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Quiz Bowl: The Anime

Yup. Starting July 5, the ultimate sports anime begins airing in Japan. Nanamaru Sanbatsu.

Better yet, the novice guy is guided in the way of Quiz by his classmate Mari, a young lady well aware of the necessity of buzzing in before the question is fully read.

Ah, the pleasures of driving the enemy before you, and effortlessly smashing the arrogant who do not take one seriously… mwahahaha! And the bitterness of being schooled by others… argh, the pain! Yes, truly the ultimate sport of geeks.

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Lucasfilm’s Strange Magic (2015)

I saw it last night on DVD from the library. Strange Magic is a remarkable animated film that blends fairy tale magic, Lucas’ love of strange creatures, and a pop music opera/singspiel. It takes a while to get focused, but the ending is worth any amount of wait. Seriously, one of the most romantic and memorable kisses in screen history. No joke.

If you have not seen it, you should.

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St. Colman’s Poem on the Divine Office

Probably not actually composed by St. Colman. It appears in the late medieval collection of Fenian poetry, lore, and stories, Acallamh na Senorach, as Colman’s explanation of the Hours when asked about them by the ancient hero, Caeilte.

Translated by Standish Hayes O’Grady.

The eight carnal imperfections that gnaw us to the bone;
the eight choice Hours that vehemently banish them:

Prime, against immoderate gluttony;
Tierce, against anger born of many causes;
cheerful lightsome Noon we constantly oppose to lust;
Nones against covetousness so long as we are on the breast of weary Earth;
pleasant and profitable Vespers we oppose to sore despair;
Compline, against perverting weariness: this is a fair partition;
cold Nocturns that equally divides [the night] against inordinate boasting;
Matins of God’s atoning Son, against enslaving sullen pride.

Mayest thou, O judicial King, O Jesus,
save me for sake of the Eight!

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Servant of God Emil Kapaun

During the Korean War, as US armed forces and other members of the UN were defending Korea against Communist attack, Fr. Emil Kapaun served as a US Army chaplain. He had previously done the same thing in WWII, but this time his unit fared worse, getting captured by the Chinese and Korean Communists. They were placed in a POW camp that didn’t even vaguely acknowledge the Geneva Conventions.

Fr. Kapaun took it upon himself to keep his flock alive as well as keeping their morale up. He found them food and made them socks, as well as consoling them. He also inspired other soldiers to do likewise.

Fr. Kapaun eventually sprained his ankle. It became infected. The North Koreans provided no medical care and removed him from the helping hands of his fellow prisoners, sending him to a remote unheated cell to die. He passed away on May 23, 1951.

His fellow prisoners immediately hailed him as a saint.

His prayers have been credited with many miraculous cures, as well as other miracles, and his cause is progressing.

There were also many other Catholics martyred by the Korean Communists and the Communist Chinese, both before and during the Korean War. But they weren’t members of the US military, so I’m highlighting Fr. Kapaun for Memorial Day.

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St. Brandy?

Nope. Not in the calendars I can find, anyway. That’s not surprising, since “Brandy” is a name of recent vintage (heh), and refers to the alcoholic beverage. (The word “brandy” comes from “brandywine,” a transliteration of the Dutch “brandewijn,” which is literally “burnt wine.” The drink dates back only to the 1600’s or so.)*

If you are already named Brandy, or you are naming your kid after her godmother, etc., it’s not really anything that you can’t use. The Catholic Church is pretty relaxed about baptismal names, these days, as long as they aren’t actually anti-Christian.

That said… there are some very similar names that are older, and which would allow you to use Brandy as a nickname.

“Brand” is one of the Germanic words for “sword,” and there are a lot of names using that as an element. Most are male or have become surnames (“Hildebrand,” for example, which means “sword hilt”). But you can either ignore that or pick a feminine form. “Branda” or “Brandelina” would be the simplest female version, but “Branniardis” and similar forms are also pretty.

The Irish name “Brendan” can also be spelled “Brandon”, “Brandan,” etc. In fact, a lot of old medieval Germanic folks did have the name Brandanus or Brandan, after the saint.

What kind of patron saints do we have?

The most famous would be the Sts. Brendan. There’s also St. Maria Cristina Brando, who founded an Italian order of nuns when she was unable to join an existing one; and the famous martyr, Bl. Titus Brandsma. (And if you really have to, there’s the magnificently named Bl. Bramidanula of Marckdorff, a virgin of pure life.)

* Tolkien makes a linguistic joke in Lord of the Rings. Apparently amused by the American placename of Brandywine Creek (and the important Battle of Brandywine), he put a Brandywine River in the Shire. This name was a worn down version of its original name, the Baranduin (golden-brown long river).

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Yup, Still Alive

I was sick for about six weeks with that thing that’s going around, mostly because we were understaffed at work and I was thus unable to take sick days or get much rest. So I think I have a good excuse for not keeping up with the blog. Or calling anyone. Or doing much of anything.

However, I did have one very fun time during my recuperation period. I got to get off from work and go to a little bit of Marcon, in pursuit of publicity for my brother Kevin’s book, The Sculpted Ship. Marcon isn’t as overly crowded these days, to the point that I am worried about it; but it has a very pleasant atmosphere and the company is good. (At least for the few hours I was there.)

I also visited Blessed Margaret of Castello’s shrine up in Columbus, which is quite close to the convention center, and prayed for a friend who is getting big foot surgery this month. (Please pray for her too. The first surgery was successful, but they’re doing the other leg next.)

I am trying to get all the way well, and I mean to write more stuff.

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Boy Detective Day!

Today’s daily Mass readings include almost an entire chapter of the Book of Daniel — the exciting story of Susanna and the Elders!

Susanna is the gorgeous and pious young wife of Joachim, a rich Jewish man even in Babylon. Joachim holds open house for the elders of the community, but they repay his hospitality by lusting for his wife. They plot to surprise her alone in her garden while her husband is not home, then extort her into sleeping with them.

St. Susanna refuses, reasoning that it is better to be threatened by men than to do wrong before God. She screams for help. (Thus claiming legal protection and refusal to go along.) The elders double down when help comes, and claim that they saw her committing adultery under a tree. (The classic Bible prostitution as pagan worship scenario.) Acting as false judges, they order her to be stoned to death.

And then, who should speak up but young Daniel, a little boy, sent by God to prove Susanna’s innocence?

To make a long story short, Daniel persuades the crowd to separate the elders and take their testimony separately. He asks them each about what kind of tree Susanna was under, when they saw her doing the hanky-panky. Each one answers quickly and definitely — but one says it was a mastic tree, while other says it was an oak.

St. Susanna is saved, and the elders are punished instead. God has judged the matter fairly, through the wit and wisdom of the boy Daniel.

This shows the close Biblical relationship between prophecy and judgment.

You also get a comparison with the Gospel reading with Jesus saving the woman caught in adultery. She really was guilty, but Jesus judged that she should receive mercy and that the crowd be forced to judge themselves guilty. In each case, only a few words are needed to show the truth.

The Lord God is a sleuth of minds and hearts. He walked down those mean streets, but was not Himself mean. He is the Mystery with the ultimate happy ending.

But He is also the stern just Judge, Who will make sure that the wicked get what’s coming to them. Maybe not the ones we assume, maybe not the way we think, but soon and forever.

May You count us among Your clients, O Great Detective.

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