Tuesday, September 30, 2003

And another thing. . . .

So long as I'm in a ranting mood, this topic ticks me off every autumn.

Every year about this time I receive at least one piece of mail a day from some religious outfit that would like to "remember" my loved ones for me in November. But not a one of them ever uses the word "purgatory" or "suffering souls" or "poor souls" or implies that anyone any where who has ever died is anything other than perfectly happy and content the nanosecond after he breathed his last.

They haven't got much use for the doctrine but they'd still like the stipend that goes with an offering for a requiem Mass.

Look fellas, it's like this: you can't "remember" my parents. You didn't know them. If you're offering to pray for the repose of their souls - to liberate them from purgatory - why not say so? If it's because you don't believe in it any longer, I suggest finding a new line of work. At the very least, find another way to shill for money. The hypocrisy is nauseating.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, one of the most powerful figures in the Vatican, urged Roman Catholics to pray for the Pope yesterday, saying that he was in "a bad way".

The impression was reinforced by Archbishop Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, who was appointed a cardinal at the weekend. He said in a radio interview that the Pope was "reaching the end of his road", adding that he was "in really bad shape".

The full story is in the Daily Telegraph here. (The Telegraph does require registration; but at least it's still free. The Irish Times and The Times of London both charge these days. And it's not a nominal fee, either.)

[WARNING: Local Political Rant Follows. May not be suitable for non-Californians or others with real lives and better things to do than follow campaign politics.]

California Politics, a wholly-owned subsidary of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Productions

It says here that Ariana Huffington, winner of the Zsa Zsa Gabor Sound-Alike Contest, has decided she doesn't want to be governor of California after all. So, we're down to what now? A measly 120-125 or so possible choices? I even got a flyer promoting the unspeakable Larry Flynt the other day.

More and more it does appear that the voters of this state really are going to elect the Circus Strongman as governor. The really sickening aspect of that is the support he's getting from those who not only promote themselves as conservatives, but make morality a significant aspect of their popular appeal. People like Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager who have made radio in Los Angeles listenable, have abandoned not only morality but, so far as I can tell, common sense to get on the "Arnold" celebrity bandwagon. The theory seems to be that "he can win" and Tom McClintock can't. And we mustn't have Cruz Bustamante.

So what if "he can win"? Is he worth having? The "social conservative" aspect that these folks have up to this point claimed is most important now doesn't matter so long as "Arnold" is what they call "fiscally conservative". The "fiscal conservatism" - whatever that is - trumps every other issue it seems. And is he indeed "fiscally conservative"? I wonder how they know what he believes? He doesn't seem much prone to answering questions. And when he or his coterie of celebrities and millionaires do make a statement that drops a bomb, he immediately does a turnabout. What is his real belief on anything? Does he have any real beliefs or does he just want to be elected to office no matter what?

If all these "pragmatic" alleged conservatives quit bellyaching that "he can't win" and actually supported McClintock he could win handily.

Monday, September 29, 2003

On Full Alert for WMDs

That's Whiskies of Mass Destruction, single malt division.

So happy to know our homeland's security is so well-protected.

29 September

This is the feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels. (In the old BCP, it's "St. Michael and All Angels".)

The preces in today's office ad laudes matutinas are particularly beautiful. The ICEL is not completely off the mark in its version, but the Latin original is outstanding.

Fratres carissimi, confiteamur Domino, cui astat multitudo angelorum psallentium in unum, et acclamemus gaudentes:
-- Benedicite Domino, omnes angeli eius.

Deus, qui angelis tuis mandasti ut custodiant nos in omnibus viis nostris,
- deduc nos hodie sine offensione per semitas tuas.
-- Benedicite Domino, omnes angeli eius.

Pater cuius faciem in caelis semper vident angeli nostri,
- fac nos sine intermissione quaerere faciem tuam.
-- Benedicite Domino, omnes angeli eius.

Deus, cuius filii erunt sicut angeli in caelo,
- da nobis castitatem cordis et corporis.
-- Benedicite Domino, omnes angeli eius.

Deus, in adiutorium populi tui mitte Michaelem principem magnum,
- ut eum defendat in proelio contra Satanam et angelos eius.
-- Benedicite Domino, omnes angeli eius.

