Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Portrait of the Reader with a Bowl of Cereal

Every morning I sit across from you
at the same small table,
the sun all over the breakfast things—
curve of a blue-and-white pitcher,
a dish of berries—
me in a sweatshirt or robe,
you invisible.
Most days, we are suspended
over a deep pool of silence.
I stare straight through you
or look out the window at the garden,
the powerful sky,
a cloud passing behind a tree.
There is no need to pass the toast,
the pot of jam,
or pour you a cup of tea,
and I can hide behind the paper,
rotate in its drum of calamitous news.
But some days I may notice
a little door swinging open
in the morning air,
and maybe the tea leaves
of some dream will be stuck
to the china slope of the hour—
Then I  will lean forward,
elbows on the table, 
with something to tell you, 
and you will look up, as always, 
your spoon dripping milk, ready to listen.

- Billy Collins


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Come and Meet Me In the Middle of the Air


A great song to start a new day, written by Paul Kelly and covered in a capella fashion by Perfect Tripod. (That's them above, and their new album cover. It's on iTunes, and I really recommend a listen.)

Enjoy.

 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Evening Prayer in Two Words

She went on to summarize evening prayer.

"Ah well."


Morning Prayer in One Word


Was listening to a story from a British theologian tonight. One of her best comments: "How do you summarize morning prayer?"

"Whatever."




Friday, August 23, 2013

The Woman who Stopped the Gunman: "I Loved Him"


You might have seen this already -- it's an interview with Antoinette Tuff, the school bookkeeper in Georgia who talked down the troubled young man who was preparing to start shooting fifth graders at a school in Decatur.

But if you haven't, take a look. Her level head alone is extraordinary, but what's really striking is her take on the young man. Where others would (quite rightly) see just a threat, a killer, she saw a person in need.

 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

And Speaking of Hilarious Amazons




Hilarious Amazon Reviews


As you know, every Amazon product gives people the chance to write reviews. What you might know is the cases in which people have decided to use this moment to entertain you.

Click here for some of the joy they wanted to bring.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pretty Much the Best Parish Street Sign Ever

Seen outside St. Ignatius Parish, Richmond, Australia:


How Many Posts Can You Have About Blackbirds?


I know, move on.

But this just seemed inevitable, didn't it?




This, too.



But this one -- this one may surprise you.

A REAL Fosse Blackbird


After my dance number post I was informed if I wanted to see a real Fosse Blackbird, I needed to look elsewhere.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, Liza Minelli.



(I gotta admit, I prefer the other one. Stones may be thrown at me at twitter.com/popculturpriest .)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

And Speaking of Blackbirds...


Actually, this was the Blackbird I had in mind; one of my favorite dance sequences from So You Think You Can Dance Australia:

 

"A Prayer of Sorts"

'If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing
bird will come.'  A prayer of sorts,
charm for the good one, murmured into the wind,
day by tossing day.
There they go, a skyful at random, trying
the blue acres, miming the risen:
shearwater, brolga, avocet, tern, rosella--
bugling, whistling, calling.
'A bird does not sing because it has an answer,
It sings because it has a song.'
Happy at sixty. Good for the company, bless
The blackbird on your bough.  -- Peter Steele


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stand By Me

Sure to add a little joy:


Aka a Way Happier Version of This:



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sickness Unto Death: An Unexpected Adventure


My friend Geoff King, a Jesuit of the Australian province, was just telling me about an article he wrote in the Melbourne Age about his own take on assisted suicide. Geoff has a motor neuron disease that is slowly deteriorating  his muscles.  For over a year he's been in a wheel chair, unable to stand.  His mind is still sharp as a tack, he teaches canon law at our school of theology in Melbourne; he's also a damn good cook.

The piece he wrote is quite striking for its beauty and its honesty.  Geoff is not living in some dream castle faith-based fairy tale, but he's not shaking his fists and screaming, either. There's a remarkable sense of reflection to him, of taking in what is happening and what will happen, and letting it come, even a sense of wonder about the whole thing. 

I lived with Geoff for about 6 weeks in 2008 and 3 more last summer. He's a remarkable guy.  I hope you'll take a moment to check out his reflections.  They're well worth it. 


An excerpt: 
For me, life is a gift from God. So far it has been an extraordinarily generous gift. I have been able to do things, and to experience things, and to go to places (places of the heart as well as geographical places) that I would never have conceived of when I was, say, 20. I have had a wonderful life, and for this I am immensely grateful. I have now entered into much darker places, but even here I find new life: there is a sense of adventure, for example, in finding how to do even simple things from the constraints of an electric wheelchair.
I know I haven't been writing for about a million years. My plant died -- it was a whole thing. I graduated from UCLA; if you know someone who works in the TV business and might be intrigued by a hard working Jesuit who does not only scifi and drama pilots but sharpens pencils, arranges donuts and takes notes like nobody's business, give them my name! And I'm in Australia for a few weeks checking out the country's upcoming election. A whole other and much more fascinating thing.  

I'm thinking about trying to occasionally post little things I'm finding on the internet, little moments of laughter or thoughtfulness. It's a goal. Consider this a first course.