Wednesday, August 25, 2010

R.I.P. George P. Gosslin

Monday evening August 23 I posted on facebook:

"In loving memory of my uncle, George P. Gosslin, born Feb. 25, 1917; departed this life Aug. 23, 2010. Seaman First Class, USS Windham Bay CVE-92, served at Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. 'Home is the sailor, home from the sea.'

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."
Uncle George was either a Seaman First Class "striking" for Gunner's Mate Third Class, or he was a Gunner's Mate; that part isn't clear anymore.
What we do know is that he was a gunner in a forward sponson under the flight deck of his "baby flattop" and fired water-cooled 20mm cannon at Japanese aircraft who were trying to kill him. I read that at these three battles the Japanese began using kamikaze pilots, and their primary targets were the aircraft carriers.
A history of his ship I found online says: "On 4 to 5 June, [1945] while steaming with the logistics group in support of TF 58 and the strikes on Okinawa, the carrier steamed right through the famous typhoon of 1945, suffering lost and damaged planes as well as damage to her flight and hangar decks." George once showed me a picture of the bow of his ship; the flight deck was bent over like a crushed pop can.
One sailor friend of mine on facebook said that is is because of George and men and women like him that we don't speak German and Japanese here today.
The picture is of George and his wife of 56 years, my Aunt Rita (a Canadienne), and their daughers Linda and Barbara.

Just to be snotty --

I put a post on facebook Tuesday:

"A conflict between Islamism and Bushido, between suicide bombers and Kamikaze pilots, might possibly be of more than passing interest."

I posted it because it occurred to me that I couldn't tell the difference between the two.

More on Astrology

In July 2009 I wrote an essay titled "Astrology is Baloney." This week I have decided to carry my peeve against astrology into a more public realm, and have posted a couple of things on facebook to make fun of it.

Monday I posted:
"Generic one-size-fits-all horoscope for today: something bad will happen to you. ;-)"

Tuesday I posted:
"Murphy's generic one-size-fits-all pyramidally-channeled enneagraphic labyrinthine horoscope for today: Something really nice might happen to you today, but don't bet on it."

I wonder if anyone will be offended. I hope so.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ricardus III Anglorum Rex Requiescat in Pace

Repeat from last year:

". . . King Richard left Nottingham and marched to Leicester, arriving there on the 19th of August. Here he gathered his army. Two days later he marched out to meet Henry Tudor at Bosworth Field on the 22nd of August. Here he fought his last battle, supported by the Duke of Norfolk, who was killed, but betrayed by Thomas Lord Stanley and his brother Sir William Stanley, whose sudden switch to Tudor's side at a crucial moment lost Richard the battle and his life." (Richard III; The Road to Bosworth Field, P. W. Hammond and Anne F. Sutton. London: Constable, 1985; p. 214)

"The York City Council had (slightly inaccurate) reports of the battle on the day after it was fought. In their own Minutes they provided Richard III with a lasting epitaph.

"On the 22nd day of August Anno Domini 1485 at Redemore near Leicester there was fought a battle between our Lord King Richard III and others of his nobles on the one part, and Harry Earl of Richmond and others of his followers on the other part. In this battle the foresaid King Richard in the third year of his reign, John Duke of Northfolc . . . .

"Tuesday the vigil of St. Batholomew,
that is 23rd August in the year etc., the throne being vacant
We assembled in the counsaill chamber, where and when it was shewed by diverse persones and especially by John Sponer send unto the feld of Redemore to bring tidinges from the same to the citie that king Richard late mercifully reigning upon us was thrugh grete treason . . . piteously slane and murdred to the grete hevynesse of this citie . . . ." (op cit., p.223)

One interesting thing about this 525-year-old story is that Lord Stanley was married to Margaret Beaufort, who was -- Henry Tudor's mother.

Another is that Shakespeare's "Richard Crookback" was written during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who happened to be -- Henry Tudor's granddaughter.

A third is that had Richard won the battle, there very probably would have been no Henry VII or Henry VIII, thus no split of the Church in England from Rome.

And a fourth, which ought to surprise no one, is that this kind of lying and character-blackening goes on even today.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Revealing Picture of Me in a Swimsuit

Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 7, 1946

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Debt to Canada

Recently chatting with TH2, I realized that I owe Canada a big debt, and I know far less about Canada than I think I should. I have been aware for most of my life that Canada was originally New France, that the British took it over about 1763, and there have been tensions ever since.

