Monthly Archives: June 2012

Quartetto Gelato

Quartetto Gelato is a classical music quartet from Canada that includes an accordion and an opera singer. They play fun music (which isn’t to say that they are doing easy music or playing sloppily). They also do some freaky fun staging. They have been known to do a lot of Italian music (hence the name).

I’ve had their second album, Rustic Chivalry, for ages, and there are times I’ve just played it nonstop. Their lineup has changed since then, but the group itself seems to be going strong.

They’ve got a fair number of pieces up on YouTube, so check them out.

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Ancient Hymns for St. Peter and St. Paul’s Day

“Apostolorum passio” (The passion of the Apostles) by St. Ambrose of Milan. Translated by Kathleen Pluth.

“Aurea luce et decore roseo” by Elpis. Another version sung in Rome in 2009. A translation by me.

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Old Irish Litany of the Blessed Virgin

Hunt the scriptural references and the Irish poetic expressions!

O great Mary, o Mary the greatest of Marys, (Response: Pray for us.)
O most exalted among women,
Queen of Angels,
Empress of the Heavens,
Woman replete and overflowing with the grace of the Holy Spirit,
Blessed and thrice-blessed,
Mother of eternal glory,
Mother of the Church heavenly and earthly,
Mother of Love and Mercy,
Mother of the golden effulgence,
Honor of the sky,
Harbinger of peace,
Gate of Heaven,
Golden Ark,
Couch of charity and indulgence,
Shrine of the Divinity,
Beauty of the virgins,
Lady-chief of the tribes,
Fountain of the gardens,
Cleansing of sins,
Purifying of souls,
Mother of the orphans,
Breast of the infants,
Refuge of the poor,
Star of the sea,
Handmaid of God,
Mother of Christ,
Abode of the Godhead,
Graceful as the dove,
Serene as the moon,
Resplendent as the sun,
Thou who dost cancel Eve’s disgrace,
O Renewer of life,
Perfection of women,
Head of the virgins,
Garden enclosed,
Fountain ever-refreshing,
Mother of God,
Perpetual Virgin,
Holy Virgin,
Prudent Virgin,
Comely Virgin,
Chaste Virgin,
Temple of the Living God,
Royal Throne of the Eternal King,
Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit,
Virgin of the root of Jesse,
Cedar of Mount Lebanon,
Cypress of Mount Zion,
Crimson rose in the land of Jacob,
Blooming like the palm,
Fruitful like the olive,
Glorious son-bearer,
Light of Nazareth,
Glory of Jerusalem,
Beauty of the world,
Noblest born of the Christian fold,
O Queen of life,
O Ladder of Heaven, (Pray for us.)

From The Catholic Prayer Book and Manual of Meditations, ed. by Cardinal Archbishop Patrick Francis Moran of Sydney, Australia. Dublin, 1883.

There’s actually a ton more to this prayer, but I’ve probably shocked somebody out there’s sensibilities already….

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Fortnight for Freedom: Day Nine

Well, yesterday kinda stunk for the US. But today’s the day to get back on the horse and pray some more.

Happy Ss. Peter and Paul’s Day! Turn upside down and lose your head! 🙂

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The Oxyrhynchus Hymn

A Christian hymn to the Trinity in Greek from the 200’s, found with musical notation on a scrap of papyrus, in the famous trash heaps of Oxyrhynchus, Egypt.

Here’s a nice YouTube video reconstruction. The bits that didn’t have music notation on the papyrus are spoken.

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Things Come in Threes

Caroline John passed away, Ubu Roi had a stroke, and Ric Locke was diagnosed with lung cancer.

A heckuva week for the good guys.

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St. Robert Bellarmine and State Authority

Bellarmine did a lot of interesting theorizing and teaching on natural law and so forth. Here’s a review of a book about him and a translation of a book by him, both by the same person.

The article also has an interesting comment about Pius XI adopting papal concordats as a kinder, gentler alternative to the interdict. Which sheds a whole new light on what Pius XII thought he was doing.

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Fortnight for Freedom: Day Seven

“To your tents, O Israel!”

Anybody who’s avoided the impression that we’re reliving the incredibly crappy 1930’s — behold the banning of Judaism in Germany.

History notoriously rhymes with itself, or repeats itself with variations. This time, it’s the German courts instead of the Reich’s “chancellor.” But then, Germany back then justified the killing of those who were ill, or who had mental or physical problems, as being kind and gentle. Now, they claim that they’re banning circumcision for the good of baby boys, because a snip constitutes “grievous bodily harm.”

