Sunday, February 27, 2011

Today is Meatfare Sunday...

...which leads right into Cheesefare week and thence into the first week of Great Lent. So this is pantry/fridge/freezer cleaning week. I usually have a minor panic attack trying to remember what we ate last fasting season. One day I'll be more organized (right) but for now I tend to latch onto all of those more organized souls and hang on their coattails.

When I saw this post on Orthodixie I remembered seeing it a great while back and I'm glad he reposted it. It helps my kitchen mind get back into fasting mode. Here's an excerpt:
Here's some items that can help stock a Lenten Pantry ...
+ dried fruits (raisins, currants, apples, cranberries, apricots, prunes, coconut flakes)
+ fresh fruits and vegetables
+ candied peels, mixed
+ dried beans (black beans, soy beans, navy beans, red kidney beans, great northern beans, mung beans, etc)
+ dried legumes (red lentils, green lentils, brown lentils, chick peas, black eyed peas, split peas, etc)
+ seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, poppy)
+ nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts)
+ herbs & spices (peppercorns, old bay seasoning, mint, others to your taste)
+ herbal teas
+ flavored coffees
+ frozen juice concentrates
+ carob (chips, chunks and powder)
+ nondairy creamers (liquid & dry)
+ nondairy whipped topping
And the list goes on and on. Plus it contains some helpful ingredient conversion tips and a whole list of suggestions for breakfast. Read the rest here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Black Genocide? You decide.

This editorial appeared in the Star Exponent in Culpepper, VA on Feb. 22, 2011

Sanger was racist, elitist and deadly effective
By J. Michael Sharman - Editorial Columnist

Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood with this policy in mind: People she believed to be unfit or unworthy should have their babies weeded out, and those whom she believed to be fit should flourish.

In an article Sanger wrote in 1921 titled, "The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda," she said,
"As an advocate of Birth Control, I wish to take advantage of the present opportunity to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit', admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit though less fertile parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."
In 1925, she bemoaned the fact that, "[T]rainloads of children keep on coming - human weeds crop up that spread."

Like Sanger, Charles Darwin's theories were completely shaped by his racist views of man-kind.

In fact, the complete title of Darwin's 1859 book is: "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life."

In 1938, Margaret Sanger echoed Darwin's racial philosophy while endorsing Nazi eugenics policy:

"It is time [to] plan to stem the tide of production of the unfit and try to turn it in the right direction. … Although the multiplication of the unfit is a world problem, we are here concerned with its impact on this country primarily. Birth control, properly directed, is an implement of vast importance in conservation of the race.

…[O]f 1,500 women admitted as charity obstetrical patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, 39% of the whites and 70% of the negroes were found to have a mental age of 11 years or less. …

The Government sends all kinds of literature through its numerous departments to inform farmers and livestock breeders as to how they can improve produce-by nurturing the good and eliminating the bad stock. But when it comes to human beings these same agencies prefer to patch and tinker rather than to prevent or eliminate.

… Surely everyone will agree that the children of parents so afflicted are no contribution to the nation for even if they do not inherit these defects they are children of parents so handi-capped that life will give them little, owing to their necessarily bad environment.

…There are 1,700 special courts and 27 higher courts in Germany to review the cases certified for sterilization there. The rights of the individual could be equally well safeguarded here…"
Today, 50 percent of all African-American women's pregnancies end in an abortion, com-pared to only 16 percent of white women's. Even though Black women are only 13.7 percent of the total female population of child bearing age, the Guttmacher Institute says that they ac-count for 29.6 percent of all abortions.

Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger was racist, elitist, and unfortunately, deadly effective.

(h/t LAF)

My sister sent me a link to this site, Too Many Aborted. Here is a statement from their site:
Here is the simple truth.  The intent of Sanger’s Negro Project is firmly intact. Nearly 40% of all African-American pregnancies end in induced abortion.9 This is by design. Abortion kills more black people than the seven leading causes of death combined (heart disease, cancer, strokes, accidents, diabetes, homicide, and chronic lower respiratory diseases) according to CDC data.10 The African-American abortion rate is 3x that of the white population and over 2x that of all other races combined. [Emphasis mine.]
Lord have mercy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jacob's Ladder (Updated significantly)

The line of storms came through here around 11:30 last night. I had fallen asleep around 11, tired of waiting on it. Father jokes that, like the Dr. Katz skit, I'm always waiting to "interview the storm as it comes into town". Hmph.

