A Glass of Chianti

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Happy news of the penguin sort

An update on the parents of the penguin that I didn't steal back in December.

The expected birthday is sometime in late February, which is an excellent time to be born.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wow. It's my two least favorite things in the world

... co-starring in one story!

Texas A&M and trademarks

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Tomorrow, January 30, is an anniversary of a fairly important sort for me. It was 6 years ago that I first picked up Whittaker Chambers's autobiography, Witness. I wish I could say that I had a teacher who recommended it to me or that I ran across it on a beloved relative's library shelves. In fact, I don't remember precisely why I was looking for it that day between Sunday (or, perhaps, Saturday) clarinet practice sessions, but I do remember that I needed a break from the Poulenc and went down to the bookstore.

From that day when I started with the foreward and for the next week and a half, I could think of little else than when I could arrange to read a few more pages at a time. Its central question of whether hope lies with God or with man (and why that question is not as easy to answer as it seems it should be) is more important than anything I have ever been asked to consider. It shows you why the stakes were (and are) so high and what really is being risked when we choose.

Anyway, go read the forward. It may not affect you the way it did me, but I'm hard-pressed to imagine anyone being unmoved by it. If you haven't read Witness, you should consider doing so. I know it's long. I know it's dark. I know that (if you are younger than, say, 30) checking it out from the library will put you on all sorts of crazy watch lists. I also know that you won't look at things the same way as you did before nor will you be able to use the same terms to describe familiar things. The passages that stick with me the most are the ones where he talks about his farm and his family. They're small moments, but when you're a girl on the cusp of 20 trying to figure out her vocation, they really can mean everything.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Mozart, had he not died at 35, would be 250 today. What a shame that he died too young to leave us any compositions for theremin.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

It's here!

Maybe I will come home after lunch to nurse my cold...

So Exciting.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Nerd fact for the day

This thing that Mr. Modern Kicks is making fun of... ummmm..... I did that. In high school. I wasn't as dorky about it as my friend Michael, though, who hijacked my idea and then raised the nerd quotient by two when he printed invitations to the party the next year.

As a matter of fact (not that anyone asked), I still have a State of the Union watch party each January. The guest list is incredibly exclusive, but there are a fair number gimlets on hand. It keeps me occupied, anyway.

A blind item

What Fort Worth blogger this weekend finally finished her Sanctus for a Requiem Mass? (She, I'm told, started composing an ordinary setting forever ago, but when a good Dies Irae comes, you can't just set that aside...)

Lots more to go, of course, but I have it on good authority that she's pretty happy with the progress.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Match Point

I went to see it this weekend. I was quite surprised as I think I was expecting to see an interesting failure. Instead, I saw a fine movie that failed in two interesting ways. First, the non-diegetic music was all wrong. The movie goes to great lengths to establish that the social-climbing protagonist, Chris, understands the accoutrements of the upper class, but his familiarity is just an exercise in fitting in. He knows he's supposed to be conversant about opera, so he gets a solid grounding. (Apparently, Dostoevsky is another hallmark of his desired world, so we see him at the beginning of the movie putting down Crime and Punishment and picking up the Cambridge Companion volume.) So, he doesn't like opera, but the world he marries into does. Fine. Got it. But then why are we still hearing Verdi when he's with Nola, the American actress ex-fiance of his brother-in-law? The plot is emphatically not operatic (and if we miss that point, we are reminded every five minutes that everything is just about luck) so the music is left to suggest heft that just isn't there.

The other thing that goes wrong is that the lust just isn't very convincing. We never buy into the sex that we are told (and then, again, helpfully reminded every five minutes) that relationships (that aren't built on money) are all about. If you're going to make a movie about risking it all, you have to have something for which everything is worth risking. Love would be too old-fashioned, of course, but because everything between Nola and Chris is flat to the nth degree, the lust doesn't work, either.

