Category Archives: Family

Hey, My Brother Has the #1 Steampunk EBook on Amazon!

The Sculpted Ship is back up on the Amazon charts!

Kevin recently put out the paper edition of his book, and then was accepted by BookBub for a promotion. So right now, you can get the Kindle edition for a great discount price.

99 cents!

Buy, read, enjoy! It’s good fun space sf, where the suns never set on the Iris Empire!

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When a PSA Lies

The CDC is running a PSA that is shockingly exploitative. I just saw it today on a cable channel.

The PSA is labeled “A Tip from an Ex-Smoker.” A young mother explains that she smoked during pregnancy, and that therefore her baby was born two months premature and had to live in an incubator. Her tip (given in a despairing, post-partum depression voice) is to speak through the incubator’s hand opening, so that the baby can hear you better.

The PSA then runs a screen acknowledging that smoking during pregnancy means “a chance” of premature birth and low birth weights; but the implication during the PSA is that smoking will definitely cause that, and that any pregnant woman who smokes is an evil monster!

Now, obviously it’s better not to smoke, so it’s obviously better not to smoke during pregnancy.

But seriously, what is that BS? I grew up when pretty much every pregnant woman smoked, and the chance of mothers having a preemie baby was just about the same as it is today. (Maybe it’s higher today, because preemie babies actually get born alive at younger ages, instead of being counted as miscarriages and stillbirths.)

My mother never smoked, and she had one of her kids be a preemie. Other women smoked like chimneys — big chain smokers — and had big full-term babies. For two generations, almost everyone born in America was the child of a woman who smoked several cigarettes a day.

(Let’s not even get into pregnant women drinking and having smart healthy kids. Because they also did that, all the time, for centuries. I’m not saying that it’s a good idea to drink like a fish, but sheesh.)

So basically, the CDC can take their guilt trip for pregnant ladies, and insert it where they pulled this out of. Premature birth is a complicated medical issue that is caused by many factors and conditions, and there’s no telling who will get lucky and who will not. A lot of those factors are genetic, or are the baby’s own individual characteristics. Encouraging mothers to do healthy things is fine; lying to them and using BS threats is disgusting.

Most of all, I hope that if that mother on the commercial is a real person and not an actor, that somebody explains to her that her baby just had bad luck.

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Canine Laryngeal Paralysis

This is a scary one.

It turns out that in older dogs of large/giant size, they can have a common condition where their vocal folds no longer open and close normally, but remain partially closed on both sides of the throat. This is called canine laryngeal paralysis, and obviously it makes it difficult for the dog to get a good full breath. Dogs start sounding wheezy and getting over-tired from mild exercise. Since panting is what cools dogs, this almost makes them less able to keep from overheating.

The other problem is that if the dog starts barking hard or trying to breathe faster, it actually closes off their airways more. You have to calm the dog down so that he can breathe, and cool him down so he doesn’t overheat. (Unless the dog is getting overly cold, which can also happen with breathing problems. So use your senses.) Sometimes vets give sedatives or cortisone to help out.

Well, it turns out that our family dog has this condition. She’s pretty old for an Irish wolfhound, and Mom took her to the vet at the first sign of weird breathing. (A lot of people don’t recognize anything wrong until the dog is in full-blown respiratory distress.) The usual treatment is a cheap, minor larynx surgery on just one side of the vocal folds. (It’s called “tieback”, so you can guess what they do; and it only takes two sutures to do it.) But wolfhounds don’t do well with anesthetics, so we will be going with non-surgical treatment for now.

So, yes, if you have a large dog and have been told not to use a choke collar — laryngeal paralysis is why you don’t. But it can still happen anyway, and nobody knows just why it happens.

If you ever hear your dog making wheezing or honking sounds, or having trouble breathing at night, have your vet check it out. Cats can also get “lar par,” and so can horses. (But horses usually get it on just one side, so it’s bad but not life-threatening.)

This page has sound videos of two dogs with severe “stridor” from laryngeal paralysis.

