Archives for January 2012

In which the Pope cites a novel that takes place at a time near the end of the world

 …and various Churchmen and Catholic entities with short views on ecclesiology and long views on themselves shuffle their feet and clear their throats.

Take it away, Father Rutler!

January 30th, Calendar Square

Snow is falling hard on Calendar Square.
It’s nearly February; phoebes sing
At embarrassing distances among
The whitened trees of dusk, reminding March
It’s got its work to do. The buildings cast
Dull blue shadows across white yawning spaces.
Now that winter’s had its way with time, time
Deletes the solace of annus novus,
While evidence lingers, central conceits
Of presence ravel out the absences
That wrinkle parking lots and alleyways
With tire tracks; that spill the rock salt that’s mixed
In bitter mercy with birdfeed on a stoop;
That winnow storefront windows down and out
To their basics; that make the needful things
Become madly dependent on luxuries
To help restore their meaning. People move
Among their footprints, shadows among shades,
With hungry looks, grinning cold misereres
And scouring the ground before them for some
Reconstructed comfort. No other face
Or posture touches on what’s wanted most –
What’s least at hand. The entire city sounds
An anthology of reveries, morose
In muffled cadence, bruised as ruptured bassoons,
A rich quavering sadness wildly refrained
From deep beneath the river’s strain and flow:
It groans with ice and curves its banks around
The city, lover held by elbow’s crook –
Its daily traffic is measured and cramps
Each fitful instance. After twilight pulled
The stray ribbons and stays of sunlight loose,
The evening’s flowing locks tumbled free
With snow. (The weather’s been asking for it
For days.) Each flake an inculcation of
The equinox, the storm compiles in facts
And whispered dividends; its quiet smoothes
Sepulchral parks into ashen fields; it haunts
The solstice, dreaming phoebes into spring.

Today in Malapropisms?

Third Son:  No, no – Anaconda eggs are brown.

Dad: … oh, Americana.

House of Words Deleted Scenes: Limerick #12

There once was a house made of words.
Inside lived some humans and birds.
Laid out in the cage
Was a newspaper page
Where the words merged with feathers and turds.

Young Mary Flannery O’Connor Reads Jonathan Potter’s House of Words

Picture source.

Ὁ Οἰκοδομοῦντος

(Image: Detail of painting behind main altar at St. James the Less Church, La Crosse, Wis.)

“Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες
οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας•”

The moment’s gravity is apogee
Of death and judgment, here where sun and moon
Are beam and pillar of the balance pan
That tips the temple’s peak. But clarity’s
Displaced the weight of time with charity’s
Alacrity: Jerusalem is done
With me. The distant Mediterranean
Ignites in sliver holocaust. I see
Such realms that stretch before me reach for me.
So men have bound my hands, dismantled stone,
And thrown me down. The clumsy club’s “Amen”
Has queered my corners irrevocably;
But square and spirit level resurrect
The equilibrium of the architect.

The highs and lows of the John Farrell experience.

After making me want to go fetal and huddle under my desk with this bit on evolution and the Fall, John Farrell offers this bit of consolation from The Maverick Philosopher.

Today in Catholic Politicians


I blurbed a book


Travis Naught asked me to write a blurb for his fine collection of poetry, The Virgin Journals, and I was glad to oblige.

Palm Trees & Cell Towers


Dad likes Dad Rock.

Protected: House of Words Deleted Scenes: “Wounded by Light”

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2012: Rise of the Breeders

No, seriously.

From the YouTube Music Video Archives: “Santo di patria” from Verdi’s Attila, performed by Maria Chiara

The other night I saw the Seattle Opera performance of Verdi’s Attila, in which John Ralyea (as Attila) and Ana Lucrecia García (as Odabella) were especially good. This is one of Verdi’s earlier operas, and I rather enjoyed those moments that seemed more reminiscent of Rossini’s bel canto than the fiery romanticism that abounds in Verdi’s later works. Although there’s plenty of that on display here as well.

You might also enjoy Dame Joan Sutherland’s performance in a video that nicely includes the score so you can read along as Sutherland runs up and down the staff as if she were tossing off the easiest aria in the repertoire. While I think Chiara captures the heroic force of Odabella in a more dramatically powerful performance, Sutherland’s perfectly balanced coloratura through all these runs is simply astonishing—flawless, to my untrained ear.

God and Lions

From ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said Tuesday.

This article from 2005 just came across my radar. It relates some horrible statistics about the practice of marriage by kidnap and rape in Ethiopia and, against the backdrop of those statistics, the amazing tale of a 12-year-old girl who was saved from the cruel practice by some lions in the road. In the combox, of course, is where things get interesting. Were the lions actually just setting a table (so to speak) and preparing to have the girl as the main course when the police arrived and broke up the dinner preparations? Did God send the lions to save the girl? And if so, then why would God perform such an extraordinary act while doing nothing about the continuing horrifying practice and the alarming statistics thereof? The debate rages on.

My favorite comment (although I confess I didn’t make it through them all) came from someone named kohny:

Leave it to someone to twist the fact that GOD sent these Lions to protect this girl.

He shut the mouths of the Lions in the den with Daniel, He did the same here.

Keep this behaviour up in ethiopia and this will be your fate…The LIONS WILL BE SENT TO EAT YOU MEN

Today in Blind Items

Catholic movie star does not get down with jerking off.

Outtake from Publicity Photoshoot for Gerasene 12

We really thought we had a hit with this one, but it didn’t make the final cut because we realized that the explicit use of tabacco products might offend gentle hearts and timid souls…

Second Official Publicity Shot for Gerasene 12

In which several themes are invoked simultaneously…