Friday, March 13, 2009

"welcome to the train fantastique. that's the fantastic train."

cta adventure! that's right.

i got on the brown line friday evening and heard, "this is a brown line train to kimballllllaboard." see how he did that? that's clever. but, for those of you who don't know, the cta drivers don't usually talk. they have a recorded voice that can say pretty much whatever. and usually when they do talk, they sound appropriately bored and distant.

so, of course, the excited-sounding driver made everyone nervous.

at the next stop, he said, "will all the people with chocolate sculptures please come to the front? i enjoy chocolate..." some people behind me were like, is he high? what's he talking about? and i sat quietly, admiring the chocolate sculpture the girl in front of me was holding. [not very observant, my fellow passengers.]

when i got off the train, the driver was leaning out the window [i'm not sure how it works other places, but on the el, the driver looks out the window to make sure everyone's on the train] talking to chocolate sculpture girl, all "why didn't you come up?" and she was all, haha, thanks, whatever. now, the driver was cute. i told him thanks for talking. and he was like, "there were chocolate sculptures!" but then he had to go. he was driving a train.

would you all still be friends with me if i dated a cta driver? and, do you think he'd let me drive the train? i'm just asking.

after the train left, i was walking next to the girl with the chocolate sculpture and asked her about it. while we were talking, i ran into a pole. it was one of those incidents where i wasn't like, "crap, i ran into a pole" - more like, "why am i not walking anymore? and what just hit me?" it's always a little embarrassing, though, especially with a stranger who might think i'm crazy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

in which i, once again, confuse the west wing with reality.

everyone i love [oh, that's a lie, but you know] loves rachel maddow. right?!

anyway, she interviewed megan mccain and pilgrim soul at harpyness blogged about it. [and linked to the video.]
We were all 24 and opinionated once! Many of us continue to own “serious hair” flatirons out of sheer professional necessity!
hahaha. that's kind of unrelated to the rest of my point, but that's the first reason i loved this post. see how serious my hair is! i am a serious adult!

well, after watching - yes, ms. mccain does sure take herself seriously. she does seem a little naive. but i kind of like her. and here are my reasons.
1. i tell my life story to strangers too! YEAH. we'd be BFF, probably.
2. i'm no politician - but i LOVE how she admits she doesn't know the answers to the economic questions. i mean, her whole "i'm curious about politics!" is a little strange from a supposed voice in the party, i think, but she's not running for office and i appreciate her honesty.
3. she's ainsley hayes! only not as brilliant and incisive.

do you all remember the ainsley hayes storyline from season 2 of the west wing? she was a "blond, leggy, republican" who went against sam on a political show and got a lot of anti-feminist [and anti-republican] flack for it - and i really liked how the show handled the story. she got some lines to explain her positions [most interestingly, i thought, about how she thinks the ERA is patronizing because the 14th amendment gives women rights already], and she got CJ to defend her.
cj: [everyone hates her] because she's a blond republican woman, and i think it's prejudiced in a bad way, and i'm coming down on her side.
toby: by the way, you are a beautiful woman, and nobody ever assumed you were either ambitious or stupid.
cj: toby. it took two years.
right. don't tell me that there hasn't been any prejudice against me, guys. in the same way you don't tell other races that racism's over.

anyway. related in politics!

this whole thing about putting up a billboard in rush limbaugh's hometown. [in response to how he hopes obama fails.] here's the email i got from the democratic party.
Last week, I asked if you had a message you'd like to send Rush Limbaugh. The response was overwhelming. We received tens of thousands of submissions, and we picked the top five:
  • "Americans didn't vote for a Rush to failure"

  • "Hope and change cannot be Rush'd"

  • "Failure is not an option for America's future"

  • "We can fix America, just don't Rush it"

  • "Rush: Say yes to America"
Now, we're putting it up for a vote. Decide which slogan Rush will see in his home town.

The slogan with the most votes will be put on a billboard where Rush can't miss it.