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The Sculpted Ship, by K. M. O’Brien

My brother Kevin just finished his science fiction novel and put it up on Amazon on Saturday. It’s listed under Steampunk (because the manners and mores of the local galactic empire tend that way, and they’re major features of the plot) and Galactic Empire (because there is one). I copy-edited it and I’m proud of it, but he got most of the ideas that improved it. (He’s the kind of guy who tends not to follow your ideas, but likes to bounce his ideas off yours until he gets something he likes. He has good instincts.)

He’s got a blurb, but let me tell you about the book.

Cover of The Sculpted Ship by K. M. O'Brien

The Sculpted Ship is a small business development story. Anailu Xindar finds the perfect starship of her dreams, and plans to put it to work for her new cargo hauling business. But at the cheap price she got it, you know it has to be a fixer-upper. Finding the parts is going to be a problem. But this time, it’s the intrigue, traps, and very-bad-things kind of problem.

(Yes, Kevin is the kind of computer geek who also has car and truck projects in the backyard.)

Even before the parts problem kicks in, it turns out that having a unique ship gives you unique opportunities to make money — but only if you train yourself to take advantage of them. And in Anailu’s society, it means learning how to mix with the rich, make bets with other captains, and buy fancy duds. From a fashion designer. Who likes frou-frou. Anailu likes to plan ahead, but she never planned on this!

This book stands alone, but Kevin is writing a second Anailu novel right now. In fact, he wants to have a whole series. He’s got some great worldbuilding ideas, and he also has a good sense of storytelling and humor. I also think you will like Anailu and her friends; I sure do.

The Sculpted Ship is only $3.99 $2.99, as of November 26. So check out the sample pages and see if you like it!

PS. I don’t have Kevin’s Amazon affiliate link at the moment, and I’m not one. So feel free to search out The Sculpted Ship from the affiliate of your choice. He’s going to have it up on Barnes and Noble and Kobo, too, but right now it’s just on Amazon.

PPS. I hope everybody has a happy Thanksgiving. I spent most of the morning still resting from last night, because things have been crazy at the store all the last few weeks. And tomorrow morning is Black Friday. I’m certainly getting hours!


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Donal Breen = Daniel O’Brien

Okay, this is something that happens in genealogical research too….

It seems there’s some doubt as to the real name of Fr. Daniel O’Brien (so listed by Moran and his sources). The cause for Richard Creagh and 41 Companion Martyrs of Ireland lists his name as Donal Breen!

Okay, I can buy Donal as being the guy’s Gaelic name, with “Daniel” being either his name in religion or the functional equivalent of Donal that he was baptized with. But. Usually Irish authors are pretty clear about whether a man’s an O’Brien, Byrne, or Breen, even if folks from other countries are easily confused. So what was the real surname of Fr. Daniel?

The cause for sainthood seems to be a little stalled. They haven’t even named them official martyrs yet. Bah.

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The Martyr’s Jig

An American POW, Alexander Makaroumis, was in the same North Korean prison with Msgr. Patrick “Pat” Brennan, Fr. Thomas “Tommy” Cusack, and Fr. John “Jack/Jackie” O’Brien, three Columban missionaries who are now listed among the 81 North Korean Martyrs whose cause for beatification is being considered.

Makaroumis reported that the priests were constantly concerned to keep up the prisoners’ spirits:

“At other times, [Monsignor Brennan]’d encourage Father O’Brien to sing us a song and do one of his Irish jigs. Father O’Brien sort of made you forget you were cooped up in a prison cell, and sent you flying back home….”

Later the prisoners were moved to a prison near Seoul, at the old monastery at Taejon/Daejon. When the war started going against the North Koreans, the priests were massacred with over a thousand other prisoners to prevent them falling into UN hands. Brennan, Cusack, and O’Brien’s death date was September 24, 1950.

These three men are currently under consideration to become Venerables, Blesseds, and (God willing) Saints named on the altar. They are listed as part of the 80 companions of Hong Yong-ho Franciscus Borgia and 80 Companions. Fr. O’Brien is number 50 on the list.

