Thursday, February 24, 2011

Regifting With Extreme Prejudice

This weekend, Ian, Teh 'Bride and I are going up to the Poconos to celebrate Christmas. Yes, in February (just barely). No, it's not some wacko fringe Christmas, like Greek Orthopaedic Christmas or Rosicrucian Christmas or Protestant Christmas. It’s regular (nominal) Catholic Xmas, and the reason we’re celebrating it in February is that, with all that was going on in our lives at real Christmas time (which, I hate to tell you, Greek Orthopaedics, Rosicrucians and Protestants, is December 25 and if you try to celebrate Teh Baby Jebus’s birthday on any day other than December 25, He is no more gonna recognize your untimely "celebration" than your mother-in-law’s gonna accept that gift you gave her a week after her birthday because “I ordered it on time, I swear, but it was out-of-stock at the time” – Pfffttt! Nice try! You’ll still always be That Schmo My Daughter Married For God Knows What Reason When She Could Have Married a Doctor Or Better Yet a Librarian), we never got a chance to get together with Teh 'Bro and Teh 'Sister-in-Law and exchange gifts. (Schedules, you know?) We have been attempting to do so — i.e., Get Together, as Jesse Colin Young personally exhorted us to do — since December and this upcoming weekend turned out to be the first time that everyone’s schedule was clear at the same time.

It’s nobody’s fault, really, which is why I blame Teh 'Bro. He and Teh 'S-i-L live in Philadelphia but they have a vacation home in the Poconos and Teh 'Bro quite simply will not not spend the weekend up there, his philosophy apparently being: "It's my fucking vacation home and I'm going to enjoy the fuck out of it if it kills me!" Thus, if you want to get together with those two, it pretty much has to be Up Teh Poconos, as we say in the Joisey-Pennzer-Delaware-NY tri-state area1. And so there was all this stuff going on in our lives and then it snowed seemingly every weekend during January and February (snow doesn’t deter Teh ‘Bro cos he drives a big four-wheel-drive FUC, but us? Yeah, we drive Teh ‘Bride’s Cooper Mini (Advertising Slogan: “Who knew a car this small could suck this big?”)) and before we knew it, we were scheduling our “Christmas Meet-Up” for late February2, which is so late that Teh Sweet Baby J has, by this time, had time to heal from his first operation, which is Celebrated in Teh Feast of Teh Circumcision of Christ, which is an actual Catholic Feast Day that I totally did not just make up3.

Two-year-old Ian celebrates The Feast of His Own Circumcision by wincing in pain4

It’s not that big a deal, really. The only one getting screwed is Ian, because Teh 'Bride finally - finally - got someone to agree to what she's been lobbying for for years, which is that we all agree to get presents only for the kids, not each other. So while we adults are all laid back, going, "Yeah, ha ha, here it is two month past Christmas and we haven't gotten together yet, but it's okay", Ian's all, "Where the %#@k are my presents, bra?!?!" (What a %#@king mouth that kid has on him!) Because he knows Teh 'Bro and 'S-i-L got him something, he just doesn't know what, and he knows he doesn't have it yet.

Sucks for him.

Now, on to the issue of regifting, as I hereby endeavor to justify the title of this post.

Now, as many of you know, I brew my own beer5. And as a (I assume) large subset of those of you who know that know, Teh 'Bro is possibly an even bigger beer aficionado/snob than I; and as a possibly slightly smaller subset of that large subset who know that know, Teh 'Bro quite simply won't drink my beer. I stopped even trying to get him to over a decade ago. When I told him re: my beer, "The secret ingredient is love", I guess he thought I was talking bodily fluids, for which I frankly don't blame him, because he knows me. But for whatever reason, he won't drink my beer, even though the only "love" in it is the spiritual kind (as long as you don't include that one batch of SpoogenBraü I made to try to branch out to the female market (advertising slogan: "Come on, Ladies ... You Know You Want To Swallow")).

And so but even though we don't exchange presents, I always feel bad because when we go to Teh 'Bro's Poconos Retreat, he always has these really great beers there and I end up drinking A LOT of them and so I always try to remember to bring a case or at least two sixes of good beer for him. Problem is, he trusts my choice of beers about as much as he does the beer I brew. Because if I happen to bring him anything other than one of his Currently Approved Beers, he'll say thanks, but I can tell from the look on his face that I'm gonna end up getting it back sooner or later.

