28 December 2008

Family and Children

Today is the feast of the Holy Family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph provide the model for all family life--a loving mother and father, a holy and obedient child. This model of family life is under attack in modern times in a way it never was in the past, from parents who neglect or abandon their children, from children who do not honor their parents or care for them in their old age, from people who think that children do not need both a mother and a father, from married couples who decide never to have children, and from society in general that does not value or support true childhood, motherhood, or fatherhood.

In the light (or darkness) of the recent election, and the looming threat of the Freedom of Choice Act, it seems somehow appropriate that the feast of the Holy Family should fall on December 28th this year, a day on which we usually remember the innocent baby boys that were slaughtered on Herod's orders: the Holy Innocents.

This year, because today is a Sunday, the blood of the Holy Innocents is, as it were, washed away by the Holy Family. This can happen in real life, too. Only if we as a society truly esteem and celebrate family life can we ensure that the slaughter of millions of modern innocents in hospitals and abortion clinics around the world will cease. When I was younger, I used to joke about the feast with which I share my birthday, saying that it was a good day to be born a girl, since all the Holy Innocents were boys and Herod's minions would not have come after me. But today's massacre knows no sex--boys and girls alike are killed in their mothers wombs, and in some countries, many more girls than boys fall victim. I don't joke about it anymore. Rather, because of the day on which I was born, I feel a special call to pray for an end to the needless deaths of innocent children. There are many other people who ought to have been turning 24 today, just like me, but who never had a birthday because their mothers thought abortion was the only way out of a difficult situation.

Pray with me. Pray for the intercession of the Holy Family. Jesus, have mercy on us. Mary and Joseph, pray for us.

26 December 2008

Wishing All Our Readers A Happy and Blessed Christmas Season

(St Gall 376)

(St Gall 342)

(St Gall 338)

22 December 2008

Rosary-making Query

Are there any rosary makers out there? If so, I have a question for you. How would you construct a rosary that didn't cost more than $40 in components, didn't take a glacial age or tons of experience to make, looked elegant, and was either virtually indestructible or really easy to repair?

My husband is very tough on his rosaries, and has broken every one he's owned with the exception of plastic ones (which don't look very nice) or nylon cord (slightly better, but still not as nice as glass or gemstone beads). Rosaries made of beads and chain links fall apart, and I find them very difficult to repair--and the repair jobs never last long. The only really nice rosaries I've found for sale that seem durable and elegant cost much more than I could reasonably spend.

I don't want him to have to be forever buying new rosaries, or be relegated only to the plastic kind that little kids use. I'd like to try my hand at making a rosary for him that I could repair or that wouldn't fall apart in the first place. I know where to get components--I've sourced beads and medals and crucifixes that are elegant and with in my price range, so no advice on that, please. I want advice on methods of construction. Chain takes up huge amounts of time, and as I've said, we haven't had good luck with that. I've looked into flexible wire and nylon string--I think the feel of beads on nylon string would be nicer, but I'm willing to try wire if that's the only option. Do you have experience with these? Are they durable? How do they feel under the fingers?

11 December 2008


If any of our readers are in the Los Angeles area, make a trip to St. Victor's in West Hollywood between December 15th and December 23rd. We are having a novena before Christmas of sung Vespers with Benediction. It will begin at 8pm every night except for Mondays, when Mass begins at 7:45 with the novena following. It promises to be pretty good, so please come!

23 November 2008

Band Meme
Via The Shrine and Zadok

1. Band Name: Random Wikipeda Link
2. Album Title: Random quote generator (take the last four words from the first quote
on the page)
3. Album Art: Flickr Interesting Photo (pick one)

Like Zadok, I chose to do two. My skill in adding text to photos is very limited, so it's the same format both times, and I couldn't get them to be the right shape.

I think that "Prisoner of Love" write very sweet, sentimental ballads and no one is quite sure whether they are sincere or ironic. "1824 in Australia" must be a folk group; their new album has a "work" theme. They gave in to the cliché of including the important but overdone song "No Irish Need Apply" (it's track 6).

