Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mrs. Maggie Murray, RIP

"Christendom Holds Memorial Mass for Long Time Friend and Staff Member Maggie Murray

On Friday, April 21, Christendom faculty, staff, students, and many alumni came together to commemorate the passing away of staff member Maggie Murray, who had suddenly died from pancreatic cancer on April 11. College Chaplain Fr. John Heisler celebrated Mass in Christendom's Christ the King Chapel and focused his homily on the many gifts Maggie had offered Christendom. "Maggie had the incredible ability to remain peaceful in the most chaotic of times," Fr. Heisler remarked, " and her strength and perseverance, even up to the point of her death, is a great example for us all."
Many alumni also came to honor their long-time friend. "Maggie has been a constant strength in our Christendom family," said Alumna Shalon Riddle, "and her absence is sorely felt. In any situation we could always count on her smile!"

May the soul of Maggie Murray, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. "


She was a very friendly person, got along well with the students at Christendom, cheerful... she will be missed.

Lamentations clip

It's a week late, but still good...

Found it somewhere on, not sure where though...

A Bloody Business

(pic source)
Sarge, this is the book I was talking about: A Bloody Business: America's War Zone Contractors And the Occupation of Iraq, by Col. Gerald Schumacher. He also wrote To Be a U.S. Army Green Beret and the Foreward for Hunting al Qaeda. He even has his own website.

Newsweek/msnbc audio program featuring Col. Schumacher.

btw, have you heard about Roughneck Nine-One? Is it legit? Edit: Heads up to Live From the Rear for info about the book and book signing tour.

Paul Craig Roberts, 06/04/19

Another Grim Report on the Jobs Front, by Paul Craig Roberts

For you 24 fans
(When Carlos Bernard glares at the end, he reminds me of my cousin's son Kale.)

Thanks to SlashRain at Soompi.

See also:; older commercials here.

It's the Queen's Birthday...

Actually it was yesterday, April 21.

The Queen's official portrait by Lord Snowdon (Snowdon/Camera Press)

Time article on Her Majesty. The official website for the British Royal Family.

Also, Prince Harry recently graduated from Sandhurst:

Britain's Prince Harry marches at the Sovereign's Parade at Sandhurst Military Acadamy, in south-east England. To the strains of "God Save the Queen" and a sergeant-major barking orders, Prince Harry, the red-headed party animal of the royal family, formally embarked on his army career as he graduated from the elite Sandhurst military academy.(AFP/Carl De Souza)

Prince William is currently at Sandhurst, having entered after his brother.

(AFP/Carl De Souza)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) smiles with her grandson Prince Harry (4th R) during the Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, southern England. (AFP/Carl De Souza)

Info on Sandhurst

I have not heard what Prince Harry's assignment will be. It would be interesting if he had to spend some time in Iraq.

Out on DVD, Windsor Castle A Royal Year. The PBS intro.

(House of Windsor, bah. Not that the Jacobites have a chance of regaining the throne...)

Typepad vs. Blogger

Evidently Typepad has more features, but then again one pays for those features... at least Blogger is better than Xanga, for now...

Some pictures from Rome last weekend

Pope Benedict XVI baptises two Japanese pilgrims during the celebration of the Easter Vigil service at Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican April 15, 2006. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Benedict XVI kisses the icon of the Most Holy Saviour as he leads the Easter mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 16, 2006. REUTERS/Max Rossi
More on the restoration of the Resurrexit ritual.

Easter vigil homily

Code: ZE06041606
Date: 2006-04-16
Benedict XVI's Easter Message
"Jesus Is Risen, and He Gives Us Peace"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 16, 2006 ( Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's Easter message delivered today at midday before he imparted his blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world).

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

"Christus resurrexit!" -- Christ is risen!

During last night's great vigil we relived the decisive and ever-present event of the Resurrection, the central mystery of the Christian faith. Innumerable paschal candles were lit in churches, to symbolize the light of Christ which has enlightened and continues to enlighten humanity, conquering the darkness of sin and death for ever.

And today echo powerfully the words which dumbfounded the women on the morning of the first day after the Sabbath, when they came to the tomb where Christ's body, taken down in haste from the cross, had been laid. Sad and disconsolate over the loss of their master, they found the great stone rolled away, and when they entered they saw that his body was no longer there.

As they stood there, uncertain and bewildered, two men in dazzling apparel surprised them, saying: "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, he is risen" (Luke 24:5-6). "Non est hic, sed resurrexit" (Luke 24:6). Ever since that morning, these words have not ceased to resound throughout the universe as a proclamation of joy which spans the centuries unchanged and, at the same time, charged with infinite and ever new resonances.

"He is not here ... he is risen." The heavenly messengers announce first and foremost that Jesus "is not here": The Son of God did not remain in the tomb, because it was not possible for him to be held prisoner by death (cf. Acts 2:24) and the tomb could not hold on to "the living one" (Revelation 1:18) who is the very source of life.

Like Jonah in the belly of the whale, so too Christ crucified was swallowed up into the heart of the earth (cf. Matthew 12:40) for the length of a Sabbath. Truly, "that Sabbath was a high day," as St. John tells us (John 19:31): the highest in history, because it was then that the "Lord of the Sabbath" (Matthew 12:8) brought to fulfillment the work of creation (cf. Genesis 2:1-4a), raising man and the entire cosmos to the glorious liberty of the children of God (cf. Romans 8:21).

When this extraordinary work had been accomplished, the lifeless body was suffused with the living breath of God and, as the walls of the tomb were shattered, he rose in glory. That is why the angels proclaim "he is not here," he can no longer be found in the tomb. He made his pilgrim way on earth among us, he completed his journey in the tomb as all men do, but he conquered death and, in an absolutely new way, by an act of pure love, he opened the earth, threw it open toward heaven.

His resurrection becomes our resurrection, through baptism which "incorporates" us into him. The prophet Ezekiel had foretold this: "Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you home into the land of Israel" (Ezekial 37:12). These prophetic words take on a singular value on Easter Day, because today the creator's promise is fulfilled; today, even in this modern age marked by anxiety and uncertainty, we relive the event of the Resurrection, which changed the face of our life and changed the history of humanity. From the risen Christ, all those who are still oppressed by chains of suffering and death look for hope, sometimes even without knowing it.

May the Spirit of the risen one, in particular, bring relief and security in Africa to the peoples of Darfur, who are living in a dramatic humanitarian situation that is no longer sustainable; to those of the Great Lakes region, where many wounds have yet to be healed; to the peoples of the Horn of Africa, of Ivory Coast, Uganda, Zimbabwe and other nations which aspire to reconciliation, justice and progress. In Iraq, may peace finally prevail over the tragic violence that continues mercilessly to claim victims.

I also pray sincerely that those caught up in the conflict in the Holy Land may find peace, and I invite all to patient and persevering dialogue, so as to remove both ancient and new obstacles. May the international community, which reaffirms Israel's just right to exist in peace, assist the Palestinian people to overcome the precarious conditions in which they live and to build their future, moving toward the constitution of a state that is truly their own.

May the Spirit of the Risen One enkindle a renewed enthusiastic commitment of the countries of Latin America, so that the living conditions of millions of citizens may be improved, the deplorable scourge of kidnapping may be eradicated and democratic institutions may be consolidated in a spirit of harmony and effective solidarity.

Concerning the international crises linked to nuclear power, may an honorable solution be found for all parties, through serious and honest negotiations, and may the leaders of nations and of international organizations be strengthened in their will to achieve peaceful coexistence among different races, cultures and religions, in order to remove the threat of terrorism.

May the risen Lord grant that the strength of his life, peace and freedom be experienced everywhere. Today the words with which the Angel reassured the frightened hearts of the women on Easter morning are addressed to all: "Do not be afraid! ... He is not here; he is risen" (Matthew 28:5-6). Jesus is risen, and he gives us peace; he himself is peace. For this reason the Church repeats insistently: "Christ is risen -- 'Christós anésti.'"

Let the people of the third millennium not be afraid to open their hearts to him. His Gospel totally quenches the thirst for peace and happiness that is found in every human heart. Christ is now alive and he walks with us. What an immense mystery of love! "Christus resurrexit, quia Deus caritas est!" Alleluia!

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]

Benedict XVI Torte

Baker Gertraud Becker presents a chocolate 'Pope Benedict XVI. cake' in a bakery in the small Bavarian village of Marktl, the birth place of Pope Benedict XVI., April 19, 2006. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Sarge's Ideal Woman

Maggie Q, from Mission: Impossible 3. "Opens May 5th in theaters everywhere."

Notice she's carrying a HK UMP.

