Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Free Weekend

Things you can do when the family is out of town and you have the house to yourself for the weekend:

1.  Watch Netflix.  The stuff you really want to watch, for a change.  Binge-watch "Breaking Bad."  Movies about Truman Capote- twice.  All the good non-family-friendly stuff.

2.  Dig through closets and through stuff out.  As much stuff as possible. Until you run out of trash bags.

3.  Spend the afternoon in a Barnes and Noble. Yes, the whole afternoon.  And if Garrison Keillor shows up in the cafe, ignore him, he'll go away eventually.

4.  Go to the five o'clock vigil Mass on Saturday.  Just because

Monday, December 30, 2013

St Thomas Becket

According to the calendar the 29th of December is the feast day of St Thomas of Canterbury, perhaps better known as Thomas Becket.  But since yesterday-- the 29th-- was the Sunday in the Octave of Christmas we instead observed the Feast of the Holy Family.

Fair enough.

But it's never too late for a little Becket.  Or a little Richard Burton.  Not to mention some Peter O'Toole, who in my humble opinion is the one who makes this segment interesting.

New Childcare Rules

In the waning days of 2013 I like to look back and think about all the special gifts and graces received in the past year.

And the one that comes to mind at the moment is the very special Christmas Advent gift the powers that be at Our Lady of Peace Through Strength gave us parents after the school's Christmas Advent concert last week.

When we filed into the rented "worship space" at a local Protestant church concert hall we were read the following message:

We have a new rule this year. After the concert the children will return to the rehearsal room.  Parents must personally come down tot he rehearsal room and claim their children.  No child will be allowed to leave the room unescorted.

I think you also had to show proof that your kid was in fact your kid, but I'm not sure.  (Note to self:  bring passports next time.)

So the concert ends, the kids file out, and some of us start milling around the coffee urns.

"I guess the new rule is for the kids' safety,"  one mom opines.  "You know, with all the lawsuits and all.  I guess they're just being extra safe."

"So, I guess I should go get my kids,"  another remarked.

"Oh, I think they're safe where they are,"  a third said.  "Coffee?"

"Why not?"

So we all had a lovely, care-free, kid-free coffee break, thanks to the new rules.  Hey, if the powers hat be are offering free and guaranteed safe childcare, who are we to turn it down? 

I'm looking forward to more new rules.  This could get interesting.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Long Vac

The school Christmas break is two full weeks this year.

Two weeks.

That's a long time in Momtime.

It's long enough to lose all the painstakingly acquired "good habits" of motherhood.  You know the ones I mean.  The sign-the-permissionslip-by-the-deadline skills.  The standing firm on the daily  "Yes you do so have a clean uniform" debate.  The ability to make and pack a lunch in less than five seconds. 

To say nothing of the instant 6am wakeup habit.  And the razor-sharp carpool expertise?  Do I even have to go there?

It'll all be gone.  In January 2014 I'll be back to square one.  I'll have to start all over again, practicing non-resentment of the alarm clock.

I know what you're thinking:  Well just make good use of your two weeks, Desperate!  Go to the gym, finish that novel, learn conversational Spanish!  Make this self-improvement time!

Not to worry, reader.  I already have a plan.  Today the temps are expected to soar above freezing.  Come high noon you'll find me out in the backyard.  Two weeks of sub-zero temps make for a lot of doggie poop to clean up.

Best of all, Ill get to do it while wearing sunblock.  And a tee shirt.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Post-Advent Season!

Oh dear.  Did I say "Advent" again?  I meant "Christmas."  Merry Christmas!

Sorry about the headline.  I'm still trying to shake off the Advent season.  We gave it our all this year.

If you've been reading this humble blog for a while, you know that Desperate Irish Housewife is a member of a kick-ass parish community.  We at Our Lady of Peace Through Strength yield to no one when it comes to observing proper rites and ritual.

Which is a great thing.  Always.  Well.  99% of the time.

This year, though, we gave it the final 1%:  we did not, repeat did NOT celebrate so much as a whiff of Christmas until Christmas Eve.

You're wondering what this looks like, right?