Isn't that magnificent? Every intercession seems to have a little echo, whether from the Gospel, the lauds canticle from Daniel, the old Roman canon, or the Leonine prayer to St. Michael. The English versions are so often a disappointment, it's hard to believe how beautiful the Latin intercessions (or preces) are in the Pauline Liturgia Horarum.

(Fingers crossed that all that is accurate, too. I haven't got a spell-checker that works with Latin and I'm not a good proof-reader. I tend to see what I meant to put there instead of what's actually there.)

Sunday, September 28, 2003

"Safe (sic) and Legal"

Ru - 486, that is. Mystique et Politique has an intesting link to a tale of death that seems to follow the "safe" "morning after" pill RU-486.

Archbishop Pell Named Cardinal

"The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney George Pell is one of 31 new cardinals appointed by Pope John Paul II". Archbishop Pell has not only been one of the most insistently orthodox prelates in the church, what is even rarer, he has not been afraid to act on his beliefs. Of interest to those of us who prefer the ancient Roman liturgical rites, he has been a good friend to the traditional Gregorian Mass and liturgies. Thanks in no small part to Archbishop Pell the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has a solid foundation in Australia.

Today's Pipe Band Website

I thought you might like to see the website for the Riverside Pipe Band. That's the Riverside Pipe Band of Uruguay, of course.

Seen in the L.A. Times the other day:

The problem with California is that there are too many people in key positions making far too much money. And too many others who don't seem to know how to do their jobs at all. And that's only the Dodgers.

September 28

Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the feast of Stephen.
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.

"Hither page and stand by me if thou knowst it telling
Yonder peasant, who is he, where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain,
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine, bring me pinelogs hither
Thou and I will see him dine when we bear them thither."
Page and monarch forth they went, forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament, and the bitter weather.

"Sire the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart I know not how, I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps my good page, tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore Christian men be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing

Yes, along with being the 16th Sunday after Pentecost and the 26th Sunday per annum this is also the feast of Good King Wenceslaus. (It's a Christmas tune because of the "on the feast of Stephen" line I would imagine.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Venerable William Spenser

24 September is the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Venerable William Spenser, priest.

Fr. William was "born in the Craven district of York, . . .was educated by his maternal uncle, Horn, a Marian priest, at his benefice near Chipping Norton." He became a fellow of Trinity College, Oxford and eventually through study convinced himself of the truth of the Catholic faith. He left Oxford for Rheims were he was eventually ordained and returned to England as a priest. "His first care was the conversion of his parents, whom he contrived after much difficulty to meet in a field, disguised as a labourer, with the result that they were both reconciled." His uncle, also, through Fr. William's influence resigned his Anglican benefice and found a home in a Catholic household.

In the end, Fr. William was captured, tried, and convicted of being a priest. He was executed on the 6th anniversary of his ordination with the Venerable Robert Hardesty, a layman who had harboured him.

[Quotations are from Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales.]

The Silver Thistle Pipes and Drums

A nice website for a fine pipe band out of Texas. I've heard them in Pleasanton and they put out an excellent sound.

Too Conservative?

According to this news report a new Vatican document addressing abuses in the liturgy has been held up for revisions due to "internal debate within the Roman Curia." Among the topics listed are "liturgical" dancing, "concelebrations" with non-Catholic ministers and/or non-ordained "pastoral assistants", and consecrations of the eucharist for sacreligious purposes.

It will be interesting to see what happens. CWN is usually pretty reliable.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The Greatest Show On Earth

Why, the California Recall Election, of course: three rings of action, thrills, suspense and comedy. In this ring we have Daniel Weintraub, currently still with the Sacramento Bee, and probably still the principal source of informed comment on the Barnum and Bailey extravaganza that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal says is back on again for 7 October.

But mercy me. Mr. Weintraub has been letting "unedited" comment go out on his portion of the paper's blog. The Sacbee has decided he needs a minder. "Why ever for?" I hear you asking, as well you might. Nancy Nall explains it for us here in her blog/column for 9/23. Do read it. No one has ever mistaken Miss Nancy for a conservative -- paleo or neo-con. But she writes so well and she knows idiocy at work when she sees it

(Nancy's column is now in her archive. I have changed the link to reflect that. For the relevant column, scroll down to the 23rd's entry entitled "Welcome to Dullsville".)

