Saturday, January 31, 2004

Recipes for the Super Bowl

Well now Huckleberry, the Patriots are in the Super Bowl again. Practically every functioning television in New England (except for those oddball NY Giants fans who pester us with their presence) will be tuned in to the game. It is time to consider the all important question of what to eat during the game.

The all-time favorites are sandwiches, pizza, chips, mixes, and beer. Allow me to offer a little twist on the traditional fare. Let's start with the easiest to make, the mix.

Chocolate/Peanut Mix
2 large boxes of Raisinets
2 large boxes of Junior Mints
1/2 can of salted peanuts (cocktail peanuts).

Mix together, and there you are.

Brie Sandwich
Let's curtail our dislike for things French for a little while, and enjoy this terrific sandwich:

1 wedge of brie
romaine lettuce
1 tomato

Slice the baguette lengthwise. Apply Mayonnaise to the interior. Add a small layer of lettuce, and then the brie sliced lengthwise. Tomato slices go on top. Yummy.

Garlic Roast Beef Roll-ups

1 pound Italian or garlic roast beef from the deli, rare
8 oz. cream cheese

Mix the chives with the cream cheese. Lay out the lavash, and spread with the cream cheese. Cover with the garlic roast beef. Roll up and enjoy.

Try Lays Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar kettle chips (buy 2 bags, they are wonderful) and a product Trader Joes has been offering: apple chips, which have less fat than potato chips.

Dessert? How about a carrot cake? Some Dark Chocolate Brownies with Cointreau imbibed over the top would be nice.

Beverages? Amber colored, generally, but sipping a Mimosa during the game has a touch of refinement. Save a nice single malt to toast the victory.


Friday, January 30, 2004

Ahh, The Joys of Winter

We have had a couple of weeks of abnormally and unrelentingly cold weather here. The tempreture has only warmed up enough to deposit some frozen precipitation on the sidewalks, making walking treacherous.

The flu is starting to really make an appearance in these parts. And now I have the beginnings of a sore throat. I spent the later half of October and a good part of November with something halfway between a heavy chest cold and walking pneumonia.

Well, the groundhog has his say Monday. I expect 6 more weeks of winter, not 4. But the daylight is increasing every day. And Monday we might even break freezing.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Death of the Dean Campaign

When you decide to not run advertising in 7 states with primaries coming up, that is pretty much the end of things. Order the black paint. The Dean Bandwagon, so prominent a month ago, is in the process of being transformed into a hearse.

February Adoremus Is Available Now

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The Trailer For The Passion of the Christ

The trailer for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is now available. There have been other versions of the trailer before, but this one seems to be the one. You need QuickTime to run it.

New Hampshire Democrats Are Very Predictable

Much more so than New Hampshire Republicans. They went with Kerry because they had two nearly-favorite sons to pick from, and one has turned psychotic in the last week. So they went with the one with the long face and the French-inspired voting record.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Today is the feast of one of the greatest doctors of the Church. I almost missed it, because this is not his traditional feast day, and I use Father Engelbert's terrific, but pre-Vatican II Lives of the Saints. His traditional feast is March 7th.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Requiescat In Pace

Fox News is reporting that talk-show pioneer Jack Paar has died at the age of 85. There are no details available at this moment. There isn't even a linkable story. Requiescat in pace.

New Hampshire Primary Day

Here is the first exit poll result. I spoke with one New Hampshire primary voter last night. He has already voted by absentee ballot, and voted for Dean. There you are: Dean getting 100% of the vote.

Seriously, I expect Kerry to pull this one out, and pretty much take Dean out of the running. If Dean could not win New Hampshire, that has to be seen as pretty much the end of his candidacy. Where can he go after losing the neighboring state? And with Kerry's money buying so much TV and radio advertising, his campaign, so vilified a few months ago, could become a machine that no Democrat will be able to stop.

President Bush ought not to underrate Kerry, or overestimate his own appeal. Kerry is considered by female voters almost as appealing as Clinton. While the GOP is preparing to label him "Gigalo John" for his marriages to two heiresses, the flip side of that is that it demonstrates a Clintonian appeal to women. And he has a war record, which is in rather short supply on the GOP side. And don't forget the TV buying power of Kerry's wife's gazillions.

Sure Kerry's voting record is all over the place, except on abortion, where he is solidly pro-murder. Sure his usual demeanor begs onlookers to ask him, "What's the matter, Senator? Why the long face?" Sure he sounds like Jim Backus doing Thurston Howell III. Sure he mislead everyone in Massachusetts for 20 years making them think he was Irish, when, in fact, he is Austrian Jewish/WASP. Sure the man goes out of his way to be compared to JFK, even to the point of trying to make his signiture look like Kennedy's. Sure his public pronouncements on the Iraq campaign could have been written by the French Foreign Office. Sure he is a bona fide Massachusetts liberal.

Never underestimate what having $200-$300 million in personal spending money could do. And never overestimate the American voters. After all, remember what they did to the perfectly good and honest public servant George H. W. Bush, replacing him with a bottomless socialist and philanderer, just because the economy was not all it should have been.

Kerry will probably do something intelligent with his VP selection, probably DiFi (less chance of Hilary, I think) to make sure of California, and to appeal to women voters across the country. But that is a pretty left-wing ticket, and Bush should point it out at every opportunity.

