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Cap'n Flynn (deviantART)
Cap'n Flynn's Salty Sea Chest

The Unveiled Clepsydra

The Voyage to Ruin
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Apologize and Don't Be Sorry!
Catholic Ragemonkey
De Fidei Oboedientia
Doubleshot Thoughts
E-Pression (Zorak)
Flos Carmeli
For Keats' Sake!
Happy Catholic
John C. Wright's Journal
Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa
Scuffulans hirsutus
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Summa Mamas, The
Troglodyte, The
The Stacks
Basia me, Catholica Sum
Corner, The
Fiat Lux!
I Am the Lizard Queen!
The Kawaii Menace
James Lileks
Wasted Words
Weirdsville, USA
8-Bit Theater
Get Fuzzy
Sluggy Freelance
xkcd: A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language
One Guy's Opinion
Dark Echo
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Saint Mary The Virgin Catholic Church
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Lit Gothic
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31 May 2005
A Skulk of Foxes
For anyone who ever wondered:
The following list will show what were those invented in the middle ages and what we retain. There was said to be a pride of lions; a lepe of leopards; a herde of harts, of bucks, and of all sorts of deer; a bevy of roes; a sloth, of bears; a singular of boars; a sounder of wild swine; a doyft of tame swine; a route of wolves; a harms of hoses; a rag of colts; a stud of mares; a pace of asses; a baren of mules; a team of oxen; a drove of kine; a flock of sheep; a tribe of goats; a skulk of foxes; a cete of badgers; a richesse of martins; a fesynes of ferrets; a huske, or down of hares; a nest of rabbits; a clowder of cats, and a kindle of young cats; a shrewdness of apes, and a labour of moles. Also, of animals when they retired to rest, a hart was said to be harbored, a buck lodged, a roebuck bedded, a hare formed, a rabbit set. Two greyhounds were called a brace, and three a leash, but two harriers or spaniels were called a couple. We have also a mute of hounds for a number, a kennel of raches, a litter of whelps, and a cowardice of curs.

And for things other than bird and beasts:
Here we have: a state of princes; a skulk of friars; a skulk of thieves; an observance of hermits; a subtiltie of sergeants; a safeguard of porters; a stalk of foresters; a blast of hunters; a draught of butlers; a temperance of cooks; a melody of harpers; a poverty of pipers; a drunkenship of cobblers; a disguising of tailors; a wandering of tinkers; a fighting of beggars; a ragful (a netful) of knaves; a blush of boys; a bevy of ladies; a nonpatience of wives; a gagle of women and a gagle of geese. As applied to inanimate things, there was a cluster of grapes, a cluster of nuts, a caste of bread, &c.

*Taken from
Chambers' Book of Days
**And for even more bird group names, go here
Jelly Pinched Wolf   2:41 PM
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Credo ut intelligam
O Lord, you are my Lord and my God, yet I have never seen you. You have created and redeemed me, and have conferred on me all my good, yet I know you not. I was created in order that I might know you, but I have not yet attained the goal of my creation. I confess, O Lord, and give you thanks, that you have created me in your image, so that I might be mindful of you and contemplate you and love you. I seek not to understand in order that I may believe; rather, I believe in order that I may understand.

St. Anselm of Canterbury
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27 May 2005
Prayer of St. Odo of Cluny
O only-begotten Son of the sovereign Father, look upon us with a benign countenance. It is you who called the penitent heart of the Magdalene to the pinnacle of glory. The lost penny is again restored to the royal treasury; and the gem wiped clean from mire surpasses the stars in brilliance. O Jesus, balm on our wounds and sole hope of the penitent, through the tears of the Magdalene wash away our sins. O most gracious Mother of God, take us, the weeping descendants of Eve, from a thousand waves in this life to a haven of safety. To God alone be glory for His manifold graces--to God who forgives the sins of sinners and bestows rewards. Amen.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:29 PM
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Christianity, Chesterton-style
Pontificator's got a great
Chesterton piece up today. Definitely something I can sympathise with.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:43 PM
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I've been reacquainting myself with Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, since I've not read it since High School. The following is one of the many reasons I really dig Dickens:

