Archives for November 2013

My Daughter at Ten

My daughter was born at the edge of day
When autumn’s equinox was a distant
Memory, the days in our northern town
Narrowing down like light through a keyhole,
Her mother and I praying for that light
To shine in our dawning daughter’s heart that
First day, praying for wisdom to show her—
You—the way to open the door and let
The light flood in to fill the room of her
Life with the light there waiting in her eyes.

We brought you home, uncertain of how to
Love you with the love that overwhelmed us,
How to protect you from our own mistakes
And the mistakes of others everywhere
That swirl round Earth’s atmosphere unaware
Of fragile just-born beings lying there,
Asleep, soft, smelling of springtime dewdrops,
Moon petals, sunbeam sweet pea barley tea,
How to keep you safe from danger but not
Safe from love, not safe from every good thing.

Some time passed, the sun and the moon sped by,
Birds flew, dogs barked in their turn, words upon
Words piled up all around you, wooden blocks
Formed into towers to tumble, we moved
To a new house, bigger, with a big yard,
Grandparents kept watch in their turn, new friends
Appeared, new places were tried, names turned over
On lips and tongue with laughter and cries of
Joy and dismay, aunts, uncles, and cousins,
Walks in the park, everything happening.

You were as precocious as the sunrise,
Singing and speaking, running and walking,
In and out of everything, your mind a
Light, your eyes open, your heart burning flames
Made of music and color, and yes, you
Gave us some trouble, too, we not always
Able to contain the spilling over
Urgency of wonder you couldn’t stop,
And then your sister was born and you were
The guide to her light, the sister teacher.

Preschool, Kindergarten, teachers smiling
Into your light, letting their warmth and yours
Merge in moments of time, good friends and best
Friends concocting adventures on the spot,
Scooters, skinned knees, nature walks, collecting
Pinecones, leaves, bugs, rocks, slugs, crawdads, fairies,
You learned by going, learned to ride a bike,
First on a grassy slope, then on a broad
Expanse of flat asphalt near an ice cream
Shop, and finally on sidewalks and streets.

You paved the world in reams of paper drawn
With pen and ink, pencil and paint, light and dark
Imagined things drawn from the world and made
New by the newness of you, you sang songs
Made out of the same intricate dreamstuff
And carried on dramatic productions,
Star-crossed narratives, comedic word play,
And I looked at you and your sister in
The rearview mirror, wondering at all
The mystery let loose within your souls.

The uniform you wore you wore so well
Back then, not for uniformity’s sake
But for the sake of style and tradition,
For the way the light shown on the fabric,
The way a kind of music played across
The pattern, especially when you sang
In the bleak midwinter, poor as I am,
What can I give him, give to him my heart,
When you sang that in the Cathedral with
All of heaven’s angels pausing to hear.

Earth stood hard as iron then, but summer
Softened the world and warmed the changing time
With a view of the strong flowing river
Where it came down from the falls past children
Playing, you and your new and old friends there,
And then a new school, new teachers, new light
On old thoughts growing and changing, looking
Past the past to see continuity
In all things, past the future to see the
Present moment resting there in your heart.

That moment of rest is there inside you
Always and forever for you to hold
Steady when you need to and you will find
A river of light flows through in full and
Bursting life and love, love of mother, love
Of father, sister, grandparents, cousins,
Aunts and uncles, friends and teachers, angels,
Saints, and God the source and fountain of love,
The love that there is no hiding from, the
Love that will never ever leave your side.

I am writing this on the eve of your
Tenth birthday and I cannot find the words
To say how much you mean to me, Holland,
To say how I am still as overwhelmed
As the day you were born, still overwhelmed
With love for you, still blinking in the light
Of you, still drinking in the mystery
And the majesty of you, and praying
For the wisdom to know how to let you
Open your door and fill the world with light.

Thanksgivings Past

Webb Thanksgiving Day Turkey Dinner: A Family Recipe

One Large Turkey

Bake at 350 degrees for four hours or until done. Baste every 30 minutes.

God in the Streets of New York City


To add to the grief, Humpford’s grandfather (Humpford the First) died of a heart attack later that year, a few days after a dismal Thanksgiving, and only in his mid-sixties.

Happy Thanksgiving From Korrektiv

turkey hunt

What Have You Done for Me Lately?
(by Lickona)

Advent Meditation: Thanksgiving Edition (Guest Post by CNB)

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. –James 5:7-8

A Platter of Live Turkey at Dinner!
(by Holland Potter, age 8)

Lucy and Charlie were looking out the window on Thanksgiving. They were waiting for their aunt, uncle, grandma, and grandpa to show up at their house. They were going to have a Thanksgiving dinner together.

