Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Worth a Thousand Words: Princess Leia

Cover art by Mark Brooks for ‘Princess Leia’ #1 from Marvel Comics
via Not Pulp Covers

Well Said: Old Enough to Start Reading Fairy Tales Again

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis.
C.S. Lewis
Preface to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Scott leads music practice but gathers too large an audience. ...

Julie sprinkles dirt on the commandant's shoes. Both of them wind up in the cooler, without a single baseball. So they pass the time by discussing The Great Escape. It's Episode 140 of A Good Story is Hard to Find.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Well Said: On Ray Bradbury's Birthday

"They began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressures; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves."
Ray Bradbury, "Usher II" (1950)
Ray Bradbury shares a birthday with Hannah ... which I tend to forget. They both share the qualities of being smart as whips, logical, and never fearing to speak the truth. Hannah doesn't have nearly as many best sellers, but there's time.

Worth a Thousand Words: Gonna Get a Fish

Gonna Get a Fish
taken by Valerie, ucumari photography
some rights reserved

Happy Birthday Hannah!

From Coco Cake Lane
(scroll down to see many great dog cakes)
How did my sweet Hannah turn into a 28-year-old married lady?

She's been an incredible blessing in our lives over the years.

She's still the same sweet, kind, generous, loving person she's always been ... we are proud to be her parents.

Another thing that hasn't changed is her abiding love for animals, especially her dogs. Toddler Hannah and grown up Hannah would both like these dog cupcakes!

Mary, Queen of Heaven

Coronation of Virgin, Giacomo di Mino, 1340-1350
From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother's solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.

His Holiness Pope Pius XII
Encyclical on Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary
Promulgated October 11, 1954
I remember the thing that made this feast day come into focus for me was learning about King Solomon's Queen Mother who brought cases before him for special attention. I tell you, typology really helps you get a mental grip on things.

Friday, August 19, 2016

In which we become addicted to curry and a five day delay endangers our journey ...

... Around the World in Seventy-Two Days. Two more chapters of Nellie Bly's classic race against time are ready for your listening pleasure at Forgotten Classics podcast!

Worth a Thousand Words: Self Portrait with a Sunflower

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641), Self Portrait With a Sunflower, Private collection
I always enjoy seeing the personal touches that artists put into self-portraits, especially in the more flamboyant pieces, such as the one above.

Which. I. Love.

Lagniappe: Refills

“Refills are free,” the waitress tells us with a frown, like she’s hoping we’re not the kind of people who ask for endless refills. I am already pretty sure we are exactly those people.
Holly Black, Black Heart

Genesis Notes: Her Seed — Birth of the Church

The Agony in the Garden - Luke 22:39-46
The Crucifixion - John 19:1-11; 19:31-37
The Resurrection - John 19:38-42; 20:11-18. Hebrews 2:5-18
The Tree of Life - John 6:41-59
Created In God's Likeness - Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 15:53; Eph. 4-22-24; Col. 3:9

We are still breaking away from Genesis with Genesis: God and His Creation to look at the answer to the promise that the woman and her seed would defeat God's enemy.

Ok, how many times can I say that these connections make perfect sense yet I had never "seen" them before I was introduced to studying "types?" If you thought the connections between Mary and Eve were amazing, they are nothing to those between Jesus and Adam. You just can't make this stuff up. What an unbelievable plan God works out through Jesus. Hear that sound? That's my mind blowing.

Crucifixion of Jesus, Marco Palmezzano

The Crucifixion - John 19:1-11; 19:31-37
Thorns in Eden were another evidence of God’s curse upon man, the punishment for his sin. They represented the difficulty man would experience in fulfilling his vocation on earth, having lost his supernatural grace. As the story of Genesis unfolds, the crown of thorns we see in this gospel scene will take on more significance (most specifically in chapter 22). For now, we can understand it to be another indication that Jesus is taking upon Himself the curse pronounced on Adam, even though He has retraced Adam’s steps and has not faltered ...

Jesus, having been scourged, stands there in a purple robe and crown of thorns. Pilate’s grand introduction is meant as mockery. The angry crowd is full of contempt for Jesus. And yet, this is a human being in which the image and likeness of God has not been lost. This is man as God always intended him to be-perfectly obedient and faithful to the covenant, no matter what the cost. In this gospel scene, Jesus is the only one with real human dignity. He is the New Adam, and Pilate’s announcement of "Here is the man!" heralds the beginning of a new humanity ...

