Tea and misogyny.

My Russian teacher and I have been talking about having lunch at St. Sabbas Monastery for months now, and finally put it on the calendar a few weeks ago. Naturally this week is one of the busiest ever, but part of the point of a monastery is to slow down and shut the world out for a while, so what the hell, even if making it there on time required a speed shower after the gym and leaving the house with my hair still wet. Yes, friends, I was rushin’.

I’m glad I went, if only for the essential weirdness of finding the place, which is on a residential street in Harper Woods. And I mean, right on the street. They have six acres, which appears to have come from clearing a few houses, because as you’re driving down Old Homestead Road, it’s house house house house house house ONION DOMES house house house:


It’s a Russian Orthodox monastery, obviously. I wish their website had more information about how they ended up there — it’s only been at that address for a decade.

I’m not sure precisely what their work is, but they sell a few trinkets and, twice a week, open a small restaurant to the public — one lunch and one dinner. The price is right and the lunch is long (two hours), but the food is only meh. We went hoping for a Russian meal, but the seven small courses included pasta salad, and pasta salad from a supermarket deli, I suspect. But you couldn’t beat the atmosphere. We ate outdoors, overlooking the gardens:


They did serve a nice tea, and in Russian glasses, and there was borscht. Afterward, one of the monks told a little group about the rules of the church: Women must wear head coverings. OK, no biggie, lots of churches have that rule, but he felt the need to say why, and got into St. Paul and how we arouse demons with our hair, and all I could do was sigh. It’s always something, isn’t it? Thanks for the lunch, brothers, but I’ll pass on the prayer.


Hey, Sarah Palin! Real America exists in New York, too. (While we’re at NYMag.com, what is it about Donald Trump’s wife? Is this her only facial expression? She dropped out of top-model class before they got to smiling, I guess.)

Maureen Dowd is insane; why do I even bother reading her? I’m glad someone from Jezebel was up to the task of taking apart today’s column, because I have better things to do.

Lately I’ve been disappointed by the Lolcats, but every time I think I’ll drop the bookmark, one like this turns up:

funny pictures of cats with captions

Oops, it’s past 10 and I have copy to edit. Rain is pitter-pattering on the leaves — finally! leaves! — outside and the weather is perfect for a little word surgery. Enjoy your day, as I hope to enjoy mine.

Posted at 10:09 am in Current events, Detroit life |

42 responses to “Tea and misogyny.”

  1. 4dbirds said on June 17, 2009 at 10:34 am

    This is why I left religion long ago. Never could understand the how and why the shape of my genitals made me evil.

    Summer is bringing out the same maddening (to me) situation in my neighborhood. Muslim couples taking walks with the woman well covered, yet the man is always so comfy in his shorts and Polo shirt.

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  2. Sue said on June 17, 2009 at 10:39 am

    During St. Paul’s time, demons were aroused by EVERYONE’s hair, and there were no nitpickers to take care of it. You’d think he would have noticed that his own scalp was itching.
    Oh. Wrong demons? Get your mind out of the gutter, Paul.

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  3. coozledad said on June 17, 2009 at 10:45 am

    A scriptural/grooming question: What does Paul have to say on the subject of stubborn hairs lodged between your teeth?

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  4. Jenine said on June 17, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Wondering if the assembled company has heard the discussion of ‘consolidating’ neighborhoods in Flint? Living in Kansas where little towns sometimes dry up and die, it seems to me like a good discussion to have. But what a minefield trying to balance all the lives and property rights.

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  5. nancy said on June 17, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Those plans aren’t confined to Flint, Jenine. They’re doing versions of this all over the rust belt — discussing them, anyway. It’s not like ghost towns, more like ghost neighborhoods. Or triage: This neighborhood is worth saving, this one isn’t, so let’s form policy to shore up the first and abandon the second.

    Youngstown, Ohio is the model.

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  6. Jen said on June 17, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I was reading through the monastery’s rules and, damn. I’m glad I go to a relatively liberal protestant church (Methodist). We even have a female youth & young adult pastor! I absolutely refuse to go to any church that subscribes to the notion that women should not be able to have equal rights within the church, and I was surprised how many seemingly mainline churches have rules against women teaching Sunday school or Bible study if there are any men in the classes because you can’t have a woman over a man. I don’t know if people, especially women, don’t realize it, or if they just don’t care.

    Heck, I went to a wedding recently where the woman vowed to submit to her husband, and later he “claimed” his bride with a kiss. I guess I hoped that didn’t happen any more in 2009. I didn’t even let my dad give me away – he walked me down the aisle, sat down, and I walked up to my husband on my own.

    OK, my feminist rant is over. Whew. Sorry about that.