Silence in the court! Charles Darnay had yesterday pleaded Not Guilty to an indictment denouncing him (with infinite jingle and jangle) for that he was a false traitor to our serene, illustrious, excellent, and so forth, prince, our Lord the King, by reason of his having, on divers occasions, and by divers means and ways, assisted Lewis, the French King, in his wars against our said serene, illustrious, excellent, and so forth; that was to say, by coming and going, between the dominions of our said serene, illustrious, excellent, and so forth, and those of the said French Lewis, and wickedly, falsely, traitorously, and otherwise evil-adverbiously, revealing to the said French Lewis what forces our said serene, illustrious, excellent, and so forth, had in preparation to send to Canada and North America. This much, Jerry, with his head becoming more and more spiky as the law terms bristled it, made out with huge satisfaction, and so arrived circuitously at the understanding that the aforesaid, and over and over again aforesaid, Charles Darnay, stood there before him upon his trial; that the jury were swearing in; and that Mr. Attorney-General was making ready to speak.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:13 PM
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Prayer Request
Just wanted to take a moment to ask for prayers for me mum on a couple of things. First, she'll be taking off to New York soon for a couple of weeks to visit her fiancé, and then will be getting married in September. So please pray for safe journeys and a happy wedding.

Second, she's being pestered by some minor medical issues. Nothing serious (so far as I know), but extra prayers are always good and always welcome.

Mercy buckets.
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26 May 2005
St. Pius X
You are Pope St. Pius X. You'd rather be right than

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Happy Catholic
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25 May 2005
Speaking of October...
Looks like October will be quite a month for stop motion animation. Besides Tim Burton's
Corpse Bride, we'll finally get the long-awaited Wallace and Gromit feature film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The teaser poster pretty much says it all:

*via Animated News
Jelly Pinched Wolf   1:06 PM
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Poem In October
It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill's shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.

Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
My birthday
Away but the weather turned around.

It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
With apples
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child's
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light
And the legends of the green chapels

And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea
Where a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Sang alive
Still in the water and singingbirds.

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart's truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year's turning.

Dylan Marlais Thomas, 27 October 1914 - 9 November 1953
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:46 AM
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23 May 2005
Updates and Other Sundries
If you've not noticed already, I've been adding more blog links lately as I find others who've linked to me, or start reading certain blogs regularly enough to justify a link. Check 'em out--there's some good stuff out there. Of course, in an effort to avoid clutter, I'm going to have to shake off the dust and say goodbye to some blogs I just don't find myself visiting anymore. After all, I think it's time we all just admit that Cob's never going to post again. The Slack has consumed him, it seems.

Just added a link to Happy Catholic, a blogger I've seen in several comments boxes, but only got around to checking out today. Julie D., another Dallas-based blogger, also seems to be a Firefly fan, so yay!

A hearty thanks to M'Lynn of
Scattershot Direct for mentioning my post on fear!

Finally, I tried to figure out what to say about Episode III, but everything sounded boring and pretentious (so unusual for me, neh?). Happily, kashi found a perfect review for it, so I don't have to say anything. Go there, follow the link, and read.

Here's hoping you're having a far more allergen-free day than I!
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And Peace At Last
May he support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over and our work is done— then in his mercy— may he give us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last.

*John Henry Cardinal Newman
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20 May 2005
The Mission of My Life*
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.

*Prayer by John Henry Cardinal Newman
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19 May 2005
Welcome Home!
I was debating yesterday where in my links to add
Pontifications, a blog I've lurked in for a while, and only recently begun to seriously read (mostly because the posts are very long and terribly erudite--hard to read while working). The problem was that Pontificator was Anglican, so even though his subject matter was very Catholic, it seemed odd to me to place him under the heading of "Catholic Works." Well, as of today, problem solved, though the link may go away in the future, since Pontificator may not keep the blog up for much longer.

