Friday, June 30, 2006


St. Clotsindis

Benedictine abbess also called Clotsend and Glodesind. She was born circa 635, the daughter of Sts. Adalbald and Rictrudis. Educated by her mother, the abbess of Machiennes Abbey in Flanders, in Belgium and France, she became the abbess there 688.

Bl. Philip Powell

(1594-1646) Benedictine English martyr. Born in the Gwent district, southeast Wales, or at Tralon, England, he was educated in London and then entered the Benedictines in Douni in 1614. Ordained in 1621, he was sent to assist the English mission and spent two decades in the area of Devon, Somerset, and Cornwall before being arrested. He also served as a chaplain in the Civil War. Philip was executed at Tyburn by being hanged, drawn, and quartered; he was beatified in 1929.

Bl. Raymond Lull

Raymond was the son of one of the military leaders who reconquered Majorca from the Moslems. He was born at Palma, Majorca. He entered the service of King James I of Aragon, was appointed grand senechal by James and in 1257 married Blanca Picany. Despite his marriage and two children, he led a dissolute life, but changed his lifestyle in 1263 when he had a vision of Christ while writing to a woman with whom he was having an affair, followed by five more visions. After pilgrimages to Compostela and Rocamadour, he became a Franciscan tertiary, provided for his family, gave the rest of his wealth to the poor, and determined to devote the rest of his life to converting the Mohammedans. He spent the next nine years learning all he could of Moslem philosophy, religion, and culture, and learning Arabic. He founded the short-lived Trinity College on Majorca in 1276 to put into effect his idea of a missionary college, visited Rome in 1277 to enlist the Pope's support, went to Paris in 1286, and in 1290 joined the Friars Minor at Genoa. After a serious illness, he went to Tunis in 1292, began preaching, but was almost immediately forcibly deported by the Moors. Further appeals to Popes Boniface VIII and Clement V for aid in his mission to the Mohammedans were fruitless, as was a visit to Cypress. After lecturing at Paris on Arabic metaphysics for a time, he was successful in getting to Bougie in Barbary in 1306 but was again imprisoned and deported. He continued his appeals for aid to the Pope and to the Council Vienne in 1311 but with no success, resumed lecturing at Paris, and again return to Bougie in 1315. This time he was stoned and left for dead but was rescued by the Genoese sailors and died on board ship near Majorca on September 29th. He wrote voluminously - more than 300 treatises (many in Arabic) on philosophy, music, navigation, law, astronomy, mathematics, and theology, chief among his writings being Arbre de philosophia de armor. He also wrote mystical poetry of the highest order and is considered the forerunner of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross; his Blanquera is the first novel written in Catalan. His cult was confirmed in 1858 by Pope Pius IX. His feast day is June 30th. is a pretty amazing site, where you can explore many of his works on memory, art and mathematics. And probably many other besides. He was quite prolific, to say the least.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How You Found Quotidian Quintilian IV

Yeesh. Should I hope he found what he was looking for? Here's the google search that was made on the way. I think he actually found himself in the middle of a Nabokov short story, which sounds a lot more pleasant than where he was. Cyberspatially, I mean. And he finished up here, so let's hope it all worked out for the best.

My trip to Walgreen's

Man, dis code is really gettin' me down.

So I went to Walgreen's to stock up on supplies, including a couple of these, and a couple of these.

When I got to the cash register I slapped down a twenty and started fishing in my pocket for change. I had to be careful, since I keep my change in the actual change pocket of my 501s, and this pocket is pretty small. It's downright tiny, and tight. Particularly with a freshly washed pair of jeans. Usually the contents tend to spill out onto the floor rather than into my carefully positioned palm, pinned against my hip like a safety net on the side of a builiding while I use the other hand to scoop out the money. I'd just managed to successfully make the transfer to my hand - no coins on the floor, none whatsoever - when the check-out girl sang out "three dollars".

"Three dollars?" I asked, trying to hide my disbelief. "You mean exactly?"

"Yep," she affirmed, "three dollars."

"Right on the money," I said, adding a "heh, heh" to clue her into the pun. "How often does that happen?"

"Not very often," said the sales gal. "You have a nice day!"