At 11:30 I woke up when the rain tore into the side of the house like a machine gun. Realizing "oh, it's just the front line" I put my head back down and headed back out of consciousness. When the power went out shortly after that I woke up again. We slowly became aware that there sure was a lot of light outside given the power outage and, come to think of it, it was flashing a lot. Opening the blinds and peering out we couldn't see any details but we could tell immediately that the light was not lightning. You'd think it was light from multiple emergency vehicles but the colors (and they changed rapidly) were primarily blue, green and yellow. We also noticed a loud hum.

We got up.

In the hall we met my mother-in-law with a flashlight. She said she remembered this exact light show and hum when a tornado passed through. I thought it had to be electrically related. Either way, it was very unnerving. We stepped outside to try to see better. The flashing light lasted for at least three minutes and then just abruptly stopped. I'd seen fuses and transformers blow but that happens rapidly and sounds like a shot and a bomb respectively. All I could think was that electricity was arcing from one thing to another but I couldn't imagine why it was lasting so long.

Needless to say, it took a little while to go back to sleep.

This morning I searched around and found in the news that a fire had been reported at a local substation, been checked out, and nothing found. Someone must have been close enough to the substation to see the source. Still wanting confirmation that that was indeed what we had seen, I found these videos. Cool.

Update: At the bottom of the post is the actual video of what we saw last night. In the video it says it lasted about a minute but I believe that was the video itself. Another source says it was just under five minutes. Interestingly, I just learned that a tornado warning had been issued for our immediate area right when this was happening. Sirens did not go off in our area. Other residents heard sirens after the storm had passed their houses. The local EMA is scrambling to explain this but their logic is faulty.

This week is Mississippi Severe Weather Awareness Week (great timing, huh?). Here is a segment from their brochure:
The NWS would like to draw attention to nighttime tornadoes. These tornadoes pose a greater danger than those that occur during the daylight because once most people go to bed, they are no longer connected to the watches or warnings issued by the NWS. Also at night, visibility is reduced and observing a tornado is more difficult. This is elevated during the winter months because it is not the traditional tornado season. Research by Gaugin et al. 2010 compared tornado statistics from the Great Plains in the traditional "Tornado Alley" to tornadoes in the Deep South or "Dixie Alley". Researchers found that Dixie Alley had far greater numbers of Killer Strong/Violent Tornadoes between 9pm - 9am time frame. Dixie Alley had nearly twice the number of strong/violent tornadoes from Midnight-Noon time frame than Tornado Alley from 1950-2007.
(You'll have to click on this to see it better - the graphs were inseparable. The bottom left graph is particularly interesting. Purple is day, burgundy is night.)

The video has refused to embed but it's really worth watching so here's the link:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Salvation: Orthodox and Protestant

Reader Steve, who blogs at Pithless Thoughts and has a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, Steve the Builder, does a nice job of comparing and contrasting the Orthodox and Protestant views of salvation in this video. This is a tricky subject and it is so easy for people to fall into the trap of making snide remarks. It is also simply a difficult thing to explain well. I think Steve does a good job and it is worth your while to have a look. No theology degree needed.

Feel free to leave any comments you wish, but you may also want to
visit the original post and read the comments there.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cadbury Love

Does anybody else out there love Cadbury eggs that much??

Cause I do.


[I may or may not get a box of them before the fast starts. Who am I kidding? I'm going to get at least one box...]

...and it is totally NOT FAIR that the British get to have this YEAR ROUND.

 NOT fair.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Double Scoop of Strawberry and Chocolate Chip Mint

I dashed these little hats off this week in some spare time. They're for Rachel's girls, Abigail and Alena, due by c-section next Tuesday. I had some sudden inspiration in the yarn section of Wal-mart and couldn't resist. I know they're a little over the top, but too cute! It's hard to tell, but the tan section at the base is supposed to be the top of the ice cream cone. The hardest part was trying to make them small enough!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

St. Nicholas Planas

Today is the feast of St. Nicholas Planas of Athens, a very recent saint who reposed in 1932. The life of Papa Nicholas is beautiful and I encourage you to read the entire thing. Here are just a few excerpts:

He was compassionate, and had no care for worldly things or estates. Night and day he was absorbed in divine worship, and with his small parish of St. Panteleimon in Neo Kosmo which was comprised of thirteen families. The people loved him. His simplicity, his island piety, his kindness, his chastity, his lack of love for money, drew everyone to divine worship. Everyone wanted him to bless their homes, their stores. And he ran everywhere joyously. From aristocratic homes down to the poorest homes, he never kept a drachma on him. The poor always waited outside the church for him to distribute whatever he had in his pocket.
However, a certain priest without a parish of his own, in cooperation with the council members of St. Panteleimon, kicked him out of his parish and sent him to the Church of Saint John, ("the Hunter" as they called it then) in Vouliagimeni. The new parish was very poor and was comprised of eight families. His payment as a priest was one piece of meat from the fattened lamb of Meatfare Sunday or Christmas. This did not brother him, however, because fasting was most important in his life. So long as he had a church in which to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, he was happy.

