Saturday, February 15, 2003

Solidarity. The Pope. And 14 billion types of vodka.

I have this little Polish phrasebook, one of those five-dollar jobbies that give you just the basics, and if you go to the Restaurant section of this phrasebook, it gives you a little menu of various comestibles & potables you might encounter during your sojourn in Poland. Apparently, the papal homeland is really big on vodka. There are several vodka-related terms in this phrasebook, including :

Cytrynówka : lemon-flavored vodka

Jarzebiak : rowanberry-flavored vodka

Mysliwska : hunters' juniper berry-flavored vodka

Pieprzówka : pepper-flavored vodka

Soplica : flavored, dry vodka

Wisniak : medium-sweet, cherry-flavored vodka

Wisniówka : sweet, cherry-flavored vodka

Wyborowa : dry, clear vodka

Zubrówka : vodka with a blade of bison grass in the bottle

Zytnia : clear, dry vodka

Kieliszek wódki : glass of vodka

:: :: :: :: ::

If I ever need a liver transplant ... remind me not to get it done in Warsaw!
Not very encouraging

This charming little chanson (WARNING : bad language) is currently #1 on the BET countdown.
True grit

Vinny Gambini : How could it take you 5 minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit-eating world 20 minutes?

Mr. Tipton : Um...I'm a fast cook, I guess.

Vinny Gambini : You're a fast cook? Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than any place on the face of the earth?

Mr. Tipton : I don't know.

Vinny Gambini : Perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist on your stove! Were these magic grits? Did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?
If a tune plagues the ear
as Marianne Moore advises

the best thing is to let it forth unhindered. Throw your homework onto the fire! Yes, the Smiths, if you were wondering ...
Necessary but impossible

John Derbyshire on ten things we, as a nation, have to do but won't.
the girl is only comfortable in her father's presence when her 14-year-old, six-foot-one-inch brother is near

C'est un mystère inexplicable.
memorandum to nihil obstat

Now be thorough. If you're going to, uhm, nail me on the Carpenters, you should also point out that Roberta Flack was not the first to record "Killing Me Softly" ...
In case you missed it

... every no[w] and again I'd trot down to Commander Salamander's in Georgetown and get my hair spiked and done in a variety of non-natural, but quite washable colors.

Need we say that this is somewhat at variance with the mental picture we had formulated?
Psalm 49. Audite haec, omnes.

O HEAR ye this, all ye people; * ponder it with your ears, all ye that dwell in the world;

2 High and low, rich and poor, * one with another.

3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom, * and my heart shall muse of understanding.

4 I will incline mine ear to the parable, * and show my dark speech upon the harp.

5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, * when wickedness at my heels compasseth me round about?

6 There be some that put their trust in their goods, * and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches.

7 But no man may deliver his brother, * nor give a ransom unto God for him,

8 (For it cost more to redeem their souls, * so that he must let that alone for ever;)

9 That he shall live alway, * and not see the grave.

10 For he seeth that wise men also die and perish together, * as well as the ignorant and foolish, and leave their riches for other.

11 And yet they think that their houses shall continue for ever, and that their dwelling-places shall endure from one generation to another; * and call the lands after their own names.

12 Nevertheless, man being in honour abideth not, * seeing he may be compared unto the beasts that perish;

13 This their way is very foolishness; * yet their posterity praise their saying.

14 They lie in the grave like sheep; death is their shepherd; and the righteous shall have dominion over them in the morning: * their beauty shall consume in the sepulchre, and have no abiding.

15 But God hath delivered my soul from the power of the grave; * for he shall receive me.

16 Be not thou afraid, though one be made rich, * or if the glory of his house be increased;

17 For he shall carry nothing away with him when he dieth, * neither shall his pomp follow him.

18 For while he lived, he counted himself an happy man; * and so long as thou doest well unto thyself, men will speak good of thee.

19 He shall follow the generation of his fathers, * and shall never see light.

20 Man that is in honour but hath no understanding * is compared unto the beasts that perish.
An eight-hour sleep
an eight-hour sleep

A rarity. Nine-thirty to five-thirty. With a two-minute interruption somewhere in the middle. A rarity, and a blessing.
A holy envy

I have a holy envy, one might call it, for the happily married. I think it's likelier that I'll end up being the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople than being married. But you never know.

