Kiss me, I'm Catholic.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Saint Anthony, you are the greatest! Thank you for saving my bacon yet another time and restoring my purse to me!

And thank you, kind honest person who found my purse outside the Starbucks on that seedy corner of El Camino and brought it inside. I wish I knew who you were...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Aliens in This World on Catholic Fandom

An insightful post at an insightful blog: When Religion is Your Fandom. I've come to realize the danger of this during the past year, especially after my first year at Christendom, where I had the privilege of participating in a living breathing Catholic culture, as opposed to staring feverishly at blogs on my computer screen until the ungodly hours of the night.

And this blogger also has a song parody titled "Chant in Latin." I'm afraid I don't know the original, but it's still funny and elegant:

Everyone knows some hymn
we'd be better off without;
We'd best not say what's lame.
OCP might be about.
But why commit your budget,
and risk your range's strain,
When a little chant in Latin
is all public domain? ....

This blog goes back to 2002! Why haven't I seen it before?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Okay, okay, okay...

...I'll do it! ^_^

Total Number of Books I’ve Owned:
Maybe 200. Yes, I'm pathetic. But my mom has such a huge library that I usually just read her books...

Last Book I Bought:
I bought three books from Amazon: collections of poetry by Pavel Chichikov and George Mackay Brown, and a surreal sci-fi novel by Poul Anderson called High Crusade, in which space aliens invade medieval England and get their butts kicked by a bunch of knights, who commandeer their ship and defeat their tyrannical empire. The book is narrated by a lovable monk named Brother Parvus, and it puts the smackdown on that stupid Connecticut Yankee meme, whereby scruffy, superstitious medievals can be terrorized with an electric can opener.

Last Book I Read:
Evelyn Waugh's biography of Edmund Campion. It was truly amazing. I love St. Edmund Campion, and Waugh's writing is fabulous. Of course the college bookstore started selling it at the same time I was reading it. Sigh...

Five Books that Mean a Lot to Me:

1. The Lord of the Rings. A no brainer; it's been my favorite book since I was 12. If it doesn't keep me sane and and ardent for the verum/bonum/pulchrum, nothing will.

2. The Path to Rome. The best thing Belloc ever wrote. That I've read, anyway. It's so full, so satisfying for every mood. It combines the sacred and the profane, irony and artlessness, sorrow and consolation in equal measure. And you can read it online, so there's no excuse. (However, you won't get the wonderful songs and sketches sprinkled through the book.)

3. The Diary of a Country Priest. I'm always astonished at how intricately structured this book is. The melancholy is almost fatal to me, but I keep coming back for more. It is a saint's story, but so artistically told. An unusual combination.

4. The Red Fairy Book. I loved this collection of fairy tales when I was a kid, especially The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Nettle Spinner. They made a very deep impression on me. For what it's worth, Tolkien also read it as a child.

5. Heaven, by Peter Kreeft. I read this when I was 14, I think. It completely changed my superficial understanding of Heaven, and of the purpose of our Faith. It tied together all these things I loved - music, Tolkien, etc. - and showed me why I loved them and where they were leading.

And I guess it isn't a book, but the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Cloister Farrago

So I was reading this cool book about the Holy Grail, and I get to a section about the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, where the Holy Grail was sheltered from the Moors for a time. This monastery is amazing - Romanesque cloister as Navajo cliff dwelling? Check out the pictures:

That weird freestanding cloister sorta reminds me of the little garden by the Houses of Healing in Return of the King:

Which also reminds me: some movie reviewer described Minas Tirith as "a cross between Mont Saint Michel and the Hoover Dam." The Mont Saint Michel part is true enough:

Views from Mont Saint Michel cloister.

Pretty close, except for the pointed arches. Minas Tirith is definitely a Romanesque city. I've noticed something cool about the throne room in Minas Tirith, something that reinforces the idea that Aragorn's return would be analogous to the restoration of the Holy Roman Empire. The throne room looks suspiciously like the cathedral at Aachen which holds the throne of Charlemagne. See...

Throne room at Minas Tirith

Cathedral of Aachen


Cool, no?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

To war!!!

There will probably be no posting here for a week... finals start tomorrow. I have finals for

-Scientific Thought
-and History (covering the medieval period).

Fr. M's theology final is tomorrow, and it will be brutal. Ora pro me.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

May Magnificat via Phatmass?

I really should be translating the Exultet for Latin class, but I think I'll slack off and post Gerard Manley Hopkins instead.

(Bwa ha ha! Only at Christendom could I be so weird and seem so normal... ::accelerated radio anouncer voice mumbles the names of TAC, Steubenville, Ave Maria etc. to preempt the indignant comments::)

I love Hopkins' "May Magnificant," and so does my friend Sheila. However, we have an odd way of showing it.

How could I know that Sheila had such an irreverent streak? This is someone who has memorized all 280 lines of "Wreck of the Deutschland." So I was stunned when she started rapping "May Magnificat" out of the blue one day.

I joined in, and now we will rap it in unison at the slightest provocation.

The May Magnificat

MAY is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season—

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunest
And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?—
Growth in every thing—

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Nature’s motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring’s universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfèd cherry

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all—

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.

There's something beautifully medieval about the poem:

"Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?—
Growth in every thing—"

Hopkins has a sort of innocence and un-self-consciousness about his poetry that expresses itself in the most innovative and artful language. One of the wonderful paradoxes of Hopkins.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Are YOU a Philistine?

"He would be sort of grand too, pulling in lonely state across the noon, rowing himself right out of noon, up the long bright air like an apotheosis"

Heh heh. Quizes to see if you're one of the elite few who can tell Faulkner's prose from Goethe edited by Babelfish. Among other things.

I got 58% right on the Faulkner one, probably because I've never read Faulkner. I got 75% right on all the others. Nice try, slipping some of Hitler's watercolors in there. Insipid little pastel postcards; much too obvious.

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