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!


Communication keeps a marriage strong.

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.


Valentine’s Day Massacre

(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!


Go, and never darken my towels again.

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl.  I didn’t even watch the Puppy Bowl, which is what the kids were watching.  I sat in the kitchen and ate so much hot spinach artichoke dip that I didn’t even have room for the main dish, which was bacon.  Bacon, do you hear me?

Okay, I had a few pieces.  But I didn’t have room!

Anyway, I guess I missed the main point of the Super Bowl, which was the commercials.  Sounds like I didn’t miss much.  I know that they’re often trashy and offensive, and everyone says they were also stupid and annoying this year.  And . . . violent?  Here’s what DoubleX Factor’s Marjorie Valbrun had to say:

Aside from being sexist, several ads . . . seemed surprisingly violent, including those focused on men. I had not watched a Super Bowl game in several years, so perhaps the level of violence is not that unusual to regular watchers. But they still seemed aggressively physical. . . Do the commercials really have to be just as physical as the game to hold our attention?

I have a really hard time seeing the problem with aggressively physical commercials aired during a game which is about trying to kill each other.  I guess the bloggers just bored with being outraged about sexism, which I can understand — it must be exhausting, especially for poor, frail females!  Tee hee.

In case you are not familiar with the Double X Blog, it’s from the liberal but contrarianSlate magazine, and has the montrsously inaccurate tagline, “What women really think.”  This is kind of like a bag of salt having the tagline, “What slugs really want.”  Nevertheless, I read the dreadful thing to keep in touch with the kind of women who (and this really happened once) see me coming down with the sidewalk with my kids and say, “Eek!” and run away.

Most of the writers are run-of-the-mill, perpetually outraged feminists.  Amanda Marcotte stands out for her near-epileptic, flecks-of-spittle style of journalism, which recently and notably led her to blame pro-lifers for the grisly horrors committed by Kermit Gosnell.  Even her fellow bloggers took her to task for that bizarre accusation.  I can’t even worry too much about the damage she can do with that point of view, because you’d have to be so far down nutso creek to take her seriously, there’s no turning back.

Okay, fine, so back to the Super Bowl:  the women didn’t like the violence, they didn’t like the sexism, they didn’t like the stupidity.  But then the blogger had this to say:

It felt as if advertisers went for cheap laughs this year at the expense of imagination or wit.  I almost expected the Marx Brothers to show up.

Ohhh, no.

No, no, no.

Humorless feminist, you have gone too far.  The Marx Brothers signify a dearth of imagination and wit?  What is this, backwards day?

I desperately hope she simply has never seen a Marx Brothers movie, and only knows that they’re those black-and-white guys in the window of Poster Barn at the mall.  And this is a crying shame.  If you look up “imagination and wit” in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Harpo Marx giving his leg to a blonde debutante.  If you Google “imagination and wit, ” you will hear Groucho telling Margaret Dumont, “Those are my principles!  And if you don’t like them . . . well, I have others.”  And if it’s sexism you like, here’s Groucho as Captain Spaulding, the African Explorer:  “We took some pictures of the native girls, but they weren’t developed yet.  But we’re going back again in a couple of weeks!”

We’re doing our part to innoculate our kids against creeping radical feminism:  we’re having a Marx Brothers festival.  So far we’ve seen A Night at the Opera, Duck Soup,Horse Feathers, and even A Night in Casablanca, which was much funnier than I remembered.

Well, Marjorie Valbrun, why don’t you bore a hole in yourself and let the sap run out.  Normal humans:  what’s your favorite Marx Brothers line?



I’m going!

to the first ever Faith and Family Mom’s Day Away in Stoneham, MA!

It will be April 2, which is the baby’s birthday.  Too bad, baby!  Mama’s going to hang out with Danielle Bean, Jen Fulwiler, and Rachel Balducci, who will all be speaking at the event:

In addition to the talks, our schedule for the day will include Mass, opportunity for personal prayer, adoration, and confession, catered lunch, select vendors, and book signings.

I happen to know that the following fascinating women will also be there:  Hallie Lord!  Rebecca Teti!   Melanie Bettenelli with her guaranteed beautiful new baby! Lisa Mladinich! Kate Wicker! Pat Gohn! Dorian Speed!  Lisa Hendey! Siouxsie and the Banshees!  Or maybe I just dreamed that!

It was kind of a long night.  The baby decided she was no longer going to fall for this ridiculous “sleeping” routine, and by the time she succumbed, I was wide awake and ready to fret the night away.  Then she woke up again half an hour before the alarm went off.  So I changed her, started some laundry, some coffee, and some cream of wheat (yes, they each ended up in the proper receptacles somehow).  Got the kids out of bed, and 45 minutes later we were all in the van, just waiting for my son.  I had seen him with his jacket and one boot already on, so I assumed it was safe to get into the car and leave him to figure out the rest on his own.