Congratulations to Pontificator on his decision to cross the Tiber! (Read here.) Happily, the Pastoral Provision should make that crossing all the easier, and my prayers are with him that his application for Roman Catholic priesthood under the provision will be approved. If you've not had a chance to check out the blog, get there while you can. Some of the best Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant minds hang out in the comments there.

Again, my hearty congratulations to Fr. Al!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:13 AM
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Fear and Trembling
I know I've been beating this dead horse rather a lot lately, and my two readers get enough of it from me in person, but as it's an essential part of what I'm trying to do in my fiction, I feel it's worth blathering about some more.

I've been thinking on the nature of fear. Fear is an essential element of good horror. But what do we really have to be afraid of these days? How many of us truly believe in demons, or in the Devil himself? I do. You don't grow up in the back woods of upstate New York, in the heart of Headless Horseman country, and not encounter some wiggy and disturbing things. Even here, in Texas, during college, I had a brush with something not altogether holy (it just occurred to me I could make a crass comment about a former roommate's unfortunate shoes, but I shall refrain). One day while at the bathroom sink, I caught sight in the mirror of a black, blobby, inhuman thing skittering by in the hallway. Scared the beejeezus out of me. I remember mentioning it to Citizen Bob, in fact, who recalled a similarly disturbing incident from his childhood. These things are out there, and they have not our best interests in mind. But we must have eyes to see them, and ears to hear their whisperings. It's a way of knowing just what we're up against. We should fear them, but only when we do not see, or when we do not call on God to protect us from them. It is ignorant and arrogant to deny their existence, or to believe we can handle them all by our lonesome.

Over Lent, I read An Exorcist Tells His Story by Fr. Gabriele Amorth. It's a fascinating account of the chief exorcist of Rome's personal experience with the demonic, as well as the regrettable disbelief from laity on up to the bishops. It is the duty of the bishop to appoint an exorcist to a case if one is needed, and there are a growing number of bishops who refuse to do so because they do not believe in the devil. Nor are theologians immune to the disbelief. Fr. Amorth cites the CDF document, "Fide cristiana e demonologia" regarding the tendency in modern Christian theologians to deny the existence of demons, the Enemy himself, or in some cases any kind of evil. Those who do not outright deny the existence of such beings consider them irrelavant in these enlightened days, or mere metaphor to coach us in morality.

The CDF says, in response to this:

These positions are presented with a great show of erudition by magazines and some theological dictionaries. It should cause great concern. The faithful are used to taking seriously Christ's warnings and the writings of the apostles. Those who know biblical science cannot fail to realize that they are faced with a campaign to change public opinion and will wonder where this process of demythologizing, which started in the
name of hermeneutics, will lead them.

Now, I must just say here that I have never encountered the word "hermeneutics" in a positive light. I realise that if it were still a pure science devoted to interpreting, it'd be fine, but it's become far too academic and politicised for my tastes. Its very presence should always be a huge red flag waving beneath a big neon sign which is affixed below a sky filled with sky-writers spelling out, "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!"

So, what does this have to do with writing? I think the reason horror's been in such a slump these last couple decades (with notable exceptions, of course) is the lack of belief in evil. Heck, it's hard enough getting people to believe in a God who was willing to become human for the sole purpose of dying horribly at our hands so that our sorry butts could actually be saved. Getting them to believe there's likely a malevolent being hovering just over their shoulder, who exists only to turn them from that God who died for them, seems nigh impossible. But as a writer of horror, that's my task. To make that evil palpable, to make it believable, and most important to make the reader fear it. Because once we fear it, then we can admit it's real, and then it's just a short jump away to knowing why it's so important to fight these things, not to give in to their temptations, and to trust in God's mercy and grace.
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18 May 2005
MST3K Wisdom
"I have mixed feelings about movie depictions of the central event in the Christian faith. For myself, I have the Bible and that works well for me. Also, I’m a Protestant, and we tend to be more Easter focused, while traditionally, Catholics have been a little more Passion focused. So it did me good to spend a little time there.

All that being said, I think it was a pretty fine movie, and darned if it didn’t get people talking about religion again, a subject that some are trying to close off from the public square, a pet peeve of mine. Though the Judeo-Christian worldview has served us well for more than two hundred years and underpins the finest society in the history of the world, there are those fighting hard to throw it all on the scrap heap and replace it with radical secularism, a worldview that has brought us Nazism, Communism and some of the greatest horrors of all time."

--Mike Nelson on viewing The Passion of the Christ

Relapsed Catholic
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O Make Me A Mask
O make me a mask and a wall to shut from your spies
Of the sharp, enamelled eyes and the spectacled claws
Rape and rebellion in the nurseries of my face,
Gag of dumbstruck tree to block from bare enemies
The bayonet tongue in this undefended prayerpiece,
The present mouth, and the sweetly blown trumpet of lies,
Shaped in old armour and oak the countenance of a dunce
To shield the glistening brain and blunt the examiners,
And a tear-stained widower grief drooped from the lashes
To veil belladonna and let the dry eyes perceive
Others betray the lamenting lies of their losses
By the curve of the nude mouth or the laugh up the sleeve.

Dylan Marlais Thomas, 27 October 1914 - 9 November 1953
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:20 AM
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17 May 2005
Luke, I Am Your Toaster!
Much fun over at
A Saintly Salmagundi.

Now I'm really craving a Pop-Tart.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:15 PM
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For His Dying Hour Was Gloom
Nathaniel Hawthorne died today, May 17, in 1864. Though I've not ever been able to make it fully through any of his novels, I've always loved his short stories. He manages a gorgeous sort of haunted quality to his prose that I really dig (quelle surprise). I've never been a fan of American authors, particularly the more modern ones like Steinbeck and Salinger. But Hawthorne I like, and it's a shame that most people are acquainted with only The Scarlet Letter. The dark, ironic morality tales his spins in his short stories deserve more attention.

From "The Minister's Black Veil":

Father Hooper's breath heaved; it rattled in his throat; but, with a mighty effort, grasping forward with his hands, he caught hold of life, and held it back till he should speak. He even raised himself in bed; and there he sat, shivering with the arms of death around him, while the black veil hung down, awful at that last moment, in the gathered terrors of a lifetime. And yet the faint, sad smile, so often there, now seemed to glimmer from its obscurity, and linger on Father Hooper's lips.

That's poetry, that is.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   1:14 PM
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Ale of the Earth
Having spent much of my life thinking rather poorly of beer, ale, lagers, etc., I was pleasantly surprised to discover there is, in fact, a type of these beverages that I like. As it turns out, I need a bitter, earthy ale. Recently, I encountered (thanks to Flambeaux) a Belgian ale by the name of Maredsous Brune (they've also got a Blond and Dark Blond, but I've not tried them). It's made by
Duvel, who took over the production of it from the Benedictine monks after whom it's named. Though I say "earthy," kashi simply says it tastes like dirt. Not far off, of course, but as far as my tastes are concerned I guess tasting like dirt's a good thing, because I love the stuff. It's not, admittedly, a taste for everyone, but I recommend it highly nevertheless, especially if you're a fan of dark and bitter.
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16 May 2005
Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel
O Holy Virgin, to whose feet we are led by our anxious uncertainty in our search for and attainment of what is true and good, invoking you by the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel, we beseech you to come to our assistance, when, along the road of this life, the darkness of error and of evil conspires towards our ruin by leading our minds and our hearts astray.

O Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the doubtful and the erring, that they be not seduced by the false appearances of good; render them steadfast in the race of the hostile and corrupting influences of passion and of sin.

O Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from your Divine Son a great love of virtue, and, in the hour of uncertainty and trial, the strength to embrace the way that leads to our salvation. If your hand sustains us, we shall walk unmolested along the path indicated to us by the life and words of Jesus, our Redeemer; and having followed freely and securely, even in the midst of this world's strife, the Sun of Truth and Justice under your maternal star, we shall come to the enjoyment of full and eternal peace with you in the haven of salvation.


Composed by Pope Pius XII
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:32 AM
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13 May 2005
The Golden Sequence
Come, holy Ghost, and bring from above
The splendor of thy light.

Come, father of the poor, come, giver of graces,
Come, light of our hearts.

Best of consolers, sweet guest of the soul,
And comfort of the weary.

Thou rest in labor, relief in burning toil,
Consoling us in sorrow.

O blessed light, fill the innermost hearts
Of those who trust in thee.

Without thy indwelling there is nothing in man,24
And nothing free of sin.

Cleanse what is sordid, give water in dryness,
And heal the bleeding wounds.

Bend what is proud, make warm what is cold,
Bring back the wayward soul.

Give to the faithful who trustingly beg thee
Thy seven holy gifts.

Grant virtue's reward, salvation in death,
And everlasting joy. Amen. Alleluia.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:47 PM
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Though kashi and I married nigh four years ago, Sunday, May 15th will be the first anniversary of the blessing of our marriage by the Church. A happy occasion for us, indeed. Happy anniversary, my sweet!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:31 PM
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If this were the title of a Deep Space Nine movie, I'd be excited. As it is, though, I'm filled with dread.
Dominion is the first version of Exorcist: The Beginning, the abominably bad film I reviewed here. It's the version that was written, filmed, and then canned by the studio who decided to start from scratch and produce one of the lamest excuses for a horror film in rather a while--possibly since Critters. Now they're putting out Paul Schrader's original version in a limited release. I hope that release does not include Dallas, because if it does, I'm obligated to see it. Of course, there's always the slimmest chance it could be good--after all, it's not as though studios have traditionally been great judges of quality film. And yet....

There's a fundamental lack of understanding on the part of filmmakers these days as to what is essential in making a good horror movie. What William Peter Blatty achieved in his book, The Exorcist, and what William Friedkin achieved in his translation of the book to film, is missing from much of current horror. One has only to look at the recent trend of re-making the horror classics (Amityville Horror, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.) to realise that these filmmakers have no idea how to produce effective horror. They see the classics, see how well they work, and deduce if they just remake them, somehow they'll succeed as well. Unfortunately, it's like making a copy with all the important bits whited out. It just doesn't gel. And most of the reason is a lack of belief. Even up into the eighties, people still believed in the evil they portrayed. But that belief has waned. Evil in movies has become little more than special effects and a tool for cheap scares. As JPII once said, "He who does not believe in the devil does not believe in the Gospel." If you don't believe in true evil, your portrayal of it will inevitably be flat and unthreatening. Of course, there's always something to be said for imagination and good storytelling--two other things which have clearly fallen by the wayside these days.

Ah, well, if Dominion comes to Dallas, I can at least chalk it up to research on what not to do. And hey, it's got a cool movie poster.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:29 PM
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Luck, Be a Lady
Happy Friday the 13th, everyone!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:47 AM
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Tomorrow marks the 69th anniversary of
Bobby Darin's birth, as well as the 7th anniversary of the death of Frank Sinatra. A few years back I got to attend a memorial benefit in honour of these two icons of American music. Various crooners from around the Dallas area sang the standards in an ambience reminiscent of the classy glitz these two men embodied. And yet, they could not have been more different. Sinatra always had the harder edge with his rough and tumble goodfella persona, while Darin was the romantic, filled with Keatsian tragedy (and he even managed to die fairly young at 37).