Fr. O’Brien’s native place was Donamon, County Roscommon, Ireland. He was born on December 1, 1918, so he may become the first saint from Ireland’s days as a republic.

A page on the many Columban martyrs, in Korea and elsewhere. Some of them are men who died violently in the course of their priestly duties, although not probably killed for hatred of the faith. The most recent death listed was in 2001, in the Philippines. Please pray for their souls and ask them to pray for us.

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Coincidence? I Think Not….

On St. Francis’ Day, my parents finally got around to calling our local Irish wolfhound breeder/national wolfhound rescue lady and telling her that our dog Liath had died back in the summer.

Now, usually this sort of occasion does elicit some feelers from the rescue people as to whether you’d be interested in taking another rescue dog someday, and if so, when. My parents in the past have said that of course they’re not ready, and probably won’t be for at least another year. (Of course, if you say that you’re never going to own another dog, they’ll still call you up again in a year or so. And they’re right to do so, because a year is a long time.)

This time, however, the rescue lady pretty much offered my parents a dog, and they pretty much jumped at it. (Coincidence? YOU be the judge. Heh.)

The sad story wasn’t even one of the epic sad stories of suffering and privation (like Rory’s and Liath’s) or peril and misadventure (like Cormac’s). No, this was a sad story of human selfishness and stupidity, coupled with the ability to BS a breeder. Apparently, when the owners didn’t have kids yet, they thought a wolfhound puppy would be perfect. Then the wife got pregnant, and all of a sudden they decided that the puppy wasn’t perfect; so they made her stay out all alone in the yard all day (violating their agreement with the breeder, as well as guaranteeing themselves trouble from a bored and lonely wolfhound puppy). Astoundingly, she didn’t do well out there. So they apparently called the breeder and asked her where they could get a giant-sized crate, or whether it would be better to keep the dog in the chicken coop. (Which as you’d imagine is a recipe for diseases, never mind being stupid and cruel.) So the breeder pointed out that the contract they’d signed had been soooo broken, and took the puppy back. The problem is that a 9 month old puppy is a bit too old to sell, too spayed to breed, and not show quality or she would have been kept. So strictly speaking, Mom and Dad are doing a breeder a favor (if I understood the story correctly, which I probably didn’t — it might have been the Humane Society that pulled the puppy and I just missed that part), but it’s still in the rescue category.

UPDATE: I still don’t understand the whole story, but apparently the puppy’s previous owners bought the puppy from a mall pet store. DON’T DO THAT! Mall pet stores buy from puppy mills! If you want a dog, buy it from the person who bred it, and stay in touch with the breeder. A reputable breeder is out to find good homes for their dogs, not just to make money and kick you to the curb. A good breeder will make sure that you’re ready for what you’re getting into.

But it gets even more sad. You know what this poor dog was named, either by her owners or her befooled breeder? A name that no novel would permit?

Think of a cardinal virtue that starts with the letter P.

*pound my head against handy brick wall*

Anyway, I’ll let you know more about the dog when she’s settled in her new home, and hopefully is given a more Irish name. (Whoops. That doesn’t sound right, does it? We Irish really do possess that virtue, honest….)

Meanwhile, I thought I’d just give St. Francis a shout-out. 🙂

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My Martyred Relatives

I didn’t realize that so many of my clansmen were martyrs.

One is known only from the reminiscences of a fellow Trinitarian monk: “Tadhg O’Brien of Thomond” was dragged apart in the sight of the viceroy, on Bombriste Bridge between Limerick and Kilmallock.

Two were Bishops of Emly. The first, Maurice (Murtagh) O’Brien, died in prison in Dublin in 1586 .

The second, Terence (Toirdhealbhach) Albert O’Brien, a Dominican, was executed in Limerick on October 31, 1651. He was the last bishop of Emly, the see founded by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.or he was officially beatified in 1992 by Pope John Paul II as part of a group of Irish martyrs. His memorial is October 30. (Nobody told me MY FAMILY HAS A FEAST DAY!!!!!)

One was Cornelius O'Brien — and that's a family name indeed — in 1642. He was hanged by parliamentarians on board a ship on the Shannon, with the Franciscan Fergal Ward.

One was Donagh O'Brien, who was burned alive in 1651.

One was Daniel O'Brien, dean of Ferns. He was hanged on April 14, 1655 with his companions: Luke Bergin, a Cistercian monk, and James Murchu.

Six O’Brien martyrs.

(And a lot of O’Briens who went over to the government side, but we’ll ignore that for the moment since I’ve known about that for quite a while. I’m busy goggling and doing the non-liturgical stepdance of glee!)

UPDATE: Seven. Fr. John “Jack/Jackie” O’Brien, a Columban Missionary, was one of those martyred during the Korean War by the Communists.

UPDATE: Martyrs Omitted by Foxe mentions a couple more Catholic martyrs: Donatus O’Brien (p. 188) and Cornelius O’Brien, lord of Caringh, County Kerry (p. 189). Donatus is Donagh from above, and Cornelius is the above guy who got hanged on shipboard.

It also paraphrases O’Daly as quoted by Moran, and says that General Ireton offered Bl. Terence Albert O’Brien forty thousand pounds sterling and free passage, if he would just stop preaching to the people not to surrender Limerick. (Which meant not just political surrender, but accepting Puritan Protestantism in place of Catholicism.) O’Brien sent word back that he refused the offer, and that was when Bishop O’Brien was put on the list not to receive amnesty even if Limerick did surrender. The 200 ecclesiastics in Limerick voted to try to help O’Brien and the other twenty not to be given amnesty, and for their pains they were also put on the list. O’Brien offered to surrender himself to die if all the others would be taken off the death list, but Ireton rejected this.

It says that Moran then references The History of the Geraldenes, p. 204 and following; and De Burgh’s Hib. Dom., p. 489. After that, there’s a last speech and the summoning of Ireton to judgment. So there seems to be a fair amount of information about Bl. Terence Albert O’Brien that I haven’t seen yet. After the hanging, Blessed Terence Albert’s head was exposed on a pole, on the tower above Limerick’s great gate (along with the heads of Major General Purcell and the previous Mayor of Limerick, Thomas Stritch.)

I have to say that the Bishop of Emly impresses me more and more, the more I find out about him.

“Moran” is A Historical Sketch of the Persecutions Suffered by the Catholics of Ireland under the Rule of Cromwell and the Puritans, by Patrick Francis Moran, D.D., Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney. The online version is the 1907 revised edition.

Moran notes (p. 431 – 432) that Cornelius O’Brien was arrested at the castle of Glanens, which was owned by John Geraldine, by a band of people under Forbes. He and Father Ferghall Ward (O.F.) were hanged simultaneously from the masthead of a ship (on opposite sides), their corpses kept hanging there until high tide, and then their bodies cut loose to fall into the river. (The ship was at the exact middle of the River Shannon, which was pretty wide and deep at that point.) This was at the end of October, 1642.

So anybody named Shannon or Sineann has the name of a deathsite of martyrs, a holy river….

Moran also talks about Fr. Daniel O’Brien, the Dean of Ferns. He studied and was ordained at the Irish College in Compostela, Spain, and loved Spain and Spanish people’s customs and piety so much that his nickname was “Father Daniel the Spaniard.” He was a tireless and much loved priest, and very successful in persuading Protestants to become Catholic.

After the city of Wexford’s capture and massacre, he managed to stay on the loose and continue his ministry while in hiding at a nobleman’s house. Seeing a lot of Catholics sneaking over there, and suspecting they were going to Mass, the local Puritan forces snuck over to the house in a boat and got the place surrounded. They then threatened death to everyone in the house unless they gave up the priest. Old Father O’Brien came out at once, and said to the officer, “Why do you trouble these good people who have done nothing wrong? I am the priest who has offered up the Holy Sacrifice; if that is a fault, it is all mine.”

