Friday, September 29, 2006

Laughter's End

Pilkington, perhaps, will be no more. Mr. Gervais, our kind emissary to the mind of Karl Pilkington, has stated that Karl is on hiatus. There was one last poem, the only one with a title:

My Ward

Me, a Chinese fella, and a old bloke who looked like Mr. Burns from the Simpson;
don't know what was wrong with him, but breaking wind was symptoms.
No one visited him, or called him; he seemed quite lost to me.
As well as wind problems he had a colostomy.
When I left I said 'see ya' to the old man.
Turned out the other fella wasn't Chinese, he was from Japan
I never found out what was up with him.

Here's a little bear animation with some audio from one of the old XFM shows:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Good King Wenceslaus

Today is the feast of the Saint who the nice Christmas carol is based on. He was killed by his brother inside a church after he had said matins. He is the patron of Bohemia and brewing, a nice pair. Here's a nice stanza from the carol:
"Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how, I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page. Tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly.

Also of note is recently elevated Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who has been maintaining a blog on his return to Rome for his elevation. He is a Franciscan and now cardinal for the Boston area. (to the right he is admiring the lovely churches of Rome).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

the world ends only twice

End of the World II, John Barton

I really like this guy's paintings, and as far as I can see on his site, there is no end of the world one, which makes me wonder. Here are a few more:



Monday, September 25, 2006

Even Angels Weep

I found this very beautiful picture and was looking for something to go with it, so flipping through St. Therese of Lisieux's poetry I came upon a few lines that seem good:

"Silence is the sweet language of the angels,....
It is only in the midst of sacrifices
that we can love one another"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Oridnary Time

"Where do the wars
and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions
that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive,
because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."
Second reading today(Epistle of James)

Here are a few more paintings from Carlos Samuel Araya, of which the one above and the first below is in a series of his on the sins:

Pride: the fallen


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Beyond Reason in the age of reason

Today is the feast of one of the great saints of the 20th century, St. Pio. His life is filled with the miraculous and fantastic: he was a stigmatist, could bilocate, heal by touch, and levitate. This is so interesting because this isn't a saint's life from the 8th century, but one from only 50 years ago.

So I was looking around for a few sayings from this saint and found a nice list of them. Here are two that I particularly liked, the second of which is rather baffling, and very worthwhile to ponder on:

"Do not worry over things that generate preoccupation, derangement and anxiety. One thing only is necessary: to lift up your spirit and love God."

"Duty before everything else, even something holy."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Requiem æternam dona eis

Today they buried a nun.
Her last words were "I forgive, I forgive."

A few years before his death the grand sophist Derrida made a documentary, which covered many topics and is rather interesting, but one of those topics was forgiveness. (You can see the bit on forgiveness here) He claims that it is impossible to have pure forgiveness, that is forgiving something unforgivable for no personal benefit. As many of his thoughts, this is rubbish, and a seventy year old nun toppled the philosopher king with her four last words.
What a beautiful example for us all to emulate: she was gunned down by the people she was helping, through no fault of her own, and her last breaths were to give forgiveness. Let us all pray for the repose of her soul, and may she also, likewise, pray for ours.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Little Girl, three million years old

I read this article with the above title, simply because the title is so great. And while I think the whole thing is rather interesting, at the same time I am struck with a certain sadness when reading it. I don't know, I just get an image of this cavemom and cavedad lurched over their dead daugther and find it rather sad.


Well, to stay on the sad motif, I stumbled on this site that hosts Tim Burton's book of children's verse and his illustrations. They are rather fun, It's titled : "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and other stories". Here is a little sample:
There once was a morose melonhead,
who sat there all day
and wished he were dead.
But you should be careful
about the things that you wish.
Because the last thing he heard
was a deafening squish.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sanguine Saint from Century Four

Today is a day unlike many other days, today a miracle occurs which has occurred for last 700-1600 years on this very day. The blood of St. Januarius, though long time solid, reverts to a liquid form as though freshly shed. This is beautiful and amazing and without reason. I love Catholicism.

il miracolo

Monday, September 18, 2006

Roaring Lion, Roaringer Fires

Melancholy, Peeter Allik

"The Devil", says St. Paul, "is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." This seemed appropriate for the above picture. So watch out! or you'll lose a hand. I often think my kitty is going to do just that, so I'm keeping one eye on her at all times.


