I invite you to sign The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration

Theodore's Memorial Video

Monday, July 31, 2006

Not sure what the name of this song is, but...

I found these lyrics on a torn page of that music(see earlier post). I think a dog chewed on it. All that I could decipher were the chorus and verses 7 and 8.

It is I, Lord, here I am, Lord!
I have heard you mourning o'er your plight.
I will go, Lord, take it easy.
I will lighten up your people's night.

I, the Creator of all,
Sending out a distress call.
Waiting for help to appear.
What's that I hear?

I can't thank you quite enough,
Without you it would be rough.
I will sing your praise to men
And to women!

Inspirational. I have been trying to recall the melody.

Today, I showed the noisykids how to taste wine. I remember going on a day trip to some Napa Valley vineyards about twenty years ago, and I thrilled the children with stories of touring wineries and seeing basements full of casks of wine. I told them the best part had to be sampling the products of all the vineyards. I described the bars, with bottles of wine just waiting to be sampled, the small glasses that were filled with wine, and the adventure of sampling all the free wine you could handle. What I forgot to tell them about were the spitoons available to those who did not want to get inebriated as the day went on. They were quite surprised when I suddenly got rid of my wine sample into the sink.

Off to look for a good recipe that needs a bottle of wine to make it. Chicken Marsala?

I recall going on a campout with the scouts where the main ingredient in our barbecue chicken - which was really just stewed chicken in a pot - was a bottle of red wine. I think that the alcohol in the wine may have killed off any bacteria that were present in the frozen center of each piece of chicken. Maybe.

Maybe not. I recall later that night having to go to the restroom, and spending a long time searching for the zipper at the end of the tent. I couldn't find it, and had just drawn my trusty utility knife to slash my way out(I was that desperate) when one of the other boys in the tent woke up and told me I was at the wrong end of the tent.

Actually, the best experience I had in the scouts was the summer of 1976, when my father and three of my brothers and I went to a week long camping trip to a scout camp somewhere in Michigan. The first day of the camp was July 4, 1976, so we celebrated the Bicentennial under the stars. For the rest of the week, I had a blast, working on merit badges and skill awards, trapping(and releasing) squirrels for a mammal merit badge. Eating a meal from various plants that I collected. Making a fire, cooking a portion of ground beef over it, then eating it and the ashes that covered it when the meat fell on top of the coals. Mmmmmmmmmm. It was a lot of fun. I will make time this fall to camp with some of my noisykids.

All the way from lyrics to thoughts on camping.

The little noisykids don't seem to mind that I end all stories with the phrase, "And they all lived happily ever after until a metorite hit the earth, clouds covered the earth, and caused the extinction of every vertebrate"

Does it bother you?

F-K 6.0 (I'm getting worse, not better!)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Would You Call this Cuddly?

What is this?

I saw it in a store, and had to resist the urge to buy it. If you grab it by the tongue, it starts talking to you. Its comments were limited to a few complaints about how I was hurting it by pulling on its tongue.

Why would you develop a toy that urges you to pull its tongue and then complains about it? I think this is an example of how we are being desensitized to the suffering of others, starting at a very young age. The culmination of such a desensitization program are slasher movies; one in particular(Hostel) features torture of people who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. What amazes me is this is considered entertainment. Having seen a few people suffer in my day, I can say that it is no fun - especially when the one suffering is my wife or one of the noisykids. So to think that someone would go to a movie and enjoy watching people being rent into their various components is just sick.

Somewhere I have a copy of a document Salvifici Doloris by the late Pope John Paul II. In it he discusses the meaning of suffering and how we can unite our suffering with Christ. He even mentions those of us whose role it is to help those who suffer. But nowhere in there does he consider suffering to be entertaining.

NO, I did NOT watch that movie I mentioned. I overheard someone talking about it.

F-K 8.4

A Brief Ode to Coffee

Sometimes a cup of coffee is so good, you just have to capture the moment in some manner. I took a picture of this cup of coffee; I am certain the coffee served in Heaven will be like this coffee.

It inspired this Haiku:

Coffee for dessert
perfect crown atop the bill
for tonight's dinner

I wrote that myself.


Lost Lyrics Found

It has been a challenging week.

Mom, the noisykids and I have taken turns experiencing a summertime flu bug. This morning, before returning to work, I stopped by the local supermarket to replenish our stores of ginger ale, crackers, popsicles, and lemon-lime soda. After scanning twenty big bottles of soda and boxes of popsicles, the checkout lady said, "having a party?"

