Monthly Archives: November 2014

Chefs I Like on TV

Julia Child. Thank you, Amazon Prime, for running old eps of The French Chef for free for a while. Very big on teaching the basics, not snobby, not afraid to enjoy food.

Ming and his mom and dad. Because they are from my hometown. A chef who understands that what you really want is a dish you can get done in time for dinner, and one that everybody in the family will eat.

Jacques Pepin. Because he’s also a family guy who cooks his mother’s recipes, tells you what the restaurant makes a lot of profit off, and has his granddaughter on the air getting scolded for breaking restaurant cleanliness rules on breaking eggs. (It was pretty funny, because he acknowledged that it was just fine to do it that way at home, but that she needs to do it the other way on TV as a good example, and because it was such a big batch of food.)

That guy from Argentina who does nothing but cook meat over fire, five zillion ways. (He was a guest on a show, and is now my camping hero forever.)


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Do the Rite Thing

This week, the Pope took an important step towards protecting the rights of various Eastern rite churches that are part of Catholicism.

In their traditional territories, many non-Latin Rite Catholic rites (churches with their own patriarchs, bishops, canon law, and Mass formats, but which acknowledge the Pope as being in charge) ordain either celibate laymen who will never marry, celibate monks who will never marry, or married men (who traditionally have certain special rules for their conduct and that of their wives). These days in Eastern rites, a previously married priest usually cannot ever become a bishop, although this was not true in early Christian times. (Dynasties of hereditary bishops have turned out to be able to happen, and they are Not a Good Thing.)

Because Protestants were constantly attacking Latin Rite Catholics for having celibate priests, a lot of Latin Rite bishops were uncomfortable with even having married priests of other Rites in the same territory as their flocks (and the Protestants), much less having seminaries of other Rites that would ordain married priests. There was also fear that young men who wanted to be priests but dropped out over girls would switch rites and go over to the other rite’s seminaries. (Although of course most Eastern rites are not at all interested in having some other rite’s sloppy seconds.) Ordinary Catholics and Protestants who heard about these “married priests” had a hard time getting it through their heads that it’s before seminary that Eastern men of these rites have to decide to marry or not.There were already a lot of ethnic conflicts in US parishes. Catechisms for kids were written under the assumption that Latin Rite Catholicism was the only Catholicism. Change would be difficult, and priests would have to do a lot of explanation and diplomacy.

It was a big ball of mess, and the Latin Rite US bishops often decided to handle the problem by cutting off the Easterners and whining to Rome a lot. One US bishop was so nasty that he drove all the local Eastern rite fellow Catholics into the arms of the Greek and Eastern Orthodox churches, and is called “the founding father” of the US version of one whole denomination.

In a less than satisfactory attempt to control the chaos, Rome set groundrules for places like the US, the UK, and Australia that basically said, “Fine, you whiners. In exchange for not being able to keep messing up the poor Easterners, we’ll tell the Easterners not to send married priests over for their people. Whiners.” This was not exactly encouraging to the Easterners, though, and a bunch more became Orthodox. Oooooops.

Nowadays, people are better catechised, and it never really was a good idea to penalize the innocent for being normal and keeping their lawful traditions. So this week the Pope has removed the regs set in place “because of the hardness of their hearts.” Good. It’s been time for a long time.

Next, let’s stop penalizing people in the Latin Rite for following our own legit traditions, and we’ll be getting someplace!

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Space Battleship Yamato Themesong! Now with Violin Virtuoso!

If you ever wanted to hear THE anime themesong, except with more Stradivarius… now is your time!

Clips of Hakase Taro playing for the new Yamato soundtrack album.

Shivers… so lovely. The other clips are well worth listening to, for more virtuosi doing their thing.

Btw, the iconic male “choral” version of the theme played for the American dub, Star Blazers?

Yeah, that was actually a totally USA only idea. I don’t know what the producers were thinking – maybe they were copying the likes of Gigantor – but it really was pretty darned cool. (It sounded a lot more like a chorus on our TV than it does in the remastered version, where you can clearly hear that it’s just one guy.)

