September 2017

S M T W T F S
      1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 1213 14 15 16
17 1819 20212223
24252627282930

Custom Text

Most Popular Tags

It has been a season since I've been here.

It has been a long season, a season of rain and homecoming and storm and quiet triumph and birth. And now my world is settling down slowly into something resembling normalcy, and the old rhythms are returning.

Perhaps I shall return, myself, to Livejournal.

9 of 30

10 Oct 2010 13:07
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Easter)
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The meme continues. Very nearly a third of the way through, now!

Days of Yore )

Day 09 – Your beliefs, in great detail

One must begin, I suppose, by asking, "beliefs about what exactly?"

God? Philosophy? Science? Art? Literature? History? Other people? Me?

It's quite impossible.

So. Having said that, here are just a few of the things in which I believe.

I believe in love.

I believe in beauty.

I believe in the power of friendship.

I believe in the power of the printed word.

I believe the sun will rise in the east tomorrow over both the just and the unjust.

I believe violence is almost never the solution to a problem.

I believe those who fail to learn the lessons of history will go the way of the Roman Empire.

I believe that great civilizations are not destroyed; rather, they commit suicide.

I believe all of us fall short of our potential and of the glory of God. This is called sin.

I believe my job as a human being is to seek Truth and to love. This is a pretty good response to sin.

I believe governments exist to guarantee to their people life, liberty, and justice.

I believe education is not just career training.

I believe that while science may provide answers to how, who, what, where, and when, it's pretty crappy at answering why.

I believe that one of the primary purposes of the artistic instinct is to create beauty, so that the artist may become a co-creator of the universe with God.

I believe that any technology that doesn't support community or the search for Truth probably ought to be avoided.

I believe that just because you can do a thing, it does not follow that you should do it.

I believe everything that the magesterium of the Catholic Church proposes for my belief.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

The rest of the days )
Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

Yesterday being Sunday, I did not post. However, today you get two for the price of one!

Day 01 - Introduce yourself
Day 02 - Your first love, in great detail
Day 03 - Your parents, in great detail

Day 04 - What you ate today, in great detail

This is the question I should have answered yesterday. Since I didn't, I'll tell you what I ate yesterday, to the best of my recollection.

My parish celebrates Mass at 10:00AM, and I like to keep the midnight fast*, so the first thing I ate was after Mass downstairs in the parish hall.

I believe I had two cups of coffee, some banana bread, and a few cookies.

Later, Francine and I went to the annual Greek Festival at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church down the hill. We go every year. I just love the art in the church proper, and Francine enjoys the Greek dancing under the big pavilion they put up. The big attraction, though, is the dinner.

I enjoyed lamb, rice, green beans (a secret recipe apparently known to every grandmother on the globe), salad, bread, and a bottle of beer with the unlikely name of Mythos.

You just can't make this stuff up, folks.

I also had some Greek calamari and some loukoumades. A little bit of sweet Greek coffee, and I rather fancy I waddled out of there.

Much, much later that evening, I had a small bowl of moose tracks ice cream.

Now... on to today!

Day 05 - Your definition of love, in great detail

Love is the thing that gives materialists hives, because it's one of the things that you cannot prove using mathematics or the scientific method.

The problem is, of course, that there are many different things that all fall under the same word in English which really aren't the same thing at all. Love transcends any definition that tries to pin it down to an emotional affection, or a romantic or sexual attraction, or a filial devotion.

Perhaps Love is an act of will, where we wish the good of another with no thought to our own good as a consequence. After all,

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)
and

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:12-13)
The fact is, I don't know that the definition of love can ever be exhausted because human beings are complicated and there is nothing more human than love.

Just think a moment about the overwhelmingly vast number of love songs written in the last fifty years - our species worships the idea of love, I suspect because if you dig deep enough into us, you'll find that we're beings created for love.

I think Augustine said something about that, but I'm not going to pursue it as all that talk about food earlier had made me hungry and distracted.

Tell you what, strike everything I just said and settle for this:

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him”
(1 John 4:16)




* Yes, I know the obligatory minimum Eucharistic fast is technically only one hour, but really, who on earth only does the obligatory minimums for those they love?

The rest of the days )

3 of 30

2 Oct 2010 14:50
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Clan Wombat)
Feast of the Guardian Angels

Day three of the continuing meme. I'm taking a break from cleaning up the garage. Now that it's almost three in the afternoon, I might grab some lunch, too.

As we go forward in this project, I will be friends-locking some of these posts, particularly those that probably shouldn't be in the public domain.

Day 01 - Introduce yourself
Day 02 - Your first love, in great detail

Day 03 - Your parents, in great detail

Not great detail. More like impressionism.

My mother reminded me in a reply to the previous post that she taught me to read. I really don't remember that, but that's not too surprising as I was very young at the time. That means she gave me three of the greatest gifts any man has: life, love, and literacy.

Hard to top that.

My mother has a master's degree in economics from the University of Chicago and now works in a school with developmentally disabled students. Much of her life while I was growing up was work and school, an ethic I was slow to learn. I remember Christmas cookies and the smell of red wine simmering with cloves and orange. To this day, those smells always remind me of my Mom.

My step-father is a pipe-fitter. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve perusing my Dad's National Geographic Atlas of the World while listening to him practice his piano in the background. He taught me to play chess when I was about six or so. I beat him for the first time when I was 17. He handed me my first D&D set.