Do Benedictines play three-card monte cassino?

Do liturgists stockpile weapons of Mass deconstruction?

If Eve Ensler lived in Saskatchewan, would she write ... oh, never mind ...
no blood

for oil let's have blood for the abortion industry instead and no loyalty oaths to the repressive republican regime let's sign loyalty oaths to planned parenthood instead because it's treason to be anti-choice

Friday, February 14, 2003

dylanesque comment chez Riddle
the 1970s, continued

Hell, a herd of Winnebagoes, we're givin' 'em away! Or how about a McCullough chainsaw?

Fee. And, for that matter, Midge.

So glad you mentioned Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry ("More than This," 1982). Although Origen tells me he prefers Bryan Adams, for "Cuts Like a Knife."

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

Boomtown Rats for "I don't like Mondays."

Réalisant mon espoir, je me lance vers l'étoile ...

Oh, squidnunc! How in the name of all things Sumnerian could we forget "Roxanne" or "Message in a Bottle"???

And the Schoolhouse Rock ditties!!!!!!!
Yes, indeed, Sir Kairos ...

That audacious comparison can be found in Letters to Malcolm (I don't have page number, as I don't have the book at hand). And I agree : it's either an incredibly fatuous, or an incredibly Holy, way of looking at things. From my limited & all-too-worldly perspective, it's often difficult to distinguish 'twixt the two.

Go read the Kairos Guy, meditating on the question of whether we can see Christ even in the evil emmer effers of the world.
Recently added to Places Oft
under the Bloglings

Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa and Fructus Ventris.
Psalm 77 (KJV)

1: I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.

2: In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.

3: I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

4: Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

5: I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.

6: I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

7: Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?

8: Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?

9: Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

10: And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.

11: I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

12: I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

13: Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

14: Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

15: Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

16: The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.

17: The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.

18: The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.

19: Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.

20: Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Nameless nocturne of the 34th winter

Passages of lucidity. A three-degree wind. And having writ.

Jazz version of "Time After Time," with the orange tears intact. O clock radio, tristful and poignant and utterly benedight.

Rules for Good Living. Post it tomorrow.

Dark speech upon the harp. The doctor in Berlin. La demoiselle de Brooklyn, exultant, tyrannical, supreme.

Eccentric mythologies, and a perpetually disastrous disclosure. Keep the veracities tangled up in traffic.

The publicity is closed on account of weather. Rigid, puritanical, the bright wind scowls. Memorandum to Selwyn : No unncessary rules about adjectives.

A plaintive saxophone makes 1984 immediate. All the proper emotions take attendance, and find themselves present.

When did it all begin, was it with Mrs Watkins and the misconstrued syllabus?

If a tune plagues the ear, unhinder it and give it voice. Uncloister, unlock the song.

It was not enough to live within that golden voice, or under the dominion of those dark brown eyes.

Epiphanies of abject flesh and bone.

Zachary's short lines, as unshrill as a murmur. Secure as a president, modest as a saint. And freezing air apostrophized as the unseen savior.

Those were the days of dead leaves in public parks, alternative lyrics of doom, original disparities. This, the creative world in its rust and splendor. Its tinted agonies and blighted bliss.

Those were the reckless afterthoughts of many a cautious day. And was there a moment when the semblances coalesced, when the things of this world made a prettier kind of sense.

Impossible hopes were nourished by the calendar's slow velocity. Miles of proclivity (read : "possibility") lay ahead. But somewhere along the line, at many junctures, in fact, roadblocks and detours. Obstruction, reclusion, retreat.

Ambitions moribund, frosted burgeonings : is there no chronicle that is not of wasted days?

Back to the diaries of Bardstown & vicinity, to the liturgies of loss, to the great entertainment of grief and forsaken glory. Back to the strange-sounding Now with its dusty radiance, its bleary sobriety.

Make note of the smaller triumphs, the precious renunciations. Make note of all those arduous escapes.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

On the other hand

Butterflies are free, penguins don't fly, Democrats are silly and the French eat snails.

On the other hand. I need a light-weight goose-neck desk-lamp.

On the other hand. If this be surrealism, then make the most of it.

