December 2003 Archives

Happy New Year


and blessings on this Holy day of Obligation.

Beware of Reiki


As documented by Carol at
Magisterial Fidelity, it has infiltrated many Catholic hospitals and health care organizations.

Calendar history


In this article from Touchstone Magazine. (Link via Inn at the End of the World).
I have long been fascinated by the conventions we use to date historical events. Lately, as I have been debating the historicity of much of the Da Vinci Code with my daughter, I have been even more impressed with the great effort made by the church through the ages to keep the facts straight.

How does he do this?


The Curt Jester: New Deanings Game
Speaking as a New Hampshire voter (unaffiliated, which means I can vote in either primary) I am getting sick and tired of the pollsters and partisans calling me on the phone. My default answer goes something like this.
caller: Have you decided how you will vote in the primary?
me: I despise all the Democratic candidates, and I am having trouble deciding which I dislike the least
caller: Is there any specific area that you are concerned about?
me: Yes, the fact that there is no pro-life Democrat left for me to support
caller: What about the other issues?
me: what other issues are more important than stopping several murders every day?

Hope you never need to use this link


Center for Loss in Multiple Birth

Welcome to the website of CLIMB, the Center for Loss in Multiple Birth, Inc. We are parents throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond who have experienced the death of one or more, both or all of our twins or higher multiples at any time from conception through birth, infancy and childhood. We originated in 1987, when a mother whose twin son died very suddenly at birth believed that she was truly the only one--then began to search for "a few" others. Soon, she was hearing from families everywhere who were struggling to cope and heal from the devastating loss of their twin or twins, their triplet or triplets or other higher multiples, in a wide variety of circumstances -- in sad contrast to the happy images of multiples portrayed in the media and elsewhere.

What I wish I were doing


Young nurses and midwives bring babies into the world - and find themselves
The Dallas Morning News
WESLACO, Texas - (KRT) - It's almost 7 this autumn evening when Blanca
Rivera sits on the orange exercise ball again. All day, nurses and midwives
in this duplex with mint-green walls have tried to get the baby inside of
Rivera to turn. The baby's back should be up against her belly. Instead,
with every contraction, his back presses painfully against his mother's

Name that homilist


Over at El Camino Real. The hot links weren't working just now, scroll to 12/29 if you need to.

Mercy and Mary




Cb major - life is full of complications,
commitments and organisation. You love to make
sure everything is just perfect, but sometimes
this can cause you to fall over your own feet.
A slightly unsociable key: why Cb major when
you could be the identical Bmajor? It has less

what key signature are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Link via Flos Carmeli
Funny - my favorite key in which to write is E minor, actually, I really prefer the Dorian mode.

Welcome to Thomas the misplaced protestant


Warblings of an ecclesial wanderer is his fine young blog. Thanks to Mr Riddle
and Mr O'Rama for the heads up on this.


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My 15 year old daughter got a copy of The DaVinci Code from someone for Christmas. (I refuse to spend money on trash). This evening, as we were driving back from Logan Airport (in and of itself a nightmare experience) she started asking questions - hard ones. My husband, 21 y/o daughter, and myself were also in the car, and we took turns trying to field the questions, but I would really appreciate your prayers as well.
I have read Sandra Miesel's articles which critique the book, and it gave me a little insight into the issues, but it really is hard. I am coming to realize that this book is insidious (sp?) in what it does.
A basic question that teenage daughter kept asking is "But how do you KNOW?" about issues like Jesus being a virgin celibate, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the validity of the canon of the Bible (especially the New Testament). I have tried to explain the validity of Sacred Tradition, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and so on. I don't know if she 'gets it'. I am trying to think of readable books that talk about the historical truth of the early church - any suggestions? I am thinking of By What Authority by Mark Shea, and I have some books on the early church fathers - but these books don't have the readability of fiction. Can anyone suggest novels or similar books that have the background assumptions of a Catholic culture?
I have lots of non-fiction that I love to read, as well as biography and devotionals, but I don't think that will do it for us. I also have Matt Pinto's book Did Adam and Eve have Belly Buttons which is good but not applicable to this. She is asking good questions, and I am a reasonable apologist I think, but this is getting tough.

She Refused Cancer Treatment

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2003 ( John Paul II will canonize Gianna Beretta Molla, who accepted death at age 39 rather than submit to treatment that would result in the abortion of her unborn child.

