturday evening rather than deal with potentially slick roads in the morning.  It was very crowded and at some point the celebrant said "So how many folks here really want 2 feet of snow?"  WHAT?!  WHADDAYA MEAN 2 FEET OF SNOW?!  Apparently, the forecast had changed radically since I had last heard it.

So, the obligatory grocery store stop.  As is usual in the DC area, the threat of snow had caused the locusts to descend, but I was able to get enough keep us going for several days.  Including the chocolate cake that sat half hidden on a cart in the back. (Score!)

It snowed.  And it snowed.  And my daughter and I pulled the sleep sofa in the living room out and hunkered down with the TV and books.  It snowed some more.

It really wasn't a blizzard - most of the time it didn't meet the white out and wind gust requirements for a blizzard.  It was a nor-easter, but when a nor-easter hits with snow it's a distinction without much of a difference. The mid-Atlantic got hammered.

Yonkers, New York City

Pocahontas County, WV, was buried under 48 inches of snow, the winner in an unpleasant weather lottery.

And the DC metro area came to a complete standstill. 

Needless to say, the government didn't reopen as planned.  In fact, 2 days later we got hit with another storm.  I think it was 2 weeks before we got back to the office.  Since we lived in an apartment complex, we ran out of places to put the snow as we tried to dig our vehicles out.  Each shovel full had to be carried down the street.   It got old really fast.

I suppose you could view what's going on in Congress right now as a storm.  I just would prefer to skip the shoveling this time.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Unfortunately, I have developed the same problem in the living room as I did here, and for the same reason.  Neighborhood cats wandering by, visits from racoons and opossums, all freak out a couple of my cats and they decide to mark their territory by peeing on the carpet in the window area.  And once they do that the smell brings them back to do it again.   And they aren't the only ones that are aware of that smell.


And now I'm committed to the rest of the upstairs because of course I can't just treat that corner and leave the rest.  I figure I've got at least 600 sq ft left to go.

At least my boo boos are numbing up.  The sanding has been tough with a painful hand.

Monday, September 23, 2013

And It Got Better

Yeah, that's not patchable.

And the spare was flat.  I seem to have royally pissed off the tire gods. 

Thanks, Murphy's Law, for rescuing me.   


As in flatter than.

Maybe I'll just go back to bed.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Did You Know? Update With Names

That there was a hearing on Benghazi yesterday?  And that all but 2 Democrats walked out on the testimony of the families of those who were killed there?  Only Elijah Cummings and Jackie Spear remained.  The others "excused themselves."

What a completely corrupt bunch..  I say again - I will never cast a vote for anybody with a D next to their name.   "Qui tacet consentire" - "Silence gives consent".  Anybody who remains within the party gives consent to these people and all that they stand for.

Nino over at WCBM radio has kindly e-mailed me the list of those who didn't feel that the families of the Benghazi dead had anything of interest to say:

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)
 Rep. John Tierney (MA-6)
Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-1)
 Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA-9)
Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5)
Rep. Gerald Connolly (VA-11)
Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17)
Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-2)
 Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL-8)
Rep. Danny K. Davis (IL-7)
Rep. Peter Welch (VT)
 Rep. Tony Cardenas (CA-29)
Rep. Steve Horsford (NV-4)
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1)

People who are calling are either getting snarky responses or being told that they had "constituancy meetings."  Their phone line and e-mail boxes need to be flooded with protests.  The State Department has refused to talk to these families at all.  The members of that committee damn well better at least give them the courtesy of listening.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I'm A Tiddlywink

I'm coming out.  For ages now I've felt that a mistake had been made.  But with so many people leading, particularly in states like California, I feel it's time to embrace my true feelings.

I'm a tiddlywink.

If people can deny that they have an x and a y chromosome and declare themselves only xx chromosome, then I'm a tiddlywink.

If kids in California can decide whether or not they are boy or girl and choose bathrooms and locker rooms accordingly, then I'm a tiddlywink.

If people can declare that the vagina and the rectum were made for the same purpose, then I'm a tiddlywink.

If people can deny that at the moment of conception a unique individual who carries genetic material from both mother AND father exists, then I'm a tiddlywink.

If people can deny the teachings of the Catholic Church and still call themselves Catholic, then I'm a tiddlywink.

If woman can get together, dance around, and call themselves Catholic priests just because they want to be, then I'm a tiddlywink.

