Friday, December 30, 2011

The Stones of an Tóchar

It is a fact well known among the countryfolk that once in a every year, at midnight on Christmas Eve, the beasts of the stable can speak and converse like men about their—and sometimes our—business. So it happened many years ago that a pedlar, taking shelter on that holy night in a rich farmer's barn, heard the beasts in conference.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Defense of the Defense of Christmas

As I sit writing, two articles lie near me. One is by a regular blogger at First Things' "On the Square"—a Protestant pastor by the name of Russell Saltzman. The other is by Christopher Hitchens.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Deo et Sibi Similes

There are many, many setting for this carol, but my favorite is the one by T. Pasatieri, sung here by Thomas Hanson (note that Pasatieri's version uses the verses here numbered 1, 2, 5, 12, 3, and 11, in that order).

1. Puer natus in Bethlehem, Alleluia.

Unde gaudet Jerusalem. Alleluia.

Born is a boy in Bethlehem
For the joy of Jerusalem.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Descendit Incarnatus

Disclaimer: This is the second post of this sort (previous one here). Because of the nature of this post, and some of the reactions to the earlier post, I feel I should say that (1) this conversation is FICTIONAL; but also (2) I think (as with everything I write) there's some truth in it (otherwise I wouldn't post it). With that in mind—and if it is not to perilous to steal the phrase—duc in altum!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Most Jealous God

My Dear Wumpick,

Of course, you must expect your patient to be excited about—that day. She is a Christian, and it is only natural that her Christianity should provide her with a reason for excitement.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


There are many things about people that puzzle me, but very few which I do not think I could, given a few years and sufficient resources, comprehend. Most of these things are not worth figuring out, e.g., Why does anyone eat pistachio ice cream? I'm fairly sure there's a gene somewhere that explains such insanity, but taking all those courses in DNA sequencing would really set me back in my frisbee game.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Season

Ah, the Christmas season ...

Yes, you read that correctly. No, I don't mean Advent. Christmas. Because, while it is liturgically still very much NotChristmas, it is, based on the decorations that have been up in my office since the Monday after Thanksgiving, the price of air flights, and the attitudes of shoppers everywhere, Christmas in our hearts.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Third Day, There Was a Marriage

The Luminous Mysteries were not initially big favorites of mine. For starters, there was the name. Luminous? Seriously? With all due respect, Blessed John Paul, did it have to be something that reminds us of light sabers at best and glow-stick-wearing hippies at worst?