Saturday, July 15, 2006

The origin of "Boston"

Wonder where the name come from? Domenico Bettinelli explains.

Imagine that, Benedictine roots. CE entry. A parish church turned into a family home. (???) Icon of him here (on an Antiochian Orthodox website!). Another short bio here.

Alternate site for pic.

Looking for Vestiges of the Gisaeng

Looking for Vestiges of the Gisaeng

A postcard used by a French missionary in 1910. The caption reads, "A Corean Singer & Maid"

A large exhibition is opening dedicated to gisaeng - female entertainers of the Chosun (Joseon) Dynasty who were known as "those possessing the body of the lower class but the mind of the aristocrat." From Jan. 13 to Feb. 13 at the Seoul Auction Center in Pyeongchang-dong, some 500 photographs and postcards with fascinating images of gisaeng from the late Chosun Dynasty and the Japanese colonial period will be put on display.

The shirts, skirts and even underwear of the gisaeng, who were the fashion icons of their day, have been recreated after much research, and part of the exhibition hall has been decorated with the folding screens, musical instruments and cosmetic paraphernalia used by the entertainers.

History records the names of famous gisaeng such as Hwang Jin-i and Lee Mae-chang and calls them stylish and refined artists. "The gisaeng, who mixed with upper-class men, were accomplished women who could express themselves and accumulate knowledge," Seoul Auction's Kim Hyo-seon explained.

The highlights of the show are gisaeng postcards and photos from the collection of Lee Don-su. "During the colonial period, the artistic activities of the gisaeng gradually became constricted, but they also played the role of 'new women' spear-heading a new civilization," Lee said.

In colonial times, the Japanese Government-General energetically produced postcards to promote its colonization of the peninsula, and frequently inserted photos of gisaeng in tourist information or photo collections of Korean customs.

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Church of Our Saviour

A picture of the "Takeshi" family dog, Curly. (A very good dog--didn't bark much, quiet, and friendly.)

On Sunday morning I said my good-byes to Pete and Bort, and headed back into the city for Mass at the Church of Our Saviour, located just south of Grand Central Terminal on Park Avenue. (59 Park Ave. at 38th St., to be exact.)

The interior is just goregeous--look at the icons and the baldacchino:

Many of the icons are copies from famous icons, as far as I can tell--especially the huge icon of Christ, which is taken from the Christ Pantocrator Icon at St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai (the oldest known surviving icon).

My pictures of Fr. Rutler came out fuzzy; maybe I can go to the church with someone else and ask that person to take a picture of him and me. I heard him give a talk at Our Lady of Peace many years ago. His programs on EWTN are among my favorite, though I haven't watched any for a long time.

There is an icon of St. Andrew Kim Taegon:

More on Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companions.

Plus an icon of St. Augustin Zhao Rong, early martyr bishop of China. Unfortunately I don't know which of the following two it is, I only learned of it by reading through the Sunday bulletin.

I definitely should return to Our Saviour, with a tripod if possible. I don't know if the flash will work for all of the icons, but it's probably better than not using it. Look how dark the photos are, and too many came out fuzzy.

The main point of Fr. Rutler's homily--that we not take God for granted, nor close ourselves off to Him because we are too familiar with Him, or familiar in the wrong way, as the natives of Naraeth were, dismissing Christ. Much of the Mass was chanted in Latin and it should be no surprise at how much reverence was shown, nor the solemnity of the celebration since it is Fr. Rutler who is the pastor. If I lived in Manhattan I'd definitely go to Our Saviour regularly, or make it my parish, rather than St. Francis or St. Paul, though Watcher has pointed out what the advantages are of going to either of those two parishes...

The church's website.

The Brotherhood

On tonight on CBS--originally shown on Showtime and starring Jason Isaacs. Evidently CBS is rebroadcasting the premiere to lure viewers to the new show. (I'm guessing CBS and Showtime are owned by the same company.)

Official site. Charlie McCollum writes:
Although it's set in Providence, ``Brotherhood'' bears more than a passing resemblance to the real-life saga of William ``Billy'' Bulger, once a powerful Massachusetts politician, and his brother James ``Whitey'' Bulger, a mob hit man, leader of Boston's notorious Winter Hill Gang and former FBI informant, who has been on the run from the law since 1995.

St. Michael's Russian Catholic Chapel

After our visit to the Cloisters we caught the subway down to St. Michael's Russian Catholic Chapel, which is right next to old St. Patrick's Cathedral, just up the street from little Italy. (San Gennaro's Feast is very important there.)

