Friday, June 29, 2007


Every so often DIH forces herself to contemplate the unthinkable and consider remodelling her kitchen. The people who previously owned our house had the fatal combination of a) expensive tastes and b) a marked disinclination to tend to things like upkeep.

Hence I have a high-end kitchen that is falling apart. When we moved in there was this tiny German oven in the wall that didnt' work. Estimated replacement cost: 4 G's. As it was, in addition to being tiny, an unusual size, the cabinetry around it was all custom-sized.

[Word of advice: never go with "custom" anything. "Custom" is an attractive word that means "it'll cost an arm and a leg and you will never, EVER find anyone to fix it when it breaks down."]

We are also the proud owners of a Sub-Zero refrigerator /freezer that I figure has another year of life in it, tops. Also surrounded by "custom-fitted" cabinetry.

I figure I'll have to deal with the refrigerator first. So the other day I bought one of those "Kitchen and Bath" magazines, for its article on "Choosing the Right Fridge For Your Budget."

Well. Not only have I been informed and enlightened, I have been inspired. I have found the refrigerator no home should be without.

"Cooks who want to add a TV to their kitchen but can't find the right spot will love this innovative fridge. It's the first refrigerator with a 16-inch high-definition remote-controlled LCD television screen." Price tage: $3,600.

So I looked at this refrigerator and I said to myself, Do I want to sit in my kitchen watching the fridge?

Doesn't everyone?

But here's another question: Would my family appreciate this appliance? Or would I have to listen to endless "We always watch the fridge, how come we never get to watch the dishwasher" arguments?

Lest you think this is all about entertainment let me point out the fridge has many practical uses, too:

" This model also boasts a weather center, calendar, photo album and recipe bank."

I think you can put food in it, too, but I'm not sure. The article doesn't mention food.

Monday, June 25, 2007

We Got Wheels

Banner weekend for the V family. Daughter Sophia, age six "and a half" (as I am obliged to point out), learned to ride a bicycle.

She is the last of pals to do so, which puzzled us. The daughter is really very athletic and has a good sense of balance- what was the problem? Other than the fact that her daddy wasn't much of a one for running after her holding onto the fender for very long.

Finally Dad got serious. Yesterday morning he fell back on the most tried-and-true teaching method of all.

"Sophia, if you learn to ride your bike today, I'll give you ten dollars."

Worked like a charm.

Bribery is underrated.

In other news, Opus Dei is sending some priests out from Chicago to throw a big confefssion-fest at our church tomorrow. This, we are told, is a celebration in honor of St. Josemaria Escriva. Ole,

DIH must find her castanets. Perhaps a bull would be in order, too.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Laughs for Leno?

Hey Jay- just in case your talented guests are short on material, why not add this to the laugh fest?

"More Christians Kidnapped, Killed in Iraq"

"Mosul, Jun. 20, 2007 ( - Terrorists in Iraq kidnapped 8 Christians in the Nineveh plains-- the site of a proposed "protected enclave" for the Christian minority-- the AsiaNews service reports.

"Two other Christians were killed in the city of Mosul, near the site of the June 3 murder of a Chaldean Catholic priest, Father Ragheed Ganni, and three deacons.

"The kidnapping in Nineveh occurred as a group of Christian students and teachers were returning from having taken university entrance examinations in Mosul. Their bus was surrounded by a group of cars, and armed men boarded to take away 3 students and 5 teachers.

"AsiaNews reports that police witnessed the abductions but failed to intervene. The kidnappers have not yet been identified.

"The kidnapping took place on the Ninveveh plains, in the area that has been proposed as an enclave to shelter Iraq's Christian minority. Chaldean Catholic leaders have objected to that plan, arguing that it would remove Christians from Iraqi society and make them vulnerable to concentrated attacks."


"June 19, 2007. Last night on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” comedian Robin Williams plugged his upcoming movie, “License to Wed.” In the film, Williams plays a Protestant minister who forces an engaged couple to go through a grueling marriage preparatory course. But last night Williams went off on Catholic priests, painting them all as pedophiles.

"Williams pretended to be playing a game where the pedophile is hidden under a cup. “Here we go. Find the priest, find the pedophile. Find the priest, find the pedophile. Here you go right now. Move ‘em around, move ‘em around. Oh, you found the pedophile.”

"Williams then put his hand over his groin, saying, “You have to realize that if you are a Catholic priest, you have retired this. That’s it—no more sex.” Then he took a shot at confession: “But they are going to put you in a small dark box and people are going to tell you the nastiest sexual stuff they have done.” (h/t The Catholic League press release.)