Well, we did have evergreen wreaths on the church doors for a few weeks.  But the ribbons were purple,  Purple, get it?  Advent is purple, so we had Advent wreaths.  Red and green are for Christmas.  The florist was probably a little confused, but that's ok.

The schoolchildren did not give a Christmas concert this year.  No no  no.  They gave an Advent concert.  "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord" from Godspell and such.  The eighth grade girls wore no Christmas corsages as in years past.  Ever see an Advent corsage?  They're not much to look at, to be honest.  Roses weren't meant to be a slightly greyish purple.  They look kinda sickly that way.

And post-concert refreshments?  Were there Christmas cookies?  No, there were not.  There were sugar cookies decorated with purple and pink sugar. Get it?  Advent cookies.  Yummy.

In a penitential sort of way.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Why We Love New Yorkers

I love the way most of the people in this film barelay pasue to answer the question, but they answer it in no uncertain terms.  I love New York Christianity:  "Don't be a douche, Jesus is Lord, now  get outta my way I got someplace I gotta be."

God bless New York!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Suppose We Have To Talk About This

Pajama Boy.

You've seen him by now, of course.  20-something young Allen Ginsberg lookalike,  red plaid zip-up jumpsuit pajamas, almost certainly with footies.  I dont want to speculate about a drop bottom, but I wouldn't be surprised. 

Pajama Boy is the brainchild of the creative geniuses behind barackobama.com.  I can imagine the brainstorming sessions  that went into his creation. 

"PJs.  I see PJs.  Plaid, you know?  One piece, zips up the front.  Like the kind my little sister used to wear." 

"You mean your little brother, right?"

 "Oh- uh, yeah.  Yeah, that's what  I meant."

"Hey here's an idea.  What about hot chocolate?  We can say he's drinking hot chocolate." 

"Dude, I've seen that model, he just screams 'lactose intolerant.'  I say no to hot chocolate."

"Well we can't very well give him a hot toddy, can we?  That's like something out of Dickens."

"Dickens...hmm.  We could work with that. 'If Tiny Tim had had Obamacare..."

"Dude, we're aiming at recent college graduates here.  They don't know who the hell Dickens is."

"Oh-- right."

"Wait- wait!  I've got it!  Pajama Boy is reading a big book.  'T'was the night before Christmas, when on CNN's feed, Not a creature was talking except Harry Reid--"

"No no no, you can't say 'Christmas!'"

"Damn, you're right."

Here's MSNBC on the subject.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

And This

Pajama Boy!  Pajama Boy!  Quick, somebody send Jon Stewart a onesie!


You Know It's Going to Be A Long Day When...

...you wake up to this.


Monday, December 16, 2013

And Now For Some Gregorian Zaniness

I stole this from the esteemed John Dejak of the Bellarmine Forum.  He's a
lawyer, so I better be up front about that.  And by "steal" I mean "reproduced with grateful respect."

Ladies and gentlemen, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in Gregorian chant.

Hey Mikey, What Gives?

Dude, were you asleep at the switch or what?

Incidentally the word "Jesu" means exactly what you think it means.

Here's the United States Air Force Band in its first-ever flashmob appearance, at the Air and Space Museum two weeks ago.  Check out that grand finale.

You Can't See This Too Many Times

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Peter O'Toole

Peter O'Toole has died at age 81.  Lawrence of Arabia will probably stand as his nmost famous role.  But I always liked him in "My Favorite Year."

Rest in peace, Peter.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More News of the Season

It's amazing how Christmas brings out the crazy in so many people. And this time I'm not tslking about Mikey Weinstein.

You are, of course, following the Possum Drop controversy?

Here are the basics:

New York drops its crystal ball in Times Square on at midnight on New Year's Eve.  Half the country watches on TV.  With me so far?

Not to be outdone, the small (that's small- pop. 240) Appalachian community of Brasstown, NC, has its own New Year's tradition:  At the first stroke of the New Year it lowers a possum in a clear plastic box to the ground.  I assume the whole town watches.

Happy New Year!

Oh wait- here comes PETA.

Lawyers for the lobby People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals decided this act represented cruelty to possums.  And what kind of monster would do such a thing?

PETA sued.  The judge's ruling is expected any day now.

