Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Improving My Culinary Skills

Okay, not my skills, just my knowledge.

For the first time in my life I have both the time, the money and the place (wait - "both" is wrong, there are THREE things . I fell as if i am in a Monty Python sketch about the Spanish Inquisition. I digress,) to work on versions of foods I've always enjoyed but often have to forgo because most people and/or manufacturers, use substances to which I am allergic in their production.

My knowledge is expanding and so am I.
Other than beans, (Boston Baked,  cassoulet, chilis, hummuses.... 'zat the plural?) and even some bean recipes, all of my projects seem to be high fat, high sugar, or both.
Cream Cake.
Frozen custards.

Life is good.

And Those Intewebs are a treasure for someone leading such a sybaritic life.

I am crazy for this  guy, David Lebovitz  is interesting, helpful, crazy skilled and learned in his field - but WHAT IS WITH HIS WEBSITE?????

My computer hates it, my SIL's tablet hates it, Himself's computer hates it - is it the graphics? is it the ads?

Any way, I'll just have to keep slogging thru.

How I suffer...

Saturday, 27 August 2016

What does a human person look like?

Except for the apparent malformation of his mouth, this beautiful baby looks very much like an infant I have held in my arms many times over the past two months.
I post because I wonder if I have stumbled upon what I believe may be an important element of acceptance by the people of this generation of the barbarity of abortion.

The child I know is thriving, and is, by the standards of literally anyone who has commonly seen infants, exceptionally beautiful.
Her father is a very good looking man, and her mother is a remarkably beautiful, attractive young woman, (I happened to walk down the street with her in a major city, as work was letting out, at the time of year when summer frocks suddenly appear, and laughed to discover that the sitcom/romantic comedy cliche of people shocked by beauty is no fantasy -in real life I saw heads swivel, men and women alike, stopping dead in their tracks and watching this miracle of nature walked by in her modest summer dress, oblivious to the attention she garners from strangers.
The little child is exactly what you would expect from such parents.
She is stunning, with a more perfectly shaped head than I have ever seen on a baby delivered naturally, coloring like a a china doll, and a rosebud mouth that learned to smile or express wonder very, very quickly.
And everyone, stranger and family alike, marvels at her pictures.
With the exception - several young persons have remarked, in amazement, that she "looks like an alien."

And to them, she does. The people who react so are only children or from small family in which they were the youngest.
More than once
The enormous eyes? alien.
The (at least initially,) spindly arms and legs on a skinny chested, yet big bellied baby? strange.
The head, huge compared to the rest? weird.

So few people today have any real knowledge of how a genuine newborn looks.

Is it any wonder than anyone who is shocked by a newborn's normal appearance finds it easy enough to deny the humanity of an unborn?

I Will Live Forever! ... (and not just in someone's memory)

Have not seen this film , so no comment on it, per se, and I am mindful of the Harry Potter is about witchcraft! hysteria, when it was obviously Christian allegory.
But I'd like to say  that the "You never really die as long as someone remembers you" trope is sadly ubiquitous in pop culture. 
 'Kubo and the Two Strings' is brilliantly animated neo-pagan poison | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views
The spirituality starts out simple as well but becomes more complex before revealing its sinister nature in the third act. An important distinction needs to be made here between traditional paganism and neo-paganism. Ancient pagan societies, not having access yet to God’s divine revelation, relied on the natural law given by God to every person. Born with the innate impulse to worship, they created religious systems out of the most important aspects of their immediate universe: water, sun and moon, plants and animals, fire, war, sexuality, family, and so on. While severely flawed and lacking, their search for truth was genuine, and early Christian missionaries were able to use their philosophies to present the Gospel and being many to Christ (Paul’s ministry to the Greeks in Acts 17 is a perfect example).

It is a way of presenting 'spiritual' stories without admitting, (and sometimes with active denial of,) the existence of the soul, the spirit -- denying any reality, (as opposed to... what? "virtuality"?) of the immortal spirit with which we are each created...
I thought it damaged the finale of Person of Interest, a work that proved to be, ultimately about Redemption.
Although interestingly, that finale, while repeating words said by the protagonist in very early episodes, (thank you, WGN for running these in syndication,) also put the lie to them, as said protagonist was redeemed - in the end, we most certainly do not die alone. Someone is coming, (has come and will come,) to save us.
Haven't I wandered off topic....

Oh, and felicitous typo, (I think) -
Kubo loses its way. This is because it appears to mix together both ancient pagan ideas and beliefs taken from net-paganism.  
I know, right?
But I really appreciate the review/condemnation because it very nicely outline the difference between the ancient Paganism of Ignorance, and the hippie-feminist-hipster-modernist Paganism of Intention

Capsule Wardrobes, What the Hell?