Burning Pope B16 in Iraq

I guess my biggest criticism of this is: couldn't they make a better effigy to burn, I mean come on, it's basically just a slab of cardboard. This hardly strikes fear into my infidel heart. And as a side note: I thought the Koran forbid the making of images of man? Hmmm, I guess that only applies to art, not general bigotry.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Along the way he asked his disciples,“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him."
from todays Gospel, (Mark 8)

Why are the disciples told to not say anything to anyone about Jesus' nature? This seems very strange, they have discovered the whole of their faith but they are told to keep it quiet. Perhaps the second reading from today, the grand passage from the epistle of St. James holds an answer:
"So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.
Indeed someone might say,
“You have faith and I have works.”
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works."

And so it is with our Lord and his disciples, rather than going out preaching sole fides, they go out keeping silent and preforming works. Their faith is evident, but their works are what spread this faith.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

dulldrum saturdays

Reason and Logic at its finest

The Pope quoted a 14th century Byzantine Emperor in his speech to the University of Regensberg earlier this week. These quotations concerned Islam, the Emperor claims that what Mohamed contributed to the world was "evil and inhumane", after which the Emperor said:

"God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death."

The Pope then used this quotation as a spring board to discuss Europe's growing secularism and positivist attitude, showing that science and logic separated from God and belief aren't worth anything of real value.

But the Muslim world quit reading after the words "evil and inhuman", and decried the speech; taking to the streets brandishing guns, firebombing churches and burning effigies of the Holy Father while chanting slurs.

I suppose there are many things to glean from this. First, If you quote anything, it apparently is exactly what you hold to be true. Second the best way of proving a statement is erroneous is by proving that the statement is true. Third, if all else fails, burn things, blow things up, and employ gun fire joined with loud ad hominem attacks.

(update: continued unraveling)

Inside of one of the firebombed churches

Also, in Somalia a 70 year old nun was shot in the back, three times, at a children's hospital. Gotta love the "religion of peace".

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dolorous Days

Our Lady of Sorrow, Carrie Ann Baade

"Lo, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also."
Gospel of Luke 2:35

Today is the day of seven dolors, and I am reminded today of a passage in Samuel Johnson's grand work Rasselas, in which the title character, who has escape a utopia to inquire upon the world, comes across a stoic in Cairo. The stoic seems very detached, above all emotions and lectures on this as a virtue. The following day Rasselas comes upon the man very saddened, finding out that the stoic's daughter has died, so Rasselas questions:
"Has wisdom no strength to arm the heart against calamity?”
To which the stoic now replies:
“What comfort can truth and reason afford me?
Of what effect are they now, but to tell me that my daughter will not be restored?”

The lesson from the breviary for today (both in the old and new office) is a Homily by St. Bernard, which shows us this fact as it is represented through the suffering of Mary:

"Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.

Perhaps someone will say: “Had she not known before that he would not die?” Undoubtedly. “Did she not expect him to rise again at once?” Surely. “And still she grieved over her crucified Son?” Intensely. Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary’s Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Crosswards Marching Feastily

Here is a neat collection of photos of an Orthodox deaconate ordination that occurred a few years ago on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

I think it appropriate to give a bit of old poem, "The Dream of the Rood":

But nevertheless I there lay a long time I took
sorrowfully gazing at the Saviours's tree,
until then I dreamt that it spoke;
beginning with these words the tree did decree:
"A long time ago -- yet still I remember--
that I was cut down from the edge of the timber,
and removed from my roots. Powerful fiends there held me off,
for a spectacle to make, command me a criminal to aloft.

(the rest here)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

St. Goldymouth's Feast

"a comprehended God is no God" --St John Chrysostom

With pearls like, "slander is worse than cannibalism," its no wonder he's golden mouthed. In the old calender this feast was on January 27, the day when his relics were transfered. His death occurred on the 14th of September, but that being the feast of the Holy Cross it was transfered. Though during the middle ages it seems the feast occurred on the 15th, as can be seen in the Golden Legend.

It is held in legend that toward the end of his life he was in exile and upon his death a great hail storm beseached Constantinople for days on end; until the empress, his main enemy, died.

Here is a link to the liturgy that he wrote (used in the East), which has the lovely repetition:
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us, (which interestingly is used at the end of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Pilkiad

B-26 photo taken by Sgt. Ray Gutfinski in WWII

I've been watching the British "Office" off and on over the last week for the second time, and it's just as great as before. At the end of one of the Episodes Brent/Gervais reads a poem by Sir John Betjeman, Titled Slough, which is where "The Office" takes place, here are few of the lines:

Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow
Swarm over, Death!