17 November 2008

I can hardly believe it's been a year...

02 November 2008

First Effort

I bought my husband a calligraphy set as an early anniversary present (the anniversary isn't for two weeks yet), so naturally the first thing I did was steal it back and experiment with it.

I had a little experience with calligraphy in eighth-grade art class, plus experiments on my own in the past with felt-tip calligraphy pens and fountain pens, but this was my first time using a proper pen that I actually had to dip into the ink. I am rather proud of myself that there are no splotches. I chose to copy the chant Resurrexi (introit for Easter Sunday) from St. Gall manuscript 339 (the whole manuscript is online, so it was easy to get). It is a famous 10th-11th century codex, and was the first manuscript published in facsimile in the Paléographie musicale.

The initial letter is traced, and the rest is free-hand. I only had black ink, so everything in red was done with an ordinary red pen--the same one I use to correct undergrad exams, in fact. The set that I bought seems to have been intended for rather large lettering, and the only tip small enough for the neumes was one of the pointy ones, rather than one with a flat end, so the neumes don't have the nice variable thickness as in the original manuscript. Also, I couldn't see the lines of the paper that I had under the vellum well enough, so my lettering is very crooked and not nice and even like the original scribe's. I will probably get better at that if I practice, though. Here are my effort and the original (click to see them larger):

13 October 2008


If you're looking for an alternative to Google, consider GoodSearch. It's powered by Yahoo!Search. For every search query, they give one cent to the charity of your choice. If you don't see the charity you want to give to listed, you can submit the name of another charity, and the GoodSearch folks will contact that charity to see if they want to participate.

Many excellent charities are already listed, including various Catholic parishes and schools around the country, Catholic Charities in several dioceses, and several religious congregations, including the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, and the Little Sisters of the Poor in several states. My personal selection is Clear Creek Monastery. After you've made your selection, you can click the button that says "Amount raised" to see how much has been raised for that charity in the last three months. Poor Clear Creek, not even $6 since August! I think they may get a bit of a jump this month now that I've signed on, though--I do a lot of internet searches.

You can add it to your browser, as a toolbar if you use IE or integrated into your search box on IE7, Safari, or Firefox. Money is only raised through regular searches--video and image searches don't count. They also have a shop where you can buy things through their website, through another website (*scratches head*). I'm not sure how that works, as I haven't used it yet.

07 October 2008

Remember Lepanto!

Say a Rosary today, and if I may suggest an intention, pray for peace and an end to violence perpetrated by Muslim extremists.

Then celebrate our long-ago victory with a dramatic reading of Chesterton's Lepanto.

29 August 2008


We're all painfully aware that a lot of priests don't have the guts to tackle certain issues (especially so-called "pelvic" issues) from the pulpit.

I'd just like to send kudos to Msgr. George Parnassus of St. Victor's parish for the homily he gave last Saturday evening. He made it very clear that Catholics cannot support same-sex marriage. "I am telling you this not for my own enjoyment, or because I do not love you--I know it is difficult--but because I have an office to uphold. I must teach you what the Church teaches." Not words you would hear in many places in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The homily had a special impact because of the location of the parish, as well. St. Victor's is in West Hollywood, which has been a famously gay neighborhood for about thirty years.

20 July 2008

CD Reviews: Some Traditional Irish Music

I obtained a little stack of CDs from the artists' consignment table at Catskills Irish Arts Week recently. I think some of our readers (if we have any left with our infrequent posting schedule) are interested in Irish music, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on my latest acquisitions.

Sliabh Notes: Along Blackwater's Banks (Ossian Publications)
Sliabh (pronounced like "sleeve") Notes consists of fiddler Matt Cranitch, accordion player Donal Murphy, and singer/guitarist Tommy O'Sullivan. The band gets its name from the region of Sliabh Luachra in the southwest of Ireland which is known for its distinctive repertoire of slides and polkas and the set dances that go with those tunes. Sliabh Notes are joined by some guests, including Kevin Burke, Steve Cooney, and Matt Molloy. There are three songs, one slow air, and nine sets of dance tunes on the CD. I didn't find the CD as thrilling as I find Sliabh Luachra-style playing to be in person--somehow the energy just didn't come across. It's ok, but not a must-have unless you're already a Sliabh Notes fan.