But it’s the same old thing. Why let people live their lives in freedom when you can use the power of the state to crush them, instead?

The argument is that circumcision should wait until boys can choose for themselves. (Of course, by then, they will have banned adult circumcision as cruel, even though they’re okay with radical genital reconstructions and removals.)

You will notice, of course, that nobody claims that language choice, or the choice of whether to learn math, should wait until children can choose by themselves. People know perfectly well that it is cruel for a parent to withhold the knowledge and practice of language and number.

Sigh. It’s so stupid. Pretty much everybody male in my municipal area got circumcised (in a non-ritual way, as a routine hygiene measure) at the hospital when I was growing up, and had been getting circumcised for a good seventy or eighty years or more. “Grievous bodily harm” doesn’t wash.

Interestingly (by which I mean, “disgustingly”), the court held that circumcision was okay for medical reasons, but not for religious ones. Which makes no sense. If it’s grievous bodily harm to snip for religion, how does it become okay for cleanliness? This strikes me as a case where the court wants to offend the maximum number of Jews (and Muslims, for that matter), while allowing ethnic Germans to continue to snip whatever they want.

UPDATE: The Last Conformer, a blogger from Germany, has additional info on this ruling and what it means. Via Darwin Catholic.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Day Six

Touchstone has dug out an old article I hadn’t seen on the Air Force’s unbalanced reaction to (totally justified) criticism of its chaplains at the Air Force Academy. In the past, commanders were simply supposed to appear neutral in their duties towards all religions, not giving anybody reason to believe that they could suck up or get special favors. The guidelines now allow any commander to say or do nasty stuff about any religion, but do not allow them to “appear” to favor any particular religion, even personally.

This has unleashed all the bureaucratic weirdness of which the Air Force is possible — and more.

In the past, it was common for folks in command to let people know about stuff that the chaplains could do to help them. (Which is important, because chaplains do a lot of morale and family stuff for everyone in a unit, and they are someone whom airmen can talk to without fearing they’ll get reported, because chaplains have confidentiality privileges; they don’t just conduct services.) Now commanders are forbidden to even mention such things; chaplains are supposed to do it all. Even though there are a lot more command position people than chaplains.

Anyway, Touchstone also links to a new letter signed by a good chunk of Congressmembers from Air Force areas, protesting some further problems with the Air Force’s new chaplain/religion policy.

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The First Disney Song Ever in Scottish Gaelic

Barring any songs in Disney live-action TV movies, that is.

Anyway, that song, “A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal” (O Noble Lady/Fair Maiden) actually is sung by Emma Thompson (in dead-on authentic old style!) and the little girl voice actress, Peigi Barker.

Here’s the lyrics and a translation from the busy folks at the Disney Wiki.

As you can see, it’s a lullaby that’s actually original to the film, but composed in a very old-fashioned style. Obviously in character, it is something her mother composed before Merida had any brothers. Since the Brave world goes by primogeniture instead of the election from male heirs (or because the king doesn’t have any male relatives left besides his young sons, which might well be the case with someone made king for heroic deeds), she was obviously anticipating Merida possibly having to become a ruling queen.

The Disney Wiki translator doesn’t really bring across that Queen Elinor is addressing her own child (in the bardic style) as “O Sun” and “O Moon.” She’s the only heir at that moment, the only light toward a future of glory and happiness. (And of course Sun and Moon are feminine, in Gaelic, and the association of light with a red-headed baby is pretty useful.) There’s also wordplay, because “bean uasal” (noblewoman or lady) and “ban maighdean” (white/fair maiden) are both common phrases. So the queen is mashing them together on purpose, which is clever.

I’m still puzzled about Merida’s name. Mor’du is obviously “Mor Dhu” (great black one, or Mor the Black). Merida could be a Scottish form of the saint’s name “Merita”, or a form of Mhairi or Mairead, or a Spanish name, or…? Makes me feel better to know that others are puzzled, especially people from cities named Merida. But to be fair, the sources for feminine Scottish Gaelic names in early medieval times are not very plentiful.

“Elinor” and “Hubert” are French/English-influenced names, so clearly the Queen is from a more urban, port town, part of Scotland. Hubert is the saint of hunters, which is probably why that name. Hamish is James (Sheumais, really). Harris is the name of part of the Island of Lewis, out in the Hebrides; it’s either an Anglicized Gaelicized version of hearath (district) or haerri (high place) in Old Norse. So the triplets recap the three major influences on Scotland’s history, which is amusing.