The announcement was made Saturday in the presence of the Pope by the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, in the course of recognizing a miracle attributed to her intercession. Molla, an Italian pediatrician, was beatified in 1994.

dylan alert


Have a Happy and Holy Christmas

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I expect to be kind of scarce the next few days. I have half my children home for the week, and actually have 6 days off in a row from work! Tonight we have midnight Mass, and tomorrow will be cook all day. We do the traditional British dinner. Standing rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, carrots, (the last of the summer's CSA share), maybe a steamed pudding with hard sauce. Need to inventory fridge and cupboards before the stores close. Boxing Day we hang out together, and Saturday I put one child on a plane, and Monday the other one on a train, and we try to go back to life as usual.
This year, at least, I won't be catching Christmas babies. There is always a bittersweetness to being on call Christmas, to being there with some one else's family and not my own.

Carols in Latin


The Twelve Days of Christmas
(Translated by Sister Marjorie E. Allen)

Primo die Natalis amator dedit mi
perdicem in piro.

S'cunda die Natalis amator dedit me
d'os turtures et perdicem in piro.

Tertia die Natalis amator dedit mi
tres gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem
in piro.

Quarta die Natalis amator dedit mi
quattuor aves, tres gallinas, d'os
turtures et perdicem in piro.

Quinta die Natalis amator dedit mi
quinque anulos, quattuor aves, tres
gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in

Sexta die Natalis amator dedit mi
sex anseres, quinque anulos, quattuor
aves, tres gallinas, d'os turtures et
perdicem in piro.

Sept'ma die Natalis amator dedit mi
septem cygnos nantes, sex anseres,
quinque anulos, quattuor aves, tres
gallinas d'os turtures et perdicem in

Octava die Natalis amator dedit mi
octo quae mulgent, septem cygnos
nantes, sex anseres, quinque anulos,
quattuor aves, tres gallinas, d'os
turtures et perdicem in piro.

Nona die Natalis amator dedit mi
novem salt'trices, octo quae mulgent,
septem cygnos nantes, sex anseres,
quinque anulos, quattuor aves, tres
gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in

Dec'ma die Natalis amator dedit mi
decem salt'tores, novem salt'trices, octo
quae mulgent, septem cygnos nantes,
sex anseres, quinque anulos, quattuor
aves, tres gallinas, d'os turtures et
perdicem in piro.

Undec'ma die Natalis amator dedit me
undecim tibic'nes, decem salt'tores,
novem salt'trices, octo quae mulgent,
septem cygnos nantes, sex anseres,
quinque anulos, quattuor aves, tres
gallinas, d'os turtures et perdicem in

Duodec'ma die Natalis amator dedit mi
d'odecim qui pulsant, undecim
tibic'nes, decem salt'tores, novem
salt'trices, octo quae mulgent, septem
cygnos nantes, sex anseres, quinque
anulos, quattuor aves, tres gallinas, d'os
turtures et perdicem in piro.

I'm late on this

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California Earthquake not too far from my old stomping grounds.

Friday Five

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the friday five

1. List your five favorite beverages.
Tea (in many incarnations)
Mixed Cocktails (just about all of them)
Mountain Dew

2. List your five favorite websites.
All of St Blogs
Envoy Encore
Dogpile (meta-search engine)
Crisis magazine

3. List your five favorite snack foods.
Ripply potato chips
Real beef jerky (NOT flaked and formed)
Deviled Eggs
(I have a salt tooth, not a sweet tooth!)

4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.
Trivial Pursuit

5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.
Scrabble (on the PC)
Scrabble (on the Palm)
did I mention Scrabble?

Biscotti for Christmas?

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Simple Cookies-Simple Pleasures from Two Sleepy Mommies. A nice recipe, and comments from Erik and others, both on the cookie and on Italian dialects.
Now, the predominant ethnicity in my family of mongrels is probably German - in my ancestry I have Dittrich and Eisenmenger. (of course, there are also Cherokee, Cree, Irish, British, and who knows what all else) - but no Mediterranean to my knowledge. So the first time I saw biscotti I thought Mandelbrot and Zweibach. And when I tasted the anisey goodness, I thought Springerle.
My personal favorite Christmas cookies happen to be Leibkuchen and Springerle. Can't stand Pfeffernusse, but that is because I don't like powdered sugar. I am also inordinately fond of those wonderful American morsels made with cookie crumbs, cocoa, ground nuts, and booze. You know what I mean. My mom made them as bourbon balls, I tended to make rum balls, but there are probably as many recipes out there as there are southerners (USA, not Italy).
Anyhow, if anyone wants recipes for any of the cookies I mentioned, just drop me a line.

blogroll addition

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A Plumbline in the Wind is by Henry Dieterich, whose comments I have been reading all over the parish. Check it out - another convert and parent of teenagers. Good reading.

Just in time


The Curt Jester: New Tolkien Themed Restaurant
(Put down your drink warning, and if you are mucousy, blow your nose first! You have been warned!)

sorry folks


I have no real update to give today - the baby was transferred to a Children's Hospital for care that we could not provide, and I don't have an update yet. I haven't heard any recent bad news, though. I am continuing to pray.
I will be off work until Friday, and so am unlikely to hear anything before then at the earliest.
Thank you all for your continuing prayers.


