Monday, April 30, 2012

Anniversary Mashup

Maybe you’ve heard of ‘mashup songs’. 
Mashups are created when two or more already existing songs are seamlessly combined to create a new song. Like medleys, except cooler.
What a great idea. It appeals to my prudish sense of efficiency. It’s the musical version of multi-tasking.
But why stop at music?
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Japan's gift of cherry trees to Washington DC, of Fenway Park, Girl Scouts and Oreo cookies.
But it’s also an election year. The Summer Olympics are coming up. Everyone is busy, for goodness sake.
So let’s mashup these anniversaries and celebrate them all together!

Flavor the creamy insides of the Oreos with cherry.
Sell them exclusively at Fenway Park.
Hire Girl Scouts only as vendors at Fenway Park to sell the cherry-flavored Oreos.
There you have it. The seamless combination of two or more existing anniversaries into a new celebration.

This idea could go places.
I best start working on the 2013 Anniversary Mashups.
So far my research has yielded that it is the 100th Anniversary of the first Income Tax and the 100th Anniversary of the Chautauqua Bird, Tree & Garden Club.
That will be one doozy of a party.

Friday, April 27, 2012



In the mega store employees are required to greet me.
They ask if they can help. I say, “No, but thank you for asking.” One particularly persistent young woman asks how I am doing and if my day is good and if I have some time to talk about switching to satellite television.  I tell her thank you for asking but we are happy with what we have. That was it. Nothing particularly gracious.
And you know what she said? “Thank you for not running away.”
Can you believe it?
This young woman made in the image of God had to thank me for treating her as such. Yikes. Shouldn’t it be the default response?
So today I want to celebrate our ‘image of God’ ness and share a few of my thousand favorite photos of folks made in the image of God.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Incline

The little church in which I grew up set aside time in the worship service for silent prayer.
We would bow our heads and quietly petition our Father.
After a moment or so the organist cued us to finish the prayer and we sang in unison:
"Hear our prayer O Lord,
Hear our prayer O Lord,
Incline Thine ear to us,
And grant us Thy peace."

It was just a song we sang. A way to make sure no one fell asleep, or worse, didn't pray silently on and on while the rest of the congregation fidgeted in embarrassment.

Then the song fell out of use. I haven't heard it in decades. But one day, preparing my little boys to pray before we started our school day, it hit me.
We approach the creator of the universe, the One who knows intimately every hair on every head since the beginning of time, the One who formed and recognizes every pebble and blade of grass. 
He is the One who describes the earth as His footstool and who holds all creation together by the power of His Word, who is working out His plans throughout every kingdom and nation and ruler.
That's the One we asked to take time and listen to a scattered homeschool mom and 3 jelly-stained boys.

The song came rushing back. The small congregation of my childhood had been asking for what we need every day.
Like small children we tug at the hand of our busy father, urging him to bend his ear close.

And the God of time and creation stoops with love and affection and says,
"Tell me what you need, my little one."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Early Word gets the Birm

Last Wednesday we looked into the delights of malapropisms.
This week the promised spoonerisms make their appearance.

When I teach my little English class about Spoonerisms I tell them that they are named after Rev. Spooner, who elevated transposing initial sounds of neighboring words
(for example, ‘The Lord is a shoving leopard’) to an art form.

But, never content to just rest on my cursory research skills I had to dig deeper.
And I learn of the possibility that not every spoonerism attributed to Rev. Spooner was actually generated by that venerable gentleman. Some may have been made up by his students.

Who to believe? Internet research is turning me into a cynic.
But still, a spoonerism is a spoonerism and they can be a true delight.
So let’s just suspend our cynicism, enjoy some of 'Rev. Spooner’s' verbal gyrations and maybe come up with a few of our own.

-When anticipating the triumphal return of British troops after WWI he said, “When our boys come home from France we will have the hags flung out.”

-Doughty English farmers were ‘noble tons of soil”,
he admired a finely tuned bike as a ‘well-boiled icicle’
and, with impeccable manners before dropping in on a college dean inquired:
“Is the bean dizzy?”

Spoonerisms can be the sprinkles on top of the language cupcake. Entire fairy stories have been re-written using spoonerisms: ‘Bleeping Speauty’, Prinderella and the Cince’ 'The Mittle Lermaid'

I’ve accomplished some inadvertent spoonerisms in my time. Our neighbors Darryl and Heather were twisted and reformed into Harryl and Deather and I really disliked the 60’s style cag sharpet in our living room.

