Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Apparently praising the aesthetic qualities of a battleship is some kind of warmongering.

Y'see, calling an instrument of death beautiful is wrong, at least in the eyes of some Catholics who are qualified to judge morality.

Now, they do have a point. After all, no matter how shiny a garbage truck is, it's still used for carting garbage around - and no matter how beautiful a war machine is, it's designed for killing people, many of whom land in Hell as a result. And a lot of people (most notably those in France, Germany, and the areas between) praised the beauty of their weapons to hide the fact that they were growing too warlike (to use a mild phrase)...

Then again, praising the looks of this weapon...

...doesn't mean you approve of how Francis Macomber died in Hemingway's story.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

...or, "Much ado about nothing"

Diogenes is generalizing here, but it's true.

My guess is liturgical tomfoolery is mostly inspired by people who sit around thinking, "You know, modern Americans live a crude, ugly, uninspired life. No matter how wonderful their characters or how wild their adventures, they have to do them within the confines of ugly buildings and unflattering "practical" clothes. Perhaps we should allow them to do something poetically and expressively, the way folks did back in....[here they suppress their urge to mention the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when being a lackey at the Holy Mass was worth the bother]...the early Church."

Of course, it doesn't convince them to make beautiful churches or splendid outfits for their altar servers, but that doesn't matter. What matters is they're mostly interested in the "experience" of the Mass. Of course, most Catholics view Mass as a sort of large grace-dispensing machine, where they pay an hour of time and get various graces in return (and, if they bother to pray during the Mass, some actual spiritual growth). When these groups meet, you get the typical church: a bevy of altar servers/choir singers/performers who try to please indifferent people who are mostly just waiting for Communion. And a priest, we can't forget that.

Literary style...

This article mentions various stylistic mistakes to avoid in writing, offered by The Kansas City Star to Ernest Hemingway when he worked for that paper.

Personally, I think the list has a glaring omission and it should be obvious to anyone who read The Old Man and the Sea at some point in their lives as I did when I began high school, in fact it has to do with this sentence.

(That sentence, I must admit, doesn't really sound like Hemingway's writing, even in The Old Man and the Sea.)

UPDATE: It occurred to me that the newspapers I read are badly written. Hemingway would have had to advise them to write, not vice versa.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"The President of the United States should not go to the Olympics..."

I'd say nobody should go.

There's a word for the highest men in the Chinese Communist government: "tyrants." There's also a word for the men who carry out their commands: "thugs." That's a good reason to boycott this Olympics. (Besides, we boycotted that other Olympics in a Communist haven, the USSR, in 1980. We ought to behave consistently as a matter of social principle.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

In Keeping with my tradition of not having anything to do with important cultural issues...

I present to you this question: Did Moses have horns? (I don't know what Daniel Mitsui's authority on this matter is, other than that he's at least a well-informed amateur student of religious art, and sells his own religious art.)

On the one hand, you'd expect someone who spoke with God to shine, not sprout horns. On the other hand, not all horned creatures are evil - unicorns, for instance. (I'd argue that, if Moses had horns, it would refer to the ram which God sent to Abraham, since both were God-given gifts which prevented the Chosen Race from getting exterminated.)

Of course, it doesn't help matters that this statue of Moses makes him look like Zeus in the process of having Athena pop out of his head..

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Theodore Gerald, rest in peace.

Please pray for his soul; he was my brother.

Incidentially, I'm disturbed by the fact that almost no popular music is really appropriate for mourning (and by "popular music" I mean the things I've been able to find on the radio and surfing music sites on the Internet). When you consider how many people die every day, it suggests there's something wrong with our music.

All I can do now is remember the Apocalypse.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm tending to the opinion that all the good rock songs were written before 1970...

Although perhaps there have been good rock bands from after then. Case in point:

It's kind of a reflection on sin, if you think about it.

The Sci-Fi Catholic of Science Fiction returns to reading Fictional Books of Fiction.

A welcome change from having to hear about creepy 1st-Century Jewish rebels and bananas that prove - or disprove - the existence of God...

I got the reference...and I'm praying for EegahInc...

Then again, what's wrong with being a freak, anyway? Gooble, gooble, gooble, gooble, gooble...

Go ahead and pray for EegahInc too.

A short story.

Histor unlocked the door and walked to the table. He smelled of mud, recently-healed wounds, and melted chocolate.