"My life is one big party." I said, giving her a meaningful look.

So much for reviewing books and publishing these reports on my blog. Instead, I have spent the time shooting off brief reports from old notes and pictures. Tonight I was just about to close this note when I spied a copy of an old book of hymns. It was from an obscure German band called MetaltrÄch (pronounced metal trake), and the dedication page stated this was “Music dedicated to, inspired by, and written for the group Iron Butterfly” The entrance hymn consisted of a twenty minute drum solo, which suddenly segued into that familiar entrance song, “Gather Us In.” None of this seemed remarkable; except there was a verse of the song I do not recall hearing in recent years. It went like this:

We are so cool,
We are so amazing.
We are the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Perfect people
On whom God is gazing
Tolerate us or we’ll step on your head!

Gather us in…la la la....

I was amazed. I read it several times just to be sure. I still could not believe it. I remember getting all the MetaltrÄch albums as a kid(Also Sprach MetaltrÄch, Abundant Love of MetaltrÄch, Every Good Boy Deserves a MetaltrÄch, and MetaltrÄch: Dance Party Mix with Biz-E-Cheez), and it seems to me one of the members of the group went on to work on some big time musicals like ‘Cats’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ So maybe there is some truth to the similarity between modern church music and opera music from Andrew Lloyd Weber. I cannot verify this, but it does raise my suspicions.

Father John, you are in our prayers.

F-K 7.9

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Illness Abounds

The noisykids are ill. It is Christmas in July, with the seasonal flu bug visiting us a bit in advance.

Those who are sick look like refugees, camped on our bedroom floor. The others, who are either recovered or due to be sick, inexplicably ride around the house on roller blades. "It won't hurt the tile," says my wife.

Most of them inherited the rollerskating gene from their mother, seeing I am as graceful as a mannequin on roller skates. I suddenly remember when I was just a kid, going to the roller skating rink with my future bride. Ah, the romance as we joined hands during the 'couples' skates, she with the brown eyes and graceful moves, me with all the maneuverability of a refrigerator on a dolly. She would skate around me, even backwards in front of me. Her eyes would radiate love and affection, while mine displayed only terror. She would sing along with the saccharin-sweet love songs of the 80's, while I repeated the mantra, LEFT, RIGHT, LEAN INTO THE TURN.

If she had let go of me, I would have continued on a straight path into other couples, the wall, or some other form of destruction. But she never did. She never has, in any way. I don't roller skate any more, but I still need the helping hand of my constant companion and love of my life to keep me from running into something.

"What you call 'being on top of things' I call 'being an annoying cuss.'"

- the oldest noisykid


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The lecture did not go as planned....

The lecture did not go as planned. I was to lecture a group of students on a subject of moderate importance in my profession, so I was very disappointed when only two of them showed up.

They were bored from the very beginning, spending time making comments to each other and yawning loudly throughout the presentation. It was a Powerpoint presentation, complete with diagrams and pictures and algorithms; enough to occupy two and a half hours of their attention without a break.

Or so I thought. I was getting a bit fed up with their behavior, and figured they were not going to ignore me any more.

I began to dance....

Someone requested a translation of this phrase, and I gladly offer my interpretation:

"Ouryay ogblay is eallyray eallyray idiculousray."

One must remember that when converting from Pig Latin to English that the spirit of the phrase is sometimes lost.

The first word obviously refers to the possessive, in this case second person. Blog is the next word. The verb is 'is,' and the emphatic double 'really' suggests the emotion which is indicative of the Mediterranean culture of those who speak Pig Latin. The last word, with the emphasis on the 'cul' sound would be closest to the word 'cool' as it is understood in our modern day.

So we have, "Your blog is really really cool" for a final translation.

Thank you, anonymous blogger!

By the way, 'Avacado' does not translate into anything closer than, 'arkday obblay ithway eengray uffstay in emthay.'


Monday, July 24, 2006

Not too much time to Blog

Just realized I have to give a lecture tomorrow.

Been taking care of sick children. I am proud to say the baby added two new words to her vocabulary:




We don't know any people with these names....

Response to the Pig Latin Blog has been so intellectually stimulating, later this week I will try to summarize a couple of e-mails I got this weekend.


"A Bigger Time Waster Than TV Ever Was"

"I don't understand blog spots--- seem like a bigger time waster than TV ever was..."

