Thursday, April 30, 2009

It is four, it is always four!

Sometimes one thing reminds one of another, and sometimes there is chain of provenance of memories and works. Last night I had a couple of discussions, and in between them I remembered a scene from a television show. The scene had the actor, Patrick Stewart being subjected; the scene is a retelling of Orwell. The character O’Brien, was portrayed by Richard Burton, in an extremely grey Nineteen Eighty-Four [which I do not remember well] at the picture show, but the motivation of the interrogator (read torturer) was shown better in Star Trek as, the unnamed, Gul [captain] Madred. The two and two formula of truth, I have remembered maintaining many times as truth and freedom, and have been appalled by the other conversant not agreeing. I remember Dostojevskij, and other russians, and Aristotle, and Aquinas, and the epitome of the self evident.

In a two part episode,
Chain of Command, of the second Star Trek, which came out very late in 1992, Captain Picard is captured by the next series main villains, Cardassians. They want military information and plans. The interrogating officer finds out Picard knew nothing of any military plans, yet the torture continues. He shows four lights. The answer he wants to hear from Picard is that there are five.

The torturer received news of the agreement which is to have Picard released immediately, he [the torturer] quickly attempts to fool and pressure Picard to verbally break, and to state the evident falsity as actuality. Guards come to escort Picard’s release, and are displeased that the officer does not have Picard ready. Picard stands defiant, “There are four lights!”

Elsewhere, Captain Picard remarked,“Torture has never been a reliable means of extracting information. It is ultimately self-defeating as a means of control. One wonders why it is still practiced.” The torturer says to his daughter: But human mothers and fathers dont love their children as we do. At times, the episode is chilling, it is even more chilling, that such scenes happen every day, and by fellow citizens. I have since read, that, the scriptwriter, Frank Abatemarco, was in contact with Amnesty International.
From, George Orwell,
1984, part 3, chapter 2:

'Do you remember,' he went on, 'writing in your diary, "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four"?'
'Yes,' said Winston.
O'Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.
'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'
'And if the party says that it is not four but five -- then how many?'
The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Winston's body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he could not stop. O'Brien watched him, the four fingers still extended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only slightly eased.
'How many fingers, Winston?'
The needle went up to sixty.
'How many fingers, Winston?'
'Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!'
The needle must have risen again, but he did not look at it. The heavy, stern face and the four fingers filled his vision. The fingers stood up before his eyes like pillars, enormous, blurry, and seeming to vibrate, but unmistakably four.
'How many fingers, Winston?'
'Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!'
'How many fingers, Winston?'
'Five! Five! Five!'
'No, Winston, that is no use. You are lying. You still think there are four. How many fingers, please?'
'Four! five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!'
Abruptly he was sitting up with O'Brien's arm round his shoulders. He had perhaps lost consciousness for a few seconds. The bonds that had held his body down were loosened. He felt very cold, he was shaking uncontrollably, his teeth were chattering, the tears were rolling down his cheeks. For a moment he clung to O'Brien like a baby, curiously comforted by the heavy arm round his shoulders. He had the feeling that O'Brien was his protector, that the pain was something that came from outside, from some other source, and that it was O'Brien who would save him from it.
'You are a slow learner, Winston,' said O'Brien gently.
'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.'
'Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'
He laid Winston down on the bed. The grip of his limbs tightened again, but the pain had ebbed away and the trembling had stopped, leaving him merely weak and cold. O'Brien motioned with his head to the man in the white coat, who had stood immobile throughout the proceedings. The man in the white coat bent down and looked closely into Winston's eyes, felt his pulse, laid an ear against his chest, tapped here and there, then he nodded to O'Brien.
'Again,' said O'Brien.
The pain flowed into Winston's body. The needle must be at seventy, seventy-five. He had shut his eyes this time. He knew that the fingers were still there, and still four. All that mattered was somehow to stay alive until the spasm was over. He had ceased to notice whether he was crying out or not. The pain lessened again. He opened his eyes. O'Brien had drawn back the lever.
'How many fingers, Winston?'
'Four. I suppose there are four. I would see five if I could. I am trying to see five.'
'Which do you wish: to persuade me that you see five, or really to see them?'
'Really to see them.'
'Again,' said O'Brien.
Perhaps the needle was eighty -- ninety. Winston could not intermittently remember why the pain was happening. Behind his screwed-up eyelids a forest of fingers seemed to be moving in a sort of dance, weaving in and out, disappearing behind one another and reappearing again. He was trying to count them, he could not remember why. He knew only that it was impossible to count them, and that this was somehow due to the mysterious identity between five and four. The pain died down again. When he opened his eyes it was to find that he was still seeing the same thing. Innumerable fingers, like moving trees, were still streaming past in either direction, crossing and recrossing. He shut his eyes again.
'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'
'I don't know. I don't know. You will kill me if you do that again. Four, five, six -- in all honesty I don't know.'
'Better,' said O'Brien.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


At the beginning of this week, what was formerly denied, was announced, that, General Motors would dispatch Pontiac to oblivion. From the 1920s through the '50s, the Pontiac emblem, logo and hood ornament featured an handsome indian. Only a fool or liar would propose that the indian was treated well within or by the United States, but occasionally he has been recognised, if only to make a dollar.

Now, Pontiac (*c.1720, †1769) was a real indian, a war chief of a confederacy, before the birth of the United States, in what was the old northwest, or french territory. He defeated the british, almost took Detroit, but it was an international war and Pontiac's line was dispatchable and not central. Pontiac was impressive. Francis Parkman the yankee historian wrote about him in his volumes on the french and the english in north america.

Alfred Sloan was chief (president 1923-37, ceo '23-'46, chairman '37-'56) at GM and founded a business school at MIT. His thoughts dictated business. Planned obsolescence, market segmentation for price niche marketing were among his contributions. He also thought, in 1940, that, the fascist countries were more advanced than the democracies.

In the middle '20s General Motors had five car makes, in ascending order: Chevrolet, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac. Sloan saw gaps and added 'companion makes'. The line became: Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Viking, Marquette, Buick, LaSalle and Cadillac.

General Motors, in 1909, bought the Cartercar, which was manufactured in the city of Pontiac, in Oakland county, Michigan. General Motors, in 1909, bought the Oakland Car Company as well. An earlier Pontiac was manufactured in 1907-08 by another Pontiac buggy company. In 1915 GM builds Oaklands, in the Cartercar plant, in Pontiac.

The new companion Pontiac is introduced in 1926. In 1932, the Oakland division becomes the Pontiac division. Pontiac survived the first Depression, when many lines failed. Pontiac often had some sporty models. It was the 'muscle car' GTO. Pontiac had a certain panache that sounded well by the ear. Ricky and Lucy Ricardo drove a Sky Chief convertible on television. Working class america had liked Pontiac, but working class america has been under a great assault for over a generation. An icon of a certain glory is going to the attic of memory.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


6 April 2007 supra, 1 May 2007 media, 28 April 2009 infra
Date.......................High.............. Record
27 April 2009........85 °F....... 86 °F (1990)
26 April 2009........86 °F....... 87 °F (1948)
25 April 2009........85 °F....... 87 °F (1990)
24 April 2009........85 °F....... 88 °F (1925)
The color and shape of spring bulb flowers are truly lovely. Tulips are often delightful in those qualities, and in fragrance. The aesthetic experience is thoroughly enjoyable; under moderate weather, they can be brilliant for more than a month. The colors can succeed each other, yellow comes first, and the darkest purple, called black, is the finale. The color palate waxes and withers. Some colors predominate, and then fall away, and other colors come to the fore. Drying, wilted tulips have a concentrated color on their curled, and contorted petals.

During their vibrancy, they open and close their blooms. The mid-day sun can splay them 180°, exposing the internal base color, which can be white, or black, or another hue than the predominate color.

They prefer the mid 50°s. Here, they just went through four consecutive mid 80°s. The first day, it surprises them, and they recover during the night; after that, the cycle is, noticeably accelerated, and the toll hits.

They can survive an early snow, especially when the bud is tight; an open bud, when capturing enough wet snow can snap the stalk. Tulips are cold hardy. Too much heat, and they mature rapidly.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Theology on a communion rail

communion rail section. p. 1918. Saint Colman, Cleveland, O.
Saint Colman church in Cleveland did not suffer remodeling after Vatican II. It is a magnificent place for a mass. The irish, who had made it off the boat, were expanding in resources and settling in; some had grandchildren born in the new country. In the middle of Cleveland's westside they built a new church for a parish, during the years of the great war, the european war, the war to end all wars.

In the midst of the first generation of the new century, the building went up fast. The parish priest wanted baroque Rome built by irish hands for america. So much excellence of material and detail converged on this particular church. It was going to be more magnificent than the older, of the then, two surviving, westside, irish parishes. It was going to be grander than the yankee, and other protestant neighbors' opinions of the irish would expect, and in this, it followed much catholic building projects throughout the country.

The communion rail is white italian marble, carved in Dublin. There are 30 panels that run from wall to wall. There are twelve bas-relief episodes in vertical oblong, and eighteen carved stone filigree in horizontal oblong twice size, interrupted by colored columns, spanning in front of the sanctuary altars. There is more theology in that stone span of frieze than in some graduate level theology courses. A stunningly, spectacular, artistic craftsmanship of sacred beauty. As central to catholic worship, and of great importance, the liturgy of the Eucharist deserved, in the sentiments of fervid believers, an appropriate locale and atmosphere for Its celebration and reception. To many, nothing was too good for Its regard. This is the main reason for the necessary requirement of beauty to many believers.

Weaved and cut, illustrated, biblical passages that presage the passion, and sacrifice of Christ, and His Sacrament, and his monograms, and continuing Presence in the physical forms of communion are shown. Some of these stone vignettes are immediately recognisable, others may jog or elude the memory, or cognition.
At first, what is this scene; look at the several details: a young (no beard) man kneeling, before what? a fire, a fire with a Hand from above (heaven), God is accepting a burning offering, in the background: another man is watching, he is clutching...a weapon.
Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat: and the Lord had respect to Abel, and to his offerings. But to Cain and his offerings he had no respect: and Cain was exceeding angry, and his countenance fell. ― Genesis iv. 4-5. DRC

Abel quoque obtulit de primogenitis gregis sui et de adipibus eorum et respexit Dominus ad Abel et ad munera eius ad Cain vero et ad munera illius non respexit iratusque est Cain vehementer et concidit vultus eius.
Here at communion, God the Father, accepts the sacrifice of the Sacrament, as he did of Abel. Abel, like Jesus, would unjustly be killed by his own, a pre-figurement of the Passion. Here when one did kneel while waiting reception, one could be reminded at the meaning and significance of the True and Acceptable Sacrifice and Mystery, a tool for catachesis, for every first communicant, in the theology of the Blessed Sacrament. This rail should be appreciated by all communicants of the diocese, yet this church did not make the bishop's list for saving.*