None of that really tells you anything, does it?

I remember museums and the zoo. Seeing The Nutcracker every year. Family vacations that always seemed to include endless hours in the old Volvo station wagon. Family dinners at our kitchen table almost every night. The Very Serious discussion I had with my Mom about staying up to watch Doctor Who, which started at 11:00 PM on a school night.

I remember the feeling of being safe, comforted, warm, loved.

Lest I over-romanticize, I also remember what seemed at the time to be a ridiculous amount of household chores on sunny days, including painting fences, digging weeds in the garden, picking up a tree-full of disgusting, rotting pears that fell in our yard on what seemed like a daily basis. Mowing the lawn with a push-mower. Shoveling snow by hand. I remember my Dad beating me for lying to him. All part of growing up, I reckon.

I love my parents. Seems obvious, I know, but it's the one truth that's bundled up inside all these impressions and memories.

The rest of the days )

2 of 30

1 Oct 2010 09:00
thomryng: Caxton's Chaucer (Caxton's Chaucer)
Feast of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Day two of the continuing meme.

No jury duty today; instead I'm writing and looking for work and running errands.

Day 1 Introduce yourself

Day 02 - Your first love, in great detail

Although the question presumes romance, I was always taught that a gentleman does not discuss these matters.

Besides, my earliest attempts in this area, while perhaps entertaining in a train-wreck sort of way, have faded in my memory to that hazy nostalgia that is only on the vaguest of speaking terms with the facts.

So instead, I'll talk briefly about my oldest, deepest, and most enduring love: books.

My family emigrated from Germany to the United States when I was three months shy of my fourth birthday. I spoke no English. Thanks to the magic of Sesame Street and my dear Mister Rogers, I was reading and writing English by the time I was five.

From my earliest days, I devoured books. When I read fiction, I can read extremely quickly. I remember particularly one summer morning coming back from the library with Watership Down. I opened the book as I started up the stairs to my room. Halfway up, I sat down on one of the wooden steps and read the book cover to cover, finishing just as I was being called down for dinner.

I hadn't moved from that step the entire time. I was probably about 12 years old.

I quickly tired of the readers we had in my grammar school. I was caught reading The Hobbit in my second grade (age 8?) reading class instead of doing the assignment. The teacher did not believe I was actually reading the book, and she quizzed me on the spot about the plot. She pointed out several words in the text and asked me what they meant.

The next week, I was assigned the 8th grade reading book. Unfortunately, I then spent most of the remainder of my grammar school career reading the same books year after year. Needless to say, at some point I lost interest. I don't think I actually passed a Reading or English course after that until High School. I just didn't see the point in doing assignments I'd already done the year previous. Or five years previous.

During my recesses, I read every book in my grade school library. I still have the thesaurus the Librarian gifted me upon my graduation in 1980.

My first job was volunteering at the Chicago Public Library.

After college I worked in book stores for ten years before I realized I would never make a proper living at it. I would happily own and operate a book store if I had some other source of income.

As the old joke goes - How do you make a million in the book trade? Start with two million.

Beyond simply reading, I love the romance of the book and the very physical objects themselves. One of my most treasured possessions is a calfskin-covered incunabula of Cæsar's Commentaries. The dedication is to Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg (Principi Friderico Wilhelmo, Marchioni Bradndenburgico).

I love the smell of book dust - I have been known to be able to sniff out old books hidden from view. I once discovered a box of old missals and hymnals that had been lost behind a pipe organ in a choir loft for approximately fifty years.

As I sit in my office writing this, I am surrounded by books. Some are old friends, traveling with me since I was a child, and some are only weeks old. A precarious pile sits next to my armchair in the corner, waiting to be read. I have signed first editions, and paperback pulp, Geoffrey Chaucer and Lewis Carroll, Lord Norwich and H.P. Lovecraft, G.K. Chesterton and Italo Calvino, Borgés and Benedict.

Books were my first great love, and I love them still.

The rest of the days )
Commemoration of All Souls
somewhere on a train

My dear friends,


Today is the Commemoration of All Souls. This is a day we Catholics keep in remembrance for our beloved dead, and when we especially pray for the souls in Purgatory. In some Latin American countries, it has become a quasi-civil holiday you may know as the Day of the Dead.

On this day, I ask you to keep in your prayers the soul of India Escobar.

I know many of you don't keep quite the same theology (or even religion, come to that) as we do, but it would mean a lot to me (and to her) if you spent some time commending her to the Divine.

Thank you.
Feast of Saint Apollinarius
Seattle

Dearest Reader,

As we celebrate today the fortieth anniversary of what is undoubtedly the most significant human event of the twentieth century, let us pause to reflect that NASA's three decrepit space shuttles, Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour, will be will be decommissioned in 2010, leaving the United States with no ability to launch humans into space for the first time since 1961.

The replacement program for the shuttles, called "Constellation" (which looks to my amateur eye suspiciously similar to the Apollo vehicles) has been put on indefinite hold pending a "review" of the program, which by my count is the third such review.

As I have said many times before, humans require frontiers. Without exploration, without frontiers, the Human species will turn in on itself like rats in a cage. It's already begun. With the closing of frontiers, the twentieth century was the most violent in world history.

NASA's entire projected budget for human exploration of space for FY2010 is about $10 billion. That's less than three tenths of one percent of the Federal Budget.