OTOH, the female crooning on the soundtrack is actually original Japanese stuff. (Handy that it was wordless crooning.) A wonderful example of how to sing high without pushing.

However, there are Japanese lyrics to the themesong. It’s very popular at karaoke places, I understand. Here’s Isao Sasaki, the  singer; the lyrics are subtitled in English. You’ll notice that the overall idea of both the US and Japanese songs are pretty similar, but the Japanese one was trying harder not to be “militaristic.” (For obvious 1970’s reasons – there were some crazy Japanese militarists around, and the show is basically redoing WWII as if this time the Japanese were helping the rest of the world and fighting the bad guys.)

Actual history of the Yamato, with footage of her on the ocean floor. Absolutely no secret refit into a spaceship, we swear. Basically points out the giant waste of the stupid kamikaze mission for the ship, and the horrible loss of life. Interviews with survivors.

Part of the mystique is connected with the name; Yamato was the name of the most ancient kingdom known in Japan, and it’s a poetic way of naming today’s country.

Every other anime TV show is okay… but my true ur-fandom will always be Yamato. Before I came to Star Trek, before Sherlock Holmes, before I came to Madeleine L’Engle even… Yamato. That’s it. Sorry, Gundam fans, but that’s just how it is.

Our Star Blazers.

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Erik Gnupsson, Bishop of Greenland and Vinland

Erik Gnupsson was the first bishop of a North American diocese. He was named bishop of Garda, aka Gardar, a see with jurisdiction over Greenland and Vinland, in 1121, under Pope Paschal II. He was consecrated by Archbishop Adzar. The diocese went out of business when the Greenland colony did, but it is currently a titular diocese being used by Bishop Clark.

Man, I love the Internet.

Ignore the bit in the article where they think Vinland is Newport, Rhode Island. Although that does explain some Lovecraft stuff.

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St. Beefhand???

St. Mainboeuf (or Mainbeuf, or Maimbod) is better known in non-French sources as St. Magnobodus, bishop of Angers, France from 610-660. He was chosen bishop by acclaim (ie, by voice vote of the people of the city).

He built a church of St. Saturninus, and established houses for the care of foundlings. He wrote the Vita S. Licinii (Life of St. Licinius/Lezin) in honor of the bishop who was his predecessor, and the Vita S. Maurilii (Life of St. Maurilius), a fifth century bishop of Angers who was a disciple of St. Martin of Tours.

His feast is October 16.

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Takayama Ukon to Be Beatified Next Year?

The story is in the English language version of Asahi Shimbun, and was praised by Get Religion.

Currently, he’s Venerable Justo (or Justus) Takayama Ukon.

His Christian name was Justo, and Western Christian sources called him “Dom” (Portuguese for lord). Takayama is his family name, and Ukon was his office name that he went by as an adult. Other names are Hikogoro (his baby name, which Japanese back then usually changed upon becoming boys or adults) and Shigetomo (his young man name).

He was a great general, but also waged peace. He loved Japan but died in exile. His life story is full of twists and turns, but he seems to have lived it all with honor and good sense.

The man has his own “Dom Justo Takayama Ukon” TV Tropes page. It’s a good explanation page. Just don’t follow the links if you want to do anything else today.

He has appeared as a character in various anime and manga, including Hyouge Mono (which is about a fellow disciple in the Way of Tea) and The Ambition of Oda Nobunaga (an alternate universe history/time travel anime).

I previously covered Blessed Diego Kagayama Hayato, the faithful samurai retainer who gave pro tips to his executioner; the blind biwa player, Jesuit brother Lourenço Ryousai; and the possible ninja-clan martyrs, Blessed Joannis Hattori Jingoro and Blessed Petrus Hattori.

Christian Samurai inventor and lord of Fukuwara, Juan Goto (aka Iwabuchi Matagoro), whose memory is celebrated with local festivals. His fate is unknown.

More stories of the Japanese martyrs. “They were killed and they conquered.”


