Sticky Top Post

Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Memorial Site

So, I'm cruising the web whilst Izzy is cruising the NC mountains. In following a link from the Shrine of the Holy Whapping, (and isn't that always the way it happens!) I came across a link for

It's apparently a reader built database for cemeteries and their occupants. I added a page for my Dad, and realized the "note" I left with my "flowers" shows I'm more and more convinced about this whole Purgatory thing...

If you checkout the memorial, do look at all 20 photos. Clicking each one will give you a caption--some may possibly be a bit sweet for some tastes, but they felt just right for an afternoon of reminiscing on the last day of the year.'s annual necrology for 2005 starts with JP2. (He's higher up there than victims of disasters like the Tsunami (missing--I guess no one's added it) or Katrina.)

There's many more names in the category lists. For example, the religious leaders list also includes people like

  • Brother Roger, whose communication by B16 this year still upsets lots of radtrads;
  • Evelyn Roberts (my 'darling wife Evelyn' as we always heard Oral say);
  • Adrian Rogers, whose conservative movement/leadership really influenced/changed and even divided the Southern Baptist Convention of my childhood; and even
  • Dr. Gene Scott (whom we used to spend hours watching the way one watches really bad infomercials, and whose website doesn't seem to realize he's gone, except for a hilarious line on this page about email.)
Dr. Scott does not receive e-Mail. If you want to get a message to Dr. Scott, you'll have to get in line.
I'll save queueing up for later. Izzy just called and he's on the way home with BBQ from a place run by Texans. It'll be a Happy New Year for him!

Friday, December 30, 2005


So, working in preparedness, my job is to worry about such things.
No danger, though.  He (she?) is nowhere near us and is headed east.  She (he?) should be dissipated by late New Year's Day.
For weather geeks, a discussion on NOAA's site on whether or not Zeta or Alice will end up being the latest forming storm in the Atlantic Basin.
Quote on nomenclature (NOAA uses ALL CAPS):
Any bets on when Alberto & Beryl will form?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Not just evil, but Lousy, too

Gratuitous grossness alert:

Appropriate to the Memorial of St. Thomas a' Becket today, Open Book points readers to an article in The Independent Online in which the Saint is chosen as one of the most evil Britons of the last millenium--worst Briton of the 12th century.

From the "Nomination"

As the patron saint of Roman Catholic secular clergy, Becket is nominated for the divisions he caused England. These seemed unlikely when the previously carefree and pleasure-loving courtier Becket became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. Yet once in office he became an ascetic prelate, devoted to the ecclesiastical hierarchy. In the schism which at that time divided the church, Becket sided with Pope Alexander II, who was devoted to the same strict hierarchical principles and, to the dismay of Henry II, sought to exempt the church from all civil jurisdiction and secure unfettered control for the clergy. After returning from exile, he excommunicated the bishops who had crowned the king and an enraged Henry uttered his fateful plea to be rid of Becket. His subsequent murder brought Becket everlasting revenge on Henry. He was canonised and credited with martyrdom. A shrine to him remains at Canterbury.

[Digressive Comment:

Really? Worse than King Stephen, whose name no subseqent British monarch has taken? Stephen, about whom the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles read:

"And so it lasted for nineteen years while Stephen was King, ...for the land was all laid waste by such deeds; and they said openly, that Christ slept, and his saints. Such things, and more than we can say, suffered we nineteen winters for our sins." Really?]

Back to the Topic:

I thought I'd add a bit about our Saint's funeral, of course from Rats, Lice and History. Quoting another historian, Zinsser writes:

MacArthur's story of Thomas a Becket's funeral illustrates [this]: -- The archbishop was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on the evening of the twenty-ninth of December. The body lay in the Cathedral all night, and was prepared for burial on the following day... He had on a large brown mantle; under it, a white surplice; below that, a lamb's-wool coat; then another woolen coat; and a third woolen coat below this; under this, there was the black, cowled robe of the Benedictine Order; under this, a shirt; and next to the body a curious hair-cloth, covered with linen. As the body grew cold, the vermin that were living in this multiple covering started to crawl out, and, as MacArthur quotes the chronicler: 'The vermin boiled over like water in a simmering cauldron, and the onlookers burst into alternate weeping and laughter.'

