Sunday, March 31, 2013

Seven Stanzas at Easter by John Updike

Transparent LanguageOne of my all time favorites.  Blessed Resurrection Day!

Seven Stanzas At Easter

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.

- John Updike

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wicked Wednesday

Transparent LanguageIn some corners of the US the term "wicked" is a good thing.  As in "That's a wicked awesome sunrise."  Now I'm fairly certain - though I'm not officially from Maine or anything - that it can be interchanged so that the listener is left to wonder if they were just praised or ridiculed.  Should someone say "That's a wicked pair of shoes."  I have no real confirmation of this, but I just feel it in my gut to be so.

Wicked today - you decide - do I mean it in a good way or a not so good way:

  • Acts.  As in "I want to acts you a question."  Sometimes pronounced "axe" or some mingling of both.  Wicked bad.  And by bad I mean bad and the wicked is just "very".  Like fingernails on a chalkboard.
  • Men who whisper.  I know.  May not make sense.  But I find it wicked annoying.  Especially when it's obviously gossip but they veil it as business or something secretive.  Women may veil gossip as prayer requests, men veil it as "business".  And the whispering just makes it effeminate on top of everything else that's wrong with it.  And when they whisper to women (unless it's their wife)?  Gag.
  • Waist rolls.  It's not a muffin.  I like muffins.  It's a roll - it's been there for years - any time a women is in fierce denial over the size they need.  "Those size 10s look wicked on you."  Said to a friend with a roll the size of a massive bagel.  Now I'm forgiving in this department just a bit.  I will be frank - spanx can roll down.  They can suddenly need to be hiked up and a woman is stuck - does she hike in public and risk being seen or does she bravely walk around with a roll until she can hike in private?  And for those of us of a certain age, I swear our middles blossom over the course of the day so what fit at 7am may suddenly be bulging at 2pm.  That said, if you do this regularly, if you have no regard for the glories of spanx, if you are young (and therefore most certainly in size denial), or if you are squeezing a size 4 body into a size mercy.  Wicked awful.
  • Amish fiction.  Honestly?  Wicked funny.  I'm throwing Karen Kingsbury in as well along with most other female Christian fiction writers.  Wicked good?  The fact that the mere existence of such "literature" may have created a genre for those of us with good future writing plans.  (Right, Annette?)
  • Men who get manicures or spend far too much time grooming.  The opposite class also gets a mention.  Finding middle ground is central here or suffer a wicked of "be a man!" proportions.  Looking clean and acceptable is good.  Speaking as a former child whose father had "dress slacks" and "work slacks".....embrace jeans.  Truly.  Your children will thank you.
  • Parents who don't teach their children to be kind.  They talk the talk (or not) but don't walk the walk.  They allow their children to invite others to sleepovers in front of the uninvited.  They do not monitor social media where pictures are posted making the lack of an invite even more obvious.  They have parties and sleepovers and outings and smile at uninvited children as they march out.  And then they later bemoan the fact that their child is sassy, rude, dare I say?  Wicked.
  • Using profanity so freely it's boring.  I'm not a prude.  And I'm not unrealistic.  But once someone's dialogue becomes so interspersed with profanity I've stopped cringing, they've become wicked dull.   I also start wondering why their vocabulary is so limited and why their parents ignored them so much as children that they have to resort to shock value now.
  • Viagara commercials.  Blech.  Wicked no-one-wants-to-know-old-men-have-sex.  No one.  Really.  Sure, maybe some occasional tart at the rest home who over applies orange lipstick and wears ice blue eye shadow.  But apart from moaning Myrtle, no one wants to know.  In fact, we like to think that at a certain age a male's motivation has matured to include other parts of his anatomy.  Honestly.  No one is turned on by horny senior citizens.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday: Five Things

Transparent LanguageIt's Friday.  Five things I loved about this week?

  • My work schedule kept me from wandering (tripping) into the house after 7pm.   It's be a bit of a struggle, this thing called a "real job".  I hadn't worked outside of the house on a regular basis since 1998.  Then I went back this year.  Three children in school with tuition payments will do that to a gal.  It's been a challenge more for our family life than anything else.  This was a good week - even with its early morning meeting.

  • Baking.  I'm learning to really enjoy baking.  Not LOVE, but enjoy.  I LOVE to cook.  Baking has always been a love-hate thing for me.  I'm not going to turn down a really good homemade chocolate chip cookie, but I'm far too artsy to really enjoy precision.  (Go figure that my degrees are in finance and for another post.)  Baking so that a group of little girls can earn some money to go to a big ol' basketball championship?  Fun.

  • New small group.  We have been in small groups and Bible studies in the past.  In the recent past we have changed churches and left behind (sadly) most ties to that life.  A first meeting this week proved to be just a good fit.  Lots of "YOU TOO?!?" moments filled with that peace that one is in the right place - the peace that really only comes from outside this world.

  • Hearing my son sing.  I'm glad he's in choir this year.  I have not been so glad that all performances thus far occur during the day.  Tonight I hear the choir sing. 

  • Pi.  It was Pi Day this week.  I hated geometry.  My sons, however, are geeks.  Very proud of that fact.  And really amused, bemused, tickled that they were so excited that it was Pi Day.  Love those boys.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Daylight Savings: The conspiracy to keep me from my social security deposits

The invention of daylight savings goes back to 1918. 

Since that time the U.S. government has thought itself wise enough to institute various versions of the plan - it's a bipartisan thing utilized by FDR and Nixon.  Time changing knows no political leaning.
I estimate that this means the government has sucked about 40 hours of time from my life.
Vast conspiracy to ensure I do not collect all I've paid into Social Security?  Yup.  I think so.
Transparent Language

Monday, March 4, 2013

Things they should give medals for (but don't)

Transparent LanguageLiving beneath one's means.  Totally medal-worthy.  Even the federal government - supposedly run by the elite, the smart, the well-educated - they can't do this.  Many business can't do this.  The people driving new vehicles, wearing great clothes, owning lots of things that start with "i"?  They're often not doing it either. 

Attending worship.  Okay, remember this list is hypothetical.  So this is a little irony.  But in a world filled with "spiritual" people and those who have time for anything but actually attending church...well, I'm medalling this event even though that would be contrary to all kinds of proper theology.  Remember.  Hypothetical.

Wearing mom jeans.  Ladies if you sport the mom jeans I'd give you a medal.  I'm tired of looking over and knowing instantly what color someone's undies are - what brand they are - or the fact that they wear a thong.  I'm especially tired of knowing this about women who are my age or older.  I'd much rather see you in 80s pleated BONGO jeans that land right at your waist.  Truly.  Gold medal even.

Caring more about your teammates than your personal stats.  This starts already in elementary school.  There are show boats on 2nd grade basketball teams.  There are kids crying over losses and mistakes at ages that should be about the love of a game.  But sometimes there are girls who whisper to their coach that they will sit out so that an underplayed teammate can play.  And these girls don't know their mom is watching only her during the entire game even when she sits on the bench.  So mom watched it happen.  And mom cried a little.  There's no medal but I do get to post her picture here.  Titanium medal for this one.