Monday, June 27, 2011

The Morning After

Yesterday my parish celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi. A bang-up wrap-up to the Easter season, Corpus Christi celebrates what Flannery O'Connor called "the center of existence for me." That's right, folks, the Eucharist. The Biggest of Big Deals, the whole enchilada, the reason you have life in you. It's a major, major feast.

Yes, I realize it's also a city in Texas. A very pretty one from what I hear. But let's move on.

I don't remember Corpus Christi being observed with any particular fanfare when I was growing up. This is probably just as well, since in the 1970s the average Catholic church's idea of "fanfare" was a couple of extra guitars and some colorful balloons. (Yes, balloons. Don't get me started on that godawful fad.)

Lately, though, a lot of parishes are trying out a return to older customs for the feast. The most obvious of which, I guess, is a Eucharistic procession after the high mass.

A Eucharistic procession is when the priest carries the monstrance outside the church and walks around the block, while the congregation follows, singing hymns. I don't imagine many Americans have ever seen one. Which accounts for the funny looks you get from people watering their lawns on a Sunday morning as you process past.

At first I wasn't going to go along with the procession. I figured I'd stay discreetly behind in the church, waiting for everyone to return so e we could have Benediction and a celebratory picnic. But then my dear friend Jay, following the parade with his family, spotted me lurking in the shadows and dragged me along. Since Jay is such a good sport about all the guff I give him for belonging to Opus Dei, I thought it only polite to acquiesce.

If you're not used to processions, and I'm not, it's a strange experience. Strolling along a public street singing with a bunch of her fellow Catholics is something DIH normally only does on St Patrick's Day, and even then only with the aid of an adult beverage or two. But once I got past the lawn-waterers I started to get into it.

I mean, ask yourself: is the Eucharist the reason you have life in you, or is it just some old custom? Which do you really believe?

It's the kind of question you don't deal with head-on every day. The Feast of Corpus Christi sort of forces your hand.

So? What's your answer?

I'll leave it to my readers to discuss. In the meantime, a public note of thanks:

Dear Lawn-Waterers,

On behalf of my fellow processioners, I'd like to thank you for your hospitality yesterday. I know we were an odd sight, and I know (oh boy, do I know) that the spectacle of Catholics singing is enough to feed the grain of atheism in any man. Thank you for not throwing tomatoes. Thank you for just watching and wondering "What the hell are those weirdos up to now?" And thank you for keeping the neighborhood nice and green.

Yours truly,


Friday, June 24, 2011

Peter Falk

Actor Peter Falk died earlier today, of Alzheimer's disease. When I think of him I think of this scene. The man was hilarious.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Home Improvement, Con't.

Daughter, self and canines are currently holed up in the upstairs bedroom, hiding from our living room. More precisely we are hiding from the chaos that was once our living room.

Our carpenter friend is carving holes in our living room ceiling in order to install recessed lighting. This has been a dream of mine since, well, ever since we moved in, I guess. I figure with better lighting we'll actually be able to read in the living room in the long winter evenings without resorting to those silly strap-on-your-head lights from the Brookstone catalog. Since the living room is where the fireplace is, and Minnesota winter nights are long and coooooold, I'm very excited about the new lighting.

The problem, of course, as every homeowner knows, is once you improve one thing in your house everything else starts to look kind of shabby. Your furniture, for instance. Or your windows. Or in my case, if I happen to step outside, the roof, the landscaping, the front steps...

One must resist the urge to do too much too soon. For all I know next year shabby steps and jungle gardening may be all the rage. In the meantime I plan on basking in the recessed lighting as soon as it's finished. Heck, I may even buy a sofa.

Where I'd be without Craig's List, I have no idea....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Home Improvements: Great Idea or Invitation to Disaster?

It's the latter. Easily.

Earlier this week I embarked on a modest home improvement course. I shopped consignment shops, mined Craig's List, and ultimately bought a nice new-to-me coffee table for the living room.

Which, of course, succeeded in making all my other furniture look even worse than usual.

I tried rearranging the furniture. Which made all my furniture look crappy in different places.

Then the unthinkable happened: I started thinking about my living space. And I came up with ideas.

It was all downhill from there. As of last night I was sort-of committed to about a grand worth of home improvements.

So naturally- and it's important to note cause and effect here- this morning, the labrador totally blew out her knee.

Estimated cost of vet repair: $3,000.

The moral of the story is never improve your home. Or if you must, make sure you don't have any dogs first.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just So You Get The Idea

I couldn't find a YouTube of any classic goings-on at the Drones Club, but here's Bertie Wooster singing one of their favorite songs. Maybe you'll see what I mean.

The Tonys

The Anchoress put up this clip from this morning. From the Tonys the other night.