All that aside, though, it was quite fine and certainly not a waste of an afternoon, even if I did just (appropriately) luck into seeing it because the air conditioning was broken in the room that was showing the movie that I had come to see. I was in the theatre with an older couple sitting in the back row who spent the movie yelling at the screen (and at each other, repeating many the lines) and a young-ish man with whom I had a short conversation after the movie ended. This was over when he said something that should never, never, never, ever be uttered - "You know, you're nothing like my ex-wife."


It's raining!


My previous statement about moving in May if we don't get a winter by then still stands, but I am a great deal less irritated than I have been in the past few months. No water and no sweaters make Sarah something something...

It's raining!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sincerely, I didn't see this coming...

How evil are you?

From the Shrine - a much less evil place.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sometimes, late at night

I stay awake thinking, "What were the people of America reading about in Time on this date?". Imagine my joy when I discover that in 1928 this was the cover.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

King of the Hill Quote of the Day

Episode "Peggy's Turtle Song"

Bill: That gal there...she's dressed kinda pro-choice.

Runner-up - this exchange:

Nurse: Mr. Hill, I've diagnosed your son with Attention Deficit Disorder. He's probably had it for years.
Hank: What? Well, how come nobody ever noticed this before?
Nurse: Very few people have access to the pamphlets. I do.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

My job just got a bit more difficult

I just ran across a rerun of an unnamed law enforcement reality television show. This particular episode contained a sequence involving a male high school classmate of mine involved in some sort of altercation with a woman who was, perhaps, his girlfriend and also a second woman. (I missed the first part of the segment very regrettably.)

The bar for becoming the second most awesome of Crowley High School just got moved a little higher. My plans to coast in on my students' All-State status isn't going to cut it anymore. *sigh*

Friday, January 13, 2006

You know that kid

Who sat behind you in 7th grade science class and who was always spinning his pencil around with his fingers? The one who would ask if he could touch your hair* before tests because it would give him good luck ("It's brain hair!" he would say)? Well, that kid has a website to help you learn how to become a PencilNinja and tutorials to help you get started on the pen spinning circuit. Don't tell me you don't get quality here at A Glass of Chianti.

*My answer: "No."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Catholic mania!

We have the new encyclical coming in 14 days (very cool countdown graphic here)
aaaaaaaand I have a new translation project thanks to The Yankee. The Southern Baptists may have a monopoly on the cool youth groups, but they just don't know how to have fun like us.

Baby penguin!

in Kentucky.

It's Spindletop Day!

I wasn't able to celebrate it appropriately, but come next year, I'll be ready.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Dare I dream?

Is a member of the Republican Class of '94 playing Lincoln to Blunt and Boehner's Seward and Chase? Exciting!

If the future holds the phrases "market solutions" and "gridlocked government," I think I'll be so excited I probably won't be able to sleep.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

You just thought my penguin obsession was the weirdest on record

Stapler poetry and a stapler gallery (with Quicktime movie!).

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Not that anyone really cares...

but my students just had a stellar auditioning experience for the Texas All-State band. They've all worked really hard, and it's difficult not to brag about them so... since this is my little place, that's what I'm doing. Everyone should be as lucky as I am to work with these kids. So, smiles all around and I'm having a gimlet (or two) in celebration!

At the library

Patty's right - her husband does take a really neat picture (of their son, if I'm reading the caption correctly)!

Friday, January 06, 2006

What's the difference between a socialite and a philanthropist?

Apparently, a socialite actually gives the gifts that are promised:
The Metropolitan Opera has received the largest individual gift in its history, a $25 million donation from the socialite Mercedes Bass and her husband, Sid R. Bass, that comes at a time of increasing financial troubles for the house.
Contrast this with:
In effect, the gift to the Met replaces the unfulfilled pledges of Alberto W. Vilar, an investor and arts philanthropist. The Met added Mr. Vilar's name to its Grand Tier in recognition of a $20 million pledge several years ago, then removed it when he failed to meet the pledge. Mr. Vilar has since fallen from grace with his indictment on fraud charges in June.

