Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Feast Of The Holy Name

Something a little different this Sunday as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name as the Second Sunday in Christmas.  That means Matins and Mass and hymns designed around Jesus' eighth day of life.  Also, the Congos are invited to stop by at 10.  I've even asked their pastor to tell us everything he knows about holy circumcision.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I Appreciate That The United Nations' Millenium Development Goals Are Important To Some, But This Is A Little More Urgent [And Compelling]

I discovered nearly thirty years ago that when clergy have nothing left to say about Christ, Christianity, or the Gospel and its relevance in contemporary life, they turn into politicians. Not in any obvious way, of course, but when you listen to a sermon that is mostly recycled talking points from one of the political parties, perhaps with a few references to God sprinkled into the text, you realize that the preacher has really just about shot his or her bolt when it comes to perspicacious spiritual commentary.

Similarly, when politicians get preachy, when they decide that they’ve become the moral voices of their society [don’t laugh, now], it seems clear that they’re either in political trouble or running for re-election. A few years ago, a prominent politician, who had promised that her party, when in power, would be the least corrupt in history, started to become remarkably “Christian” in her public speaking when it became obvious that her party had no intention of being any less corrupt than the former. Repeatedly, she would refer to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the “homeless family” whose needs would have been cared for by contemporary politicians. The irony, of course, is that the “homeless family” wasn’t homeless at all, but merely satisfying government bureaucracy, a census, by being forced to travel at great inconvenience to the birth city of Joseph. They actually had a perfectly good home in Nazareth and, if not for government requirement, Jesus would have been born indoors in his own family’s house.

So, it is with great caution that I approach a concern I currently have with a world situation, one that I think is under-reported and not entirely embraced by either church politicians or “churched” politicians. However, it is becoming apparent that the recent and dramatic changes in Middle Eastern politics, named the “Arab Spring” and “Facebook Revolution” by the more dewy-eyed members of the media, are creating difficult, outrageous, and impossible conditions in the lives of Middle Eastern Christians. Bombs detonate in Ethiopian churches during Christmas services; Christian women are taken from the streets in Egypt to be beaten or mutilated; members of Egypt’s Coptic Church are seeking asylum from persecution in other nations, especially the United States; Algerian Protestant churches are being closed by the government; Christians are immolated by mobs in Pakistan; anti-Christian violence continues to escalate in Iraq. Those of us who are not church leaders are beginning to find these circumstances more in need of address than the usual political boilerplate.

As there is no formal process of address, and as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has yet to make any cogent statement about these events [although, to be fair, her official website carries no more recent public statements than those from this past September], I find myself in that remarkable place inhabited by Christians aware of a great, even massive, injustice, yet without the wherewithal to address the circumstances politically. That means we will rely on the traditional power that we do have, which is that of prayer. However, as I recently stated in a sermon, “Sometimes prayer isn't simply sitting quietly where no one can hear you but God. The Baptist comes to mind this season, for example. Often it is forgotten that what he did by the Jordan was an act of prayer; defiant, raucous, red-blooded, and history-altering prayer.”

So, with that in mind, we will pray on Sundays, as part of our intercessions, for the Christians of the Middle East. I would also invite those interested in addressing this international situation to join with me in urging our diocesan bishop, who frequently enjoys world-hopping on church business, to aid us in organizing a more tangible program. We may also, through correspondence, see if the Presiding Bishop’s office is willing to use its influence with the White House to see that the considerable resources of our State Department might be employed to some effect.

But, in particular, reminded as we are that Christians in the Middle East live the same covenant and bear the same responsibilities to the Gospel as those of us in Roxbury, let us pray for our brothers and sisters-in-Christ, that God’s favor will deliver them from the all-too-familiar sins of tribalism, hatred, and mortal disregard, and that we may be empowered to act, too. As St. Francis once prayed, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.”

"As The Age Of The Physical Book Retreats, The Cult Of The Physical Book Advances"

I confess that this article, from Forbes, is a little on the twee side [The author's name is Trevor Butterworth, for heaven's sake.  What, was "Percy Dovetonsils" already taken?]; in fact, it reminds me of one of those pieces I would have read aloud to some classmate or colleague back when I was a student or teacher of literature.  Funny how distant that seems, now.

