Monday, September 30, 2002

Despatches from the Land of the Clueless

It is post 9/11/2001. What is the last thing you would try to take on an airplane? Right. Me, too. Definitely boxcutters. Too bad Nikolay Volodiev Dzhonev doesn't appear to have gotten the word. Amazing what you can find on The Corner at National Review Online.

National Review Online has been discussing the, um, unusual Mr. Baraka, New Jersey's own state
poet laureate, "an aging sixties black radical". Kathryn Jean Lopez asks if every state has a state poet laureate.


Do we have a state poet laureate? This is California. We have a state everything.

We have a state:

+fife and drum corps
+color (it's blue and gold. Yes, I know that's two colors. You won't find a state mathematician on the list.)
+folk dance
+fossil (No, it's not Gray Davis. Nice try, though.)
+marine fish
+marine mammal
+insect (Nope. Still not Gray Davis. It's the dogface butterfly)
+nickname (No, it isn't. It's "The Golden State". Now stop that.)
+prehistoric artifact
+reptile (Could be Gray Davis. But I really think you're just guessing now.)
+soil (Yes! Official state dirt!)

. . . .and finally, yes, we have a poet laureate. Since 1966 it's been Charles B. Garrigus.
No, I never heard of him either. But I don't get out much.

You can find all this on our official state website.

Gray Davis is probably on there, too. Somewhere. I didn't look for him. You can look if you want.
I wouldn't advise it, though.

30 September

. . . is the feast of St. Jerome, “one of the four great fathers of the western church” according to Pius Parsch. “His principal contribution to Christendom is his translation of Sacred Scripture, the mature fruit of painstaking studies. Known as the Vulgate, his work remains to this very day the official version of the Latin Church.” (“The Church’s Year of Grace”, vol. V, pg 246 – Pius Parsch)

If you’re a Discalced Carmelite today is the vigil of the feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. . . .and a fast day.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

The Mother Hunt II

There is one more chance to see the conclusion of the "Nero Wolfe" episode entitled "The Mother Hunt" tonight on A&E. It's at 9 p.m. P.D.T. so adjust for your time zone accordingly. If you're a fan of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe or mystery novels in general, this series is not to be missed. Brilliantly cast and extremely faithful to the books. This is one of the finest series ever televised and A&E has unaccountably cancelled it. But you can still catch some re-runs. Do so. You won't be sorry. And if you're as annoyed as I am over the cancellation you might drop a (polite!) note to the powers that be telling 'em so. You can find more info here.


The 29th of September is an angel feast whichever way you look at it. In the traditional calendar it is the feast of St. Michael. Or more correctly the feast of the dedication of the basilica of St. Michael on the Via Salaria. In the new calendar it has become the joint feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. [On the Anglican calendar it's St. Michael and All Angels.] At the traditional Mass I attended today at St. Mary's by the Sea in Huntington Beach we were able to have the sung liturgy of St. Michael. (The noon Sunday Mass at St. Mary's is a traditional Latin Mass celebrated under the auspices of the Ecclesia Dei indult and with the approval of the Bishop of Orange. No link here to St. Mary's, though. We don't have a website.)

Saturday, September 28, 2002

The guid pipers are aw' deid, an I'm no feeling too well masel.

I had the pipes out for an airing today. I did a wedding in Orange County and they were sounding mighty. I only played at the end and the tuning held almost perfectly from 11:45 when I tuned to about 1:15 when I played for the recessional. Selbie drone reeds and a Shepherd chanter reed. I ducked out at communion time for a quick tune and almost nothing was needed. Couldn't be happier with the way they were sounding.

But when did it become the done thing to have the bride and groom gather 'round the altar as if they were concelebrants? Is that new? Or have I just not been paying attention? Again.

The Sanctoral Cycle

Today is the feast of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and companions, the first canonized saint from the Phillipines. It is also the feast of Good King Wenceslaus. The same fella from the Christmas carol.