"What the - so why are you back?" asked the Sucrose Inquisition.

"Because I lost part of my name, all my wisdom, and some hair. I need to recuperate. Your Eminences, can you hand me that mustard, some lemon juice, sugar, and a cup?"

"There's lemonade in the fridge, if that's what you want..." said Cardinal Maltodextrin, concealing his disgust, and the fact that the "mustard" was actually the innards of a deviled egg.

Histor walked to the fridge, drank the lemonade, then headed towards the computer. Cardinal Aspartame stopped him, muttering something that sounded like "you'll make the chair stink go shower." Histor went and showered, then came back to the computer.

In the box marked "Title:" he wrote "A short story."

And he wrote one.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

This I find quite disturbing....

These two websites (Catholic News Agency and Catholic News Service) give two conflicting reports on the same story. The CNA article, it seems, doesn't mention something the CNS article does.

I'm just so confused....which one is right, and which one isn't?

UPDATE: Here's more on the issue, from Australia and England respectively.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"The Meaning of Jesus"...whatever that means...

Just in time for Christmas...a meditation on "The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor" and the Meaning of Jesus.

Most of it is pure, unadulterated chaff, showing too much reverence to the Jesus-as-inspiring-myth lie and too little relevance to the Christmas season to be worth reading. If you want to know more about it, go here.

There is, however, one good line:

"It is in this universal call to self-surpassing that the radical appeal of Jesus can be found."

After all, if we want to remain what we are, we won't really want Jesus. (Which may explain why the "successful" people, with good habits and solid social and financial standing, are usually irreligious.) If we think we're messed up, and feel we can't fix ourselves, we're open to Jesus' invitation to follow Him.

But I fear I've wasted your time. Go read this stuff by G. K. Chesterton instead.

Odds are, if you read this blog...

You've already been reminded to "Keep Christ in Christmas." If you've read D.G.D. Davidson's blog, you've been reminded to "Keep Mass in Christmas."

So would it kill you if I told you to "Keep Satan in Christmas?"

Merry Christmas, all y'all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's Advent...

But, being my lazy self, I have no thoughts about Advent. Instead, I have a song:

"Morning-room in Heaven"
Written by Oscar Wilde, Histor the Wise, and the Bonsai Story Generator

She is in the way, Shropshire is your sake.
By the whole question of a first-rate brand.
Bring me Algy, Algernon, I am sure.
Very nearly offering a large reward.

Good heavens!
Just give my consent.
Good heavens!
I allow you Jack.

I never think that is for Gwendolen.
First place girls never marry the present.
That will do, Lane, thank you. Yes, that business.
I was very good bread and butter, Jack.

Good heavens!
Just give my consent.
Good heavens!
I allow you Jack.

Really, if you want my cigarette case.
This cigarette case is no use of them?
They are ordered specially invented for that,
Gwendolen is perfectly delightful!

Good heavens!
Just give my consent.
Good heavens!
I allow you Jack.

All the lines are - were, actually - from the play The Importance of Being Ernest. I just put it into the generator, parsed the text, put it into stanzas....

Now I just need a tune. You can sing the verses to the tune of "Johnny B. Goode," but the chorus of this "song" and of "Johnny B. Goode" don't match up at all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

While dredging the Web, I found this:

"There's no energy on the non-zealot side of the cultural debate."

Some quotes - like this one - are just too exquisite to pass by. And so, taking a page out of G. K. Chesterton's book Tremendous Trifles, I will attempt to parody its style.

  • There's a disappointing lack of Republicanism in the Democratic Party nowadays.

  • Unfortunately, there's little sympathy for OU's football team among UT fans.

  • Surfers, oddly enough, don't like to live in Nebraska.

  • Saladin didn't actively support Richard the Lionheart's cause.

  • Fish adamantly refuse to take part in marathons, despite a major publicity campaign aimed at getting "FINS ON THE ROAD!"

In more current news...

The Pope, for some reason, is "bypassing" Boston in his upcoming visit - point of fact, he's only going to New York and Washington, D.C. This, I suppose, proves beyond a doubt that Boston is now flyover country.

I think a lot of people are regretting the decision to let China have the Olympics. They're putting cell phone towers on Mount Everest, prohibiting Olympic athletes/attendees from having bibles...something tells me they'll next put a huge statue of Mao Zedong holding the Olympic Rings in Beijing. (By the way, the word "Beijing" is a blight on the eyes. Unlike "Peking" which had a tasteful clearness and lack of dots.)