The President will probably stick with Vice President Cheney, though I think that will be a handicap because of the issue of opportunity cost. Sure Cheney is a dedicated public servant, and expert in national security policy, and very loyal to the Bushes. But he is a guy in late middle age with a heart condition connected to a company that does trillions of dollars of work at the behest of the US government, from a small state that always votes Republican anyway. It is not as if Cheney has to be on the ticket to hold Wyoming (or that Wyoming is such an electoral college prize). And with his handling of the war on terror looming large in the minds of the electorate, it is not as if Bush needs the perception of being surrounded with old foreign policy hands anymore. People think well enough of his handling of national security.

Bush could do much better in a VP. If Kerry goes with DiFi, and not Edwards (a possibility to make inroads in the South) then Bush should counter with Elizabeth Dole. With Colin Powell retiring after this term, it would be no bad thing if it is announced that Vice President Cheney will step down and accept the position of Secretary of State in the second term. Bush/Dole/Cheney could be even more appealing than Bush/Cheney/Powell.

I'm sure we will hear more about this as the year goes on.

My pick is Kerry for the win tonight in New Hampshire, which will propel him to many victories on Super Tuesday, and the Democrat nomination. You heard it here first, folks.

Monday, January 26, 2004

A Prayer For Marriages In Trouble

The Wedding At Cana was the Gospel two Sundays ago. And I have been praying the Second Luminous Mystery quite a bit lately. Father Keyes at The New Gasparian offers a prayer to St. Joseph for troubled marriages. It is so good, I am reprinting it here.

We ask your prayers, St. Joseph, an upright man, a spouse who planned to divorce Mary in secret and who by God's grace was able to see his role in God's plan. We ask you in our behalf to pray to God that our marriage be healed.

We are enveloped in pain and despair as you must have been when you learned of Mary's pregnancy. Be for and with us, Joseph, in our hour of doubt. Let us listen to and heed the voice of God as you did.

Be our intercessor to your Jesus, to give us the blessings to change, to listen, to forgive and most of all to hope that our marriage will heal and our family remain whole and holy.

We give you honor, quiet St. Joseph, for you are a spouse like us, who while knowing pain, did not divorce. By God's grace you nourished the Holy Family and the Savior of all families throughout the ages.


A Group Has Organized To Try To Stop The Closing of Boston Churches

Seattle Catholic has the details from a press release here. The group pledges to provide administrative and financial support to keep parishes open. But I don't hear anything about guaranteeing men from their group entering the priesthood to staff these parishes. Ask that question, and you hear nothing but the crickets.

That is why this won't work. Parents no longer steer kids into careers as they did 200 years ago. Number One Son inherits house and most of the money. Number 2 Son gets an army commission. Number 3 Son becomes a priest. Unfortunately, our self-actualizing society no longer works like that. If it did, something like this might work.

The problem leading to Church closings is not just financial or administrative. It is not just the Scandal. The Scandal is just one of the symptoms of the problem. It is a crisis of faith and of vocations, and very much a crisis within the Church, among those in the religious life. It is the result of a long dry spell in vocations, a problem that is partially society's and partly caused by the failure of the methods used in the reform of the Church.

Another Panel Comes To Predictable Conclusion

Another panel of "experts" looking at the Scandal have declared that it will not go away until there is structural change: power to the people, married priests, priestesses, get rid of those old-fashioned notions about sexual morality, that sort of crap.

While we don't need to take their analysis too far, Sipe made one interesting point that I have made before (and seen others make):

Sipe's claim that numerous priests and even bishops continue to have sexual relationships with adult women prompted one attendee to call for the ``outing'' of all such clerics. Afterward, victims attorney Carmen Durso said, ``That's probably a major reason why in the past they haven't exposed abusers, in fear that their own secrets would come out.'’

Sipe is trying to soft pedal the homosexual aspect of the problem, as are all the participants in this panel, it seems. The bishops and highly placed priest enablers are not just having relationships with adult women, but there remain undoubtably some who have a history of homosexual relationships, some with other clergy, some with adult lay people, and many with teenage boys (the numbers of genuine pedophiles, those who have sexual relations with very young, pre-pubescent children, are very small, probably no higher than in the general population. And this makes them vulnerable to blackmail, because as you punish one set of malefactors for their own filth, they tend to try to drag down anyone in authority they might have reason to know has a skeleton or two in is closet.

One of the classic cases is Paul Shanley's threat to rat out either Cardinal Cushing or the Cardinal/Archbishop of New York (before O'Connor) if Cardinal Medieros did not give him what he demanded. But I am sure that it operates much more gently and quietly, and much more directly.

Those who do not lead holy lives, and yet rise to leadership in the Church are indeed subject to blackmail. And that would be true of members of boards of lay people as well. The key is finding leaders who are examples of personal holiness. Before kingdoms can change, men must change.

Seek out faithful sons of the Faith for leadership, not glib over-educated pretty boys from nice families all the time. If you appoint able office-politicians to leadership in the Church, you get Cardinals like Law and Mahony, spin, establishment stonewalling, old boy networks allowed to run things. If you appoint men of notable personal holiness, like a Vianney, you get a growing, health, respected Church, and leadership not afraid to upset personal and professional applecarts when needed.

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