Sometimes later, as in, next time we're up there in Teh Poconos, he'll hand me, as I'm leaving, a couple sixes that look very familiar, mostly because they're the very same ones I gave him last time I was there. And he'll be, "Here, take these, because some fucktard or other gave them to me and believe me, I ain't drinking this shit any time soon." (<--only slightly paraphrased)

Sometimes sooner, like that time I found a case of Smithwick's (pronounced "Smiddick's") and bought it and gave it to him for sentimental reasons, those reasons being it was the beer they served on Aer Lingus, the Irish Airline6, when we (he, Teh 'S-i-L and I) first went to Ireland back in 1989. And you literally could not get Smithwick's in the US until a few years ago. We know because we loved it and we looked. So nearly 20 years later I found it, bought a case and gave it to Teh 'Bro.

Yeah, he gave it back to me at the end of that weekend visit.

That, my friends, is Regifting With Extreme Prejudice.

I am not proud. I took it back. In fact? I was PROUD to take it back! And even prouder to drink it.


This morning, less than a half mile into my run, I stepped into a pothole and managed to roll my left ankle, the very same one I rolled about a month ago. The previous time, of course, I also fell ass-over-teakettle onto the pavement. This time I managed to stay erect (That's What She Said!1!), but I thought I had hurt it pretty badly and, seeing as I'm always looking for the slightest excuse to abort a run, I thought about ending my run right there.

But it turns out that the ankle wasn't really bad at all and after I had walked for about 20 seconds, I realized that if I stopped this run, I would be obliged to come home and immediately write a blog post titled "I Am Teh World's Biggest Pussy", which I actually contemplated doing, but eventually decided against. So I continued my run, and I am glad I did.

Because I managed to run 6.42 miles in 56:50 for an 8:48 pace. That, according to MMR, is a 6.8 mph average. I had just about come to the conclusion that I was no longer capable of a pace like that. I'm not saying it's a fast pace in any objective sense; it's just fast for me, and I can't help but be somewhat pleased with the run, overall.

My back is almost completely healed, so it makes total sense that I would hurt my ankle (though not too badly) because it is becoming increasingly clear to me that it is a Kosmic ReKwirement that I always be in some sort of pain. Feel free to swear using the epithet "By Glaven's Wounds!", which you may shorten to "Gl'ounds!" if you so desire.

1 And yes I realize that’s technically four states but Pffttt! Come on. Does anyone really count Delaware as a state unless she's looking to incorporate herself as a bank and hopes to enjoy Delaware's favorable corporate tax rate? State Motto: "Delaware: Come For Teh Corporate Tax Breaks; Stay For the ... Uh ... Come To Think Of It, There's No Reason To Stay. Just Rent A PO Box. The IRS Won't Ask Any Questions." (State Motto thought up by Joe Biden himself. Could you tell?)

2 The logistics used to be easy because we’d see the Heisenberg side of the family on Xmas Eve and Teh ‘Bridal side Xmas day. That was based on traditions: Because when we (“we” = Heisenbergs) were kids, the tradition was for us to go to bed early Xmas eve and Teh Heisen’rents would put the gifts out and then hit Midnight Mass and then afterwards wake us up and we’d all cry because wouldn’t you if some douche awakened you in the middle of the night and wouldn’t you cry more if that douche turned out to be your own ‘Dad? And then we’d open our presents and play till like 3:00 a.m. and then everyone would go to bed and sleep late. But in Teh 'Bride’s family, they were boring and opened presents on Xmas morning, like a bunch of Protestants or Rosicrucians. So as adults, we H'bergs'd still visit Teh 'Mom and Teh 'Dad at the old homestead on Christmas Eve and stay late. But then Teh 'Mom died but we still visited Teh 'Dad on Xmas eve; but then Teh 'Dad had to go into assisted living and so now Teh Heisenberg tradition has just kinda fallen apart and we see each other whenever. But we still visit Teh 'Bride's family Xmas day.

3 Yeah, y'know, it's probably best just not to ask what exactly that gristly meat you're feasting on is. But when you commit to a religion that obliges you to consume the Body of Christ, you probably should expect stuff like this. I don't know about Protestants3a (or Greek Orthopaedics or Rosicrucians), but when it comes to the Eucharist, Catholics are like the Native Americans with the buffalo: we use all parts of the Christ. It would be wasteful not to. And let's face it, not all cuts are going to be USDA Prime ... unless you're at Mass in the Vatican or St. Patrick's or something. Anywhere else? You're essentially playing Catholic Fear Factor3b, and the best strategy is just to choke it down without thinking about what it may be made of.