The officer seized O’Brien and took all his stuff, including the Mass gear. He took the chalice, filled it with ale, and took a big swig. Immediately he was struck with a horrible fit and collapsed, crying out and clawing at himself. Pitying him, Fr. O’Brien blessed him with the Sign of the Cross, and the officer was freed of his pain. The officer gave back the chalice and left right away, leaving the priest there, and not letting the soldiers hurt or touch him.

O’Brien was arrested again afterwards, thrown in prison, released, and then arrested and thrown in prison again. He was condemned to death in 1655, along with Fr. Luke Bergin (a Cistercian) and Fr. James Murchu/Murphy (a secular priest).

The jury of 12 Protestants bravely returned a verdict of Not Proved. This was rejected by the judge, who announced that no crime was more heinous than being guilty of being a priest, and pronounced them Guilty against the jury’s decision. The citizens of Wexford (all new Protestants brought in by Cromwell after Wexford’s previous population was massacred) petitioned for the priests not to be hanged inside Wexford’s walls, but this was rejected too, and the priests were set to be hanged in the same marketplace where the massacre had been done.

Fr. O’Brien was practically unable to walk at that point, but hearing the news of his condemnation gave him such joy that he was filled with energy and strength; and the next day, he walked to the scaffold all by himself. He spoke to the crowd and then was executed, full of joy and love, on April 14th, 1655 — Holy Saturday. His companions also died bravely.

All three priests were buried in the ruins of the Franciscan monastery outside the walls of Wexford. A heavenly light was seen circling around the place for many nights.

Moran quotes this from Lynch’s History of the Irish Bishops.

Moran also quotes Abelly’s Life of St. Vincent [de Paul], who sent several Irish missionary priests to Ireland. One of the first three he sent was Fr. Gerald O’Brien, who apparently wasn’t caught or banished the whole time.

Moran (pp. 419 – 420) says that Donatus O’Brien (called Donnchadh, probably) was a layman of 64 (which was old, in his day and social class). He had a safe conduct to do business, but was shot by a Protestant knight out of pure meanness (and odium fidei). He went over to a little abandoned hut to pray and die, but a soldier threw fire on the roof and burned down the hut with him in it. This was somewhere in Thomond in 1651.

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In Which I Think Happy Thoughts about Federal Bureaucracies.

All bureaucracies are evil, except ones which employ my nearest and dearest. Those bureaucracies are mad. For they involve SCIENCE!

My big brother’s cool job.

My sister-in-law’s cool job.

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Prayer Request

UPDATE: Mom is feeling much better now. The drug has been flushed out, the reaction is over. Thank you for your prayers, everyone!


My mom has been having a rough time lately. She was taken off her prescription for a chronic condition because the specialist doctor thought she didn’t need it any more. Mom promptly demonstrated that a) some drugs you need to taper people off, and b) it’s a chronic condition, and only the prescription drug was keeping it away.

So she got put abruptly back onto the drug, which was equally rough on her system but at least stopped the problem. Then she caught that sore throat that’s going around, because her resistance was low. So she went to her regular doctor, received a prescription for a newish drug to stop the drippage — and suffered an allergic reaction. (Not anything too horrible, thank God, but still — scary.)

So if any folks out there would please keep my mother in their prayers, I’d sure appreciate it.

(And btw — St. Luke, Ss. Cosmas and Damian, and all you other medical doctor saints, I would really appreciate it if you’d put in a word about stopping the docs down here from experimenting with my mom’s prescriptions for insufficient reasons! I mean, sure, accidents happen, but this is turning into an episode of House, MD….)


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Head to Head Battle: Send in the Maureens!

The bookshelves reel. Amazon totters. Two authors, both named Maureen O’Brien (and neither one me, more’s the pity) are out there writing under the same name! Noooooo!

One is the famous (but no more famous than convenient) and glamorous Maureen O’Brien, star of stage and screen, and longtime companion of Doctor Who. She owned a bookstore on Vancouver Island and, for the last ten or so years, has written mystery novels. (Dark, but well-written and interesting.) More recently, she has returned to the UK theatre to work as an actor, director, and playwright. Finally, she won an award for her audiobook reading of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. (If there be a more perfect resume, it can only include non-fictional space travel and medals for valor.)