Wouldn't you love to see the social stylebook that describe the two professions?

Oh well, when one Texas benefactor exits...

UPDATE: Angus, despite what he says, didn't "lift[] this from [me]" unless we're in a universe where 10:29 a.m. Eastern is somehow after 10:52 a.m. Central. Are we and I didn't get the memo for the day? (If so, I need to know before my lessons schedule gets all screwy on Monday...)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Penguins waiters + cheap food =

The most awesomely Sarah site ever.

It needs music and maybe some Angela Lansbury to make it more spectacular, of course, but the road to perfection is an asymptote.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Apologia for a right-wing snob

Sounds like someone wouldn't have gotten along with Whittaker Chambers very well. (Chambers wasn't, you know, polished enough.)

The sad thing is that there are some fair points in the article (why don't people grow up anymore? why are some seemingly proud of being uncivilized?) but they're obscured by so much, well, snobbery it's hard to read... and I agree with the guy more than I disagree! If he wants to act the intellectual then fine, but "swing dancing" music isn't something a real intellectual would put on the table.

I also don't know if Mr. Judge would agree that the deification of the "common man" happens just as much on the left as on the right (see, for example, the "urban champion of outsider art" archetype).

Basically, it seems that we'd probably get along well at the voting booth, but he's not the kind of man I'd invite over for dinner*. Plus, I probably know more about Brahms than he does, so the dinner table discussion wouldn't even be that intellectually stimulating.

*Is that a "provincial upbringing" I'm betraying? Probably.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Seeking musical opinions

I'm in search of the best college fight song. (Hey, were your Monday evening plans much better?) To play this game, note a couple of things:
  • I'm really, seriously looking for my readers' favorite college fight song.
  • Here's a pretty big resource but, of course, there are tons more schools out there. Try to find a music file of your favorite song if it's not listed so the rest of us can judge your good taste.
  • Yeah, we know about Notre Dame's and Michigan's. Let's try to think outside that old (yet, great) box.
  • Let's try to limit this to actual fight songs. For example, this is greatly superior to the actual, official fight song,* but it is a march (complete with trio!) and, thus, technically ineligible.
That's about it. This is as close to begging for comments as I'll get. Anonymous is great, just let me know what sounds good to your ears.

*No matter how great the Cole Porter poetry is, it just can't beat the march.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Well, at least it sensed enough to realize

I wasn't one of those ordination for women people. But, you know, I'd be a much better queen than king, and a better rook or pawn than either of those.
The Black King
You scored 2 Power-Finesse, 3 Leader-Follower, 2 Unique-Ordinary, and 1 Offense-Defense!

You are comfortable letting a situation evolve, reacting to it, and
exploiting the weakness of your enemy when he over-reaches. Your
followers are loyal to you, and would gladly fall upon the sword of an
advancing rook or queen for you, but you would rather use them to sneak
in and suprise the enemy. You are content to let others do your dirty
work, even your Queen.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 27% on Power-Finesse
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 55% on Leader-Follower
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 12% on Unique-Ordinary
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 10% on Offense-Defense
Link: The What Chess Piece Are You Test written by Gundark27 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Happy New Year!

Goodness, with all the empty pews at Mass this morning, you'd almost think everyone was recovering from a big party that I wasn't invited to attend last night. Surely not, though...

All in all, though, I hope that 2006 is a lot like 2005, but just more. I hope there are more kisses from Angus. I hope there are more good (but shorter) blog postings here. I hope that Coco has even more tuna than she did in 2005. I hope that there are more All-Staters among my students than last year (which is looking like a pretty sure bet right now... they're just that awesome). I hope to make more friends in the coming year. I hope there's more rain in the forcast.

All that being said, if it's still hot like it is now in May, I'm moving. Chile is leading the list right now in potential places for relocation, but I'll consider others, should the need arise.