One of my favorite places to visit in New York City, and for a good purpose too! What better activity than praying at Vespers or the Divine Liturgy? Alas, I only took one picture with a flash--should have used the flash more; I do not know if the chapel is open when there are no liturgical services, but I hope it is, since I will definitely be going there again to take some more pictures. I'm definitely leaning towards the East. I do not think it would be difficult for icons to be incorporated into the Latin rite in an organic manner; but what about the iconostasis?

I love the votive candles, especially since they are made of beeswax. They're much better than the votive candles typically found in a Latin church. One does not see them being used as often in suburban churches here in the United States, as far as I can tell, though it is the case that they are more common in ethnic churches. (Like Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara.) There is a Melkite parish in San Jose, which I should visit if I ever move back there. (Along with the Byzantine parish in Los Gatos.)

Miss Jennifer Murphy gets married

News here. I found out through Access Hollywood last week. "No comment."

The Cloisters

Last Saturday, after we had a nice brunch over in Somers (which is next to Purdys, where Pete Takeshi's parents live). Can't recall the name of the restaurant, but it definitely had the hometown feeling to it, and the hostess and our waitress were cute. haha It's too bad Somers doesn't have a true local economy, as far as I can tell. No real agriculture? Pete says housing prices are bad where his parents live, because it's in high demand by those commuting to NYC for work and such. I'm still down on living in NYC, even though Watcher wants to move there and plenty of other people are attracted to the city and its sights (and shopping opportunities).

Pete, his friend Bort (who lives in Providence but works in Boston), and I took the train into Grand Central, where we met up with the Brat (who teaches at a private school in NYC and lives there). We were going to the Cloisters, which is a part of the Metropolitan Museum and located in Fort Tryon. Too bad there were no cannon (even if not functioning) at the fort. There were a lot of couples and families at the park, but I do not think fires are allowed there (and hence no BBQing)--plenty of picnics though.

The individual pieces are quite beautiful; the ivory work was very skilled--they reminded me of the amount of detail and attention given to Asian ivory pieces.

Nice baldacchino.

The death of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is attended by the Apostles except St. Thomas.

I need a better photo of this one (along with many of the others)--supposedly the one of the few verified works of a certain artist.

Saint Peter.

A photo of Pete.

Ok, this is really St. Mary Magdalene--she's holding the spices to annoint Christ.

But the museum as a whole... it's modelled after a medieval monastery, but it's a mishmash, nothing organic, a frankenstein of sorts, with various pieces (fountains, altars, and so on) placed here and there, to give the appearance of what they looked like in their original setting, but still a frankenstein. My favorite image that I used to criticize museums is that of the white sepulchre, which is applicable to museums in general, not just the Cloisters, despite the beauty of the individual works that may be located within. Art divorced from a living culture and community... in the past there were some pieces commissioned by when the rich for their private enjoyment or the enjoyment of family and a select few (portraits, for example) , other pieces were commissioned for a public setting (a church, a public building, a town square) to be be appreciated by many and hence integrated into the community life, reminding them perhaps of transcendent values, whether it be manifested in the mundane or the extraodinary or the sacred. A museum marks a rupture in the community--how many great works do we see in or near our huge buildings? (If there is any art, it's modern art--which is "all bosh.") How much art or beauty do we come upon in our everyday lives?

Photos from St. Patrick's Cathedral

Here are some photos I took at St. Patrick's Cathedral last Friday. I took the "Chinatown Express" down to NYC, choosing Fung Wah over the other company though it costs $15 each way on both. Since Fung Wah hasn't disappointed me yet, I don't see any reason to try the other one out yet. I suppose I'm just waiting for the bus to catch on fire.

I went to Rockefeller Center first but did not do much there, even though NBC has its headquarters though, I believe. If I had gotten there earlier, perhaps I would have tried to get tickets for Conan O'Brien. But NBC is in third place for a reason, and I don't care to be on TV during the Today show, though a free concert might be nice, if I liked the singer or group. (How likely is that going to be?)

Here is the website for St. Patrick's Cathedral:

St. Jude, patron of impossible causes.

Should have used a flash or done something else for this one--you can't see the baldacchino.

Saints Bonaventure and Alphonsus Liguori.
(Saint Bonaventure University)
Illustrated biography of St. ALphonsus, from the Alphonsianum.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Her American shrine.

St. Mary Magdalene... NOT! It's St. John the Evangelist! Dumb Duh Vinci Code.
(Butler's entry on St. John.)

