Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Dale: We have readers! We have readers!

I guess that means it's time for Reader Mail!

We received a couple of comments on my piece on African and Asian priests, including the following:

I saw your blog about the African and Bangladeshi priests whom you recently saw. The rapid conversion of many parts of the Third World is a shocking thing. One of the most amazing statistics I've heard is this: in 1900 there were about 10 million Christians in Africa (the largest bunch being Copts), by 2000 there were 360 million Christians, and in some nations almost 40 percent of the baptisms were of adults.

Of particular interest is how the center of gravity of the Church, so to speak, is moving south. The "southern" church is also quite orthodox and traditional. The elite western fixations on modernization and liberalization - female priests, relaxtion of traditional morality regarding abortion, birth control and homosexuality, etc.. - have no resonance in the larger part of the world Church.

You might be interested in "The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity". It's not perfect, but it's a well reasoned, well argued and thoroughly astonishing book on this topic."

I have heard much the same thing about the Church in Africa and Asia, especially with regard to the question of orthodoxy, although I hadn't heard about the African statistics before. Astonishing, indeed. And I read somewhere that South Korea recently became the first majority Christian nation on the Asian mainland. The future of the Church is bright, indeed--in the south and far east.

Plus, on a related point concerning orthodoxy, look at the experience of the Anglicans: it is the presence of the orthodox African and Asian bishops that keeps that church from finishing its decades-long suicide attempt. Witness the truly amazing spectacle of bishops from Singapore ordaining American bishops to restore Anglican orthodoxy in the U.S.

The book looks interesting. I have only one question: is the author the same Philip Jenkins who wrote the respected "Pedophiles and Priests"? If so, another reason to run out to the bookstore (Heather didn't just read that).

Another letter, in a somewhat different vein:

"Your stories of the visiting priests, set against the depressing news of The Scandal, tend to confirm an opinion I've had for some time: that the Catholic Church in America will eventually become a mission church staffed by priests from the Third World (in other words, they will send missionaries here). If it does turn out that way, it will be one more example of God's providence (not to mention humbling the exalted and exalting the humble)."

I agree in part, but I certainly don't believe that the Church in the U.S. will be "hollowed out" to the same extent that it is in Western Europe. The difference is Latin, Asian, and African immigration, which is bringing Catholics (with varying levels of observance and "orthodoxy", true) here in substantial numbers. Europe's immigrants seem to be largely Muslim. I certainly agree that, barring a sudden turnaround in vocations here across the board, the likelihood of an observant American Catholic visiting a parish helmed by an African or Asian priest is a virtual certainty in the next thirty years. And, from my limited experience with them, that would be a very, very good thing. Lord knows the Church in America could use some humbling.

Thanks for the letters! Keep 'em coming.
Dale: All together now: Happy Birthday, Heather!

Yes, my child bride is celebrating her birthday. Actually, it was Monday, but over the past couple of years it's turned into a week-long observance. On Sunday, she received some of her gifts, yesterday she got a cake and ice cream, and today she got a minivan. No. Really.

Later she'll get the rest of the presents (I was away on business Monday, and we couldn't celebrate then).

Happy birthday, love: may we celebrate many more together.

P.S.: Just don't count on a motor vehicle every year...

Friday, July 26, 2002

Dale: Now, there may be a possible ripcord for the L.A. Archdiocese: the doctrine of laches. Laches is French for something, but the idea is that in the absence of an applicable statute of limitations, courts can use their equitable powers to impose a statute of limitations if the facts warrant. Essentially, laches will act as a substitute statute of limitations if (1) there is an unreasonable (i.e., without good cause) delay in filing suit, and (2) the delay results in prejudice to the opposing party. If both requirements are satisfied, the court can order a case dismissed. This can happen where the delay causes evidence to be lost, witnesses to become unavailable, etc. Here's a handy alternate definition from the good folks at the 'Lectric Law Library.

But, as the definition implies, laches is a lot more fact-intensive (read: less defendant-friendly) defense than the statute of limitations. With the latter, all you have to do is point to a calendar. With laches, you have to jump through two fact inquiries, both involving an unsympathetic (to say the least) defendant. The obstructionist tactics of the Archdiocese tend to backfire on a laches defense, but it may help with the oldest cases--those going back 15+ years. After all, memories become unreliable, and witnesses die or move on.

More free legal analysis from the Blogosphere!
Heather: I don't hate painting. I will, however, question the sanity of anyone trying to paint two rooms in one day, especially one as detail-ridden as a kitchen. A bedroom and hallway, maybe. But kitchens have lots of cabinets and appliances and outlets and cupboards, and wrapping all of them in masking tape or moving them out of the way can drive a good person mad. Anyhoo, it's a horrible huge pain in the keister. I told my mother I may never paint another kitchen.
Madeleine seemed rather unimpressed by the turn of events or the newly brightened kitchen and hallway.
We got word yesterday that one of my coworkers passed away. He'd been ill pretty much through the whole last school year; the last diagnosis was liver cancer. He was looking at retirement and had taken on an extra class to bump up his pension but now he won't ever get it. I hope that extra class was fun and worth it without the pension money, and I hope he did get the retirement papers filled out and turned in so that his wife will get some survivor benefits.
I've never been to a coworker's funeral before. I've been to only a few since my dad passed away 9.5 years ago and they haven't gotten any more fun. Tomorrow we'll go by the funeral home and the funeral itself is Monday morning. I quite imagine it will be packed. He was a well-loved band teacher. Something I don't think I ever found the nerve to say to him was, "Why does it not surprise me that a middle school band teacher with as many years as you've got has two hearing aids?"
He always asked about Madeleine, knew some of the rather more personal things about pregnancy and childbirth (he was a man who knew about Kegels!), and offered to be my birthing coach if Dale couldn't take it. He did have two kids of his own so he had experience. I'm going to miss him.
One last comment, about Dale's post. I think that child abuse, especially of a sexual nature, has such far-reaching, devastating, and long-term effects that it's one of those crimes that should not have a statute of limitations, like murder. I realize that this action on the part of California's legislature is going to be catastrophic to various (all of the?) dioceses in California. I recognize that it's going to feed the anti-Catholic population of the world and it's throwing them a bone. But... it's time to clean house. Where is it where the Bible says something like plucking out your eye if it sins, better to be blind and enter the Kingdom of Heaven? If they are sinners and evil and wrongdoers, they should not be ministering and standing up in persona Christi,, or however you say as Christ.
I was going to say they shouldn't be ostracized from society, but if that's what it takes to protect the innocent, ship 'em off.
Dale: Good. Now with that confession out in the open, on to other things. Like the end of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Thanks to Amy Welborn for this stunner of a link. Essentially, California's legislature has passed a law waiving the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases for one year starting January 1, 2003. The upshot is that anyone whose sexual abuse claim would have otherwise been time-barred gets a second chance:

