Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blogging Studies

Insight doesn't happen to me very often. And when it does, it turns out to be pretty trivial. Finding out why the photos wouldn't download from the camera the other day was an exhilarating insight. But, alas, only to me. And only at the moment. Not really blog-worthy. So you didn't read about it here.

There was almost a post yesterday moaning about the Tea Party movement. We got to 7 or 8 paragraphs, read it over for typos - yes, I do read this stuff over for typos, all evidence in front of you to the contrary notwithstanding - and realized I had nothing to say that wasn't excruciatingly obvious and couldn't be boiled down to one sentence. In short, I had no insight, nothing original to say, and no reason to fill up Blogspot's valuable bandwidth. So you didn't read that here either.

But I did have a flash of insight this morning over breakfast and the Press Telegram. You can decide for yourself whether it counts as trivia. There was a short announcement that some professor would be giving a lecture at the aquarium about something or other of vital interest to all concerned citizens. And the light shone. It came to me: all courses of any sort at any institution of higher learning with the word "Studies" in the title is a scam, i.e., not an intellectual endeavour but either an exercize in ideology and propaganda or an entertainment masquerading as a course of study.

That should be right up there with Joe Sobran's insight that any government activity called a program is unconstitutional.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We're Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto Dept.

Modernity never fails to amaze me. And not in a good way. One of our local parishes found it necessary to print the following in the Sunday bulletin:

We have noticed again an increase in the use of cell phones during Church services as well as an increase in the use of phone games and other video games during Mass in the Church. We ask the parents to give a good example by teaching respect to their children during Mass. The Mass period is a sacred and prayerful period and other people are unjustly distracted by the noise of your cell phones or by the person in front playing video games while in Church. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL AND CONSIDERATE with the right of others to pray and worship in PEACE and SILENCE. Also a reminder that NO CHEWING GUM OR FOOD IS ALLOWED IN THE CHURCH. Thank you for helping us to make ______ a more conducive place for worship.

It's not a traditional chapel (did I need to mention that?) or even a church with a Summorum Pontificum once-a-week Mass but your basic N.O. parish trying to do the right thing so I won't embarrass them by mentioning them by name. I suspect it's a lost cause and not just because people playing video games in church are hardly likely to read the bulletin. But how do you instill reverence when your rubrics, music, and language are shouting that nothing terribly important is going on?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Much to my surprise. . . .

. . . . I really like this piece. What a knock-out arrangement. Someone recommended it to me and I put off listening for a few days. The pipe score for the tune is kicking around the net somewhere. Sounds like it would be a bit of fun to play even without the chorus and African drums.

A New Traditional Carmel

This one, called the Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and founded in Brazil, celebrates the old Carmelite Liturgy of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. They have something of the same goals as the Carmelite Monks of Wyomning. But with some differences.

The New Liturgical Movement has more here.

Agatha Christie

The New Yorker has a piece on the "creator of the modern murder mystery" in the August 16 number. Nothing new but an entertaining read if you are a mystery fan, as is your servant. You can find it here I think. But it may be behind a subscription wall. There's an "abstract" - that's what they call it - here. Not sure it's worth a trip to the library for the back issue if you can't get the internet version to co-operate. But it might be if you've enough interest in Dame Agatha. A copy of the Snowdon portrait photograph is included.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Some Piping for the Weekend

This is the G-III Kevin Blandford Memorial Pipe Band from southern California. They used to be in Redlands and I think are still near there, somewhere in San Bernardino, perhaps Upland. The clip shows their winning performance at the Stone Mountain Games in 2006. The poster mentions that his battery died in mid recording and he replaced it as fast as he could. You can both hear and see when it happens: a judge magically appears in mid screen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fr William Doyle, S.J.

Clicking on this link will bring you to an excellent new blog and website dedicated to Fr Willie Doyle, S.J, who died in action serving as chaplain to various units of the 16th Irish Brigade in the first world war. Fr Doyle has been mentioned on The Inn several times and a few links have been provided but until now there has been nothing on the web as substantial as this.

Highly recommended.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Assumption of Our Lady

Yes, the feast was yesterday. But go here for a beautiful poem on Our Lady's feast.

Tell us, Mary Mother, how it was,
That day in August (was it?),
When He came for you. . . . .

Da Babe

According to this morning's paper, today is the anniversary of Babe Ruth's death in 1948.

This is what Time magazine had to say 62 years ago about the Babe's death. Time's trademark snarky cynicism is a little hard to take but what facts they print are interesting. A funeral Mass at St Patrick's presided over by Cardinal Spellman. Pallbearers included Governor Dewey of New York, Mayor O'Dwyer of New York City and Mayor Curley of Boston. "A beautiful death" said the priest who annointed him.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


St Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band finally did it. They swept all before them at the Worlds: won the MSR, won best drum corps, and -- finally -- Grade I World Champion Pipe Band for 2010. This is the first time a band from the Republic of Ireland has won Grade I at the worlds.

