Thursday, September 01, 2005

I've gone to This Side of Glory!

Whee! Are we getting tired of this yet? Our Blog Guy fixed all of the paths and whatnot, though we're still working on bringing back all the images. But it mostly works, so meet me back over at or click on THIS LINK if you're one of those that would rather click than type.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I've moved back!

Well, hopefully not permanently, but we've had some of those oh-so-comical technical difficulties. We get more of those than the average bloggers because we're ambitious and we run our own server. And when I say "we're ambitious" I mean of course that Greg's ambitious, and when I say "we run our own server," I mean that Greg runs it and I -- after finding out that it wasn't actually going to serve me anything -- lost interest and went and made cookies.

Shame on me for still knowing so little about the technological wonderland that surrounds us. But shame on Greg for knowing nearly everything and still thinking he could speak perfect Unix. Because as I understand it, the reason that my blog and the other five or six that we host went bye-bye is because when he typed a certain command, he inserted one space that wasn't supposed to be there, and zing! without any of those "Do you really want me to [do whatever stupid thing you accidentally asked it to do], you carbon-based clotpoll?" messages that we simple Mac- and PC-users have come to love, it went right ahead and erased the entire directory.

So I'm a lowly again for a while. I'll miss posting pictures and whatnot, but other than that, I'll probably survive. I still think this is the curse of having announced my one-year blogoversary. Oooo, creepy.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

I've moved!

All righty. The new-and-improved site is finally ready. So... Orthodox-Heterodox is dead; This Side of Glory is alive.

Meet me over there at (or just click on the link, if you're tired.)

See you there.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Round robins (and mockingbirds)

I'm home this Sunday morning because the hubby took ill. So he's upstairs sleeping the Sleep of The Thera-Flued, and I thought I would peruse the Ortho-blogosphere.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Union address

Well, I didn't mean to leave things so long that I would be having the State of the Union address going on, but I did, so I might as well blog.

(But first, the dog is restless. And with all due regard to Mr. President, the dog's business most certainly takes priority. Plus, I'm recording ...)

Okay, that took longer than I thought. Not my fault ... the dog insisted that I get a wine spritzer. ("What? More wine? Oh, Clemmie, what a bad doggie.")

But the funny thing is that you can hear the important part from downstairs. Yes, the major player is ... the applause. It went on and on and on. I thought for a minute he had shown Ted Kennedy a certain purple-dyed finger.

I forgot this about the SofU speech -- it's a big Applause-o-Matic thing. Afterwards, every news show will have the count. How much applause, how many standing ovations and were they partial (usually Republicans, of course) or total and so on.

Ha! Some poor schmuck mistook a pause for an applause cue. He was clapping the heck out it before he realized that he was clapping for something bad. Face! (as the surfer-guys used to say)

Okay, here's another new tactic -- the Democrats are harrumphing and booing as Bush talks about what's wrong with Social Security. I'm certain the news guys will spend some time on that. It's very British really, if you've ever tuned in the Parliament, but it seems like bad form to me. Plus, they're harrumphing about him saying what's already wrong with the system. You never know if the LeftLoons are swooning over that ("All RIGHT! Taking a brave stand at last! Listen to Kennedy harrumph, by golly!"), but it makes them sound just like they're at war with the facts, if you ask me.

(snicker) I'm sorry, but the sideshow of the speech is better than the speech. They show individual senators from time to time, and you could judge party with no help whatsoever.
Democrat: pissy/depressed/constipated
Republican: beaming/inspired/slightly insane
Orrin Hatch: asleep

Well, he moved on to preserving man/woman marriage and the Dems are sitting on their shiftless butts for the standing ovation. What a bunch of wienies.

He's making some noises about judicial activism, but it's always on the way to making another amendment. Heck, let's legislate against judicial activism. Let's put three-strikes to use where it'll do some good, for heaven's sake.

Okay, I didn't even hear the point, but he said "... African-American men and women." And so of course, yep. Bingo. The Dems are standing up. 'Bout time. I figured some of them were just trying to keep their rears from falling asleep.

All right, we're already on to the "protect our children" stuff. Now begins a small laundry list of all kinds of good little ideas that shouldn't really even have to be worth a mention. So why bring them up now? Well, it lets the Dems stand up again. And it keeps stupid people from saying later, "He didn't say ANYthing about our children!! Doesn't he CARE??"