Friday, September 27, 2002

The Los Angeles Cathedral (yet again)

The new Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral has been in the Times again. This time
in the letters to the editor page. (The L.A.Times has joined the "registration" bandwagon, I'm afraid. Like the N.Y. Times it is free, though. [And UNlike the Irish Times which is now 79 dollars American per year.] )

How it came to be built is as appalling to me as it is to the two letter-writers and a regiment of other commentators. But the actual building itself has not outraged me as much as some others. I was thinking the other day that it ought to because it's style is certainly nothing I am attracted to.

It occured to me that the others who have commented are probably used to beautiful Catholic churches. However, I'm a child of southern California suburbia. I was raised in churches of the shoebox-with-an-altar-at-one-end style. There are some very beautiful churches in southern California. St. Vincent's in Los Angeles is one of the finest Spanish baroque churches you'll find anywhere. (St. Vincent's doesn't have it's own webpage. But you'll fnd a couple of good pictures here and here.) And there's Precious Blood church in the Wilshire district. And even lovely old St. Anthony's in Long Beach. But these are "downtown" churches. I rarely saw these churches until I was in my late teens. So the new Cathedral? Shrug. It's what I was raised with. Just bigger. And with the shoebox squashed a little in places. And the altar a bit cockeyed. Ho-hum.

But what does outrage me is this. Do you want a funeral for your wife or your father? Write 'em a letter. No phone calls; no visits. A letter. Feed my sheep, feed my lambs by mail. I am neither priest nor deacon. Just a guy who plays music for a lot of funerals. If I can talk with grieving people in person I would think the clergy - who have a great deal more to offer the the greiving than I - could find a way to do it.

If you'd like to see the old cathedral which allegedly could not be rendered earthquake safe due to the outrageous cost (what was it? $5 million? $10 million?), you can get an idea here.

A friend of mine is a music teacher. One of his students was riding with her mother and a friend down the 5 freeway through downtown L.A. As they passed the brand new cathedral, the young friend in all innocence said "Mrs. X, why does that warehouse have a big cross on it?"

St. Vincent de Paul

Today is the feast of St. Vincent de Paul He was the founder of the Congregation of the Mission - called the Vincentians in America and the Lazarists in Europe - and the Sisters of Charity. I received a good part of my education from the Vincentian Fathers and I wish them a happy feast day.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

The Unmercenaries

. . . .is the name given to Sts. Cosmas and Damian in the Eastern Churches.
They were doctors who didn't charge for their services. A precis of their lives
is given here and here .
Their feast in the Gaeta region of Italy is celebrated with a procession, not
to say a parade. You can hear the band playing their hymn here .

In the old Roman calendar today was the feast of the North American proto-martyrs,
Sts. Isaac Jogues and his companions. In the new calendar the
feast will be coming up in about a month so as to coincide more nearly with the actual date of death of St. Isaac.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

The Learning Curve

. . . .is still, well, curving. I haven't fully mastered the navigational art involved
in piloting a blog. It isn't that hard. But it isn't completely intuitive either.

And anyway, a good chunk of today involved compliance with our state's
motor vehicle emissions control regulations. The phrase - perhaps only
a California usage? - is "getting the car smogged". I am delighted to
announce that our 1986 Honda Accord is now in compliance. We can
all, uh, breathe easier.

If you're from Cork, today is the feast of St. Finbar, your patronal feast.
There used to be a fine Grade II pipe band from Cork named St. Finbar's.
Does it still exist? They toured California maybe 10 or 15 years ago,
competing at the various games. They swept all before them as I

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

A Child of the Snows

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.

Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.
- G.K. Chesterton

And that's where I got the name for this effort.
If you're not familiar with G.K. Chesterton you could do worse
than to explore here.
The Inn at the End of the World will have the ultimate things
as a foundation. Even if the discussion is about how long it's
taking me to perfect a presentable crunluath.

Off now to learn more about the mechanics of Blogspot.
In the meantime, a happy old feast of Our Lady of Ransom
and a happy new feast - though an old devotion - of Our
Lady of Walsingham this 24 September 2002.