Monday, January 28, 2008

feast of St Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, "the big fella."

Today is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor Angelicus, one of the great minds of the Middle Ages and patron of us academics and teachers. As I am a busy academic and teacher, I will just leave you with St. Thomas' great Prayer Before Study (English following the Latin), from the Thesaurus Precum Latinarum.

CREATOR ineffabilis, qui de thesauris sapientiae tuae tres Angelorum hierarchias designasti et eas super caelum empyreum miro ordine collocasti atque universi partes elegantissime distribuisti: Tu, inquam, qui verus fons luminis et sapientiae diceris ac supereminens principium, infundere digneris super intellectus mei tenebras tuae radium claritatis, duplices, in quibus natus sum, a me removens tenebras, peccatum scilicet et ignorantiam. Tu, qui linguas infantium facis disertas, linguam meam erudias atque in labiis meis gratiam tuae benedictionis infundas. Da mihi intelligendi acumen, retinendi capacitatem, addiscendi modum et facilitatem, interpretandi subtilitatem, loquendi gratiam copiosam. Ingressum instruas, progressum dirigas, egressum compleas. Tu, qui es verus Deus et homo, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

O INFINITE Creator, who in the riches of Thy wisdom didst appoint three hierarchies of Angels and didst set them in wondrous order over the highest heavens, and who didst apportion the elements of the world most wisely: do Thou, who art in truth the fountain of light and wisdom, deign to shed upon the darkness of my understanding the rays of Thine infinite brightness, and remove far from me the twofold darkness in which I was born, namely, sin and ignorance. Do Thou, who givest speech to the tongues of little children, instruct my tongue and pour into my lips the grace of Thy benediction. Give me keenness of apprehension, capacity for remembering, method and ease in learning, insight-in interpretation, and copious eloquence in speech. Instruct my beginning, direct my progress, and set Thy seal upon the finished work, Thou, who art true God and true Man, who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Friday, January 25, 2008

radio sententia -- new nick cave and the bad seeds

A new Nick Cave album will come out on March 3rd. Here's the first video, "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!":

Here's Nick Cave on Lazarus, from the website:

"Ever since I can remember hearing the Lazarus story, when I was a kid, you know, back in church, I was disturbed and worried by it. Traumatized, actually. We are all, of course, in awe of the greatest of Christ's miracles - raising a man from the dead - but I couldn't help but wonder how Lazarus felt about it. As a child it gave me the creeps, to be honest. I've taken Lazarus and stuck him in New York City, in order to give the song, a hip, contemporary feel. I was also thinking about Harry Houdini who spent a lot of his life trying to debunk the spiritualists who were cashing in on the bereaved. He believed there was nothing going on beyond the grave. He was the second greatest escapologist, Harry was, Lazarus, of course, being the greatest. I wanted to create a kind of vehicle, a medium, for Houdini to speak to us if he so desires, you know, from beyond the grave. Sometimes, late at night, if you listen to the song hard enough, you can hear his voice and the sad clanking of his chains. "I don't know what it is but there is definitely something going on upstairs", he seems to be saying. It is, most of all, an elegy to the New York City of the 70's."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dread Zeppelin on the feast of St Anthony

I never said that under no circumstances would I enjoy a Led Zeppelin song,

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Hampshire

A twelfth-century miniature that has absolutely nothing to do with last night's primary election in New Hampshire.

Well, it certainly is a season of surprises. I suggest that until November we stop listening when the professional bloviators in the media tell us something is a sure thing. Hillary was finished, nothing could stop Obama. Well... Still, it's important to see that she only won by two percentage points in a state she was supposed to win anyway, and that she and Obama both came out of it with the same number of delegates.

There has been a fair amount of discussion at William's and Jeff's about the primaries and the candidates. I still feel closest to Edwards, but I don't see him going very far at this point. Perhaps he could surprise us in South Carolina, but if he doesn't I'd rather see the voters who are concerned about Hillary put their weight behind Obama.

For the record, I will vote for Hillary if she does get the nomination, but not terribly happily. If nothing else, I'm tired of the Bush-Clinton alteration -- do you realize that 18-year-old voters in this election were born under Bush I? I could list the other problems I have with Hillary, but Kevin has done so very well already here (though I feel more sympathetic to Edwards' populism than he does).

One thing I have noticed in talking to people is how much this nomination is about personality and our reactions to personality. For example, William and I have differed with Crystal about Edwards' sincerity. Each of us has tirelessly explained why we like him or not, but in the end it comes down to a gut feeling that really can't be debated. It's the same with Hillary. I personally don't see her as soulless and fake as some people do (though I wonder about her opportune show of emotion this weekend), but I do feel (emphasis on the word "feel") that she lacks vision and that her brand of politics is too divisive and cutthroat. On policy, I'm probably closest to Kucinich, though I see that it is unlikely that he could implement it and impossible that he could be elected. I prefer the Clinton and Edwards health-care plans to Obama's, and Richardson's approach to foreign policy. Still, Obama's speech after winning Iowa really moved me. My brain says it's all just pretty words, what about his policies, will he be too conciliatory to people who are willing to eat him for breakfast... but still, maybe there is something to what he said in last weekend's debate:
And, you know, so, the truth is, actually, words do inspire, words do help people get involved, words do help members of Congress get into power so that they can be part of a coalition to deliver health care reform, to deliver a bold energy policy. Don't discount that power. Because when the American people are determined that something is going to happen, then it happens. And if they are disaffected and cynical and fearful and told that it can't be done, then it doesn't. I'm running for president because I want to tell them, "Yes, we can," and that's why I think they're responding in such large numbers.
Getting away from the politics of fear is something I think we're all longing for. I'm about ready to throw my weight behind Obama.

In the meantime, it's interesting to see the breakdown of NH voters. Once again, wealthier and better-educated people like Obama more. Less well-off people are not responding to Edwards' populist message. Clinton and Edwards both did better than Obama among people who said they voted for the candidate "who cares for people like me." Very oddly, Clinton, the most hawkish of the Dems, did best among those who wanted troops to be withdrawn immediately from Iraq, whereas Obama did overwhelming well with those who want troops to stay in Iraq "as long as they're needed." On the religious breakdown, Obama and Clinton did equally well among Protestant voters, but Clinton dominated among Catholic voters with 44%, and Edwards did better with Catholics than with any other religious denomination, getting support of 24%. There are more interesting tidbits there, take a look at it.

On to Nevada.