    Wow, that Maureen Dowd column. Has she never heard of moderation? Doctors tell you that it’s OK to eat burgers and fries occasionally, as long as you balance it with healthy foods and exercise. It seems crystal clear to me that that’s what the Obamas are doing. *eye roll*

    Seriously, there seems to be stupidity everywhere today!!!

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  7. LAMary said on June 17, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Maureen Dowd is probably just jealous of Michelle Obama’s upper arms. How can she eat burgers and look that good,eh?
    The Jezebel piece linked to an article criticizing Michelle for not missing cooking. For one thing, although I love to cook I don’t insist that everyone does. I hate lots of stuff other people enjoy. Secondly, does anyone think Laura Bush only set down her spatula when they moved into the White House? Or Nancy Reagan? Or Barbara Bush?

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  8. Sue said on June 17, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Wow, things are really bad in Flint, if “some Flint dustcarts are collecting just one rubbish bag a week”. I love that British touch – it adds such colour!

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  9. James said on June 17, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I always wondered about the head covering stuff, like in Islam and jewish orthodoxy. The best I could figure is that God can’t stand the sight of the tops of our heads.

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  10. Jen said on June 17, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Yeah, that dang Michelle Obama had better get back in the kitchen, where women belong! Sheesh! If I could get away with it, I would have someone do a lot of my daily cooking, too, and I would concentrate on baking and occasionally cook. I mean, it’s not like Mrs. Obama has anything else to do …

    Sigh. The stupidity continues…

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  11. paddyo' said on June 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Growing up Roman Catholic, I was always amused when my mom, having to pay an unexpected visit to church, was forced to fish around in her purse for a Kleenex and a bobbie pin to fabricate a suitable “hat” so as not to offend the Almighty.

    Amused then, and just appalled now …

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  12. Sue said on June 17, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I remember kleenex hats! Also, the cool thing was to take your little round lace doily hat thing and fold it until you had something that looked like 1/16th of a pie, then bobbie pin that to your head. You were covering your hair, but not really, you clever subversive Catholic kid. Went well with the miniskirt you made by rolling up the waistband of your uniform skirt.
    Ah, those were the days. The days I wouldn’t go back to if you paid me all the indulgence money in the world.

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  13. Dorothy said on June 17, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    I had to do the Kleenex/bobby pin trick myself a few times. I’m so damned glad those requirements are long gone.

    I still go to Mass pretty regularly, and I’ve seen two or three women at my church STILL wearing those awful lace head covers!! One of the ladies wears the really long version – goes over her shoulders and everything!! I always shudder to think what it’s like living in their household. They’re older than me, but maybe not by much. Ick.

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  14. LAMary said on June 17, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Growing up in a Dutch Reformed household, I thought those mantillas were so exotic. Especially seeing Jackie Kennedy wearing one. A black lace headcover was unimaginable to any member of my family.

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  15. Catherine said on June 17, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Here’s the best part of the healthy-eating link: An ad at the bottom for an acai-flavored spirit! It’s Absolut Acai!

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  16. 4dbirds said on June 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    lol WITH LAMary. I too grew up thinking Catholics were exotic.

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  17. moe99 said on June 17, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    And I grew up as a Catholic jealous that the Protestants had a ‘get out of hell’ free card. Per my childhood friend, JulieM, they were already saved and didn’t have to a damn thing more. No mandatory Sunday and holy day church attendance, no confession, no fasting.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on June 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    As a Missouri Synod Lutheran I grew up suspicious of Catholics and yet a bit envious of their rituals and the seeming piety of many. For me discovering that “other” Lutheran church was a revelation. You could be pious and irreverant, solemn and joyful, observing ritual liturgy with organs or electic guitars, full of doubts and yet certain of God’s love. And most importantly, knowing it is for everyone no matter what they call him/her.

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  19. Sue said on June 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    I never knew until a few years ago (Jon Stewart mentioned it) that the Jewish religion doesn’t have a hell. My first thought was “then what did they do with Hitler?”, which shows that if there is a hell I’m going there.

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  20. coozledad said on June 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Happy birthday, Igor.
    And just because these guys totally kick ass:

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  21. A Riley said on June 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    As a card-carrying lefty Catholic of the Chicago Irish variety, I can tell you that a mantilla on any woman under the age of 80 who is not the queen of Spain is a billboard for the mantilla-wearer’s particularly right-wing variety of Catholicity.

    I was reduced to sputtering profanity when I saw Laura Bush wearing a black lace mantilla at the old pope’s funeral. (The queen of Spain was not wearing one, btw. She wore a nice black hat.) Clearly some right-wing Catholic fundy (there seems to be a flock of them in DC) had overruled her protocol adviser, and put that great big black dogwhistle on that nice Methodist lady’s head.

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  22. Sue said on June 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    A Riley, have you commented before? Because if you haven’t, stick around!
    Edit: Oh, and Moe @17, no Stations of the Cross, either.

