Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quick takes for no particular reason

I'm usually really busy on Thursdays, so I keep missing the "Friday Quick Takes" tradition that got started over on Conversion Diary. It's been so long since I posted that I'm going to just break into your day with bits of whatever has been striking my fancy lately. It's mostly practical stuff, but we'll lead off with a quotation from the esteemed Cardinal George on the American Catholic Church.
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"Liberals are critical of [authority], although they’ll use it when they’re in power. Conservatives would tend to be less critical, but equally dependent upon it. Consequently, when you get into the church, you get the conservatives unhappy because bishops aren’t using power the way they’re supposed to, the way they want them to. You get liberals who are unhappy because [the bishops] have any power at all. Both of them are defining themselves vis-à-vis the bishops rather than vis-à-vis Christ, who uses the bishops to govern the church. It’s not a Christ-centered church, as it’s supposed to be, it’s a bishop-centered church."

Francis Cardinal George

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It's my belief that one of the most significant spiritual gifts is a profound love for children. My husband has it. I don't, although I have always deeply loved my own children and grandchildren. There are many kids of whom I am quite fond when I've gotten to know them, but love for Children as a genre is foreign to me. For Henry, it's another matter entirely. Put a couple of babies in the pew in front of us, and he's hard pressed to tear himself from charming them enough to pay attention to the homily.

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If you haven't yet gotten turned on to Paperback Swap, hie thee hence immediately. You offer the books (both paper and hardbound) that you no longer want and earn credits that you can use for requesting books that others have offered. (After you post your first 10 books, you get two credits as a "welcome" gift to get you started.) I have a wonderful stack of books waiting for me right now. There is no richer feeling. Plus, I've greatly enhanced my professional library with books that, I suspect, were required reading in college courses somewhere but which will actually now do somebody some good.

Hint: We had a stash of Christian romance novels we acquired as left-behinds from formerly-teenaged daughters. (In family parlance, we refer to them as "Christian bodice-rippers", but don't tell anyone.) They were wildly popular on the swap market. Some of our more staid books haven't moved quite as quickly, but you never know. But now I know what to look for next time I go to one of those "buck-a-box" book sales in the basement of the library.

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Have I mentioned before my deep and abiding affection for my Tivo? Just saying. It protects my priorities -- I never am tempted to run home from somewhere to catch the opening scenes of Lie to Me.

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Have I mentioned before my deep and abiding affection for Facebook? It's easy as pie to have casual conversations with kids and friends and keep reasonably up to date with "what's up" with them. It's now the standard place to find pictures of my granddaughters. And I'm reconnecting with old friends from years back I never would have found otherwise. Yes, it can be a time sink, so be warned.

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Another "have you discovered?" item: If you have an Amazon wish list, you may not be aware that you can add a button to your browser that will add any item from any site, anywhere, to your wish list at Amazon. This way, you can keep all the things you have your eye on in one place. I wish this had been in place when I was getting married and setting up a bridal registry.

I can imagine it would have other private uses, too, such as keeping track of cars you're considering purchasing and the like. I suppose Delicious and other bookmarking sites are better for this sort of thing, though.

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As you may be able to tell, I'm crazy for online productivity tools. Happy to share what I know with anyone. Any time. Anywhere. Feel free to ask me to stop.

POSTSCRIPT The Biebl Ave Maria I talked about in the last post? The choir sang it yesterday as a meditation at the end of communion. Henry, I and our sore throats were in the congregation. It was -- wow. That's all I can say. It was "anointed" as they say in charismatic circles. And I was speechless, which doesn't happen often.




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"There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."

Pres. Barack Obama, Feb 5, 2009