Dappled Things

. . . all things counter, original, spare, strange. . .


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::...:: Friday, December 07, 2007 ::...::

Some Changes -- It's been about a month now since I've posted anything, due both to being away for a bit and to having a few new personal projects that I've been working on. So, the personal time that I had been dedicating to the blog has recently been absorbed by other pursuits. In the course of the month, I began to realize that I really didn't miss blogging very much and that most of the particular niches I filled several years ago are now being admirably filled by other, new bloggers.

What did I set out to accomplish? The whole point of Dappled Things, from the beginning, was to give me a creative outlet and an intellectually-engaging pastime to escape a bit from the dull monotony of everyday life and to recreate virtually the mentally-stimulating environment I had grown used to in university and seminary. As I've added other pastimes and outlets and friendships over the years, my personal need for the blog has really evaporated, as the diminishing frequency of the posts probably indicates. The purpose was never ministerial or evangelical, although I suppose it has collaterally served that purpose from time to time. Particularly if the blog's posts have shown a humane, civil, and fundamentally optimistic side of Catholicism and Catholic civilization, grounded in the Person of Jesus Christ and informed by the history and traditions of our ancestors, this religious contribution can be judged a success. At a time when acrimony and and a bellicose spirit often characterize the interactions of religious and non-religious people, I have tried to keep the tone of this blog irenic and to show the worldly folk the riches of Catholic tradition, and the Catholic folk the contributions of the worldly or non-Catholic, and to look at the positive ways in which different people express both their common humanity and their different spiritual visions. Although I've received my fair share of angry emails over the years, I think the number of regular readers from vastly different backgrounds indicates that this spirit of tolerance and shared humanity has also been successful.

So, with the blog's raison d'être basically gone, I've decided to stop posting. For the time being, I'll keep the blog online and available, as I think there are many articles in the archives that will continue to be of interest to people. Eventually, though, I'll probably initiate the auto-destruct sequence. For the time being, I plan to keep the Dappled Photoblog and perhaps to keep adding to it. Email access to me from the blog will be disabled, which isn't a big deal as I rarely respond to email anyway and as I don't need any further ideas for future posts. As long as the blog remains up, the blogrolls will remain active, although I won't be actively maintaining them anymore. All those blogs, particularly the A-Listed ones are recommended to anyone going through blog withdrawal. Also, for as long as the blog remains up, you'll be able to click the Dappled Reads link at the top of the page for ongoing feeds from selected blogs that cover many of the same themes that I have covered -- Catholicism, liturgy, the philosophy and politics of liberty, historical curiosities, and so forth. As before, the content of those feeds is delivered automatically and is exclusively under the control of those bloggers, not me. If you like the Reader, great; if not, stop reading it.

So, as I bid everyone ave atque vale, I'll add that I have enjoyed these five years of blogging. By reading and writing on a number of subjects, I've clarified my own views within my own head and hope to have helped others to do the same. Although any blogger gets the occasional email from nutters, fanatics, and ignorant or hateful people, I have enjoyed the thoughtful contributions of the majority of my readers and have actually gone on to become friends with a few of my contributors. Very frequently, the thoughts and critiques of these readers helped inspire posts and shape them. In that sense, this has been a collaborative project, and I thank them, as I also thank all the silent readers, and wish you all happiness, peace, and rich blessings.

:: Permalink -- 10:33 AM -- Links to this post ::

::...:: Tuesday, November 06, 2007 ::...::

Photogallery of Old Computers -- You've come a long way, baby: Wired has a gallery of photos of vintage computers. It's amazing how far we've come, so fast. As components shrink down to the molecular level, the mind boggles to think what computers will be able to do in 20 years' time.

:: Permalink -- 8:59 AM -- Links to this post ::

Ron Paul's Fundraising Blitz -- Yesterday on Guy Fawkes Day, the Ron Paul Presidential campaign raised more money in a single day than any GOP candidate in this election cycle, making him number three behind Sens. Clinton and Obama for one-day fundraising. I'm happy to know that my own contribution helped Ron Paul raise over $3.8 million yesterday.

:: Permalink -- 8:55 AM -- Links to this post ::

New Blood Treatment Under Development -- Purifying blood by smashing all the viruses with a laser.

:: Permalink -- 8:52 AM -- Links to this post ::

Shifting the Candlesticks -- I've been patiently waiting for Pope Benedict to do at St Peter's something that he had written about in his books: setting up the altar in the traditional Roman fashion with six tall candles along the breadth of the altar and a central altar cross facing the celebrant. Now that the much-awaited new papal MC is in place, the traditional altar set-up has reappeared, as the NLM blog reports. Notice in the photos that the MC is also wearing a more traditional lace surplice, and the Pope is wearing an alb of fine lace. But it's the altar set-up that is, far and away, the best change.