So when you follow the "live" feed at http://wechoosethemoon.org/ today, ponder about not only the past, but also the future of human space exploration.
From the Telegraph we have this bit of nineteenth century news:

A century-old mystery surrounding the fate of the “Mad King” who built Bavaria’s celebrated fairytale castles has taken a new twist after an historian claimed that he was murdered.

The allegation comes from an art expert turned sleuth who claims that contemporary portraits of Ludwig II prove that far from killing himself in a fit of melancholy, he was assassinated to put an end his extravagant spending.

Ludwig’s body was found on June 13, 1886, in the knee-deep waters of a lake not far from Neuschwanstein Castle, his most fanciful creation, whose soaring towers and turrets now draw tourists from all over the world.

After a cursory investigation, the death was declared suicide by drowning - a verdict fiercely protected by his successors, who have forbidden any modern scientific examination of his remains.

But art historian Siegfried Wichmann now claims that he can prove that Ludwig was murdered, after an investigation that has taken up half his life and has drawn upon his own wartime experience. “I can say that, professionally, I have never been wrong in all my career,” said Mr Wichmann, who is the leading authority on Bavarian paintings from the late 19th century. ...

A secret Bavarian society known as the Guglmänner, whose members dress in capes and hoods and claim to be guardians of the German monarchy, has long questioned the official version of his death. But the calls for Ludwig’s body to be exhumed and given a modern autopsy have now grown louder. Last month, Detlev Utermöhle, a Bavarian banker, made a sworn statement claiming that he had seen the coat Ludwig was wearing on the day of his death, and that it contained two bullet holes.


As far as I'm concerned, the only revelation in this article is the existence of a "secret" monarchist society with some gumption. Not to mention an incredibly bad sense of fashion.

Dash

19 Nov 2007 11:28
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (CS Lewis)
I've been trying to write this post for two days.

On Saturday, we went to the Sinfonietta through the magic of free tickets.

Francine and I were enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon, and the day sort of got away from us. We completely lost track of the time until Mel called us to ask where we were.

It was 7:00, time to pick up the tickets, and were were still lounging around! Fortunately, we only live up the hill from the Rialto, so we were able to get there in short order.

We parked in the lot down the block and across the street. I sent Francine on ahead to meet up with Mel and James and the tickets while I mucked with the new auto-pay machine.

Back in the day, you entered the number of the space you were parked in and threw in some bills and you were good to go. The new system involves a printed ticket to put on the dashboard. I took the ticket and hesitated - they were waiting for me and I was running late. What were the odds that the car would get cited?

Was the chance worth the thirty seconds I'd lose? I decided not. I ran to the car, slapped the ticket on the dash, and ran back to the intersection to cross Ninth and Market Streets. There were knots of pedestrians crossing Market on both sides of Ninth, heading for the Rialto. There were even four of Tacoma's bicycle cops standing around, vaguely looking like they were supposed to be crossing guards.

As I started to cross Market, I saw a white pickup truck racing up Ninth, towards me. Without signaling or slowing, it turned left onto Market, across Ninth from me.

Pedestrians scattered and flew through the air like pins in a bowling lane. At least one of them thumped onto the hood of the pickup as it sped through.

The cops ran forward like they'd rehearsed it: three to injured pedestrians, one to the middle of the street to peer after the pickup. I assume he was getting the license number.

People were screaming.

I ran to the nearest group. A cop was already there, administering first aid.

The man had a neatly trimmed grey beard and short, white hair. He was twisted under and over a young blonde woman. His head was surrounded by a growing puddle of blood, a shocking scarlet against the grey asphalt and his brown topcoat. His hat - a brown Pendleton with what looked like a pheasant feather, was crushed nearby.

He was still wearing his glasses.

He lifted his head, and he kept asking, "Where's my wife? Is my wife all right?" The officer asked him questions as he applied pressure to the injury, but he ignored them. "Is my wife all right?"

The younger woman tangled around him told the officer she was fine, and she tried to talk to the older man. He ignored her. Clearly not the wife.

I looked about twenty feet up the street, where an older woman lay, unmoving, with an officer kneeling beside her.

A hysterical woman, screaming, across the street was being comforted by another, younger woman.

Somebody had already called 911. One of the officers was also on his radio.

Standing there in the middle of Market Street, I felt utterly helpless, unable to help.

Perhaps one of the Sinfonietta patrons was a doctor? I ran for the Rialto.

Somebody beat me to it. An EMT and a nurse were identifying themselves in the ticket line to another bystander. They were on their way before I had even caught my breath.

So I went to the Sinfonietta and told Francine and Mel and James about the incident.

And right then I realized for the first time that had I not run back to put the ticket on the dashboard, I would have been in that intersection when the pickup truck had run through it.

Something inside me shifted at that moment, and I've not quite come to grips with it. It's not survivor's guilt - nobody died and I certainly don't feel guilty.

But every time I look at someone, there's this profound feeling of "you could die in an instant - hell, you're probably already dead - and everything you are and were will be gone". I'm sure there's a single word for that in some language. Probably German.

It's hard to take anyone so terribly seriously, and yet there's also this awesome sense of individual importance in the sense that this person is a unique and fragile treasure in the world. And in these islands of individuality, I feel utterly unconnected and adrift.

Does that make any sense?

