Monthly Archives: May 2015

“St. Clair’s Defeat” in Russian!

The sad ballad “St. Clair’s Defeat” commemmorates the battle on November 4, 1791 when Little Turtle and his allied warriors killed 25% of the US Army. (Which at that point meant 800-900 guys died, but it was still a major military disaster for our young country. A lot of camp followers and civilian contractors died, too.) When the battlefield remains were exhumed and moved to a cemetery monument, they found more than 1200 American dead. (The allied tribes lost about 20 people. Yeah, don’t get caught in an ambush.)

It’s a good song. I learned it from Anne Grimes’ 1957 album Ohio State Ballads. The tune is “Bonaparte’s Retreat,” aka “Napoleon Crossing the Rhine,” aka “Napoleon Crossing the Alps.” This version uses both halves of the fiddle tune.

Here’s a different version with more about General Butler, and a different version of the tune on an 1960 recording by Bob Gibson and Bob Camp.

Butler County, Ohio is named after Major Gen. Butler, and Darke County, Ohio is named for Lt. Col. William Darke.

This Russian band, Sherwood, sings it in Russian! They follow the Gibson version more than the Ohio version.

All this happened up by where Fort Recovery is today. General “Mad” Anthony Wayne built the fort there in 1793 and named it Recovery, as a sign that America would recover from St. Clair’s Defeat. He also built Fort Defiance a little further north. And then he went up north to beat the pants off the allied tribes at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, and got them to sign the Treaty of Greenville. (Both the Mad River and Wayne County are named for him, as well as Waynesville, Ohio and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Most Wayne stuff in the US is after him… including Bruce Wayne. Yes, in the DC Universe, Batman is descended from Mad Anthony! Must be where he got all the climbing and sneaking genes….)

Some versions of the song talk about “the river St. Marie.” Actually, it’s the Wabash. It’s smaller because it’s very close to the source. The St. Mary’s River is the next county over. So is the town of St. Mary’s, although maybe we’re talking canal days when Grand Lake St. Mary’s was a really important landmark.

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Nancy Pelosi’s Bizarro-World Catholicism

Nancy Pelosi appeared Friday on MSNBC, home of the least professional “journalists” on television and the most incompetent propagandists. They started by showing her a clip of Marco Rubio saying: “We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech. Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater… the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech.”

So they asked her if she agreed with that. Pelosi replied:

“I thoroughly disagree, being raised in a Catholic family, raising a Catholic family, mainstream Catholic – well, the Baltimore catechism, to get back to our hometown of Baltimore, was what we were raised on.

“And I think that this statement by Senator Rubio is most unfortunate. It’s a polarizing statement. The fact is, is that what we’re taught was to respect people in our faith and to say that this endangers mainstream Christian thinking is so completely wrong. And, again, it’s polarizing and I would hope that – perhaps he believes what he says, and I assume that he does – but I hope that we can persuade him differently because the country is going in a completely different direction now. And it’s very, very exciting…

“I don’t even think that Pope Francis would subscribe to what Marco Rubio just said.”

The host then asked her why she brought her school-age, Catholic school-attending grandkids (!) to a banquet to see her accept an LGBT award. Pelosi explained:

“Well, it’s really important for them to see what the practice of our faith is, the dignity and respect that we have for all people and that equality – marriage equality is important. They’ve been hearing this their whole life. They go to Catholic school and this is consistent with the dignity and worth we attribute to every person.”

Pelosi has previously said that St. Augustine was in favor of abortion (wrong) and that she had prayed to St. Joseph to get Obamacare passed with its abortion-paying provisions. Her idea of Catholicism is not terribly different than a Satanic Black Mass’ idea of Catholicism; it’s an unfunny parody. The difference is that Satanists might not know any better, whereas Nancy Pelosi’s parents paid a lot of money for her to go to Catholic school. (Boy, what a waste.)

Here’s what the Baltimore Catechism says about marriage:

Baltimore Catechism #3:

“The Sacrament of Matrimony is the Sacrament which unites a Christian man and woman in lawful marriage.

“Persons are lawfully married when they comply with all the laws of God and of the Church relating to marriage….

