Friday, February 19, 2010

Destination: 180



Go see Rainy Day Old Maid. It's a damn sight more interesting than anything you'll find below this cat.


Lent began on Wednesday. As is my wont - but only somewhat my want - I have given up flour and dairy for the duration.

Lent is comprised of the 46 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter (through Easter Saturday, that is, although some Christian denominations have the end point at the Thursday preceding Easter - Maundy Thursday - making it 44 days for them.) Generally speaking, it is a time when Catholics (and some other Christians, although not all) emulate in some small way the 40-day fast that Jesus undertook, in the desert, upon the beginning of his earthly ministry.

It is customary for those observing Lent to deny themselves something that they enjoy greatly. Many children give up sweets. According to some, that’s why baskets full of candies and chocolate became a customary gift for children on Easter Sunday. They were rewards for having completed the regimen. The abundance of the baskets was meant to show the children that denying oneself in small ways, for the glory of God, would result in future rewards more plentiful than the sum of the denials. Where and how bunnies became involved in this, I'm not sure. Probably some marketing thing cooked up by Hallmark.

(No, I'm not that dumb. I know it has to do with ancient pagan fertility rituals, but I'm not entirely sure why. Actually, I don't care. If somebody wants to give me copious amounts of chocolate, I'm not going to throw a monkey wrench into things just because a rabbit is supposedly delivering it. More power to you, Harvey.)

Why 46 days to commemorate a 40-day fast? In Catholicism, the tradition is to observe 40 days of fasting within the 46-day period, taking Sundays off. Sundays are supposedly off because that is a day of joy, a day for remembering Jesus' resurrection, and fasting does not easily lend itself to joy. I do the full 46, however, because I don't figure Jesus was returning from the desert to eat Ice Cream Sundaes on the sabbath, so neither will I. Anyway, keeping on with the fast actually makes it easier for me. Breaking it gets me strongly craving again for the day or two following.

Scholarly stuff may be found HERE and HERE and HERE.

As I said at the beginning, I've given up flour and dairy. This is something I do for the spirituality of it - the sacrificial is an attempt to become a better person through denial - but I have to be honest and say that I also undertake this fast for selfish reasons. Lent, although a movable thing, always appears on the calendar prior to softball season. By not eating bread, crackers, pasta, milk, cheese, pizza, cookies, cakes, ice cream, butter, and whatever else I've forgotten and will want tomorrow, I will drop somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 pounds between now and Easter. This is important because, by dropping that extra weight, I might not suffer a massive heart attack and keel over dead the first time I run the bases in April.

This year, I will attempt to go from 195 to 180. If I can't get down to 180, I won't play ball this year. My skills will have deteriorated enough, what with becoming 53 next month, without handicapping myself by dragging fifteen extra pounds of blubber onto the playing field. Unless I can drop the weight, I'll most certainly embarrass myself. So, no more cheesesteak subs or peanut butter crackers with chocolate milk until April.

When I reach 180, I'll let you know. If I don't, I'll deny ever writing this.

*****************************************************************

Now, having nothing whatsoever to do with any of the above, here are two places for you to go and have fun.

First, My Darker Gray Friend, Michelle Hickman, is having a contest and giveaway over at her place. Jewelry is the prize, ladies, so maybe you'd like to get your lovely selves over there and take a shot at winning? Go HERE.

The other place I'd like you to go is You Tube. No, wait! Don't just go there without knowing what I want you to see, you dope! Daryl, of Out & About In New York City, has turned me on to a film that is - in my humble opinion - hilarious and wonderful. It is definitely my cup of tea. It is about two slightly-past-their-prime degenerate gamblers (one definitely a bit more degenerate than the other) and I think it's absolute genius stuff. Of course, I came damn close to being one of those guys, more than I'd like to sometimes admit. Runs about 7 minutes, I believe, and well worth the time. Go see Rainy Day Old Maid.

And there you go. A bit of education, a smattering of holier-than-thou whininess, a swell contest, and a funny short film. What more do you want for the price of admission?

Soon, with more better stuff.

[Photo of bread and milk, which already look overwhelmingly delicious even though I'm only two days into my fast, came from All About You.]


38 comments:

Bruce Coltin said...

Some of us would like to see before and after belly pictures. Is that too weird?

Expat From Hell said...

Oh, come on, Suldog! 195 in the batter's box? Think of all the long balls that will just fly off your bat. Think Papi. Blessings in this Lenten season....Father Expat.