Anyway, in honour of the day, I give you the lyrics of Beyond the Sea. It's perhaps not quite the classic that Darin's Mack the Knife is, but I think it's much more of a defining song for him, and at the same time makes a pretty good memorial for Ol' Blue Eyes. Plus, it's basically a sea song, so kashi will enjoy it.

Beyond the Sea

Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waitin’ for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailin’.

Somewhere beyond the sea
She's there watchin’ for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms I’d go sailin’.

It's far beyond the stars
It's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon.

We'll meet beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailin'.

I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon
We'll meet … I know we'll meet … beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before.

Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailin'.

No more sailin' …
So long sailin' …
Bye, bye sailin'...
Move on out, captain …
So long, ensign …

Written by Charles Trenet and Jack Lawrence
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:56 AM
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12 May 2005
I'm not sure if I should be concerned or take comfort that I'm as evil as Fr. Tharp.

*linked to via Catholic Ragemonkey
Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:53 PM
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Novel Update
It's been a bit since I've done one of these, so I thought it was in order. Got another bunch of agent queries out this week, and am planning to get another bunch out by Monday. Praying I might get a bite from one of these, but we shall see. Should these queries not bear fruit, I've got a couple publishers in mind who don't actually require agents (as do pretty much all the big publishers). In the meantime, I've also got some short stories looking for homes, and I've recently been commissioned by our pastor to contribute a piece of poetry to Salve!, our somewhat quarterly newsletter. Novel Number Two proceeds apace. Alas, I've fallen into my usual trap of working on too many projects at once, so it's not been receiving the attention it deserves, but I'll soon finish a couple of the smaller projects, and then it'll be time to start cranking out chapters (assuming, as always, the Muse stays with me).

So, all in all things are going well. Now the waiting begins again.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:02 AM
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10 May 2005
On Love
During Lent I read The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Terrific book which differs very little from the movie made from it--essentially you get some subtle background information and a sense of just how many little things are wrong in the lives of these characters, all of which would have made a movie clunky and heavy-handed. Anyway, one bit really stood out, and so I excerpt it here:

"Long ago I despaired of ever loving my neighbor. Certain people ... repelled me. How could I love them? I thought. It tormented me, Damien; it led me to despair of myself ... and from that, very soon, to despair of my God. My faith was shattered...."

Karras looked up at Merrin with interest. "And what happened?" he asked.

"Ah, well ... at last I realized that God would never ask of me that which I know to be psychologically impossible; that the love which He asked was in my will and not meant to be felt as emotion at all. Not at all. He was asking that I act with love; that I do unto others; and that I should do it unto those who repelled me, I believe, was a greater act of love than any other."

So, loving your neighbour does not mean a squishy, niceness is nice, Barney the Dinosaur kind of love. It means wanting the best of all possible ends for one's neighbor. But sometimes, acting is not as physical as it seems. Prayer, for instance, may seem passive, but there are times it is the most active thing we can do. There are times when it is the only way in which we can love our neighbour. Early in The Exorcist Fr. Merrin thinks to himself of a man in his presence (paraphrasing here, as I've no longer got the book handy): "This man is difficult to love." We encounter people like this all the time. Some are just baffling to us, some we take an instant dislike to, some may actually become enemies. We can (and should) pray for our loved ones all we want, but if we do not pray for those who are hard to love, then we're not following His word. Christ's Passion and death are the ultimate example of the love He taught. While on the cross he did not rail against those who crucified Him. He did not blame them, or resent them, or curse them. He prayed to His Father for them: "Father forgive them, they know not what they do" (Lk 23:24). It's for these people who killed him, and for all of us sinners across time who have heaped our sins upon His back, that He laid down His life. It is those who were undeserving of forgiveness that he forgave.

