Monthly Archives: March 2023

Irish Wolfhounds and UK News!

Ch. Sade Paris won the Hound Group at Crufts, the big UK dog show. Paris was the viewer favorite, but didn’t win Best in Show. A very nice-looking hound.

Also, the Irish Wolfhound mascot of the Irish Guards was presented a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day, by Princess Catherine, the new colonel of the Irish Guards. Seamas/Turlough Mor is a very handsome young dog, and I think Catherine lost her heart to him. 🙂

(Either that, or she was telling him that it wasn’t lunchtime yet, and that no sandwiches were concealed upon her person.)

The Irish Wolfhound Database. This is a really big project, but has been very much needed. No breed can stay healthy without transparency about genetic problems, and availability of pedigrees.

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Taw Sheepmark Means “Sheep”

Weavers, Scribes, and Kings: A New History of the Ancient Near East, by Amanda Podany, is full of illuminating comments on the cultures and technologies of the ancient Near East, mostly Mesopotamia.

The ancient form of the Hebrew letter “taw” is an equal-armed cross in a circle (which is used as an angelic “sheepmark” for faithful human members of God’s flock, in the Book of Ezekiel).

The ancient business representation of a sheep was used on proto-cuneiform tablets for accounting; and before that, in the small clay tokens representing the individual pieces of a delivery which were enclosed in clay “bulla” balls sealed all over with a cylinder seal, and then presented and opened to confirm delivery of everything that had been sent.

And what was the shape of a sheep token?

An equal-armed cross enclosed in a circle.

God’s sheepmark, the Tau cross, was literally present and known in the world from the beginning of human writing… and even before human writing, when it was just an accounting convenience. His Providence was preparing us in the deeps of time.

And the Taw shape probably represents a slain sheep being roasted over a fire on a cross-shaped frame, with each sheep leg bound to an arm of the cross. It is a foreshadowing of Passover, and hence of the Paschal Lamb Who was slain.

“In the beginning was the Word.”


(Pretty early on, btw, Uruk developed fifteen different pictograms for different kinds of sheep, so it is really interesting that the basic sheep sign survived so long, and was incorporated into the Phoenician and Hebrew and Greek alphabets, and hence into the Latin one as T.)

(Taw could also be a stylized picture of a sheep sprawled out on the ground, or on its butt and being sheared, if you like that idea better. I don’t think anybody could tell you differently, at this point.)


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Great Dane Mauling Death

It happened in Pennsylvania. My condolences to the family of the dead woman.

First off, the owner of a dog is always legally and morally responsible for a dog’s behavior. The owner was not there. The owner was too lazy or cheap to put the dogs in a boarding kennel, or maybe no kennel in the area would take aggressive dogs.

Second, we have someone who is selling Great Dane puppies, through ads and not through normal methods of approach, and out of a normal house, not a kennel and breeding facility. This sounds shady. Aggressive dogs coming from a shady breeder is what one would expect.

Third, you have three dogs in a place producing puppies, so at least one is a unmatched female or male, in a house with an unspayed, unneutered breeding pair. So one would expect the dogs to fight, unless they are very friendly and stable — both as a pack and as individuals — and are well-trained with a stable owner and home life.

Fourth, you have dogs that have bitten before, being fed as a favor by a neighbor woman whom they had bitten before. Obviously the dogs did not respect her dominance, and yet she was looking after them? Was she pressured into it by being too nice, or was she unrealistic about dog life? Certainly the breeder should never have asked her to dogsit.

Look. No aggressive dog that bites randomly is safe to have around, whatever the size. Either you fix the behavior, or you have a bomb ready to go off.

Giant dogs are held to a higher standard of friendliness, because otherwise they are a danger to humans and to the survival of their breed. And their owners and breeders must also be held to a higher standard. It is so uncommon for giant breeds to be both over-aggressive, and uncorrectable by training, that it is generally deemed to be a genetic fault, and the dog is put down.

So it is very worrying that the Sabathne dogs were being bred for puppies. The puppies out there in the world should be eyed with caution. (Although it sounds like an owner/breeder problem, not a dog DNA problem.)