"Although attracting few headlines, legislation signed into law earlier this month by Governor Gray Davis may prove to be the most devastating blow yet to Mahony's troubled domain -- as well as to Roman Catholic dioceses throughout California -- before the current scandal runs its course. The law extends by three years the statute of limitation for accusers to file civil lawsuits against child molesters and organizations that knowingly harbor them. More significantly, it provides a one-year window of opportunity, beginning January 1, for any alleged abuse victim to pursue legal action against the church. That means untold numbers of priest abuse victims who've never come forward because the time limit for their filing a lawsuit expired will now get their chance."

A commenter at Amy's [ah, informality--I've never met her] blog wondered if it would be a violation of the Constitutional prohibition of ex post facto laws. Actually, it would not. As the link makes clear, ex post facto laws change the legal consequences of the action after the fact. The California law doesn't. Here's an analogy. Say on Monday I spit on the sidewalk. This is a civil infraction for which I could be fined, theoretically. Some legislator who has it in for me sees this, runs to Lansing and enacts a state law on Tuesday declaring sidewalk spitting a felony with a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. He also makes the new law retroactive. On Wednesday, I'm arrested and charged with the felony. That would be an ex post facto law.

The California law is not like that. It's not changing the legal consequences of sexual abuse--which was a crime and actionable in tort for damages and remains so. Instead, it's altering the statute of limitations (an artificial and discretionary limitation in itself) by lengthening and reviving the opportunity to file suit. The penalties have not changed--just the number of plaintiffs (by an order of magnitude). Hence, it is not an ex post facto violation.

Nevertheless, it's amazing. I've never heard of the like in my (admittedly limited) years of lawyering. Something tells me if the Archdiocese of L.A. had been more forthcoming, as opposed to hiring Enron's PR firm, the law would have never passed. Now it's goodnight, Irene. Los Angeles may be facing bankruptcy. It also might explain why the Archdiocese of Detroit has been engaged in full disclosure with the authorities and wielding a no-tolerance sledgehammer regarding abuse: Adam Cardinal Maida has a law degree. Sometimes it alerts you to the horribly creative possibilities...
Dale: I hate painting. Utterly, absolutely, completely and without reservation or compunction.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Dale: We probably won't post much tomorrow. I have a day off, and we are going to paint our hallway and kitchen. That won't be frustrating or anything...Hoo boy. Time to hide the sharp objects.
Dale: The Church in America is not The Church

This is depressing, and probably true.

Every time I read one of these stories about yet another dereliction of duty by our shepherds, I have to remind myself of the header above: The Church in America is not "The" Church. It's not the whole story. I think all American Catholics, whatever their status or beliefs, have the self-absorbed sense that what happens to the American Church is the story of the Catholic Church writ large. I'm certainly infected with this mentality. It's happening to the Church here! That means the whole Church is suffering from this same systemic rot: Abuse! Declining vocations! Rampant heresy! Clueless, corrupt bishops!

That's not necessarily the case, and two recent events drove it home. In the reliably heterodox Diocese of Saginaw (Mark Shea has been kind enough to publish a few of my rants about it on his blog), I attended a Mass where it was announced that a visiting priest would be presiding. At the beginning of Mass, the youthful priest stated that he was honored to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with us (I almost jumped in pleased surprise at this deviation from "Eucharistic Celebration!"). During the homily, he explained how he was pleased to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how it was important to bring the light of Christ to the world. He also shared his gratitude to those who shared it with him, converting him from his non-Christian background at age 9. He also described how his diocese of 350,000 had a seminary problem--there wasn't enough room to house more than 120 seminary candidates, and that there was more than 120 men interested in pursuing priestly vocations there. And, at the end of the homily, in a moment of astonishing beauty, he sang the Magnificat. In Swahili. I will remember the powerful, lovely holiness of that song until I die. It seemed like a foretaste of the celestial choirs that praise our God and King.

You see, Father was from Kenya, where the Faith is exploding, and they have a hard time finding enough personnel and materials to staff the 100+ diocesan mission churches where "catechism" is in strong demand. Yes, he actually used the word "catechism", apparently unaware that it is disdained in fashionable American Catholic circles. Like, say, Saginaw.

A week ago, at a Mass at my home parish, another visiting priest gave the homily. He explained how his diocese had around 250,000 members, and 80 priestly candidates in the seminary, with similar crowding problems. Conversions, too, were on the rise as the Gospel reached his people. He was, of course, Bengali (from Bangladesh). Until last week, I had no idea there were any Catholics in that country, let alone nearly half a million in two diocese.

Twice in two months, the fact that I am a member of a catholic--universal--Church has been driven home with great force. The 62 million Catholics in the U.S. are not (thankfully) the center and focus of Creation. Barring moral epiphanies and spine transplants on the part of both bishops and laity, the Church in America is going into a period of decline, maimed by self-inflicted (and tragically avoidable) wounds. As Scott Hahn said, God made no promises to the Church in America--it could vanish without a trace. But his promise to the Church Universal stands, and this can be seen--and heard--around the rest of the world.

Luke 1:46-55 (the Magnificat--NKJV):

46 And Mary said:
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever."
Heather: It's been a while since I've blogged, but this is worth sharing.
We have a dog, an almost 2 year old Brittany-beagle mix. I can imagine worse mixes, such as a Chihuahua and a Rottweiler (that bad an attitude in a huge body?!), but let's face it: that's not a likely combo unless Dad is REALLY determined. Anyway, to my story: Maddie is fascinated by the dog food. The facts that it's about the size of Cap'n Crunch, fits easily into her mouth, is within reach, and in a shiny steel bowl all combine to a lodestone.
The bowls are also serving a purpose: teaching the word NO, which she hears frequently as she gets into either the food or water.
This afternoon was a perfect example. She's gunning for the dog's dishes, I shout, "NO!" Immediately she becomes absorbed in the slice of zwieback she's been carrying with her. I've never seen her so interested in her food, and with the word she instantly must contemplate the pattern of the air bubbles.
About the dog: she's good with the baby. I don't think she realizes sometimes how easy it is to tip Maddie over, but she's very patient as the baby pulls on whatever she can.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Dale: Mommy is giving Madeleine her bath (tonight's trash night for daddy). Unprompted, Maddie pointed to a package of Angel Soft toilet paper (which has a picture of an infant on the cover) and said "Baby." We're starting to have more of these moments, and every one brings tears to my eyes.