“Marriage was first instituted in the Garden of Eden, when God created Adam and Eve and made them husband and wife….”

Baltimore Catechism #4, the elementary school teachers’ guide, doesn’t even deal with the topic of homosexuality. It’s busy talking about the problems of impure thoughts and actions and of immodesty. Homosexuality is so far off the radar that it’s not even a concept. But there are a few applicable comments:

“The Church could not give permission to do anything that God’s law forbids. It could not, for example, give permission to a brother and sister to marry, because it is not alone the law of the Church but God’s law also that forbids that.”

“Your minds can hold just so much good or evil information, and if you fill them full of lies and nonsense you leave no room for true knowledge.”

However, more advanced catechisms for adults listed “the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance” according to the Bible.

A voice cries out to heaven
From blood, from sodomy;
A voice against oppressors,
And workers’ stolen fee.

“Clamitat in caelo
vox sanguinis et sodomorum,
vox oppressorum,
merces detenta laborum.”

The references are:

“the voice of thy brother’s blood cries out to Me” (Gen. 4:10);

“the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is multiplied… their cry is grown loud before the Lord, Who has sent us to destroy them” (Gen. 18:20; Gen. 19:13)

“I have heard [My people’s] cry” (Exod. 3:7)

“You shall pay him the price of his labor… lest he cry out against thee to the Lord” (24:14 and following)

And then there’s Isaiah 5:20-21 —

“Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil:
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness:
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

“Woe to you that are wise in your own eyes,
and prudent in your own conceits.”

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Status Signalling among Women

I was having a discussion with some male fans over on another blog, and found myself freaking out for ill-defined reasons over a scene in an anime. Eventually (after spending way too much time taking over the poor guy’s comment box, and consulting a few folks) I managed to narrow down what was bothering me.

There’s a trope, in real life as well in anime, of the “cool girl” or the older or more forceful girl who bosses around the other girls, sometimes leading them on wonderful adventures. Pippi Longstocking is a good fictional example.

As many people have noted, women leaders with good relationships are always asking for feedback. Are we having a good time? Isn’t this great? Aren’t you glad you didn’t stay home? Even exclamations are often asking for a reply or an affirmation.

But the subtle point is that if it’s a good relationship and the leader is good, the girl followers do stand up for themselves. They may do it by always agreeing, but they do make it clear that agreement is coming from an individual of status, whose opinion matters. I think that we’re having a good time. I think that your dress is gorgeous. I think that Sempai is awesome. The declaration of individuality may be unspoken, but it’s there. And almost all the time, even sycophant characters stand up for themselves enough to demand response. I think this; don’t you agree about Sempai? What do you think? What are you going to wear tomorrow? What should we do next?

Similarly, when girls or women are doing things together, one woman may be gathering all the other women up to go to the bathroom, but each of the women makes her own individual production out of it, according to personality. All the women may be encouraged by fashion conformity to wear similar clothing, but wearing the exact same clothing is a fashion faux pas. All the girls on a softball team may wear the same uniform and their accessories may be restricted, but every single one of those girls will have something a little different from the others.

Women run in packs, but only a woman who has totally given up on herself will show total submission to a female leader. Among women, showing total submission makes you a natural target for cruelty. A female leader seems to have very few instinctual limits on her power and ruthlessness toward other females, except for status signalling by them that they’re not sick, not dead, and not expendable. Furthermore, a female satellite to the leader will often be eager to signal her own status by being mean to whoever is lower in rank; and the lower down she is in the pecking order, the more she tends to peck desperately at the one who’s safely the lowest.

Obviously women can use their brains and hearts instead of instinct, though. That’s why kindly girls will put a lot of effort into encouraging a shy girl to stand up for herself and/or develop individual style, rather than remain at rock bottom. But very few teenage girls do well at resisting the lure of absolute power. In extreme situations, you get the Parker-Hulme murder duo. It seems that some girls literally don’t know how to stop being mean once they start; they have to be stopped by someone or something external in order to regain self-control. Standing up to them is doing them a favor.

