Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Green Goddess Chicken

From Cook's Country, this is an easy roast chicken dish that has a really fresh taste and makes a nice summery meal. It's posted at Meanwhile, Back in the Kitchen.

Through a Web

Through a Web, Remo Savisaar

Would we serve Jesus with a chipped dish?

If everyone were holy and handsome, with “alter Christus” shining in neon lighting from them, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. If Mary had appeared in Bethlehem clothed, as St. John says, with the sun, a crown of twelve stars on her head and the moon under her feet, then people would have fought to make room for her. But that was not God’s way for her nor is it Christ’s way for Himself now when He is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth.

To see how far one realizes this, it is a good thing to ask honestly what you would do, or have done, when a beggar asked at your house for food. Would you–or did you–give it on an old cracked plate, thinking that was good enough? Do you think that Martha and Mary thought that the old and chipped dish was good for their guest?
Dorothy Day, Room For Christ, The Catholic Worker, December 1945, 2

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Listen Up, Nerds! Henry VI, Le Morte d'Arthur

I've linked to websites below but both of these are readily available on iTunes or various other podcast providers.

The Chop Bard podcast passionately picks apart the plays of William Shakespeare, scene by scene, line by line, in search of entertainment and understanding, in order to lift the plays off the page and onto their feet. With passionate insight and fearless examination, we offer the works of William Shakespeare in the spirit for which they were originally intended: As entertainment for a diverse and current audience.
Ehren Ziegler truly is the cure for boring Shakespeare. He loves the history plays and is launching another one for us to explore — Henry VI, part 1. You are in plenty of time to join in since only the introduction has posted.

Starting in July 2018, Mythgard Academy will present a free seminar on Le Morte d’Arthur, the classic cycle of Arthurian tales retold by Sir Thomas Malory. The tales have been the source of many later retellings of the Arthur mythos, including, for example, The Once and Future King by T. H. White and the 1981 cinematic feature, Excalibur.
Our Catholic women's book club read this book years ago. I admit that I had enough trouble with the text that I resorted to a children's version to get through the story. So I'm delighted to have one of my favorite teachers diving deeper into the tale.

The first episode was wonderful, opening my eyes to several points about the story I'd never have noticed on my own. (As is Corey Olsen's way.)

Monday, July 16, 2018


Ketchup, Edward B. Gordon

Well Said: Whistling Dixie and the Truth

If ever you see a man put his fingers in his ears and whistle Dixie to keep from telling the truth, you may assume he's a fool, but if he puts his fingers in your ears and starts whistling, then you know you are dealing with a journalist.
Andrew Klavan, The Killer Christian
collected in The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries

Friday, July 13, 2018

Endless Water, Starless Sky by Rosamund Hodge

Endless Water, Starless Sky (Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, #2)
Romeo had looked at a Catresou girl and loved her. He had believed that Juliet was more than a weapon, and that it was worthwhile to love her, however little time they might have. He had died believing it.

Juliet had believed that once too.

She couldn't free her people. She couldn't free herself. And she couldn't save the city from its doom.

But she could be like Romeo, and learn to love her enemies. She could protect these people around her for whatever time they had left.

It wasn't exactly hope, but maybe it could be enough.
This is the second half of the tale begun in Bright Smoke, Cold Fire which I reviewed here. It will come out on July 24.

The city walls are not holding despite increasingly large blood sacrifices. The dead continue to rise, mindlessly hungry. (Yep. Zombies and the end of the world.)

The Juliet has been trapped into protecting Romeo's family at great cost to her own. Meanwhile, Romeo is attempting redemption by protecting Juliet's family. (Oh the irony! And the romantic gestures!)

Paris is still dead but alive enough to obey the necromancer's spell. Runajo is still trying to find a way to protect her city while tortured by her betrayal of her friend Juliet.

So we've got the perfect setup for the conclusion of Rosamund Hodge's riff on Shakespeare.

