Friday, July 29, 2005

And 312 years after the death of Patrick Sarsfield. . .

. . .might peace be nearer in Northern Ireland? Hope springs. . .

The BBC announcement of Gerry Adams speech urging the IRA to renounce violence.

The story from RTE with links to interviews with reporters and some of the key figures.

A commentary from Niall O'Dowd of the Irish Voice.

Patrick Sarsfield

According to most sources, today is the anniversary of the day Patrick Sarsfield received his mortal wound at the battle of Landen fighting in the Irish Brigade in the service of the king of France. Wikipedia puts the date at August 19; few others agree. But the Wikipedia page is one of the more interesting. You can find it here.

Sarsfield was a key figure in the Jacobite wars of the 17th century in Ireland and was consistently the victor when given command. King James recognized his real value too late.

From the page maintained by the Wild Geese Museum in Portumna, Galway:

Throughout the wars in Ireland he showed great courage. Although he was noted as a strict disciplinarian, he was loved by the men that served under him. He was quick to uphold the good name of Ireland and his beloved friends. For this he fought many a duel and at one such contest he was badly wounded. Because of his indomitable spirit, and readiness to jump into an affray to protect his friends, King James and lesser commanders thought that Sarsfield had no head for overall command of the army, but despite this Sarsfield was created by King James in January 1690, Baron Roseberry, Viscount of Tully, and Earl of Lucan. He was appointed Colonel of the Lifeguards. He went on to be Commander-in-Chief of the forces in Ireland, January to May and again in July to October 1691. In the wars in Ireland at the time, Patrick Sarsfield was unlucky in not being involved in the most decisive parts of the battles. Whether this was just bad luck on Sarsfield, or whether politics and jealousy were manifest, one will probably never know. At the Battle of Aughrim he was held in reserve with the greatest and best of the cavalry with him, out of sight of St Ruth making his disastrous cavalry charge, when St Ruth's head was blown off by the enemy's cannon fire. By the time Sarsfield was told of St Ruth's death, it was too late and the battle was lost. Great credit must go to Patrick Sarsfield, as one of the few that led his men in retreat to Limerick, in an ordered fashion, this action alone saved a lot of men's lives. A far cry from the terrible slaughter that occurred to other regiments after their defeat at Aughrim.

He brokered the favourable terms of the capitulation of Limerick on the 3rd October 1691. He then went to France on the 22nd of December of that year with twelve ships and about 2600 persons. On arrival in France he was appointed Captain of the second troop of Irish Life Guards in January 1692.

He was killed at the head of a French division at the Battle of Landen in the attack on the village of Neerwinden in Flanders on the 29th July 1693. He died of his wounds three days later at Huy in Belgium, where he is buried in the grounds of St Martin's Church. A plaque on the wall of this Church marks the approximate location of his grave. He was quoted as saying " If this was only for Ireland ."

It's the Pope's fault!

What this time? According to, say, the L.A. Times and its faithful acolytes, pretty much everything. Take this miserable hot weather, for instance. If only he'd, uh, spoken out. Yeah, that's it. Spoken out.

Unfortunately the blame-the-pope faction has run into a little hitch in the gitalong over here on the AIDS front. It seems that "A letter by Australian bioethicist Dr. Amin Abboud published in the July 30 edition of the British Medical Journal notes that "A regression analysis done on the HIV situation in Africa indicates that the greater the percentage of Catholics in any country, the lower the level of HIV."

More here.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hilaire Belloc would have been 135 yesterday. . .

. . .had he lived. Noted at several places on the web; the one I remember is Chesterton and Friends. Aside from books,essays, and articles on history, politics, economics, religion, biography, travel, and heaven knows what else, he also wrote "Cautionary Tales", of which this is one:

Rebecca, Who slammed Doors for Fun and Perished Miserably.

A Trick that everyone abhors
In Little Girls is slamming Doors
A Wealthy Banker’s
Little Daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to the Furious Sport.