If the situation was truly an unforeseen accident, fine. But I see red flags all over the place. A lot of human bad decisions seem to have caused this.

Great Danes are not a danger as a breed. Yes, they have a tad more territoriality than an Irish wolfhound or Scottish deerhound, but they are also accustomed to using low levels of force. (Like flipping opponents with their shoulderblades, and then just holding them down.) They don’t even maul home invaders; so this mauling is really unusual and wrong.

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William of Cassingham, Hero of England

An amazing part of English history that you’ve never heard about, and perhaps one of the inspirations behind Robin Hood and the Merry Men.

Once upon a time, a minor commoner or member of the gentry kicked the butt of the best from France, rallying the people of the Weald and the coast. And this is his story.

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You Don’t Invite People to an Emergency Baptism

Argh argh argh argh. More horrible behavior from the Sussexes.

Baptism/Christening/Saining almost always happens at church or in a free-standing baptistry on church grounds, because it’s bringing a person into Christ’s Church.

(In fact, in medieval times in many countries, you were supposed to report with your kid to get baptized at the same church as everybody else in an entire diocese! This one church was the “mother church” or “matrix church”. If you see a town name that includes “matrix,” that’s what it’s talking about: the one place to get normally baptized.)

So usually, church baptisms. The only denominations where they do anything different are the denominations that go even further back, to the days when nobody had permanent church grounds, and so they do a John the Baptist and baptize in a stream somewhere. But even then, it’s almost always the same somewhere, and all kinds of people who are part of the same church will come.

The exceptions are emergency baptisms of people in danger of death (which happen at home or wherever the endangered person happens to be), or we-won’t-be-back-soon baptisms of people who live far away from a church or any minister. (Such as the eunuch who had to get back to Ethiopia, or people baptized by a traveling missionary minister or priest.)

Now, I’m sure that a lot of Harry’s acquaintances are UK noblemen with chapels or small parish churches right on their estates, down the road from the main house. In the old days, the Anglican church let such people hire the minister/priest who worked there, because they also paid for their guy’s salary. But even then, it was an official ordained Anglican guy, and regular church services had to happen there. So if they also had a baptismal font and used it, it was still quite official.

Meanwhile, there’s no suggestion that the estate at Montecito has an official Anglican chapel of any kind. There’s no suggestion that their genetic daughter Lilibet is in danger of death. They’ve let her christening go until now, endangering her soul.

And then, no doubt because some other celebrity had a big baptism party for his/her kids, they suddenly decide that they can do a press release on how the poor kid was christened at home. And they hauled in the Episcopal bishop of LA to do it (probably because he was shocked to hear that the kid wasn’t baptized yet, and decided he’d put up with their ridiculous power trip for the sake of the kid, and probably to make sure that toddler Archie is also alive and well).

It’s one of the rights of the baptized person to have everyone in the local church see them baptized and be witnesses, so as to avoid any canon law problems at the time of receiving other Sacraments.

So it’s good that the Sussexes are at least affording this knowledge to the world, even if they provided almost no witnesses to protect their daughter’s rights. A celebrity party is unlikely to be full of pious Christian witnesses; and LB’s parents are drug-users, so they’re not all that reliable. I suppose there’s always the housekeeping staff and the nannies; and presumably the Episcopal bishop will file the baptismal records at his own church.

But that’s just another example of the narcissistic behavior of these two non-carer parents with their two child accessories.

Still, a valid baptism is a valid baptism. Doing parental duties for selfish personal reasons and PR is at least getting the job done.


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Activated Charcoal in Bamboo Bags

Remember how there used to be activated charcoal insoles, to get rid of stinky foot odors?

You can now get charcoal in bags that let UV rays in. The idea is that every month, you put the bags out into the sunlight for an hour or two, and activate the charcoal again. And then you bring the bags into your house, and the charcoal gets rid of any impurities in the air (including odors), as well as absorbing moisture if you put them in a damp area. You can also use them in fridges (or shoes).

