Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas is coming. . . . .

Last Sunday was "Stir Up Sunday", the last Sunday before Advent. Excita, quæsumus, Domine. . . began the traditional collect and "Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord. . ." went the collect in the old prayer book. Time to stir up the ingredients for the Christmas pudding since The Day is now only a month away and a good pudding takes time. My aunt used to make a very good pudding and my mother-in-law an absolutely outstanding one. Alas, Aunt Anne is long dead and Rosie died just last spring. We shall have to rely on store-bought as neither Mary nor I seem to have acquired the talent. If you're in southern California, a fairly tolerable one can be had from the Irish Import Shop in Hollywood -- if you steam it properly.

NASA Has a Website

It even has a TV station which we used to get on our old system.

But the website is what interests this morning. Take a look at this. Each day they post an Astronomy Picture of the Day. They're almost always interesting. This one is last Sunday's. It shows the simultaneous rising of the moon and setting of the sun in a panoramic shot of the city of Lisbon. Beautiful stuff. It will make you long for a six-foot long monitor.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

She's Right. . . .

. . . .I would like an illustration of that.

No idea where to get one, though. If the medieval painters were right, there are a fair number of angel pipers. (Like this one.) Haven't seen any celestial box players, or any saints or angels with tin whistles or bodhrans. The 19th century added some instruments but I have me doubts. Take this one. Sure, that might be a fiddler but I'm thinking it's much more likely we're talking violinist. Even if there is a mandolin in the background.

Which reminds me, I'm still looking for a saintly piper. A saint not an angel. The pianists are loaded with saintly patrons: Bl Dina Belanger and Bl Elizabeth [Catez] of the Trinity, O.C.D. were both concert pianists, as was the Servant of God Fr Augustine Marie of the Blessed Sacrament, O.C.D. That last, Hermann Cohen in lay life, was a student of Liszt at one time. Bl Solanus Casey, O.F.M.Cap. was an enthusiastic, if only mildly talented, Irish fiddler. But no beatified or canonized pipers.

The closest I've come is one Andrew Campbell, who was bishop of Lismore in the penal days around the middle of the 18th century. He visited his flock disguised as a highland piper, so I presume he could give forth with a few tunes. He wasn't martyred but he remained faithful in the face of persecution.

Anyone find a better piper patron?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Take the BBC Hollywood Quiz

You can find it here.

I got 9 out of 10. Hardly ever seeing any films made after the early '60s finally paid off. In self-satisfaction, anyway.

The Clara Bow question ruined my perfect score; the two "contestants" could be twins.

And in the interests of full disclosure, I guessed at the Grainger question.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dum veneris iudicare sæculum per ignem. . . .

So it has seemed this weekend. The air is filled with smoke and everything is covered in ash. Large parts of Orange and L.A. counties are not accessible. Perhaps you've read about it? If not, try

here, here, here, here, and here.

The links are to the Los Angeles Times, but there's a good chance the stories are true anyway.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Friday the 13th. . . .

. . . .comes on a Thursday this month.

Law of Unintended Consequences Dept

Here on the left coast we have a state supreme court which just a few months ago discovered that homosexuals have the right to marry each other. People who realize that this makes no sense even by modern Californian standards placed a measure, denominated Proposition 8, on the ballot to amend the constitution to remove this new-found right. (They did not do it to "restore traditional marriage" as the rhetoric alleged. Traditional marriage is illegal in this state and has been for many years. It remains so. But that's a diatribe for another post.)

And Proposition 8 passed. How'd it do that? Read about it here.

Try not to snicker. It isn't charitable.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day - Remembrance Day - Veterans Day

It's Veterans' Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth nations. Some of them, anyway. And it began everywhere as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of The Great War at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

A friend of mine sent me this link to a story appropriate for the day: the first and last soldiers of the King killed in the Great War are buried opposite each other, just a few feet apart. You can find the whole story here. (Thanks, Gary.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

10 November 2008 - Happy Birthday Marines

The United States Marine Corps is 233 years old today.