Monday, September 22, 2003

"America has probably never seen a more cynical attempt at ethnic pandering than the California's new driver's license law. It's inconceivable that a governor would sign such a bill in today's environment, in which the Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement labor around the clock to locate and remove people who have overstayed their visas or who never had any legal immigration status in the U.S. to begin with."

Except Governor Gumby, of course. He would sign it. And did. There's more at the link above -- the entire headline is a link.

As the recall election date gets closer - or possibly farther away depending upon what the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had for lunch this afternoon - the election hoorah gets slightly more rational. Not "rational" in an absolute sense; just more rational than heretofore. You remember that this started as the circus election. Our candidates for governor included the circus strongman, the exotic dancer [not gonna link this one; I could get excommunicated from St. Blog's. You'll have to find it yourself.] the dwarf, the 100 year old woman [I met Mathilda at the doctor's office the other day. She's at least as smart as Arnold and much less of a pill.] , and a host of others too numerous to mention. Really. There were 150 or so. Waaay too numerous to mention.

At any rate, we now have something resembling real candidates. And even one who would actually make a good governor.

All we need now is a court that will let us have an election. It could happen.

The Monastery at the End of the World

The Orkneys are pretty close to the End of the World, even if not quite the very end. I don't know who these folks are but their foundation sounds magnificent. Not excepting the two monastic pipers.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

A Feast Day Murder

Not, alas, the title of a murder mystery. Terri Schiavo, by judicial fiat, is scheduled to be murdered on her feast day - October 15, St. Teresa's Day - in order to convenience her pitiful excuse for a husband.

There is much on the web and by the members of St. Blog's in particular regarding her plight. Fr. Johanson's mention is the latest.

Pray. If the words don't come, there is a good prayer here.

Topical Verse

For me, anyway. Although I didn't lose my Blogger archives, a lot of other good stuff went the way of all flesh.

Nicely done, Mr. O'Rama.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Duty and Honor

Friday, September 19, 2003

Back Again

O.K., brand new excuse this time. Never before used (by me, anyway): my hard drive shuffled off its mortal coil and joined the choirs invisible. I have lost vast quantities of dreck that I need never have kept on my computer at all. And I've also lost a nice chunk of valuable stuff that I will miss.

And I've learned a couple of things: (1) No matter how much you back up, if you have nothing to load it on you're still out of business. And (2) I don't have my priorities in order. Which is to say, I saved all the wrong stuff. Yes, I successfully backed up and saved all my financial information. What a waste. I shoud've saved the pictures of my wife with her nieces and nephews. And the pictures of the police memorial I played for. And the high Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral.

Sigh. Next time. . . .

Now to plough through the thousand or so e-mails that have backed up. Back soon. (Yes, really.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

An incident to shock the conscience of the world

And in Norway, no less.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Don't Like Microsoft?

But Apples are too expensive? China, Japan, and South Korea may be coming up with an operating system to resolve your dilemma. Why not? Thanks to the "free trade" folks, they already manufacture the hardware. The details are here.

[Thanks to Chaos Manor for the reference.]

What if the women who helped make abortion-on-demand the law of the land changed their minds?

Fr. Rob Johanson asks that rhetorical question on his blog. He asks because they did. And no one - at least no one in the major media - seems to care. His excellent commentary contains a link to the article with more detail.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

The Mozarabic Rite

Those interested in the less wide-spread liturgical traditions of our Church may be interested in this site which gives the text of the revised Ordinary of the Mozarabic Rite recently published to replace the traditional Mozarabic Rite. Latin will be a help in using the site and some Spanish will be essential. Do give it a look, though if you have an interest. Even if your Spanish is as wobbly as mine it's a fascinating site.

[Thanks to Nicola di Grande for the reference.]

Thought For The Day

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide. Liberals are people who are afraid that someone, somewhere, is doing something without permission. And the purpose of government is to hire and pay bureaucrats; and the more conscientious they are about doing needless jobs, the worse things get.

Via Jerry Pournelle at this link.

One of the Sources of Revelation vs. Cheap, Ugly, Wooden Furniture

Via the indispensable Chad Dimpler, we learn from the Norwegian Nettivisen that the Ikea catalogue is a bigger seller (or something) than the Bible.

"Marvelous", indeed.

[People actually "buy" the Ikea catalogue? Every year I get that thing dumped through my letter box whether I want it or not. Why am I so lucky?]

