Nov 30, 2008

The Sinister Side: Titian’s Diana and Actaeon

I found this very interesting the idea that the left side is some howevil or bad..

During the Renaissance, a woman’s left side was regarded as her most beautiful side. Not only was this the ‘heart’ side, and thus the side of feeling, but it was also less used (by right-handers) and so likely to be less worn or marked. In one of his love lyrics the poet Tasso called it “the soft side”, while the Venetian courtesan and poet Veronica Franco, in a verse letter to her favourite lover, says that her own beauty will be dedicated to making him happy, and she will make him taste the delights of love, “when he is close to her left side”. Titian gives us an extraordinary uninterrupted profile view of the whole of Diana’s left side and raised left arm, and there is no doubt that this is the best view: the goddess’ right leg, which is being rubbed down by one of the nymphs, is crude and ungainly in comparison to the elegantly turned left leg. It is also less brightly lit.

Nov 27, 2008


The pic is of Holy Trinity one of the monasteries I visited in 2007
Meaning ‘suspended in air’ the name Meteora soon came to encompass the entire rock community of 24 monasteries. There were no steps and the main access to the monasteries was by means of a net that was hitched over a hook and hoisted up by rope and a hand cranked windlass to winch towers overhanging the chasm. Monks descended in the nets or on retractable wooden ladders up to 40m long to the fertile valleys below to grow grapes, corn and potatoes. Each community developed its own resources and by the end of the 14th century, the Grand Meteoron emerged as the dominant community. Its wealth included landed estates, flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle. Today though there are only six monasteries surviving visitors can reach them without risking life or limb as long a they do not mind a long climb.

Nov 26, 2008

Another Catherine, Catherine of Alexandria

25. November is the feast day of: Catherine of Alexandria (d. ca. 305, supposedly).  The virgin martyr C.'s historicity is very poorly attested.  Here is a English-language site on the monastery dedicated to her on the Sinai peninsula in Egypt (whither her body is said to have been miraculously transported and where her veneration is unmentioned in any of the surviving late antique pilgrim accounts):
A virgin and martyr whose feast is celebrated in the Latin Church and in the various Oriental churches on 25 November, and who for almost six centuries was the object of a very popular devotion.
Below is from the catholic online encyclopedia
Of noble birth and learned in the sciences, when only eighteen years old, Catherine presented herself to the Emperor Maximinus who was violently persecuting the Christians, upbraided him for his cruelty and endeavoured to prove how iniquitous was the worship of false gods. Astounded at the young girl's audacity, but incompetent to vie with her in point of learning the tyrant detained her in his palace and summoned numerous scholars whom he commanded to use all their skill in specious reasoning that thereby Catherine might be led to apostatize. But she emerged from the debate victorious. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death. Furious at being baffled, Maximinus had Catherine scourged and then imprisoned. Meanwhile the empress, eager to see so extraordinary a young woman, went with Porphyry, the head of the troops, to visit her in her dungeon, when they in turn yielded to Catherine's exhortations, believed, were baptized, and immediately won the martyr's crown. Soon afterwards the saint, who far from forsaking her Faith, effected so many conversions, was condemned to die on the wheel, but, at her touch, this instrument of torture was miraculously destroyed. The emperor, enraged beyond control, then had her beheaded and angels carried her body to Mount Sinai where later a church and monastery were built in her honour.

Nov 24, 2008

What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Church? A Parable.

This is really very American, but I thought it was very funny. Some of this could be applied to the UK

Nov 23, 2008

Induction & Installation at Exeter Cathedral

Today I have been to the Induction and Installation of our local Rector as a Canon(Prebendary) of Exeter Cathedral. This is considered an honour in the Church of England. The service was conducted within the normal Cathedral Evensong Service. The worship supported by the Cathedral Choir was inspiring, but below is a quote from the service sheet about what the Canons got up to before entering the Cathedral.


¶ At 2. 45p the College of Canons, vested in copes, and the Commissioner for Oaths proceed from the Canons' Vestry to gather in the Chapter House.

¶ The bells shall be tolled meanwhile in the accustomed manner.

.    ¶ The Dean, acting as President of the College of Canons, then nominates the Installers of the new Prebendaries.

¶ At 2.50pm the Clerks to be collated and installed, habited in cassock and surplice, are conducted from the Chapel of St John the Baptist to the Chapter House.

¶ The Clerks shall make the customary Declaration of Assent, the Oath of Allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, and the Oath of Canonical Obedience to the Bishop of Exeter. Having signed the declarations and Oaths, they are then vested in a cope.

¶ The Dean shall then say:

Will the Virger ascertain if there are any contumacious persons without?

¶ The Virger, having drawn back the wicket and looked without, shall say All is well without, Mr Dean.

¶ Then the Dean shall say:

Let the Great Doors be opened.

¶ At 2.57 pm the members of the Cathedral body shall leave the Chapter House and proceed to enter the Cathedral by Bishop Brewer's Door and go to their places in the Quire.

