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Archive for February, 2011

The Real Rapunzel

Happy Sunday!  Please come and check out my post at the Register today:  The Real Rapunzel.

(image source)

It’s terribly fashionable to be anti-princess these days — but would people feel that way if they read fairy tales in their original forms?  I blather a bit about my favorite story, Rapunzel.  Come take a look.  I would love to see some familiar names in the Register comment box — I miss you guys!

(And I really am working on a couple of posts just for this blog, including possibly a podcast.  Any opinion on that?)

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Oh, but first, come see my post at the Register:  “Not like that!” The spirituality of The Mummy.  The post may be silly, but it’s witness to a miracle:  I was able to figure out how to post videos on a new platform while propitiating the feral kid, who sits behind my back and makes me play the squish game while I write.

But you don’t want to hear about me; you want to hear about .  . . . THE JERK!

To newer readers:  there is this guy.  He’s called “The Jerk.”  Simcha is not The Jerk, and The Jerk is not Simcha.

Every once in a while, The Jerk writes something weird for Simcha — something like, oh, the Beatitudes for Jerks.   And Simcha laughs and laughs and laughs, and gets ready to post it — and then wakes up in the middle of the night saying, “Oh my gosh, I can’t post that.”

On the other hand, it is Simcha’s blog, and  Simcha has already filled out the W-9 form for the Register.  As Mel Gibson said to his bottle of tequila, what’s the worst that could possibly happen?  And so I, Simcha, present . . .

Blessed are the Orthodox, for their Kingdom of God is better than your Kingdom of God.

Blessed are the Eastern Rite catholics, for their priests shall have kick-ass beards.

Blessed are the Angry, for they shall win all internet arguments.

Blessed are the Trads, for they shall fart in Latin.

Blessed are the JOOOOOOOOOOS, for they shall inherit the media.

Blessed are the Buddhists, for they have yet to piss me off today.

Blessed are you when women scorn you, and make intelligent conversation in front of you, and wear pants around you, for yours is your mother’s basement.

Blessed are the the wives of Opus Dei men, for those gals need all the help they can get.

Blessed be the ice maker.


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Adoration isn’t flattery

Good morning!  Today my second post, “Adoration isn’t flattery,”  is up at the Register. While I get used to my new writing schedule, blogging here may be a little spotty, but I have no intention of letting this blog wither away!  Please keep checking back (don’t forget you can subscribe:  see the top right sidebar), and I would love to see you over at the Register, too.

Thanks so much for the congratulations and good wishes!  I was really pleased at the reception my first post got.  This second one is not so angrifying.  It starts like this:

When I was younger, I always felt a little cheesy praising God.

I knew that the proper order of prayer is ACTS: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, supplication. I always felt fluent in the last three, but adoration was tricky. It was hard to shake the feeling that I was buttering God up in preparation for asking for a favor: “Heyyy, Lord, looking good there. Glorious! I mean, really, just omnipotent today! Love the whole endless goodness thing. With the angels, and the loving sacrifice, and so on. Really grade-A work. So! Um, now that I’m here, I was wondering if you could, um, increase vocations, heal my friend’s cancer, and help me move my couch this weekend … “

Not exactly Psalm material …

Read the rest at the Register.

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Ahem.

Ooklay who’s in the Egister-ray!

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My book review on Patheos!

The brilliant and apparently indefatigable Elizabeth Scalia, known to many as The Anchoress, is hard at work again, expanding the Book Club on Patheos.  Patheos is a newish site, sort of an online clearinghouse for religious ideas and information — a fascinating place!

Scalia is the managing editor of Patheos’ Catholic Portal, and she recently asked me to review Brant Pitre’s new book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper.

I will admit, I hardly ever read non-fiction books, whether religious or otherwise — but I enjoyed the heck out of this one.  It was easy to read, with a pleasant, conversational style; but the ideas in it were . . . astonishing.  That’s the only word for it.