It's taken me a while to figure this out - the reality of the universe is defined by what I WANT and by that alone.  And besides, the atomic structure of tiddlywinks contains things like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon.  So does mine.  So the science is settled - I'm a tiddly wink.  A blue one, thank you.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

So Let Me Get This Straight

Momjeans has waived another law - we are now going to send arms to certain of the Syrian rebels.  We are assured that the arms will only go to good guy rebels and that bad guy rebels won't get their hands on them.

At the same time, Momjeans and his bobbleheads are demanding that American citizens give up their guns so that bad guys can't get hold of them and lay waste to the helpless, target rich environments known as gun free zones.

It's not OK for law abiding Americans to own guns because we can't keep them out of the hands of bad guys in the U.S.   But we can keep guns out of the hands of bad guys in the bedlam known as Syria?

Monday, September 16, 2013

It Was A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Saturday was a sterling Fall day and a perfect day for the blog shoot.  We missed some people this year - hope ya'll come next year.  But there was still a lot of bangety goodness going on.

Having only a tiny arsenal myself, I'm always grateful for the generosity of folks who let me play with their boomsticks. And there were some seriously fun boomsticks brought out. 

Excels at Nothing brought a hackbut, which seems to be related to an arquebus.  Bottom line is that it's a small hand cannon from the 16th century era and playing with that thing is a giggle-fest.  Maybe it's related to our love of poking the campfire - it was so much fun to light up the priming powder and see it flash, get a face full of sparkling powder, and have that thing roar.  I suppose we should have worked on aiming but making the boom was so much fun that hitting a target was irrelevant.

Stretch brought his lovely .22s, as well as an M-1 Girand, which visited with it's baby brother, my M-1 carbine:

Murphy's Law was kind enough to make up some ammo for some historic rifles:

I don't know the stories of the others, but my Arisaka came home from Japan with Dad in 1946.  I was so distracted by watching others and running my mouth that I only took a few shots, but I like it.  I think I'm going to have to learn how to make the ammo and take it out more.

Of course, a day like this will make the Nanny Bloomberg's of the world get their panties in a twist anyway because quite a few people own Evil Black Guns:

But Larry the Historian brought something quaranteed to make Bloomberg downright pee his pants - a Barrett .50 caliber.

The funny thing was the conversation that went something like...

Larry the Historian: "I haven't had it long."
Me:  "Oh?"
Larry the Historian: "Got it about a month ago."
Me:  "A auction?"
Larry the Historian: "Yeah."
Me:  "That's Ron's Barrett?!"

I blogged a little about the sudden loss of a neighbor a while back, as did ML.  His guns went to auction and although I was there to bid for the absent ML, the bidding rocketed up so fast that I barely had time to get my hand up.  Larry the Historian won the bid, and this was my neighbor's gun.

That thing isn't just a giggle-fest to fire, it's a "OMG THAT IS SO COOL!"-blow-everything-off-the-table-and-leave-ears-ringing-even-with-protection hoot!

As usual, we toddled out to have dinner after we had exhausted ourselves at play.  It was good times with good folks.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Emergency Blog Shoot Venue Change!!!!!

Murphy's Law was informed at the last minute this afternoon that we are not going to be able to use the range at Summit Point, WV, as planned.  Due to the last minute conveyance of said information to ML, we're falling back to last year's site, 340 Defense.  Just south of Rippon, WV, on Rt. 340, and just north of the VA/WV line. 

See you Saturday!

Here's The Problem

Morning speed tests look like this:

After about 4 pm and on weekends they look like this:

The technician says he'll be at the switch monitoring it at 4 today. Whatever that means.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Maybe Someday

Rest in peace Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods.  Maybe some day the citizens of the United States will be more concerned with why your lives were thrown away than with being politically correct.  Maybe some day you will be more than "bumps in the road".

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Good News

The good news we heard at Mass last weekend was from both the scripture readings and the announcements. I've blogged a bit about the spiritual richness of this area and the fact that our little town is so blest that we can choose from not only a variety of Mass times, but can choose from the Novus Ordo or Tridentine Mass as well.

For non-Catholics, the Tridentine Mass, more properly referred to as the extraordinary form of the Mass if I remember right, is the form of liturgy that most people refer to as the Latin Mass.  That's a bit misleading, since the norm for the Novus Ordo Mass most people are now accustomed to is actually Latin.  Nor is the Tridentine Mass exactly the Mass celebrated from the beginning although it, like any of our approved forms of Mass, encompasses the critical elements - its origins lie with the Council of Trent (1545-1563).   It is beautiful, intensely reverent, and theologically rich, it's the form of Mass celebrated at our little Augustinian priory.  And although I still need to use the translation given in the missal, I'm learning the Latin quickly enough that I'm referring to the English less and less. 

