28 December 2005

In a belated celebration of Christmas here are two pieces from Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols:

This little babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak, unarmed wise,
The gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows made of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns cold and need,
And feeble flesh his warrior's steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, hay stalks his stakes,
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus as sure his foe to wound,
The angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul with Christ join thou in fight,
Stick to the tents that he hath pight;
Within his crib is surest ward,
This little babe will be thy guard;
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from the heavenly boy.

From Robert Southwell’s “New Heaven, New War”

There is no rose of sych vertu
As is the rose that bare Jesu,

For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in lytle space,
Res miranda.

By that rose we may well see
That He is God in persons three,
Pares forma.
The aungels sungen the shepherds to:
Gloria in excelsis Deo,

Leave we all this werldly mirth,
And follow we this joyful birth,

Alleluia, res miranda,
Pares forma, gaudeamus,

Anonymous, 14th Century

21 December 2005

For Those Girls To Whom "Modesty" Means Nothing...

...perhaps they will be convinced not to wear these skimpy clothes if they realize they are actually putting their health at risk, at least in the winter. I'm not sure about the assertion that the author makes that the young lady's kidney infection was actually caused by being cold, but certainly having a low body temperature makes it more difficult for your body to resist infection. I see so many girls around our college campus who don't wear coats, who wear crop-top sweatshirts instead, or who wear their coats unbuttoned. Button up, girls! You who disdain the women of the 19th Century who wore corsets that altered their body shape, don't put your own bodies at risk in the name of fashion.

19 December 2005

Hardly surprising:

chef jpeg
You are the the Swedish Chef.You are a talented individual, nobody understands
you. Perhaps it's because you talk funny.
FAVORITE EXPRESSION:"Brk! Brk! Brk!"HOBBIES:Kokin' der yummee-yummers
FAVORITE MOVIE:"Wild Strawberries...and Creme"
LAST BOOK READ:"Der Swedish Chef Kokin' Bokin'"
QUOTE:"Vergoofin der flicke stoobin mit der brk-brk

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

16 December 2005

Sing for Your Supper

Last night, most of the Schola celebrated the end of the semester with dinner at Fearless Leader's house--the first invite to a professor's home for most of us. You can tell it's finals week when the college students enter the house and immediately spend five minutes staring in near-silence at the two moving ornaments on the Christmas tree. Dinner was quite lovely, quite loud, and full of laughter. Catholic college students really know how to enjoy a meal together--especially if they dodn't have to pay, cook, or clean up.

When we sat down at the dinner table, we noticed the sheets of paper at each end which contained some very familiar notation (he uses the St. Meinrad fonts for everything he types up for us, like our Vespers books), and a lot of words in Latin. Yeah, we chanted grace. Actually, Fearless Leader did most of the work; I think we only had to say "Amen" two or three times. A couple of the schola members--freshmen--expressed surprise, but those of us who are more experienced were not phased in the least. One of the freshman said, "I wish my fiance sang! This could become a family tradition. But he doesn't sing. Oh, that makes me sad. It's so cool." My sentiments exactly, except that my sweetheart does sing.

10 December 2005

At this point of the semester...

...I think I need one of these.

23 November 2005

Last Sunday

If you want to know how the Mass went, you'll have to ask Lizzy, as I wasn't there. It was our version of a Solemn High Mass (deacon and subdeacon--doesn't look like they found six acolytes). It was all sung, and the ordinaries were a Mass setting by Palestrina (Missa Brevis, I believe). The Knights of Columbus came. I wish I could have been there, but since I couldn't, the organist (who also happens to be my sweetheart) was kind enough to capture some images for me. These are the best two (click for larger view):

22 November 2005

St. Cecilia's Day

Happy feast of St. Cecilia! In honor of the feast, here are some of my favorite music links:

Choral Public Domain Library
The Red Hot Jazz Archive
Llio Rhydderch
Anonymous 4
Pink Martini

21 November 2005

For the Feast of Christ the King:

Christus vincit. Christus regnat. Christus imperat.
Exaudi, Christe.
Ecclesiae sanctae Dei, supra regnorum fines nectenti animas: salus perpetua!
Redemptor mundi. Tu illam adiuva.
Sancta Maria. Tu illam adiuva.
Sancte Ioseph. Tu illam adiuva.
Christus vinci. Christus regnat. Christus imperat.
Rex regum. Rex noster. Spes nostra. Gloria nostra.
Christus vincit. Christus regnat. Christus imperat.
Ipsi soli imperium, laus et iubilatio, per infinita saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Tempora bona habeant, redempti sanguine Christi!
Feliciter! Feliciter! Feliciter!
Pax Christi veniat!
Regnum Christi veniat!
Deo gratias. Amen.

You can find a translation here.

16 November 2005

And There Was Much Head-Shaking

I normally refrain from posting anything of a political nature, because I do not understand politics, nor do I particularly care to. (Yes, I vote, but it mostly consists of frantically calling my dad the day before asking him to explain everything to me.) I have put off posting a link to this story, but I feel like I really ought to, because this particular story really galls me; in part because it hits rather close to home (specifically, an hour and half drive from my parents house), in part because it involves a school which calls itself Catholic (a creature I am very familiar with), and in part because I think the student and her family have been wronged by said institution.
Yes, I'm talking about Katelyn Sills and her family's dealings with Loretto High School in Sacramento. I find the behavior of the school to be appalling.

I wish I'd had the guts that she and her mother have during my one year as a student at Justin-Siena High School in Napa. My religion teacher that year was pretty clearly a heretic. The class was "Christian Scripture," and we watched "Godspell", "Jesus Christ Superstar" and a documentary about the 1960's in class, which rather puzzled me, as I still don't know what the cultural revolution of the 60's has to do with Christian scripture, other than being largely contrary to it. I don't recall learning anything much about Christian scripture in that class, though it was an educational experience in some sense: I learned that most of my classmates, despite 9 years of Catholic education, did not know what "transubstantiation" meant; I learned one way of being a totally ineffective teacher; I learned that there are some people I just should not attempt to engage in conversation, because it will be fruitless; I learned that Justin-Siena was not the right school for me.

I wish I'd been able to stand up and say, "This is not right. She knows nothing about Catholicism and should not be teaching religion here. And please tell the English prof who wears tiny shorts to put on some trousers." But I was too shy and just wanted to go back to Trinity Prep where I wouldn't have to put up with all of that. I am proud to say that I managed to get one word in. When I announced that I was leaving, the principle (who knew me, because I had dance classes with his daughter) asked me what the school could have done to keep me there, and to attract more students like me (probably meaning smart kids--I led almost all my classes there--or maybe kids who actually went to Mass on Sunday), and I said, "The changes you would have to make to attract students like me would drive away most of the six hundred students you have now. You might have a school with a hundred intelligent, devout Catholics, but you wouldn't have much of a business."

Catholic schools should not hire teachers who take any action that supports the Culture of Death, the culture of contraception, abortion, and euthanasia. This is a horrible example to present to impressionable children and young adults. Until the mentality that supports the Culture of Death can be eradicated from our Church, the other problems we all complain about--including my pet peeve, liturgical tomfoolery--will not go away. It is all related, and if you think it isn't, you're fooling yourself.

Katelyn, you've got more guts than I have, and I hope things turn out well for you and your family. If you're in the market for a new school and don't mind the idea of a long commute, I'm sure Trinity Grammar and Prep in Napa would lay out the welcome mat for an articulate and fearlessly Catholic young lady like yourself.

10 November 2005

Melody and Harmony

Mixolydian Mode's tune of the day is our blog's namesake! Go and have a listen.