And h/t The Laura Ingraham Show:

"You go in and you say 'Bless me father for I have sinned, last night I was with Thai twins, a waterslide and a crash helmet." "Tell me again, my son!"

DIH feels sick.

Major, MAJOR kudos to Laura Ingraham for daring Robin to call in to the show and explain himself. Anyone want to bet he won't have the guts?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Notes From the Writing Life

Spouse comes home after work. Looks around kitchen, impressed.

"Wow. The house looks really clean.

"Bad writing day?"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

One of Those Summer Things

Summer is upon us, and parish life adjusts to the laziest months of the year. Nothing much going on, so nothing to read in the bulletin; the choir is on leave until September, and until school starts again Donut Sundays will be nothing more than a memory.

But summer brings one challenge to us RCs: 'tis the season of the visiting missionary.

They come every year. Priests from Africa, India., the Philippines, Honduras, wherever. All with three things in common: they love Jesus Christ, they need American dollars, and their English is just this side of unintelligible.

Be honest: when was the last time you understood a word these guys were saying? The only missionary I could follow in the last five years was from Australia. And since his sermon started with a twenty-minute lecture on what schmucks we greedy global-warming Yanks are, I was sorry I could. (It ended, of course, with "and now give me your money." Which, being the genial sorts we are, we did. Stupid Americans, huh?)

In light of this language problem DIH has provided a guide to the basic all-purpose foreign missionary sermon. Here is all you need to know in a handy print-and-save format.

"Hello. I am from a third world country. My family is mostly pagan and Moslem. You should have seen my mother's face when I told her I was going to be a Catholic priest. She almost dropped the chicken she was about to sacrifice. And my father, forget it. 'This jihad will be a first for our clan,' he said. Let's just say I don't get home for Ramadan anymore.

"In my country we are very poor. We do not have American luxuries. LIke sewers. Seweres are awesome. We'd really like to dig a few for our miserable villages. We don't have cars, either. You seem to have about seven apiece. God bless America.[cough]

"One guy running your parish, you think that's tough? My parish covers eighteen thousand square kilometers. You can do your own calculations, I can't be bothered with your stupid English system. Go metric already.

"My country is only two per cent Christian. You think you have trouble finding volunteers to paint the parish hall? Not that we have a parish hall, but if we did, who would paint it? So you can see we must live very simply.

"But our seminaries are full, ha ha ha. And yours? No? Hm. Well in that case let's make a deal. Give us your money and maybe we'll help you out with your clergy shortage some day. Because it looks like you're going to need it.

"Remember, in the kingdom of heaven the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Just so you know, I counted the SUVs in the parking lot before mass. I don't think I have to tell you who's going to be last when the day comes. Cough it up now and we'll put in a good word for you at the front of the line.

"Am I making myself understood?

"Thank you and God bless you."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Your Tax Dollars At Work, New Hampshire!

h/t Hot Air:

Dateline Manchester, NH:

"The city school board has ordered an investigation into how an after-school program run by the YMCA with the school district ended up taking some middle school students to visit Planned Parenthood.

"The YMCA’s STAY program is for students considered at risk of dropping out of school, abusing drugs or getting into trouble with the law.

"A week ago, STAY workers included Planned Parenthood on a tour of several social service agencies in the city, to show the students where they could go for support, recreation and help over the summer. Several anti-abortion protesters outside the clinic spoke to the students as well.

"The Planned Parenthood educator who met with the students, Anne Johnson, said she never mentioned abortion. But Pawlik said that’s no reason for denying her group equal time [ to explain the visit].

“Everybody knows Planned Parenthood performs abortions,” she said. “There were protesters outside with signs saying, ‘Babies killed here.’ There’s no mistaking that (the students) have already been exposed to the issue.”

"Schools Superintendent Michael Ludwell said he would need to see a formal, written request from New Hampshire Right to Life before deciding whether a representative should meet with the students, but he questioned whether the seventh and eighth graders should be required to deal with such a sensitive political issue again."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Where is Lord Peter Wimsey When You Need Him?

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is in a swivet about its water supply. It seems that several district water supplies have levels of arsenic that "exceeds the latest guidellines."

So they're worried we're all being poisoned.

DIH tries to be patient but for heaven's sake, this is too much. Have they never read a word of Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers? Don't they watch "Mystery"?

Don't they know that a little arsenic everyday will save you from a murder attempt? You take a little every day, you build up an immunity. That way when a rival dusts the postprandial Turkish Delight with arsenic-laced powdered sugar, you walk away healthy as a horse. While the poor guy who's been skipping his arsenic dose croaks. Come on, that's how Harriet Vane was set up, remember?