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Kimberly's baby has been born, weighing just over 4 lbs. He was baptised in the NICU shortly after his birth. He is still unstable and in need of prayer, as is his mother. Please keep them in your prayers. I am unable to offer more information - Kimberly asked me simply to get as many prayers going as I could. SO I am. Blessed Gianna, please pray for them both.

Ashli update


Hyperemesis Gravidarum: A Diary for today December 15 - great news!!!!!

New Catholic mag starting up

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is looking for writers and readers.
(wonder what I could write about that they might like)

Put down your beverage

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before you read this, or I refuse to be responsible for your keyboard getting stuck!

breaking news

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Saddam Hussein captured.
I wonder how this will affect the events in Babylon (sorry, Iraq).

Suggestions for the flu season

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From TSO.
My favorite remedy for the chesty cough remains the hot toddy. A good slug of the distilled liquor of your choice, honey, lemon juice, and boiling water. Serve in a mug. Cinammon stick stirrer is optional.
I had horrible croup as a child. (I probably had asthma, but my mom didn't trust doctors much and in those days asthma was more tightly defined - chronic cough didn't qualify). I remember waking up around 2 in the morning, coughing my lungs out and barking like a seal. First it was a trip into the home made steam cabinet - a bathroom with the shower turned on high and hot - (not to get under, just to breath). Then a liberal application of Vapo-Rub to the chest and back, and finally a couple of table spoons of hot toddy (I think my mom finished off the rest after tucking me in). It probably didn't work as well as today's inhalers and steroids for acute asthma attacks, but it sure felt more loving.
I've been hacking and coughing since the day after Thanksgiving. I think it is time for me to go to my favorite Japanese watering hole for the ultimate cure. Miso soup with a dollop of wasabi added in, Tempura Udon with added red pepper, and hot sake to wash it down. It may not clear my sinuses and lungs, but I will still feel better afterwards!

prayer request

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My patient Kimberly whose baby seems to be in serious trouble in utero. By the time you read this, the doctors into whose care I gave her may have decided that the risk of prematurity is less than the risk of waiting. This is a much wanted baby, especially because Kimberly's mother died suddenly about 3 months ago. I told her that I would implore prayers for her and her son.
Also for the father of my daughter's best friend. He was just diagnosed with cancer.
May the angels and saints continue to watch over these children of God, and may the trials they endure bring them closer to Him.

Pray for our culture

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From The Porn Myth
If we did not limit pornography, she argued-before Internet technology made that prospect a technical impossibility- most men would come to objectify women as they objectified porn stars.
Chastity is what is needed. How do we get the message across? This is what my generation has done to the world. Lord have mercy on us.
Link via TS O'Rama



I removed one entry from my archives that seemed to be attracting blog spammers. I have no clue why that particular one was so magnetic - it wasn't even one of my prime subjects!

Right and Wrong

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Eric Johnson and Mark Shea have been involved in a hearty discussion about the war in Iraq. It has been one of the most polite and Christian of discussions that I have seen on this topic in just about any venue, and I am impressed by their charity and their obvious care in thought and speech. I am not going to post my personal opinions on this topic - for one, I truly don't think I have enough knowledge to have an informed position that is suitable for prime time. Like so many other vexing issues, I have decided to deal with it in small chunks and to salt liberally and take with prayer. No, their extended conversation has caused me to contemplate another conundrum. Those who have raised teenagers will recognize it. The question: Is it better to do wrong for the right reasons, or to do right for the wrong reasons? Is it better to say, "Yes, I will" to a reasonable request, and then bail out - or to say, "No way, Jose", and then to have a change of heart and do the task?
The church's moral teachings are clear that the ends never justify the means, and that it is not OK to do sin in order that good might result - but in talking about 'wrong things' I am talking about those areas of moral ambiguity that can exist especially given man's imperfect understanding of the will of God.
What say you all?

Emergency Prayer Request

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Steve Riddle's wife is being hospitalized, as she has not been able to shake off her illness. Please pray fervently!

Order your tickets now!


Seasonal humour


The Curt Jester has so much good stuff over there that I don't know where to begin. I suggest that we would all benefit from the Litany of Blog Humility, but I know that my chitlins would be delighted by the Gingerbread nativity. All I can say is that I skip a day of reading, and look what I missed!

WSJ notices NFP


or at least calendar based periodic abstinence. I can't help but wonder, though, what the meta-motives are. There are so many better models of fertility awareness for true natural family planning - both to avoid and to achieve pregnancy. But at least there isn't the sneer about 'vatican roulette'.