09 November 2005

Alle Psalite and the Goblet of Fire

Here is an unbelievably creepy website. It's just Harry Potter, true, but I wouldn't recommend it to younger kids, although past versions of HarryPotter.com haven't been too scary. The books are unmistakably dark- there is a double murder in the very first chapter!- but this book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is where things get even darker. The movie, in theatres November 18, promises to be scarier than the others. It is the first of the Potter Movies to have a PG-13 rating.

02 November 2005

St. Cecilia and the Founding Father

Here is an article which may be of interest. A previously unknown poem written by Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independance, has been found at a Jesuit high school in England. The poem is in Latin, and describes the martyrdom of St. Cecilia.

01 November 2005

Added to the blogroll at left is the blog of Perry Lorenzo. He's the Director of Education for Seattle Opera, and has a lot of lovely things to say, especially on the subject of beauty. I was priviledged to hear him speak here at GU a while back, on the subject Beauty and Hans Urs von Balthasar. So, go and do some reading!

16 October 2005

Something Completely Different

I don't usually put quizzes on the blog, obviously, but since everyone else is doing it...

You scored as Hermione Granger. You're one intelligent witch, but you have a hard time believing it and require constant reassurance. You are a very supportive friend who would do anything and everything to help her friends out.

Hermione Granger


Severus Snape


Ginny Weasley


Albus Dumbledore


Sirius Black


Harry Potter


Ron Weasley


Draco Malfoy


Remus Lupin


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with QuizFarm.com

It's very true, since I also have a tendency to sit in the front and look like this.

Update: I fixed a couple of bad links. So much for Copy and Paste.

14 October 2005

Via The Recovering Choir Director

Thirsty Scribe has a great reflection on chant interpretation and word painting, using Vir erat in terra as her example.

12 October 2005

Point, Counterpoint, Narnia

Dr. DeAragon (Medieval History): "There were lots of occupations that were traditionally in the domain of women. Brewster, spinster, etc. Men started taking over these occupations when they finally figured out the women were making money doing these kinds of things."

Counterpoint (a class in which we attempt to imitate Bach):
K: "There's an animal dying outside!"
Fr. W: "No, that's just an oboeist."

Fr. W: "Bach is like Congress. He makes the rules, and does whatever he wants."

Fr. W: "We do not know yet if this is a countersubject. We are like Adam and Eve before the Fall; we are innocent."

Lizzy: "Narnia and the North! Narnia was in Canada all along!"

Jane: "So, does that mean that the east closet in #8 (dorm name) goes to Canada?"

Lizzy: "Yes!"

04 October 2005

As today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, voila his Canticle of the Sun, written around 1225:

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.

01 October 2005

That Other Theresa

Today, as mentioned by many in the blogosphere, is the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux. When I was 15, I developed a slight grudge against the Little Flower. Before you start filling the comment box with reasons why she is wonderful, let me explain myself.

When I was about 13, I read a biography of St. Teresa of Avila. I fell in love. Not quite to the extent that I had fallen in love with St. Dominic when reading his biography three years earlier, but that's another story. St. Teresa was an amazing person. She reformed her order, she wrote fanstastic books that I only barely comprehend, and yet, by most accounts, was a pretty down-to-earth person. My heroine. Two years later, I decided that my confirmation name would be Teresa.

Everyone to whom I announced that my confirmation name was to be Teresa asked, "Oh, after Therese of Lisieux?" or said, "The Little Flower is so wonderful!" No, no, I shook my head. Not Therese of Lisieux. Teresa of Avila! Some replied, "Oh, well, that's nice." Others asked who Teresa of Avila was. Therese of Lisieux is a very popular saint in these times. Her message is easy to grasp, she lived not so long ago, and she was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997, just three years before I was confirmed. Teresa of Avila, on the other hand, lived more than 500 years ago, and was made a Doctor of the Church in 1970. Her books are difficult to read (I've never finished reading the Interior Castle, and I'm generally considered to be smart), and less acessible than Therese's.

Still, the assumption by everyone that I was taking Therese of Lisieux as my patroness, and even more the total ignorance of some of the existence of Teresa of Avila, annoyed and upset me. ("I took French! If I'd wanted to name myself after a French saint, I would have used the French form of the name!") And so, I came to bear a little grudge against Therese, for overshadowing my beloved Teresa. But I am older now, and like to think myself wiser and above such petty things. So, I offer my apology to St. Therese. Though you did not touch my heart in the same way as your older sister in Carmel, I love you in my own way.

28 September 2005

Heard on Campus
Two professors emerged from the Religious Studies building and greeted a third professor. To the third professor, one of the first two said, "Where were you? We were looking for you. You were the Lost Sheep."
The third professor replied, "Well, you've found me. Do we need to go back for the other ninety-nine?"

25 September 2005

Since So Many Other People Did...

I took the Ok Cupid Politics test. Now, I am not very interested in politics. If I am in a room where people are talking politics, I generally sit mute in the corner, or just leave. I ask my dad (who is interested in these things) enough questions to decide how I want to vote, and that's about it.

So, I scored as Totalitarian. Economic Liberal, and Social Conservative. On the graph with the pictures of famous people, my little circle is wedged between JP2's cross and Darth Vader's helmet. Interesting choice of people to put in the same quadrant, along with Bin Ladin and Stalin--what does this say about their view of JP2?

19 September 2005

"Drink Up, Me Hearties, Yo Ho"

That's right, today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. For all us Land-lubbers, it's a fabulous excuse to go around saying things like "Avast," "Go Walk the Plank," and the ever-popular "Arrr, matey!" So go to their website for pictures, info, and Pirate Phrase Lists, for the pirate talk-challenged.

And apparently my Pirate Name is Dirty Jenny Cash.

17 September 2005

Requiescant in Pace

A friend just told me that four seminarians at Mundelein were in a car accident a few days ago, and two of them have died. They were from the Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas.
May their souls, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

I had never seen it before, but one of the departed kept a blog. The most recent entry, along with comments, is here.

Amy Welborn has posted about this too, with links to relevant articles.

02 September 2005

Prayers for Our Fellow Students

In my conducting class today, our professor told us that Gonzaga may be accepting some students from Loyola New Orleans. He also said that some faculty members have inquired about spending a semester here. I know that Loyola NO has the largest music department of any Jesuit university in the country, and we are tiny in comparison, but I hope and pray that the doors of Gonzaga's music department will be open to students and professors from our sister school in its time of crisis.

Loyola New Orleans students, faculty, and staff: you have the prayers of those at the other Jesuit universities. I wish it was in my power to offer more concrete assistance. (Actually, if you're a harp student from Loyola, I'd be happy to let you practice on my instrument if you find yourself up here.)

01 September 2005

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...

As Jane has already noted, the new school year is upon us, and for those of us who have studied abroad, we have to get used to being American again (without the -e and accent mark!). Not only do the professors speak in English, I also can't take the metro to school. This is partly a good thing, in that I am no longer forced to listen to bad accordion music.

However, I've not quite got it into my head that I'm not in France anymore. I still say about half of the responses during Mass in French, although I only spent nine months of my whole life saying them. While reading the choir schedule for the next few months, I discovered that we were having a performance at Lourdes, following several days of rehearsals. I, of course, instantly thought of France, forgetting that our cathedral is named Our Lady of Lourdes. Why didn't I hear about this trip before? Shouldn't we already be fundraising?

My red shoes aren't working for taking me back to France.

28 August 2005

Batons and Back-to-School

Lizzy and I are watching that Hallmark movie about JP2. It's almost over. We think they did a pretty good job, but I'm sure wiser folks than us have reviewed it more eloquently.

