Daily Archives: October 7, 2009

Eyeshield 21

If you’ve ever thought that what the world really needs is a Japanese high school football anime, there is in fact such a thing. Eyeshield 21 is one of those immensely long, game-filled shonen sports manga (a series targeted toward boys); it lasted for seven years. The anime is over a hundred episodes long, so if you like this sort of thing, there’s plenty to love.

The concept is pretty charming. The protagonist is a short, slight boy who doesn’t do terribly well in school and is used as a fetch-and-carry minion by the school plug-uglies. He passes the exams and makes it into a good high school by the skin of his teeth and a lot of tutoring. But it seems as if history will repeat itself — until he is saved by a member of the American football school club. This new friend gives him the courage to resist and evade the newest crop of bullies. Also, he finds himself recruited onto the football team as a running back.

Which puts the total number of football players on the high school team at… um… three. That means they have to recruit 8 more players if they even want to play against other schools. But these guys are dreaming of winning the national high school championship at Christmastime. This being anime, they might just make it….

It’s pretty cool to see a show where an American game is the exotic, trendy new sport. Sometimes I even know the football quiz answers. 🙂

Crunchyroll has this show in subtitled form for you to watch, free and legal. They have 125 episodes.

(I guess a few episodes dubbed into English were on the Cartoon Network’s Toonami on-demand site for a while in 2008, but I could never get that site to work.)

You can also watch the long-running high school basketball anime, Slam Dunk, at Crunchyroll. In which a Japanese high school boy joins the basketball team in the hope of impressing girls, and finds himself in the middle of some kind of basketball epic. They’ve only got 101 episodes of that up.

Oh, and in case any of you parental types are wondering — shonen sports series aimed at middle-schoolers, like this one, usually keep it pretty clean. Violence is more of a concern, but it’s usually either not very violent or simply cartoon violence. You’re much more likely to lose your mind from seeing games dragged out over two or three episodes, a la all the tournament shows inspired by Dragonball Z.


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Our Lady of Good Delivery

Our Lady of Good Delivery
October 7, 2009 by marialectrix

“Nuestra Senora de Buen Parto” or “La Virgen de Buen Parto” is mostly known in this country through Our Lady of La Leche y Buen Parto’s statue, down in St. Augustine, Florida. She’s the patroness of the breastfeeding organization, the La Leche League, so we think of her as a patroness of ladies with breastfeeding problems.

But in Valencia, Spain and elsewhere, her patronage of pregnant women and women in labor is very important.

So in honor of Heather Price and her passenger Elizabeth, a prayer from Valencia (translated).

Our God and Father, who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary to be a fitting dwelling, for Your Son, conceived through the work of the Holy Spirit —

Through Mary’s virginal delivery, convert the pains of women who believe in You into joy. Through our Redeemer’s birth, present the good things of salvation to humanity.

Look with favor upon this daughter of Yours, to whom has also been given the gift of motherhood; and through the intercession of the mother of Your Son, grant that the fruit which she has conceived may develop in good health, have a happy emergence into the light, employ her whole life in Your holy service, and attain the Kingdom of Heaven along with all her family.


Our Lady of Good Delivery, Mission Nombre de Dios, St. Augustine FL.

UPDATE: Links will be fixed later today… I accidentally posted this on the podcast blog.

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“Dream of the Rood” a Pagan Poem?!

I’ve been looking around on the Web lately, and a number of the usual sources (Wikipedia, term papers you can pay for, etc.) are convinced that “Dream of the Rood” is less Christian than pagan. Or that the pagan elements overshadow the Christian ones. Or that the poet’s POV at the beginning of the story is that of a pagan. Etc. A lot of these writers aren’t Christian, of course, so it’s possible for them to misunderstand enough to believe this. But then, this sort of thing actually leads some Christian people to think it’s a poem of tree idolatry. (Because obviously any Christian Saxon must have really still been pagan, especially if not a member of the reader’s non-denominational church established yesterday.)

On the other hand, you find a lot of the non-usual suspects loving this poem. Whatever they may think of the Catholic Church, these people understand things like evangelism, imagination, and the hard work of teasing out which strands are just another culture and which are inextricable with another religion.

I did see it pointed out elsewhere that, only a hundred years after this poem was written, St. Boniface and half his royal Saxon family were mucking about in Germany, establishing convents to be centers of Christian life, traveling trackless forests all year while evangelizing real tree- and pagan god-worshipping pagans, cutting down oaks that were objects of worship, and (in Boniface’s case) getting martyred by said folks. It is highly offensive to claim that such people, on the front lines of Christianity, were somehow not Christian enough and were really tree-worshippers.

There were probably still a good few pagans around in England when the poem was written, but unless it was VERY early, the real power of paganism in England was gone. (At least until the Danes moved in, and that was a slightly different denomination.) 🙂 King Penda, the last pagan king (who had no objection to missionaries if in the right mood) died in 655. St. Boniface died in 754. The Ruthwell Cross, upon which some lines of the poem are written, is from about the same time Penda died.

To my mind, the “Dream of the Rood” is not something written by a brand new convert. Such a person would usually tend to be allergic to anything too close to his old pagan ways, eager to learn the new stuff. An experienced Christian wrote this thing, I think, someone able to play around a bit without fear. The dreamer’s POV is not that of a pagan, but of a Christian being further evangelized about stuff he knows. And the Rood’s POV is not that of a tree demanding worship, but one itself worshipping God. The Rood is acting as a friend toward the dreamer, not as a god. It’s not asking for the dreamer to slaughter any horses or cows for it, and the dreamer isn’t saying that he will. The whole thing is no more pagan than Ben Hur, being part of the long tradition of imagining the events of the Gospels in your own way.

And if anyone can’t see past the charming literary devices to the majesty of Jesus Christ depicted therein — well. That goes beyond “can’t see the forest for the trees”. It’s more like “totally blind and deaf to meaning and poetry”. Very sad.

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Wulfstan Sermon Podcast!

I forgot to post earlier that Wormtalk and Slugspeak/Anglo-Saxon Aloud guy is currently podcasting the sermons of Bishop Wulfstan, from the late 900’s-early 1000’s. (Anglo-Saxon Aloud is dedicating to recording the entire corpus of Old English literature.)

He’s up to Sermon 20, so there’s plenty for you to hear.

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