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February 22, 2012

It’s Lent!
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:17 AM *

For how long and to whom?

  • Yes, but do you know what I’m knocking with?
  • Yes, but we can never go back to Burger King again.
  • My brothers are fine; I gave up drinking for Lent.
  • You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a trout.
Comments on It's Lent!:
#1 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 01:27 AM:

Indeed it is! Gotta set my alarm, because the early Mass tomorrow is the only one that'll work for me.

#2 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 01:29 AM:

Now let's see, where did I put my copy of The Shy Pornographer by Jock Carroll? (Best collection of punchlines I've ever found, in and around a minor story -- not to be confused with Kenneth Patchen's book of the same title.)

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 01:30 AM:

"He says he knows Mother."

#4 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 01:48 AM:

Oh, and I can't find the Burger King joke. What is it? (All I find is references to the short-lived Hulaburger.)

#5 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 02:07 AM:

It's 10 p.m. and I'm fasting from posting on blogs and forums this Lent, so I'll wander back in after Easter.

#6 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 02:22 AM:

elise @4: I think it's the same as "They threw us out of Safeway."

#7 ::: mspy ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 03:39 AM:

Like the variant about a cow and a trout most of all.

#8 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 09:06 AM:

elise @ #4:

If it's the joke I think it is, it's not specific to Burger King; the version I remember just uses "...never be able to eat in that restaurant again."

Unlike Tom Whitmore @ #6, I don't think I've heard Safeway used -- the set-up as I know it always involves eating a meal -- but we might still be thinking of the same joke; I can see how it could be done.

None of this really helps, does it?

#9 ::: Fox ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 09:37 AM:

Alas, all the good irreverent jokes I know won't be on point for another forty days. (At least it's a literal forty days, instead of the "forty days" that means "wow, a really long time".)

#10 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 09:42 AM:

While trying to find the Burger King joke (the only one of those I haven't heard), I found this, which is not specifically Lenten but made me laugh well out of proportion, for some unknown reason:

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray: "Take only ONE. God is watching."

Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples."

#11 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 10:02 AM:

Paul A @8: I've only ever heard it on the Supermarket variation, generally in the vegetable section, but (as noted above) the full joke is intuitive in either context.

The question is: since it is arguably pro-procreation, is it a joke of which Rick Santorum would approve?

The other question: will the debate tonight feature two people prominently sporting their Toner Cartridge Incident to highlight differences with the Bot?

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 10:18 AM:

Elise #4:

It's the last week of Lent, and a guy goes to Confession.

He says, "Bless me father, for I have sinned. I can never go back to Church again."

"It is difficult for me to imagine a sin so grave that a penitent can never return to Church," the priest says. "Tell me about it."

"Well," the guy says, "My wife and I had decided to give up sex for Lent. And, while it was difficult, we were managing well enough, until this morning. Over breakfast, she asked me to pass the sugar. Our fingers met; our eyes met; and without a further word we were pulling off each others' clothing. We made mad, passionate love right there on the table."

The priest says, "This is no sin. You are married to one another and marital relations are pleasing to God within the bands of matrimony. While the practice of denying ourselves small pleasures during Lent is admirable and helps us recall the solemn occasion, it is not a requirement of the Church, but only a matter of individual practice. You may certainly return to Church."

"Okay," says the guy, "but we can never go back to Burger King again."

#13 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 10:38 AM:

I want to read 'Doc' Smith's "Children of the Lent".

#14 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 10:52 AM:

It may well be Lent, but I didn't borrow it.

#15 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 12:23 PM:

Macdonald @12: Oh! Thanks. When I heard that one, as a child, it was a restaurant: the Brown Derby.

#16 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 12:30 PM:

Unpack cow/cow/trout, please?
The only search result comes here.

