Monthly Archives: August 2008


Apparently, the Spanish-speaking world was fond enough of Pope Pius IX that it named desserts after him. Some describe them as looking like his head, but I guess it’s more his tiara or miter.

Here’s a Spanish site. The piononos of Santa Fe, which they claim are the original ones, look like a sort of popover-shaped cake or muffin. They describe them as “Spanish petit-fours”. They also have a blog, to attempt to make you drool. 🙂

Here’s some Malaga piononos.

Piononos in Argentina are a sort of elaborate jelly roll. Here’s a Peruvian egg company’s recipe for a similar four-egg pionono roll. Scroll down for one with 9 eggs, but most of that’s for the blancmange filling, I think. I guess that’s why other people make low calorie piononos. Another roll recipe.

This pionono recipe isn’t even a cake. It’s plantains stuffed with cheese and then corked with flour, eggs, and water. Puerto Rican roadside food booths apparently go with plantains and seasoned ground beef and then deep fry the puppy.

An Argentine-style bakery in Miami, FL, offers a salad version of a pionono! Italians apparently also feel that a pionono can be a salad or a sweet. In Uruguay, a pionono is a rolled submarine sandwich!

So if it’s cylindrical and yummy, it’s a pionono.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Perfect Olympics Movie

In the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, the US pentathlon team consisted of:

Lt. George S. Patton — He nearly killed himself trying to win a medal, and placed 5th — or maybe he really placed higher, and was robbed by bad refereeing. Either way, destined to do big things with tanks. But first, he had to go from zero to fencing hero, ride a perfect round on a horse he didn’t know, and survive his coach drugging him.

Jim Thorpe — He won gold in pentathlon and decathlon, and is perhaps the greatest athlete of all time. He played pro football and pro baseball. A member of the Sac and Fox/Sauk tribes from the plains of Oklahoma, he kicked ass, took names, and chewed bubblegum — then had his medals taken away in disgrace.

Avery Brundage — Destined to become the highly controversial head of the International Olympics Committee for many years, for good and ill. He finished 6th and 16th in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon; and he’s the guy who informed on Thorpe to the IOC!

There has GOT to be a movie in this.

Just showing the men’s training, and their performance in the pentathlon would be a great and highly scenic movie. You’d see them swimming, running, riding horses, shooting pistols, and fencing, too. And then, when the pentathlon is over and the medals given out, the twists begin.

Was Brundage really the sorest loser of all time, turning on his teammate out of spite and (probably) racism, too? Was he acting out of idealism, perhaps tormented by the horror of having to turn in a gold medalist from his own country?

And then Patton, who’d subdued his own natural demand to win to the decision of the judges, at least publicly. Did he know about what Brundage did? (Surely he couldn’t have — but what would he have done if he’d found out about such a breach of what he’d been taught as an honor code? Would he have only suspected? Would he have tried to learn the truth? Was there any history between the two later on, especially given Brundage’s pro-Nazi sympathies later on?)

But most of all, Thorpe. What would it be like, to be the poor boy, the natural athlete, and the minority guy among a bunch of rich sportsmen who only did sports for fun, and crazy grinds like Patton who made hard work replace natural talent? What would it be like, to go from Oklahoma to the thrones of kings, and then to fall — only to get back up again, and have a full career, however checkered?

Who would have bonded with whom? Who would have understood each other’s manners and values best? Who would have made more friends among the other teams — friends destined to fight and perhaps die in the First and Second World Wars, who would perhaps trade fire with Patton?

I’m telling you, this could get more interesting than Chariots of Fire.

You could call it something like “Aiming for Gold“.

And if that doesn’t work, my dad thinks you should kidnap them through a space-time portal and bring them to a fantasy land to be destined heroes. ‘Cause, you know, Jim Thorpe would be a pretty awesome Hero of Destiny, and so would Patton. (Maybe Brundage can be Aramis. Or Judas.)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Time in a Bulletin

I forgot to post last night about a really fascinating project on the website of St. Luke’s Parish in Beavercreek, Ohio. (The Beavercreek that’s a suburb of Dayton, not the “Beaver Creek” on the other side of the state.)

Some wonderful soul has scanned in, and posted, the parish bulletins from 1955 to 1976, right next to the current run. I do not think you could possibly find a finer snapshot of change and continuity in a parish, without someone writing a book. Even hymn listings are included.

When the run of bulletins begins, the parish does not yet have a church and had to meet for Mass at a nearby public school. (What was then “Beavercreek Primary School” on “Xenia Pike” is now “Main Elementary” on “Dayton-Xenia Road”.) Over the course of time, the parish converted a barn into Bishop Ford Hall and a house into a rectory, and since then has built a church, school, convent, new cafeteria, and new church.