The bas-reliefs are of :
  • wheat
  • Abel's offering ― Genesis iv. 4-5.
  • gathering manna ― Exodus xvi. 14-18.
  • Jesus knocking ― Apocalypse iii. 20.
  • (2) distributions of the Host (one, St. Colman receiving the Viaticum)
  • Melchísedech and Abram ― Genesis xiv. 18-20.
  • Sacrifice of Isaac ― Genesis xxii. 9-12.
  • Chanaan grapes ― Numbers xiii. 24.
  • Jesus as Good Shepherd ― John x. 1-18.
  • Moses and Brazen serpent ― Numbers xxi. 8.
  • grapes
The marble filigrees are of :
  • (2) chalice and host
  • (2) pelican vulning
  • (2) nails of crucifixion
  • (2) loaves and fishes
  • (2) ΧΡ Chi Rho
  • (3) IHS (appears as $ to some)
  • ΑΩ Alpha Omega
  • the veronica
  • sanctuary lamp ― Exodus xxvii. 20-21.
  • hand of God giving manna
  • monstrance
*postscriptum: shortly after the original writing, Bp. Lennon amended his list. Saint Colman was given a conditional reprieve, a probationary period.

Friday, April 24, 2009

a continuing list of repugnant partisans...

Feeling beleaguered and, possibly, writing in vain, I am considering to end this journal. Instead of rolling out a little essay mentioning new lunatic partisans, every now and then, when piqued by some outrage of inanity, or absence of ethics, I might just add to a continuing list. You can always further investigate why they are despicable, and why they should not represent sane, ethical and moral people. Some are just extreme partisan lunatics, some are shithouse rat crazy, and some are plain evil.

Some of those noted already:
  1. george bush junior - Texas ?
  2. Karl Rove - Texas
  3. Tom Delay - Texas
  4. Dick Cheney - Texas ?
  5. Newt Gingrich - formerly Georgia
  6. George Allen Jr. - Virginia
  7. George Herbert Walker Bush - Texas ?
  8. Dick Armey - Texas
  9. Orrin Hatch - Utah
  10. Fox news [sic]
  11. Jack Kingston - Georgia
  12. Larry Craig - Idaho; sexual scandal and hypocrisy exposed
  13. (Diaper Dave) David Vitter - Louisiana; sexual scandal and hypocrisy exposed
  14. David Dreier - California
  15. David Addington - architect of torture
  16. Alberto Gonzales - Texas
  17. John Woo - architect of torture
  18. Wayne Allard - Colorado
  19. Kit Bond - Missouri
  20. Tom Coburn - Oklahoma
  21. Thad Cochran - Mississippi
  22. John Cornyn - Texas
  23. James Inhofe - Oklahoma
  24. Pat Roberts - Kansas
  25. Jeff Sessions - Alabama
  26. Ted Stevens - Alaska
  27. Condoleezza Rice
  28. Tony Zirkle - currently local (Indiana)
  29. Douglas Bruce - currently local (Colorado)
  30. Kenneth Blackwell - Ohio
  31. Diebold - Ohio
  32. Todd Rokita - currently local (Indiana)
  33. Rush Limbaugh III
  34. Vito Fossella - New York; sexual scandal and hypocrisy exposed
  35. Mike Erickson - currently local (Oregon)
  36. Sarah Palin - Alaska
  37. George Voinovich - Ohio
  38. Michele Bachmann - Minnesota
  39. Paul Broun - Georgia
  40. Bob Corker -Tennessee
  41. Richard Shelby - Alabama
  42. Mitch McConnell - Kentucky
  43. Jim DeMint - South Carolina
  44. Norm Coleman - Loser
  45. Grover Norquist
  46. Rick Perry - Texas
new additions

47. on continuing flow of inanity: Peter King - New York (crazy since 9/11)
48. John Carter - Texas (demands Napolitano's head over DHS report on danger of right wing extremists)
49. on continuing flow of partisan inanity: Marsha Blackburn -Tennessee
perhaps a shorter list would be: decent non-repugnant Republican congressmen
List as of 24 April 2009
50. Lamar Smith - Texas [yes, another one]
Speaking on FOX [surprise] : "Let me just say — this is going to sound radical, I don’t mean for it to be radical — but to me, the greatest threat to America is not necessarily a recession or even another terrorist attack. The greatest threat to America is a liberal media bias."
- 3 June 2009
51. Michael Steele - chairman (guffaw). I forgot this blithering fool, he seems addicted to saying one ludicrous, crazy statement after another whenever a microphone is present. Perhaps, he should have been a cigarette lawyer. - 11 June 2009
Peter Hoekstra - Michigan. This idiot is the ranking Republican on the intelligence committee. Ha Ha! - 19 June 2009
53. Dana Rohrabacher - California.
This idiot has said many foolish things for years, but with so much competition for stupidity, or worse, he has not come to the fore in some time. To-day, 23 June, he has. He has blamed the iranian situatuin on the current president, Barack Obama, as if Obama has authored persian-american relations since the end of wwii. The previous régime demonised and ignored Iran simultaneously for eight years. For most of the last generation, the US has been the Great Satan in the rhetoric of Iran. Idiot Rohrabacher lays this on Obama? Clearly, the Republicans must hire a score of psychiatrists for their congressional delegation.
Mark Sanford - South Carolina. There used to be a television show called, Car 54. Where are you? Mark Sanford was missing, not on the Appalachian Trail, but in Argentina after tail. Being an arrogant, self-righteous, teabagger, and a hypocritical adulterer was not enough to add him to this list, that sort of thing is just par for Republicans. The self-aggrandisement to compare oneself, in biblical terms, to King David—the archetypal ruler is. - 27 June 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