BBC Scotland has lots of good stuff - video, audio, and commentary - here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Some Piping for the Weekend

And not just any weekend. It's THE weekend. The World Pipe Band Championships commence with a bang tomorrow. (Well, actually, with a three-beat roll off and a well-timed introductory E.)

And this year you can tune in live via BBC Scotland, 0900 British Summer Time. Alas, on this side of the Atlantic that means getting up anywhere from very early all the way to unspeakably early. Here in the left-hand corner of the U.S., eight and a half miles from the Pacific Ocean, that means one in the Ay Em. The quite literal middle of the night. We may, depending upon how enthusiastic we feel on going to bed, set the alarm. Then again, we may not. Even if we do, there really isn't much hope. If we know us, and we do, what will happen is that that alarm will go off, our groggy, sleep-deprived self will mutter !!#$%&! or something similar, roll over and go back to sleep. Hours later, at a reasonable time, after several mugs of strong tea, we will catch the tail end.

But you could listen to the whole thing. Nothing stopping you. It's Saturday.

The Other Inn at the End of the World

For Sale:

The stagger home from the Old Forge in Inverie on the Knoydart Peninsula is a little more challenging than the one from most other pubs.

If you do not live in the village, the only way of reaching or leaving is by walking 18 miles or making a seven-mile sea crossing.

The Old Forge has an entry in the Guinness World Records as the remotest pub on mainland Britain.

It has been offered for sale at offers above £790,000.

More here.

Right at the moment my on-line currency converter says that comes to $1,231,688.68. There go the payments on the Toyota.

ADDENDUM: Bill White informs us that The Forge has its own website here. Apparently it's much more of an established establishment than that news article would lead you to believe. Might even be worth that million and a quarter. But how do they get their deliveries? I have this mental picture of native bearers hoofing it the whole 18 miles with barrels of Guinness on their heads. . . .

Not Quite A Blue Moon. . .

. . .but Friday the 13th comes on a Friday this month. Nevertheless, the usual cautions apply. Don't break any ladders, or walk under any black cats, etc. It's bad luck to be superstitious.

I Owe My Soul to the Company Store. . .

. . . .or possibly to the GameStation website. Well, not me, of course, because I'm not a computer games sort of guy. But pity the few thousand others who patronised the GameStation site.

Thousands of shoppers unknowingly signed their souls over to a computer-game store after failing to read the terms and conditions on their website.

GameStation added the "immortal soul clause" to online purchases earlier this month stating customers granted them the right to claim their soul.

There's more here.

I wonder how the contract-of-adhesion defense works in the afterlife? And what does a commercial enterprise do with an immortal soul anyway?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Patricia Neal RIP

Patrica Neal died the other day. The Times had an extensive obituary. They made mention of her abortion. But they missed a few things. Like this:

“If I had only one thing to do over in my life,” she wrote, “I would have that baby.”

". . .alone in the night for over 40 years, I have cried for my child,” said Neal, according to Lisante. “And if there is one thing I wish I had the courage to do over in my life, I wish I had the courage to have that baby."

More of what the thoroughly evil Times didn't mention.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

7 August - Bl Edward Bamber

Today is the anniversary of one of the priests martyred during the English civil war. From Henry Sebastian Bowden, C.O.'s Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales:

Born in Lancashire, he made his studies at St Omer and Seville, and returned to England a priest. The brief memoirs of his life speak of his unwearied diligence in instructing Catholics and converting Protestants, the good he did in times and places of the greatest danger, and the courage he displayed at all times. He was apprehended during the Civil War, and kept in Lancaster Castle for thee years without trial. At length, on the worthless evidence of two apostates, he was sentenced. On 7 August 1646 he and two fellow priests were drawn to the place of execution, and one Croft, a felon, was brought to die with them. Mr Bamber used all his efforts to bring this man to repentance, telling him, if he would only repent, declare himself a Catholic, and publicly confess some of his more public sins, he would absolve him. In site of the threats and indignation of the officials and ministers, the prisoner declared he died a Catholic, openly confessed some of his most scandalous crimes, and was publicly absolved. Priest and penitent then sealed their profession with their blood.

Fr Bamber was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Some Piping for the Weekend

Mike Katz on the Scottish smallpipe and Mike Whellans playing blues harmonica. Now that's something you don't hear every day. The tunes are "Juan Martino" and "Tail Toddle".

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Metaphor, Simile, and Turn-of-Phrase Dept.

From this month's number of Chronicles:

The U.S. Constitution, as I often say, poses no serious threat to our form of government. It has roughly the same tenuous relation to our political institutions as the book of Revelation has to the Unitarian Church.
-Joseph Sobran, The Bare Bodkin, "Calling Dr Johnson"

Sunday, August 01, 2010

High Mass at Dominguez Chapel

10:00 a.m. High Mass this morning. The thurifer went to town with the thurible. Lots of incense on the coals and some vigorous censing. The chapel was filled with incense. It's now eight hours later and I can still smell the fragrance. I love it when that happens. That was one of the delights of being thurifer when I was at school. My surplice smelled of incense for the rest of the week. If I couldn't be holy at least I could smell holy.