Anyway, an interesting starting point for a meditation on the changes to publishing and reading.  Lately, I find that I use the Kindle for mass-market paperbacks, but still prefer a physical book when reading something heavier, such as works of theology, history, or big wave surfing.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Used To Play Bass For The Exploding Churros

Chile daily must pay readers for exploding churros

Universities In The Post-Modern Age

Harvard Pressures Freshmen to Sign a Moral Pledge

Now that higher education has abandoned its Christian [and Classical] roots, and with it any common format for broad moral discourse, it's interesting to note what administrators try to do to fill that vacuum.

Allow me sardonically to observe that as the post-modern distaste for Christianity on campus involves our religion's supposed "monolithic thinking" (only people of historical retardation would ever level that charge, btw), I am amused that the response to this at Harvard and other campuses is...a monolithic oath.

Arab Spring; Christian Winter

Categorized by theme, November's batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed according to theme and in alphabetical order by country, not necessarily severity.

More from the Wall Street Journal: Egypt's Embattled Christians Seek Room in America

An Obituary Of Note

Cheetah the chimp from 1930s Tarzan flicks dies

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Surfboard Tales: Tripping Over Jerusalem

Because of the full moon, there was enough light to see that I had just tripped over Jerusalem.  Also that a portion of my face had landed on Gilgal.

“I meant to tell you about that,” whispered Cokes.  “This guy is some sort of Jesus freak.  He’s got like a map of Bible stuff in his yard.  Try to hold down the noise, willya?”

As I hadn’t yet recovered my breath, which had been knocked out when my solar plexus made contact with Jericho, I wasn’t ready to debate with Cokes the definition of “Jesus freak”.  In walking over what I thought was a small hill just off of the super-secret, privately-owned entrance to a fabled surf break, I had managed to place myself in the middle of a geographic replica of the Holy Land, complete with the Biblical cities carved in stone, including name plates, placed in scale relationship to one another. 

“Yeah, the first time I came here I thought it was a miniature golf course,” Cokes continued.  “Which would be kind of neat, wouldn’t it?”

“Maybe it’s that, too,” I said with my first complete breath.

“Hey, that would be the gnarls.  Come golfing at Jesusville!  Sin-free until 7!”

With that he started to giggle, then cackle, then laugh so loudly that I expected lights to come on at the mansion house, illuminating me like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.

“I thought I was supposed to hold it down.”

“Ah, never mind.  Who could hear us over the surf, anyway?”

Which was true.  The beach to which we were sneaking had once been the proving ground for many of the early surfing champions and their boards.  It was here that skills were refined and informal experiments in board technology were carried out, leading to the advances in fin arrangement and board length and shape that marked the genesis of surfing as a mainstream activity, rather than a curious pursuit of some mildly shell-shocked World War II veterans.

Times had changed in this area since the 1950’s, however.  What had once been a beach that was publicly accessible had become private property.  For a couple of decades, the owner had placed a gate across the only entrance, which was a footpath, but generally left it unlocked.  After a burst of thefts in the increasingly high-priced area, he locked the gate but let some of the area surfers have keys to it.  Of course, by the early 1980’s the keys and their copies had made the rounds of the serious surf community from one coast to the other and back again.

By the 1990’s, though, the new owners decided they didn’t want scruffy surfers walking on their beach and using their ocean, so the footpath was landscaped over with rocks and new plantings, including some surprisingly mature trees, and every portion of the property surrounded by either brick, stone, or security fencing.  Well, all portions except for one small opening in the ramparts where the brick and metal fencing did not quite mesh.  This hole in the wall was a secret closely guarded by only about 100,000 surfers in the contiguous United States.

Still, because of the proximity of the house to the beach, and the new owner’s rumored affection for firearms and pit bulls, the only time that anyone could get to the surf was during the middle of the night, and then only when the moon was full so that one could see the way and the water.  The fact that this was the primo feeding time for the more aggressive sharks was usually not mentioned.

Cokes, whose nickname was earned not because of drug use, but because he was all but blind without glasses that were pop bottle-bottom thick, had offered to be my guide because, as he had noted earlier that day, “It’s a place of history, man.”  So, with a cassette of “Surfin’s Safari” set on perpetual loop, we took his venerable Toyota pickup at 1 in the morning to the hole in the wall, squeezed through its opening with a couple of nine-and-a-half foot boards, and navigated our way over the Jesusville golf course to the place of legend; a legend well-earned.  When I entered the water I had that same feeling I had when I first saw the Liberty Bell, or the time I shook John Glenn’s hand.

