Monthly Archives: January 2015

Japanese Docetism Central

Due to the sudden executions and expulsions of Japan’s Catholic clergy, many persecuted Japanese Christians ended up not fully catechized. As you would expect, some of the Hidden Christians were just doing their best in the absence of training, while others went for syncretism or their own special brands of wackadoo. There’s also a tendency for modern cult leaders and occultists to try to fold Christianity into their own weird brands of belief.

So you have a town called Shingou in Aomori which, like ancient Docetists and today’s Muslims, refuses to believe that Jesus would allow Himself to be executed or would be able to resurrect. No, this town believes (since AD 1933, anyway) that Jesus’ younger brother died on the Cross, and that Jesus snuck out and went to Japan, where He died of old age and was buried, full stop. They have also designated a random grave mound as “the grave of Christ,” which is illogically topped with a cross. Info about all this was received in a Mormon-style document allegedly discovered by a village cult leader, and then handily disappeared before anybody else could look at it.

However, transcripts of the document in the local museum also detail the fate of Atlantis and humanity’s alien origins, Edgar Cayce-style.

Syncretism. Not a pretty sight.

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Someone Is Killing the Shinto Trees of Japan

Fourteen extremely old Shinto “sacred trees” or “hinoki” have been killed recently by a person or persons unknown. The weapon was a herbicide, administered by stealth through holes drilled all around the trunks.

Obviously, I’m not in favor of worshipping trees.

But on the other hand, it’s obviously not a St. Boniface running around boldly opposing tree worship. St. Boniface didn’t sneak. This seems more like the work of some kind of vandal who just wants to do damage and then preen himself.

However, the best guess of law enforcement is that the vandals were picking trees in isolated areas, planning to kill the trees and then come back, cut them down, and steal the rare wood; or otherwise, to “encourage” the locals to sell them the rare wood at some cut-rate price.

All old trees are worthy of a certain amount of respect and care. This is disgusting.


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Japan’s Meiji Period Persecution of Buddhists

I’ve talked quite a bit here about Japan’s persecutions of Christians, Christian martyrs, and how Christianity managed to survive underground and emerge again.

But Buddhism also had its periods of popularity and government persecution, just as it did in China.

Here’s a little tourist article about Buddhist temples, showing the effects of Meiji persecution on two heavily Buddhist provinces.

The name of the persecution movement was “haibutsu kishaku,” which means something like “Expel Buddhism.”

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Linguists: The Looky-Lous at Linguistic Car Wrecks

Yes, my children, another emerging idiom.

Journalists have decided that “rose-colored glasses” consists of too many syllables, and hence have mashed it into “starry-eyed.”

Yes, an overly dreamy or overly optimistic person is now “rosy-eyed.”

Google gives over 10,000 results for the phrase. Most aren’t using the phrase in that sense, however. They’re talking about albino horses with pink eyes, or “Rosy eyed that guy.”

But periodic uses of the phrase date back as early as a 1985 Washington Post article, and there have been quite a few recent uses.

Um. Well. I hope those are pink contacts. Because otherwise it’s pinkeye or bloodshot eyes, neither of which are conducive to a sunny mood or looking at anything.

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The Return of William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes!

Once upon a time, there was a silent 1916 Sherlock Holmes movie, starring William Gillette, the founder of all modern schools of acting and the originator of the role of Sherlock Holmes. He played Holmes in the theater over 1300 times, and Doyle loved it. (Loved the royalties, too.) The movie of the play was wildly popular, but every single copy was lost.

Until now.

Early in 2014, the Cinematheque Francaise found a duplicate copy with French title cards and color annotation, to be used in making French distribution copies. The find was announced back in October, although I didn’t hear about it. (Sob!)

In a partnership with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the movie has now been restored and certain scenes have been colored as directed. The movie has its restoration premiere in Paris, and will receive its US restoration premiere on Memorial Day Weekend, 2015, in San Francisco at the film festival.

And the BBC story includes a clip! SEE Holmes, Watson, Billy… and a certain dangerous caller!