On the other hand. The lady Deborah's newly-minted poetical currency (dithyrambs, postage stamps, lucky charms, screwdrivers & the brown paper-bag with Magritte's mendacious legend) refreshes the pockets of a tired winter day.

On the other hand. Have you ever seen anyone run across a tightrope?

On the other hand. The magician's assistants leave nothing to the imagination.

On the other hand. This garret, this turret, this eyrie, this pied-à-ciel ... it sure could use a fireplace.

On the other hand. Digital semaphore requires agile mittens.

On the other hand. Has anybody here seen Frank?

On the other hand. This is not a beer.

On the other hand. Yes. I agree. I think that what you say is so. I think that what you say is true. I like what you say.

On the other hand. Anything before MTV was the seventies. So give me the night.

On the other hand. On the down low, Nick quotes Hamlet and the Psalms of David. Cruel to be kind. All men are liars.

On the other hand. I loved Paula's countdown. It's eighteen degrees. Above or below, I can't tell.

On the other hand. What if that's where the shoe was?

On the other hand. Miranda's memoranda. Mementoes of misspelled moments.

On the other hand. It behooves me when you say that. There's so much normalcy at stake.
My favorite Audrey films
as in Audrey Kathleen van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston

1. MFL
2. WUD
3. Charade
4. BAT
5. Roman Holiday

I should emphasize that it's been centuries since I've seen How to Steal a Million ... and I haven't yet seen Two for the Road.
Genesis 2.18

King James Version

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

New American Bible

The Lord God said:
"It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him."
Seventies songs, you say?
KTC has posted a list -- here's mine (more than 10!)

"A Horse with No Name," America

"American Pie," Don McLean

Something by Sir Elton ("Goodbye, YBR" mayhap)

Maybe something by David Bowie (the Italian version of "Space Oddity"?)

"I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor

"Rapper's Delight" by the Sugar Hill Gang

Maybe something by Paul McCartney & Wings

All in the Family theme song

"We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions", Queen

"Killing Me Softly ..." Roberta Flack

Springsteen? I'll go with "Blinded by the Light," "Born to Run," "Adam Raised a Cain"

Donna Summer, "On the Radio" merits mention because it always sounded to me like she was saying riddy-oh.

10cc, "The Things We Do for Love"

Oh, yes, Rock the boat (don't rock the boat, baby) ... rock the boat (don't tip the boat over ... ) .. the Hues Corporation

Carpenters! "Top of the World," "Hurting Each Other," "Superstar"

But most especially : Van Morrison's "Moondance."

What, no Bee Gees? ("Stayin' Alive" the strongest candidate ... )

No Debby Boone?

Rollin' at sea, adrift on the waters,
Could it be finally I'm turnin' for home?
And three cheers

[this post has been deleted]
Three cheers for Charles Yancey
via the Globe

"I haven't heard any legitimate reason why the building should not be named after Honan [the late Boston city councillor Brian Honan, who died last summer at 39]. I say, 'If there's a problem, let's discuss it in the Menino Wing of the Hyde Park Library.' "

-- Boston City Councilor, and former council president, Charles C. Yancey, tweaking Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on his ostensible reluctance to rename a branch of the Boston Public Library in Allston after Honan, his late colleague. This morning's Globe reports Menino is no longer showing signs of reluctance, and agrees that the honor would be fitting.
Pelosi redux
via (scroll down to 2/11)

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2003 1:28 p.m. EST

Pelosi Denies Invoking Black Rape to Defend Abortion

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is vehemently denying reports that she once defended the practice of abortion by using an anti-black slur.

"I've talked with Ms. Pelosi and it's absolutely not true," her spokesman Brendan Daley told "She did not say this to Mr. Dornan."

Pelosi's office was responding to a report in Tuesday's New York Daily News quoting former Congressman Bob Dornan, who said that the top California Democrat once defended abortion to him by asking, "What would you do if one of your daughters was raped by a black man?"

Daley said that Pelosi "doesn't recall saying anything of the kind to him. And she knows that that's not the thing she would say. So she did not say it." [Italics are dylan's.]

The Pelosi aide further maintained that his boss had no recollection of any conversation whatsoever with former Rep. Dornan on the subject of abortion.