Black Pope and White Pope

AP - Sat Apr 22, 8:17 AM ET
Jesuit Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, general superior of the largest religious order in the Roman Catholic Church, kisses Pope Benedict XVI's ring during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday April 22, 2006. Kolvenbach is expected to retire at the order's Jan. 5, 2008 meeting, paving the way for delegates to elect his successor, the Society of Jesus' U.S. office said in a statement earlier this year. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

The superior general of the Society of Jesus (Societas Iesu) is nicknamed "the black pope" because of his black cassock--St. Ignatius did not wish for the order to have a distinctive habit, so he adopted the typical garb of the clerics of the Church of Rome--and also because of the power and influence the Jesuits had, and still have to a certain extent, though their reputation has suffered in the last half of the last century because of heterodox members and a failure to enforce discipline by the superiors.

Societas does not really capture the meaning of 'company,' the idea of militancy that St. Ignatius wished to imbue within the order, devoting all of their efforts ad majorem Dei gloriam, for the greater glory of God.

With the election of a new superior general, will we get reform of the order? Will it become what St. Ignatius intended? Will things at BC improve?

(AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

I found out from a Jesuit that the Jesuits have a special relationship with the Carthusians. Evidently St. Ignatius of Loyola was an admirer of St. Bruno, and so members of the two communities can "transfer" to the other without having to go through probation. (Or something like that--"In fact, in the Jesuit rules, the only religious orders a Jesuit can transfer to and come back without having to undergo probation again are the Carthusians.") I suppose it would be nice to get official confirmation of this though, since Sarge says it's not true.

Gregorian University, founded by St. Ignatius and St. Francis Borgia. (Fr. Kevin Flannery, S.J. teaches there.)

Translation of the Holy Father's address on this occasion, from Rocco Palmo.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Revisions in Need of Revising

Revisions in Need of Revising: What Went Wrong in the Iraq War, by David C. Hendrickson and Robert W. Tucker pdf (original source page)

William Lind says it's "the best study I have thus far seen."

Plus: Unrestricted Warfare, by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, "The Largest Sun Tzu Art of War Site"

Why "The New Beginning"?

Because I might be blogging here regularly instead of xanga. Although I suppose I could just cut and paste entries into Xanga. Blogger lets me put up links, and that's a nice feature. I don't have time for MySpace, and using Facebook seems a bit too 'pervy.' (I don't even know if there is blogging at MySpace and Facebook.)
It would have been more appropriate to start a new blog once I had returned to California, but though I wish to leave as soon as I can, it is not clear when that will be. I hope oil prices don't make it impossible...

I still don't know how seriously I will take this, but I did consider posting on topics related to politics and the military on a separate blog, since Blogger makes it easy to create multiple blogs through one account.

The other reason why I chose the name is Mel Gibson's (mis-)translation of the Greek word apokalypto.

Apocalypto Later
Mel's Mayan movie makes a move.
by Stax

April 18, 2006 - USA Today reports, via The Associated Press, that Mel Gibson's next directing effort, Apocalypto, will not meet its anticipated August 4 release date after all. Mel's Mayan epic has been plagued by stormy weather during its South American shoot, which has delayed filming enough to warrant the release date switch.Apocalypto will now bow on December 8, right at the height of awards season no less. According to a recent write-up in Time, Gibson's film "takes place in an opulent but decaying Maya kingdom, whose leaders insist that if the gods are not appeased by more temples and human sacrifices, the crops will die." And the lucky winner? Jaguar Paw (newcomer Rudy Youngblood), who goes on the run to avoid his fate. Gibsons says that "Apocalypto" is derived from the Greek for "a new beginning," and was inspired by his work with the Mirador Basin Project to save the Guatemalan rain forest and the ruins of Mayan civilization.

Where did Mel get his translation? There's some controversy about that. According to the AP article cited:

The film’s title, "Apocalypto," a Greek word for an unveiling or new beginning, "just expresses so well that I want to convey," Gibson said. "I think it's just a universal word. In order for something to begin, something has to end. All of those elements are involved. But it's not a big doomsday picture or anything like that."

Unveiling, hence, the Book of Revelation. Of course, the Book of Revelation does talk about THE "new beginning"; maybe I should ask one of the Classics professors at BC about the word. I am looking forward to the movie, though the subject matter isn't as important as The Passion of the Christ, the movie should contain some important themes relevant for us today.

Anyways, English translations of some apocryphal/non-canonical texts can be found here.

Cardinal Newman, The Patristical Idea of the Antichrist:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

The Jacobite Line Still Exists!

Interesting! Just learned of this website:

Currently in line for the throne of England, Francis II:

More about him here.

Music Performances and a Review of Doulce Memoire

Trivial things first--sarge, the manager(?) for the ensemble was an attractive French woman, black hair, somewhat tall and maybe a mesomorph? Alas, she had a slight slouch, worse than Keira Knightley, somewhat reminiscent of certain people at Christendom. She also walked like a certain Christendom alumna from Alaska, although perhaps her arm and shoulder movements were not so exaggerated. Not many people can walk gracefully, though perhaps dancers can.