I can understand people not reading. But skipping PBS?

And they call themselves liberals.

Monday, June 11, 2007

They're Making It Too Easy

Man, it's shaping up to be a rough week at the New York Times.

I mean, I thought they'd topped out with yesterday's freak-out over those tacky "grassroots" people."

But now I see the Grey Lady is just hitting her stride.

Today in entertainment: "On Abortion, Hollywood Is No-Choice." By Mireya Navarro.

"In the hit indie movie “Waitress,” the lead character, Jenna, finds out she’s pregnant at a time when she’s plotting to run away from her abusive husband. In last week’s No. 2 film, “Knocked Up,” Alison becomes pregnant after a one-night stand with Ben, an ungainly suitor.

"In some ways, both movies mirror reality. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy says unwanted pregnancies have actually increased among some adult women, even as they have decreased among teenage girls. More than half of all unwanted pregnancies occur to women in their 20s. But in another way, both movies go out of their way to sidestep real life. Nearly two-thirds of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion, data from federal surveys shows. The possibility of not having the baby is never discussed by either woman despite her circumstances. The word “abortion” is never uttered."

Can you believe that? I mean, really! And it's not as if either one of the film's leading ladies is a toothless grassrootser. They're both attractive blondes. Talk about misleading!

Ms. Navarro continues.

"Though conservatives regularly accuse Hollywood of being overly liberal on social issues, abortion rarely comes up in film. Real-life women struggling with unwanted pregnancies might consider an abortion, have intense discussions with partners and friends about it and, in most cases, go through with it."

[Oops. Mireya, call your editor quick. "Waitress" is an indie film, remember? Not "Hollywood," okay? But maybe no one will notice.]

"The producer of “Waitress,” Michael Roiff, said Adrienne Shelly, the film’s writer and director, weighed the concept of abortion as the “good New York liberal” she was. But from a story point of view, Ms. Shelly, who was murdered last year in her New York office, found richer material following the pregnancy through, Mr. Roiff said.

“We didn’t worry about the political ramifications,” he said. “It’s a story about the power of motherhood.”

What is this, 1953? "Power of motherhood"- where did that come from?? Get real, Mr. Roiff!

Well, just so you know, the Times isn't buying it. Let's review some film history, shall we?

"Hollywood doesn’t shy away from all controversial topics, some film historians noted. In fact, sometimes controversy translates into huge success, as with Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ,” which some critics accused of anti-Semitism."

Okay, DIH has to stop here beause she's laughing too hard. But in the interest of us all being fully informed, let's review the lessons of the day:

1. Women who don't get abortions are wimps.
2. So are filmmakers who make movies about such women.
3. Film is supposed to mirror federal polling data. Everyone knows this. Look at "Pirates of the Carribean," or "Spiderman."
4. Nobody wants to see movies that are not based on federal data. Just ask Leni Riefenstahl.
5. "The Passion of the Christ" is anti-Semitic.
6. "The Passion of the Christ" is anti-Semitic.
8. And it's pretty anti-Roman too. Just saying.

Oh wait- Mireya, call your editor again. "The Passion of the Christ" also was not a Hollywood production. Maybe nobody will notice that, either.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I Suppose It Had To Happen Some Day

Lord knows DIH does not say this kind of thing often, but here goes:

I am sooooo glad I bought the New York Times today!

If I had read only the online version of hte NYT I would have missed all the fun. All I would have seen was the text of the frontpage story, "Grass Roots Roared, and an Immigration Plan Fell" by Julia Preston.

The story, which continues on page 24 of the first section of the paper, is all about how the Swenate came a cropper with their latest immigration bill.

"The undoing of the immigration bill in the Senate this week had many platers, but none more effective than angry voters like Monique Thibodeaux... Mrs. Thibodeaux [is] an office manager at a towing company here in suburban Detroit... guided by conservative Internet organizations she made calls and sent e-mail messages to senators across the country" opposing the bill.

Mrs. Thibodeaux is pictured in a photograph. She's old, white, has a do-it-yourself dye job and seems to be the owner of a short-haired Louisiana swamp hound. She also seems to be the owner of the fat old white guy in the American flag t-shirt lounging in the doorway behind her. An American flag hangs on a flagpole on her house.

Further along, on p. 24, there's another picture of another "grass roots" Republican activists. He is also old, white, paunchy and has a couple of teeth missing. "William Murphy of Wisconsin said he thought the bill would degrade the valule of American citizenship," the caption reads. (He has an American flag on his house,too.)