I passed the site today. It was raining hard, and the black stains on the street were melting at the edges and joining the muddy rivulets running down the hill to the sea.

The local paper's version

I've been trying to write this post for two days. I'm not convinced I've succeeded.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. [George, George]

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. [Signing Statements]

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. [Immigration, Land]

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. ["consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power"]

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. [DHS]

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: [Defiance of International Law]

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: [Extrajudicial Prisoners, Guantánamo]

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: [Extraordinary Rendition]

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: [Unitary Executive]

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

WE, THEREFORE, THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. [Treason]

— John Hancock

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

How many more violations can you find? Enjoy your Independence Day.

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)

So, thomryng, your LiveJournal reveals...



You are... 4% unique
(blame, for example, your interest in wombats in waistcoats)
and 4% herdlike
(partly because you, like everyone else, enjoy tea).
When it comes to friends you are popular. In terms of the way you relate to people, you are wary of trusting strangers.

Your writing style (based on a recent public entry) is overcomplicated.

Your overall weirdness is: 41

(The average level of weirdness is: 28.
You are weirder than 82% of other LJers.)

Find out what your weirdness level is!
















Ooh! I'm overcomplicated! And wary!



Edited to add:

According to this quiz, I'm a republican liberal-leaning planner.

Republican - This includes a large bulk of modern-day American politicians, whether Republican or Democratic. This includes values of basic racial equality but not necessarily affirmative action. It's a strong rejection of racism and a strong embrace of democracy, but not into the social levelling or hyper-secularism of the democrat level.

Liberal-Leaning - Those moving in the direction of individual autonomy, critical of government, opposed to sin taxes and moral codes fall in this area. A majority of Americans fall here or in the moderate section.

Planner - Few Democrats fit here, but FDR is probably the most aggressive move in this direction, followed by LBJ. They believe that the market is useful for many areas, but overall it is too chaotic, irrational or unfair, and it takes the keen eye of the state or bureaucracy to correct market imperfections. They support nationalization of industries, guaranteed employment for all, massive welfare entitlements, and massive public works. They associate economic success with high employment, high production, and massive government involvement; the super-rich are usually allowed to still exist normally, but less so in business or managerial capacities. Ultimately, the market is either short-sighted or unfair, and some outside force must step in to correct it.



Well. Let me just say that the third axis of this quiz has gotten me completely wrong. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a spot in their paradigm for my favoured economic system.

I only recently discovered that this economic system actually has been postulated before and has a name: Distributism. I was rather surprised to read that it was developed by Catholic thinkers like Chesterton in response to the great social justice encyclicals.

Perhaps that Augustinian education sank in after all.
After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.”


(The Revelation of Saint John, 7:9-12)

This is a portion of today's Mass reading, which I will be proclaiming im my capacity as a lector at my parish later this evening. In a few moments, the school will attend the same Mass.




How to explain? It amazes me to be a small part of this "great cloud of witnesses". On a number of occasions, I've felt their presence at Mass, particularly during the Sanctus. I am reminded that the "pilgrim Church on Earth" is but a small portion of the Church Universal.

Or, as I've previously quoted from Chesterton:

"[Tradition] is the democracy of the dead... Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our father."

There's a Deep Truth I'm struggling to articulate here. Perhaps someone can help?
I admit, this made me laugh.

Read more... )

Whatever did we do for entertainment before YouTube?
Keith Olbermann quotes Abraham Lincoln, Rod Serling, and "Dick" Cheney.

Simply brilliant )
I love my parents. Sure, we've had our disagreements (that was the early 90's, I think), but they've always been behind me, and they've always supported me, even if in my youth I didn't always agree with their methods.

When The King in Yellow premiered, my Mom sent me a yellow bouquet. I still have the funny little bee mug that came with. When The Resurrectionist (as awful as it was) premiered at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, somehow my Mom and my Sister were there to see it.

They've been a rock for me, and they still are.
I won't even pretend that this hasn't been a rough summer.

Francine's father, one of the coolest human beings I've been privileged to meet, died in July while I was visiting my parents in Chicago. By the time I returned, she was gone to Virgina. She was only back a couple of days when our effort to buy a house failed. Then my sainted1 grandmother died, and I was off again to Chicago. Whilst I was attempting to return to Tacoma, the airports went to Muppet Alert Level Ernie, causing all sorts of fun. As the Pakastani medical student behind me in the security line at O'Hare said, "Today is a great day to fly!"

This past week, I've been working wicked hours trying to catch up and get some more students into our school. Francine's been ill, and meanwhile I keep having dreams involving sixteenth century plate armour, Turkish cigarettes, muskets, and Czech beer.

No proper time for mourning, and yet some moments it all just hits me and I have to remember how to breathe.

The world, of course, marches on with or without our active participation.

Forget the mystery of Planet X, we're now up to XII. I suppose it makes sense - after nine the next mystic number is twelve. Of course, with the Amazing Multiplying Plutons2, we're likely to be up to 23 or 42 before you can say "Planet George".

Meanwhile, they still haven't officially named 2003 UB313. I'm holding out for "Yuggoth".

Not nearly so Pluto-shattering is the news that Johnny Depp will play Sweeney Todd. Pretty much made my morning, that did. Odd how similar their names are...

- - - - -
1: Yes, I mean that. OK, it's not like the Church is likely to take up her cause any time soon, but the woman was wholly holy.