Fingal: Fingal (New Folk Records)
This is the group's first recording together. The band has exactly the same line-up of instruments as Sliabh Notes, but with very different players: James Keane on accordion, Randal Bays on fiddle, and Daithi Sproule on guitar and vocals (his first name is pronounced like "DA-hee"). The CD has four songs, two slow airs, seven tracks of tunes, and two mixed tracks--one is a song followed by a reel, the other is a slow air followed by a pair of reels. The trio has a nice dynamic, and the tunes are solidly played and interestingly arranged. Unfortunately, Daithi Sproule's singing, which is delightful in the quiet back room of a pub, falls a little flat in recording. His voice is light and pleasing, and it's always nice to hear good Irish-language singing, but I find him mesmerizing in person, and the recording fell short of that. Maybe my expectations were too high in that respect. Still, Fingal's maiden voyage is a success--I would definitely recommend it.

Lasairfhiona Ni Chonaola: Flame of Wine (publisher unknown)
Lasairfhiona (pronounced something like "Lahss-er-EE-na," I think) is a relatively young singer from the Aran Islands. Four of the tracks are in English, and ten are in Irish. Unfortunately, singing in Gaelic does not equal singing in the sean nos style; Lasairfhiona's vocal style is more in the vein of Enya and Emer Kenny, although her accompaniment involves fewer synthesizers, and to my great puzzlement, some big-name instrumentalists (Mary Bergin on whistles and Johnny McDonagh on bodhran). Despite her impressive back-up, I find the recording to be lacking in taste, and I can honestly say that I know a dozen amateur singers that have better voices (and more stage presence). She sings like a breathless school-girl, although she is clearly at least in her mid-twenties, and if you're expecting anything like traditional Irish singing, don't buy this CD.

Kathy Ludlow, Mary Coogan and guests: The Big Ship Sails (Trutone)
This is a recording of nursery rhymes and songs for children. There are 38 tracks on the hour-long CD, and every one of them is a gem. It is easy to tell that Kathy and Mary have many years' experience working with children. The playing and singing are of very high quality--there was no stinting just because the songs are simple or made to appeal to children. A lot of folks of my generation missed out on traditional children's songs (not me, thanks to Wee Sing tapes), and I'm glad to know that people like Kathy are still working to make sure that this generation of children don't miss out. Many of the songs here are familiar, but some of them are new to me--I didn't know "First Comes a Butterfly" or "The Fox and the Goose," for instance. If you like folk music and have kids, you absolutely MUST buy this CD. Even if you don't have kids, buy it anyway--the innocent joy of this music will keep you thoroughly entertained on your morning commute.

28 June 2008

Things I love about Los Angeles...
...other than the diversity of the inhabitants, which is what everyone else says when asked what they like about L.A.

1. The delightful variety of architectural styles. In one block of a residential neighborhood, you will find ranch, mission, Tudor, cottage, and colonial, all in a row. None of these styles are native to Los Angeles, and all are meant to evoke some other location, but the combination of these styles is very Los Angeles.

2. The unspoken traffic laws (expect two people to turn left just as the light changes, but feel free to honk and curse if three cars go) give me a strange sort of pleasure, a feeling of being an insider.

3. The stories everyone has about the time they saw a celebrity. My story: I gawked at Clint Eastwood from a distance of twenty feet, when he attended an awards show at the same hotel where I was attending a conference. He is just as handsome in person, even if he is about 168 years old by now.

4. The night-time noises in my apartment complex. The birds sing at night when the weather is warm, because that's when the sprinklers are on, and the birds come to bathe in the running water. Bird-song, combined with the hum of my neighbors' air conditioners (I never use mine), provides a veritable symphony to lull me to sleep at night--or to stay up and listen to, as I'm obviously doing now.