Surf beaches can change over time, either due to natural disaster, erosion of the bottom, or changes in current patterns wrought by those who claim to have the science to address such things.  Some of the famous beaches, especially those in family-friendly areas, are no longer able to provide any experience of interest to the obsessed surf community, as they have been “improved” with jetties and other artificial construction so that maladroit, video-addicted children won’t hurt themselves in 12 inches of water.  This beach, however, kept for nearly half a century in a state of suspended animation, still had the rhythm and power that made it a Mecca in the early days of our very odd avocation, and every ride put one in touch with the guys of equal legend who carried nicknames like Midget, Canoe, and Da Cat.

After a few hours riding the evening glass, with dawn getting nearer, and with it the reality of guard dogs, handguns, and hypothermia beginning to claim our attention, we reluctantly left the beach, now almost too tired to lug the boards, not to mention play commando just to get back to the Toyota

With “Surfin’ Safari” once again playing on the pickup’s tinny radio, I thanked Cokes for this memorable participation in natural and living history.  “Sometimes it’s worth tripping over Jerusalem, I guess,” said Cokes.  Sometimes, indeed.

[Excerpt from Reading Water, all rights reserved ©2011]

Mellow Now Seriously Harshed

Surfline founder dead at 59

Nice guy and a business genius.

Monday, December 26, 2011

More Great Moments In Archaeology

Stunned Scottish couple unearth '800-year-old' stone head in their garden

Sometimes It Takes A Rabbi To Save Christians

When Lord Sacks, chief rabbi in England, rose in the House of Lords to speak about the persecution of Christians, he quoted Martin Luther King. "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Actually, I Noticed This When I Was A Seminary Lecturer, Too

Increasingly, undergraduates are not prepared adequately in any academic area but often arrive with strong convictions about their abilities. So college professors routinely encounter students who have never written anything more than short answers on exams, who do not read much at all, who lack foundational skills in math and science, yet are completely convinced of their abilities and resist any criticism of their work, to the point of tears and tantrums: "But I earned nothing but A's in high school," and "Your demands are unreasonable." Such a combination makes some students nearly unteachable.

Dear Hollywood, Not Everything Is Special Effects

The other day some actor didn't respect the waves and almost paid the price.  Mavericks, the waves in question, are the scariest things I've ever seen in my entire life.  Kelly Slater, who is mentioned in the article, is the best surfer of his generation and maybe the best surfer ever, and he was almost killed there.  An actor who is learning how to surf for a movie role doesn't stand a chance if this is where he decides to hone his technique.

[After reading another article about this, I was surprised to see that the actor was using a traditional longboard, which is also, along with inexperience, a certain way to hurt yourself at Mavericks.  Now it may be that was misinformation, since most members of the media know as much about surfing as they do about firearms and Christianity, but who knows?  Throwing away actors like this seems awfully extravagant.]

More about Mavericks may be found here.

There Was A Shortage In The 1st Century, Too

In fact, anytime after the mysterious disappearance of the city of Ubar, which was the frankincense capital of the Middle East once upon a time.  [The mystery of its disappearance was solved in the late 20th century.]

A Shift for the Magi? Frankincense Shortage


TRENDING: Americans still prefer 'Merry Christmas' over 'Happy Holidays'

That's because it is not some random "holiday", the date of which was assigned by the government. It's an actual holy day with purpose, context and resonance.

Clearly, Scotland Has Solved All Of Its Other Problems

Railway police to be taught sectarian hate songs

It would be much cheaper just to buy the police tickets to a Glasgow Celtic vs. Glasgow Ranger football match, as you will hear sectarian songs of such nimble vulgarity as to stand in awe of the English language.

Even Santa Can't Catch A Break

Father Christmas busted by fun police

It appears that Australia is also descending into a nation of legalisms instead of laws.

Everthing Old Is New Again

Midnight Masses canceled in Iraq because of growing security concerns

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thanks for the photo, Anne.  [Click to enlarge.]

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Fun Way To Learn Of The Maccabees

Walter Reed Hospital Bans Bibles, Rosaries, Etc.

"Issued on the date of the official consolidation of the region's two military medical centers, the memo on visitor and patient policy contained a section stating "No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit." The Sept. 14 memo came from the desk of Col. Norvell Coots, the commander of the Walter Reed Healthcare system."

They did seem a little nervous when I told them that guitars for veterans were being sent from a church in Connecticut.  Maybe they were afraid they might have some Jesus in them.

I'm enjoying the fact that it took a group of Army personnel to write one memo [it takes one Marine to write one memo, thank you] and that no one can remember who wrote the line about Bibles, etc.  There is a name for that in the miliary, but it's too vulgar to print here.