Someone sent me a message containing this quote. The message was posted at 1:30 a.m., so that says something about them. Pray for this person....

They have a point, though. Maybe the world would be better off without this blog. I am going to take it to heart and try to make this blog a better place where people leave wiser, smarter, more efficient, and with whiter teeth and fresh breath. More later on how I have altered the blog spot.

A public service announcement follows this note:

One of our children, when asked what the third Glorious Mystery was, said, "Pentecost, you know, when the Holy Spirit came down for a visit...."

May HE never leave us, and find our hearts open to Him!

A bishop who celebrated Mass at our church today blessed us, when he said, may your tribe increase. Thank you, bishop! We pray for more noisykids to join the chorus of the sweetest out-of-tune rendition of Regina Caeli.

May 26, 2006 was not a good day for the little creatures.....



















Thursday, July 20, 2006

Random Quotes

Recently, the noisykids have come up with some interesting comments, which I will include here.

Regarding a statue of the Blessed Mother, which was mysteriously decapitated:

“She was so cute, then she broke.”

Regarding doing home-schooling, where we set aside certain parts of the day for school:

“When am I supposed to do my math, during the school day?”

Our ten month old will join in singing any song, but she only knows one note:



Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why Bother Blogging?

So then, why do I blog?

The question is worth answering, so I will relate the event that pushed me over the top, the nail in the coffin, so to speak. By the time I responded to Roman Sacristan and suddenly found myself the proud owner of my very own blog, I already knew that I would one day have a blog. Just not so soon....

Anyways, I work in the sciences, and was trained to act, live, eat and breathe the scientific lifestyle. I am boring at parties and don’t get invited anymore. But I digress. All that training in the sciences left very little time for enjoying the arts, such as art, literature, and music. So for the past few years I have tried to explore these areas to give some kind of a pop off for my genius.

I tried it all. With most of the arts I failed miserably. Painting, drawing, music(the guitar in particular) were all unsuccessful trials. After analyzing what happened, I realized that I have difficulty translating what I see in my mind, say, in the example of painting, into a picture on paper or canvas. The same with photography. I look at the world, trying to frame a scene that looks memorable in real life, and somehow all my pictures end up looking like stuffed animals. With music, my short and fat little fingers made it difficult to depress just one guitar string at a time. I figured the wider gaps on a classical guitar would be too far for my fingers to reach. My children refused to share time on the piano.

I was left with literature. After exhausting limericks as a means of self-expression, I turned to haiku and other poetry types, with little success. I still had trouble translating what I think into what I put on paper. I also realized that writing, like some many other skills, should get better with practice. So writing something every couple of days would allow me to try to improve my writing ability. Setting up a blog would also serve to discipline me to write something and put it out there for the world to rip apart heartlessly.

All these thoughts were running through my mind one day, while I sat in car at the mall while the wife of dad with noisy kids ran in quickly to pick up something at Niemann Marcus. I had to admit that the idea of seeing people make light of my work was really holding me back from eventually creating a blog. I lacked confidence. What if nobody liked what I wrote? Suddenly the music died down on the radio, and a man’s voice solemnly intoned,

“I’m just sitting in my car, waiting for my girl.”

That’s a silly phrase, I thought. I was doing the same thing. I hoped that the wife wouldn’t be much longer, since I was parked illegally in the fire lane, and it was hot in this car. I wonder if there were any parking spots –

“I’m just sitting in my car, waiting for my girl!”

There he goes again! Can you imagine someone sat down and composed music and then words that included such a ridiculous line? And they probably made a lot of money doing it, and crowds of people pay to see them say,

“I’m just sitting in my car, waiting for my girl!”

I could write nonsense like that. As the song came to a crescendo, implying an end I realized that if some yahoo could write stuff like this, then I might as well start a blog. It suddenly struck me that a lot of contemporary music seems to be modeled loosely on the structure of Ravel’s Bolero, which seemed to be a metaphor for -


The music ended, and I realized a mall security guard was tapping on my window, motioning me to move on. I rolled down my window.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“I’m just sitting in my car, waiting for my g- wife,” I stammered.

“Oh. I thought you were talking to someone on one of those Bluetooth things. Move along, sir.”

My attempt to comment on Roman Sacristan’s blog was the final push to start this blog rolling.

dad with noisy kids

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Regarding Mousetraps, Computers, Bluetooths, and Blogs

I am sad.

I just killed my computer. We just transferred ALL our pictures onto one computer, including a series of milestones in the stories of the scorpion and the duck, and then I killed it. I am in serious trouble.