#17 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 01:08 PM:

@16 Pasted in from another site, so pardon any formatting glitches:

John Smith was the only Protestant to move into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were eating cold tuna fish for supper. This went on each Friday of Lent. On the last Friday of Lent, the neighborhood men got together and decided that something had to be done about John as he was tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent, and they couldn't take it anymore. So they decided to try and convert John to become a Catholic. They went over and talked to him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his neighbors and become a Catholic. They took him to Church, and the Priest sprinkled some water over him, and said, "You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are a Catholic." The men were so relieved that now their biggest Lenten temptation was resolved. The next year's Lenten season rolled around. The first Friday of Lent came, and just at supper time, when the neighborhood was settling down to their tuna fish dinner, came the wafting smell of steak cooking on a grill. The neighborhood men could not believe their noses! WHAT WAS GOING ON? They called each other up and decided to meet over in John's yard to see if he had forgotten it was the first Friday of Lent. The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was sprinkling some water over his steak on the grill, saying, "You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish."

#18 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 01:17 PM:

The duck says "Got any grapes?"

#19 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 01:18 PM:

@18 "Nope, a frayed knot."

#20 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 01:37 PM:

I'm reading Louis Armstrong's autobiography on the subway this morning, Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans (Marvelous book, I recommend it highly) where he is talking about the Mardi Gras parades and I think, Oh yeah, there was going to be a Mardi Gras parade in Maplewood last night. Must be getting on toward Easter I guess. This afternoon I see people with ashen crosses on their heads. (Did not see any such this morning.)

#21 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 01:52 PM:

@19: "What, you think I asked for a twelve-inch pianist?"

#22 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 02:17 PM:

I find this amusing, but I am not a Christian, so what do I know?

#23 ::: MilesToGo ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 02:47 PM:

This year, he's calling it Lend.

#24 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 03:16 PM:

John Bellairs' first book, St. Fidgeta and Other Parodies, includes an interesting article on the question, "Does the Martini in the Olive Break the Lenten Fast?"

#25 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 03:25 PM:

well, can't you get it back ?
as the actress said to the bishop..

#26 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 03:31 PM:

Personally I prefer to think of Ash Wednesday as "Find Out Which Of Your Coworkers and Friends Are Observant Catholics" Day

#27 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 03:44 PM:

Connie H @26:
prefer to think of Ash Wednesday as "Find Out Which Of Your Coworkers and Friends Are Observant Catholics" Day

...which is why I get my ashes in the evening. Feels too much like praying on street-corners otherwise. And I'm afraid my ex-Catholic colleagues will think I'm judging them, or that my non-Catholic colleagues will think I'm going to try to convert them.

(I'm OK being out to y'all; I stand on my non-evangelical non-judgmental record. But colleagues don't necessarily know me well enough.)

Having said that, I did actually bring a colleague with me to evening Mass today. But she needed to get a Mass card for the deceased father of yet another colleague, so tagging along with me ensured finding a friendly and English-speaking priest.

It was...strange...being visibly faithful to a colleague. Even one who is also a friend. It was more difficult, in many ways, than being naked in front of colleagues, which I have also done.

#28 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 03:49 PM:

A Jewish friend of mine (who has a Catholic stepmother and is attending a Catholic university) just referred to today as 'Schmutz Wednesday'. I laughed.

#29 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 04:01 PM:

I'm not Catholic, but went and participated (as usual) in Ashes to Go (which, contrary to the article, was started as a multi-church ecumenical idea, even if the Episcopalians have run with the idea). It's a good service, and there are a lot of Catholics who stop by just because it's convenient.

Abi, I'm with you about preaching on street corners - I used to go to the evening mass, but I've arranged in the past several years to have ash wed. afternoon be mostly client-less, and my dinner guests will probably be have ashes as well. It's the one time a year I wish I had bangs.

#31 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 04:47 PM:

Ash Day... Bruce Campbell vs Ian Holm?

#32 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 05:18 PM:

Melissa @22: Here, have a data point: I am Catholic and I think that's hilarious. I wonder what my N'awlins-born-and-bred friend Julia would think; I suspect she'd like it too.

Hyper-Local News: I did indeed attend 8 A.M. Mass, where there was a smallish turnout of about fifty people or so; I suspect noon Mass was a bit bigger, and I'm pretty sure the 7 P.M. Mass will be quite large. (I had schedule conflicts for both of the later ones, but the meeting to which I am going tonight takes place in the church building at nearly the same time as evening Mass, so I might see a bunch of people to say hi to.)

Also, I need to get or make a button that says "Another Minnesota Catholic for Marriage Equality." Would have been nice to have it today. If I'm going to fly my colors because of wearing the smudge all day, I might as well also stand up for something that matters pretty intensely here right now.

#33 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 05:22 PM:

Melissa, #22: The Krewe of Chewbacchus had a display at Wizard's World New Orleans last month; I got some pictures (6 starting here), and a video of them parading around the dealer room floor.

We also talked to them about coming over for Houston's Art Car Parade in May; they'd fit right in. They had never heard of art cars! (And in a lot of art car parades they wouldn't be allowed, but Houston has categories for bikes and "contraptions", which includes things built on Segways and golf carts and riding mowers -- basically anything that's not a bike or a car. We even had a giant traffic cone one year that was foot-powered; 4 guys inside it pushing.)

#34 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 05:25 PM:

Episcopalians also get ashes today. Maybe other Anglicans too. So it's not a reliable Catholic detector.

#35 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 05:52 PM:

Maybe I'm betraying my age, but when I heard about the Chewbacchus, I found myself thinking of "Gilligan's Island".

#36 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 05:54 PM:

An etymological note:

slend: verb. To slim down. See also: slender

slender: noun. One who slends.

slent: past tense, past participle of slend. e.g. "Did the elephant lose weight? Why, yes! It slent."

Ah, knowledge! Easier than science.

#37 ::: which.chick ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 06:23 PM:

So... this is when we eat lentils? (Yay!)

#38 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 07:40 PM:

Melissa @ #22, that is AWESOME. Serious envy here. (Also wishing I'd thought of "Chewbaccabra".

#39 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 09:39 PM:

Can anyone explain why the (Episcopal) Gospel reading is the one from Matthew about not being public when you pray? The Catholic one was too, as far as I remember from my childhood.

It would seem the exact opposite of walking around with your forehead marked.

#40 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 10:27 PM:

so... is lent supposed to be a lens focusing your observance, or is it unrelated to the lent in lentil and lenticular?

#41 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 11:24 PM:

Semi-apropos, I will be in New Orleans at the end of next week.

That's not why I was looking at Krewes . . . .

#42 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2012, 11:41 PM:

shadowsong@40, according to

Origin of LENT
Middle English lente springtime, Lent, from Old English lencten; akin to Old High German lenzin spring
First Known Use: 13th century

#43 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 12:16 AM:

"You are the lens of the world, the only lens in which the world may become aware of itself. On the other hand, the world is the only lens through which you may know yourself.

"It is both lenses together which make vision." —R.A. MacAvoy*

*Quoted from memory

#44 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 12:51 AM:

@22: I am a Christian, and I want to know where this has been all my life. I may move there just to join!

Also, as regards ashes-on-head: I was raised California Surfer Protestant, and I have to say that I always wished I belonged to a church that did the ashes thing. I love how solemn and communal it is.

#45 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 05:50 AM: as hard as your elbow, I'm in room 43.

#46 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 05:53 AM:

Nancy, 39: In the Episcopal Church, it's up to the individual. Some people wash them off, some people leave them on, some people forget to wash them off and then are happy to answer questions from students who haven't seen it before (a Turk, a Jamaican-American, and a Chinese, in my case).

#47 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 07:50 AM:

Xopher HalfTongue@34: "Episcopalians also get ashes today. Maybe other Anglicans too."

Yep. Sometimes even us nasty evangelicals.

Nancy C. Mittens@39: "Can anyone explain why the (Episcopal) Gospel reading is the one from Matthew about not being public when you pray?"

Because the same sequence has got Jesus's commands about fasting in it. There aren't *that* many direct commands from Jesus to Christians in the New Testament (& those that there are are mostly versions of Old Testament ones such as "love your enemies"), but this is one of them.

"And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

The repetition of "they have received their reward" is a great bit of rhetoric. Works in many different voices. One imagines the original hearers thinking of the first-century equivalent of bankers with large bonuses.

#48 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 09:17 AM:

For you see, it was the duck and not the man that spoke.

My husband and I were noting yesterday that there were far fewer people sporting ashes than in our last city, but that the total amount of ash on display seemed equivalent. (Probably it's less a trait of Indiana Catholics and more a function of the people in our area of observation having gone to the same mass with the same ash-generous priest.)

#49 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 09:41 AM:

Lylassandra @ 44... I was raised California Surfer Protestant


I seen to remember writer Carrie Vaughn saying that her religious upbringing was mostly Air Force with some catholicism thrown in.

#50 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 10:06 AM:

I was raised Catholic, and after going through an agnostic period am now deist again, but not any particular organized religion (ObChicago: I'm not into organized sports. I just watch the Cubs ...).

In my household, my atheist husband and I observe scrupulously Pancake Day (I got to eat pancake-like things for breakfast AND dinner on Tuesday, because the in-laws were in town so we did brunch at Ann Sather's and then dinner at Walker Brothers', yum), which is the day before "Oops! I walked into a sooty priest"-day.

Of course, m household also observes Dead Guy On A Stick Day in about a month. Some of my friends refer to instead as The Feast of the Sacred Zombie. Our observation of this feast is not celebrated with any particular food, but rather by going over to my grandmother's for the reuniting-of-the-tribe.

Holy Zombie Day is always enlivened, for us, by the fact that my grandmother has a rather twee painting on her wall of your standard-issue blandly bearded Jesus in robes holding a plateful of round puffy loaf (meant to be unleavened bread) up in an offertory manner. It is cut into 8 wedges. My Jewish stepmother, my atheist husband, and I always nudge each other and whisper, "This is the pizza of our oppression, which we have brought out of Egypt ..." to each other.

I hope my other Fluorospherians know that this flippancy on our part comes from a sort of fondness, and not from any dislike of religiosity in general (or Catholicism in particular) on our part.

I just miss the round of set feasts and holidays, and so have populated my personal idiosyncratic calendar with a variety of same: from Pancake Day to Pi Day on March 14th (when we eat pie) to the SCA New Year on May 1st through various and sundry others. As one of my coworkers remarked when I'd wished him Happy New Year repeatedly for different New Years, "Wow. You celebrate a new year every 48 days [on average], whether you needed one or not!"

#51 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 10:20 AM:

"Wow. You celebrate a new year every 48 days [on average], whether you needed one or not!"

A friend of mine once did a whole lot of research into various New Years, and discovered that literally every day is celebrated as such somewhere in the world (and that's not counting moveable feasts such as New Yam Day). He made a calendar at least one year...

#52 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 10:33 AM:

Carrie S @51: Which brings to mind, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life..."

#53 ::: Ceri ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 10:53 AM:

Carrie S. @51 I read that at first as "New Yarn Day" and thought it an excellent holiday for the knit/crochet crowd.

#54 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 11:14 AM:

Ceri: Ah, had some keming*, did you? :)

* The result of improper kerning.

#55 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 11:26 AM:

Elliott Mason @50: Dead Guy On A Stick Day

Which characterization of course reminds me that Frozen Dead Guy Days is coming up. (Are coming up?) Complete with coffin races.

#56 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 11:28 AM:

Elliot@50: "from Pancake Day to Pi Day on March 14th..."

Don't forget to celebrate Green Eggs and Ham Day on March 2, Theodor Giesel's birthday - or if scrupulous about meat-eating in Lent, on September 24, the day he died.

You can buy green eggs, but unfortunatly its only the shell that is green, so a bit of artificial colour helps. And wash down with GIN and tonic with lime in it - ideally from Juniper Green organic gin (surprisingly cheap and sounds vaguely Cthulic)

#57 ::: Raka ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 11:39 AM:

TexAnne@46: "a Turk, a Jamaican-American, and a Chinese, in my case"

No, no, no. In this thread, we share punchlines, not set-ups.

