Saturday, October 27, 2007

How is this OK?

From the BBC website:

"Fema employees posed as reporters at Tuesday's "news briefing" with Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson because an agency was providing a live video feed to US TV networks, according to the Washington Post.

Six questions were posed by the Fema officials and Mr Johnson even used the typical practice of calling for a "last question".

"I'm very happy with Fema's response," Mr Johnson said in reply to one query from an employee."

More on the BBC.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle on Religious Art

And here, by way of Iconia, is a beautiful quote from my favorite childhood author, Madeleine L'Engle, who died recently:
"How many of us really want life, life more abundant, life which does not promise any fringe benefits or early retirement plans? Life which does not promise the absence of pain, or love which is not vulnerable and open to hurt?...
How many of us dare to open ourselves to that truth which would make us free? Free to talk to Roman Catholics or charismatics or Jews, as Jesus was free to talk to tax collectors or publicans or Samaritans. Free to feast at the Lord's table with those whose understanding of the Body and Blood may be a little different from ours. Free to listen to angels. Free to run across the lake when we are called.
What is a true icon of God to one person may be blasphemy to another. And it is not possible for us flawed human beings to make absolute zealous judgements as to what is and what is not religious art. I know what is religious art for me. You know what is religious art for you. And they are not necessarily the same."

-Madeleine L'Engle , 1918-2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Alan Johnston's Story

I am so glad Alan Johnston was released from captivity in Gaza. I was so worried about him! I remember him reporting on the BBC, and his voice was in my ears each day when I read the number of days he was held.

He just wrote a (long) description of his ordeal. He's an amazing person. I love it that we both admire Ernest Shackleton! He describes creating his own psychological lifeboat, to make it to his tiny island of sanity. If you read Endurance, the story of how Shackleton saved his crew and himself from freezing to death in Antarctica by navigating to a minuscule island in the Pacific, you can see what I mean. I'm psyched that Alan Johnston and I are both fans of Shackleton's!

Joan of Arc is the Patron Saint of prisoners and captives. The icon above is by Br. Robert Lentz and available through Trinity Stores.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Southern California Fires

The ladies over at Hasta Los Gatos Quieren Zapatos asked for prayers and good wishes to get through the wildfires in S. Cali. It looks horrifying! 500,000 people displaced - before Katrina, I couldn't imagine it - and now, well, it's still mind-boggling.

According to the Patron Saint Index, St. Barbara is the saint to pray to against fires. And she's the patron saint of Firefighters too. Let's all say a prayer for everyone there.... may they return to normal life unscathed.

Psalm 23
1: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2: He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mini News Round-up from Philly

Since pretty much everything in Philadelphia is dominated by Comcast, either their new building on the skyline, or their monopoly on our cable service, I thought this article at BlogHer would interest many of you.

I read this quote from Chris Satullo in the Inky today, which made me smile:
Philadelphia has to decide whether it wants to be green every day, or just on days when the Eagles play.

We do have a lot of work to do here in the City of Brotherly Love. But IS doable. We've made strides at rallying around this issue. Now if we could just take it to the level of the Phils making it to the Championships, we'd be set!

OMG! Plus, Marky Mark will be in town for "Lovely Bones!"

Friday, October 19, 2007

My favorite Prada jacket

... on a real person! See the Sartorialist to see the photo! It's on the lady on the right. Enjoy!

And speaking of Romania, check this out over on Das Artes Plasticas! Wow! How mind-bendingly beautiful!

Enjoy the weekend, all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bird Sighting: Hermit Thrush

Well, who would've thunk, that here in Philly I'd see a pair of Hermit Thrushes in my back yard?! I saw them through the window and watched them eat berries of a vine. They are beautiful! And if you go to the Cornell Ornithology site, you can hear their song - which is amazing.

Back in the day, Robert J. Lurtsema, radio host for WFCR, Amherst, used to play a tape of bird songs early in the morning. [I could never understand how grown-ups would want to get out of bed listening to the soothing birds singing all morning, but whatevs.] Hearing those thrushes in the "Back 40" brings me back....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Now that it FINALLY feels like Fall here in the City of Brotherly Love, I've started to check out another favorite clothing design source: Marimekko.

I have to say, again, that the color palette, in general, is a little drab for my taste - but there are still some stand-outs:

And if I really get nostalgic for the old-style Marimekko prints, I can always buy an "oilcloth" table cloth or something and ogle THAT all day:

Anthropologists Make Headlines

And not in a good way. You know, you have to be careful what you wish for.... I was hoping there would be more jobs for cultural Anthropologists out there, and this is what happens!

It's a classic dilemma for an Anthropologist. But I have to say, working for the military in a war zone is not a good idea in my opinion. The idea of "anthropologizing the military" IS a good idea. Like, have an understanding of the people we're fighting against. Yes, I'm all for that. But this late in the day? Knowing that their actions and research would put their informants directly in harm's way? I applaud the Concerned Anthropologists, and hope their cause makes some headway.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day!

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Knights Templar out of the Secret Archives!