George,Quijote and the Dragon

To-day is Saint George’s, and the traditional date of the death of Miguel de Cervantes. Heroism of the struggle, with the ardor of a chivalric, christian heart ties these two together. The dragon is symbolic of a fearsome adversary. Saint George defeated him. In Cervantes Don Quijote, our befuddled caballero was, in spirit, the perfect christian chevalier. I could write a book on this, but I have not the audience, nor the support...
Jurij Zaninović. Bridge with four dragons. 1900-01. Ljubljana.
I am also fascinated with the word for the creature: draco, drakon, zmaj, aždaja, smok. There are particular dragons, and there are types of dragons, and the general dragon. (The east asian dragons have a different ethos, from the indo-european dragons.) These dragons share with the biblical dragon an interchangeability with the serpent, but with wings and fire, which greatly increases their fearsome mythology. There are exceptions to their rapacious, evil ferocity, some are guardians. This is surprising and interesting. The dragon of Ljubljana, ljubljanski zmaj, supposedly guards the bridge, and the city; yet in the small town of Sveti Jurij (Saint George) not far off, the traditional heraldic depiction of the armoured and caped saint dispatching the fearsome beast with a lance is the coat of arms, shield, and flag. A similar Jurij serves Moscow. Now, the serbs also love George, as the english once did, but in addition to the generic slavonic zmaj, they also name aždaja. This dragon came from Persia and the zoroastrians, but not directly. The barbarian turks picked up words from conquered civilisations and were linguistic vehicles.

To further speculate, wildly, and most uncertainly: there is the less common words 'pogoj' dragon, and, in srpskohrvatsko, 'pakoa', hell, perhaps suggesting sulfurous pitch*. In addition the greek 'hades', '
aidelon', and 'άδης', fires of hades, and in Plato, the house of hades. From the greeks the russians got 'ad' in addition to their variation of peklo, pekel, pakao, pekla. There is the persian 'aži dahāka'. Is there a multi-lingual convergence of creature and locale? of dragon and hell? Or am I like the father in, My big fat greek wedding, creating fanciful etymologies?
*Jakob Grimm noted the fire and stench of slavonic hells, and modern greek hell. The hebraic 'gehenna' has often been translated into hellfire, and fire and brimstone means fire and sulfur.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Anselm, Doctor of the Church

To-day is Saint Anselm's day. Nine hundred years ago, to-day, he left the earthly life. He is apelled: d'Aosta, à Bec, of Canterbury, depending on the language used, and the nation claiming. He was born in Aosta (Piedmont Italy) and went on to Bec (Norman France) and became a benedictine monk, scholar and philosopher. Now, in the year Anselmo reached Christ's age, William conquered England, and Anselm was prior at Bec, the prevous prior, Lanfranc became the archbishop of Canterbury in 1070. Lanfanc was succeeded by Anselm. William (II) Rufus was an overreaching, immoderate king, and interfered with church affairs. For four years the see was left vacant as William Rufus collected and robbed what was available. Anselm succeeded his old teacher, and inherited his problems. With a new king, Henry I, a slightly better go went forth, although Anselm would still find exile. The conflict between mitre and crown would continue in England for centuries, until the faith was completely forbidden. Now, neither Canterbury nor the crown mean much of anything, outside of pomp and ceremony.

Anselmo, during his time at Bec, was in the center of the intellectual world. Anselm is considered a founder of scholasticism. In philosophy and theology, he is the most important betwixt Augustine and Aquinas. In Cur Deus Homo, he writes on the theology of the Atonement. In the Proslogium, he gives two versions of, what Kant later calls, the ontological proof of God, which in the simplest manner can be reduced to: God exists by definition, because that which you understand to be, as what God would be, is an idea that could not be invented in your mind, by your mind.

Augustine said, "Crede, ut intelligas". Believe that you may understand.
Anselmo said, "Credo, ut intelligam". I believe that I may understand.
Christian faith was at the center of philosophy and understanding.
To-day, is also the birthday of the city of Rome.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Elixir of texas tea(baggers)

Every year there is an anti-tax protest at some state house or public park, but this year they were organised by a television network and professional mouthfoamers. Much coverage was aired. There were years of much larger anti-war protests, that, they and others ignored. We report, you decide.

These hypocritical idiots without intellectual consistency complain about taxation and spending. The number one funded department is that of the military, the department of war, the Pentagon, or euphemistically, defense. It is well over 50%, near if not exceeding 60%, depending on accounting methods, and their degree of transparency. To all intelligible people, that has to be the place to start. Was one protester protesting military spending? Was one person brandishing a poster, banner or sign against useless, wasteful military spending? or criticising the merchants of death? Besides the military, there are other perennial snouts at the public trough. Any protesting agricultural subsidies to millionaires? Any protesting aid to Israel?