#58 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 12:08 PM:

Hilarious moment from Ash Wednesday, with our children:

Priest, putting Ash on 2-year-old's forehead:
"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return"

5-year-old: "I don't think he'll remember"

#59 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 02:34 PM:


Grape jelly gets its color from a pH-sensitive compound which turns green in alkaline conditions. Eggs being slightly alkaline, you can get green eggs by putting grape jelly on them. I've seen it work on both fried and scrambled.

I have no idea if this was known to Dr Seuss at the time of his writing of the Great Book.

#60 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 02:49 PM:

Elliot Mason @50: It's too bad April only has 30 days, or our European friends could eat ten pies in the 31st.

#61 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 02:57 PM:

Ken Brown @56:
September 24, the day he died

Saints' days are always the day they died. So it really should be the 24th.

That was when, as they say, "he became his admirers".

#62 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 03:01 PM:

Pesto also works very nicely for making green eggs. And it's tasty!

#63 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 03:48 PM:

The yolks of very hard-boiled eggs are green(ish) on the outside.

#64 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 07:00 PM:

Jacque @55: Wow. Frozen Dead Guy Days is a remarkable festival. (Even more so than the Eelpout Festival.) It gave me the giggles to read about the town's grandfather clause.

#65 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 07:12 PM:

The frozen turkey bowling sounds like a lot of fun, actually.

The frozen t-shirt contest, on the other hand.... (It's actually a race to put one on, is it?)

#66 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 09:15 PM:


I hadn't heard the grape jelly thing but it makes me wonder whether the original wasn't really supposed to have been Green Eggs and Jam with a(n un)fortunate typo on a qwerty keyboard...

#67 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 09:53 PM:

Carrie S. @51: At the time, when I counted them off for him, it was 8, which averages to 45ish days between (not 48, I misspoke just now). I don't recall them all anymore, but they included Jan 1, May 1 (when the new Anno Societatis turns), Samhain (Oct 31), and the Chinese and Jewish lunar new years.

#68 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 10:06 PM:

Ken Brown & TexAnne,

Thanks. The juxtaposition of, "Don't make a fuss about how holy you are!" and, "Smear ashes on your head for everyone to see!" always made me wonder. As a child and teenager in Catholic school, I always had ashes in the morning and wasn't allowed to remove them, and it never occurred to me as an (Episcopalian) adult, I could just wash them off!

#69 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2012, 10:07 PM:

Tom Whitmore @60: European pi(e) day is 22/7, and therefore falls in July.

Mary Aileen @63: My husband was the first person I'd ever heard call that color 'green' -- I always heard it as silver or grey as a kid!

#70 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2012, 12:08 AM:

Elliott, #69: I suppose it's what you're taught to look for. To me, there's a definite greenish tinge.

Trivia point: a sliced hard-boiled egg can be used to substitute for Liver of Sulfur if you want to antique a piece of silver jewelry. Put the piece and the egg into a zip-lock bag and leave them for a few days. The yolk emits sulfur fumes that will do the job as well as the professional compound, just a lot more slowly.

#71 ::: Kate Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2012, 10:35 AM:

Lee @70: I'm trying to imagine the smell when you open the bag after a few days. Presumably it's best to open it outside?

I've always wanted to make a calendar of holidays (of every sort, from holy to secular) and then try to celebrate them all (in my usual half-assed way, anyway). I wonder if I could convince my work that I need to take a year off for religious reasons.

#72 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2012, 11:07 PM:

Ashes are all about humility and repentance, as in "fasting, sackcloth, and ashes." The point of getting a splotch of ashes on Ash Wednesday is to remind you that you need to repent, not to tell others how holy you are.

#73 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 12:40 AM:

Kate, #71: I think it works as well, but a bit more slowly, if you store the bag in the refrigerator.