The more common Novus Ordo Mass, introduced in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, is offered in English and Spanish, i.e., the local vernacular, just down the road at St. James.  Using the vernacular has advantages and disadvantages.  Latin is not a language that's changing - vernacular languages are, and that can create issues with the meanings of words.  It also causes a problem when the local vernacular is not that of a visitor - those that celebrate the Tridentine Mass tend to have a missal with a translation from Latin to their own language.   Offered in a single language of unity, it doesn't matter if every language spoken in the room is different - we all are following and responding as one.  That was once an advantage of universities:  their common language was Latin.  Whatever your native language, as long as you knew Latin you could attend universities throughout Europe without a communications difficulty.

Both the Tridentine and Novus Ordo rites are Western Catholic rites.  But they aren't the only recognized rites - there are more than 20 recognized as valid in the Catholic Church.  Those two are just the ones that Americans are most familiar with.  Pope Paul VI, I believe, was Ambrosian Rite and had to learn the Tridentine Rite after he was elected to the papacy.

I'm not an either/or person.  As long as Rome says the Mass is legitimate, it's the Mass.  It's the re-presentation in an unbloody manner of Christ's sacrifice.  NOT a re-sacrificing - that seems to be a common misconception.  Both rites incorporate the ancient practices of the early Church:

"Assemble on the Lord’s day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:23–24]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, ‘Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations’ [Mal. 1:11, 14]" (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]).
 "Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its sacrifices. Blessed are those presbyters who have already finished their course, and who have obtained a fruitful and perfect release" (Pope Clement I, Letter to the Corinthians 44:4–5 [A.D. 80]).
"Make certain, therefore, that you all observe one common Eucharist; for there is but one Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and but one cup of union with his Blood, and one single altar of sacrifice—even as there is also but one bishop, with his clergy and my own fellow servitors, the deacons. This will ensure that all your doings are in full accord with the will of God" (Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Philadelphians 4 [A.D. 110]).
I love them both, but, unfortunately, there are groups who have separated from the Church by denying the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass.  It might come as a surprise to the news folks who keep reporting that Mel Gibson is a Catholic, but he's not. He's part of one of these groups and as such is essentially the same as an Anglican.  Catholic rite, yes.  Catholic, no. (He's a sedevacanist, too, I believe, but that's a whole 'nother issue.)

Anyway, all my Masses have been down at St. James recently because the Tridentine Mass is a half hour longer, my house was Grand Central Station, I'm the only church-goer in the bunch, and I felt that I couldn't absent myself for the longer Mass.  But yesterday was a day to celebrate with the fraters at the priory and I spent the morning with them for the first time in a while.  And I heard some pieces of very good news beyond the proclamation of the scriptural Good News:  First, since the order now knows that it's remaining here it has been allowed to accept postulants, and there are now two new young men who want to give their lives to prayer and communal living as Augustinian monks and as a part of the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem.  Dom Daniel, the head of the order, requests that we pray that he doesn't frighten them off.  Second, some folks who have been making long drives from bordering states in order to attend Mass at the priory on Sunday mornings have made the decision to move to Charles Town so that they can be more fully a part of this church community.  The spiritual nourishment that this area provides is so over-the-moon that I really get that.  Every time I get a I'm-moving-elsewhere fit I think "And what would be my options for a church community?"  Um...I can guarantee I wouldn't have what I have here so that puts a halt to the fit right there.  And things like this always make me smile:  as much as the media elites wish and hope that the Faith would die, and as much as our current government is attacking us, anywhere that the Faith is preached and celebrated faithfully the community grows.  There are places in the world where there are too many young men wanting to enter the priesthood to be accomodated - the seminaries can't be built fast enough.  And in the U.S., it's orders like this that are thriving, with Church of the What's Happening Now groups withering despite the media's hard work to keep them in the public eye.

The third bit of good news is that a local Chesterton Society group starts meeting next week after Mass.  That is SO "Woo hoo!"and I am SO there!  Chesterton, with his larger than life wit, brilliance, theology, wit, brilliance...Did I mention that he was larger than life and that he was a brilliant wit and lay theologian? And convert.  Yeah, this is exciting.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I Touched It, Now It's Mine

It's been a busy, busy couple weeks, and I haven't quite recovered yet.  Daughter and granddaughter flew in from Detroit two weeks ago.  My sister came by train the following Friday.  She had never had an opportunity to see her great-niece, and we kept the fact that they would be here a careful secret.  Sister came out of the gate at Union Station completely unaware and oblivious.  I had to nudge her into focusing on who was standing there.  It was a great surprise.  Made her do that hand-flappy thing to the face that some people do when they are choked up.