5. The fact that I can walk to my choice of four grocery stores, a farmer's market, two Catholic churches, a mall, a movie theater, two parks, several museums, and any number of restaurants--and that the weather rarely interferes with my walk.

6. The many opportunities for prayer. Besides the obvious dangers of driving in city traffic, I have long followed a tradition imparted to me by my school teachers of saying a Hail Mary every time I hear a siren. I hear a siren about three times a day here, much more often than in the smaller towns I've lived in. I've added to that saying a Glory Be every time I see a homeless person, so there are many more incidences of prayer throughout my day than I made for myself before.

19 June 2008

Hail Mary

Here is a page with versions of the Ave Maria in several different languages. I wish there were recordings of people saying them to go with it.

One of the versions is labeled "Bernadetta Soubirous." I think what they mean by this is that the prayer is in Gascon, an Occitan language; St. Bernadette reported that the Blessed Virgin spoke to her in Gascon, not in French.

14 June 2008

Why I love Brideshead Revisited
Or: Why not to seek religious instruction from a 14-year-old

"I've had a long talk with a Catholic--a very pious, well-educated one, and I've learned a thing or two. For instance, that you have to sleep with your feet pointing East because that's the direction of heaven, and if you die in the night you can walk there. Now I'll sleep with my feet pointing any way that suits Julia, but d'you expect a grown man to believe about walking to heaven? And what about the Pope who made one of his horses a Cardinal? And what about the box you keep in the church porch, and if you put a pound note with someone's name on it, they get sent to hell. I don't say there mayn't be a good reason for all this," he said, "but you ought to tell me about it and not let me find out for myself."
"You can see he's a long way from the Church yet," said Father Mowbray.
"But who can he have been talking to? Did he dream it all? Cordelia, what's the matter?"
"What a chump! Oh, mummy, what a glorious chump!"
"Cordelia, it was you."
"Oh, mummy, who could have dreamed he'd swallow it? I told him such a lot besides. About the sacred monkeys in the Vatican--all kinds of things."
"Well, you've considerably increased my work," said Father Mowbray.

--Brideshead Revisited, Book II, Chapter II

02 May 2008

On Music History and Divisions of Time

Michael Lawrence of The New Liturgical Movement blog posted an article a few days ago called "Re-Thinking Music History." In the article, he outlined why he finds the naming of musical eras like "Baroque" and "Classical" to be unhelpful.
At least musicologist--Michael O'Connor--contributed in the combox. Dr. O'Connor took issue with Mr. Lawrence's assertion that "thinkers" have stuffed very diverse composers into boxes and labeled those boxes with things like, "Baroque period; exemplified by Monteverdi, Lully, and J.S. Bach," thus cheating many other good composers (he gives the example of Buxtehude) of being recognized as anything other than "forerunners" or slightly-inferior-but-similar in relation to the "great" composers, rather than receiving attention for their own achievements. Musicologists don't use these very general labels, but Mr. Lawrence and other commenters note that the labels are often used in teaching high school and college-level music classes, ignoring Dr. O'Connor's assertion that very general categories can be useful if you don't get too attached to them.

Dr. O'Connor, presumably unlike Mr. Lawrence, knows what it's like to try to teach music history to a class full of 19-year-olds who know nothing about the subject when they enter the class except for a general notion that Beethoven, Brahms, and Bruckner all lived in the 19th Century. You must be able to group composers in some fashion, to label them. No label will ever be sufficient to describe a composer, his works, and the era in which he lived, but in order to remember who they were and learn about them, you start with general labels and move to more specific ones--this is how humans learn about other humans.

Please bear with me for the following thought experiment:
Imagine you are at a party. Your co-worker, John, introduces you to his tall, red-headed wife, Mary. You have a couple of minutes to chat with Mary, during which time you ask the usual sorts of questions, like where she's from and what she does for a living. You find out that Mary is a nurse. She has a slight Southern accent because she grew up in Virginia. Someone else comes into the party, and you move on to talk to him, and soon the evening is over. Reflecting on your new acquaintance, you categorize Mary based on what little you know about her (Southerner; Nurse; Wife of John). When John mentions Mary to you at work, these are the three things that you remember about her, along with maybe a mental picture of how she looks (Tall; Red-headed).
You and Mary meet a second time. On the second meeting, you discover that Mary likes movies and is a convert to Catholicism. She and John met in college. Her favorite color is red, and she's sorry that she thinks she can't wear red because of her red hair. You add these things to your mental file-folder on Mary.
John, Mary, you and your spouse soon begin to be very good friends. You spend a lot of time together. They decide to homeschool their children and join the same homeschooling group you belong to; Mary offers extra science classes for your high-schooler if you will teach her youngest child piano. You have ceased to think of Mary as Southern; Tall; Nurse--now she is just "Mary," in all her Mary-ness.

Isn't this an accurate picture of how we learn about most things? When you first hear of Mozart as a child, you learn that he was a Classical composer and is famous for his symphonies, piano works, and operas. You may also hear of Haydn, and Haydn and Mozart's music sound virtually indistinguishable to you (although your piano teacher seems to think Mozart is better). You label the works of theirs that you play in high school as "Classical Piano Music." You go to college and study Mozart and Haydn in your music history class. You remember playing works by J.C. and C.P.E. Bach in your piano lessons but never really knowing who they were--your music history teacher helps you understand the difference between these two Bachs and Haydn and Mozart. Now you mentally have two categories of Classical Piano Music--the Bach category and the Haydn/Mozart category. You become a professional pianist. You can now distinguish by ear or by sight Haydn's piano style from Mozart's. They have ceased in your head to be "Haydn/Mozart" but are now separate entities, neither greater than the other but each having his own style, although with many similarities.

Does this render the very broad category of "Classical Piano Music" unhelpful? Should the beginning piano student be told not to classify Mozart, Haydn, and C.P.E. Bach in one category and Schubert and Beethoven in another category because he needs to learn to differentiate between Mozart and Haydn? No. The beginner, who does not know who Mozart and Haydn are and can barely connect their names with any specific works, should be allowed to class Haydn and Mozart together because that way he will remember that they lived in the same era and wrote similar kinds of music. There is time for further distinction later in his education once he gets the initial distinction of "Mozart and Haydn wrote similar music; C.P.E. Bach sounds kind of similar to this; J.S. Bach sounds very different."

In a nutshell, I would highly discourage those who are knowledgeable about music from continuing to use labels like "Classical" and "20th Century" as much as possible. But what do I say when a 19-year-old jazz saxophone player asks me who Buxtehude was? "He was a German Baroque organist who influenced J.S. Bach." Do you have a better answer?

06 April 2008

Death Spirals in Musicology

Ficta Spiral of Death: when making an edition of a Renaissance piece, you add ficta, and some of the additions require more ficta, and some of those additions make further ficta necessary to avoid discord....

Footnote Spiral of Death: when writing a paper, you read articles and books to get information. Each of those articles and books has footnotes to other books and articles that have information pertinent to your topic. They also have footnotes to books and articles that have nothing to do with your topic but sound interesting; with great self-discipline you bookmark or download these articles for later and go back to reading the pertinent ones. Each of these new pertinent articles has still more footnotes leading you to further interesting and/or important reading, some of which will take you ages to dig up online, others of which will be frustratingly unavailable or written in languages you don't read, so you seek still more books and articles that contain passages from or translations of the books you can't get or read in the original version...and so on.

23 March 2008

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

John Chrysostom, Easter Sermon

26 February 2008


In case you haven't discovered it yet, Free-Scores.com has a lot of free sheet music of all sorts available for download, both instrumental and vocal.

Bizarrely (if you look at the site you'll see why I think it's odd) there are 61 pages of chants uploaded from the web source Canto Ambrosiano. Poking around their website, I notice that they've uploaded some really beautiful images of chant codices.