Come, bombs, and blow to smithereens
Those air-conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans
Tinned minds, tinned breath. .....

Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.

Here are Karl Pilkington's poems from last weeks podcast, followed by his thoughts on all thing culinary in the newest video, and his thoughts on the trends toward materialism, e.g. "There's too many choices.":

I don't like jellyfish, they're not a fish they're just a blob,
they don't have eyes, fins, or scales like cod.
They float around blind stinging people in the seas,
and no one eats jellyfish with chips and mushy peas.
Get rid of 'em.

It would be spiteful
to put a jellyfish in a trifle

for god's sake
the doctor said it's my kidney
he said he's got to stick a tube up my knob
I said you got to be kidding me
For god's sake

Monday, September 11, 2006

Persistence of Existence

Beyond the Bones of Reason, a fractal (likely a Julia's Set) Haley Scherer

"Only mediocrities progress.
An artist revolves in a cycle of masterpieces,
the first of which is no less perfect than the last."
Oscar Wilde

“People in Africa and Asia admire our scientific and technical prowess, but at the same time they are frightened by a form of rationality which totally excludes God from man’s vision, as if this were the highest form of reason, and one to be imposed on their cultures too. They do not see the real threat to their identity in the Christian faith, but in the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom and that holds up utility as the supreme moral criterion for the future of scientific research.”
Pope Benedict XVI at Yesterday's Mass

What if science and reason solved all the problems that they wish: unified field theory, panacea cures, explanations of all things. Then what. This solves nothing, all this progress is only mediocrity, the ultimate problems still exist, utility is only surface, it holds no value at all. Even if everything you desire is yours, sadness still exists, science can't prove this away, logic crumbles before tears.

Why can never be explained by how, and why is the real question.

This Pope is so fantastic because he recognizes this; he calls out to those who scoff with theorems, but in their hearts tremble. In the midst of a world progressing toward oblivion, the Pope calls out like Christ to the disciples in a dreadful storm, walking to them on the water, beyond all logic and reason: "Be not afraid."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

"The Lord protects strangers."
From Today's Psalm (146)
"Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger:
for ye know the heart of a stranger,
seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."
(Exodus 23:9)

We are eternally estranged. What a stranger represents in our real, physical world is what we represent in the grand cosmic world. Our souls are permanently in an ephemeral Egypt, enslaved to build monuments of concrete obsolescence. Though often we deceive ourselves, convincing ourselves that we are infact not estranged, that we have something solid, so as to look on others as strange and dismiss them. But God reminds us that this is a rouse, we too are forever strangers, until we are removed from this foreign land of our life. God came to Abraham in the mode of strangers, and likewise God comes to us a stranger, so that we may relate and transcend the transitory constructs we have so childishly established.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Nativity of my Father


And I don't mean Peter Claver, though I suppose I'll wish him a happy heavenly birthday too.

So, from the Pope, Jesus, and me:

Happy Birthday Dad!

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Nativity of the BVM

The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Happy Birthday Mary!

Today is the feast of Mary's nativity, the first glimpses of our salvation are shown in this feast. The first rays of light unfolding in the shadows; the Mother of God's birth. The readings in Matins today from the old office are excellent.

Lesson V, From a Sermon by St. Augustine:
"Eve wept but Mary laughed.
Eve's womb was big with tears, but Mary's womb was full of gladness.
The mother of our race brought punishment into the world,
but the Mother of our Savior brought salvation into all the world.
Eve was the foundress of sin, but Mary of righteousness.
Eve wounded, Mary healed.
For Eve's disobedience, Mary offered obedience.
For Eve's unbelief, Mary offered faith. "


In the news there is a very interesting story about those who are supposed "brain-dead". Perhaps after so many of these finding people will show more humanity towards those they seem so quickly to deem unfit to live.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Our Wells of Darkness

Adam and Eve, Francis Picabia

I think that perhaps the greatest sadness that came from the fall is our fixation on logic, on systematologies, on trying to make things matter. Before the fall, there was no need for anything to matter, because everything was without meaning and full of God. But now, in our world, we spend all too much time trying to make things mean something that they simply don't mean, because we no longer dwell with God. In God everything means nothing, because next to God everything is nothing. But we are so far away now, struggling to make meaning in a meaningless world. I think of this after reading a bit of the Desert Fathers, the following two quotes are what got me thinking:

"Abba Poeman said that a brother came to find Abba Ammoes to ask him for a word. He remain with him for seven days without the old man answering him. Then sending him away, the latter said to him, 'Go, watch yourself; as for me my sins have become a well of darkness between me and God.'”

