Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Happy Brithday to Me

That's right, today is my birthday.  I can't bring myself to say which one.  But I thought I'd indulge in a little birthday fantasizing.

What do I want for my birthday, you ask?  Here's a short list.

A new mortgage rate, without the annoying paperwork
The end of the entire squirrel species
A lovely sea breeze, a sandy beach...
Ten pounds vanished, without the annoying dieting
To discover a slimming clothes color other than black
Or to look good in black, either one
Never again to be the only one asking, "What's that smell?"
A perfect lemon drop martini

Ah, dreams.  Anyway.  Wishing everyone a happy day on my birthday. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Reading the Classics

My daughter has been sick for ten days now.  As it's a virus, there's nothing much to do about it except sleep a lot, drink fluids and try not to watch too many hours of Netflix.

I am hanging with her, listening to every cough, trying not to freak out over the word "pneumonia."  I never should have read "Studs Lonigan," or any of that other Irish stuff I grew up on. 

To pass the time I have decided to actually read some of the books I have in the house.  Specifically:

The Harvard Classics of Fiction.

You've probably seen the set, somewhere.  Somewhere old and dusty, where old and dusty and basically untouched collections of books go to die.  We bought this set of 20 books for 20 bucks ina barn somewhere.  Well now, by gum, I'm going to read them.

I started -- Saturday?  Don't remember.  I am now halfway through Volume One, which is Henry Fielding's "Tom Jones."  A book which, I discovered to my dismay, takes up two volumes of the set.

You can follow my reluctant but determined progress on Twitter at


Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Few Days Late, But....

... a belated St Patrick's Day gift.

Oh Why Not?

The classic.

Seriously, Does Anybody Get This?

Movie star Russell Crowe finally met with Pope Francis.  Well,  him and about 10,000 other people.

You've all followed this one, right?  Crowe stars in the movie "Noah" which opens March 28.  For weeks now Mr Crowe has been trying to get the pope to come to a screening of the film.  Now, great idea, right?  Get a real live pope to watch your movie!  Better yet, get him to give his blessing to the movie!  A PR masterstroke!

One problem:  the Holy Father doesn't go to the movies.  And come on, Crowe-- you really think the head of the Church Universal on earth has time for this kind of thing?  The guy's busy, Russ.  Really, really busy.

But for some reason the producers of "Noah" just couldn't let it go.  They finally settled for a spot in a general audience.  You know how that goes. You show up in St Peter's Square in the predawn darkness to try to get a good spot.  You're surrounded by thousands of pilgrims, some of whom just got off the plane from Taiwan and barely know where they are.  There's a lady yelling at you in a language you've never heard before and a mob of teenagers singing "Ave Maria" at the top of their lungs, over and over and over again.  Granted, the "Noah" crew got seats in the VIP section. But still.  I can't even find Russell Crowe in the picture, can you?

I can't wait to see what kind of hay the "Noah" set tries to make out of this "meeting."  Remember when a pretentious neighbor told Tony Soprano he'd had an "audience" with the pope, and Tony replied, "Oh yeah?  What row were you in?"  I'm waiting for Mr. Crowe to try using that line. 

Seriously.  Does anybody get this? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy St Joseph's Day

Today is the Feast of St Joseph, and we all know what that means:  cannolis.  Ricotta pies.  Maybe a couple of eclairs.

Which brings up the question:  how will the White House celebrate this momentous day?

I mean, their pastry chef just quit.  He says he's not going to "demonize" eggs, cream, butter and sugar any more.  He's done with the forces of evil and is rejoining the ranks of the truly happy.  By which I mean the people who eat cannolis.

Mr. White House pastry chef?  May I issue an invitation?  Check out the Catholic churches in DC that will be offering a St Joseph's Table this week. Picture a regular fiesta of tasty pastries.  You know who I bet has a great one?  Santo Rosario, over by the FBI.  They have a killer coffee hour after the 11:00 mass- I'm talking cappuccino and espresso, baby, sometimes even a decent glass of wine.  Their San Giuseppe celebration must be awesome.

Happy feast day, St Joseph.  We will celebrate your greatness with deliciousness.  Maybe the White House crowd will sneak over to Santo Rosario and celebrate, too.  I'm sure they'd be gald to see you.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Happy big day, my fellow Irish Americans.  Happy day of crowded pubs and bad-weather parades, of silly hats and loud neckties, and vacuum-wrapped briskets of corned beef on sale at Costco.  Did I leave anything out?

Man, this holiday has changed since I was a kid.  Anyone else remember the St Patrick's Day parade on Fifth Avenue, when they still painted the lines in the middle of the street green for the day?  Those were the days.  I wonder when the decision -makers at GLAAD will demand the street lines get painted in rainbow colors.  Especially in front of the cathedral, maybe?  Yeah, that day's coming soon.

Meanwhile, let's enjoy this famous scene from "The Quiet Man."  Bar towel!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Sleet At Last!

The prediction for the weather  today is "wintry mix."  I love that expression, "wintry mix."  It sounds like it could mean anything from Uggs and leggings to beef burgundy and apple crisp.

Alas, it means rain and sleet.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining;  this is a huge step up from 20 below zero and two feet of snow.  It's nasty, but at least it's nasty in a whole new way.  The sub-zero bit was getting really old.  We could use a new kind of misery.

There's something appropriate in getting a new kind of nasty weather on the first Friday in Lent.  Underscores the whole "we are in a new season" thing.  Also underscores the "and it won't be much fun" bit.  Lent it not fun.  It's good, but it's not fun.

But let's focus on the "good" part.   Is there a better time to roll up your sleeves, take a hard ook at your life, get some clarity, even if it might be  painful?  There is not.  And I'llt ake clairty over fun, any day.

Happy First Friday, everyone.  Skip the bacon and the burgers and get some clarity in you life.  It's a good thing, really.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

It's That Time Again

Hello and welcome to this year's grand opening of the season of Lent.  Got your ashes yet?  Not me, I'm planning on hitting a noon Mass somewhere.

I live in Minnesota, but I'm a native New Yorker. There are lots of things I miss about New York, but one of the things I miss most of all, this time of year anyway, is the Subway Ashes.  One day in early spring I was riding the escalator up from my train to the surface, and at the top of the escalator was a young man in a clerical collar, with a dish of ashes in his hands.  He was ashing people on their way to work.  There were more priests stationed at the turnstiles.  I thought it was brilliant.   New Yorkers are the most rushing people in the world, but everyone had time to get smudged in the subway. It was awesome.

Nothing like that here, alas.  Hard to even find a church where you can zip in for a quick smudge- notice I said "quick." For impatient types like me that's important.

So what are your plans?  Giving up chocolate, or coffee, or Facebook?  Fasting from your iPod?  Making a serious attempt to get to daily Mass more often?  I've already signed off Facebook for the next six weeks.  I feel better already.  Maybe I'll stop plugging my ears every time that annoying "Kars for Kids" ad come on the radio. 

Whatever you've decided to do, I wish you the best of luck in sticking to your Lenten resolutions.  Remember it's only for a few weeks, and at the end of it all is the Resurrection.  Let's get ready, people!