You are currently browsing the daily archive for February 22, 2013.

For those of you port swillers looking for a nice Lenten memento and a worthy cause as well, may I direct your attention to Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey?  It’s a Benedictine monastery in the Tulsa diocese.

Ol’ Robbo belongs to a little group of bacon-loving morons on Facebook, one of whom recently noted that the good monks hand-make a line of rosaries and icons.  Ol’ Robbo’s only rosary to date is a plastic-beaded BXVI model he picked up in his parish bookstore a year or two after swimming the Tiber while he was still trying to wrap his head around the whole rosary practice.  It serves, of course, and has sentimental value but, well, I always thought I could do a leetle better than that once I got the hang of things……  So, upon receiving said tip, I immediately nipped over and bought myself this nifty olive-wood rosary (with Our Father beads and crucifix made from Holy Land olive wood):


(I know, you can’t make out much from this lame pic copy.  Jump on over to the linky to get a better dekko.)

It just arrived this afternoon and I must say that it’s quite handsome.  Best of all, they come pre-blessed (unless otherwise requested), so you don’t have to run a padre to earth in order to get yours activated.

Plus, of course, by buying one, I’m doing my little bit to help out the brothers.

We have been doing a certain amount of reorganization-cum-spring cleaning around Port Swiller Manor of late.  One of the results of this effort is the discovery by ol’ Robbo that we seem to have rayther a largish collection of what they like to call “parenting” books.  Disbursed hither and yon about the house they never brought themselves to my notice before, but placed all together on the same shelves, well, they kinda add up.

Not that I’ve ever read any of them, of course, nor do I plan to.  In the matter of raising children (as it is properly termed), my brief experience of What to Expect When You’re Expecting-type literature convinced me of the dangers of becoming too enslaved to such guides and being turned by their myriad conflicting suggestions, prompts and warnings into a twitching, neurotic basket-case.  Instead, I’ve always preferred the hands-on empirical method.  Even when I make a mistake, I’m at least able to keep my sanity.

But that’s not why I mention this collection.  No, instead, it’s for a much simpler and light-hearted reason.  To wit:

Whilst skimming over the various volumes, most of which having dreary names such as The Seven Worst Things (Good) Parents Do and Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul, I stumbled across one that had me doubled over, hooting with laughter:

GET OUT OF MY LIFE! (But First Could You Drive Me And Cheryl To The Mall?) – A Parent’s Guide To The New Teenager,  by Anthony E. Wolf.

As I say, I haven’t read the book.  But that title!  That, IMHO, is teh goods.  That’s funny.  That nails it in one.   And oddly enough, it’s really most of what  you need in order to keep your perspective when dealing with said teenagers.   (And I can personally vouch that when one of them is on a tirade and the title wanders into your brain causing you to involuntarily start snickering, it drives them absolutely nuts!)

I pass it on for what it’s worth.  Share and enjoy!

And speaking of which, I couldn’t help noticing that a book which I have, indeed, read and which is another great perspective-booster also made it on to this shelf:  Daddy Needs A Drink by Rob Wilder.   It’s a collection of humorous essays about dealing with small children, but I think the title carries over well to the more advanced years, too.   Well worth a couple bob for those of you now dealing with sippy cups and core-breach diapers and who could use a good laugh.  (Full disclosure:  Wilder was a year behind me in college.  I didn’t really know him, but he was a friend of friends.  I’d still recommend the book regardless.)


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How about a little Friday Random?  For your convenience, I’ve divided it up into not-so-random sections this time.  Feel free to skip around:

Part The First, di Chiesa:

♦   Those of you who might have glanced at my post immediately below about lack of sleep and fiddling with my Lenten practices might like to know the sequel:  Well, I avoided the temptation to hoist a medicinal nightcap after all.  Instead, I just toughed it out, got another bad night’s sleep Wednesday, carried through with work and exercise yesterday — and dozed off in my comfy chair over a book last evening,  getting a really good night’s sleep.  Go figure.

♦    I went to noon Mass on Wednesday in part because it’s Lent, in part because I’ve been wondering whether I had ought to step up to twice a week on a full-time basis.  (I don’t think I could become a daily communicant, at least not until I’m a retired old fart.)  This time I thought I would try a church quite near my office, of which I had heard some good things.  Imagine my surprise when I walked in and realized that I had actually been to a wedding there about seven or eight years ago.   With five years of Catholicism under my belt, it had quite a different feel about it than it did back then.

♦   Speaking of which, I’ve no real new thoughts on the Papal succession except to note that, in offering its own helpful suggestions, what the MSM really wants HMC to do is to simply abandon  Christianity and instead embrace the secular “culture”.  Even an ignoramus like me recalls that one of the three temptations laid before Jesus was the domination of all the World on the sole condition that He bow down in worship of Satan. I can see that this is, in effect, exactly the same thing, but about 90% of the general population, were I to point it out, would look at me like I had a hole in my head and start making snarky comments about snake-handling.  That’s why I hope that the Holy Ghost and the Cardinals between them, above all else, elevate a new Pontiff who can make these arguments in a language the wider world will understand.

Part The Second, di Camera:

♦     Robbo is still having trouble adjusting to this iMac on which he is now typing in the Port Swiller Manor study.  The thing still has a disconcerting habit of suddenly throwing my page off the screen or blowing up the font or asking me if I’d like to take a break from all that boring old writing and look at some new widgets.  (We hates machines that try to anticipate our every thought and desire.  Damned impertinence!)   I also still haven’t figured out what makes the scroll bar on the right hand side come and go, nor do I yet know how to download pictures.   If I remember rightly, the Dell system we bought back around 2000 or so came with an owner’s operating guide the size of a 747 flight manual.  All we got with the Mac was a little pamphlet that tells you absolutely….nada.

♦     Speaking of the chilling march of the computers, the middle gel was having some trouble converting an Excel spreadsheet into a graph for a homework assignment the other morning.  When she asked me for help, the sordid truth came out:  I have always studiously avoided learning Excel in all of its manifestations and don’t have the faintest idea how to put it through even the most rudimentary of its paces.   All I could say  was “Better ask your teacher.”

♦     Speaking of helplessness, the HVAC fellah was out this morning to inspect the Port Swiller furnace.  I hate these visits, because they always seem to reveal some previously unknown glitch or problem with the inner workings of the place.  Today, for instance, the furnace turned out to be just fine.  (As it ought to be, just having been put in two years ago.)  But the fellah also noted that the old water heater is getting extremely long in the tooth, and that there are various bits and pieces in the system that are no longer up to code.   Sigh.  As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.

♦    And finally, in case you’re interested, yes, ol’ Robbo has received from his Uncle a notice of proposed furlough in the event Sequestraggedon becomes a reality.  My reaction?  Well first, call me dubious that it really will  come to pass.  Even now I sense the Body Politicke pulling back its collective foot to kick that particular can further down the road.  But if worse comes to naught?  Let it burn.


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February 2013