As the Fox commentator said beforehand, the problem with these speeches is that they are naturally so formulaic. And I'll add another thing: they're pie-crust promises (as Mary Poppins said.) Easily made, easily broken:
Bush: I would like this great country to finally recognize the need for every child in our schools to have access to no-carb, calorie-free banana splits WITH multiple cherries on a bi-weekly basis.

Floor erupts in applause. Dems look like they want to steal something. Orrin Hatch snorts out loud.

Not to say that Bush doesn't mean any of this. I think he does. But with the Democrats about to sail off the end of the flat world they live in, does anybody really expect them to act like rational human beings? If Bush announced that he's found a way to drop money out of the sky, they'd shriek about the ecological implications.

Oh major FACE. Joe Biden started a wrongful clap when the camera was on him. Dork.

You know, I like Dick Cheney, but he always looks like a guy who's waiting for the Preparation H to kick in.

And since I'm pointing out details, I'll just say that I must unfortunately agree with the critics that Bush needs to say 'nu-clear' and not 'nu-cular'. Other than that, he's perfect.

Okay, bang-o. We finally got a mention of the Iraqi vote. And yep, some of the senators really do have purple fingers. God bless 'em.

Addendum to Mr. President: It's 'recognize', not 'reckanize'. Other than that, ... y'know.

Bush says that Iraqis have earned the respect of us all. Damn straight.

We have an Iraqi voter in the audience ... WITH the purple finger, of course. And the bad dye job. What is it about Arab women and bad henna hair?

Okay, Cheney really looks like a guy with a problem. I expect him to make those 'speed it up' gestures to Bush any minute.

Uh-oh. Double whammy. Shot of Hillary, looking like death. Shot of Kerry, looking like the undead. Okay, now back to the living.

The troops are great ... applause ... how about those Iraqis ... applause. You know, I have to admire these guys. It's actually quite a workout to clap that much. Try it next time you go see a show. I could see the best production on earth and they're not going to get more than a minute and a half outta me.

And we're introducing parents of a Marine killed in duty. Oh heck, the Iraqi voter is hugging the mom. And the mom gave her her son's dog-tags. All right, I'm sorry if that was scripted. I'm really touched anyway. And of course, the applause. Well, I'll just keep typing and then you'll know how long it went on. Yep, still going .... good. Some things are just good.

That's it for the speech. And right away ... yep, we're getting the count from the Fox guys. Sixty-five interruptions for applause. Bush is shaking hands. And, oh hey, Hatch woke up. Good, good.

Oh jeez. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water... Harry (@%$!!) Reid and Nancy (@%&*#$%@^!!!!!) Pelosi are going to set me straight on how Bush is full of it and I desperately need the DNC.
Harry: I knew a little boy once who was good without making a big deal out of it [Um, what?] Bush's policies have added much to the deficit. [No argument there. Bush spends like a Democrat. But the Democrats have a problem like that? I've never understood that.] We need to invest in a Marshall plan for America. National investment created the intenet. [??? Oh, I gotta check that one out on] Health care costs have shot up. We need to make them affordable. Good new jobs, health care... these things matter. Unfortunately, much of what the president talked about doesn't matter. It's just like Groundhog Day. [???!!] And now, I'm going to spin some ridiculous lies to try like mad to scare gullible morons out of doing anything reasonable about Social Security. [Okay, so I'm paraphrasing.]

Harry is trying to look like he's about to read me a bedtime story. It's a big mistake. I'm afraid one misplaced camera shot will show that he's got pointy teeth.

Nancy: Children, America, prayers, America, values, children. Um, ... oh and our troops. Yes, our TROOPS. And ... and patriotism. I love patriotism. I've ordered up a six-pack of patriotism just for the weekend. I'm so patriotic and normal sometimes I mistake myself for a Republican. Okay, are you fooled yet? Good. Then we'll begin. Listen to me carefully. Look into my enormous strangely-wide-open eyes and my enormous shock of hair and listen... you feel sleepy. Bush isn't helping enough with security. We either need more troops or less troops or something. But Bush is bad. Bush is baaad. We here at the DNC see allll kinds of security stuff that we just care about so much we could cry. We aren't just saying this because if Bush said frick we would say frack. No, dang it. We -- me and Groundhog Harry here -- we are incredibly sincere. I can't blink my eyes right now. I don't know why. They just won't shut. I think I got hairspray in my eyes. I hate my hair. I wonder what color it would be if I didn't dye it. I wonder if the Iraqi lady can get me some dye. ...
Oops. Sorry, I kind of drifted off. I was looking at her hair and then ... well, anyway, I'm turning it over to the talking heads now. Clemmie is looking at me and ... what's that, girl? Another spritizer? Oh, you bad, bad dog.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Gloating aside

