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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Welcome to Belbury.

Last night, I dreamed that the world was coming to an end.

I was living in the Northeastern United States in some sort of monastic community located near a small university town. Wifeofdadwithnoisykids was no longer in the picture for some reason - and not explained in the dream. I was living a celibate life in this dream, although I did express concern for my grown-up children.

This dream had a lot in common with A Canticle for Leibowitz. I was the monk who joined the monastery after his wife died, I guess. I even started thinking that I would die like the abbot did, crushed by the walls of the chapel. I even searched for a good place to lie down so a wall could fall on me.

I was walking around the city, trying to prepare myself for the end. At 6 p.m., I gathered all the people standing near me and led them in the Angelus. I figured that the world would end after prayers were said. It didn't happen, and I slowly became aware that all of the organizations that we rely on to maintain our comfortable lives were gone forever.

In the vacuum left behind was nothing but anarchy. I began to look about for means of protection, even though I owned nothing and had taken a vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. A sense of doom and fear far greater than one would expect in a religious brother took hold of me.

I awoke knowing it was time to bring Belbury to this blog.

Welcome to Belbury

After weeks of delay, I am pleased to welcome you to the first of (hopefully not) many entries on the subject of live in the United States under the Obama Administration.

For the purpose of this blog, the Obama Administration will be referred to as Belbury.

Welcome to Belbury!

Belbury comes from the name of the headquarters of the organization called N.I.C.E. - National Institute of Coordinated Experiments - described in the book That Hideous Strength, by C.S. Lewis.

The plans that have come out of Belbury have some similarities with those of the fictional Belbury. In brief, personal freedom will be replaced by a large centralized government which will determine what one can and cannot do. What I propose is to make occasional entries connecting our present-day Belbury and those many Belburys which can be found in literature.

But first, a little housekeeping.

I have already started a Facebook group called Welcome to Belbury, so for those of you who prefer FB to blogs are welcome to join that version of it. Membership is open.

A good group needs a theme song, or maybe an anthem to start all of the functions of the group. I have selected Living Colour's song Cult of Personality as the anthem for this group. I am only putting a link to the song, because I can't find a better version of it. Someone did a great job splicing the song with commentary by various conservatives and Obama supporters, but it has been removed from YouTube. The best parts of the video are where Obama supporters are asked to name ANY accomplishments by Obama. The silence is telling.

There is even a folk song I wrote, for those of you who prefer that kind of music. Find it at this link.

Finally, I want to give you all an assignment. I want you to read the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis, starting with the book Out of the Silent Planet, then Perelandra, and finally That Hideous Strength, where N.I.C.E. rears its ugly head. I shall write a brief review of the books soon.

So long for now, and stay tuned as Belbury keeps grinding along.

Monday, January 26, 2009

First Lady of Bad Poetry

I found this at work, and must present it to the world.

Amanda McKittrick Ros will always be my 'patron saint' for my Bad Poetry section of this blog. She has inspired me to write some of the most awful poems ever found on the blogosphere, but I know that my works pale in comparison to her contributions to English Literature:

"She tried hard to keep herself a stranger to her poor old father's slight income by the use of the finest production of steel, whose blunt edge eyed the reely covering with marked greed, and offered its sharp dart to faultless fabrics of flaxen fineness."

I strive daily to one day attain even a slight fraction of her poetric greatness.

But after January 20th, there is a new poet in my life. This new poet breathes a fresh breeze upon my stale and weakened poetical attempts.

Her name is Elizabeth Alexander.

I shall never forget where I was when I first heard her voice, playing out in forceful cadence one of the most beautiful auditory works of art I had ever experienced. It took all my strength of will to tear myself from the radio, and leave the car to echo with the words so beautifully spoken:

Praise Song For The Day

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other,
catching each others' eyes
or not,
about to speak or speaking.
All about us is noise.
All about us is noise and bramble,
thorn and din,
each one of our ancestors on our tongues.
Someone is stitching up a hem,
darning a hole in a uniform,
patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."
We encounter each other in words,
words spiny or smooth,
whispered or declaimed;
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe;
we walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain,
that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks,
raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce,
built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle;
praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring it out at kitchen tables.
Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."
Others by "First do no harm,"
or "Take no more than you need."

What if the mightiest word is love,
love beyond marital,
Love that casts a widening pool of light.
Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle,
this winter air,
anything can be made,
any sentence begun.

On the brink,
on the brim,
on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.

What artistry. That was deep.

Who else could conjur up such thoughts as autism, a steel band at Busch Gardens in Florida, Flannery O'Connor, the MCAT, jokes about a chicken crossing the road, custodial workers, Hippocrates, Smokey the Bear, and decaffeinated coffee - all while reading a poem in honor of the presidential inauguration?

Amanda will always be my patron saint of Bad Poetry, but now I have someone on earth to be my additional inspiration.

Now, to contemplate Love Token, Part 2.

Here is the video of herself reading her own poem:

Friday, January 23, 2009

A New Year, A New You/Me?

This year the Noisykids and I have endeavored to be more active in the great outdoors. We have been preparing for a garden, working on some sort of exercise program, and doing some totally new things.