In 1955 I went for two weeks or so to the Catholic Youth Center camp on Big Sandy Lake in northern Minnesota, where I first learned of the seven Jesuit martyrs, Jogues, Brébeuf, Goupil, Lallemant, and the others (and Kateri Tekakwitha who ended her short life in a settlement on the banks of the St. Lawrence). I have to add that the combination of woods and water (as opposed to prairie) seized my heart and imagination.

Probably the biggest debt I owe Canada is that one of my great-grandfathers, Jules Etienne Napoleon Gosselin, was born in Montmagny, Quebec, in 1852. I have no idea how he got to Osseo, Minnesota - founded by Pierre Bottineau - by 1885 to marry my great-grandmother Julia Chenevert, granddaughter of Pierre.

The next biggest debt is to my Uncle George's wife, my Aunt Rita, born in St.-Jean-Baptiste near Winnipeg, who has not only been very kind to me, but has been tart in her criticism of my schoolbook French ("You don't growl enough!")

Next comes a friend of some years' standing whom I met on Ave Maria Singles; she is a Winnipeg lady, bilingual (naturally), and who has been a wonderful chatting companion these year, and who is the inventor of Huey the Humourous Humerus and the co-inventor of Newfie Brewfie.

Then, in no particular order: Red Green, Geneviève Bujold (whose performance as Jeanne d'Arc I would love to see again), Céline Dion, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Robert Service, Thomas Costain, Louis Hémon, John Buchan (yes I know he wasn't really a Canadian), W. P. Kinsella; and so many actors and musicians I've liked but I had no idea were Canadians.
And, of course, TH2.
PS - the Maple leaf is from the tree in my back yard.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Sad but Instructive Tale of Seymour the Femur

Seymour the Femur was a dreamer,
Did not like his place.
Said to the pelvis, "You're not Elvis,
Get out of my face!"

Moaned to the body, "This is shoddy!
I bear half your weight,
Bent am I, it's hard on a guy!
I don't like my fate!"

Tillie Tibia said, "Shut up!
You're nuts like that cat Felix!
I go jogging or Irish clogging,
Get bent into a helix!"

Patty Patella spoke up then.
"You know your jobs, at least!
Look at me, just capping the knee,
And for the eyes, no feast!"

Joe the Toe, Tammy Tarsus,
Cal the Cuboid joined the fight,
All the bones were throwing stones,
And this went on all night.

"Hey, what of US?" said Moe the Muscle.
"We're the ones for your motility!
Pects and Biceps, Glutes and Triceps,
No us? – impossibility!"

"Who's the one who makes you move?
Me and my nerves!" said Brian the Brain.
"I'm the globe that's got the lobes,
I'm the one who drives the train!"

"So what?" cried Ellie Epidermis,
"I protect you all from harm,
Puncture me and you'll sure see
You have sold the farm!"

"I'm a nothing?" said Steve the Stomach.
"How do you think you all stay well?!"
Then Louie Liver, Katie Kidney,
Pammy Pancreas raised –a yell.

"Quit the fighting!" said Seymour Femur.
"I only wanted a change of place --
Get out of this socket, go up in a rocket,
And see some outer space!"

Huey the humorous Humerus said,
"Seymour, you tweaked on meth?
There'll be no sky, you're in the thigh,
And there you'll stay till death!"

"All you others, you shut up too!
"This noise is astronomical!
Read One Cor Twelve, the fighting shelve!"


(So ends verse anatomical.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Old Bob the Bookie

I will bet 100 blog dollars that the administration will try to deport Rifqa Bary and Bibi Aisha. Any takers?

Also, on a different subject, Murphy's Law proves Catholic theology about the fall of Man and the world.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This is necessary to know!

This is what used to be the nose of Aisha, an 18-year-old Pakistani woman who was put into an (I presume) arranged and forced marriage when she was 16. Her husband beat her, so she fled. When the Taliban caught her, her husband and brother-in-law cut off her ears and nose. At last report, she has been flown to California for reconstructive surgery. (Picture from the August 9 issue of TIME.)

Also let's not forget Rifqa Bary, who turns 18 today and is finally legally free of her father, who she says threatened to kill her because she became a Christian.

People who treat women -- or anyone else -- like that are not to be appeased! When will people wake up?!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sign I saw today

This is a 48" wide and 36" high metal sign bolted to the iron-grating fence in back of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, which is just on the east bank of the Mississippi River and just upstream from the St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The sign faces Second Street, which has townhomes and an underground parking ramp, so it is likely that many drivers and passengers will see it; the message is readable from the street.

When I saw it I thought, "See, we Catholics do walk the talk" and "Three cheers for Archbishop John Nienstedt!"