The story is complex enough that I'd forgotten important details from the first part and had to reread it before I could launch properly into Endless Water, Starless Sky. We still have all the big themes and literary devices that gave the first part depth and complexity. Here the story has everyone running as fast as they can to try to avert disaster, both of civilization and of their personal lives. There is a lot of fighting and a lot of talking in the first half — we did mention this is a riff on Romeo and Juliet, right? But it all works.

As engrossing as most of the book was, it really entered new territory in the last fourth where it becomes an otherworldly, Dante-esque journey. This part was wildly inventive and yet delicately balanced to guide the reader to the ultimately satisfying conclusion.

I really loved it and will definitely be rereading it, sooner rather than later. If you liked the first half, you'll like this. If you haven't read either, then you've got a treat in store.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Around Here: Dickens and the Sandwich

Having visited Dickens and Boxers yesterday made me remember another thing I love and its connection with Dickens — sandwiches. This is from 3 years ago but well worth revisiting. At least it was for me!

Sandwiches and Dickens

I was reading Barnaby Rudge and was startled by seeing a sandwich mentioned:
He was not without some refreshment during the long lonely hours; generally carrying in his pocket a sandwich of bread and meat, and a small flask of wine.
Now I know sandwiches were invented some time ago but I hadn't come across them in fiction this old, especially as a reflection of casual everyday life. And this book was set around the time of our Revolutionary War so I had 1776 firmly in mind.

Did they eat sandwiches then?

Finishing up Barnaby (not bad, not bad at all), I picked up The Pickwick Papers for a bit of light bedtime humor.

I was stunned to find ... another sandwich in Mr. Jingle's shocking but funny story:
Heads, heads — take care of your heads!... Five children — mother — tall lady, eating sandwiches — forgot the arch — crash — knock — children look round — mother's head off — sandwich in her hand—no mouth to put it in — head of a family off—shocking, shocking!
This made Tom look up the origin date of the sandwich which, of course, no one knows. The famous story about the Earl of Sandwich, all honor to this lazy but tidy card player (bread kept the meat grease off his hands and cards) who invented one of my favorite foods, is placed in the late 1700s.

Of course, sandwiches were around before then but they weren't called sandwiches. They were known as "meat and bread" or "bread and cheese." It is when the name "sandwich" became commonly used that is interesting. And then we have this bit of evidence:
That respectable body, of which I have the honour of being a member, affords every evening a sight truly English. Twenty or thirty, perhaps, of the first men in the kingdom, in point of fashion and fortune, supping at little tables covered with a napkin, in the middle of a coffee-room, upon a bit of cold meat, or a sandwich, and drinking a glass of punch.
Edward Gibbon, journal entry, November 24, 1762
So that's all right then, for Dickens use in Barnaby Rudge. And it turns out that Dickens had his own sandwich memories, though this one doesn't seem happy at all:
A longer time afterwards he recollected the stage-coach journey, and said in one of his published papers that never had he forgotten, through all the intervening years, the smell of the damp straw in which he was packed and forwarded like game, carriage-paid. “There was no other inside passenger, and I consumed my sandwiches in solitude and dreariness, and it rained hard all the way, and I thought life sloppier than I expected to find it.”
Dickens writing of his journey when he was 10
to join his family in their new home,
Life of Charles Dickens by John Foster
I found a few more of Dickens' sandwiches when I was looking around.
Great Expectations: My guardian then took me into his own room, and while he lunched, standing, from a sandwich-box and a pocket flask of sherry (he seemed to bully his very sandwich as he ate it), informed me what arrangements he had made for me.

Bleak House: "My dear son," said Mr. Turveydrop, "you have four schools this afternoon. I would recommend a hasty sandwich."

Mugby Junction: "Well!" said Our Missis, with dilated nostrils. "Take a fresh, crisp, long, crusty penny loaf made of the whitest and best flour. Cut it longwise through the middle. Insert a fair and nicely fitting slice of ham. Tie a smart piece of ribbon round the middle of the whole to bind it together. Add at one end a neat wrapper of clean white paper by which to hold it. And the universal French Refreshment sangwich busts on your disgusted vision."