Any protesting about their states and communities that receive more than they pay? Alaska receives almost double in receipts, from its outgo, to the federal government. Alaska has an idiot opportunist as governor, who has claimed Alaska to be a sovereign state, she also has an husband, whom, belonged(s) to a secessionist party, did she also? She wants [stifle your guffaws] to be president of the United States of America. Where is there logical continuity in this, anywhere?

Further, the protests gathered smaller crowds, than those held for the legalisation of hemp and marijuana, or the right to ride motorbikes sans helmet. I am sure, that, to-day 4/20, there will be a sizable crowd, somewhere, in the country protesting something. I once participated in a labor rally, at the Ohio State House, on one cold Saturday, years ago. Downtown Columbus was abandoned. We marched in solitude, except for the many police forces to watch us. There were speeches by a Representative in Congress, Marcy Kaptur, and labor leaders, including Richard Trumka. No media coverage, save for a couple sentences buried in a Columbus paper.

These sideshows of teabaggers were orchestrated and pumped up, but the balloon will not fly. In addition to what they purported to be, they were anti-Obama rallies. The man just took office, and legally so. bushjr stole office without public demonstrations against it, there was one in Florida to aid the theft, though. There were insane accusations and villifications of Obama. The klan was out in their civvies, not in their dress whites. In the bizarre dystopia of the crazier than shithouse rat Republicans, anything less than a complete, fascist dictatorship is appalling, an elected democracy is anathema, and deserving of subversion and annihilation. They accused Obama, simultaneously, of being a fascist (an absurd situation of a cauldron calling a teakettle black), and a communist. Have they ever opened a dictionary? They sense that ‘fascist’ is an extreme political insult, while they blindly stare into the mirror. When a vote is taken, and the votes are actually counted, the winner is not a non-democrat.

Tejas, texas, taxes; other idiots, of the outrageous, reprobate Republicans, gave cover and support. The chief elected one, Rick Perry*, wants a third term as governor of Tejas. He was talking secession. Perry is not John C. Calhoun, or one of the literate fireaters of the antebellum south. People, carrying union [not labor, certainly not] flags, talking of secession, does not anyone see the irony, well, back to the point, Texas already seceded once—it was an extremely, bloody failure. Have they ever read a real history book? And Texas, is there any one state that has caused more disaster for America, at least in the last several years?...Armey, Baker, bushes and bushes, Cheney, Delay, Gramm, Halliburton.... If Texas wanted to leave, it would have behooved the world, far more so, if it had been done a generation ago. The combination of arrogance, ignorance, callousness, worthlessness, belligerence, incompetence, gall and the damnedest stupidity is utterly jaw dropping! Really, every anglo leaving Tejas needs to be tested for rabies.
*former Texas Aggie cheerleader, who may or may not be aware of:
Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869), in which the Supreme Court ruled that a state cannot secede.
When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States. ― Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase

Postscriptum: 26 April 2009. There is stupid, and there is hypocrisy; and then there is Texas stupid, and Texas hypocrisy. Yesterday, the governor [sic] of Tejas, Mr. Goodhair, Rick Perry requested the federal (that means, the national government of the United States) bureaucratic agency (funded by tax dollars from the 50 states) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide Tejas, from the national stockpile, 37,430 courses of antiviral medications for the swine flu crisis. His words, “We will continue to work with our local, state and federal health officials to ensure public safety is protected.” How quickly, Tejas petitions (begs) the Union for help and material, that Tejas does not provide texicans with. Maybe crow is the meal meant for tea.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

... to each according to need.

To-day's first scriptural reading was from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 4, verses 32-35:
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. ― NAB

Multitúdinis autem credéntium erat cor unum et ánima una : nec quisquam eórum quæ possidébat, áliquid suum esse dicébat, sed erant illis ómnia commúnia. Et virtúte magna reddébant Apóstoli testimónium resurrectiónis Jesu Christi Dómini nostri : et grátia magna erat in ómnibus illis. Neque enim quisquam egens erat inter illos. Quotquot enim possessóres agrórum aut domórum erant, vendéntes afferébant prétia eórum quæ vendébant, et ponébant ante pedes Apostólorum. Dividebátur autem síngulis prout cuíque opus erat.

And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul: neither did any one say that aught of the things which he possessed, was his own; but all things were common unto them. And with great power did the apostles give testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord; and great grace was in them all. For neither was there any one needy among them. For as many as were owners of lands or houses, sold them, and brought the price of the things they sold, And laid it down before the feet of the apostles. And distribution was made to every one, according as he had need. ― DRC
How many people in the congregation were listening? Did anyone who was not in the habit of church going, or Scripture reading, yet educated otherwise, hear something that sounded familiar? Were any angered? made uncomfortable? Will any consider? or take heart?

This is the first reading in year 'B'. The first reading in year 'A' is:
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. ―Acts of the Apostles ii. 42-47. NAB

And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul. Many wonders also and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem: and there was great fervor in all. And all they that believed were together and had all things common. Their possessions and goods they sold and divided them to all, according as every one had need. And continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart: Praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved.
Acts of the Apostles ii. 42-47. DRC
To-day, being the Octave of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday and Doubting Thomas Sunday, it is easy for a homilist to not comment on this reading, making it convenient for either him, or the congregation, or both. Some of these people would rather not examine their consciences on those sentiments, and if those lines were said, without attribution, or even with, in public civil discourse, they might not receive a friendly hearing. And there are certain professing christians, who would, twist into convolutions the words of Scripture on similar sentiments. This sort of radicalism, or extremism, by Jesus is not welcoming to all, it can be most discomfitting.

