Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"What I Saw in America" by G. K. C.

This is from his book published in 1922 by Dodd, Mead & Co., NYC.

Only a very soft-headed, sentimental and rather servile generation of men could possibly be affected by advertisements at all. People who are a little more hard-headed, humorous, and intellectually independent, see the rather simple joke; and are not impressed by this or any other form of self-praise. Almost any other men in almost any other age would have seen the joke. If you had said to a man in the Stone Age, 'Ugg says Ugg makes the best stone hatchets,' he would have perceived a lack of detachment and disinterestedness about the testimonial. If you had said to a medieval peasant, 'Robert the Bowyer proclaims, with three blasts of a horn, that he makes good bows,' the peasant would have said, 'Well, of course he does,' and thought about something more important. It is only among people whose minds have been weakened by a sort of mesmerism that so transparent a trick as that of advertisement could ever have been tried at all. And if ever we have again, as for other reasons I cannot but hope we shall, a more democratic distribution of property and a more agricultural basis of national life, it would seem at first sight only too likely that all this beautiful superstition will perish, and the fairyland of Broadway with all its varied rainbows fade away. For such people the Seventh Heaven Cigar, like the nineteenth-century city, will have ended in smoke. And even the smoke of it will have vanished.

--- There will be more. ---

I have a replica 1908 Sears catalog and -- surprise, surprise! -- the text actually tells something about the products. Nowadays they sell a fantasy of how glorious my life will be with the product and how dismal without it. It's a shell game. A plague on all their houses.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LOL means Land o' Lakes or Laugh Out Loud

I made up this little parody to commemorate Fr. Jenkins' sterling achievements.

Jeer, jeer at old Notre Dame!
Dissing Our Lady, shouldn't have her name!
Make your protests long and loud,
Do not be one of the P C crowd!
Heresy, schism, big one or small,
Old Notre Shame is guilty of all,
While her sheeple bleat and climb
On bandwagon "Barry-O" !
(Yuk, yuk, yuk!)
-- repeat ad libitum --

Monday, October 19, 2009

Discipleship means Suffering

The Gospel reading yesterday was Mark 10: 35-45.

Zebedee's sons, James and John, approached him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to grant our request." "What is it?" he asked. They replied, "See to it that we sit, one at your right and the other at your left, when you come into your glory." Jesus told them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I shall drink or be baptized in the same bath of pain as I?" "We can," they told him. Jesus said in response, "From the cup I drink of you shall drink; the bath I am immersed in you shall share. But as for sitting at my right or my left, that is not mine to give; it is for those to whom it has been reserved." The other ten, on hearing this, became indignant at James and John. Jesus called them together and said to them: "You know how among the Gentiles those who seem to exercise authority lord it over them; their great ones make their importance felt. It cannot be like that with you. Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest; whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all. The Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve -- to give his life in ransom for the many."

Father gave an excellent homily on this, stressing that discipleship costs, that following Jesus is not going to be easy, that preaching the Gospel will not bring fame or riches but rather infamy, ignominy, and suffering. He talked a bit about worldly power and how it is exercised, and closed his homily by slowly and distinctly repeating:

"It cannot be like that with you."

During and after the homily I had a few random thoughts:

1, I'm more grateful than I can say that I never had to exercise power over anyone.

2, I wonder if the CINO's in the present administration paid heed to this reading.

3, John was the only Apostle to die a natural death, and I wonder if it bothered him to wait so long to be reunited.

3, Even though the etymologies are very different, why do "martyred" and "murdered" sound so much alike?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Latin

This is a follow-up to the post today of Vir Speluncae Catholicus. It is especially timely because Tuesday was the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima in 1917, and today is the 95th anniversary of my Mom's birth; she was called home on the night of August 18-19, 1999; may she rest in peace.

Kyrie, eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Christe, audi nos.
Christe, exaudi nos.
Pater de cælis, Deus, miserere nobis.
Fili, Redemptor mundi, miserere nobis.
Spiritus Sancte, Deus, miserere nobis.
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, miserere nobis.