Uncommercial Traveller: Between the pieces, we almost all of us went out and refreshed. Many of us went the length of drinking beer at the bar of the neighbouring public-house, some of us drank spirits, crowds of us had sandwiches and ginger-beer at the refreshment-bars established for us in the Theatre. The sandwich--as substantial as was consistent with portability, and as cheap as possible--we hailed as one of our greatest institutions. It forced its way among us at all stages of the entertainment, and we were always delighted to see it; its adaptability to the varying moods of our nature was surprising; we could never weep so comfortably as when our tears fell on our sandwich; we could never laugh so heartily as when we choked with sandwich; Virtue never looked so beautiful or Vice so deformed as when we paused, sandwich in hand, to consider what would come of that resolution of Wickedness in boots, to sever Innocence in flowered chintz from Honest Industry in striped stockings. When the curtain fell for the night, we still fell back upon sandwich, to help us through the rain and mire, and home to bed.
Dickens must have enjoyed a good sandwich as much as I do. I'll have one of those universal French Refreshment sangwiches for lunch, please!

Summer, James Tissot

Summer, James Tissot

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: Zebra Back Rub

Zebra Back Rub
taken by Valerie of ucumari photography
some rights reserved
You're really missing a treat if you don't browse Valerie's photography. There are some simply wonderful candid animal shots.

Lagniappe: Boxer

Boxer, feeling that his attentions were due to the family in general, and must be impartially distributed, dashed in and out with bewildering inconstancy; now, describing a circle of short barks round the horse, where he was being rubbed down at the stable-door; now feigning to make savage rushes at his mistress, and facetiously bringing himself to sudden stops; now, eliciting a shriek from Tilly Slowboy, in the low nursing-chair near the fire, by the unexpected application of his moist nose to her countenance; now, exhibiting an obtrusive interest in the baby; now, going round and round upon the hearth, and lying down as if he had established himself for the night; now, getting up again, and taking that nothing of a fag-end of a tail of his, out into the weather, as if he had just remembered an appointment, and was off, at a round trot, to keep it.
Courtesy of Project Gutenberg where
this novella is available free in a variety of formats
One of my favorite bits in the beginning of The Cricket on the Hearth is accuracy of Charles Dickens' description of the Perrybingles' dog, Boxer. Ours is a "double Boxer" household and ours are almost constantly displaying some of those very attributes.
Chances are that the Boxers of Dickens' day didn't look precisely like those we have today, but they surely acted like them!

This article shows several breeds past and present, among which is the Boxer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"I wouldn't want to do this with anyone but you."

These little choices to not selfishly take out one's frustration on another are not so different from the choices we have to make elsewhere in life in order to get along with others. In this sense, getting along with MrsDarwin is not so very different from getting along with anyone else. Thinking about marital virtue in this regard, one can think: Love is a choice. It doesn't have to be just one person.

There's truth in that too. Yet, it's so much easier to make those choices with someone to whom I'd so much rather be married.

I wouldn't want to do this with anyone but you.

The best of all is when I love him because he is, literally, God’s gift to me: the unique spark of God’s creative love through whom, by the graces of marriage, I find my path to heaven. The path may be dark sometimes, or rough, or busy, or blissful, but it’s never solitary. Through the sacrament of marriage, we walk it together, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
Mrs. Darwin
Over at DarwinCatholic the Darwins have a lovely post in praise of marriage that is written with both idealism (even after 17 years) and loads of reality (because - 17 years). I really enjoyed it and the above excerpts can't do it justice. Please do go and read it for yourself.

Summertime in Holland

Allegory of summer, Jan van Goyen

The medium and the message

In Jesus Christ, there is no separation between the medium and the message: it is the one case where we can say that the medium and the message are fully one and the same.
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium and the Light

On their way to Petra, Julie thought she overheard Scott telling someone "You do see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?"

What he actually said was, "You do see, don't you, that burgers are best grilled?" No one had the heart to tell Poirot. Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie is the subject of Episode 186 at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast.