Archive for October, 2009

Halloween Stuff

Useful stuff I’ve recorded in previous years:

“Hallowe’en” by Robert Burns. (Sorry I’m not Scottish….)

“Lil’ Orphant Annie”
by James Whitcomb Riley. And the gobble’uns ‘ll get you ef you don’t watch out.

“A Welsh Halloween” by Anne Beale, excerpted from her novel Traits and Stories of the Welsh Peasantry.

“The Queen of Spain and the Bold MacLean”
by Andrew Lang.

“The Nightmare” by G.K. Chesterton.

“Tam Lin”, a traditional ballad.

“Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”
by Robert Browning.

And don’t forget the history of my illustrious saintly relative, martyred by bad General Ireton on Halloween!

And for All Saints’ Day:

Sermon on All Saints’ Day“, by the Venerable Bede.


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Just in time for Halloween, a fairly full account of the Halloween martyrdom of Blessed Terence Albert O’Brien, O.P., and bishop of Emly! AND his prophecy of dooooom on Ireton. AND Ireton’s guilty conscience seeing ghosts. Man, this is fun stuff.

Don’t worry. It’s not gory, and most of the length is info about his life and what was going on at the time. I excerpted it from a much longer history text from Victorian times. I’m only sorry that I don’t have access (not being a university student) to some of the Early English texts bearing on the matter. (Mostly the James Hind pamphlet containing O’Brien’s last speech on the gibbet.)

“The Death of Blessed Terence Albert O’Brien”.

48 min.

Btw, nowadays we know from the inquest held on O’Brien’s father’s death in 1623 that O’Brien was born at Tuogh (Tower Hill), a mile south of Cappamore. (Look it up on Google Maps.) His family was of the O’Brien Arra, and they held 2000 acres of land. “Albert” is his religious name, taken when he joined the Dominicans; “Terence” or “Toirdhealbhach” is his given name.

Also btw, the reason they kept talking about these folks as Confederates is because the folks fighting Cromwell were the Catholic Confederation. They fought as Royalists loyally supporting Charles I. (Incredibly typical for Irish history. The Irish also fought for Richard III after the Tudors took over, and so on.)

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Sorry I’ve Been Silent.

My sinuses have been dripping, and my job has been gripping. 😦

You might like to listen to BBC7 tomorrow, or for the next week or so. They’ll be broadcasting a half-hour show about J. Meade Falkner, medievalist and factory exec, as well as the author of three superb books of adventure, horror, and mystery. They just broadcast The Lost Stradivarius by him; and you can listen to The Nebuly Coat here, under Completed Novels.

They’ll also have on the sad radio play about the life of the late Delia Derbyshire, pioneer in sound effects and music who was tragically unappreciated until the end of her life. Fans of Doctor Who owe her big time.

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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, as we discuss socializing and what to wear. Hint: the saint thinks you can figure out how to dress yourself. He is not your mommy. 🙂

Book 3, Chapters 24-25.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues. St. Macrina discusses Jesus’ parable of Dives the rich man and Lazarus the poor man, and why it’s good to get your suffering done on Earth. Then just in time for Halloween, we even have a patristic discussion of ghosts!

St. Macrina is such a theology/science geek. I mean, would this even occur to the average person on their deathbed? She’s either awfully tough-minded or giving her brother Greg a hard time to get him out of his grief rut. “Woooooooo… here I am on my deathbed, speculating about ghooooooosts….”

Part 7.



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“Medal of Honor” ends, as our protagonist makes a few important realizations and does something about them.

Part 4.


I have to say that this is one of those stories with a great start and then… Mack installs some Mack truck-sized plot holes toward the end. The ending requires touching faith in legalities and a total disregard of how economics works, as well as convenient weakness and strength on the part of certain characters. (Frankly, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t disappear a guy who’s been drunk off his butt for a good six months, and every reason why villains would have made contingency plans.) I think the basic problem is that Reynolds created novel-sized problems in a short story, so he chose to end it by authorial fiat; and the magazine editors decided they were fine with that. But hey, it’s entertainment. You’re happy to see a happy ending, and the editors are happy to have a story of no more than the required length.

