I have decided that it is time for me to get into the spirit of Advent. With the pop-up shop and the two demanding jobs and the buying of Christmas presents, I know I haven't done much to make room in my heart for Christ. Of course, all of that is part of making room (perhaps this is why "People Look East" is my favorite Advent carol?) but since I am quite a bit ahead of schedule, and next week will be one of incredible ease (both jobs and personal obligations fulfilled, and the Jam shop closed)--I am going to keep pretty quiet here on the blog. I have not yet decided: I might just put up wordless posts of some photography. Or I might put up a few advent meditations. We'll see. I want as little internet time and as much peace and quiet as I can manage.
But, before then: I have a million things to share with you. Bear with me...it's a long clippings post today!
First and foremost, I read this morning that Christopher Hitchens died yesterday. He was a man who spent most of his life aggressively fighting my most dearly held beliefs, and indeed nearly everything he said I disagreed with. But he was also a thoughtful and thought provoking writer, who challenged me at every turn to think better, write better, know better. And he loved all the same books I did. His most recent column for Vanity Fair was strikingly candid and moving (even if he used the word "gifted")--and I found myself hoping that, like Oscar Wilde or Doc Holliday, he might come to the light before his death. Now that his death has come, I am a bit surprised at how moved I am at his passing. As my friend Nathan said this morning: "Let us not, in the wake of the passing of such a virulent atheist, mockingly question the post-mortem fate he has met, but hope that, as we do for all souls, he has been surprised by the magnanimity of the Father, by Divine Justice, the true nature of which is known not to us, but only to HIM." Requiescat in pace, Christopher.
+ Hildegaard von Bingen will be officially canonized and named a Doctor of the Church. So, so exciting!
+ Old Book Smell, much like After the Rain Smell, is a real chemical reaction. (Forgive the extraneous capitalization, MMT. But this seemed to warrant it.)
+ Still need some presents for your pop-culture fiend. Download and print these hilarious and awesome paper-dolls from your favorite sitcoms: Arrested Development, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Parks and Recreation. PS: YAY! Amy Poehler got nominated for a Golden Globe!. But, I echo the thoughts of Tim Goodman (in all TV related things), and ask: has anyone who votes in these things heard of a character called Ron Swanson?
+ Don't play that Violin! You might get Mad Cow Disease! (ht: Jane)
+ I love this German man who is tweeting the journey of the Holy Family from the voice of St. Joseph. I have always found it incredibly fruitful to meditate on the reality and daily particulars of the life of the Saints, and especially the men and women in the Bible. (My favorite scene, for example, in The Passion of the Christ was when Jesus shows off to his Mother the table he has built.) Today's tweet I found especially moving. (HT: The Deacon's Bench)
+ Kinfolk II is out! And filled with wonderful ideas, like: snow cooking. Now if it would only snow...
+ Speaking of: snowflakes in macro. most gorgeous things I've seen all week!
+ Tuck Everlasting: The Musical! (please, God, no!)
+ I love this old newsreel video of Flannery O'Connor and her backward walking chickens for so many reasons, not the least of which is that I imagine a theater full of kids watching it and laughing their heads off, which is so different from any other image I associate with O'Connor that it makes me want to laugh myself silly.
+ What? There's actually no blindspot in a car? This is amazing!
+ For the egg lover in your life.
+ A peach hat!
+ Charles Downey has been counting down the ten best new recordings and reissued recordings of classical and sacred music on his blog IONARTS. Great stuff there.
+ Buy a Dominican Calendar!