I'm counting 8 or 9 layers, depending on the constuction of the linen-covered hair cloth.

Back to Becket being evil..

I think he gets an unfair rap about being inflexible on reform. He signalled clearly to King Henry 2 (father of King Richard the Lion-Heart and of King John--another king whose name is unlikely to be repeated) that his loyalties would have to be with his new master (God/Pope, etc.,) and no longer with the Henry Plantagenet (Henry 2's given name) and the King's preferences once he was consecrated as Archbishop.

I know your plans for the Church," he said, "you will assert claims which I, if I were archbishop, must needs oppose.

So, was Becket evil/bad? Nope, at least IMHO. Was he Lousy? Well, yes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Did You Hear What I Heard, part 2

So, much to my surprise, Amy Welborn picked up on and responded to a couple lines from my post to her blog (reproduced here.)

One commentor below noted that those who complain about music should help out -well, I'd say that some of our most vociferous critics of music in contemporary Catholic liturgies are those who are indeed musicians themselves, or have been (believe me, I have done my share in both simply participating in parish music and leading it, God help the congregations). The point is this: preparing music
for liturgies takes time and practice. Even the dreaded Haas/Haugen repertoire takes practice, and I know the choir in our parish takes time to practice their more elaborate solo turns, each of which, it seems to me, would be well-suited to the Presbyterian church down the street - musically and lyrically, they do no suggest "Catholic" at all, which does not surprise, considering our music
director isn't Catholic.

She asked for updates on Incense and Keeling, so I posted this, partly in response to her question and partly in response to reading 150+ (thusfar!) comments on Christ-masses--so many of which were unhappy at what they had watched.

-5 PM Vigil and 11 AM Christmas Day Mass at "small university parish in a southern capital city."
-Midnight at "Mother Church" in same area

Update on smells, bells and kneeling:

At our small parish, Fr. reminded us before Mass about the kneeling during the Creed, and asked us to help him remember. Things went fine at 5 PM & 11 AM. We had incense, carried at 5 PM by a young lady who had not served in this way before, but who learned quickly. She also supervised ("emceed"?) her younger siblings who also served at the 5 PM Vigil Mass. At 11 AM Christmas morning, we had one server, an older teen who "came out of retirement" (per Padre) to handle incense duties. We seem to only use bells at Easter. We heard all the saints' names in the Eucharistic

At the larger church, I didn't hear a mention of kneeling, but the audio system is a bit scratchy for the spoken word. Seated where we were, behind a large pillar, kneeling was a bit problematic, but my husband and I managed to get knees to the floor during the Creed--no one else did, at least that we could hear/see. Sung Eucharistic Prayer, from the MOC, so no Linus, Cletus, Sixtus, etc. Monsignor had a striking clear tenor, and the effect was still high-ish church.

One reason it took our family so long to swim the Tiber was a recognition of what so many commenters have said--there's a lot of not-so-good-music out there in Catholic churches, especially when compared with what one can hear at larger Protestant churches. I don't think that this is just because of lack of trained musicians, or constantly changing alternatives in the annually revised songbooks from OCP, etc. I think that there is also less of a tradition of congregational singing--the full-voiced, multi-part, deeply felt singing that one would hear for "A Mighty Fortress" or "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" or lots of the Fanny Crosby songbook. Maybe even for "Go Tell It On The Mountain"? I see plenty of Catholics sitting in pews week after week, not singing anything!

I get to hear Michael Dubriel speak on "Developing a Spirituality of the Eucharist" this past fall at a Eucharistic Conference in SC. One of his themes was "When in Rome..." and it addressed complaining and criticizing what you see and hear in church, rather than looking for ways to focus on the essentials--we are being presented with Jesus-body, blood, soul and divinity! He didn't say to ignore abuses or to not strive to improve what can be fixed, but I really appreciated Michael's reminder that we are not there to be entertained. To get the most out of the Eucharist, we must bring ourselves to God and be prepared to put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.