She would deliberately go
And Slam the door like
To make her Uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild:
She was an aggravating child. . . .

It happened that a Marble Bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door the little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!

It laid her out! She looked like that.
* * * *
Her funeral Sermon (which was long
And followed by a Sacred Song)
Mentioned her Virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her Vices too,
And showed the Dreadful End of One
Who goes and slams the door for Fun.
* * * *
The children who were brought to hear
The awful Tale from far and near
Were much impressed,
and inly swore
They never more would slam the Door.

-As often they had done before.

28 July -- Blessed John Soreth, O.Carm.

The Discalced Carmelites keep the feast of Blessed John Soreth on this day. (The Ancient Observance keep his feast on 24 July.) He was a prior general of the old undivided Carmelite Order and was responsible for obtaining official Roman approval for the Order's nuns and the establishment of the third order seculars. In this sense, Blessed John was a necessary precursor to the existence of the Discalced Carmelites. There is a post in the archives here which told his story. I've tidied it up and the links are now up-to-date.

O God, the Dispenser of all good gifts, Who didst endow blessed John with a burning zeal for Thy honour and with extraordinary courage in confronting danger, grant us through his merits and prayers to bear all our trials and to persevere in Thy love: through Our Lord. Amen. [from the old Carmelite Rite liturgy of the Holy Sepulchre]

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

27 July - Blessed Titus Brandsma, O.Carm.

Today's feast is another of those found only in the Carmelite calendar. Blessed Titus Brandsma was a Dutch Carmelite priest of the Ancient Observance who was sent by the Nazi invaders of his country to Dachau for telling the truth about the Nazi philosophy. He was murdered there in 1942 in the "hospital". As the Nazi version of reverence for life takes more and more hold on this country, under different names of course, this gentle saint appeals more and more.

EWTN has a comprehensive biography here.

The Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary has another biography here. This one is very nicely illustrated. The picture of Blessed Titus at the head of this post is of a Marian procession and is taken from this Carmelite site.

Here is one of the alternative second lessons provided for the Office of Readings on his feast. It is taken from the sermons of Blessed Titus:

Invitation to heroism in faith and in love
You HEAR IT SAID that we live at a wonderful time, a time of great men and women. It would probably be better to say that we live in an era of decadence in which many, however, feel the need to react and to defend what is most precious and sacred. The desire for the emergence of a strong, capable leader is understandable. But we want such a leader to fight for a holy cause, for an ideal based on divine designs and not merely on human might.

Neo-paganism considers the whole of nature as an emanation of the divine: this is what it holds about various races and peoples of the earth. But as star differs from star by reason of its light and brightness, so neo-paganism considers one race more noble and pure than another; to the extent that this one race is held to embody more light within itself, it has the duty of making that life shine and enlighten the wbrld. It is maintained that this is possible only when, eliminating elements foreign to it, it frees itself from all stain. From this notion derives the cult of race and blood, the cult of the heroes of one's own people.

From such an erroneous starting-point, this view can lead to fatal errors! It is sad to see how much enthusiasm and effort are placed at the service of such an erroneous and baseless ideal! However, "we can learn from our enemy;" from his erroneous philosophy we can learn how to purify and better our own ideal: we can learn how to foster a great love for it; how to arouse great enthusiasm, even a willingness to live and die for it; how to build up the courage to incarnate it in ourselves and in others.

We too profess our descendence from God.

We too want what he wants.

But we do not accept the idea of emanation from the divine; we do not divinize ourselves. We admit descendence in dependence. When we speak of and pray for the coming of the kingdom, it is not a prayer for a kingdom based on differences of race and blood but on universal brotherhood. In union with him who makes the sun rise on the good and on the evil, all men are our brothers—even those who hate us and fight us.

We do not want a relapse into the sin of the earthly paradise, into the sin of making ourselves equal to God. We do not wish to begin a cult of heroes based on the divinization of human nature.