An unnamed press aide for Pelosi told the Daily News yesterday that the congresswoman had "no response" to Dornan's allegation, leaving the impression that she was unwilling to dispute his account.

However, Daley told NewsMax, "I talked with the Daily News this morning. At the time when the reporter had called, the young woman he spoke to in our office did not know about this allegation and so therefore did not want to respond."
Results of the quiz
Schmies Vocabulary Test -- spotted at Eve's, the Rat's, & at Oblique House

4. opposite ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is same
29. same ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is opposite
65. opposite ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is same
101. opposite ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is same
138. opposite ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is same
161. opposite ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is same
169. same ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is opposite
172. same ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is opposite
174. opposite ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is same
184. same ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is opposite
185. opposite ... INCORRECT... the correct answer is same

You got 189 out of 200 correct.

Psalm 121

in the KJ21 version, as, the site that provides the 1928 BCP Psalter, is undergoing maintenance until Septuagesima (the 16th) ...

1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help!

2 My help cometh from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not permit thy foot to be moved; He that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4 Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD is thy keeper; the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil; He shall preserve thy soul.

8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Abusing the President, or, the more things change

Go see Mark Sullivan's splendid compilation of things said about President Lincoln by some of his more critical contemporaries. Don't miss what the Chicago Times said about the Gettysburg Address.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Then was my neophyte
lines 1-24 of 48

Then was my neophyte,
Child in white blood bent on its knees
Under the bell of rocks,
Ducked in the twelve, disciple seas
The winder of the water-clocks
Calls a green day and night.
My sea hermaphrodite,
Snail of man in His ship of fires
That burn the bitten decks,
Knew all His horrible desires
The climber of the water sex
Calls the green rock of light.

Who in these labyrinths,
This tidethread and the lane of scales,
Twine in a moon-blown shell,
Escapes to the flat cities' sails
Furled on the fishes' house and hell,
Nor falls to His green myths?
Stretch the salt photographs,
The landscape grief, love in His oils
Mirror from man to whale
That the green child see like a grail
Through veil and fin and fire and coil
Time on the canvas paths.

from The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas (New Directions, 1954), p. 78
A Trappistine compares two pacifists

Once I dipped into an article in The Catholic Worker. I always start from the back, and I didn't know who had written it. It was so vitriolic, I was unhappy with it, then saddened to see it was by Dan Berrigan. So I thought, he is preaching pacifism in a violent frame of mind. I believe he is sincere, but I know you can't be a genuine pacifist, or genuinely helpful, through violence of the mind any more than through violence of the body. I never had that impression with Dorothy Day. She was terribly convinced, terribly dedicated. But she was interiorly calm. She had humor, she could see that other people would usually think she was nuts, but she didn't attack them emotionally for disagreeing. She was dry, extreme, loving, reverent -- a very disarming anarchist, someone in whom protest had not become an identity. I am glad I didn't have her vocation, for it's a rare person who could do what she did, and with such inner freedom.

Miriam Pollard, OCSO, from The Laughter of God : At Ease with Prayer (Michael Glazier, Inc., 1986), p. 111
Left-hand column

To the error503 archives, just below the photo of sir estlin, note the addition of the first eight days of that weblog's existence, when the erroneous, tenebrous, sporadically lucid one was but a babe in the woods at this whole blogging biz. Ah, those halcyon days of yore! The glory and the freshness of a dream!
Handpuppets, sockpuppets ... and now ...
not for the squeamish

A Boston Globe article on a twisted, cocksure theatrical troupe whose ... members ... specialize in what they call "the ancient art of genital origami." A good argument for slashing the arts budget?
Some good press

... for the new blog on the block!
Russia, Germany, Romania -- they can have all the democracy they want. They can have a big democracy cakewalk right through the middle of Tiananmen Square and it won't make a lick of difference because ...

we've got the Williams sisters.

Therefore, we rule.
Kenneth Koch (1925-2002)
from "The Seasons," IV : Winter

                Oh, from what Arctic bulge
Of everlasting winter slicked by spring
And summer with its meltingness re-formed
Into another shape as fearsome and
Relentless as its former, does there come
A messenger with one would say a hope
To pry conversion from the temperate zones
Convincing them with killing blasts of air
That sempiternal winter would be best
For everything there living? Spring has marked
The one end of this season as has fall
The other, yet, ignoring these, it comes
As it would stay forever. Flying force,
Go back to that sad cemeteried zone
In which you prosper, being there the king,
Unwanted here where soft erupts the rose,
The pear tree blossoms, and the children walk
To playgrounds through the heaps of autumn leaves,
With warm and cool, to each appointed each
A guardian and a limiting effect
Caught in the mild democracy of days.