The survival aspect of this probably goes back to primate bands. As long as females keep signalling with sounds or actions, and the other females keep signalling back with their own sounds and actions, all the females know that there is no predator or dangerous situation picking off females. A female who doesn’t signal back in any way is not helpful for the common warning system, so she’s expendable. If nobody expends her, she has to do what everybody else says… until she starts to stand up for herself by responding, and keeps it up despite any opposition.

Sometimes there’s a lot of opposition. But it’s ultimately a lot easier to stand up for yourself than to submit. I’ve been at the bottom of the ladder, but nobody’s ever made me rock-bottom; I’ve never been anybody’s slave.

(The takeaway for men? Some guys may inadvertently do things that could be misinterpreted as female total submission, even though no guy on earth would take it that way. So I suspect that it would be helpful for guys having problems to figure out a way to bounce back women’s comments with their own actions or comments, although without giving up their own style. Older men who’ve been married for a long time are often pretty good at this. It can be pretty minimal response, but they verify that they’re there and nothing has eaten them. However, some women are just nasty and are always demanding total submission from everyone, so there’s not much to do about them but avoid them.)

(Likewise, it’s helpful for us women to learn to stop fussing for reflex comfort and start thinking about why we are freaking out for responses this time. Before we take over somebody’s comment box, for example. Which is why I have my own darned blog.)

(I also suspect that women find some aspects of religion easier because women like having God as a sounding board, and they like paying attention to learn His response.)

PS. Does anybody know any good webpages about female social hierarchy? Contemporary researchers seem very uninterested in investigating women’s behavior around other women, but maybe I don’t have the right search terms.


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NATO Sez….

NATO guy says we may be at war this summer, and if we’re lucky it won’t be nuclear.

Yeah, that’s been a pretty safe way to bet, what with Russia and China both playing Risk: The Imperialist Foreign Policy.


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St. Genesis?

“Genesis” is now in the 2014 top 50 baby girl names in the US. It’s apparently been hanging around since 1998.

I find this a rather charming name, actually. It’s Greek for “beginning” (as in “In the beginning….”), it’s Biblical, and it has a pretty sound. Probably most girls who are given the name will be nicknamed Jenny or Sis, which is perfectly in line with American naming practices.

There’s a minor tradition among people in Bible churches of picking out Greek and Hebrew words from the Bible to name their kids. I don’t know if this is an example of that or not. There are apparently some Spanish-speaking families picking this name, too.

We don’t really have a Bible feast day. (No “Exaltation of the Holy Bible” or anything like that.) So if I had to pick a name day saint, I’d pick a matriarch or patriarch from the Book of Genesis. For example, St. Adam and St. Eve are on December 24 (in anticipation of Jesus’ coming on the 25th).

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St. Tesla??

Nobody seems to have mentioned this, but there have been quite a few girls named Tesla over the last few years. Over 100 a year, which isn’t bad.

So are they being named for the scientist, family surname, the car, or for the sound “Tess”? What is the demographic distribution of the name? I don’t know!! (Although at least 1 family in LA apparently did come out and say their girl was named for the car.)

Nikola Tesla’s name saint would be St. Nicholas, or you could take any of the famous Nicola female saints as your patron.

I do have to say that Christian parents really shouldn’t name their kids for a car. Even if you love the car, at least say you’re naming the kid for the car company founder or whatever the car is named after. You could say it’s really no different than naming a kid for a jewel or for a tree or flower, but… it is. Give your kid a name with dignity and livability, and make it something worthy of a future saint.

Still, under current baptism rules, there’s nothing stopping you as long as your car isn’t named something anti-Christian. But you should think about it a bit before you stick your kid with it.

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Paris Style

Back when the Wright Brothers proved to Paris that they really had an airplane that flew, and that you could actually steer and do things with, suddenly Paris started selling Wright-this and Wright-that.

Back when Benjamin Franklin came to town as our ambassador, everything was Franklin-this, Electric-that, and a la Americaine.

So it’s very realistic for alternate-world Paris to invent the Heterodyne hat.

(Sadly, it’s not true that the hobble skirt was inspired by Katherine Wright or Mme. Bleriot’s airplane rides.)