I heartily recommend this book as Lenten reading — not because it would be a penance, ho ho, but because it does a great job of taking what you know, half-know, forgot, or never would have guessed about the Eucharist and making it into a cohesive story that illuminates  — well, the history of salvation.  I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s quite a book.

Read my review here! And here you will find Scalia’s interview with the author, an excerpt from the book, and a review by Julie Davis, the Happy Catholic.

Buy the book here!

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Him:  I love you.

Me:  I love you, too.  But if you get me pregnant, I’ll stab you in the eye.

Him:  I have two.

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(photo source)

This year, I revealed to my husband that I actually kind of like Valentine’s Day.  This is despite all the times I told him that I hated it, it’s lame and stupid, and a made-up, over-commercialized saccharine-fest invented by Hallmark and Big Floral.   For fourteen years, the poor man has been wondering why, every February 14, I would say I wasn’t mad at him, while I was clearly mad at him.

I was mad, you see, because everyone else was getting flowers and riding in heart-shaped hot air balloons and– I don’t know, eating hot fudge sundaes that turned out to have a tiny violin player at the bottom.  And here I was getting nothing, which is what I repeatedly told him I wanted.  Pray for me:  I’m married to a monster.

Anyway, I finally realized that it doesn’t make me defective to enjoy flowers — and that if it’s artificial to suddenly act romantic on a nationally-specified day — well, we need all the help we can get.  Alarm clocks are artificial, too, but if they didn’t automatically remind us of what we ought to do, we’d be in big trouble.   So, yeah, I asked him to get me flowers, and take the plastic wrap off, and he will, and I’m going to like them.  Whew, that wasn’t so hard!

Having taken this huge leap forward in our communication skills, I decided to hunt around to see what normal human beings do on Valentine’s Day.

If you want to feel like you’ve got your act together, just ask the internet a question.  Okay, maybe not in all circumstances.  If you’re rewiring your living room, for instance, or trying to remove the Spaghetti-o decoupage from an angry cat, you may very well have lots to learn.

But if you need help with your relationships?  A quick trip down Google lane will have you feeling like an expert, a champion, a genius, a hero of common sense and decency.  For instance, if you Google “What do guys want for Valentine’s Day?” you will come across this depressing paen to modern love, written by a man:

One of my favorite presents was a trip to the grocery store.

I remember the clear, cloudless day, sun shining down on me proudly pushing my cart into Central Market. Rachel was with me, and some friends who came along.

I picked up a steak and set it in the cart. Rachel said, “That’s great, Doug!”

I grabbed some chips. Rachel said, “That’s really great, Doug!”

I picked up some really expensive jam. Rachel said, “Yum, that will be really great, Doug!”

In fact everything I picked up got the same response from her (or very close to it), and that was my present: I could choose anything I wanted, and she could only say how great everything was. What an awesome gift that was, a trip to the grocery store.

So what did I get, besides some red AND yellow peppers?

I got what most men want. I was accepted.

I weep for America.  I weep for mankind.  I weep for myself, because this is the saddest, stupidest thing I’ve ever read, and I read it three times to make sure I wasn’t missing something.  What is Doug going to get for Christmas from the gracious lady Rachel?  A coupon for Not Getting Kicked In the Nuts?

You know, I probably treat my husband this way sometimes.  But the difference is, neither one of us is okay with it.  We don’t assume that relentless criticism and belittling is part of a normal relationship — we try to get past it.  And please note, Doug and Rachel’s travesty of a relationship is just as much Doug’s fault as it is Rachel’s:   women can’t demean their husbands and boyfriends without the man allowing, even wanting it to happen.  It takes two to be this dysfunctional.

This reminds me of the story of the man who had invented a brilliant method for saving money on the farm.  “On the first week,” he says, “I fed my  horse a bale of hay.  On the second week, I fed him half a bale of hay.  On the third week, I fed him a quarter of a bale.  I was damn near to teaching the horse to live on nothing at all, but on the fourth week, the ungrateful s.o.b. died on me!”

Happy stupid Valentine’s Day, folks.  I hope you get something nice.  Or if you get nothing, I hope at least it doesn’t feel like a gift!

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