Ah, apparently the process doesn't take as long as I thought. But they still warn you to open the bag outside!

I've been trying to have a small Diwali celebration for a couple of years, but that's our busy season and it keeps not being possible.

#74 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 08:28 AM:

Surely pie day has something to do with 8.53973…

#75 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 08:29 AM:

I find the combination of old, sliced, hard-boiled egg and Durian difficult to formulate, and I once spent two days hanging upside down in the access port of an active septic tank using gardening tools to cut up and remove an eight-foot in diameter root ball.

#76 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 08:41 AM:

Bruce @ #75

That definitely counts as Too Much Information!

#77 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 10:03 AM:

Elliott @67:

One of my favorite New Years is the traditional Tohono O'odham (a Native American tribe from southern Arizona) New Year, which comes with the first monsoon rains and the saguaro fruits of midsummer. You don't need to live in Tucson or the surrounding area very long before the first summer rains become one of the most anticipated events of the year, and it absolutely makes sense for it to mark a new year. (When the missions came through, this got co-opted as the Dia de San Juan on June 24, which is a little early but a good time to start looking for rains.)

#78 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 12:45 PM:

Elliot Mason @50: Given the jokes that my devout Catholic friends have made, I think you're perfectly within the bounds of "acceptable." For instance, upon seeing the boxed Communion wine, one of my friends said, "We have the blood of Christ on tap?" And I have a friend who was in the novitiate for the Jesuit order (he later left and has gone strongly political, but that's another story) who told me about the time they were talking about the life of Christ from his birth (he remembered his mother's Precious Moments nativity set) to his death (he imagined the Precious Moments crucifixion.)

Of course, one of our catchphrases was "Welp, that's it, I'm going to Hell." FWIW.

#79 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 01:18 PM:

B. Durbin, 78: I prefer "Jesus died for that sin too," which I got from a friend who's now in seminary.

#80 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 03:00 PM:

In the Episcopal church I attend (yes, I'm a Pagan; it's a long story), communion is done with real bread, with the tasteless little wafers as a much-deprecated backup. I participate in communion with the understanding that it signifies my membership in that parish community. This is with the full understanding of everyone on the altar and most in the congregation.

When the bread is particularly delicious, I've been known to say "Wow, Christ has a particularly tasty body today!"

I would not say this in the hearing of people who didn't know me and understand that I mean it as humorous irreverence. I would not take communion in a Roman Catholic church at all, since the understanding of communion is different there, and I don't qualify to receive under those rules. I also sometimes don't go up if the celebrant is a guest whose understanding of communion I'm not sure of.

Shared meals as community ritual predate Christianity by quite a bit. That said, I don't want to deceive anyone, or offend anyone inadvertently.

#81 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 03:41 PM:

Ken Brown #56: You can buy green eggs, but unfortunatly its only the shell that is green

Geoff Slattery, an Australian chef (who had previously been a sports writer), came up with a very good Green Eggs and Ham recipe. It's scrambled eggs, with pesto, served with ham and asparagus.

#82 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 03:55 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens, Keb Brown: re the Matthew reading about not being public when you pray.

I have been forced to the conclusion that many Catholics combine this injunction with Augustine's Qui cantat, bis orat to conclude that you shouldn't sing so that people can hear you.

#83 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 05:57 PM:

thomas @82: That's certainly the reputation many parishes have, both inside and outside the Catholic Church. In fact, a friend's mother (Lutheran, I believe) was very worried when she heard that I had converted to Catholicism, and she finally approached her daughter, as politely as possible, and said that she just couldn't help fretting, and really wanted to know something about this bunch I had joined. With deep concern, she asked, "Do they sing?"

My friend assured her that they do in fact sing. (And they do. My schedule hasn't permitted choir rehearsal attendance for a couple of months, so I won't be in the choir for tomorrow's concert, "Me 'n' You 'n' Vatican Two," but I should be back in after that.) But I'm given to understand that there are plenty of places where Not Singing is the unfortunate norm.