[ ... ]

Unknowing its harsh powers some lucky young
May find it pleasure purely, and indeed
May all who have the means to keep them warm
For in contrast is pleasure -- the swift sting
Of wind is bound by a fur-coat embrace
In a light-wingèd mix of joy and pain
And few would banish winter from their midst
Could they quell its excess. Amantha slips
Her formal on that shows her shoulders smooth
And white as all that snow. Warm paradox
Of dressing up in winter to be bare
Beneath the glowering chandeliers of heaven
Two instants to the car! And she goes down
The stairs into her waiting date's hired car
And is whisked off to Princeton for a ball
While gentle flakelets flutter in the sky.
Now bold Arcturus weaves for the event
A sudden dreadful thunder that portends
A storm to bring New Jersey to its knees.

from Straits : Poems by Kenneth Koch (Knopf, 1998), pp. 61-62
Tuesday morning at nearly five

Life seems sagacious in these hours before the sunrise, before the coffee and the taken garbage. Here is a silence, monastic and responsible : a luminous darkness that invites the whispered psalm.

Outside it is bitter, and a graceless wind roils the dust and shabby papers of the street, the trees' discarded leaves and the candy wrappers, vivid remnants of culture. Inside is the season of grace, of cordial communion with the saints and angels -- of noble distractions, of the aging but timeless books, of just enough light.

And now for an hour of blessed darkness, an hour or two, before the duties beckon, before the coffee quickens to life, before the sober light arrives, to scrutinize, to notice and reveal what the wholesome night leaves hidden.
Nancy Pelosi vs Bob Dornan on abortion

and a racially insensitive comment from Pelosi. From the New York Daily News (scroll down a wee bit, less than a third of the way).

But, Nancy ... wouldn't that be a hate crime? Oh, well. Of course not. It's not life.

Trent Lott praises Strom Thurmond, it's a national crisis. Liberal Democrat advocates killing innocent black (well, biracial) children, ho hum.

Link spotted at the Rat.
Varia et sundria

We should all start going to Orthodox churches until Catholic priests everywhere make solemn vows to stop using the word "community."

I made it through the wilderness. Somehow I made it through.

Peggy Noonan should be Archbishop of Los Angeles. George F. Will, Archbishop of Chicago.

Fr Neuhaus is unknockable.

Brandy is my favorite Cinderella. (A day late -- happy birthday!)

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Discovering new tricks

Hey, TMB ...

Now you'll no longer have to wonder what I mean by the PMS Media ...

... or be mystified when I refer to a quondam blogroach as a PHD.
the Aww-skizz
my utterly unreliable & uninformed predictions on the big six categories

Pic : Gangs
Director : Polanski
Actor & Actress : Cage, Kidman
Supporting : Cooper, Zeta-Jones
we are all of us in the gutter

some of us are lookin' at the stars ...
Just testing

my ability to create an LRJTEA.

Many thanks to the FWTMHTDI !!
Festinate omnes, et videte meliora !!
Hasten ye all and see the better things

Mr O'Rama gives us some excellent quotations from Cardinal Ratzinger this day, on the Eucharist and on our Lady.
Seventeenth-century devotion

And first O Lord I praise and magnify thy name
For the Most Holy Virgin-Mother of God, who is the Highest of thy Saints.
The most Glorious of all thy Creatures.
The most Perfect of all thy Works.
The nearest unto Thee, in the Throne of God.

Whom Thou didst please to make
Daughter of the Eternal Father.
Mother of the Eternal Son.
Spouse of the Eternal Spirit.
Tabernacle of the Most Glorious Trinity.
Mother of Jesus.
Mother of the Messias.
Mother of Him who was the Desire of all Nations.
Mother of the Prince of Peace.
Mother of the King of Heaven.
Mother of our Creator.
Mother and Virgin.
Mirror of Humility and Obedience.
Mirror of Wisdom and Devotion.
Mirror of Modesty and Chastity.
Mirror of Sweetness and Resignation.
Mirror of Sanctity.
Mirror of all virtues.
The Most Illustrious Light in the Church,
    Wearing over all her Beauties the Veil of Humility
    to shine the more resplendently in thy Eternal Glory.