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  23. caliban said on June 17, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Paul felt charity covers a multitude of sins. When I was a kid, my high school bunch of hooligans and I used to summer on the banks of Lake Huron, where one of us premature reprobates was the son of a line worker that had put enough away to buy a cottage. We made movies, lived on bushels of corn, and we went to Mass on Sunday.

    Progressiver-than-thou folks that think they’ve been abandoned by Barack need to consider elapsed time. I’d point out that know matter what anybody was hoping for, the President can snap his fingers, but if he’s a very good President, everything is thought thoroughly through, and things may take some time. Koyaanisquatsi


    It is no excuse to point out that the predecessor wasn’t elected legitimately in either 2000 or 2004. Anybody with a brain knows 20000 was the Scalia appointment. I got over that. The Ken Blackwell Cuyahoga County bullshit? Sorry Bush lost and Diebold ruled.

    This is something different I suppose. Kerry said you catch terrorists with smart police action. Nobody’s been caught otherwise. Google Kerry and Republicans have hated John Kerry for several decades. Kerry st everything in motion to expose these bastards as supporters of incredibly offensive graduates of the School of the Americas.

    Seriously, W bailed. These jerks Kerry knew more what he was talking about than anybody. He might have been a better Presi

    One thing I’d like to point out. Sarah Palin dragged her kids a while ago. She’d be ashamed of whacking Dave if she hadn’t dragged the kid on the national stage. And she knows which preggers daughter Dave was talking about.

    Two things. If I could do anything with tge Stanlley Cup. I’d throw it to my brotherwhen he was jumping off the diving board.

    Papi is returned. You people are interesting.

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  24. Dexter said on June 17, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    A Sonic Burger just opened last week here,and I have no desire to go there.
    I have always loved to cook, and I find cookbooks irksome.
    I just like to size up what’s around the kitchen and start creating.
    Tonight I fried porkchops and sat them off on a platter, then made a half-pot of rice, and when it was done I poured a half cup of the juice from the turnip greens into the rice, cut the chops into small bite-sized chunks, laid them on the rice and turnip green juice, and covered the mess with a cup of curry sauce.
    Then I simmered it for 15 minutes and I am eating it now.
    It tastes terrible.
    Win some, lose some.
    My wife just left for Sonic Burger.

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  25. caliban said on June 17, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Theres this idiotic Sarah Palin dragging her kid into prime time. She owes an apology, and this has nothing to do with Lettterman, Bo joke. She used her kids shameslessly, She’s so stupid she might not even understand this. Dave isn’t the Dem dragon you need to confront Sarah. You’re party might not exist outside of the fat-ass that thought he was so funny about Chelsea. Chelsea’s succesful, bright, attractive and Rush, you look like Jabba. Rush is a revolting piece of crap, the Clintons are successful.

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  26. Jolene said on June 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I grew up in the plainest of plain Methodist churches, and I, too, thought Catholicism was wonderfully exotic. They had holy water, velvet-covered kneeling benches, more and fancier stained glass than we did, rosaries, and physical rituals such as genuflecting and making the sign of the cross. We had none of that. My Catholic classmates wore medals around their necks and, on Ash Wednesday, came to school with smudges on their foreheads. There were also, of course, the dietary rules that proscribed meat on Fridays and the practice of giving something up for Lent. For kids, that usually meant giving up candy, an enormous sacrifice. And, most obviously, there was special status and garb of priests and nuns.

    All of this seemed wonderfully romantic to me, and, as a young kid, I actually wanted to become a nun so that I could wear a flowing habit.

    What a long time ago all that was.

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  27. moe99 said on June 17, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    You should try giving up candy for lent while working at the Economos’ Candy Store in Defiance, OH.

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  28. beb said on June 17, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Dexter, now that was a story!

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  29. Connie said on June 17, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    In my Dutch Reformed childhood I learned that Catholics worshipped idols.

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  30. Deborah said on June 17, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I was raised Missouri Synod Lutheran too Julie R. I’ve mentioned this before. As a young kid I saw the movie “The Nuns Story” with Audrey Hepburn (I think it was Audrey, it was a long time ago, I’ll have to Google it to make sure). After seeing that movie I was half in love with Catholics, much to the dismay of my family who were way more than suspicious, they thought the Pope was the anti-Christ. Decades later I designed some banners that were used for the ordination of a Catholic bishop who was ordained (is that what they call it) at the New Cathedral in St. Louis. I got to go to the mass and it was the most amazing theatre I think I’ve ever seen. Then in 98 or 99, I forget, when the Pope came to St. Louis he stayed in the rectory right across the street from my highrise residence on Lindell in the Central West End. It was the same time my next door neighbor (a Washington University medical student) baled out of the 16th floor window of his condo, to his death, of course. Somehow I have always connected those two events as having something to do with each other. Talk about exotic…

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  31. Deborah said on June 17, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I just tried to edit a couple of typos in my comment (#30) and it’s not working? Still plenty of time left?