Today I purchased my first conductor's baton, because I start conducting class on Wednesday. Classes start on Tuesday. That day I will have Medieval History, 18th Century Counterpoint, choir, and the Philosophy of C.S. Lewis (a 3-hour evening class). It should be interesting. Also, because our Fearless Leader (choir/schola director) is in Paris until the 6th, I'm in charge of schola rehearsal on Wednesday. This I can do; this I am not nervous about.

However, Fearless Leader is a deacon now, having been ordained in June, and he wishes to serve our first Mass of the year in that capacity, rather than as choir director. So, pray for me, because I am expected to conduct the polyphony, and will have had 2 weeks of conducting class at that point. Thankfully, I'll have the gorgeous and talented Lizzy there to help me and reassure me that I can do this, and that there is a reason why Fearless Leader trusts me, right?

31 July 2005

Shoes and Sorbet

This morning I went to Mass at Our Lady of Knock Shrine in East Durham, NY. I sat near a stained glass window depicting St. Peter, and was pleased to note that St. Peter was wearing red shoes.

Last night, I discovered that the chef at the Freehold Inn has stumbled upon the only good use of white zinfandel: as flavoring for a sorbet. It was delicious. I offer no apologies to the white zinfandel drinkers in the crowd; it is my duty as a certified Wine Snob to proclaim to the world that white zinfandel is an abomination. Except in a sorbet.

After two weeks of a French immersion course, I can now say "Un chasseur sachant chasser sans son chien chasse bien" quite fast, and hope to be able to converse a little with Lizzy next school year. If anyone wants to learn a lot of a language in two weeks, I highly reccomend the Language Immersion Institute at the State University of New York, New Paltz. No guarantees on what languages are available, though--I originally signed up for German, which didn't go forward because only two people requested it.

23 July 2005

Palestrina, Contemporary Liturgy, and Very Short Fingernails

Yes, I am being a copy-cat. Matt has blogged about starting work on his thesis, so I’ve decided to go ahead and blog about having started on mine, even though the topic was settled on sometime around mid-April and this is old news. If you’re not particularly interested in liturgical music, the following explanation will probably bore you.

The title given in the proposal that the music faculty approved was something like “The use of the motets of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina in contemporary liturgy.” It’s a little unwieldy, perhaps, but not as bad as some of the thesis titles I’ve read. It’s basically in three parts. Two of the parts are settled. The first: a listing of Palestrina’s motets which are based on the Proper of the Mass along with which days they belong to--both pre-V2 and post-V2, since the Propers were rearranged a little, and a short list of where the motets may be found (i.e. the three complete works editions, and possibly editions from a few major publishers which are currently in print).

Part the second: a couple of Palestrina’s many, many SATTB works arranged for a voicing more practical for a modern choir (SSATB, SAATB—there are a lot more women in the average parish choir than men) as example pieces. Nearly all of Palestrina’s Offertories, probably the most easily-employed pieces, are SATTB, and I believe this keeps them from more frequent use.

Part Three: a lot of writing, probably involving a history of how the motets were used in history, and why it is important that they continue to be used in the liturgy.

Whatever else you may say about why you like Victoria or Lasso better, etc., Palestrina is the one that everyone held up as the model of church music—to the point where he was even set down in legend as the “Savior of Church Music.” He’s tremendously important, and though those of us who sing his music regularly are in danger of thinking him a cliché, his music really is sublime.

I don’t really know if anyone will be interested in reading my thesis, but my advisor has hopes that I will be able to submit it for publication when it’s finished—if I do a decent job and don’t completely muck it up. I suspect that it is a topic of more general interest than some music theses I’ve read about. Anyone for the history of Jamaican music in London, or common medical problems of french horn players?

I’ve done some of the work on Part One already. As a surprise, my mother bought me a copy of Haberl edition of Palestrina’s Complete Works on microfilm, then sent it off to a company that copies microfilm onto CD-rom. I will soon possess what just might be the first CD-rom of the Complete Works ever (there certainly are none for sale). Muahahaha. When I get the CD, I can continue work, and should have Part One finished by the end of the summer, with hopefully some research done for Part Three. Part Three must be finished (as in, edited, revised, reviewed and ok’d by my advisor) by mid-December, because it will be shipped off along with my grad school applications. Yes, that is the sound of me biting my fingernails a la “Looney Toons,” complete with typewriter sound-effect.

16 July 2005

I solemnly swear I am up to no good.

I admit that:

1. I pre-ordered a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
2. I attended two midnight release parties.
3. I stayed up all night to read it.
4. I've already finished it. Yes, that means I know who the Half-Blood Prince is and how the book ends. No, I'm not telling.
5. I disagree with this article: Pope disapproves of Harry Potter. Let's pull out our Grains of Salt. They quote casual remarks made in two private letters sent before he became pope--remarks which could easily be misconstrued or misquoted. I think I might prefer to see the rest of the letter before making such a statement. Either way, it could be harmful to JK Rowling as well as our Pope. Either way, I still find it a little fishy.

Mischief managed.

01 July 2005

You Know You're a Catholic Nerd When...

...the last bachelor/bachelorette party you attended included adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and recitation of the rosary.

14 June 2005

Today is my last day in Paris.

Tomorrow morning, I'll be in a slight state of panic, hoping my bags aren't too heavy, and that I don't miss my shuttle to the airport.

I had intended to put up a few pictures, but there are so many it was impossible to decide. Instead, run a Google picture search on Paris, you'll see what I mean.

So, thank you, Paris, and à bientôt!

10 June 2005


I watched an episode of "Life is Worth Living" on EWTN today. It was an episode from 1957, and Bishop Sheen's subject was communism. I wasn't particularly interested in that subject today, but (I am ashamed to admit) I had never seen any of Sheen's television work before. My reactions, in order:
"Ooo. Cassock. Pectoral cross. All the trimmings."

"Nice handwriting." (If you've never seen it, he writes on a chalkboard during the show. I've never before seen anyone write that beautifully with chalk.)

"Wow, he really knows what he's talking about."

"Now there's a Real Man."

So, if you're like I was half an hour ago, and have never seen Fulton Sheen, but perhaps only read a book, turn on EWTN and watch a program. It's an altogether different experience of that great man. If you haven't read any of his books, hie thee to Ignatius Press and get one. I read The World's First Love last year, and liked it very much.

02 June 2005

So Little Time, So Much to Do

I leave Paris in two weeks.

01 June 2005

or, The Search for the Perfect Cheese

Today, my family and I took an outing to Sonoma, a bit down the road from our home in Napa. Sonoma is a lovely little town, built around a central square park. It is home to wine-tasting rooms, gourmet restaurants, the last California mission, boutique clothing and knick-knack stores, art galleries, and artisan cheese shops. Our initial mission was to the appropriately named "Flag Shop," as our Stars and Stripes had begun to fade a bit and needed replacing. A secondary mission, only remembered after the visit to the Flag Shop, was the search for Montbriac.

Montbriac is a cheese. My parents had first encountered it sometime ago on a dessert cheese plate at dinner at Trefethen winery, but had never seen it in any of Napa's stores, though many stores here have excellent cheese selections.

We went first to the Cheese Factory, which is actually more of a deli. My mother went once around the store and declared that they didn't have what we were looking for, so we left there quickly. My father then remembered a cheese shop on a side road, housed in an old brewery. They had a few very delicious cheese made on site, and some imports, but not what we were looking for. We purchased a better-than-average Monterey Jack, and an exquisitely squishy Toma. The owner suggested we try a store on the next street.