Well, sort of new things. We have always enjoyed shooting air rifles, and now we are branching out into air shotguns!

Air shotguns are not new(check out this link), but recently a company from Spain called Gamo started selling an air shotgun in the U.S. Several of the older Noisykids wanted one, and they made a great Christmas present.

Here is a video of one of the Noisykids shooting a can.

I was trying to set up this shot so that you could see the can after it was peppered with #9 shot. What should have happened is that the water in the can would stream out of the holes, giving it a kind of 'cartoon' look about it. Do you recall seeing Saturday morning cartoon characters who would take a drink, with the liquid just running out of them?

Am I the only one who remembers Saturday morning cartoons?

Anyways, as you can see the can was so close to the shotgun that it just got blown away. Not very impressive. You can see how the water sprays back towards the shotgun.

Here is another Noisykid who just reached the age to shoot some of the smaller 'big' guns:

Note how the camera makes it look as if the bottle just disappeared. This video was taken by my cell phone, and it is not the highest quality.

Air shotguns are fine for the back yard, but to go after bigger and better targets, we needed a shotgun. We have taken up skeet and trap shooting, and some day we shall go hunting for little birds that turn into little chickens in the oven.

I need a lot of practice to become proficient at trap and skeet, but here is a video of one of my sister-in-laws hitting a 'clay' thrown out by a machine. I stopped the video a little early, so you missed the victory dance:

Oh well. It is late and I have to clean that shotgun before I go shooting tomorrow.

I shall have to write later about how we have taken up the martial art of Taekwon Do!

How about a baby picture?

Here is Bernard, earlier this week, ready for his visit to the pediatrician on one of the few cold days we have had this Winter.

Today was 80 degrees....I love Texas - but I love my wife more.

More Bernard Pictures

Here are some pictures of young Bernard as he spent some time with me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Baby Bernard

The Default Picture Walrus insisted on a picture alone with Bernard.

What Happened Next

Here are few pictures of the Scorpions and the Ducks(and some friends) visiting young Bernard Noisykid:

Nothing makes for more excitement around here than the addition of another Noisykid. That is my excuse for not posting anything lately. So now I plan on making it up to you - to a point.

When I last reported on Wifeofdadwithnoisykids' labor, I mentioned that my youngest son had flipped into 'breach' position - he went from being head down to being feet down. This caused a lot of consternation, as we were hoping to get this little pre-teen out without a Cesarean section.

So on Tuesday night, here was the score: Baby in breach position, baby stable - based on external monitors, and no real pressing need to slice up my beautiful wife's tummy.

We had to take a step back. Just like so many other momentous events in life, a good night's sleep helped to bring a new perspective to our predicament.

(Unbeknownst to all of us, our son took advantage of his mother's deep sleep to turn back OUT of the breach position. The nurse on that night had to come in at some point in the night to re-position the surface monitors, so she suspected....)

The morning sun brought the news that the baby had flipped into the usual position, and labor started all over again.

For those of you who enjoy movies instead of my stilted prose, I offer you this claymation version of WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. The maker of this video did take some artistic license with this situation:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Habemus Noisykid

Bernard Raphael Guadalupe.
2103 CST
8#, 5 oz.
Apgars 8/9

Waiting in Joyful Hope

This little one has proved to be stubborn and difficult. He read more than just his part in the O.B. books and has hijacked the labor process. He flipped into breach position, and we await the dawn to make our next move. Ora pro nobis!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Return of the Prodigal Gun

This is a post in lieu of announcing the birth of the next Noisykid; my wife is still pregnant, despite my driving to and from Mass, and listening to THIS MAN SING.

The air pistol shown above is the same one which ventilated THIS orange juice container. Shortly after, this airgun, which is powered by CO2 cartridges, started to leak the gas like a tire with a big hole in it. I was very concerned; this is a very accurate little air pistol, and I always enjoyed shooting it. I contacted the company, and they directed me to some local folks who repair air guns.

By the way, this is a Benjamin Sheridan E9 Series CO2 Pistol; either an EB17 or E17. It shoots one .177 caliber pellet at a time.

Anyway, I put this gun aside for a while, until recently on YouTube I watched a man discussing CO2 cartridges. He recommended putting a drop of air gun oil on the tip of every CO2 cartridge before inserting it into the gun. I had never heard of this, so I gave it a try with my nonfunctional air pistol.

It worked. After shooting once, CO2 continued to leak, so I kept on shooting, and after three more shots the leaking stopped. Now, off to conduct the House Blessing!

But first, here are some videos from the Advent/Christmas Season. Enjoy!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Jett Travolta, Autism, and Theodore

Today I heard that Jett Travolta, the son of John Travolta, died. There are stories circulating that Jett had autism, which is something our son Theodore had as well.

What struck me the most was how similar Theodore and Jett looked. Consider this picture at this link, and then consider the picture of Theodore on the sidebar and this video of Theodore:

It sounds as if both of our children died in the bathroom.

My heart goes out to Mr. and Mrs Travolta and their family. It especially saddens me to know that John Travolta was raised Catholic and left the Church during the 1970's. This family needs our prayers; please remember them in your prayers.


This will sustain you.

Pour your heart out to Me, for no other will listen.

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