7 Quick Takes

October 2, 2008 | 28 comments

A friend and blog reader suggested the other day that I occasionally do more casual posts with quick thoughts off the top of my head. Since I don’t have much time to update today since I need to get the house ready for a debate-watching get-together tonight, I’ll take her up on her suggestion. Here are seven things I’ve been thinking about today:

— 1 —

In that post about wanting a call to prayer speaker, I should have said what I was really thinking. Allow me to dispense with the passive comments and just come out and say it:


I know how to make various electronic devices go beep at regular intervals if I want to be reminded when to pray. What really motivated that post was petty jealousy about all those fabulous prayer wristwatches for Muslims. I spent a good half afternoon convincing myself that this whole forgetting to pray thing is all because I don’t have a Liturgy of the Hours wristwatch. And while I’m now beginning to suspect that perhaps slightly less than 100% of the blame is because I’m prayer wristwatch-poor, I do wish some clever Christian developer would come up with that.

— 2 —

Quite a few readers tell me that they frequently get error messages when they try to access my blog. One commenter says his company has blocked it as porn. I cannot seem to diagnose the problem. It would not be a misuse of the word to say that I find this situation “exasperating.” Perhaps God, in his infinite wisdom, has decided that I need more opportunities to trust God with the blog where I write about trusting God.

— 3 —

I’d like to congratulate myself for hitting day 93 of resisting the urge to blog about the election. (Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that per se, I just decided early on to let the rest of the blogosphere handle it.) Maybe I’ll break out Photoshop and put together an “Uncharacteristic Display of Self-Restraint” award for myself.

Out of curiosity, what do you think about blogs that suddenly start talking about politics when that is not the normal subject matter of the blog? I find that I love it if I agree with them, and hate it if I don’t.

— 4 —

If you had asked me to put together a stack-ranked list of People I am Most Unlikely to Run into at Mass, somewhere around number five billion would be Peter Steele, lead singer of goth-doom metal band Type O Negative. I was shocked to hear that he’s considering converting to Catholicism. My friends and I used to be huge Type O fans in high school and college, always scornfully dismissing our conformist peers who felt like a song had to have a beat, a tune, or discernible lyrics to be considered music.

This blurb wouldn’t be complete without noting that I almost spit coffee onto my keyboard when I saw in Steele’s Wikipedia entry that he posed nude for Playgirl under the deeply misguided assumption that it’s a magazine for women. It was only later that he found out that the vast majority of the subscribers are dudes. His next album was entitled, probably not coincidentally, Life is Killing Me.

Anyway, kudos to him for the soul-searching he’s been doing lately. He’ll be in my prayers.

— 5 —

Since I’ve been making good progress on my library haul, I just ordered the following books from Amazon:

I’m SO excited. I’m just convinced that that last book is the only thing that stands between me and a house fit for a Martha Stewart Living spread.

— 6 —

A reader emailed me a while back with a nice note about the blog. She then emailed the next day to note that we’re in the same area and suggest that we perhaps meet for coffee sometime. I replied to both emails. A couple weeks later, she sent a kind email asking if she had freaked me out by suggesting that we meet in person and sincerely apologized if she’d crossed any kind of line since I wasn’t responding to her. Evidently she got none of my replies, the ugly spam filter issue rearing its ugly head again. I replied again to let her know that it was no problem at all and I had in fact replied to both emails. No response. I replied from a different account. Nothing. All of my emails are evidently going to her spam filter.

This is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night. She’d mentioned what parish she went to, and I tried to think if I knew anyone there who might know her and be able to deliver the message that I was happy to get her emails. Couldn’t come up with anything. After fretting about it probably a little too much, it occurred to me that maybe I needed to just let this issue go when I began to imagine looking up her address from the name on her email, then showing up at her front door, glassy-eyed from stress, saying, “I CAME TO YOUR HOUSE TO TELL YOU THAT I DON’T THINK YOU’RE A WEIRD INTERNET STALKER.”

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too neurotic to handle having an internet connection.

— 7 —

I’m trying to convince my husband that I’m using the kitchen and living room as a performance art space, the blue Play-Doh on the floor being an integral part of my artistic vision. As he tripped over toys to stumble into a kitchen of stacked dishes, I announced that today’s piece was titled “When Sloth Meets Exhaustion.”


Oh, and the Red Mass was beautiful. Those are my quick takes for today. Have a great evening, everyone!


  1. Jeana

    Well. In the theme of congratulating oneself (#3) I’ll tell you one of my favorite jokes I’ve ever made up, prompted by your observations about what’s-his-name (#4).

    A few years back, a member of a band called Korn became a Christian and as a result of his new-found faith, quit the band. I commented that he should start a Christian band and call it “Korn Again”.

    I’ll have to think of a new joke for Type O Negative. Nothing’s coming to mind right now.

  2. Someone Being Me

    That is too funny about the Playgirl thing. I always wondered what kind of woman would subscribe to that, now I know. I figure if Anne Rice can become Catholic then no one is a lost cause. I would love to see someone like Trent Reznor come to Christ. I sure did love NIN in my lost days and still do sometimes. I never could get into the whole Type O negative thing but I will admit to owning and listening to a Lords of Acid cd.

