Sunday, April 30, 2006

Thomas Sunday

The first Sunday following Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter) is called "Thomas Sunday." On this Sunday we remember the fact that the disciple Thomas "would not believe" in the Resurrection unless and until he had seen and touched the Risen Lord with his own eyes and hands.
One of my grandsons took Thomas as his baptismal name because he said if one of the disciples could doubt and still be a Christian, then he could be a Christian, too.

Mistrusting Atheists

Interesting Blog post from April 1 at St. George Broadcasting.

United 93

Ashbrook Center's Blog page (No Left Turns), has a lovely piece about the movie, United 93.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Hound of Heaven

By Francis Thompson

(One of my favorite poems)


I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes, I sped;
And shot, precipitated
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat--and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet -
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followed,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside)
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their changed bars;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon.
I said to dawn: Be sudden--to eve: Be soon;
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover!
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot 'thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their feet:-
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat -
"Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me."

I sought no more that, after which I strayed,
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children's eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
THEY at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
"Come then, ye other children, Nature's--share
With me" (said I) "your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
With our Lady-Mother's vagrant tresses,
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured dais,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.'
So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one -
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumed of the wild sea-snortings;
All that's born or dies
Rose and drooped with--made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine -
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day's dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning's eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak -
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o' her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed majestic instancy
And past those noised Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet -
"Lo! naught contents thee, who content'st not Me."

Naked I wait Thy love's uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenceless utterly,
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o' the mounded years -
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must -
Designer infinite! -
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity,
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again;
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With grooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man's heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest fields
Be dunged with rotten death?

Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
"And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!

"Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught" (He said),
"And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited -
Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come."

Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."

From Project Gutenberg's etext of Poems by Francis Thompson

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Henry "Ar"

I just had word that my old and dear friend Henry "Ar" died 2 days ago. God bless him. We had known each other for about 45 years off and on. We met when I was visiting family up in Kingsport TN back in '61 or '62, and went out a few times while I was there. He was courtly and sweet. We became friends and remained in touch off and on over the years (mostly off until the last 3 years when he finally came, kicking and screaming, into the electronic age and we could correspond via e-mail and talk via cell-phones).

His oldest son called me today - he was going through all the numbers programmed into Henry's cellphone to notify people. What a hard thing to do.

Henry lived in a small town in a deep Southern state. He was married and divorced with children and grandchildren. He adored his grandchildren. When he called he would talk about them and I would talk about ours. We kept saying we should get together, but his work and my disability kept that from happening. He developed heart and lung problems over the years - some probably genetic, some related to weight and lack of exercise. I don't recall him smoking, but he may have.

On Sunday he died. I keep remembering the young man he was back in '61/'62: The fun we had that summer, the times he came to Atlanta and I would see him again (with husband in tow), the phone calls and silly e-mails. He never learned to cut off all the "tags" when he forwarded e-mails.

May God bless him and keep him.

Memory Eternal.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Planning for Flu

Planning for Flu

More Federal input needed? Nonsense! Local areas need to step up to the plate and do their own planning. The Feds can't bail anyone out on this one. All they can do is withhold all federal funding from any hospital that doesn't make adequate plans.

The state and local EMAs (Emergency Management Agencies) have the responsibility to head up both state and local planning. They are the ones who should be pressuring hospitals and clinics to develop their plans. They are the ones who should be publicizing which hospitals are not stepping up to the plate on this issue.

An inaccuracy of the article: "No one has produced an effective flu vaccine." Well, of course they haven't. They can't until the virus transforms into the human-to-human transmittal form. Any vaccine based on the current genetic form of the virus will be ineffective against the human-to-human transmission form. Once the virus transforms, a vaccine can be developed, tested and provided - about a 1 year process. That's the state of the art. It can't be done any faster than that.

The reason "most of America's 5,000-odd hospitals are unprepared" is because the hospitals have decided to not prepare. Citizens in each hospital's cachement area should be volunteering to assist with preparations. If no preparations are being undertaken, the citizens should be complaining and forming protest groups. Publicize it. Force them to undertake preparation. Work together with their EMA to ensure adequate preparations for the potential influenza disaster.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

An Evening Hymn

by St. Gregory Nazianzen

And now again at night,
O Christ, the living Word,
Thou Light of the Eternal Light,
Be Thou by us adored.

Thou dost the Spirit give,
Third Light, in glory one;
His grace, by whom alone we live,
Thou dost refuse to none.

Thou didst the darkness scatter,
Thou mad'st the light to shine,
That now through all primeval matter
Might spring delight divine.