When the grandparents got there, they all sat down at the table to prepare the Thanksgiving dinner. When they opened the platter to get the turkey, the turkey was alive!

The turkey ran around the kitchen and pooped in the pudding. Then it sat in the pumpkin pie and while it sat in the pumpkin pie it peed! Then it got up and barfed on the floor! Lucy got up, carefully to avoid the barf, and grabbed a knife and slashed the turkey right in the head! The turkey flopped right over and then its head fell off.

They went to the store and got another turkey, and that turkey didn’t cause any trouble.

Cooking with Mel

In which JOB talks turkey


This from my boss’s radio show.

(I show up at around the 37:00 mark.)

So, of course, another poem…

Wheels Off, Hubcaps Flying

– For Chris Carstens

Like a discovered paramour on the wing
The big bird bounded headlong
Over the highway’s single-filed field of vision.
Baroque-phallused, this inverted comma
Paused mid-air, defying death with arrow-headed syntax.

Its gnarled feathers gripped a roost of air
And plunged, obscene as a pump handle,
In awkward, under-practiced flight,
Like a virginal attempt at Kitty Hawk
Or a gunning last gasp for von Richthofen.

What’s with this ungainly target of esteem
And approbation? – and especially come November
And early spring, the twin seasons
When wood smoke’s scent is best
To itch the scratch of fletch and knock –

At first sight it’s all bagpipe
On a pair of reptilian feet, a bellows married
By nature to a pink bassoon with black eyes. Second looks show
Its sixth sensed allowances. That parched tickle
At the back of the throat recalls

The amber verities, bottlenecked in highest proof.
But with a tug and wag of gorgeously engorged wattles
And a tom-tom’s tympanic swagger
The musical tickle at the back of its own throat
Rakes blood’s embers to say:

Play with me and you play with cunningness
Only matched by the fire of forest floor decay.
A clever fire throbbing snood and beard
And setting woods in early darkness,
Dripping with dawn or dusk, rain or snow

And hunter’s sweaty self-chastisement,
The kind that comes from spinning tires in the brain,
Frustrated with ice and mud,
Waiting with tearful patience in too much quiet
For the leafy dance of horny spurs to end:

As carelessly, fearlessly, Tom and Jake slough off
The forest silence, dodging
Thick vertical lines of timber, ducking through
A parenthetical mess of underbrush
And zipping safely past shafts of profanity

Steel-tipped with love and razor-sharp with hate.

Bad Catholics III

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Will one of you bright young computer-savvy types hurry up and build a simple 8-bit NFP game? Between basal temperatures, mucous readings, fertility charts, and the 800 or so things measured by fertility monitors, you’ve got all the data for the various charts and dials you could ever wish. And the action is pretty straightforward, so to speak.

Bad Catholics II


“I saw Joseph Ratzinger murder a little girl.”

Bad Catholics I

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The Secret Lives of the Vatican’s Gay Cardinals, Monks, and Other Clergy Members

Today in Family Guy

Is this the first time that the Angelic Doctor has been cited in animation history? Maybe.

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Dappled Things needs your help!

A message from founder Bernardo Aparicio Garcia.

Edible Too

So, this happened…



Doe and nubby buck fawn. At about 7:30 this a.m. Opening day.

(Extra special heaps of thanks to Bro-in-Lo Canisius for field dressing (two in less than 15 minutes) and helping (OK, mostly by himself) lugging deer out of bottom valley!)

And so, a poem is in order, no?

The Last Hunt

The new snow’s whiteness
Blanks the prayerful bend of the bare-branched trees
Giving them a cold but muscular look.
We cannot see the deer for all the snow.
It was bully-blowing all night, yet meekly lacking,
Clinging to embraced bareness. No warmth
For the trees, and no warmth for us either.

And something gets in behind the grey skies
As if to blow down on us all the souls
Ever risen from the dead. Something old which
Comes back every winter, a habit of wind,
Late day, a shadow’s vows. But soon we see,
In the clean snow, something else. A gunshot
Reports through the valley.

Then, as we walk
Up valley, we suddenly come to a sign
Which our father and uncles may have known,
Learned first through cold tears and piss-cold pants –
Another sign snow cannot hide – and red scarves
Of blood leave tracks which better prepare us
For our own last dash across an open field.

The Sad, Funny Saga of Frankeneinstein

Why Comedy Central doesn’t have this as a regular feature is beyond me.