In Venezuela, "reforming" a constitution apparently means creating a dictator and eliminating freedom of the press. Maybe they meant "reforming" in the sense that this is "reforming" a birthday cake.

Oh, and D.G.D. Davidson and I are doomed to MORTAL COMBAT!

On one side, the veteran of countless archaeological encounters and international Sharp Trowel Expert, on the other, a veteran of The Simplification with world-renowned prowess in blunt weaponry...

In the case of , um, this blog going dormant, I'll just say I don't much regret what I've done with my life (except the one time I used my sister's copy of Persuasion as tinder....and the time I ate Tabasco sauce straight....and some other things...)

Over and out.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I don't have time to think tonight...

So I'll just fling some links at y'all.

From the InsideCatholic.com blog, a post on how looks matter in tasting wine. (Not in the sense of the wine having no visible grape skins in it.) A distressing line in the post: "Forty experts said [a particular wine] was worth drinking..." Now, I could say that a wine is or isn't worth buying, but isn't any unadulterated wine worth drinking?

From the same website, a column about Muslims, aesthetics, and the Blessed Sacrament.

Since our house doesn't have TV, the recent TV writers' strike hasn't affected me much- but I have read quite a bit about it. The best perspective on it that I have seen is here, on a post written before the strike actually began. I like the closing line of the post.

From Darwin Catholic, a post on the problem of evil. I have to admit, I don't really worry much about why God allows evil in the world, since from early childhood I have been taught that

1. Good things come from God, and
2. If something is bad, it's because mankind/the Devil messed it up.

My sister is preparing to resort to armed coercion to make me go to bed mow, so goodnight, everyone!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Since I'm reviewing a book on the Vietnam War...

Here's some stuff related to the '60s and/or Vietnam...

Sixties gun: the M16A1,

Another Sixties gun: the M21 sniper rifle,

Sixties pope: John XXIII, of sacred memory,

Sixties book: the classic Green Eggs and Ham,

Sixties music: Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son."

Ladies and gentlemen, we are set. Now, off to write that review.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Government regulation of book price in Germany: how lovely!

The worst thing is that this, in effect, is a 60 percent tax on BOOKS, effected by means of price controls.


Books are the things that separate civilization from barbarism. The things that keep us from having to spear our own food and cook it over brushfires. The things that, more commonly, give us a worthwhile thing to do at the doctor's office.

And they drive up the price!

Admittedly, there's relatively few books worth buying in any case (browse any bookstore and you'll see what I mean), but those that are are being unjustly taxed.

Makes me wonder: are there laws on reselling books in Germany?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I am - yet again - on hiatus...

I'm going to be writing some college application essays this week...once I finish those, I'll be putting out an essay on A Bright Shining Lie, which is a huge nonfiction book without a hero, and return to my chattering.

Meanwhile, here's some stuff I've dredged up...

There once was a lady called Ayn Rand, who wrote huge novels championing "Objectivism" (a sort of atheistic libertarianism); I found this old review of her book Atlas Shrugged interesting. (I still can't believe any sane person would name a fictional character Midas Mulligan.)

The B-Movie Catechism discovers that my web-name of "Histor" isn't quite that original, and takes a look at the lottery system in the meantime. Furthermore, his post on costumes for Hallowe'en (or All Saints' Day, if you prefer the latter celebration as my family does) inspired me to come up with animal/creature costumes:

A FROG from Frogs, (sorry, folks, no pic)


AN ALIEN FROM WAR OF THE WORLDS (dare you to try it!),

THE DEADLY MANTIS from the movie of the same name,

and of course GODZILLA.

As for me, I'm going to dress up as one of the Blues Brothers...

Anyone got a pork-pie hat they could lend me?

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I attended Saturday evening mass at a nearby parish, where for whatever reason the responsorial psalm resembled the song, "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie, The Old Grey Goose is Dead." Couple that with a communion hymn ("I Am The Bread of Life," to be exact) which completely lacks even the suggestion of poetry, and a Kyrie Eleison remniscent of a marching cadence, and you have a delightful instance of music getting in the way of mass.

After the mass, my dad asked, "Is there a patron saint of bad liturgical music?"

I don't think there is.


WWW http://est-puzzlementem.blogspot.com