Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
February 28th, 2013


What a site!  Just the facts, ma’am .   The Endowment for Human Development ( is “a nonprofit organization working to improve health science education and public health.”   They have no agenda.  No bioethical stance.  Just everything you could want to know about babies and pregnancy, from start to finish, inside and out. 

At six weeks the baby is making blood and you can see the new little red heart beating away.

At eight months we see the baby exercising his/her tongue. Can’t tell the sex from this one!

In the olden days we never knew ahead of time whether we would have a boy or a girl, whether our baby would have all its parts, or whether it might have some defect that it would be good to know about before birth. One of the wonderful things about this site is that it offers a “window to the womb” that should cut down the temptation to keep “peeking” at your own baby through the technology of ultrasound.

Dr. Robert Mendelsohn has some advice to consider before before YOUR baby is subjected to unnecessary sonic energy.

Remember: Ultrasound cleans rust off pipes, kills sperm, heats muscles, and changes the migratory pattern of whales! (Carla Hartley)

February 27th, 2013


It may not be Ginger Rogers at 92 dancing with her greatgrandson as the blurb says, but it is a 72-year-old doing a lively salsa and in my book that ain’t too bad.

Snopes says:

Ginger Rogers was the renowned actress, dancer, and singer best known for her appearances as the romantic interest and dancing partner of Fred Astaire in ten films throughout the 1930s and 1940s. However, the 2009 film clip displayed above doesn’t feature a 92-year-old Ginger Rogers dancing with her great-grandson, as Ms. Rogers passed away in 1995 at the age of 83.

The woman featured in this clip is Sarah “Paddy” Jones, a 75-year-old (as of 2009) former proprietor of a fabric shop in Stourbridge, England, who relocated to Spain and took up salsa dancing after her husband died in 2003. Her partner in this clip is not her great-grandson but rather Nicholas “Nicko” Espluosa, her 35-year-old Spanish dance instructor.  (according to snopes)


February 27th, 2013


It just so happened that I was loaned a battered-up copy of The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Anne Catherine Emmerich right at the beginning of Lent. It seemed appropriate, so I read it. The last sentence reads: “The visions of Sister Emmerich which had continued from the 15th of February to the 6th of April 1823 here came to a conclusion.” The book bears an imprimatur.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, an Augustinian nun in Germany,  was a mystic, visionary, a stigmatic, and prophet.  She did not, however, write about her visions; rather, she suffered through them and they were recorded over a period of four years by poet  Clemens Brentano,  who would then read back what he had written for her correction, and translated them from her dialect into German.    When she was being considered for beatification in 1973 only her life was considered, the writings  being “set aside,” because it could not be known how much was hers and how much was poetic license from Brentano.

The Dolorous Passion is available online as well as accounts of other visions.  One has the impression that they “flesh out” what is in the Bible, but to such an amazing degree that one wonders at the accuracy of the rendition.  Her descriptions, for example, of the buildings at the time of Jesus and the terrain they passed over are in such detail that you would like to go to the Holy Land and check things out, but, of course, you’d be 2000 years late!  If you saw Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ  you would recognize scenes that came from The Dolorous Passion rather than from the Bible.  But brutal as Gibson’s depiction of the passion and crucifixion were, Sister Emmerich’s was much worse.

Here is an example of the detail described in The Dolorous Passion when Jesus is taken down from the cross.

    The Blessed Virgin, the holy women, the men—all were kneeling round the body of Jesus to take their farewell of it, when a most touching miracle took place before them. The sacred body of Jesus, with all its Wounds, appeared imprinted upon the cloth which covered it, as though he had been pleased to reward  their love, and leave them a portrait of himself through all the veils with which he was enwrapped. With tears they embraced the adorable body, and then reverently kissed the wonderful impression which it had left. Their astonishment increased when, on lifting up the sheet, they saw that all the binds which surrounded the body had remained white as before, and that the upper cloth alone had been marked in this wonderful manner.  It was not a mark made by the bleeding wounds, since the whole body was wrapped up and covered with Sweet spices, but it was a supernatural portrait, bearing testimony to the divine creative power ever abiding in the body of Jesus. I have seen many things relative to the subsequent history of this piece of linen, but I could not describe them coherently. After the resurrection it remained in the possession of the friends of Jesus, but fell twice in the hands of the Jews, and later was honoured in several different places. I have seen it in a city of Asia, in the possession of some Christians Who were not Catholics. I have forgotten the name of the town, which is situated in a province near the country of the Three Kings.

Jesus’ body is then transported to the site of  the tomb on a “leathern hand-barrow” carried by four men.   This particular book ends with the resurrection, which again makes fascinating reading.

Here is an account of Sister Emmerich’s life.  