Immediately upon entering "The Cheesemaker's Daughter," my mother inquired whether there was any Montbriac to be had. No, the owner replied, she didn't have any, but she was sure there was some at the Sonoma Market, and would we like to try some of the day's special? It was called Morbier, and is to date the only blue cheese I like. It's very soft, has one blue stripe down the center, and is quite mild as blue cheeses go. We got some of that, and a jar of fig preserves. I took a detour to the book store across the street to purchase a children's book called "The Jazz Fly," (complete with accompanying CD and already autographed by the author), and a mystery novel. This is the third musically-related children's book I've purchased in as many months; either my biological clock is ticking a bit early, or I've regressed to early childhood.

On to the Sonoma Market. Dad went in while Mom and I stayed in the car to avoid the crowd. I was busily flipping the pages of my new books when Dad emerged triumphant: Montbriac had been found! He had also found a baguette, some fruit, and some lunch meat, so we headed off to Gundlach-Bundschu winery for a picnic. (Sonoma Valley Inebriation Test #1: If you can't say "Gundlach-Bundschu Gewurtztraminer," you shouldn't be driving.) The weather was perfect--warm even in the shade, but with enough of a breeze to keep it from being hot. There is a little picnic ground shaded by olive trees with a view of a lake just outside the entrance to the tasting room. The winery also hosts arts events--we may go back in a few weeks for some live music, a BBQ, and a showing of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

The picnic was wonderful. Dad had found pears at the market which was perfectly ripe, sweet and soft and full of juice that ran down our fingers and faces when we bit into them, and they made a perfect accompaniment to the Montbriac. Montbriac is a soft cheese which comes in a rind, much like brie in appearance and texture, but with a subtlely sharper and more complex flavor. It was lovely with the sweet fruit and the slightly sour bread. Dad bought a case of the G-B "Bearitage," and we drove home. I read my books a little, and dozed for the rest of the ride.

30 May 2005

A Wedding of Catholic Nerds

I'm singing at a wedding today. The bride has been a friend of mine since we were in seventh grade. I'm unreasonably nervous about singing at this. Most of the people who will be there have heard me sing before, and they're probably not going to pay much attention to the music anyway, but I really don't want to mess this up. My head says, "It'll be fine," but the butterflies in my stomach say, "Let's party!"

This wedding will truly be a Catholic Nerd wedding. Not because it will be ad orientem or anything like that (unfortunately), but because of the people. The bride is the daughter of the president of Ignatius Press, and the groom is Tom Harmon, who founded the ASCC and Gonzaga's Newman-Stein Fellowship (now John Paul II Fellowship). Also in attendance will be Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, president of Gonzaga University and author of Healing the Culture. Fr. Joseph Fessio has also been invited, and will probably be in attendance.

I hope you will join me in wishing Cate and Tom well and praying that their marriage will be long and happy. As one person noted in a toast at the rehearsal dinner, this couple has already proven themselves to be a force for change and an example of good in our culture. May they continue to be so as they begin their new life together.

19 May 2005

Did Someone Mention Books?

They did, and yes, I got tagged too. So, here we go!

Total Number of Books Owned: I have absolutely no idea. Lots and lots, many of which are in giant Xerox boxes in my room. Several hundred, I imagine.

Last Book Bought: Le Magicien et Son Neveu. That's right, it is indeed the Magician's Nephew in French. During my first weeks here, I stumbled across the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (l'Armoire Magique) in my favorite bookshop, and I've been gradually buying the rest of the series since. I'm ignoring the fact that this is supposedly the first book in the series and rejoicing in the lovely illustrations by Pauline Baynes. Although I suppose that now I can actually make sense of books in French, I should start reading one by French authors.

Last Book Read: Women in Love by DH Lawrence. I picked it at random in a bookstore in Prague which sold English books, and I didn't really care for it. I much preferred The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco, which I finished much faster than I had expected (I also bought it in Prague...it's a wonder I did any sight-seeing!). I've always loved a good mystery, especially ones that can be solved along side the heroes--sometimes Sherlock is too much of a genius. And since I spent a week in a former Cistercian monastery this year, I enjoyed that the story was built around the rhythm of monastic life.

Five Books that Mean a Lot to Me:

My C.S Lewis book. It's a collection of some of his best-known works: The Pilgrim's Regress, Letters to Malcolm, Reflections on the Psalms, the Abolition of Man, and my favorite, Till We Have Faces. I found it at Shakespeare and Co. earlier this year, and it's done a lot of travelling with me. Between it, les Chroniques de Narnia, and my second-hand copy of That Hideous Strength I found in Avignon, this has been a great year for C. S. Lewis.

The Holy Grail : Its Origins, Secrets, and Meaning Revealed by Malcolm Godwin and The
Holy Grail : Imagination and Belief by Richard Barber. I've always loved mythology and stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and Godwin's book, which I borrowed from my medieval history teacher in high school, started me on my serious interest in the Holy Grail. Barber's, on the other hand, was a gift from Jane and the Catholicnerd, and I sadly have only read about half of it, since it is in America and I'm not.

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen. I'm sure it's hardly a surprise, and that I don't have to say much about it. It was also a present from Jane, way back when we were roommates and living in the same country.

My Dad's old copy of the Silmarillion. It's such an incredible book, and I have to admit I enjoy the fact that it's a first edition. I bought it in paperback last year, just because I needed a copy at school. And I love the idea of creation with music. It's been a really long time since I read it. It's on my list after Les Misérables for this summer.

My Giant Larousse Dictionary and 501 French Verbs. Because I use them all the time.

18 May 2005

So strange, I had to share

At H & M yesterday (I was doing some very important market researcg, yeah, that's it) I saw a rack of rosaries. Somehow, I suspect it doesn't have anything to do with John Paul II's call for a new evangelization. And, yes, I am going to go back and take a picture, since I doubt anyone will believe me.

17 May 2005

Tagged by Zadok

1. Total books owned, ever: around 800, I think. Total currently on my shelves—not including music books and the children’s books in my parents’ garage--is about 350, total around 500. Thinking about the 800 and 500 total figures, it would mean that, on average, I’ve acquired 40 books a year and thrown out 15.

2. Last book I bought: I don’t remember the title, but it was about a woman from Washington who walked across the country. I bought it for myself, but let my mother read it first, so it’s disappeared.

3. Last book I read: sadly, a picture-book with words on every other page. But it was, happily, a book about the life of St. Dominic. It wasn’t a children’s book, by the way, but something from the library at GU. (This is the last one I actually finished reading—I have a terrible habit of reading half of a book and never picking it up again.)

4. Five books that mean a lot to me:

1. The Giant Treasury of Peter Rabbit. Well, nobody said it had to mean something profound. I have many childhood memories of snuggling up next to my mother as she read to me from this book. I was particularly fond of “The Tale of Two Bad Mice.”

2. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. As a child, I adored this book. Even though I was always careful with books, my copy of Dawn Treader is about to fall apart. Actually, all my Chronicals of Narnia are about to fall apart, except The Silver Chair, which I never liked, and the spine of which isn’t so much as creased. But Dawn Treader was always my favorite, because of the end where Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, and Reepicheep row off into the sweet water and the “endless carpet of lilies” to the end of the world.

3. Perelandra. I actually didn’t like this book the first time I read it, but the second reading was a little more interesting, and the third was for an excellent literature class, and the teacher’s lectures made an impression on me. It’s rather bad form for a writer of a romance to insert pages and pages of dialogue of the sort that Lewis puts in when the eldila show up, but it’s so interesting.

4. The Theology of the Body. I was lucky to be required to read this for my high school senior seminar. It’s a difficult book to read, but the group discussions helped me understand at least some of it (my mind is not particularly suited to reading philosophy or theology, especially not the difficult language JPII uses).

5. Leisure, the Basis of Culture (by Josef Pieper). This is another book from senior seminar that I never would have read on my own. Pieper clearly and beautifully explains why the liberal arts are important, and why we should not confuse them with the servile arts. It’s been three years since I last read this book, and since I’m working on applying to graduate school, it’s probably time for me to read it again, lest I begin to think of the liberal arts as “work.”

5. Tag 5 people: Dan and Emily of the Holy Whapping, Zorak, Jamie Selkie, and Gordon Zaft.

12 May 2005

Because we missed his Feast Day....

St. George Slaying the Dragon, Prague Castle

...And also to prove that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Coming soon: Spring Break Adventures and Meetings with Unicorns!

06 May 2005

Swiped from Lauren, because if she can be a spoiled youngest child, then I can be a spoiled only child.

"List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can't really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), 'Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice.'"

1. College drinking parties--I have to agree with Lauren on this one. Alcohol is fine, yes, I like a glass of wine now and then. But getting drunk just for the sake of getting drunk is idiotic--almost as idiotic as bragging about it afterwards.

2. Summer. It's hot, which makes me physically uncomfortable and mentally sluggish, and because it's hot out there are people running around half-dressed (unless you're at the beach, in which case it's considerably less than half-dressed). In addition to this, most of us college students go back to our hometowns for summer, which in my case means being a long way away from my friends. I also happen to enjoy school.

3. Sports. I've never liked sports--they seem like a waste of time and money. Physical activity is grand, but it isn't the be-all and end-all, and in schools organized sports tend to take valuable resources away from academic pursuits. There's something very wrong about half the high school choir missing rehearsal once a week in soccer season, or building a new college basketball arena when the performing arts students have nowhere to perform. Sports. Grrrrr.

4. Most current fashion trends for girls/young women. Why on earth would anyone want to wear jeans so low and a shirt so high that the world knows what color her thong is and that she has a tattoo on her lower back? Why wear a skirt so short and heels so high that walking is impaired? Why wear fuzzy winter boots if she lives in L.A.?

5. Talking about how bad the Jesuits are. I will be the first to admit that many Jesuits today are unfaithful to the Church, some in more creative ways than others. (I've heard Fr. Maher's story about the "Mime Mass" he was forced to endure as a seminarian in 1980's San Francisco. It's amazing he made it out of there with his orthodoxy intact. We won't even go into the guy with the pink clerical shirt.) But I go to a Jesuit school, and it's not so bad. Maybe that's because it's better than some other Jesuit schools, but there are nutty things going on in every religious order. What about those pictures (posted I believe by the Curt Jester) of dancing Dominicans? What about the Benedictine nuns who protest for women's ordination? I suppose the Jesuits are an easy target because the nature of their lives as academics forces them more out in the open than some other orders, and because of how many of them there are in this country, but I'm sick of the Jesuit jokes.

Zadok has already weighed in on a few of these subjects, but not done the meme.

27 April 2005

I will be 21 in December. *hint hint*

20 April 2005

Prayer Request

As we exited the chapel after 10pm Mass tonight, a contingent of students from Eastern Washington University (about a half hour south of here) showed up, wanting to go to Mass. They had been told that Mass was at 11, and were disheartened to find that their information had been wrong. Thankfully, a priest who was willing to say Mass for them even at the late hour was found in relatively short order.

The fact that they had to drive all the way here to attend Mass is telling. There is a Newman Center at EWU, and a parish church in that town, but no daily Mass is offered at either because "there is no pastoral necessity." So it has been decreed by the pastor and by the bishop. After seeing 10 students drive so far so late at night to attend Mass on this historic day, to celebrate the election of our new pontiff, I would disagree that there is no pastoral necessity for a daily Mass, or at least a Mass on special occasions such as this.

Please pray for the Catholic students at EWU, and that the pastor and bishop will see the need to minister to these people.

19 April 2005


(beginning of stanza 3)

The colors of the Sistine will then speak the word of the Lord:
Tu es Petrus--once heard by Simon, son of John.
"To you I will give the keys of the Kingdom."

18 April 2005

(stanza 2)

Who is He?
Behold, the creating hand of the Almighty, the Ancient One,
reaching towards Adam...
In the beginning God created...
He, who sees all things...
from Roman Triptych II:
Meditations on the Book of Genesis
At the Threshold of the Sistine Chapel
by John Paul II

(stanza 1)

It is here, beneath this wondrous Sistine profusion of color
that the Cardinals assemble--
the community responsible for the legacy of the keys of the Kingdom.
They come here, to this very place.
And once more Michelangelo wraps them in his vision.
"In Him we live and move and have our being."

14 April 2005

Giant Moths

Allepsalite is a Giant Moth that eats Rocks, emits Ultrasonic Screams and Clouds of Inky Smoke, is in League with Dark Forces, and dislikes Modern Architecture.

Haugen and Haas is a Giant Moth that kidnaps Blonde Women, Stomps Around a Lot, can Leap Great Distances, and is Blind.

Ha! Allepsalite wins!

Thanks to Lauren for the surreal link.

05 April 2005

Mustard Seeds

The Curt Jester has posted extracts from a lovely article about Cardinal Ratzinger.

The author, identified only as "Spengler," has written what may become one of my favorite quotes of all time: "I have a mustard seed, and I'm not afraid to use it."

Can I get that on a t-shirt?

02 April 2005

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Pope's Condition Worsening

He said aides had told the pope that thousands of young people were in St. Peter’s Square on Friday evening. Navarro-Valls said the pope appeared to be referring to them when he seemed to say: “’I have looked for you. Now you have come to me. And I thank you.”

Even if we're not at St. Peter's, we're with the Pope!

31 March 2005

Terri Schiavo, au centre d'un débat sur l'euthanasie, est morte

Terri Schiavo, une Américaine dans le coma depuis 15 ans privée d'alimentation artificielle depuis le 18 mars, est morte jeudi.

28 March 2005

Christus resurrexit! Vere resurrexit!

Christos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!

Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!

Christ is risen from the dead! From death, He conquered death, and to those in their graves He granted life!

24 March 2005

Fast and Hunger Strike

I found a message in my inbox this morning from a friend of mine, about what he is going to do to help Terri Schiavo. Here is the relevant part:

"I feel very helpless in all of this. All that I am going to do is fast. I was planning on fasting for the Easter Triduum, but now I am also doing a hunger strike. I will only drink water at least until Sunday. My purpose in doing this is to be in solidarity with Terri and offer up my sacrifice. However, I will also be doing a demonstration. I will make this hunger strike known to the public. Starting tomorrow, with the exception of when I will go to Mass, I will sit at the grotto outside of St. Aloysius church with a sign alerting those who pass by to what I am doing. I will sit there from 8am to 8pm. Originally I had wanted to sit at the steps of Crosby, but I felt consolation when I decided to sit and the grotto and ask for the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, the patroness of the Diocese of Spokane. I invite all of you to join me in doing this. Even if it is only for part of a day or you cannot do the fast or join me at the grotto, please keep Terri, her family, and this country in your prayers."

I'm sure other people have had this idea. But if you were not planning to do so, but are able to, perhaps you will consider participating in a more extreme fast than you might normally do for Good Friday. If you can, consider joining my friend John and many others in this endeavor.