Great advice for any time of year.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Did You Hear What I Heard?

Posted this as a response to Amy Welborn's question, "What Did You Hear?" The gerneral format is to indicate which Masses and where you attended.

Thought I'd "re-purpose" what I wrote here. I think I'd read one too many complaining comments when I responded...
-5 PM Vigil and 11 AM Christmas Day Mass at "small university parish in a
southern capital city."
-Midnight at "Mother Church" in same area, so I got to hear from Matthew, Luke and John this weekend.

As one of the volunteer musicians in our Parish, I sang at 5 PM and 11 AM Masses here. On Christmas Eve, the larger choir (with multiple guitars, keyboard, & flute) came to the 7 PM Mass, so we had a smaller ensemble here at 5 PM. Musicians were 2 guitars, trumpet, keyboards and vocals by soprano, alto and contralto.

I've sung for many years in far larger churches with professional choir directors and large numbers of professional-caliber instrumentalists, so I can understand the longing for more "exalted" music that is often expressed in comments to {Amy's] blog, especially for those who strongly dislike the folk/guitar style. I would just like to add that, unless some of those disgruntled folks volunteer to play and or sing or direct, it might be nice to "cut some slack" to those who do try and offer musical leadership as we all lift our voices to praise God.

That having been said, we did lots of carols at the Masses in our Parish, not for lack of any other resources, but because it's Christmas, folks! We've got a pretty loose group of musicians here, so folks who show up get to sing. I don't know how the vocal balances were at either Mass, but Fr. seemed to appreciate having folks showing up to sing, including his special request of Mary, Did You Know?

Sunday AM we began to think that there might just be two of us in the "choir" until a couple more guys showed up and agreed to sing. We had 2 tenors (one on the 12 string) and one bass, with all the guys mostly covering melody, and me, the alto. The smaller, mostly international crowd (over 50% from India) sang along enthusiastially and one young lady came up afterwards and offered to join us next Sunday.

Of course, Midnight Mass in the cathedral-sized church with the processing choir, professional organist, cantors, etc., was truly glorious and I'm so glad I went. I'm used to helping lead music, so it was quite interesting that I found myself seated directly behind a large pillar, so that my vocals bounced back directly to me, and could be heard by no one else. I couldn't help but think that, for once, I was singing only to God. What a great "audience" for Christmas!

Interesting final note: Amy's piece in the NRO made an impression on our Padre, who used it in both of the homilies I attended.

Merry Christmas from me & Izzy!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rats, Lice and History

Welcome to Magister Myer's email buddies!

Lots of you have been landing here since Magister linked me to his newest sig. I'm the one he affectionately refers to as SWMBO ("she who must be obeyed.") Feel free to poke around a bit while you're here.
Now, back to our post on Rats, Lice and History:

I found a copy of this 1935 book by Hans Zinsser in a pile of books about to be thrown away at work. For several weeks, now, it's been my bedtime reading.

It's a biography (yes, a biography) of typhus. There's lots in there about how plagues affected the course of history even more than wars and governments. This is also one of those books written for an erudite audience, with extensive footnotes, often in German or French.

Chapter numbers are done in the "in which we..." style, exemplified by Chapter IV: On parasitism in general, on on the necessity of considering the changing nature of infectious diseases in the historical study of epidemics.

Commenters on Amazon seem to agree it's pretty dense, whereas one CDC writer uses the word "romp."

The title page gives a hint of what's to come:

Rats, Lice

So, why blog on this obscure book? Two reasons:
First, it has what must be the BEST FOOTNOTE EVER! on page 59. In a discussion of the development of parasitism, we read this sentence:
"To be sure, it has not -- so far-- been possible in the laboratory to convert a pure saprophyte(1) into an habitual parasite."
The footnote reads:
"If the reader does not understand this word, it is too bad."

Second, this book was just given as a secret Santa gift on ER to Abby, by another doctor who wanted to discuss with her "the relative unimportance of generals" to history.

Amazed, I turned to Izzy, who said "Well, you'll just have to blog on this one."

