This is my problem too

P4180414I do not suppose there is any part of the world in which gardens are not beautiful in the spring.  Travelers in other seasons are told, "You should see our gardens in spring."  To which they reply, "But we cannot leave our own then." (Elizabeth Lawrence, A Southern Garden, quoted in April's Our State magazine)

This is why we do very little traveling in April.  Yes, the gardens of Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, etc. would be beautiful, but then we'd miss all the beauty here.

[Pictured:  Duke Gardens formal gardens terraces]

Movie Quote Meme Game

I'm adding the answers, some commentary, and another movie meme for you to go try, in bold.  Plus pictures.

From Pseudotherapy:

  • Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
  • Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie (or quote them from memory).
  • Post them on your blog for everyone to guess.
  • Fill in the film title once it’s been guessed.

These are the players’ rules:
No Googling or using IMDb search functions (don’t cheat!).
Leave your answer(s) in the comments.

I pick the quotes; you guess without internet aid.  I'll post the results as they come in.  Bonus points if you guess which actor is in the most movies of the 15 (the quotes aren't necessarily said by his characters).

[Maryann at The Awkward Blogger has identified 7.  Click here to see her movie quote game. DF at Breakfast with Pandora identified #7.  Click here to see his movie quote meme.  Lemur Reflections, a reader, has also done the meme, here.]

We'll start with a really easy one:

1.  "My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father; prepare to die!"  Princess Bride (with Mandy Patinkin), Maryann

2.  "Mediocrities everywhere... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you all."  Amadeus

3.  "Look! I have one job on this lousy ship, it's *stupid*, but I'm gonna do it! Okay? " Galaxy Quest (with Alan Rickman)

4.  "People"? I ain't "people." I am a - "a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament."  Singing in the Rain, Maryann

5.  "I guess that makes you the damsel in distress, huh, handsome?" Enchanted

6.  "Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad." Sense and Sensibility (with Alan Rickman), Maryann

7.  "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" Casablanca (with Humphrey Bogart), DF

8.  "A tailor's like a doctor, what's to be ashamed?" Yentl (with Mandy Patinkin), Maryann

Earnest19 .  "I must confess that I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it have handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life which reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution, and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?"  The Importance of Being Earnest (with Colin Firth) - a wonderful version of Oscar Wilde's play.  This line is said by Lady Bracknall, played by Dame Judy Dench (right).

10.  " I don't get married again because I can't find anyone I dislike enough to inflict that kind of torture on." All That Jazz, Maryann

11.  " I can't believe I have a bunch of dead people watching videos in my living room."  Truly, Madly, Deeply (with Alan Rickman)

Bringingupbaby2 12.  "Your golf ball, your running board, your car? Is there anything in the world that doesn't belong to you?"  Bringing Up Baby (with Katharine Hepburn, right), one of my favorite comedies

13.  "May I remind you gentlemen that when in doubt, consult the brigand's... handbook!" The Thief and the Cobbler.  This one has wonderful, and very different, animation (see here, and here). 

Africanqueen14.  "Oh, Miss. Oh, have pity, Miss. You don't know what you're doing Miss. I'll perish without a hair of the dog. Oh Miss, it ain't your property."  The African Queen (with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn)  I'm surprised no one knew this one.

15.  "Mother, I do not need a blind date. Particularly not with some verbally incontinent spinster who drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney, and dresses like her mother." Bridget Jones' Diary (with Colin Firth), Maryann

I'm going to add an extra one because that first one was so easy.

16. "I am in a dress, I have gel in my hair, I haven't slept all night, I'm starved, AND I'm armed! Don't MESS with me!"  Miss Congeniality, Maryann

That makes two movies with Mandy Patinkin, two with Katharine Hepburn, two with Colin Firth, two with Humphrey Bogart, and three with Alan Rickman.

If you do the meme on your blog, please post that in the comments so I can come see (play).