His having been kicked out of St. Panteleimon, however, bothered him a lot. One night, as he was leaving St. John to go home, he was crying on the road. The place was deserted at that hour. Suddenly he saw on his path a young lad said to him, "Why are you crying, Father?"....

"I'm crying, my child, because they kicked me out of St. Panteleimon's."
"Don't be said, Father. I am always with you."
"Who are you, my child?"
"I am Panteleimon, who lives in Neo Kosmo."
And immediately he vanished from in front of him.
Every year, on the feast of St. Panteleimon, he would go to the Saint's church in Neo Kosmo and do a vigil. One year, as he himself related, he was sick and had a fever. His relative did not allow him to go for his customary vigil. But because of the love which Father Nicholas had for the Saint, he went anyway. "That night," he himself said,

"after the Liti, exhausted, I leaned on the edge of the Holy Table. In the delirium of the fever I saw the Saint in front of me, young and vigorous, holding a small glass full of medicine, and he told me, 'Drink it, my Father, to become well.' I took it from the hand and drank it and became completely well. The fever left me. For a whole week out through the Royal Gate and said, 'My children, I was very sick tonight, and at this moment Saint Panteliemon gave me medicine and I drank and became well.' Everyone believed it and knelt down, glorifying the Saint."

For fifty consecutive years he celebrated Liturgy daily from 8.a.m. til 2.p.m., in snows, in revolutions. Not even with the invasion of the Anglo-French in 1917 did he interrupt his series of Liturgies. In the narrow streets of the Acropolis at 2:00 in the afternoon in July, he would celebrate Liturgy in small chapels, as the sweat settled on the sacred vestments of this true laborer in Christ's vineyard.

He commemorated names for whole hours. First, departed patriarchs, metropolitans, priests, deacons and the .... Naxiotes, and the Athenians. The names they gave him, he commemorated for many months. Every now and then his spiritual children, to give him some rest, would take the old papers and secretly rip them up, because he took them with him to all the churches. He would place them in two large handkerchiefs and tie them up like a type of package, and place them on his hip. When he would arrive home and take them off his hip--because he had two packages, one with names and the other with holy relics--they would ask him.

"What are these packages?"
And he would respond, "My bills and my contracts."
"Aren't you tired, Father? When will you rest?"
He would cross his hands and humbly respond, "I shall chant to my God as long as I live."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spotted last night on Fox news (dot) com:

"Fake Toes Helped Early Man to Walk Like an Egyptian"

I totally cracked up. Ok, show of hands, who else just thought of the hilarious 80's song, "Walk Like an Egyptian"?

A few explanatory excerpts from the article:
Two false mummy toes from Egypt may have actually strutted their stuff as functional big-toe prostheses for their owners, researchers have found.

The two toes — the Greville Chester housed in the British Museum and the Cairo toe at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo — date back to before 600 B.C., which the researchers say is much earlier than what had been considered the earliest known practical prosthesis (called the Roman Capua leg dating to around 300 B.C.).

"We may just have the evidence to suggest that nascent prosthetic science was beginning to emerge in the Nile valley many hundreds of years earlier than in ancient Capua [where the Roman prosthesis was found]," the researchers wrote in the Feb. 12 issue of the journal The Lancet. "Perhaps now attribution for the first glimmers of this branch of medicine should be firmly laid at the feet of the ancient Egyptians."
A few notes:

1. The "Greville Chester" fake toe sounds like something Edward Gorey would come up with.

2. Did you catch that awful pun in the last sentence?

To test out replicas of the artificial toes to see if they were the real deal, the researchers recruited two volunteers who had each lost their right big toe.

The toes had to meet certain criteria to be classified as true prosthetic devices, the researchers said. The material had to be able to withstand someone's weight without cracking, and must look sufficiently lifelike. "The stump must also be kept clean, so it must be easy to take on and off. But most importantly, it must assist walking," the researchers wrote. [Well, duh!]

The participants wore the toes with replica Egyptian sandals. While the team didn't expect either toe – the Cairo or Greville Chester – to function exactly like the real thing, one volunteer walked extremely well with both toes, they found. Both volunteers said the Cairo toe was particularly comfortable.
If any of your children say that science isn't fun, just read this article to them. Who knows? They might grow up to be fake toe testers for eminent scientists.

