Kiss me, I'm Catholic.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Viking Mecha Flash Madness!

My little brother finds the weirdest flash videos. This one (click on the far-right thumbnail) shows a bunch of Vikings attacking each other with electric guitar music. Normally I'm not into Vikings OR electric guitars, but this video was so artistic that I made my brother play it, like, three times, which he did with remarkable patience.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Diving in the Wreck of the Deutschland

Fr. Jim of Dappled Things pulls together a whole series of posts on GMH's longest and most darkly dazzling poem. Perry Lorenzo's explication is rich and elaborate, like the poem itself:

Perhaps we might unlock the puzzle of this dense stanza (and the whole poem) if we remember that it is telling a tale on three levels---

-the literal tale of the actual wreck of the ship The Deutschland, and the drowning of the Nuns, and the heroic call of the Tall Nun

-the allegorical tale of modern Europe, of the West in wreck, of Germany in particular as the country of rebellion against God, of the attempt to destroy the Church, of the witness of modern Christians

-the moral tale of the interior life of Hopkins the poet himself, both as an artist and as a Christian, which seems to be most of all the poem’s concern, given the lengthy Part One which is a Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises of the whole

The Wreck of the Deutschland has always been seen as a forbidding and difficult poem - in fact, it could almost be the prototype of the Difficult Poem which ruled the 20th century. But like the Apocalypse, it sweeps you away with its strangeness and beauty whether you understand it or not. It was stanzas like this that made me love Hopkins:

   Dame, at our door
          Drowned, and among our shoals,
   Remember us in the roads, the heaven-haven of the Reward:
          Our King back, oh, upon English souls!
Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east,
More brightening her, rare-dear Britain, as his reign rolls,
        Pride, rose, prince, hero of us, high-priest,
Our hearts’ charity’s hearth’s fire, our thoughts’ chivalry’s throng’s Lord.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Etymology Quiz

Via Dappled Things.

This is such a fun game. Try it more than once; it changes.

It can be pretty tricky. You can't just guess the root word:

How about the etymological basis of money?

-The Romans erected a temple to Juno and gave the temple the name Moneta, the advisor. That was later the source of the first coin mint, in 269 BCE.

-From the Latin 'monetarius', pertaining to the mint

-From the French 'monei', currency

-From the Greek word meaning 'metal discs'

-After the Greek philosopher Monetius, whose discourse focused on how people could trade services fairly

Friday, January 06, 2006

For Epiphany...

The Journey of the Magi
T.S. Eliot

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For the journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins,
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death,
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Christmas Move and A Visit from Google

Yeesh, just look at the dust on this blog. We finally got our internet running again today. My family had to move to Mountain View over Christmas so that my brother and sister could keep going to the same high school, so we're renting a different house now.

A few days ago we had a surprise: a van showed up in front of our new house, and these guys were using a cherrypicker to fix some sort of box to the top of the streetlamp. My brother went outside and asked them what they were doing, and they said they were installing Google's new WiFi system. Google is going to supply free wireless internet to everybody in Mountain View! Pretty awesome. Right now I can see the streetlamp glowing through my window...

My brother has just informed me that the ancient Romans knew about something called "sleep," which they believed to have restorative powers. Yawn... I'll take the hint... Dormiam.

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