Okay, with great effort I wrest myself away from dancing on the graves of the doom-sayers, because it's worth rising above for just long enough to note the voters of Iraq:

* Threatened with "a blood bath" from the insurgents, they came to vote in the millions
"I am not afraid," said Samir Khalil Ibrahim. "This is like a festival for all Iraqis."

* Instead of keeping a low profile, some wore their festival clothes. They danced. /They shared chocolates. They celebrated.
"This is a wedding for all Iraqis. I congratulate all Iraqis on their newfound freedom and democracy," said Jaida Hamza, dressed in a black Islamic veil that also hid her face.

* Told that anyone with the dyed finger that marked a voter would be shot, they waved them around proudly.
Samir Hassan, 32, who lost his leg in a car bomb blast in October, was determined to vote. "I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me. Today I am voting for peace," he said, leaning on his metal crutches, determination in his reddened eyes.
We've underestimated them. The left has for sure, but I think the right has as well. (And I did too.)

Baghdad's mayor was overcome with emotion by the turnout of voters at City Hall, where he said thousands were celebrating.

"I cannot describe what I am seeing. It is incredible. This is a vote for the future, for the children, for the rule of law, for humanity, for love," Alaa al-Tamimi told Reuters.

More victories

Well, it looks from this news like we've taken over a few other hostile territories

The French government, which was one of the fiercest opponents of the US-led invasion of Iraq, hailed the vote as a "great success for the international community" and called the high voter turnout "good news".

"France never stopped saying, in unison with the international community, that this was a crucial step," a government spokesman said.

In Berlin, the German government hailed the election as "an important step on the path to construction of democratic structures."

I think we have passed the global test, Senator Kerry.

Election day in Iraq!!

Oh my gosh!

Oh for heaven's sake. Can we re-do our own election day, JUST so we can vote out John Kerry by an even bigger margin? What an idiot.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Karl's baby!

Definitely a miracle, or even a concatenation of miracles, like a Celtic knot. Name her after St. Patrick.

Phillip of the Fountain Pen

I met a strange guy in the Starbucks in St. Joseph.

I went into town on an errand and finished up by kicking back with a nonfat half-caf. I had done a little journal-writing time and was settling down to read Abp. Averky Taushev's book on the Apocalypse when a young man came and stood at my table. He had a pad of paper on a clipboard, and he wrote in neat handwriting:
Greetings sister,

May I sit?

I immediately gestured him to the chair in front of me, more out of awkwardness than anything. He's deaf? He's soliciting? He's a deaf evangelist solicitor? Good grief, what a girl goes through for a decent cup of coffee in this town.

He set to writing again, which gave me a little chance to observe him. Early twenties with a beard ... but, y'know, not weird-looking. Not hippie-esque, nor severely buttoned-down. No particular garb or uniform. Not dirty and not obsessively clean. No piercings or tattoos visible. So, what ...?

He wrote with his blue fountain pen:
My name is Phillip. I saw you writing. I see Grace handling the written Word + so came. Do you know what thing it is to write?

Too much information, not enough sense. And he apparently heard my name from the barrista calling it out. Curse the worldly vanity that brings a person to a place where they announce your name to give you your coffee. But let's see what of this we can work with here. "Are you deaf?" I asked, motioning to my ear. "Can you speak?"
He half-smiled and wrote: I can speak.
Okay, now we know that. But ... "I don't understand," I said, pointing to his previous message. He wrote some more:
To write, do you know what it is to write? That is a good practice. The Word is God. John 1.1.
All righty. "I'm reading about the Apocalypse," I said, pointing to my book. They may have seemed like a disjointed reply, but (a) I had a feeling that wouldn't be a problem to him, and (b) if the next question was going to be something about where I was on my Walk with The Lord, I wanted to indicate my high level of spiritual advancement so he could leave me the heck alone. I read books, buddy. Besides, I didn't care much for the whole weird "what it is to write" topic. His answer wasn't much help.
If the world ended would we know it?
Well, um, yeah we would. But I can't say that. So I said, "That depends on the world." Whatever that means.
Matthew 24:3 The apostles ask Jesus for a sign for His coming + the end of the world. Why would they ask this, do you supose?