Ambrosian & gregorian hymns for Quasimodo Sunday

Andrea del Verrocchio. Christ and Doubting Thomas. 1467–1483. Florence.
The hymns available for the traditional mass wed text, theology, and music exquisitely. I live in an english speaking community. English is an accumulative language. Ecclesiastical latin accumulated greek vocabulary, and hebraic theology. A song can refer to the sacrifice of the mass, the communion of believers, and the salvation of God's people now, and from Moses―or anytime from Adam to the last day.

Saint Stephen has had a latin schola for a year, it has finished an annual cycle, but some songs are being done for the first time, since the ordinary had to be learned first, and some members have joined during the year. One of the members studied for a doctorate in classical languages at the University of Pennsylvania, and can give spontaneous translation of the text. This with a little discussion amongst the members, in asides and questions becomes a mini symposium (without the drinking). Ablatives, gerunds and the importance of the fourth declension are mentioned in passing.

To-day has many names. I must mention, to-day fulfills the octave of Easter, and is also, then fittingly, Divine Mercy Sunday. Perhaps, most anciently, to-day is Dominica in albis depositis, the sunday of laying away the white (garment of baptism) is one which is reflected in an ambrosian hymn, which is not served well by the usual Neale translation.
[each verse should span only the column]
1. AD cenam Agni providi, stolis salutis candidi, post transitum maris Rubri Christo canamus principi.
--At the supper the Lamb provides,
--------------------------clothes of health(salvation) of gleaming white,
---------------------------------------------after the passage through the Red Sea
------------------------------------------------------- we sing to Christ the prince.
--At the mass
--Ad regias Agni dapes [beginning of alternate hymn]
2. Cuius corpus sanctissimum in ara crucis torridum, sed et cruorem roseum gustando, Dei vivimus.
------j*-------------------------------------------------------------------------rosy gore
3. Protecti paschæ vespero a devastante angelo, de Pharaonis aspero sumus erept(i)§ imperio.
-----------paschal eve a devastating angel (unnamed, conjecture -- Uriel?)
4. Iam pascha nostrum Christus est, agnus occisus innocens; sinceritatis azyma qui carnem suam obtulit.
---J* ------ χ -------------- χ-innocent (in = negation, nocens = harmful, a criminal)
-unleavened (a =
negation, greek)
5. O vera, digna hostia, per quam franguntur tartara, captiva plebs redimitur, redduntur vit
æ præmia!
---------------------------------netherworld (greek, latin is inferno, english hell),
-------------------------------------------------------------, the captive proletariat ----------------------------------redeemed/ransomed/atoned,
6. Consurgit Christus tumulo, victor redit de barat(h)ro, tyrannum trudens vinculo et paradisum reserans.
----------------------------------------------------------depths† ------------------------------------- unbolted
7. Esto perenne mentibus paschale, Iesu, gaudium et nos renatos gratiæ tuis triumphis aggrega.
----------------------------------------------- J*
8. Iesu, tibi sit gloria, qui morte victa prænites, cum Patr(e)§ et almo Spiritu, in sempiterna sæcula. Amen.

Another song for today is, O fillii et fili
æ. It deals greatly with T(h)omas’ doubt. Quando Thomas vidit Christum, pedes, manus, latus suum, dixit: Tu es Deus meus, alleluia. The uncertain Thomas shrinks at the staid Christ as he inspects his wounds.
*(i) when palatised becomes (j)
†(h) in words borrowed from greek are unaspirated (silent);
(Φ) is written ph in latin, (Φ) in cyrillic is (f), sounded (f) in latin, russian, english, ) = ch
Pasch is the passover and the resurrection holiday, hebrew→greek→latin
§ silent or slurred in song not in speech

Friday, April 17, 2009

Shame on Obama and Holder

Some of the officially, documented evil committed, by the busheviks, by members of the CIA has been released, and has confirmed much of what has been known, and denied.
"This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke...But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." -- President Barack Obama

"It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department."-- Attorney General Eric Holder
These statements do several things: they are protecting the guilty; Obama is not much different than bushjr on too many important matters; the rule of law in the US of A is fiction; and the Nuremberg defense will succeed for american fascists, where it did not for german fascists. Well, Obama and company are wrong, deeply and gravely wrong, they are excusing, and condoning, the evil of the busheviks, and their ultimately demented, and vicious supporters; and still it will not lessen their [that of fervent Republicans] hatred for him. Obama has shown a steadfast loyalty to the financial and imperial enterprise that this country has become.