The main doors of St. Patrick's.

A statue of Atlas I believe (unless it's Hercules).

What can I say about St. Patrick's? It's definitely a church to visit, and I like the exterior appearance... as for the interior... I can't stand the pews. It's too bad there such a permanent fixture in American Catholic churches. Most of you already know what my other preferences are, so I won't go into that again.

After St. Patrick's I headed over to Kinokuniya, which is right across the street from Rockefeller Center. I didn't buy anything there, which was good, though there were a couple of magazines that were interesting, including a souvenir magazine (2 issues) for Dae Jang Geum. I don't think the NYC store is as good as the one in San Francisco (located in Japantown). There I met up with Pete Takeshi and his two friends.

We ended up going to The Cottage over in Chelsea? for dinner--a Chinese restaurant for Americans. The quality was good, and the prix fixe menu (for 2) included wine. I had some that night, and it discouraged me from drinking the rest of the night or the weekend. All I got was a headache, nothing else. "The Asian flush" indeed. Afterwards, we went to a pub, where there was a rule on whispering. A decent pub, though the lighting could have been better. Perhaps Pete Takeshi can fill in with the details, including the name, which I've forgotten. (Pete tells me the name is Burp Castle... unique name eh?)

No chance to drop by Opus Dei headquarters this time around... I'd like to see one of the chapels in that building. Not sure if visitors are allowed without an appointment. (6abc's visit to the headquarters.) Fr. McCloskey's webpage.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Joseph Bottum on Jake Shimabukuro

Read his reaction and find the links to YouTube videos here.

That's some mad ukulele-playing!

Ratzinger’s New Team Trains in the Holy Office

Magister's latest

See also the interview with Archbishop Ranjith by Isabelle de Gaulmyn in “La Croix” from June 25, 2006.

"Unpublished work by John Paul II speaks [sic] debate"

From the National Catholic Register:

Unpublished work by John Paul II speaks debate

A little-known and unpublished work by Fr. Karol Wojtyla has touched off debate among experts across the globe about whether the future Pope John Paul II, as a young academic, had developed an appreciation of some aspects of Marxism as well as a strong critique of U.S.-style capitalism.

Aspects of Marxism? The negative aspects, or criticisms made by Marxists, but certainly not the 'positive' aspects, the Marxist philosophy and program?

The John Paul II Institute in Lublin, Poland, which is charged with Wojtyla’s pre-papal writings, has plans to publish the work in the near future. However, interpretations of the two-volume Katolicka Etyka Spoleczna (Catholic Social Ethics) have been bitterly contested, a debate touched off in Wojtyla’s homeland of Poland and beyond when the authors of this article first wrote about the unpublished volume in a cover story for the British Catholic weekly The Tablet last January.

The text contradicts views promoted by neoconservative thinkers who depict the pontiff as a lifelong fan of U.S.-style liberal capitalism. It also raises questions of why, when every detail of Wojtyla’s life has been combed over by researchers and biographers, mention of this 511-page work has apparently been avoided.

Yes, the Catholic neo-cons, trying to make the pope one of their own. Does anyone still believe them on this point?

Catholic Social Ethics originated as a series of lectures by Wojtyla in 1953-54, and was typed and bound for students and academics. It provides no evidence that the future pope had any direct political affiliation. However, it shows Wojtyla had acquired by his early 30s a sophisticated knowledge of Marxism and an empathy with its critique of capitalist injustices. It shows he had already rejected both “socialist totalism” and “individualistic liberalism” as prerequisites for a well-organized society.
His social encyclicals do not deviate from his early thought, then.

Then there are some comments about George Weigel and Lublin Archbishop Jozef Zycinski, who have tried to downplay the work.
Zycinski and his supporters will have trouble controlling public comment once Catholic Social Ethics is published. The bulk of the work is written as a response to Marxism. Wojtyla’s aim, he makes clear, isn’t to apply Marxism to Christianity, but to give Marxist concepts a Christian meaning, and win back the ideas of social justice that Marxism had expropriated.

Wojtyla traces communism itself back to Christian tradition, even subtitling one section “The Objective Superiority of the Communist Ideal.” But he makes clear he is using the term generically to mean common ownership. The church believes “the private ownership principle” can be upheld while “enfranchising the proletariat.”

“In the contemporary communist movement, the church sees and acknowledges an expression of largely ethical goals,” the future pope concedes.