I am fascinated by this article from the BBC about how the Vatican Secret Archives are releasing some of their documents about the Templars' heresy trials from the 14th Century. I guess if we had an extra $8,000, we could get ourselves a copy of the documents too! On parchment and everything.

I have to admit that I am really into the Knights of St John the Hospitalier. Ever since our visit to the town of St Antoine many years ago, I think the whole history of the Templars is amazing.

Plus, there are the pilgrimage routes through France and Spain to Santiago Compostela. What great opportunities for religious art. I think I've convinced Josiah that we should do a walking trip through the South of France to Santiago. It would be awesome!

Image from

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore et al. win the Nobel Peace Prize! Wow! Excellent news! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We're All in This Together

Lakshmi turned me on to "Bloglines" and now I'm hooked. I visited Flatbush Gardener, and was reminded of Robert Lentz's icons.... Thanks Lakshmi, thanks, F.G., and thanks Bloglines, for letting me find "The Rev. Mama." Ahh.... the beauty of the interwebs.

The image, above, is named Compassion Mandala, and reminded me of this sermon by the Rev. Mama. "We're all in this together, keep your stick on the ice", and be the mercy and grace you want to see around you.
"... have no fear of human sin. Love people, even in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God's creation. The whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will be begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to live the whole world with an all-embracing love." * (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov)

* from Trinity Stores, Robert Lentz's Compassion Mandala

Monday, October 8, 2007


Romania (and Bulgaria and Turkey) are fascinating to me. I traveled to all three, and more as a teenager during our family's wacky tour through Eastern Europe in a camper. [I'll have to tell about that whole trip sometime.] Basically, we drove through Eastern Europe from (then) East Germany to Turkey.

I've had dreams recently of doing a shorter revision of that trip with my family, now that La Segunda is old enough for travel, and La Prima would remember it. Josiah seems into it, especially if we could find the cash to pull it off.

I think we could start from Bucharest, do something like this suggested tour from the Romanian Travel website. Then, drive to Bulgaria - doesn't it look amazing?? And end in Turkey, with some extra time for AT LEAST one visit to a hamam. Of course, time in Istanbul would be essential, and maybe a trip to Ephesus, too.

There is so much about the history of these countries that is unknown to me. But, from what I understand, the cultures and languages are both products of ancient mixing and fighting. Why Romanian is Romanian, and Bulgarian is Bulgarian ends up being a fascinating question. Why is one a Roman alphabet, and the other Cyrillic, for example? The music, and the food, and, of course, the Religious Art (Romanian & Bulgarian), are all affected by their geographic place in the world, and the people who have crossed paths there.

I want to go back!

Thanks to Wikipedia for planting this seed in my head!

Friday, October 5, 2007


This is the original image the Churches Advertising Network played with for their "Meek. Mild. As If." campaign.

The BBC article mentions how the image has been used in religious contexts, but doesn't get specific. Good article though.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Go Phillies!

I'm wearing red today! The school kids in Philadelphia had a relaxed uniform today so they could wear red & white to school.

It's amazing, because those are the same colors of the Welsh Rugby team. When I was in Kindergarten in Lampeter, Wales, all the kids wore red and white when they were in, AND WON the championship game. It was pandemonium!

Here in Philly, we're hoping for a trip to the World Series. It's a city full of optimistic dreamers, and we're used to being let down.... But maybe, just maybe, this time, we can pull it off! I just hope Jimmy Rollins' SI cover won't be the jinx that does it.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Raphael in the Tarot

I knew I had seen an image of Raphael that reminded me of the day of Judgement - who knew it would be the Tarot Deck!? The image of an angel blowing a horn was what stuck in my mind's eye. The general reading for this card is "Kingdom of Glory" [or "Glory of Kingdom"]. But I usually think of it, in a reading, as a revelation, or epiphany of some sort. Like, getting a new lease on life, an awakening. Or, to tie in with my earlier Raphael post, having the scales fall off my eyes.

From Wikipedia: Raphael in Islam According to the Hadith, Israfil (Raphael in Arabic) is the Angel responsible for signalling the coming of Judgment Day by blowing a horn and sending out a "Blast of Truth". Unlike Jibrail(Gabriel) and Mikail(Michael), this archangel was not mentioned by name in the Quran.

See, I should have read further down the Wikipedia entry on Raphael:

Modern occultists sometimes associate Raphael with the colors yellow or gold and emerald green, the direction East (or West), the element Air, the crystal emerald and the Suit of Swords of the Tarot in traditions loosely derived from reports of Kabbalism. According to Francis Barrett (The Magus, vol. II, 1801), Raphael has also been denoted as the angel of science and knowledge, as well as the preceptor angel of Isaac. Other titles attributed to Raphael include the angel of prayer, love, joy, light, as well as the guardian of both the Tree of Life and of humanity.

That's where the Science and Technology ideas came from for the Archangels. And I thought it was a big mystery! Well, there you have it, folks, Wikipedia IS the source of all knowledge! [Whether confirmed, fully-researched, or not.]

Tarotpedia rocks, btw.