It took me a while, but I finally came to tems with Pinterest.
I started out annoyed by looking for recipes, (how am I gonna use up that scrag end of a pork tenderloin and some tomatoes that are going soft and a nectarine? oh, and B won't eat chunks of onion and E is gluten -free this week and R is dieting), thinking I'd found one when what I'd actually found was a link to a link to someone being all chatty and sharing 25 pictures of the process of greasing a pan, and then at the bottom of the page, "click this link for the complete recipe!" where it was with a sales pitch for something.

But okay, I get it, and I eventually signed on.

But now I am inundated with suggestions from my "friends" (apparently, everyone whose email addy I have ever had,) and I swear, 95% of them are about so-called "capsule wardrobes."


Because Saying Something About Who You Are As Individuals Is What the Sacraments of Christians Initiation Are All About

USCatholic's stable of writers seldom disappoints, ya know?
Planning a Christening?
We needed some ongoing conversations before we could celebrate what I believe is our most important sacrament. Our son’s baptism couldn’t be a rote ritual of water and oil, but one that would say something about who we are as individuals and as a family within a larger community. 
But she needn't ever worry about churchy things, because "God can take care of Godself."
Young enough to have an infant, and talking like one of those aging hippies we need to be kind to at Church as we ease ourselves back into Catholicism...

Oddly, we're heading into the baptism of the newest member of our family, just now.
The father, a nominally Presbyterian non-believer, would like all the sacraments in which he takes part to say something about who he is, and who he is, as he said to the officiant at his wedding, as he tried to wheedle him into allowing a dog as the ring bearer, is a man who could say in front of his bride-to-be, "Nothing in this world means more to me than my dog."

How cherished his fiancee must have felt...

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Wait, You mean "Springtime for Hitler" ISN'T a Real Show?

Not only does this guy owe his investors, he probably owes Mel Brooks royalties.
Roland Scahill claimed to be the lead producer of a new Broadway show and scammed $165,000 from seven would-be investors in less than three months, according to District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office.
Scahill, 41, told his investors he had secured the rights to opera star Kathleen Battle’s life story and that Lupita Nyong’o had signed on to star in a production about her at Broadway’s Booth Theatre, prosecutors said. He also told them Netflix would film the bogus show, dubbed The KB Project, and make it available online, according to prosecutors.
Scahill told his victims he was raising money for the show at a rate of $15,000 per share to fund the first stages of production, prosecutors said.
After a while, the investors wanted their money back, and Scahill sent them checks which bounced, prosecutors said. He had already spent it on stocks, options, credit cards, rent as well as food, alcohol and entertainment, according to prosecutors.
I wonder, were little old ladies involved?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Corn Allergy Recipe -"Boston" "Baked" Black Beans

This isn't ordinarily the helpful hints/recipes/YouveBeenDoingThisWrongYouWholeLife! kind of blog, but I improvised a food prep that might be worth.

I like canned baked beans, or did when I was a child, but can't eat them due to my food allergy, as they virtually all have corn starch, or corn syrup, or distilled vinegar, (which is all made from corn in this country.)
I'm also lazy, and am not likely to make them from scratch, (dried beans are such a crap shoot, as to whether they will ever soften and if so, after how long,) or leave the oven on for as long as necessary.
I suppose between the sugar and the fat these aren't particularly healthy, but don't the black beans count for something?

1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp gritty bacon grease
(you know, not pure white, but with some of the pan "cracklings," or whatever they are called)
1 Tbsp tomato paste 
1 tsp apple cider vinegar 
S & P to taste 
Dash of cloves 
Dash of cumin 
Dash of cinnamon 
1/4 c. molasses 
1/4 c. Brown sugar 
2 cans of black beans, drained (and rinsed if they are very starchy) 
I cooked onion in the bacon grease first, but I suspect I could have just stirred it all together in the slow cooker at the same time.
I cooked it on high (very small, weak slow cooker,) for 4 hours, you can give it a stir half way through if you are feeling so inclined

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Receiving Communion, and Personal Preference

Our priest obviously does not care to distribute the Body of Christ by placing It on the tongue of the communicant.
I've noticed it especially lately as he will, when I reach the head of the line, (I'm sorry, it's not a procession, it's just a line,) quite deliberately return a Host to the ciborium, and instead take up the more sizable portion created when the large Host was broken at the fraction rite, the wedge shape giving him, as it were, a handle.
When I realized his discomfort, I thought for a moment about receiving in the hand whenever he has Mass, and I am seated in the section where I will most probably be in "his" lane. Perhaps he had a legitimate reason for his eccentric ways.
I've known priests, and EMHCs, too, who were shaky, or had bad eyesight, or were extremely short, and the palm of my hand is a bigger "target," and I have more leeway on where I put it.