I am sitting here listening to Irish music and contemplating life when I should be asleep. They used to say that if you built a better mousetrap, the world would beat a path to your door. The same with bluetooths and blogs. Buy one and make the other and the world will be all over you. Whoever said that lied. Just like the guy who put the comment on my computer that all files would be saved when I recoverd my computer....

A couple of weeks ago I bought a bluetooth so I could join the people who are ACHIEVERS, getting things done while engaged in tasks that require two hands, such as driving, sitting, standing or looking at me intently. I figured the moment I turned the thing on someone would call me and I'd be off, bellowing commands seemingly to those around me, intimidating them and making them secretly admire me as one of those people who are so important that they can't be inaccessible for a moment.

So I left it on, for a week, taking it off only at night to recharge it. We were nearly inseparable. I developed a callus on my left ear. Then one day, just out of the blue, I caught my wife looking at me with her big brown eyes, giving me the kind of look that makes me thank God on my knees that I am married to such a wonderful woman. She motioned to me, indicating that she wanted to whisper something sweet in my ear. I did so, and this is what she said, paraphrased:

"Get that thing out of your ear. I told you to take that thing off during Mass, and now Father keeps staring at you trying to figure out why one ear is bigger than the other. You know no one will call you, especially during Mass, and your ear is going to swell up and fall off!"

I wear it when I drive home from work, so I can talk to my wife and find out how the children have behaved.

So I 'accidently' started a blog. Riiiiight. Someone suggested it years ago, so that I would stop sending them pictures of wrestling stuffed animals and salads. I even got a site meter, at the suggestion of a Roman Sacristan who has graciously plugged one of my blogs - next week I will write about throwing out your computer. Sadly, the site meter showed me that the most frequent visitor to my blog is, you can guess, ME.

Happy Feast of St. Benedict!

My four year old asked me a deep philosophical question and offered his own answer: "Why do you have children? So somebody can do their jobs and clean?"

dad with noisy kids

Sunday, July 09, 2006


The Confessions of Ado Annie
St. Augustine and Ado Annie: Separated at Birth?

Several weeks ago we went to the musical Oklahoma at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. Nice place, but I first thought I was in some big lecture hall in graduate school. A scary flashback ensued. I wanted to sit up front and call out the answers, but the ushers wouldn’t let me….

Something about the musical occurred to me again, as the actress portraying Ado Annie launched into her song explaining her rather imprudent behavior in the company of men. It really struck me that Annie’s response to temptation and that of St. Augustine’s for the first part of the book, The Confessions of St. Augustine, had some similarities that I thought were worth sharing. Once again, those pesky ushers did not share my enthusiasm for sharing. They asked me to keep silent during the play, or leave. It reminds me of several years ago, during the musical, The Phantom of the Opera, when I blurted out, “IT’S A METAPHOR FOR INSANITY!” So how does the ‘Phantom’ end?

But I digress. I am relying on lyrics found on the internet and credited to Rodgers and Hammerstein because I couldn’t find my copy of The Confessions of St. Augustine. Annie sings:

It ain't so much a question of not knowing what to do.
I've known what's right and wrong since I was ten.

La la la la la …..

I'm jist a girl who cain't say no,
I'm in a turrible fix!
I always say "come on, le's go"
Jist when I orta say nix

Orta! That pretty much sums up the first part of The Confessions of St. Augustine, up until his conversion. St. Augustine, just like his twin sister here, knows what the right thing to do is, but he is just too caught up in the enjoyment of the worldly pleasures. He has not the strength to overcome the temptation, and so he, like Annie, keeps falling into the ‘pit,’ as it were. Someday, they plan on having the intestinal fortitude to stand up and do the right thing - but not today.

Both Augustine and Ado Annie are pushed to ‘do the right thing’ by someone who loves them and wants them to change. St. Monica, Augustine’s mother, follows him from place to place, praying for his conversion. She eventually sees her son convert to the Faith and follow his vocation. Now both mother and son are honored as Saints. Ado Annie’s motivation is from the young man Will, who has just satisfied his own desires for a wanton life. He has returned to take his prize (he even thinks of her when he ropes calves!), and for his own purposes wants her to take on a life of virtue. Let’s listen in….

With me it's all er nuthin'.
Is it all er nuthin' with you?
It cain't be "in between"
It cain't be "now and then"
No half and half romance will do!

La la la la la, la la la la la….