And yet this Holy Virgin-Mother styled herself but the Handmaid of the Lord, and falls down with all the Glorious Hosts of Angels, and with the Armies of Saints, at the foot of Thy Throne, to worship and Glorify Thee for ever and ever.

I praise thee O Lord with all the Powers and faculties of my Soul; for doing in Her all thy Merciful Works for my sake and the Benefit of Mankind. For uttering the Glorious Word: yea rather Blessed are they that Hear the Word of God, and Keep it. And for looking round about upon Thy Disciples and saying, Behold my Mother and my Brethren. For whosoever shall do the Will of God, the same is my Brother and my Sister and my Mother. Yea for what thou wilt say, Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these, ye have done it unto me.

The most unworthy of all thy Servants falleth down to worship Thee for thine own Excellencies; even Thee O Lord, for thine own perfection, and for all those Glorious Graces, given and imparted to this Holy Virgin, and to all thy Saints.

Thomas Traherne (1637-74), as quoted by A. M. Allchin in The Joy of All Creation : An Anglican Meditation on the Place of Mary (Cowley Publications, 1984), pp. 86-87.

I must resume reading his book on the Seven Last Words, Death on a Friday Afternoon. I notice, in skipping idly ahead of where I left off, that the reader is given the Testament of Dom Christian de Chergé, one of the seven Trappist monks slain at Tibhirine, Algeria in 1996.

It sounds like faint praise to say so, but it is not meant as such. This book is excellent reading for a hospital waiting-room. Perhaps even in the jury-duty waiting room. Heck, it's Fr Neuhaus -- it's excellent reading for anywhere!
One Times One

It is axiomatic that no 60-page paperback is worth $12. plus tax. But when the paperback in question comtains 54 poems by Estlin Cummings, and most of them of immortal importance, we begin to wonder. One Times One, the book that Marianne Moore termed "the E. E. Cummings book of masterpieces" has been reissued by Liveright.

In this volume, there are many marvels, of the denunciatory, the natural, the amatory, the celebratory. Many of his best poems -- and best, not merely because they're metrical.

"what if a much of a which of a wind"
"except in your / honour"
"yes is a pleasant country"
"if everything happens that can't be done"
"nothing false and possible is love"
"life is more true than reason will deceive"
"one's not half two. It's two are halves of one"
"o by the by"
"true lovers in each happening of their hearts"
"a politician is an arse upon"
"a salesman is an it that stinks Excuse"
"all ignorance toboggans into know"
"i've come to ask you if there isn't a"
"no man,if men are gods;but if gods must"

(The one about the politician is a couplet, whose lower half is "which everyone has sat except a man" ...)

If you've ever wondered what the fuss is about Cummings, go into the bookstore and, at the very least, leaf slowly through One Times One.

Monday, February 10, 2003

BTW, TMB ...
TMB stands here for "The Mighty Barrister," not for "Third Millennium Bible"

I hope you're not superstitious! Specifically, I hope you're not triskaidekaphobic. Your "Vermont is in Canada, eh?" comment from a few days back was comment #1313 on dylan's haloscan.

You also have comment #1414. What is it with these multiples of 101?
John Cardinal Wright
from "Faith and the Theologies"

Theologians are men : the thoughts of men are many and divided. Theological theories set forth aspects, elements, corollaries of the faith. They provide reasonings about the faith. But theologians are not sources of faith nor are their speculations the object of faith.

Jesus Christ is God. The thought of God is one and unites; God's revelations are the object of faith. His Church authoritatively sets forth God's revelation. The Church is not a forum nor a school of theologians and theologies, though she is greatly helped by these in the total work of explaining the faith that she is called to do. The Church is the channel through which God's revelation reaches men, including theologians, so that believers may enjoy the privilege of reflecting on the content of revelation, as do theologians, but may also, and above all else, live in the light of the revelation -- as must all the faithful, including the theologians. Only what the Church teaches authoritatively as the mind and the will of Christ the Lord is the object of faith; all the theologies, even those which most she welcomes as helpful in understanding the faith or blesses as most consistent with the content of faith are secondary and marginal, related to the faith, perhaps, but not to be confused with it.