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Pancho Barnes, Thou Shouldst Be Living at This Hour…

… because when they tweeted about this kind of crap, she’d put the Happy Bottom Riding Club in their face.

Meanwhile, hobby T-shirt maker and professional artist Elly Prizeman is hanging tough and continuing to support her shirt and her choice of fabric.


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St. Gwen Teirbron

I’ve talked about her on the blog before, but here are a couple of nice French Wikipedia articles with pictures of statues.

Sainte Gwenn – very bright painted statues on this page! The iconography of her nursing her triplets is nice.

Here’s a much older and more beautiful painted statue of Gwen and the triplets at the Chapel of Sainte-Venec (Guethenoc) (who was one of her triplets). There’s also a fairly ugly copy shown, that’s from the monastery museum in Landevennec.

She had five kids in all. Her son from her first husband was the famous St. Cadfan, ex-warrior and famous missionary in Wales. The triplets and her daughter were from her second marriage.

This other statue at the chapel, of a saint in armor with a book, is usually described as a statue of St. Guethenoc. However, Sabine Baring-Gould pointed out in The Lives of the British Saints, Volume II that Guethenoc was a monk who never had a warrior career, whereas legend called St. Cadfan a warrior before he became a missionary priest, and this made him a patron saint of warriors in Wales. Darned nice statue, either way.

Cadfan was part of a rather large, high-status, and popular family of saints who apparently fled political problems in Brittany by traveling to various parts of England and Wales, where they quickly got involved with preaching, building churches and monasteries, and doing good. Later on, many of them went back to Brittany while others stayed in Wales.


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Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds

Waste not, want not. If you’re baking an acorn squash, you already have the oven going. So rather than trash the seeds inside, roast them! (Apparently this method applies to many small squash seeds.)

Scoop out the squash innards, pulp and all. You do not need to wash them or separate seeds from pulp.

Put them in an aluminum pie pan (if you’ve only got one or two squash to cook) or on a cookie sheet with a rim. The more you separate the seeds out of their little seed clumps, the more they can roast evenly. If you don’t care, they will still roast, but you’ll get seeds in all different stages of roastiness. (If you’ve got little kids who want to help, separating the seeds would be a good goopy task for them.)

Add salt and whatever spices you want. Honestly, salt or salt and pepper is probably all you need, but some people do all sorts of flavors.

Drizzle with olive oil to keep the seeds from burning.

When you put your acorn squash in the oven, put the seeds in too, on another rack or the same one. If you’re cooking squash at 350 F, you only want the seeds in there for 10 minutes.

Take the seeds out of the oven. Let them cool a bit (possibly get them out of the pie pan if they look like they might burn). Taste and see if you want to add extra spices.

Eat them, shell and all! They should be a little bit crispy. If you put on a ton of oil, they will be softer.

Got this from My Halal Kitchen, which is not a cooking blog I’ve visited before.

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Feminists Declare Images of Armed Women Offensive

So there’s this space scientist heading up the comet landing Rosetta/Philae mission.

And he wears a joke Hawaiian shirt that has science fiction secret agent women, laserguns in hand, wearing swimsuits, evening gowns, and a spylady catsuit, as well as hanging out with some female-form robots. It’s a riff on the more traditional hula girls. (And heck, hula dancers are women dance artists spreading indigenous culture, so there’s nothing wrong with them.) But yeah, basically women who look ready to defend their planet from the scum of the universe and have a good time doing it.

And feminists declare it offensive, and a sign that women are unwelcome. They drive the mild-mannered, friendly scientist to a press conference. A man of brain and fun is made full of tears and shame on what should have been his day of triumph.

Feminists want to erase an image of a female with power, because…reasons. Alleged feminist icon Emma Peel need not apply. She isn’t wanted by a generation of feminist whiners.

The media do not interview any of this man’s many female colleagues, because they know perfectly well that the ladies of the space agencies are a tough-minded bunch, and because they don’t want to see the ladies’ pinups of real and bishonen anime men.