2: I have all their albums.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. [George, George]

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. [Signing Statements]

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. [Immigration, Land]

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. ["consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power"]

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. [DHS]

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: [Defiance of International Law]

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: [Extrajudicial Prisoners, Guantánamo]

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: [Extraordinary Rendition]

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: [Unitary Executive]

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

WE, THEREFORE, THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. [Treason]


I'm sure I've missed numerous examples. A general overview of many of these topics may be found here: War!

Enjoy your Independence Day.

Edited to add: Here's a lovely little birthday present for you, America, from your Unitary Executive. C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden.






Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?


this quiz was made by Lori Fury




It figures, eh?


Into Great Silence, which we saw at SIFF last week, is ostensibly a documentary about the Carthusian monks of Grande Chartreuse.



I say ostensibly, because it is actually a great deal more and less than that. Like the lives of these monks themselves, this film is a meditation on silence. If you are looking for a typical documentary, with history facts and figures, a stirring orchestral soundtrack, and the earnest voice of Ken Burns or James Burke, you will, I fear, be sorely disappointed.

The film intead, documents in the purest sense. The camera follows the monks through the routine of their day and the seasons. They pray, they work, they eat; they do all the ordinary things you might expect a monk to do. But these monks do them in silence.

This film is two hours forty five minutes, of which there are perhaps fifteen minutes total of interview and dialogue.

Instead we hear the ordinary sounds of the world, sounds so common we normally don't hear them at all. In the darkened theatre, however, the shuffling of feet and the opening and closing of doors echo in the seats and begin to take on meaning beyond mere words. We hear the monks at chapel, chanting the hours. We hear birds in windblown trees, singing the days. And the bells, always the bells calling the monks and the audience to prayer.

The rasping sound of scissors cutting cloth was positively terrifying.

A handful of people in the audience couldn't stand the silence. They left.

The film is, as you might expect, intensely visual. We explore the faces of the monks as if they were the surfaces of alien worlds. Sometimes the camera will focus on an odd bit of the monks' world; the warm eggshell plaster wall of a room, the soft red glow of the tabernacle light in the darkened chapel, the stark white of snow, the intense green of the springtime garden.

At some point, it began to dawn on me that the film was not just a meditation on auditory silence, but also on visual silence. Silence isn't quiet by any means; there are always ambient sounds in nature because nature is alive and moving all the time. The silence we seek is the silence in our own heads and own hearts so that we may listen for God in the breeze.

In the same way, the world of these monks is visually silent. Set amid the stunning beauty of the alps, Grande Chartreuse is a world of stone and plaster and wood, of natural colours and shapes rough-hewn to human purpose. But if we think for a moment that this is a stark black and white and grey place of puritan sensibilities, the camera invites us to look closer.

Because in even the most basic things, there is a meticulous attention to detail that I found breathtaking.

Wooden floors are carefully inlaid in stately patterns. We catch a glimpse of a ceiling, painted with portrait cameos of long ago abbots. The seats in the choir are intricately carved.

And this meticulous attention to detail doesn't stop with the stately and the permanent. We see the monks exercise this intense mindfulness in everything they do, whether it's carefully fixing a hiking boot or measuring and cutting wood for the stoves or digging the snow from the garden. They are careful; they are methodical; they are living the hell out of the moment they're in.

What a contrast this was when we walked out of the theatre onto University Street in Seattle, with its cacophany of colour and noise. Every human projecting their lifestyle and image and style in what they wore and how they talked. Constant talk. Bright clashing colour. Jarring street noise. Everyone and thing projecting noise.

I was disoriented and had a hard time taking it in. Like I was stoned. It was just too much to process.

In fact, I rapidly discovered that the only way to function was to ignore huge swaths of it, to just not see the danger green dumpster in the alley or the constant crush of faces desperately trying to project their uniqueness.

I found I could only function in the city when I deliberately discarded that silence and mindfulness that we had just spent three hours cultivating. Ultimately, this film is not really a documentary about monks at all, but rather a damning indictment of the pace and frenzy of the modern world.

Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. (1 Kings 19:11-12)
Today is the sixth of June. All 6•6•06 silliness aside, I firmly believe that two centuries or so from now, our descendants will celebrate this day as the Feast of the Servant of God, Robert Kennedy.
But suppose God is black? What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?
A wise man, and a prophet.
I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.
A man who called us to be more than we are.
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
A man with a wicked sense of humour.
People say I am ruthless. I am not ruthless. And if I find the man who is calling me ruthless, I shall destroy him.
Francine is flying to Norfolk Virginia this morning. Her father is in hospital, and there is sufficient family drama between her parents and her mentally ill sister that her presence is required. She'll be gone a week, and already I miss her.

Meanwhile, I'm attempting to purchase a house using no actual cash and only my feeble credit and (somewhat tarnished) name. So no stress there.

I had intended, as you know dear reader, to post my thoughts on Into Great Silence and What Happened After. But once again, I'm finding it difficult to keep up.
As the last polling stations closed on the West Coast, exit polls showed Kerry ahead in ten of eleven battleground states -- including commanding leads in Ohio and Florida -- and winning by a million and a half votes nationally. The exit polls even showed Kerry breathing down Bush's neck in supposed GOP strongholds Virginia and North Carolina. Against these numbers, the statistical likelihood of Bush winning was less than one in 450,000. ''Either the exit polls, by and large, are completely wrong,'' a Fox News analyst declared, ''or George Bush loses.''