You, too, can become adept at spoonerisms. Just be careful or you may find yourself blushing when you refer to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as the ‘Canadian Broadcorping Castration.’

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm bringing peevish back

There are lists of the most beautiful words in the English language. One list includes ‘epiphany’ and ‘mellifluous’ and ‘serendipity’.

Evocative words may be ‘calm’ or ‘chinook’ ‘snuggle’  or ‘mom’.

Words that are fun to say, like ‘bobolink’ and ‘hornswoggle’ and ‘tinitinnabulation’ are, well, fun to say.
Like ‘mulligrubs’, which means sulky.

But some words are making their way back into my vocabulary because they elevate my emotions and emotional responses above the petty all the way to apposite (or 'appropriate for the circumstances').

Therefore, I am not a worrier. Worry is for bureaucrats and hand-wringers.
I fret. So much more active and deliberate than worrying, with a smidgen of Piglet thrown in.

I’m not timid.
I’m circumspect.

I don’t get moody.
I display ephemeral emotions.

I’m not a grammar nazi.
I’m a grammaticaster.

And I do not get grouchy, irritable or ticked off.
I become peevish.

My sister reminded me of what a great word peevish is and suddenly I am looking for any reason calling for peevishness.
And, just like the traffic cop who isn’t there when you need him, peeve-inducing events are remarkably sparse as of late.
Appliances are behaving, my loved ones are behaving, the weather is behaving, other drivers are behaving.
Serendipity is threatening. It is positively looming.
I’m fretting about the possibility that, unless I can exercise my new-found peevishness soon I may begin to mulligrub.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Prude Salutes You

I’ve told you how much I loved my Childcraft books, correct? Especially the ones that had historical little vignettes presented as narrative?
I met, among a host of others, Robert Louis Stevenson, Homer, Louis Armstrong, Sitting Bull, Belle Boyd (Lady Spy) and that guy who was the first to break the 4-minute mile.

One story began with two police officers walking the beat and chatting. In two paragraphs I already liked and respected the men. And then–the unthinkable. An earthquake tossed a piece of concrete at the men and killed one of them outright. I felt betrayed, but kept reading, because that is how good Childcraft writers were back in the 1960’s.

The rest of the five page story told how Officer Edward F. Parquet, who survived, rescued dozens of people from a collapsed and burning hospital. I loved that man.

At the end of each little vignette would be an explanation of what had happened in the story, who were the heroes and the historical significance. This particular story occurred during the San Francisco earthquake in April, 1906.
The explanation ended by telling me, “Many of the people who were there are still alive today.”
In my modern ranch house in the late ’60’s, in the days of rock music and anti-war demonstrations and Bonne Bell lip gloss, it didn’t seem possible.

But guess what??????

There are still survivors TODAY! One hundred and six years later a handful of people are still around to commemorate the April 18 anniversary of the quake. Truly. Three 1906 earthquake survivors who won’t see the sunny side of 100 again were at the celebration.
These frail people transported me from 2012, back to my bedroom in 1969 where I was actually living through a 1906 earthquake alongside a courageous policeman who was risking his life to rescue every single person in a hospital.

To Officer Parquet, Earthquake Survivors, Childcraft, and Bonnie MacConnell, who wrote “Give Me Strength!” about the quake:
I salute you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken
Like the first morning,

Black bird has spoken
Like the first bird.

Praise the singing!
Praise for the morning!

Praise for them springing
Fresh from the Word!

Sweet the rain's new fall
Sunlit from heaven,

Like the first dewfall
On the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
Of the wet garden,

Sprung in completeness
Where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight!
Mine is the morning.

Born of the one light
Eden saw play!

Praise with elation,
Praise ev'ry morning,

God's recreation
Of the new day!

Eleanor Farjeon

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Give a Poor Prude a Praise


Remember last week, when I skimmed the surface of the ‘hymns vs. praise’ debate?
Since I cut my teeth on hymns and still enjoy them every week, my exposure to Praise and Worship songs is limited at best.
So here is what I'd like for Theology Thursday:
Your favorite praise song.
To help you narrow the field, could you limit to the following criteria?

1)  The song you share has to be capable of being sung by a congregation.
The Newsboys ‘The Breakfast Song’ is all kinds of fun to listen to, but it may be difficult for a large group to keep perfectly in time while singing ‘When the big one finds you, may this song remind you that they don’t serve breakfast in hell.’

It doesn’t need 4-part harmony, but it should be free of swoops and dives and uncountable pauses that work fine for soloists but confuse a congregation. Especially if tone deaf prudes are sprinkled in here and there.

2) The song can use adjectives like ‘great’ and ‘worthy’ and ‘awesome’ to describe God but then it has to tell WHY He is great/worthy/awesome.  If my husband or children tell someone how fabulous I am I want them to back it up. Describe how I can wrap a yarn wreath or take 400 photos in a single Easter Egg Hunt. Just make sure the hearee knows WHY I am so special. So your praise song should tell me what about God is great.

3) Your song can’t be ‘How Deep the Father’s Love for Us’ or ‘In Christ Alone’. I know them already. I love them already.

4) You can share a link or just the title and composer. If you wrote it? So much the better!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One Part Cora's Fondant


The English language may be difficult and convoluted and filled with seemingly endless contradictions and rules of grammar and enough homonyms/homophones to render spellcheck practically impotent.

But you have to love a language that gives us malapropisms and spoonerisms.

Malapropisms are named after a fictional character named Mrs. Malaprop in an 18th century play written by Richard Sheridan.
She tended to substitute one word in place of a similar sounding word:
‘He is the very pineapple of politeness.’ instead of pinnacle, or
‘She’s as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile’ instead of alligator.

A little friend was visiting me after the birth of my first baby. I asked her to grab me a towel from the linen closet. She came back and asked with a mix of concern and curiousity, ‘The liver closet?”
Lisa was practicing the fine art of malapropism.

Ever belt out the lyrics to a song only to discover, usually through choking laughter of a friend, that you got them wrong?
I sang along with ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ about a woman who could make a prose bush instead of a pro blush.

My version of America’s ‘Sister Golden Hair’ was about a guy who was ‘one part Cora’s pondant’ as opposed to a poor correspondent.  I actually tried to look up ‘pondant’ and, on not finding it, decided I had misheard. He must actually be one part Cora’s fondant.

For years I thought my husband needed Oriental strand board for jobs instead of the oriented strand board he really used.

Yogi Berra remarked during a presidential campaign that Texas had a lot of electrical votes.
And of course, “It ain’ t the heat, it’s the humility.”

My boys had a friend who loftily told them the argument they were making was based on a ‘mute point’.
Did you know that when the carburetor is out of your soda it tastes flat?

A dearly loved family  member always asked for the cheaptheats at the movie theater, assuming it was a smashed-up term for cheap theater seats.

Spoonerisms will have to wait till next week. I have to get to my book club– it’s rude not to be punctuate.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Not your ordinary Liver and Coconut Omelet

A bit of History Wednesday is being whisked into Global Village Monday for a nice little omelet I call ‘Courage and Politicians’.  You would think these two ingredients wouldn’t mix any better than liver and coconut, but hold off your judgement until you’ve had a taste.

Did you read about the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, who rushed into his burning apartment building to rescue a neighbor? Cory Booker, a former All-American football player, slung the woman over his shoulder and carried her outside.

About the same time, the intrepid governor of Vermont was taking on four (yes, four) bears who were stealing food from bird feeders. In a valiant attempt to rescue the feeders, sleep-in-the-buff Governor Shumlin found himself chased by the largest of the beasts and barely (bearly?) got himself and the bird feeders to safety as the assailant closed in.

Doesn’t it do your heart good to know that not all politicians are spineless? Want to hear about more?
An Italian mayor, Mario Pellegrini, stayed on the doomed cruise ship Concordia in January after the captain had abandoned it. For six hours he helped frightened passengers to safety.

And finally, because we want a balanced omelet, we come to another heroic governor.
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was Governor General of the Philippines and before that Governor of Puerto Rico. When he was in his 50’s and suffering from heart disease and arthritis, he begged to help lead the Normandy Invasion. In spite of his vessel being blown off course he stumped up to the beach and set impromptu plans into motion that led to a successful campaign. General Omar Bradley called his actions the most courageous he had ever seen in combat.
If we take 2 fearless governors and 2 selfless mayors and mix them up a bit we have the perfect recipe for a Courage and Politicians omelet. It doesn’t even need extra seasoning. Who knew government officials could also be truly  heroic and self-sacrificing?
Maybe liver and coconut really do mix...

