Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Orthographs - THE BOOK!

I just finished the first edition of "Orthographs".  It is 100 of the best of the Orthographs, Curmudgeophan, Ortho-mags and miscellaneous cartoons (so far). For those new to the blog and aren't familiar with Orthographs and the cartoons, click on the "Orthographs Archive" link under the "Click on This Stuff" to the left of this.

Thanks to all of the followers, lurkers and commenters who have fed my vaingloriousness and idiocy for these past few months.  As Curmudgeophan said in his review, "If he was really humble he'd-a waited until he was dead and let one of his psychophants publish it for him."  As usual, of course, he's right.

To purchase your very own or baptism/chrismation, name day, catechism and parish tract rack gift copies of "Orthographs - An Un-orthodox Primer on the Spiritual Life for Converts" click   HERE.

(And of course, links and viral promotions are greatly appreciated...)

Monday, April 26, 2010

It is the end...

My 17 year old daughter was telling us at supper tonight that she overheard the girl behind her in class talking to someone about how she wanted five kids, so she needed to have two more... and, that she just broke up with her girlfriend.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Move Over Conciliar Press

Have you bought the entire catalogue of Barsanuphius keychains, St. John (of the Ladder, Theologian, Evangelist, Cassian, of Shanghai, of San Francisco, Damascus, the Faster, the Short, etc. etc.) refrigerator magnets, books about "my journey to Orthodoxy", Mount Athos mousepads, Philokalia coffee cups, and Moses the Black greeting cards for all occasions? 

Well, Ortho-consumers, do I have a new Ortho-shopping destination for you. It's...
Oh yes, Curmudgeophan, this is the new "Pithless Mall"  where you can purchase Ortho-kitzch-to-the-next-level: expensive but useless and pointless stuff with Monkabee, Curmudgeophan, Moo the Turtle, Orthographs and other weirdness on it. Imagine the evangelistic conversations you could start with one of these creations sitting on your desk! Imagine the look of ummmm... when you give a Curmudgeophan coffee cup to your new God children, priest or your Archbishop for a name-day gift!

The initial offering of Pithless Products is just the beginning.  More things will be added in the coming weeks, including a book of Orthographs and Cartoons. If you don't see something that you'd like, send a message and I will personally CUSTOM MAKE and personalize whatever you want.  Any item in the list of Orthographs or on Moo the Turtle's blog can be made into coffee cups, mugs, T-shirts, greeting cards, note pads, etc.  

Click HERE  to go to the "Pithless Products" store.

Thanks for shopping, pass it on and help me keep the repo man out of my driveway.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

MONKABEE Magazine, #2

clickonit to embiggen

What Bad Chanting Sounds Like

After 11 years of chanting and singing in choirs, it has become clear to me that if you are a chanter, singer or choir person there are three things that should govern what happens at the kliros or music stand:  Beauty, orderliness and comprehensibility to the listeners.  If any one of these three are missing, we are not fulfilling our ministry within the worship of the Church. Just like the priest and deacons, we are part of the liturgical ministry of the Church. When we are blessed to sing and chant, just like a priest, we accept some responsibilities AND some limitations in our participation in worship.  We do not sing to feel good about ourselves, we sing to benefit others.  We are no longer "free" to sing as we please (or sometimes as we are able...)

There is nothing more distracting in worship than singers who don't know when to drop out because they are crashing and burning on a piece, chanters who do not know where they are in the service and are shuffling papers, books and music, chanters who mumble or can't read, or "choral chanting" where people don't sing a piece "with one voice" and it becomes incomprehensible mush to the congregation.  The rule of thumb should be: a piece should be done in a way and to the degree of complexity that it can be done beautifully and understandably.  If that means one person sings it, so be it, until someone else can learn it well enough to do it in a way that is not distracting.  Don't let your kliros sound like this

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Orthograph #74 - Can't Get No... #2

Thomas Sunday

I been in a cave
For forty days
Only a spark
To light my way
I wanna give out
I wanna give in
This is our crime
This is our sin

But I still believe
I still believe
Through the pain
And the grief
Through the lives
Through the storms
Through the cries
And through the wars
Oh, I still believe