We acknowledge the law of God and we submit to it. We do not wish to frustrate—through an unhealthy and heady knowledge of ourselves—our dependence on the Supreme Being who gives us existence. However, even as we acknowledge the law of God within ourselves, we also note another law of desires contrary to the Spirit of God, which wishes to prevail. At times, like St Paul, we experience the desire to act counter to the divine law; we find it difficult to recognize our imperfections; and we act in ways that are destructive to our own nature. We wish to be better than we are, with other talents or a different personality. And sometimes we even think we are what we would like to be.

In our better moments, however, we do recognize our imperfections, and then we understand that there is room for improvement. We are honestly convinced that we could improve if we had more courage. Nothing is accomplished without effort, without struggle. In our better moments, we no longer shed tears over our own weaknesses or over those of others, but we recall what was interiorly said to St Paul: My grace is sufficient for you; in union with me you can do all things.
We live in a world in which love is condemned: it is called weakness, something to be overcome. Some say: never mind love, develop your strengths; let everyone be as strong as possible; let the weak perish. They say that the Christian religion, with its preaching of love, has seen better days and should be substituted for by old Teutonic force. Yes, some proclaim these doctrines, and they find people who willingly adopt them. Love is unknown: "Love is not loved," said St Francis of Assisi in his day; and some centuries later, in Florence, the ecstatic St Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi rang the bells of her Carmelite monastery to let the world know how beautiful love is. Although neo-paganism no longer wants love, history teaches us that, in spite of everything, we will conquer this neo-paganism with love. We shall not give up on love. Love will gain back for us the hearts of these pagans. Nature is stronger than theory: let theory condemn and reject love and call it weakness; the living witness of love will always renew the power which will conquer and capture the hearts of men.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sancte Jacobe, ora pro nobis

The feast of St James the Apostle occurs today. Hence the presence of the Moorslayer's picture which enhances Recta Ratio this week. (Ecumenism it seems was not the strong suit of the medieval bestowers of saintly nicknames.) Saint James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, was martyred in the year anni Domini 42. Taking up an official position in the middle east has been a dicey proposition for a long time.

The collect and vita for St James from the Pauline breviary:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Apostolorum tuorum primitias beati Iacobi sanguine dedicasti, da, quaesumus, Ecclesiae tuae ipsius confessione firmari, et iugiter patrociniis confoveri. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.

Filius Zebedaei et frater Ioannis apostoli, natus est Bethsaidae. Praecipuis miraculis a Domino patratis interfuit. Ab Herode occisus est circiter annum 42. Colitur maxime Compostellae in Hispania, ubi insignis exstat ecclesia eius nomini dicata.

Quamvis S. Iacobus martyrium subiit diebus Paschae (Act. 12, 2), tamen die 25 iulii inscribitur in Martyrologio hieronymiano, eiusque festum eadem die Romae celebratur a saeculo IX.

Is it open season on military funerals?

Last month it was these folks, who seem all to have misplaced their copies of "How To Win Friends and Influence People", who made themselves obnoxious to the world by disrupting the funeral of a Green Beret killed in action in Afghanistan.

This month it is the Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who considers the funeral of a Marine sergeant killed in action an appropriate place to set up her own travelling political medicine show. The story is here. Some of the outraged commentary can be found here and here.

Beneath contempt, the lot of them.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Tear to the Eye

This was so very moving in 2001 after 9/11. It still is today for me. I wish we had some similar ceremony here so that after 7/7 we might repay the tribute.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Traditionalist? But still on the cutting edge of technology?

Then you will surely want one of these. Just the thing to go with your electric votive lights.

Odds & Ends from the 'Net

Phrases from my childhood that I don't hear any more: "Well, it's a free country." And it used to be, too. Mostly. And now we have this: "NYC Begins Bag Searches On Subway" Solution? Sorry. Haven't got one.