Holy cow, this is so exciting! What a great thing to happen!


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Yeah, Surrrrrre Marijuana Candy Is Harmless.

Woman eats a little bit of the wrong candy bar. She is not happy.

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Sometimes ISIS Really Does Manage to Go Against the Laws of Islam

Several boys and young men were arrested and threatened with death for the “un-Islamic activity” of pigeon-keeping. Of course this was all a sham pretext for kidnapping the kids and holding them for ransom. Luckily, their families managed to raise the money.

There are no ahadith or Quran verses that forbid pigeon breeding. Pigeons are officially halal. Pigeons are good eating, and even Muhammad wasn’t going to forbid the raising of food and livestock. Actually, there’s a common story that pigeons from Medina do a haj to Mecca every year.

So yeah, the ISIS thugs are bloodthirsty murderous psychos already, but they do occasionally manage to go beyond even the limits of even the weirdest interpretations of Islam.

Pigeons are a popular animal in Middle Eastern countries, and it’s a common hobby to pursue because it doesn’t require much space or money. In Konya, Turkey (ancient Iconium), there’s a hotel that actually provides a sort of boarding kennel for pigeons. The idea is that if you have to travel and don’t have anybody to take care of your pigeons, you bring them over to the “pigeon hotel,” along with an adequate supply of pigeon food. The guy at the hotel takes care of your pigeons. If you’re a member of the local bird organization, it’s free.

In happier news, Christopher Lee Cornell was indicted by the grand jury down in Cincinnati and will go to trial for trying to blow up the US Capitol building. Since he didn’t legally change his name (which would have been easy and cheap for him to do), I see no reason not to refer to him by his legal name.


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Slovenian Potica, Via the US, in Liberia

Quasi Renaissance Man and his family are doing okay, and they’re here in the US.

From Christmastime, here’s his family’s recipe for potica, a Slovenian kind of filled bread/cake/cake roll.

It’s also traditional in parts of Italy, because Italy used to own large bits of Eastern Europe. It’s also claimed by Croatia and the former Yugoslavia. Slovenian immigrants spread it all over Europe and the US.

Other names for potica.

Recipe that admits you can use other fillings. Anybody who’s surprised that they include poppyseed fillings loses his Mitteleuropa cred for a week.

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The Winchester Bible: Now Visiting NYC

For the first time in its long history, one volume of the Winchester Bible is in the US, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, instead of at Winchester Cathedral.

The Bible will be rejoined temporarily by a frontispiece stolen two hundred years ago that made it into the hands of the Morgan after about 100 years. (Kind of embarrassing that Morgan didn’t just send it back to the Cathedral.)

Winchester Cathedral is also taking this opportunity to tell people to be on the lookout for 8 illuminated initials that were all cut out of the Winchester Bible sometime in the last century or so.

The eight missing initials are E, H, P, S and O (two initials, one cut in a circular form); an illumination of Jonah, probably emerging from the whale; and one unknown initial.


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Free Catholic Audiobooks at Alleluia Audiobooks

Apparently these folks have been around for a while and doing good work!

Tons of stuff about saints, the Fathers, Sacraments, etc.

They’ve also got a book about saintly humor, and another one about an interesting medieval Italian saint named St. Gargano!

Free to download, etc.

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It’s all fun and games until Muslims decide to destroy a neighborhood shrine, and kick the little plaster statue of Mary down the street.

And steal the photo of a family member that a guy had with him while praying.

And pee all over the shrine area and the harmless little statue.

The whole point of Italy’s neighborhood chapels and shrines (already an old custom in St. Francis of Assisi’s time) is that anybody can stop by these tiny places for prayer or quiet, and the whole neighborhood takes care of them voluntarily. Many are hundreds of years old, some over a thousand years old. Some are indoors, some are outdoors. They hurt nobody and cost no public money.