Pipers in the Marines

The Leatherneck Pipe Band

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Prayer for Our Nation

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Something High Tech Works for a Change

We seem to have been successfully up-graded. Everything seems to be doing what it is supposed to do, and remarkably fast, too. We now have a house full of fiber optic cable and everything relevant connected thereto. If I haven't missed any small print, doing this should save us a bundle of money each month. We shall see. Unfortunately, I seem to be every major corporation's prize sucker, but so far it's looking pretty good. . . .

When Watching the Election Returns on TV Tonight. . . .

. . . .you may be tempted to watch MSNBC and the fabled Keith Olberman.

This will save you the trouble.

Whither The Inn at the End of the World?

We have some folks coming out in a couple of hours to do some up-grades on the vast communication system that brings The Inn to the world. After the past couple of months, I have no confidence at all that this bit of 21st century progress won't plunge us into a new cyber dark age. [So why am I doing it? Because I am fed to the teeth with Earthlink. Do you know they billed me again for a service they cancelled on me two months ago? But that's a tirade for another post.]

We should be back on line and opining away by tonight 6:00 p.m. PST. That's Wednesday 0200 GMT. But who knows? If you never see The Inn again, you'll know what happened.

Votin' Day

It is election day. Yes, this is the kind of stop-press, late-breaking news that makes logging on to The Inn all worth while, doesn't it. And, as predicted yesterday, I cast my ballot for The Divine Sarah and McWhatsisname.

We showed up ten minutes before the polls opened and the line was already out the door. In this heavily Democratic district that is not particularly good news. Republicans usually show up to vote. Democrats usually can't be bothered. When they do bestir themselves, they sweep the boards.

And I was sorry to see they don't ring the bell any more. Hundreds of years ago when I first registered to vote (two terms for President Washington!), one of the workers had to go outside and ring a handbell and shout out "O yez, O yez, O yez, the polls are now open!" They had the same routine at night, only shouting that the polls were now closed. It was a bit of fun to watch. You had two types of people doing it. The ones who really threw themselves into it and the ones who were embarrassed to death and could hardly be heard.

As traditions go, I suppose it wasn't all that glorious. But I'm still sorry to find it gone.

Monday, November 03, 2008

All Souls Day -- transferred

In case I lost you in yesterday's discourse on the weekend's calendrical intricacies, suffice to say that today is All Souls Day in the traditional Roman Rite.

From the "Handbook on Indulgences", English edition:

Grant number 67
Visiting a Church or an Oratory on All Souls Day

A plenary indulgence which is applicable only to the souls in purgatory is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on All Souls Day.
This indulgence can be obtained either on the day mentioned above or, with the consent of the ordinary, on the preceding or following Sunday or on the solemnity of All Saints.
This indulgence is already contained in the apostolic constitution, Indulgentiarum doctrina, norm 15. it is included here in light of the Sacred Penitentiary's deliberations since the constitution was issued.
According to norm 16 of the apostolic constitution, this visit is to include the "recitation of the Lord's Prayer and the Creed
, (Pater and Credo).
The rather odd use of italics is in the original.

Grant number 13
Visiting a Cemetery

An indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the dead. This indulgence is applicable only to the souls in purgatory. This indulgence is a plenary one from November 1 through November 8 and can be gained on each one of these days. On the other days of the year this indulgence is apartial one.

Almighty and eternal God, grant unto the souls of they servants and handmaidens departed the remission of all their sins, that through pious supplications they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

48 Hours and We Can Start on the 2012 Presidential Election!

I was marking my sample ballot the other day, trying to remember if I'd ever heard of any of the judges before and seeing which of the propositions needs further examination. Most of the ballot measures, of course, are easily decided upon. Bond measures, contrary to popular belief, are not free money. They cost money. Lots of money. This state has no money. It's an automatic "no" vote, except for the veterans' home loan bonds which are an automatic "yes" vote because they are self-funding. That takes care of a good half of them. Then there are the ones put up by cranks. (E.g. the "let's pay everyone to buy electric cars" measure. !#$%&! loonies. Even if it wasn't a half-baked con job, as mentioned above, this state is broke.) And let's not even go into the $90 billion dollar L.A.-to-San Francisco train that'll cost every family in California $10,000 and save you $27 dollars on your trip to San Francisco, should you so far take leave of your senses as to want to go there. The trip will also take 2 hours longer than to fly. And, not to put too fine a point upon it, THIS STATE HAS NO MONEY.