The other, of whom I’d never heard before despite a good bit of autonomen Googling, has been slaving away in the literary and educational salt mines for the last 29 years. Her fiction is contemporary literary stuff — but I don’t detect any of the telltales of crappiness. (Other than teaching creative writing for a living, which has been the death of American literature. Fortunately for her, she has only been an adjunct prof who still has to sing for her supper — and thus still can.) Her latest book came out this spring. You can read a review and an excerpt at BookLoons.

As a Maureen, it’s tempting to think that your name is so uncommon that you don’t need a middle initial. I trust this demonstrates the incorrectness of such an assumption. When I add the Publisher’s Weekly chick, the Mother Superior, and the field hockey player — not to mention the folky Australian singer/songwriter who writes songs about dragonslaying, the mural artist, the theology prof at Duquesne who specializes in “lay ecclesial ministry”, the nun theology prof at the Aquinas Institute, the garden shop/coffee house owner, the Pittsburgh sister/high school teacher, and the motivational speaker — you can see that we are a very different bunch but still might run into each other’s spheres enough to cause confusion. I learned that lesson at my first Doctor Who convention, but others learn it the hard way.

Still, it shows the cluelessness of the literary establishment, that Harcourt Books didn’t even stop to consider that there might be some confusion if you put out a first novel under the same name as the author of seven novels and a play. (Also, it’s fairly clear that there’s a certain lack of self-promotion in the litfic Maureen. Sheesh, get a website!)

Finally, though, I have to agree with the profound words of M.E. Wood: “I feel akin to every woman named Maureen and often relish… any success they may achieve.”

So get websites, people! And use your middle initials!


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Another Local Priest Blogger/Podcaster!

As longtime readers of this blog may recall, my parents live close to Wright State, so of recent years they have been going to the Catholic campus ministry’s little itty bitty chapel on the little itty bitty parcel of land that the archdiocese was donated for this purpose (by the land’s original pre-university owners).

I finally got to see the picture of the proposed big new church building, as approved by Fr. Chris Rohmiller just before he passed away. It looked pretty good.

(Well, of course it’s got round bits. Priests of Fr. Chris’ generation seem to have a fatal attraction to round churches. But it looks like the round bits are on only one end, so maybe it’s just one of those triangles with a round bit at one apex…. Besides, it’s not how it looks on the outside that counts.)

Anyway, the priest, Fr. Ed Burns, has a blog (Fred’s Place) and a homily podcast, too. (No, of course my parents didn’t tell me. They’re not even on the Internet yet.) So I thought I’d better link them here.

He seems like he’s doing a good job. (He doesn’t come across as lame or boring, which is half the battle with college students.) So check it out.

Fear the stripey stole! 🙂

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“Summorum Pontificum” (Of All the Bridgebuilders)

It’s the day after Pope Benedict XVI released his motu proprio, “Summorum Pontificum“. In the Catholic blogosphere, we have been waiting for this for more than two years: first in hope founded on earlier books and statements, and then with the aid of rumor, leak, and tiny press releases. In the real world, people mostly didn’t dare to hope for it at all. Something precious had been lost for ever, or could only be kept alive in small dark corners through special grace: like the Mozarabic or Ambrosian rites, restricted to single churches in single cities.

People who aren’t Catholic probably can’t understand how deeply this ran. Fr. Greeley’s career and popularity as a novelist was almost entirely founded on the fact that he wrote about it.

People my age grew up with a strange wound and longing in their parents: as if we’d all been driven out by flood from a homeland that no longer existed, where on stormy nights, the church bells clanged randomly beneath the waves; and you might hear those who’d refused to leave (and been turned into mermen by some curse or mercy) chanting in their black and golden robes, as strange lights burned in stony caves beneath the sea.

Drowned Latinesse, lost and lovely and strange — and cruel, we heard from those who were glad it was gone. We heard most about it from its enemies — for its friends dared not speak of what they could not bear to remember. They wanted to be brave and obedient and silent — but there was always the lament. Latin was missing, Latin was gone, nothing would ever be the same.