Friday, April 13, 2012

SInce I've Been Gone

No moss grew on me during my 6-week hiatus from blogging.
Nope, I was a rolling stone.
Here's how I rolled:
Went to a wedding in Kentucky

Visited Daniel Boone's grave

Photographed snow

Went to a basketball game

Took a long walk

Celebrated birthdays

I did

Watched my little friend Ann fly down a very long hill

Made a bling-y yarn wreath

Visited here

and enjoyed Easter Sunday in worship and then down on the farm.

It wasn't all play.  I also read and watched TV and frolicked with my dog. 
This just demonstrates that I am a very very busy (and moss-free) Prude.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Battle Rages: Hymns? or Praise and Worship?

It’s Interactive Theology Thursday!
The Prude is slinking cautiously into this one and tackling the ‘Hymns vs. Praise and Worship Songs’ controversy.
Didn’t know such a dispute existed?
Oh yes. Churchgoers have almost come to blows over this.
The Prude will either stir up the pot or pour soothing oil on troubled waters. And she wants you to jump into the fray.

Hardcore PRAISE AND WORSHIP FANS (or those who believe Christian songs written in the 1970’s are  ‘classic-nudging-to-ancient’) don’t care for hymns because they can be difficult to sing, use archaic lyrics, have too many verses and are dull.

Hardcore HYMN FANS (or those who believe anything written after 1898 is ‘contemporary’) don’t like P&W songs because they can be difficult to sing, use fluffy language, repeat the same lyrics, and are dull.

If you are starting to see that we are dealing with two coins on the same side here, join The Prude for the next couple of Theology Thursdays. She’ll share her favorite songs from both coins and hopes you will do the same.
Below are the lyrics of one of The Prude’s favorite hymns. Next week will showcase a favorite P&W song.

The designations are a little dicey– hymns are more formal, chordal, use 4-part harmony, and technically a hymn consists of only lyrics which are then sung to a tune that fits its rhythm. Worship songs tend to be birthed as lyrics and tune together, and are often written to be sung in unison. There can be some repetition of phrases although not always. Many hymns were intended to teach, P&W songs are intended to be an outburst of praise and honor.

Without further ado The Prude presents a mere babe of a song in the hymn world.
‘Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendour’. Lyrics by Frank Houghton (1894-1972). Tune a French Carol Melody.
So... do you have a favorite hymn?
1. Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
 All for love's sake becamest poor;
 Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
 Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
 Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
 All for love's sake becomes poor.
2. Thou who art God beyond all praising,
 All for love's sake becamest man;
 Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
 Thou who art God beyond all praising, 
All for love's sake becamest man.
3. Thou who art love beyond all telling,
 Saviour and King, we worship thee.
 Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
 Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
 Thou who art love beyond all telling,
 Saviour and King, we worship thee.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Elihu, Radical Republicans, and Exploding Flour

Historical research is like a box of assorted chocolates. 
Take your ‘Elihu Washburne’ box. Eli was an anti-slavery politician from Galena, Illinois, advisor to Presidents Lincoln and Grant, and a courageous ambassador to France during some of its darkest days. This is some good quality chocolate and I can’t choose just one piece to consume. 
Instead I nibble here and there, enjoying new flavors, finding old favorites. 
But each nibble is tinged with apprehension. Could this bit of lovely chocolate be covering the dreaded lemon mush?