*Yes, absent for all of 24 hours. See comment #15 under previous post.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Playing Dead

Even since before I got sick I've been wondering where I wanted the blog to go. I'm no gourmet cook. I'm not a homeschool technique pioneer (or even faithful follower). I'm not a photojournalist. I'm no theologian. I'm not going to post on my own personal spiritual struggles because there's nothing edifying about that. I'm not an author. I'd be no good as a news digester.

I mostly just get from one day to the next, sometimes remembering to take milestone photos of the kids for the few family members who read. I get on my soapbox from time to time - too much for some people. I play show and tell occasionally. I do the "guess what funny thing Johnny said". I note the passing of feasts, fasts and seasons, but not consistently.

But other than keeping distant family updated there's nothing useful about any of this. Certainly nothing needed, edifying. Nothing filling any kind of gap. The problem is, once you've been doing this for a while (a little over two years in this case), you can get the mistaken impression that what you write matters. When, of course it doesn't. A holy man once said, "Imagine you died two weeks ago. How much of any of this matters now?" Well, none of it. Very wise words.

I look at a generous number of blogs. Way too many, to be honest. Some of these are "family blogs". I enjoy keeping up with people. Some of them are "news blogs". They filter through the news so I don't have to. Some of them are "creative blogs". They show all kinds of things I wish I could do. Plus, they're pretty and a nice escape. Some are more specialized: "feminine blogs", "funny blogs", "theological blogs". The only kind I really don't read with any regularity are "introspective blogs".

I've tried to keep up a "one post a day" discipline for a while now. Sometimes there's more than one, depending, but not usually of any substance. The thing is, I can't now think of any reason to keep up with it. If I were writing anything of any importance then it would be different, but I'm not. I find myself admiring the people who post once a week at most and only when they've got something to say. I have the distinct feeling they don't worry much over blog popularity or readership.

So if you don't see many posts, it's not that I haven't recovered (I'm getting there) or have fallen off the face of the earth. If I think of anything to say, or anything happens that would be interesting to share, then I'll post it. I think I'll sit around and reflect on those wise words for a while.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


How nice it is to be upright...and not dizzy.

How nice it is to sip some tea...and not regret that I did.

How nice it is to remember that the bishop is coming this afternoon...and not wish he weren't (no disrespect meant).

How nice it is to get up and look around the house...and find that it didn't completely fall apart.

How nice it is to laugh...and not gasp in pain as soon as I do.

How nice it is to be getting better.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Public Service Announcement

If you are sick, stay home. Do not go to church. Do not go to work. Do not (unless it is an emergency) go shopping.


Everyone will thank you.

And yes, in case anyone is wondering, two four more are now sick...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Comfort Food: Meatloaf

Boy, meatloaf sure does have a bad reputation. And, truth be told, if you think of a tough, overcooked loaf doused in ketchup, then frankly it deserves it. I happen not to like ketchup. Especially outside of a cheeseburger and fries.

I discovered a meatloaf recipe last year sometime online and I have no idea where I found it. I've changed it enough that it only bears a slight resemblance to the original so I don't feel too guilty about posting it. It is a really simple recipe and it is just plain good. In fact, it's one of the very, very few recipes everyone in the house enjoys.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup water
3 T butter
2 c. bread crumbs
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Lightly spray two loaf pans and put in cold oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in the water in the microwave. Stir to fully melt. Mix all of ingredients together in largish bowl. Yes, you'll have to get your hands in it. Just because this is a newer recipe doesn't mean that part went away. Add more bread crumbs if you need them for consistency. It shouldn't be drippy, but it shouldn't be like bread dough either; two cups is usually about right. Divide mixture into the two pans and pat down smoothly. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. When it is done it will pull away from the sides and not be pink in the center.

Now I don't pour ketchup or any other kind of sauce on it. To each his own. What I usually do is sloooowly cook some sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion in a little butter on the stove while the meatloaf is in the oven. Stir occasionally and don't let it burn. You're looking for slightly caramelized. Serve over the meatloaf.

Which reminds me. I forgot the onions.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

You can lead a horse to water...

John at Ad Orientem posted a video clip of a church in San Francisco. IHis point was that the Lutherans are trying to keep up with the Episcopalians when it comes to, well, crazy not quite mainstream stuff. Now, this church is (I pray) an anomaly in the ELCA. It's true that the Episcopal church has congregations like this but I've seen just as bizarre stuff in the Roman Catholic church too (although, thank heavens, not in person). If you can stand it, here is the clip. I don't necessarily recommend watching it all the way through.

