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Archive for the ‘Table Talk’ Category

Bad Drinks

As we were folding bulletins today, Marvin asked me if I had ever had rye whiskey and what I thought of it. I told him I had it once and did not like it at all: it was way too raw for it to be any good. He then said he used to drink it when he was younger but he didn’t remember why. I suggested that it was cheap, and probably easier to get, when he was younger, and especially when he was in the military during World War II. He agreed that was probably it.

Then I mentioned how years ago I had seen a large, plastic bottle of “Osco Brand” Scotch at a drug store; it was cheap (less than $10), and so I knew it had to be bad — very, very bad. But I had always wondered how bad.

This got Marvin thinking about bad alcohol in general. Then he mentioned his time in the army and how he once tried to get some aftershave. He was told it was sold out, and that it was always sold out. Perplexed, he asked why and he was told that some soldiers would take it and drink it as soon as it came in. He had never done it nor ever thought of doing so; however, he decided to ask George when he came in if he ever had. George said no, never, but he had once seen some people who had, and they died from it — the mix of chemicals (and probably the kind of alcohol in it) just did not mix well with the human body. 

Coming back from church today, I was almost hit twice by people coming into my lane right in front of me. Once it was at a double turning lane, and the car to my left did not stay in his lane (the reason was, he didn’t mean to get off the beltway, and so he had to go through several lanes to get back on); then a few blocks later, a van on my right saw his lane was going to have to turn right and so just ran right in front of me. Both times I was saved from an accident by fast maneuvering on my part.

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Grey Day

Today is a grey, dreary day. The sky is overcast, the sun is blocked, making for a very cool morning. 

When I walked to Caribou to get my coffee for the day I noticed some of the birds were active as normal, but it seemed as if there was half as much as is normal. Have many of them already left the area? I don’t think so. Are they resting? Possibly. I just don’t know. Maybe they have been so active gathering up food for the winter, that today they are taking a day off. Do birds have their own sabbath?

frank_eating.jpg 

I had lunch with Fr. Frank today to celebrate his new job in Arkansas. He told me he will be moving there sometime in January (probably around the 12th or 13th). He is excited about the position. It turns out that our friend Tommy (who is from Arkansas, and has done catechetical work there) has been helping him get it with the contacts he knows and the reputation he has in the area. Frank told me that he is also concerned about what is going on in South Africa and so if all goes well, he hopes to become a U.S. citizen and retire here.

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Sunday Morning Chat

Talking to people before liturgy at St Gregory’s, I learned 1) George was gone last week because he was giving a speech for Veteran’s Day (as one of the veterans of the Battle of the Bulge), and 2) Marvin is now sick, making him sleep in longer than normal in the mornings. He told me this means he sleep in to 6:20 or so; while that is probably early for most, I told him that it would be extremely late for me, seeing today I woke up at 3:20.

Marvin and I also discussed how unusual the weather has been: today it looks like what one expects it to be like late in October. The really colors coming from the trees are great and still capable of being seen. Earlier this fall I was getting worried that we would not see such grandeur around here: because at such a late time we had yet to see many leaves change color, I thought a big frost and a strong storm would make them drop quickly off their trees and not allow us to see their beauty except decaying on the ground. 

I am thankful that this time I was wrong.

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Fog

A cloud of fog covers the ground. It’s warm outside, but a cold front is coming and will be here by tomorrow. With it comes predictions for powerful thunderstorms to be causing havoc in the area Thursday morning. The wildlife seems to know it: birds are out in a frenzy; they are flying around fast, gathering food as it is available, calling to one another whenever it is found.

The interfaith dinner I went to on Tuesday was quite good. There was a small group of us (only ten were able to make it). After being presented with slides from Patrick Birge   we had a nice dialogue on the arts, raising questions of how the arts can be used for interfaith dialogue, but also what one is to do when religions encounter each other and how are they to dialogue if they do not share all the same arts in common. What does it tell us about a specific religion if some forms of artistic expression are either unknown to it or, in more drastic situations, forbidden?

I also met Fr. Francis Tiso, the Associate Director for the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the USCCB. He shares with me interest in Buddhism and has done considerable research in the field — such that I expect we will have several great chats in the near future (he told me to keep in touch).

Overall, it was a great evening — despite having little sleep before going to the dinner.

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Pick Your Favorite Scotch

It is always interesting to see the kinds of conversations I will have with the people at St Gregory of Nyssa on Sundays. It is not always what one expects.  

For example, this morning, Marvin and I were putting together the bulletins for the week, and while we were doing that, we were talking about scotch. He told me he was running out and wanted me to make some suggestions of which brands to choose from or try. He likes to sip some from time to time, so a bottle lasts for some time.

When George arrived, Marvin told George that we were talking about his favorite topic — booze, and, in particular, scotch. George mentioned he had a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue (a $250 bottle)  that he had been given and did not know when he would open it. He said he wanted to make sure it was the right time. Marvin just pointed out it should be sooner than later (they are both World War II Veterans, and so, Marvin was just suggesting he better use it while he can or before it is too late and he will never use it). 

We then started talking about politics. George agreed with me: the two parties are both full of crooks, and neither are really looking for the best interests of the American people. I’ve found, more often than not, the older people get, the more they realize this.

I just wonder why, if I have I realized it as such an early age, most people do not.

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Just got back from a morning of work and study at CUA. It is a beautiful, sunny day; the temperature is not too hot (in the 80s), but there is way too much humidity in the air for me to be comfortable outside.

While on campus, I made sure I stopped by my mailbox and finally picked up a book I lent to Dr Casarella last May.  While there, I found a large stack of books and journals were being given out to anyone who wanted them. I took a few old volumes of the proceedings from the Catholic Theological Society of America. There were a few others I thought about taking, but I decided I did not have enough room to start collecting journals.

At the library, I was able to get through a little more than a third of Vol I of Balthasar’s Theo-Logic before lunch. Mark and I went to Col. Brooks’, where I had a Spanish Omelette. We talked about teaching, and how student evalutions of professors hinder those in a tenure-track positions from actually teaching their students. Professors end up more concerned about their own grade by the students than the students by the professor, because their livelihood depends upon favorable evaluations! Moreover, Mark mentioned how, in an art class he took years ago, the class all agreed to write upon the evaluation that the professor was “like a second mother.”  Apparently, the dean thought there was something fishy with that response and had a meeting with the instructor before the end of the semester about it.

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