Mothers, never underestimate an 8-year-old boy’s ability to  . . . just stand there.  For any amount of time, for no particular reason.  He has other talents, but his main one is . . . just standing there.  Eventually I got the little goober out the door and into his seatbelt.  We blasted through the fresh blanket of snow that had fallen (because yes, Lord, yes — we needed more snow.  More snow is exactly what we needed) and onto the highway.

Fifty yards down the road, a truck stopped in front of me to make a left turn.  I stopped.  I really did stop.  I stepped on the brakes, anyway.  But after several seconds of dreadful, silent drift, it became clear to me that I could either smash into the truck, or into the snow bank.  The snow bank looked like it was resigned to more smashing, so that’s the route I took.

And you know what?  No one got hurt, the van was fine, I didn’t hit the truck in front of me.  AND, the driver of the truck pulled over to make sure we were okay; she lent me her phone, and while I was calling my husband, two guys stopped to help.  While one of them was hooking up a chain to the van’s back bumper, a volunteer from the fire department stopped to direct traffic.  Everyone was just lovely, and within five minutes, I was back on the road.  Isn’t that nice?

However, I believe I could use a day away, even if I have to wait for April!  And I know you could, too.  It really does sound like it’s going to be a wonderful time.  If you can make it at all, I would absolutely love to meet you there!  And yes, if I can get my act together, I will be handing out Pants Passes.


A fine day . . .

Guess what I did yesterday?

That’s right, I took the four youngest kids and picked up their older brother from the mountain 40 minutes away because he broke his elbow on the school ski trip; got lost,  got lunch for the other kids, discovered I was short one lunch and went through the drive-through, picked up the math workbook we left at the dentist’s office a month ago, got gas, realized that if I tried to find the hospital which was closer than our normal one, I’d get lost again; went home, changed the baby, threw in some laundry, raked snow off the roof and dug out the mailbox, took the five kids at home and picked up the other three from their ski trip, dragged them all to the hospital, discovered the elbow was actually just bruised, ran to the supermarket for supper, gave the kids a stern lecture about patience, was thoroughly  ignored, went home, and pretended to forget that I had promised severe comeuppance for those among us who bite others among us in parking lots.

In the few minutes we were actually home, the baby managed to climb on the countertop and smash some decorative eggs, pour the last coffee grounds in the house into reservoir of the coffee machine, twist her brother’s new glasses so badly that the lens fell out and the temple piece sticks out of the case like a broken limb, and push a stool up to the stove and turn on the oven.

She also took the clean laundry out of the dryer and threw it in the toilet.  But she always does that.

In the several hours we were in the car, the toddler did two things:  screamed, and peed.

What I’m trying to tell you is that this is a really good day for me to have two articles in different places today.  Not here.   Somewhere else.  Just . . . just leave me alone in my wretchedness.  These are both pieces my regular readers have seen before, but I’m delighted to see that I’ve picked up several new readers in the last few weeks!  So they will be new to you guys, anyway, and thanks for joining us.

At Faith and Family Live, it’s “What I Say to Mary:  A Mother’s Prayer” — a little slice of life, exterior and interior.

And at Inside Catholic, it’s “No Petty Virtues,” which will be up sometime in the middle of the day (but I will be out, so I’m saying this now).  It’s about generosity, prudence, and Superman!  Sort of.

Please come check them out!   And have a lovely weekend.


Defund! Defund! Defund!

A Massachusetts antiabortion group has unveiled a bill that would let individual taxpayers opt out of paying for publicly funded abortions. Under the measure, a taxpayer could choose to have whatever portion of their state taxes pays for abortion coverage directed instead to the Baby Safe Haven Law. That law allows parents to leave unwanted newborns at fire stations and other designated locations.
I LOVE this idea.  Puts those Planned Parenthood ghouls in the position of saying,  “We don’t want desperate mothers to have a way to unburden themselves of a baby they don’t want or can’t care for.  Women should not have the choice to go to a safe location — they should be forced to do what their government and big corporations want them to do.”
Anne Fox, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, said the bill, one of several filed by the group for the new legislative session, would give residents who oppose abortion a way of exercising their conscience. The head of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, Andrea Miller, said she had not seen the bill but argued that tax dollars routinely go toward many things that a given taxpayer might not agree with. (AP)
Let me translate for you:  “But that’s ourrrrrrrrrr money!  It’s not fai-i-i-i-ir that someone was clever and enterprising enough to push for laws that a majority of citizens want!  We are, and always have been, opposed to choice for Americans!”
This is the way to do it.  Prayer, huge, peaceful protest, the brilliant Lila Rose with her exposés, and defund, defund, defund.  Some abortionists are just plain evil, and some, I’m sure, sincerely believe they are helping women.  But most of them are in it for the money, pure and simple — and they are making plenty of it.  Time to cut them off.
Oh, and I love how the Globe and other media think it’s some kind of stinging insult to say “antiabortion” instead of “prolife.”    Call me “antiabortion” all day long, folks.  Abortion is the kind of thing that the prefix “anti” was invented for.
(cross-posted on Inside Catholic)