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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stormy Weather......

has been a hot topic on this side of the Atlantic spread. Personally and politically, storms of different sorts are raging as well.

       Yesterday, the dreadful "Frankenstorm", Hurricane Sandy, hit the East Coast with all her feared ferocity. New York and New Jersey were hit the hardest, with entire neighborhoods being destroyed by flooding and wind damage. Millions of power outages and fifty storm-related deaths have been reported overall. May their souls rest in peace. My own native state was also hit by the tempest, wreaking havoc along the coastline and Ocen City. Thankfully, my family lives inland, so we were spared any serious damage. The wind did whip up a fury and our yard is a wreck, but our power stayed on. Our lights did flicker twice, but never went out completely, even though we were almost certain they would. Our attic sprung at least seven leaks and we took on some water in the basement, but all that is sustainable. Thank you, St. Barbara, patroness of storms, for protecting us! Also, thank you to my friends on both sides of the pond who emailed me to make sure my family and I made it through the storm unscathed.

     On a personal note, I recently came down with a miserable cold which started with an intensely painful sore throat and progressed with a suffocating stuffiness that has had me blowing my nose none-stop both day and night, making it very difficult for me to sleep. This, accompanied by the usual cough, is my present state. Thankfully, I am at home with my loving family, reasonably good heating, and a well-stocked kitchen. Plus, my dad recently picked up some library material waiting for me behind the counter, and I have been nursing my misery by watching an odd variety of films (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Horatio Hornblower, Bertie and Elizabeth, etc.) and listening to the soundtrack of LotR. Yes, even though I am not a Ringer, I can appreciate good music, and the Peter Jackson films did dish out some truly lovely pieces. I especially like “May It Be” and “Aniron (Theme for Aragorn and Arwen)”, both of which are sung by Enya. I did find Aragorn and Arwen's romance to be one of the gentle refrains in the films from hideous beasts and similar savagery, and the musical score attests to this.

     Election Day is closing in with unbelievable speed, and it's all hand-to-hand combat from now til then. The First Presidential Debate showed the Republican Candidate Mitt Romeny to be a cool, confident, and keen challenger, and made the Democratic President Barack Obama to appear like a lethargic, lackadaisical, and lackluster incumbent. The polls showed popular opinion shoot up for Romney in the following days. Next, the Vice-Presidential Debate took an almost laughable twist as the Democratic Vice-President Joe Biden snickered, sneered, and derided his opponent, Republican Vice-Presidential Canditate Paul Ryan. Some say that Ryan should have been more assertive and prevented Biden from interrupting him and making rude insinuations. However, the polite and laid-back visage displayed by Ryan just served to make Biden's antics seem more repulsive and childish to many viewers.

     The Second Presidential Debate saw a much more lively President Obama and a much more aggressive display of  "in your face" arguing on both men's parts. The Town Hall format allowed selected members of the audience to ask questions to the candidates, and one question seems to have summarized the general thoughts of many Americans: a man who voted for Obama in 2008 asked why he should vote for him again. Romney was quick to nail Obama on his atrocious record of debt and the deplorable financial situation in general. Then the question about the Benghazi attack came to the fore, causing a stramash over when Obama had acknowleged it as an "Act of Terror" as opposed to a spontaneous demonstration sparked by an anti-Islamic vido on YouTube. The debate ended as a tie, with Romney still holding his edge in the polls.

    In a "break-time" function, both Obama and Romney attended the Al Smith Dinner in New York at the invitation of Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Both candidates took some smart but good-humored jabs at one another, and Romney proved he was not the stiff he has so often been portrayed as. Although there was much consternation in the Catholic world when it was first announced that both candidates would be invited to the dinner (considering the fact that Obama has crossed swords with the Catholic Church in general and Cardinal Dolan in particular over the HHS Mandate), the event demonstrated a refreshing sense of fair play and decensy that in intergral to the American Spirit. 

    The Third Debate saw Romney adopt a new strategy: the "hugging" method. Instead of obliging the President's attempts to paint him as an unreasonable radical, Romney agreed with numerous Obama policies and refused to be drawn into the Benghazi subject again. The result was that once again the result was a tie, with no definate winner and Romeny still holding the edge in the polls. Now the determining factor will be the states that can be won by the opposing parties. Ohio and Wisconsin play big on the swing-state stage.

    Personally I am a third generation Republican, and my grandfather was active in politics. But that is only a small part of why I support Mitt Romney in this election. I also believe that the present administration is taking great risks in the area of national security and crashing this nation into the rocks of debt and depression. But first and foremost, I am pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. I believe in the sanctity of the sexual act as a life-giving one, and that it should not be misused and debased. I believe that all life is sacred, from the moment of conception to natural death. These are not just my personal beliefs, but they are the official teachings of the Catholic Church. And these are the beliefs that the Obama administration has stridently opposed, to the point of infringing on religioius liberty. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is running on basic Conservative principles and showing a much superior attitude towards life issues than Barack Obama

     Hence, I must address my fellow Catholics and Americans: You cannot vote for a fiercely pro-abortion, pro-homosexual "marriage" candidate when there is a better option and consider yourself a member of the Church in good standing. You automatically excommunicate yourself by abandoning the laws of God. I have Protestant and Mormon friends who are more in line with the teachings of our Church than some Catholics. For God's sake, don't disgrace us and make us endure another four years of this administration which will bring down a swell of anti-life choices. To those who are thinking of voting third-party or for a candidate who is not even running: I beg you to reconsider. It is our duty to do whatever we can to defeat evil, even if that means choosing "the lesser of two evils", as some people might consider it. This is a national emergency. We must stand up and be counted to make a difference.