Pathologists would tell us that a wound like this one, in its place on the body of one who died as Jesus died, would actually produce both blood and water. The Church has always recognized in this detail of Christ’s death a startlingly beautiful symbol of the birth of the Church. The water of baptism initiates believers into union with Christ; the blood of the Eucharist sustains them on their journey to God (see CCC 1225). In Scripture, the Church is frequently described as "the Bride" of Christ. The Lord refers to Himself as "the Bridegroom" (Mark 2:19), and heaven will be the marriage feast of the Lamb (see CCC 796). In Eden, as Adam slept, God opened his side to create Eve, his bride, a true helper for him and one with whom he would form a permanent union in body and spirit. As Jesus slept the sleep of death on the Cross, the wound in His side poured forth the sign of His Bride, the Church. Adam, tempted by the devil, did not protect his wife with his life, but "Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her" (Eph. 5:25-26).

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Worth a Thousand Words: Love or Duty

Love or Duty (1873), Gabriele Castagnola (Italian, 1828-1883)
via Books and Art

Well Said: Jezebel's Real Sin

I found this fascinating. It highlights again what happens when our eyes are opened by experience and context and we then turn them upon something old and familiar only to see it in entirely new light. It is from Agatha Christie's memoir of trips to Syria with her archaeologist husband shortly before World War II, Come Tell Me How You Live.
An immense dinner materializes in next to no time, and after it, tired and comfortable, with special delicacies in honor of holiday and Mac's arrival (Turkish Delight, preserved aubergines, bars of chocolate and cigars), we sit and talk, for once of subjects other than archaeology.

We come to the question of religions generally--a very vexed question in this particular part of the world, for Syria is full of fiercely fanatical sects of all kinds, all willing to cut each other's throats for the good cause! From there we fall to discussing the story of the Good Samaritan. All the Bible and New Testament stories take on a particular reality and interest out here. They are couched in the language and ideology which we hear daily all around us, and I am often struck by the way the emphasis sometimes shifts from what one has commonly accepted. As a small instance, it came to me quite suddenly that in the story of Jezebel, it is the painting of her face the or tiring of her hair that emphasizes in puritanical Protestant surroundings what exactly a "Jezebel" stands for. But out here it is not the painting and tiring--for all virtuous women paint their faces (or tattoo them), and apply henna to their hair--it is the fact that Jezebel looked out of the window--a definitely immodest act!

Crab Mac and Cheese

Hannah's been getting busy in the kitchen with Nigel Slater's Eat ... with delicious sounding results. Get it at Meanwhile, Back in the Kitchen.

C3 Auto - Not Your Usual Used Car Dealership

These days its a special pleasure when you find someone who actually cares about more than making a quick buck, especially when you're looking for a used car. We ran into the typical used car dealer stereotype and since we were first-timers in the used car arena, this made us extra wary.

Luckily we found C3 Auto. They specialize in clean pre-owned vehicles with low miles, priced below ten thousand dollars. They all come with clean CarFax reports.

More to the point, the people are great. You can't get better service, with no pressure, than we got from Brandon and Larry. They were easy to deal with, helped us find a great car, and overall made buying our first used car a pleasurable experience.

Dallas car buyers, give them a shot!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Worth a Thousand Words: Boston Beaneater King Kelly

Michael J. "King" Kelly
via the Library of Congress baseball album on Flickr

Well Said: The Religion of the Word

Still, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book." Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, a word which is "not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living" (St. Bernard). If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "Open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures" (Cf. Luke 24:25).
Catechism of the Catholic Church
I was mentioning this to someone recently about Christianity being a religion of "the Word" and not "the book." I'd read it somewhere else and so was delighted to find it in my morning dip into the Catechism.

Yes, two weeks and I'm still reading a little each morning. A new record!

FTD + UPS = Wilted Flowers

I don't know what genius at FTD thought that UPS would be a good way to deliver flowers.

Books, yes. Canned tuna, yes. Anything that is hardy enough to take being on a truck from 7 in the morning until reaching its destination at 4 in the afternoon.

But not flowers. Not delicate, living organisms.

The first delivery, when I thought their specification of UPS odd but figured that they'd worked it out, wound up with practically dead flowers on my mother's doorstep. All but 2 gave up the ghost by the next day.

The replacement delivery, set up by an aghast and sympathetic FTD representative on the phone, suffered the same fate. Not quite as wilted, perhaps, with a few more living the next day.

It wasn't as if I were trying to get orchids delivered. These were sunflowers, some of the hardiest flowers around.

Overall, FTD's experiment is a gigantic failure and one that assures I will avoid them like the plague in the future.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

H-E-B's coming to Dallas. And there was much rejoicing ...

I've been longing to shop at H-E-B just about forever. At least since Hannah was at A&M and kept telling me of their many delights.

And now they're coming to town!

What's better than that? It will be at Mockingbird and Abrams ... 5 minutes away. Let the celebrating begin!

Worth a Thousand Words: Coast Guard

Coast Guard
by the talented Karin Jurick
This makes me smile even as I see the last days of summer slipping away.

Well Said: God speaks through one single Word

You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time.

St. Augustine

via The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 102
"since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables"

Wow. Now there is something to meditate upon.

Body and Soul, But Truly One

Lately I've been troubled by seeing people say things like "I am a soul. I have a body." or "My body is like a car that I drive around." This is often evoked in aid of fighting racial prejudice. I get it. Beauty is only skin deep and so forth and so on. It comes from a noble impulse.

But it troubles me on a deeper level. It feels like a rejection of the body in favor of the soul. And that is an ancient idea rearing its ugly head again. Gnosticism in modern form.

Bishop Robert Barron sums up neatly, with a current example. (Emphasis added.)
Gnosticism was, and is, a multi-headed beast, but one of its major tenets is that matter is a fallen, inferior form of being, produced by a low-level deity. The soul is trapped in matter, and the whole point of the spiritual life is to acquire the gnosis (knowledge) requisite to facilitate an escape of the soul from the body. ...

In justifying the transformation that he has undergone, [Bruce] Jenner consistently says something along these lines: “Deep down, I always knew that I was a woman, but I felt trapped in the body of a man. Therefore, I have the right to change my body to bring it in line with my true identity.” Notice how the mind or the will — the inner self — is casually identified as the “real me” whereas the body is presented as an antagonist which can and should be manipulated by the authentic self. The soul and the body are in a master/slave relationship, the former legitimately dominating and re-making the latter. This schema is, to a tee, gnostic — and just as repugnant to Biblical religion as it was nineteen hundred years ago. For Biblical people, the body can never be construed as a prison for the soul, nor as an object for the soul’s manipulation. Moreover, the mind or will is not the “true self” standing over and against the body; rather, the body, with its distinctive form, intelligibility, and finality, is an essential constituent of the true self. Until we realize that the lionization of Caitlyn Jenner amounts to an embracing of Gnosticism, we haven’t grasped the nettle of the issue.
Bishop Robert Barron, Vibrant Paradoxes
Our bodies matter. Try thinking noble thoughts and rising above when you've got a 24-hour bug. It reminds us that our body and soul are inextricably intertwined.

That, after all, is one of the most wonderful and mind blowing things about the Incarnation. Jesus became man. GOD became man, body and soul together.

Did Jesus get the flu and lie limply after throwing up? We don't think about that but it's very possible because illness is part of the human experience and no one is more human than Jesus.

When he was resurrected his body mattered so much that he still had the marks of crucifixion. And he was still body and soul ... eating fish more than once to prove it. Jesus shows us that the whole package matters. It's one of the reasons Catholics clothe the poor, feed the hungry, built hospitals to help the sick, visit prisons, and do so many other corporal works of mercy. Our bodies matter.

Heck, the final resurrection will reunite our bodies and souls. That's how much our bodies matter.

Undoubtedly, body and soul are different but in a mysterious way they are also one. On that note I'll leave you with this bit from the Catechism.

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that "then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.

363 In Sacred Scripture the term "soul" often refers to human life or the entire human person.230 But "soul" also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God's image: "soul" signifies the spiritual principle in man.

364 The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:
Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.
365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not "produced" by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.

Hendrick ter Brugghen, The incredulity of St. Thomas

Best Mapo Tofu

There's a new blogger at Meanwhile, Back in the Kitchen. My oldest daughter Hannah!

She posted a great sounding recipe, Best Mapo Tofu, that might help cure my usual problem with tofu ... I find it chalky tasting (or something like that). But this sauce sounds so flavorful it might do the trick.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Well Said: A Kick in the Teeth

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
Walt Disney

Worth a Thousand Words: Roman Fish Market

Albert Bierstadt, Roman Fish Market. Arch of Octavius
Via Lines and Colors where you'll find some delightful details enlarged for your enjoyment.

Scaramouche - full of swashbuckling goodness

Jesse, Paul, Maissa and I discuss Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini at SFFaudio podcast. Join us!

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary

El Greco, The Assumption of the Virgin, 1577
via Wikipedia
On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption. Thus he solemnly proclaimed that the belief whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the close of her earthly life, was taken up, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, definitively forms part of the deposit of faith, received from the Apostles. To avoid all that is uncertain the Pope did not state either the manner or the circumstances of time and place in which the Assumption took place — only the fact of the Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, is the matter of the definition.
You also will find quite a lot of interesting information and art about this feast day at Idle Speculations.

It is a Holy Day of Obligation usually but not in the U.S. this year because it is so close to Sunday.

AND it's a Feast Day in the literal sense of the word. Treat yourself to something Marian ... risen ... that is so light it floats?