It's up to you to let Rush know that Americans reject his desire to see President Obama -- and our country -- fail.
i mean, how is this useful? according to the donation website - "Americans know that when President Obama succeeds, we all do. It's time to leave behind partisan attack politics and stand behind the policies that will strengthen and renew America's economy."

and putting up a billboard in rush limbaugh's hometown is TOTALLY NOT partisan attack politics. because, see, this time our side gets to be mean! seriously. this is what you want my money for? because it seems like it could me more cost-effective to, i don't know, send him a telegram. and then we could use the rest of our money for CHANGE or something.

also, all those suggestions are really, really not clever. puns on his name? seriously? and we've always seemed like such a funny party, in general...

ah, i remember this well.

thanks, friends, for studying abroad in college right after i got my laptop. and amazing me with the ability i had to talk to you, online, even across the ocean.

i really love to come home, unwind, and blog about my day. i don't know what the connection is, since i don't like to journal or return emails or do many other productive things - but i love doing this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

FRB, gardener.

my daffodils are blooming! i bought them at trader joe's for $1.69. they were not in water when i bought them, but don't worry - there was a multicolored sign explaining why. [well, not really why. just that the farmer recommended it.] i got a bunch with all the buds closed, so that it would be more exciting. then i cut off the end of the stems and put them in a guinness glass in water. then they bloomed! and that, friends, is the limit of my gardening ability.

wait, that and the fact that i am reading animal, vegetable, miracle without a translator.

also, stumbled on [um, that's a lie, because i clicked on it on purpose] this facebook group on abbreviations, and of course, immediately checked to see about "usj." they're saying "uje" - i don't know, guys.

Monday, March 09, 2009

awesome three bean polenta vegetarian mexican lasagne of awesome.

[i'm trying out some search engine optimization here.]

invented a delicious recipe tonight. and i'm not sure i can explain it with "proper measurements" and "a list of ingredients" - but here you go. i'd recommend a nine by thirteen pan, but i used a smaller and higher-sided pan [one of those ones that has a cover] and a ramekin, and then i had some left over.

1. i greased the pan with my misto olive oil sprayer [best purchase ever] and sliced up the polenta to lay it in the bottom. polenta's that thing that's made out of corn and comes in a tube like jimmy dean sausage. i tried to fill in all the gaps with tiny polenta pieces, but then i just crumbled it all up with my hand and that worked much better.

2. i sauteed up a bunch of peppers [trader joe's frozen three-pepper blend, which is a staple of my diet] and onions and garlic, like i always do, and put them on top of the polenta. should have added salt and pepper, but i forgot.

3. invented some mexican rice! it came out gooooood. there was like a cup and a half left in the bag of brown rice, and i used the extra water from a container of trader joe's fresh salsa plus some more water to make about two and a half cups total. so, a little less water than the directions called for, because i was also adding the fresh salsa. should have seasoned it here with chili powder, cumin, and such, but i forgot and added it later. anyway, cooked up the rice and added it as the next layer.

4. poured a can of enchilada sauce over the top, and added some tapatio hot sauce. [mmmm, tapatio, mi mejor amigo.]

5. drained three cans of beans - one pinto, one black, one cannellini. i always rinse them just a little bit. don't know if that's a good idea. but then i put them on top of all the other stuff.

6. and i covered the whole thing with cheese.

7. and put it in the oven at 350 for like twenty minutes, until the sides bubble and the cheese melts. it doesn't need to cook a ton, because it's all already cooked - i made it for tomorrow, though, so i'm not sure if it was warm all through because we're going to reheat in anyway.

my camera's broken. but i promise, it looked and tasted great.

all googly!

i'm a top hit!

i feel proud. even though it seems like the way to get people to click on my site, then leave immediately [i'm like, stay, guys! look around!] is to name a post with lyrics from a kind of obscure indie rock song. sorry to disappoint you, google searchers.

but look! in a search that people might actually make...

are you looking for a catholic blog about faith and reason? then stay! but, apparently, beware of my sometimes-hatred for catholic bloggers.

an interesting piece on public transportation - kudos for mentions of convenience and people's assumptions of what we can and cannot do if we don't own cars. i remember overhearing a woman [with a baby in a stroller, too] asking if she could interview that day, instead of coming back the next day, because she had taken the bus [in the un-bus-friendly city where i grew up]. and, in chicago, i had a neighbor who walked with a cane who used to walk up the million steps at our non-accessible train station. and, when i scoot to my seat as the bus is already moving or climb over ice piles on the sidewalk, i think there might be other reasons that older people move to the suburbs. city life seems to demand a certain amount of health and ability to get around, especially if you're living on a budget... in a building without an elevator... commuting without a car...