"Probably because they wanted a sign? Why don't you speak?"
Because I know what it is to write. This is the daily bread + the flesh of Jesus Christ. Here I measure my Lord between us in holy fellowship.
If it were holy fellowship, my coffee wouldn't be getting cold. "Fellowship? But not by talking?"
The bread is the writing + the speaking is the wine. Both are found @ Table. Yet if man drink + not have bread in his stomach is he not drunken?
Did you ever notice how crazy people make you think you're crazy? Writing is bread and talking is wine and if you speak without writing you'll get drunk. What? I decided to carry on by writing my responses as well. Here's our "conversation":
[me] Isn't it difficult to do this? Don't you ever speak to people?

I do speak yes. Yet is was not the speaking that opened a way to you. You wrote + this is God. The Word is @ one right hand, this is the manifestation of the Lord.
Note to self: journal-writing in the St. Jo Starbucks -- bad idea. Let's change the subject.
I like to write, yes. Are you a Christian?

Not I but you have said, + if you call me a Christian then I shall glorify the Name of Jesus Christ in this name. What does Christian mean but one "acting like Christ?"

Weird response. Who's surprised? But meanwhile, I had figured out how to ask him something I really wanted to know without antagonizing him.
Do you have peace, or are you in turmoil? (I ask because some people who set ascetic practices for themselves are in turmoil.)
I could have said neutral things and gotten out of there, or just said nothing at all and left. But I thought, "No, he's not way-crazy, he's ... middlin'-crazy. And lost. And weird. No one is going to talk to him. Is there a way to get real information to him? Does he know he's lost?"
No, this is my peace. My seeking is in the Lord. In Him do I rest, yet take up my cross + follow Him. This is the faith that lead Abram out of the nations, the faith that gave the law to Moses, how David ruled his Kingdom + how the apostles fellowshipped w/ each other. This is my practice of faith, active + living.

I don't want to sound naive, but I was impressed with that answer. It could've been said by a fool-for-Christ. Still, it was troubling to think that this person with his strange mentality was going at the Scriptures without a paddle ... without a spiritual guide.
Do you have any church or place where you study and pray with others?

What is the church? What does the Bible say of it? When Paul writes an assembly, does he not write the city? In Revelation, John writes to the angel over a city! Here we are, on the ground of St. Joseph we are even now in service. Do you want to pray, sister?
Oh dear.
No, thank you, though I respect what you've said. I'm Orthodox -- though we know that God is everywhere, yet to me that is His best expression on earth.

But speaking of earthly matters, I have to go. My dog is outside, and she's getting cold.

True enough. Can't have a cold dog. Nosirree.
Blessed be Grace in the Name of Jesus Christ. Peace be w/ you.

And God bless you, Phillip.

I was a little relieved that he had no problem with me going. I asked if I could take our written conversation and as he got it together, he wrote a last message that I didn't read till I got in the car.
The communion lives!

I mulled all this over all the way home, and I still can't quite make heads or tails out of it. No doubt most people would have walked out. Part of the reason I didn't was self-indulgence. I've been intrigued with people's mental shifting sands, with the mental place where reality recedes without you realizing it. But also, I think I hung in there just to say that one word to him -- Orthodox. It's my way of leaving a hint. Go find out about this place. See if your studies and your world make sense there.

I don't mean to sound so Ortho-centric. A person just goes with what they know. I had my confused stage in college. I wasn't at Phillip's level, but I was in a bad way. And I was born again and had a Bible, by Jiminy, so I was constantly finding out wonderful things that no one else had ever found out and needing to separate myself more and more from other people. It's called prelest -- you think you're getting better and better when you're actually getting worse and worse. I don't know where it would've ended if the Orthodox Church hadn't come to the rescue. (Almost literally, but that's something for another post.)

The communion does live.