And another commentary:

 It is not difficult to understand, therefore, that for some eighteen years following Sister Emmerich’s death, until the day of his own, the Pilgrim (the familiar name by which she called Brentano) engaged in repeated and never wholly successful attempts to organize the immense mass of writing he had preserved. Most of the material was never published by him. During his lifetime he brought out only The Bitter Passion (also known as The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ), based largely on a special series of visions witnessed during Lent, 1823. At the time of his death he had nearly completed The Life of Mary (also known as The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary), a work compiled from various visions, mainly of liturgical origin, which was put into final form and posthumously published by his relatives. The longest part of his record, the day-by-day cycle of the three years of the public life of Christ, was beyond his power to compose and he referred to it, significantly, as his “lockjaw.” It is known that he remained dissatisfied with the final arrangement. As his life drew to a close he sought, in vain, to find someone qualified to complete the project, to whom he could impart the full knowledge of the problems as he alone knew them. After his death the manuscripts passed into other hands and in 1858/60 the three-volume Life of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was published for the first time at Regensburg by the Very Rev. Carl Erhard Schmöger, C.SS.R., in an edition based on the Journals as Brentano had left them. This edition has remained the standard and the source for the many subsequent editions and translations, including the present English version.   (Source)



February 24th, 2013


We are the old, short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved and now we live
In Beecham home.  

Quartet is unabashedly a movie about us, the old folks.  I loved it as soon as it started.   When I found out that it was not only about old folks, but about old folks who loved music and Beecham was, in fact, a home for aging musicians, I loved it twice as much.  As the movie begins, Beecham Home is excited about welcoming a new resident, a “star”  soprano who in the past has received 12 curtain calls.   Jean Horton, this aging diva, is played by Maggie Smith, currently most famous for her role as the Dowager  Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey (which I have yet to see — I really must get to it!)

It seems that with the arrival of this soprano diva, Beecham now housed four of the finest singers in English operatic history, and they thought they could earn money (to save Beecham) by performing the Quartet from Verdi’s Rigoletto.   And the  comedic drama proceeds from there.

Rated PG13 for “brief strong language and suggestive humor.”  Only an hour and a half.  Directed by Dustin Hoffman.   Maggie Smith, the lead, was in actual real life born in 1934 which makes her 79.    Bravo, Maggie!

Just because I first became acquainted with Verdi’s Quartet from Rigoletto on an old red label Victor recording, played by my husband, I have (I hope) with considerable trouble embedded it here, featuring John McCormack, tenor, and Lucretia Bori, diva.

For Mary, McCormack (1911) singing Molly Bawn,   She was her Daddy’s Molly Bawn.



February 17th, 2013


Jay’s mother was a nurse-anesthetist who ran an abortion “clinic.” One day he came out of the building with his father, a  pharmacist, to speak with us as we picketed and prayed there.  I would guess he was about 7 or 8. His father said, “Show them your shirt.” Jay proudly displayed his T-shirt which read, “I was chosen.” The incident prompted the following letter to his mother, Dee.   Dee had the impression that she was serving womanhood by providing the opportunity to get rid of unwanted babies and had even received some publicity describing the nobility of her calling.

Dear Dee,

I don’t know if you noticed, but I did not respond to your News-Times article nor to the piece about you in the Ridgefield paper. Nor did you receive a letter from me when I first met your son, Jay, in his “I was chosen” shirt, though I did write one at the time. There were things I wanted to say to him, things I thought he needed to consider, but I felt that a kid has the right to respect his parents, if at all possible, and perhaps he was too young  and perhaps everyone did not know what his mother did for a living. Well, they do now. Jay is no longer quite as insulated as he was, and, anyway, I am writing to you, not to him.

I don’t even know exactly what I want to say but I’ll try not to repeat the stuff that has already appeared in the newspaper. I do remember that on meeting Jay I thought what a bright and handsome boy he was, proud of being “chosen.” And I wanted to ask him, “Jay, did you have other brothers or sisters that weren’t chosen? Probably equally bright and handsome? Would you not be an only child if other brothers or sisters who were conceived never saw the light of day? Perhaps it is nice having your own phone and going to a fancy school now, but when you get older nothing replaces brothers and sisters.” Has he asked you that question yet? He’s smart; he will.

Has he asked you at what age a preborn baby is too old to be aborted? Has he asked you the difference between killing a baby two months before birth and two months after birth? Has he seen the babies in the premature nursery at the hospital and asked why they are not fair game? When you tell him what a noble thing you do when you get rid of babies that may be “defective,” has he asked you what would happen to him if he should he have an illness or an accident and become defective? (I pray that your husband doesn’t turn out to be some kind of quiet Kevorkian at the other end of the spectrum.) [Her husband was a pharmacist.]  Does Jay say as proudly to his friends as he did to me, “My mother owns this place.”

If you were moved by religious arguments you wouldn’t be in the killing business for, as you well know, “Thou shalt not murder” is one of the ten commandments and Genesis 9:6 says, “Whosoever shall shed man’s blood, his blood shall be shed.” The Old Testament also tells us that God hates hands that shed innocent blood. God knows you’ve been told! I would worry about that meeting. Believe it or not, we care about you as well as those babies you kill and the mothers who would be better off with some other kind of “help.”