Another Rambling Post, this one involving French Kiss, "I Love Paris," and a streetcar in Seattle

I try to post... well, "Sunday"-ish posts on Sunday.  I reserve the more grumpy/edgy/bawdy posts for the other days of the week.  But, as I realized with last week's Long Blog Post that no one should have wanted to read (actually, from what I could tell from the Typepad statistics, it was one of my more oft-read posts recently), when I post something on Saturday evening, many people will read it sometime on Sunday.  And my calmer Sunday evening posts get read on Monday.  So, I'll write this one on Friday evening and post it Saturday morning.

We just watched one of dear husband's favorite movies, French Kiss, with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan. The scenery of Paris and the French countryside is beautiful (and for me, almost distracts from the plot.  But only almost).  It's a fun movie, and Kevin Kline disappears into his role as Luc (I actually find Meg Ryan's usual characters annoying, but I still enjoy the romantic comedies she's in).  She goes to Paris to win her boyfriend back and finds Kevin Kline instead.  Near the beginning, on the plane, Kate sings one of my favorite quotes from the movie:

Kate:  [singing] I hate Paris in the springtime/I hate Paris in the fall/I hate Paris in the summer when it sizzles/I hate Paris in the winter when it drizzles/I hate Paris, oh why oh why do I hate Paris?/Because my love is there... with his SLUT girlfriend.

Here's the scene (which you may not want to watch if you haven't seen the movie, though it really doesn't give anything away):

And here is Cole Porter's "I Love Paris," sung by Ella Fitzgerald:

Kate's quote leads me to this article from a few months ago which we've been joking about:

SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- Officially, it's the South Lake Union Streetcar. But in the neighborhood where the new line runs, it's called the South Lake Union Trolley -- or, the SLUT.

At Kapow! Coffee, a shop in the old Cascade neighborhood, 100 T-shirts bearing the words "Ride the SLUT" sold out in days, and another 100 are on order.

"We're welcoming the SLUT into the neighborhood," said Jerry Johnson, 29, a part-time barista.

Some claim -- incorrectly, according to representatives of Vulcan Inc., the company that is developing the area -- that South Lake Union Trolley was the original name and that it was changed when officials belatedly realized the acronym

The $50.5 million project should be completed with streetcars running in December. Underlying the lighthearted opposition, however, is resentment over changes in the old working-class neighborhood.

"There was a meeting with representatives from the city several years ago," Johnson recalled.

"They asked us, 'What we could do for you?' Most people raised their hands and said, 'Affordable housing,"' he said. "Then the people from the city huddled together -- 'whisper, whisper, whisper,' -- and they said, 'How about a trolley?"'

Since then, Cascade has been ignored in Vulcan brochures that lump the neighborhood together with Denny Park and Denny Triangle under the term South Lake Union. With the streetcar, said Don Clifton, a Cascade resident, "We learned how fun it is to change the name of things."


A Little Mathematical Reasoning...

[I've been saving this for a tired day.  Today certainly qualifies.]

It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds,
simply because there is an infinite amount of space for
them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited.
Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds.
Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing
as makes no odds, so the average population of all planets
in the universe can be said to be zero. From this, it follows,
that the population of the whole universe is also zero, and
that any people you may meet from time to time are merely
products of a deranged imagination.

Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Figuring out the error in reasoning is left as an exercise for the reader - if he/she exists.

[Quote courtesy of]

More mathematical quotes here.

The Liturgy - Moominpappa

This is a comment that Moominpappa made regarding this quote from "Leaving Chruch:  A Memoir of Faith:  Part II":

Some people find a set liturgy to be boring - the same thing every week.  I don't.

And Moominpappa's comment:

The line about the liturgy being boring reminds me of a quote. Keep in mind that what follows is written by an elder devil to his nephew (who is new to being a temptor, and is getting advice). So in the quote "The Enemy" (and "He" with a capital "H") is God. The demonic advice reveals interesting realities of God and an interesting view of us, time, and change.