Michelle H. said...

I'm rooting for you to play softball, and win the big prize this year (despite you saying last year about not wanting to play again).

Ditto Bruce's comment...

Thanks for the contest mention. I have a lot of work to do tallying everyone's answers.

Have yourself a joyous Lent. If it makes you feel any better, I'll eat all the cheesesteak subs, peanut butter crackers and drink chocolate milk in your honor for the next 46 days.

Quirkyloon said...

Good luck with your Lent sacrifice.

I think I would die without pasta.

Eva Gallant said...

So what can you eat? fruits and veggies?

Cricket said...

Dear Lord... I was going to make some comment, but then I was totally distracted by the word veri: in honor of Lent, I suppose: unhoring. I swear I'm not making this up.

p.s. I'm still waiting to see the full text of "Yahahahooey..."

Moannie said...

Good luck with the sacrifice, darlin'. I do admire your totally selfless reasons...they are...

veri word:- perphic

Uncle Skip, said...

Oh, so that's what Ash Wednesday is all about.
I suppose that means if we move it, we'd have to move Easter?

BTW - I'm taking the easy way out... giving up alcohol and smoking ;-D

...don't figure I'll lose any weight because of the ice cream.


veri = onses
kinda rhymes with nonsense

GreenJello said...

"I was cursed for going through his pockets."

LOL!

I'm giving up sugar for Lent. Did it last year, and lost weight, too. Trying it again this year!

Mrs. C. said...

I heard a new angle on Lent this week, Suldog. At Ash Wednesday service, officiated by Father Tom (who thought it was his duty to educate my kids on how to play craps during the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper...) he said to not think of it as "giving up" something. He suggested we look at Lent as "taking on" this season...a new habit, a new discipline, a new attitude. It was a new take on a very old idea, for me anyway.

Can't wait to see your ripped abs in some Easter-colored speedos!

Daryl said...

Oh behalf of both Ray & Andrew, I thank you .. neither of them is savvy enough to know how to comment (lets hope Ray doesnt slip in here and read this .. hey honey, just kidding!)

A friend of mine gives up emails/internet for lent ...

Suldog said...

Mrs. C - Your priest taught your kids how to shoot craps?!? What parish do you belong to? Sacred Hardway? Our Lady Of The Pass Line? Saint Snake Eyes?

slommler said...

I was doing fine with this post until I read Mrs. C's response. Now I have you pictured in Easter colored speedos! ACK!!
I haven't done anything for Lent in a long, long time. Maybe I should reconsider? Nah!!!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Karen said...

About 20 years ago, a friend of mine was very interested in a co-worker. She asked him over to her house for dinner and they became friends, although from what she would tell me about him, he wasn't really that into her. I think he just liked the home-cooked meals. He kept coming over for dinner and occasionally would take her out. After about 8 months of this, she called me one day and said "Joe and I had sex." I told her it was about time. Shortly after that when I inquired about her love life, she said that it had been so-so, because Joe had "given up sex for Lent." It was all downhill after that. Poor guy, I guess it was the only way he could think of to get out of the relationship. It still cracks me up.

Suldog said...

Karen - That's hilarious! The only bigger lie he could have told her was that he had decided to become a priest :-)

Suldog said...

So far, I think the count is two for photos of before and after, and one for no Easter-colored speedos.

I guarantee there will not be any Easter-colored speedos. I may do the before and after, though. Still thinking.

Craig said...

No flour or dairy? Sounds a lot like what my Orthodox friends do. . . (and you know, if all Orthodox Christians followed the 'prescribed' Lenten fast to the letter, there would never be any Orthodox babies born in the month of December. . .)

I skip the sugar and snacking between meals. And most of the alcohol (which, honestly, ain't all that much to start with. . .) Sure, it helps in the weight-loss department (and that is an ever-present concern), but you know, every time I get a craving for chocolate in the mid-afternoon, it just reminds me, Oh Yeah - Easter's coming. . .

You and I are about the same age. I pretty much only play softball any more for a week at summer camp every August. And I've noticed that it ain't quite as easy as it used to be to jack the ball into the woods. . .

lime said...

i'm trying to do without sweets but if i fail i will deny ever saying so.

Brian Miller said...

an easter colored speedo...really, i am trying to eat luch here...

IT said...