"Just Try and Get Past Us, Uglies!"

yup, i'm going to go ahead and vote for this poster's caption [in the post title]. hey, we can't all agree. that's why it's called an open caption.

who's excited for the new twilight? this girl! [but not tina fey.]

a popular and important tv show.


that is, nobody except kelly kapoor. [okayyyy, i know her real name. it is mindy kaling.]

well helloooo, smiley mccrinklyeyes. hey, look over here! remember when you were in all those movies we studied in shakespeare and film class? those were some good times.

i know the wire is supposed to be all serious and all. i've never watched it, and really, i feel a little jerkish being flip about cute boys in a show that's about some things that are really, seriously, both bad and true. but this is the viewpoint i was missing on the wire, as a tv show. [if you're into hetero-normativity and gender roles.]
Are you seriously not watching this show yet? Haven’t your most insufferable male friends told you this is the best thing since “The Shield”? (but girls, unlike the very good but bafflingly hot-guy-free “The Shield”, this show features dreamboat and Mona Lisa Smile alum Dominic “Black Irish, Super Babe” West).
and i promise that, if and when i watch this show, i will think of all sorts of serious things and not just dominic west.

fyi, shane west is not on the wire. i hate nicholas sparks because of one time when he was mean to my friend. ["you want to be a writer? my advice to you is to sell out and write what people want. it's the only way to be successful."] and also, blarrghhh to all his books. but my roommate in college watched a walk to remember one night, and i was all scornful for approximately two seconds before i cried and cried. and fell a little bit in love with shane west, who is older than he looks.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

FRB hates catholic bloggers.

well, i sometimes do. except this one.

yes, friends, welcome to lolsaints. [i've always thought there was something vaguely outrage-worthy about lolcats, but wikipedia tells me it's all okay - surely the best thing about wikipedia is its forced seriousness. and, did you know richard dawkins invented the word "meme" to talk about religion and such? that's a connection in this post that i did NOT see coming.]

so, anyway. moving on to more things i love and hate. i had a pretty bad day reading all this.

[the good]

i'm not sure i agree with this exercise of faith, in which a nurse is fired for offering to pray for a patient. although this is interesting...
"A sensitive inquiry as to whether a patient would value prayer may well be an appropriate part of a medical consultation especially in an NHS [National Health Service] where some NHS trusts actually pay spiritual healers as part of the care team," said Saunders.
anyway, the thing that really struck me was this string of responses.
1. bad christians are to blame for a bad perception of christians.
2. secularism is not the same as atheism.
3. "I want to be able to attend a public event without someone officially praying their belief over me."

remarkably fair and balanced, i thought. i was really surprised, coming from zenit. but separation of church and state! churchy people like it! yayyy!

[the bad]

this article, however, makes me want to say fuck you, you fucking fuck. [it's okay. i'm quoting the sidewalk.] phdork at pursuit of harpyness tipped me off to this [while also teaching me the word "limn," which i didn't know] and gives a really reasonable "maybe i don't know everything about catholicism, but" viewpoint on it. thanks for going for a little humility as far as recognizing that you're not an expert on catholicism, new blogfriend. [i don't always expect as much from "secular" bloggers. see below.] and thanks for making yourself look normal, because this guy is SO BAD. on so many fronts.
I completely understand that Mr. Thompson doesn’t like what these sisters stand for, and he has every right to address what I would guess he views as their heretical perversions of the One True Church’s teachings. But he’s not doing that. He’s bagging on nuns for their looks.
i'd guess she's right, yeah? and besides this clear anti-feminist crap, what i hate is this toxic hatred for the other side. i can't take it. i'm so done with people equating "faithful catholic" with "hierarchy lover" or "lockstep traditionalist." i mean, how can you have even a cursory knowledge of church history and ignore the fact that God is still speaking?