But as the evening progressed, official tallies began to show implausible disparities -- as much as 9.5 percent -- with the exit polls. In ten of the eleven battleground states, the tallied margins departed from what the polls had predicted. In every case, the shift favored Bush.


Source: Rolling Stone, article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Extensively footnoted and absolutely terrifying.

The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. (Josef Stalin)

Discuss.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

FBI spies on Journalists

"The FBI acknowledged late Monday that it is increasingly seeking reporters' phone records in leak investigations. 'It used to be very hard and complicated to do this, but it no longer is in the Bush administration,' said a senior federal official."

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Warrantless wiretaps—and more!

"On Thursday, news accounts revealed that AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth have been sharing the telephone records of millions of Americans with the National Security Agency. According to USA Today, the NSA is using this information to create a database of every phone call being made within the nation's borders."

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Innocent until proven guilty?

"A federal magistrate judge yesterday recommended rejecting a petition by the sole remaining enemy combatant being held on U.S. soil, finding that Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri had not offered persuasive evidence rebutting the government's allegations against him."

Not charges, mind you. Allegations.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Indefinite detention based upon suspicion

"Despite the clear language of the Constitution that prohibits detention without trial, the Bush administration insists that it can indefinitely hold Padilla—or anyone else it chooses—as an 'enemy combatant' without trial or even formal charges."

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

CIA torture camps investigated by EU

"One of the crimes committed by the CIA in these renditions is a violation of U.S. Code 2441, the War Crimes Act of 1996 condemning torture—and the international Covenant Against Torture."
This evening we will attend the Mass of the Lord's Supper, which marks the beginning of the Triduum - the holiest (and at three days, the shortest) season of the liturgical calendar.

Ruminations on Kemetism, Christianity, Incarnation, and Real Presence )
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17)



http://www.jackbrownappeal.org/

IMPEACH

29 Mar 2006 08:53
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Patriotic Pretzel)
The Case for Impeachment (Harper's Magazine)

The I-word goes public (Salon)

‘Impeach Bush’ chorus grows (Sunday Times of London)

Five Vermont Towns Vote to Impeach Bush (AP)

House Resolution 635

Creating a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.

Currently stuck in committee. Likely to stay there.

Near Paul Revere Country, Anti-Bush Cries Get Louder (Washington Post)

Impeach the MotherF***er Already (probably not work safe)

The Conyers Report

Hero

28 Mar 2006 19:30
thomryng: Caxton's Chaucer (Caxton's Chaucer)
In many respects, JRR Tolkien is my literary hero.

Oh sure, Borgés and Calvino and Bradbury wrote better and wider. Certainly, Tolkien's work has been rehashed and regurgitated until most folks are sick of hearing about Elves and Dwarves and Hobbits.

But for my money, "Leaf by Niggle" is one of the finest short stories written. And this quote, I think, helps explain why he is raised from a writer to a hero in my mind:

"Although now long estranged, Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed. Dis-graced he may be, yet is not dethroned, and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned. Man, Sub-Creator, the refracted Light through whom is splintered from a single White to many hues, and endlessly combined in living shapes that move from mind to mind. Though all the crannies of the world we filled with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build Gods and their houses out of dark and light, and sowed the seed of dragons - 'twas our right (used or misused). That right has not decayed: we make still by the law in which we're made"

("On Fairy-Stories", J .R. R. Tolkien, 1947)
A lazy Sunday morning made lazier by our intention to go to the later, 11:30 Mass.

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] jaynefury and I saw "V for Vendetta". I understand there has been some controversy about this film, particularly from Britain, and especially from those who read the graphic novel.

I am neither British, nor have read the novel (yet), so I cannot answer many of the complaints levelled against the film and the filmmakers. I would simply like to offer two opinions on the film.

One: This film was obviously made for a contemporary post-911 American audience. I think it spoke solidly and well about the Bush Regime and what Justice O'Connor called degenerating into dictatorship.

(Incidentally, if anyone can find the text of Justice O'Connor's March 10th speech at Georgetown University, I'd be grateful.)

Two: Natalie Portman can act. Who knew?

On a lighter note, Pooh sticks!
The ever-lovely [livejournal.com profile] jaynefury spent most of the weekend at the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat (and came home every night smelling of sheep - don't think I'm not on to you, Ms. Francine!)

I went to church wicked early on Sunday, arriving just as the previous Mass was letting out. For a few glorious moments, I was pretty much alone in our beautiful NeoRomanesque church. I was a bit startled to note that they'd put cushions in the pews. Cushions in Catholic churches! What's next? A working sound system?

Prayed the Office of Readings, and laughed out loud at second reading, which began "Lord, who can comprehend even one of your words?"

(Full reading here.)

This particular passage by Saint Ephrem spoke deeply to me, particularly considering my Kemetic background. In Kemet*, God (Netjer) manifests Himself** in various netjeru (Ra, Aset, Djehuty, Bastet) because humans are incapable of fully understanding the infinite ineffable. Mind, each of these "facets" are actually complete, whole persons and personalities in themselves, because that's what being infinite and ineffable is all about.

St. Ephrem says, "God’s word offers different facets according to the capacity of the listener, and the Lord has portrayed his message in many colours, so that whoever gazes upon it can see in it what suits him. Within it he has buried manifold treasures, so that each of us might grow rich in seeking them out."