But then I recalled overhearing someone, several years ago, speaking of how discomfited she was by "Father". This is someone I knew always did receive in the hand, and she thought he recoiled a bit as he proffered the Body of Christ, lest he touch the communicant.
"He DROPS the host in my hand, like he thinks he's going to catch something!" (And this is a woman with the state of whose hands a surgical nurse would find no fault.)
The other women in the convo affirmed that, yes, that was how he did it.

So I decided there was no reason I should worry about his preference.

But more recently there was a youngish woman ministering, a bit of a high maintenance type, and I was, frankly, disgusted by her long nails as I received, (not a good distraction,) and I decided if I were to find myself in "her" line I would receive in the hand.
Well, she approached the altar during the agnus dei this morning and stood on the side of the church on which I was kneeling, so I whipped out the purell for my hands - you see, I don't much care to consume food I have touched (I have a skin disease, there's almost always some foul-tasting medicine on my hands, and between the time I leave home and communion there's been a zillion door knobs, grungy hymnals and unavoidable contacts of various sorts.)

So "disinfected" hands at the ready, I made my way up toward the sanctuary and then found that they'd changed the formation, and I would be receiving from the priest.

And so I received on the tongue.

And now I'm feeling a little sheepish, since I was willing, for my own comfort, to forgo the manner which I find is more powerfully ritualistic, and yes, reverent BECAUSE  IT  TAKES  A  TINY  BIT  MORE  EFFORT  AND  ATTENTION -- but not for his comfort.

And I admit, I don't know why her grungy nails were such a big deal to me, I'm not bat-guano squeamish, I've come to terms with the Host tasting of Acqua di Gio, and I have eaten the Body of Christ off the floor more than once...

I don't know.
I should probably admit, I'm a little obsessed with motherhood and babies at the moment.

Another Cause of Climbing Maternal Mortality Rates?

This is a shocking article, and I would say shameful article on the rise, unique to the US, of death during or in consequence of childbirth.
It is horrifying that deaths are especially on the rise among black women.
But nowhere does it mention something about which I wondered - as infertility treatments become more common, less costly for the individual woman, (more likely payed for by insurance, in other words,) more sought after by people who in another era would be spinsters, isn't it possible that some of it is due to many a women not listening to her own body which has made it clear that it is not prepared, does not think it in its own best interest, it does not wish to carry a baby to term?
It's a thought.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Monsignor Pope on #AdOrientem

He speaks of the "Gamaliel Rule". I like that.
It's kind of the flip side of my attitude.
But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up…. “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. … In the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:34-39).
If it is not of God it will not gain adherents? (Though Islam indicates oterhwise.)
Likewise, if it attracts haters - it may be very powerful.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Maine Restaurateur, Second Amendment Rights, and the Sin of Sodom?

"The outcry against Bishop Galantino is so great, and his sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not his homily fully corresponds to the cry against him that comes to me. I mean to find out."
OK, not really. But this reading, the Sodom and Gomorrah one did come up recently. And if news blog?.... curmudgeon reports are to be believed, the head of the Italian bishops' conference is so ignorant of scripture, even by our Catholic standards, that he didn't realize that, gee, hate to break it to His Excellency, after all that... uhm, God does send down fire and brimstone and Will Ferrel movies and destroys the evil cities.
Is that a real school of thought, that Abraham schooled the Father in mercy the way at least some Jesuits think the Canaanite woman schooled the Son?

At any rate, anyone who discussed the little S & G incident found his combox inundated with Right-minded Persons making sure that everyone "knew" what they themselves professed to "know", (learn a new concept, "virtue signalling",) by hastening to announce, just a wee bit off topic, that oh and by the way, the Sin of Sodom was not what you prudes think is an attempt to force nasty sex on the disguised angelic individuals, but LACK  OF  HOSPITALITY.
Contrast that with the fact that  just a little before that in the cycle of readings, we learned that due to his hospitality Abraham was given a son, (and a nation, and all that.)

This was not really germane to the discussion at hand, the point of which was, nope, Bish, Sodom was NOT saved, and isn't necessarily true, but let's say for the mo it is --

I was just tickled at the NYTimes running a piece, (can't find it to link, because without subscription it would use up by limited access for the month, but this is another media outlet berating the Times for it,) about a liberal provider of public accommodation, who in her anti-gun zeal, (which I, full disclosure, share with her,) will not serve 2nd amendment supporters or certain types of gun owners in her diner.
I could be wrong, but food seems to me a more basic right than, oh, I dunno, wedding flowers? but the Times twisted itself into knots not to condemn the woman.

But isn't that, we don't serve your kind in here! the very definition of being inhospitable?

So the Down East restaurateur was guilty of the sin of Sodom, right?
At least, in the thinking of the New Church we've Sung Into Being, low these past few decades...