The full story is here.  http://www.salon.com/2013/12.

Meanwhile all over the Christian world, donkeys, sheep and oxen are getting organized.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mikey Doesn't LIke It!

Doesn anybody know where Shaw Air Force Base is?  Neither do I, but apparently until this week it was the ground zero for the continuing assault on- wait, let me check the official website here--

"the obliterated wall separating church and state in the most technologically lethal organization ever created by humankind: the United States armed forces."

Yeah, you heard me.  That wall?  Obliterated.  Probably by a nuke.  Or something technologicaly lethal, anyway.  Wall?  Gone.

How do we know this?  Oh, you know the answer to that one.

That's right:  THE NATIVITY SCENE!

The Nativity Scene.  Those frequently oversized figures of the Blessed Mother, St Joseph and Baby Jesus.  Sometimes a couple of animals.

Yes, the Nativity Scene is back to do its evil work.  It's showing up again on front lawns and porches, in little parks and big ones.  It's on postcards, in store windows, and in those little temporary shacks they set up outside of churches this time of year.

And last week, it showed up next to a pretty little pond on Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.
Clearly, our Republic was in danger.

Well thank God-- er, goodness someone still cares about our freedom.  When Mikey Weinstein (the "Mikey" is his choice, not mine), the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, got wind of it he got on the telephone.  He made some of those high-level type calls only the powerful in our nation's capital can make. 

And within hours, a crane was dispatched to take that mother down.
Also the manger, the baby, St Joseph and a handful of wise men.  No figurine left standing.  Mikey takes no prisoners.

I mean, was that a close call or what?  Some airmen in South Carolina might had seen that thing, for God's- er, Pete's sake!  Who know what it might have done to their minds?  Would they ever be fit to defend us again?

But thanks to the quick wits and obviously oversized clout of Mikey Weinstein and his Foundation, we can rest easy.  Our country is safe from plastic figurines and reminders of why we have Christmas in the first place.

Now all the Mikeys of the world have to do is keep working on that mind-control machine. The one that will erase any thoughts of Christmas and its origins from the minds of all Americans.

I hear they've got a prototype running in China.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Welcome Bishop Cozzens

We here in the frozen tundra Twin Cities have a new bishop.  On Monday Father Andrew Cozzens,  age 45, Assistant Professor of Sacramental Theology at the University of St Thomas, was ordained a bishop in the Cathedral of St. Paul.

So, first things first: WAY TO GO, FATHER COZZENS!!!

Everyone at Our Lady of Peace Through Strength is particularly tickled because His Excellency's family are fellow parishioners.  His parents, his sister and brother-in-law and their seven kids.  Basically as of Monday you can't swing a cat at OLPTS without smacking it into a bishop's relative.  How cool is that?

The whole parish has been abuzz with the news for weeks.  The kids were even given a half day off on Monday so anyone who wanted to could hop on a bus and go to the Cathedral for the ceremony.

Over the weekend the spouse and I attended a party for the new bishop.  As it was still a few days before his actual ordination, I asked him, "What do we call you?"

"'Bishop' is fine," he replied.  "Or 'Your Excellency.'"  He added with a shrug, "Or 'Your Adequacy.'"

I went with "Bishop."

Then I went to seek out his sister.  I knew she was feeling a little stressed from all the preparations and events.  I wanted to tell her I did her a favor:  I had her "anxiety nightmare" for her.

You know the kind of dream I'm talking about.  The one where you have to be someplace -- a final exam, your wedding-- but you can't get there because the road gets swallowed up, or endless escalators keep getting in your way,  or you suddenly realize you left the house naked.  In my dream I couldn't get to the Cathedral because the way was blocked by waterfalls and constructions sites. No matter what I did or how hard I tried I could not reach the Cathedral in time.

As it turned out, my dream was prophetic.  The night before the ordination we returned home to find a pipe had burst and flooded through the walls.  The following day was spent doing the Dance of the Insurance Companies.  So, none of us got to the ordination.

We've been exiled to a hotel for the past few days.  I hope we can go home tomorrow.  I'm thinking of asking Bishop Cozzens to come and bless the new pipes some time.