I'm just finishing Chapter IX--I'm sure Zinsser will eventually get around to discussion of typhus. Epidemiological tidbits thusfar include advantages of syphilis, theories of what exactly afflicted the Philistines when they stole the Ark of the Covenant, and reasons for the near-extinction of leprosy among Europeans and their descendents. It's just my kind of book--history and medical oddities.

Incidentally, the copy I have (24th printing) was donated in May 1955 to the SC State Board of Health upon the death of Walter Hane (his wife's obit is here), a sanitarian involved in the virtual eradication typhus fever in SC.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Great Party, Guys

Just home from a Christmas soiree' hosted by Waldie and Baldman, where I also got to see Paeselblossom (now goes by smab?) and Discipleassisi, plus quite a few YACS! It's cool to know a bit about what's going on with folks' lives from their blogs when you aren't able to see them each week.

Congrats to Amy for graduating and to Amy & Tim for finally getting to resume married life after their sojourn here in Purgatory.

Great crowd assembled there off south Pickens, guys. You're right--your parties rock!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Attitude Adjustment

Started off the day well on my way to having a "no good, horrible, very bad day." Litany: not hearing the radio alarm, so arising late; not being able to find parking for a while at USC; finding parking and having to use up all my change because it turns out that the parking garage uses meters (meters!); discovering that I could/should have gone to the free (free!) garage right across the street--but didn't know about it because staff from our program hadn't received all the info sent by workshop planners; sitting in an all day session with talking heads going on and on about WMD's in a building with mondo security and a "no food or open containers allowed" (i.e., no caffeine or glucose) in rooms policy, etc.

So, really, what we had was a series of inconveniences. Irritating, and certainly unpleasant to me, but mostly things that interferred with my getting to do as I pleased. I recognized by the middle of the 1st break that my attitude stank. I was embarrassed, but glad that the Holy Spirit let me know before someone else did.

Strolled over to Daily Mass during the lunch break. Attendance was one priest and two parishioners. The older man sitting near me, fervently fingering his beads before Mass, made a couple of comments and expressed a prayer intention wherein he bared a tiny bit of his soul regarding his grief about a family issue.

So, I'm out 10 quarters and a bit under-caffeinated. Other folks have real problems. The struggle to keep inconvenience in perspective seems to be on-going for me. I'm sure God will give me many more opportunities to learn to accept what comes with grace.

Space Envy

Discovered this afternooon that the handicapped stall in the women's room of the Gervais Street McDonalds is larger than our entire bathroom. Still, glad I don't have to live there.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

76% Southern

Got directed to this quiz by Gashwin, who also appears to be 3/4ths Dixie-ite.

Had to ask Izzy how I say some words ("route," 2nd syllable of "pajamas.") I think I go back and forth on some words (thank a midwestern father and west coast mom and an SC upbringing around transplanted missionaries.) I can hear my dad saying "booook" like "roof" ("rufe") and remember that our family, like lots of folks around here, called all fizzy drinks "coke"--to the point that I didn't realize until Dad was nearly 70 that his favorite "coke" was Pepsi.

Pronouncing "aunt" like "taunt" and calling those drinks "soda" was actually a racial divide (shibboleth) in the South of my youth. Southern white folks said "ant"; everyone else was suspect.

I picked up "soda" when I moved to Texas (from "soda pop" that I heard so often in Oklahoma) and learned to say "Nabs" for those cracker 6-packs when I moved to NC. Haven't "learnt" new terms (of which I'm aware) since moving back to Klumbya (that pronunciation is the way you definitely recognize locals in these parts, plus knowing how to pronounce Cayce (hint: it's not "case."))

Glad I'm not more Yankee, especially since what little accent I had went away when I left for college.

Monday, December 12, 2005

From Penance to Gaudete

Went to the Communal Reconciliation Service tonight at "the Mother Church of the Midlands." As usual, I sat down in front of Fr. and almost immediately forgot what I wanted to confess. Fr. was patient, and allowed me time to get out what I needed to say.