I think it’s pretty clear that this is a continuation of anti-Gamergate activities, albeit under another name. I’ve been known to complain about images of scantily clad women, but this is getting ridiculous. A tastefully done joke shirt is going to make me think that my coworker or boss wants all of us (including women) to laugh, and we will. Nobody is going to feel threatened by it. If somebody in the office didn’t like it, they’d mention it or ask him to slip on a jacket… or they’d bring in the shirt with wiry, muscly bishonen guys in Speedos with long hair and sparkles and cherry blossoms floating in the air, and watch his head explode and then laugh. This is what normal people do.

They do not ask officious strangers, who are watching as guests, to be arbiters of their behavior in a stressful, full brain power environment that desperately needs leavening by humor.

They do not ask for drive-by sexual harassment in the guise of complaints. But deciding that somebody else is dressing provocatively, and then harassing them about it to the point that their job is endangered, is sexual harassment.

The job isn’t done. But a man has been destroyed. Yay! We feel safer!

UPDATE: There’s a similar shirt made out of the same fabric pattern, sold by a woman artist.  But this particular scientist’s shirt was given to him by tattoo artist Elly Prizeman, thanking him for being best man at her wedding. It’s the man’s lucky shirt. (Now cursed by Rose Eveleth’s bitchiness, I guess.) So yeah, women are making and selling and giving a shirt that’s sooooo offensive to women! We must all be gender traitors, oh no!

I’m sure you men out there are offended by Alohaland’s similar pin-up Hawaiian shirt showing a completely topless cowboy….

Of course, you realize that this means we will never get to watch this sort of live footage ever again. The space agencies have learned their lesson: hide from the public, because trolls and sexual harassers lurk out there.


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Apparently They Haven’t Turned Up the Heat at Santa Marta Yet

Seriously, these kids look cold. The only kids who aren’t wearing jackets and hoodies are the kids in back who were smart enough to wear sweaters over their dress-up clothes.

I also feel sorry for the kids about the pop quiz. This is something all bishops and pastors pretty much are supposed to do, because it’s one way to find out quickly whether the kids are learning anything catechetical. It’s even present in a lot of liturgies in ritualized fashion (like Baptism). But there’s nothing more likely to terrify most kids than being put on the spot for an unannounced pop quiz by a priest during the homily. If you know that it can happen on certain big occasions, at least you don’t get that deer in the headlights feeling.

Mind  you, I’m not saying that priests and bishops and popes should stop doing this. I’m saying that teachers should give kids a heads-up. Just casually, at some point during the week before, so that kids won’t tie themselves up in knots of worry. But it should be mentioned that this is a thing.

More scenes of terror.

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Bad, Bad William de Warenne (and Isabel being a Jezabel)

Sometimes Wikipedia has more info in other languages than in the English version. Sometimes old books have even more.

Check this out:

Robert de Beaumont (who was both Count Robert II of Meulan and the 1st Earl of Leicester, a close battle-companion of William the Conqueror in the Battle of Hastings, and something like a grand-nephew of St. Helvise) was a great lord, but he had no wife and he had no heirs. He had been supposed to be married to Godehildis, the daughter of his neighbor Seigneur Raoul II de Tosny, seigneur of Conches, a fellow battle-companion of William the Conqueror who was sometimes friend, sometimes ally, and sometimes enemy raider of Meulan.

But Raoul decided he’d rather marry his daughter to Baldwin, a younger son of Eustace, Count of Boulogne. If Godehildis and her children had lived, this would have been a good move, as Baldwin ended up becoming King Baldwin I of Jerusalem. But with none of their children alive, Godehildis accompanied her husband on the pilgrimage/First Crusade in 1096, fell ill at Marash, and died.

Meanwhile, Robert started looking around for a wife, but apparently not too quickly. He ended up finding someone, also not long before the First Crusade. He married Isabel de Vermandois, daughter of a younger son of the French king. They had to get a dispensation from the Pope to get married, because they were related within the seven degrees. They married in 1096, right before Isabel’s dad left on Crusade. (Possibly Isabel’s dad was getting his affairs in order and making sure his daughter was provided for. Possibly he needed traveling money.)

