Thursday, November 30, 2006

Found While Looking for Something Else

Something for those days which, frankly, could have gone a lot better.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

St Catherine Laboure

If you wear a Miraculous Medal, you might want to know that today is the feast of the St Catherine Laboure in the Vincentian calendar and, I believe, in the Parisian calendar. You can find a little story of her life here. There is a book-length biography here. You can take an e-tour of the chapel of the apparitions here.

"And so, as all eyes turn toward Turkey on the eve of the pope's arrival here, the presence of the Orthodox Christian community seems to be like a flickering candle on the verge of going out." -Dr Robert Moynihan

The "secular" Turkish state manages the persecution of Christianity without raising too much fuss. This little essay from "Inside the Vatican" presents an example.

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Holy Ireland

Ireland’s rapid decline in birth rates was the net result of dramatic changes in social mores. Marriages and marital fertility rates are collapsing, with over a third of all Irish babies born out of wedlock. The Church, having grown stale and complacent after decades of state patronage, is unable or unwilling to address the challenge of multiculturalist mammonism. When Pope Jon Paul II died, even Castro declared three days of mourning—but Ireland had none. The business community opposed it because of the cost of a day’s idleness, while the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) opposed it on cultural grounds, declaring that Ireland was no longer a Catholic but a multicultural society.

Yes, Ireland is just another postmodern country now, and that includes high-speed internet in my room (so you get these musings in real-time), as well as collapsing birth rates, dysfunctional families, rising crime, ubiquity of global mass-cultural uniformity. The number of unassimilable immigrants and “asylum seekers” is rising rapidly—their influx inevitably coupled with the imposition of ideological and legal mandates of “diversity,” multiculturalism and anti-discriminationism by the elite class. In the meantime, Irish culture is fast becoming a relic, either neutered à la “Riverdance” and relegated to heritage, or else condemned as retrograde.

We go back to Ireland about every two years. Mary's trips are a little more frequent now that her mother's health isn't as good. My highly unscientific observations agree exactly with Mr Trifkovic's. Holy Ireland is no more.

The rest of his article can be found here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stir Up Sunday

The liturgy today reminds us that it's time to begin stirring up the ingredients for the Christmas pudding to give it time to "set". The collect begins with the words "Stir Up!" It might not be quite so evident in the Latin of the Roman Rite:

Excita, quæsumus, Dominine,tuorum fidelium voluntates: ut divini operis fructum propensius exsequentes, pietatis tuæ remedia maiora percipiant. Per Dominum nostrum.

But when Archbishop Cranmer translated it for the Church of England, there was the clear admonition to start stirring up: STIERE up we beseche thee, O Lord, the wylles of thy faythfull people, that they, plenteously bringing furth the fruite of good workes; may of thee, be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.

There seems to be a religious message there, too. But who, on the very cusp of Advent, could see the words "stir up" and not think of Christmas baking?

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Perfect Left-over Turkey Sandwich

From Tim Grobaty's "What's Hot" column, the cultural touchstone of your morning paper:

BUILDING THE PERFECT SANDWICH: On days like this, when we're too lazy to do anything other than watch the Lions play their peculiar brand of football on TV, but are nevertheless summoned to the plant to write a column, we do what all overworked columnists do when it's time for a breather: open our mail and see if anyone's sent us an insta-column, or, even better, a request for a recipe:

"Dear What's Hot!," starts today's letter grabbed at random. "I'm thinking about making a leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich using pita bread and gouda cheese. How does that grab you?"

We can perhaps answer that best by giving you our life's story: In our youth, our favorite meal was the day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich.

Later, when we began a tradition of traveling to our mother-in-law's house, we turned stupid and would regularly turn down offerings of leftover turkey and accessory food, because we were so stuffed we wrongly (grievously wrongly) thought we would never want to look at turkey meat until next year, only to spend the following day whining bitterly about our idiocy.

Nowadays, we have the presence of mind to, no matter how much we beg ourselves not to do it, drag an oversized Glad Bag full of fixings home with us.