This procession was led by the Virger carrying the "Dog Whippers Stick", by the way this is the correct way to spell 'Virger'

Contumacious (kon-too-may-shuhs) is an adjective that means rebellious, disobedient, obstinately resistant to authority, stubbornly perverse, insubordinate, and rebellious

Nov 22, 2008

St. Cecilia of Rome

Here's a view of her supposed resting place
 Cecilia of Rome   C. is a poorly documented but much celebrated martyr of the Via Appia, absent from the _Depositio Martyrum_ of the Chronographer of 354 but attested liturgically from the sixth century
onward, when her legend was already in existence in some form.  This
makes her a virgin betrothed to a pagan husband, Valerian, who
preserved her virginity and who, after his conversion to Christianity,
actively proselytized along with C. and suffered martyrdom along with
her.  The story, which includes among its _personae_ pope St. Urban I and the martyrs Tiburtius and Maximus, is a typical late antique confection uniting various catacomb worthies in a single narrative.

A resting place in a part of the Catacomb of Callistus first used
towards the end of the second century was believed in the early Middle
Ages to have been C.'s.  It was rediscovered by de Rossi in the
nineteenth century.  

ISTP - The Mechanics

Apparently this is me! according to Typealyzer

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned
to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges
that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for
themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.
The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and
highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their
work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in
driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

Nov 21, 2008

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This feast, celebrating an event not mentioned in the Bible but present in the infancy gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, is thought to be probably of Syrian origin. In the Greek church it is first documented from the eleventh century; by the later twelfth century it was important enough in Constantinople that the law courts did not sit during it. The feast spread to the Latin West in the later fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. After some vicissitudes earlier in the sixteenth century it was definitively included in the Roman Calendar by Sixtus V in 1585.

Nov 19, 2008

Smoking Doctor

I use Scoutle a widget for finding other blogs. I thought it was supposed to find like minded blogs, but all I appear to get is atheists and nutters. Possibly this says something about my blog. Here is one that came up on my 'Scoutle'. I can't work out whether he is genuine or not. If he is a real 'doctor'. My fervent prayer is 'please Lord don't let him treat me' Here is a link to the 'Smoking Doc'

Ninth Bishop of Texas - is a Gonk!!!

I could not resist this photograph of the ninth bishop of Texas! His name is Andy Doyle this is the photo he uses on his blog. Unless it is a spoof blog.

Nov 12, 2008

Jedi Squirrels

I am sure this is making the rounds on the internet. I found it on Stumble, and don't know where it came from but it is brilliant!!

Nov 9, 2008

Martin the Charitable.

Martin de Porres was born at Lima, Peru of a Spanish father and an African mother in 1579. As a boy he studied medicine which later as a member of the Dominican Order he put to good use in helping the poor. He was so noted for his kindness and gentleness with the sick and needy that he was called "Martin the Charitable." He led a humble and disciplined life, having great devotion both to Christ Crucified and the Blessed Sacrament. He found great strength in meditating and contemplating these great mysteries. Martin died in 1639, and was canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1962.

This is my kind of Saint, mind you he does look familiar!!

Nov 8, 2008

Woman arrested for killing virtual reality husband

From CNN A lovely story...
A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband's digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.
Online environments such as "Second Life" -- where users control avatars -- have emerged in recent years.

Online environments such as "Second Life" -- where users control avatars -- have emerged in recent years.

The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

"I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

My Shrapnel Life as a "Poor, Sad, Heroic, Victim of Terror"®

I came across this interesting Blog 'My Shrapnel'Here in her own words a description of who she is"

Message from the Bombing Victim Muppet
I am, of course, neither sad, nor heroic nor particularly victimized. What I am is an "ordinary Joe" who was seriously injured six years ago in a suicide bombing while waiting for a bus at the Machane Yehuda open air market in Jerusalem.

Gila 'a nice Jewish girl' worth a read.

Hugh O'Flaherty - 'the Vatican Pimpernel'

Now, 40 years after his death, the Israeli Government is planning to award its highest honour on the Irish priest to whom the only memorials to date are the film, the Scarlet and the Black, starring Gregory Peck and a grove of trees in Killarney National Park. The Israelis are planting another tree in his honour at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Authority also plans to confer the title, “Righteous Among Nations” on Monsignor O’Flaherty, who is the first Irishman to receive this honour, in appreciation of having saved the lives of thousands of Rome’s Jews from the Holocaust.
There is now a book about him by Brian Fleming, 'The Vatican Pimpernel the wartime exploits of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty
In Killarney National Park where a grove of Italian trees, planted in 1994, is the only memorial in Ireland to the Monsignor. Beside the trees is a brass plaque which reads, “To honour Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty (1898 - 1963). In Rome during World War II, he heroically served the cause of humanity.”

To mark the planting of the trees, Brendan Kennelly wrote a poem:

Hugh O’Flaherty’s Trees
There is a tree called freedom and it grows
Somewhere in the hearts of men,
Rain falls, ice freezes, wind blows,
The tree shivers, steadies itself again,
Steadies itself like Hugh O’Flaherty’s hand,
Guiding trapped and hunted people, day and night,
To what all hearts love and understand,
The tree of freedom upright in the light.

Mediterranean Palm, Italian Cypress, Holm Oak, Stone Pine;
A peaceful grove in honour of that man,
Commemorates all who struggle to be free.
The hurried world is a slave of time,
Wise men are victims of their shrewdest plans.