It, a rude mass before,
From Thee took order new;
And shapely form, and steadfast law,
So beautiful to view.

And mind of man with light
From heaven Thou didst endow,
By word and wisdom that he might
Thine image bear below;

And lighted in his soul,
Thine own great Light might see;
And thenceforth not in part, but whole,
Himself all light might be.

And heaven Thou didst array,
With those bright orbs above;
And day to night, and night to day,
Proclaim Thy law of love;

Yielding in turn; the one
To worn-out flesh brings rest!
The other calls, "Let work be done!"
Such work as Thou lov'st best.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday in the 6th Week of Great Lent

Tuesday, 29 March / 11 April 2006
6th Week of Great Lent
Tone 1

St. Mark, Bishop OF Arethusa, St. Cyril His Deacon, and the Others Who Were Martyred With Them
St. Gladys and her Husband St. Gwynllyn

Troparion of St Mark
(Tone 3)
Thou didst anoint an assembly of martyrs/ and strengthen them by thy steadfastness,/ in preparation for the contest, O glorious Mark./ Thou didst finish thy course with them,/ and you were all found worthy of the joys of heaven./ O righteous Father,/ pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Troparion of St Gladys and St Gwynllyn (Gwynllyw)
(Tone 5)
Rejoice, thrice-blessed Gladys,/ daughter of King Brychan,/ wife of holy Gwynllyn and mother of Saint Cadoc./ O worthy Gwynllyn,/ thou didst forsake thy pagan warfare to fight as a Christian ascetic/ and didst end thy days as a hermit./ We praise thee, Gladys and Gwynllyn.

Who were Sts. Gladys and GwynllyW? They were early saints of Great Britain.

The following is from:

Icon of St. Gwynllyw

Icon of St. Gwynllyw is from:

St. Gwynllyw of Wales, Hermit (Gundleus, Woolo, Woollos)
Died c. 500. Gundleus (Latin for Gwynllyw, which is anglicised as Woolo) was a Welsh chieftain. Although he was the eldest, when his father died, Gundleus divided his inheritance among his six brothers. According to legend, he desired to marry Gwladys (f.d. today), daughter of Saint Brychan of Brecknock (f.d. April 6). When Brychan refused his daughter's hand, Gundleus kidnapped and married her. (One aspect of the
legend has King Arthur helping to defeat the pursuing Brychan and being dissuaded from capturing Gwladys for himself by two of his knights.)

Nevertheless, Gundleus and Gwladys led a riotous life, engaging in violence and banditry until their first son, Saint Cadoc (f.d. September 25), convinced them to adopt and follow a religious life together at Stow Hill near Newport (Gwent), Monmouthshire. Later he had them separate and live as hermits.

Gundleus spent his last years completely retired from the world in a solitary little dwelling near a church which he had built. He wore sackcloth, ate barley-bread strewn with ashes, and drank water. To constant prayer and contemplation he added the work of his hands. On his deathbed, Gundleus was visited by Saint Dyfrig (f.d. November 14) and his own son Cadoc, who provided him with the Last Rites of the Church. There is a church dedicated to him at Newport (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth).

(No Icon of St. Gladys is available)

St. Gwaladys (Gladys, Gladusa, Claudia), Hermit
Born in Wales in the 5th century. One of the 24 children of Brychan of
Brecknock, wife of Saint Gundleus (f.d. today), and mother of Saints Cadoc (f.d. September 25) and, possibly, Keyna (f.d. October 8), Saint Gladys led a very interesting life. It is said that after their conversion by the example and exhortation of their son, she and Gundleus lived an austere life. It included the rather interesting practice throughout the year of taking a nightly baths in the Usk,
followed by a mile-long walk unclothed. Her son finally convinced them to end the practice and to separate. Gladys moved to Pencanau in Bassaleg. The details of her story come from a 12th-century "vita," which includes miracles that took place in the time of Saint Edward the Confessor (f.d. October 13) and William I (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth).

How Southern Are You?

Richard tagged me.

Are you a redneck or a yankee??? Keep it going ladies and gentlemen! This is fun...dont ruin it! Put your total in the subject line and send it to everyone

My result?
"92% Dixie. Is General Lee your grandfather?!"

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why the Failure to Launch?

Julie Ponzi has an interesting take, as do several of the commenters. I, however, really, really think much of this is simply the logical outcome of the "Greatest Generation's" actions in the 40's and 50's.

They came home from WW II and started families. They wanted to give their kids what they didn't have during the Depression - so they worked, hard. They defined the commuter. They scrimped and saved to get a little house on a postage stamp sized lot. Their kids had next-door neighbors' kids to play with. Moms stayed home, and whalloped all the kids in the neighborhood willy-nilly when they misbehaved.