Found on Jerry Pournelle's site: " Peter Brimelow has observed how often a "racist" turns out to be someone who is winning an argument with a liberal."

The L.A. Times has found the fatal flaw in W's choice for the Supreme Court vacancy: A Roman Catholic like her husband, Jane Roberts has been deeply involved in the antiabortion movement." ShockHorror, as the English tabloids like to phrase it. Not one, but two "Roman Catholics" in the same family. And not proper Roman Catholics, either, like, say, the senior senator from Massachusetts, but the dreadful pro-life kind. (And so can we say that W was indeed lying about a pro-life conviction not being a "litmus test" for the Supreme Court nomination? Not exactly. Disingenuous, perhaps. Happily so.)

Another supreme court related comment, this nicely phrased one again from Jerry Pournelle: "I note that Senator Charles Schumer, Senior Senator from New York, has appointed himself the Grand Inquisitor of the United States, and insists that anyone appointed to the Supreme Court must answer his ideological questions and conform to some grand ideological scheme that Schumer -- and perhaps the Junior Senator from New York -- understand and which they intend to impose for the good of the people of the United States.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Perhaps an opera can be made from it..."

Friday, July 22, 2005


It's six o'clock in the evening. The thermometer says it is 90 degrees fahrenheit. This little office has no air conditioner. And now you know why there have been so few posts lately, and those few late. It's just too hot to stay in here for non-essential, i.e., nonremunerative, tasks. Even the funeral I did yesterday was done in piper-casual: the black waistcoat with the silver buttons. No jacket. I do my best for my clients and try to dress appropriately but heatstroke isn't on the list. And this, after all, is southern California. Well dressed is a clean T shirt. Formal is a Hawaiian shirt with pressed slacks. I can't tell you how often the funeral director and I and are the only two guys at the service with a tie.

I appear to be rambling again. Time for something cold to drink.

Very Tiny Crisis of Conscience

Because I laughed myself silly over this in yesterday's Times. And yet the lady in the news who inspired the cartoonist probably shouldn't be in the slammer anyway. And yet it's still funny for countless other reasons.

Other Wars

Yesterday was also the anniversary of the battle of first Manasses. And what should I find in this morning's paper but a link (well, a citation anyway; this was the paper version of the paper) to a sound clip of an authentic rebel yell. Private Thomas Alexander, late of the 37th North Carolina Regiment, Confederate States Army, recorded his version of a rebel yell for WBT radio in 1935. The rebel yell of legend is blood-curdling and terrifying. Alas, this version is, well, not. But then Private Alexander was, as the newspaper pointed out, 90 years old at the time of the recording. And technologically, high fidelity - never mind mp3 quality - was far in the future. Roll back 60 years and give Private Alexander back his rifle and a thousand or so of his companions and no doubt the blood would indeed run cold.

You can listen for yourself at the links found on this page.

21 July -- St Lorenzo Brindisi

You've no doubt seen this: London Hit Again. The Mohammedan assassins tried once again to cause mass destruction in England, this time unsuccessfully.

Yesterday was also the feast of St Lorenzo Brindisi in both the Roman Rite and the Pauline Rite. A small excerpt from his life, (the whole of which can be found here):

