Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Cross Still Stands

I think for most of us, the news of yesterday’s tragic fire in the Cathedral of Notre Dame came as a shock, as sort of some sort of demented bad joke.  How could such a thing happen?  How could such a beautiful place, that has stood through centuries, through many wars, be gone in just a few hours?

If you have ever been blessed to go there, you were probably like me and dug out your pictures and dusted off your memories of it.  It will be twenty-nine years ago this summer that I got to visit Notre Dame as part of a European tour I took.  The photos I have are dark and grainy, taken with a small pocket film camera.  However, they still convey the grandeur and beauty of Notre Dame.

I read of people dismissing the tears and sorrow many have shown over this loss.  After all, they say, it’s only a building.  But it is not just a building.  It was a visible and physical location of praise and glory and peace and love given by the artisans and worshipers to our Creator and from Him back to us.

As a Catholic, a church is home.  It is where we find peace and love and safety.  That is why we mourn it.  And, as much as Notre Dame was Catholic in every sense, it was also catholic.  It was universal.  It stood as an icon of beauty and testament to the ingenuity and talent of man.  You didn’t have to be Catholic to be moved by the cathedral and appreciate its greatness.

News reports and government officials are quick to label the fire as nothing but a terrible accident.  I have my doubts.  With the number of churches across France being vandalized and destroyed recently, this seems like more than a sad coincidence that that greatest church in that country should burn during Holy Week.

Evil doesn't like goodness, truth and beauty.  Whatever it was that caused this destruction, accident or intentional, there is one thing you can count on.  Ultimately, you can destroy a place, but the cross still stands.


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

An Open Book: March 2019

The binge reading continues, mostly Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series and the rest of the Mercy series by Kendra Elliot.

In Too Many Cooks, Nero Wolfe actually leaves the confines of his New York brownstone and travels to West Virginia to speak at a gathering of the world's great chefs.  When one of the chefs is murdered, Nero is called upon to determine just who did it.  This is probably my favorite of the series so far.  And, as with all of the books, there were some really great lines.

"He hated things that moved, and was fond of arguing that nine times out of ten the places that people were on their way to were no improvement whatever on those they were coming from."

In Too Many Clients, a bidding war for his services interrupts Nero Wolfe's attempts to solve the case of the businessman who died in his love nest

“That’s not official yet, but there’s a hole in the side of his head that he didn’t make with his finger."

Besides, I’m offering a deal. If you’ll forget about my curiosity about Yeager until further notice, I’ll put you on my Christmas card list. This year it will be an abstract painting in twenty colors and the message will be ‘We want to share with you this picture of us bathing the dog, greetings of the season from Archie and Mehitabel and the children.’ ” “You haven’t got a Mehitabel or any children.” “Sure, that’s why it will be abstract.”

“Pfui. How often have I told you that impetuosity is a virtue only when delay is dangerous?” “Oh, six thousand.”

The door was standing open, and out she went. I could have kissed her on both chins.

Trouble in Triplicate is a collection of three short stories.

"He is a retired architect named H. H. Hackett, out of funds, and an unsurpassed nincompoop with the manners of a wart hog."

"It is a well-known fact that clowns have the biggest and warmest hearts on record except mothers and three characters in books by Dickens."

Murder at an Irish Wedding by Carlene O'Conner is the second book in the Irish series.  A famous fashion model decides to have her wedding in a castle in the small town of Kilbane.  When the former best man, who had been causing all sorts of trouble for the wedding party, is found dead, Siobhan sets out to find who did the deed.  As with the others in this series, this is a pleasant, fun read that is well written and engaging.

A Merciful Truth, A Merciful Secret, and A Merciful Silence are the last three books in the Mercy series by Kendra Elliot.  FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick is busy in rural Oregon solving a number of brutal crimes.

Hidden, also by Kendra Elliot, is the first book in the Bone Secret series. Lacey Campbell, a forensic odontologist, is called to the scene where a pile of bones has been found. Items found with the bones lead her to immediately identify them as those of her best friend who disappeared more than ten years prior at the hands of a serial killer. This is a well written, engrossing story.

While I like Kendra Elliot's storytelling, I had a bit of a problem with Hidden.  All her stories have strong, though flawed, female leads who at some point meet and fall in love with another of the main characters.  In Hidden, however, there was a scene that read like soft core porn.  It was unnecessary and disappointing.  It took away from the storyline.

Head on over to Carolyn's for more An Open Book.


Monday, April 1, 2019

First Photo: April 2019

April fools!  At least that's what the patio feels and looks like to me today.  Last week I was out in the yard cleaning up the detrius left from this winter's storms and wind.  Saturday night we went to bed with a rain storm raging outside.  And, Sunday we woke up to three or four inches of wet, heavy snow. 

I have been ready for winter to be over.  So very ready.  I hoped when March ended so would winter.  Aparently not. 

But maybe the joke's on winter.  The home opener is this afternoon.  Play ball!

“There is a certain solid use in fools. It is not so much that they rush in where angels fear to tread, but rather that they let out what devils intend to do.”
G.K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions