Monthly Archives: January 2007

This Hasn’t Been an Easy Month for Our Net Friends, No.

Miscarriage deaths. Parental deaths. Fiance deaths. And now, this, via Locus:

David Eddings accidentally burns down his office.

And his vintage sportscar, driveway junipers, and original mss. Plus the fax to his sick wife’s doctor.

I’m not a David Eddings fan, but the man’s 75 years old and supporting his wife and mother. Losing your workspace and all your stuff — it would make you just feel sick. I think prayers are called for. (I don’t see any call for donations at Locus, though, so the insurance must have been all paid up.)

Come on, February.


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January 31 in the Irish Martyrologies

From the Martyrology of Gorman:

Forba in mis do Mhaedocc,
dom-Chumma cain comraind,
do Mhaelanfaidh amgand,
do Chainnech, do Chairnan,
do Lug-aed fial amlond,
do Ebnait dia n-adhramm,
do Metran mhor mholta
dan dolta ‘sin dagrand,
do Saturnin sarmaith
in lanraith dia labramm,
do Sillan seng saerocc,
do da-Thaedoc tabram.
A noemh uile Enair
do erail ar n-anmann.

The month’s finish let us give to Maedoc,
to Cumma — a fair participation —
to Mael-Anfaid the generous;
to Cainnech; to Caernan;
to Lug-aed, modest, gentle;
to Ebnait whom we honor;
to Metranus the great and lauded —
a poem told in good stanza —
to Saturninus, excellently good,
fully gracious, of whom we speak;
to Sillan, slender, noble warrior;
to your Taedoc —
Every saint of January
to direct our souls.

From the Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee:

Pridie cal. Febr.

Sluind Aed fortren Ferna,
Mael-anfaid ainm remain,
benait co mBrig romoir
barr find for sluag enair.

Declare strong Aed of Ferns,
Mael-anfaid, a name preeminent:
they strike with mighty Brig
a fair end (Barrfind) on January’s host.

I really like the notes!

Maedoc of Ferns, i.e. “my Aedoc”, i.e. of the Fir Luirc of
Lough Erne was he…

Fifty bishops of the Britons of Cell Muine came on their
pilgrimage to Maedoc of Ferns. They came because Maedoc of Ferns
was a pupil of David of Cell Muine. From David’s time, flesh was
not brought into the refectory of Cell Muine until
Maedoc’s successor brought it, and hence David’s strife
and contumacy towards the successor that brought it; and
his remaining in the refectory, i.e. the abbacy of Cell
Muine, with his feet not touching the ground, so long as
he was alive. So they came in pilgrimage to Maedoc.

They were taken into the guest-house in the Lent of spring. There
was brought them for dinner fifty cakes, and leeks, and whey-water.

“Why has this been brought?” says the bishop.

“For you to consume it,” says the house-steward.

“Take it away,” says the bishop: “nothing shall be consumed
until there is a pig and an ox there.”

The house-steward relates this. “Permission,” says Maedoc.

It is brought to them. “‘Tis well,” quoth he. They eat the meat.
They are there until the morrow.

Maedoc salutes them. “Well,” says Maedoc, “it is not too
much to reprove you for eating the meat in Lent and refusing
the bread.”

“Not from study have you delivered that, o Maedoc,” says the bishop.

“Well?” says Maedoc.

“Easy,” quoth the bishop. “The pig drank its mother’s milk,
and the ox which was brought ate nothing but the grass of
the earth. But in the cakes there were three hundred sixty-five
weevils; therefore, we did not consume it.”

Mael-anfaid, i.e. abbot of Dairinis, i.e. at Mochutu’s Lismore is
Dairinis, where a great river goes out to sea…

That is the Mael-anfaid who beheld a certain little bird a-wailing
and lamenting. “O my God,” says he, “What has happened yonder?
I will not partake of food until it is revealed to me.”

Now, when he was there, he saw an angel coming toward him. “That is
well, o cleric,” says the angel, “do not let this put you into
grief any more. Molua mac Ocha has died, and therefore all living
creatures bewail him, for never has he killed any animal, little or
big: so human beings do not bewail him more than the other animals and
the little bird which you see.”

*leaping to conclusion* So now we also know where the name “Dairine” comes from!

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January 30 in the Irish Martyrologies

From the Martyrology of Gorman:

Ypolit uais, Enan,
Aldeguind og amra,
Mathias tend eirbe,
Alexander aitchimm,
Bathild dagfial delbda,
la Flauian co feidle:
Barrfind, Ternoc thuirmthir,
Cronan, cruimthir Eilbe.

Noble Hippolytus, Enan:
Aldegundis, marvellous virgin;
Matthias, a strong fence;
Alexander, I beseech.
Bathildis, excellently modest, shapely,
with Flavianus the steadfast:
Barrfind, Ternoc who is reckoned,
Cronan, Eilbe the priest.

From the Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee:

iii. cal. Febr.

Coecae ar cet martir
martrae morsus dorus,
ainsium ar lin ammus
Enan Roiss rin solus!

Fifty and a hundred martyrs,
the door of martyrdom magnified them:
may Enan of Ross(mor), the bright star,
protect me against a number of temptations!

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Wherein the Blogger Is Bitter against Whitley Stokes

Whitley Stokes, I am disappointed in you.

I have trusted you all these years to give me a true translation of Irish mss, and what do you do?

You lie to me! By omission, granted. But still! Whitley, my trusted Whitley!

Sigh.Yes, I went over to the Corpus of Electronic Texts to take a gander at the Vita of St. Brigit (whose feastday is the 1st of February) from the Leabhar Breac and its translation by Whitley Stokes. I was reading a bit more closely than usual the reference bits of the Bible verses, since we now have the Douay Rheims and Vulgate online, and what did I see?

Whole paragraphs of the vita’s preface discussion of virginity were left out! PARAGRAPHS! What kind of lame excuse for scholarship is THAT!? I expect more from my Victorians!

And I can do something about the Latin, but the Middle Irish? In time for St. Brigid’s Day? Good luck with that!

(I will also mention that the CELT English translation text had been proofread twice, but retained multiple lovely misspellings of common English words. Like “preganant”. Yeah, buddy, those grad students were sure doing a great job proofing. Yuppers.)

Bah, I say. Bah and humbug.

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January 29 in the Irish Martyrologies

In Félire Húi Gormáin (The Martyrology of Gorman):

Mo Chenna, Blath bulid,
Cronan cian o chintaib,
Dallan mac fial Forgail,
Papias, Maurus milidh,
tri clarenich cardair:
Ualeir co n-aeib ordain,
Segein ro siacht toethir,
la Boethin nar’ borbaig.

My Cenna, blooming Blath,
Cronan far from crimes,
Dallan, Forgail’s modest son:
Papias, Maurus, the soldiers.
Three table-faced ones are loved:
Valerius with dignity’s beauty,
Segein who reached the silent land, [ie, Heaven]
with Boethin who wrought no rudeness.

In Félire Óengusso Céli Dé (The Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee):

iv. cal. Febr.

Ain epscoip ro radius
ron-snadat diar ndilius,
Hipolitus, Paulus,
Gillas, Constantinus.

Splendid the bishops I’ve mentioned —
May they protect us to our possession!
Hippolytus, Paulus,
Gildas, Constantinus.

From Whitley Stokes’ translation and editing, and from, of course.

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Happy St. Blath’s Day!

It’s the feastday of St. Blath of Kildare (pronounced ‘blah’, means ‘flower’), the incredibly patient and incredibly skilled cook among the nuns of St. Brigid’s monastery in Cell Dara! It was said that bread and bacon in St. Brigid’s house tasted better than a feast anywhere else.

Why did this make her a saint?

Because St. Brigid was always giving away the food, or inviting home a zillion guests, or trusting in God to make sure there’d be enough milk, bread, and bacon in the house. For St. Blath, every day was a chef’s mission impossible. But somehow, as folks with vows of poverty usually do, God provided, and the nuns didn’t have to fast much more than they were supposed to. (With help from Brigid’s miraculous luck with getting food given to them, flitches of bacon back from dogs who stole them a month ago, and cows giving more milk than physically possible.)

Now, my old fake etymology explanation that St. Blath is St. Blog, and that ‘blah, blah, blah’ comes from her name, was of course a joke. But I still think she’s well in the spirit of our ‘parish’. It’s been a hard month for many of us, I know, and I hope that patient, practical St. Blath will remember those of us who are grieving. She didn’t ask for her crazy life, either. But she trusted in God and kept going, and it did work out in the end.

Blath, Blath, Blath, pray for us.

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An Alternate Bakumatsu Anime?

If you’ve watched Rurouni Kenshin, you know the Bakumatsu — the period when the shogunate fought various rebellions,  the rebels strove to bring down the shogunate and put in a new “imperial” government, and all while foreigners traded in Japan courtesy of Commodore Perry’s Black Ship “diplomacy” and brought in change after change.

So… an alternate history Bakumatsu anime? With an acting troupe? And geisha? And all sorts of real historical characters tangled up in ahistorical revenge plots, conspiracies, and magic? And all sorts of pretty and cool things?

Yes, that’s right. I’ve been sucked into another intellectual, arty magic kenjutsu anime full of history I don’t know, the way other people are suckers for bishonen or pretty girls with guns. But dang it, at least I’m a highly cultured fangirl sucker for this stuff. 🙂

The name of this thing is *take deep breath* Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto.

Watch for it.

UPDATE: Spelling fixed. Also, the meaning of the title is apparently something like “Bakumatsu Machinery of Power Theory: Colorful Flowers Must Fade”. That last bit is all the first line of a poem — a poem which incidentally determines the order of the Japanese syllabary. It probably is using it both in the sense of “The ABCs of the Factions That Made History” and the sense that “all these characters and factions will pass away shortly, due to the new world they’ve made”.

Btw, if all this isn’t enough for you, the manga of Gintama is readily available in American stores and the anime is probably coming soon. Gintama imagines what would have happened if 19th century Japan had been visited by black starships full of aliens instead of US navy ships.  Suddenly Bakumatsu Edo is reimagined with limos and VCRs, basically. And giant monsters are rampaging through Tokyo for a reason — the aliens brought them along as pets.

It’s a pretty funny concept, but for a non-Japanese person, it’s more of a heh. I mean, it’s hard to really get into the game when you keep remembering, “Oh, yeah, they’re comparing us — or our ancestors — to these crazy, incomprehensible alien critters.” OTOH, it is definitely good skiffy entertainment.

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