He is a vast improvement over the last occupant, he may yet accomplish great things, he is a compromising politician, and in his compromised positions, he has done great ill. He acts in favor, and defense, of those whom vilify him, and have besmirched and corrupted the country. Does Obama suffer from Bill Clinton's need to be liked? These people will always hate him, and far more disturbing, by serving them, he does great disservice to the nation and the world, or has Obama been co-opted by the entrenched ruling class?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Religous ignorance

Terry Mattingly wrote an essay, in which he concluded, that ‘secular’ journalists are not so much anti-religious as lacking a religious vocabulary, and, therefore, understanding. This observation, I also, note regularly. To-day, I read a foto caption where someone wrote, that the eight point star symbolizes Jesus’ Resurrection eight days after His death. Now, the obvious error is, that, he rose on the third day (which was the eight day of the week, Sunday; especially, when one thinks of Holy Week which began on Palm Sunday). The week begins on a sunday, the seventh day is saturday, therefore, the eight day, must be, sunday. This is why baptistries are often eight sided, and baptism is a birth to a new life, a victory over death. The paschal vigil mass repeats baptismal vows for all, and often people are baptised at this mass. Also, the church celebrates octave days, e.g., the 1st of January is the octave of the Nativity. So, the phrase--sunday is the eight day, has a great texture and context, that many do not, and cannot be expected to comprehend. So, often it is not disbelief, but incomprehension, that is the answer. Ignorance is more prevalent than malice.

Also it is not only, so called ‘secular’ ignorance, there is also inter-denominational ignorance. I remember reading an essay, by a protestant professor of an extremely ‘conservative’ school, trying to explain Saint Francis of Asissi as an alter Christi, another Christ. There is more than one way to understand ‘another’. The catholic, and contextually correct, way is as an exemplar in apostleship and manner in the following of Christ. Saint Francis ‘Il Poverello’ was christlike in behavior, mode and thought. We should also be. An incorrect interpretation of ‘another’ is substitute, and you can imagine how ill that can be used.

Some of this is definition of terms. In arguments, dictating the definition of terms is half the contest won before it starts. Now, in western civilisation the standard is to the one that has continuity, and original usage. In religion, that would fall to catholicism. In non-specific writing and conversation, the general definition, the standard is the catholic definition; it is the non-catholic use, that needs to be specified (of course, when two of the same sectarians are talking, they are using common formulæ); after-all, catholic means universal.

A little more than a fortnight ago, Mrs. Clinton, on a state visit, went to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mrs. Clinton is noted to be very attached to her Methodist faith, she is a highly educated person. The tilma was lowered for her to see closely, the rector was with her. She did not know what she was viewing, “who painted it?” Now, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the tilma, is a relic of the class, that the orthodox, often, call ‘not made by human hands’. In the last sentence, there are several items of vocabulary that need to be understood, in order, that the sentence is to be understood as intended.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection Sunday

Albrecht Altdorfer. The Resurrection of Christ. c. prior 1518. Vienna.
Painted, concurrently, with the onset of the german heresy, to which the painter later succumbed to, this was a portion of an altarpiece from, the Augustine monastery, Sankt Florian, Upper Austria. Christ is risen before many, in what appears to be a large, mountain, forest grotto, in expressively vivid colors. We are not in 1st century, roman, occupied Judea (Palestine). On the left stands an armored halberdier, one of the, then, newly, formed landsknecht, that would be prominent in supporting the protestant princes against the peasantry, and the catholic emperor, and would also be employed by the same Habsburg emperor, against the rebellious princes, and in other wars. Jesus was victorious over death; the halberdier became emblematic of renaissance germany.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Paschal Triduum observances

Good Friday Procession, Cleveland, Ohio, from La Sagrada Familia to Saint Patrick to Saint Michael.

To-day is Holy Saturday, amongst slavonic christians, it is custom and tradition to have baskets of food blessed in church. Yesterday, was Good Friday. Theologically, they are part of one day, the Paschal Triduum. The mass, that began Thursday evening, did not end yet, the dismissal comes at the end of the vigil mass on what some slavs call ‘Great Night’*.

Friday, the day of the crucifixion and burial, has its traditions. The Via Dolorosa is the walk of sorrows in Jerusalem, but throughout the world, similar sojourns can occur. Now, on the west side of Cleveland, a procession left after the noon, angelus bell at La Sagrada Familia and went eastwards, first, on Franklin Boulevard. A hundred years ago, it was a fashionable street; it had lost its cache, but a renewal is sporadically underway. A few lots were under construction or being remodeled that day. This procession interrupted the lunch time of some, and was not expected by some. Non religiously observant residents would recall the procession from past years, but temporary interlopers might have had a novel experience.

For catholics the day has the highest solemnity. Generations of children had been taught that the hours from noon to three were to be reserved. The unaffected world goes by, often, unconscious of the singularity of the time. Perhaps, for some it might be a spur for investigation; for others a mere recognition; and for the uncharitable ― an occasion to complain. We live in a world, where, we exist in different cultures occupying the same society.

Gandhi had an attraction and respect for the devotion of the Way of the Cross, but as much as he loved Jesus, he did not become a christian. Some are not affected by such devotions. Some are sorely vexed, and will propagandise vigorously against. A painted egg will give them fits, a rabbit makes them livid. The definition of terms do not co-incide. Self appointed censors create their own universal banns, for others, by fickle fiat. While some celebrations foster a deep religious glow, and communal cohesion, that deepens the faith in some; others can not share in that. Some are of great good will, and do welcome all.
*Velika noč, Veľká noc, Velikonoce, Velja noć

Friday, April 10, 2009

Frances Perkins

Frances Perkins was born on this date 1880. She was the first female cabinet secretary. If one person in government was responsible for Social Security or a minimum wage, it was she.