:: Permalink -- 8:48 AM -- Links to this post ::

Portuguese Bone Chapel -- Some interesting photos of a Portuguese bone chapel. Perfect scenery for the Month of the Dead.

:: Permalink -- 8:47 AM -- Links to this post ::

::...:: Monday, November 05, 2007 ::...::

Remember, Remember -- Guy Fawkes Day and the plot to return England to the Old Religion by blowing up the Protestant King and his Parliament.

:: Permalink -- 10:07 PM -- Links to this post ::

::...:: Thursday, November 01, 2007 ::...::

Ron Paul on Jay Leno --

:: Permalink -- 9:39 AM -- Links to this post ::

::...:: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 ::...::

Random iPod Playlist --

1. Smell of Desire, Enigma
2. Like a Stone, Audioslave
3. My Friends, Dar Williams
4. The Blessed Virgin's Expostulations, Henry Purcell
5. I Don't Owe You Anything, The Smiths
6. Adia, Sarah McLachlan
7. The Old Country Baptizin', Bill Monroe
8. Sister I'm a Poet, Morrissey
9. Perfect Blue Buildings, Counting Crows
10. Thou Knowest, Lord, the Secrets of our Hearts, Oxford Camerata

The rules, for bloggers who want to play:
Get your ipod or media-player of choice, select your whole music collection, set the thing to shuffle (i.e., randomized playback), then post the first ten songs that come out. No cheating, no matter how stupid it makes you feel!

:: Permalink -- 9:50 PM -- Links to this post ::

Liturgical Music: What the Documents Really Say -- One of the great problems in liturgical practice these past few decades is the fact that those who guide Liturgies misunderstand the guidelines. I've gnashed my teeth for years every time I hear some well-meaning musician or priest solemnly enunciate some liturgical principle that is complete rubbish and not grounded either in the historical tradition of the Roman Liturgy or in the current norms and directives that have been in force since the Second Vatican Council. Cardinal Krol's old question, "Dov'è scritto? -- Where's it written?" doesn't help much, as most of these people have never analytically studied the foundational Roman liturgical books and decrees. If we could somehow flush all the mish-mash from their heads and get them to forget everything they ever heard in liturgical seminars and workshops and "helpful" practical manuals, and get them instead to read three or four basic, official texts, a world of good could be done.

The Church Music Association of America has submitted an excellent, excellent paper to the American Bishops as they revise their 1970's-era music document. The CMAA submission points out some common misunderstandings about liturgical music and offers a number of suggestions for bringing the American document into line with Vatican II's liturgical constitution and the post-conciliar Roman document on liturgical music, Musicam sacram. If you're involved (or even merely interested) in liturgical music or liturgical planning, I can't recommend this paper highly enough.

Along the same lines, Jeffrey Tucker offers this fine post on the top ten unknown truths about sacred music. You'll notice more than a few similar themes in the CMAA piece and Maestro Tucker's post.

:: Permalink -- 5:30 PM -- Links to this post ::

Romanism -- Another nice Romanism photopost, including shots from the funeral of Cardinal Muench.

:: Permalink -- 5:28 PM -- Links to this post ::

Ron Paul and Cuban Cigars -- Speaking of Ron Paul, Doctor No has an excellent piece up on why the Cuban embargo continues to be useless and a contradiction of American values.
... Let's stop the hysterics about the freedom of Cubans – which is not our government's responsibility – and consider freedom of the American people, which is. Americans want the freedom to travel and trade with their Cuban neighbors, as they are free to travel and trade with Vietnam and China. Those Americans who do not wish to interact with a country whose model of governance they oppose are free to boycott. The point being – it is Americans who live in a free country, and as free people we should choose who to buy from or where to travel, not our government....

:: Permalink -- 4:45 PM -- Links to this post ::

If Ron Paul Were to Face Off Against Hillary -- A very interesting bit of poll analysis at Hit&Run:
Over at the USA Election Polls site, analyzing what they say is raw Rasmussen data from a 1,200 voter poll conducted in mid-October, they find that what some Ron Paul supporters have crowed seems to be true: Ron Paul can beat Hillary where Fred Thompson, at least, can't. Or at least "beat" in terms of "not get trounced quite as badly."