I suspect we'll be "Angel Soft" consumers for the rest of our lives.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Dale: Gut-wrenching article about the victims of the recent terror attack on the bus in Israel. As the father of a child slightly older than the youngest victim, words fail. I somehow doubt that our country would tolerate these attacks for very long before unleashing total war on the perpetrators and their national allies.
Dale: An interesting article from Christianity Today about the pitfalls of imitating Christ.
Dale: Friday we scooted out of the house. I was able to leave work a little early, and I picked up Heather and Maddie. I suggested going someplace Heather hadn't been to for a while (as long as it doesn't involve needles, Maddie's pretty flexible about locations). We settled on window shopping at Oakland Mall. It would give us a chance to walk, talk and keep us out of the heat. Plus, Maddie would love it because she can't get enough of the lights, colors, and people. We trooped around the mall, Maddie smiling benevolently from her stroller, like Cleopatra from her litter, as we gazed at the shops. She eventually insisted on getting out when we stopped at the Payless. I put her on my shoulders, which ensures that any/all of the following will happen: Daddy will get kicked in the chest, Madeleine will tear the glasses off his head and put baby print smudges on the lenses, Daddy will get slapped repeatedly about the head and shoulders, Madeleine will attempt to pull merchandise off the shelves, Madeleine will test her lungs with a lengthy happy shriek. All of the above happened this time. Ah, well. It allowed Heather to do some real shopping, and talk with a pair of young mothers. I was able to talk with one of them, a friendly lady efficiently policing her three children, including a baby in a car seat. She rained compliments on Maddie, and her youngest was a cutie, too. I'll let Heather tell you about her conversations, if she wants.

We then strolled to a music store, where all of us passed on purchases, although Maddie thought one of the Cyndi Lauper CDs had an interesting flavor. Finally, we stopped at the Borders, where we bought something for our child, who you by now understand suffers from Dickensian levels of deprivation. We broke down and bought her a Madeline doll and story book. Everyone else thinks we named her because of the cartoon character (which isn't all bad, I suppose). Madeleine is French for Magdalen, as in St. Mary Magdalen, Heather's favorite saint. Now she has another doll, and we have Book #157 we can read to her. I bought #158 yesterday, but more on that later.
Dale: The Odyssey, Part III: It's Tuesday

There are two essential rules for driving in the UP:

(1) All road maps are approximate.
(2) Stay on the M-[ichigan] or U.S.- roads.
(3) If you ignore Rule #2 and get lost, you will be found by an archeologist.

"Hey, if I take County Road X, it will be a shortcut to the airport!"
Bzzzt! Wrong!

It looks like a shortcut, and in terms of mileage it might actually be one, but quite simply you are buying yourself a heap of trouble. Business was finished approximately 5 hours before the flight took off, so I thought I'd be creative. Previously, I found a shortcut that consisted entirely of paved roads, which was actually quite useful. I should have stuck to it. "Nah. I can read a map, and my map tells me County Road X is a more direct way to Sawyer International. I will try it."

Well, the road sure looked straight on the map. Unfortunately, the only other pathways that are as twisty involve a man with a bull's head wielding an axe. Still, the gravel road was fairly smooth. It also reminded me of another fact of UP driving: the sparse population. You can drive for miles without ever seeing another car, or even a home. Such was the case here. If I'd gotten into an accident, someone several centuries hence would be labelling me Homo Dipwadicus. "Note the large forehead on this specimen..." Nevertheless, I got to another paved section of road in relatively good order. I don't learn: I found another shortcut on the map. "Hmm, this should save time. Plus, the road is paved."

It was. For about seven miles, which meant that by the time the pavement ceased, I was more or less committed to keep going. Again, the gravel was smooth, and this time I saw someone in a minivan going the opposite way. Good sign, I thought. Then, a few miles later, I was faced with another problem--the ambiguous road sign. At a turn, the sign indicated I was on the right road, but it was pointing back towards the way I had come from. It did not indicate which road was the county road. On instinct, I took a right.


The road seemed fine for a while, but almost imperceptibly began to narrow. And green started appearing up the middle. It became worse as I drove, narrower and greener. The final straw was the boarded-up cabin I passed. Old cedar shingles, stained with tar, and an overgrown outhouse in the back. It had been abandoned for at least a quarter century. Nobody was living, nor had lived, on that road for many a year. I began to get the feeling I was in a movie, and I was in the scene where the idiot city slicker is about to encouner the violently reclusive clan of inbreds/mutants/inbred mutants. Children of the Mine. I turned around. At this point, the road was so narrow that turning the car was almost exactly like the golf cart scene from the first Austin Powers movie. I headed back, and found that the correct answer had been "left." I reached the paved road, and made it to one of my favorite towns, a place called Gwynn. Gwynn is ten miles south of the airport, and has the privilege of hosting St. Anthony's Catholic Church. St. Anthony's is a magnificent place. It's Catholic, with a grave marker at the front of the Church remembering the unborn killed by abortion. Plus, it's always unlocked, so you can go inside to pray. It's simply but beautifully decorated, with prominent Eastern style icons on the walls. It features a few Bibles you can take to the pew, and has my dream magazine rack: "This Rock", "Homiletic and Pastoral Review", "Crisis", "New Oxford Review" [for when I'm feeling cranky], and others that I didn't get a chance to see. I yanked out a few issues, broke out my rosary, and prayed and read for forty five minutes, thankful to God for the blessings He has given us. St. Anthony's isn't air-conditioned during the day, and it was 95 degrees that day. Nevertheless, it felt cooler outside when I left.