Again, why is it always Bibles?  Why is it never the Koran or the Teachings of the Buddha?

Monday, December 19, 2011

As I Have Been Saying For Years...

Artful Perspective: The X in Christmas

I Link To This Only Because It Took Place In My First Parish

A "parish", in Episcopal Church language, is a geographic area, not just a church building.  This gives you a pretty good idea of the pastoral issues I often had to address.  Man, life is much better these days.

Police: Woman angered over missing phone crashes car into Corry tavern

Here's the capper:  "She was then brought to the Corry police station, where he said Jensen found her missing cell phone in her bra."

Another Sorta Jesus Sighting

Baby Jesus found, after pic posted to Facebook

Because no one knows what he looks like, I guess.  Too bad we didn't have Facebook eleven years ago, eh, Henry?  You know, back when you and your buddy stole Christ Church's original nativity scene.

Ah, well.  Water under the bridge, etc.  Besides, the redoubtable Ken did recently find the original set's baby Jesus, which will be used this year, so that's nice news.

Great Moments In Archaeology

Kaiser Willhelm's urinal found at bottom of Baltic

Sunday, December 18, 2011

No Reason For This. I Just Liked The Photo

Two Secret Service agents and their surfboards in Hawaii for the presidential vacation.

I'm Glad To Have Lived During A Time When A Playwright Could Be A World Leader

Vaclav Havel, Czech dissident, playwright, politician dead at 75

A playwright, I might add, who was thrown in prison for 4 and 1/2 years for protesting the arrest of a rock and roll band.

"We Need More; You Have More"

A surprisingly telling quote from one of the remnant of the "Occupy Movement" that so enamored the media a month or so ago.  Trinity Church on Wall Street [yes, it's one of ours] gave generous support to the protesters in a manner that was appropriate to Gospel teaching and Anglican theology but, as our brothers and sisters in the Church of England learned, that's never enough.

Please note the eloquence from the parish rector's website.

(An interesting update: You'll notice some criticism of Trinity Church's decision offered by another rector. As it happens, the Manhattan clergy I know received an e-mail from The New York Times asking not for their open opinion, but if they disagreed with Trinity's rector. Only one fell for the NYT's fishing expedition.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Children's Pageant, Sunday at 4pm

If you enjoy some good, old-fashioned small parish charm, remember that the Children's Pageant will be performed at Christ Church this Sunday at 4pm, to be followed by a pot-luck supper.  We can still use some additions to the supper, so please bring something so that we aren't pot-luckless.  And, because two people have called the parish to ask, yes, the Children's Pageant is free to parishioner and public alike.

Another Provocation For This Week

Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller

The issue that I started to have in the earlier part of this century with indie bookstores was that they would either not carry books in which I was interested, especially intelligent works about Christianity, or openly condescend to me when I asked if I might order N.T. Wright's latest offering, for example.  Sorry, hipster clerk, but I'm really not ready to be sneered at by a recent college graduate with a degree in "something Studies" just because I wish to read an academic work on my religion. 

Really, after earning three Master's degrees and two doctorates, and spending over thirty years teaching students from kindergartners to doctoral candidates, I really don't need the trendy, pseudo-intellectual, atheistic attitude.   I don't want to surrender Christ in order to prove that I have the intellectual wherewithal to give some bookstore my money. Online, they just take my money and send me the book, which is a much preferable arrangement.

Okay, my rant has concluded.  I think I ate too many carbs yesterday.

As Overheard On The Radio

I should warn those of sensitive disposition that this is from a syndicated radio show whose host labels himself a "conservative", so if you prefer only to hear viewpoints similar or identical to your own [and there's nothing constitutionally wrong with that], you may wish to avoid the entire transcript.  I listen because I enjoy hearing a variety of perspectives on secular and religious issues and because the host and I were in Boy Scouts together in Ohio a very long time ago.  What drew my attention was an observation similar to my own of recent years, namely, why is it that atheist groups dislike only one holiday in one American religion?  Why, of all the rich panoply of religions practiced in the United States [every single world religion is practiced in our country, and God bless it], is the Christian Feast of the Incarnation the only one that can't be expressed without a countering display or commentary?
There’s something rather sad, I think, about how Christmas is the only holiday that has to become a universal whatever you want holiday. Nobody tries to sort of do this to Eid or Ramadan or whatever. But it’s just that now, you cannot have any public expression of Christmas unless there is also a public expression of whatever anyone else does. When the President hosts a Ramadan banquet, no atheist group says well, hang on a minute, we don’t go along with Ramadan, so we want to have a big old, we want to have a banquet for people who believe that at this time of year, you should eat as much food as you like. It’s only Christmas this is applied to, and I detest that, because it’s just part of the pathetic civilizational self-loathing. We’ve heard it all, and there’s nothing new about any of this stuff. And it’s got nothing to do with the separation of church and state, because anyone who, if anyone spent the trouble to study ten minutes of history, it would be perfectly plain what that meant.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Adult Forum Tonight. Be There. Aloha.