Sure, overall she is seen beating Ron Paul 48-38--but beating Thompson even more, by 52-37. And in both the 30-39 and 40-49 year old age groups, this poll shows Paul getting higher vote percentages in a one-on-one against Hillary than even Rudy Giuliani.
So there.

Andrew Sullivan is also pointing out that British bookies have recently updated the odds of Ron Paul winning the Presidency, from 66-1 down to 12-1... putting him ahead of John Edwards.

:: Permalink -- 4:29 PM -- Links to this post ::

General Grant and the Expulsion of the Jews -- I didn't realize that General Grant attempted to expel the Jews from Southern areas brought back under Union domination. Nor did I realize that President Lincoln personally rescinded Grant's expulsion order (proving the old saying that even a stopped clock is right twice a day). Here's the story, via the Agitator.

We sometimes forget that the Old South was remarkably cosmopolitan for the time and that the Confederacy had Jews, Catholics, immigrants, and Indians among its supporters. I touched on Dixie's forgotten multi-culturalism in this old post.

:: Permalink -- 4:07 PM -- Links to this post ::

Iraqi Christians -- The plight of Christians in the new "Free, Democratic Iraq."

:: Permalink -- 4:05 PM -- Links to this post ::

Eamon Duffy on Ten Popes -- Professor Eamon Duffy (of Stripping of the Altars fame) is presenting a ten-part BBC radio series on Ten Popes Who Shook History.

:: Permalink -- 12:13 PM -- Links to this post ::

Progress at Clear Creek -- Some photos of the progress that the Clear Creek, Oklahoma, monks are making on the construction of their monastery.

:: Permalink -- 12:12 PM -- Links to this post ::

Dusting off the High Altars -- News that the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC is experimenting with using the old High Altar for Sunday Masses, rather than the little movable one that they had been using for the past few decades. It's important for locals to let the Powers That Be know that such moves are appreciated.

:: Permalink -- 12:05 PM -- Links to this post ::

A Blessed Conscientious Objector -- A bit on Blessed Franz Jaegerstaetter, the newly beatified man who was martyred by the Nazis for refusing to be drafted into their army.

:: Permalink -- 12:02 PM -- Links to this post ::

Holy Eucharist in the Early Church -- Some interesting Eucharistic quotations from Christianity's first few centuries, showing the centrality of this Sacrament to the Christian life. Any form of Christianity that relegates the Blesed Eucharist to a place of secondary (or less!) importance really has missed the mark of the Christian message, regardless of how often the Bible gets quoted. (Via Serge.)

:: Permalink -- 11:56 AM -- Links to this post ::

::...:: Friday, October 19, 2007 ::...::

Holy Clocks -- Part XX of Daniel's photo-series on the Great Clocks of Christendom. My favorite one this time is the Bavarian clock, which seems to incorporate a sundial into the usual clockface and zodiac dial.

:: Permalink -- 1:39 PM -- Links to this post ::

Solemn Mass According to the Dominican Rite -- Three more installments in the series on the Dominican Mass: The Preparation of the Chalice, the Gospel, and the Offertory.

:: Permalink -- 1:36 PM -- Links to this post ::

Houston's New Cathedral -- We all know that Houston, Texas, will be getting its first Cardinal. I didn't realize that the Archdiocese is also in the midst of building a new cathedral. While there are a few things I don't care for (such as the baptismal font stuck right in the middle of the nave), the building seems noble and beautiful -- and really looks like a cathedral!

:: Permalink -- 1:30 PM -- Links to this post ::

::...:: Thursday, October 18, 2007 ::...::

Upcoming Chant Workshop in Virginia -- One of our fine local pastors is hosting a special workshop in Gregorian chant at his parish next month. Noted chant instructor Scott Turkington will be leading the two-day workshop aimed at teaching "singers to sing as the Church is asking." Excellent opportunity for all Church musicians in the DC area and beyond.

:: Permalink -- 8:46 AM -- Links to this post ::

::...:: Wednesday, October 17, 2007 ::...::

Revolving Around the Bishop -- Hallowed Ground has a good photopost on bishops with a reminder that in antiquity the local church's life revolved around the bishop and, at least in theory, it still does.

As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and presbyters. Neither endeavour that anything appear reasonable and proper to yourselves apart; but being come together into the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is more excellent. Do ye therefore all run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one. -- St Ignatius of Antioch, martyred AD 107

:: Permalink -- 8:58 AM -- Links to this post ::

Brain Spinner -- As I was sitting in my office last night, waiting for an appointment that didn't bother to show up, I played around with this brain-twister discovered at Bill Cork's blog. It's an image of a silhouetted dancer spinning around. Depending supposedly on whether you're primarily left-brained or right-brained, you will see her spinning either clockwise or counter-clockwise. At first, like Bill, I could only see her going clockwise. Then, suddenly, she started spinning the other way. Really neat.