I would be remiss if I did not give an honorable mention shoutout for Full Usage of God's Body to Renaissance C. of E. foax; because I've been reading a lot of Shakespeare lately, as you may have heard, and in his plays characters frequently swear thusly: "'Sblood!" (contraction of "God's blood") and "Zounds!" (originally 'Swounds, a contraction of "God's wounds", i.e., the stigmata), along with oaths on various other Godly Body Parts such as, for some reason, His eyes. Renaissance C. of E.ers would even use his mom to swear by ("Marry" being originally an oath by the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary)). So give the Protestants propz for full usage of the Divine Body, here.

Unless, of course, Teh 'Dad is correct and Shakespeare was in fact a closet Catholic.

3a What with that freakish doctrine of consubstantiation rather than transubstantiation.

3b Which, though canceled, is still shown in reruns like 24/7 on like the Chiller channel. Trust me, I know. Because Ian found it and he DVRs it and he's obsessed with it. Yeah, the same kid who makes vomiting noises and horks up all the food in his stomach if he bites into two strands of pasta stuck together can't get enough of the fucktards on FF trying to choke down like hairy goat balls and stuff.

(I should make it clear that the Chiller channel shows reruns of secular Fear Factor, not Catholic Fear Factor. In case that wasn't clear.)

4 Those of you who weren't around three or so years ago when I originally blogged about this, for some reason, probably think I'm making this up, too, but Ian really was circumcised at age two (for medical reasons) and that there photo really is the depiction of his first attempt to stand up, post-op. It should be mentioned that, when Ian woke up post-op, the first thing he did was channel Teh Marcy (RIP) and Punch Teh 'Bride In Teh Face!1! I mean, he really clocked her! She was seeing stars! (Don't worry. I kept my distance and emerged unscathed that fateful day.)

5 Unrelated to anything: I just racked 5 gallons of what will eventually be an ESB into the secondary fermentation tub and it smelled just like Fuller's ESB, one of my all-time favorite beers. If it tastes anything like Fuller's, I will be one happy, and marginally drunk, camper. ("Marginally" because ESBs are not especially high in alcohol content. Fuller's, for example, is considered a strong ESB and it is 5.9% ABV.)

6 Unless you're going straight to Connemara, in which case you  take Conne Lingus. HAR!1! I WISH!1! (That's What She Said, b'gob!1!)


  1. I'm not supposed to be in blogland, but that picture of Ian makes me laugh so much I had to comment on it again. He's such a cutie, even when his todger is in pain.

  2. Gl'ounds! Teh Bro gave you back a sixer of Smiddicks? Oh, the humanity...I'm not so sure you can call him a beer snob if he turned his nose up at the fine brew...more like a beer dumba$$...IMHO.

  3. I don't think I've ever said Merry Christmas to anyone in the month of February but MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! I'm not a beer aficionado, but Scott is and it's made me be a little more adventurous in my beer drinkin. I used to be a Miller Lite snob but now I can even stomach the rock gut stuff like Duvel, Stella, Rogue, Blue Moon, etc.

  4. If you're going to blast the religious beliefs of hundreds of millions, at least get your bigotry correct! As a Lutheran ("we're protestant and we're sorry about that, but we'll try to stay out of your way"), I happen to believe in transubstantiation - which seems like it should have a double "s" after the "tran" - but we argue about just exactly when the change occurs, some sects believing that it happens somewhere between the planting of the grain and the digestion of the meal but it's part of the mystery that one can't say exactly where, some saying it happens at the moment of the blessing of the meal and a rare few like myself believe it happens at the moment one believes it to happen (which for me is after about 6 pints of bitter).

    Of course, you're not a true Christian in my book until you've ascribed to every heresy at least once, from albigensian to arian to docetism.

  5. @SteveQ - Believe whatever you want, but don't declare it Lutheran doctrine just because you believe it.

    Lutherans believe that the Body and Blood of Christ are "truly and substantially present in, with and under the forms" of consecrated bread and wine (the elements),[...] so that communicants eat and drink both the elements and the true Body and Blood of Christ himself [...]


    The bread is still bread, the wine wine in the Lutheran view; but there is the "real presence" of the body and blood of Christ.