"Abba Allonius said, 'If man does not say in his heart, in the world there is only myself and God, he will not gain peace.'"

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Shaped Oils in Votive Light

The Crucification

Natures Fire


Daniel Martin Diaz (wiki) is a Mexican-American Artist whose mode derives from his early childhood exposure to his parents traditional catholicism and views toward death. His work seems very medieval and boarding on the overly esoteric at times. He may be my new favorite artist. In 2003 he was commissioned and completed two large wood panel paintings of the Archangels Gabriel and Michael for San Antonio de Padua Catholic Church in San Carlos, Mexico.

In addition to his artistic output he is in a band with his wife called Blind Divine, and the music is rather grand. Below is a little minivideo he drew for a snippet of one of their songs.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

thereof one must remain silent

"I seem to be surrounded now by Roman Catholic converts! I don't know whether they pray for me. I hope they do." -In conversation with his friend Drury, 1944

In 1919 Ludwig Wittgenstein solved all the problems of philosophy. He was born Catholic, baptized Catholic, and buried Catholic. After he finished what he thought was the end of all philosophy he retired from academia. He tried out teaching, only to find out that children didn't suit him, so he went to a Benedictine Monastery outside Vienna and became their gardener.

He adored manual labor and thought that perhaps what he was looking for could be found in the monastic life, so he inquire about entering the order. In his discussions with the abbot he was told that what he was longing for could not be found by entering into the monastic life, so he left.

As the years progressed he discovered the folly of his youth in believing that he had solved all the problems of philosophy, so he reentered academia and began philosophizing again. Not surprisingly many modern thinkers wince at his religiosity and try to write it off, they are even perturbed by his claims that religion is exempt from rationality, and not bound by the linguistic rigors of logic.

Here is an interesting article on Wittgenstein's Religion, though it seems somewhat biased and leaves out certain of his thoughts.

Monday, September 04, 2006

ink emendation

about the romantic attractiveness of nerd culture

In the mode of Norman Rockwell's famous "Amendment Paintings" Artist Carl DeTorres does a few amendment drawings of his own(and one above that's not):

8th Amendment

2nd Amendment
5th Amendment

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The World of Opposites, Susan Sweetwater

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
from the second reading(The Epistle of James)

It is our most difficult task to remain in the world, and yet remain outside of the world. To be emersed enough in this existance to help those who are drowning in it, yet remain removed enough to not sink in also. This is best suited for saints but demanded of us all. Luckily we aren't Atlas, we aren't alone with pillars on our shoulders, we are a communion, both living and dead, who weave from the ground to the sky struggling to emerge in heaven.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

an appointment with oblivion

off the end of the world

The Church leaders in Jerusalem have officially come out with a statement condemning "Christian Zionism", stating that it arises from "an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today." This is nothing new, the term for it is Dispensationalism, and it is rooted in 19th century Calvinism and has therefore been superseded by the modern Calvinist/Evangelicals. Here is an interesting and thorough run down of this from the Catholic point of view.


The artwork above and below are by Anthony Siciliano, all of who's work is fantastic. Most of it is mixed media and is both obscure and familiar at once. His photography is great too. Here are a couple more by him:

wish you were here


Friday, September 01, 2006

I Wonder...

On Tuesday my favorite living author, Mr. Haruki Murakami, had a collection of Short Stories come out in English (Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman), the contents of which span from 1981 to 2005. Murakami is all things great: fish falling from the sky, old men who can talk to cats, fascist leaders bodies invaded by mystical sheep, and the end of the world as contained metaphysically within ourselves. All this mixed with the ultra mundane: clipping nails and drinking a beer. Here is a passage from the opening of the title story in the new collection:

"What time is it?" my cousin asked me. About eight inches shorter than me, he had to look up when he talked.
I glanced at my watch. "Ten-twenty."
"Does that watch tell good time?"
"Yeah, I think so."
My cousin grabbed my wrist to look at the watch. His slim, smooth fingers were surprisingly strong. "Did it cost a lot?"
"No, it's pretty cheap," I said, glancing again at the timetable.
No response.
My cousin had a confused look on his face. The white teeth between his open lips looked like bones that had regressed.
"It's pretty cheap," I said, looking right at him, carefully repeating the words. "It's pretty cheap, but it keeps good time."
My cousin nodded silently.

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