from the sisters...
But I think if we believe in what we are doing (and I definitely do) we just have to be peacefully about our business, which is announcing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fostering the Reign of God in this world. We cannot, of course, keep [the Vatican representatives] from investigating. But we can receive them, politely and kindly, for what they are, uninvited guests who should be received in the parlor, not given the run of the house.
HONESTLY, damien thompson. compared to this, or compared to anything else, you look like an ass. the papacy doesn't need your help. i'm sure that the vatican can handle their own supposed problems. they are not being THREATENED by NUNS who want to HELP PEOPLE, and neither are you. it's not like they're kicking puppies or publicly denying the pope. they're expressing caution about the vatican representatives' visit and wondering if their form of religious life will be understood. which, you know, seems reasonable. and even if you feel threatened, can you bring yourself to have enough faith in the hierarchy you respect so much to let them decide about what these sisters are doing?

or, have i caught you thinking that you're the one in charge of doctrine and heresy? right.

and, for the record, "birthing" is a legitimate metaphor for creating something new. it takes work. it brings life. it's difficult and miraculous. [not that i'd know, but still.] the assumption that mother church has nothing to do with women is something i still argue about, even with my friends. the feminine images for God are there, guys! in the bible, in our tradition, even in the catechism that many traditionalists love so much. they make some people uncomfortable because we're not used to hearing them. because of years of patriarchy. because some men [and women, let's not forget] have unjustly kept God looking like a man. because of the inequality between genders, which, theologically speaking, is a result of the fall. not a result of God's creating man and woman both in God's own image.

[the untrue]

so time accused the catholic church of making up this whole FOCA thing, and jezebel's all over it. now, i usually love jezebel. but here's the thing. first of all, the headline - "Bishops Manufacturing Abortion Controversy To Keep Parishioners Engaged." seriously, WHERE do you get the bishops' motive out of this news story? i hear the politics and culture wars thing. maybe i hear the money thing, although i've never heard an abortion-related collection taken up in church for anything except pregnancy crisis centers. [usually it's just prayer and outrage. we're not actually collecting money for the republican party, guys.] but let's say you believe that abortion is murder, as they say. wouldn't you also overreact to actually hearing obama say that he wants to sign FOCA, as an astute commenter points out? [the youtube video is linked, and the same commenter writes about what she thinks he actually meant.] and, i mean, let's hold off on blaming the hierarchy for an email chain of over-reaction on a bill that's not actually being considered. that part's an overreaction to something you heard in the news. kind of like what's happening here, on the other side of the issue.

yes, i personally think the abortion issue is too high on the list of things on which many catholic people like to spend their money, time, and outrage. but if you believe life begins at conception [or might begin at conception and does begin before birth, which is the actual party line], then it's hard to get away from it. again, still important to temper all of this with care for women, actually-born babies, people who are poor, people who live in places other than america, all kinds of other things - but this is a faith-based and rights-based issue, on both sides, and we're going to need to find some other ways to talk about it. on both sides, i hope.


of course, i'm very lucky. i asked my students if they know any catholics who only care about abortion, and THEY DON'T. i was amazed. we pray for all kinds of things at my parish, including people who are poor, people out of jobs, politicians, soldiers, and victims of war. where i live, i hear a liberal message if i hear any slant.

but i read blogs of all catholic types, and i worry. on all sides.


hi, friends. most of you know i haven't really been myself these few weeks. but i've missed you, and missed blogging. and you know what brought me back? yup, that thing that goes before and after a fall - pride.
Hi, faith.reason.etc (faithrb).

Barack Obama (BarackObama) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Barack Obama's profile here:

which means, clearly, that barack obama is very confused by my convoluted tweets right now.

okay, here's what it's supposed to say, from bottom to top...
  • 12:00: Ask your local Starbucks guy if Via is any good. Maybe he'll be like mine and give you a FREE SAMPLE!!!
  • 3:00: You know when you're at a coffee shop and a guy strikes up a conversation with you, then his smiley girlfriend comes over...
  • 3:00: ...with two coffees and joins the conversation? I feel like I'm on a sitcom.
  • 4:30: A coffee shop baby just ran up to another baby to chat. His message: Hi! Then, pointing: Look, my dad!
  • 4:30: Both babies have frog boots.
  • 8:00: Gave up meat for Lent. Living out my faith by eating a lot of sushi - although I did successfully walk by Rib-O-Rama on the way.
[the missing tweet appeared as i was writing this post. never mind that i sent it eight hours ago. for the record, i blame MY STUPID-ASS PHONE.]