Saturday, June 09, 2007

Pretend James Lipton is sitting across from you and hanging on every word
via Oblique House

(I'm only about a month late in doing this ...)

What is your favorite word? baby; belly
What is your least favorite word? father; pro-active
What turns you on [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]? autumn; the year's first snowfall
What turns you off? summer; bugs
What is your favorite curse word? "son of a blank blank bitch," in which the two blanks represent two other curse words that I'm not printing here
What sound or noise do you love? coffee being brewed by an automatic-drip coffee-maker; WGBH radio jazz at low volume
What sound or noise do you hate? blaring rap anthems
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? monk or friar, but my disposition prohibits
What profession would you not like to do? would not like to be working the lottery machine at a convenience store on a night when the mega-power-jackpot-thingie is over $200 million, and hordes of lottery fanatics are in line to get their tickets
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? anything but "depart from me"
20th-century Catholicism

Whispers in the Loggia posts a tribute to American Catholicism's greatest product.

And TCRNews Musings nominates another figure as a great Christian soul, likening him to the late Pope John Paul II. The comparison is, perhaps, audacious.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Places oft visited


Recently, Steven Riddle posted a lovely sonnet by a poet named Alfonsina Storni. (He has also shared some Czeslaw Milosz and Pablo Neruda.)


Karen Marie Knapp reminds us of the sacrifice made by the 19th century Ugandan martyrs, whose memorial is usually on June 3rd; also, we learn of seminarians martyred in Burundi in 1997 for their refusal to divide themselves into Hutu and Tutsi.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ode on a Grecian Urn
by John Keats (1795-1821)


THOU still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?


Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!


Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.


Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.


O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” -— that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
I will incline mine ear to the parable, and show my dark speech upon the harp

Here is the same verse from Psalm 49, as it appears in the Grail psalter:

I will turn my mind to a parable,
with the harp I will solve my problem.

And in the New American Bible:

I will turn my attention to a problem, expound my question to the music of a lyre.
There's a word for it

I think it's "ear-worm": a song you can't eject from your brain no matter how hard you try. I have a peculiar twist on this problem: really irritating songs that you can't get out of your head. Truly godawful songs or jingles that you just can't escape, and, although you loathe them, you find yourself singing them in the shower or at the computer or wherever you do your singing.

What are the most irritating songs that you can't get out of your head? Just curious.

Saw this film last Saturday. Enjoyed it.

Rated R for language. The f-word does pop up a lot. Other than that, none of the usual objectionable matter.

I found the music to be somewhere between very good and tolerably good, except for one awful thing where the refrain was screamed rather than sung (oddly enough, it's the song that leads to the guy meeting the girl).

A fascinating tale of near-romance and serendipitous artistic collaboration.
A crimson umbrella

I hope it lasts for longer than two or three rainstorms. I hope a fierce northeast wind doesn't turn it inside out and wreck it the first chance it gets.

I've had bad luck with umbrellas recently, so I had to buy a new one. This one appears to be of sturdy make, opens at the push of a button, has a nice wooden handle, offers a 56-inch diameter of protection, and bears the Harvard insignia (I didn't go to Harvard). I think it was made in China, unfortunately.

But all I really care about is: Can it withstand the wind? It hasn't been tested yet. Here's hoping it lasts.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Why I don't blog nearly as often as I used to

Some reasons:

1. I don't blog from where I live, so I don't have access to all my books, the books which inspire much of the blogging.

(Even where I live nowadays, I don't have access to all my books. For the last three years, I've been living in apartments with extremely small bedrooms that do not accommodate the 15 trillion volumes I've collected over the years. I just have one modest bookcase's worth of reading material. A cousin of mine has boxes and boxes of my books in storage at his home, in his basement or attic or somewhere.)

2. I don't drink nearly as much coffee or alcohol as I did in 2002-03. Both those substances do conduce to maniacally prolific blogging, if somewhat embarrassing blogging in retrospect.

3. I simply don't have the energy. That's a good thing, really. I had too much energy for a while there.

4. There's some unease about putting myself forward as some kind of expert or exemplar, particularly on matters of faith. (With poetry, it's different: I can evangelize, so to speak, for my favorite artists without hesitancy or qualm of any kind.) And as for politics, I'm becoming less and less convinced of my own wisdom as the years go by.

5. I'm too busy reading other people's blogs to work on my own with any degree of diligence or consistency! So, you can expect maybe three to five posts a week hereabouts.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who stops by.

Sunday, June 03, 2007