All in all, a good end to a too-exciting day.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Dale: Dale's Big Drive, Part II

I hit the "seek" button on the radio, and pulled in a blowtorch news radio station in Nashville. Every major city has its version, a 50000 watt monster that the locals can pick up with their fillings. I quickly lost interest for two reasons: first, it was all local news, and assumed basic knowledge I don't have. The second reason--no one had a southern accent. The broadcasters sounded like the blow-dried Detroit TV newsreaders. The continuing triumph of the middle American accent, and it was disappointing. Fortunately, the seek button found my listening salvation: Lucid Lunatic Radio, aka "The Art Bell Show." Art was on vacation, so the host was some avuncular fellow named George Norey. It started off mildly enough, and a little touching--people who knew when their close loved ones died--strange dreams or odd physical reactions at the time of death. I'm something of an agnostic about that phenomenon, but I'm open to it. A former classmate of mine, not known for flights of fancy, told me a convincing story about a similar dream he had when his wife was seriously injured (she recovered).

After this gentle start, the show quickly went "X-Files" on me. Sasquatch sightings, government tampering with the weather, and machines inside our hollow earth. The last is, of course, true, as reported by journalist Edgar Rice Burroughs. However, there are no machines--instead, it is a savage primitive land lit by a motionless red sun. However, the confusion is understandable, given the disinformation from our government.

And there was equal time for Catholics, too! A Marian apparitionist called, announcing that Mary and the Holy Spirit would be appearing--one day only!--within the next month. He also explained that the problems in our world were being caused by "mentally ill sorcerors." I thought this was informative, since I figured the real trouble would be caused by sorcerers who had it all together upstairs. Useful stuff. Then the sasquatch talk started up again, followed by a dull reincarnation discussion. I turned it off, as I was getting closer to my destination. The rest of the trip was radio-, bigfoot-, and loopy-sorcerer-free. But there's always the return journey....
Dale: I spent Monday and Tuesday in Michigan's Upper Peninsula on business. I flew up to Marquette's Sawyer International Airport, arriving at 9:30pm Monday. Won't do that again, especially when I'm faced with the prospect of driving for the next hour and a half.

I like Sawyer--it's a converted Air Force base, and it's been nicely renovated for civilian use. But I question the adjective "International." There are no direct flights to anywhere outside the U.S., so the only thing "International" about it must be the fact that Canadians are known to visit. You see this phenomenon frequently. I think the legal term excusing this form of labelling is called "puffing." "Puffing" is what courts call legitimate exaggeration of a product's qualities, e.g. "The Best Fertilizer You Can Buy!", as opposed to false advertizing. The fact you can take a connector flight to the UK apparently makes it "International."

Anyway, I picked up my rental car, and my oh my it was a nice one! A brand spanking new Pontiac Grand Prix. Sporty, with acceleration usually described in terms of "Gs." I tested the acceleration on the way to Marquette. You see, I discovered too late that I hadn't packed a tie for my suit. There's a Brooks Brothers store at the new McNamara Terminal (nickname: "The House That Cronyism Built!") in Detroit, but I refuse to spend $55 on a freaking necktie. Not unless it's capable of calling 911 if I'm unconscious.

I knew there were places in Marquette that sold ties, but I figured that they all closed no later than 10pm. It's a 15 mile jaunt to the business district, so I had to move. I roared into Marquette at 9:50pm, and spotted a Target. I didn't run anyone over in the parking lot, and sprinted into the store just as the intercom, with strained politeness, advised the remaining shoppers to bring their final purchases to the front. As a former grocery store employee, I assure you that the politeness is quite forced at this point. The employees are tired, and they want to go home. Seeing a jerk like me rushing into the store is, shall we say, unwelcome. Management (as opposed to the employees) will be quite patient, and allow patrons to continue their leisurely browsing for 30 minutes or more after closing time. This makes the cashiers twitchy. I remember fighting the urge to grab the intercom and announce:

"Attention shoppers. The store is now closed. The pit bulls are being uncaged as we speak, and will be roaming the aisles shortly. Please note that we do not feed them during the day, choosing instead to poke them with sharp sticks. We look forward to the patronage of your next of kin. Thank you."

I didn't get the chance to irritate anyone, however. This Target did not carry ties. Ouch. I sprinted back out, and spotted the WalMart marquee across the highway. Defying more physical laws, I crossed the highway and thundered into the parking lot. Whew: it was one of those "open 24 hours" WalMarts. And it had ties. I bought 2 for $20, and both were 100% silk. Final score: WalMart 2, Brooks Brothers 0. "Down goes Brooks Brothers!" I returned to the car and settled in for my long ride. The Tigers were on the local AM station, and mirable dictu, they won in extra innings, beating the eternally tragic Red Sox on what was generously called a base hit but should have been scored as an error.

I talk a lot about baseball, but I am really not a huge fan. I grew up with it, especially Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell. This is Ernie's last year (he's 84) and I try to listen while I still can. When he's retired, there will only be one classic baseball broadcaster left-Jon Miller in Baltimore. Like the Miller and the late Jack Buck, Ernie understands that he's an invited guest on your radio, and he broadcasts accordingly. He's a friendly storyteller who avoids the "look at me!" vocal theatrics that pass for "good" broadcasting today. I've listened to him for time out of mind, but since the Tigers have been uncompetitive for 15 years, and the game has deteriorated into a home run derby, I've listened less. I guess I consider it a childhood friend I've since grown apart from. As I said, the Tigers won, and I was left with the task of finding something else to listen to with another 75 minutes of drive time facing me.
Dale: Blogging to follow. Been a very busy week. Not that that's unusual, but I've preferred the option of sinking into a persistent vegetative state in my living room chair to blogging. You know: "Brain shutting down now. Turn on boob tube."

Monday, July 15, 2002

Heather: I'm feeling very at peace right now, which means Madeleine is going to wake up loudly any minute now. I got to spend the day with her. She fell asleep in the stroller during our after-dinner walk. She's done that a couple times before; once we actually got her to stay asleep (holding and rocking). The other she woke up as we were bringing her inside and I foolishly took her right to her bath. I almost went nuts trying to get her down that night; Dale came in and relieved me after 45 minutes.
But I just tried to get her to stay asleep for about half an hour; the effort failed. Then I let her stay up for 45 minutes and didn't get her into the tub until 9:30. But she did fall asleep in my arms pretty easily. She looks so beautiful and angelic asleep, more so even than when awake. It's so tough to lay her in her crib some nights; I know they are numbered though only God knows the number. I don't want to waste a moment.
I admit we bring her to bed with us when she wakes in the middle of the night. We said when I was pregnant we wouldn't, but at 1:30 it means I can just pop a breast in her mouth and we both fall back asleep much faster than getting up and going to her room and staying there until she's done. I used to be vaguely ashamed of it, like we'd caved in or something. But how many moments will there be to cuddle her in her sleep? How many mornings will I wake to see her big blue eyes looking up at me foggily, then blinking and smiling? How many times will I wake to have her arm flopped over my chest and her leg flopped over mine, that magical baby smell right there in her hair when I turn my head?
I weep when I think of those coming to an end. I know they will, too soon, to make room for the imminent one coming this spring. Sure, sometimes those little toenails sure feel sharp. Sure, she squirms and kicks me. I feel those are a small price to pay for the joy I have in the morning, waking to the two people I love most in the world nearby.

