Thursday, August 14, 2003

It is official, I will henceforth be blogging from here using Moveable Type.
Come on down!

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Let me see if I can get anything to post to this site.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Maureen over at A Religion of Sanity has an excellent series of essays on morality. The most recent addition, posted Friday August 8,2003, is especially worth reading.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Posting may be sparse the next few days, while I figure out how to move the blog. Or I may post a bunch of random stuff tomorrow from on-call. In the meanwhile, this prayer from St. Frances de Sales.
The everlasting God has, in his wisdom, foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from his inmost heart.
This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His loving arms, tested with His wise justice, warmed with His loving arms, and weighed with His own hands, to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you.
He has blessed it with His holy name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from Heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
I found this prayer in the book Amazing Grace for those who Suffer by Jeff Cavins and Matthew Pinto.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

prayer request from bill white (summa minutiae)
Thank you very much, Kathy the Carmelite for the link to this quiz.
My son has a Glock that he loves. I used to be pretty good with a .22 rifle as a kid, but haven't shot a gun in decades. Maybe it is time?
You are old school. Fat Sheriff Deputies fancy you. Reliable but not too practical.
Smith & Wessen .44 Magnum. You are old school. Fat
Sheriff Deputies fancy you. Reliable but not
too practical.

What handgun are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

You are Frederick Ashton! As the greatest English
choreographer, your restrained classical style
is always appropriate. Unfortunately, the
Royal Ballet has ignored you for too long and
can no longer dance your style.

Which Dead Ballet Choreographer Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

dinka's birth story is posted.
Many bloggers have posted or commented on the ECUSA vote on the (Epsicopal) bishop of New Hampshire. Sparki (fonticules fides) has an interesting set of comments, but for issues involving same sex attraction (SSA) I defer to Sed Contra. David Morrison has some excellent commentary posted recently, and I can say is that I second his thoughts.
It is really interesting to me that the feminist movement spent decades proclaiming "Biology is not destiny", and yet the homosexual libertine movement has spent the same decades proclaiming basically that 1) homosexual attraction and acting out is hard-wired into the brains and bodies of some men and women and 2) in this case, biology is destiny.
Kind of reminds me of Pilate's famous line, "What is truth?".
We have an assurance that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No matter how many votes would deny that truth, it still remains true.
I will be moving the blog soon, I think. Stay tuned. I will be able to migrate everything except the comments. However, I first need to get some sleep. I was up most of last night with 2 ill pregnant moms. One, at 28 weeks, we were able to get under control and I sent her home on antibiotics around 0300. The other, her illness threw her into labor that we could not stop, and her baby will be born about 5 weeks early (if she has not been born already). I try not to call in to find out things like that - I know that the doctors in whose care I left her are loving and competent, and I will see her tomorrow morning.
I had to leave the hospital at 0800 this morning to come home and take my daughter to see the nurse practitioner about her badly swollen ankle. Probably a bad strain - she has an aircast and a set of exercises to start in a few days. They will call if the x-ray shows a stress fracture (a remote possibility).
Now to sleep for a couple of hours until it is time to go pick up the week's vegetables from the CSA - I hope there is sweet corn this week! Maybe I will make a batch of green corn tamales............

Monday, August 04, 2003

The preliminary data presented in this report are based on records of births occurring in 2002 that were received and that underwent quality control by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health
Statistics as of March 7, 2003. These records represent nearly 98% of the births that occurred in the United States in 2002. The records were weighted to independent control counts of all births received in state vital statistics offices in 2002, and comparisons were made with final data from previous years.

The report presents the following trends in birth numbers and rates:

* The fertility rate for women ages 15-44 years dropped by 1% in 2002, a 9% decline since 1990.
* The birth rate for adolescents ages 15-19 dropped by 5% in 2002, a 28% decline since 1990.
* The birth rate for women ages 20-24 dropped by 3% in 2002 compared with 2001, whereas the birth rates for women ages 35-39 and 40-44 rose by 2%.
* The number of births to unmarried women ages 15-44 rose by 1% in 2002; however, births to unmarried adolescents ages 15-19 dropped by 4%.
* Prenatal care utilization continued to slowly but steadily improve; 83.8% of women began prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy in 2002, compared with 83.4% in 2001.
* More than one-fourth of all births in 2002 were cesarean deliveries, the highest rate ever reported in the United States. The primary cesarean rate jumped 7% from the previous year to 18%, also the highest level ever reported for the country. The rate of vaginal births after previous cesarean delivery plummeted by 23% between 2001-2002 to 12.7%.
* Preterm and low-birthweight rates (7.8%) rose slightly in 2002. The low-birthweight rate is the highest reported in more than three decades.

See the report for a list of references and detailed tables, as well as technical notes.

National Center for Health Statistics. 2003. Births: Preliminary data for 2002. National Vital Statistics Report 51(11). Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An interesting article on post-fertilization effects of oral contraceptives. It is pretty technical, but the bottom line is pretty clear - breakthrough ovulation is fairly common with commonly used oral contraceptive medications.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