Me, I'm all Don't Make Me Quote John Gorka about that.

#84 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2012, 09:36 PM:

Along the lines of #s 50, 78 and 80...

The Methodist church where I grew up uses real bread and grape juice. Once, after the "This is my body" part, my little sister exclaimed "Yum! Jesus is sourdough!"

I think it was the other sister who stood up in the middle of a Christmas hymn and started belting out "Hallelujah with a shiny red nose...!"

#85 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2012, 11:57 AM:

May Aileeen@ #28

Schmutz Wednesday is, of course, preceded by Schmaltz Tuesday.

(I live in a house where we refer to Erev Christmas, so...)

#86 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2012, 07:54 PM:

If I am absent from Making Light for a while, it's not for Lent. It's because I finally got a stack of Bujold books.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back and see how Miles gets out of trouble on Novaya Zemlya Kyril Island.

#87 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2012, 12:01 AM:

elise @83: When I was growing up, I always thought that those jokes about Catholics not singing were outdated. Then I joined a choir that was singing at different parishes. For one of them, the congregation stared straight forward (we were off to the side) and did nothing during the songs. It was like singing into a black hole. At the other, people would join in, a bit, but would definitely leave during the final song (except for the time one member got fed up and announced the final song with "Before you leave, please join us in singing...") At one point I mentioned how strange it seemed and the organist said, "Oh, you're from St. Philomene's. Everybody knows they sing there."

I apparently grew up in the church that sings.

#88 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2012, 07:56 PM:

B. Durbin @ 87: I have been to RC churches which sing and have good choirs, but it's a short list -- monasteries, oratories, Santa Maria Maggiore and Westminster Cathedral. I have a much longer list of Anglican churches fitting the same criteria, though.

We had high mass late in the day, so there wasn't a big deal regarding the decision about wearing the ashes.

The thing that even more strongly marked the beginning of Lent was Stations on Friday. Ash Wednesday comes but once a year, but Stations goes on throughout Lent.

#89 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2012, 12:09 AM:

James @88: It wasn't so much that my church was stunningly musical as the fact that the congregation sang. It sounds like a little thing until you've been in a congregation that views people singing as incredibly brave.

Incidentally, my current church sings—but only because we had a priest a few years back who actually lectured on why it was important. He's the same one who joined the "cry rooms" back to the main church—"a well-intentioned but ultimately mistaken idea." The idea was that we are all part of the Church and should take part and not segregate.

#90 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2012, 12:49 AM:

Well, I'm in my parish choir. (Used to be in the Cathedral Choir when I was co-oping at 3M) We sang at 7pm Mass, then had choir practice. Then I went to my night shift job.

So is anyone else glad that Jesus didn't do the loaves and fishes bit at the Last Supper?

#91 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2012, 12:55 AM:

B. Durbin @ 87: I grew up in the Catholic church. High mass in Latin was most excellent; singing by the congregation wasn't. I never found our hymn selection very good. My mother said that Martin Luther wrote all the good songs.

#92 ::: LMM sees weird spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2012, 12:48 PM:

Russian site, unknown poster.

At least #92 is unusual?

#93 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2012, 02:48 AM:

LMM sees spam@92 - He's obviously here to talk about Russian choral church music. Some of it's really stunning, a lot of low bass.

I did (Methodist) church choir back in the 70s, and we'd occasionally have ecumenical choir concerts with about five local churches. They were held at the Catholic church, which had the largest building. The monsigneur there had a booming bass voice, with the kind of projection that I suspect he didn't need to bother with a microphone for services. I don't know if their congregation sang, but their choir was great.

#94 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2012, 12:00 AM:

My Catholic brother-in-law has told me that on a few occasions, their priest looked disgustedly at the congregation and said, "Try to sing as though you were Protestants!" I thought of that a few months ago when, at the Presbyterian church where I play handbells (I'm not actually a member of that church--I'm a ringer ringer) we sang a hymn which had repeats, a first ending, and a second ending. Sightreading for the win!