John Cardinal Wright in The Church : Hope of the World, ed. by Rev. Donald W. Wuerl (Kenosha : Prow Books, 1972), pp. 44-45.
Fulfilled the Sunday obligation

to watch the midday news yesterday. It is an obligation which we are disinclined to shirk.

Even when the news of the world, or of this part of the world, is more than mildly distressing, there is nonetheless an incentive to stay adequately informed on the issues and events of the day.
What cocktail am I?

The gimlet. Go anywhere else for the link to the quiz.
He wasn't standing up, he was laying down

Fred Reed on the "enstupidation" of America, the deliberate cultivation, the active encouragement, of semi-literacy.

The header to this post was a line of dialogue in a recent episode of CSI. And even though I went to a high-school (grades seven through twelve) that taught English grammar very well, and taught Latin as a non-elective, and taught modern foreign languages, I was in the tenth grade before I learned the difference between "lie" and "lay."

Of course, that prayer is the culprit. "Now I lay me down to sleep." Which means, "Now, I place myself down to sleep." Which also means, "Now I lie down." Lay : transitive, to place something down. Lie : intransitive, to recline.

Of course, there are other meanings of "lie" (and of "lay") which we shall avoid discussing, for the nonce.

Go read Reed!
Jeff Miller has returned

as The Curt Jester.

And he asks for our prayers for his mother, who died yesterday morning. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may the perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

:: :: :: :: ::

Non solum ... sed etiam ...

The Gospel M*I*N*E*F*I*E*L*D, Kathy the Carmelite's new weblog, has also been added to Places Oft.
Joe Fitzgerald

writes today that violence comes not from the presence of guns but from the absence of values.

I'd add, too, the reluctance to give sentences that are proportionate to the gravity of the crime.

But an excellent column : read the words of the shooting victim who indicts "not the bullet, but the attitude that fired the gun." Precisely.

But that insight is often obscured for reasons that are less morally than politically correct.

When white folks shoot black folks, we blame the shooters. When black folks shoot black folks, we blame the guns. And who pays the price for this reluctance to assign culpability? Not people who are living in Winchester or Wellesley.

The first two homicide victims in Boston in 2003 were both black children under the age of 15, the most recent a child in his ninth month in the womb.

Sunday, February 09, 2003


"Teach me the word
That will conquer the world,
Will plunder, will lay waste,
Dominions of the dull
And kingdoms of the bad."

Silence is learning
Submission to heaven,
Grace's receiving,
Kinesis and virtue
And works of the good.

"Teach me the silence
That will conquer false speech,
Will betray and will scatter
The legions of the proud,
The chattering cheaters."

The holy and honest
Speak little and wisely,
Composed of a faith
That keeps them in concord,
Silent or singing.

© 2000, 2003 by dylan_tm618

Memorandum to all departments. Do we know the difference between a doily and a mantilla? Can we see on the left, the Clare Boothe Luce cravat, and on the right, the Henry Wallace foulard?

The snow has stopped failing. It continues to sit on the curb, parked under the lamppost. Gregarious, Gregorian, it greets the passing stranger with a sunny smile. Not unlike a social-studies teacher en l'an trentiesme de son eage.

The psalters and their psalmodists grimace at the antics of the Musikführerin. You will be tolerant. You will get your facts straight. This is a foreboding.

Thou shalt not compare Episcopalians to Unitarians. Thou shalt not declare dissenters un-dandy. Thou shalt praise the ghost of Chicago. Thou shalt read official documents and practice fine distinctions. Thou shalt genuflect to polyglots. Thou shalt learn the meaning of "symbol." Thou shalt find the thread to be puzzling.
You can call him the Rev. Al

or you can call him what Peter Beinart of the Jewish World Review calls him. With words that are bracingly unminced.

A friend of mine, who lives in proximity to a fairly big-name college, recently proferred his opinion that his pastor, la personalité des toutes personalités, was bishop material. The priest in question is about 60, and it probably would have happened by now if it was going to happen at all.

