Saturday, December 20, 2008

Boar's Head Feast & Carol

Ever wonder about the origins of the Boar's Head Feast, particularly around Christmas? Wikipedia says,
This pageant is rooted in ancient times when the boar was sovereign of the forest. A ferocious beast and menace to humans it was hunted as a public enemy. At Roman feasts, boar was the first dish served. Roasted boar was a staple of medieval banquets. As Christian beliefs overtook pagan customs in Europe, the presentation of a boar's head at Christmas came to symbolize the triumph of the Christ Child over sin.
Here are the words to the Boar's Head Carol, first published in 1521, Queens College, Oxford:
The boar's head in hand bear I
Bedecked with bays and rosemary
I pray you, my masters, be merry
Quot estis in convivio (so many as are in the feast)

CHORUS: Caput apri defero, Reddens laudes domino
(the boar's head I bring, giving praises to God)

The boar's head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land,
Which thus bedecked with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico. (let us serve with a song)


Our steward hath provided this
In honor of the King of bliss
Which, on this day to be served is
In Reginensi atrio: (in the Queen's hall)

Warren and Curry

Patrick Archbold at CMR shows a clip of Ann Curry's interview with Evangelical pastor, Rick Warren. The operative response is Warren's succinct, apt answer regarding homosexuality. The money shot is Curry's eye-flutter after Warren's answer. I like Curry, but Warren cornered her in a true Jesus-trips-the-Pharisees-at-their-own-game moment.

What one needs to ask as a follow-up to Warren's reply is this: How do you know right from wrong? What is the epistemological origin for your certainty regarding faith and morals?

That is the thread that would lead our separated brothers and sisters, perhaps, back to Catholic truth vouchsafed by the Magisterium. Perhaps.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Between Two Advents

Monsignor James P. Moroney's poignant homily, We all ache for God, and we wait… [ht: The Anchoress]

Fly In My Coffee

How to understand Israeli-Palestinian/Scimitar politics in a parumpumpum joke: [ht:IBA]

What happens when a fly falls into a coffee cup?

The Italian - throws the cup, breaks it, and walks away in a fit of rage.

The German - carefully washes the copy, sterilizes it and makes a new cup of coffee.

The Frenchman - takes out the fly, and drinks the coffee.

The Chinese - eats the fly and throws away the coffee.

The Russian - Drinks the coffee with the fly, since it was extra with no charge.

The Israeli - sells the coffee to the Frenchman, the fly to the Chinese, drinks tea and uses the extra money to invent a device that prevents flies from falling into coffee.

The Palestinian/Scimitarist - blames the Israeli for the fly falling in his coffee, protests the act of aggression to the UN, takes a loan from the European Union to buy a new cup of coffee, uses the money to purchase explosives and then blows up the coffee house where the Italian, the Frenchman, the Chinese, the German and the Russian are all trying to explain to the Israeli that he should give away his cup of tea to the Palestinian.

The End of Reading?

Christine Rosen at The New Atlantis writes,
Johns Hopkins University historian David A. Bell described the often arduous process of reading a scholarly book in digital rather than print format: “I scroll back and forth, search for keywords, and interrupt myself even more often than usual to refill my coffee cup, check my e-mail, check the news, rearrange files in my desk drawer. Eventually I get through the book, and am glad to have done so. But a week later I find it remarkably hard to remember what I have read.”

As he tried to train himself to screen-read—and mastering such reading does require new skills—Bell made an important observation, one often overlooked in the debate over digital texts: the computer screen was not intended to replace the book. Screen reading allows you to read in a “strategic, targeted manner,” searching for particular pieces of information, he notes. And although this style of reading is admittedly empowering, Bell cautions, “You are the master, not some dead author. And that is precisely where the greatest dangers lie, because when reading, you should not be the master”; you should be the student. “Surrendering to the organizing logic of a book is, after all, the way one learns,” he observes.