Elihu Washburne has a delightfully varied box. 
Come sample with me:
-His wife’s father attempted to honor terms of treaties made with the Winnebago tribe, and Elihu honored his father-in-law by publishing his biography.
-Elihu helped hide the whereabouts of then President-elect Lincoln by cutting telegraph lines.
-He was a leader of the Radical Republicans. They opposed slavery with vehemence,
fought for voting and civil rights and the Democrats and most Republicans didn’t like them.
(Anyone want to help me resurrect the Radical Republicans?)
-Famous detective Alan Pinkerton punched Elihu in the gut when he thought Eli was accosting President Lincoln. The President kept him from landing a second blow.
-Elihu had seven brothers. One of them was named Cadwallader, who worked in Wisconsin government. 
Cadwallader founded General Mills. His flour mill blew up when his FLOUR EXPLODED. 
-Elihu was a hero in France, staying in a besieged Paris and caring for foreign nationals whose representatives had fled the city.
Eli's house in Galena
-In Galena they refer to him as ‘Eli’ and talk about him as if he were still one of their favorite neighbors.
-One final note. The prickly and difficult Mary Lincoln turned to Elihu for assistance after her husband’s assassination. He obliged. 
Maybe there are no lemons in the Elihu Washburne box of assorted chocolates.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Bonny lies over and over

By the time a dog reaches six years of age, shouldn’t she have developed at least a modicum of integrity? Of honesty?
So why does my Bonny carry deceit and cunning to a level that would make a cat blush?
Take last week. Bedtime.
My husband and dog had beaten me there: the former on his side of the bed where he belongs, the latter on my pillow where she doesn’t.
I told her to move and she declined with a growl. 
Not a ‘watch out or I’ll take a nibble’ growl so much as an ‘I was here first’ grousing. 
I nudged her off and changed the pillowcase. 
She grumbled the entire time but I am bigger and have opposable thumbs and ‘convinced’ her.
I took my rightful place on the pillow and slept.
Two hours later Bonny startled me awake when she leapt from the bed and stood quivering at the top of the stairs, 
a ‘Who goes there?’ growl percolating in her throat. 
I tiptoed after her, heart a-thumping, turned on the hall light and followed her fixed gaze down the steps. Nothing.
I looked down to ask what she had heard and–she was gone.
I found her on my pillow, eyes squeezed shut and fake-snoring.
I shoved her over (again) ignored her mumblings (again) and changed my pillowcase (again).
In the wee hours of the morning I woke to her whimpering at the bedroom door.
Bonny weighs 14 pounds. 10 of that is bladder. We have not yet determined how long she can hold it, and I couldn’t remember when we had last let her out. When a dog of that bladder capacity says she has to go, you don’t question. You just hold open the door.
I did, then grabbed my robe and headed for the steps, watching my feet to make sure I didn’t trip over a dog trying to hold her 4 legs together.
She wan’t there.
I looked at my pillow.There was the Queen of Deceit, deja vu mingled with smugness all over her fluffy fibbing face.
I blame myself. The little deceptions that were so cute when she was a puppy have mushroomed into a shameless furry package of whopping falsehoods.
If you ever visit with Bonny, I warn you. 
Take everything she tells you with a grain of salt.
And watch your pillow.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A kinder. gentler, lazier Prude

How have you been? I am fine.
Please notice, in the above pleasantries,
that The Prude referred to herself in the first person.
Rereading some earlier posts, I found myself ready to strangle The Prude and shout, “Enough 3rd  person already!”

So, unless the situation just begs for a post written in the 3rd person (say, I am too cowardly regarding the topic to actually own it in the 1st person)
The Prude will be ‘I’.

Another change was also precipitated by rereading old posts.
What was I doing?
Thinking I had to post every weekday even if I had nothing to say?
Let me clarify.
I seldom have anything to say.
‘The Prude Disapproves’ is a trifling blog in a world filled with blogs of great importance that discuss weighty matters, or tell you how to make a good béarnaise  sauce.
But sometimes the trifles are worth sharing. They provide a little bling to your day.
But some of those old posts–yikes.
What was The Prude thinking? (I prefer to blame it on that 3rd person alter ego)
Therefore, if I have nothing blingy to say I shall say nothing at all.

Finally, I will be cutting the ‘Rithmetic’ part of Readin’ wRitin’ and ‘Rithmetic Wednesdays’ because, after some half a dozen mathematics posts I’ve exhausted everything I know on the subject. We will sub in Hist’Ry on a regular basis and retire ‘Rithmetic’.

And one more finally. ‘Global Village Monday’ and ‘Quirks of the Cosmos Thursday’ were too similar.  I am, with great courage, thinking of creating ‘Theology /Civics Thursdays’. (These will no doubt be the 3rd person posts.)

And I shall endeavor mightily to keep the posts around 300 words. This means you have permission to have quit reading app. 7 words before the end of this post.