The bags only last for about two years, at which time you open the bags and put the charcoal in your garden as fertilizer.

They’re not too expensive, so I bought some bags and I’m trying them out.

Sure enough, they really started working very quickly, and the air does seem cleaner. I did smell a little whiff of charcoal at first, with one bag, but that was gone within about an hour.

I don’t know about the dampness, because I don’t really have any damp areas. (Obviously, you wouldn’t want it fighting any humidifier in a non-damp area, either.)

Apparently it started as a US company product, but now there are tons of Chinese copies. (Other than that, I don’t think brand matters.) So pick carefully. Your local garden center or hardware store might carry them.

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Fast Track!!

Okay, I guess I’ve been in St. Blog’s Parish long enough, because I have finally turned into a Fr. Greeley-style Catholic woman with Connections.

(This would be more impressive if I could remember anybody’s name or face. Which is why I have a blog.)

Anyhow, once upon a time, back when my parish was over at St. Albert the Great’s in Kettering, we had a visiting priest who was going to UD and staying in the (freaking huge farmhouse-size) rectory, with all the other priests. This was pretty normal, because lots of priests doing graduate study or post-grad work at UD would stay in the rectory.

What was unusual was that this priest was from Canada, a polyglot, and that he got sent to the Vatican diplomatic service after finishing his studies. (Well, initially he went home to be a pastor, and then they sent him over to the Vatican after about four years.) And we were all saying stuff like, “I bet he’s being fast-tracked. Maybe he’ll be a chancellor someday. Maybe even a bishop.”

And then he became an auxiliary bishop of Montreal in Sept. 2022, after a brief stint as vicar general. (Here’s the Mass of his consecration as a bishop.)

And now he’s suddenly going to be the archbishop of Toronto (aka “Toronto the Good,” if you read Canadian novels).

In fact, he’s going to be something like the sixth-youngest archbishop in the whole Latin/Roman Rite. (The youngest is the archbishop of Mosul, and the youngest cardinal is the prefect of Ulan-Baatar.)

I’m pretty sure he doesn’t remember me, or I hope not! But it’s very cool, and I hope he does well in Toronto. If he’s still as enthusiastically on fire for God as he used to be, he will do well for them; and he’s pretty shrewd also, I think. His UD studies were on Mariology, and he founded a Canadian association for Mariology; so I think you can see that he also loves our Blessed Mother.

The main thing is that he’s only 51, which means that (God willing and the creek don’t rise) he’s going to be archbishop of Toronto for at least twenty or thirty years.

The other obvious point is that Canada (or rather, their politicians) have been bought and paid for, by the Chinese and others. There’s also outright hostility toward the Church. It’s a place where they kill people for having mental illnesses, or being old, or being unconscious, and where most Downs Syndrome people are aborted before they have a chance to live.

So yep, not an easy assignment. Please pray for him — Bishop Frank Leo.

(The good news is that he actually served in the Vatican’s Hong Kong mission office while in the diplomatic service, so he’s familiar with CCP junk.)

I’m pretty sure that either EWTN, or the Canadian channel for Catholics, or both, will be televising the installation Mass on March 25, on the Feast of the Annunciation. His archdiocese says they’ll be streaming it.

I look forward to it, because it will be really bizarre to see somebody I know become practically a prince of the church! Ha!

Also… I mentally criticize Pope Francis a lot, and I try not to criticize him publicly. But this pick — this is a good idea, and I want to praise the pope for it.

UPDATE: Do watch that Quebecois Mass at Our Lady Queen of the World. The opening music is lovely! (And that’s nice, because Bishop Leo is a musician, on top of his other accomplishments.) Really good chant schola, too!

It turns out that the now-bishop also served as the secretary of the CCCB (Canadian bishops’ conference) while a monsignor, and also got the non-fun job of being on a committee to help abuse survivors.

“Surprising” road to Toronto.

An article by somebody from Montreal, who knows him.


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Please Stop Turning into Monsters, Mainstream.

Apparently, in his copious spare time, an author of many good Russian sf/f books named Sergei Lukyanenko has endorsed war crimes against Ukrainians.