St. Emerita of Rome was a virgin martyr, killed in Valerian’s persecution. Her feast is September 22. There’s also St. Emerentiana, the foster sister of St. Agnes who was caught praying at her grave. Emer is of course a famous figure in Irish and Scottish legend, because she was Cu Chulainn’s wife, and had a temper nearly to match hers. (In Scottish legend, she’s a much nicer, sweeter figure than in Irish legend; but in Scotland’s fairy tales, he’s usually a fearsome giant as well as a hero. Much like Finn McCool.) So it’s plausible that St. Emerita or Emerentiana might have become a Scottish name, given some good reason.

Mairi isn’t really found as an early Scottish name, just as in Ireland. They loved Mary, but it was a sort of taboo name, like Jesus. Later, of course, it was a very popular name. Like the song about the Four Maries: “There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton/ And Mary Carmichael and me.”

It could conceivably be a form of “Mariota,” another French-influenced name.

But I lean toward it being meant as a sort of Latinized version of Mairead, because that’s “Margaret” in Gaelic, and a common royal name. Also, St. Margaret slew dragons by keeping her Bible handy, so she sorta fits the theme. 🙂


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Pixar Live-Action Deerhounds

Pixar apparently did some publicity for their movie showing various Scottish Stuff.

Here’s some deerhound pictures that a lady took there.

If you look through the pictures, there’s a picture where the guy says men sometimes fought kiltless. Well… in a manner of speaking.

The basic outfit was a huge wool cloak/blanket wrapped into a kilt, and a long shirt/short robe, bunched up a little so it wouldn’t hang down past their kilt hem. Irish guys generally just wore a long shirt/short robe with either a big rainproofed-by-chemicals* frieze wool cloak or a jacket on top. Your basic man’s shirt would hang down anywhere from mid-thigh almost to a man’s knees, and included as many yards of fabric as the person could afford of nice tough linen or other fabrics. (Flax both grew wild and was cultivated, so pretty much anybody willing to go to the trouble could have a linen shirt.) The Irish favored yellow or white shirts, while the Scots seemed to have liked the natural linen colors.

So “taking off the kilt” mostly just meant taking off their coats that they wore for warmth and dryness, and fighting in their shirt that was easier to move in and easier to wash. They weren’t naked in the breeze or anything.

And yes, this means that as long as the men still had their shirts, they should have had plenty of coverage in a certain scene. But then, they shouldn’t have had clan tartans either, so never mind. 😉

Holinshed said that plenty of highlanders dressed in the Irish fashion, with shirts and cloaks instead of shirts and kilts. So people called them “redshanks,” because their legs got colder that way. 🙂

There’s also some pictures of an Englishman dressed like an Irish kern, in an ionar jacket and a very short, low-necklined shirt, to improve mobility with the spear and impress the ladies. 🙂 I’m pretty sure that men wearing that style did occasionally flash somebody, but they were probably also wearing some kind of loincloth for athletic reasons.

* The chemicals being stuff like honey and gunky stuff, used to make the wool stand up and keep the rain off more. One side of the cloak looked pretty much like a sheepdog or a sheep and there were huge poofy bits you could shelf over your head to keep the rain off, and then the inside was woven like a normal (albeit thick and warm) cloak. They sold a lot of these anti-rain, anti-cold cloaks in Europe, too, at certain times. But yeah, Manoloblogger probably wouldn’t like ’em.

If you scroll down, this shows several pictures of Irish men and women wearing the shaggy cloaks in Tudor times. They were banned by the English not long after this, as being too convenient if you needed to run off into the hills. This also ruined that particular export industry to Europe, but the English didn’t care.

Keep scrolling down, and you’ll see some great pictures by Durer of Irish fighting men in their shirts — down to their knees.

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Aaron Walker SWATted Again in Retaliation for His Free Speech Win

Here’s what he has to say about it.

Yes, whoever did this is pretty low. But also, pretty likely to be given a bill by the police pretty soon.

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Wimples and Veils

A Finnish lady shows you how to wear a veil and wimple the medieval way! (Features alternating Finnish and English.) More medieval veil-wearing tips. The bad news for people who don’t like hairpins is that you need honkin’ big veil/hat/hairpins.

She also shows you how those ladies in paintings kept those stylish Italian-type caps on their heads.

Via SCA Today.

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The Valiant Woman of Proverbs

A medieval Jewish woman’s amazing story, written by her grieving husband. I’m sorry I’d never before heard of Dolce of Worms!

Via SCA Today‘s nifty medieval news aggregator.

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