Robert was a good lord, very wise, but over 35. Isabel was young (12, the legal age then to get married). But the marriage probably wasn’t consummated until the usual consummation age for early marriages, which was 14.* France had a thing for preventing breakage of betrothals, by marrying people off and then just having them sit around and wait for years. (Though it obviously didn’t always work. Look at Godehildis.)

But at first it worked out. They had kids. Lots of kids. Three sons and six daughters would usually be regarded as a sign that a lady loved her lord and voluntarily spent a lot of time in his bed.

But after twenty years of good marriage, Robert was over 55 and Isabel was just middle-aged. Apparently midlife crises aren’t just a modern thing.

William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, had been looking everywhere for a wife with royal blood. Isabel had it. He seduced and ran off with her in 1115 – legend says at a tournament, after impressing her. She started having kids with him even before they could get married.

Robert de Beaumont fell into a deep depression of shame and heartbreak. He couldn’t take care of business or his own kids. His local bishop tried to trick him into taking an interest in life, but it only semi-worked; Robert decided that he should do something constructive and took a monk’s habit in 1116. He died within a couple years, in 1118.

Isabel and William got married then, and had absolutely no shame about the whole thing. They had three sons and two daughters, and William married off one of the girls to a Scottish prince. Two of her sons became kings and she was the ancestress of the royal line there.

Isabel survived her second husband, too. She didn’t die until 1147 or 1148.

(Mind you, Robert probably wasn’t any saint. He did a lot of raiding  and grabbing lands himself, and he was on that hunting party when King William Rufus had his “hunting accident.”)

* Medieval marriage and consummation ages varied A LOT. In general, most people knew that it was better to let girls grow up before starting with the babies, and that boys did better if they were older too. Medievals also wanted girls to have time to build a trousseau and skills (and a dowry or some kind of finances), and they wanted boys to be able to support a family.

OTOH, the more people were afraid of war or diseases carrying people off, the more urgent they were about marrying off their kids young. It was also a way of safeguarding your family line instead of somebody else’s, because marrying girls off at puberty keeps them from losing their virginity with other people than their husbands. (And boys’ parents had to worry about the financial and emotional drain of taking care of illegitimate kids. Even though it was common and it was proof their boys weren’t sterile, that didn’t mean people were necessarily happy about it; and unhappy illegitimate kids might just get revenge on the main family somehow.)

On the gripping hand, if money and food was short, people usually discouraged their kids from moving out and marrying until quite late. Middle-aged marriages are usually a sign that people feel poor and miserable. But paradoxically, they also show up in some merchant and trade families, because people are just too busy and marriage is a risk that you can’t budget for.

Normans were pretty much on the side of marrying ’em off young. They had plenty of food, but they were at war a lot with each other and the French and everybody else. With the Crusades coming on, there was probably a lot more social and emotional pressure on parents for their kids to marry and have kids right away – because parents were afraid they might lose the whole family.

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The Chapel of St. Julian of the Minstrels

There was only one neighborhood in Paris where minstrels were allowed to live, so they built a little chapel and a hospital there. The chapel was dedicated to St. Julian (patron of innkeepers and hospitality) and St. Genesius (patron of actors and performers).

There’s an old book about the chapel here at, with a nice picture as the frontispiece.

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St. Eloise?

First of all, let’s get this straight.

Eloise is not a form of Alois, Aloysius, or Helwidis. Or Louise or Louis.

First off, Louis and its feminine form, Louise, both derive from the name “Chlodovech.” The Germanic roots are: “hlod-/chlod-/lod-/liud-” (people) + “-vech/-vic/-vig/-wig” (battle). So it’s something like “battle of the people.”

Alois and Aloysius are from  Germanic roots: “ala-” (all) + -“wis/-vis/-ois” (lead, rule). So that name means something like “rules all.”

Helwidis or Helvidis comes from different Germanic roots: “heil” (health, healthy, hale) + -“wid/-vid/-oid” (wide or wood/woods, two different words that can end up sounding similar in names) + the feminine ending “-is.” So yeah, probably “healthy woods” or “wide health.”