It was on the occasion of the foundation of the convent of Prague (1601) that St. Lorenzo was named chaplain of the Imperial army, then about to march against the Turks. The victory of Lepanto (1571) had only temporarily checked the Moslem invasion, and several battles were still necessary to secure the final triumph of the Christian armies. Mohammed III had, since his accession (1595), conquered a large part of Hungary. The emperor, determined to prevent a further advance, sent Lorenzo of Brindisi as deputy to the German princes to obtain their cooperation. They responded to his appeal, and moreover the Duke of Mercœur, Governor of Brittany, joined the imperial army, of which he received the effective command. The attack on Albe-Royal (now Stulweissenburg) was then contemplated. To pit 18,000 men against 80,000 Turks was a daring undertaking and the generals, hesitating to attempt it, appealed to Lorenzo for advice. Holding himself responsible for victory, he communicated to the entire army in a glowing speech the ardour and confidence with which he was himself animated. As his feebleness prevented him from marching, he mounted on horseback and, crucifix in hand, took the lead of the army, which he drew irresistibly after him. Three other Capuchins were also in the ranks of the army. Although the most exposed to danger, Lorenzo was not wounded, which was universally regarded as due to a miraculous protection. The city was finally taken, and the Turks lost 30,000 men. As however they still exceeded in numbers the Christian army, they formed their lines anew, and a few days later another battle was fought. It always the chaplain who was at the head of the army. "Forward!" he cried, showing them the crucifix, "Victory is ours." The Turks were again defeated, and the honour of this double victory was attributed by the general and the entire army to Lorenzo.

Fascinating stuff, history.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

20 July

Wednesday was one of the patronal feasts of the Carmelite Order, St Elias the Prophet. The medieval Order considered him quite literally the founder and themselves the successors of the sons of the prophets. These days a paper trail is prefered for that sort of claim and so the holy prophet is now just the spiritual founder. Most of what you need to know about St Elias can be found in the third book of Kings.

The old collect for St Elias from the Discalced Carmelite liturgy:

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui beatum Eliam Prophetam tuuum et Patrem nostrum, igneo curru mirabiliter elevatum esse credimus, eodem interveniente ad cælestia sublevemur, et Sanctorum tuorum consortio gaudeamus. Per Dominum nostrum Ieum Christum. Amen.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Iuxta Fontem Eliæ

A very Carmelite weekend. Saturday was the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patronal feast of the Carmelite Order. Several people made promises in our community and one received the habit. Fr Paul, the priest who received me into the communty, is now back down in southern California -- good talk ensued. The celebratio solemnis very happily took up a large chunk of the day.

The second nocturn from the old Roman Breviary - slightly adapted - which tells the story of the feast can be found here.

The old Ancient Observance collect:
Crescat, Domine, semper in nobis sanctæ devotionis affectus: ut beatissimæ Virginis Mariæ singulari titulo Carmeli ordinem decorasti: concede propitius; ut, cujus hodie Commemorationem solemni celebramus officio, eius muniti præsidiis ad gaudia sempiterna pervenire mereamur : Qui vivis. Amen.

Always increase the growth in us, O Lord, of heartfelt holy devotion, and as Thou didst beautify the Order of Carmel with the singular title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, graciously grant that we who today celebrate the commemoration of her solemn office, may always merit to arrive at eternal joy by the aid of her protection . Who livest and reignest. Amen.

For more on Our Lady of Mount Carmel, take a look at Recta Ratio's posts for today and the past nine days. Tom has posted the novena prayers leading up to the feast day and some beautiful old images of Regina Decor Carmeli. You could start here and work your way down -- or to stay in chronological order, start here and work your way up.

Sunday the 17th is the feast of the holy Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, 17 nuns and the members of their community household who were murdered by the French revolutionaries. Last year's weblog post at The Inn on the nun-martyrs was rather long (for me) and had some further links. You can find it here.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Well, here's a perfectly miserable way to start the weekend.

First Fr Bryce and then Bill Luse and now Hilary all in one springtime. I suppose people I don't read obsessively also quit blogging. But it is rather a nuisance when three very good ones close up shop all at once.

Oremus pro invicem, amici.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pro-Life secundum quid

$288,300,000.00 for Planned Parenthood under Dubya's signature: the "man with black hat" provides the references here. My third party vote looks better all the time.

It will be interesting to see what he will do with the Supreme Court nominations. Will he refuse to use reverence for life as a "litmus test" just as he promised in the debates? Or was he lying again. I'm hoping for lying.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Southern California Baseball in a Nutshell

I took the opportunity of the All-Star break to boil it all down for you:

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Orange County Just Up The Road From San Diego have what it takes in all categories to go all the way. If everyone is on his game.
The Padres are doing surprisingly well; a contender for the division but not the pennant. (The Cardinals; who else?)
The Dodgers have a little league ownership, a minor league team, a major league manager and an All-Star announcer. Even with eighteen (18!!) guys on the disabled list you still listen to their games when Vinnie calls them.

And now that we have all that "All-Star" nonsense over with, can we go back to real baseball?

Another memorial for 13 July

Henry Benedict Maria Thomas Francis Xavier Stuart, the Cardinal Duke of York and by right of succession King Henry IX of England, France, Scotland and Ireland died on this day in 1807. His father was the Old Pretender, King James III and his elder brother, Bonnie Prince Charlie, i.e., King Charles III.

Finding this to be the anniversary of his death was a bit of serendipity. I ran across it while researching a question from another piper who had heard of a tradition that "on the birthday of the Old Pretender, or is it his death day?, a piobaireachd is played on the via dei SS. Apostoli 49 or in St. Peters at his tomb. I can't imagine the swiss guard permitting a weapon of war inside St. Peter's but I wonder if the rumor is true or was true that some one pipes at the birth place of Bonny Prince Charlie, from time to time."

I have no idea if this is true. Do you? It doesn't seem likely. But what a wonderful tradition. Even if his "rumor" does have some untenable presuppositions {via dei SS Apostoli 49 doesn't appear to be in Vatican City, hence the Swiss Guard would have no jurisdiction, nor would it be up to them to decide if a piobaireachd was appropriate in St Peter's; that's Cardinal Marchisano's department as Archpriest of the Patriarchal Vatican Basilica; and Bonnie Prince Charlie wasn't "the Old Pretender", his father James was) still and all it's even a pretty darn good faux tradition. Why, if we start now, in 500 years it will be a real tradition.

But in the meantime, anima eius et omniæ animæ defunctorum requiescant in pace.

13 July

Today is the feast of St Teresa of the Andes in the Discalced Carmelite calendar. She is Chile's first canonized saint and the first canonized Carmelite saint of the western hemisphere. And possibly a Scottish saint, too, if you count her "Armstrong" granny.

The hagiographical reading for the Office of Readings on her feast can be found here. Pope John Paul's homily at her canonization is here.

The collect for her feast:

God of mercy, joy of the saints,
You set the young heart of Blessed Teresa ablaze
with the fire of virginal love for Christ and for His church;
and even in suffering You made her a cheerful witness to charity.
Through her interecession,
fill us with the delights of Your Spirit,
so that we may proclaim by word and deed
the joyful message of Your love to the world.
We as this through our Lord. Amen.

Yesterday. . .

. . .was the glorious 12th, a.k.a., Marching Day up the north. From a short review of the press it seems to have been much as usual. Which, alas, does not mean pleasant and without incident. These fellas blame these fellas. And vice versa. And so it goes.

Monday, July 11, 2005


I have apologies to make. I find my inbox for the "tavernkeeper" e-mail address has been set for alphabetical instead of chronological for I don't know how long. I've been getting lots of mail I haven't seen and now I owe all sorts of people a response. I herewith apologize to the aforesaid all sorts of people and promise to respond.

But not tonight. My little adventure in the dentist's office - two dentists' offices, in fact - included a root canal which has not put me in the best of moods. The vicodin which was so kindly prescribed helps enormously in that area. But in the event that it does for my prudential judgement what it does for the pain in my teeth, it seems best that I reduce the number of opportunties to make a complete eedjit of myself before the entire English-speaking and internet connected world.

And so to bed.