Just a reminder that tonight is the final Adult Forum for 2011, where we shall look at art associated with the Nativity, plus a potpourri of remaining works and whatnot.  Parish house at 7pm.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Gov. Patrick agrees it’s a Christmas tree

Please see this other story from neighboring Rhode Island that may be found earlier in The Coracle here.  Yep, all religious accouterments actually have meaningful and accurate names like Koran [not "happy holiday book"], Menorah [not "really cool holiday candle holder thingy"], and Wheel of Life [not "happy some kind of Eastern religion holiday device"].

Seriously, if anyone in government has that big of a problem with it, just don't put up a tree.

Archaeological News

Christian prayer box discovered in City of David parking lot

[Bad link before; now fixed.]

Monday, December 12, 2011

This Week's Provocation

Christians Are Still Having Sex

Today’s American family is quite different. Mom and Dad usually work in different jobs far from homes; they get in their cars and drive off. Home is a place where people spend money and enjoy leisure time; the family bonds around the TV rather than in the corn field. Both parents have work friends who their spouses know only slightly if at all; they outsource much of the work of raising and teaching their kids to schools.

The bonds between the members of these units tend to be weaker than the bonds on the farm where the parents and children worked together as a team to keep each other clothed and fed. If we are serious about strengthening the America family, and I think we should be, we will have to think much more deeply about how our society works.

Defending the American family and laying the foundation for strong homes in the 21st century is a much bigger project than worrying about extramarital sex or, for that matter, gay marriage. Evangelicals and other Christians who want to play a role in the revitalization and protection of the family need to get away from a “moral panic” agenda and begin to analyze the ways our current social and economic order weakens and impoverishes family life. Then comes the hard work of figuring out how to fix what has gone wrong. There is a lot of work to be done.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Surfboard Tales: Pure Yucatan

The monkey had seized his Pepsi, an act that left Estefan somewhat agitated.  He had never liked Mexican spider monkeys ever since he had seen one snap his brother’s index finger like a twig back when they were boys.  Twenty years later, the sight of one would reduce him to a state of medieval terror.  The fact that the monkey was now sitting next to him on the tailgate of one of the pickup trucks belonging to the university’s archaeology department, with its legs crossed like his, helping itself to his bottle of Pepsi and behaving like any of the other diggers under the shade of some mangroves, had left him in a state of descolada.

Of course, Estefan also disliked thunderstorms, mud, bus drivers, Coca-Cola, and norteño music; the latter being something on which the two of us often agreed.  This was not lost on Heraclio, another digger at the archaeological site and our truck driver, who would gleefully read the weather report to Estefan whenever it included a prediction of rain, deliberately drive closely behind buses on the winding, narrow roads of the central portion of Quintana Roo, and turn up the volume whenever Los Tigres del Norte were playing on the radio.  In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that Heraclio had trained the monkey to steal Estefan’s Pepsi.

The relationship between the two diggers, who were also cousins, would have made for an execrable journey had it not been for the fact that they were taking me to what they described as “a beautiful cenote [or sinkhole]” so that I could experience Yucatan-style surfing.  As we were about twenty-five miles from the coastline, my curiosity was piqued some by a surfing opportunity in the middle of the dry llano.  That and I had never seen a sinkhole that could be described as beautiful.

So, as we drove through towns named after either Christian saints or monstrous Mayan royalty, as Estefan and Heraclio bickered about technique, I heard about the main feature of the Yucatan method.

“We do not use surfboards, doctore,” said Estefan.  “We use rododendro.  You will see; it is pura Yucatán  Heraclio just laughed and nodded like a bobble-head doll.

My Spanish has always been horrible.  In fact, the university staff would label what I spoke “kitchen Mexican”, so I didn’t think it odd that Estefan had just said that they surfed using houseplants.  I just assumed that I hadn’t understood him over the roar of the loose muffler and the top 40 norteño hits that Heraclio had blaring from the truck’s radio.  That is, until we got to the cenote.