I thought it would be weird seeing Harry Potter as Robert Morse, but that wasn't what struck me in this clip. It's the choreography. It looks as if they hired the social director of the Drones Club to work it out. Which come to think of it wouldnt' have been a bad idea.

Come on, can anyone watch this and not think of the Drones?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Now Here's A Lovely Email

"Dear Susan Vigilante,

We have detected suspicious activity on your Facebook account and have temporarily suspended your account as a security precaution.

You can regain control of your account by logging into Facebook and following the on-screen instructions.

For more information, visit our Help Center...

Facebook Security Team."

Oh dear I do hope Congressman Weiner hasn't been sending out more photos.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Woe is Weiner

OK. Time to talk about this sad affair.

When Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York Times) spent he las week denying he had sent anyone any lewd photos of himself on Twitter, he did a classic thing. He turned around and accused his accusers. Anyone who dared question his credibility was treated to a vicious counter attack. It was your basic "this is all YOUR fault" weenie response.

Now that he's come clean, or at least cleanish, about the photos, everyone has a theory about a) why he did it and b) why he lied about it. So far I haven't seen any theories about why he got away with blaming his accusers.

The weirdest defense I've read this morning comes from The Huffington Post. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach explains that Anthony Weiner is your basic BAM- Broken American Male. Men like Anthony Weiner live in the permanent fear that they are not special. Their greatest fear is that they are ordinary. And they spend their lives trying to disprove that fear... [and] Women are the quickest and most reliable way for broken men to feel good about themselves."

(The whole piece is at

Note to Rep. Weiner and/or Rabbi Boteach: you know that bit from Shakespeare about the wise man knowing himself to be a fool? The wise man also knows he's nothing special. He knows he's just a human being, like every other poor schmuck on the planet. Given some of Rep. Weiner's outbursts in his career, you'd think he'd be even more aware of that fact than most people. But no.

Really, you have to wonder about Weiner. Did it ever cross his mind that "Thou shalt not commit adultery" had other implications beyond the dictionary definition? I remember Bill Clinton explaining it didn't, and we saw where that kind of thinking landed him.

I mean, come on-- between Shakespeare and the Commandments, anyone who had even a half-baked Western education should have thought about this, right?

Like everyone else who saw the Congressman's press conference yesterday, I feel bad for the guy. So, an open letter to Rep. Anthony Weiner:

Dear Tony,

Everybody's a jerk sometimes. Including me- well, actually, especially me, just ask around. But here's the cool thing: the moment you know for a fact what a jerk you've been can be the greatest moment in your life. Because now you can get to work on de-jerkifying yourself. And that really will make the world a better place.

Unlike, I don't know, Obamacare and the like.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


My Chihuahua- MinPin mix is in training. Or I am, I'm not sure which.

Mitzi is about a year old now. She's nine or ten pounds, tan, kind of pretty actually. When we got her from the rescue society they informed us she was seriously traumatized. Someone found her cowering under a truck in a Home Depot parking lot one night, at barely eight weeks old.

For the first two weeks we had her we rarely saw her. She was always hiding someplace, usually under a bed. Did you ever try finding a small, remarkably fast dog who thinks you're out to get her? Really. Try it some time.

We couldn't even coax her out with food. She was the least food-oriented dog I'd ever seen. true, I'm comparing her with Labradors, but still. Even after she'd been with us a while and was willing to emerge from the bedroom she would only eat her supper if we all pretended we weren't looking. I think she thought she had to steal it then run for her life.

Well. It's been a while, and Mitzi has relaxed a little. Which is to say, her paranoia has developed into hostility. So far she has snapped at three people and bitten at least one-- that one being my husband. (Mitzi, wise up: who do you think pays for the dog food?)

After she lunged at a jogger last week-- who was pretty ticked off, let me tell you-- I called the rescue society and told them Mitzi/Minx was on the verge of becoming a liability.

A few days later I got a call from their resident expert in miniature pinschers.

"It's the breed," she said. "You think you're seeing fear, but you're not: Mitzi is displaying dominance behavior. Does she jump up on your lap uninvited? Demand to be petted? Run up the stairs before you? All dominance. You've got to show her you're the boss. Put her on a leash 24/7 and call me in a week."

Well, Mitzi has lived with a leash attached to her collar for nearly a week. She no longer tears up the stairs ahead of me but keeps pace with me. She's starting to get the gist of "down." A few days ago I took her out walking with another dog owner and she didn't try t attack the other dogs. Progress, right?

But here's the thing: Mitzi, I realize now, is one smart dog. So I have this suspicion she's trying to lull me into a false sense of security. I think she's just waiting for the right opportunity to rip the leash out of my hands and go on a rampage.

I'll know more when I talk to the trainer again. In the meantime, a public service announcement: Beware minpins. They're adorable, but they are not for the faint of heart.