Now, someone had a question about how to make a leftover turkey sandwich?

Browsing the Web or your own vast collection of cookbooks, you will find no shortage of incorrect ways to build a leftover turkey sandwich. In even a cursory romp through the canon of work regarding leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches, you will come upon such ingredients as the above-cited gouda cheese and pita bread, as well as cream cheese, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, Dijon mustard, canned pineapple, tomato, thinly sliced Granny Smith apples, canned capers and the phrase "to die for."

In fact (and we know a lot of you are already aware of this, so those people are free to go back to the football game), there is only one way to make a leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, and everything in it's available in every trailer park larder.


1 fistful of leftover Thanksgiving turkey (white meat)

1 fistful turkey stuffing

1 tablespoon cranberry sauce (or one slice, if you use the canned stuff, and we're not mad at you if you do)

Some mayonnaise

Two slices Wonder brand white bread



Spread mayonnaise fairly liberally (damn the cost!), and salt and pepper to taste. Toss on the fistful of turkey meat, followed by the cranberry sauce and stuffing.

Feeds one.

-Tim Grobaty, Long Beach Press Telegram

I, personally, have reservations about putting the stuffing right on the sandwich. I am usually in the "on the side" camp. But that's a mere quibble. This is the sana doctrina of left-over turkey sandwich making. Anything else and the terrorists win.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

November 23 -- Going a Clementing

I never heard of it either until today. But Serge will tell you all you need to know about it here.

St Cæcilia

Yesterday was St Cæcilia's day. She is the patroness of music and musicians so I shouldn't have missed her altogether. The old Catholic Encyclopædia discusses her here. Fr Zuhlsdorf provides some beautiful pictures of her basilica in the Trastevere section of Rome here.

Dom Guéranger's "Life of St Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr" was Englished perhaps a hundred years ago (my copy isn't dated; I'm guessing from the style) and would repay a read if you can locate a copy. It contains her life as recorded in the old chronicles (Dom Guéranger is not a skeptic like the author of the Encyclopædia essay), a history of her tomb and her shrine, the progress of devotion to her, and much else.

Kissinger? Henry Kissinger?

So it seems. The Italian press first reported it and the National Catholic Register has picked it up here. What an extraordinary choice; I don't remember Dr K being all that successful.

Health News

We have been having a bit of a gippy tummy this week. Not what one wanted on the very eve of Thanksgiving. Things do seem to be looking up today so I intend to partake of the feast. Perhaps somewhat more judiciously than usual, particularly as the epistle for today in the traditional Roman Rite includes St Paul's admonition to the Philippians regarding those who are "enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly."

I take that as a hint.


The patriarchate of which has put up a lovely webpage in honour of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI at the very appropriately named addresss

Do take the "Quicktime" tour of the patriarchal compound. It's a beautiful 30 minutes or so.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's "pro multis" says the CDW

And not "for all". The various national conferences have a year or two to change that one (1) word it says here. I wonder if that directive includes the Archdiocese of Hollywood? Many things don't as it turns out. . . .

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

All Carmelite Souls

Today the Carmelite Order commemorates "all Carmelite souls" and prays for all deceased members of the Order. The office is essentially the same as that for All Souls Day except the collect prays in particular for omnium defunctorum ordinis nostri.

And yesterday was the feast of All Carmelite Saints. I should have mentioned something of that here but for one small hitch in the gitalong which consummed the afternoon and part of the evening. SWMBO, realizing that we are the last family on the planet without a DVD player*, found a sale on one the other day and bought it. It fell to me to install this marvel of the age. No orders were given, mind you. This is just one of those things which are understood, no words being necessary. It is part of the unwritten constitution of this household that the Y chromosome includes within its genetic constituents both an innate understanding of all household technology and the ability to install, uninstall, and where necessary, repair it. 25 or so years of experience to the contrary has altered this understanding not one jot or tittle.