How strategic and targeted are we when we read on the screen? In a commissioned report published by the British Library in January 2008 (the cover of which features a rather alarming picture of a young boy with a maniacal expression staring at a screen image of Darth Vader), researchers found that everyone, teachers and students alike, “exhibits a bouncing/flicking behavior, which sees them searching horizontally rather than vertically....Users are promiscuous, diverse, and volatile.” As for the kind of reading the study participants were doing online, it was qualitatively different from traditional literacy. “It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense, indeed there are signs that new forms of ‛reading’ are emerging as users ‛power browse’ horizontally through titles, contents pages, and abstracts going for quick wins.” As the report’s authors concluded, with a baffling ingenuousness, “It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.”

[ ... ]

If reading has a history, it might also have an end. It is far too soon to tell when that end might come, and how the shift from print literacy to digital literacy will transform the “reading brain” and the culture that has so long supported it. Echoes will linger, as they do today from the distant past: audio books are merely a more individualistic and technologically sophisticated version of the old practice of reading aloud. But we are coming to see the book as a hindrance, a retrograde technology that doesn’t suit the times. Its inanimacy now renders it less compelling than the eye-catching screen. It doesn’t actively do anything for us. In our eagerness to upgrade or replace the book, we try to make reading easier, more convenient, more entertaining—forgetting that reading is also supposed to encourage us to challenge ourselves and to search for deeper meaning.

Read all of Rosen's People of the Screen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old Saint Nick

Father Christmas - The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

As I posted back on his actual feast day, Benjamin Britten did the world a thing of beauty in memorializing the events in the life of Saint Nicholas of Myra in his moving Saint Nicolas Cantata. And I noticed that Tim Jones posted on Chesterton's views of Saint Nick at Old World Swine, while young Andrew Cusack did also on the saint's day.

This, in my way of thinking, allows me the license to capture and republish both of their illustrations (above).

If you get an opportunity, do listen to Britten's gift of love for Saint Nicholas.

The Whole Building

Not asleep at the switch. Fox News reports that Feds Seize New York Office Building Tied to Iranian Government.
The move by officials at the Treasury and Justice Departments is designed to stop the flow of funds they say are used to help Iran's efforts to build nuclear weapons.

The office tower, located on New York's famed Fifth Avenue, was built by an Iranian non-profit group in the 1970s. Over the years the ownership of the building has evolved into what federal officials say is an attempt to hide the stake held by an Iranian state-owned bank.

The government alleges that Assa Corp., the building's owner, is a shell company for Bank Melli, which is accused of facilitating the movement of nuclear materials for the Iranian government. Officials contend that Bank Melli was heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of Assa Corp. and its management of the Fifth Avenue building, which generated rental income that was sent back to Iran.
Won't someone cry "Scimitar-aphobia"???

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Original Sin - Dogma

Adam and Eve (The Fall of Man) - Albrecht Durer
From Sandro Magister,
ROMA, December 11, 2008 – Three times in eight days, Benedict XVI has insisted on a dogma that has almost disappeared from ordinary preaching, and is rejected by the neomodernist theologians: the dogma of original sin.

He did this on Monday, December 8, at the Angelus for the feast of the Immaculate Conception; on the previous Wednesday, December 3, at the weekly audience with thousands of faithful and pilgrims; and again at the general audience on Wednesday, December 10.

At the Angelus for the Immaculate Conception, pope Joseph Ratzinger said:

"The mystery of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which we solemnly celebrate today, reminds us of two fundamental truths of our faith: original sin first of all, and then the victory over this by the grace of Christ, a victory that shines in a sublime manner in Mary Most Holy.
Read all …

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wilders - Clear Sighted

The Baron provides a transcript of the speech by Geert Wilders in Jerusalem. Wilders says of Israel, "Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us." In the same way, Wilders is receiving the scorn for speaking truth about the Scimitar meant for all of us.

Gaudete Sunday +

On this Gaudete Sunday, to remind us of what we aim for this Advent,
Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete

Tempus ad est gratiae hoc quod optabamus
Carmina laetitiae devote redamus

Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete

Deus homo factus est natura mirante
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante

Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete

Deus homo factus est natura mirante
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante

Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete
Ezekelis porta clausa per transitor
Unde lux est orta salus invenitor

Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete

Ergo nostra contio psallat jam in lustro
Benedicat domino salus regi nostro

Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete
Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine gaudete