"The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart—an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship. The humans live in time, and experience reality successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating Pleasurable. But since He does not wish them to make change, any more than eating, an end in itself, He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together on the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm.
He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme. He gives them in His Church a spiritual year; they change from a fast to a feast, but it is the same feast as before.

Now just as we pick out and exaggerate the pleasure of eating to produce gluttony, so we pick out this natural pleasantness of change and twist it into a demand for absolute novelty. This demand is entirely our workmanship. If we neglect our duty, men will be not only contented but transported by the mixed novelty and familiarity of snowdrops this January, sunrise this morning, plum pudding this Christmas. Children, until we have taught them better, will be perfectly happy with a seasonal round of games in which conkers succeed hopscotch as regularly as autumn follows summer. Only by our incessant efforts is the demand for infinite, or unrhythmical, change kept up."

C.S.Lewis - The Screwtape Letters, number XXV.

Often, when I am "transported" by the sight of autumn colors, or the first zephyr lily, or the first hummingbird of summer, I think of this quote about the round of seasonal games and the liturgical year. And the liturgy does the same thing to me, and brings this to mind again. The single liturgical celebration is deliberately formed like a day, with dawn, noon, and dusk, with meals at certain intervals, with the comings and greetings of visitors. The liturgical seasons are formed like the chronological year they parallel, yet transcend. They transcend the chronological because this is not a normal event, and this is not normal time and space. The Eucharistic celebration encompasses all of time and space, steps outside time and space, is all at once and all in a moment. It is everywhen and the One When, where all must come sooner of later, and where some choose to come often for the refreshing of their souls. This is the central event, the Moment, the big bang of Christianity. Like the singularity from which all the physical universe came, this point is the Singularity from which all the human spiritual universe comes. It's like a mobius, curling back around in time to redeem time from beginning to end, making all sides one side after all, facing the One Light, from which the shadows must flee.

So the celebrating of the liturgy is all of the church, repentant and triumphant, piled deep like drifts of autumn leaves or the close packed flowers of millefiore; it's all the saints from all of time beneath the altar in Revelations; it's faith believing beyond our feeble senses to capture all the presence of the hour; it's food in another dimension; it's chairos over chronos; it's Immanual, God with us.


"Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith" - Barbara Brown Taylor: Part II

Part I, previously.


I find the liturgy - Catholic, Episcopalian or Lutheran - very beautiful.  Yes, some days it is easier than others to really enter in to it, but this sort of ebb and flow are part of being human.  She describes the liturgy very beautifully from a priest's point of view:

When I raised my hands in the air above the bread and the wine, I could sense the ancient weight of the gesture.  Who stands like that ouside of church anymore, save dancers and children?  Calling the Holy Spirit to come into the elements with my hands held up like that, I felt as if there should be a ring of standing stones behind me instead of the plaster wall of a church, but it did not matter where I was if the Spirit was there.  Time and place fell away.  I was standing at the only table where that supper had ever been laid, with everyone who had ever longed for it. ...

As people made their way toward the altar rail, I came as close as I  ever did to seeing who they really were.  They were hungry, just like me.  They were as helpless as I was to be as whole as God made them to be.  They were doing the best they could.  They were also praying, most of them so that they did not look at me.  Outstretched hands took the place of upturned faces.  Looking down at them, I could see how each pair of hands told me the story of a life.  Whether that life had been short or long, rough or smooth, it was opening up to me then, ready to receive God's food and I - I - got to place the holy bread there in the center of each palm, watching the fingers curl around it as if Jesus himself had given it to them.

When people ask me what I miss most about serving a chruch, the answer is:  this...what I miss most of all is celebrating communion with people I love.  I... Most of us do not live expecially holy lives, after all.  We spend most of our time sitting in traffic, paying bills, and being irritated with one another.  Yet every week we are invited to stop all of that for one hour at least.  We are invited to participate in a great drama that has been going on without us for thousands of years, and one that will go on as long as there is a single player left standing.