And that's it exactly, isn't it?

This morning, I was woken from sleep about 3:00 by a sudden shuddering of Ms. Francine. Dreaming of sheep, no doubt. I couldn't get back to sleep, and so am a little punchy just at the moment. Reread St. Ephrem and discovered I'd never heard of the book he was commenting on.


* At least according to Hornung's now widely accepted theory of Egyptian pluriform monotheism.
** The noun in Ancient Egyptian is masculine.
SO. this article was posted by my old HS friend Dean Esmay on his blog. To summarize, he believes that the person or persons who leaked the information to the NYTimes that the President had authorized illegal wiretaps on US citizens should be brought up on High Treason.

Unfortunately, the ability to comment on this story has been suspended. Lacking any other means to ask the question, I post it here in hope he'll stumble upon it.

So Dean, your argument is basically that this ruling was treasonous as well?

Or am I misunderstanding?
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith, says Benedict XVI.

Read more... )

It's rare that I post an entire news story, but I suspect I'll be referring to this one from time to time.
This man is clearly in need of some professional help.

First, he publically called for the assassination of the President of Venezuela. Granted, he apologized (perhaps realizing that is a felony in the United States), he did but did not recant. Then, he claimed that Hurricane Katrina was somehow caused by legalized abortion.

And now:
I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city... If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them.
While I'm willing to grant Pascal's assertion that occasionally we catch glimpses of reality which transcend reason (more or less his definition of Christianity), it does not follow that Christians are required to be nonsensical.

I just returned from Mass, and what I heard there was vastly different.
(F)rom the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.
In answer to Mr. Robertson's anti-science, I ask: can science contradict the Christian faith?

The answer must be: of course not. As Pope John Paul II said, "truth cannot contradict truth". If Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection accurately describes the evolution of life on Earth - if it's true - then it cannot be incompatible with Christianity. Is Genesis literally true? Of course not; some of the earliest Church Fathers said as much. For one thing, there are two different accounts of creation there. And just in case anybody was unclear on the idea of mythopœic cosmogenesis, the first chapter of John's Gospel should pretty much clear up the concept.

They're myths, people. They are an inspired attempt to speak Truth, not facts. Genesis tells us about God and about the people who worshipped Him, and about how to live, not about exactly how the physics of cosmogenesis works.

Science seeks to understand how the universe works. Faith seeks to understand why and what to do now.

Science may eventually unravel the secrets of time and space, but it cannot describe an Eternal God who transcends time, an omnipotent God who transcends space.

Anyway, I'm going to Shakabrah to write now. Maybe I actually will manage something.
You are not helpless in the face of anarchy and chaos. You can make a positive change in the world right now.

I encourage everybody to make a contribution to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

Now would be good.

Here are some places you can start:

Red Cross

Catholic Charities

Direct Relief International

Network for Good

Edited to add: World Vision.


 
Quiz )

The long and short of it is, I took the "Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?" quizilla and scored as Albus Dumbledore. My second highest score was Ron Weasley.

Oddly enough, I do sort of picture myself as a cross between Dumbledore and Ron, though I suspect others may see me as Hermione Granger after twenty years of Guinness.

Moments

6 Jun 2005 08:00
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (No Mask? No Mask!)
I had the most amazingly surreal experience this morning.

You can too.

Just load some Gregorian chant into your iPod or equivalent. Walk through a busy downtown during rush hour. Look at the people. Notice their faces. Notice how they walk.

Notice how many of them are closed off, like they're encaged in armour.

Notice the ones that aren't, the ones that are smiling with their bodies.

Notice how they walk.

Notice how you're walking.
When Pope Urban IV established the Feast of Corpus Christi, he asked St. Thomas Aquinas to compose hymns for it. This is one of the five hymns Aquinas composed in honor of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Lauda Sion )

I should like to note that this was not sung in my parish at this morning's mass. Not even the "shorter" version, which omits basically everything except the last two verses.

This is symptomatic of something that really disturbs me about my parish.

A few more examples, and perhaps you will see what I mean )

I admit I'm a little peeved. It seems like every time there's a corner can be cut, we cut it. Every time there's a choice of doing or not doing, we choose to not do.

Why, oh why do we do this? The message seems to be that this is a heavy obligation and we've just got to get through it as quickly as possible.

I read a book by Scott Hahn about the mass called The Lamb's Supper. The subtitle, and one of the major themes in the book, is "the Mass as Heaven on Earth". It presents a picture of the liturgy as our most intimate time with God, a reflection of the eternity which we've been promised.

Who would want to rush through that?

Right now, I'm reading The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Pope Benedict XVI. It's a glorious little book; he's a brilliant and engaging writer, and his love for both the liturgy and for teaching shine through every paragraph. Every page seems to have a gem on it. He says,
[U]niversality is an essential feature of Christian worship. It is the worship of an open heaven. It is never just an event in the life of a community that finds itself in a particular place. No, to celebrate the Eucharist means to enter into the openness of a glorification of God that embraces both heaven and earth...
Who would want to rush through that?
A million things. Where to start?

In an America where Pat Robertson can go on national television to say liberal judges pose a greater threat to the Republic than the Civil War, Nazi Germany, or "a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings", sometimes it helps to be reminded of larger things.