  3. Natalia

    Oh my goodness, Jennifer, I almost never laugh aloud at ANYTHING I read, yet here I did three times in one short blog entry. Please keep these wonderful “quick” posts coming!

    You are truly inspiring to me. Over time I have related to so many of your posts – the constantly visiting children, the ADD, the introversion, the kids….. I just love it….but in case that’s weird, know that I won’t be stalking!

    I think your “rejected” writer will read here, I really hope she does because now I’m almost as anxious as you are about it!

  4. lyrl

    That was informative and entertaining and thought-provoking.

    I think politics could be worked into a conversion blog in a positive way. With so much politics from the news and the message board I frequent, though, it’s nice to have a “no-politics zone” in my reading.

    Have a good get-together tonight!

  5. SuburbanCorrespondent

    “I’m just convinced that that last book is the only thing that stands between me and a house fit for a Martha Stewart Living spread.”

    Um, no – 3 little kids and a baby on the way is what stands between you and housekeeping perfection.

  6. Anna

    I would freak out about the fellow-blogger thing, too. One idea is that if you did look up her address from the name on the emails, you could mail her a letter, or a card. (Instead of, you know, showing up at her door all glassy-eyed.) 😉

    God bless.

  7. newine

    re. lost e-mails and corporate ‘spam’ filters, I would take that as a sign that you are being an effective vehicle for Christ. Satan loves technical bugs. They disguise his work well. They don’t call ’em gremlins for nothing!

    re. abstention from political blogging… perhaps we can form a support group? “Hi, my name is ultraguy and I’m a political blogging addict trying to write only about higher things.” “Hello, ultraguy.”

  8. Robin T

    Re:#6 -just in case she doesn’t read this entry, you could leave a comment on her blog – if she has one. I’m all stressed out for ya now!

  9. matthew archbold

    “showing up at her front door, glassy-eyed from stress, saying, “I CAME TO YOUR HOUSE TO TELL YOU THAT I DON’T THINK YOU’RE A WEIRD INTERNET STALKER.”

    Great line!

  10. Hairline Fracture

    I like the quick takes. Also, I completely agree about the political posts. At this point most people whose blogs I read seem to have made up their minds (if they are mentioning it at all). Also, if the person has different political views than I do, I start feeling weird about commenting and being their internet “friend” because they might not like me if they knew I don’t think like they do.

    I am neurotic too, as you can see.

  11. Catherine

    You are so funny!!! I love the performance art playdough..can I join my house to yours in this..we also have blue play dough on the floor today. I have been lurking for a while and love your blog.
    Struggling with Catholicism in Ireland

  12. Bekah

    Ooooohhhhh, I have to get the Organizing for ADD book! I was on the phone with my husband at 7:50 this morning shouting about no one putting the shoes in the bins, so the toddler is screaming that he can’t find his other Batman shoe!

  13. Betty Beguiles

    This was a very good idea your friend had! Keep it up! You are too funny! 🙂

  14. Lucia Rosa

    Hey, you could try Flylady for your house organizing woes. She has zones to divide your house into for cleaning, and sends you daily email reminders to work on one for fifteen minutes, and so forth.

  15. Betsy

    Hi! I’m your number 6! And I am honored to be kinda strangely on your mind! I am laughing out loud right now!

    I love you, honey. You are such an inspiration to me, and I did get some of your emails, actually. But then you would never seem to get my reply.

    I think you’re right about the God-using-technology-to-keep-building-our-trust thing!


    P.S. You can always reach me by comment on http://www.moreandmerrier.blogspot.com, which is the continuing saga of our adoption efforts, which have lately taken some interesting turns. And remember that you can also access my private http://www.usedtobedepressed.blogspot.com. [might want to delete the private blog info from this comment if you want, since most folks can’t access it]

  16. Clare

    Hi. Coming out of lurkdom having become a regular visitor here.
    I have recently collaped back into the welcoming bosom of the Catholic church following a soujourn being ‘non denominational’.
    (Don’t be confused by my blog. It’s very out of date and I only link to it as a means of identification.
    I experienced something of a ‘dark night of the soul’ and stopped blogging.)
    I intend to blog again but I have so much to say I don’t know where to start. I am a different person now.
    So. Here I am trying to work regular prayer into my life in a ‘catholic’ way. I’m slightly daunted by jumping straight into the Hours ( after buying the book I have yet to work out how to understand it )
    So, I’ve started with the Divine Mercy prayer at 3pm. I’ve set the alarm on my mobile phone to go off at 2.45pm and I gather the children. We use the divine mercy picture and a crucifix and we contemplate Christs passion for a little while. Then we bring our prayer intentions and pray the 3 o’clock prayer.
    So far it’s working really well. Having the alarm go off is a great reminder. Even when I’m out with friends or in the shops, I can at least be mindful of Christs passion at that moment.
    It’s a small step, but I’m hoping to build from there. I just wanted to mention it, because someone may find the phone alarm idea useful.
    Reading here has been enormously helpful to me and provoked alot of ‘internal debate’. Thank you!