    In actual transubstantiation, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood - they just still look, feel, taste, etc. like common bread and wine; viz.,

    In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation (in Latin, transsubstantiatio, in Greek μετουσίωσις metousiosis) means the change of the substance of host bread and sacramental wine into the substance of the Body and Blood (respectively)

    You can quibble over calling it "consubstantiation", but it ain't transubstantiation.

  6. Once again, Wikipedia has an epic fail. My experts (Luther Seminary professors) point out the Book of Concord says the opposite.

  7. Everyone seems to be ignoring your great run.
    Congrats on surprising yourself [with your pace!] and staying erect [when rolling your ankle!] and glad you didn't "hurt it [your ankle!] pretty badly." ;)
    Shows that one should never say or think "can't"/"no longer capable of;" that, of course, applies to both one's running potential and one's ability to stay erect :))))! Seriously--great run--I haven't run at that pace for awhile now.
    I am constantly impressed by the literary analysis and banter between you and SteveQ.....
    Run well, Ann

  8. @SteveQ - I'm reminded of what Noam Chomsky, when he debated Alan Dershowitz re: the two-state solution w/r/t Israel and Palestine, responded after Dershowitz kept insisting that what someone - usually Clinton - allegedly told him in private trumped the historical record:

    Dershowitz: I can tell you that President Clinton told me directly and personally that what caused the failure of the Camp David-Taba accords was the refusal of the Palestinians and Arafat to give up the right of return.


    Chomsky: Now, here's a simple exercise. You can believe one of two things: the extensive published diplomatic record, which I gave you a sample of and you can find in detail in books of mine and others, or what Mr. Dershowitz says he heard from somebody. Which you can't check.

    Thus I think the choice here is equally clear: You can either believe the vast documentary record - both in Wikipedia and elsewhere and which can be verified - that shows that Luther did not accept the doctrine of transubstantiation ... or you can believe what some guys told SteveQ, which can't be checked.

  9. It should be noted that if the Wikipedia got Calvin's stance vis-a-vis transubstantiation wrong, it's in good company, because so did the (allegedly more venerable) Britannica:

    The most drastic change, however, was that Luther denied the doctrine of transubstantiation, according to which, during the performance of the rite of communion by a priest, the elements of bread and wine, though retaining their accidents (i.e., appearance) of colour, shape, and taste, lost their substance, which was replaced by the substance of the body of Christ. He rejected transubstantiation because he believed it was an opinion developed by medieval theologians and was not revealed in Scripture.

    Luther taught the doctrine of consubstantiation, though he never used that term. He believed that the Lord’s Supper was one of the central mysteries of the faith and that the body of Christ was physically present in the communion offering because Christ said, “This is my body.” Therefore, Christ’s body must be “with, in, and under” the elements of the offering. The bread and wine, however, do not change their substance, and, for Luther, there was no miracle of the mass in which the priest was thought to alter the substance of the sacrifice. This view undercut sacerdotalism, which emphasized the intermediary role of the priest between God and humankind, since the words of the priest did not bring the body of Christ to the altar. The undercutting of sacerdotalism destroyed the hierarchical structure of a church that culminated in the papacy.

    W. Owen Chadwick

    Roland H. Bainton

  10. "Juust short of blasphemy"? Sister Joelle would beg to differ.

    I know there's something in your comment exchange w/ SQ that I should be paying attention to, being RC & all, but at this time, my eyes just keep glazing over. I'll need a few hours to make sense of the consubstantiation/transubstantiation nuance.

    8:48 avg pace on your gimpy ankle, eh?

    Fast bastard.

    I hope you brought beer you really liked upto the Poconos since chances are you'll be enjoying it next week.

    Have fun!

  11. Crap. Now I'll have to put down the Geo. Chapman chapbook I don't enjoy and look up my Lutheran texts I don't enjoy (as I prepare to attend a Catholic funeral tomorrow). I think what this is going to come down to is a shift in the definition of terms and Melanchton vs. Luther (M vs. L 2: the rumble in Wittemburg).

    "The undercutting of sacerdotalism destroyed the hierarchical structure of a church that culminated in the papacy." If only it were that easy!

  12. "I am not a member of any organized religion. I am a Lutheran." (variously quoted and obviously a play on ... political party/Democrat)

    It looks like the Lutherans have tried to have it both ways. The Large Catechism of Luther looks like it conflicts with the Augsburg Confession.