Less Is More

Friday’s assignment – Black Friday’s assignment – in our blogging exercise is “less is more”.  I am psyched to write about this because I had the best Black Friday of my life, and my friends and I had more fun than anyone else in the Worcester area.  We continued a tradition, or perhaps established one is the better phrasing, since this is the second year of doing this – we played rugby at high noon at Crompton Park in Worcester.  The twist this year was there was snow on the ground.  It was quite cold, but last year was colder and the ground was wet – miserable stuff.  We were fortified with hot chocolate and other beverages.  After the game we went over to The Nines on Milbury St. for chili and fellowship.  Below is a picture of me running with the ball.  How does this fit into the less is more theme?  Well, we did spend money at the bar, but rather than shopping and going crazy we had a great time together.

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November 29th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Day 32: Blogger’s Choice #3

Once again we have free rein (correct usage, although “free reign” is so entrenched in our language that it too is considered correct) to choose our own topic.  Today I want to go with some random observations I have been making lately.  As I have written here, we enjoy the Advent season in our house and don’t go crazy with gifts, etc., and I feel this gives me some clarity in cutting through the craziness of the season.  I am looking forward to our church Christmas pageant Sunday as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.  This is all despite the extreme cold we have had lately and some auto troubles, particularly a dead car battery the other day.  Here goes:

-The poem is called A Visit From St. Nicholas, not Twas The Night Before Christmas.  Let’s get this right.  The wiki article is interesting – I had no idea there was a controversy over authorship.

-We have had a lot of snow recently which is not always the case for December.  I am appalled at some of the driving I have seen.  Massachusetts people like to pride themselves on their ability to deal with the weather and their driving skills – talk to any Mass. person who has lived elsewhere and see what they think of drivers there.  So, what has happened?  Did we forget how to drive?

-I was driving the other day when one of the local high schools let out and noticed a crossing guard for high school students at an intersection that had crossing signals and a short distance between sidewalks.  Do we really need a crossing guard for high school students, especially when there is a signal?  We are a long ways away from the days of the pioneers.

-Now that Oldies 103 is gone, we listen to a station out of Rhode Island for Christmas music.  It is nice hearing the classics, but it really seems like their playlist is on repeat every hour.  On a recent trip to see my father in the Merrimack Valley area, we lost the signal and found a station that is NH based (I think).  It was refreshing to hear different Christmas tunes.  Of course, in the MP3 and streaming era it is hard to complain about this stuff – we can always make our own playlists.

 

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December 20th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Elevators And The Sabbath Revisited

I feel that I may be violating the spirit of the 40 Days Of Blogging exercise by reposting something from several years ago, but when I saw that the Sabbath was today’s topic I could not resist:

A few years ago I was at the Jewish Home in Worcester visiting someone and took the stairs at the same time as a young man who turned out to be a devout Jew.  We had a great discussion about riding elevators on the Sabbath – it was an issue he struggled with but ultimately he decided he would ride the elevator if someone else was getting on (his job there had him constantly going up and down to different floors).  I thought of him yesterday when I encountered this sign at Children’s Hospital in Boston – they have embraced the idea of a “Sabbath Elevator”, which in a very small way brings a little comfort to some of the people who work and/or have children who are patients there:

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November 23rd, 2013 by Fr. Greg

An Ecumenical Embrace

As an Orthodox Christian of Orthodox and Roman Catholic background it fills me with great pride, happiness, and love to see this picture of the Patriarchs of Rome and Constantinople together.  They follow in the footsteps of Bishop Flanagan and Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory as well as our hierarchs Metropolitan Methodios, Cardinal Sean and Bishop McManus.

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March 20th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Those Rings

The other day I visited old friend Bill K. at Olympic Wine & Spirits on Grafton St. in Worcester.  This place used to be called Renaissance Wine & Spirits before Bill and his family bought it.  I went there once some years ago to buy a bottle of wine and was startled to hear someone say “I can’t believe there is a (expletive deleted) priest in a liquor store”.  Good grief.  So, it was nice to go there and see a friendly face.  In talking with Bill I remembered a story from The Sporting News or SI back in the day.  The International Olympic Committee was going after a diner in New York that used the name Olympic and the logo of the five interlocked rings.  The IOC was going after this place – no doubt Greek-owned – for using the logo and theoretically profiting off of it.  This was likely in the pre-internet era, and I can’t find any reference to it.  Bill has a good grasp of the law on this one – you can use the rings as long as they are not in the same order and position as the famous Olympics version.  Check out the website that I linked to above – the rings emerge as bubbles from a martini glass that stands in for the y in the word Olympic.  Great job Bill!

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February 11th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Sets Of Seven

The other day Fr. Peter and I were reminiscing about taking classes with Fr. George Dragas.  I shared with Fr. Peter a memory of one class where a student in passing referred to one of the Ecumenical Councils and was a bit unsure of the date.  Fr. Dragas paused and said to us “You don’t know the dates and places of the councils?”.  Here we were just a year removed from Church History class and, well, no one could name them.  So he went to the board and wrote them all down from memory: Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431),  Chalcedon (451),  Constantinople (553),  Constantinople (680), and  Nicaea (787).  I realized at the time I should know them.  Did I then go and memorize the list?  Of course not.  But now I will do my best.  The conversation with Fr. Peter got me thinking…what other lists of seven should I know?  I realize this stuff could well be considered trivia but I imagine back in the day a cultured man would be expected to know such things, so why not?

So…The seven hills of Rome?  I can name off the top of my head the Palatine, Capitoline, Esquiline and Aventine.  After further review let’s add the Quirinal, Viminal and Caelian.  The seven deadly sins are gluttony, avarice, lust, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride (it is well worth exploring the original words to get a better translation and interpretation, though). We all know that the only extant wonder of the ancient world is the Great Pyramid of Giza.  How about the others?  The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria all spring to mind.  The others are the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.  I have never really known what the “Seven Seas” specifically were but have always understood it as meaning the whole world.  And the Seven Dwarfs?  I don’t think the girls have watched that one yet, which means my memories are from thirty years ago.  Dopey?  Sleepy?  Sneezy?  That is about all I can name.  Let’s look those up as well…And according to this site Bashful, Doc, Happy and Grumpy (How could I forget that one?).

 

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October 3rd, 2012 by Fr. Greg

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Bun Muffins

This delicious gluten-free recipe is from my dear friend Leslie Saffer:
Muffin Mixture:
Makes 9 muffins
1 cup blanched almond flour (I added an additional 3 Tablespoons.)
2 tablespoon coconut flour (I used tapioca instead.)
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
¼ cup grapeseed oil (I used coconut oil instead.)
¼ cup agave nectar (I used maple syrup.)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine flours, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl,
In a large bowl blend together oil, agave, eggs and vanilla.
Blend dry ingredients into wet and scoop a scant ¼ cup at a time into lined muffin cups.
Spoon topping onto muffins.
Bake muffins for 8-12 minutes at 350°

Cinnamon Topping:
Combine agave, cinnamon and oil in a small bowl
Set mixture aside.
Ingredients:
2 tablespoon agave nectar (I use maple syrup.)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (I use coconut oil.)
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August 24th, 2012 by Fr. Greg