Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 33

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I.

Happy feast of St. John the Evangelist!

II.

So how was your Christmas? Mine, as usual, was pretty excellent, and it continues (Christmas is 12 days, y’know) with the family reunion, which kicks off today. We went to the 4:00 Mass on Christmas Eve at my parish, where the priest (a son of the parish, who was ordained in June–as a Jesuit, but we limited the Jesuit jokes) gave a wonderful homily based on a line from the psalm, “blessed the people who know the joyful shout”. He also talked about God’s intense love for each one of us, at every moment of our lives. It was a really beautiful homily. The children’s choir provided the music.

My parish altar, decorated for Christmas

My parish altar, decorated for Christmas

After Mass we headed to a local Italian place for the usual Christmas dinner, and then back to the house for the exchange of sibling gifts, and my brother and his girlfriend exchanged presents. There was much watching of A Christmas Story, per usual. We love that movie at our house.

III.

Christmas morning–my brother had to go to Mass on Christmas day (Since he worked the Eve), so once he was home we opened gifts and had the Traditional Christmas Morning Feast, which is sausage and cinnamon rolls. I look forward to that meal all year. I love it. I delight in it.

One of my favorite gifts: tickets to see the new US tour of Phantom of the Opera in March. My love for Phantom is deep and well-documented–it was the first professional musical I ever saw–and to see it again is always exciting to me, especially in a new production.

Christmas Day is a fairly low-key affair at our house. We stay in, nap, watch movies, and things like that. Bryan and I spent the night again while my sister went home (she had to work the 26th).

IV.

A nice “Christmas surprise” on the 26th was that my vacuum had given up the ghost, so dad ran to Best Buy and got me a new one. It’s nice, living where I do, in that there are three big box stores on one street, so it’s good when you need food and/or appliances. The new vacuum works amazingly well–it got up a crazy amount of dirt from the carpets. I was suitably impressed. As a reward for our efforts, we had Chipotle for lunch.

V.

Today kicks off the Annual Family Reunion and I am, as usual, psyched about it. It’s always great to see all my aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandma for a few days, especially now that everyone is getting older and it’s hard to see everyone when my family visits during the summer. Most of the family lives in Pittsburgh but some live in NYC, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, and my cousin Diane lives in Houston with her husband and two girls. So at Christmas we get to see about 98% of the family. There is lots of food, drink, frivolity, shopping and movie-seeing.

VI.

On Sunday I’m going to a hockey game with a friend’s family–Penguins vs. Blue Jackets. This is a tough game, because the Penguins have been “my team” since I was about six years old, but the Jackets are my hometown team. Either way, a team I like shall win–but the game is here, in Columbus, so it would probably be safer to root for the Jackets? Maybe? I might just wear a neutral blue shirt and “Grover”, my North Face fleece. 🙂 Then I’m good either way!

VII.

As usual, I got several books for Christmas (to be augmented today–I got a B&N gift card, too): Longbourn, Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking, and Jane Austen’s EnglandLongbourn was amazing, and I highly recommend it. I was a bit wary of the premise–it’s the “downstairs” version of Pride and Prejudice, basically–but it turned out wonderfully well. And since my sister got me a scarf with a quote from P&P on it, it was a very P&P Christmas. 🙂

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 24

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I.

OK, so first up: please pray for Thomas Peters, AKA The American papist. He was in a swimming accident and has a broken neck; a Halo is being placed as we speak. They don’t think surgery will be necessary and that the spinal swelling will reduce on its own. Please pray.

II.

Also this article stunned and saddens me: 16 out of 17 babies found to have CF in utero are aborted. This is, of course, the result of several things, fear and ignorance being the top two. As a society, we fear suffering. We see it as an evil we can “avoid.” It’s not possible. So we kill people to avoid it. What? What sort of twisted logic is this?

It is an indescribable feeling, realizing that some people think you would be better off dead, than alive. Truly, indescribable.

I did meet someone like this, once. A girl I knew in high school. She was making the argument that we’d be better off not being born, and I said, “Well, then I guess you’re wishing I wasn’t here right now, because…” and then I filled her in. Complete silence. It takes a lot of gall to tell someone to their face that they shouldn’t be alive.

III.

Wow, those were cheery first two quick takes, huh? 🙂 Sorry! Here’s some poetry.

IV.
The NHL 2013-2014 schedule is out. My Penguins and Jackets play each other back to back here at Nationwide Arena Nov. 1-2. Those will be great days, indeed! I’m excited to have the Jackets in the Eastern Conference.

V.

Tonight I’m heading to Hocking Hills (so you’ll be reading this, as I’m going down there) for a weekend with my friends. This should involve s’mores, hiking, board games, and kids (two of the couples have kids now) and cooking. All things I greatly enjoy. Oh, and knitting! Hopefully I will complete one knitting project this weekend!

VI.

This week’s really good read: Veronica Roth’s Divergent. It’s being made into a movie with Kate Winslet and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), so I thought I’d pick it up. Dystopian lit, yes, but good distopian lit! Do read it. It’s the first book of a trilogy, the last book of which comes out later this year (I think).

VII.

Speaking of movies and books: There is a new Percy Jackson movie coming out! Sea of Monsters, with new casting and new everything so that Percy is actually sort of the right age! Score! I’m excited for this one.

Put the Blue Jackets in the East!

It’s hockey season. That means Hockey Articles!

(h/t: My dad:)

From today’s Pittsburgh Trib:

http://blog.triblive.com/chipped-ice/2010/09/24/bylsma-talks-johnson-starts-as-i-push-for-bringing-columbus-to-the-east/

Since the NHL is all about good ideas these days – yes, I’m on board with the HBO series, though I’ll probably need constant reminders to watch my dressing-room language when chatting up players – how about figuring out how to get the Blue Jackets into the Eastern Conference and a division with the Penguins? If that means moving Toronto back to the Western Conference, so be it.

The Blue Jackets don’t have a natural rival in the West. Sorry, Detroit doesn’t cut it. A Columbus reporter opined before this game, “Nobody hates (the Blue Jackets), and (Columbus’ fans) don’t have anybody to hate).” The Penguins could be that team for this market, which I predict would thrive with a move to the East. People in Columbus shouldn’t have to stay up late to watch a good chunk of their hockey club’s games. (Neither should people in Detroit or Toronto, but those markets have history; Columbus needs more help, understandably.)

Penguins fans would turn two or three games every season at Columbus into neutral-site games, but eventually a strong and bitter rivalry will build. Those rivalries are important for nontraditional markets. Penguins fans should remember that games against the Flyers and Rangers drew well even when the local club was a bottom-feeder for about five years in the previous decade.

Hate sells in the NHL. That is a big reason the Penguins and Capitals are playing in the Winter Classic, and a big reason HBO is interested. Penguins-Capitals is to the NHL what Steelers-Raves is to the NFL: pure, scathing hatred. The Blue Jackets need to ice a competitive club – though, moving to the top-heavy East would help them there – but once they do there would be a nice bit of nasty between them and the Penguins, and fans in both cities would eat it up.

Playing in the Western Conference I’m not sure the Blue Jackets are set up best for off-ice success, and from what I can tell after covering some games here there is enough support to make this a strong NHL city if the NHL will help a little by putting the Club where it belongs.

Bottom line: If a guy can drive to an NHL city from Pittsburgh within 3 hours, that city should be in the same conference as Pittsburgh’s team. End of discussion.