Speaking of the imminent one: We did not find out that Madeleine was a girl when I was pregnant because I didn't want to. Dale gets to decide this time whether we find out. I also feel I had the lion's share of naming her, so am abdicating that (though I'm retaining veto power). Suggestions and input?

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Dale: Maddie and I fed the squirrels from our front step before church this morning. Actually, it was just one squirrel, as it successfully chased away its two competitors. It was a medium size black squirrel, which means it was a little twitchy about coming anywhere within twenty feet of humans. I had to whip the peanuts halfway across the street before it would consider approaching. Brown squirrels are much less shy. At my old below ground apartment, they became brazen (not to mention portly), and actually came right up to my window screen, staring inside as if to say "Get a move on, pal! I'm hungry here!" This technique infuriated my cat. But all the hissing in the world failed to intimidate those brown squirrels, who simply got fatter and sassier. I fed them so often I actually had one follow me as it walked on a power line in the parking lot. It would have been Hitchcockean if they hadn't been so good-natured to humans.

After church, I spent two hours driving around with Madeleine, running errands. The only bad part is loading and unloading her from her car seat in the Tahoe. She's getting very heavy, and usually is impatient to get out of the seat, regardless of the travel time or destination.

Our first stop was Home Depot, where I picked up 100 pounds of Quikrete to anchor our clothes line post. I probably have twice as much as I need, but it's only six bucks a bag, and I would rather not be forced to make a second trip. I'll wait till later in the afternoon to pour it--the sun's brutal in our exposed backyard right now. The second stop was at Best Buy. Last month our hard drive blew up. We got it back (obviously), but the standard Microsoft games (Solitare, Minesweeper) weren't reloaded (thanks, buddy). The other adult resident here is a big fan of Minesweeper, so I thought I'd check out their games section. Sure enough, they have the 100 game disc compilations, and I picked one out. Madeleine, intrigued, insisted on a taste test. Since I was intending to buy it, I let her. It was much more interesting than the bear I'd taken pains to remember to put in her diaper bag. I selected another game compilation, and somehow managed to resist buying a new real-time strategy game called "Superpower." Another time, maybe.

I then piled her into the car, and headed down Gratiot to pick up a prescription. Fortunately, the I-94 detour wasn't much of a problem. We got the prescription, and piled back into the truck for the third time, both of us getting very tired. We were both happy to be home. Now, it's time for her nap. Only she doesn't know it yet.
Heather: Today was the second time I've been alone in the house since Madeleine was born. She is omnipresent at the house, at least until sometime in the next couple weeks when we paint. It gets strangely quiet. At first, it's peaceful, but after about 45 minutes or an hour it's just... quiet. I finished watching a video I'd started last week, was going to paint my toenails but found I have no nail polish. It all went to a Mighty Aphrodite hen party a while back and it hasn't been replaced. Nuts.
I'd shaved my legs in the shower, bikini line needed no tending, wasn't really in the mood to read anything, no precise time of return so napping is out....
So what did I do for the remaining, oh, better part of an hour? Don't laugh. I made a gallon of Kool-Aid, hung out laundry that Dale had put into the machine (if it hadn't gone out soon, it wouldn't have dried by nightfall--it's heavy stuff) and did a load of dishes. It's easier to do such things when you don't have to keep an ear cocked for a cry, a tiny palm slapping on linoleum, or that telltale THUMP followed by a piercing wail.
Am I the only mother in the world who can only do so much for herself at a stretch?
Now they're back and the familiar is restored. I can't call it order; the cats and dogs have an entropic effect increased an order of magnitude by the baby. Is "entropic" a word? I remember "entropy" from high school chemistry; it's something like the perpetual drive in the universe toward disorder. My life epitomized and explained.
At least I have company, and he's nutty too.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Dale: Lawyer Bloviation Alert: Commentary on Recent Supreme Court Opinions.

I think it's fair to say that if you read carefully the recent Establishment Clause precedents of the Supreme Court, you will notice a very subtle but perceptable overtone of anti-Catholic bias in the various opinions of the liberal justices. Sometimes, it's not so subtle, as an in-your-face broadside by the late Justice William O. Douglas in Lemon v. Kurtzman made clear. From Footnote 20:

"'In the parochial schools Roman Catholic indoctrination is included in every subject. History, literature, geography, civics, and science are given a Roman Catholic slant. The whole education of the child is filled with propaganda. That, of course, is the very purpose of such schools, the very reason for going to all of the work and expense of maintaining a dual school system. Their purpose is not so much to educate, but to indoctrinate and train, not to teach Scripture truths and Americanism, but to make loyal Roman Catholics. The children are regimented, and are told what to wear, what to do, and what to think.' L. Boettner, Roman Catholicism 360 (1962)."

And again, from 403 U.S. at 636:

"'[I]n the public school the selection of a faculty and the administration of the school usually rests with a school board which is subject to election and recall by the voters, but in the parochial school the selection of a faculty and the administration of the school is in the hands of the bishop alone, and usually is administered through the local priest. If a faculty member in the public school believes that he has been treated unjustly in being disciplined or dismissed, he can seek redress through the civil court and he is guaranteed a hearing. But if a faculty member in a parochial school is disciplined or dismissed he has no recourse whatsoever. The word of the bishop or priest is final, even without explanation if he so chooses. The tax payers have a voice in the way their money is used in the public school, but the people who support a parochial school have no voice at all in such affairs.' L. Boettner, Roman Catholicism 375 (1962)."