Reading this again, it makes me want to be a Eucharistic minister - in order to help with the liturgy in that way and be even more involved (my in-laws have been Eucharistic ministers).  I'd be so worried that I would do something wrong, though!  I've volunteered to be a lector, though that didn't work out.  And, it's been wonderful to be involved in the music at liturgy when that's been possible. 

Some people find a set liturgy to be boring - the same thing every week.  I don't.  The sameness merely means that the practical parts become background, and I can concentrate on the prayers and the readings rather than figuring out what comes next.  I enjoyed it when I got to the point in the Catholic church where I didn't always have to look up the prayers or responses in the hymnal and could concentrate more on what I was doing.  It's kind of like taking a familiar walk.  You know where you're going and where to place your feet, and you can concentrate more on what is around you rather than figuring out directions.  Yes, new walks are also lots of fun, and, I suppose, reading books or websites about faith is my variety of "new walk" - spiritually speaking. 

Tying this back to a quote from the previous post ("the poets began drifting away from churches as the jurists grew louder and more insistent"), I suppose I make a bad Catholic, Episcopalian or Lutheran in enjoying and appreciating all of their liturgies.  If I were a better jurist, I would be able to say that this one church is the best and therefore I can ignore the rest.  But my "poetical" side sees the beauty in all of them. 

"Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith" - Barbara Brown Taylor: Part I

Leavingchurch_1 I recently enjoyed reading Barbara Brown Taylor's Leaving Church:  A Memoir of Faith.  She is an Episcopalian priest who left her parish to become a professor of Christian spirituality.  It was interesting to read about parish life from the perspective of a priest and also to watch as she goes from her initial excitement about the priesthood and her parish, to her overwork, burnout and feeling of separation from others, to her decision to leave life as a parish priest.

A few favorite quotes:


...the poets began drifting away from churches as the jurists grew louder and more insistent. (p. 110)

This insight,  by itself, would have been worth reading the entire book.  Often, in churches that have very loud disagreements (and not just the Catholic or Episcopalian churches), the disagreements seem to take precedence over everything else.  But, not everyone has their heart, soul and faith invested in the outcome of these disagreements.  Where does the focus on disagreement leave them?  (However, I would add "artists, musicians and dancers" along with poets).

As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God. (p. 106)

This is often true of so many religions.


...For others, the issue was that they believed more than Jesus.  Having beheld his glory, they found themselves running into God's glory all over the place, including places where Christian doctrine said that it should not be.  I knew Christians who had beheld God's glory in a Lakota sweat lodge, in a sacred Celtic grove, and at the edge of a Hawaiian volcano, as well as in dreams and visions that they were afraid to tell anyone else about at all.  These people not only feared being shunned for their unorthodox narratives, they also feared sharing some of the most powerful things that had ever happened to them with people who might dismiss them. 

Given the history of Christians as a people who started out beholding what was beyond belief, this struck me as a lamentable state of affairs, both for those who have learned to see no more than they are supposed to see as well as for those who have excused themselves from traditional churches because they see too little or too much.  If it is true that God exceeds all our efforts to contain God, then is it too big a stretch to declare that dumbfoundedness is what all Christians have most in common?  Or that coming together to confess all that we  do not know is at least as sacred an activity as declaring what we think we do know? [bold emphasis mine] (pp. 110 - 111)

I hesitated to add this one because, if one doesn't read it carefully, it could seem to dissolve into a simplistic "God-is-everywhere-and-isn't-that-nice-but-He-doesn't-expect-anything-of-you" sort of religion (I'm orthodox, with a little o, so that's not my faith).  That's not how I view this idea, though.  God is larger than we can understand or imagine, and it's not surprising to encounter Him anywhere or everywhere because all of it constantly exists because He is always creating and sustaining everything.   But, if people's experiences of God in various circumstances don't follow certain set paths (with different limitations in different denominations), these experiences are often seen as irrelevant or even wrong. 