  17. elizabeth

    I know what you mean about deciding that you’d pray faithfully IF ONLY you had a LOTH wristwatch. I was on Universalis the other day and saw this:


    Now I’m convinced I MUST get an iPhone so I can 1. upload the day’s prayers and then 2. set an alarm at the corresponding times so I can pray all the hours. And then I found myself on various reviewer sites reading about the pros and cons of this and that generation of iPhones. ‘Cause I’m now convicted I’d be so pious and prayerful if I had this gadget.

    I love the news about the Type O dude, and jeana’s KoRn Again joke. If only that Al guy from Ministry would wander into an RCIA class. That would be sweet!

    Catholicism … it’s the new black.

  18. Courtney

    It’s really interesting to me that Peter Steele is Catholic. I just found out that Dave Mustaine became Christian a few years back, too. Echoing someone being me‘s comment, I was just thinking about Trent Reznor today, thinking how awesome it would be if he found God. There’s so much pain and loneliness in his lyrics.

    That organization for ADD book has some pretty good tips. It’s all about cutting out steps so it’s really simple to put things away. Like, instead of folding dishcloths, just have a big dishpan to throw em’ in.

  19. Clare

    Ah. I’ve just read through some of your other comments on the ‘call to prayer’ question and I see that my brilliant and novel mobile phone alarm idea has already been suggested.
    I think I commented on the wrong post too.

  20. Jenny Lewis


    Sometimes I wonder if I’m too neurotic to handle having an internet connection.

    You are hilarious – I enjoy these LOL moments!

    I just love your blog….

  21. daffy-maiden

    OMG I have loved, loved, loved Steele for ages! I think he was baptized and raised in my faith (Eastern Orthodoxy)? I was just talking with one of the theology profs about the chances of church unity, as I’m marrying a Roman Catholic. She said they’ve agreed that there isn’t a real disagreement regarding the “filioque” thing, and that Benedict XVI regards unity one of the missions of his Papacy, saying “the Church needs to breathe with both of her lungs.” It can’t come too soon for me!

    Speaking of Benedict, have you seen the book “Joseph and Chico”? ^_^

  22. Michelle

    In regards to #1 my husband insists there is such a thing as a liturgy of the hours wristwatch. Though I’ve never seen or heard of such a thing myself. I’ll keep an eye out and let you know if it actually exists.

  23. Amy Jane (Untangling Tales)

    Bout #5 (the books)

    That last one there really looks like one of what I call “talisman” books. You know, The type you buy because now, maybe, things might be different… or a little easier… because we’ve bought the magic…

    They’re frequently useful too: Thought-provoking reading, but then you still have to do the work.

    I know. Bummer.

    *Loved* sloth-meets-exhaustion lable. So familiar.

    One of the hard things about having friends who want to encourage you is that they try to talk you (me) out of labeling the Sloth part, when my heart knows it still (probably) wouldn’t have happened if I did have the energy.

    Sometimes I feel like using a line I recently heard on the T.V. show Bones:

    “I know you’re lying to make me feel better and not to be malicious.”

    Blessings on your day ;o)

  24. 'Becca

    Out of curiosity, what do you think about blogs that suddenly start talking about politics when that is not the normal subject matter of the blog? I find that I love it if I agree with them, and hate it if I don’t.

    That’s exactly how I feel! 🙂 Congratulations on resisting the urge. I couldn’t resist writing about two things related to the election, but now that I’ve gotten those out there I feel able to leave it alone!

    showing up at her front door, glassy-eyed from stress, saying, “I CAME TO YOUR HOUSE TO TELL YOU THAT I DON’T THINK YOU’RE A WEIRD INTERNET STALKER.”

    Great plan! 🙂 It seems to me that anybody eager to hear back from you via e-mail should be scanning her spam folder daily.

  25. Ginkgo100

    I thought that anecdote about Steele had to be vandalism, but Wikipedia has a citation for it. It’s an offline citation for a book I don’t have, so it could still be vandalism, but unlikely — most Wikipedia vandals aren’t that involved in it. A few are.

    Regarding politics in non-political blogs, I remember being excited to find the blog of a certain science fiction writer whose books I love (not the inestimable John C. Wright). I had to unsubscribe because of the amount of vitriolic political rhetoric.

    I loved reading a story about your kids, btw. That’s something I’d love to see more of on your blog!

  26. Ginkgo100

    I just re-read my comment and realized it could be mistaken as a slur against John Wright. I’m reading my first Wright novel now (The Golden Age) and am enjoying it thoroughly. I’m just saying that I don’t mind his politics (much).

  27. midlife mommy

    On #3. I just hate it, hate it, hate it. I have come to realize that most of the bloggers I read have different political positions than I do. My eyes are regularly assaulted by women extolling other women not to vote for McCain because of the abortion issue with all kinds of (they think) catchy little titles. Not only do they (unintentionally?) express a fundamental misunderstanding of constitutional limitations on the office of the president, they just plain tick me off (because it’s usually an opportunity for them to engage in some additional hate speech as well). On the bright side, I’ve culled the number of blogs I read.


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