What's the big deal about that, you may ask? Well, if you're asking, you're not Catholic. These two quotes hammer home the stereotypes of Catholicism as (1) an un-American religion of (2) mindless obedience and (3) harsh authoritarianism. What were you really trying to say, Justice Douglas? Loraine Boettner's Roman Catholicism is the original anti-Catholic screed--rightly called the "anti-Catholic's Bible." It is a 466 page demonstration of an advanced case of cranial-gluteal impaction. Presbyterian converts to the faith say that Boettner was generally a capable theologian. They also say he had an enormous blind spot regarding the Church, which he demonstrated in spades in this work. In short, Boettner had it in for Catholicism, and everyone knew it. Douglas could not have missed it. The grim humor is that this is a perfect example of unintended consequences: the devout Boettner's work was pressed into service by a rabid secularist hostile to the presence of Christianity in the public square.

Usually, however, the hostility is much more subtle, couched in terms of "sectarianism" or "indoctrination."

In Mitchell v. Helms, a plurality opinion written in 2000 by Catholic Justice Clarence Thomas, and joined by fellow Catholic Antonin Scalia, the Court called a spade a spade with regard to the "sectarian" label. In Mitchell, the Court held that a program loaning media and computer equipment to Catholic schools (along with other private schools) did not violate the Establishment Clause. Near the end of Justice Thomas' opinion, he saw fit to note that the very term "sectarian" had long been a code word for "Catholic", and should be discontinued as a relic of anti-Catholic bias:

"Finally, hostility to aid to pervasively sectarian schools has a shameful pedigree that we do not hesitate to disavow. Cf. Chicago v. Morales, 527 U. S. 41, 53-54, n. 20 (1999) (plurality opinion). Although the dissent professes concern for "the implied exclusion of the less favored," post, at 1, the exclusion of pervasively sectarian schools from government-aid programs is just that, particularly given the history of such exclusion. Opposition to aid to "sectarian" schools acquired prominence in the 1870's with Congress's consideration (and near passage) of the Blaine Amendment, which would have amended the Constitution to bar any aid to sectarian institutions. Consideration of the amendment arose at a time of pervasive hostility to the Catholic Church and to Catholics in general, and it was an open secret that "sectarian" was code for "Catholic." See generally Green, The Blaine Amendment Reconsidered, 36 Am. J. Legal Hist. 38 (1992). Notwithstanding its history, of course, "sectarian" could, on its face, describe the school of any religious sect, but the Court eliminated this possibility of confusion when, in Hunt v. McNair, 413 U. S., at 743, it coined the term "pervasively sectarian"--a term which, at that time, could be applied almost exclusively to Catholic parochial schools and which even today's dissent exemplifies chiefly by reference to such schools. See post, at 20-21, 39-41 (Souter, J., dissenting)."

In 2002, in the Zelman voucher case, despite this collegial notice from their conservative colleagues in Mitchell, the terms "sectarian" and "pervasively sectarian" were used repeatedly by the liberal dissenters, most notably coupled with notions of "indoctrination", discord or "unpopular" views (especially with respect to the roles of women). Coincidence? Admittedly, the terms were also used in the majority opinion, but almost always in reference to previous precedent or an amici brief employing the terminology. It may be reading too much into the precedent, but given the Court's history on these issues, suspicion is warranted.
Dale: We were driving up Gratiot today, trying to get to a store to buy paint. We've decided to commit to the chore of repainting our kitchen and the hallway leading to the bedrooms. Because the Michigan Department of Transportation (or MDOT--Motto: "Complicating Your Commute For a Half-Century") has embarked on a major interstate reconstruction every year since 1997, our trip to the store took rather longer than it should. You see, this year's victim is I-94. Consequently, all eastbound traffic has been shunted on to Gratiot Avenue. Guess who had to go eastbound to get to Sherwin Williams?

Anyway, the lengthier than usual commute reminded us of the fact there's a car dealership approximately every 150 yards on this particular stretch of Gratiot. It also allowed us to notice an increasingly common advertizing phenomenon: The Car Dealer Who's Trying Waaay Too Hard. Heather started saying "Cool! Look! Sharp!" My engaged response was "Huh?" She pointed and said: "Car dealership." Sure enough, it was. And scrawled in eye assaulting pastels on every vehicle in the lot was some goofy exclamation point tagline like:

"Drive in style!"
"Great price!"
"Pop the Top!" and even

"Crazy!" [No. Really.]

We're car shopping, and we avoid these places like they were chalk outlines. Especially since the product (minivans, economy cars and cookie cutter sedans) hardly merits all the day-glo hype. It would be more appropriate if the dealer touted:

"Dad'll Like it!"
"Point A to Point B!"
"Good Crash Test Rating!"
"Short, Exception-Laden Warranty!"
"Go Easy On It!"
"Think of the Premiums!"

and, for the sports cars:
"Won't Solve Midlife Crisis!"
"Viking Funeral!"

We'd probably stop at a place like that.
Dale: We almost had a tear-jerker of a "baby moment" a couple of minutes ago. Heather was sitting by our front door with Madeleine, who lives to watch the world go by. Well, Heather wouldn't let Maddie eat some unidentifiable piece of lint, so of course our little girl became loudly upset.

At that point, Daddy leapt into action, getting her attention with a series of facial contortions and funny noises. She sat down and started to laugh. Heather said "Go see Daddy!" Maddie smiled, and wonder of wonders, started crawling right toward my outstretched arms. She was crawling with her best five tooth smile, making a beeline and then...she turned toward the canned goods on the microwave stand in the kitchen. Daddy or creamed corn? Creamed corn or Daddy? Creamed corn wins in a knockout!

Ah, well. At least she appreciates Daddy's new Journey two disc set, bouncing along happily to "Don't Stop Believin'" earlier this morning.
Dale: Hey! I think I'm finally getting the links to work! There's nothing bull-headed persistence fueled by caffeine can't fix.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Dale: The hammer keeps falling in the Archdiocese of Detroit. I have some thoughts on this which I'll post tomorrow. The summary is that I don't think a well-defined zero tolerance policy poses real problems. More later.
Dale: The Toledo Mud Hens' major league affiliate is rumored to be on the verge of missing payroll. Maybe this miserable season will be over sooner than we thought.
Dale: Thanks for all of the advice, Fr. Jeff, Zach, and Steve! I will make the links work, and tidy them up. Currently, there's a Blogger problem preventing me from doing so. I'll also try to get the post "tags" so it's easier to tell who's posting what. Ah, the joys of blogging.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Dale: 5000 Al Qaeda in the U.S.? Well, they're not all Al Qaeda--some may just be supporters. Like that's any better. Oh, joy: several are under surveillance here in Detroit. Well, at least somebody's watching.