There was an information hole, out of which occasional facts might emerge. There were books — but we were warned that the Church didn’t teach that anymore, it wasn’t true. What wasn’t true and what still was? Nobody knew. Or they insisted that they did know and taught us what they’d been taught — but in the back of their mind, they worried. Maybe nothing was true anymore.

And now, here we are. Latinesse rises again, shedding salt water, and once more we can see that the Drowned Cantrevs were always smack in the middle of our own Christendom where we’ve always lived. It will not be a mythical city that troubles our dreams and grieves our parents, but a working one which will earn its keep. Granted, it will take a while to clean out the gunk and the seaweed, and flush out the last bits of brackish water and salt. But now we can go there whenever we want. The fields grow together; the bees pollinate orchards of fruit not seen for forty years. The logic of Christendom’s road system becomes clear, now that they no longer disappear into the depths beyond our sight. Also, the long-suffering merfolk, fins turned back into feet, take their first few breaths of sweet fresh air.

I love the current Mass, and I feel no lack when I attend what we will now call “the ordinary form of the Latin Rite Mass”. But that doesn’t mean I’m not interested to go to see Jesus in “the extraordinary form”; I am and always have been interested. It also seems entirely natural to me. I grew up in a parish which offered folk music Masses, formal Masses, children’s Masses, choir Masses, no music Masses, and so on. Whatever Mass we went to, was Mass. Each had its features and facets, but none was fundamentally different.

I look forward to the time when, once again, it’s no big deal, and I’m not particularly worried about it.

In the meantime, I’m still working on filling my information hole with the ordinary form. I keep trying to remember to practice all the bows and nods (at the name of Jesus, the Trinity, and various other things worthy of special honor), which nobody ever bothered to teach the kids my age. I have a Missal for the ordinary form (see, I’m getting used to saying it!) with all the bits where I need to nod highlighted in neon yellow. Why? Because it’s not right that I don’t do it, if it’s what we’re supposed to do. The same goes with Friday abstention from meat (or “another penitential practice”) at times other than Lent. It stinks that I was never taught; and I certainly don’t look down on other people who don’t do it, because I know they weren’t told, either. But I know now, and I am trying to do it. Even though it’s very hard to remember.

And yes, I do mean to get one of those brand new missals for the extraordinary form, reprinting the 1962 ones, so that I can follow along and learn that.

I’m not ashamed to retrain. I’m glad.

I’m glad my mother won’t have to miss Latin anymore, ever again. The bridge is being built. The wound is being healed. Things will get better.

Meanwhile, today’s readings for the ordinary form Mass seemed like a message: “Rejoice with Jerusalem… all you were mourning over her!” “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy…” (and “He has changed the sea into dry land….” Heh.) “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit….” followed by the priest saying “And also with you” (which is really “And with your spirit”, and soon will be translated that way again). Maybe we’re being “sent out as sheep among wolves”, too, but not without hope.

* Btw, I found out the Lyonesse actually probably comes from the name of one of the old viscounties and dioceses of Brittany: Leon. It was probably another Lugdunum, like Lyons and London.

** And yes, I realize that “pontificum” would normally be translated “of the pontiffs” or similar. But I think the Pope chose to refer to the title “pontifex” in the title of the motu, specifically because of its literal meaning, “bridge-maker”.


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Rose Fever, Stray Dogs, and the Afternoonday Sun

The last few days have been… interesting.

A rather confused young deer walked across the parking lot of my apartment building on Wednesday evening. (In broad daylight with people around, which is the unusual thing.)

Thursday morning, a somewhat lost greyhound walked down the main road and stopped traffic right next to where I work, so I called him out of the road. Being a well-mannered dog, he came right to me as he’d been bid, so I took him by the collar and walked him over to the front office of our company.  This caused much amusement, interest, sympathy, and offers to adopt the dog among senior staff and everybody else. He didn’t want food or water, didn’t look too disheveled or skinny, and had his tags, so we figured he hadn’t been out long. When we contacted his owners (you can look up license numbers on a website, in most US states), it turned out that he’d just gotten out that morning, but made good his escape by several miles.