Sancta Maria,
ora pro nobis.
Sancta Dei Genitrix,
Sancta Virgo virginum,
Mater Christi,
Mater divinæ gratiæ,
Mater purissima,
Mater castissima,
Mater inviolata,
Mater intemerata,
Mater amabilis,
Mater admirabilis,
Mater boni consilii,
Mater Creatoris,
Mater Salvatoris,
Virgo prudentissima,
Virgo veneranda,
Virgo prædicanda,
Virgo potens,
Virgo clemens,
Virgo fidelis,
Speculum justitiæ,
Sedes sapientiæ,
Causa nostra lætitiæ,
Vas spirituale,
Vas honorabile,
Vas insigne devotionis,
Rosa mystica,
Turris Davidica,
Turris eburnea,
Domus aurea,
Fœderis arca,
Janua cæli,
Stella matutina,
Salus infirmorum,
Refugium peccatorum,
Consolatrix afflictorum,
Auxilium Christianorum,
Regina Angelorum,
Regina Patriarcharum,
Regina Prophetarum,
Regina Apostolorum,
Regina Martyrum,
Regina Confessorum,
Regina Virginum,
Regina Sanctorum omnium,
Regina sine labe originali concepta,
Regina sacratissimi Rosarii,
Regina pacis,

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, parce nobis, Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, exaudi nos, Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.


Concede nos famulus tuos, quæsumus, Domine Deus,
perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere:
et gloriosa beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis intercessione,
a præsenti liberari tristitia, et æterna perfrui lætitia.
Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Now it's Father Z's turn, to explain for us the beauty in the Latin.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happiness is . . .

10, your computer actually works;
9, you don't have to do any housework today;
8, the 12" of snow to shovel is light and fluffy;
7, your car starting when it's -20 (or worse);
6, good neighbors;
5, nothing's going wrong with the plumbing (furnace, etc);
4, having all the bills paid and something left over;
3, a full fridge;
2, having time for spiritual reading;
-- and--
1, Confession, Mass, and Communion!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Be Very Afraid

Last night -- or rather in the wee hours of this morning -- I reread George Orwell's book Animal Farm for about the fourth time since high school; and all I can say is:
It's eerily prophetic.

I add that Orwell also wrote 1984 which I haven't read for many years (of which more below) and could have (should have) penned an essay for the book The God That Failed, which contains an essay by Arthur Koestler about Soviet Communism. Koestler also wrote a novel Darkness at Noon about the Soviet system, which ranks up there with One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. If your taste runs to hefty tomes, read The Gulag Archipelago, all three volumes. I have read it three times.
Re 1984: the Ruler is called "Big Brother," which in Russian is "Veliky Brat,'" which is how Russia referred to itself vis-à-vis Ukraine. And we know - or definitely should! - how Russia treated Ukraine, both under the Tsars and the Soviets.

This stuff should make the average American very afraid for our country.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I have started a new category called "You got to be kidding!" or "You can't make this (insert s-word of choice) up!"

This has been prompted by the news that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Looks like it's now become the best award that money can buy.
I was going to post a picture I made up, but it could be construed as libelous, so I'll leave it to your imagination.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Chanson d'automne

Les sanglots longs
des violons de l'automne
blessent mon cœur
d'une langueur monotone

The long sobs
Of the violins of autumn
Wound my heart
With a monotonous langour.
--- Paul Verlaine

(This poem was used by Radio London to alert the French Resistance to the imminence of the D-day invasion; the second couplet was a signal that the invasion would commence within 24 hours.)

I was talking to a French-Canadian friend on the phone last night, and she and I agreed that one of the best things about middle age and beginning to be old, is that the goal is in sight. I think Chesterton called it "the inn at the end of the road," and he did write this:

Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.

Reminds me too of St. Paul's thought that "I have run the race."
One of the most important points of Catholic Christianity is that we do not belong here; we were made for Heaven, and this life is only a short eye-blink of preparation for the real thing. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered the mind of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him."