Ethical goals? If he is referring to certain ends or goods to be pursued, then perhaps Marxism isn't completely wrong. But what about the means to those ends? That is what matters in determining the usefulness or validity of a secular ideology.

“In line with patristic traditions and the centuries-old practice of monastic life, the church itself acknowledges the ideal of communism. But it believes, given the current state of human nature, that the general implementation of this ideal -- while protecting the human person’s complete freedom -- faces insurmountable difficulties.”

The ideal of holding property in common. But it is difficult to implement this ideal while protecting freedom at the same time. Or is he saying more than this?

Catholicism cannot “agree with materialism” or the “primacy of economics,” Wojtyla writes. But it recognizes that “various facts and historical processes” are economically determined. “In a well organized society, orientated to the common good, class conflicts are solved peacefully through reforms. But states that base their order on individualistic liberalism are not such societies. So when an exploited class fails to receive in a peaceful way the share of the common good to which it has a right, it has to follow a different path.”
Individualistic liberalism... a definition would be nice just for the sake of completeness. Let us see if one is offered in the book.

“Class struggle should gain strength in proportion to the resistance it faces from economically privileged classes, so the systemic social situation will mature under this pressure to the appropriate forms and transitions,” Wojtyla continues.
Not sure what he is saying here--is he being naively optimistic? Mature? Does mature here have a positive connotation, similar to progress? Isn't it possible for class struggle to lead to greater fragmentation and possible civil unrest?

“Guided by a just evaluation of historical events, the church should view the cause of revolution with an awareness of the ethical evil in factors of the economic and social regime, and in the political system, that generates the need for a radical reaction. It can be accepted that the majority of people who took part in revolutions -- even bloody ones -- were acting on the basis of internal convictions, and thus in accordance with conscience.”
So they were acting in accordance with conscience? What if their conscience was poorly formed to begin with? Is the tyrant acting in accordance with his conscience if he's warped it? Or are we saying that the revolutionaries had their hearts in the right place, even if the means they chose were wrong? Or perhaps the majority of the revolutionaries were duped by bad leaders--this does not contradict what is written.

When the book is translated into English and published here, perhaps I will read it... or maybe not, since there isn't a pressing need to do so, since there are very few true Marxists. However economic reform is still needed, and a positive program, if there is one other than conversion and evangelization, remains a priority.

Photos for Friday

Culture - July. 13, 2006

Actress Lim Soo-jung and child actress Kim Yu-jeong pose to promote the film “Lump of Sugar” at the horse race park in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province on Wednesday. The movie is released on Aug. 10./Yonhap

Miss Universe delegates: Contestants in the 2006 Miss Universe pageant Miss Korea, Kim Ju-hee, left, and Miss Japan, Kuara Chibana, pose together as they arrive for a party in Los Angeles, Monday. /AP-Yonhap

Michelle Wie shows dismay at her first-round play Thursday at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. /AP-Yonhap 07-14-2006 15:42

Michelle Wie's mother Bo Wie, left, and father B.J. Wie joins their daughter during practice Tuesday during her preparation to play in the John Deere Classic golf tournament in Silvis, Ill.
/ AP-Yonhap 07-12-2006 15:01

Auto fair: Models pose with a modified, premium foreign car at the “2006 Seoul Auto Salon” at COEX in Samsong-dong, Seoul, Thursday. / Korea Times 07-13-2006 20:16

Card design: Kookmin Bank vice president Won Hyo-sung, left, shakes hands with costume designer Andre Kim at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul, Wednesday, after signing a contract to cooperate on credit card design. /Courtesy of Kookmin 07-12-2006 20:29

Ultra-premium BMW: A model showcases the BMW 750i Exclusive Line, a tailor-made luxury sedan aimed at South Korean VIP customers, at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul, Wednesday. 07-12-2006 20:00

Ha Ji-won to Play Famous Chosun-Era Entertainer

Ha Ji-won will be taking on the title role in the upcoming KBS miniseries “Hwang Jin-I”, about a famous Chosun-era gisaeng or female entertainer. The first episode will be shown on Oct. 11.

"After looking at a lot of top stars for the role, we recently signed a contract with Ha Ji-won," the producers said Friday. The actress goes head-to-head with Song Hae-gyo, who also plays Hwang Jin-I in a movie of the same title that starts filming at the end of the month. Ha reportedly thought about turning down the part, citing the lack of time to practice the geomungo or six-stringed Korean zither and other skills of the accomplished all-round entertainer.

But she changed her mind when the first episode originally slated for September was postponed. Ha's agency Soft Land says Ha will study geomungo, dancing and even tightrope-walking starting this month, having said that she wants to do whatever she can herself instead of relying on a double. The drama depicts the life of Hwang Jin-I from her early years through when she became a famous gisaeng through the lens of a modern sensibility. Stories including her attempt to seduce great 16th century scholar Seo Gyeong-deok and their subsequent student-teacher relationship will be portrayed against beautiful scenic settings. The drama will air on Wednesdays and Thursdays in 30 episodes.

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Wow, Song Hae-gyo in another movie, playing the same character as Ha Ji-won--I wonder who will do a more credible job? I didn't care much for Ha Ji-won's last movie, The Duelist, even though it attempted to be stylish. Since it is a 30-episode drama, it should be better. It will be interesting, though, to see if it has been sanitized in terms of content. (Unless Hwang Jin-I lead an innocent/pure life, despite her profession. But that would be surprising, wouldn't it? One does not hear of gisaengs or geishas getting married and remaining in their profession; one does hear of them becoming mistresses.)

Dream about Fr. "Burger"

Haven't seen him for a while... I wonder if he is still over in Wigratzbad...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

St. Francis de Sales on Friendship

Of Real Friendship
Of the Difference between True and False Friendship
Remedies against Evil Friendships

From Of Sadness and Sorrow:

The "sorrow of the world" disturbs the heart, plunges it into anxiety, stirs up unreasonable fears, disgusts it with prayer, overwhelms and stupefies the brain, deprives the soul of wisdom, judgment, resolution and courage, weakening all its powers; in a word, it is like a hard winter, blasting all the earth's beauty, and numbing all animal life; for it deprives the soul of sweetness and power in every faculty.

UST update

In case you hadn't heard by now, I didn't get the UST position, they offered it to someone with more teaching experience and a PhD already... I mailed the last application yesterday, and will be doing some searching on craigslist and monster, maybe even submit some applications next week for some PT positions. "Hopefully" I can find something soon.

Wedding photo of Shim Eun-ha

Last week I was chatting with ah Ling about dramas, and she brought up Kim Hee Sun, her new favorite. EJK is also a fan of KHS... KHS is in the drama Smile Again, which just ended last week. I suppose I'll post some photos of KHS when I get a chance.

Anyways, I told ah Ling that another of her favorites, Shim Eun-ha, got married last year; I had come across this photo last week. She looks very beautiful here. I first saw her in the movie Christmas in August, what, 4 or 5 years ago? and I've seen some of her other movies since then... it's too bad for us she's retired from acting, but it's better for her probably.

Front - Oct. 19, 2005

Former actress Shim Eun-ha and Ji Sang-wook tie the knot at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel in Seoul on Tuesday afternoon. Shim, heroin of films like “Christmas in August” and “The Zoo Next to the Museum,” has been at the center of rumors concerning a possible comeback and her lovers since retiring from the silver screen and the entertainment industry. /Yonhap

Perhaps lovers has a more innocent connotation elsewhere, but here in the U.S. it tends to mean two people who are sexually active, among other things...

An older pic of Miss Shim. (the 90s...)

"Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend"

Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend, by Michael Lawrence

First part:

"How do I know if she's the one?"

I can't think of a question I encounter more often among single Christian men. The point of the question is clear enough. But a rich irony dwells beneath the question. In a culture that allows us to choose the person we're going to marry, no one wants to make the wrong choice. Especially if, as Christians, we understand that the choice we make is a choice for life.

The question is not merely ironic. If what you're after is a marriage that will glorify God and produce real joy for you and your bride, it's also the wrong question. That's because the unstated goal of the question is "How do I know if she's the one ... for me."

The question frames the entire decision-making process in fundamentally self-oriented — if not downright selfish — terms. And it puts the woman on an extended trial to determine whether or not she meets your needs, fits with your personality, and satisfies your desires. It places you at the center of the process, in the role of a window-shopper, or consumer at a buffet. In this scenario you remain unexamined, unquestioned, and unassailable — sovereign in your tastes and preferences and judgments.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Powerpuff Girls Z

Trailer here. (Thanks to Pete Takeshi.) Is this the real thing? A Japanese anime version of Powerpuff Girls? I hope not--I'm guessing it would lose a lot of the biting satire that is present in the American original.

Baptism photos, part 2

Pictures from Armadillo Willy's on El Camino:

Br. B in front of the chapel at St. Albert's. (With a rare smile in the photo.)

KCM's Baptism Photos

Photos from my niece's baptism