21 March 2005

A Reflection for Holy Week

"At every celebration of the Eucharist, we are spiritually brought back to the paschal Triduum: to the events of the evening of Holy Thursday, to the Last Supper and to what followed it. The institution of the Eucharist sacramentally anticipated the events which were about to take place, beginning with the agony in Gethsemane. Once again we see Jesus as he leaves the Upper Room, descends with his disciples to the Kidron valley and goes to the Garden of Olives. Even today that Garden shelters some very ancient olive trees. Perhaps they witnessed what happened beneath their shade that evening, when Christ in prayer was filled with anguish “and his sweat became like drops of blood falling down upon the ground” (cf. Lk 22:44). The blood which shortly before he had given to the Church as the drink of salvation in the sacrament of the Eucharist, began to be shed; its outpouring would then be completed on Golgotha to become the means of our redemption: “Christ... as high priest of the good things to come..., entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Heb 9:11-12)."

--Ecclesia de Eucharistia

19 March 2005

Terri Schiavo News in French

Tube d'alimentation a été débranché

Etats-Unis: imbroglio autour d'une femme dans le coma, privée d'alimentation

St. Jude, pray for us!

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Ben Hatke (Ben of Small Pax Guild) on the birth of their second child!

I suggest the rest of us celebrate by reading a Zita the Space Girl comic.

15 March 2005


It's the Ides of March. You could celebrate by stabbing a friend, I suppose, but I shall be avoiding the Forum and staying away from people who could be hiding daggers under togas.

14 March 2005


In anticipation of St. Patrick's Day, I present to you some familiar prayers in Irish (please excuse the lack of diacritical marks):

In ainm an Athar agus Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh. Amen.

Ar n-Athair ata ar neamh, go naofar d'ainm. Go dtaga do riocht. Go ndeantar do thoil ar an talamh mar a dheantar ar neamh. Ar n-aran laethuil tabhair duinn inniu, agus maith duinn ar bhfiacha, mar a mhaithimidne dar bhfeichiuna fein, agus na lig sinni gcathu, ach saor sinn o olc. Amen.

Se do bhatha, a Mhuire, ata lan de ghrasta, ta an Tiarna leat. Is beannaithe thu idir mna, agus is beannaithe toradh do bhroinne, Iosa. A Naomh-Mhuire, a Mhathair De, guigh orainn na peacaigh anois agus ar uair ar mbais. Amen.

Gloir don Athair, agus don Mhac, agus don Spiorad Naomh, mar a bhi ar dtus, mar ata anois, agus mar a bheas go brach le saol na saol. Amen.

Irish translations as found in the Glenstal Book of Prayer.

Note: In days gone by, there was a competition held during the feis at the Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco for recitation in Irish. The recitation could be of a poem (either original or otherwise), a short story, or a prayer. They also used to cease all competition at noon on Sunday and a priest would come say Mass in the competition hall, but that is no longer done.

12 March 2005

Twenty Things Jane and Lizzy Have Done That Their Readers Probably Haven't

Jane has...
1. Sung chant in the chapel at Solesmes.
2. Stayed at a Basilian convent (in Olympia, WA).
3. Worn my school uniform to a pro-life rally in Sacramento.
4. Sung for a Mass at Mundelein Seminary--and boy were they suprised to hear girls' voices from the loft!
5. Along with my harp, been offered a ride by a Jewish bodhran player.
6. Been sent a free dessert at a French restaurant in NYC by the owner (who was actually from France), just because I was from Napa Valley.
7. Asked my mother if I could take a picture of a kosher butcher in Albany, NY, because I thought he looked like Lazarwolf.
8.Had it suggested to me that I star in a kind of Irish stepdancing-meets-martial arts picture, and call it "Enter the Leprechaun."
9. Been given a crossbow on the occasion of my graduation from high school.
10. Had over 50 limericks and 20 sonnets written about me, though none have been published.

Lizzy has...
1. Bought books on the Templars in French (and is actually able to understand them! Finally!)
2. Sung Francoise Hardy songs with a beggar at Chartres (in the snow!)
3. Been hit on by a Louvre Guard
4. Been in an opera company commercial
5. Stood in line for hours at Opera Bastille for a 9€ Magic Flute ticket
6. Seen Josh Groban at Mass at Notre Dame
7. Waltzed at Mont-St-Michel
8a. Said Morning Prayer on the Metro
8b. Seen priests saying the office on the Metro
9. Played in the snow in Paris. Apparently this is the first snow they've had in Paris in ten years.
10. Sung with the CGP.

07 March 2005

I don't often post silly quizzes...
...but sometimes they're just cool.

You are 'Latin'.
Even among obsolete skills, the tongue of the ancient Romans is a real anachronism. With its profusion of different cases and conjugations, Latin is more than a language; it is a whole different way of thinking about things.

You are very classy, meaning that you value the classics. You value old things, good things which have stood the test of time. You value things which have been proven worthy and valuable, even if no one else these days sees them that way. Your life is touched by a certain 'pietas', or piety; perhaps you are even a Stoic. Nonetheless, you have a certain fascination with the grotesque and the profane. Also, the modern world rejects you like a bad transplant. Your problem is that Latin has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Oh, please. With numerous journals still being written in it and at least one radio program devoted to it, I'd hardly call Latin obsolete!

06 March 2005

I Can't Afford Her Clothes...
...but Miuccia Prada is apparently a very sensible woman. The Manolo has posted an interview with her, inserting his own comments.

02 March 2005

Does Modest Mean Frumpy or Unfashionable?

What do you think of when you hear the words "modest clothing?" If you're from a certain background, you may associate that phrase with young ladies who dress like young ladies, who value themselves enough to try and avoid tempting men into lusting after them. If you're from a different background, you might associate that phrase with the words "frumpy," "unfashionable," or "unflattering." Why?

There are probably young women out there who have completely bought into the idea that if you wear the current fashions, you are therefore dressed attractively. For those of us who are disgusted by girls whose low-cut jeans and high-cut shirts reveal parts of their body and items of clothing better left hidden, we know that dressing "fashionably" does not equal dressing beautifully or attractively. Yet, a woman can still look "fashionable" or classy without wearing a dress shaped like a burlap sack. So why are even some otherwise good Christian girls giving in to the latest fashions for mini skirts or low-cut tank tops?

There are probably many opinions on this, but I think it is because a lot of girls who try to dress modestly end up dressing quite unattractively. On most women, the baggy denim jumper with white turtleneck just isn't flattering. Yes, you're covered, and you're unlikely to temp men to lust, but your clothes don't have to be quite so unflattering to be modest. Ladies, God made you beautiful, and even though you are called to use wisdom and prudence in how you show that beauty, you don't have to hide it! I was taught that there are deficiencies and excesses, and that virtues lie in the middle. For instance, the deficiency of courage is cowardice, and the excess is recklessness. We all know what the deficiency of modesty is, but is there an excess? Prudishness, perhaps? Maybe that is not the right word, but I hope you see what I'm getting at. Is it possible that wearing a baggy, shapeless dress that completely hides your womanly figure is as unfeminine and unladylike as a tight mini-dress that shows too much of it?

In my never-ending search for pretty clothes which don't offend my ideals of Christian modesty, I have scoured the web for businesses which cater to those who wish to dress modestly. I came across this site which has links to numerous other sites offering modest clothing for sale or patterns to sew modest clothing. After going through these sites, I began to see a trend. They are almost all affiliated with or catering to some religious group--Christian, Mormon, Muslim, or Jewish. And while the last three generally have nice-looking clothes, a lot of the Christian offerings could be described as "frumpy." (If you wear these kinds of clothes and are offended by what I say, I apologize, but I will not retract the expression of my opinion.)