Hymn to St. Cecilia by Benjamin Britten

In a garden shady this holy lady
With reverent cadence and subtle psalm,
Like a black swan as death came on
Poured forth her song in perfect calm:
And by ocean’s margin this innocent virgin
Constructed an organ to enlarge her prayer,
And notes tremendous from her great engine
Thundered out on the Roman air.
Blonde Aphrodite rose up excited,
Moved to delight by the melody,
White as an orchid she rode quite naked
In an oyster shell on top of the sea;
At sounds so entrancing the angels dancing
Came out of their trance into time again,
And around the wicked in Hell’s abysses
The huge flame flickered and eased their pain.
Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions
To all musicians, appear and inspire:
Translated Daughter, come down and startle
Composing mortals with immortal fire.

I cannot grow;
I have no shadow
To run away from,
I only play.
I cannot err;
There is no creature
Whom I belong to,
Whom I could wrong.
I am defeat
When it knows it
Can now do nothing
By suffering.
All you lived through,
Dancing because you
No longer need it
For any deed.
I shall never be Different. Love me.
Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions
To all musicians, appear and inspire:
Translated Daughter, come down and startle
Composing mortals with immortal fire.

O ear whose creatures cannot wish to fall,
O calm of spaces unafraid of weight,
Where Sorrow is herself, forgetting all
The gaucheness of her adolescent state,
Where Hope within the altogether strange
From every outworn image is released,
And Dread born whole and normal like a beast
Into a world of truths that never change:
Restore our fallen day; O re-arrange.
O dear white children casual as birds,
Playing among the ruined languages,
So small beside their large confusing words,
So gay against the greater silences
Of dreadful things you did: O hang the head,
Impetuous child with the tremendous brain,
O weep, child, weep, O weep away the stain,
Lost innocence who wished your lover dead,
Weep for the lives your wishes never led.
O cry created as the bow of sin Is drawn across our trembling violin.
O weep, child, weep, O weep away the stain.
O law drummed out by hearts against the still
Long winter of our intellectual will.
That what has been may never be again.
O flute that throbs with the thanksgiving breath
Of convalescents on the shores of death.
O bless the freedom that you never chose.
O trumpets that unguarded children blow
About the fortress of their inner foe.
O wear your tribulation like a rose.
Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions
To all musicians, appear and inspire:
Translated Daughter, come down and startle
Composing mortals with immortal fire.

~ Words by W.H. Auden

Søren Says

Where then does despair come from? From the relation to which the synthesis relates to itself, from the fact that God, who made man this relation, as it were lets go of it; that is, from the relation’s relating to itself. And in the fact that the relation is spirit, is the self, lies the accountability under which all despair is, every moment, what it is, however much and however ingeniously the despairer, deceiving both himself and others, speaks of his despair as a misfortune — through a confusion as in the afore-mentioned case of vertigo, with which despair, though different in kind, has much in common, vertigo being under the aspect of soul what despair is under the aspect of spirit, and pregnant with analogies to despair.

~ The Sickness Unto Death p44



The wife has been busy…


“Which movie do you want to see?”


The Catholic Beat reviews Surfing with Mel!

A couple of Twitter mashups to note

The philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard mashed with the tweets and observations of Kim Kardashian.

Combining the pop stylings of Justin Bieber with the existential wisdom of philosopher Martin Buber.

What does the book business look like on the inside?

“This is close to clinically insane institutional behavior.”

The Counselor and Catholicism


Look, I know The Counselor is not for everybody, but I’d still like to point out three interesting moments:

Brad Pitt’s statement that he could leave the drug business any time he wants. “I could go to a monastery, scrub the stairs, wash the toilets,” he assures us. Why doesn’t he? “Women.” (His weakness. Naturally, it proves his undoing.) Interesting that he chooses a monastery as his place away from the life, instead of, say, a beach on some tropical island with a drink in his hand. Also interesting that he mentions cleaning toilets – this is after he’s told Fassbender: “I’ve seen it all. It’s all shit.” (A major theme in the film.)

Fassbender’s constant appeal to Jesus when he realizes that everything has gone horribly wrong. “Jesus,” he says to Pitt. “Jesus.” Of course, in the context of the film, he’s just cursing. But it also reads as a prayer. Because no one else can save him at that point.

Most interesting of all: Cameron Diaz’s confession scene. She wants to mess with the priest, pour the poison of her sexual debauchery in his ear without asking for or receiving forgiveness – because she thinks it would be fun and maybe a little bit hot. But the priest will have nothing to do with her. “There would be no point,” he says flatly. When she persists, cooing, “You just have to listen,” he stands up and leaves the confessional. This Catholic priest is the only person she interacts with who escapes unscathed. Even her accountant at the end hears more than he wants to hear.