Monday, April 30, 2007

Burnt ikea with a hint of orange...

This weekend I encountered a fascinating smell of a quite unique vintage. I entered the kitchen and I was overcome with a scent that carried dim echos of times past. At first I couldn't place it. I was reminded of burning the tips of nylon ropes when camping as a child, and the happy hours of playing with a lighter and a can of hairspray. As it turned out an ikea spoon had fallen on the heating element in our dishwasher. The smell of burnt ikea, while similar to the nylon ropes and burning plastic wrappers of my childhood, has a very distinctive character. The melted plastic as it begins its slow bubbling combustion has a slight hint of a rancid burnt orange peel with strong overtones of rotten driftwood and displaced chemical waste.

Surprisingly enough, this was not my first encounter with the ikea scent. Last winter we had an ikea chair that somehow caught fire in our living room and blanked the whole room with a fine orange film. A chair and a spoon. You would not think immediately that they have the same scent when burned. But, while the chair carried more subtle hints of oily fabric, somehow the magic that is a burning ikea product persisted through.

I can't say that I recommend burnt ikea. As far as combustible petroleum products go, I prefer the simple straight forward melting nylon, it's just more honest. But if you are interested in a unique and unforgettable olfactory experience, then ikea is the way to go.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

April 21st Coffee and History

The foundation of Rome.

Soviet Union forces south of Berlin at Zossen attack the German High
Command headquarters.

Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989.

The Chicago Cardinals & Pittsburgh Steelers merge.

The birth of Iggy Pop.

What do all of these momentus occasions have in common? Aside from a
slightly morbid fixation on failure and dissapointment, all of these
occurences took place on April 21st. This Saturday take a break from
writing those term papers and celebrate one of the most
underappreciated dates in history! Everyone loves to reminisce about
all the things that have happened on April 20th, but who gives the
21st credit for the birth of famed actor Anthony Quinn? Who raises
their glass to the day in 1944 that French women were finally allowed
to vote?

We will be silent no more!

Doors open and Coffee starts flowing at 7:30pm performances start at
8:00 sharp. Dust off your almanacs and prepare something related to
April 21st.

Download The Flier


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

US top court backs abortion ban

Looks like a step in the right direction.

From the BBC:

The US' top court has upheld a ban on the controversial late-term partial birth abortion procedure.

The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

US top court backs abortion ban

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

From the Cradle of Wine

For all of you Quincy House blog readers looking for another online diversion in life, I suggest you check out From the Cradle of Wine, a public diplomacy project I'm putting together for one of my classes at the Institute of World Politics. The point of the site is to increase western appreciation of the Republic of Georgia (where they've been making wine for 8,000 years!), its wines, its culture and its people. New material is posted every day, so check back often. Feedback is quite welcome.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

In Boston!

Well three of the quincy house members are hanging out in Boston. Mr. Roderick is getting ready for the marathon tomorrow. Say a prayer for him and for the weather. The frozen rain is not encouraging at the moment.

It has been a good trip so far though. We have experienced great hospitality in New York, and here in Boston, or more properly Billerica with some friends.


Monday, April 09, 2007

The Easter Sermon of John Chrysostom

The Easter Sermon of John Chrysostom,
Pastor of Constantinople

Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!
If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.
To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead!
Through death He conquered death!
And to those in the grave He granted life!

Happy Easter, from the Quincy men.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Love and Jokes

It has been intriguing gathering reactions to our April Fool’s Day joke. Some seem to have found the idea of a Quincy Dating Central, which we added to our house website, both relevant and absurd enough to be funny. And on the other side of the spectrum, some seem to have found it distasteful that someone would joke in such a manner, about something so serious, making light of the difficulties that face the modern single Christian in a culture such as ours, etc. And certainly, there were those that didn’t realize it was April 1st, and moreover were unable to see the humor in it, and supposed we actually intended to set ourselves up as so great that traditional rules don’t apply, that women should pursue us and submit to the embarrassment of completing an online application for the ‘privilege’ of dating one of us. And perhaps, no one’s actual reaction could be identified completely with one of these here described, but I have no doubt that these elements are familiar.

As far as jokes go, I’ll readily admit this one was a little more risky. There is much bound up in such matters as dating, much indeed, and it’s different for everyone. But given the risk, why make such a joke?

One of the themes that has been emerging in my mind, and in discussions I’ve had with others, is that we Christians (Catholic’s especially) tend to be a little up tight about matters vocational, especially when it comes to dating. When you add the confusion of looking for love in a sinful world and of experiencing that loneliness so typical of the human condition, it’s easy to get out of sorts. If I like so and so, and it doesn’t work out, I’m quick to grow discouraged, or to hold on to my disappointments as if God were not really in the details. I’ve heard no call to the religious life, I might think, and I’ve always desired to marry and start a family, and here I am living a life I didn’t plan, unmarried and growing older. After a while, and perhaps it’s always been this way, the whole business starts to feel pretty serious. And there are other concerns: One must not get too attached too quickly. One must be extra careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. One must follow enough of the traditional etiquette, but not too much. One must be assertive, but not overbearing. And on, and on, and on. So it’s all very complicated and difficult, and given the stakes, it’s risky, and very, very serious.

But it seems to me that only fear could make it this serious. Only a lack of hope in God’s providence could keep me so concerned, so desperate to tread lightly that I would be unable to laugh about it all. The reality is that God is in control, and male-female relationships are hilarious. There’s such a splendid comedy in the awkwardness of dating, and not dating. At the heart of romance, I would suggest, is a very good joke.

And I think the comedy is essential, in part because on the other side is tragedy. Love that would be free to grow, to flourish and pour itself forth in the sublimity of the gift, is love that must suffer. We can see this clearly entering Holy Week, meditating upon the sacrifice of our Lord, the suffering that he takes on for our sake. We will die with Christ, so that we will share in his Life. Some of us will do (or are already doing) this in marriage, in act of giving our lives for a spouse, and for the children of such a gift. Other of us may experience this in a different way, as singles for the kingdom of God. And to each there is a season, and likewise a time for laughing and for crying.

So if the Quincy Dating Central joke was a poor one, it was at least an effort. We long to love openly, to be vulnerable before the Mystery. We tried to mock our own pride with a faux role-reversal and technological approach to an un-technological problem, a strange and clumsy reflection of the beauty of awkward singleness. I think we hoped that somehow, we might all take ourselves a little less seriously for it, and that maybe, rather than presenting obstacles to openness, greater openness might be encouraged.

Yesterday's Cavlin & Hobbes seems fitting (hat-tip to Aaron for finding it):

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