Korea, and more vets came home to start families, and worked to prevent their kids from having to go to war.

So, 15 years later, when Viet Nam came along, the kids didn't want to go to war. After all, their parents didn't want them to, and supported the cowardly running to Canada. The national "will to win" wasn't there, and we essentially "lost."

It's been downhill from there. Boys are supposed to act like girls, sit quietly in class and learn, obey the teacher just because the teacher says do something. All the PE was taken out of schools, so the energy boys have isn't exercised.

At the same time, we lost the war on poverty - more people are "sucking the tit" of Govt giveaways and have no desire to earn a living than ever before. Kids had babies when they just weren't ready for the responsibility. They have had babies to "get out of Mama's house" and get their own (govt subsidized) apartment. They are paid more welfare and given more food stamps when they have more kids. If they marry, they lose their subsidies, so why marry? If they work, they lose all their medicaid benefits, their subsidized housing, their food stamps and their welfare payments, so why work?

Again, at the same time, we decided only parents should discipline children, and they were no longer permitted to spank. Discipline left the schools - parents didn't support the schools' attempts to impose discipline. With no limits, children become sulky and defiant. They *want* limits, they *crave* limits. Without limits they become seekers of limits. Gangs provide limits the schools don't. If you get out of line, you will be beaten or killed. But the limits are known, and the consequences of crossing the lines are known and are imposed - quickly.

Now, the middle class has discovered that they don't have to work. "Guilt-ridden" parents will give them the handouts the Govt gives the impoverished. So why leave home? Why try to find a job? Why bother starting a business?

Obviously, there are many more reasons for the failure to launch, but I see a connecting thread.

Should we "return to the 50's?" Probably not. But certain aspects of the 50's are needed now. Structure, limits, discipline, and support of others imposing the structure, limits and discipline in parental absence are needed. Taking an interest in your kids - 0r don't have them - is needed.

Abortion? That's a cop-out. If you are going to have sex, you take responsibility for yourself and use birth control. And if the BC doesn't work, you accept the consequences, have the baby, and give it up for adoption. Don't like those choices? Don't have sex. Period. Abstinence only failed once . . .

We need to encourage people to weigh the risks of their behavior and to accept the consequences of their choices.

If you choose to not work - you don't eat.

Have we had a "boomerang kid?" Yes. But he *paid* rent and did chores around the house for room and board. He fed cats, scooped litter, cleaned bathrooms, washed dishes, vacuumed etc. He also left as soon as he could! Had he balked, he would have been out on his own before he could turn around twice.

Failure to launch is a failure not only of parents, but our society.

TurtleMom's Space

TurtleMom's Space

Silly me! I hardly ever post here, and now I have ANOTHER space! Check it out!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Immigration Laws

The ol' curmudgeon and I were talking about the immigration problems we currently are facing. He wondered about the various laws already existing. What, really, do they say?

Well, for those who are really interested, here is a page with links to the existing laws:
The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website contains links to all the US immigration laws and regulations.

I haven't studied them very deeply - haven't had time as yet. However, they specify exactly what an "immigrant" is, the different classes of immigrants and how one can become a legal immigrant. Boy! the language is obtuse! Now, my IQ was certainly high enough to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship on my pre-SAT, to graduate from college, and get 2 post-graduate degrees. But I'm having

What I wish someone would do for all these laws and regulations is "translate" them into everyday language and make shorter sentences so the "average Joe or Jane" could understand them. I haven't found a website that does that, as yet.

There is a link from that page (above) to "Interpretations," but they are just about as obtuse.

Bah! Why do we let the US of Govt write laws so unclearly??

Let's fire all the lawyers . . .

Sunday, April 02, 2006 :: Columns :: Immigration taboos by Thomas Sowell - Aug 16, 2005 :: Columns :: Immigration taboos by Thomas Sowell - Aug 16, 2005

You know, there are a lot of commentaries about our current immigration "crisis" "out there" on the internet, in newspapers, in magazines as diverse as JAMA, People, Time, and Sports Illustrated. We constantly hear about it on the news and talk shows. Congress is working on "new" immigration laws.

Why do we need more laws when we aren't even enforcing the laws we already have on the books? Someone on a talk show said we have over 300 immigration laws between the states and the federal government. There are legal and illegal methods of entering the country. Illegal immigrants are felons under our current laws. They should be arrested and deported.

Legal immigrants are welcome. Felons are not. It's that simple.