It is in loving our neighbours, no matter their deeds, that we should do the same. We don't have to run up and hug these people. We certainly don't have to bow to their opinions if their opinions are wrong--as our pastor recently said (again paraphrasing), "No, not all opinions are equal in weight." But we should help those that are difficult to love at every turn, even if prayer is our only way to act in love.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:22 AM
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09 May 2005
The Ship of Life*
Steer the ship of my life, Lord, to your quiet harbor, where I can be safe from the storms of sin and conflict. Show me the course I should take. Renew in me the gift of discernment, so that I can see the right direction in which I should go. And give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course, even when the sea is rough and the waves are high, knowing that through enduring hardship and danger in your name we shall find comfort and peace.


*Prayer of St. Basil the Great
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:21 AM
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06 May 2005
kashi's Emergency Nighttime Prayer
God, thanks for today.
I'm sorry for my sins.
Please bless the Pope.
Now I'm going to bed.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:21 PM
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Thanks to
Matthew over at Holy Whapping, I made my way to the website of one Duncan G. Stroik, principal of his own architectural firm and professor at Notre Dame. Having encountered more ugly churches in the year since kashi and I came into the Church than I wish to remember, Stroik's designs are a wonderful change of pace. Someone is actually attempting to bring beauty back into our churches! There are even altar rails! It's so nice to know that the classical aesthetic is not completely lost.

Stroik's site also has a list of his online publications for viewing. I've only had a chance to read the first two, "10 Myths of Contemporary Church Architecture" and "Battle Plan for Beauty," but if they are any indication, I reckon all his writings are worth a look. If you have any interest in beauty in our places of worship, I highly recommend you check it out.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:30 PM
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Prayer Against Pests
As the week comes to a close, the
Rogation Days having led us to the Ascension yesterday, it seems a good time to post the following prayer to ask for God's mercy and for his blessing on those who work the earth, whether it be in a simple garden or large farm. And as I've heard many here at work complaining of aphids, it seems ever more appropriate.

Graciously hear our prayers, we beseech You, O Lord, that we who are justly punished for our sins and must bear the punishment of this plague, may be freed from it for the glory of Your name. By Your power may these injurious animals be driven off so that they will do no harm to any one and will leave our fields and meadows unharmed, and so that the things sprouting and growing in these fields may honor Your majesty and serve our needs. Amen.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:02 AM
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03 May 2005
Pogues - The Good Parts Version
Recently, I had a hankering to listen to some Pogues while doing a spot of writing. The problem was that I didn't want to listen to any one album, but rather a smattering of their best from all their albums.* Well, says I to meself, looks like I'm going to have to remedy this. So, last night I burned a sort of Essential Pogues disc: Pogues, the Good Parts Version. Not that there are any terrible songs amongst their first five albums, but those I chose are essential according to the JPW.

While putting the track list together, I realised something about the Pogues. Listening to them is like taking a trip through Hell. Never mind that a goodly number of their songs have "hell," "death," "the damned" or some variant thereof in the title. Even the relatively happy drinking songs have a manic quality to them. It's very much a Dantean sort of journey; the Pogues just rarely make it into Purgatory, and probably have no clue that there's anything beyond that. Their music is something of a love affair with the various circles of Hell. You want to find vice, sin, despair, and loss? Listen to the Pogues. It's a very poetic trip through Hell, too. Besides their variant on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in "Turkish Song of the Damned," there's also the dark beauty of "Lorca's Novena," the haunted thrum of "Wake of the Medusa," and the bittersweet remembrance of "The Broad Majestic Shannon." The Pogues are a lot like taking Dante, Goethe, Arthur Rimbaud, Dylan Thomas, and Sergio Leone, dropping them in an Irish pub, shaking it up like a snow globe, and then seeing what pours out.

And all of this is to say, simply, that my new Pogues: The Good Parts Version disc is perfect background music for several of the stories I'm currently working on. As stated
once before, I'm on a mission to revive the essence of horror, and I think I'm now on the right path. You want darkness? I'll show you darkness.

*I'm counting only the Shane MacGowan years here. What can I say? I'm a Pogues purist.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:19 PM
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02 May 2005
Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

-Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:19 AM
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