A pic of KK's poor posture.

The photo of the ensemble founder (posted earlier) is rather old--he is not so young, and he is... a typical artist/musician in appearance and demeanor. Pleasant French accent, and short--shorter than me! But a good flautist.

I am not sure if the group was attempting a recreation, or if dance troupes in the 16th and 17th centuries would actually put on performances like the one we watched tonight for others to observe. I would be somewhat surprised if such was the case--I imagine that dances were held so that everyone could participate, and that the development of dance as an 'art' for the enjoyment of spectators is more recent. I suppose royalty and other nobles might abstain from dancing and choose to watch the couples of dance, but that would still be different--the dance would be for a social/festive purpose and not an 'artistic' one.

As far as I could tell, the technical part of the performances was very good. The costumes for the dancers were appropriate--Renaissance period. Unfortunately the male dancer does not compare to Christian Bale in The New World:

(The New World is definitely worth watching at least once--let's see if a director's cut becomes available on DVD.)

A lot of the dance steps were recognizable from ballet? After all, isn't ballet derived from earlier dances? I don't know if a single couple would be the center of attention--tonight there was only one couple dancing, everyone else was a musician, plus the soprano. I would like to see a recreation of a typical court ball, with at least four couples--just to see if there is any dancing by the group, as opposed to couples dancing separately from one another. That communal aspect is one reason why I like English country dancing; there is a group here in Boston that teaches people how to do English dance.

Much of the music performed in the Boston Early Music Festival is divorced from the original social setting in which it was performed. Even the sacred works of Bach, which would have reached a wider audience, were peformed in church for a religious purpose. Ditto for polyphony. Who else could support musicians but the nobility, or rich merchant families? Do the social elites still congregate at contemporary opera performances? If one were to judge by clothes alone, one would think the people attracted to the BEMF come from a variety of backgrounds. I suppose these are people who at least appreciate early music, and do not attend simply because they think they are expected to give patronage to the fine arts.

On the other hand, I think changing the purpose and social context of this kind of music, so that it becomes merely beautiful music to be listened to within an appropriate acoustic setting and another piece of art for art's sake, is not a step forward in cultural progress, but a step backward. The art of fine social dance has been lost, except perhaps as it is practiced by the few in Cambridge--though one wonders if they are more Austen fans than anything else. In the photos of the sessions, the people appear to be dressed casually, in what passes for American casual. Not exactly the ideal. Then again, it is a gathering of country dance or Austen enthusiasts, and not of peers from the same social circle, celebrating as a community through a traditional custom. What we have lost through urbanization, industralization, and mass culture... is the BEMF just another choice for consumers? Does it reinforce our consumerist understanding of culture? Or does it serve a vital role in preserving the cultural heritage of Europe?

One final picture of Keira in P&P:

Ugh, buying used books through Amazon

Usually isn't worth it, because the books are not in the advertised condition, or end up being damaged because someone did a poor job of protecting the books for shipping. What happened to shipping & handling? Now I have to try to return 3 books, and by the time that is all done, I will have blown perhaps $15 on shipping, back and forth. Ridiculous...

Ensemble Doulce Memoire

Ugh, I found out there's a free pre-concert talk tonight at 6:30, I really need to get some typing done before I can go, maybe an hour's worth if I'm lucky, since I have to take the bus to get to Cambridge.

l'Ensemble Doulce Mémoire directed by Denis Raisin Dadre
Great Ball at the Court of France

Considered one of the most original and creative ensembles in France, Ensemble Doulce Mémoire returns to the BEMF stage for a festive recreation of the court of King Henri IV featuring dancers from Italy’s Il Ballarino. Through lively songs and elegant dances by Michael Praetorius and Pierre Guédron, the nobility of the French court is brought to life in vibrant detail.

Their official website.

I'll update later with comments, if I have any...