There are many surprises for a Catholic my age. Apparently the 8 AM Mass at St. Luke’s was still in Latin in 1970. So my childhood memories of my mom complaining about Latin’s absence — she was complaining about a deprivation that was RECENT.

“Our Parish Is a Tithing Parish”. It is??

“A Sister receives about $700.00 a year for teaching; a Lay Teacher a minimum of $2000. The difference, $1300, is what a Religious Sister contributes.”

“We ask St. Luke to bring us better weather for the Tuesday evening Meeting at the High School Cafeteria.”

“An all expense trip to Cincinnati for one day is offered to each of the three boys who learn their Mass Latin first. Get set Boys!”


“Through a great mystery, the all powerful and all-good God has designed that men should share in carrying on the mission of His Son become Man. All are called to share in carrying on in space and time the Mission of Christ. Our campaign [raising money to build the parish]  is based on this vocation… We are instruments of God… Pro Deo.

“Please pray daily for the success of our campaign.

“Sincerely yours in Christ,

“Martin T. Gilligan, Pastor.”


In 1955, people were already worried about a relative decline in numbers of Catholic women going into the religious life. Oh-ho….

There’s also a (retrospectively) sad posting from Fr. Jansen, when he first became pastor later in the seventies, about what he’d been taught by the archdiocese were the responsibilities of a “Pastoral Administrator”. Depressingly, there is no mention of any real pastoral stuff — just business. No wonder the job ate him up.

Anyway, it’s all interesting!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I Had to Open My Mouth. Heh.

I know, I know, the Holy Spirit does this stuff to help us and I need to embrace suffering as a way toward perfection, it says here. But honest to goodness, sometimes the good Lord is Not Subtle.

So yeah, there’s all this stuff going on with our poor dog (who is actually getting a lot of enjoyment out of being sick, being a dog who appreciates the bright side of life, i.e. being hand-fed lots of treats and goodies). And there I go, reading that POV poem for St. Andrew and writing a little song after it, and trying to do the whole embrace the cross thing.

So should I have figured that there was something else in the way of suffering coming on? Ho, yus. That’s just the way God works. (And I’d tell you folks all about it, but it’s not really my story, and public bitching about it also precludes really offering it up. But it’s nothing anybody’s going to die from, so don’t worry.)

So I can’t complain. It’s not like it’s martyrdom like poor “Rania” got, and I do try to offer it up, and it does seem to be in the way of process improvement. (So, yeah, thank you for the favors, St. Joseph. You’re doing a lot for us this year and I APPRECIATE IT.)

But seeing as I’m not St. Therese, that does not console me very much. Embracing the Cross just means getting more use out of events and making love more available to others; it doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

Oh, well. The Father’s loved more by the younger son who bitches and moans and then does the job, then by the one who claims he’s going to do it and doesn’t.  I’m both those guys. 🙂

Anyway, the pre-feast mortification is now officially done, ’cause it’s now the Feast of the Assumption. Eat lots of fruit and have fun on Lady Day in Summer, folks!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Blogger and Martyr

Saudi member of the “religious police” recently killed his own daughter for becoming a Christian. He cut her tongue, then burned her to death — a common method of ‘honor killing’.

The girl was a blogger under several handles, including “Rania”.

“She wrote that her life became an ordeal after her family members grew suspicious about her after a religious discussion with them.

She said that her brother found some Christian articles written by her as well as a cross sign on her computer screen. Since then he started to insult her and blamed the internet for pushing her to change her religion.”

Holy Rania, pray for us!

UPDATE: More on the story in the comment boxes of a site called Crossroads Arabia:

Saudi in US said:

I think this story is the same as one that was covered on blogs last week. Teh version I saw was a little different and indicated the brother killed her. Also, that no charges were filed in the case, the death was ruled accidental. She must have stuck her tongue in a 220 electrical outlet to lose the tongue and burn.

I think the story of the girl is accurate as there is a voice recording of an hr long interview with her on the web. The girl in the interview spoke about her conversion with a very hard to replicate Hijazi accent (Egyptian Copts groups will not be able to do it without a Saudi) and sounded well educated. It is a very sad story.

I think King Abdullah as an opportunity here to show that his initiative for religious tolerance is real. If the story is true, he needs to step in with all his authority to bring justice. If he doesn’t, he will lose a lot in international opinion. I know it is a tough spot for the king, but he made an international commitment and needs to step to the plate and hit one now. I just cannot see how he can avoid deal with the international publicity this will bring otherwise.

It’s very common, in cases of ‘honor killing’, to get a juvenile male member of the family to take the rap for the murder, when in reality the whole family was involved or the elders did it. It’s also historically been very common for Christian martyrs to have their tongues wounded or cut out, by people who hate the truth they’re speaking. St. Romanus of Caesarea and St. Christina are good examples of this. Heck, you know the famous Egyptian Coptic priest and TV apologist, Father Boutros? His older brother was apparently martyred and had his tongue cut out for preaching. Ouch.

But there’s a really nasty sort of desperation in using an electrical outlet to torture a daughter who spread the Gospel by electron. May it be remembered to her glory.

Holy Rania, pray for us!

— Excerpts from the EF Mass for Virgin Martyrs:

I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed: I meditated also on Thy commandments, which I loved exceedingly. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

I will give glory to Thee, O Lord, O King, and I will praise Thee, O God my Savior. I will give glory to Thy name: for Thou hast been a helper and protector to me… And Thou has delivered me, according to the multitude of the mercy of Thy name, from them that did roar, prepared to devour; out of the hands of them that sought my life, and from the gates of afflictions which compassed me about: from the oppression of the flame which surrounded me… My soul shall praise the Lord even to death: because Thou, O Lord our God, deliverest them that wait for Thee, and savest them out of the hands of the nations.

Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity. Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness. Alleluia, alleluia. After her shall virgins be brought to the king: her neighbors shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.

Let the proud be ashamed because they have done unjustly towards me: but I will be employed in Thy commandments and in Thy justifications, that I may not be confounded.


Filed under Uncategorized

Hello, Cross

I was reading Pope Benedict XVI’s homily series on the Apostles yesterday, and came across a rather neat quote in the St. Andrew papal audience talk. (Not footnoted! Bah!) It’s from some version (called the Passion of Andrew) of the apocryphal Acts of Andrew and his Martyrdom, but unfortunately not a version I can find online. (There’s similar stuff in the M.R. James translation, but the poem’s argument is different. There’s also a Latin hymn that’s all about the “Ave, Cruce” thing, but that has a different argument too.)

Anyway, the story gets to the point where St. Andrew is about to be crucified on his X-shaped cross. Andrew steps up to the cross eagerly and addresses it like a living being. And a song version came into my mind.

Let me add that, while I endorse the sentiments in theory, I’ve been far from living up to them this last few weeks….

Hello, Cross
Lyrics: Maureen S. O’Brien, 8/12-8/13/08
(after the Passion of Andrew)
Music: Maureen S. O’Brien, 8/12/08

Hello, cross.
You’re ugly as sin,
But lovely, since Christ’s
Body broke you in.
The battlesteed
He rode to save the world —
His dead limbs gleamed against you
Just like pearls.

Have you waited here
Since those days of old?
I come to you now
Exultantly, and bold.
Before He mounted you,
You made us fear.
Now we see only
All His love left here.

You hold so much joy, so many gifts to give!
Help me follow the One who died so I may live.

Take me far from
The homes of men.
Carry me to
My Teacher again.
Take me far from
The homes of men.
Carry me to
My Teacher again.

You hold so much joy, so many gifts to give!
Help me follow the One who died so I may live.

Hello, cross.
By you, He did win.
And through you, I hope
That He will take me in.
Hello, cross.
You’re ugly as sin.
But I’ll hold you tight,
Like He held you to Him.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

St. Methodius — Quotable!

Apparently, St. Methodius of Olympus, apostle to the Slavs, had a somewhat puckish side — one which would either have made him a very misunderstood blogger or an awesome purveyor of T-shirts.

In Discourse 6 of the Banquet of the Ten Virgins (put in the mouth of St. Agatha), we have a very witty (and beautiful, and moving) section which talks about Christian rewards for virgins in terms of the famous pagan initiation rites (showing how much cooler it was to be Christian and a virgin, of course). So after St. Agatha talks about meeting Jesus in the clouds at the end of the world, Chapter 5 begins with this line:

These are the orgies of our Mysteries.”

1 Comment

Filed under Church

Miss Eden Goes to Washington

The GOP congresscritters have taken over the empty chamber, in a protest against recessing the House and not having a vote about drilling for oil. We haven’t been hearing much about this on the news, alas, and C-SPAN’s not allowed to show it. This hasn’t discouraged House Republicans. Dissenting with wit and fighting when nobody else cares — that’s what the GOP does best! So it’s back to being eager Young Republicans who refuse to be oppressed, for our eager Congresscritters.

Dawn Eden, intrepid blogger, has an extensive report on her day in the midst of all this fun, which is free and open to the public. You too can go on the floor of the chamber!