"You too," I said, trying to get the change back into my change pocket. And hoping my head didn't explode from all the synchronicity and mucus. Okay, it isn't actually an instance of synchronicity, technically speaking.

I'm just not sure how many more of these 'coincidences' I can take. Okay, it's not a coincidence either. But it's still pretty weird. Okay, it's not even all that weird. Life is just plain boring.

I really hope I get over this cold soon.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Monday, June 26, 2006


scary. This has been keeping me busy for the last couple of days.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

[ ]

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What is Pop Music Trying to Tell Me?

The other day I was crossing the Evergreen Point Bridge (the BBQ sauce over at the 3 Pigs restaurant on 108th is worth a trip to the East side once a week or so), listening to a lesser known Dire Straits album from 1982 called Love over Gold.

"I'm tired of this!" I complained. "He's trying so hard to sound like Dylan, it's not even funny. Or actually it is funny. Whatever. I'm turning this off."

I stopped "It Never Rains" at about the third verse and dialed back a couple of songs to "Industrial Disease" (including the great lines Two men say they're Jesus one of them must be wrong / There's a protest singer singing a protest song, which at least acknowledges the ubiquitous Dylanesqueness throughout), but then turned the whole album off, muttering to myself that not even that lyric was enough to keep my interest.

On comes the radio, and what happens to be the song playing? Oh yes: "Industrial Disease".

"Wait a minute," says my fellow BBQ lover. "What's going on here?"

"I'm not sure," I said, "but I think maybe I should pull over." I hardly remember eating my BBQ sandwich.

Really, what are the odds of that happening? Or when was the last time you heard "Industrial Disease" on the radio?

Okay, so maybe that isn't all that big a deal. Seems pretty strange to me, but then I'm a little like Rufus when it comes to potential signs from the back of beyond. But just a few days earlier I was trying to find a parking spot around 15th and Olive to meet some friends at the Clever Dunnes. It was pretty tough going and I was running late. Lucky for me that the radio was playing "Stop Dragging My Heart Around", another killer song from the early 80's, which eased my frustration quite a bit. Eventually I parked the car and made my way into the bar. I didn't even have to walk very far. When I caught up with my friends (who by this time were all pretty trashed) they were all finishing up a game of "Name that Tune" over pitchers of Bass and shots of Jagermeister. By this time the song was over, but I don't think I even need to mention which song they were working on.

"Tell me y'all just heard that on the radio," I said. Knowing, just knowing, that they hadn't.

"Well, kind of." said Rich. "It was on the jukebox just a minute ago. Why do you ask?"

"Never mind," I said, figuring that between the Jagermeister and the 7th Dimension gathering like storm clouds swirling overhead, their own heads might explode.

"The thing is," said Rich, "he doesn't know the name of the song either. Or even who sings it."

He nodded towards Cam, who was banging his head along to some imaginary chords. "Baby, you could never look me in the eye..."

I joined in:
"Then you buckle with the weight of the word...
Stop draggin' my...

And then everybody, nodding with enthusiasm:
"Stop draggin' my...
Stop draggin' my heart around!!!"

"That's it! That's it!" Everbody was yelling and slapping my back.

"Yeah," I said, rather more nonchalantly than I actually felt. "Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks. It was on her album Bella Donna, from about 1982."

"Whoah, man. You're spooky," said Rich.

They have no idea.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Saint Ethelreda

Around 640, there was an English princess named Ethelreda, but she was known as Audrey. She married once, but was widowed after three years, and it was said that the marriage was never consummated. She had taken a perpetual vow of virginity, but married again, this time for reasons of state. Her young husband soon grew tired of living as brother and sister and began to make advances on her. She continually refused. He eventually attempted to bribe the local bishop, Saint Wilfrid of York, to release Audrey from her vows.

Saint Wilfrid refused, and helped Audrey escape. She fled south, with her husband following. They reached a promontory known as Colbert's Head, where a heaven sent seven day high tide separated the two. Eventually, Audrey's husband left and married someone more willing, while Audrey took the veil, and founded the great abbey of Ely, where she lived an austere life. She eventually died of an enormous and unsightly tumor on her neck, which she gratefully accepted as Divine retribution for all the necklaces she had worn in her early years. Throughout the Middle Ages, a festival, "St. Audrey's Fair", was held at Ely on her feast day. The exceptional shodiness of the merchandise, especially the neckerchiefs, contributed to the English language the word "tawdry", a corruption of "Saint Audrey."