Isn't it funny how whenever the mainstream media folks show pictures of Democrat "grassroots" groups, they run pictures of George Clooney? Or people who look just like George Clooney, or Susan Sarandon, or Brad Pitt, or... well, you get the idea.

But when they need a Republican "grassroots" activist, he or she always looks like something out of "Deliverance."

Really, it's getting just plain tiresome. Wake up, NYT. We get it, okay? Democrat "activists" are all gorgeous movie stars, Republican ones are all low-brow, low-rent, low-class lowlifes. Absolutely right.

The nerve of those people, calling their congressmen.

Bad enough they go around in those tacky clothes, am I right?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Happy Campers

My husband and child are off on a "father /daughter" camping trip. DIH is still in shock over this development, for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, my husband has not been camping since he was a Boy Scout. Unless you count that time he and a buddy ran out of gas somewhere near Woodstock and had to spend the night in the car. But that's another story.

For another, before we were married he swore he'd never go camping again. Mankind spent centuries perfecting indoor plumbing, he said. Who was he to turn his back on it? No no no. Indoor accomodations for him, thank you very much.

But he jumped in with both feet this time. Went to Target and bought a tent and everything. Even practiced setting it up in our back yard, just so he wouldn't look like a total amateur in front of the other campers. Who, incidentally, are mosly Minnesotans. These people go camping in the winter, for God's sake. They are really nuts about it. And I mean really, as in, they need help.

My daughter, who is six, had only one comment: "I think Daddy and I are brigning more stuff than anyone else." This is almost certainly the case. We shall see how well it all goes. I'm keeping my cell phone handy all weekend.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How Weird Is This?

"Shark Attacks Woman In Less Than 2 Feet Of Water" (WKMG TV)

"A large bull shark attacked and injured a woman as she stood in less than 2 feet of water at a South Carolina beach.

"Susan Dornquast, who is from Texas, said she was standing near shore at Murrells Inlet in South Carolina when the shark came out of the water and bit her leg.
"I just turned around to look at the waves coming in and that is when the shark came up," Dornquast said. "I felt it hit my leg and thought that was more than water. I looked down and saw the shark swimming off.

"She was taken to a hospital, where she received 40 stitches, the report said.
From the size of the bite mark left on Dornquast, doctors estimate the shark was 5 feet long.

"Marine biologists said the chances of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million."

So what, you're asking, is the weird part?

This is:
a. I am pretty sure I am the only blogger in Minnesota who knows exactly where Murrells Inlet is. This is because every year we take a vacation maybe a mile down the beach from there.

b. Who else knows where MI is? The lady who designed my blog's new look. (Hi Lisa!)

c. But this is the weirdest part: does anyone really believe those "1 in 11.5 million" odds? Because I have to tell you I don't. I now know of two- actually it might be three- shark attacks that occurred in my annual vacation place in the past two years. What are the odds of that, huh? Does anyone out there know 2 or possibly 3 lottery winners? Me neither.

I'm beginning to wonder about hitting the Carolinas this year.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Love Will Find A Way

"Gay Inmates to Be Granted Conjugal Visits in California"

Published: June 3, 2007 New York Times
"SAN FRANCISCO, June 1 — Gay and lesbian prisoners in California will be allowed overnight visits with their partners under a new prison policy, believed to be the first time a state has allowed same-sex conjugal stays.
The policy change was spurred by a letter warning of legal action from the American Civil Liberties Union.
Overnight visits, which can be up to 72 hours long, have been allowed in California since the 1970s, Ms. Thornton said, and are conducted in units inside prison grounds, often trailers. While suggestive of sexual activity, the visits sometimes include several family members, including children.
“It’s not exclusive to conjugal activities,” Ms. Thornton said."

Dolling, How I have longed for dis moment.

How long has it been since I have kept my true feelings fuh you silent. Prob'ly since that day I heard you cut a deal wit' the DA. Yuh broke my heart, my little stool pigeon- uh, I mean lovebird. But I loved ya still.

Now at last I can make things all square between us. How 'bout that ACLU, hah? Who'd of thought they understood my feelings so good? And now t'anks to them everyt'ings all gonna be all right.

So I'm comin' to you at last, assh--- uh, my little buttercup. Leave a light in the trailer window for me willya? And don't worry about privacy or nothin.' I'm bringing plenty of bribe-- uh, gifts for the staff.

Your secret admirer- hey, not so secret any more, hah?- Little Louie