Speaking of chant codices, if you are a chantophile, bibliophile, lover of medieval illuminations and calligraphy, or one of those weird people who likes Old High German, check out the codices of the library of St. Gallen, available online here.

From Codice Sangallensis 374, c. mid 11th century (the feast of St. Matthias was yesterday in the old calendar)

09 February 2008

Literary Irony

Among the plays listed as Shakespeare Apocrypha, wikipedia includes Love's Labours Won, the manuscript of which has been lost.

How's that for irony?

08 February 2008

Those, erm, Robust Roman Choirs

In case any of you are wondering whether the rather distinctive sound of Roman choirs that so many of us have come to dread in television broadcasts (or live, if you're luckier than me) of Papal Masses is a recent phenomenon, I can assure you that it is at least a hundred years old.

In The Musical Times of July 1, 1893, a reader writes in describing the performance of Palestrina's music in Rome:

"During a stay of some weeks last year in Rome I had several opportunities of hearing the traditional method [of rendering Palestrina's music] at St. Peter's and St. John Lateran, and I am not sure that it would commend itself to an English audience. The choirs, consisting of from twelve to fifteen voices, sang fortissimo throughout, and the organ was played from beginning to end so loudly that the voices were scarcely heard, and no variation of tone was introduced. During Lent, however, the organ was silent, and the choirs sang with excellent precision, attack, and intonation; but the constant fortissimo seemed somewhat monotonous."

The author of that article preferred the performance of Palestrina heard in Germany.

07 February 2008

Cool Things From Google Books

If any of you are interested in music of the 18th Century, or 18th Century Italian culture in general (of which music and opera were an important part) there are some books available on Google Books that you should take a look at. Some good books are available only if you have access through a participating library, but the books below are available to anybody.

The first is by Dr. Charles Burney, an English musician who traveled Continental Europe in search of interesting cultural experiences, went to parties with and interviewed many of the important musicians, composers and librettists of the day, and published books about all of it when he went home. His writings are extremely valuable to music historians, and his writing style is mostly engaging and readable, although the facsimile versions of his books sometimes require a mental adjustment to deal with the "s" that looks like an "f." (This has occasioned some hilarity on my part because it looks like the text version of speech impediment.)

The book by him which is available to the non-library-privileged reader is Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Abate Metastasio. Pietro Metastasio ("abate" indicates that he was a seminary student or minor cleric of some kind, like about every third Italian male of his social class at the time) was THE Italian poet of his day. The opera libretti that he wrote were given musical setting more times than any other--his most popular works were set as many as 120 times! After a successful early career in Italy, he was made court poet in Vienna and remained in that position for forty years. He was also the closest friend and confidant of the famous castrato Farinelli (whose life loosely formed the basis of one of the worst "historical" movies ever made); they called each other "brother" and "twin" and kept an extensive correspondence, though due to Farinelli's engagements in England and Spain they almost never saw one another.

Two volumes of John Hoole's nearly-contemporary English translations of Metastasio's work are also available here and here.

The other recommended work is that of Violet Paget, who wrote under the name of Vernon Lee. Violet Paget was born in 1856 and began her writing career in 1880, nearly a hundred years after most of the events about which she wrote in her non-fiction. Considering this, and considering that she did not have a university education, it is astonishing that she wrote with such understanding about 18th Century culture. In 1880 music history was still a relatively undeveloped "fringe" discipline, and until the middle of the 20th Century nearly all of the focus was on Germanic music, considered to have produced the greatest and most progressive composers--Beethoven and Wagner. 18th Century opera was considered by most to be rather silly, the music insufficiently passionate and the libretti unrealistic. Perhaps the libretti are unrealistic, but as Violet Paget understood, opera of the day had its own ideals and conventions and we would do better to try to judge the worth of the works by the standards by which 18th Century people would have judged them, rather than trying to compare a libretto by Metastasio with music by Vivaldi to an opera by Wagner. To be sure, she sometimes writes with a tone of irony about some of the sillier notions of 18th Century people, but overall her understanding is remarkable for a woman of her day who was mostly self-educated.