New To The Blogroll

I have been visiting Ad Altare Dei fairly regularly now but haven't added it to the roll at the left until now. It's worth a visit. I really need to up-date that roll more regularly. There are several blogs that I consider "must reads" that probably aren't on there. I tend to use my "Hotlist" links to actually access the various blogs and I forget that the one I'm reading isn't actually on the roll.

Another task for when I get a few minutes. . . .

(In the meantime, visit Alan's site and take special note of his "tour" of the churches of Santa Barbara.)

The Third Commandment (Catholic Numbering)

If you find yourself in the neighborhood of the southern San Francisco Bay area, I heartily recommend the beautiful little Byzantine Catholic Church (Ruthenian eparchy of Van Nuys) of St. Basil in the city of Los Gatos. A tiny little church with a beautiful wooden iconostasis, a well-sung Divine Liturgy and a friendly and devout congregation, this is an inspiring and gracious place to fulfill your Sunday obligation.

A heartfelt thank you to Fr. Anthony and the congregation for their kind hospitality.

Taking up the Slack

In my absence, I see that Mark O Suileabhain of the irreplaceable Irish Elk has been keeping the parish up-to-date on piping news. The Boston Gaelic Fire Brigade Band copped a mention and a picture here. But is it only the fire brigade pipers? But that shortish fellow at the far left. . . .isn't that Alasdair Gillies? Sure looks like him to me.

And then there's the health warning. Apparently the hazards of piping are deafness, obesity, alcoholism, and marriage failure.


The pipes are pretty loud all right. When playing in an enclosed area, I use musician's earplugs. But the real hazard is those @#$% snare drums. Those'll deafen an angel. As for the rest, I leave it to you and the experts to decide. Too big words for me. I don't know if I'd be any skinnier without the pipes. I don't know if 5 or 6 beers in a week makes me an alcoholic or not. I'm sure the great white nanny in Washington could tell us. And finally I would have thought that a 10% marriage failure was considerably better than that of the general population, which the last I heard was something over half.

If worse comes to worst I still have my harmonica.

Sour Grapes?

The lack of a link below to the [San Francisco] Irish Piper's band which placed first on Saturday in the QMM is neither an oversight nor sour grapes from me. They don't appear to have a website any longer. They had a basic one for years, but it seems to have vanished. A shame, really. They are the oldest Irish pipe band in California and a first place showing deserves a webpage. So far as I know, they're also the only band in California wearing the saffron kilt. A picture and a paragraph about the saffron kilt can be found here.

The Prodigal Returneth

"Prodigal" in the sense that I spent more than I had planned. And I am “returned” from the San Francisco Caledonian Society’s Highland Games in Pleasanton. (They have a website here.)

The band (you know, the band; the one I play with) did moderately well in the Quick March Medley on Saturday placing almost exactly at midpoint in the field: eighth out of seventeen bands. Sunday in the timed medley we scored our first ever first place at Pleasanton – first of seventeen bands. For a few of us who’ve been there since the beginning it was a long time coming. The band was formed in 1991 and it’s taken us this long to finally get a first at Pleasanton. We’ve been close in prior years but never before grabbed the brass ring.

Lesson in humility for this summer: I only played with them on the day we came in 8th. The day we placed first, I pulled myself from the competition. Just not playing up to standard. The difference can't have been all me (can it?) but it's a thorn in the side nonethless.

For the detail-oriented, here are the basic results:

Grade I MSR
1 - LAScots
2 - Alberta Caledonia
3 - Prince Charles

Grade III Medley
1 - Prince Charles
2 - RP Blandford & Son
3 - Caber Feidh

Grade IV - Quick March Medley
1 - Irish Pipers
2 - Monterey
3 - Irish Heritage
4 - House of Scotland

Grade I Medley
1 - Alberta Caledonia
2 - LA Scots
3 - Prince Charles

1 - Prince Charles
2 - R P Blandford & Son
3 - Caber Feidh

Grade IV Medley
1 - Misty Isle
2 - City of Sacramento
3 - Irish Heritage
4 - Monterey Bay
5 - San Clemente

We drove the I-5 coming and going. It’s a very long and hot stretch of highway through the California’s agricultural heart. By rights it should be a colossally boring drive. For some reason Mary and I find it enjoyable. There appears, indeed, to be no accounting for tastes.