If you cain't give me all, give me nuthin'
And nuthin's whut you'll git from me!

Will Parker is not the epitome of virtue, but he does reflect what God wants of us; namely all of our love and devotion. While both of the subjects of this little essay end up happy – one a saint, the other married to a cowman(happiness is loosely applied here….) – we also see in Jud what happens if one continues down the road of just following one’s desires.

This has been written at a Flesch-Kincaid reading level of 7.2 - I wonder if I took out the "la la la's."


Friday, July 07, 2006

The Love of My Life Speaks:

"Sometimes it is so exhausting raising a husband"

wife of dadwithnoisykids, better known as momwithkidslikedad

By the way, there may be a delay with comments posted on the blog, as I am reviewing the posts before publishing them.

I hope the picture of the bird strike did not upset anyone.

Please remember to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory today.



Tuesday, July 04, 2006

scorpion catches duck

Our Special Independence Day Message


Happy Fourth of July. Today, in addition to our country’s independence, we celebrate our family’s independence from TV. Eleven years ago today, we literally drove our television out of our house. Looking back, my only regret is that I did not destroy it instead of give it away.

Our transition from TV junkies to TV free was a gradual change, and will probably never be complete in the sense that I still find myself quoting lines from movies and TV shows in the course of conversation (Bueller? Bueller?). But getting rid of the TV has been a blessing because it has freed our family up to do other things. Now I don’t know where we could find the time to watch the black box.

It started in graduate school, shortly after we were married, when we had very cheap basic cable while living in married student housing. We were hooked. As time went on we had a larger set and a collection of video tapes. Then came children, and we started noticing how the kids would stop playing and just stare at the TV while it was on. It didn’t matter if a movie, cartoon, or infomercial were on – all activity ceased. We also noticed our own production loss. At eleven p.m., when the news would come on, we would realize that the dishes from dinner were still on the table and I had spent very little time reading or studying.

During all this time, as young parents, we started to prayerfully discern what we could do to be better parents and raise good Catholic children. I should say the ‘we’ here was mainly my wife, as she read a lot of parenting books, lives of the saints, and spoke to a lot to other mothers. She also worked to develop the prayer life of the family, with frequent attending of daily Mass. Truly God’s grace was at work in our family through the efforts of my wife. I am sad to say that my contribution during my post-graduate work was to listen to her thoughts and suggestions, give my permission as head of the house, and then roll over and go to sleep. My wife is a good example of how precious a good wife can be to a man. How blessed I am!

Anyways, so we determined that many of our movies were offensive to God, either in language or in the activities of characters. Off to the garbage. We noticed that many of the Disney animations were filled with less than admirable characters or messages, so we let them go as well. Eventually, only Barney was left. Think about it. A bunch of kids place a stuffed animal in the shape of a dinosaur in the middle of a circle, start chanting around it, and SUPER-DE-DUPER! There is a large dinosaur that talks and entertains these otherwise lost children. Off to the garbage.

Sure there are good videos, full of good songs, good messages and nothing but goodness for little children, but we noticed with even those videos the children would become like little zombies and stop doing whatever they were doing. We preferred children who were doing something that required thought and activity (even getting into mischief requires using your mind) than children who just sat there, captivated.

Finally, we started leaving off the TV during Lent, and we immediately noticed an improvement in our personal lives. When the TV came back after Lent, it was a disappointment. Something bad had come back into our lives. So, In July of 1995, we got rid of the TV.

We still have other ways for bad influences of our culture to enter our house, such as the internet and music, but we work to keep those influences at bay. Music is one I could easily write on – all you need to hear is one of your toddlers singing, “give me champagne when I’m thirsty, give me reefer when I wants to get high,” to know you have a problem with the music in your home.


“Daddy you look like a girl, drinking that pink Gatorade” – one of the noisy kids

Sunday, July 02, 2006

a letter to Scott Adams:

I have a suggestion for a minor character in your comic 'Dilbert.'

After hosting a candidate for a position with our firm, I would suggest that you create someone whom I would call 'Hagar the Un-Hirable.' This character would have no admirable characteristics and would offend all of the people he comes in contact with. His language would be atrocious, peppered with four-letter words, and demeaning to various nationalities.

Naturally, he would not be hired. Or maybe the boss with the pointy hair WOULD hire him.

I leave this to your creative mind

etc, etc.

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

I am An Amateur Catholic Blogger!

Amateur Catholic B-Team Member