For example, these dresses and jumpers. If you have what I have heard called "the hips for childbearing," this sort of thing can be most unflattering.
Or these. I'm sorry, but unless you are under the age of 7 or have just walked off the set of "Little House on the Prarie," you probably should not be wearing dresses with poufy sleeves, or anything called "Prarie Dress #49."
Others look to the past for modest clothing. While I think that Regency, Edwardian, and vintage dresses are lovely, you probably shouldn't go for this look unless you really want to attract attention. It's best to save such things for more formal events, and look elsewhere for your everyday clothes.

On to the websites who are catering to non-Christians:
Look how pretty and, well, normal the clothing offered by Jewish sites is. (Yes, that last one has a "Victorian" collection, but they have more "normal" looking and pretty clothes as well.)

The Islamic clothing site listed there has jumpers and some clothing that would probably attract attention on the average American street, but they have some things that might be found at your local mall, if your local mall sold pretty, modest clothing (mine doesn't have much). They even sell pants!

For girls in search of a prom dress or young ladies looking for a modest dresses for brides and bridesmaids (are you tired of seeing strapless bridal/bridesmaid gowns in church, too?), the Mormons seem to have the right idea. While the regency and renaissance wedding dresses displayed on some of the Christian sites are quite nice, there are also nice things available for those of us who like more modern clothes. Some of the Christian offerings are not so bad, but on the whole, the others seem to have better selections for those of us not into historical dress or the burlap-sack look.

So, see, Christian young ladies? You can find clothing that is modest and nice-looking, without attracting unwanted attention.

24 February 2005

Le Pape a Subi une Opération

pour mieux respirer.
States I've Visited:

create your own personalized map of the USA

I've gone a lot of new places in the last year or so. I've been to Boisie, ID; Seattle, WA; Chicago, IL, and Boston, MA. I had been to all those airports before, but never ventured outside, and this year I did! It was exciting, and all of them except Boston were Schola trips--and they are very fun people to travel with. Oh, and did I mention that week in France?

22 February 2005

A CD Review--Anonymous 4

Today, I bought my first Anonymous 4 CD. It seems like I ought to mark the date on my calendar or something, so that I can celebrate the anniversary every year. Yes, it's that good. It was $20 at Barnes&Noble, but it was well worth it, and I can't believe I waited so long to finally buy one of their numerous (18!) recordings. These women have been singing together for 18 years, performing mostly medieval chant and polyphony, with occasional forays into renaissance, 18th and 19th-century American, and British Isles folk music.

The recording I now proudly own is "An English Ladymass." As the title implies, it contains 13th and 14th-century chant and polyphony in honor of the Blessed Mother, all from English manuscripts. The liner notes point out the difficulty of creating an edition of this music, because "there exists now not even one substantial intact manuscript source from which to work." Some reconstructions were necessary, but they are beautifully done. The four voices blend in near-perfect unity, never harsh, even when rendering startling dissonance. The sometimes virtuostic ornamentation in the soprano line is always delicate and precise. Their tone is very pure and innocent, free from any muddling vibrato, cloying sweetness, or the annoying harshness of some other medieval groups. The entire recording gives a great impression of space, light, and warmth, which seems to be how this music ought to be sung. Medieval (and renaissance) sacred music ought to be given the space of a medieval cathedral, the light of a hundred stained glass windows, and the warmth of devotion to God and the use of the gifts He gave us; Anonymous 4 does this music justice.

On our best days, a quartet of women from our schola might approach this kind of greatness on a single piece of music, but never so apparently consistently, and with such an enormous repertoire. There are 21 tracks, some of which are Gregorian chant, others are harmonized chant, and others are more orignial compositions. All are in Latin except Edi beo thu hevene quene, which is Middle English. Anonymous 4 CD's are rather expensive, but well worth it, and I can't wait to obtain more.

21 February 2005

The Funniest Lord of the Rings Parody....

I never really liked Boromir very much, and now I know why.

19 February 2005

I'm back from my visit to Ireland and Scotland, including Glendalough, the castle where Mary Queen of Scots was crowned, the chapel of the Knights of the Order of the Thistle, and Rosslyn Chapel. Paris seems very grey in comparison with the Emerald Isle, but I'm glad to be back. Once I get my travel notebooks organized, I'll write more.

07 February 2005

Photos of Seminarians in Rome

Just take a look at these handsome fellows. The one in the back row center, right under the crucifix, is a friend of Lizzy's and mine. These young gentlemen were just instituted to the office of lector. Your prayers for them, especially our friend, would be much appreciated.

More pictures from the Institution of Lectors can be found here.

01 February 2005

The World's Shortest Summary of The Magic Flute and The Barber of Seville

"Bartolo and Monostatos were the stinky soprano stalkers."
A Spiffy (and Catholic) Personality Test

Via Meredith at Basia me, Catholica sum.

You are a "lymphatic" or "pituitous" Phlegmatic, with an abundance of phlegm. Phlegmatics are characterized by the element of Water, the season of Winter, old-aged adulthood, the color green, and the characteristics of "Cold" and "Wet." If you were living in the Age of Faith, the career choice for you would be a copier of manuscripts or a night watchman.

I'm not entirely sure I agree with the assessment. It's correct up to a certain point; I am introverted, I am reserved in unfamiliar situations, I am slothful, but unlikely to give up a project once I've started it, and have been told that I exhibit some constancy of mood (though I often doubt this). However, I am not overly cautious in minor matters, and I certainly am interested in things external to myself--though usually as an observer.

The section on the training of phlegmatic children interests me particularly because it bears no resemblence to my own experience. It claims such children lack internal motives, which I never did, and that things have to be explained to them multiple times, which was only true of me if the explanation happened to have interupted me in the midst of a daydream or reading a story. As long as you got me when my mind wasn't in a fantasy world, I didn't have to be told twice. (This still holds true. Don't try to talk to me when I'm reading. I may nod and make an affirmative noise, but I didn't actually hear you.)

The description of the education of the melancholic child, however, seems to fit my experience very well. I was very timid and shy, sensitive, and too easily discouraged. I only wanted to do work for classes which had teachers that I liked, and invariably, the teachers that I liked were ones who paid me special attention and were kind to me. When punished by teachers I was not fond of, I almost invariably talked back (and got myself in further trouble, of course). I still do that, occasionally, but I am more even-tempered now and less likely to want to anger those in authority over me. Perhaps my temperment has changed. Is is possible that the melancholic child has become a more phlegmatic adult?

Other possible outcomes: Sanguine, Choleric
What's your medieval personality type?

28 January 2005

Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas Posted by Hello

Lizzy beat me to it, but perhaps I can offer more particular greetings to my friends Tom R., Thomas K., Thomas P., Tommy B., Tom N., and Tom H. on their patronal feast!
Happy Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas!

Eglise St-Thomas d'Aquin, Paris

27 January 2005

More Teen Girl Squad!!!

"Worldwide starlets get much boys!"

25 January 2005

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul Posted by Hello

21 January 2005

Tacky Item of the Day

Gavin's reaction upon seeing this eBay item: "A gift for your favorite anti-pope?"

18 January 2005

A Nice Place to Spend a Rainy Afternoon

One can't spend much time in Paris without hearing about the Shakespeare and Co Bookshop, but for several weeks after I arrived, I avoided going to it, perhaps wanting to find my way around without the really touristy things like that getting in my way. But since I ended up spending a lot of time in the Latin Quarter, I quite stumbled on the store, like many of my other favorite places. The first time I went in, I was stunned-- not by the floor to ceiling bookshelves, the wishing well, or even the smell of books--but by the people speaking English. Being in the middle of French studies, English can sometimes sound harsh, loud, and very foreign, and I was almost more interested in the people in the shop than the books. There were college kids backpacking their way around France, students who needed a quick English-language fix, French teachers and students of English, and then there was me.