:: Permalink -- 8:36 AM -- Links to this post ::

Boo-Hoo-Hoo -- Via the Irish Elk, I came across this wonderful blog hosted at the London Telegraph, Holy Smoke. Damian Thompson offers snarky British commentary on things ecclesiastical, with a wee Tridentine twist. The first of his posts that I read was this piece in response to a weepy "liturgist," who apparently started crying when he read Thompson's judgment that crappy "contemporary" worship music does, in fact, tend to be crappy. An excerpt:
... Here’s why I don’t feel too guilty. First, the Mass settings produced by the “composers” of the SSG really are bad: they range from nails-scraping-down-a-blackboard painful to stuff that sounds like a wicked parody. Someone needs to say – in a loving way, of course – that it’s drivel.

Second, I’m getting a bit sick of the liberal response to any criticism, which is to bang on about how “hurtful” it is. The message is: emotions come first. So a congregation has to sit through a decade of wailed “folk Masses”, because if you complain you’ll hurt someone’s feelings.

Strangely, no one seems to have worried about the feelings of old ladies who loved singing “Soul of My Saviour” and other traditional Catholic hymns and suddenly found them replaced, overnight, by “Bind Us Together, Lord”....

:: Permalink -- 8:26 AM -- Links to this post ::

Spiritual Lottery for the Poor Souls in Purgatory -- Father Nicholas describes a curious old contraption that is sort of like an antique bingo game for the Souls in Purgatory. The kids in catechism would probably enjoy something like that.

:: Permalink -- 8:23 AM -- Links to this post ::

::...:: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 ::...::

Doctor Paul and New Hampshire -- A piece in the Post yesterday looked at some of the enthusiasm and devotion that Ron Paul is inspiring as the candidates continue to prepare for the New Hampshire primaries.
... Some quarters of the blogosphere have obsessed over Paul's intense online following, but things kicked up early this month when Paul announced his third-quarter fundraising figures. Unlike the rest of the presidential field, Paul has consistently improved on his money haul, taking in $640,000 in the first quarter, $2.4 million in the second and $5.1 million two weeks ago. At least two-thirds of the donations, his aides say, came from the Internet. New Hampshire gave the most money per capita, according to the campaign, and the most dollars from one area came from Los Angeles County.

"This is the first politician I can truly support, ever," says 53-year-old William D. Johnson, who runs a law firm in downtown L.A. and has donated the maximum, $2,300. A former Democrat, he switched to the GOP because of Paul. "I don't agree with all his positions -- he's not as strong on environmental issues as I'd like -- but because of his record you know that he's a man of utmost integrity." ...
Surveying the depressing field of candidates this time around -- just as miserable as the choice between Bush and Kerry in 2004 -- Dr Paul is not only an excellent candidate, he's basically the only one I think it's worth voting for. Take him out of the picture, and it's really just a question of damage control: choosing the least horrible of a bunch of Republicrat candidates, none of whom I want to see in the White House ever. Which seems pretty much to inform Rudy Giuliani's latest strategy: "Vote for me in the primaries, because I'm the only one who can beat Hillary." If that's the only choice we have, really who cares?

That last question, by the way, was rhetorical. No need to email me an answer.

Ron Paul 2008 Website: Hope for America

On that site, the editor poses a very good question about the zeal of Paulites:
Instead of ignoring or opposing Paul's efforts as they have done to date, the Republican Party leadership should be asking themselves what it is about this man that brings so many people out of their comfortable homes and hobbies to volunteer to campaign for him when other politicians are looked upon as something nasty that got on their shoe.

:: Permalink -- 8:33 AM -- Links to this post ::

Sacred Music -- During his visit to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, the Holy Father spoke on what sacred music, the greatest of the sacred arts, ought to be like:
Noting the integral role of music in liturgy, the Pope said that sacred music has three vital characteristics: "its 'sanctity,' its 'true art,' and its 'universality,' in other words the fact that it can be presented to any people or assembly."

:: Permalink -- 8:06 AM -- Links to this post ::

Walking Through the Dominican Solemn Mass -- The New Liturgical Movement has begun what one hopes will be a complete step-by-step introduction to the Solemn Mass according to the traditional usage of the Order of Preachers. The first installment describes the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.