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 17, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    You’d be surprised, Sue, how many faith communities are short an eternal barbecue grill — Mormons, for instance, have three levels of heaven, and if you want to settle for 2nd class heaven, that’d be your call.

    Barton Stone, one of the key founders of the Restoration Movement (that birthed the liberal Disciples of Christ, my gang; the conservative independent Christian Churches; and the very conservative non-instrument using Churches of Christ), was effectively a Unitarian, although he went to great lengths to try to argue that he wasn’t, quite, but his universalism slip kept showing, right on down the path from Cane Ridge to the end of his life.

    And even C.S. Lewis famously argued that it would be unfaithful to be certain that Hell was irrevocable, and suggested that there might be a crack in Perdition through which all but the most willfully unrepentant could wriggle their way out into the surrounding heavenly precincts.

    Which is why not a few vehemently conservative Christians have websites showing how pagan and vilely progressive those Narnia books of Lewis’ are, subversive of all right thinking, literal reading of Scripture, faithful Christians. You can Google them if you must, but i don’t recommend it. Depressing reading.

    All of which i point out because it’s liberal arguments here that keep telling people to go to Hades (i paraphrase), or that they belong there. Evangelical Christians are much less interested in damnation than folk of the left, apparently. See, there i go again, taking literally what’s meant as a metaphor, which i’m sure is how i should understand “rot in hell.”

    [I dated a girl in high school whose grandmother believed that, she being a good Missouri Synod Lutheran, not only was i going to eternal torment, but any Lutheran group who didn’t have regular services in German was likely to keep me company; their rules on women and teaching Sunday School, let alone preaching, outdo the Southern Baptist Convention.]

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  33. Dexter said on June 18, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Deborah: I had to log out of Firefox, go to IE, make my changes (which did not show up there, either) , then log out of IE, go back to Firefox, and voila! Changes (edits) in place!

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  34. Dexter said on June 18, 2009 at 12:44 am

    moe: When I was in 8th grade our Principal recruited me to work the school candy store during the little kids’ lunch hour.
    I was paid 50 cents an hour, $2.50 per week, and another $2.50 for each event I worked the candy store , mostly basketball games.
    I got so hooked on the candy (especially an obscure candy bar , “Dairy Maid”) that I got the shakes during the last minutes before I opened the store. We were told to give away broken pretzel rods. Sometimes we didn’t have any broken ones, so we broke a dozen to give away. We were allowed to drink the fountain pop we sold…I probably drank five cups in my hour shift. All that sugar was ruining my health!

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  35. jcburns said on June 18, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Youall: please just assume that your comment edits take place. We’re using some fairly aggressive caching on Nancy’s site that really improves how fast you get to see the page…and it reduces the load on the server considerably.

    The downside is that the page is cached for a little while…so when you make quick changes, you won’t see them immediately.

    So the question becomes: is it worth the convenience to be able to edit your comments, or should we just eliminate the comment editing feature?

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  36. moe99 said on June 18, 2009 at 1:03 am

    I love the edit feature. I can’t believe what typos I miss the first time around.

    And, just for fun, heh, heh, heh:


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  37. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 18, 2009 at 6:51 am

    While packing up lunch for the Lad and meself for Cub Scout Day Camp, i have to express my appreciation for the “Duck, Duck, Goose” image Nancy evoked — wondering how the kids would react if i told them to play a round of “House, House, Onion Dome.”

    Probably cheering and enthusiastic participation! Much more so than if i told ’em we had a special treat of frozen borscht pops when they finish their sack lunches. Nancy, how would you say “Up in the air, Junior Birdman” in Russian?

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  38. John said on June 18, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Dexter, please send me a Lemonberry Slushie, Route 44 size. No Sonics in Connecticut!

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  39. brian stouder said on June 18, 2009 at 8:28 am

    You know, Pam and I argue about that whenever it comes up. When I was in kindergarten, Mrs Golden had us play duck, duck, grey duck – and not duck, duck, goose!* I never heard of duck, duck, goose until the time she told me I was crazy…and ever since then, I have found that the world seems to agree with her.

    All except the people who had Mrs Golden for kindergarten, 40-odd years ago, that is

    *and when the grey duck – or “goose” – catches you, you get sent to the…..what? I say, “mush-pot” (in the middle of the circle)

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  40. Jolene said on June 18, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Definitely keep the edit feature!

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  41. nancy said on June 18, 2009 at 11:25 am

    STOP PICKING ON GUYOT. That’s an order from mom.

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  42. Deborah said on June 18, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Jolene, I agree definitely keep the edit feature. John, knowing now that it takes a bit of patience is helpful. I won’t mention it again.
    Who’s picking on Guyout? He’s cool.

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