Apparently, there’s also a blogger in the House:

….Texas Rep. John Culberson, who makes it clear right off that he is a techie. The rep has found ways to beat the media’s near-blackout by posting video updates on and short blog items on”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Heart and Reason Meet

“… The theory of evolution sees the truth, but it sees only half of it. It does not see that behind evolution there’s the Spirit of creation.

“We are struggling for the expansion of reason, and thus for a form of reason that is open to the beautiful, not leaving it aside as something totally different or irrational. Christian art is a rational art – think of Gothic art or the great music or, in this case, our Baroque art – but it’s an artistic expression of a greatly amplified reason, in which the heart and reason meet.

“This is the point. This, I think, is in some ways the proof of the truth of Christianity: the heart and reason meet, beauty and truth touch one another.

“The more we live in the beauty of the truth, the more the faith can return to being creative also in our time, and express itself in convincing artistic forms.”

From Pope Benedict XVI’s vacation Q&A session with priests in Northern Italy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Luminous Wake

“However, if we look to the saints, this great luminous wake with which God has passed through history, we truly see that here is a force for good that survives through millennia, here is truly light from light.

“In the same way, if we contemplate the beautiful works of art created by the faith, they represent, I would simply say, the living proof of the faith.

“If I look at this beautiful cathedral, it is a living proclamation! It speaks to us, and starting from the beauty of the cathedral we can visually proclaim God, Christ, and all God’s mysteries: here they have taken form, and they look at us. All the great works of art, the cathedrals – the Gothic cathedrals and the splendid Baroque churches – are a luminous sign of God, and thus are truly a manifestation, an epiphany of God.

“In Christianity it’s precisely a matter of this epiphany: that God has become a veiled Epiphany – he appears and is resplendent.

“We just heard the organ in all its splendor, and I think that the great music born in the Church is a way of rendering audible and perceptible the truth of our faith: from Gregorian chant to the music of the cathedrals up to Palestrina and his epoch, through Bach and Mozart and Bruckner and so on … Listening to all these works – the Passion of Bach, his Mass in B Minor, and the great spiritual compositions of the polyphony of the 16th century, the Viennese school, all the great music even of minor composers – suddenly we feel: ‘It’s true!’

Where things such as these works are born, there’s the truth. Without an intuition about the true creative center of the world, such beauty cannot be born.”

From Pope Benedict XVI’s vacation Q&A session with priests in Northern Italy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bush Senior with the US Women’s Saber Medalists

Am I the only one who noticed him giving one of the ladies his handkerchief?

Sigh. That’s old school.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

C to the E to the R to the N

A video that explains just what CERN’s been up to, and why. Via Seraphic Single.

Heh. There’s something about a good workplace that makes people want to make silly videos.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


Lame, lame, lame.

The parishes of Ascension (Kettering/edge of Beavercreek — huge, rich), St. Helen’s (Riverside/edge of Beavercreek and Dayton — biggish, not rich, but full of contributing parishioners), and Immaculate Conception (not big or rich anymore, but still holding a huge moneymaking festival) have formed the “One Bread, One Body Partnership”.

In practical terms, what does this mean?

On Labor Day, only one Mass will be offered, in three huge parishes with plenty of priests. Oh, and said Mass will be all the way over at ugly round Ascension.

One Bread, One Body, One Cookout, I guess.


Filed under Uncategorized

Another Great Unused Idea for a Historical Romance Novel

So you want to tap that bizarre nun romance fetish some people have, but without the icky vowbreaker part.

Two words: “Secular canoness”.

So you’ve got an orphaned girl of noble family? They used to stick ’em (in France) into the secular canoness house for their schooling, give ’em a prebend when they were grown, and then send ’em out into French society without needing chaperones and kinswomen. Since secular canonesses only made promises and could petition to be let off at any time, a lot of orphaned gentlewomen found husbands through working for the Church. Hey, it worked for Bonnie Prince Charles’ wife. (Although she clearly should not have married Bonnie Prince Charles.)

Or maybe you’re just a gentlewoman with time on your hands and no wish to get married right off, a good singing voice and no objection to doing good works. Secular canonesses retained the right to own their own property and have servants, while able to have a teaching/Office-singing/hospice-keeping career of doing good. And again, as long as you’re a secular canoness, you could leave. (Of course, if you didn’t want to pulled out by your family to marry their candidate groom, maybe you’d rather be a canoness regular or a nun. Vows and a Rule could come in handy.)

Other underused possibilities: Beguines. Houses of Tertiary Order members living in community. Tertiary Orders, period. (Young Third Order Franciscans in love… awwwww. Young Third Order Dominicans in love… awwww, geek love. Young Third Order Franciscan in love with young Third Order Dominican… CONFLICT!)

I better shut up now and run away. 🙂


Filed under Uncategorized