So yesterday was spent installing, programming, and otherwise footering about with the new equipment. Setting up computers is far easier. The last computer came with a large piece of paper which folded into a little booklet. It told you everything you needed to know to set up the PC. Took no time at all. The DVD thingummy on the other hand comes with a 92 page book. It is translated (sic) from, I believe, the Japanese. (It instructs me to "extenuate the coaxial" at one point.) An ICEL version would have been an improvement.

But enough whingeing. It's a very nice piece of equipment. I tested one of the six (6) DVDs that we own on it and it works very well. Excellent picture and bright, clear colours.

*Re: "last family on the planet without a DVD player". I mean, of course, a real one. One attached to a television set. This PC came with one as did SWMBO's. But we can't gather 'round the PC together to watch "The Quiet Man" now can we. Of course not.

An Expanded Anglican Use?

Just to show that we are not unalterably opposed to publicizing ecclesiastical rumours I put this link before you: Ruth Gledhill of The Times of London speculates about yet another document lying on the Holy Father's desk. This one is perhaps going to create an apostolic prelature - that's what Opus Dei has - for the Anglican Use.

Poor Holy Father; he may need a larger in-box for all this unsigned paper work.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Something for the Antiques Road Show

Two Fra Angelicos behind the door in the spare bedroom.

A Carravagio in the store room.

And one heckuva valuable vote.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fear and Loathing at Lourdes

The French episcopate gives the American a run for its money in the ignore-the-blindingly-obvious sweepstakes.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

11 November -- St Martin

In one of God's own co-incidences, Veteran's Day in this country is also the feast of the ex-soldier, St Martin of Tours. His life can be found many places on the web but one tends to rely on the good old Catholic Encyclopædia which recounts his vita here.

These days the feast of St Martin brings to mind something other than soldiering. He spent most of his life as priest, bishop, and abbot. In one of his letters (used for the second reading in the Pauline Rite's Office of Readings), Sulpicius Severus recounts his death and the sorrow of his flock at losing their pastor. I cannot help thinking of the retirement of our old pastor, Fr Daniel Johnson, from St Mary's by the Sea. The sentiments of his parishioners, his people, are the same:

He summoned his brethren and told them he was dying. All who heard this were overcome with grief. In their sorrow they cried to him with one voice: “Father, why are you deserting us? Who will care for us when you are gone? Savage wolves will attack your flock, and who will save us from their bite when our shepherd is struck down? We know you long to be with Christ, but your reward is certain and will not be any less for being delayed. You will do better to show pity for us, rather than forsake us”.

Although not dying, Father no longer had the health or strength to remain as pastor any more than St Martin. I don't know whether the "wolves" ravaged Tours after St Martin's death but they have certainly done their work at St Mary's.

Veteran's Day

A.k.a., "Armistice Day". The place to go on 11/11 is always the Irish Elk: the most interesting, most inspiring stories and links related to the day. The picture at the head of this post was taken in 1945. It shows two veterans of the second world war. The lieutenant, naval engineer, and veteran of the landings on Tarawa on the right is my father. The captain of Marines on the left, one of the first class of women commissioned in the United States Marine Corps, is my mother.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Note to Bill Stoneman

You can't turn around without someone saying the Angels need another strong bat. And they're right, to be sure. But if the Oakland (or whatever they're calling themselves now) A's doesn't offer him enough, don't overlook Barry Zito. A left handed starter, Bill. A left handed starter. And he isn't on the disabled list every month or so. Thank about it, o.k.?

The Day of Reckoning

There has been no posting since we exercized our franchise last Tuesday. This will allay your worries: I haven't actually thrown myself off a tall building after the Republican debacle. As some of you already know, I am a Republican only by default. Alas, on the whole it is the only practical choice. Here in the California Republic, as it's called on our state flag, the Republican party is the only available political vehicle with a ghost of a chance of electing someone to office with something resembling a moral compass. And it is, indeed, just a ghost of a chance. (This is not the California of my youth in which UROC and the CRA were kingmakers.) But to get that chance, the said candidate has to be nominated in the primary. And to vote in that primary, one has to be a member of the party whose primary it is. “Independents” can vote in no primary. Only registered AIP folks can vote in the AIP primary, only Libertarians in the Libertarian, and, yes, only registered Republicans in the Republican primary. So one stays by default in the GOP even though it is once more in the hands of the country club oligarchs.