St. Joseph Cafasso

Joseph Cafasso was born at Castelnuovo d'Asti in the Piedmont, Italy, of peasant parents. He studied at the seminary at Turin, and was ordained in 1833. He continued his theological studies at the seminary and university at Turin and then at the Institute of St. Franics, and despite a deformed spine, became a brilliant lecturer in moral theology there. He was a popular teacher, actively opposed Jansenism, and fought state intrusion into Church affairs. He succeeded Luigi Guala as rector of the Institute in 1848 and made a deep impression on his young priest students with his holiness and insistence on discipline and high standards. He was a sought-after confessor and spiritual adviser, and ministered to prisoners, working to improve their terrible conditions. He met Don Bosco in 1827 and the two became close friends. It was through Joseph's encouragement that Bosco decided his vocation was working with boys. Joseph was his adviser, worked closely with him in his foundations, and convinced others to fund and found religious institutes and charitable organizations. Joseph died on June 23 at Turin and was canonized in 1947. His feast day is June 23rd.

St. Peter of Juilly

(c.1136) Benedictine monk and preacher. Originally from England, he became a friend of St. Stephen Harding and was his companion at Molesme. Later, he was named confessor and chaplain to the nuns of Juilly les Nonnais who were under the care of St. Humbeline, sister of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Peter also possessed a reputation for being a brilliant preacher and a miracle worker.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006

a wholelottanothing

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dmitri Nabokov Has A Blog

Evidently he started this up a few months ago. This gives me the opportunity of thanking Mr. Nabokov for his translations of such classics as Glory, The Gift, and my personal favorite, Cose trasparenti, of which I managed to finish the first paragraphs one summer afternoon in Ravenna, after taking shelter in a Feltrinelli's during a rainstorm. I like it so far; I only hope that he hasn't given up on blogging. It's been more than a month since his last post.

Monday, June 12, 2006

KSRK: Frater Taciturnus

They're cranking up the Reading Klub over at Korrektiv. I added some comments, which I'm including here because I can't think of anything else to write. I don't think this is bad blog manners.
Concercing the prognostication and the public and peerless prediction, I guess the verdict is "Guilty". Probably unredeemable, too, but I'll soldier on and see if I can add anything here.


Does the frater's 'owning up' about he himself being the author necessarily lead to the conclusion that the whole thing is a fiction? It certainly seems obvious now that the 'fictionalization' is rather thin. Even with his comments about the 'thought experiment', the mere instance of such improbable names as 'Quidam' and 'Frater Taciturnus' makes it look like a cover. To me, anyway. I recall reading somewhere that neither Regina nor anybody else guessed the identity of the author. That's pretty incredible. Or maybe they didn't make it two-thirds of the way through.

Is it also possible that, being a 'frater', Taciturnus could also be the young man looking for a sideways path to the monastery at the beginning of the diary? That seems to me an almost unavoidable conclusion. I don't have it in front of me, so maybe this is pretty obvious. I guess that's the incentive to go back and read more.

How close is Quidam's diary to the one Kierkegaard kept? And does the portrait of the girl resemble Regina? How closely? Especially concering those 'religious scruples'.

It's also somewhat interesting that SK is here concerned with being exposed to ridicule. No to long afterwards he would deliberately set himself up for "The Corsair Affair".

Nice observation about the music box.

Thanks for picking up the ball.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

On a Recent Dust-Up Over Ramesh Ponnuru's P.O.D. at National Review Online

Ponnuru turns in a well reasoned
read, and a seasoned
editor follows his lead. Derbyshire
snickers, pausing only to fire
his own polemical Vickers,
and when Ponnuru, p.o.'d, fights back,
Jonah descends
to defend both his friends,
until both Kats reverse (or renew?) the attack.
My, how they bickers!
But in the whole crew, not a single flak.

~ W.H. von Drool