Hey, Mark: They are also in Seattle, "conduct[ing] activities that officials would not specify but called unusual." Isn't that comforting? In the meantime, when I catch my flight next week, I'll be able to watch the vigilant TSA frisk 10 year olds and ask grandmothers to remove their shoes.

Sleep well.
Dale: General Electric's 4D Ultrasound is unbelievable. It's a camcorder for the womb. Take a look.

I hope our Ob/Gyn gets this.
Dale: Mark Shea readers: Welcome! Make yourselves at home, and help us break in the weblog!
Feel free to drop us a line at dhprice2@hotmail.com.
Dale: "Muhammad was his own Constantine." So says Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis, explaining the difference between the rise of Christendom and that of Islam. His book, What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response is the subject of a lengthy essay by Fr. Richard Neuhaus in the most recent on-line issue of "First Things". Looks like a must have for the bookshelf.

Marvin Olasky also weighs in with his book recommendations on Islam at TownHall.com. It's mostly stuff of a more polemic/apologetic nature, but there appear to be some keepers in there. Bat Ye'or's works, by all accounts, are a safe bet.
Heather: I was discussing babies with my mother today. My mom has more grandkids than any of her sisters-in-law (none of her brothers had kids, so grandkids are moot) and was relaying what my sister was told by our aunt. How lucky she is to have so many grandchildren, at least one from each child (fourth due in August and fifth, we already know, probably in March), et cetera. Mom mentioned a couple cousins, one of whom is going back and forth on kids and another who's finding reason after reason to continue putting off a second. I actually heard myself saying, "There's never a good time to have a baby, whether first, fifth, or eighth." Gee, you DID just hear yourself, right?
I think I'm finding peace with this pregnancy. Better now than in 8 months, I suppose.

I turn 31 at the end of this month. It was pretty untraumatic to turn 30, so I don't suppose this one will be a big deal either. Dale has a list of gift requests. He's pretty good when he strays from a list; he has excellent taste in jewelry. There was one Christmas where we both got each other crucifixes--gold cross and silver corpus. I found it O. Henry-ish without the futile aspect.

I try not to have the TV on during the day while I'm home, so I stay pretty much out of the loop on current affairs most of the time. Some things sink in: the guy who shot his 18-month-old daughter in Detroit is not nuts. He's evil.
Bush borrowed a grand total of $180K back in the day when everyone else was, and paid it back. Frankly, the fact that "everyone else was" doesn't make it right. The fact that it is, relatively speaking, infinitesimal when compared to the borrowing by other executives does matter. The fact that he PAID IT BACK is the part that interests me!

Anyway. Dale needs to adjust the coals so he can grill for dinner. That means I'm back on point for Maddie.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Our historically illiterate friends, the Saudis.

Mr. Ghazi Algosaibi, the Saudi ambassador to Britain and Kipling to the more, shall we say, incendiary of the Palestinians, waxes flatulent:

"Mr Algosaibi said Israel was using its military might against civilians who were defending themselves with the only weapons they had available, their bodies.

>>Just their bodies. And those shiploads of Iranian weapons. Does the name "Karine A" ring any bells there, cupcake? Didn't think so. Otherwise, the machinegunning of 5 year old Israeli girls in their beds is pretty hard to explain, if they don't have any other weapons. Right?>>

'This is a war of occupation, far more severe than anything the Germans did when they occupied Europe in World War Two,' he said at the University of Westminster, central London."

>>Oh, of course it is. The damage done to 10 acres of Jenin far outweighs anything the Nazis did in Europe. Like, say, the Blitz did to central London in 1940. Right where you are speaking now....
Plus, there's that little matter of what the Nazis did to the Jews. But you probably don't have much of a problem with that, do you, Mr. Ambassador?

Dale: If by some chance we actually have readers, and by further chance you want to contact either of us, please feel free to do so at dhprice2@hotmail.com. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to add links (including e-mail) to the blog page. If you have any advice on how to do this, please let me know.

Dale: California Jesuits. What a healthy bunch of guys. Here's my favorite fact: "Burke becomes the fifth Jesuit in Northern California in recent years ordered to register as a lifetime sex offender."

According to the article, Burke was shuffled off to a cozy retreat center after he admitted to his abuse of the mentally retarded man. Let me get this straight. Father Joseph Fessio gets exile for battling to preserve orthodox Jesuit education in California, and these guys go on vacation. Suppression, anyone?
Heather: This morning's test came up positive again. I'm still pregnant.
I realize life has to consist of more than new food tricks Maddie does and gestational updates; I just haven't had time for anything else today. Maddie's latest: eating banana. She overfilled her mouth with the last inch, inch-and-a-half portion. When I noticed and asked her what was going on, she smiled. And squeezed out some banana like a demented Play-Doh machine. I caught it and we shared that extra.
But today I was helping my mother clean out my grandmother's house. Mind you, Grandma passed back on January 1, 2000, so this has been a long time coming. My sister and her fiance-now-husband were living there with their young son, so it's really my sister's stuff that is getting cleared out and not Grandma's.
No, sister was not evicted. She and husband (and son) moved into their own home last fall. Unfortunately, there was some confusion over the status of the utilities and Mom thought she couldn't get over there this past winter without heat and water. Well, we got over there a couple weeks ago and I heard the refridgerator running as soon as we walked in, the water worked, and even the gas was on. Nuts, this could all have been done ages ago!
It will still require (at least) one more trip. Mom, while thorough, isn't the speediest worker in the world. She's... detail-oriented, and since this is her project, I'm just the hired help. Hopefully this will get done before school starts up again *gasp* next month.
Dale: Why don't they just strike again and kill baseball dead this time? The owners and players just keep getting dumber and dumber as they get richer and richer. These guys are on the verge of killing the sport. And they don't care.

Actually, I still like baseball. Detroit has a nice ballpark and a sometimes-spunky AAA team, which can be interesting to watch, in a penitential/bad road accident sense.