I didn't buy anything the first time I was there; I just wandered the front room, not quite brave enough to wander farther back and explore the other sections. It was only after I made it past the wishing well that I noticed the smell and colors of the books that line the walls like tiles in a mosaic. I wasn't close enough to tell what the image was, so I had to come back.

This next visit was a dreary day, and I was wandering the Latin Quarter with one of my friends. Drawn by the 3€ Penguin Classic bin, we spent much of the afternoon there. I hadn't realized there was a second floor, up a steep and narrow staircase, covered in a worn-out rug, but we ended up there, in the reading library. It was very fun, browsing the titles that aren't for sale and listening to backpackers arrange stays at the Tumbleweed Hotel, since it's possible to stay at the shop (yet another thing I didn't know). This time, I also ended up finding some C.S. Lewis and Henry James. The books are a bit expensive, but I can see how it's become such an important place for anglophones. And in any case, I'll go back, to read more upstairs, maybe meet travellers, and just spend rainy afternoons lost in a book.

If you have never been to Shakespeare and Co., here is a Virtual Tour of the shop!

11 January 2005

Guess what I learned today? Pianos do exist in France!

After several months with no piano, I was beginning to despair of ever finding a piano where I could practice in this crazy city. Instead of my usual prayers to St. Gregory and St. Cecelia that my piano teachers won't gang up and kill me in 6 months, I went so far today as to humiliate myself in the biggest piano store I've ever seen, asking if there was anywhere to practice. With a look that said that he wanted me out of his store as soon as possible, the piano-salesman handed me a flyer for a piano cafe, like an internet cafe, but with pianos instead of computers. It costs between 8 and 10 Euros per hour. It seems a little expensive to me, but since I haven't found anything else, I'm running out of ideas.

Anyone have any better ideas (I hope?)?

07 January 2005

Romy is writing a fabulous Love Story set in our favorite city. She's written two parts, and I'm eagerly awaiting more. I find it very comforting to read stories about Paris by one who knows it well, so go check it out!

05 January 2005

"Bonjour Messieurs-Dames... un moment de poésie..."

I've never had to spend much time on public transportation, so a 30-minute metro ride to school every day has been an interesting experience, especially days when traffic is "perturbé." I wasn't terribly surprised to see musicians on the metro (mostly accordions, for some reason), but puppet shows, dancers, karaoke, preachers, and people who tell their life story and ask for money are still a little strange to me. Last week I saw kids dragging a market cart with music to sing to, which is probably the most disconcerting. On the RER, a woman had pins and pens for sale, at the same time when another woman stood up and decided to sing a very pretty song, I'm guessing in Arabic.

I'm beginning to really dislike the accordions, because they really aren't good. They mumble something along the lines of "bunjeurmesserdamz," play atonal renditions of Jingle Bells, and collect money in Carte Orange holders. It's especially strange to see accordion players being escorted off the metro, since metro station music is mostly regulated by the RATP.

The funniest, and the person I see the most, is a man who sells poetry. He boards the train and announces "good day ladies and gentlemen, a moment of poetry." He speaks slowly and clearly, and I can understand most of his description of the beautiful words of Victor Hugo and his request for some money. It's not as annoying as the other metro-people, perhaps because he's funny, not intimidating, and if you do give him money, you'll have a poem to pore over with your dictionary.

Maybe one day, I'll have une petite pièce, and I'll buy myself a moment of poetry. Maybe I won't understand it at all, even with my dictionary, but it'll just be life as usual on the metro.

04 January 2005

Lizzy's Long Promised Disney Distraction

I can now say I've visited the Third Happiest Place on Earth. How does that work, you ask? Disneyland California is the Happiest, Disneyworld is the Second, so Disneyland Paris is the Third.

It had never occured to me to go to Disneyland at all this year, but I ended up going with some friends from school at the beginning of December. It's about a half hour on the RER, but as soon as you get off the train, you know you're in Disneyland. Upon seeing the gates, my friends and I were instantly reverted to five-year-olds.

We couldn't wait to get past the gates and into the park, but, unlike five-year-olds, we stopped every few seconds to take pictures, since everything was decorated for Christmas and covered in lights. When we finally had our tickets and stepped into Main Street USA, we were in a completely different world. It was a little misleading, because the shop signs would say something like "Honest Henry Hatfeather's Gentleman Hats" and inside there would be overpriced baby clothes blazoned with Disney characters and mouse ears. In fact, I didn't find a hat shop, like the Mad Hatter's Shop I remember from Disneyland California, although there were lots of Sorceror's hats with Mouse Ears.

We were four of the tallest five-year-olds in the park, and, standing in line for the Teacups, we saw that we weren't the only ones.

I think my favorite parts were all the tiny details in the buildings and the rides, and not the Small World ride, unlike when I was five. The colors were bright and cheery, although there were a lot more screaming children than I remembered. And, of course, the Peter Pan ride was very, very fun.

I also ran into a certain mouse. Ha, fooled you.
Posted by Hello
St. Catherine's Identity Crisis

I was given a book for Christmas which contains novenas to quite a few saints. I consider it to be a very useful book. It's also a very pretty book; it has reproductions of the sort of soft-focus, prettified prayer cards that I think of as falling out of my grandmother's prayer books. I happily flipped through the book, thinking of how useful it would be to have these novenas to so many saints, and wondering when I would start one.

Lizzy and I both have a particular affiliation with the name Katherine/Catherine, and thus with saints who bear that name. So, of course, I paid particular attention to the novena to St. Catherine of Siena. I have always considered her a bit odd, and preferred St. Catherine Laboure or St. Katherine of Alexandria as a patroness, but being both a Catherine and a Dominican, as well as a Doctor of the Church, it wouldn't be a good idea to ignore her merely for being odd (and compared to some saints, she wasn't odd at all--see the Shrine of the Holy Whapping archives for details on odd saints). I read through the short biography provided, and the prayers. Then I looked at the picture.

Right away, I noticed something was off. She wasn't wearing her Dominican habit. She was wearing some kind of robes that were pink and mint green. Pretty far from her usual black and white. I had also just read the other day about martyrs being depicted with palms, and this lady was holding palms. But Catherine of Siena wasn't a martyr. She was also wearing a crown. No way was this St. Catherine of Siena. Then I looked down by her feet. There it was--the wheel. The Katherine Wheel. Not St. Catherine of Siena's wheel, but St. Katherine of Alexandria's wheel--the one that was used to kill her. This picture was definitely the Alexandrian martyr, not the Italian Doctor.

The good ladies who wrote this volume have also written a book called Holy Cards. Taking this into consideration, how could they mix up these two saints? This isn't exactly a typo. I would consider it a major faux pas to mis-label the image of a saint who is so obviously a different saint, just because they share a name. Perhaps they will come out with a new volume that contains a different holy card. I certainly hope someone has pointed out this glaring error to the authors, and if not, I may do it myself. The rest of the book is quite nice, though.

02 January 2005

Gonzaga Choral Recordings

The Gonzaga University Choir, Schola, and Chorale have released a set of three CD's. "Rise Up, My Love" features the choir and schola, "Ribbons in the Wind" is a sampler of all three groups, and "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam" is all schola, all the time. (Can you tell that the schola is Dr. Schaefer's pet project?) If I do say so myself, they're pretty good. The schola alone is considered to be in the top 1% in the nation, evidenced by our invitation to sing at the national American Choral Directors Association conference in LA next month.

The Gonzaga Music Dept. is selling the CD's for $10 each, though I don't believe they are listed on the website yet. If you're interested, contact me or Lizzy for track listings and contact info on the Music Dept.