For the Immaculate Conception


The Virgin
William Wordsworth
Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied.
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature's solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven's blue coast;
Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in thee
Of mother's love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

Recipe corner


Pansy asked for my 'recipe' for taco salad. Like so much other everyday cooking, it doesn't really have a formal recipe, but I will describe how I generally make and serve it. Hope that helps!

Ashli update


Go read Mr. Luse

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Quiz time

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you are violet

Your dominant hues are red and blue. You're confident and like showing people new ideas. You play well with others and can be very influential if you want to be.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

Funny - does this not match my blog colours? Link via Bene Diction.

Neat page!

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Our Lady of La Leche.
Thanks to Rosemarie of many comments boxes for the link.



such small hands has moved. Please update your links.

on a lighter note

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When I was off for the weekend with my husband, I had the opportunity to try a few new drinks. One was labelled "The Bitter End" and it was a martini style concoction that was deadly and delicious. The description stated that is contained Bombay Sapphire, Campari, and Angostura bitters. I have been trying (without success, alas) to replicate it. If anyone else has heard of this or has a recipe, I would be grateful.
This evening, I decided to try something a little different. I have been rather out of it for several days, first with an asthma flare and later with a bad head cold, and today was the first day in a while that I have had energy to do much more than go to work and go to sleep.
I mixed equal parts Tanqueray and Dubonnet blanc with a dash of angostura bitters, shook it over ice, and strained out. My daughter sniffed it and declared that it needed mango. Mango? Well, I happen to have a mango/peach/orange juice blend on hand, so added in 1/2 part of this, reshook and strained, and voila - a delicious cocktail which I am now sipping slowly, waiting for John to get home from work for dinner. Taco salad.



History of The Trapp Family has been added to the static links. Thanks to Sparki and her commentors for the info.

Preface: I recognize that there are situations, such as adoption, where lactation and natural infant feeding may be difficult if not impossible. For those circumstances, I am very grateful that there is a technology to help these infanst to survive. This polemic is not addressed as those cases.
Here goes.
Many people have been astonished and overwhelmed by the level of emotion that the breastfeeding in public issues arouses. I think that the topic is so controverisal because it is emblematic of so much that is horribly wrong with our culture and our society. For the last hundred years or so, there has been a concerted effort to sever women from femininity in the name of feminism. The major social and technological factors that have made this even remotely possible have been contraception, abortion, and bottle feeding. The wide spread acceptance of bottle feeding was what originally made it possible for women to become a part of the industrial work force.

interesting site


The History of the Pregnancy Test Kit from the NIH. They are also looking for input from the general public.
The home pregnancy test has caused a much greater awareness of the earliest stages of pregnancy, along with the idea that a pregnancy too early to test positive is some somehow not a real pregnancy. I wonder how much of that attitude plays into the acceptance of the morning after pill?

English as a third language


from my inbox today
The Washington Post's Style Invitational once again asked readers to
take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or
changing one letter, and then supply a new definition.
Here are this year's winners:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you
realize it was your money to start with.
-- the inability to get a Taxi in NYC in the rain.
2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
-- the act of falling into the LaBrea Tar Pits more than once.
3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops
bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows
little sign of breaking down in the near future.
-- a chemical compound made up of the two most
common elements in the Universe: Hydrogen and Stupidity.
4. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the
subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
-- the act of your ex-wife ripping your genitals off by
pulling them though your wallet.
5. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
-- plural of the Italian "giraffito", a very small, but very tall
replica of the Grotto at Lourdes.
6. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person
who doesn't get it.
-- "Searchasm" -- the gulf between the reference librarian
who has the answer and the library patron who just
doesn't get it.
7. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
-- "Inoculattea" - when you squeeze the lemon slice to put
lemon juice in your tea and it goes into your eye instead.
8. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
-- What oldsters come down with when they've been living
in the "Home" so long that they think that "Wow" and
"Cool, Man!" is still wow and cool.
9. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
-- this means "bad to the bone".
10. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's
like, a serious bummer.
-- misspelled. "Carmageddon" - grid lock in Detroit.
11. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day
consuming only things that are good for you.
-- another misspelling: "Decafelon" - a group of ten felons.
12. Glibido: All talk and no action.
-- my ex-brother-in-law. Trust me.
13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after
you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
-- "Arachnocleptic" - the act of stealing spiders without knowing it.
14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your
bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
-- common insect in Minnesota in the Summer. Known to eat
rats and small children.
15. Caterpallor (n.): The colour you turn after finding half a grub in
the fruit you're eating. And the pick of the literature:
-- Caterpallor, -oris, m. male counterpart of the caryatide
-- (caryatis, -idis, f.). Statues of people who carry the weight
of god on their sholders.
16. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an *******.
-- Small moon of the 7th planet.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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