Saturday, September 15, 2012

7 Quick Takes, Vol 4

So you know how the internet is full of addictive stupid games that provide no benefit whatsoever except perhaps some semblance of relaxation?

Enter For every question you answer correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated to hungry people. It's not a lot, but it's kind of a neat concept. My favorite game: Identify Countries on the Map. (It's my favorite because I'm absolutely terrible at it, and it's a real challenge. Seriously, just try it. If you get to 200 grains with no errors, I'm duly impressed. I usually get to about 30.)

Twice in the past month I've discovered that the lady with whom I was pleasantly chatting is either a minister or a seminarian. Having grown up in Jersey, where very nearly everyone I knew fit into one of four groups---cultural Catholic, practicing Catholic, non-Christian religion, or religiously apathetic---this is an unusual happening. And, having two degrees in Catholic theology myself, I have plenty of background to have an interesting discussion of theology with them.

And yet all I find myself wanting to ask is, But what do you study!? I can't wrap my mind around a degree in theology without the solid grounding in tradition that the Catholic Church has given me. Obviously, I can't ask that question because it's rude and probably disrespectful. Yet I'd be very interested to use these moments as an opportunity to learn about our Protestant brethren. Any suggestions on how I can use this curiosity and the commonality in our faiths to actually talk to people?

So this week I celebrated a birthday. There are birthday celebrations still to come (and most of my relatives haven't even put cards in the mail yet, I'm sure), but thus far I've gone out to dinner four times with different small groups of people: Mexican, American (pub), Thai, and Italian. AND one of my dearest friends down here bought me roses! My favorite kind, the yellow ones with pink around the edges - she could not possibly have known they were my favorite! (An aside: When I mentioned this to my mom, her response was, "Yes, you have always had a particular affection for those." Cracks me up.)


My taste in music has become significantly more indie folksy since I discovered Legal free downloads (donations requested but not required), and the only catch is they give the artist whose much you downloaded your name and zip code. I've picked up a few artists I'm really pleased with.

I found one today that's a really cool concept album. I'm not quite sure yet whether I like the guy, but I appreciate that each track is a tribute to a different C.S. Lewis book (you can listen to each full track without downloading, just click the Play arrow). He clearly has been influenced by many genres. I look forward to listening more closely and picking up the lyrics.

It's that time again! Arguably my favorite feast of the liturgical year: the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross! My annual tradition is to read the Anglo-Saxon epic poem The Dream of the Rood, and this year I'll even have friends with me to read it aloud, which is definitely my favorite way to celebrate!

This gentleman reads the first seventeen lines; I approve of both his pronunciation and his inflection, so though there's no translation on the screen, you can just listen to how high-class English sounded in the 7th century.

Arabian Nights: Update

I had mentioned a few weeks ago that I'm reading Arabian Nights via, and have been enjoying it. Well, based on some reader feedback, I thought I'd continue with some semblance of a book review with an eye to its usefulness as bedtime stories for a contemporary American Catholic family.

It would be easy enough to find a good place to stop each night, because it's a story within a story within a story within a story within a story (approximately), so there's constantly a new part either beginning or ending. The one constant in every single story is the presence of the supernatural--mostly genies, but sometimes ordinary enchantresses or giant magical animals. There is also a LOT of infidelity, which is always presented as a bad thing (and is usually punished); it's (nearly) always the woman who is unfaithful, which is a bit one-sided. It's set in a clearly Muslim society, which is a perk for things like the sanctity of marriage and the importance of prayer and family underrunning every story, but you still may want to wait until your kids are old enough to handle questions of Truth and different religions (for, of course, the Muslim religion is the true one, according to any character who speaks of it).

Still, it's been a very interesting read (I say this now, less than 1/6 of the way through), and I do recommend it to anyone who's curious.

Last but most certainly not least, the hands-down winner for best birthday card this year:

Apatosauruses love birthdays!


  1. Oh my goodness, Claire, Free Rice is at least five years old. I used to play this game in college!

    1. I know! But I'd completely forgotten about it, and then remembered that there was some rice website that had games, and did a google search... voila! It's even more fun now than it was then! :D


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