Now, I know this could be some kind of government frame-up… but apparently it’s not.

So. Yeah. Instead of getting caught committing or supporting sex crimes or crimes against kids, we’ve got one supporting war crimes, that just _include_ sex crimes and crimes against kids. Yay.

This torques me off, because I looked into Lukyanenko’s work and advocated for people to read him, back when the movies Night Watch and Day Watch came out, as adaptations of his books. There’s also an eerie resemblance to his Night Watch protagonist getting co-opted into occasional but extreme evil, by getting too cozy with the magical version of the government of his country. I haven’t followed him for the last decade, but I just figured he was getting on with his writing.

(It’s a particularly weird situation, because he was born out in Central Asia on the Russian side of things; and he is a person of Ukrainian ancestry who hates Ukraine’s existence as a separate country, and forbids translation of his books into Ukrainian!)

Also, in our current anti-God world, and since the Russians are temporarily buddied up with the Communist Chinese (until their next sudden and inevitable mutual backstabbing), Lukyanenko is one of two guests of honor at this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, which is being held in China.

Apparently the last Worldcon’s operating meeting (in 2022) passed a resolution calling for Lukyanenko to be disinvited as GoH, but the Chengdu con committee declined to follow this call. (And btw… Ben Yalow raised a point of order, but purely to protect Worldcon legalities by bringing it up. To do such a thing, at such a tense moment, is truly a moment of nerd courage.)

The Worldcon committee probably should have disavowed Chengdu’s convention at this point, given that they are incorporated in the US, and then they could have made the NASFIC convention the official Worldcon. But that hasn’t happened.

(The other GoH is Liu Cixin, who has announced that Uyghurs, way out in the wilds of Asia, are all terrorists who really need to be in concentration camps. He openly referred to genocide and slave labor as “economic development.” So I guess it’s no longer The Three Body Problem; it’s The Million Corpse Problem.)

Worldcon is also being held in Chengdu, a lovely city which used to be a center of Buddhism. It now persecutes Buddhists, traditional Chinese beliefs, and Christians of all denominations. Besides arrests of people of all religions, there has been confiscation of their properties and houses of worship.

Oh, and one of the editor GoHs was disinvited for being Jewish. Yeah.

The first Worldcon took place in New York City in 1939, with a bunch of young fans worried about their European relatives. But this time, Worldcon is actually trying for that 1936 Olympics vibe. Yay.

Andrew Gill Smith, whose book Our Lady of the Artilects somehow got nominated for a Hugo despite advocating for Uyghurs in the actual book, is being hassled online by some kind of CCP “water army” of professional trolls.

So obviously the CCP has no confidence in the Hugo Awards being fixed adequately. Which is interesting.

I think we should ask for the intercession of some of China’s earlier generations of martyrs, because they are also associated with Chengdu, which is in Sichuan.

St. Gabriel-Taurin Dufresse, bishop, was martyred in Chengdu on Sept. 14, 1815.

St. Augustine/Si-ding Zhao Rong, priest, worked as a soldier in Chengdu and was converted after meeting Fr. Dufresse as an escort for his journeys (before the persecutions started, when Dufresse was in favor). He was martyred on Jan. 27, 1815.

St. Joseph/Ruose Yuan Zaide, priest. He was from Peng in Sichuan, and was martyred in Chengdu on June 24, 1817.

St. Paul/Baolu Liu Hanzuo, underground missionary priest. He worked as a vegetable seller by day, and secretly sang Masses and performed priestly duties at night. Martyred at Execution Square at the East Gate in Jinjiang, Chengdu, on Feb. 13, 1818.

St. John/Ruowang Chen Xianheng, lay catechist. Born in Chengdu. Martyred on February 18, 1862, in Kaiyang, Guiyang, Guizhou.

Please pray for the safety of everyone involved in this against their will, and for Andrew Gill Smith; and that justice will come for the CCP’s victims and prisoners.

Also, please pray for the conversion of heart and amendment of life of Sergei Lukyanenko and Liu Cixin.


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