After he shared some thoughts with me, prayed for me, and gave me my penance, Fr. blessed me and then said "God loves you. Merry Christmas."

What better Christmas gift can there be than to know that God loves me? Who better to hear this than from someone with whom I've just been honest about my sins? What better time than to hear of God's love than when I've been examining my conscience to see where I fall short of His glory? I walked back to my pew to say my prayers, grinning like nobody's business.

"God love me." Merry Christmas, indeed.

Operation Weasel (make that "Dynamic" Weasel)

Via Dave Barry.

Operation Dynamic Weasel Sharpens Combat Skills

Air Force News / Tarsha Storey / December 02, 2005

SHAW Air Force BASE, S.C. -

Exercise Operation Dynamic Weasel begins here today to hone the skills Airmen need for combat deployments. The exercise will sharpen tactics, techniques and procedural skills while practicing for combat situations, said Maj. Anthony Roberson, the 20th Operations Support Squadron director of operations. He said the exercise will simulate combat operations in Southwest Asia.

There's more, but nothing explaining how the Air Force, smack dab in the home of Thomas Sumter, the Fighting Gamecock, came to have war games named for weasels.

Boggles the mind. Hope we're prepared to fight asian rodents now.

Where were the crowds for #1001?

So, Governor Schwarzenegger has decided not to grant clemency to Tookie Williams. That's his perogative, even though little is served by this man's execution that couldn't be served by having him spend the rest of him life being penitent in a penitientiary (i.e., away from the spotlight, given time to think and maybe repent for what he's done.)

Having said that, I see so many reports about huge crowds demanding a reprieve for this man, and recall that there were just under a dozen of us at the prayer vigil for Shawn Humphries two weeks ago. No civil disobedience or threatened riots here in SC, just disappointed acceptance that, once more, politics or expediency won out over mercy.

I'll pray for the repose of the souls of both of these men, as well as for the souls of their victims and for the grieving families that have been and will be left behind. I'll also hope that whoever "the next guy" is, he won't be forgotten.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stuff I haven't blogged on

Because I've been to busy, plus there was a period with no access to computer @ home.

  • "That document"--what does "deep seated tendencies" mean?
  • How gorgeous this Fall was!, after so many blah years.
  • What really happens in prayer? Does God alter what is planned, or are we better able to face what He has in store for us? What about prayers like the Rosary--how am I really affecting my friend's cancer by its recitation? (Please note, I DO believe in prayer, believe very strongly. It's just that sometime's when I've got long distances to drive, I have time to wonder (yes, "I wonder as I wander") about why things are as they are.
  • What should I do with the upcoming 2nd half of my life? If I cannot decide, when will the 2nd half actually start?
  • There are some amazingly generous folks out there (and here!) --who are willing to share their vehicles, their time for rides, etc. We've been blessed to find ourselves in a community--God has continued to be good to us.
  • We attended the vigil for Shawn Humphries--his execution was mostly overlooked, as he was # 1001. #1000 made it into two sermons/homilies I heard last week in NC. Where are all the celebrities for Joe double-wide's vigils?

So, I don't know when I'll get a chance to write more on all I've been thinking about--glad there are folks out there who DO have time.

Musical, busy week

Saturday & Sunday: In NC -- rehearsal for and singing the Ceremony of Carols.

Tuesday: Ben Lippen Elementary School Christmas pageant at CIU (Niece S2D3, now age 6 1/2 sang in the 1st grade choir--and did a nice job!). Went with Mom, who reminded me of so much that Dad did out at CIU--she pointed out trees he'd planted, the sound both where he'd done recordings of chapel services, etc. (Odd note on the pageant: when Mary, Joseph and the two-child-donkey came out, I found myself disappointed that Mary was not in blue. I also noticed when "Mary" needed to get back up onto the stage, she dropped the Baby Jesus she was holding--oops!)

Wednesday: With Izzy to Vigil Mass for the Immaculate Conception @ St. Joe's, enjoyed hearing Carl cantor. Dinner afterwards at Baan Sawan--is there any better food in Columbia?