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The Three Investigators in LATIN!

Some of us may remember the Three Investigators series of detective stories for kids: the adventures of Jupiter Jones (very like Nero Wolfe or Mycroft as a kid, and very embarrassed by his past as a child actor), Pete Crenshaw (the cautious muscle and legman of the group), and Bob Andrews (the skinny guy who gets underestimated). They had a secret lair in Jupiter’s uncle’s junkyard, and their cases were interesting and spine-chilling! Much later, the Crimebusters volumes of the series finally brought the guys to driving age, increasing their mobility.

It was originated by Robert Arthur of The Mysterious Traveler radio series, and marketed by Alfred Hitchcock as a tie-in to his various TV shows. But the series has been translated, reprinted, and drastically localized around the world.

The Germans and Austrians really love the series more than anybody, though. They call them “The Three Questionmarks.” They put out tons of new books, taking the series from 43 books to over 150. They put out radio dramas. They put out a couple of movies. (Of course, they also added that weird German humor. A tone change.)

And now, a couple of the German-only books have been translated into Latin. The titles are: De Tribus Investigatoribus et Fato Draconis, and De Tribus Investigatoribus et Terrore in via Sheldon Street.

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Jesuit University Misunderstands Jesuit History!

This week, St. Louis University announced that they would take down a statue of the Servant of God Fr. DeSmet for being “white supremacist” and “racist.”

Here’s the event it’s actually portraying, which took place in 1839:

“On the 18th of last September, two Catholic Iroquois came to visit us. They had been for twenty-three years among the nation called Flatheads and Nez Perce, about a thousand Flemish leagues from where we are. I have never seen any natives so fervent in religion.

By their instruction and examples, they have given all that nation a great desire to have themselves baptized. All that tribe strictly observe Sunday and assemble several times a week to pray and sing canticles. The sole object of these good Iroquois was to obtain a priest to come and finish what they had so happily commenced.” – Father Pierre DeSmet

These Iroquois guys, who proudly called themselves Young Ignace and Pierre Gaucher, had walked all the way from FREAKING MONTANA. And they wanted Jesuits because they were Iroquois, and their Canadian Iroquois leader (Old Ignace, aka Ignace La Mousse) had always told them that Black-robes were the best priests. It was their Catholic community’s fifth try at getting a priest sent to them. The fourth time, the entire delegation (including Old Ignace) was martyred by Lakota on their way back. And there’s DeSmet saying, “Yes! I’ll help you and bring you the Mass!”

So this is a famous, proactive moment of a triumph for lay catechists, for Native Americans evangelizing Native Americans, and for the reputation of Jesuits among Native Americans. It is Iroquois badassery, as well as a tribute to Nez Perces and Flatheads being on fire for Jesus, and persistent in trying to get a priest.

Oh, but it’s racist. Because amazingly, Catholics kneel before the Cross.

Or is it that St. Louis University is ashamed of the efforts of lay catechists? Do they hate admitting that Iroquois Catholics can do important stuff?

P.S. In case you’re wondering – yes, Nez Perce and Flatheads wore warbonnets, but not down to their feet like that. Of course, an artist is going to show that anyway. DeSmet never got a chance to evangelize the Lakota or Dakota, AFAIK, although he did do peace negotiations with Sitting Bull because of his good reputation. He gave them a beautiful banner of the Virgin Mary (probably as Queen of Peace), and he stayed in Sitting Bull’s tent. DeSmet was quite old at that time, and of course it was very suitable to have an elder negotiate in order to get people to decide on more serious negotiations.

Fr. DeSmet was not asked by the government to assist in drawing up the peace treaty once a Lakota delegation was sent to make peace, probably because they knew he wouldn’t have liked it or gone with it.


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The Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition Priest

Here’s an article about it in Life Magazine. You can also see a big color picture of him on the cover.

His name is Fr. William A. Maguire. Except he says he didn’t say it, and Life points out that it’s an old saying. That’s urban legends for ya!

There’s also a nice picture of the songwriter Frank Loesser and his scratchpad. 🙂

Here’s the song they’re talking about.