Son-in-law followed by SUV on Saturday.  And we were off to the 92nd Whetzel-Felton Reunion in Preston County Sunday morning.  There as usual we over-ate, visited with kin folk, talked a little history.  And somewhere along the line during the "official business" part, during which the ladies who have served as president and secretary for years stated their intention to step down, I asked if the positions were something that could be done long-distance.  I touched it.  Now it's mine.  And my daughter's.  She was sitting next to me and before she knew it she was secretary.

So now I have several things I need to accomplish before the last Sunday in August of 2014:  Find out where to rent a speaker and mike - that karaoke thing just doesn't do the job in the pavilion when people are yapping.  Fill in this year's information in the register that's been kept since 1949.

Scan same register and put it in the digital world before Something Bad happens to it.  Investigate the costs (and grants to cover the cost) of establishing a website.  And I think we voted to get two new picnic tables - I have to find the nearest branch of the bank our account is in and get a signature card.  Another trip to Preston County may be necessary.  Not that I'd mind.  More and more I'd like to get up there to see people more than just once a year.  Dad's generation in particular is getting frail, and we are losing them one by one.

We took food, but came home with a greater treasure.  An old trunk sat for years in one of the bedrooms at Grandma's house.  Many things disappeared after she died - Uncle Harold was apparently not clear on the concept of the contents of the house not being his to dispose of and Dad, the only sibling left, was living too far away to do anything about it.  The trunk remained, though, and, as far as we can piece the story together, since it had belonged to Uncle Lynn, when Uncle Harold died 20 years ago Mom and Dad packed it with the few things of Uncle Lynn's that were left in the house and left it with a relative-by-marriage in hopes that my only first cousin on that side would eventually pick his dad's stuff up.  It was not to be - John died in his sleep of a massive heart attack and the chest was forgotten, stuck in a closet in an unused room.  Until last year when it was unearthed and opened for the first time since its leaving.  This year, the chest came home with me.

I had thought it to be a WWII footlocker, but obviously it's from Uncle Lynn's time with the Civilian Conservation Corps. 

It didn't have much in it, but it did have treasures.  His graduation photo:

And his high school letters:

A few pictures of his CCC camp at Kingwood that will need scanned.  A couple bakelite art-deco rings of ladies we don't recognize:

Aviators gloves - those, I bet, came from Saipan where Uncle Lynn helped build Isley Field, the great airstrip from which our B-29s launched their raids during WWII.

The real treasure, though, is a box of letters. 

During the Depression, little work became no work in places like Preston County, and apparently Uncle Lynn had gone to D.C. for a job.  The letters are letters from home, a lot of them, written in 1940-1941.  They are long, and full of news:  the parties and picnics, who was dating whom, politics (they were NOT Roosevelt people, for sure), problems, and oddbits.  Harry (aka my dad) had his "eye on a skirt" in Terra Alta.  He'd cut Ike's hair and it was so filthy that he swore it probably hadn't been washed for 2 years.  Lillie thought Harold and so and so were going to get back together but they hadn't yet.  The men in the Settlement were "laying for Clarence" and if he brought his whiskey in he'd get a surprise.  And regular letters from a girl in Greencastle, PA, whose name we don't recognize.  Since she writes of preparing for graduation she would have been several years his junior.  Her letters are newsy and full of bounce and she thinks Lynn looks like Gary Cooper.

I have a LOT of scanning to do.

Monday after Reunion, Murphy's Law was gracious enough to take my son-in-law shooting.  I knew D. probably hadn't been since he moved to Detroit and thought he'd appreciate it.  Many thanks to ML for that, and I hope D. didn't rust up anything with his drool.

The  younger ones went off to visit with D.'s family in York, PA, for a few days, and my sister and puttered, making it over to Berkeley Springs, WV, and to Hillsborough Winery.

Everybody left on Saturday - the kids in the evening in hopes that Amelia would sleep through most of the drive.  She obliged them with sleeping through half of the drive and screaming the other half.  More flying may be involved for the next trip.

And now I'm picking up, trying to catch up on yard work, trying to get back to proper eating and sleep hours and as much as I love seeing everybody I must say that I'm appreciating the restoration of quiet.