In this case, it’s a lot more recent. In 2000, a previously vacant and abandoned lot – a depressing eyesore near high-rise apartment buildings without green space – was bought and turned into a tiny park, garden, and outdoor chapel by local Catholic parishioners. The “Parco della Maddonnina” (Little Madonna Park) was then made available to everyone for walks, playground sports, board games, reflection, and prayer, at the price of absolutely free. It brought up property values and made the locality a better place to live and work.

So yeah, they have just insulted the entire neighborhood’s mom and kicked their puppy, not to mention threatening their kids.

The original story shows some neighborhood people saying a Rosary of reparation, praying for God to forgive the perpetrators of this and other outrages, and to turn their hearts toward Him instead of such nastiness and evil. They also did a lot of cleanup, bought new statues, and basically worked hard to make the shrine and park presentable again.

The moral of the story is that although some Muslims are drawn towards Christianity by Marian devotion, because “Miryam” is mentioned in the Quran and many ahadith records of tradition, this doesn’t apply to everybody; and Fulton Sheen was taking an optimistic point of view. Many of the ahadith are really twisted and jerkish (Mary as an androgynous person who impregnates herself, not as a true Virgin or example of womanhood), and some Muslims are eager to “support” Mary by destroying everything Marian they can get ahold of. Given that there’s even a strain of Islam that destroys tombs and graves of famous Muslims despite religious injunctions to visit and honor them, you really can’t expect some Muslims to respect anything.

And unfortunately, that means that we will have to take precautions, and expect tribulations and persecutions. Some Muslim people want to hurt us and make us sad or make us crawl. There is not a lot of pushback from Muslims of goodwill, and much of what is done is not done in a form acceptable to free people. (There’s a difference between accepting help from Muslims, versus Muslims who offer to “protect” us poor groveling helpless infidels. Accepting “protection” isn’t fitting, and has that tendency to turn on people, anyway.)

If anybody, citizen or not, doesn’t want to accept the social contract of normal life and normal civil law, and if such a person is taking active steps to destroy other people’s enjoyment of that social and governmental contract, we have to come down on them like a ton of bricks.

Muslims picketing the park or leaving the Islamic equivalent of Chick tracts?

Annoying but acceptable.

Muslims destroying everybody else’s stuff?

Not acceptable in any civilized country.


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G. K. Chesterton Bio and Recording on BBC 4 Extra!

There’s a show called Great Lives being rerun on BBC 4 Extra. Currently famous people pick a person’s biography to have presented, and then the presenter and the famous person talk about their person who’s their biographical pick.

Apparently the guy who runs the UK satirical magazine Private Eye picked G.K. Chesterton back in 2003. This is surprisingly topical for this week. (So there’s the good Lord’s opinion on the free speech debate, whatever the rest of us may say.)

The BBC show also presents a rather well-restored recording of Chesterton from a talk he gave to the Canadian Press.

Unfortunately, there are some rather rude questions (Asking if Chesterton was a pedophile? Really? Asking if he loved his wife because she was barren? Classy, Beeb.) which are parried in a rather embarrassed and limp way before the Private Eye guy rallies.

There’s also a nice talk about James Hogg, the excellent Scottish poet, folksong writer, and musician who isn’t Burns.

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Clampdown on Clamps

Today, there is one fewer annoying, worryingly mental stalker-troll on the Internet.

Andrew Marston, aka Clamps, aka Yama, finally picked on somebody with the resources to do something about it. (Via Foxfier.)

I can only imagine how relieved his targets must be.

Here’s Shadowdancer’s take.

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A History of Private Life on BBC 4 Extra (Digital Radio)

There’s a really nice little history series being rerun on BBC 4 Extra, and you can listen to most of the parts. (I missed Episode 1 because it had run out, and Episode 2 only has a few more hours to go.)

A History of Private Life is about what home life and housekeeping was like in England in the 16th, 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. The episodes are only fifteen minutes long, and they include folksongs as illustrations.

So far we’ve had the truly great and funny “Housewife’s Lament,” “Get Up and Bar the Door,” a Protestant devotional song about private prayer in one’s chambers, and a very freaky madrigal about wolves howling at the moon. (Just to name a few.)

Highly recommended.

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