First time I met this shepherd, my friend introduces me by name and location -- a few miles from the parish, not all that far. With more suspicion than curiosity, Monsignor asked, "Well, what are you doing here?" (The perfect response would have been, "Lowering property values.")

My choice for a vescovabile priest is only 34. He shows forth the good Lord Christ as efficaciously and as splendidly as a monstrance. And if it's not his lot to be a bishop, my prayer is that we have bishops like him. He possesses a good-humored orthodoxy, as attractive as it is unapologetic.
I'm not sure

there are too many John Ashbery fans here, and I'm not sure I'm quite an Ashbery "fan" (used to idolize the poet, then turned violently against him, and now I just tolerate him as one of the quirkier and odder literary phenomena out there), BUT

I'm thinking of linking to an interview with Ashbery where he confesses that one of his poems ("The Songs We Know Best" in A Wave) was written to the tune of Peaches & Herb's "Reunited" !!

But that's perhaps the only fun part of the interview. Plus, I don't want to encourage reading of a poet whom I describe as a guilty pleasure. It is a poetry of startlement, but after a while, you begin to expect the startling, and the glee diminishes and the attraction wanes. Still, he'll give you something chuckleworthy every once in a blue moon : "The oxymoron gets his rocks off."
Obstat Eireann

TSO : Shane, not Shawn !!
Gaudeamus igitur !!

Let there be sung Non nobis and Te Deum !!

She's being discharged from the hospital as we speak !! Huzzah !! (And she is, her husband reports, doing much better.)

Thank you, Lord, and thank you, St Luke, and thank you, nuestra Señora, and thank you all who prayed !!

Bad Weather

(being a mad scholastic misadventure in painfully correct rhyme) 

It snowed like history in the ears;
The cats and dogs were howling for years.

A timeless airplane once split a rock,
Crashed on the runway at twelve o'clock.

A glacier struck at quarter of two.
A most formal Ice Age did ensue

By hexagonal law. Convention
Yields to the solstice of creation.

It snowed in the mind like chemistry.
The cats and dogs strained their eyes to see

The arctic lips of Art and Reason
In this kaleidoscopic season.

To kiss the shore was intense. Waves, black,
Mounted the snowy sand, left no track,

Quoted bleak surahs, then sighed slow. Their
Sibilance fractured the coastal air.

It snowed like algebra, graphed the earth.
The cats and dogs factored the rebirth

Of blood-spilling skin-breaking despair.
Conic-sectioned snowdrifts killed the air.

Analphabetic veins, intertwined,
Stifled light in the subtracted mind.

Then came a stasis : cranial fright
And heartless vocals. The whole numb night,

It snowed. I cried. Your marble-white face
Was cold in its smooth declining grace.

first version 1986

revised 2003
What poetic form are you?
Link to the quiz. Watch those pop-ups!

... and note the deliberate absence of the graphic, because when those pictures don't come up, the text within the picture nonetheless still does, in the red-Xed rectangle, as one immensely long line that throws the template out of whack ...

I know I should be telling you that I'm
A rubai - but perhaps some other time.
It sounds like work, and anyway, it's late -
Unless I sleep, I'll be too tired to rhyme.

Besides, there's plates to clear and cups to clink,
And when that's done I have to sit and think,
Since then it won't be long before I need
To sleep again and eat again and drink.

(If you were not a Rubai you would be Blank Verse.)

:: :: :: :: ::

A jug of bread, a loaf of wine, and I --
I followed the rhyme scheme less travelled by,
FitzGerald's in his Khayyam rendering,
The third line just a little bit awry.

From William F. Buckley's latest column :

I have a copy of a private communication. It is written by a close student of rhetoric, and the author writes, "George Bush is a phenomenon: he is the innately nonverbally apt, or deft, speaker who transcends eloquence, [nevertheless] achieving that which is greater in oratory — a plainspoken integrity that unites the emotions and the intellect." Bush replaces, the analyst continues, "mere eloquence with genuine conviction, character, moral courage, and personal goodness."

Prayers, please, for a friend

in hospital. Appendix out, & one other problem.

Perhaps it would fitting to ask the intercession of St Luke, physician and evangelist, that when she asks for medication to deal with pain, she might get it within five minutes, not five hours, of making the request.