As the Old Mass begins to pop up all over the place again, I wonder if any Dominican parishes here in the States will be regularly offering it according to the Dominican Missal? Any plans for this at the Dominican House of Studies in DC?

UPDATE: A couple of readers inform me that the Old Dominican Rite is celebrated occasionally at Holy Rosary Priory in Portland, Oregon.

:: Permalink -- 8:02 AM -- Links to this post ::

Archbishop Niederauer on Flannery -- Rocco has put up a marvelous address by the Archbishop of San Francisco (himself a former English professor) on one of his, and my, favorite authors, Flanner O'Connor.
... Paul Elie points out that Flannery O'Connor, a Catholic writer living in and writing about the overwhelmingly Protestant South, often indicated what she thought the Catholic Church and the Protestant South had in common: "the Bible, a religious heritage, an awareness of human limitation, a respect for the concrete and the actual, and a recognition that 'good and evil in every culture tend to be joined at the spine.'"...

:: Permalink -- 7:53 AM -- Links to this post ::

Gay Brothers Research -- An interesting piece on the search for the origins of male homosexuality, studying the genetics of 1,000 cases of two brothers both being gay.

:: Permalink -- 7:49 AM -- Links to this post ::

Swiss Elections to Use Quantum Cryptography -- Quantum cryptography will be used to keep hackers from tampering with Swiss elections.
... Some experts say military and intelligence communities regularly use such systems. But the Geneva election is the first time a government organisation has openly said it is using the technique. The ID Quantique quantum cryptography system cost €100,000 (£69,209)....

:: Permalink -- 7:46 AM -- Links to this post ::

::...:: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 ::...::

The Lost Records of the Trial of the Knights Templar -- The records of the 1314 trial of the Knights Templar, which had been misplaced for centuries in the Vatican, will be published this month. The biggest surprise in the lost document is that Pope Clement V, who dissolved the military order, also acquitted the Knights of the charges of blasphemy and heresy. (Via Zadok.)

:: Permalink -- 8:19 PM -- Links to this post ::

Two Good Pieces from the NYT (mirabile dictu) -- Two good pieces from the New York Times, highlighted by a reader:

Exploring the hidden treasures of Paris' churches.


Why America's being a nation of Christians does not (and should not) make it a Christian nation.

:: Permalink -- 6:52 PM -- Links to this post ::

Speaking Spanish in the US of A -- Interesting poll results.
... Spanish speaking in the United States is widespread and accepted by most Americans. But a third who experience this language difference are troubled by it -- and they have distinctly more negative attitudes about immigrants and Hispanics generally.

Just 10 percent of Americans concede any personal prejudice against Hispanics -- far fewer than the number who, in previous polls, have self-reported prejudice on the basis of race, against overweight people, or against Arabs and Muslims. ...
Setting aside the legitimate issue of what language official government business should be conducted in, I've never understood why anyone would give three hoots about what language other people choose to use for their own communication, whether in private or in public. If you're speaking to me, you need to speak in one of the languages I understand. If you're speaking to someone else, you can use Klingon for all I care. Why should Americans get their drawers in a knot over the language other people use in the exercise of their Freedom of Speech (or Religion, or Assembly, or the Press)?

:: Permalink -- 6:45 PM -- Links to this post ::

And Every Seventh Year the Land Shall Lie Fallow -- Every seventh year, according to the Bible, Jewish fields are supposed to lie fallow. This interesting article looks at some of the legal maneuvers that ultra-observant Jews in the Holy Land must use in order to keep from breaking the commandment.
... Leaving fields fallow periodically may make agricultural sense, but in the modern world of globalization, forcing Israeli farmers to abandon their crops once every seven years doesn't make good business sense. So rabbis have developed a complex set of alternatives that they say honors God's commandments.

The most popular solution requires some creative license: A Jewish farmer in Israel can "sell" his land to a reliable, non-Jewish businessman, dubbed a "shmita goy."

Once the land is "sold," the rabbis say, it's no longer holy Jewish land, and Jewish farmers can continue to work it as usual....
So, this year, a Druze businessman owns 8% of all the private land in Israel.

:: Permalink -- 6:39 PM -- Links to this post ::

Progress at the New Mexico Spaceport -- Only three more years until the world's first commercial spaceport is open for business, with Virgin Galactic as its anchor tenant. The only thing that would have made this sweeter would have been having this as a purely private initiative, relying in no wise upon public funds. Still, it's no mean accomplishment.

:: Permalink -- 6:35 PM -- Links to this post ::

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