Thursday: Attended a Christmas Concert of the Palmetto Master Singers at the Koger Center. They did three Marian pieces, plus the Adoro Te Devote (sp?) before going into the "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" pops part of the performance. I went with a friend from high school who has moved back to SC--her Dad is in the Singers.

After the concert, I was able to get to the Chapel for the end of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. We sang accapella Latin. Very moving after prayer.

Saturday: After practice with Doc, we'll be going to 1st Babdis' to see yet another niece (B3D2, on the left, who will be 7 in 10 days from today) in the annual Christmas extravaganza.

Sunday: Back to singing with Doc. Looking forward to it, and to what should be a quiet week next week. Maybe I'll get some Christmas cards mailed before the price of stamps goes up...Maybe I'll even get a chance to spend some time with Izzy, now that his evenng class has ended for Christmas Break. He'd say something like "Yeah, right..." about now.

More Christmas Carol Lyrics: Flit Not

I've now sung this twice in Britten's "A Ceremony of Carols." I wonder how it sounded originally, and how 16th century folks would have felt when they heard it? The last two lines are so cool: If thou wikt foil thy foes with joy, then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

The incarnation is so much about contrasts, and this song lists so many of them.

This little Baby so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmèd wise
The gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battring shot are babish cries,
His arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensings Cold and Need;
And feeble Flesh his warior's steed.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes;
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus, as sure his foe to wound,
The angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Wothin his crib is surest ward;
This little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wikt foil thy foes with joy,
then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

Our Lady of Early December

I was in Durham last weekend, and got to sing in Britten's Ceremony of Carols as part of Blacknall's Evening of Lesson and Carols. Wow!

First, there's the amazing rush of excitement of a homecoming & seeing so many folks I've known and loved in NC for so many years. Then there was the amazing musicianship of the choir, strings and harp, mixed with the readings (scripture is so moving when read aloud) and finally the response of the congregation. (I could hear four-part harmony coming from the congregation, as well as hearing 6-8 parts in the choir.)

All taken together, by 2/3rd's of the way through the Lessons & Carols, it had become a true worship service--absolutely NOT just a recital of pretty music. Deo gratias!

I'm so grateful for all that's happened since we moved, but I really miss NC (esp. Blacknall and Herr Stuntz's choir.)

Regarding "Our Lady"--Britten's Ceremony of Carols uses old (mostly pre-reformation) hymns and carols. The words of a couple of them were great to reflect on as I anticipated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this week.

There is No Rose

There is no rose of such vertu/ As is the rose that bare Jesu.
For in this rose conteined was Heaven and eart in litel space,
By that rose we may well see There be one God in persons three,
Pares forma.
The aungels sungen the sheperds to: Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Leave we all this werldly mirth, and follow we this joyful birth.
Transeamus. Alleluia, Resmiranda, Pares forma, Gaudeamus, Transeamus.

As dew in Aprille

I sing of a maiden That is makeles:
King of all kings To her son she ches.
He came al so stille There his moder was,
As dew in Aprille That falleth on the grass.
He came al so stille There his moder's bour,
As dew in Aprille That falleth on the flour.
He came al so stille There his moder lay,
As dew in Aprille That falleth on the spray.
Moder and mayden wasnever none but she: Well may such a lady Goddes moder be.

Deo Gratias (or Adam lay ibounden)

Deo Gratias!
Adam lay ibounden, bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter thought he not to long.
Deo Gratias!
And all was for an appil, an appil that he took
As clerkes finden written in their booke
Deo Gratias!
Ne had the appil takè ben, The appil takè ben;
Ne haddè never our lady A ben hevenè quene.
Blessèd be the time That appil takè was.
Therefore we moun singen.
Deo Gratias!

Singing in a presby church about the the "rose of such vertu", the "moder and mayden" knowing that there "wasnever none but she" and sharing the ecstacy of the medieval writer who rejoiced in the eating of the "appil" that lead to the coronation of Our Lady as "quene of hevenè." How cool is that!?!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

News on Epsilon

This from the National Hurricane Center

11 AM AST THU DEC 08 2005


Somebody wants to go home...