Yesterday, I received a hardcover book in the mail from my high school. Rather, from the high school I attended twenty years ago. It set me off on an emotional tailspin from which I've yet to recover. Perhaps I should explain.

This year, St. Rita High School turns 100. As part of the ongoing commemorations, they've issued what amounts to a centennial yearbook. I hadn't ordered a copy, yet here it was.

More mysterious yet, there was a note attached apologising for failing to include my name in the list of contributors.

I vaguely remember talking to somebody from the alumni association, maybe a year ago, but I certainly don't recall sending them anything. So I start reading. At the very end, in the list of sources, right under the listing for the Chicago Archdiocese Archives, I found this:

Thom Ryng ('84) e-article: http://www.livejournal.com/users/thomryng/5945.html

So I went back and read the article. (Go ahead, I'll wait for you. Done? Excellent; carry on.)

The memories of Dr Racky came flooding back to me again, a hearty mixture of nostalgia and pride and gratitude and grief. I looked him up in the book. There are two pictures of him, one as a young man and one shortly before he died, I think. Underneath it says:
Donald Racky ('54) was an institution at St. Rita, having arrived in 1959. Dr Racky was one of those teachers who touched many lives and, quite frankly, never really did leave St Rita as his spirit lives on today; Dr Racky spent his career at St Rita - 42 years. One of his students, Thom Ryng ('84), wrote in an e-article on his influential teachers that "Dr Racky... taught me how to think. I learned the art and science of critical thinking in his classroom." A fitting tribute to Dr Racky. The Augustinians awarded Dr Racky the Filiis Ordinis.
All right, this isn't earth-shaking stuff or prize-winning writing. My entire contribution to this book is two sentences, but I am absolutely humbled that of all the things written about this great man, it is a fragment of my eulogy that appears in this book. I'm more proud of those two sentences appearing where they do than of anything else I've written.

And make no mistake; Dr Racky was a great man. He had a larger and more profound positive influence on the world in those 42 years than I'm likely to have in a century, should I live that long.

And that, my friends, is the real meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
I am hopeful. Some will say I'm just being blindly optimistic. But these words sing to me:

The beautiful wounds, but this is exactly how it summons man to his final destiny.

... to reject the impact produced by the response of the heart in the encounter with beauty as a true form of knowledge would impoverish us and dry up our faith and our theology. We must rediscover this form of knowledge; it is a pressing need of our time.

The music had such an extraordinary force of reality that we realized, no longer by deduction, but by the impact on our hearts, that it could not have originated from nothingness, but could only have come to be through the power of the Truth that became real in the composer's inspiration.

Source.
It's just after seven in the morning. No one else is awake here. I've a cup of tea and the sound of pounding rain outside to keep me company. I am very conscious right now of how alone we all are in the world.

In the midst of my cognitive dissonance the other day, I kept coming back to one phrase over and over in my wandering mind. That day, I named a post for it, but in my typical randomness did not explain it.

We live, each of us, in our own silent worlds.

To put it another way, nobody can get into your skull but you. The silence I mean is our interior silence.

Silence is necessary for contemplation, for the interior life. Silence and stillness evoke holiness. It's not that we can block out the noise of the world, or even that we don't need it or want it in our lives. Humans remain tribal animals. In one sense, we are at our best and most effective when we act in groups. And parties by ourselves are rarely very satisfying.

Sometimes we must dwell in ourselves, in our own silent world, just to keep our minds and our souls operating correctly. Serenity within (a nearly impossible goal, I find) promotes serenity in the world. Imagine a world where everyone could dwell in silence from time to time. Imagine a world where everyone took the time to quiet their seething brains and just... be for a while.

As the great sage Amenemope said more than 3000 years ago, "Fill yourself with silence; you will find life and your body shall flourish upon the earth." You will find life. Too often we think of life as movement. I am a human being, not a human is, after all. We live our lives like rushing waters seeking the sea.

Sometimes, we need to meander into an eddy.

It's a delicious irony to me that my sponsor for RCIA is named Eddie Carpenter. Work it out. That God, He's a tricky one.

In just over twelve hours I shall be baptised into a new community. There will be hundreds, perhaps a thousand, people there. Some are core members of the parish community; I know many of them already. Some are more distant members, the Catholics that only attend church at Easter and Christmas. Some aren't members at all; they're friends and relatives of those undergoing baptism or confirmation into the Church, or they're the curious or the hungry.

All of them are welcome. In twelve hours.

Between then and now, the world goes one. I've got to do some laundry, maybe vacuum. At 10:30 or so we're going to the church to practice and make sure everyone has their cues right.

There is another community here, of course. Friends are coming over in the evening to attend my baptism. Kevin flew in from California, God bless him. Janet's driving in. Brother Theo's coming (hopefully bringing my daughter Victoria with him). And Francine and her daughter Michaela will attend as well.

For those keeping track, that's a Christian, a Shaman, an Agnostic, a Pagan, a (Catholic) Christian, and a Jew.

They are, each of them, on their own road, their own interior road. In a sense, it's the same road. There is only one road, after all, but each traveller is veiled from the other by their own silence.

How can one describe the road? I've tried. You can't. The road that can be described is not the eternal road.

That God, He's a tricky one.

Like Pilate, we are each of us looking for Truth. God is veiled from us, but the veil, I think, is the one we put over our own eyes.