Margaret O'Brien Steinfels
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.
By this author
Thanks to dotCommonwealer Nicholas Clifford, I am listening to the Vienna Symphony Orchestra annual New Year's Eve concert (presumably being rebroadcast). It is ending with the Blue Danube Waltz to be followed by the Radeztky March (after which the great Joseph Roth novel is titled).
...may be interested in this review by Francine Prose. She analyzes the critics' Dickensenian enthusiasm for Donna Tartt's book. The review is titled, "After Great Expectations." Interesting! True? New York Review..
This will be my final consumer critique of 2013. Graham Crackers! The Christmas pie is Cognac Pie in a graham cracker crust. Amazingly delicious.
What a hassle to find a box of PLAIN graham crackers. Plain they must be, no cinammon, no honey, no tutti fruitti! Made by Nabisco, they come in a red box. They have been available--well, for centuries, at least two. Desperate, I finally found two boxes hidden behind soda crackers at D'Agostinos.
What's the problem? Sold out? Not stocked? Woe!
One of the petitions in the prayers of the people this morning was "that the people of the world grow weary of war." Naturally I was busy rewriting it even as the Lord was invoked.
Really! the Syrians must be more than weary. Also the Afghanis and Iraqis. The American people are weary of starting and conducting wars. The U.S. military is really tired of war. And the President, who looked exhausted at Friday's press conference, is certainly more than weary of war.
So I rewrote the petition: "that the U.S. Congress grow weary of war." Let us pray.
I don't think Pope Francis will have the answer. But who knows...maybe he does.
Question: What has happened to pot holders? You know those square (sometimes rectangle), thick, easily manipulated things that sat by the stove and permitted hot pots to be moved. I have conducted a wide search for someone who asked for them for Christmas. Pot holders are now mostly silicone, wormy things that are hard to hold and to grasp a pot with. Or they are flimsey decorative pieces of cloth sewn together.
Have I missed a recall? New safety whatsies? Anyone know?
Last week reports were that Congressional action on further Iran sanctions had faded. Apparently not so. The "Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013," has been introduced by Senators Schumer, Mendez, and Kirk. It is likely to be taken up after Congress returns in the new year.
Jim Lobe has a run-down of its major provisions. You can read it here: Lobe Log.
Joe Komonchak, dotCommonweal poster, New York priest, Vatican II scholar, and fine preacher was ordained 50 years ago. Prayers of gratitude for his careful work and his spirit of making important distinctions. Thank you.
dotCommonweal's needler-in-chief, Gerelyn Hollingsworth, has needled yours truly for failing to mention the vote of the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli academic institutions (but not Israeli academics) for the West Bank occupation and settlements. NYTimes report.
The flap over Megyn Kelly declaring both Santa Claus and Jesus white has made its way through Colbert Nation and the Daily Show so what more need be said?
Well, thanks to Commonweal reader, Julian Irias, there is one more thing to say: Kelly should have used the correct word, "albification," meaning--well you Latin scholars will know. If she had, no one would have known what she was talking about.
...the rest of the world went on without a Thanksgiving celebration. So to catch you up, here's a wonkish analysis of where the Obama-Netanyahu struggle stands. It is written by an Englishman, so it should be read with a grain of salt. On the other hand, he has an optimistic take on what Obama (and Kerry) might pull off in Middle East diplomacy.