The 41st Medieval Congress

The 41st Medieval Congress

I'll be going there to present a paper; more than $300 spent to get an entry on the CV, rather sad... and I haven't even finished the paper yet... writing is really a chore.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pistol comparison, for future reference

SIGARMS and Heckler & Koch/HK Defense Win Major Pistol Contracts with DHSPosted on Monday, August 29 @ 06:57:15 PDT by davidc

by David
Sigarms, Inc. and Heckler & Koch, Inc./HK Defense) both recently won monster pistol contracts (in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .357 SIG calibers)--for up to 65,000 pistols, each--with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Sigarms' pistol contract is worth $23.7 million. The SIG-Sauer pistols chosen by DHS are the SIG P226R-DAK, SIG P229R-DAK, and SIG P239-DAO (double-action-only). The DAK trigger system is also double-action-only, only it offers a relatively light, smooth 6.5-pound trigger pull. The Heckler and Koch (HK)/HK Defense pistol contract is valued at $26.2 million. The HK pistol models chosen are the HK P2000 US, HK P2000 SK Subcompact (a.k.a. HK P2000SK Subcompact), and the USP Compact/LEM (Law Enforcement Modification). The LEM trigger is basically HK's version of SIG's DAK trigger (or Glock's Safe-Action trigger), and vice versa. According to the company, the LEM trigger allows for faster follow-up shots (repeat shots) on target than a standard double-action-only system, due to a lighter trigger pull (7.3-8.5 lbs) and shorter trigger reset than standard DAO trigger systems. The LEM trigger utilizes a two-piece "pre-cocked hammer" comprised of a cocking piece and an external hammer. The hammer is pre-cocked when a round is chambered (slide is cycled). The LEM system supposedly also provides for more reliable primer ignition, since it utilizes a stronger hammer spring.

The Grand Silence

The documentary about the Carthusian Charterhouse:
Die Große Stille
english version

trailer is available only on German website, for now

What inspired the url

PSALMUS 96 (95)
1 Cantate Domino canticum novum,
cantate Domino, omnis terra.
2 Cantate Domino, benedicite nomini eius,
annuntiate de die in diem salutare eius.
3 Annuntiate inter gentes gloriam eius,
in omnibus populis mirabilia eius.
4 Quoniam magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis,
terribilis est super omnes deos.
5 Quoniam omnes dii gentium inania,
Dominus autem caelos fecit.
6 Magnificentia et pulchritudo in conspectu eius,
potentia et decor in sanctuario eius.
7 Afferte Domino, familiae populorum,
afferte Domino gloriam et potentiam,
8 afferte Domino gloriam nominis eius.
Tollite hostias et introite in atria eius,
9 adorate Dominum in splendore sancto.
Contremiscite a facie eius, universa terra;
10 dicite in gentibus: “ Dominus regnavit! ”.
Etenim correxit orbem terrae, qui non commovebitur;
iudicabit populos in aequitate.
11 Laetentur caeli, et exsultet terra,
sonet mare et plenitudo eius;
12 gaudebunt campi et omnia, quae in eis sunt.
Tunc exsultabunt omnia ligna silvarum
13 a facie Domini, quia venit,
quoniam venit iudicare terram.
Iudicabit orbem terrae in iustitia
et populos in veritate sua.

PSALMUS 98 (97)
1 PSALMUS.Cantate Domino canticum novum,
quia mirabilia fecit.
Salvavit sibi dextera eius,
et brachium sanctum eius.
2 Notum fecit Dominus salutare suum,
in conspectu gentium revelavit iustitiam suam.
3 Recordatus est misericordiae suae
et veritatis suae domui Israel.
Viderunt omnes termini terrae
salutare Dei nostri.
4 Iubilate Deo, omnis terra;
erumpite, exsultate et psallite.
5 Psallite Domino in cithara,
in cithara et voce psalmi;
6 in tubis ductilibus et voce tubae corneae,
iubilate in conspectu regis Domini.
7 Sonet mare et plenitudo eius,
orbis terrarum et qui habitant in eo.
8 Flumina plaudent manu,
simul montes exsultabunt
9 a conspectu Domini, quoniam venit iudicare terram.
Iudicabit orbem terrarum in iustitia
et populos in aequitate.

1 ALLELUIA.Cantate Domino canticum novum;
laus eius in ecclesia sanctorum.
2 Laetetur Israel in eo,
qui fecit eum,et filii Sion exsultent in rege suo.
3 Laudent nomen eius in choro,
in tympano et cithara psallant ei,
4 quia beneplacitum est Domino in populo suo,
et honorabit mansuetos in salute.
5 Iubilent sancti in gloria,
laetentur in cubilibus suis.
6 Exaltationes Dei in gutture eorum,
et gladii ancipites in manibus eorum,
7 ad faciendam vindictam in nationibus,
castigationes in populis,
8 ad alligandos reges eorum in compedibus
et nobiles eorum in manicis ferreis,
9 ad faciendum in eis iudicium conscriptum.
Gloria haec est omnibus sanctis eius. ALLELUIA.


A pic of my niece