What a difference three weeks makes

I was reading a back number of The Spectator in the dentist's office today. (The 25 June 2005 issue if you want to look it up.) Paul Johnson's essay this week had an especial poignancy about it. "Whatever else you do, don't miss the bus!" is about the delights of riding the double decker red bus in London. You can read it here if you have a subscription. (I don't; my copy is paper, delivered personally to me by the United States Postal Service in the fulness of time, sedately, and without unseemly haste.) Like all of his weekly essays, it's a beautiful exercize in history, literary reference, and personal reminiscence. This one, however, now has a context it did not have when it was written. There's a special value to it; like those letters that are received after news of the writer's death. (Although Johnson is very much alive, thank God.)

Perhaps you can find it at the library if you haven't got the £50.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Jihad: London

The only original commentary I can make about the jihadist eruption in London is the information that Mary spent the morning on the phone and all our relatives are accounted for and unharmed.

Otherwise, I've only been mentally nit-picking the commentaries of others. The first irritant is the use of the terms "terrorism" and "war on terror". It would seem to me that wooly names and definitions do not aid the cause: "Terrorism" doesn't exist. There is no belief in terror as a philosophy or ideology. Terror is a method of warfare. It's like being against cavalry. Or perhaps a more apt analogy would be that it is like being against nuclear missiles. Terror, like nuclear missiles, are very unpleasant and it would be impossible for a civlized person to love either one. But neither is an "ism" or a self-defining movement. Both are used by people in very different sorts of movements or organizations. In the instant case, we are in a war, like it or not, with militant Mohammedans. If only we could bring ourselves to say so.

One of the more useful sites for following the jihadists is, appropriately enough, Jihad Watch which has been on the blogroll for a good while now. Recommended.

Essential background is also found in Srdja Trifkovic's The Sword of the Prophet. Mohammedan history, theology, and current practice concisely covered.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Leftist Conundrum

I was listening to the stultifying bafflegab of the Talking Heads on C-Span yesterday. I have briefed the discussion and arrived at a holding: stare decisis is a sacrosanct legal principle and only the meanest legal mind would dare question any precept laid down by the SCOTUS. Provided, of course, that the case relates in some way to Roe v. Wade Otherwise, you see, it's liberty hall, boys; liberty hall.

Catching Up

Still without a decent excuse, I have missed commenting here on more than a few things that caught my attention in the past couple of weeks. Not least among them was yesterday's feast in the Pauline calendar of St Maria Goretti, surely a necessary patroness for the 21st century. When I review some of the cyber-sewage that my spam filters capture. . .Pius XII's canonization of her seems more and more prophetic.

And then there was Dominion Day, which I didn't mention at all on the day. The illustration of the old red ensign on Hilary's post for the day again reminds me of the symbolic advantage Canadian traditionalists have over the American old right and paleo-conservatives: a national symbol all their own. And a very beautiful one, too. Those who hate the American tradition don't drop the old symbols, they just co-opt them. We have nothing quite like the old red ensign.

One more Dominion Day reference: Andrew Cusack provides a pipe version of "Maple Leaf Forever" played by the band and pipes of the 48th Highlanders of Canada (with a bit of "Alberta Bound" in the middle of it for reasons best known to the mighty 48th).

And finishing up, one link for the United States. Oorah.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Flowers of the Forest

One of the great pipers of the last century - or perhaps any century - died last week. John D. Burgess was hospitalized two weeks ago and died on Wednesday last. His obituary with a short (and knowledgeable) appreciation can be found here.

The College of Piping is devoting its July web-radio programme to him. (And, yes, it does cut off early. The fault is not with your computer.) The information can be found here. The piper in the oval picture is John D. Note the red velvet bag cover, the scarlet waistcoat and the scarlet trimmed regulation doublet. The "D" stood for dapper. God rest his soul.

The Glorious Fourth

. . .was, indeed, glorious if glory is counted by the decibel. In our little neighbourhood last night, we were up to our oxters in recreational explosives and celebratory incendiary devices. The house didn't burn down and all the local children seem still to have ten fingers and two eyes this morning and so it would appear that all is well.

But the state of the Republic? Ah. Alas, another story altogether.