I’m sure you know that some of your clients are HIV-positive and I trust that you are making every effort to prevent contagion among your staff and between patients. HIV can be spread by blood on intact skin and 50 HIV viruses can go through the pores in a latex glove all at once, they are so much smaller than the pores. How do you sterilize your suction tips or do you use a fresh one each time? I’d really appreciate your answer to this as I’ve been wondering for some time. It seems to me that an abortionist could spread AIDS just as easily as a dentist but it would be much harder to pin it down as your customers are more promiscuous.

You probably think we are stupid to be out front praying all these years but you must figure (A) we really want you to stop, and (B) we really believe there is a God who hears us. From what I can tell, your “business” is doing well and it’s time you started doing something with your life that would really make you happy. You’ll never be happy doing something that God hates. Fortunately, he is always ready to forgive and even forget.

This goes to you with a prayer for you and your family. Scripture says, “I set before you life and death. Choose, therefore, life.” Life is God’s choice! Nurses and doctors are supposed to be life-savers not life-takers. Please join the ranks of the other abortionists who stopped because they just couldn’t stomach it any more and see how good your heart feels. Shalom.

There was no response to my letter and we never saw Jay again, out front with Daddy, in his “I was chosen shirt.”

February 15th, 2013


Every time I think of it I’m amazed all over again.   A knock on the back door.  There stands a very tall man with red hair who tells me he is L. Brent Bozell.   It turns out he lives in Washington DC and, apparently, just thought he would “stop by.”

You may have seen his son on TV, L. Brent Bozell, III, of the Media Research Center.  They look very much alike.  So, Daddy was at my back door and I invited him in.

How did this come about?  It was way back in 1988.   (Most of my musings are “way back” things.)  In 1987  Bozell’s book,   Mustard Seeds:   A Conservative Becomes a Catholic, was first published by Trinity Publications.   I did not know then what a player Bozell was on the world stage but did read that in the book he discussed frankly his problem with bipolar disease.  It so happened that I had a friend staying with me at the time who was bipolar.   I bought the book, only to be disappointed that there was very little personal stuff in it, mostly a collection of the political and philosophical writings for which he was rightly famous.  But what I was looking for was something that might be of help to my friend.

So I wrote to him, expressing my disappointment.  And behold!  There he was at my back door.  What a pity that I never asked him how that came about – did he drive there on purpose? (after all, it’s only a six hour drive), —  was he just passing through?  I remember very little of our conversation at the time, 25 years ago, but we were Catholics together.  The thing I am very clear about is that before he left I knelt by his chair (that chair, right over there), and I prayed with him to be baptized in the Spirit when he said he was open to it.

Later he wrote me a note on March 10, 1988.

Dear Dorothy,

It was so good of you to write and I enjoyed every word.

I have been quite well since I saw you — small sinks, but nothing bad.  And no manics.

I am wondering how you are — you seem to be in very good shape!

I hope to see you during the April 29th affair.  Please call me when you get to town.  529-5518 (work); 244-4450 (home).

Love in Christ,  Brent.

Of course, back in the day, we didn’t have google or wikipedia or even computers to help us find out everything about everybody. I am learning belatedly that Brent Bozell and William F. Buckley were buddies and together and were a formidable debating team for Yale. Brent married Buckley’s sister, Patricia, and they had ten children together.   He was an editor of National Review and launched Triumph magazine.   In looking up Mr. Bozell as I write this reminiscence, I am truly surprised about how much he was right up my pro-life alley. As it turns out in 1970, three years before the Roe v Wade decision, he and his wife lead a rally in which “Bozell was met by the police and was clubbed on the head. A police officer grabbed Bozell’s cross and broke it in half. He was thrown down and handcuffed. Bozell and seven others were arrested and given suspended sentences.” (Wikipedia).

A man after my own heart!

When I learned that Bozell had died (1997) I wrote his wife and sent her a copy of her husband’s note to me. She wrote back that “I will be sure to send your letter to our son, Brent III, who worships his father.”  Her note was signed,  “Trish” (Bozell).   She, too, has since died, in 2008, at the age of 81.




February 9th, 2013


Connecticut. Major, major winter snowstorm. Can’t go anyplace. Not allowed to go any place! Home alone. And then, at the back door, son Dan with a container of what he calls “winter storm soup.”

He made it himself. It’s hot. And, so help me, it’s pink! With lots of green things floating in it. He tells me what its made of — broccoli, kale, asparagus, something called chorizo, a couple of kinds of beans, I don’t know what else. I taste it and it’s really good with a zip to it which I attribute to the chorizo. Never met a chorizo in my life but google tells me that chorizo is a spicy sausage containing pork and paprika. Aha! Paprika explains why the soup is pink! I think the asparagus gives it a rather unusual taste.

They tell me there are close to two feet of snow outside but it seems to have stopped snowing. Quite a bit of wind, blowing the snow around. Lots of drifts and I can’t get the back door open. Sooner or later Dan will plow the driveway and the mayor will allow us out on the streets. In the meantime, I am snug and warm, with electricity and hot water, and there is still a lot of winter storm soup waiting in my refrigerator.

To me, the words “winter storm soup” spell love.