#95 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2012, 12:29 AM:

As a teenager I organized the music for one of the Sunday masses, not the one that the choir sang at. I remember wondering if including "How can I keep from singing?" as a hymn would be regarded as too pointed or whether people would just not notice. The latter turned out to be the case.

#96 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2012, 09:28 AM:

I grew up in a tiny Lutheran church where the congregation always sang, and where singing in parts in the congregation was a matter of course; if you felt like not singing the melody, the alto line or the tenor line were right there on the page beckoning.

I'm really glad St. Joan's (where I'm going now) is a singing church. Even if they don't sing in parts from the congregation, and even if it's all this newfangled music. *grin* Though I do miss the country and bluegrass of House of Mercy, where I visited for a bit. (Their house band, the House of Mercy band, was great. Haven't heard the new incarnation of it, which is called the Blood-Washed Band, but I expect they're pretty good too.)

Speaking of Lent, some folks might like Nadia Bolz-Weber's blog posts over at Sarcastic Lutheran. She's an "emerging church" pastor, she's fierce, and she's a hoot. And fierce. And plain-spoken. Let's put it this way: one of her recent posts in reference to the comments on a CNN story about her and five other "Women in Religion To Watch" ended like this:

"In the end it made me sad a) that this was such clear woman-hating and b) that Atheists and conservative Christians would be represented in such a hateful way by the commenters on the blog. I know Atheists and conservative Christians who are loving and level-headed and who teach me things I would never learn from my fellow progressive Christians. I don’t agree with either group, but I yesterday I was offended on their behalf."

Also, at the end of her 40 Exercises for Lent, the last one is:

"Day 40: Pray for your enemies (you probably have new ones by now) then decide which of these exercises you’ll keep for good

#97 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2012, 10:24 AM:

B Durbin:

Yeah, a lot of modern Catholic churches, including our parish's recently-built church, has no cry room--instead, there's a small room away from the church where you can pipe in the sound from the mass, but where you can't see anything and the room isn't really arranged to be child-friendly or a sensible place to be at Mass. So this room always has two or three families with crying children, and the entryway outside (where you can look through the glass doors and hear the Mass) are always full of noisy/active small children and parents comforting crying or screaming babies.

#98 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2012, 11:04 AM:

Our Catholic parish actually sings. It's quite nice to hear. I think I attribute it to a couple of excellent cantors, but I'm not sure.

elise @96, I'm going to have to look up that blog.

#99 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2012, 11:59 AM:

B. Durbin@89: He's the same [priest] who joined the "cry rooms" back to the main church—"a well-intentioned but ultimately mistaken idea." The idea was that we are all part of the Church and should take part and not segregate.

Good for him. It's been a long time since I had to worry about attending services with a babe-in-arms, but I remember "cry rooms" with a distinct lack of fondness. Every time I got exiled to one, I found myself wondering just what the guy who said "suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not" would have had to say about the whole idea.

#100 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2012, 12:04 PM:

Huh. I used to love the cry rooms, and nursery rooms, when I was attending church. Not because I had an infant, but because they gave me a place to go where I could listen to the service while walking around in circles, or otherwise fidgeting. As a teenager, I was desperately fidgety at times, and had a hell of a time sitting through a service in a properly respectful manner. Being able to volunteer for the nursery, and then get some walking done to burn off the nervous energy, was a great relief.

#101 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 06:18 PM:

a;batrss @97: My Greek Orthodox in-laws' church (which is exceedingly large-family-oriented) has the best cry room I've ever seen. It's right at the back of one of the rows of pews, with an enormous pane of double glass (for soundproofing), so it's just like standing behind the last pew in terms of sightlines. There's a speaker over the window so you can hear the whole liturgy perfectly, and a big built-in, carpet-covered bench on three walls, with throw pillows here and there to aid in positioning or butt-comfort. It's kept a little dimmer, generally, than the main sacristy, and the glass is slightly tinted from the outside (so it looks like a mirror), so breastfeeding moms have a measure of privacy while still having an utterly unobstructed view.

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