Even though the Tigers have management which apparently gets its personnel decision insights from tea leaves and chicken entrails. Last week, the geniuses on Woodward saw fit to trade away the only legitimate big league pitcher the organization has developed in the past decade. For a first baseman (which now gives them 5 players at that position) and a closer (which gives them 2). Please note that the franchise is owned by the same guy who owns the 2002 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings. For those of you who don't know (ignorant heretics!), the Wings just won their third championship in six years last month. The Tigers haven't had a winning season since 1993, and haven't seen the playoffs since 1987. Apparently, he leaves his ownership smarts in the car when he visits Comerica. We're now seven years into the five year rebuilding plan, if you get my drift.

But I still like baseball. For however much longer we'll have it.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Dale: Oy Vey, or How To Destroy Your Candidacy In Three Sentences or Less.

I live in this district. It's now safe to say that Sander Levin, despite the best efforts of Michigan's Republican-dominated House and Senate, will get two more years. Which is not a good thing in my book, but rewarding idiots with a Congressional seat is also not a good thing.

Do the Republicans have any other nominees? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Dale: Of course I have thoughts about "our" pregnancy. I'm still sorting them out, though, and will have more to say later. For now, I'll just say this: it's joy tinged with not a little fear. Not fear in the panicky sense, but fear in the enormity-of-it-all sense. There's another life growing as I write this. As of yesterday, her (yes, like Heather said, I think it's another girl) heart started beating. And I'll be responsible for that beating heart for the rest of my life.

In other words, I'd be nuts to not be a little afraid at this point.
Dale: The Camaro is dead. Long live the Mustang.

As the proud once-owner of a midnight green '78 Camaro, I can sadly say I'm going to miss the model. A lot. Mine had an in-line six cylinder engine, which meant it had the pick up of a K-Car, but once you got rolling, it held the speed quite nicely. I remember getting it up to 105 mph on one of the paved roads outside of town, and the engine just purred. It was almost like the car preferred high speeds. [Obligatory disclaimer: Teenage boys, don't do this. Even for chicks. It's dangerous. While you are at it, stay in school, don't do drugs, and eat your greens.]

I customized it somewhat: I had turbo-style aluminum wheels and Eagle ST tires. Add in the Kraco cassette deck and speakers, and I was king of the road. Not that it was a perfect car model of course. In a Michigan winter, it handled like a skate. Plus, the seating: "2+2." Yeah, sure. Two medium sized adults in front, and 2 extras from the cast of "The Terror of Tiny Town" in the back.
And don't forget the cost of no-fault insurance. For a teenage boy....My dad couldn't have gotten a higher rate if he said he was going to use the vehicle as a car bomb. A practical vehicle, it was not. But it was a hell of a lot of fun. It died a tragic death my sophomore year of college: while innocently parked on a street corner, a drunk "re-parked" it at approximately 35 miles per hour. It was totalled, and it still stings a little to think about it. I got a Mercury Capri with the insurance money, but it wasn't the same.

It's clear that an era has truly come to an end. Except for the Mustang, the muscle car is now dead. A moment of silence, please.
Heather: The news is in. We found out yesterday that I'm pregnant again. I'm going to re-test in a couple days because it doesn't seem real, even though false positives are rare to the point of nonexistent. It's a surprise, not really an accident. We wanted to wait another 2 months but it seems God has other plans. A grand total of 5 weeks along and Dale already thinks it's another girl. As wonderful a dad as he is to Madeleine, it wouldn't bother me too much.
I admit I'm a little apprehensive having two babies so close together. Sure, it's still 8 months away or so, which means Madeleine will be walking and understanding more and all that. When my mom got pregnant with me 6 weeks after my sister was born, my dad hoped I was a girl. I'm hoping--I'm afraid to admit this--that this one's a boy. I just want to sidestep that whole rivalry issue as much as possible. Then again, our niece and nephew in Alma fight over everything and they're 21 months apart.
My mom was more supportive than I thought she'd be. I didn't think she'd advise termination; I know her (and she knows me) better than that. I just don't want to spend the next however long apprehensive about the effects.
Gotta go, someone just woke from her nap!

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Heather: Well, Madeleine is finally asleep. We'll see how long this lasts; she hasn't had her "sleep-3-hours", wake-and-eat" stretch in a couple weeks, anyway. Since I'm still nursing her, it goes right through and she gets hungry. If anyone has any tips besides giving her solid food (doing that--she's hardly a fussy eater) and letting her cry it out (we can't take it), please share.
Friday was a terrific day. I don't have many friends in the area, even fewer who are married and fewer still with kids. Some days the only adult I talk to is Dale. Don't get me wrong, he's great, but sometimes it's a chick thing, you know? What I was getting to: Friends were in town from Chicago and I got to hang out with Diane. We met way back in the first week of college--we were on the same quad. When our RA got us all together and played getting to know each other games, both of us remember years later what the other said. Everything else anyone said is gone, but I remember her saying that she's a Cubs fan and she doesn't have a perm. Anyway, even though she and her husband don't have kids they ARE married and that's a start.
Then, just as they were leaving, Christina came by. She's getting married soon (January) and she and her fiance are buying a house. We went by to see the house while Dale stayed home with Maddie. We went for a little walk in the neighborhood and got some fresh air. So, two grown women (besides my mother) in one day. THAT is what makes it terrific.
I don't think that makes me a bad mom to feel a little relief to be away from my daughter. After all, a whole person makes a better mother than a partial one, right?

Friday, July 05, 2002

Dale: A short intro: Heather and I are a young Catholic couple who will have been married for three years as of October 23. We are the proud parents and loyal servants of Madeleine, age 10 months. We live in Michigan, and have our whole lives. I'm an attorney (please, no hissing) and Heather is a public school teacher (French and Spanish). We have two cats (one superfluous), a dog, and (my favorite) a sword-tail goldfish. All crammed into a cozy ranch-style home ("They loaded up the truck and moved to Bev-er-ly..."). Don't let the title and description fool you (whoever you might be). We'll probably hold forth on a number of topics, including the war, religion and the Scandal (like I said, we're Catholic) sports, politics, movies--you name it. Even if we don't have reader #1, we should have fun bloviating at random. Once we figure it out, we'll post links and an e-mail address for feedback. Please note that all e-mails will be considered as fodder for publication. Don't worry, credit (or blame) will be given accordingly.

Heather: This is our test blog. That's a weird word, "blog." Yet another concerted effort of my husband's and mine. Hey, several others have been quite successful (most obviously our daughter), so we might as well give this one a shot.

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