Nothing like broad spectrum abstinence... Sheesh!!!
Lent and those days of fasting and abstinence... and Fridays!!! I hated Fridays. No! I hated fish, or, rather, how it was prepared... burned... and that there wasn't any choice in the matter.
Then I went in the Navy. The priest said we had a "special dispensation." When I got out of the Navy, they didn't take it away. Thank you Navy.

Jazz said...

Good luck with that dude.

Don't Bug Me! said...

I can remember having to give up sucking my thumb for Lent. It never worked though, I always went straight back to sucking it once Easter arrived.

Tim King said...

That's incredible that you can lose that much weight just by cutting out cheeseburgers. :-) Exactly how many cheeseburgers we talking here? Enough to bring down the fast-food industry?

Seriously though, I remember when I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol, and I cut out fast food, except for dazzlingly rare occasions. I lost weight, too. Now if I can only get to exercising regularly, maybe I can actually stay healthy.

-TimK

Jeni said...

OMG -the thought of giving up e-mail/internet for Lent scares the living daylights out of me! But the idea of seeing Suldog in brightly colored speedos -I think that definitely would bring in lots and lots of readers to a post with a picture of that! Giving up flour and dairy products though -both of those things -might help my diet plan a lot but might also -actually most likely -would turn me into the biggest, crabbiest old fart on the planet for sure! Not gonna take that chance cause I'm already crabby and grouchy enough as it is. Good luck with the weight loss factor though.

Chris Stone said...

giving up wheat and dairy... does that include hops?

Buck said...

I have to admit great admiration for the fasting and such even though I don't quite "geddit." Even after your wonderful explanation, Jim, which is better than most I've heard.

But... more power to ya. Srsly.

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Good luck with the fasting, Jim. And jeez, even 195 is a dream for me at this point.

♥ Braja said...

I gave up Lent for Lent....

Rebecca said...

How sad is this -- not one person came into my store with ashes on their head this past Wednesday!! It was so bizarre...

Truthfully, I never give anything up for lent. I'm probably going to go to Hell, however - I feel I sacrifice so much all year round, I can probably get a pass for not giving up one particular thing for a specific increment of time. Bad, right?

Angela Christensen said...

I've already shared my thoughts (quasi-Catholic that I am) with Ms. Moon so I won't bore you with them here, but good for you. As I admire your determination and believe "Pitchers and catchers report" to be something close to Holy Writ, good for you.

Maybe we should all consider the possibility that for God or Goddess or Great Spirit - however this presence is defined by your personal theological framework -
our offerings rising like incense to the heavens are for our own benefit. We grow, we are refined, we are better...perhaps we can even play softball in the spring.

Hilary said...

I wish that giving up wheat and dairy resulted in my dropping 15 lbs. I eat very little of either and no such luck. I have no doubt you'll be playing baseball again this spring

Daryl's hubby was excellent in that film, wasn't he? They both were. And I agree. There needs to be a series.

Jeff said...

This year for Lent I am giving up finishing other people's sentences. I really enjoy that.

TechnoBabe said...

I got a giggle out of one of your commenters giving up finishing other peoples sentences. What a hoot.
You are into sacrifice and deprivation, huh. Lent. I hear so many people talking about it. Good luck!
I have an award for you on my blog.

Uncle Skip, said...

Now that I think about it, I don't believe I have ever found anything more interesting than this post below a cat.
Since it was finally raining, I watched the video. Thanks for that.

Kathy M. said...

Hello. I've just discovered your blog. Nice to meet you. I also observe Lent. Being in Al-Anon, I give up alcohol in a gesture of compassion for my alcoholic brothers and sisters. It's always harder than I want to admit. I don't take off Sundays either, though it sure sounds tempting! Like you, I usually emerge a few pounds lighter, if I don't compensate with extra sweets. Thanks for your post.

i beati said...

excessive sweets fro me this lent and I must come to a purer place than gnashing of teeth

Jenn said...

Good luck with the fast, I was raised a Catholic but never really got into the whole Lent thing myself. If for nothing else than the loss of extra blubber maybe I should revisit some of my lost traditions too. I hope you drop the pounds, as much as I don't understand or comment all the time I still love to read about your ball playing (mis?)adventures :-)

Mushy said...

I've found these days, that it's easy to give up sex and non-fattin' food. However, I'm not sure the sacrifice makes everyone happy.

Note: Only my mom is Catholic, so I get off pretty easy.