I have only taken a look at her Studies of the Eighteenth Century in Italy so far. Unfortunately the silver page decoration (which I saw on my professor's copy of the book) did not scan very well, so you will have to imagine how pretty the real book looks. There are several other of her works available online, as well, including The Enchanted Woods: and Other Essays on the Genius of Places and Juvenilia: Being a Second Series of Essays on Sundry Æsthetical Questions. I greatly look forward to having a few spare moments to peruse them.

04 February 2008

Overheard on Campus

Random passerby, to his companion: "...so I made a bubblegum model of the fetal seal."
Companion: "Good, good."

I'd really, really like to know what the rest of that conversation was about.

02 February 2008

Book Game II

Here are my results:

"Several centuries later, the biography of the much-admired Jean de Boucicaut, marshal of France, Le Livre des fais du bon messire Jehan le Maingre, dit Boucicaut, announced in words clearly recalling Chretien's:

Two things have been established in the world, by the will of God, like two pillars to sustain the orders of divine and human laws... and without which the world would be like a confused thing and without any order... These two flawless pillars are Chivalry and Learning, which go very well together."

From Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe by Richard W. Kaeuper

31 January 2008

Book Meme

Picked up from Scuffulans hirsutus

Book Meme Rules
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people

"'Oh, good Lord, no!'" Uncle William spoke vehemently and shut his mouth with a snap, glancing at his escort with furtive blue eyes. Marcus turned to Campion, betraying that he had given up the idea of persuading Uncle William to open the proceedings. 'Look here,' he said."--Police at the Funeral, by Margery Allingham

Rather than tagging people, I think I'll let my readers pick it up as they please. There probably aren't more than five of you anyway. Leave a link in the comment box so I can see what you come up with!

28 January 2008

Long-haired Chihuahua at Prayer

No, I'm not kidding. The dog imitates the pose of Buddhist monks (based on the article I guess he's owned by a Buddhist monastery). Check it out.

27 January 2008

Draw us in the Spirit's tether

Draw us in the Spirit's tether;
For when humbly, in thy name,
Two or three are met together,
Thou art in the midst of them:
Alleluya! Alleluya! Touch we now thy garment's hem.

As the faithful used to gather
In the name of Christ to sup,
Then with thanks to God the Father
Break the bread and bless the cup,
Alleluya! Alleluya! So knit thou our friendship up.

All our meals and all our living
Make as sacraments of thee,
That by caring, helping, giving,
We may true disciples be.
Alleluya! Alleluya! We will serve thee faithfully.

Text by Percy Dearmer
Tune "Union Seminary" by Harold Friedell

17 January 2008

Cool Desktop Wallpaper

Looking for a new backdrop for your computer? Checkout the Vladstudio Cathedrals Wallpaper Pack now available for download. It includes regular and widescreen versions of sepia-toned sketch-looking pictures depicting the cathedrals of Barcelona, Cologne, Florence, Milan and Moscow.

Their website has some other nice wallpapers too, mostly more abstract than the cathedral pictures.

16 January 2008


Last semester, one of my students wrote me a paper on chant, arguing that music students today ought to study chant more closely. I was curious to note that most of his citations came from the Catholic Encyclopedia and the writings of Justine Ward. Once again this semester he is in the class I am assisting with, and I have noticed him reading First Things before the start of class. I now assume that he must have been the one who finished the "Gloria Patri" in Latin last semester when the professor couldn't remember the end of it.

I wonder if I should have a chat with him. I wonder where he goes to Mass.

13 January 2008

New Blog

My husband and I have started a new blog called "Requiescat in pace," dedicated to praying for the dead by posting prayer cards from funerals. Check it out. If you have a prayer card to contribute, please scan it and send it along to requiescat.blog@gmail.com, or email us and we'll give you an address where you can send a photocopy or an original card.

This will not impact the irregularly scheduled service from Catholics, Musicians, Students that you, our three or four dear readers, have come to expect.