I've also encountered being on the "too much" side of this equation.  Ever since college, I've found nature to be a place to particularly connect with God.  Often, as I garden and marvel at the beauty God has created, I have the doxology going through my head:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

God didn't have to create everything to be so beautiful.  He didn't have to create us to be able to enjoy it either.  But he did, and we do, and it's quite wonderful.  Of course, I don't feel this way only while gardening - hiking affects me the same way.  Or music, or math (isn't it so neat all the things that can be explained by fractals?!), or my family , or...

I've had discussions, though, with church members for whom everything comes back to the institutional church.  Nature is fine for church retreats when it can serve a practical purpose.  But, why spend time out in nature otherwise?  It's a waste of time that could better be spent on practical church programs. 

I end up mostly just listening in conversations like this.  I'm not even sure how to explain - or if we would be speaking the same language.

Continued in Part II.

On Freedom and Dissent

From Pages Turned (emphasis mine):

Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

[T]he freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch on the heart of the existing order.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

--Robert H. Jackson

One of my daily reads.


Casablancarenaultrickthumb Casablanca is one of our favorite movies.  And one of our favorite quotes is from the chief of police:

Rick:  How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault:  I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier:  Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault:  [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
[aloud]  Everybody out at once!

I read a recent blog post saying that it is difficult to use the word "shocked" anymore because someone will just quote Renault and derail the conversation.

Casablanca trivia (from

Conrad Veidt, who played Maj. Strasser, was well known in the theatrical community in Germany for his hatred of the Nazis, and in fact was forced to hurriedly escape the country when he found out that the SS had sent a death squad after him because of his anti-Nazi activities.

Many of the actors who played the Nazis were in fact German Jews who had escaped from Nazi Germany.

The influx into Hollywood of large numbers of European exiles fleeing the war helped the casting enormously. In fact, of all the featured players in the film who get screen credit, only three were born in the United States.

In the famous scene where the "Marseillaise" is sung over the German song "Watch on the Rhine", many of the extras had real tears in their eyes; a large number of them were actual refugees from Nazi persecution in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and were overcome by the emotions the scene brought out.

In the 1980s, this film's script was sent to readers at a number of major studios and production companies under its original title, "Everybody Comes To Rick's". Some readers recognized the script but most did not. Many complained that the script was "not good enough" to make a decent movie. Others gave such complaints as "too dated", "too much dialog" and "not enough sex".

The difference in height between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman changes throughout the film. This is because Bergman was actually a few inches taller than Bogart, though to create the illusion that it was vice versa, Michael Curtiz had Bogart stand on boxes and sit on pillows in some shots, or had Bergman slouch down (as evident when she sits on the couch in the "franc for your thoughts" scene).


I'm more of a man than you'll ever be - and more of a  woman than you'll ever get!

Angel, Rent

Rent1_1I used to spend lots of time finding out and listening to new musicals.  That came to a screeching halt (along with lots of other hobbies) after the birth of oldest son.  I still listen to lots of new music, but I don't have (or make) the same time to sit and get to know an entire musical. 

I told my daughter yesterday that I was really glad she got the soundtrack to Rent and that she got us all to watch the movie.  I've been pondering it a lot in my free time. 

Yesterday we were talking about Rent (again) and mentioned that Angel seems to be the sanest one in the group.  Angel (a street percussionist/musician who cross-dresses and has AIDS) knows who she is and is comfortable with that.  The others are all still struggling with who they are and what they want, but Angel just goes on enjoying life, love and friends.  With attitude, of course (as seen in the above quote) and more of a sense of style than I'll ever have!

Interestingly enough, the Wikipedia mentions that Wilson Jermaine Heredia, who plays Angel in the movie and played her on Broadway, actually used to be rather shy.  He won a Tony for best featured actor.   Rent also won best musical, best book of a musical and best score.

In fact watching this movie reminded me that I've wanted to add a new category:  Favorite Quotes.