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Why Is a Bicycle/Watch Company Named for a Shoe Polish?

I guess because they don’t know sh*t from Shinola.

Well, actually they do, and they’re bringing back the old brand name that’s gone unused. And they’re doing it all in Detroit, which is a gutsy thing.

But yes, the Shinola Cosmetic Company used to be best-known for various men’s cosmetic products, and shoe polish. It’s the shoe polish which the idiom is talking about.

The old Shinola company was actually from Rochester, New York, if my sources are correct.

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An Important Essay, and Recommending Partners of Wonder

“The Women Other Women Don’t See.”

I’ll be interested to read the sf research tome Partners of Wonder, which I hadn’t seen much about before. The author contends that women in sf were always doing plenty, but that their achievements have been forgotten and denigrated by… later women in sf!

This is of course not always true; but it’s true that there’s a lot less feminist love for sf romances in early pulp than for sf and fantasy buttkicking stories by women. (And to a certain extent this is natural; a lesbian isn’t necessarily going to want to read a romance between heterosexual people, and a lot of 70’s feminist sf theorists were lesbians.)

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St. Harper? St. Carter?

Okay, here we are, back in the land of naming your kid with somebody’s last name. This is a traditional practice in some families, particularly in the South, where one might name a child after the last name of the child’s mother or of another relative. But in recent years, a lot of people just give kids surnames for their given names, either in honor of a famous person or just because it sounds nice.

If you want to name your child after a saint, you can slide with naming the child by the saint’s surname. That’s where all the Xaviers come from. (Or you can go with first and last name of the saint as given names, and that’s nice too.)

If you’re looking for an English-sounding surname name, you want to look at the English and other UK martyrs, usually.

Carter is a very popular boy’s name, this year. It’s probably being given to most kids because of President Carter, or the (female) character of Major Sam Carter on Stargate. It is a profession-based surname, and it just means “man who drives a cart.”

But Blessed William Carter was one of the English martyrs. He was a printer who bravely published Catholic books at a time when they were outlawed. He was imprisoned for four years, tortured on the rack, and finally executed in 1584 by being hung, drawn, and quartered. (Jan. 11; May 4 as part of his martyr group.)

Now a newly popular name for girls is “Harper.” That’s probably because of the author Harper Lee, unless there’s some celebrity or soap opera character of whom I’m unaware.

But there is a St. Harper Road in Ellaville, Georgia, which indicates some kind of Catholic connection. So who could Saint Harper be??

Well, at first it seems it might be referring to one of the New Orleans Saints, or it’s a joke about Harper Lee. But then I found out that there are people out there with the surname “Saint Arbor.” Could “Saint Harper” be a mangled version of Saint Arbor? Well, it turns out that “saint arbre” is one of the French names for the Holy Tree, the Cross. And there are indeed French people with the surname Saint Arbre. So I guess you could take the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14) as your name saint feastday.

I’m not totally satisfied with this solution as a basis for name saints, though! Thus I went and looked for saints named after harps, citharas, sambucas, etc. and didn’t find any. It also turned out that the Lyra in Nicholas of Lyra (not a saint but an influential bible commentator) was actually the River Risle (aka Lire, aka Liricina). So no joy, surprisingly!

There are saints who were harpists, of course. The most prominent one would be St. David, king and prophet, psalmist, and kinnor player. (His feast is Dec. 24, just like Ss. Adam and Eve.) St. Philip Evans, S.J. was a skilled harp player, and played joyful tunes while in chains and right before his martyrdom. (Jul. 23; May 4 with all the beatified and canonized UK martyrs of his time) So that would be another way to go.

UPDATE: I forgot another option – saintly titles and nicknames!

St. Ephrem of Syria, Doctor of the Church, is known as the Harp of the Spirit (Kenārâ d-Rûḥâ) for his beautiful songs and poems. (Okay, so really he’s a Kinnor of the Spirit.) His feastday is June 9. So there’s another name-saint option!


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St. Rose of Lima Parishioners Celebrate 100th Grandchild’s Birth

Technically, 46 of ’em are great-grandkids.

They go to an Extraordinary Form parish run by the FSSP.


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