Unsurprisingly, a discussion is ongoing in Ad Orientem's combox. In addition to the expected shock and scorn an anonymous commenter lately brought up this point:
As goofy as the neo-paganism here is, there are people there: in fact there are more people than I've seen in some Orthodox parishes.
In some ways that astounds me, in others it shows a real hunger. That hunger is something that Orthodoxy can fill, if we'd just learn to reach out to people.
Yes, I'd say that there is a hunger, but these people seem pretty satisfied with themselves. They don't look "hungry" anymore. What did they seem to want? It looks like they wanted something that made them feel good about themselves; a sense of belonging to something; unconditional acceptance; something comfortable, comforting and non-demanding; and cafeteria theology. I get the feeling that a lot of them are getting a kick out of feeling superior to some other person or group now that they are "on top". This is probably primarily feminist in origin. If that is in fact what they were searching for, then they seem to have gotten it. It's a shame that it is leading them farther from Christ. Of course, they're not looking for Christ. They're looking for "Christ-Sophia". I guess they got it, whatever it is.

So what do you do to "reach out to" people like this? My opinion is that people have to want it. You can't drag anyone to any church kicking and screaming. You can welcome people in when they show up on your doorstep, ask questions at the grocery store, or leave messages on the church answering machine. I've never seen anyone turned away at any church I've attended. (Well, there was that crazy woman but she was tolerated until she tried to set someone on fire with a candle and then approached the chalice - but she was removed very gently. Anyway...) Every parish priest I've known has been happy and willing to talk to visitors and inquirers. The same goes for lots of parishioners.

So, the question remains: what is appropriate outreach to neo-pagan feminists? I don't see flyers, door-to-door visits or advertisements of Orthodox inquirers classes attracting this bunch very much. I'd say pray for them. And welcome them in if they show up.

You'll find him under "C", for "Cat".

Or "I", for "Incorrigible".

Unless he has checked himself out...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fasting and Love

I can't believe next Sunday is Zacchaeus Sunday! We're rolling rapidly toward Lent. I love this story, but usually I have to struggle against using anything as an excuse not to fast.

On Fasting and Love

Fasting is a great thing but love is even greater. If by fasting demons are cast out, passions tamed, the body pacified, the spirit composed then, by love, God takes up His abode in man. The Lord Himself emphasized fasting as necessary but stressed love as the main Commandment.

In the first half of the last century, Jeladin Bey ruled in Ochrid, a renegade from the Sultan and an independent Moslem ruler. At that time, the Church was governed by Metropolitan Kalinikos. Even though of different faiths, Jeladin Bey and Kalinikos were very good friends and often visited one another. It happened that Jeladin Bey condemned twenty-five Christians to be hanged. They were scheduled to be hanged on Great and Holy Friday [Good Friday]. The Metropolitan, totally disturbed because of this incident, went to Jeladin Bey and began to implore him to be more lenient with the punishment. While they were conversing, the time for lunch arrived and the Bey invited the Metropolitan to dine. Lamb was prepared for lunch. The Metropolitan excused himself, saying that because of fasting he could not remain for lunch, and he prepared to leave. The Bey was sorry and said to the Metropolitan: "Choose; either you will dine with me and free twenty-five men from the gallows, or you will not dine and allow them to be hanged." The Metropolitan crossed himself and sat down to eat and Jeladin freed the condemned from the punishment of death.
(h/t Fr. Alexander's daily e-mail)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Force

Ok, I'm sure everyone and their cousin has watched this by now, but just in case you haven't, I didn't want you to be left out.

This one of the most awesome commercials I've ever seen:

Our Share in the Winter Storm

Other people get snow, we get ice.
At least it's something...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Weather Blunderground" or "The Great Winter Hyperbole of 2011"*

I just checked Weather Underground to see where the squall line was (while the rest of the country gets snow, we get thunderstorms and potentially tornadoes) and something funny caught my eye:

"Get updates on the Great Blizzard of 2011 by listening to..."

The Great Blizzard of 2011? I'm sure there will be a blizzard - there doesn't seem to be much doubt about that - but to already be calling it "The Great Blizzard of 2011"? That seems a little ridiculous. I mean, say it's going to be very severe weather and post appropriate warnings and all, but let's leave the naming for the history books for after the storm. What if we have another blizzard in a month that blows this one away? Wouldn't you feel silly calling it "The Other Great Blizzard of 2011"? It's like calling the first battle of Bull Run, the "First Battle of Bull Run" before the "Second Battle of Bull Run" happened. It's sensationalist media run amok.

(*The first title was mine, the second was Father's suggestion. His is better, drat it.)