The only other "yes" votes I can find are proposition 8, which reverses The Supremes and reserves marriage for the marriagable, proposition 4 which requires that parents at least be notified if their minor daughter obtains an abortion (although they still have to give permission if she gets her ears pierced or uses a tanning booth), proposition 9 that requires that victims be consulted before parole is granted to convicted criminals, and proposition 11 which takes redistricting in this egregiously gerrymandered state out of the hands of politicians. As the redoubtable Tom McClintock puts it: "voters should choose their politicians and not the other way around."

But what to do about the "President" slot. If you take out the anti-life people, you're left with Senator McCain and Allen Keyes. The Constitution Party isn't on our ballot. The American Independent folks used to nominate the Constitution Party candidate as their own. But for some reason, this year they nominated Allen Keyes. A fine fellow in many ways, but a card-carrying neo-con. What would be the point of voting for him with John McCain on the ballot? If you want to vote for a neo-con, you might as well vote for one who has a chance in hell of winning.

I suppose I could write in either of my two long-time favourite write-in candidates: President Jefferson Davis or Governor Al Smith. Both Democrats, wouldn't you know, but both sound leaders. They do have the drawback of being dead and are unlikely to be counted. But still better than anyone else on the ballot.

But realistically, you know, this is California. This means that it doesn't make a blessed bit of difference who I vote for. The Democratic Party has this state so tightly sewn up that my vote for the presidency hardly even rises to the level of an irrelevancy. So I shall probably vote for Senator McCain. And for this reason only:
one more vote in Senator McCain's column will add, ever so slightly, to the annoyance of the Los Angeles Times. And that's the best that can be hoped for here in the lower left-hand corner of the United States in this year of Our Lord 2008.

Cathedral-Eating Bees

No, really. There are such things - 20 different species in Britain alone - and they are devouring Lichfield Cathedral. It says so here in the Daily Telegraph.

First liturgists and modernist bishops in the 20th century. Now bees in the 21st. Ecclesiastical architecture has certainly had much to suffer of late.

Thanks - I think - to the York Forum for pointing this out.

Domine, salva nos! Perimus!

Speaking of the traditional Roman Rite, which we were just one post ago, this Sunday's Gospel was remarkably appropriate. It was, of course, read on the Sunday before this Tuesday's election, the one in which the most anti-life member of the senate is expected to win the presidency of the United States. If you don't have your missal to hand, it was Matthew 8:xxiii-xxvii:

23 And when he entered into the boat, his disciples followed him: 24 And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. 25 And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish.

26 And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. 27 But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him?

"Lord, save us, we perish." An apt prayer indeed.

Sorting out the Calendar

Yesterday was All Saints Day for those who survived the trick-or-treating. Here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood, though, it was not a Holy Day of Obligation this year. I'm told this has to do with it falling on a Saturday. Apparently our beloved Ordinary feels it too grievous a burden on the faithful to require them to attend the Novus Ordo two days in a row. (While I appreciate His Eminence's consideration, I do wonder whether that was entirely wise.)

And today is All Souls Day for those relying on the said Novus Ordo, even though the Office of the Dead is not celebrated because it falls on a Sunday. I have no idea why this should be; you'll have to ask your local liturgy committee. (Surely you have one?) For those of us celebrating in the ancient Roman Rite, tomorrow is the transferred celebration of All Souls Day. Complete with Office of the Dead. And today is the 25th Sunday after Pentecost. At least the chants are. The lections and the collect of the Mass are from the 4th Sunday after Epiphany.

Got all that? Good. This Catholic stuff is not for the lazy or inattentive.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Global Warming

It's the first of November and very warm today with higher humidity than any day I remember at the height of summer. But these folks here say it won't be so for very much longer. They seem to have the credentials to make that sort of judgement.

Unfortunately, I don't. I can just read it and wonder. Have a look yourself.