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The Brand of Silence continues. As Murk languishes in durance vile, someone decides to change the game.

Chapter 18: A Woman’s Way.


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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, as St. Francis talks a bit about external or bodily mortification, including stuff like fasting, abstinence, etc. (And hairshirts.) He’s not really all that hep on mortification as an extreme sport. In fact, he’s got a much better idea.

So it’s very plain to see how St. Therese of Lisieux was influenced by St. Francis de Sales in developing her “Little Way”. If eating whatever is set before you, regardless of your own wants, is more of a mortification than extreme fasting, the same principle quickly carries over to other preferences in daily life.

Of course, it could be pointed out that they’re both very French in thinking this way about food preferences. I’m sure the Food Network foodies would agree on how much a mortification of desires this would be to a gourmet. 🙂

Book 3, Chapter 23.


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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Macrina moves back into more speculative territory. She really seems to have liked the idea of the soul swanning around in the world in atoms. Well, that hadn’t all been worked out yet, so she had a right to speculate.

We also get some very fun similes, which she uses for how the soul hangs out with atoms, but which St. Greg points out are more suited to proving the possibility of resurrection in the exact same body.

We also have more fun with Greco-Roman speculation about the antipodes. Apparently some people, pagans and otherwise, thought Hades was logically on the opposite part of the globe to where they lived, and that this constituted “the underworld”. If St. M had believed this, she’d have believed her soul was somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and South America. So it’s a good thing she knew souls were immaterial and not bound by place! (Antipodemap.com figures this stuff out for you, btw.)

Part 6.


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“Medal of Honor” continues, as our protagonist lives the life of the hero he’s not. But he’s starting to figure out that he may not have made a good bargain.

Part 3.


This story’s only got one or two parts to go.

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The Brand of Silence continues, as Murk gets an offer he can’t refuse. Or can he?

Chapter 17: Murk Is Tempted


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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, with advice on what to do about bad friendships, some more general talk about friendships good and bad, and your duties to friends and yourself.

Book 3, Chapters 21-22.


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Our Lady of Good Delivery

“Nuestra Senora de Buen Parto” or “La Virgen de Buen Parto” is mostly known in this country through Our Lady of la Leche y Buen Parto’s statue, down in St. Augustine, Florida. She’s the patroness of the breastfeeding organization, the La Leche League, so we think of her as a patroness of ladies with breastfeeding problems.

But in Valencia, Spain and elsewhere, her patronage of pregnant women and women in labor is very important.

So in honor of Heather Price and her passenger Elizabeth, a prayer from Valencia (translated).

Our God and Father, who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary to be a fitting dwelling, for Your Son, conceived through the work of the Holy Spirit —

Through Mary’s virginal delivery, convert the pains of women who believe in You into joy. Through the birth of our Redeemer, present the good things of salvation to humanity.

Look with goodness upon this daughter of Yours, to whom has also been given the gift of motherhood; and through the intercession of the mother of Your Son, grant that the fruit which she has conceived may develop in good health, come happily into the sunlight, employ her whole life in Your holy service, and attain the Kingdom of Heaven with all her family.


Our Lady of Good Delivery, Mission Nombre de Dios, St. Augustine FL.

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On the Soul and the Resurrection continues, as St. Macrina argues for evolution as the divine plan.

Well, okay, not really. But you could pretty clearly use this kind of recapitulation argument that way. And why not? It would be really amusing to watch Dawkins’ head explode if you did argue from the divine. St. Mac didn’t even know about all the little plants and bacteria and virii that live inside us and the various kinds of cell, all of which would improve her argument that humanity encapsulates bits of all the orders of Creation, and thus had to come along later than their beginnings. 🙂 Evolution as an important part of God’s toolbox would seem to fit very naturally into this view.

Part 5.


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“Medal of Honor” continues, as our protagonist learns what kind of future has been planned for him.

Part 2.


Is it me, or are there a lot of emo commanding officers in military SF from the sixties and seventies?

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