My Big Fat Roman Catholic Testimony is a blog I just discovered. Looks new, no email addy or comments up, but I will keep an eye on it.
Baby Blues on 'new improved' infant formula.
More on bread
In my last post, I intended to get practical but instead waxed philosophical. Let me recommend a book that has much good information on bread-making. The Ultimate Bread and Baking Book by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake is an excellent source of not just recipes but techniques for making all sorts of breads. It has good pictures, too. My one quibble is that is was written from a British POV, and although the measurements have been adapted to the American system, it still has that Brit feel to it. However, it is very close to the book on bread that I always wanted to write (except that mine would have had fewer recipes and a lot more history and philosophy).
The liturgical readings lately have been fairly Eucharistic, what with the miracle of the feeding of the 5000, manna in the wilderness, and so on. I do not think it is too much of a stretch of the imagination to say that the ability to make bread of some kind was a major gift from God, and made it possible for humans to have some assurance of food from day to day. Grains and legumes keep well, and can be stored up against times of drought or failures of hunting, herding, and harvesting. I have found it interesting over the last 6 months to see how topics of conversation (memes, if you will) pop uo around St. Blog's seemingly in response to the readings. This was brought to my mind earlier today by the conversations going on about baking of pizza - which is after all, a flat bread with added goods to make it a meal.
Various grains are mentioned in the Bible. Barley was probably the commonest grain and was the source of the daily bread for most, as it grows easily and is very productive. Barley that was soaked and fermented became beer, and was probably the source of the leaven for the early forms of leavened bread. Yeast from the atmosphere fell into the container, and the sour and bubbly liquid was found to have interesting effects, much like that of wine. And the solids left behind after the liquid was strained out could be reliably counted on to have the same effect on another batch of soaked barley. Barley was commonly ground and bound into a dough with water and oil, then baked as a griddle type of cake (think tortilla). Somewhere along the line, some kitchen genius decided to use some of the beer barley in the barley cake mixture, and found that it made a cake that was more tender if more perishable.
There is one big problem with using barley alone as the base for a yeast bread. The barley doesn't really form a strong structure that traps the gases given off by the yeast, and so the cakes are still pretty flat and crunchy. Enter the grain spelt (and later wheat and rye). Spelt, wheat, and rye all contain pretty high concentrations of a protein named gluten. Gluten, when activated by moisture and mechanical activity (kneading) forms strong and elastic webs that act as a framework. If you want to see gluten, mix 1/2 cup (white) wheat flour with just enough water to form a dough. Punch and pound the dough until it is smooth. THen take the dough and plunge it into a basin of clean cool water, continuing to squeeze the dough in your hands. The water will get really gummy as the starch rinses out of your ball of dough, and you will be left holding a handful of stringy gray strands of gluten. Gluten has been used as the base for some vegetarian products like seitan and Loma Linda foods products. It is also possible to buy gluten flour - where the wheat has been refined and the starch and protein separated out.
Anyhow, yeast leavened bread has been around for millenia, and until the last few centuries, the art of getting from the disparate raw ingredients to the finished loaf was passed down as part of the cook and baker's tradition. The grains had to be ground and kept fresh, there needed to be a sufficiency of gluten in the mixture to support the weight of the other ingredients, and the yeast had to be enticed into working its miracles. Traditionally, a wild yeast would be found and fermented, and a bit of the uncooked dough (the fermentum) would be kept from one baking to another to facilitate things. The Feast of the Unleavened Bread therefore represented an amazing act of faith in God - since it required that all yeast and even anything that could be fermented, down to the last crumb, be removed from the household for an entire week. Even raw flour was not permitted - only flour that had already been baked to the point where it would not spontaneously ferment. So every year, the household had to trust that God would send them leaven again. This is why being called to be leaven is so important a command to us as Christians.
OK, so in order to get our daily yeast-leavened bread, we need the right flour/grains, we need the leaven, and we also need time to wait on the process, an oven of some kind, and the ability to work the dough with the hands to form the gluten. Yeast is a living organism - it needs to be fed and it needs to be kept at the right temperature, and in the end it sacrifices its life so that we might eat bread. And we need to work the dough and form the gluten, but then we also need to rest the dough so that it can be shaped, and then we need to let it rest some more so that the yeast can do its work.
Unless you have actually made bread, it is easy to lose sight of what a miracle and gift from God it truly is!

I have tried a few things to shrink the blogroll (by making the font smaller, not dropping anyone) but I can't seem to get the hang of it - I almost succeeded but it ended up also shrinking stuff on the main page. I guess I really should break down and get HTML for Dummies or some such book (maybe the O'Reilly equivalent?). The problem is that they are all focused on things like business or personal static (reasonably) web pages, not on the dynamics of the blog. The few blogging books I have seen are all focused on content - I think I have that down reasonably well, thank you very much!
I may not be a true computer techie geek/nerd, but I am reasonably competent and it makes me crazy that I can't seem to get the logic of stuff like this.
On a more interesting note, there is a cross-blog conversation about food, body image, cooking, pizza, and holiness. Check out Kathy the Carmelite's blog, Two Sleepy Mommies, Chirp (Davey's Mommy) and who knows where all else it will go! If I have a few moments after dinner, I will post a little bit about the physics and chemistry of yeast dough - things that girls used to learn baking bread with mom but that have been all but lost to the last 2 generations.
I have added Catholic School Blogger to the ever growing blogroll. It is hosted by J.P. Laurier, who I first met in the comments boxes at Kathy the Carmelite's Gospel Minefield

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Novena to John Henry Cardinal Newman
Start today and finish in time for the anniversary of when he went to his eternal reward.
Thanks to Quenta Narwenonian for the link and the reminder.
Random quotes found on a notepad of mine.
Let me know if any of these make sense or trigger thoughts that should be followed.
Is God your anchor or your albatross?
The decade (1980s) arrived on the heels of a tremor.
fragile as a new england spring
the tinkling of aspen leaves in Colorado
following Jesus is not easy, but simple
If we obsess over the evil and the ugly, we become dizzy enough for the Devil to ensnare us.
Do you want to worship God in the way that HE wants to be worshipped - or in the way that makes you comfortable?
What is the gift that God has given me to share?
God is never late.
Don't go back to Egypt.

Help guys:
I am trying to figure out how to change the font on my blogroll. Any suggestions?

Friday, August 01, 2003

The more things change, the more they stay the same. From Summa Minutiae

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