“Helvise”, “Helvisa,” “Eloise,” “Eloisa,” “Heloise,” and “Heloisa” are related to these names, however, because they are built from some of the same root word components: “heil-”  + “-ois” + “-e” (feminine ending). So the name means something like “healthy rule”, or “rules health.” (Frankish ladies did a lot of medicating the household, so maybe that’s why.) Anyway, it was a very popular name, especially around Normandy, and was also medievally popular (as “Helewis”) in areas of England where Normans settled.

(If you’re wondering about our Elvis, that’s a Welsh men’s name and we’ve already covered it. But yes, there were Frankish Alvis and Elvis and Alvisa names too.)

Now, on to the saintly portion of our program!

Contrary to certain pages on the Internet, the notorious/famous Abbess Heloise de Argenteuil has not been raised to the altars anywhere. She was a remarkable woman and a pious one (Other than the falling in love with her tutor who was a cleric. But she made up for that as an abbess, and by putting up with Abelard’s letters. Heh.), but there’s no popular devotion in the minds of the Church’s faithful. No devotion, no canonization.

The nameday often listed for “Heloise” is March 15, which is St. Louise de Marillac Day. I guess even though it’s the wrong name, people figure that’s close enough for France. (Not that you should let that stop you, if it’s been French custom all your life.)

However, there is a Blessed Heloise de Coulombs (in her time, the name was Helvise or Helwisa). Although she has never formally become a saint, there are Catholic hospitals in France named St. Heloise (and swearing “By St. Heloise!” used to be very popular in France). She’s pretty much a preconciliar saint, in the eyes of French Catholics!

Blessed Heloise was a noblewoman of France. She married twice: once to Count Hugues II of Meulan (nicknamed “Bear Head”) , and once to Alexander of Azzelin, to whom she bore several children. (One of whom became Abbot Godefroi of the Benedictine abbey at Coulombs.) After Hugues’ death, she had decided to donate three parish churches (at Lainville, Montreuil-sur-Epte, Montalet-le-Bois, and Megrimont) to the abbey at Coulombs in 1033, as well as her part of the forest at Jambville. (Which gift was confirmed by the new count, Galeran, who was Hugues’ brother.) Coulumbs had just been founded back in 1029, so this was a good gift. As usual with monasteries, Notre-Dame des Coulumbs kept all these documents in their charter books, and Mabillon copied them into his collaborative work, Acta Sanctorum Ordinis S. Benedicti, vol. 8 (6th age of the order, part 1). She apparently continued to be their benefactor in a small way during her second marriage.

After Alexander’s death, she decided to retire from the world and become a hermit near (but outside) the abbey. (There wasn’t an abbey of nuns there, but Benedictine monks back then often had a little building nearby with cells in it for women who wanted to live a religious life. This was called “reclusa”, and wasn’t technically being a hermit, but it was pretty close.) We don’t know much about her life there, but apparently she impressed people as holy.

In 1066, she gave the abbey her properties in the following towns:  Lainville, Lesseville, Montalet-le-Bois, Montreuil-sur-Epte, Meulan, and Jambville.  She also gave them the lands and church of Authieux, which was confirmed by Duke William of Normandy, soon to be King of England. The monks served as her spiritual directors. She was buried in the abbey church (which was destroyed in the French Revolution and demolished in 1816), but her relics are currently in the monastery town’s little 17th century parish church, Saint-Cheron. Her reliquary is in the form of a bust and contains her skull. Her feastday is February 11. She may also have died on February 1 or January 6.

So yes, if your name is Heloise or Eloise, you have a patron saint! (Other spellings for this Heloise’s name include Avisa, Avia, and Avoie, depending on how much that local French people didn’t want to say H’s.)

19th century stained glass window of St./Bl. Heloise. Saint-Jean-le-Baptiste parish church, Saint-Léger-en-Yvelines, Ile de France, Paris.

The History of the Abbey of Notre-Dame des Coulombs, in French. The name means “Our Lady of the Doves.”

St. Heloise feastday post, in French.

St. Heloise picture.


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