She witnessed the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, of 25 March 1911, in New York City. 146 people died, 129 of them female. Immigrant girls worked 60 and 72 hour weeks for six or seven dollars. Two years earlier there had been a strike. The owners hired goons to beat the girls, they hired street whores as scabs to further humiliate the girls.

From 1918 she worked in government for justice for labor, for women, for children, and for America, first under Al Smith, and then his successor, Franklin Roosevelt. She is sadly neglected. The Washington National Airport could be renamed in her honor.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

pre-Paschal events, tenebræ

For the byzantines, and others using the gregorian calendar, to-day is Lazarus Saturday. To-morrow is Palm Sunday, some german churches wheel in a palmesel figure, a statue of Christ on an ass. The poles have a lamentation service, Gorzkie zale, throughout lent, similar to the way of the cross and to tenebræ. The spaniards have parades.

I have been busy with latin, tenebræ, singing practice. It will, probably, be the first time since 1955, that, at Saint Stephen, Cleveland*, tenebræ in the original form will be done. I would like to know, how many times it has been done in the entire diocese in this form since.

In this format, it is the combined matins and lauds for Holy Thursday. Matins chant the psalms 68 to 76, the beginning of Jeremias’ Lamentations, responses and antiphons; in addition: Augustine on part of psalm 54, and a selection of Paul to the Corinthians is read. Lauds has four psalms, and the canticles of Moses and Zacharias (the Benedictus), and antiphons. In other forms, it is truncated, and other readings may be used, but the Miserere (ps.50) of David, and Jeremias
cry over Jerusalem are generally retained.

The tenebræ hearse is a triangular candelabrum used for this service since, at least, the seventh century. It is triangular with fifteen prickets. This hearse was also used during the funeral mass, and placed by the casket, and now the wagon, that carries the casket, is called the hearse. At the end of each psalm a candle (unbleached wax taper, preferably) is snuffed, until the last candle, remaining lit, is taken away; this candle represents Christ and returns after the strepitus. There are six candles on the altar, that are snuffed, consecutively, at the last six verses of the Benedictus. The antiphon, that begins Christus Factus est, has the last candle leave.

The strepitus, latin for din, or loud noise, or crash, is the theatrical climax. The church is in darkness total and silent, and then an unexpected, isolated sound terrifies those, whom, do not know about it. This can be the most, memorable moment of any tenebræ service. I vaguely remember a rain storm, occurring one night, to help the dramatics. The theatre for the strepitus has possibilities. The simplest is to drop a phonebook from the choir loft. There is a musical instrument sheet of bronze or brass, a tonitruone, that can be used; a thunder sheet, or piece of sheet metal used for ventilation ducts could be shook, one can strike wood with a heavy, hand hammer, or lay both forearms across an organ keyboard. Sixteen foot pipes would make a great sound.

There is much symbolism, and much interpretation. The strepitus is the tomb closing, the tomb opening, the destruction of the first temple, the third temple, the earthquake of the crucifixion. The Christ candle is joined by the eleven apostles and the three Maries.

While going over the practice singing, I was hit with the eloquence of Saint Jerome’s latin. He was a ciceronian. The joy of the hebrews over the destruction of faro’s army is also evident.
―Tu confregísti cápita dracónis ; dedísti eum escam pópulis Æthíopum. (Ps. 73. v.14)
Thou hast smashed the heads of the dragon [faro’s army]; and given it as meal to the ethiopians.
―vox tonítrui tui in rota. Illuxérunt coruscatió nes tuæ orbi terræ ; commóta est, et contrémuit terra. (Ps. 76. v.19)
the voice of thy thunder in a wheel. Thy lightnings enlightened the world: the earth shook and trembled.DRC
―equum et ascensórem dejécit in mare. (Exodus xv. 1b)
horse and his ascendant [usually trans. rider] He has thrown [poured, deposed] into the sea.
―currus Pharaónis et exércitum ejus projécit in mare : elécti príncipes ejus submérsi sunt in mari Rubro. (Exodus xv. 4)
Pharao's chariots and his army he hath cast into the sea: his chosen captains are drowned in the Red Sea.
*6.30 p.m. Wednesday, 8 April 2009.
postscriptum: in this
tenebræ, there was a very muted strepitus, it consisted of rapping the missals, but there was an addition, the throwing of thirty silver coins onto the marble steps.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Working class fools wanted

Unemployment is noticeable enough now, that, local news and other media are running stories. They offer solutions. There are job fairs sprouting. Training, interviewing, resume writing are promoted. None of this creates jobs, except for the hawkers. Those, who offer these "services", make out.

People are trained, and pay for the training, for non existent jobs. Employers who do hire make out, training is paid for by the new employees or government. Business is subsidised and receives welfare. Rubbish schools are created. People are pushed to be competitive, the dog eat dog philosophy of social darwinism and american business. Paid apprenticeships and union membership are not suggested. The proposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), wherein when a majority of workers sign up for the union, making it difficult for the employer to impede, stall or retaliate, as was the intent, and part, of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) 1935 is not being advanced.

In Roosevelt's solution for vast unemployment, this was not the course of the New Deal. This is the bait and switch bullshit of con artists, the typical american management programmes. Men need jobs. These offered paths make men hungrier, more pliable, less organised, politically and financially weaker. The moneyed interests, who, created the disasters are being protected. The media, and much of the government, are puppets and catpaws of the moneyed interests