Flat on my back
Out at sea
Hopin' these waves
Don't cover me
I'm turned and tossed
Upon the waves
When the darkness comes
I feel the grave

But I still believe
I still believe
Through the cold
And through heat
Through the rain
And through the tears
Through the crowds
And through the cheers
Oh, I still believe

I'll march this road
I'll climb this hill
Upon on my knees if I have to
I'll take my place
Up on this stage
I'll wait 'til the end of time
for you like everybody else

I'm out on my own
Walkin' the streets
Look at the faces
That I meet
I feel like I Like I want to go home
What do I feel
What do I know

But I still believe
I still believe
Through the shame
And through the grief
Through the heartache
Through the tears
Through the waiting
Through the years

For people like us
In places like this
We need all the hope
That we can get
Oh, I still believe

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Speaking of Looking Pious

My friend Paul Jouin is an aspiring photographer who has a photo blog of Orthodox services and events. He took pictures of our Paschal services this year. You can see that and all of his other work on his blog Eastern Orthodoxy Beheld.

Here is a picture he took of yours truly at the kliros looking sober and pious. Its amazing what some lighting and a black robe will do for my image. However, those who know what it is I am "chanting" will recognize that it is the prokeimenon section of the Epistle Book and I was merely looking up and preparing the Epistle reading for the Liturgy later that night while someone else was praying.  Even so, it makes a nice image. Maybe I can Photoshop the Horologion onto the chanter's stand... yup, quick fake look good shortcut to avoid having to work at actual piety...   that would be about my speed.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

KFC Rewards Lent

There were hundreds of people that stood in line at the Apple Stores this morning for the launch of the i-Pad. So Apple will change the face of personal computing and communication once again.  Ho-hum.

THIS however, is news.

Thank God Kentucky Fried Chicken introduces its new lethal sandwich after Lent.  It is bacon and cheese between two slabs of fried chicken-as-bread. The Colonel is the "Steve Jobs of Fast Food". This is sheer culinary genius. I'm in line on April 12 for ...

Friday, April 02, 2010

Security Kills

Our borders are insecure.  Our jobs are insecure.  Our monetary system is insecure.  Our homes are insecure.  Our computers are insecure. Our government is insecure. Our future is insecure, even with Social Security.

The world in an insecure place.

Politics is the human delusion that the security and peace of Eden can be restored by negotiation, cooperation, manipulation, consensus or by sheer power and force.

Let us make our life secure. 

The Chief Priests and Pharisees take council together:  If we let Him go on, the Romans will come and take away our places of authority and our nation.

Caiaphas, the politically appointed puppet High Priest argues: It is expedient that one man die for the people so the nation will not perish.

The Jewish leaders tell Pilate: If you let Him go, you are no friend of Caesar. We have no king but Caesar.

Pilate attempts to push Jesus off on his enemy, Herod.  Herod pushes the political/religious hot potato back on Pilate and in their mutual but unique condemnations of Him they become political allies and friends.

Judas' motives are less clear, but in the end he was either insuring his small, cheap existence and securing his future that was worth only 30 pieces of silver, or attempting to usher in the Kingdom of God wherein he would sit in unlimited power and wealth.

Peter, in the end, had the most integrity... there is no scheming, political machinations and back room negotiations, pork barrel deals and rationalizations.  He just curses and disavows knowledge of Christ to save his own sorry ass, and he knew it.

In the end the quest for security, the political maneuvers, the negotiations, the payoffs, the majority voice of the people shouting in the ear of the government, the alliances, the desire to save a nation and a political system, and the religious foundations it was built upon, and just plain self-preservation ushered in the true Eden by way of the Cross. 

History documents that those who chose security ultimately lost it and their kingdoms, lives and futures.  The One who chose the safety of obedience to God, the security of the will of God and the assurance of the Promise of God ultimately found Life, the Kingdom not of this world.

Security kills.

He that seeks to save his life will lose it.  He that loses his life for My sake shall save it.

Remember me O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom... even though I worry more, read, talk and listen to more stuff and give more thought, energy and effort to keep this kingdom secure than I do for Yours.