Friday I took off, because I was pooped. I got some laundry and chores done, as well as some podcasting. But then I remembered that I needed to make a run to UD and use some books from the Marian Library. This special collection, which is the largest known collection of Marian books and materials in the world and takes up a whole floor of the library, is only open on weekdays; and not very late on Fridays, which is the day the whole library closes early.

So I hustled over there and found out some needful things about St. Albert scholarship. I also found out that the Marian Library’s new reading room (which used to be rare books and archives, IIRC), is a really great place to work on scholarly stuff. When you first go in, you’re surrounded by patristics books on three sides and various editions of the Bible on the fourth. Further back in the reading room stacks, there are all sorts of other religious reference books and standard texts, right there to hand. Also, the lighting is perfect and the view from the sunny windows is lovely.

Unfortunately, on my way back home, I got a little too much sun and heat, and exhausted myself. I should have worn my hat.

(This is the worst thing about working to lose weight; you feel so fragile even when you’re losing weight sensibly. You’re walking a tightrope between eating enough food to keep you going and not eating enough food to make you gain weight. You’re fine when you maintain the same amount of activity every day, but if you add or change anything, you aren’t sure where you are. So at first I assumed that I hadn’t eaten enough, not that I’d been out in the sun a little too long. The more so since I didn’t sunburn — or sweat much, since the day wasn’t humid. Of course, it’s also possible that I just wasn’t drinking enough water.)

So Friday was mostly shot, though I did enjoy watching the Holy Father on TV. But I kept falling asleep. You can’t podcast much like that.

Saturday I got up reasonably bright and early, but still pretty tired. I got some podcasting put up, but I didn’t quite get through Chesterton for the week. Then it was time to go to gaming. It’s fun to hang out with my friends, and we had a nice dinner together, too. But there’s no denying that I didn’t get much done, and when I got home I was pooped again.

Sunday I had to get up early and cantor the 8 o’clock Mass. I got an early call from the cantor at the 9:30 telling me that she was sick and couldn’t make it. Well, that’s no big deal, as I was going to be singing in the choir at the 9:30 anyway. However, there were two factors I did not adequately predict. First, it was a very bad day for sinus, thanks to the air pressure and weather changes. Second, it was Mothers’ Day, and the Pro-Life group sells roses.

I am a little bit allergic to roses. “Rose fever” runs in the family, but it didn’t bother me until the last ten years or so. Usually I just get a little sneezy and drippy, and that’s it. But apparently, strongly perfumed roses make me feel a lot worse. Despite my sinus sealing off my nose from dripping or even smelling the roses, I got even more of a headache, and was even sick to my stomach part of the time. (Which fits with last year’s rose-scented incense incident at the Franciscan Monastery on the Feast of St. John the Baptist. So it wasn’t the frankincense to blame at all; it was the authenticity of the all-natural perfume!)

However unpleasant to me personally, blocked sinuses don’t hurt the singing voice. So I did a pretty good job at both Masses. (Helped by coffee after the first Mass, as caffeine is a big part of treating sinus. Not so good for the stomach, alas, even when accompanied by some food. But hey, I’d already taken Communion at the first Mass, so breaking the fast and abstaining from Communion was not a big deal.)

Afterwards, I went home, took sinus pills (which include antihistamines as well as caffeine and an analgesic), and collapsed. Then I remembered. It was, in fact, Mothers’ Day, and I have a mother, who just might want to see me. So I went and took a shower (to get rid of the rose scent and help my poor sinuses), and then I hied me to the bus to my parents’ house. (I did feel a lot better by this point.)

I’d already taken my mom out to eat earlier in the month, so all I did was give her a present and then help out with the yardwork. But once again, I was pretty beat when I got home.

So…  I’m a bit behind on the podcast. OTOH, I’ve gotten a lot of practice this week on offering stuff up!

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