And every once in a while someone slips through whom you can vote for with enthusiasm. Vide Tom McClintock and Dick Mountjoy. True, they don't actually get elected these days. Instead we get Arnold pro-lifers-are-just-a-bunch-of-religious-fanatics Schwarzenegger. But it's the closest thing there is to a chance at a government that isn't “awa w' the fairies.” (I meant that in the traditional sense when I wrote it; looking at it in print it seems to work in the modern sense, too, Mr Foley (R. Fla.) to the contrary notwithstanding.)

For the local offices there was never any chance. This area was gerrymandered as safe for Democrats many years ago. Congress: D-66%, R-34%; state assembly: D-68.3%, R-31.7%. The local offices are unfortunately where most of the first rate people are. Margherita Underhill is an excellent example. A first class candidate for almost any office. But a sacrificial lamb in this party of the county. It's astonishing that anyone bothers to spend a filing fee to appear on the GOP line out here.

The voting on the ballot propositions is alternately depressing and bizarre. My fellow citizens have slipped the surly bonds of reality and touched the face of chaos. They want to spend money. Lots of money. They have approved bond issues for water projects, baby sitting services – uh, I mean public schools, flood control, highways, disasters, housing/shelters, transportation . . . I'm sure I've left something out. They appear to believe that bonds are all free money and never have to be repaid because all tax increases were defeated. We also decided that we would like to have our homes taken by the state for private use with little or no compensation. And then we demanded that all convicted sex offenders be required to live far, far away. . .apparently under the assumption that no sex offender will ever own a car or have bus fare. Pity those with chidren who live in rural areas; their area is the new home of the newly released sex offender.

And here in Lakewood, the Athens of the southeast county, we have decided that since the local do-gooders make vast amounts of cash selling explosive and incendiary devices in our town, they should be allowed to continue to do so. And the local citizenry can continue to set them off every 4th of July. And everyone for miles around can load up the car with their own explosives and set off down the 605 to celebrate the holiday here in the gunpowder capital of southern California. After all, we've only lost one house altogether. Those others were only damaged.

And yet with all that I am remarkably cheerful.

There is no gainsaying that the Democrats did not deserve to win. But there is some weight on the other side of the balance: the unarguable fact that the Republicans thoroughly deserved to lose.

This has been a disgraceful administration from its limitations on personal freedom at home to its imperial adventures abroad. I don't forget the pro-life cause either. So far as I can tell, the Republican party apparat taken as a whole has no commitment whatsoever to pro-life success. They are exactly as pro-life as they need to be in order to keep their pro-life constituency in line but no more. In the thirty four years since Roe v Wade there has been no attempt from the Washington GOP power structure at a pro-life constitutional amendment. Not one. Not even in the early days when there was such a thing as a pro-life Democratic congressman. In my opinion they have done their best to ensure that substantial pro-life measures never succeed. So long as the issue remains a viable one, they have a lock on that constituency. Were it ever to go away, a great many members of that huge block of voters would be gone forever. Some back to inactivity, some back to their homes in the Democratic party. But none to remain and vote for the country club oligarchy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

An End Run

Seven more states say "no" to "gay marriage". But that's just those pesky voters. New York officialdom has found a nifty way around the roar of the mob*: amend the birth certificate.

[*"roar of the mob" = electoral results disapproved of the progressive establishment. Not to be confused with "the voice of the people", i.e., electoral results approved of by the aforementioned establishment.]

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yet Another Rumoured Motu Proprio

This one's on music.

Nice if it happens. Although, it will be irrelevant here, of course, since the Holy Father's writ does not run in the Archdiocese of Hollywood. If you need proof and you've a spare half hour, have a read through of Redemptionis Sacramentum and tot up all the directives that are pointedly ignored in this ecclesiastical wonderland.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The War of the Rumours

Traditionalists: the Charlie Browns of the ecclesiastical universe.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Sense of Humour

Interesting contrast. When A's, uh, "joke" goes awry A does not laugh at himself. A goes off in a huff and a sulk. When B is the butt of said "joke", B makes a further joke and has a great laugh.