Truly, if a sinkhole could be beautiful, this was the one.  It was introduced by a stark opening at ground level of approximately seventy-five feet in diameter.  Crude stairs that looked rather ancient had been cut in the limestone walls in a rough spiral from the opening to the small patch of earth and sand about three stories below.  The remainder of the sinkhole’s base was liquid.  Aided by the minerals in the earth and vegetation that grew within and around the opening and down its dark shaft, the water at the bottom of the cenote was made azure; capturing and magnifying the available sunlight but retaining a refreshing coolness.

Second only to the water in vividity was the verdant vegetation that clung to the sides of the shaft and dropped roots from the sun-soaked surface thirty feet down to the water, lacing into strong knots of vines that formed basketball-sized root balls just below the water’s surface.  It wasn’t until I saw the cousins grab these vines and begin to swing themselves from the spiral steps to just above the water level that I realized the plants were, in fact, tropical rhododendrons.  Remarkably, I had heard correctly; they did use rhodadendro instead of surfboards.

The sport, as I came to learn it, in sinkhole surfing is bending both vine and body so that the soles of one’s feet, at the right moment of the parabola, make contact with the water and, if timed right, enable the “surfer” to release his grip upon the vine and glide across the water’s surface on a buffer of surface tension.  It wasn’t a long ride, and the cousins would loudly celebrate even a five foot glide, but it also wasn’t easy.  In fact, learning the nuance in a Hawaiian short board was probably simpler.  For over an hour, once I was assured that the vines would hold my weight, I repeatedly sent myself inauspiciously into the water with a sizable splash.  However, in the second hour, I was beginning to get the hang of it.

It was a hot, humid day and a dusty ride after a long week of fruitless digging among the remnant stones of a pitiable Mayan archaeological site, but, when Estefan suddenly remembered that on his last trip to the cenote he had hidden a number of bottles of Noche Buena in the cool deepness, it turned into one of the best and most memorable times spent in any kind of water.  Our fatigue from work, and Estefan’s descolada, were cured.

In fact, to this day, after a particularly restorative session of conventional surfing, if asked, I sometimes respond that it was “pura Yucatán”.

[Excerpt from Reading Water, all rights reserved ©2011]

Saturday, December 10, 2011

When you live in a circa 1740 house, you spend a lot of time fashioning custom shims so that the furniture sits level. Otherwise, you wind up spending your mornings picking up stuff that has slipped off shelves and tabletops during the night, as if by some bipolar poltergeist.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This Is An Abomination!

A nature-free surf spot.  This is worse than AstroTurf.

A surf park high in the Pyrenees

A nightmarish quotation from the article:  "High in a misty valley in the Basque Pyrenees, miles from the ocean and surrounded by verdant sheep pastures, lies a prime surf spot. Its swells break with no wind or reef, and you can turn them on and off whenever you want."

No wind or reef, huh?  Wow, it sounds so authentic.  Part of the fun of surfing is waiting for the waves and then riding their glorious, and occasionally dangerous, unpredictability.  This "wave park" nonsense is like dressing up in hunting clothing and grabbing your Remington 700 to go to the meat section of the supermarket.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It Appears That There Is Still A Lot Of Downed Foliage From The October Storm

I say this because a seven-year-old girl at Rumsey Hall School this morning told me that she wanted a chainsaw for Christmas.  At least it wasn't a chainsaw and hockey mask.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Well, This Brought A Little Smile First Thing This Morning

Carolers interrupt lighting of ‘holiday’ tree

"Holiday tree"?  What...?  What's really embarrassing is that, when I worked at a parish in Rhode Island [which was also embarrassing], the current governor was on our list of members.  I never saw him, though; not even on Holiday Eve.

To extend the logic behind this, his state could truly affirm its role as one of the first secular governments by re-naming Hanukkah as "Holiday Candle Time" and Muslims as "Holiday-makers".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Once Again, I Wish To Thank My Grandfather For Leaving The UK For The USA

Christmas decorations banned over health and safety fears

"Just Be Back In Time For Dinner"

As my mother used to say to me back in the days of childhood freedom, when I would ride my bike out of the driveway for a day of aimless adventures with all of the other kids.  From the article, it appears I'm not the only one wistful about days gone by.

Welcome to the Age of Overparenting

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adult Forum This Evening

We have Adult Forum this evening in the parish house at 7pm Tonight we'll look at the artistic representations of the disciples, as it is through their human-ness that we gain access to the Almighty.

A Seasonal Favorite

27 worst nativity sets