    And so we Americans have many storms to weather. May Our Lady, Patroness of America, and St. Barbara, Patroness of Storms, be our guiding lights through it all.

Hurricane Sandy


Gov. Mitt Romney and Pres. Barack Obama

Monday, October 15, 2012

Deep in the Heart of Texas.....

our blog's poet laureate comes forth with some poems about the the greatness of humble ones and the indomitable spirit of sacrifice that never fades. Mack, thank you for posting your inspirational work in the comment boxes over the months ;-)

The Beggar at Canterbury Gate

The beggar sits at Canterbury Gate,
Thin, pale, unshaven, sad. His little dog
Sits patiently as a Benedictine
At Vespers, pondering eternity.
Not that rat terriers are permitted
To make solemn vows. Still, the pup appears
To take his own vocation seriously,
As so few humans do. For, after all,
Dogs demonstrate for us the duties of
Poverty, stability, obedience,
In choir, perhaps; among the garbage, yes,
So that perhaps we too might live aright.

The good dog’s human plays his tin whistle
Beneath usurper Henry’s offering-arch,
For Kings, as beggars do, must drag their sins
And lay them before the Altar of God:
The beggar drinks and drugs and smokes, and
His penance is to sit and suffer shame;
The King’s foul murders stain his honorable
His penance is a stone-carved famous name
Our beggar, then, is a happier man,
Begging for bread at Canterbury Gate;
Tho’ stones are scripted not with his poor fame,
His little dog will plead his cause to God.

Ever England

Brave Hurricanes and Spits still claw and climb
Far up into the English summer sky
At the lingering end of a golden time
As wild young lads and aging empires die

The Hood and Rodney still the Channel guard
Against the strident Men of Destiny
Then shellfire falls; the helm is over hard
But the brave old ships keep the Narrow Sea

Dear Grandpa and the boys sport thin tin hats
In Sunday afternoon's invasion drill
Gram says she's too darned old for all of that
But she too smells the smoke of Abbeyville

Faith does not pass with ephemeral time:
Brave Hurricanes and Spits still claw and climb

Begging for bread at Canterbury Gate....

Brave Hurricanes and Spits still claw and climb.....

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tragic Romance.....

seemed to be a theme Sir Walter Scott miandered in quite often. He had a talent for blending both the hauntingly sad with the mysteriously unexplainable. In the end, he was even able to project the gallantry and love to such an extent that his works serve as a reminder of the good aspects of human nature against all odds. Here are two tragic poems he either wrote or adapted from earlier border ballads.

Fair Helen of Kirkconnel

I wish I was where Helen Lies.
For nicht and day on me she cries;
For nicgt and day on me she cries.
I wish I was where Helen lies
on fair Kirkconnell lea.
Oh Helen Fair, Oh Helen chaste!
Were I with thee, I would be blest,
Were I with thee I would be blest.
Where thou liest low and at they rest
On fair Kirkconnell lea.

Oh Helen fair, beyond compare
I'll make a garland of thy hair;
I'll make a garland of thy hair;
Wrapt roon' my heart for evermair
Until the day I dee.
But curst the heart that hatch'd the thought,
And curst the hand that fired the shot;
Aye, curst the hand that fired the shot,
When in my arms my Helen dropt,
And died for sake of me.

O think na ye my heart was sair,
My love dropt doun and spake nae mair;
I laid her down with muckle care,
O think na ye my heart was sair
On fair Kirkconnell lea.
For I found my foe behind a wa';
And lichted doun my sword to draw,
Stern was her strike on Kirtle Shaw,
As I hacked him in pieces sma,
For ta'en my love frae me.

I wish I was where Helen lies,
For night and day on me she cries;
I wish I was where Helen lies
On fair Kirkconnell lea.

It Was an English Ladye Bright

It was an English ladye bright,
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
And she would marry a Scottish knight,
For Love will still be lord of all.

Blithely they saw the rising sun
When he shone fair on Carlisle wall;
But they were sad ere day was done,
Though Love was still the lord of all.

Her sire gave brooch and jewel fine,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall;
Her brother gave but a flask of wine,
For ire that Love was lord of all.

For she had lands both meadow and lea,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,
And he swore her death, ere he would see
A Scottish knight the lord of all.

That wine she had not tasted well
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
When dead, in her true love's arms, she fell,
For Love was still the lord of all!

He pierced her brother to the heart,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall:--
So perish all would true love part
That Love may still be lord of all!

And then he took the cross divine,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,
And died for her sake in Palestine;
So Love was still the lord of all.

Now all ye lovers, that faithful prove,
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
Pray for their souls who died for love,
For Love shall still be lord of all!

"My love dropt doun and spake nae mair....."

"For Love will still be Lord of All....."