[Thanks to Jerry Pournelle for the reference to the photo.]

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Diocese of Orange Celebrates the Holidays

Yes, that really is an EME, i.e., an "Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist". The Roman Catholic blog reports the full story here. The happy clamjamfrey illustrated above is in our own beloved Diocese of Orange, where kneeling at the Agnus Dei is a mortal sin and will get you expelled from the parish council, the parish, and, indeed, the diocese. And where dressing up as a Halloween devil to distribute Holy Communion will get you. . . .well, nothing yet. No doubt the wheels of episcopal justice are being set in motion at this very minute. No doubt.

ADDENDUM: Some brave soul even made a short video of this, uh, "event". It's on Youtube here.


That's what this is in braid Scots: a wabsteid. Or a "website" for the Sassenagh amang ye. The Times has more here.

[A tip of the balmoral to the Scottish Christian for pointing that out.]


Decca has re-released their 1963 recording of La Traviata with (a very young) Joan Sutherland, Carlo Bergonzi, and Robert Merrill. I only heard Act One this morning but this is now on my must-have list. It was heart-stoppingly gorgeous. It will curl your hair (or straighten it if it is already curly) and unravel your sox. I have no words for Sutherland's Siempre Libre.

The Uses of Etymology. . .

. . .are not great in the ideological wars. As we have mentioned before, the original meaning of the labels we put on our factions don't really tell us much about them. Exempla gratiæ, the poor old liberals get less and less liberal all the time. Witness the continuing weeping and lamentation of the oh, so free-thinking and liberal French hierarchy in regard to the new Institute of the Good Shepherd and the rumoured motu proprio which is supposed to arrive at any minute and, ahem, "liberate" the traditional Roman Rite. Why, you'd think the Wehrmacht were at the gates again.

Reuters, of course, doesn't really give a toss about Catholic liturgy. But witness this piece. They're having sympathy pains with their lefty episcopal brethren.

And yet more liberality: The Pill of London weighs in with this dire warning of the imminent collapse of all that is Godly, righteous, and sober if the Insitute of the Good Shepherd is allowed to exist.

And this is just the veriest faint echo of sturm und drang that fills the French press all of it fulminating against the five (5) members of the new Institute.

Quite a word, "liberal".

A Respite

A Saturday off at last. It's been another of those weeks nibbled to death by ducks. Last Saturday I was playing for a wedding in Palm Springs in 90 degree weather and wearing far too much Scottish wool. At the end of which I started the longish drive back from the desert to the seashore and civilisation (or what passes for it in California) and found a flat tire. This was mostly not good. But we did get the opportunity to be the recipients of great kindness from a fellow who stopped to fix it for us. (Thanks again, Mike. If I knew your last name and your address you'd get a more personal thank you than this.)

And then there was the sore throat/bronchitis. Not incapacitating. But it doesn't help play the pipes either.

I think I've mentioned before that our parish has perpetual adoration. Mary and I do a holy hour from 3 to 4 on Thursday mornings. (The time was most assuredly not our idea. But Fr Greg needed someone for that time. Fr Greg is not an easy man to say no to.) This Thursday for some reason it occured to me to stay up when we returned home rather than going back to bed for the remaining couple hours of sleep. Why, I could get a head start on the day and catch up on all sorts of things. So the theory went. But it seems that I am no longer 20 years old and four and a half hours sleep doesn't do the trick any more. That was one bizarre day. I couldn't think through anything. I've never written so much rubbish in my life. (No, don't go scrolling back through the Inn's archives. I know there is some doofy stuff in there. But trust me; this was really worse.) I even missed All Soul's Day Mass. I made a point of keeping the communion fast. . . .and then forgot to go.

As for the rest of the week, I have no idea where it went. It certainly wasn't devoted to The Inn. Nibbled to death by ducks.